"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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

To Do Today

Is it pathetic that I have this monstrous list of stuff to get done today, and I can only cross off one thing (boys' haircuts) and it's 1:30 in the afternoon already? (I'm crossing off more stuff as I go.)

  • Cut Buddy and Little Guy's hair
  • Make pizza dough for tomorrow's dinner
  • Return library books
  • Get Water Babies by Kingsley for Princess Sparkley's independent reading book*
  • Balance checkbook
  • Thank you notes
  • March newsletter for church
  • Music store (Piano books-Lesson for PS, Theory for Buddy)
  • Sew buntings
  • Deposit checks (one of which I've been carrying for a month)
  • Arrange insurance approval for Little Guy's heart check-up in May (this will have to wait until Monday)
  • Write book reviews for here
  • Clean bedroom
  • Clean closet so maintenance can come fix light in there and we can see our clothes again
  • Email maintenance re: the siding that blew off the back of the neighboring townhome's back into our backyard
  • Target trip to buy Star Wars undies (his reward for being all the way potty trained which I think he'll hit next week sometime)
  • Buy Powerade (Jed's training for a 10k)
  • Call parents to see if the snow fell anywhere near them (miraculous) like the news was reporting might happen as low as 1000 feet in southern California.  They live at 325 feet but are near some high mountains. 
  • Patch knee holes in three pairs of kid pants. 
*After we checked it out, I read about it online and decided it's not the book I was remembering from my own childhood.  The book I'm remembering from my childhood is based on this.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Conversation Overheard

Princess Sparkley: [Little Guy], when you grow up you're going to be a big daddy with lots of kids.

Little Guy: When I grow up I going to be Darth Vader.

PS: (silence)

LG: (excitedly) I wanted to tell Daddy this.  I tell him, "When I grow up I going to be Darth Vader.  Daddy say, (changes his voice for being Daddy) 'I don't think that's a good idea.' And I tell him a second time when I grow up I going to be Darth Vader.  Hmph."


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Options

"Until I came across Freezer Fancies and set out to collect Irma's entire oeuvre, I was in possession of exactly thirteen cookbooks.  A comparatively modest collection, but I have my reasons, the main one being, nothing snarls me up like options.  I blame this on my genes and my waste-not, want-not penny-pinching proto-Calvinist roots, which imbued me with the feeling that to be in possession of a useful thing and not use it is to allow the devil to wedge his big toe in the screen door of your soul.  This line of thinking engenders teetering stacks of hand-washed yogurt cups, bales of folded grocery bags, and impassable porches, and the hoarding of broken-handled snow shovels.  It follows that the implied responsibility inherent in a collection of cookbooks is overwhelming."
 -from Truck: A Love Story by Michael Perry

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders

I was talking to my mom a few weeks ago and she mentioned that the Borders near them closed. I LOVE Borders.

One, it's a bookstore. A bookstore so unlike the pathetic dinky bookstores of the past. I love superstores. Making a superstore of books is a dream come true for me. The economy is crap right now and one of my biggest concerns is that both Barnes and Noble and Borders will go out of business and life as I know (and love) it will cease to exist.

Two, for some reason I prefer Borders to Barnes and Noble. Originally, because Borders was one city closer to me in high school. Now I live within rock throwing distance of a Barnes and Noble, but I still prefer Borders. I think part of it is their FREE Borders Rewards program. No yearly fee like BN charges.

Three, the specific Borders that closed is where Jed and I went on all sorts of dates in high school, when we were engaged, and after we were married. We're book people. He'd drop me off in the Young Adult section, I'd find him later in Maps. We never even took advantage of the cafe. We just wandered the store enjoying the possibility of all the books to be read.

Borders filed for Bankruptcy today and they are closing 30% of their stores and restructuring, etc.  They are even closing the store in Lawrence, KS that I regularly frequented (so sorry Kansas friends, you're left with nothing in town... I'll cross my fingers for a Barnes and Noble to move in so you have something).  Luckily my local store is unscathed (which I predicted because I saw on a job board website recently that they were hiring).  Please go shop at Borders and spend lots of money so they don't go out of business.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Ideas

One of the sad things about homeschooling is my kids missing out on the fun normal events of childhood.  Valentine's Day parties at school with little handmade Valentine boxes on every desk is on my list of things I'm sad my kids are missing out on.  But, I'm lucky enough that our homeschool groups here have provided THREE parties for us to chose from this year.

I may break down and just buy my kids store bought cards to exchange with their friends at the party, but I hate having 30 cards leftover each year.  So... if I get around to it and there aren't too many kids that RSVP, these are my kids' Valentine options:
S'Mores Pop
Gift Pouch
Clay Conversation Hearts
Valentine Doily
Valentine Photo Lollipop
Heart-shaped paperclips 
Andrea (Thanks!) shared these two with me that I love:
Mustache Valentine
Heartbreaker Valentine
And those reminded me of this idea my mom sent me a couple weeks ago:
Sucker Mustache

And finally reading through my Google Reader, weeks later, I found these cool ideas.

Valentine's Day Treats

Photo: Taste of Home magazine




Box of Chocolates from Hello, Cupcake! found online here



Photo: Leigh Anne aka YHBM



Photo: Pampered Chef





 
 
photo: Taste of Home Magazine

I've actually made these for Jed for Valentine's Day before.  I make the brownies in either a heart-shaped pan (which I could borrow from my mom when I lived closer) or I bake them and then use a cookie cutter to make them heart-shaped.  Then I drizzle the next two layers decoratively over top of the heart brownies.


photo: Bakerella
 Cowgirl Cookies (which you could rename with Love Drop Cookies... or something) from Bakerella


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Engaged

Ten years ago today Jed proposed with a ring.  We'd of course already talked marriage.  He had other plans for how he was going to propose with the ring but once my ring was ready, he couldn't wait.  He drove us to the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura, CA and proposed to me on the steps of the mission.


Recently I've been looking for some sort of artwork I could blow up to an enormous size and hang over our bed.  Something like those giant cityscapes you can get at IKEA, but I wanted it to mean something to us, not a random shot of NYC (a city I've never been to).  I thought of the San Buenaventura Mission as something that is cool looking and meaningful to us and I started looking at pictures of it online.  Problem... crosses are heavily prominent on the roof of the mission.  For two reasons this is weird for me.  One, it's over my bed.  Two, my religion doesn't focus on the dying on a cross aspect of Christ's life.  It happened, and we study it, and know that He died for our sins, but we focus on the Resurrection aspect.  He died and came back to life. So we don't have crosses on our church, or wear cross necklaces.  So a giant picture of a Spanish mission with crosses all over it would be out of place above my bed.


*In high school, my job was basically driving around the county and taking pictures to help out in the appraisal of homes of people who had passed away (I worked for a Probate Referee).  I wandered across this house one day and fell in love.  So, one of the reasons the mission was a good spot to propose, was because the above house was our dream house when we were in high school, and it's just around the corner, sort of.  And the top floors should have ocean views.  It's apparently now a Bed and Breakfast... or maybe it was then as well.  I'm intrigued. 



Monday, February 07, 2011

Food Food and More Food

I have a complete lack of motivation for most things right now, blogging included, so I'm resorting to an easy blog post... my menu for the week.  And this stuff should all be good because I've made most of it before. If I haven't made it before, I'll mark it with an asterisk.  I'm relying on tested recipes because the last few weeks I've been trying out new random recipes, and while they haven't been failures, they haven't really been successes either.  You're welcome for not sharing all of those with you. :)


Tuesday:  Mulligatawny Soup (Chicken Rice Curry Soup)
- When searching for the recipe I use online, I came across a Pioneer Woman version that I'm going to have to try next time. 
- And here's a kid-friendly version from Family Fun



*Wednesday: Overnight Stuffed French Toast

Thursday:  Alfredo Pasta
  -Alfredo Sauce is one of Princess Sparkley's favorite foods and this is simple because all I do is cook a fun pasta and add a jar of Alfredo sauce (usually Paul Newman's).  Then I serve it with chicken (sometimes breaded) and broccoli.  Jed and I prefer it all as one dish, the kids like their broccoli and chicken on the side.  We top it off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

*Friday: Tomato Tortellini Soup

Saturday: Chicken Bundles
- The link is basically my recipe.  I got the recipe from my roommate Tiffany back in college and it's been a huge hit with everyone I've ever made it for.  I use green onions instead of sweet onions.  And I usually add some garlic salt.  I use the 1/3 the fat cream cheese.  I've never used Parmesan cheese before, but I think I might now.  And I don't use butter or Parmesan on the outside, I just roll each bundle in Italian bread crumbs.  Oh, and I serve it with rice and broccoli (we're big broccoli eaters here) and I heat up some Cream of Chicken soup (the herb flavored variety if I can find it) with a little water and use it like a gravy.

      with Triple Cookies (yea for company, and sister-in-laws with yummy recipes)

Sunday: Clam Chowder
      with (dessert TBA)

*Monday: Fish Tacos with Avocado Sauce
     -Sorry, it's a member exclusive recipe, but you can sort of see it.  If it ends up being any good, I'll try to share it with you.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

How YOU Met Your Spouse

For some reason, it's super important for me to know people's back story, among other things, how they met their spouse.  I'm not sure why this little fact seems so important to me, but every time I move to a new area, I'm overwhelmed by the back stories I don't know.  I guess a huge part of this is I lived in the same house, in the same town for all but the first 2 1/2 years of my life.  My parents still live there.  So growing up, and getting married and staying in that town, I knew the back story of EVERYBODY.  And I did it without being nosy.  Here, in a new town, I'm always trying to figure out polite ways to find out information about people without being nosy or rude and finding out information that isn't mine to find out.  Just stuff that I'm curious to know about the new people in my life.  So... that all being said, I'm going to challenge everyone (new people I know, people I don't know, anyone who wanders this way) to a challenge I took a few years ago.  Blog the story of how you met your spouse... and it won't be just filling my curiosity, you can also count it as journaling, a personal history assignment, and pat yourself on the back.  Comment with a link to your "How I met my spouse" and I'll add them at the bottom of this post.  Thanks.  And here's my story for those of you who haven't already read it: How I Met My Spouse

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Jane Austen Quotes

Jane Austen always has some great quotes in her novels, these are from Northanger Abbey:


"All have been, or at least all have believed themselves to be, in danger from the pursuit of someone whom they wished to avoid; and all have been anxious for the attentions of someone whom they wished to please."


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

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