"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, January 31, 2013


I probably have a dozen email addresses.  Some I'm sure aren't active anymore (for instance, I think I had three byu.edu addresses).  One is for junk junk email.  This account gets checked... maybe every three months.  Maybe.  I think it shuts down if I go a year between log-ins.  I have one for Craigslist.  One for my family blog.  Another one for my new family blog.  I have one for Yahoo just so I can be a part of Yahoo groups.  Then I have my two main gmail accounts.  Once is for personal correspondences.  The other is for some personal emails, but mostly subscription emails that I actually want to see.  I'm usually logged into both (in different browsers).  Now that we have smart phones (yea!) I've unsubscribed from a bunch of junk emails, or transferred them from my personal email account to my junk/personal email account.  Which means every time I check my personal email account there's nothing new.  Turns out, no one emails me.  It's sort of sad.

Getting Ahead... Or Not

I can not get ahead this week.  I feel like I spent an entire day doing laundry and cleaning the living room to which Jed remarked, that's sad because it isn't really noticeable.  (To his credit, my desk was and is still a disaster and the cleaning and been stuff like sweeping, vacuuming the rug and vacuuming up dust bunnies, undecorating from birthdays and decorating for Valentine's Day).  My desk is a huge mess.  And now the kids think they get to add to the piles.  The laundry basket is a tower of clean clothes waiting to get folded and put away . . . again.  The pile of dirty laundry is growing.  I'm only 50% through with the book for my book club tonight.  The living room is all cluttered again.  And the pile of stuff I need to return to stores is getting bigger and bigger (the wrong formula, the wrong pen refills, a phone screen protector we changed our minds about, a pair of jeans that are the wrong size).  My sewing list is mostly repairs (so not fun) and ridiculously long.  My stack of library books is coming due before I get around to reading them. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Name Dropping

I thought I'd already written a post about my loose connections to semi-famous people, but I can't find it.  So I thought about writing a new one with my recent discovery, and Jed beat me to it with his post.

Famous people I've met:
-Matthew Perry
-D.B. Sweeney
-Ron Wilson
-Ryan Francis
-Barry Melrose

It was 1993- ish and they were all at the top of their game.  Friends was huge.  Sweeney, well, we didn't know who he was but he was super nice.  Wilson and Melrose were the current hockey coaches for the Ducks and the Kings.  And Ryan Francis was the cute teenager on the tv show Sisters.

With my high school BFFS Jenny and Julie.  Ryan Francis.

Jenny, Barry Melrose, me

Now, for famous people I have weird connections to.

Justin Cash, not super famous, but you can currently buy his cd at Desseret Book (and Amazon.com and iTunes).  He was a good friend of mine at BYU.  It's super fun to see his cd in the Deseret Book catalog that came in the mail and at a church bookstore.

Now for the stretches, the older brother of the lead singer for Imagine Dragons was in my freshman ward at BYU (actually lived on the same floor of DT as Justin Cash).  Didn't really know him well, but immediately put together a Mormon kid with the last name Reynolds from Las Vegas as the lead singer of Imagine Dragons with the kid from my ward, and I was right.

Neon Trees.  No connection whatsoever, but they are also Mormon.  And if I'm doing crazy jumps like that, so is Brandon Flowers from The Killers.  It seems like there was another stretchy connection, but I should stop while I'm ahead, except I think I'm already behind.  I like connections that remind me it's a small world.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Top 2012 Reads

Looking over the books I read in 2012, I feel like maybe I didn't really challenge myself.  BUT, in my defense, I was pregnant or caring for a newborn for the entire year, so... in no particular order, these were the favorites of the 58 books I read in 2012.

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
warnings: slight language, minor talk of sex, mild drinking

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom
warnings: slight language, mild talk of sex and anatomies, minor teen drinking and drugs
A review from a fellow reviewer is here.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
warnings: a few f-words, one sex scene
Holes by Louis Sachar

Not necessarily this book, but I love this series.  If there wasn't boy/girl chemistry going on, I would let my ten year old read them.  I just don't want to encourage her to be boy crazy this early.

Marcelo and the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
warnings: bad language including more than a handful of the f-word, crude sexual talk (not from the main character)
A fellow reviewers review here.

Stuff Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler Illustrated by Maira Kalman
warnings: lots of bad language, teen sex, teen drinking
My full review is here.

Don't Mess With Travis by Bob Smiley

Curveball: The Year I Lost my Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
warnings: underage drinking

Honorable Mentions:

Your Left-handed Child by Lauren Milsom
Super fascinating, but maybe not unless you are trying to raise a left-handed kid and you are right-handed.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Warnings: this book is intriguing and crazy but also full of language and horrible sexual descriptions.  See my full review here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

Purchased at Kohl's approximately 10+ years ago

Purchased at Kohl's in January with Christmas money (find it here)
Kohl's has contacted me about this post and shared this coupon code with me and my readers:
the exclusive 10% off blogger code for kohls.com. You can use TENFORBLOG through March 9th, 2013. It can be used to stack savings with one other code as well.

You know how you don't think something you own is super old until you realize you owned it before you were married? Or something similar?  I've had the same wallet for a long time.  I either purchased it when I first got married, or when Princess Sparkley was a baby, I can't remember.  I got a new one for Christmas but it turned out there is too much junk I actually have to carry with me to fit in a normal wallet, so I got this cool one.  I kinda like it.  I shocked Jed with how colorful it is.  Apparently that's not normal for me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Resolutions: 2013 Edition

#1: Make a list of resolutions and blog it.

#2: Blog more and blog better.

#3: Blurb books of the family blog for 2006, 2012 and possibly 2005.

#4: Read 18,000 pages.

#5: Work on my writing (stories, writing blog, etc.)

#6: Create bucket list of stuff to do in DC before we move because that date is getting closer and closer.

#7: Complete DC Bucket List.

#8: Health (reform our bad eating habits)

#9: Fitness (run or walk 3-4 times per week*)

#10: Be a better mom, homeschool teacher, wife.**

*I can already see this one failing because it's cold and drizzly today and I'm recovering from the flu. But I need to exercise, especially in good weather.

**I know, can I get any more general?

Mystery Baby's Blog Name

Mystery Baby needs a new blog name.  I'm not really sure what it should be though.  I've tried to keep the boy blog names as sort of generalized references to boys ... Buddy and Little Guy.

What's left?  After looking through the thesaurus...


I'm not sure I'm in love with any of those.  Do you have a favorite, or another suggestion?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Remember last year when I promised some New Year's Resolutions for 2012 since I hadn't made any in 2011 (or at least failed to declare them on the blog) and thus, didn't really work on or accomplish anything of that sort.  Yeah, and then I never actually got around to making and blogging about my 2012 resolutions.

Notice how today is January 10, 2013 and I still haven't made any resolutions for 2011, or 2012, or 2013?  I'll get on that.  Really.  Seriously.  This time I'm going to do it.  Sadly, many will probably be carry overs from 2010.  But I will do it!

Resolution #1: Make a list of New Year's Resolutions this year AND blog it.

See, I've already started.

Today's To Do List

Grocery Shop
Undecorate from Christmas
Bring in snow boots from car
Call insurance again re: windshield
Call insurance re: refund from 1/31/12 obgyn appointment
Make Little Guy's dentist appt.
Get mail from next door neighbor
Return library books
Plan next week's homescool stuff
Figure out Girl Scout dues
Send Girl Scout cookie buying link to potential customers
?Rearrange kid rooms?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Homemade Christmas

This year we decided that the kids should make gifts for the family (except they re-gifted old baby toys to Mystery Baby, and he got to buy them stuff).  It seems like it really helped them focus on giving this year rather than everything they wanted to get.  

Here's the gift round-up:

To Mom From Buddy - Recipe Card Holder (via Cub Scout handbook)

To Mom From Princess Sparkley - pin cushion for the arm of my sewing machine (from here)

To Dad From Buddy - He framed a tatted snowflake made by Jed's great grandma.

To Jed From Mystery Baby - we added the mustache and "My Stache" vinyl to his money jar.

To Dad From Little Guy - a map showing where all our loved ones live.

To Little Guy From Princess Sparkley

To Princess Sparkley From Little Guy and To Mom From Little Guy - hair ties (idea here, purchases supplies here)

To Little Guy From Buddy 

We bought an $8 hooded sweatshirt at Kohl, 1/8 of a yard of orange flannel and some interfacing. and then using this tutorial, cut, sewed and ironed triangles onto the sweatshirt to look like a dinosaur.
To Princess Sparkley From Buddy - bobby pins painted with nail polish (idea here)

To Buddy From Princess Sparkley - pillowcase

To Buddy From Little Guy - Lego head (out of a baby food jar) pencil holder (idea here)

To Dad From Princess Sparkley - A map curtain for his office window

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Greatest Sugar Cookie: Cookie 16

This cookie is unique with buttermilk as an ingredient so I know it isn't one I've made before.  I made these to give on a plate of Christmas goodies to the families we visit from church.  The recipe is from Or So She Says here.  Again I just used the tub of frosting I had from earlier in the week when I had to take frosting to Princess Sparkley's Girl Scout troop.  I did like this simple but fun way of decorating the cookies, just using a frosting tip and making lines.

 These were... interesting.  I really wanted to love them.  I liked the sort of chewiness of them.  I wasn't a huge fan of how strongly I could taste the buttermilk in them.

Other goodies: Ribbon Fantasy Fudge (chocolate and PB), , candy cane bark, and chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Moustache Party

Jed's birthday falls two days after Christmas and on Christmas Eve or so, he decided we should invite some friends over for a little party.  I already knew his birthday theme* was either going to be moustaches or the moustache pig from Angry Birds, so we settled on moustaches and invited a few families over to have cake with us.  Had I had a few days warning (and days that didn't fall over Christmas) maybe I would have gone a little more crazy with the moustache theme**.  As is was, the kids used glass markers to draw moustaches on our glass door.  I bought moustache stickers to put on our cake plates.  And I made a moustache cake (idea from here).

*Yes, I've apparently raised my kids (at least Princess Sparkley) to believe that all birthdays have themes... even when we aren't having a party. 

** A little more crazy = pin the moustache on something, moustache stickers on cups, moustache cut outs on straws, moustache sugar cookies, some sort of name the famous moustache game like this, maybe all the guests would have had to wear moustaches.  Etc. Etc.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Greatest Sugar Cookie: Cookie 15

Basically, it's just habit now that when I need to make sugar cookies, I try out a new recipe.  And since blogging about my search and the invention of Pinterest, I don't think I'll ever run out of new recipes to try.  The problem is that eventually (especially with the invention of Pinterest), I'm probably going to remake the same recipe that I'm finding on someone new's blog.  And I'm too lazy to go comparing the ingredient lists, so I'll just keep baking away.  Hopefully I give them the same scores!

Princess Sparkley's Girl Scout Troop* has a party at the end of each semester where the girls have a little party and receive their badges they've earned during the semester.  I volunteered to bring sugar cookies for the girls to frost.  I don't remember why this was such a crazy day when I had to bake them (maybe just have to do the kids' school and then deal with Mystery Baby was crazy enough on its own), but it was so I quickly frosted a cookie and snapped a picture of top of the packed container.

This time I made this recipe from Sugar Bee Crafts (minus the icing,I just used store icing for those Girl Scouts).

They were good.  Not bad.  Not fabulous.  Just a good sugar cookie.  I think in the future I'd roll them a little thicker.  I'm not typically a fan of a crunchy sugar cookie. 

*Cookies for sale now, if you are local and are interested, send me an email and I'll send you a link to purchase them!
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