"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, September 30, 2010

Santa Anas

I was born and raised in southern California.  And while it probably seems crazy to anyone still living in California, experiencing the Santa Ana winds that blow huge brush fires across the state or making the air so dry and brittle, I miss them. I don't know how to explain it but it's a part of my childhood that I didn't really realize wouldn't be the same everywhere I went in life. Recesses spent on the playground, dirt ground into our eyes by the winds, pretending to be so light they were blowing us away, hearing them howl past.

The plot of Janet Fitch's White Oleander relies heavily on the Santa Ana winds and captures what they are. I can even clearly remember the opening scenes of the movie version, Astrid's voice saying, "The Santa Ana’s blew in hot from the desert that fall. Only the Oleanders thrived. Maybe the wind was the reason my mother did what she did." Thinking of them makes me a little nostalgic for home.

So, to welcome in this Santa Ana season, a quote from White Oleander:

"The Santa Anas blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw.  Only the oleander thrived, their delicate poisonous blooms, their dagger green leaves.  We could not sleep in the hot dry nights, my mother and I.  I woke up at midnight to find her bed empty. I climbed to the roof and easily spotted her blond hair like a white flame in the light of the three-quarter moon."
"Down below us in the streets of Hollywood, sirens whined and sawed along my nerves. In the Santa Anas, eucalyptus tress burst into flames like candles, and oilfat chaparral hillsides went up in a rush, flushing starved coyotes and deer down onto Franklin Avenue."

I like seeing a little bit of my true locale making it into literature and films and music. Everything doesn't always have to be set in New York City.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Food Costumes

 From Pottery Barn Kids here.

Or, homemade here.

 I'm trying to convince Little Guy to be a cookie for Halloween because this looks simple enough to create.  Or, find it here at Etsy.
Or, a homemade chocolate chip version here.

 Pottery Barn's cupcake here, or the homemade cupcake here.

 Or, maybe Little Guy should be a donut since he's affectionately known as the donut thief in our family after he ate everyone's donuts one night while we were in the other room.  Pottery Barn has this Donut here, Etsy has this or you can create your own like this.

Don't forget to check out my simple homemade little boy Halloween costumes from past years here.  I'll try to put together a post with links to my past Halloween favorites, assuming my computer starts working properly instead of slower than a snail. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cooking Book Club

What could be better than this for my family?  She's reading the books with her kids and then baking up fancy treats with them to go along with the story.  We love to read.  We love to bake.  We love reading and baking adventures.  And we homeschool.  The first book pick was Alice and Wonderland and they made Wacky Cupcakes.  Next up is The Little Prince and she'll post her baked treat at the end of September or early October.  Be sure to check back.  And the kids and I will have some fun as well.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Countdown Chain

My mom sent me this link and I think it's a fabulous idea.  She thought that the kids and I would for sure want to make a Christmas version for presents for relatives.  And I would... until I figured out that just Jed's family (two brothers, one sister and us) would need 100 loops.  I'm not sure I could do this 100 times.  PLUS, she uses buttons.  I definitely can't handle 100 button holes.  Although I was thinking about teaching my kids to sew on buttons.  And by the end of it, I would be a great button hole maker.  Right?  This woman uses felt and Velcro, not quite as festive, but definitely easier.

Here's a how to: link

Friday, September 24, 2010


I'm hosting my book club again in November.  Any good book suggestions?  I like to pick books that I know are okay for a church book club, but I also like to read it right along with the group so it's fresh in my mind.  Several years ago, in an October, my book club read Dracula.  Maybe I should have picked October and read it again.

Send me your recommendations.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I'm one of the hypochondriacs that is constantly convinced she's got some crazy disease, but not one of those hypochondriacs who ever goes to the doctor because of her fears. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Leaves

Contemplating a trip down Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Forest this weekend to see if the leaves are changing colors yet.  If only Saturday wasn't already so jam packed full of stuff to do... it's also free National Park day. 

  • 2 soccer games
  • 1 American Girl craft day at Michaels
  • 1 baptism (involving 2 of the kids in Princess Sparkley's Primary class)
  • 1 talk to prepare for church the next day
  • 1 free day to tour farms in the county


Right now I'm wishing I had a really nice porch and far away neighbors.  I'd be sitting outside, feeling the thick air carry in what's probably going to be the last thunderstorm of the summer (even though the summer is already officially over), sipping ice cold water, and reading a book.  There would of course be no worrying about mosquitoes or other pesky bugs, or smoking neighbors, or kids constantly coming to check on my even though they are supposed to be in bed asleep.  There wouldn't be a laundry basket full of clean clothes waiting to be folded in my bedroom, or a dryer full of dried towels waiting in the dryer (for two days now).  Or a messy house to pick up.  There wouldn't be school to plan for tomorrow.  Or any of the daily jobs, worries or stresses that come with being an adult. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Halloween on the Brain

Yes, we're already thinking about Halloween costumes around here.  We started last November 1, it teetered off for a bit and started up full swing again around Princess Sparkley's birthday when the kids realized the next REAL holiday in the line up was Halloween.

I found this costume idea from AlphaMom after Halloween last year but fell
in love with it. I wish I could convince Princess Sparkley to be an owl this year.

And THIS... if I had $50 to spend and it wasn't already sold out, I would be begging PS to wear this for Halloween.  Or trying to squeeze myself into their largest size.

Not to mention all the other FABULOUS ones at Pottery Barn Kids.
Man, I wish I could sew well enough to make these at home for cheap.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weezer's new album: Hurley

Weezer released a new album this week. It took me awhile to track it down because Target was supposed to have the Deluxe album (with 4 extra songs) for $9.99 this week, and both our Targets were sold out. But then I saw that Best Buy was also selling it for $9.99 for a limited time and I bought it for Jed as a "Congrats on passing both of your Qualifying Exams" gift, even though as we were leaving the store, the kids said, "how come we're buying Dad a Weezer cd? You like Weezer, Dad likes The Killers." He likes Weezer TOO! I promise. And had The Killers had a new cd released, I would have congratulated him with it instead.

So far I really like the album. It's a little reminiscent of a lot of their past albums. My kids especially love the song called, "All My Friends Are Insects.*" And on the song Trainwrecks, this part cracked up Jed and I: "We don't update our blogs, we are trainwrecks." And a couple lines later, "We're digging through the couch for cash" cracked up our kids. There are a few spots I have to fast forward through to skip the swear words, but now that I know the song well, I'm on it. Usually, 90% of the album is clean. At least this time it's not he F-word being rapped which it was on the last album. Oh, and there's a cool cover of a Coldplay song.

*Which, I didn't realize was from their appearance on the show Yo Gabba Gabba until I looked up the lyrics. Should I be glad my kids aren't into a show called Yo Gabba Gabba, or should I think it's the coolest show ever because Weezer went on it? Here's the video:

Weezer on Yo Gabba Gabba! from NickPress on Vimeo.

For all the real Weezer fans out there, they are releasing a Deluxe version of the 1996 album, Pinkerton, in November. As well as a compilation of previously recorded but unreleased songs and a 3rd installment in the Rivers Cuomo solo album series. And they're working on a new studio album. I remember discovering Weezer in 1996-1997 and being so desperate for them to release something new and it wasn't until 2001 that they released the self-titled Green Album. Since then they've released five albums plus a Deluxe Blue Album and two Rivers solo albums. Yea! And they recorded The Monkee's song "I'm a Believer" for Shrek Forever After." I LOVED The Monkees as a kid, and that song.
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