Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Everything Post

You know that list you keep next to your computer, or bed, or in your car or wherever it is that you write your blog ideas? Mine's scattered around the house and eventualy it comes to sit next to my keyboard. Well, mine's getting a little long which is bad considering I really never run out of things to blog about (does that say something about my verbosity - is that even a word, I know I've used it before lol).

So, I'm going to throw a few posts into one and get it out there...

My good friend Katie unexpectedly had her baby last Monday. Unexpectedly because she was planning to be induced the day after Thanksgiving but she went into labor a little early. His name is Luka and he was so tiny and precious. I felt like I was holding a loaf of bread instead of a baby. I promptly displayed my love for her and her family two days later by forgetting to take them dinner after I'd told them I would. 5:30, I'm sitting at Village Inn and the phone rings. Oops. I know she forgave me but what an idiot I am! Anyway, a public "Congratulations" Katie and family! I'm so happy for you!

What's this about babies? My little sister Ellen-Melon is having another baby! Oh yeah, she's the sister that also has a 6 month old, and a 2 year old. She'll have "3 under 3". Oh. My. I managed to croak "Congratulations", my mind spinning at the thought, but if anyone has the temperment to handle 3 toddlers, it would be her....not me. So that's happy news! Somewhat unexpected, she doesn't even know how far along she is! They're happy!

Aren't they Cute?

And, nearly 2 weeks ago, I was presented with the I've Got a Friend in You award by my blogging friend Tish at The Kat House. Thanks Tish!

I would like to pass this on to Ute, who although has polar opposite beliefs than me, is nonetheless a good friend because she doesn't let it get in the way. I like that a lot. She recently went to Germany for a month and I missed her while she was gone, and I'm glad to see her face on my blog again :).

I'd also like to pass this award along to FriendinMe, which stands for Friend in Maine, just as a little clarification that he has made himself from time to time. I don't know much about him because his blog isn't that type (like mine, all about me, me, me) but I visit it regularly for a laugh, and he's one of my more regular visitors...and commentators. I've come to look forward to his comments, because that's how I'm getting to know him. The blog world is a funny and great place!

If anyone's wondering why I put a dysfunctional link under a picture of the award instead of a link with the picture, it's because I'm stupid and I don't know how. There. There it is. It's out.

I'm working on my Christmas list in response to a tag from Jessica, another good blogging friend. Check out her extensive list of what she wants from Santa. I'm doing this, it's just taking me some time to compile the list and pics. It's harder than I thought.

I also wanted to tell you about a great website I found while lurking on Spilt Milk. There's a link to a site called Free Rice. When you go to this site, you play a vocabulary game where you guess the meaning of a difficult vocabulary word. Each correct guess earns you 20 grains of rice that are donated to a variety of countries in need such as Ecuador, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and the Phillipines. In a short time, I earned over 3,000 grains (about a bowl of rice). It's fun because it tests your knowledge of vocabulary and increases its challenge depending on how well you do. Try it out!

Lionhouse Rolls - They're Magical

Okay, not really magical but they're the best!

A few months ago, I was on a personal quest to find the best roll recipe. I tried so many different types. Some had sour cream, some had potatoes, some had potatoe water. Some used white flour, others wheat. They were all good rolls but none were GREAT.

My critiera was simple. They had to taste as good as they looked, and vice versa. I wanted them to be so good that I could take them to any event and have people drooling before they even took a bite. Rolls have a way of doing that if they're baked correctly.

I gave up. I decided never to make rolls again. I just couldn't find the right one!

Then, a few people I know started talking about the Lionhouse Rolls recipe. I'd heard of it before, in fact Lionhouse is popular for many great recipes. Lionhouse is primarily a Utah bakery located in the Deseret Book stores. They sell cookbooks too along with a lot of other stuff.

Everyone kept talking about how great these rolls were, so at Thanksgiving, my little sister came and made those rolls in my kitchen. And they fit the bill on all counts!

So, I want to share this great recipe with whoever is interested. Rolls are easy to make if you follow the directions correctly. Bread recipes are not the kind where you "guess", and "estimate". But the rewards for due diligence are so great: the smell, the taste, fresh bread in YOUR kitchen, the accomplishment!

Here's the recipe:

Lion House Dinner Rolls

2 c. warm water (110-115 degrees)
2/3 c. instant, nonfat dry milk
2 Tbsp. dry yeast
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening, butter, or margarine
1 egg
5 - 5 1/2 c. flour

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water and the milk powder and stir so the milk dissolves. Add the yeast to this mixture then the sugar, salt, shortening, egg, and 2 c. flour. Mix on low speed of mixer until ingredients are wet then turn to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 2 more cups of flour then mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then turn on medium speed and mix for 2 more minutes. The dough will be getting stiff and you may need to remove the bowl from the mixer and mix in remaining flour by hand. Add approximately 1/2 c. flour and mix well. If the dough is sticky add another 1/2 c. flour and mix again. (this can be done by hand or mixer). The dough should be soft, not sticky, and not stiff. (It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour).

Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and pour approximately 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil all around the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough over in the bowl so it is covered by the oil. (This helps prevent the dough from drying out). Cover with plastic and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size. Sprinkle cutting board or counter with flour and put dough on the flour. It is now ready to cut or shape in desired size rolls. Place on greased baking pans. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls are double in size. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are browned to your satisfaction.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's All in the Details!!

The holidays have rolled around, and if you're like the rest of the world, you've probably either begun or thought about hefting up the pile of christmas crap from the basement to load onto your mantle and front porch: lights, christmas village, tree, bulbs, wreaths, santas, etc.

You've thought of everything. You are decorating EVERY ROOM in the house this year because you are expecting guests and want it all to be so festive.

But...did you remember the holiday toilet paper? Well then my friend, you are not TRULY in the Christmas spirit!

Just imagine the looks on your guests faces when, in the confined solidarity of your throne room, they begin their search of the hottest commodity, at their particular time in need, and they see this
You'll be the talk of the neighborhood! Everyone will want to come use your potty! And why not? You're the consumate host! You have thought of everything!

The funniest thing is that half of you are wondering where in the heck you can buy this stuff! Although I'm not advertising for them, you can buy it here.

Put the lid down when you're through k?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Email Spam

Have you ever noticed that exactly at the stroke of midnight on Thanksgiving until the close of day December 25th, your email box delivers 968 weeks worth of Sunday Newspaper advertisements? I get email overload just downloading them. I literally have to wade through them all to find the "real" emails from friends and such.

I am a big lover of Christmas, and I know I've said it before BUT- I hate the commercialism!!

No, I don't want to give gas as a christmas gift!
No, I don't want to buy my friends a new car mats & auto air freshners!
No, I don't want to buy my dad a new car just to show him how much I love him!
And No! I don't want to buy paper clips & ink cartridges for my husband!


Monday, November 26, 2007

More About Christmas Lights

After my last post last, here, about Christmas lights on my house, I got back up there and spent a few more hours stringing them along the roofline. It took another 8 strings, and when I was done I was so excited. I plugged the extension cord into the plug with high anticipation ... and...nothing.

Can you even fathom my frustration?

I tried another extension cord since the one I was using was looking to be useless. Same thing. I wasn't sure what I was going to do about it but I knew I'd have to get up there again and do something! All those hours of work WOULD NOT be wasted.

I was putting it off until my Thanksgiving company was gone. It obviously wasn't going to take just a couple of minutes especially since I know nothing about ...well, anything related to being handy. I thought I'd get the tree up, and decorations out and then head up there but DH beat me to the punch (mainly since my rediculous "pre-lit" Christmas tree lights were on the fritz). He got up there and within 1/2 hour had it all figured out.

DUH! The thought never occurred to me that I had 476,214 million strings of lights plugged into one outlet! It took .0000002 seconds and the fuse blew. DH changed the fuse just to be sure, and again, it blew. Earth to Amy!

We ran another extension cord and Voila!, we have lights! I am now a beacon to all alien-life in outer space! As DH would say (about me),

"come...take me home!"

I feel like after all I've learned about electricity (and Christmas lights) - from this house-lights & other tree-lights experiences I've had this year, I should be awarded some type of Santa-issued "Merry Christmas" diploma!

And, of all the monopolies we, as a society, try to crush - the one that should be promoted relate to the design of Christmas light plastic hanger thing-a-ma-jiggers (oh, and actual lights). I can't be the only person in the universe frustrated by the inconsistency of these! The lack of continuity made me want to rip my hair out! Am I just simple? Ugghhhh!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Re-cap of Thanksgiving & Black Friday

Yeah! My turkey was delicious! It was done at 2pm, perfect timing. Just enough time to cool and carve and the brining, well let me just say there was not much turkey left over for sandwiches. It was spectacular! Even the white meat was juicy!

The Lord has blessed us with the opportunity to have so much, it's wonderful to have a day to spend with our families, and give thanks for all we have. Even without all the material possessions (of which I have too much), I have more than I deserve.

My sisters and I stayed up until 1:30 am planning our Black Friday required intense concentration! There were lots of good deals to be had and we seriously had it all out on paper...where we were going to go, and when, who was going to go to what departments to get what. It was so organized!

Three hours of sleep later, we arrive at ShopKo where my sisters dropped me. They headed to Toys R Us for some other fantastic dealio. However...Toys R Us really sucks!
They advertised that they had a Zune on sale for some outrageous price and it attracted about a million shoppers who congragated for the 5am open. There were...nine...of the Zunes available. While Toys R Us had legally mentioned they had limited quantities available, they failed to mention they had less than ten! What BS! Needless to say, there was a lot of pushing, shoving, shouting, and other mayhem. My sisters gave up and joined me at ShopKo where the lines were equally as horendous! I stood in line 5x longer than it took to grab my stuff...but I got great deals!

From there, we hit WalMart, SuperTarget, Roberts Crafts, and back to ShopKo because they really have good sales on all sorts of home stuff, and electronics. It was way easier after the 5 am panic rush of the day-after-Thanksgiving-shopping "Crazies".

We arrived back home at 10:30 and again, my entire Tahoe was full. You open any door besides where we were sitting, and stuff would be falling out. Unloaded into my living room, here's a pic. It actually doesn't look like much here but I think there was a bunch that didn't make it into the pic.

We all manged to get nearly all of our Christmas shopping done. What's left is stocking stuff, and just miscellaneous . Wow! That's a great feeling! After we got home, we wrapped all of the presents (ha! the tree isn't even up, and the presents are already wrapped!), and then we all took a little snoozer.

All in all, it's been a great weekend! Now on to the Christmas decorating...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Turkey's In...

As of 8:00, it's in the oven. I brined that big sucker like Kelly said here... I trust her. If she said it's great, then I'm pretty sure it is. It was actually sort of a fun process. I put all the stuff in the bucket, stuck the turkey in there and put it out on the deck for the night where I thought it had re-frozen. I was sort of scared as I opened it this morning. But it hadn't, whew! As I brought the bucket inside, I got raised eyebrows from DH. Evidently he's never seen a turkey in a bucket. Well, neither have I but I'll try anything once!

Dinner's at 3. The turkey's on ( and said 5 - 5 1/2 hrs for 24 lbs.) You see I've padded it a little :). Most everything else is either prepared or 1/2 prepared. I was up late cooking last night with my little sister. She was a great help and fun to cook with. I'm the bossy one and she is a good worker bee.

By the end of the night we both were so tired we were cracking jokes at the dumbest things and laughing until I thought I'd pee my pants. I knew then it was time to hit the hay.

DH's vote is that Tom won't be done, I'll let you know...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Deptford Mice History

Last night I finished reading "The Deptford Mice Histories" by Robin Jarvis. It is a a series of 3 books that are the prequel to a trilogy called "The Deptford Mice Trilogy".

When I first picked up "The Alchemist's Cat", I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not I would like it. But it wasn't very long before I was really into that book. So I went back to the library and got the next two. These three books don't seem to relate to each other as you're reading them but knowing that you have to read them to have an understanding of the history before reading the Trilogy was actually sort of fun!

I went back to the library today and got the first two books of the Trilogy, and I was a bit disappointed to see that both books aren't as big as these other books. I do like a big, thick book. But if the content is nearly as suspenseful and fun to read as the others, then I shouldn't have any complaints.

These books are found in the juvenile section of the library, in the same place that books like Harry Potter are found, which is how I found them in the first place. But just because they are written for adolescents, much like Harry Potter, they are entertaining for adults as well and I highly recommend them if you like a good fantasy series.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Parenting Styles and Thoughts on Independence

I was reading in a fantastic book called Babyproofing Your Marriage about parenting styles. This is a great book for understanding what the heck happens to marriages once the baby happens to it.

The book has a theory that there are two types of parents. One type is concerned primarily with the child's safety and happiness. The other type is primarily concerned with the child's development over time and ensuring that that child will develop necessary skills for living in the world later. These are overarching concerns that somehow imbue themselves into most actions these parents have. Not that one isn't concerned with the other stuff just that it's not the MOST IMPORTANT. Usually there is one of each in a marriage, and it's called balance. I am of the latter type. That my daugher is well-rounded, adapted and independent is the concern that colors most of my behaviors toward her.

She's only 3 1/2 and so of course it's difficult to judge if I've done a good job so far. I think I have but that's just me. But I watch her, and I like what I see. She's very independent, knows what she wants and how to get it. She's not a follower. She can play with somebody or alone. She knows how to calm herself, and to amuse herself. She's adaptable and can solve problems. This is of course all in the context of being a toddler. Then again, she throws huge fits, doesn't like to share, is rude and snatches toys from babies. We're working on these things.

But as I look at the direction we're headed, I like what I see. If we can temper the tantrums (ha, little play with words), teach her some kindness, chewing with her mouth shut, and deflate the super-ego she's going to have because of her "other-parent-type" dad, we'll be in good shape.

To all the mothers out there who share their children's time with SP, I'm sorry if she's a brat sometimes, especially if I don't notice. She and I - we're works in progress.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What Are You Eating????

I made a comment on someone's blog yesterday about what they are eating. Rather I commented that I am always interested in what other people are eating! She was running out of things to post about for the NoBloPoMo which is basically a community of bloggers who, starting November 1, committed to post every single day of the month. She was running dry. I said she she should mention what she eats. Don't you ever wonder what habits people have when they eat? I do. I told her what I ate yesterday. Very boring to me, but she lives in Australia and I'm sure she thought I was weird. Well, that's true but what can I say? Today, I had a piece of toast and a vitamin smoothie. I had a few bites of some of SP's Cheesy Noodleroni - blech, why does she like that stuff? Better question...Why do I buy that stuff? So, leave me a comment: seriously, what did you eat today? I have always been really, really curious what other people eat!

....And I ordered my new laptop last night. HP's having a big $400 sale off of a customized laptop over $1,300. So after all my customizations and the discount, it came to less than $1,000 and it's going to be a pretty sweet little machine. I'm really excited! I got an HP dv6500t (T5350 DDR2 120 GB harddrive). I also bought a little USB port extender and a memory card converter/reader thingamajig. The computer's supposedly being shipped Dec 4 and it'll be like Christmas - OH IT IS CHRISTMAS! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Shoes

There's a relatively new store in Salt Lake called DWS Shoes. It's in the Fort Union area where Mervyn's California used to be. I've always wanted to go in there but thinking it was probably just like Famous Footwear, I thought "why bother". I really don't like Famous Footwear that much because most of their shoes are not practical for a mother, and too trendy (and consequently sort of expensive for what you get). Such as, a pair of regular old flip flops can run you $40 depending on who makes them. That's a rip off and I don't care how much of a snob you are.

I've been trying to get some shoes for my winter outfits and to tell the truth, it's been pretty hard finding things that I really like. And I'm having to branch out of my comfort zone...which is flip flops, crocks, and strappy sandals for church. Pretty boring.

I went on and found a huge selection although some of their shoes were found at Amazon for like 50% cheaper, in fact I bought a pair from Amazon that I had found at Zappos. Turns out I hate them and am sending them back.

So in my quest to replace the Amazon/Zappos loafer/pumps I headed over to DSW because...I was desperate. Turns out I love that place! They have more upscale brands, not just trendy but really nice, well-made shoes by makers that you don't find at Famous Footwear, or other quick & dirty shoe places. And, their selection is humongous! Way more than Famous Footwear! Plus, they have a huge clearance section in the back that isn't just all their leftover crap. There were some good deals back there too!

When I got home, I googled DSW and was faintly amused to find that it directed me to I actually wasn't surprised given the selection. It's nice to have a place you can GO physically. I think I like to actually put the shoe on before I buy it. The internet's great but for some things, you just want it in your hands before you put your money down.

I'd give you a linkaroo to Zappos or DSW but I don't want you thinking I'm doing an advertisement. Just my thoughts on shoe-buying in general.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear Tom

When I saw you at Costco the other day, I was so impressed! Your body spoke to me as you sat among your friends. It said, "I am yours! Do with me what you will!" I was immediately taken. There among your friends, you weren't the most grandiose but you were certainly the best I'd seen until then!

I snatched your 24 lb frozen body and hefted it into my shopping cart, the first leg of your trip to my Thanksgiving dinner table.

Mr. Tom, you weren't alive 6 years ago when I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner when one of your pen-fellows was supposed to grace my table. He wasn't so large as you, about 4 lbs. lighter but he never made it to my table in one piece. His little stubborn spirit wouldn't allow himself to cook fast enough to be done by 2pm. Poor little guy was carved up and barbequed so that my guests weren't left in the lurch.

Oh please Mr. Tom. Please don't embarrass me this year. Please have mercy on this wretched cook and be a good little, I mean big turkey. Do me proud and pop out of the oven right on time, brown and crispy and beautiful! If you do, I promise that you will be the center of attention for 10 whole minutes as we gaze hungrily upon your beautiful body, anticipating the moment when we can be one with you.

Here's to an oven that works...

Love, Amy

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

While engaged in some blog lurking this evening, I came across a new blog that I really enjoy. Her name is Melanie, and her blog is This Aint New York. She has a post that I wanted to share and so, with her permission (I did ask her), I've posted the whole thing. Here it is:

Hello, My name is...

I was sipping some citrus-flavored mineral water at a party when she asked me.It was a Let's get together and chat, have some tasty appetizers, listen to a presentation about home-based business, and then browse through a catalogue of gorgeous items while considering our budgets because some of us do not work home-based, mall-based, or otherwise-based kind of party.
And I do love me some tasty appetizers.

And shopping from my neighbor's easy chair.

So she asked me. She wasn't the first. Someone else at the party had asked the same thing.
"What do you do?"

As I swallowed my sip of citrus-flavored mineral water, I paused for a moment, considering her possible response, and I answered, "I am a Stay At Home Mom."


Several years ago, I would not have left it at that. I would have recited my resume of accomplishments, some fairly remarkable, but most not. I would have explained the whys and the how's and the maybe one days.

But not anymore.

Oh, I could tell her what I do. I do laundry. I do dishes. I do the floors. I do the grocery shopping. I even do windows, on occasion.

I get up in the morning, still sleepy from the night before, and I roll out of bed and shuffle to the coffee maker. I start warming the frozen pancakes for breakfast and then trod up the stairs to wake my sleepy daughter for school.

I trod back down the stairs, trying not to trip over the cat who thinks she is supposed to be the first one fed. Then I check on the microwaved pancakes, pour on the syrup (I don't skimp) and set the plate at the kitchen counter, calling upstairs for my sleepy daughter to come down to eat or we will be late this morning.

Meanwhile, my husband is getting ready for work and I am trying to make sure he has clean clothes, and tell him a quick Good Morning before he rushes out the door.
Once I get the sleepy daughter to eat, get dressed and brush her teeth and do a good job or you will end up at the dentist with a cavity, I head out the door in my sweats, no make-up, except for some under-eye concealer and take my daughter to school before I start my day of doing laundry, doing dishes, and doing the grocery shopping.

But the woman at this party eating spinach-artichoke dip doesn't really want to know all of that. She doesn't really want to know what I do. What she really wants to know is who I am.
For some women, who they are is so tightly woven into what they do, that they soon lose who they are. When asked, they say, "I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a teacher. I am a doctor." Yes, they are all of those things, and all of those things are so very important in forming who they are.

And what about me? I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a Stay At Home Mom. I am a Sunday School teacher. I am all of those things, but lately, I am learning and listening and seeing that there is only one job, one identity that is truly important.

I am His.

So when I am doing the laundry and the dishes, and even the windows, my prayer is that I will reflect what Christ would have me be through Him. I fail miserably, mostly when I try to do everything in my own strength. It is when I give it all to God, that His Love shines through, not mine. Only when I humble myself and remember what I am not, can I share with other people what an awesome God He is.My prayer, my hope, is that when people meet me, they won't wonder what I do, or who I am. They won't even want to know anything about me, but somehow through my faith and failures in this imperfect life I live, they will want to know The God who helps me through it all.They will only see Him for Who He is.

They will see His goodness. His mercy. His love. And they will turn to Him and say, "Nice to meet you."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


DH always is complaining how I fail to "consult" with him regarding big decisions (or even smaller ones) that I make. He says that rather, I always just "tell" him what I'm going to do. To me, if I am even opening my mouth to divulge my plans, that is a way of consulting or why would I bother? It's opening a discussion. I always thought it was just semantics.

It's not.

I was recently "told" some information that I would rather have been "consulted" on. And let me just say it was not pleasant. It was not DH; it was my mother. The information she gave me was not in and of itself the unpleasant business, but how I was informed.

I never realized how difficult it can be to be "told" something when you really should be consulted instead, out of respect. This must be what DH is complaining about, and for the first time in my life, I realize the mistake I've been making. I never could understand his point until it happened to me. Although I exhibited full-on anger at first, it quickly became apparent that it was hurt I was feeling. I've been minimized.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Black Friday

It's become a tradition with me and my older sister, who lives just 30 minutes from me, to participate in the Black Friday mad-rush sales event that usually starts typically at 5 AM the day after Thanksgiving. Some stores have even gone so far as to start at midnight for those with a huge shopping compulsion. No, I've actually never considered going. I'm still up yakking.

I've done very well at those sales in years past. I usually am able to get 75% of my shopping done in 5 hours, and it's so fun! My sister and I stay up way too late gabbing, then one of us sleeps in an the other has to go wake them up. We stumble out of the house barely awake, looking like crap because of course we don't bother to shower. We hit about 7-8 different stores and by the time we're done, the SUV is usually completely full - to the brim, window to window!

We get home around 10 AM, and unpack our loot onto the living room floor. Trying to sort out who bought what is always a challege since usually we buy several of the same thing, many things on impulse and forget who we bought things for, etc. You get the idea.

The worst (and actually a sort-of exciting part) of the sales is that you don't get the Black Friday sales flyers until Thanksgiving morning. So you basically have 1 day to decide all the things you want to buy, amongst all the other things you're trying to do that day. A prepared gift list is a must-have in order to make best use of your time.

You should see these parking lots at 5 AM though. They are PACKED! I love the mad rush inside for the hottest deals - I am RUTHLESS! Don't mess with me granny - I don't give a crap if you have a baby in your arms - get out of my way! Just kidding. I'm not that bad. Though did you hear a couple years ago about the lady who, I think, died in a Black Friday sale from being trampled? I'm surprised it doesn't happen every year!

You might think I'm weird for doing this. I don't think I'd do it if I were alone. It would take all the fun out of it not to have someone to shop with. My sister and I are so in-tuned with each other's shopping style by now, we complement each perfectly. One holds the ad, the other watches for the opening in the crowd, each of us has our eye out for a particular thing we're trying to out! Here we come!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hubby Tag

My good friend Rachel, who recently moved to Arizona tagged me on this little meme. It's about my husband and we all know how he feels about being a blogging subject. quick. This is going to disappear in about 2 days hee hee. Mama knows how to get what she wants.

1. What is his name? Honey

2. How old is he? 38

3. Who eats more? I honestly am not sure. Neither of us eats a huge amount. I eat way faster though.

4. Who is taller? have you seen me? Jason Alexander is taller than me! My man's not tall but he's WAY taller than me.

5. Who sings better? that would be me.

6. Who is smarter? I'm more book learned, but he's definately got all of the sense in the family.

7. Whose temper is worse? hmmm. that's 50/50 too.

8. Who does the laundry? me. he works hard doing other things.

9. Who does the dishes? me again, ditto answer above.

10. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? me. we sort of flip sides everytime we move. it's weird, and i've thought about it and can't figure out why we do that.

11. Who pays the bills? it's a joint effort.

12. Who mows the lawn? that's daddy's job

13. Who cooks dinner? me, most nights !@#$

14. Who drives when you are together? he does because he doesn't trust me

15. Who is more stubborn? again, 50/50

16. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? i don't know if we're admitting we're wrong, but he usually says he's sorry first because he knows i am stubborn only becase he is.

17. Whose parents do you see the most? it's a toss up

18. Who kissed who first? i ALWAYS kiss first; i'm just sort of aggressive/assertive that way

19. Who asked who out? we made a bet, and whoever lost got to pay for dinner. it was our way of avoiding asking each other out. either way whoever won the bet, we were still going out. avoidance.

20. Who proposed? he did. i refused to do it.

21. Who is more sensitive? it depends about what. if it's the SP we're talking about then he's a marshmallow, but anything else, he's a rock - and i'm the bowl of mush.

22. Who has more friends? i have more friends, but he's had hislonger.

23. Who wears the pants in the family? we each have a leg in, busy trying to force the other's leg out so we can cram our other one in...

I'm tagging Josey with this meme. I think she would like this sort of tag...

The Art and Science of Christmas Lights

There's an art & science to Christmas lights? No. It's just a big mess no matter how you try to make it easier.

I'm not the most logical person in the world manifested in all of the small and simple tasks that I somehow re-create into the most complex task it can possibly Christmas lights.

I have a complicated history with Christmas lights, and should avoid them at all costs. But they're so darn pretty. They're like the flowers of winter and I hate it when I have to take them down. One of world's best inventions is the Christmas light's timer which powers those little buggers up even before you get home so when you pull into your driveway, you're greeted with all those little bulbs blinking your own personal "Welcome Home!" I love it!

Lights Timer (i love this thing!)

A few years ago, I decided that rather than buy a super expensive pre-lit Christmas tree, I would "pre-light" my own. I have a beautiful artificial tree, and I don't care what the argument...real trees at Christmas (although beautiful and scent-fully delicious), real trees are not necessary. They are an insult to the environment and just another way that we Americans look only at the here-and-now. ***Down off the soapbox***. Anyhoo, about that pre-lit business. This ties into my sheer lack of logical...ness. I wrap that sucker with about 4,000 strands of beautiul little white lights (i like the simple but elegant look) and go to plug it in *drum roll* with the female end. The necessary male end is - clear at the top, about a million miles from where it should be. I won't go into how I had to remedy THAT situation but let it be said that Home Depot does not sell an adapter, !@#$%.

DH is not a Christmas lights fellow. For 5 of our 7 years, I've not enjoyed lights on our house at all. Last year I decided I'd do it and when he got home, he said, "Who'd you hire to do those lights?" That pleased me. It was like thirty below and snowing when I did them. It was a total fiasco. These little plastic dealies you hang the lights with, well I couldn't figure 'em out. I rigged them as best as I could while freezing my hinnie off. They worked.

I recommend this kind of hanger (they're made by OMNI)

This year I decided I'd figure those dealies out if it killed me. And I did. But they way I had to orient the male end (see, I'm learning!), it ended up orienting the light upside down! I didn't care...I just kept going. Until I ran out of those dealies. I had to go to ACE Hardware and they didn't have the same brand. So I got some other kind which when I got home and got them up, actually oriented the light the right way. So.....half my lights pointed up, half pointed down. Absolutely unacceptable. I took down the first half, re-oriented them and re-hung them. This took me two days. I'm OVER lights!

Wrong vs.right

Except that I've only done the rim of my house. This year I'd like to take it a step further and do the ridgeline, you know - sort of outline my roof. Create a ...runway! Sweet! But with my luck & logic, I'll fall off the roof. At least there's no snow up there right now! In fact, it's like 65 degrees outside - perfect weather for scaling your house to affix totally useless devices that suck up energy and escalate my power bill! Maybe I'll do that tomorrow!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Great Motto

"You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better." Maya Angelou

If you're like me, you have from time to time, looked back over various times in your life and rolled your eyes as you remember your behavior in some random situation. I take it one step further and go hide in my closet out of sheer embarrassment. I have been such a fool in my life. What's really embarrassing is that even right now, at my old and wise age, I am still exhibiting atrocious behaviors that will no doubt cause me to blush just at the memory of it. I don't know better right now though; I just hope my friends and family forgive me.

I really like this quote that I copied above. It says everything about me, and probably everybody else on this earth. I beat my self up badly for past "behaviors", but really shouldn't. It's all I knew then...and what I learned in those situations is probably why I haven't repeated them again and again.

So, the next time you catch yourself doing something that later you cringe at, just remember that you're just doing what you know, and next time you'll do better.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Cooking Post

Ahhhh. For as much as I detest cooking, it certainly is the topic of a lot of posts. Really, for me anything that is REQUIRED of me is something I don't want to do, well except for eating. But even then, I hate stopping what I'm doing for a meal. I'd rather snack when I want to. It's all about me me me.

We have these franchises in Utah called My Girlfriend's Kitchen (not an advertisement). I'm sure that there are similar places elsewhere. They are essentially assembly-line meal prep places where you go make a whole bunch of meals then take them home and freeze them for later. They're a little pricey for me but I went with a friend once and it was sort of fun to help her put those meals together. Things are always more fun with a friend.

I just got invited to participate in a "Mix 'n Fix" group. The leader of the group said that it's really similar to My Girlfriend's Kitchen but it's not for profit. We all will meet up and bring enough food to make one meal, enough for 10 families (6 servings each). We have to have everything all prepped and ready to assemble. Then, we all put together these 10 different meals and go home and freeze them. No one in my family is a big eater. 6 servings will easily be two separate meals for us so I will end up with double the meals - so awesome! If it sounds expensive, it probably will cost a bit. But I have to think that 20 meals will feed my family for every weekday for a month. We eat nearly every Saturday night and Sunday I like to cook. So basically, it's my whole food budget for a month! I can handle that!

We're meeting this Saturday morning and I'm going to just try it out to see if I like it, and my family is alright with the food. Sometimes frozen dinners get tiresome. But the best thing about having frozen dinners available is that if I actually do get in the mood to cook, I can try something new and great, put forth a little more effort and not hate the fact that within 24 hours, I'll be on the spot again. Even Natalie joining in. Yesterday morning at 9 am, she said, "Mom, what's for dinner tonight?" Inward groan!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Very Expensive Nightlight

Recently, the SP hasn't been able to go to sleep without a light on and her light of preference is the hall light; the same hall light that is positioned perfectly to shine brightly in my eyes as I try to sleep also.

To overcome that problem, I decided to buy one of those cute little electric lamps that has a little aquarium on it, like an LED light and the fake fish swim by in the bluish light all night long. It's sort of mezmerizing. The problem is that one of the fish looks like Nemo.

DH made the little mistake of asking SP if she'd like a real Nemo. Being a 3 year old, she of course said "yes!". We've never had a fish tank before so we didn't know what it would take to get a real Nemo in our home!

A few dollars later, we have a beautiful 14 gallon, 150 lb salt water tank sitting in her room in place of the LED light. I feel a little silly.
Perhaps you've never thought about it, and I never had before but did you realize that when you buy a salt water tank, you have to let it run with just the water in it for like 4-6 weeks before you can even put any coral or fish in it? So we haven't even bought the fish or coral yet, it's just a tank with some water and rocks in it right now. We're excited to buy the fish though...around Christmas.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Am I a Busy Person or Just a Busy Body?

A friend has asked me several times in the past few weeks just what it was I am so busy doing. The precursor to this question is usually me telling her how busy I am that I haven't been able to call or get together or whatever.

The problem is, whenever she asks me, I have no answer for her. No tangible completed project to hand through the telephone that explains my harried condition. Nothing memorable to show for my hours of labor. Am I running in circles? Am I caught up in busy work?

We thought it would be funny if I added a little column on my blog of my daily activities so that I might feel like I'm actually getting something done, and she might know what the heck I'm up to.

Since I plan out my days up to 2 weeks in advance, I can post more than 1 day's activities because I do try to stick to my schedule. Here's what I did today:

Went to church
Had lunch
Shopped at Ikea for a table for the new fishtank (see tomorrow's post)
Drove to Grantsville to look at a 5 acre farm for sale
Came home & helped set up the table for the fishtank
Cleaned up the house, laundry
Sorted through all the Super Saturday stuff, re-ordered the mistakes
Fiddled with my stupid PDA keyboard, re-installed software
Read book, go to bed

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Public School Alternatives

In two months, I will need to enroll my daughter in pre-school. I've been dreading this decision. I DO NOT like public school, especially in Utah. My single positive experience with public school was on the east coast when I lived in Maryland. By the time I moved away from there in 5th grade, I was so far past 5th graders in other parts of the country that I was bored out of my mind for the next year.

I work for the public school system, so I see the positives and negatives. And although it is made up of some of the very best people in our country, the system itself is more screwed up than this country's healthcare. I read a very interesting article in Time magazine a few months ago about where the focus of our school system is vs. where it should be if we expect our children to progress and be competitive in the future economic arena. I fully agreed with every single sentence. But in order to change what we have would mean we would have to completely paralyze the whole system, break it down to its bare roots and re-build it from the ground up. Meanwhile, our children would suffer in the downtime. It would be drastic and I don't know if that sort of change could be accomplished without sincere commitment from EVERYBODY.

So, I'm left with a daughter who is going to start school in the next year and I don't know where to send her. I have a cute little elementary school 2 blocks from my house where all her friends are going to go....or I can find a private school where I can have more say in what my daughter learns.

There's a fantastic private school in Salt Lake called Rowland Hall that I've been reading about and considering for a few years. It's a K-12 school (a big positive consideration for me; I dont want her jerked away from friends at 7th grade because that's when the school ends), it has nearly a 95% rate of kids going on to college, and their curriculum is spectacular. It's non-secular, very academic-based. But it's expensive.

On the other hand, would it be THAT different if we opted for public education? Or is the difference in the home? I'm worried about the social influence too - clothing, drugs, peer pressure, etc. I know those things will still be problems in private school but hopefully not as much because of dress codes, closer supervision, higher standards (??). The last thing I want is for her to grow up being a little snob. As an only child, she already has that propensity (& personality).

What to do, what to do. I could just enroll her in a neighborhood preschool this year and decide for kindergarten next year. Rowland Hall has a preschool so that adds an extra factor. I hate having to be responsible. This could be one of the most important decisions we make for her. Am I over analyzing?

p.s. hope there's no offense to the school teachers out there! You are absolutely underpaid & under appreciated for the hard work you do. My hat's off to you for being able to accomplish all you do under difficult circumstances. Great job! I could never be a teacher; not in a million years!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pick Your Poison

A few years back, DH and I went to Wendover for our anniversary and he taught me how to play poker. We've played a few times since then, never winning much of anything nor losing much of anything. I have this pleasant anxiety in my stomach the whole time but it actually makes it more fun. The last time we went, we only took about $200 which we would have spent on a night out anyway (how do you like that for rationale). The best part was we had a great time just hanging out.

But I've heard a lot about this online gambling stuff and happened to click into a gambling site Bet365 and it intrigued me. I wonder what people get out of it. Is it better than Vegas? Can you win a ton of cash? Or does it just feed the gambling devil on your shoulder as you get sucked further and further into your own private black hole?

While I'm not necessarily condoning gambling because I think that in the wrong hands, it can wreck lives, I think that there are worse things than a night out playing poker with your husband. So, I reflected on my own limited personal experiences with gambling and what I enjoyed about it...

  1. atmosphere...dark, loud, funky - just so different from real-life that it's fun

  2. the meet some really fun people

  3. that crazy anxiousness as you decide whether or not to take a risk with five whole dollars

  4. the companionship I feel with DH as we play (we sort of play together - like a team)

  5. the disorienting feeling of never caring (or knowing) what time of day/night it is - pretty cool!

But with on-line gambling...what do you get? If it were me, I'd get that sort of sleezy feeling that I might get if I were sitting in my closet with a bottle of vodka. "Who knows I'm here!", "Will he be mad if he finds out I"m doing this?", "How can I justify this?"

I mean, is this really and truly a hobby? Or is this a venue for the addicted, like internet p*o*r*n* (don't want any freakish search engines nabbing me). Do healthy people just in for the "gamesmanship" of it all really play on these sites? I'm confused. I just see this 50 year-old sort of filthy couch potato (potato chips on his belly) sitting in front of his computer at 2am, a glazed expression on his face as he blearily looks out of his blood-shot eyes - making one more bet that will surely bring back his wife's life savings. I don't know...educate me! Does anyone out there use these sites? Just curious.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween's Over...Just Give Me a Minute, I'll Be Alright

I really LOVE Halloween so I'm a bit sad it's all over. Moving on though, now the Holiday Season will be in full swing, and there's something else to get excited for (I love the holidays too). We couldn't have asked for more a more beautiful Halloween day though, could we? I simply cannot remember a Halloween when coats weren't part of the costume for trick or treating (at least since I lived in California). Yesterday I worried the SP would be too hot instead!
We started our day with a walk in the mountains. While most of the leaves were gone, it was beautiful anyway...
My little explorer.
I could stare at this face for hours....

Come on Mom, hurry up!

Why do we have to go back already?

Then later... we Trick-or-Treated with Courtney & Lucy down Main Street in Bountiful which was loads of fun, followed by visiting most of our friends that were home in the neighborhood.

Ta da! Here is the costume I worried over for a couple of months. It's not perfect by a long stretch but it did the trick! At least it mostly fit her with a few adaptations! This was Tuesday night when we went to a Halloween Party at my sister's church. We did the make-up and the whole 9 yards.
Tuesday night, the make-up lasted for oh, about 10 minutes and then she was pawing at her face. Needless to say, I toned it down a bit for trick-or-treating. Even then she was constantly wiping it off and I was re-applying it. I was grateful it was only a one-day thing.
Trick-or-treating! Sheer joy!
Me and the Supreme Princess herself.