Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Loads of thoughts are rambling through my head.

First, as I was writing about the childrens book we are currently loving, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great for my kids to have some penpals?

Nothing fancy (or elaborate or spendy), but my girls would love to get a postcard, letter, anything, from anyone. So, anyone interested in a penpal opportunity? I envision sending postcards from Wisconsin with little bits of info about Wisconsin and our lives, a drawing and some fun stickers we found, stuff like that.

I can't devot loads of time to this project, my initial goal would be to send one mailing a month (one mailing per penpal) in hopes of receiving one mailing back from each penpal. Let me know if this interests you, and we'll work it out.

Second, I want to do a little earthy giveaway, based on green things we do, so get your thinking cap on and start thinking about all the little things you do to help mama earth. I know one of the items will be a string bag - I love them, but got 5 in the set, and never use that many. Hey, I am a proud re-gifter. It's all about being green, you know. I'm trying to think of another one or few items I could include. Anyway, start thinking (if you might want to enter, that is!) and I'll try to get my booty in gear.

Third, any new years resolutions or goals for you? I've been exploring my personal faith and relationship with God, and know that this bit of exploration I am on needs to intensify into the new year, but I'm not willing to elaborate too much on that right now. Any plans to lose weight are, of course, tabled. After the holidays I crave healthy food, so I am hoping to milk that for all it's worth well into 2009. Family goals of eliminating some of our debt (well, all of it, but we're being realistic here). And I want to strive to be less lazy about cleaning up the house.

That's all for now, I am exhausted and want to read a bit before I fall asleep. I hope you had a great New Year's Eve and that the new year is one of your best!

Book Review: The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allen Ahlberg

I grabbed this book at the library for the girls - without even opening it up. I was in a hurry and wanted to just grab and go. (Yes, I feel just guilty enough sneaking to the library without them that I check stuff out for them.)

The story is simple enough, the postman is delivering mail to characters in fairytale land. Cute, for sure, but is it really that great of a book? Each letter that is being delivered comes out of it's own envelope and is a work of art unto itself. In our house, the little ones LOVE getting their own mail to open, so a book full of letters that get opened ROCKS. It really is that great of a book.

What a treasure! Such darling little bits of work have been worked into this book, it is truly amazing.

Whether you have young children or not, you should pop into the children's section of your library and read it. :-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

update

I added a fun little ticker to my blog - see it?

We are very excited. Aubrey is, by far, the most excited. Lauren really doesn't care. Yet.

Andy has begun the vehicle search. Ug. I hate when he does this. Though this time it is necessary, I still find myself not at all motivated to look at car after car after truck after van after car after van after truck. And this is just online. If we were looking in person, I would probably just agree to the first one he liked and be done with it.

I'm due late August, and have always delivered early, so we'll be surprised if this baby is anything other than an August baby. 5 relatives with birthdays in August, as well as a handful of friends. Aubrey was born on her godmother Shana's birthday, and Lauren born on my Grandma Marg's birthday - will it happen again? I hope so.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hoska, Brandied Peaches and Felties & Santa's Lap




(would you believe me if I told you that Lauren's red eyes are not because of the camera, but that it happens naturally? :-))
more pictures and news in a few days.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Oh, the magic of Christmas! Church last night was amazing. Ali, the girls and I went. Aubrey fell asleep, as she does every year. Lauren was, well, my little Lornado, but as well behaved as she could be considering she is part tornado. ;-)

After church we drove around looking at Christmas lights and paused long enough for 3 deer, who surely must have been reindeer, to cross the road. We can only assume that Dasher, Dancer and Prancer took a little stroll while Santa was working his magic in a nearby neighborhood. Since Santa was obviously close by, it was decided that we'd all get to bed as soon as we got home.

The gift Aubrey wanted most, a dog that is nice and also real, was not brought this year, but she seems to have hardly noticed, and is quite content with her loot. Lauren is happy as can be with her pile of goodies - and has consumed most all of the candy she can find.

Yesterday Ali and I made Hoska (a bohemian Christmas bread that our family has been making for at least 4 generations) and enchilada casserole (the Christmas Eve contribution our mom brought to our dad's family 30 years ago as she refused to eat their traditional bohemian Oyster Stew and Codfish Gravy dinner - THANK YOU, MOMMY!).

Today we're lounging around, playing new games, spending time being thankful for our many blessings. It's a good day.

I hope your day is wonderful.

Love,
R

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Illinois......

where Governors make your license plates.

That made me laugh out loud today. Where we live in Wisconsin, we are only a few miles north of the Illinois border, and both happen to work in Illinois, so there's been lots of talk about the Governor. This particular bit was on a marquee in downtown McHenry.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled bloggin'. :-)

Snowed in

No, not really. It takes an insane amount of snow for Wisconsinites to be snowed in. But I'd like to be snowed in. I'm mentally snowed in. Does that make sense? Anyway, I would love to let the girls sleep in tomorrow, have hot chocolate with breakfast and just be for the day, but since that is highly unlikely to happen, I will settle for drowning in beads tonight instead. Not the same, but incredibly satisfying. That's where I've been off and on since I posted pictures of my bead project. I'm loving all the pretty glass beads I've found. Each garland I make, I say, oh, this is my favorite! and then I put several next to eachother and can't pick a favorite.

Good thing my current craft is suited to doing in front of the TV, because Hallmark and LMN are my two favorite channels right now, I flip from one to the other, cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movie after cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movie. I LOVE them all!

We had our cookie exchange at work yesterday, and mmmmm, I brought home some goodies! My favorite - the corn flake wreaths. I know they are so simple, but I love them. Did I ever tell you I can eat an entire pan of rice krispies in an afternoon and clean up the mess with no one in the house ever knowing they were even made? No wonder the corn flake wreaths are my favorite, huh?

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday preparations as much as we are!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

biscochitos

Mmmm, to smell these baking this afternoon - it smelled of Christmas!
There are only about a million and a half different recipes for the official state cookie of New Mexico, and I wasn't sure which one to try, but when I found this one, with so few ingredients (that all happened to be in my pantry), I knew this was it. Luckily I struck gold with this recipe. :-)

I tweaked it a bit, and my tweaks are reflected below.

6 C flour
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
2 sticks plus 1 T unsalted butter
1 C crisco
3/4 C sugar
1 T cinnamon
3/4 C water
2 T anise seed
cinnamon sugar

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Cream butter ands crisco until fluffy, then add sugar and cinnamon. Continue beating until smooth. Add the flour mixture and water mixture slowly, alternating between the two, and at some point add the anise. This is a very dry, dense dough that had my standard kitchenaid mixer rocking a bit - be aware. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface (in several batches) to desired thickness. I got mine less that "1/4 but more than "1/8. Cut in desired shapes. I opted for triangles, and used my pizza cutter. :-) Bake at 400' for 10 minutes (that worked at elevation 910 feet). While still hot, coat cookies in cinnamon sugar (I used a pie pan and was very generous with this step, making sure to coat the bottoms of each cookie as well as the tops). Enjoy.

With the size I made my cookies, I got about 15 dozen. And, it's quite possible the cookies would bake nicely at 375' or even 350' - I didn't feel like experimenting that much today, but some of my bottoms are darker than I like.

The original recipe came from my Grandma Marg's recipe collection - a booklet put out by the Agricultural Extension Service of NMSU, Favorite Cookies from New Mexico Kitchens dated January, 1961. And they spell cookie "cooky."

Monday, December 8, 2008

no pictures, but descriptions WAIT, now there's pictures!














So, first, I replied to any questions about baking soda and vinegar as a comment to my original post. :-)

But, my real reason to post was because April wanted to see pictures of what I made for Jaimie.


It's a beaded garland-like strand with several mini clothes pins attached at intervals - to hang photos or children's art or bits of inspiration, or whatever..... it's maybe 3 feet long, with hook-like bits on either end. I picture it hung from side to side on a wall, but it could just as easily be hung up and down. I used beads in shades of aqua and shades of red. I know the color combination sounds weird, but it looks really great. Don't believe me, click here. I so want to have my kitchen be aqua and red.

I can't take all (or even most of) the credit for this - my cool Aunt Val made me one (pictured below) and I so totally copied her idea.
Crafty folk in my life be warned, I may copy your cool ideas. I'll give you credit, though. And I'll give you permission to copy any cool ideas I may come up with.
And, my camera doesn't truly capture the way these colors work together, but I love it!

Small steps, indeed

In my online adventures, I always stumble upon neat things, and sometimes I like what I see so much I kinda want to share it. So when I stumbled upon this post I was inspired to elaborate on one of the small steps (that the post mentioned) that I've been taking for some time. This small step helps save some money and also helps me to leave a smaller footprint here on earth.

Some people know I don't use shampoo or conditioner in my hair already, but if you didn't know, there you have it. Conventional shampoo strips your hair of it's natural oils and conditioner then adds in artificial ones. I don't like much that's artificial so I wash my hair with baking soda and rinse it with apple cider vinegar. I urge you to try it, and if you are so inclined, know that there's an adjustment period where your hair may feel kinda funky, but when that period is over, your hair will likely be silky soft and dreamy. So soft that you'll catch yourself absentmindedly running your fingers through your hair throughout your day, loving how the softness feels between your fingers.

Here's how to do it, and what to expect.

1. Get your hair wet.

2. Obtain a scoop of baking soda (this is not very scientific, and varies based on your hair thickness, length and what feels right to you - I use maybe 3 tablespoons???) and spread it over your scalp. Keep it out of your eyes, please. It's pretty messy, just do the best you can. (Don't worry too much about the ends of your hair - as you rinse, they'll get plenty clean. Unless you are 2 years old and have a nice blob of maple syrup caked in there - in which case, some extra baking soda attention is required.)

3. Rinse the baking soda out.

4. Fill a cup (again, not scientific) with mostly water, top it off with apple cider vinegar (I've heard that regular vinegar is too harsh for your hair). My measurements work out to approximately 1 1/2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

5. Pour water/vinegar over your scalp.

6. Rinse until you no longer smell vinegar.

If you want to add a pretty smell, after the vinegar rinse, put a few drops of essential oil into another cup full of water, and pour on your scalp.

There is something quite satisfying about the lather you can work up with shampoo, and you don't get that with baking soda. Also, for a few moments your hair does smell like easter, as opposed to strawberry shortcake or ocean breeze. But oh, the dreaminess afterward. Occassionally I'll miss the lather so much that I'll sneak a bit of Andy's Suave. My satisfaction is fleeting, however, as my hair doesn't feel nearly as good and I think of all the unpronounceable chemicals that I just put onto (and therefore into) my body and our water system.

So there you have it, one small step. Give it a thought, and let me know if you try it. Or if you have any questions.

Winter has begun

Forget what the calender tells you. It's winter here. 23 degrees as I type this. Light wintry mix expected today. Oh, and there's already over 6 inches of compacted snow on the ground. Let the hibernation begin. :-)

I've got plans to bake some cookies, put laundry away, track down several tasty recipes (have you ever had brandied peaches? heavenly!), and vacuum, as well as, umm, work to get paid. Hopefully not too many snow-shoveling interuptions, but we'll deal with what comes and see how the day pans out.

Happy Monday to YOU! :-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

and now we're home

We actually got home Thursday evening.... 2 days later then planned as Lauren began puking Thursday evening. She got well enough to travel just in time for us to leave Monday a.m. By Monday evening, I was feeling ill, and since my body kinda went into self-preservation mode, I was just kinda ill for our drive home - enjoying the company of many fine porcelain toilets when we'd stop in the evenings. And now I feel like crap. Ugh.

In other news, my girls got in the holiday spirit this evening, and now there's something sitting in our fridge waiting for the coming days. Let's play a little guessing game, okay? Here's a few random hints.... there are 5 left. We started with 7, but we had to eat some right away. They are rather round - they'll roll right off the table if we aren't careful. Lauren is in tears that I won't let her have another one right now. Any guess what it might be? Any guess at all? Stay tuned for more (possibly less random) hints and the big reveal. :-)

Did I mention I'm sick? I want my mommy! And I want to sink into a pile of pillows and dream of fields of wildflowers and New Mexico sunsets. Not the stupid 3+ inches of snow on the ground and the single digit temps promised for later this weekend. Today I hate winter. Maybe not tomorrow, but today I do! I got one Christmas gift made tonight, though. Asked Aubrey if she thought Jaimie would like it, and Aubrey replied with, "No, I think we would." I took that as a compliment. I'll try to take pictures tomorrow, once I empty the camera of our Thanskgiving pictures.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Hand Cookies and a few pictures

I saw this and thought it looked so cute.... might just stop at the store on the way to get the ingredients.
And, some pictures of what we've been up to. First, our mode of transportation. I love this car, but I do feel like we are a bunch of circus clowns when we pile in and out. (See, Andy, your car is fine. No worries about the spilled strawberry milk on the seat, it dried nicely and I spread it out evenly so you can't even tell - just a hint of pink on your lovely seats. Nevermind the smell, it'll fade soon enough. Plus, it's pretty well overppowered by the smell of the McD's sweet-and-sour sauce on the floor mat, along with the BK "maple syrup" on the other floor mat. Oh, and half eaten gummy worms stick nicely to the windows - it's pretty cute.) ;-)

Next, the cousins. We had lots of fun, but I have a feeling the cousins had more fun - doting on Aubrey ad Lauren the way they do.
And, tractor rides. 'Nuf said.






Monday, November 24, 2008

Vacation Entry 1

We'll see if I am able to do more....

Thursday we we left Wisconsin at 20 degrees. So, winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves to start the trip.

I got my driving directions from Rand McNally, because I figure, hey, they make maps, they know what they are doing. I couldn't hae been more wrong. Directions from my house to my BIL & SIL near St. Louis left off a KEY interstate to take, instead leaving me on I-90 going into Chicago. Now, there was also some construction at where I should've gotten onto I-39 (the road Rand McNally conveniently forgot to mention...) so there was some additional confusion, however, umm, omitting I-39 (which I should've taken for 100+ miles = one pissed mama and a real nice vocabulary lesson for the girls when we get almost into Chicago before realizing what was up. Yes, I had a feeling we were going the wrong way, but I was foolish and didn't listen to my gut. Until I saw the Schaumburg Castle. My exact words were, "Oh girls, look at that neat castle.... oh shit." And my language got worse from there. 2 - 2 1/2 hours of a detour but we eventually got to St. Loius.

Lot of fun in St. Louis Friday night with cousins, some yummy taco soup that I can't wait to make myself, then on to Owasso, OK to spend Saturday night with my uncle and aunt. More yummy food, silly dogs to play with, and some beautiful Christmas decorations up.

Sunday night we were with Janna from high school at he new house in Clovis. Fun chatting, unpacking, playing, and then this morning we headed to La Luz - my in-laws' new place. So far we've seen the pond and the spring-fed creek, checked out the tractor, and palyed Candyland (Pony Corn accordig to Lauren).

Off to eat yummy new mexican food..... :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ready, Set,

GO TO BED so I can leave in the morning!

I am done packing. Except for pulling the cold snacks out of the fridge and putting them in the cooler, that is. And, well, I need to load the car, but everything is sitting neatly by the door, ready to go.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Everyone on my mom's side tries to get together and it's such a good time. My favorite day of the year is the day before Thanksgiving, because at that point we are all together having a good time and there is still the anticipation of the meal.... but all the food we fix together all week long is awesome, so it's more the anticipation of "Thanksgiving dinner" that I look forward to than the actual meal.

Since I'm in the mood and all, I'm thankful for the opportunity to peek into your lives and share mine with you, and I wish you safe travels (even if it's just to the grocery store around the corner) and a peaceful, HAPPY Thanksgiving! I'm going to bed!

Love,
Rachel

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ten things

Ten things I am doing right now instead of packing. Because I only leave for almost 2 weeks in 36 hours. I've got plenty of time to pack, don't you think?

1. blogging - obviously

2. trying to figure out the mystery of the vanishing ring. Seriously, a few weeks ago a ring Andy gave me (the only one besides my engagement ring and wedding band he's given me, so that you don't wrongly think he showers me in jewels) went missing, got found and then went missing approximately 1 day after being found. I am puzzled. also, about a month before it went missing, my wedding band vanished. for whatever reason, I'm not concerned about that one - I'm convinced it's in one of our vents, and until I feel like removing said (old, stuck really well) vent, I like to think it's safe. Same time that wedding band went missing, my favorite Lia Sophia ring up and vanished, too. Maybe there's a ghost hanging around that likes pretty rings. Couldn't be the 2 1/2 year old. Nope, not a chance.

3. making baby caps - did you see this post of mine?

4 down, 3 to go if I have a chance. Probably won't have that chance, but that's okay, because check out #4.





4. making receiving blankets - same project as the baby caps.
I loved making these. The blue flannel is an old bed sheet - nothing fancy, just sewed two pieces together. The other one is old receiving blankets (that were all too small for this project) cute and pieced together - my first try at quilting, and I LOVED it! The picture really can't do it justice.


5. taking pictures of gingerbread houses that may collapse (or be eaten) any day now, (please notice Aubrey's favorite part of the gingerbread house - the girl in the window. some of the candy has been disappearing each day, pretty soon we'll be able to make new frosting and attach new candy - the evolving gingerbread house
along with girls that have had way too much cake batter, and insist on sitting in plastic tubs while watching tv sideways. by the way, I thought about not washing the mixing bowl - she got it pretty dang clean!
an apron I made awhile back and never showed you,
and our two bunnys (please forgive the gross cage - they are hard to photograph, and my best chance was before I cleaned the cage - that little black turd of a rabbit is one messy dude - he pees EVERYWHERE (when I say everywhere, I mean even my curtains. ewwww. he's got distance, that's for sure!).




6. admiring Aubrey's artwork. I call it a leaf. she calls it her phone. Lauren insists that she made it at Ms. Col's, and that it's a leaf phone. Leaf, phone or leaf phone, it's beautiful and I love it!




7. making popcorn for snack time tomorrow
8. cleaning the kitchen. no, not really, but I should. see #9
9. making cake for work tomorrow because it's the 3rd Thursday of November (the popcorn snack is for 1st graders - Mr. R just might kill me if I sent cake to school (or, if I were a teacher and someone sent in cake for no good reason besides it being the 3rd Thursday of November I would kill). This cake is amazing - mandarin orange cake with pineapple frosting. I will share the recipe when I have more time.
10. not folding laundry. that's right, I am not folding laundry, and all my efforts to not fold laundry will prove quite unhelpful in my future plans of packing, so I figure it kinda fits in with this list. I am instead playing with these two sillies.




Okay, so maybe listing 10 things was kind of a stretch, but I am definitely not doing what I should be doing!
I will try to post bits of our adventure, but life may get in the way, we shall see. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Surrender, or girls' weekend so far...

Girls' weekend has, thus far, been quite a success.

We had a slumber party last night with 2 extra 6 year olds. Chaotic doesn't quite do justice to the level of craziness that occured here last night. But it was fun. My favorite part - when three, yes three 6 year olds took a bath. Together. A surprisingly large amount of water stayed in the tub.

After the girls went to bed, I watched Lars and the Real Girl. Very moving. I kept dozing, though, so I plan on watching it again late tonight - maybe I'll doze through the parts I saw last night and see the rest of the movie. (Really, it's a good movie, I was just so stinkin' tired I couldn't not doze)

I had my first Edgu class this morning, so the slumber party ended kinda earlier (but they were all up before 7 anyway, so it wasn't like I was being a mean hostess and kicking out sleeping girlies, in case you were wondering). Anyway, Edgu. I really liked it. Different from anything else I've ever tried. All new-agey and spiritual. It's designed to alleviate back pain, and I've heard amazing things about it. You don't have to have back pain to benefit from it, though, that's just where it began.

Then the girls and I headed down to Costco and Trader Joe's (45 minutes away - we go about 2x a year). We got goodies for our roadtrip, plus a few groceries for the coming week. And, what's a penny-pinching mom who's trying to budget for a cross-country roadtrip to do when her 6 year old asks for the gingerbread house kit? This penny-pinching mom says, "Yes! Let's get it!" These kits have become a bit of a tradition in our house, so I couldn't say no.

Of course the gingerbread house must be decorated as soon as possible, so with Aubrey seated nicely in her chair and Lauren half naked and climbing across the table, Gingerbread House '08 began. For each piece of candy Aubrey put on the house, Lauren ate 4. And then, just for the heck of it, Mommy (of all people!) squeezed some frosting on Lauren's knee. Oops. Then Aubrey's wrist. Oops again. The frosting of each other continued for sometime, until Aubrey couldn't handle it anymore and decorating of the house resumed. Lauren went back for more frosting on her legs, and that's when mom declared that dinner would be served in the bath. Yes, I was afraid the sugar would take over my house if I didn't get it cleaned up immediately, and the only way the girls would be pried away from the frosting fiesta was to offer such a ridiculous alternative that they would be foolish to say no.

Leftovers in the tub. Not cold macaroni and cheese like in Todd Parr's book, but cold (as requested) broccoli-chicken casserole. And some applesauce. Two clean girls later and we're settling in to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks. Well one of us has to clean the kitchen at some point, but I'm thinking Lauren's up for the challenge, right? By the time I was 2 1/2 I was dusting the china. This girl's had it easy for way too long. Time she help out around here, I say.

Completely unrelated, Emily posted about school dances, so I thought I'd share a picture from senior prom. Looking back, I think I was pretty cute. Hindsight, and all. Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Freakin' frakin', I can't stop laughing

Have you seen Pioneer Woman's website? I won't tell you too much about her (because she tells it much better than I do, and I want you to check it out!), I'll just say two things.
First, she's writing the love story between her and her husband on her blog. Every so often she has a new chapter in the romance, and it's Geee double-O Deee good. If you've got a few hours to kill, it'll be worth it, and you'll be hooked. I guarantee it.
And second, and freakin' frakin' I might add, is this post. I.can't.stop.laughing. My entire house is sleeping except for me, so I have to laugh quietly, which makes my eyes water, so I am crying over this particular post. Crying. I can't stop. It's hilarious. Laughter is the best medicine and I am over-dosing as we speak.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feeling Generous

If you are feeling just a little crafty, or have so many old t-shirts lying around you feel like you are drowning in jersy-goodness, how 'bout turning those tees into baby caps?

I'm mentally evaluating our tee stash as we speak, and will see what I can do in the coming days. Seriously, this looks to be a very easy project - minimal sewing skills (you could even get by without a machine) and no predisposition towards crafting required.

some perspective, please

In Aubrey's short life she's only had 3 teachers - 4K, kindergarten and now 1st grade. Her 4K teacher and kinder teacher were both women. Her 1st is a man - Mr.R. About my age, single, no children. I thought he was really cool. and kinda cute, but that's completely beside the point He seems to really connect with the kids, and makes learning fun - making up "Mr. R. Life Stories" focused around the letter friend of the week - brought his own keyboard in to the classroom for the kids to play music.

However, he seems to have a defect common among men, though let's not stereotype, okay in which he doesn't seem to communicate well. But here's where you come in, because maybe I am over-reacting....

A few weeks before Halloween, I send a note, saying if he wants to do a Halloween party of any kind, let me know (I'm one of the "room moms") and I'd work on organizing it. Never heard from him. (This incident didn't bother me, just sharing.)

Three weeks ago, on a Thursday, I send a note saying that beginning Tuesday to please let Aubrey walk with Corin (who has a different teacher) *after the bell rings* to the front as we (Corin's mom and I) were switching up the way the girls are picked up and we want them to leave the building together. Tuesday comes, and Corin stops to get Aubrey. Mr. R refuses to let Aubrey go, saying he'll walk her up, they can meet in the lobby. He proceeds to get to the lobby with Aubrey and tell Col (I wasn't there that day) that he will NOT allow his students to walk the halls without him, it's against classroom policy. No big deal, right? Except that maybe acknowledgement of my note, with a bote back, or a call, saying he couldn't do as I asked would've been nice..... next day I send a note saying I am sorry for any problems, didn't realize it was an issue, but in the future if he can't do as I've asked, to please let me know immediately..... his LONG note back saying he is sorry if I feel that the care of my daughter is being disregarded, blah blah blah - I never accused him of not caring about my daughter, I was just asking gthat he let me know what's up. That ended with me leaving him a voicemail pretty much laughing and saying, "Dude, we are not communicating well with eachother - I think you are a great teacher, I trust you with my daughter, I just need to know what's going on if you can't do as I've asked, got it?"

I was ready to chalk it up to a mistake, we all make them, maybe I was over-reacting a bit, whatever, no biggie.

And then, tonight, I learn that Aubrey is in a "Friendship Class." She is being pulled out of regular class time with 5 other 1st graders (out of 65-70 total 1st graders). And why do I know about Friendship Class? Because Mr. R. talked to me about it? Umm, no. Because Corin has some anger issues, agression issues, etc. and her teacher wanted to recommend to her mom that Corin do this class - Corin gets there, and Aubrey's there. According to Aubrey this was her first day in the class, too. 3 boys, 3 girls. I know the 3 girls, and Aubrey while far from perfect has completely different issues than these 2 other girls, she doesn't seem to fit into the same classification as the other 2. I can't speak for the boys. And I can't say that Aubrey doesn't need to be in this class - because I don't know a freakin' thing about it.

Seriously, am I over-reacting in wanting to yell and scream at Mr. R. that he had no right to put Aubrey into a class, that, rumor-has-it must be recommended by the teacher, without so much as a heads up that he was going to send her?

And, how should I deal with this situation?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Deep breath

Tonight's been one of those nights where I feel like all I've done is yell at the girls. Seriously, my throat kinda hurts because of how loud I've been, and my ears are ringing from how loud they've been. We've been rather manic tonight - so incredibly peaceful one moment, then *BOOM* IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD! MY SISTER LOOKED AT ME WRONG!

Okay, maybe I'm exagerating a bit, but really, a night of relaxing was not even a possibility tonight. Tomorrow will be better.

Did I mention that my ears are ringing?

Maybe a few pictures of calmer days will help... finger-painting is serious business in our house, and when a 2 year old gets dressed all on her own, don't be surprised to find a nightgown underneath two, yes, TWO sundresses. Also, when camping, too-long nightgowns really make for the best hikes!



Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recipe: Granola

Please pardon any funky spacing issues, I am having issues with the layout. Also, real pictures will be coming, maybe tomorrow night - these pictures were already in the computer ready to go - I do want to show you what we've been up to lately besides crunching on granola.

Before I made this granola, I asked Andy if he liked granola and he responded with "Well I married one, didn't I?" :-) He makes me laugh.




Ingredients:
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey


First, spread the oats on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Turn oven to 350, leave oats in for about 10 minutes (I usually leave them in until the oven gets to temperature).









While the oats are warming, prepare the "wet" mixture. If you measure the oil immediately before measuring the honey, the honey will not stick to the measuring cup. Seems obvious, but I never thought of it until someone else told me, so now I'm sharing with you, in case you didn't know.








It's pretty thick and sticky.....








At this time I chop my pecans and pull the pine nuts out of the freezer. These aren't on the ingredient list because you don't have to add them.








Next, add the warm oats to the sticky mixture.





Stir well. And remember to use a BIG mixing bowl - this gets messy. Once the oats are mostly mixed in, add the nuts. Or not. But adding the nuts now coats them in a bit of brown sugar and honey, and anyone who doesn't like their nuts coated in brown sugar and honey, well let's just say they don't deserve to eat this granola!







Now everything goes onto the cookie sheet. Spread it out pretty evenly.









Bake for 20 minutes at 350, stirring often. I stir every 4 minutes. OCD and all. After 20 minutes, immediately get that sticky deliciousness off your cookie sheet. I put it all on a big piece of parchment paper to cool. Then I employ the best (or laziest, depending on your point of view) method of washing sticky pans - the let it soak method. Break up the granola as you wish - if it's still kinda warm, it will be sticky but pieces will not fly around the kitchen as freely. At this time you can add your raisins, pumpkin seeds, etc. If the granola is given a chance to cool completely, store it in an air-tight container.






This recipe came from my Grandma Marg. I'm sure she has no recollection of having made it, but I know it was hers, so she gets the credit for this.

Book Review - American Wife


I just finished reading American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, and I really enjoyed it.

The story is fiction, but it's based, quite obviously, on the life of First Lady Laura Bush, beginning as a child and ending about 2 years ago. I couldn't put it down. 558 pages by an amazing author. Her other boks will be checked out by me as soon as possible.

She could have very easily written this novel with much less respect shown to the real life folks the main characters portray, but I think she did a great job of fictionalizing their lives realistically (sounds oxymoronic, right?) and respectfully. It's so easy to forget that our leaders are human, especially if we don't like some (or all) of what they've done. My opinion of President Bush hasn't always been a favorable one, but this book reminds me (was that the author's plan?) that he is only human, and I should look for the best in him - and all our leaders - in the same way in which I try to look for the best in everyone I encounter personally.

my coke vent and rainbows

So maybe my desire to vent is cyclical? Or maybe I'm just a crabby patty. I will get to some sunshine too, but mostly this is a whine.

First, Fridays at work are jeans day. To me, jeans day is kinda sacred. Mess with jeans day and I get pissy. So guess what inner-office e-mail went out today? That our new client, Pepsi, will be in the office tomorrow, so business attire is required. Really, to think that our clients can't see us being a fairly typical office and having casual Firday kinda ticks me off. Especially since the clients have yet to walk to the back of the building and wander through our cubicles.

But whatever, it gets worse. In the same e-mail, "by the way, effective tomorrow we are a "COKE-free" workplace." As in, any Coke products were removed from our vending machine and replaced with Pepsi products. I don't like soda, so that really doesn't effect me. Except that the powers-that-be seem to think that our client is so immature they will flake out to learn that some of us prefer the soda their competitor makes or they are so worried about making a good impression that maybe our company kinda sucks and we have to rely on bribing our clients by appearing to use their products exclusively. Either way, it seems to me to be insulting to our client and disrespectful to the employees. So I'm stopping at the store to buy a can of COKE to have sit on my desk all day. I might even carry it to lunch and eat next to it.

I debated wearing a denim skirt, too, but decided against that this time.

In brighter news, it rained all day today, so when I left work there was a HUGE double rainbow, I could see where it began on the horizon and where it ended on the horizon. Seemed almost like I would drive right through it. It's been awhile since I've seen a real rainbow, and I'm not sure I've ever seen one so big from end to end.

And, I am planning on taking the girls on a morning hike Saturday morning. Nothing big, but the nature preserve up the road is fun. Maybe a picnic breakfast to eat up in the tower. I'm getting excited. It may be snowing, but we've got big coats.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

my heart is glad and heavy

first the glad:



Tears of joy while watching John McCain concede to Barack Obama. And for a moment I thought I was being ridiculous. But then I decided I wasn't being ridiculous at all. I'm excited to see what happens. I hope that there will be some real change, but know maybe I'm just dreaming, as every politician makes promises that they cannot keep. And then I remind myself that we've just elected the first african-american president in our history, and I convince myself change must be a-comin'!



now the heavy:



Aubrey has journal time in class just about every morning. Today Mr. R sent home the completed journals from September and October. It looks like he gives the students a starting idea, and they write a sentence or three about it, along with drawing a little picture. This part of Aubrey's day has been tremendously helpful in strengthening Aubrey's writing skills. However, Aubrey's entry for October 27th -



"Something scary happened to me this weekend. I was fat."



NOOOOOOOOO! Why oh why is my 6 year old saying this? Coincidentally, (or maybe not) later that day Aubrey told her friend Corin that she (Corin) was fat. Corin is obviously larger than Aubrey, but fat she ain't. Ugh, really, a 6 year old need not worry about her size, or that of her friends. It's so sad. And I feel like it was my fault, because it's entirely possible that the weekend she "was fat" was a weekend when I was bloated and hormonal and my clothes that are kinda tight anyway because of weight I've gained were tight enough for me to tell Andy I was fat. Dang those little ears that hear everything. CrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapCRAP



Heavy heart, indeed.



Know of any good books or websites that address body image, self-esteem, all that fun stuff?



In other news, my camera has been found. Picture updates in a few days.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

wascawy wabbits

Okay, trying to type the way Elmer Fudd talks is tough.

But my bunnies are CUTE!

Binky (the unaltered dwarf boy with apparent dependence issues) tends to freak out when Honey (the altered giant gal who likes some time to herself occasionally) isn't on the ground where he can see her. Twice today while they had free roam of the living room, Honey's feet left the ground, and each time Binky ran around rather frantically. The first time, I was holding Honey to give her some love. The second time, Honey jumped up on the loveseat. I think she did it to rile him up. She seemed amused watching him dart from here to there and back again. Both times, he instantly knew she was off the ground, even though Honey wasn't in his line of vision. Freaky. Obsessive freaky. I think Honey has a stalker.

I've been so inspired lately, I really want to make some aprons. Do I ever wear aprons? Well no, but maybe I might someday. And I know my girls would wear them. So, since I'm making some girly cloth napkins anyway, I am going to attempt two half aprons out of the same fabric. If they flop, I'll cut off the straps and call them napkins. But first I have to finish the napkins. Only 3 more to sew before apron fun begins.

I also saw the cutest little felt house ornament. I wish Michael's was only minutes away. Nevermind. It's best that it's 30 minutes away. That way the chances of me finishing one project before starting another one are better. Still pretty slim, but better. :-)

And I really wish my camera wasn't MIA. It's not a slip-into-your-pocket camera, it's got a big ol' lens on it. Meaning, it has fewer potential hiding spots. Still, it's found a good one. Hmmm. It better turn up soon. Two weeks from now Andy goes to Texas, and I want him to take pictures (because there is a possibility we'll move there for 1-2 years on our way to ultimately living in New Mexico... shh, I don't want to jinx anything, but this would be a really great thing for us!). The week after he gets back the girls and I begin our roadtrip adventure. Oh camera,if you are reading this, come home to me and I will upload all the pictures on your oh-so-full memory stick and charge your battery up right!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Deck the what?!?!? And Halloween, too.

So, I know I want my blog to be positive, but sometimes I'm just gonna have to rant. Like now.

Today was unseasonably warm. Hot, even. Mid-70's. Keep that in mind, would you?

As I left work at 3:30 this afternoon, I marvelled at how nice the weather was. Two Halloweens ago it was snowing, and today I was HOT in my jeans and running shoes (I was not hot because I was running, I was just wearing running shoes).

Get in the car. Unroll the windows. Turn on the radio.

Here's where my rant begins...

Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
'Tis the season to be jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

and here is where you cover the eyes of any little ones trying to learn to read at this moment.





What the F*^#? Seriously? We can't even go trick-or-treating before the over-commercialization of Christmas starts?

I love Christmas. The entire holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving preparations, is amazing. Such a focus on our family, our Savior, our home, the simple things that make our life complete. And all the baking. I love baking. And the music. I adore Christmas music. After Thanksgiving. Maybe a few songs in mid-November. Not a radio station devoting their programming to Christmas songs now. RIDICULOUS!!!

I know I'm a little crazy about this. I'm usually very easy-going. But one of my life rules is NO CHRISTMAS MUSIC BEFORE NOVEMBER. The unseasonably warm weather was just the cherry on top.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, trick-or-treating was fun. Lauren fell asleep on the way home from daycare, so Aubrey and I went t-or-t-ing while Andy and Lauren stayed home. Aubrey wore butterfly wings, with a cut-out fish around her neck - she was a butterfly fish (what I'd been at work earlier) and I wore her doughnut costume (cardboard cut-out decorated with felt frosting and sprinkles - what she had been at school*, girl scouts and daycare). And she got enough candy for 6 kids**. Lauren woke up minutes after Aubrey and I got home, so she put on her butterfly wings and I took her to Bob & Bev across the street, and called it a night. And my camera is MIA, so umm, sorry, no Halloween pictures.

*Apparently Aubrey'd been talking about her costume in class - when we arrive with her doughnut costume, one of the girls sees it and says, "Holy God, she wasn't kidding!" All I could do was laugh.

**I've always put a limit on candy consumption, but then it stays in the house for sooooo long, so Aubrey and I decided that we will all each as much as we want tonight, without even asking mom first!!! and then, beginning tomorrow, have a 2 piece a day limit. And, I decided unilaterally that all the candy expires about mid-November, no matter what. As I'm typing this, though, Lauren is claiming that the 11 blow-pops in her hands are all hers, and I'm maybe rethinking our plans for the night. :-)

In a kinda funny twist to my Christmas music/Halloween situation, I found out today that my sister will be with us for Christmas this year. That means enchilada casserole for Christmas Eve Dinner, and Grandpa John's sticky buns for breakfast Christmas day. And thinking of that puts me in the holiday spirit. But it's still way too freakin' early to deck my halls!

How was your Halloween? For your sake, I hope there was no decking of halls, silencing of the night or jingling of bells! ;-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A few of my favorite things....

Tea. Hot tea. It's gotta be herbal. Well, actually, it's gotta be Tazo Calm.
I often enjoy other varieties of tea, but my favorite tea by far is Tazo Calm. Subtle, light, refreshing, heavenly. I don't lie. I could drink it all day long. And sometimes I do. It's very similar to Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea, but a bit more grown up.

Another of my favorite things lately has been the NPR series of essays This I Believe. Anyone, anyone, can write an essay (I'm not sure how the submission process works) and it may end up in this series. Browsing their essays, I can spend hours clicking from one to another to another. It's amazing and inspiring, the varieties of "voices" featured. Really, though, I love anything on NPR's website these days. Except all the politics. I can't wait for November 6th.

Another of my favorite things is the legal pad I keep sitting on my desk at work. I don't like working, and wish I could be home with my girls, playing, creating, enjoying everyday things. But, since right now I need to work, I have my pad. List after list after list gets written. Things I need to do when I get home, things we want to do on the weekend, craft projects (that, admittedly, wouldn't get done even if I were home) that I think would be so cool, items to pack for our Thanksgiving roadtrip to New Mexico, and, always, groceries.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Confessions of a 2 1/2 year old

My name Warren. I wike to tawk

Did you know that Lauren used to be able to see the purple tree? But not anymore, because the purple tree got on roller skates and went away. To Grandpa Shane's house. Apparently there is a blue tree still around somewhere, though.

And the conversation just moments ago...

Mommy, you an owl!
I'm an owl?
No, you a animal!
An animal?
No, you a cracker!
I'm a cracker?
Yes, you a cracker. Hahahahaha!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wonderful Sunday

Let's start off by me informing you that I can ramble. I'm feeling kinda rambly.

Growing up, I always believed in God and knew I was Christian, but church wasn't really a part of our everyday lives. We went to church exactly 4 times a year... Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Sunday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

When we moved to Wisconsin, we chose to live in the same town as Andy's second cousin, who happens to be a pastor. She and her husband are pastors, actually. So we began going to their church. Regularly. Not 4x a year regularly, but just-about-every-Sunday regularly. And it was awesome. Such a great church family, lots of community involvement, global causes, and very welcoming. I became a member. Andy and Aubrey were baptized here. Lauren, too, when she was born.


However, a few months ago, something small happened at church that turned my stomach. Really, it's small and not the point of the story, you just need to know that after that incident my motivation for going to church was pretty low. I don't need to go to church to fill my spiritual cup, but I love to go when I enjoy it. And I know that Jesus knows my heart, and my not going to church every Sunday is okay. So this morning I really really didn't want to go, but I felt I should, and I knew that once I got there, the music would feel amazing. It always does.

So I went. With both girls. Aubrey chose to stay in the nursery the whole time, and Lauren stayed with me until I read the bulletin and saw that I was to do prayer ministry. So, down to the nursery Lauren went, and I did prayer ministry. At our church, that's held off to the side of the alter during communion. Anyone wanting someone to pray with them or for them may come over and we pray. *

The first woman to approach me, we'll call her Sal. Sal's got cancer. This is the 2nd time she's had it. It's really taking it's toll on her. Her doctor informed her this week that the drug she's using now is her last hope. There are 2 (FDA-approved) drugs she hasn't yet tried - this one and one that knocks your immunity down to nothing. Sal's immunity is really low anyway, she can't try the other. This is it. So we prayed. And cried. And talked. And cried.

This entire time, Steve is doing prayer ministry next to me, with other folks. I notice Julie standing back aways, and she never approaches Steve, even though he's 'open.' She waits for Sal to leave me. Which took awhile. Communion was done, things were moving right along. So, Jule approaches me and asks that I pray for her heart. She's younger then I am (I'm 28) and she's got a heart condition. Has started new meds and is hoping for the best, but might be pregnant, and a pregnancy is not what her heart can handle right now. Pray, cry, talk, comfort... all the while I really kept feeling like everything was going to be fine, and I told her such. Not in a way to dismiss her feelings, just that for what it was worth, that's what my intuition was saying.

Being prayer minister today was the last thing I set out to do this morning. I'm so glad I didn't skip church, and that I got to pray with Sal and Julie. That filled my spiritual cup more than any song could today, it was just what I needed.

* Praying out loud is a fear of mine. I'm not comfortable doing it. I never would've chosen to do prayer ministry at all. In fact, I didn't choose to do it. One night last April I was laying in bed. Everyone else was asleep, I was almost there. Out of the blue, clear as day, I thought to myself, "I should really get over this fear of praying out loud, what is that all about anyway?" Then I fell asleep, woke up the next day and forgot that I had told myself I needed to conquer this fear. Until I got the mail that afternoon. A letter from the volunteer coordinator at church, asking me to join the prayer ministers, and noting that she'd been praying for some time and I that my name came to her. So, with a little nudge from God, I am working on this fear of mine. One random Sunday at a time.

In other news, we might wake up to snow. So I ran out and clipped my asters, one lonely daisy and my pineapple sage, and they are all crammed into my Grandma Ruthie's pewter pitcher right now, making my table look so welcoming and put-together. I rarely have cut flowers in the house, but I need to do it more often. Ha, great time to make this resolution, as we are expecting snow, huh? (Store-bought bouquets are just not the same!)

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

Check out these adorable skirts! I'm in love. And inspired.

And, thank you, Emily, for sharing this link! :-)
oops, double-post! sorry, carry on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can't argue the logic

Listening to NPR on the way home from work, the topic is the upcoming election. Shocking, huh? Anyway, a gentleman with a very heavy (unidentifiable to me) accent very eloquently said that the dems exploit everyone but Americans, while the republicans exploit everyone incuding Americans. And that he won't vote for Obama because of the democrats history, not apologizing for this thing or the other. And that he wants to vote for Nader, but if the election is close in Wisconsin, he'll vote McCain because if McCain wins, he'll push us past the breaking point so bad that we (Americans) will finally see the problems and seek the necessary changes. Hahahahaha. I so can't argue with him. He thinks there are some things wrong with our country. Who doesn't. But to have the balls to say "let's elect the guy who'll screw us over the most, so maybe then we'll learn." I laughed out loud. I've been laughing out loud. And I still can't argue with him. He's one smart dude.

*one smart dude does not necessarily express the views and opinions of this author, he just makes her laugh.

Maybe you are left scratching your chin, thinking I've lost my marbles. If that's the case, then let's just say it was funnier in person. Or that I've lost my marbles. Really, it could go either way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

three things

I so totally copied this from a blog I stumbled upon in my wanderings around the web today, and thought it seemed fun. Enjoy!

3 Favorite Last Purchases:
1. Eggs from my egg lady
2. Halloween costume pieces at Goodwill
3. Apples at the orchard

3 Fears:
1. Outliving my children
2. Dying in a car crash
3. Snakes and other creepy-crawly critters

3 Favorite Movies:
1. The Notebook
2. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
3. Nannie McPhee

3 Facts About Me:
1. I love baking
2. I am very creative
3. I am L A Z Y

3 Things I haven't done:
1. Made Shaker-Stuffed Flank Steak - the dish my husband drools over but it's an entire day in the kitchen (and it falls under cooking NOT baking)
2. Visited my sister in Prague
3. Bike around Geneva Lake

3 Things I can't live without:
1. my family
2. craft supplies
3. the full moon

3 Things on today's list:
1. Turn in Daisy fundraiser paperwork
2. Fold laundry
3. Return The Creative Family http://amandasoule.com/book/ (I haven't yet figured out how to insert text instead of the actual website for links yet - any help?) to the library. And make a mental note to tell Andy that all I want for Christmas is that book

3 Favorite dishes:
1. Mom's red chile enchiladas
2. Daddy's chicken curry
3. Andy's Sunday breakfasts

3 Places I have lived:
1. Albuquerque
2. Richmond, VA
3. Wisconsin

3 Favorite tv shows:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. Deperate Housewives
3. Brothers & Sisters

3 Places I have traveled:
1. Northwest Washington
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Deming, NM

3 Favorite Desserts:
1. Pig Lickin' Cake
2. Homemade pumpkin pie
3. warm buttermilk pie

3 Things I would buy if money wasn't an issue:
1. A lifetime of yoga classes
2. A vacation to Prague
3. A long cardigan like this http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sr_gallery_14&listing_id=16245870

3 Wishes:
1. To live communally on Andy's parents' property with his parents, siblings and their families.
2. Financial freedom.
3. A simple, quality life with plenty of time to enjoy and create.

3 People I tag:
1. April
2. Emily
3. Alison (psst - since you don't blog, you can post it as a comment here or e-mail it to me)

bunnylove

We have 5 fur friends in our home, 3 cats and 2 rabbits. A week ago we only had 1 rabbit (Honey - a giant albino - spayed female), but our neighbors gave us theirs (Binky, a black dwarf intact male), and I spent some time researching how to introduce bunnies to eachother. Bunny dates are recommended to get things going. The dates must always be on neutral territory, aka my bathroom.

On date #1 Binky took a few minutes to come out of his carrier and check things out, and then he took 1.7 seconds to mount Honey. Right in the middle of her back. Later attempts that same first date were a bit more on target if you catch my drift. The date lasted about 30 minutes. Date #2 - more mounting, lots of chasing, and they both seemed completely relaxed. Binky even got mad at me when I told him the date was over and he needed to go back home.

After the 2 neutral dates I brought Binky into Honey's enclosure - his future home sweet home - and things were a little crazy for awhile, as they figured out who got to be in charge. And, as it turns out, Honey kinda led Binky on in the mounting department. The behavior she somewhat tolerated while dating just doesn't fly anymore. So now instead of trying to mount Honey in order to make babies (I haven't yet told Binky he'll never be a father), he's out just for pleasure.... he'll groom Honey's ears, get her nice and relaxed and then attack her face. Yes, her face. All while still grooming her. She tolerates Binky gettin' it on on her face, which I so do not relate to, but they've figured out what works for them. And the girls think they're just playing.

So neat to see how quickly they've bonded, though. After Binky's 4th night here, his former owner came over. Stuck his hand over the enclosure to pet Binky, and Honey attacked him. Not the way Binky attacks Honey, just to be clear, but was obviously protecting Binky from the man she doesn't know. And, just a litte while ago, Honey worked her way under her blanket so that only a small patch of her hiney was exposed. Binky freaked out. Ran circles all around her, lookng for her. Holy crap, it was hilarious. He knew she was there, but he couldn't see her. Kind of like when Mommy wants to take a bath, and she closes the bathroom door (maybe even locks it) and her children are left outside screaming "Mommy! Can I come in?" "I'm thirsty!" "Can I have some candy?" "I havta pee." "My sister hit me, so I hit her back!" I foresee Honey hiding under her blanket often, to get a break from Binky or to mess with him, depending on her mood. And how often Binky has tried to score with her face in the last hour.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quick, any AMAZING ideas?

I just found out about Google's 10th Anniversary contest - Project 10 to the 100th - http://www.project10tothe100.com/index.html

Searching for the next big ideas that will help us all. The deadline is tomorrow, in case you've got a plan to save the world and want Google to help you make it happen. I can't imagine how many ideas they've got coming in, but what a cool idea! I keep thinking, even the ideas that won't win might get enough exposure to cause some little ripples of change, if not tidal waves. Woohoo. I'm ridiculously excited. Maybe partly because I submitted my very own world-saving idea just moments ago. My idea - replace as many household paper products as you can with cloth. Napkins, diapers, papertowels, toilet paper, baby wipes, menstrual pads, you get the idea. I gave much more detail in my submission, and now it's late and I'm sleepy, so if you want any more information, let me know and I'll share (FYI - all of my examples are ones that I personally do - though the toilet paper is not a 100% commitment - mostly because I don't have that many wipes. Well no, I have that many wipes, I just don't like laundry that much - and, speaking of laundry, I just throw the napkins and extra kitchen towels in with my regular towel loads while the diapers, wipes and pads, they get their own load with a pre-wash soak to boot - only 1 more load of laundry a week for our family of 4).

TTFN
Rachel

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Single-tasking Challenge

I found this article about how multi-tasking isn't all that great, and it made lots of sense to me. http://www.naturalsolutionsmag.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/articleSearch.article/articleID/15049/pageID/1/headline/SlowDownYouMoveToo/fontSize/13

I want to take this challenge, but I can't commit to it at the moment - I need to mentally prepare myself. I know, silly. But still, the thought of NOT answering the phone when it rings because I'm making dinner, while freeing, is also kinda scary. Anyone want to single-task with me? Might be the motivation I need to give it a try. :-)

In other news, Aubrey was up off and on throughout the night because her ear was hurting her. So I kept her home from school, and she seems fine. So fine that I threatened to take her to school when she was driving me batty. Hopefully she'll be fine tonight, because I'm sure the pain comes from laying down long enough for the fluid to work its' way up into the ears. Maybe I'll just have her camp on the recliner tonight and call it good.

And, Colleen just called (I sent Lauren to daycare today even though I'm working from home - I cannot work with her here!) to say that Lauren keeps going up to Grace. "You Grace. My name Warren. You can say 'Hi' me now. I Warren." She's done this repeatedly. Only to Grace, who has been at teh daycare since before lauren started going - it's not like Grace is new there. Too silly.

And, my typing what Lauren was saying, made me notice that each of girls, before they could pronounce their own names, had "boy names." Aubrey called herself 'Bobby' - a nickname that has stuck with our sometimes-babysitter, Ashley, who always calls her 'Bob.' And, obviously, Lauren calls herself 'Warren.' Bobby and Warren, my boys. :-)

Okay, back to work I go.......

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

locked?

My blog was flagged as a potential spam blog - what the heck? Very ODD! I'm glad Blogger is watching out for us, but I'm so curious as to what about my blog appeared spam-like in their algorithm.

I'm currently watching the debate and I must say, it isn't holding my attention well. I'm trying, though, because I think it's important. Even though I know who I'm voting for, I should watch to solidify my decision, or possibly change it (though I don't foresee that happening this election). *yawn*

I'm drooling over the hanna anderson catalog that came today. I want this

<~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(with the matching dress for both my girls)


and this...


and lots of other things, too, but these two I really really love.

Monday, October 6, 2008

sick folk

We are a house of sickies right now. Poor Aubrey's got it the worst, and Lauren and I are both feeling it. Andy is, too, but he pushed himself to get to work this morning. I'm hoping he'll be home early.

Our weekend was full of resting, trying to get over the sickies. And I also spent a long evening helping my Jaimie get her new apartment somewhat settled. She's leaving her husband, and I so wanted to talk to her about that and everything that goes along with it, but her children (not from this marraige) and her step-son, along with assorted friends of the kids, were always around, so real adult conversation will wait. I was able to help with the unpacking a little bit, though, and I threw together a big pot a vegetable soup for people to eat when they got hungry, because I knew otherwise it would be a late trip to McD's for something less-then-healthy and $$$ - I've moved too many times in my life to not know how that works!

This weekend fall seemed to hit with a vengence. So Sunday morning Aubrey and I snuck away to Goodwill (this was when Aubrey's energy was good and she seemed like she was mostly better, and the puking hadn't yet hit!). I love that store. Anyway, I made sure Aubrey took it easy still - sitting in the cart for part of the trip, lots of trips to the water fountain. We found her several cute pairs of pants and some long sleeved shirts that I wouldn't let her not get. I found a pair of jeans and a super cute black skirt I can wear to work. No luck on shirts for me, that'll be another day. We also found Aubrey's wings for Halloween - she wants to be a fairy - and Lauren's cowboy hat, because she wants to be a cowboy. "No, not a cowgirl, me be a cowboy!" I also found (but didn't buy) assorted things to decorate the house. See, I was on a budget (even at Goodwill) and the house I was mentally decorating is the house several states away, that has yet to be found. I can't justify buying loads of cute things in Wisconsin only to put them in a box and haul them 1000+ miles away, you know?

I hope you had a great weekend. :-)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Our camping trip in photos

Run, run, fast as you can, you can't catch Aubrey, she's headed toward the playground!

Her exact words were, "Go away, Mommy!" (I think she was tired of the camera!)

Round and round they went, Lauren always wanting to go faster then Aubrey.

Delicious Stone Stew, made by Andy. Yes, that's a stone in the middle of our stew.

An earthworm friend we made.


Our caterpillar friend - we named him Chubby Cheeks and played with him for quite awhile. Then we took him home and put him in a nice little habitat to watch him, and he died.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

craft projects of the week


First, Aubrey's Flower Princess crown. Her back-from-summer-break Daisy Girl Scout meeting was to be a "princess picnic" and, well, we don't do too much princess in our house, so I made Aubrey a crown. I'd been wanting to make her one for awhile, and turns out the princess picnic was the motivation I needed. All the fabric is felt, the ribbon a grossgrain that I machine sewed on with a fancy machine stitch and verigated thread, and her initial, along with the middles of the flowers, are just little glass beads. This was so easy to make. And pretty quick.

Next (and last craft project of this post) is the play dough. Aubrey's been asking for months if we could make play dough, and she always happened to ask in the middle of making dinner, or driving to the library, or after brushing teeth before bed. So, finally, tonight, I remembered that she's been wanting to do this and I got it started. My helpers were so helpful, picking out the two most beautiful colors - "bwue" is what Lauren chose, like the ocean, while Aubrey opted for yellow. Egg yolk yellow, if you ask me.

As you can probably tell from the picture, there seems to be more green play dough then the afore-mentioned bwue and yellow. Yup. Because when asked if the two could be mixed, I took a deep breath to calm the OCD and responded sweetly with, "It's your playdough, what do you think?" A resounding "YES!" immediately followed, along with requests for bowls, for the proper mixing. Tools are everything, you know.

I predict that by tomorrow at dinner time, there will be no visible evidence of there ever having been two seperate, distinct batches of play dough made today, and that the hulk green that we've created will be made into pizza, cookies, blueberry pie, towers and assorted family members.

(And, because I am sure you are so curious, the bowl pictured is my favorite bowl, and since it is my favorite, it is also Aubrey's favorite. This means that sometimes we fight over it. No, not really, but if she weren't one of the loves of my life, I just might fight her for it!)