"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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Countdown

I like countdowns and decided that this year our family needed a countdown that was doing fun stuff together throughout December.  I looked around on Pinterest and using   this and this, came up with our new countdown.






 I spent under $5 on this. The board was from Lowe's for $3 something. The clothespins were a dollar (I think) from Walmart. I borrowed the red paint, owned the green paint and used scrapbook paper, fabric, and Modge Podge to make the white, red Ho Ho Ho, and light green clothespins. The Santa clothespin for the 25 is a magnet I've owned forever but the magnet is too weak to hold anything up. The snowmen on each end are ornaments but we own A LOT of ornaments, so I cut a strip of the red fabric and made a new scarf for one of them and hot glued them on.  The numbers are from here and here.  This year I just let the kids color them.  Next year, I'll get them printed all pretty.

And here's what we're going to do each day (not in order).  Click to view larger.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Laura's Creamed Corn

I'm posting this mainly for selfish reasons. I'm worried that I'm going to lose it. The Laura that this recipe is named after is my cousin's wife. Every Thanksgiving growing up, she'd make this creamed corn for our families to enjoy when all of us got together to celebrate. Yum!

Ingredients:
2 20oz. bags frozen corn
8 oz. whipping cream
8 oz. whole milk
6 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
pinch of white pepper
2 TBSP melted butter
2 TBSP flour

Directions:
Combine all ingredients (except last two) in pan and bring to boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix well. Blend butter with four and add to corn. Mix well and remove from heat.

My notes: This actually takes longer than I expect it to because the corn always freezes the cream and milk. So... take that into account when planning how early to make this part. I've also doubled it and had it turn out fine. It just takes longer and requires a bigger pot.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weezer

I stumbled upon this video on Pinterest the other day.  (Yes, Pinterest, crazy.  I know.)  It's possible that I've already linked to it on here because it's one of my favorite Weezer videos.





So then I started watching all the Weezer videos on Youtube.  I really like this one too:




And this one:



Really... all of them, but I'll stop now with these three.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flashbacks

When reading a book that needs flashbacks, which type do you prefer?

a) Flashbacks entered into the normal layout of the book like all of a sudden the narrator is remembering something.

b) Alternating chapters

c) Alternating parts (ie: Part 1 is present, Part 2 is a flashback, Part 3 is present, etc.)

d) Some other method my feeble brain cannot even imagine right now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Break-Ups

I would probably get a better response to this if I posted it on Facebook*, but I'm a little unsure that I want to announce to everyone I know that I'm writing something that could someday amount to a novel.  So, I'm asking you guys. 
I need to know break-up stories.  But, specifically, I want break-up stories where the people ended up getting back together.  I want to know why the dumper broke up with the other person.  I'm assuming that because they end up back together, the dumper still had feelings for the dumpee, but I guess that assumption could be wrong.

If you want to respond but not on this thread, email me at: nanceisthewritingfish at gmail dot com

*I could get away with asking this question about prom on Facebook because no one had to know I was writing anything.  Feel free to answer it as well if you didn't already on Facebook.

Survery of proms: Do most proms involve a dinner? I know mine did. But other formal dances had you go out for dinner on your own and just show up for the dance.

The general concensus was that you went out to eat on your own, but it varied by school.  My prom fed us.  I remember the food sounding fancy, but I don't think it was actually especially great.

What Gets Me Excited

Jed is writing a paper about the 2003 gubernatorial recall election in California in which I got to vote for action movie star, Arnold  Schwarzenegger.  I'm actually a prime example of what his paper is thinking about... I didn't want Arnold for governor, but I thought he'd have a better chance of winning than McClintock.  Anyway, none of this is what gets me excited.  Had you fooled, didn't I?  At the end of the semester his professor is having the students present their papers.  In a normal size class, this would be about 15 minutes per person.  But this class only has four students, so instead of letting them go home early, he's having them each present for 40 minutes.  Jokingly I told Jed he should open with food, a sort of mini reception for 15 minutes and then go into his presentation. I volunteered to make treats.  Then I got SUPER excited (here's the part that got me excited!) because I have California-shaped cookie cutters (as evidenced here) and he's agreed to let me make California-shaped cookies for his presentation.  I'm so excited!  I'm a weirdo, I get that.  But I still think it's going to be pretty cool.  Along the lines of this. He really is so nice to humor my craziness.  Thanks, Jed.

Update: His presentation was this week... here are the cookies:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Leaves

Find my old Thanksgiving posts here.



We don't have any trees in our backyard, but all of our neighbors have huge trees that hang into our yard, meaning we still got a ton of leaves falling onto our lawn.  Jed and the boys went out back yesterday to rake.  When I came out to see how it was going, this is what I found.  Later in the day, the boys and I went out front to rake.  It ended up just Little Guy and I and I told him my secret.  That was the first time in my life that I can ever remember raking up fall leaves.  I grew up on 2 acres of avocado trees in California, so I've raked up avocado leaves.  But it's different than battling an ongoing season that will continually drop every leaf on the tree until there are no more leaves to fall. For instance, we looked out the back window this morning and saw that the lawn is partially covered in leaves again. And everytime I new leaf fell (as we were watching), Jed said, "Ah!"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Unpacking

Unpacking... still?  You ask.  Yes.  We moved over two months ago and there are still small piles of junk (in my room) that need sorting through.  And there are two piles of boxes in the downstairs.  One pile is 2 1/2 boxes of Jed and my stuff that I'm just not sure where to put it.  Random stuff that has no place.  The other pile of boxes down there is a mixture of toys, kid artwork, and junk gathered up from their rooms.  As I've been unpacking, when I've come across junk or other items I'm not sure what to do with, I've been throwing them into these junk boxes.  Today, we're tackling the kid junk boxes and let me tell you, my kids produce a ridiculous amount of paper trash.  I went through it and trashed about two thirds.  Then Jed went through my trash pile and saved some.  But we're talking forests worth of their stories and artwork.  Forests.

Words

While typing, spell check informed me that "hideable" isn't a word.  I thought, "that should totally be a word.  What else do you call something that can be... oh, hidden."

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo

I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month right now.  I always have ideas for stories and Jed challenged me (possibly last year as a New Year's Resolution) to complete one of my story ideas, so I thought I'd work on one of my most promising ideas that is possibly ten years in the making.  Anyway, in working on this, I found myself spending a bunch of time online today researching tattoos.  I don't have any tattoos.  I have no plans to ever get a tattoo, but there are some cool tattoos out there.  A few years ago Jed asked me what type of tattoo I'd get if I ever got a tattoo and I answered him immediately.  I think I shocked him a little.  Not only did I have an answer for him, I had it for him without pause.  (For those of you who are curious, I would get a tattoo of this Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose.  For those of you who know me, you might recognize it because I own a version of this necklace.) 

Sitting around in college chatting with friends and roommates about what our vices would be if we weren't LDS, I could never come up with a definite thing.  One friend was convinced she'd be a chain smoker.  I always figured I'd probably be a drunk based on a childhood of sipping apple juice out of champagne flutes.  But now, now I realize I'd probably be covered in thousands of dollars worth of tattoos. 

And what does all of this have to do with National Novel Writing Month.  Nothing and everything.  But mainly, it's a great form of procrastination.  Both the researching of tattoos and the blogging about said research and obsession.

P.S.  What tattoo would/will/did you get?  And/Or, what would be your vice?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

PMS

Sorry, guys, if there are any of you out there that happen upon this post.  I made the title straightforward so you can consider yourself warned.

I've never given much stock to PMS.  Mainly, I took offense and immediately disliked any person, male or female, who blamed anything on it.  Males because it's just offensive and I'm partially a feminist.  Females because it seemed like blaming something because you're female.  And like I said, I'm part feminist.

I'm not sure I've blogged this before, but I know I've thought it hundreds of times.  I think everyone needs counseling, pschiatric help, a therapist, perhaps a life coach, whatever you want to call it.  We all have problems and we all need help.  I started wondering recently if the times when I feel the most like I myself could benefit from some sort of therapy coincide when I am also experiencing PMS.  If any of my calendar keeping episodes of the past had ever worked out, I'd consider keeping track.  But I tried to keep track of headaches and if they were associated with what I'd eaten or done, among other things.  The longest this lasts is half a day.  So, it doesn't look promising that I'll ever figure this out.
But... I do wish I could go back in time and monitor crazy things I've done in my life or super insecure moments of not only my adolescence, but my adulthood, and see if I was PMSing then as well.  For instance, there was a time in 10th grade when Jed and I were in a fight (he and I had "gone out" but weren't currently) when he said something along the lines of, "if you want me to leave you alone, I will" and I said something like, "yeah, whatever" and we didn't speak for a year.  I for sure don't know what that was all about, or why I wanted him out of my life for a year.  But I know a year later I was desperate to get him back.  Looking back, I'd very much like to blame that on PMS.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween!

A day late, but our weekend plans got messed up by snow on Saturday (in Pittsburgh, PA where we were supposed to be trick or treating at the zoo) so the kids didn't put their costumes on until actual Halloween day.

They had a Star Wars theme going: Clone Trooper - Commander Cody, Padme and Darth Vader.



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