"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

Friday, May 31, 2013


I can never find a baby book I like and having been the third child in my own family, whose baby book only lists a few things past gifts received at a baby shower, I try to be good about keeping up the baby books. I got a coupon from Target for a free 8x8 20 page Shutterfly book and thought I'd put it to use and create a baby book for Squirt. Then I dug out the calendar for dates of things in his life and realized I've done a poor job this year keeping track on my physical calendar and my Google calendar. Most everything is only on the Google Calendar. I need to fix that because at the end of the year, I "file" away the calendar as a "journal." I also realized I haven't updated height and weights for any of the other kids in probably years in their baby books. And I had to dig out their baby books as a reference for what I'd want in Squirt's, so I might as well update theirs. Now I find myself buried in a pile of file folders with doctor's records and other unrelated stuff associated with each kid, baby books, pictures that need to be filed away, calendars, etc. I've dug myself into a deep deep hole that I may never surface from.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Greatest Sugar Cookie: Cookie 17

I saw this recipe on Pinterest for Swig Sugar Cookies.  They are supposedly a copycat recipe for a place in St. George, Utah. The pin described them as "Literally the Best Cookie Known to Man."  So of course, I had to try them.  Here's my biggest problem with this cookie, it's really more of a shortbread cookie than a sugar cookie.  If you go into a bite expecting sugar cookie and get shortbread, it's a bit of a shock.  I like shortbread cookies, but they're very different than a sugar cookie.  I didn't love them, or the sour cream frosting, but that didn't keep me from eating a bunch.  The kids loved them.  Jed gave them two stars and a "would not eat again" status.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spoon Rest

I had a brilliant epiphany last night that puts all of my past baking years to shame.  Growing up, we always had a spoon rest next to the stove.  That's where my spoon rest is.  When I bake, I'm always scrambling for somewhere to put the scraper/spatula after I've used it in the mixing bowl and it usually ends up in the bowl I softened the butter in or on a scrap of paper towel, or just on the counter.  Last night, I realized I could use the spoon rest in this capacity.  How had I never figured this out before!?!?!?  Do you ever have "DUH!" moments while you're in the kitchen.


It's long over due... Mystery Baby's new blog name is...


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Goals

In addition to our family's goals of things to check off our D.C./East Coast to do list, I have a lot of school/learning things I want the kids to accomplish this summer.

Every summer we keep up with reading, journal writing and math because I don't want to reteach it all again in the fall.  Last summer's fun focus was United States geography. I wanted the kids to learn all their states and capitals.  We did okay.

This summer, I would like to focus on:

Science projects and experiments

Art (I have little artistic talent and need to find someone who can teach my kids things like shading, etc.)

Story writing


Some of these are things that fall by the wayside during the school year.  We studied a lot of science, but didn't have as much time to delve into big projects.  They draw all the time, but I'm not the person to teach them art.  They write stories, etc. but I want to actually critique them and help make them awesome.  And Spanish... it just always gets forgotten.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

DC/Virginia Checked Off List

Here's what we've done while living in Metro DC.  We didn't really have a To Do List when we moved here, but this is what we've accomplished so far.  I'm sure I'm leaving a bunch off too.

Rode the Metro
Air and Space Museum on the mall
National Museum of the American Indian
National Portrait Gallery
National Gallery of Art
Sculpture Garden
Nationals baseball game at Nationals Park
National Zoo (several times)
US Botanic Garden
US Capitol
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument
National Archives
National Museum of American History
Jefferson Memorial
Vietnam Veteran's Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Constitution Garden Pond
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
World War II Memorial
American Art Museum
National Building Museum
The Ellipse
National Christmas Tree
Cherry Blossoms
George Mason Memorial
Korean War Veteran's Memorial

Air and Space Museum at Dulles (multiple times)
Mount Vernon
Clemyjontri Park
Great Falls National Park
Shenandoah National Park
Arlington National Cemetery
Iwo Jima Memorial
George Washington's Birthplace
Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Stonewall Jackson's Shrine
Manassas National Battlefield
Virginia Capitol (Richmond)
Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Delaware State Capitol (Dover, DE)
Lewes Ferry

National Aquarium in Baltimore
Fort McHenry (Baltimore)
Orioles baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Maryland State Capitol (Annapolis, MD)

Rita's Water Ice
Redding Terminal
Valley Forge National Park
Independence Hall
Liberty Bell Center
Betsy Ross's house
Franklin Institute
Franklin Court
Ate a Philly Cheesesteak at Geno's

To Do in D.C. List

Our time in the Washington D.C. area could be nearing an end as Jed finishes up his doctoral degree (classes are done, he's working on getting his dissertation approved and from there, we can move anywhere).  We've done a ton, but we've slacked off in our sight seeing while I was pregnant with Mystery Baby and after he was born.  Here's our family's list so far... I'll keep adding to it (and take suggestions - local people, hint hint).

The List

Touch the Atlantic Ocean 8/8/13
Eat Philly cheesesteaks at Gino's or Pat's in Philadelphia.4/2013
New York City 5/2013
Camping trip8/8/13-8/9/13
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Visit the top of the Washington Monument (dependent on it reopening)
Tour White House (stinkin' sequester) *
Eat crab cakes near Chesapeake Bay 8/9/13
Tour Nationals Ballpark
Georgetown Cupcakes **
Family picture in D.C. ***
Albert Einstein statue 7/25/13
D.C. United game
Cumberland bike trail 7/20/13
Renwick Gallery 7/25/13
Lighthouse 8/9/13
National Cathedral 8/17/13

Amish country in Pennsylvania 5/2013
Maryland High Point 7/20/13
Finish the Junior Ranger program for the National Mall 7/25/13
Picture of the Lincoln Memorial 7/25/13
See The Preamble in license plates at the Museum of American Art 7/25/13
Chesapeake Bay Bridge (again) 8/9/13

*We got better pictures of the outside than we have before and since it's closed, that's about all we could do.

**Drove past it and saw the line on the way to the National Cathedral but it was Squirt's bday and we already had a giant cake ready and waiting at home and no one wanted to park and wait in line.  Someday...

***My plan was a picture with the Washington Monument in the background and it's covered in scaffolding!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Anytime Gift List

I was thinking up little, inexpensive things the kids could get me for Mother's Day earlier this week and decided I should type up a list so I don't forget some of my good ideas.

a microwavable syrup pitcher (maybe a creamer pitcher)
vanilla scented lotion
The Parent Trap dvd (Lindsay Lohan and Hayley Mills versions)
stackable rings with the kids' names on them
titanium or platinum earrings
decorative globes
salad shooter
hand stamped necklace
spatulas (or, as Pampered Chef calls them to differentiate between spatulas and spatulas, scrapers)
cake stand with dome lid

Thursday, May 02, 2013


If you know me, it will be no surprise to you that I avoid confrontation at all costs.  Even non-confrontational confrontations.  Even social media confrontations, which are a bit safer since you aren't face to face with the person, and might not even know them.  I'm a bit braver online than in person, but not much. 

Today I read this article: An 18 year old honor student and Eagle Scout, weeks shy of graduation was expelled and charged with a felony for accidentally leaving his gun (from a previous days' hunting trip) in his truck.  He realized his mistake and was calling his mom to come get it when an school official overheard, he explained himself (honesty and responsibly) and has been expelled and charged with a felony. 

Granted, this specific article was written on a pro-gun website, but the story seems pretty straight forward.  A Facebook friend "shared" the story and her first commenter, a person I don't know said, "This happened at my high school. His expulsion was reversed. But that was years before 9/11. They do have these rules for a valid reason. And it must be the same for everyone unfortunately :-/"

Seriously.  SERIOUSLY.  People who accidentally forget they have a gun in their car from going hunting with friends the other day should have their lives ruined just the same as people who came to school with a gun on purpose with a plan to use it?!!??!   

I didn't say all that to the friend of a friend.  I just asked if she'd actually read the article.  It seems hard to believe anyone would have that opinion about ruining an 18 year old's future for a simple mistake that he was trying to take care of.  Had he just left the gun alone in his truck all day, no one would have even found out.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...