"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, October 27, 2011

Goals Shmoals

It's a good thing I didn't actually post my New Year's Resolutions for this year because with just over two months left in the year, it's going pathetically.  I was supposed to finish three Blurb books this year of our family blog (2010, 2006 and 2005).  I'm in February of 2010. I have however far surpassed even my expectations for number of books read and pages read (I'm at 84 books and 27,291 pages and counting).  I don't even remember my other goals (I did write them down somewhere, just not on the blog).  I believe running was involved.  That fizzled and died with my month long summer trip to California and Utah.  Then life went back to "normal" and normal was unpacking a new place, homeschooling the kids, etc.  So... I guess I should resolve to be better next year and make the most of these next two months.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Egg Molds

I'm both intrigued and a little creeped out by these hard boiled egg molds.  Buddy might get a pack in his stocking.

buy them here, there are other shapes too
Seen on Pinterest via here

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloweens Past

I was remembering all the costumes my kids have had over the years, amazed at how many Halloweens they each have under the belts and since their costumes are much cooler than the punk rocker I was for several Halloweens in a row in the late 1980s, I figured I'd document my thought process here.

Princess Sparkley was a SWEET PEA.
w/ cousins.  Camarillo, CA*

We'll say she was a PEA-HEN, but techinically, only the Peacocks have the fancy colors and feathers.
Somis, CA

Camarillo, CA

Buddy's first Halloween as a FISH

Lawrence, KS
Lawrence, KS

Lawrence, KS

Lawrence, KS

Lawrence, KS

northern Virginia

northern Virginia

COOKIE MONSTER and Jed makes an appearance as GIANT COOKIE

What will 2011 bring?
I'll give you a hint, the kids have a theme going on.

*Yes, the year labeled on the picture is wrong.  I don't know why.
This was pre-digital camera for us, so this is all I have on the computer.
**This is the year PS started throwing up just as we got her costume on to go trick-or-treating so I don't have any great pictures of her... she hadn't felt well all day.
***Buddy refused to dress up this year.  Then we picked this costume and he ended up sleeping in it some days because he refused to take it off.  He just barely outgrew it last year and still wore it all the time until I hid it away.
****How are there so many years that I didn't get not only a good picture of the kids together in their costumes, but not even one picture.

What. Is. This!?!

I think I've found something worse than the house centipede.  And faster.




It looks like a house centipede mated with a cricket.  I vacuumed one up in our "basement" the other day.  Then tonight, when I opened the back door down there to clear leaves from the drain so our "basement" didn't flood in the huge downpouring of rain we had, I saw this guy climbing up the door frame.  EEK!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cooking Mistakes

Via Pinterest, I found this article.

 I'm guilty of:
  2.  You don't read the entire recipe before you start cooking. I do this too often for it to be funny.  Case in point, last Friday I was taking a soup (that I'd never made before) to a woman from church who just had a baby.  The bottom two lines expressed that after you added the half and half you were supposed to let it simmer for an hour.  In all my looking the recipe over I never noticed this.  By the time I added the half and half, I had maybe 20 minutes before I needed to pour it into a giant bowl and deliver it to this ladies house.  Luckily, it still tasted fine.

  5.  You overheat chocolate.  I've learned my lesson though and I'm very careful when heating chocolate now.

  6.  You over-soften butter.  Guilty.  Often.

  But other than the ones I don't even understand (like number 21 shocking my vegetables) I do alright.  I even already bake my bacon in the oven because I always burn it on the stove.  How's your cooking?

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Every Child is an Artist."

My kids create enough "art" to take out a rain forest, so I've always needed a good art wall where I can display it.  In Kansas our door was metal so we'd magnet all their art to the back of the door.  I've thought before of pinning up some yarn and clipping the kids' art to it, similar to how a friend did it down her hallway in Kansas, but I'm loving these ideas.  The first is actually what our curtain rods are right now, from IKEA. 

from here

from here

I love the quote on this one... from here.
from here

from here
from here

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Peanut Butter No-Bakes

aka Peanut Butter Rolled Oat Clusters

My brother always made these growing up. It's probably the only thing he ever cooked. Now Jed makes them. Pretty soon Buddy will be making them as well because he requests them as our Family Home Evening treat each week.  I mentioned them to a friend at book club the other night and she'd never had the just peanut butter version w/o chocolate.  It's our favorite. 

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
*optional: 1/3 cup cocoa

Combine sugar, milk, butter, salt in 3 quart pot; stir. Bring to a full boil for exactly one minute. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add rolled oats; mix well. Cool slightly until mixture holds shape. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool.

Jed always dumps them from a spoon like pictured.  I use a cookie scoop.  I saw on another blog that some people put them in an 8x8 or 9x9 and after they cool you can sort of slice them like fudge.

My Babies

We didn't hang up a lot of pictures at our old townhome because we were never really settled there and were constantly trying to figure out how we could move and where to. So these haven't been out in awhile and the kids were excited to see them.  Plus I've been seeing a lot of the handprint versions on Pinterest.  I originally got the handprinting idea from the wall of a nursery in a Pottery Barn Kids catalog before PS was born.

Monday, October 03, 2011



  I am trying to remember how hot it was a couple months ago, and how much colder it still has to get.  47 degrees outside right now,  66 inside, and it took forever to convince myself to get out of my warm cozy bed this morning. 

  School starts.  We scaled down our "school day" during the summer, just doing reading, handwriting and math review, then that died on our Utah/California trip.  We came home to a new home we had to unpack and organize, so we started our school year a week late.  And, even then, I hadn't mapped anything out yet, we've just been reviewing the things we've forgotten over the summer (handwriting, spelling, reading, multiplication tables (PS) and double digit addition and subtraction (Buddy)) and working on Geography and Spanish.  Over the weekend I mapped out what we'll be studying in October so today, we officially are starting our PLANNED school year.  Princess Sparkley in 4th grade, Buddy in 2nd grade and Little Guy is starting homeschool preschool with the letter A.

  I still have a long list of stuff to do to get our new place all the way unpacked and all the way organized.  The middle level (dining room, kitchen, living room) is mostly all there and organized.  The upper level with bedrooms has some piles that need to be cleaned up, organized or attached to walls.  The lower level is 100% better than it was, but still has a few boxes to unpack, and A LOT of toys to organize... somehow.

  I start my reading list for 2011.  Pathetic, I know it being October and all.  So far I've read Franny and Zooey, a chapter of Beloved and I'm a few chapters in to reading the third Harry Potter aloud to the kids.  I've read.  A lot.  More than any year in the past.  But I've sort of ignored my list and read a lot of fun stuff instead.  Now I've got to buckle down and better myself with some classics.
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