Archive for May, 2008

Things that save my marriage–Part I

May 30, 2008

He drives. NEVER me. –I naaaaavigate.
(This alone has saved us thousands in marriage counseling.)

Dual-sided electric heating blanket. (Have you seen the Jeff Foxworthy stand up, where he describes his wife as a butterball turkey? Let’s just say…I’m the butterball in this comparison).

Lifehouse.
Not so much saves my marriage as reminds me how much I love my husband, which in turn saves my marriage. Especially THIS song. (Plus that guy is sort of all hot?–wait– this was about my marriage wasn’t it?)

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A little book update.

May 29, 2008

I haven’t read a lot of books lately. I’ve been so busy reading all your blogs….who has time for novels? Well, that and all the rest of my life just keeps getting in the way. (I do have a mandatory rest period in 3 weeks—it’s called recovering from surgery, so I’ll read a ton then okay? In fact if you’ve noshed on any great reads recently, I’m taking suggestions. The good ones and the crazy ones, thanks.) Maybe I’ll get my book blog updated then…maybe not.

I’m sharing three books with you. Two I’ve finished and the one I’m currently reading.

Book the first:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

I kept getting digital suggestions to read this book. After reading (and absolutely LOVING) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert; everything from Amazon.com to my local library’s suggestion database kept shoving Life of Pi at me. I finally consented and added it to my libray hold list. I didn’t even bother to read the cover synopsis. I just dug in. And I found out pretty quickly that it’s kind of a quirky, even odd book. It starts out in India with a young boy who is busy finding religion everywhere he turns. He manages to get adopted into three different major churches. Hinduism, Catholocism, and Buddism. Plus his family runs the small zoo of the Ponicherry area, and you get the feeling that it’s his fourth creed. The animal kingdom deity. From this point the boy is thrust into an amazing journey that at first isn’t quite believable, and then turns completely magical. But by that point you don’t care, you are happy to be along for the ride. Possible or not. About half way through the book, I finally read the end cover and then I really took a good look at the jacket design…And NOW I know what people are referring to when they say, Richard Parker.

Book the second:

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

Again, I’ve gotten so many pleas (this time by real humans) to read this book. ‘You absolutely MUST read this, YOU will LOVE it!’. I didn’t even get to the point where I put it on hold. My neighbor just walked over and said she read her library copy so fast that she was ‘lending’ it to me. I couldn’t say no to that, and started reading it. It’s kind of a painful read. I always have such a hard time truly believing folks can think so unbelievably different from the way I do (not in an uppity way, I mean when I hear about abuse and such, I have a hard time understanding why/how that happens). And while nothing truly awful R-rated happens to the children in this family, there is a lot of neglect in the name of ‘they’re better off if they figure it out for themselves’. The book is very well written, and hard to believe that it’s a memoir and not a work of fiction. Surprisingly you don’t hate the parents, which is probably because the adult author doesn’t hate them either. I’m still not sure I understand the whys and hows, but I’m working on it.

The last book (I haven’t finished it yet…):

Fablehaven –book 1, by Brandon Mull.

It’s juvenile fiction, fantasy. But since my daughter read the first two books in the series in about two days flat, and I actually got to shake the author’s hand at a book signing, I figured I better read the dang thing, eh?
So far it’s really interesting. I knew the premise (my daughter had mentioned some of the ‘cool’ parts to me before), I knew it was about two young kids who visit their grandparents for the summer and explore a fantasy world that exists in the backyard. I’m enjoying reading it nearly as much as my kid did (but not near as fastly as she did). It’s perfect for that car pool time. 20 minutes blips.

Now for a teaser…

On my nightstand:

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. A birthday gift from a thoughtful friend.

And because I love books and lists, here’s some favorite authors. I could never truly rank them. Please don’t ask me. That would be like naming my favorite recipe.

Barbara Kingsolver
Amy Tan
Geraldine Brooks
Alice Walker
Jane Smiley

Are you detecting a pattern? Closet feminist anyone…?

I’ll find some men for the next list. I’ll have to think hard…
Wait…

David James Duncun (one of the best books I’ve ever read–The Brothers K)
Wallace Stegnar
Orson Scott Card
Khaled Hosseini

Whew. That was hard work.

New Music Love

May 28, 2008

My new favorite song is this one by Yael Naim. (Even her name is cool). I think I’ve listened to it one thousand times. It’s called New Soul, and I know, it’s on some Old Navy commercial or something, but still that doesn’t ruin it for me. I so love her accent in the music.

Enjoy.

CORRECTION: whoops! Thanks Melissa, I mixed up this song with the Ingrid Michealson song from the Old Navy commercial. (But I like that song equally well.)

Here’s a link to the REAL New Song Mac Book commercial. And one to the Old Navy one. And now I’M the commercial.

For Ali and Arizona

May 27, 2008
Monkey Boy Crocs & Socks.
The crocs are for Ali, and the socks are for Arizona. But the little boy is all mine.

Overheard, the next installment.

May 27, 2008

I can’t keep up with him. I try to write down the funny things he says. But he’s pretty much living in a world of 4yrold-speak. And it’s a funny little world most of the time.

Here’s one right after he had finished up in the bathroom. He’s waddling out still pulling up his pants. His boy briefs are already up.

TK: There’s a hole right in my underwear!
Mom: Oh really? What’s it for?
TK: When you have a scratchy right on your penis, then you can stick your finger in there and scratch it!

(I couldn’t make this up.)


TK: (on mother’s day) What are we doing for a Happy Mother’s Day?
This was even after all the kids had put on a fashion show for me AND helped to set up a ‘romantic’ dinner (for FIVE)! (That’s true mother love isn’t it?)


After his 1st buzz cut of the season, Dad comes home and rumples his hair.
TK: Don’t do that! You’ll mess up my hair!


In the car with his Dad. Dad is talking to him and asks him a question and there’s no reply from the backseat. Dad asks again. Again, no reply. Finally Dad gets TKs attention.

Dad: What’s up? Why aren’t you answering me?
TK: I was watching the lights on the radio. I couldn’t hear you because my ears were turned off!

And the last one (for now).

TK: Hey Mom, after our dog dies….can we get a guinea pig?

(Uh…We Have A Cat!)?

PS. I fixed the broken link below for the ginger salad…thanks Jamie.

How’s about THIS for dinner?

May 26, 2008


Fruit Salad (yummy-yummy) with Ginger Syrup.

I had to take a fruit salad to a church event. A church event where only women would be attending. I figured, NOT going to make a standard apple/banana/grape jobber with whipped cream.

So I headed off to the google wonderland of recipes and typed in ‘the best fruit salad ever’.

This one came up. Hated it.

This one also came up. And while I loved the blog title, by the third ingredient, Hated it. (Pie filling? Ew.)
Epicurious was the next site on the google recipe roadmap. And ‘Best Fruit Salad’, brought up weird salads, weirder than I was interested in. But when I typed in only ‘Fruit Salad’ Eureka! The mother load. Ginger syrup over a fruit salad? OH. MY. HOLY. WOW.
Oh, oh, oh and the one with honey-lime dressing? Definitely worth trying… I asked some of my culinary moms and got favorable yelps over the ginger syrup. So I was off to buy ginger root. (which I’d never done before). You can see the recipe link for this salad above (just under the picture of super yummy-yummy).

But here’s how I ended up making it:

1/2 of the most yummy cantalope I have ever bought this early in the season. (all cute and melon balled)
1 quart of fresh strawberries. (they were red, so-so, and all there was)
Chunks of fresh pineapple (cheated here and picked up an already cut up container)
several handfuls of frozen mixed berries (you know the big bag of berries from Costco? That one? Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries)
1/2 a chunk of ginger root. They looked so big in the store, I just broke one in half and walked off (shhhh).

Early in the afternoon I began the syrup. I read over the recipe once, maybe twice, and then I completely screwed it up. I wanted to make only a half batch of the stuff, but didn’t quite get the sugar to water ratio right, and kept adding water to get it right. (something like 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cup sugar) I sliced up the ginger real thin (no peeling-so that was good) and after it came to a boil put it to simmer for 10 minutes. The recipe says to let it cool for 15 minutes, strain the ginger, and chill for two hours. I thought it was cool the dang stuff for 2 hours and then strain the ginger. Oops. That’s some seriously strong ginger syrup after 2 hours of steeping. I kept tasting it, and it was yummy. Sweet. With a serious BITE. Serious enough, that I was convinced lady or no, no one was going to eat this?

Oh well. I got all the fruit together in a pretty bowl. I brought along a small bowl for the gang to spoon up their own sauce IF they liked it. And another little bowl for the pistachios (hey, they sounded good to me?). When I got there, I did pour a tiny bit over the whole thing…but I was seriously worried by this point.

And…

And…

And…

And MY salad was the only one totally gone by the end.

Turns out it was a salad extravaganza night. Pasta, green, and a terrific little black bean number that I’m hunting down the recipe for as I type. But alas. Mine was the only fruit one. They had no choice but to eat it. But dang, I sure thought it was good. I’d steep that ginger extra long again, and again.

Note to self: Rule for taking a dish to church gathering? Don’t take something you’ve never tried before.

Unless it sounds Yummy-Yummy. (You know you want to click that.)

MEME: The last

May 23, 2008
We Support
“Operation Authentic Birthday Party”.

I put that on the bottom of TK’s birthday invites.

Once again, this isn’t really a MEME. But I hope it catches on anyway. I’m tired of the crazy over the top celebrate your kid’s birthday as if it’s a one time life event. What happened to backyard parties? Oh, it’s winter? Then what happened to basement parties? Too many kids for your house?…Dare I suggest it? Invite LESS kids! Too much work to pull it off at home, you say? then, uh, SCALE back. Little kids love simple things, and big kids really just want time to talk and laugh (and if they are girls to scream).

And let’s talk about gifts. You’ve just paid hundreds of dollars to host 15 wild kids at the local climb and play. And your fancy store bought cake is half eaten and mostly on the floor. Now you get to lug home 15 different variations of plastic ten dollar Barbie/Alien/Polly mishmash. I read a magazine article where a family did not accept birthday gifts. They even suggested that any gifts given would be donated to charity. (What a concept? Nearly blew me away.) A year ago we took on the challenge. NO gifts from friends. (We had to alter it a bit–we now accept homemade gifts.) In another post I’ll tell you what we do for friends on their birthdays…

I am not prepared to fully list my rants about party bags, goody bags or variations therein. I will start with this: More sugar for my frosting over-dosed 5 year old? No thanks. More tiny plastic crap for the landfills? No thanks. I hate those itty-bitty tops. NO-ONE likes those tops! Attention tiny plastic crap makers…STOP making them. (I read a blog post–can’t remember where though, sorry I’m getting old–about using wooden toys for goody bags/Easter baskets). But why even that I say? Isn’t “thanks for coming, here, have another cupcake” enough?

So sit there and think about your birthday traditions, and while you do here are some 4yrold party pics. I think that’s MEME enough for a good long while. I won’t say this is the last one I’ll do, cuz hey, I might feel the need to MEME all over myself again sometime.

Go MEME yourself.

Our backyard birthday party. Water balloon toss. We found out that if you use large balloons and not a lot of water…they.take.a.long.time.to.pop. Also that it will entertain six 4 year olds for 45 minutes, and that is some kind of record, I’m sure of it.

I kept meaning to blog about this lady’s cakes. She CARVES them! How totally cool is that? I love making my kids’ cakes, and have them help me decorate them…but a Scooby Doo cake? In 3-D! (And yes that is a ghost chasing down the Mystery Machine.) Please stop buying Albertson’s generic cakes right now. Find someone who can do THIS. I hope that doesn’t sound hypocritical, I don’t mean to say I’m against spending money on your kid, (and believe me, TK got plenty of Ben 10 items, no need to feel sorry for him) it’s just that I’m for AUTHENTICITY.

MEME: The Tute

May 22, 2008

As promised a little instruction on making a ‘textarea’ box. Otherwise known as:


“That little box of HTML that sits under a picture or button, making it possible to copy and paste that same picture along with it’s link”.

I assume you know how to edit HTML in your blog?

Step one: A test. Goto this site and copy and paste the textarea code. (I change the columns from 50 to 22 to better fit in a sidebar)

It should come out like this:

INSERT HTML MESSAGE HERE

  • Step Two: Create a photobucket account. It’s worth figuring it out, I promise.
  • Step Three: Upload a photo/button/whatever to photobucket—make it small for a sidebar pic—125×125 pixels works well. (Photobucket provides you with HTML code for the photo/button/whatever you upload).
  • Step Four: Copy the “HTML code” for the photo/button/whatever. (Below the photo in photobucket…starts with: href).
  • Step Five: We get tricky here. First paste the HTML code for the button directly into your blog HTML editor(or sidebar html/java box) above the code for the text area box that you already inserted.

You get a button and the text area box below it:

MEME Button

INSERT HTML MESSAGE HERE

  • Step six: Now in the regular viewing editor click on the image itself and link the button to wherever you want it linked.
  • Step seven: Back in HTML editor—Copy and paste the button code with it’s link into the area of the HTML Textarea code over the top of INSERT HTML MESSAGE HERE.

It should all look like this:

MEME Button

MEME Button

That was a lot of steps (plus figuring out photobucket etc). Please email me with any questions, I’ll try to help. You might want to center the text box? Good Luck!

MEME: The Third

May 21, 2008

UPDATE: (my new favorite website is urbandictionary.com)

Define SNARKY. But now I have no idea who Dane Cook is?

But this looks good.


Today is Jamie’s Tag. It doesn’t seem to have a name. So I will call it…

Digging Through my Past in Rounds of 4. (Or: crap in my past you really won’t care about).


Let’s see…

10 years ago:

My oldest kiddie was in Utero.
I took the subway to work in New York City every day. (And despite what people think, while I was pregnant people offered me a seat nearly every day.)
I saw the Garth Brooks concert in Central Park. (Which was all fine and good, but I’m not a fan, still-it was mighty cool to see THAT many people in one public place.)
We did not have a car. (We sold our cars before moving to Brooklyn, that’s how we paid for our flights at the time, seriously poor.)

5 years ago:

We lived in New Jersey. I had been a stay-at-home-mom for 3 years. And my husband had a 2 ½ hour commute into NYC every day.

I was wavering back and forth about whether to have a third child or not. (I got a knock on the head, and I KNEW I would be having a boy—I gave away all the girl clothes and began buying boy stuff. I got pregnant 3 months later. I found out it was in fact a boy 7 months later.)

I was desperate to move. To leave. To go anywhere. (Selling our tiny house in New Jersey, netted us nearly enough to pay off the massive Law Loans, and we were free to move anywhere we wanted. We chose moving back home. We sold the house, and then husband got the job offer in Utah.)

I had several very close friends at that point in my life, and I truly miss that…and them.

Yesterday:

I bought a totally cool black lacey sweater. (I get to go out to a real dinner…with real ADULTS…next week! I’ll take a picture, promise.)

I got a cool new doo. (I added back the highlights I had grown out for the past 6 months…)

Dishes. (I don’t know if this counts, since really it’s daily blah, blah, blah. But grocery shopping is just as boring. And I did that too.)

I made this for dinner. (FAB!) (I have pictures of it here)

Okay Jamie, what is up with the 4th part of this MEME tag? It’s a little schizo? Favorite TV shows? One of these things is not like the other…la, la, la. (Just roll with me and my Sesame Street homies)

TV shows….hmmm.

How about I will tell you my theory instead? I think they come up with terrific ideas for shows and then exhaust the plots for those shows about half way into the second season. And then everything turns into soap operas. (Except the ones that start off that way—I truly hate Desperate Housewives.)

For example.

Loved Picket Fences, but it turned into sappy soap opera about 3 seasons in.

Loved The Practice, till it went downhill and was all about the characters personal lives—stick to the legal stuff we were loving it.

Murder One was terrific. But only the first season, it was awful after that.

And I’ve already said I love ‘House’. So far this season is okay. I keep expecting the soap opera stuff to take over any minute though…

This last part is kind of sappy. What makes me REALLY happy? All the same things as you I suppose.

Banana flavored anything. Like: Ice Cream (chunky monkey is my all time favorite), Laffy Taffy, Snow Cones.

Acoustic music.

My husband’s soft lips.

When my kids ‘get it’. When they understand something; like how long it will take to get to Disneyland. Or that a $100 is a whole lotta money for a doll.


Sorry, just not up to my snarky self while writing this one. Could be that American Idol was on in the background, (ew)? Get this. My 5th grader for required homework had to watch the final American Idol. They plan to vote in class tomorrow to see who will win?? Or, it could be that I was beyond tired. Beyond able to think or smart off or even spell correctly. And for the record, David Archuletta has creepy eyes. There. I’ve been dying to say that for weeks. Oops, that was snarky wasn’t it?

MEME: The Second

May 20, 2008

(A sideline note first)

I taught a sewing class last night! A friend of mine had asked if I would teach her to make my latest ‘hobo’ bag, and she offered to line up a few other ladies for a ‘girl’s night’. Sure, sounds great to me! I thought. And it was.

And now I have learned three things:

1. Our project should have been a two night project. It took us over 7 hours. I didn’t get home till 1:30AM. (And you should see my hungover eyes this morning!)

2. I am not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing (I already knew this, but now I know for SURE).

3. Things I might think are easy, aren’t.


And now for my Tuesday MEME. If you are following along, we are playing Make-it-a-MEME week long celebration. (Otherwise known as Make-fun-of-MEMEs week).You can snag my button from the post below. (I promise the tute for the ‘TextArea’ box is on it’s little way…)

MEME: the second.

What I like to call Picture Prose. I was going to do this post anyway, so I’m cheating and calling it a MEME. Which is dumb and doesn’t make sense. Just follow along anyway, (that’s what a MEME is afterall). You can pick up my button from the post below.

You know it’s summer when:

(In Utah we skip spring altogether. We go straight from MayDay snow, to 90+ degrees, and fighting with the sprinkler system). So if a MEME is a virus, then this one is SpringFever.

Is this award winning or what? I followed every single step of thePioneerWoman’s photo enhancement here. Well, almost. This is my flowering CrabApple tree. Gorgeous in the spring, and smells wonderful. (But cleaning up the large crabapples, gives me the crabiness in the fall.)
A BUZZ CUT! ‘Nuff said.
Does anyone know what this is? I nearly dug it out last year, I think I’m glad I didn’t?


Finally not too worried about frost. Tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow peppers, basil, cilantro, and some lettuce I started a few weeks ago….YUM. Patience….
My first Iris of the season. Already there are 20 or 30 open! Irises are my mother’s favorite flowers. Makes me think of her, and almost in time for Mother’s Day?


Jamie’s Tag is next…

Now I’m off to get the youngest to preschool, catch up on groceries (we’ve been reduced to eating peanut butter straight out of the jar), and catch up on some of your blogs…