Sunday, December 31, 2006

2 days in the car

I am so glad to be home! We drove 1100 miles over 2 days, home from my folks. 14 hours one day and 7 the next. It took us 8 hours to get out of Florida. It took us 3 hours to cross the 100 miles of Georgia. Once we got off of I95 though things cleared out. We'd been in non-stop bumper to bumper traffic for 12 hours when we finally got on I26. Everyone was wound up. The boys did watch a number of DVDs but naturally they got bored & the usual "He's touching me" "He's bothering me" went on, plus a few hundered "are we there yet?"s. We stopped every couple of hours to let everyone get some air & exercise. Both of them napped a bit & so did DH. DH & I listened to Scandal Take a Holiday, which is fortunately 14 hours long. We all ate too much junk. I forgot the insulated pack of apples, bananas & juice at my mom's & none of the places we stopped had decent looking fruit (except the large bags of oranges, which we had no room for). Apart from juice & some apple dippers at McD's last night I don't think any of us ate anything remotely nutritious for 36 hours.

Being the obsessive tidier I have become, I had to unpack all 4 suitcases before I could eat my lunch/dinner. (We stopped for Chinese take out just before we got home at 3p). Then I had to find homes for the boys new toys. NOw DH is watching football, the boys are playing & I am going to go read

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Give us your best diet tips and ideas for healthy eating during the holidays

My favorite tip is "BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE EATING". Pay attention while you eat. Don't mindlessly scarf down rum balls or those little appetizer quiches. Pick it up, look at it, and chew thoughtfully while noticing how it tastes. This means you can't really eat while carrying on a conversation, unless the conversation is about the food. Eating mindlessly while talking at gathering is the source of endless amounts of calories. It also slows down your eating and you will eat less because you give your body time to become satisfied.

Another one is "IF IT IS NOT WONDERFUL - DON'T EAT IT". Even if it was made by your sweet grandmother, even if you just paid a lot of money for it. If you don't think 'wow! I really like this' after the first couple of bites, don't finish it. You may have to eat a bit for politeness' sake (if your grandmother is involved) but you are not obligated to finish it. I hearby give you permission not to clean your plate if you don't love the food. :)

Eat "SMALLER PORTION SIZES" assuming you have control over your portions. Take half the amount you think you will eat. If you want more you can go get more after you are done with what you have

The last is "DON'T CLEAN YOUR PLATE", especially if you have no control over the portion size. Eat half, give it a few minutes to settle and ask yourself if your really want/need more. Then eat half the remaining portion & repeat.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

favorite Christmas memory

The boys were up early as usual. DH got up with them & kept them entertained for an hour or so while the rest of us slept. Unusually Grandma & Pa were up before I was. Around 7:30 DS2 apparently got tired of waiting for Mom to get up & came into the bedroom, walked over to me and said "Mommy you get up now! Presents! You get dressed!". The other thing that stands out in my mind was the sheer disappointment on DS1's face when the first present he opened was *not* the hot rod toy he had asked for. It was the only thing he had wanted & he was so sad that the package he opened was a Leapster. The next package was the hot rod & he was so happy he was totally uninterested in opening the rest of his gifts (though he did eventually).

Just as an aside, within 2 hours DS1 was happily playing with DS2's Cars vehicles and DS2 was busy playing with the hot rod. Ds1 did take the hot rod to bed with him though.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunrise, sunset

Describe the most beautiful sunset or sunrise you've ever seen.

I'm so bad at descriptives... The first thing that comes to mind was a sunset I saw a couple weeks ago. We were in the car driving to or from someplace & it had been storming all day. Not just a gray sky, but a black sky all afternoon long. It had stopped raining & was starting to clear off, off in the west. The sun was setting & was this deep, rich, glowing orange color and it sort of faded into the dark grey and the black. Plus the mountains were there. So there was this dark but glowing band of orange both top & bottom and this richer red orange glowing band across the middle. Beautiful!

I was added to the rolls at today! I've been lurking off of blogs there for months & finally joined last night. If you are a female blogger you should check them out. They have some great blogs there. I went on a blog jumping frenzy last night and added about 40+ blogs to my Bloglines account. About half were food & the other half parenting. Then I switched my food blogfood blog over to the new blogger templates & fiddled around with it. Feeling successful with that I switched my old random thoughts blog over & found a 3 column template to try out with it and it worked on the 1st try! That almost makes me confident enough to switch this one over. But I am still reluctant.

I spent a few hours browsing a craft/flea market type thing today & now havea bunch of ideas for calendar templates...for 2008, but that's fine. It gives me 10 months to make them. I have a slew of outlook sticky notes with ideas on them. I need to get some word art together for 1hourscrap. I have some ideas about that too. we went to B&N as well & I bought some books. The great thing about being on vacation is I can read for extended periods. At least I could. my brother & his family arrive tonight so I suppose my reading time (and computer time) will be cut down soon.

I'm getting back in the groove online. I've gotten caught up at DSP. I'm not really in a position to do any scrapping here but I should be able to get back to the challenges once we get home. I've missed scrapping regularly & it will be good to get back into it. I had to get the reading jones out of my system & that has pretty much been accomplished I think. It looks like Carrie (woogiebop) is taking over DigiScrapDiva and some of the folks from Scrapmommies will be helping her run the site, so I am looking forward to the challenges and energy they are sure to bring there.

Monday, December 25, 2006

What sets you apart from the crowd?

Depends on the crowd. I hang out with different groups of people & what is common to one group is very unusual to others.

The fact that I am a pagan is the big one. My religion is growing but is not at all mainstream. Many people still have a great deal of misconceptions about it, so I don't always mention it. My MOPS group is of course, Christian based, Baptist in fact, though they are very good about making everyone feel welcome even if you are Catholic or (as they think of me) you don't attend church. I've never stood up and told them I was a witch. I don't know all of them well. Some people I think would have no problem. I know one woman's husband is a Wiccan. But there are people in the group that are already offended by Santa & jack o lanterns being on decorations. I can only imagine their reaction to an initiated witch in their midst, so I tend to keep quiet to avoid conflict. There are not many pagan digi scrappers either, though I do know several.

Among the wider pagan world, the fact that I am so 'mainstream' sets me apart. I hang out with the Christian moms, I digi scrap. I am not a radical lesbian vegan liberal who chains herself to trees on the weekends while wearing all black and a hal a dozen giant pentacles. :) Of course among my RL coven I am considered quite normal - but then we are a coven of 40ish, mostly ex-military, rural, conservative, almost Republican witches. If we were Christians we'd fit right in with our Baptist neighbors. :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

we're here!

After 19 hours, spread over 2 days we have arrived at grandma's house. 1063 miles. Forget over the river and through the woods. We went over the interstate and through the traffic.

DH was able to leave work early Thurs so we left home at 4:30pm. 40 minutes later we were stuck in rush hour traffic. It took us about a hour to go 10 miles. It took us almost 3 hours to travel 100 miles. So we did not get as far as we had hoped that night. We'd hoped to get south of Columbia, SC so we would miss their morning rush hour, but we ended up stopping just north of it at 11:30pm. We'd travelled 350 miles in 7 hours. The boys were asleep in the back seat, woke up briefly to be moved to the room and then dropped back off. I didn't sleep much. I can't take the Lunesta if I can't get 7-8 hours & at best I would maybe get 6.5. I think I slept from about 3am to 6:30am. We were in WaffleHouse by 7:15 and on the road at 8am. we encountered no traffic. The traffic 45 miles from home would be the only standing still traffic we would encounter. However there were A LOT of cars on the road. Packs of them. And there was rain. DH drove through a patch in SC that lasted about 15 minutes & was heavy at times. I hit a long off and on spell between Jacksonville & Tampa that would come and go and be so heavy at times that I was about to pull over. We arrived at my folks place at 8:15p. Boys were in bed around 9:30 and I was stumbling to bed around 10:45 under the effects of a Lunesta. DH fell asleep about 10 minutes later.

books listened too - Kitchen Confidential, Peril at End House
movies watched - Cars, Robots, El Dorado, Knights of Fix Alot, Ice Age 2, Shrek 2
times "Are we there yet" was asked - about 4000
fast food meals eaten - blessedly, only 2 - Arby's Thurs night & Burger King for lunch on Friday. We skipped dinner Friday and just kept driving, eating the apples, bananas and pretzels I brought with us.
items left behind in our rush to leave - books for bedtime stories, razors, facial scrub

So far today the males have gone swimming, I had Quiznos, DH & DS2 took a 3 hour nap, DS1, Grandpa & I went for ice cream, remaining gifts were wrapped, a load of laundry has been washed and Grandpa went and bought a wireless internet router for his cable modem after DH & I discovered they didn't have one (and that we couldn't get online with our laptops) & told him how great the were. Now the 4 adults can use their 4 laptops to surf the web all at once from anywhere in the house. I'm wondering if my brother or his wife will be arriving with one (or 2)? Maybe I can get them all to download YIM or Hello and we can all Im one another from across the living room. :)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka and Blessed Yule to everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006

kids?!? are you kidding me?

I enjoy ______ now, but if anyone had told me that years ago, I would never have believed them.

Children. Seriously. I really did not like kids for most of my life. I was militantly childfree in my 20's. Didn't want them around me, certainly didn't want them in my life. I was absolutely positive children ruin your life & I was happy with my life as it was. Have children of my own? Oh hell no! But slowly, in my early 30s my opinion changed. Many things contributed to it but what stands out most was that as the last of my friends married I realized that, for me, without children there is nothing to mark the changing time, no firsts to look forward to, except divorce & death. How cheery. And while I as happy with my life, it had been going on the same way for a few years now & would likely go on the same way unchanging & that seemed a bit of an empty prospect. The kids did 'ruin' my life. That life is gone & won't be coming back and I do miss parts of it - the spare time, the spare money. And some days parenting is every bit as difficult and the kids every bit as horrible as I imagined they could be. But I love my new life and there are far more good times than bad ones.

blog prompts come from a digital scrapbook site

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bummer for me

The monitor is shot. My nice 20" flat screen monitor, only a year old, is all wonky. The display is all green & shimmery. An its been getting a bit fuzzy as well unless I have it set to 1600x1200 which is way too small. I don't recall if we paid for the extended warranty. 50/50 shot whether we did or not. Depends on the mood of whoever ordered it at the time & I cannot recall which of us did. I am less likely to remember to get it but DH is cheaper so depending on cost he might not have paid for it. i have View Sonics 800# so I am going to call them & find out. I have a laptop so I don't *need* the monitor, but i love the monitor. I want my monitor!

The thing is working out well for me. I've had 4 books so far and would have gotten a 5th but I stupidly forgot to remove the mailer insert when I sent book 3 back in and mailed the book to myself. So it's going out now. There is a chance bok 5 might arrive before we leave but I doubt it. That means I will probably average 5-6 books a month & I think $25 a month is a good deal for that.

Bought ink so I am finally printing out the calendar & DH can get it bound tomorrow. Also got niece2's gift, a few more Cars, the movie Ice Age 2 (as a surprise video for day 2 in the car) and one of DHs Xmas gifts. I looked at flat screen monitors & a 17" is $200 at WM. I tried to find new sippy cups for the boys & all WM had was Disney Princess ones. I'm not really sexist but I just balk at the idea of the boys carrying around glitter pink sippy cups with princesses & flowers all over them. I just can't go there. So I'll have to check out Safeway & FoodLion this week. We need a few new ones for the trip, most of ours are old & no longer screw on properly from numerous dishwasher trips..

Tonight is MOPS potluck. Tuesday is DS1's birthday party for Jesus & book exchange at school (and let me just say that the injunction against books with TV cartoon characters, Harry Potter, magical stuff or Santa really makes finding a book a challenge. Especially the no cartoon character part. I understand it. I really do. I don't want Sponge Bob in my house so I appreciate a blanket DO NOT instruction but damn that narrows things down for 3 year olds) Wednesday is DS1s Christmas caroling thing. Thursday the cats go to the kennel & I pack everything. Friday we leave. And I intend to get to the gym at least 2x if not 3 this week. Oh yeah, and a I have to wrap some gifts tonight for tomorrow. and make my pot luck item. I guess I should get off of here.

gifts done!

DS1 - Leapster, Cars hot rod, I Spy book
stocking - 3 Cars die cast, Backyardigans Leapster game & travel coloring book
DS2 - Take Along Roundhouse, I Spy Shapes book, Floor puzzle
stocking - 2 Cars die cast, Gordon & Percy & travel coloring book
Family - Backyardigans Memory game and Chutes & Ladders

Niece 1 - My Little Pony Memory game
Niece 2 - Pop up Elmo book

Friends older kids - I Spy books
Friends toddlers - fat plastic trucks & cars

Adults - alcohol, chocolate & tea gift bag

Mom - calendar
Dad - bookmarks

Sunday, December 17, 2006

one thing & another

My flat screen monitor is acting up. I'm praying it is a cable problem. Jiggling the cable seems to help. I am so screwed if it is the monitor. I have gotten used to dual monitors and I *love* my flat screen. I almost didn't get a laptop because I didn't want to give it up. I'm getting a replacement cable at wal mart tomorrow. There ought to be a half a dozen monitor cables in this house. There used to be but I can't find a single one now.

I will also be buying ink at the wal mart. I ran out on page 11 of the 12 page calendar I am making for my mom. And I haven't printed the bookmarks for my dad or the triptick for our trip. I have to get it all printed tomorrow so DH can get it bound before we leave. I'd've had all this done by now but when I was making the bookmarks for my dad I decided since I was going to all the trouble I might as well make them for sale, so I had make a couple variations & then made templates as well & between that & putting together mom's calendar it was Friday night before I started printing. i will *not* set foot in walmart on weekends in December so it'll be tomorrow before I can finish.

The bookmarks are available at if you still need a fast, easy and very useful gift for people.

I have no shorts that fit DS1 & we are going to FL in 5 days. DS2 needs a bathing suit. I suppose we'll have to get them down there. I cleaned the car out, vacuumed, washed the car seat covers, everything. I like to start a trip with a clean car. I'm going to have one suitcase that just has presents in it. One suitcase for our overnight stop. 2 large suitcases with our clothes, 2 laptop cases, each boy gets a small backpack, the DVD case and my pillow. Will all this fit in the back of the car & still leave room to see out the window?

I have potluck on Monday, DS1s Christmas pageant Wednesday, drop the cats off for boarding (an hour away) on thursday & still need to buy one of DHs presents and something for my youngest niece.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

travel mugs

I was having a conversation with some friends a week or so ago about travel mugs. Several of us are looking for the 'perfect' one, though our criteria are a bit different. I believe we all agree it should be a stainless steel one with the vacuum walls. It should have a screw top lid, not a press & seal. The 'spillproof' mechanism should be able to opened using just one hand and have a decent sized opening. Everyone else wants it to fit in a cup holder, I'm a bit flexible on that. If he bottom is wide enough it will wedge between my seat and the parking brake (like my favorite mug does). There is some disagreement on just how many ounces it should be. I like a big mug, a VAT of coffee as it were.

I have a favorite mug. I've had it for 8 years. Its a big wide bottomed Thermos stainless steel mug. It has a screw top, it is 20ozs (I have a matching, thermos, as well, so 36ozs all together). It had a one handed opener but I lost that bit a month after I bought it & found it I just stuffed a paper towel into the lid it sufficed for a car trip. (I now use Press & Seal over that when I take the mug to MOPS meetings). I lost the lid to this mug a few weeks ago. I searched the whole house for it. It was in the sink. DH said he put it in the dishwasher, but then it was just *gone*. So i had to get a new mug. My new mug arrived Tuesday. It is a Thermos E5 16oz travel mug. Nice mug. Not perfect though. It's just a tad too big to fit in the cup holder, but too small to wedge in the space between the seat & the parking brake. It also needs both hands to open the spillproof part. It is a good 'passenger' mug, but not a good 'driver' mug. I ordered it online so I had to go by description & photos. It will get used though. The fact that is truly is spillproof means I can take it to MOPS meeting & other places i go where there is little to no coffee available. But as a just to drive DS1 to school, its not so good.

It often happens that shortly after you buy a replacement for something that is lost, the thing that is lost then turns up. About an hour ago DS1 brought me his toy grill. The lid had gotten wedged shut. So I opened it. Inside the grill was the lid to my favorite mug! 30 hours after my replacement mug arrived & 2 hours after the packaging had leftover soup poured on it in the garbage can ensuring the new one cannot be returned.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

where did he get this?

The younger of the little demons, er, angels, loves spicy food. Where did that come from. DH & I are not spicy food eaters. I like flavorful stuff but heat turns me off. I am a bland eater. I'm not fond of mexican due to the peppers & I like mild forms of Indian & Thai food. I love the flavors in Japanese food & non-hot Chinese food. I like unusual spices but not heat. DH like thigs a bit hoter than me but even then he is an American Hot sort of eater (as opposed to Mexican Hot or Thai Hot, the grades that appear in several of our local ethnic restuarants). DS2 however likes it HOT. He likes spicy curry. He'll eat Wasabi ranch dip with a fork. He loves spicy taco meat. I am a bland cook & I have joked that I need to just start shaking Tabasco sauce on his food to get him to eat it. Turns out it really isn't a joke. I bought chicken taquitos because the store was out of the usual beef & cheese ones. The chicken ones are bland, even to me (and that is sayin something). DS2 loves taquitos but he doesn't like the chicken ones because thy are bland. The beef ones don't really qualify as spicy but they do at least have a nice flavor. He's only 2 and a half & doens't understand that we don't have the taquitos he wants. He sees the box and wants taquitos. Explaining they are the chicken ones he won't eat makes no difference. All he knows is that I am denying him the taquitos of his dreams. So today I went through my spice rack, looking for something to dress up the taquitos. I'd though I had some red pepper (though why I though I would have that is a mystery). What I found was curry powder (and why I have that is a bigger mystery). I made the taquitos and then sprinkled a bit of curry powder on them. They smelled good. DS2 ate them up with speed and requested more. I made another batch, including some for myself. They were delicious. DS1 was not as approving, but he is a bland eater too. He did eat them eventually.

My quest for this evening is to go through my recipie cards and find the reason I bought the curry powder so I can make it for dinner tomorrow. I'm assuming it was a Rachel Ray meal, the only other cookbook I have been using in the past few months is Giada DiLorentis & curry doens't feature much in Italian food.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Menu for the next 2 weeks

I only need 8 meals this time. We had pasta for dinner tonight, we go out to eat Saturdays and Sunday we will be celebrating Yule (early) with my coven & having dinner there. Somehow the 4 meals I chose from the card catalog all ended up being Rachel Ray 's, (one for each book I own). The other 4 are standards of mine.

Crock pot chicken & stuffing
Chicken crescent pockets or calzone (leftovers)
Loaded baked potato soup & spinach salad
Rosemary & ham scones & more spinach salad
Turkey cutlets with ravioli - NEW!
Fake tandori chicken
Mini meat patties

and if one of them doesn't appeal one night I have tilapia filets in the freezer ready to marinated in lemon & garlic and the broiled.

Next time I do a 2 week menu I have to come up with side dishes that are more than 'nuke some frozen peas' at least some of the time. Most of Rachel Ray's meals include side dishes. I just never make them because...well...I don't think I will like them. But the time has come to try them. So I am suspecting lots of Rachel Ray dinners in my future.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

the 8x8 glass pan

DH came to me this evening and said "Where is the square baking pan? Is the 13x9 the smallest we have?" This is an odd question for him to ask me. He does most of the baking and nearly all of the dishwashing & putting away. Therefor he should have far more knowledge of our baking pans & their locations than I should. But *women know where things are* and I was able to say "We have a square glass one. It should be in the island cupboard, or inthe stove drawer, or under the sink. Or it might possibly be in the pantry" I keep the glass & silicon bakeware in island cupboard, the flat baking sheets in the stove drawer and the metal bakeware under the sink. Ceramic bowls go in the pantry. But I've never actually fully explained this system to DH, so he tends to leave clean bake pans on the counter for me to put away. I hadn't realized the connection until he asked me about the square pan. I would just get mildly irritated that he hadn't put the pan away, put it away myself & that would be that. This may be the reason why *women know where things are* and men don't - we simply forgot to tell them.

Anyway, a quick search through the aforementioned locations failed to turn up the square baking pan. My kitchen space-wise is average, storagewise is it tiny. There are really only 5 places a baking pan could be and one of those is the dishwasher. The other 4 I have already mentioned. It wasn't in any of them. It also was not in the cupboard with the glasses or the one with cereal, soup and other frequently used dry goods, nor was it hiding under the numerous mostly empty bag of stale tortilla chips. It was not in the refridgerator with something already in it. This meant it must not be in the house, though I had no recollection of taking it anywhere. The last time I used it, I think I baked tilapa in it. Not something you normally take to a pot luck.

We gave up & DH decided to make brownies in a round cake pan rather than make really really skinny ones in the 13x9 pan. He goes to rinse out the round pan in the sink and there, under the pile or small plastic bowls that accumulates in after a day with toddlers, was the square glass 8x8 pan. He washes it out, picks up the box of brownies and reads "Do not bake in square glass 8x8 pan."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

random thoughts

I posted recently, on my food blogthat my food goal for 2007 is to get a better handle on side dishes. While perusing my recipe card collection (which oddly has a very large section for 'veggies') I realized that most of my recipes I don't make that often. I've made nearly all of them once but rarely twice. And there are a bunch from this past year's cookbook purchases that have never been made at all. I've intended to make them, put them on menu, but then never got around to making them. For the past 2 months especially, the majority or my meals have been basic and for the most part recipe-less. Meatloaf, pasta, chicken with couscous, chicken in a crock pot, pot roast, london broil, broiled fish, pizza and things stuffed in crescent roll dough. Various pastas, various fish, various types of pizza and various things stuffed into crescent roll dough, to keep it from being too monotonous. But basically the same 9 dishes show up every 2 weeks. Occasionally I'll make something or other that found like Cooks Illustrated Coq au Vin but the last time I did that was in September. I've intended for a month now to make Turkey Tettrazini but haven't.

Part of the problem is at least 3 out of the 5 nights I cook, I am basically cooking for toddlers. Turkey Tettrazini has zero toddler appeal. Tyson's breaded chicken patties have toddler appeal. DH is supposed to come home by 6:30 but something tends to happen fairly often to screw that up & I cannot put off feeding the kids beyond that. They go to bed at 8. I find it frustrating to hear at 5:30pm that he won't be home until 7pm & if I have been having a stressful day with bickering boys, the news that I will be alone with demons for dinner often means toaster waffles with peanut butter rather than braciole. Cooking for myself just isn't that much fun. Cooking for the boys can be fun, if I am in the mood for pizza or pasta, but I'd like adult food, with adult people every now and again.

So another part of my cooking resolution for 2007 is to make a new meal for dinner twice a month, every other Sunday. On alternate Sundays I will make again a recipe I have made before, like Coq au Vin. Or at least I will try. Realistically at least one Sunday a month this won't happen. Random food will be eaten. That's fine. What I need is a plan. It's ok to deviate from the plan, but you have to have the plan first.

In other news...Xmas is coming (and on a side note I often wonder if 'xmas' offends people. I seem to be the only person on the internet that uses it. i was taught in Catholic school religion class that xmas was a perfectly acceptable abbreviation, along with xtian - and this was decades before IMing became popular, but maybe times have changed.) I need to make presents for my folks. Once again I am making a calendar for my mom. I've picked out the layouts I want to use & just need to add the month names to them. I already have the calendar templates (and you can have them too, they are for sale at I need to make some bookmarks for Dad & am not sure where to start. I used some premade templates last year that had calendars on them. I'm not sure if he really needs the calendars. I need to pick out photos for them. One of each grandchild. I can't remember if I laminated them or not last year. All xmas present have been bought for the boys, including the last minute "Hot Rod" that DS1 asked Santa for. Fortunately he mentioned it was at Safeway which helped me figure out what he was talking about. I still need something for my 14 month old niece that is not a doll or stuffed animal, does not make unnecessary noise and is under $12. Finding something that meets all three criteria is proving impossible. I may have to surrender on some point - not the noise though. I'm pretty adamant about the no unneeded noise thing. I don't want it for my kids & I won't buy it for others' unless specifically directed to do so. I've never understood the whole singing dancing Elmo thing. I just look at it and wonder "Who would want that in their house?" Maybe if your kid specifically asked for it & really really wanted it, but just to buy it, with out being asked to,... why? But I admit I am not an Elmo fan and am thankful to the Divine that the boys have never shown any interest in it. I did buy a Wiggles Murray's Guitar last year, but only because DS1 specifically asked for it. I would never have volunteered it to him.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Do you have a favorite ornament or decoration that you display at this time of year? Tell us its story!

I have a collection of wooden ornaments my mother made. She got a kit one year from a craft store that had about 50 ornaments in it. You pushed them out of their sheets, sanded them, painted them (they came with black outlines) back & front then gave them a shiny overcoat. I was about 8 when she made them. I remember watching her do them at a cardboard table in our rec room. I think she spent the better part of a month working on them in the evenings. My brother & I were not allowed to touch them. That was the year we got the fake all white tree. Mom put up red lights, red balls and the wooden ornaments (nearly all of which have some red on them) It was a really nice looking tree. When they finally moved out of my childhood home in the late 90's they gave me those ornaments, (plus some made by both my grandmothers). We've never had a big tree in the years since then. They have all be under 3' and most of the wooden ornaments are a too large for that. There are some small ones though & we put those on our trees every year. Next year maybe, or the year after we will get a big tree and I will get to use all the ornaments, only 10 years after they were given to me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What are your cooking skills? How have they improved/changed??

I'm a pretty good cook & for the most part I enjoy it. It can be frustrating from time to time due to my diners. Little boys are not in general the most appreciative of audiences unless I am heating up Tyson chicken patties.

I've always enjoyed cooking and been fairly good at it when I wanted to be. What I have been working on the since the boys were born was planning. Before them I would call DH at 10am and say "What do you want for dinner?" and search up recipes on the web & buy the stuff I needed on the way home from work. And if I didn't feel like cooking it was no big deal because the other person in my house was a grown adult who could find himself something to eat on his own (and was a short order cook in college). Now I have other people to feed & dinner by Tyson every night is just not my style. I end up feeling bad for eating all the processed foods. Don't get me wrong, I *like* processed foods, especially breakfast cereal, but apart from that I think it should be kept to a minimum. But lack of sleep & 2 babies pushed me into lots of boxes of meals for a couple years & I lost interest in food really. I have been slowly getting back to where I was, which makes me feel more like me again. But I have had to get a handle on planning. I make long range goals. My goal in 2004 was just to make 4 meals a week. From scratch mostly, no Hamburger Helper (HH was for the other 3 nights). I also got my recipe collection organized & went through my several dozen cookbooks and did up cards on any recipe I found interesting. For 2005 it was 5 meals a week with one new or rarely made recipe a week. Plus start keeping a log of how they turned out and changes I made. This year it was planning for 2 weeks of dinners, using the leftovers from a couple of meals creatively in other meals in the period. And baking at least a couple loaves of bread a month. My 2007 goals are to get a handle on side dishes (right now I just nuke whatever frozen veggie I have on hand or make a spinach salad. I don't like veggies but I can't let the boys know that so I need to make interesting veggie dishes to interest all of us) and to prep ahead, like when I make crock pot beef stew - prep 2 or 3 times as many veggies and freeze them so next time all I have to do is open a bag. And since my bread machine finally died on me yesterday while kneading a loaf of Pepperoni Pecarino Bread, I am going to trying making bread without it for at least 4 months. I *can* make bread without it but it is just so much easier with it - no keep tracking of how long things have been rising, punching to down, movig it around. It requires so much attention. A bread machine though - toss everything in and walk away. Leave the house! 3 hours later you have bread.

Apart from bread I don't bake. Baking requires an attention to detail I don't have. DH bakes. He has spent the past year perfecting his chocolate chip cookies. Now he is branching out into mousse! :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Earlier in the week, we talked about favorite cartoons. Now I want to know your favorite board game, video game, or card game. And who do you usually play with?

I loved to play games when I was kid. All the board games. My favorite was (nad still is) Clue. Ieven had a couple PC versions of it. As an adult, in my childfree years, I played a great deal of card games and dice games (and drinking games). I love Hearts & Spades but I always have to be reminded of the rules because I get them confused. My favorite dice game is called 10,000, which is how many points you have to get to win. We'd play it for *hours* in college & right after, drinking & talking. I have a lot of great memories of that game. Now I play bunco monthly with other moms from my MOPS group & I really enjoy it. I love Trivial Pursuit as well. I have th Star Wars version but no one will play with me because I kick their butts every time :) My favorite PC game is Civilization. I actually bought the game a week before I got my first PC. It ate up HOURS of my life & I enjoyed every minute. I haven't played it since DS1 was about 6 months old. You have to be able to devote 3-4 hours to it at least (if not an entire weekend) and I have not had that kind of time in over 3 years. They have version 4 out now. I just barely played a couple times with 3 before I had to call it quits. Maybe someday... The other game I loved was D&D. Role playing is such fun. Its something else I have not been able to do in years because it also requires too much time.

I am looking forward to the boys getting old enough to play more challenging games than Candy land. I really want to play games with them.


My laptop has an 80GB HD. I also have a 110GB EHD, that is actually the converted HD from my old PC. It's bulky and requires AC power. Both HDs are about 2/3 full. I want a 120GB or more EHD that runs off the USB. One of those 2.5" slimline things. Found one for $89! But the fact is - we don't have $89 to replace a perfectly good HD just for convenience sake. So to solace myself I decided the time had come to clean up the HDs & clear off stuff.

First I tackled the music & audiobooks. I don't know what happened when I moved stuff on the laptop from the PC but I have multiple copies of music & books all over the HD, sometimes in .wav and .mp3. The music was easy to clear up but the audiobooks required a spreadsheet to track them. I have the same book in .aau and .mp3 and .wav and on CD, or combinations of them. I have 67 audiobooks (I've had an Audible subscrition for over 3 years - 2 books a month for $20, plus stuff from the library and with more to come. So I cleared them all down to just one copy in a single format. I burned the Audible books I have already listened too to DVD and a bunch of the others as well. When I was done I had cleared almost 10GB of space.

Then I went through my photos and made sure they were all on DVD and backed up on another one & then I deleted all but the last 3 months and my 'to be scrapped' folder - another couple GBs gained.

Then I tackled my digi stuff. I'm still plowing my way through that. I went through it back in April when I copied stuff to the laptop & just didn't copy a large chunk of stuff. Burned that to DVD and honestly, have never looked at it since. Most of it was freebies from my early scrapping days. So this time I went through my stuff and any folder that has not been accessed since May is automatically in the burn folder. I'm now sorting through the stuff that hasn't been accessed since June-August & deciding what to keep & what to burn. I've gotten a lot more choosy about what I buy & the freebies I download so hopefully I won't have this problem any more. Once this is done I may get ASeeDSee (or however it is spelled) and actually tag things for sorting. But I am not about to tackle it with all this crap. I think it can tag DVDs too so I can remember what is on them, on the off chance I suddenly need a star tipped paper clip in fuschia. :) I also had enough .pspimage files of layouts to fill a DVD. I'm probably going to clear another 6-8Gbs

I also need to put together the 2007 calendar for my mom's xmas present. I made a set of 8.5x11 templates & the calendar pages for 1hourscrap & had thought I was going to use it myself but after talking with my mom, she really liked the one I did last year. Last year, pressed for time I resized layouts I done through the year to 8x8 and then put the month name on the side in matching paper. She really liked that, so I am going to do it again. Now watch...I will have deleted the papers to some of the layouts I am using.

I did find time to get one layout done tis week. I applied for Sherri Tierney's CT a few weeks ago and was chosen to join it! This is my first layout with one of her products. The kit is Thinking of You and is available at One of a Kind Scrapz.

I also have put some new products up at A couple quick page sets & some date stamps.