Sunday, December 30, 2007

Journal Your Christmas day 25-27

I was very busy yesterday. I completed 3 layouts.

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

I also made up my end of year to do list, what needs backed up, what needs deleted and what needs printed. The what needs printed thing is a bit embarrassing. Today I finally ordered some of those photos that I uploaded to Wal Mart over Thanksgiving vacation. Just the ones from 2002-03. And I've resolved that I won't order 2004's until I have put all of these into their album with their dates & details written on the tabs provided. So I should be ordering 2004's sometime in late 2008... Fortunately as time goes by I take less photos, so I should reach parity about the time the boys start high school.

I'm going to make a softcover photo book of my JYC layouts. I'm going to use Viovio and get their 8.5x8.5 book. It will be less than $15 for 36 pages. Considering I pay $1 a page for each 8x8 I get printed, that's less than half the cost. The problem with doing it for all my pages is you are stuck with them bound that way. No switching stuff around between albums or adding stuff later. But for the JYC, it is perfect

Year End work

Back up my F drive

Back up my Documents

Delete kits owned more than 6 months & never used.

Burn .psp files to DVD

Burn 2007 photos to DVD

Sort through 2007 photos & choose those to print

Ditto 2007 layouts

Size & border JYC layouts for photo book

Uninstall all programs past their 30 day trial I have no intention of buying.

Defrag all drives

and the worst....

move music to F and redo everything in Zen.

Friday, December 28, 2007

back at it

I was given a nasty cold for Xmas. I had chills, aches & chest congestion all day Xmas day. I had chest & sinus congestions on the 26th and spend most of the 27th in bed with a hot water bottle due to stomach & intestinal issues. But today I am feeling much better and am getting caught up with some Journal Your Christmas prompts.

Day 23

Day 24

and Day 28

Before I get these all printed I'm going to have to go back through all of them & make sure they are numbered and that the numbers are correct. At least 3 that I know of are numbered wrong and 2-3 more have no numbers at all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - day 22


Journal Your Christmas - day 20


I had a hard time with this one

Journal Your Christmas - day 15


had to twist the prompt a bit to use it

Journal Your Christmas - day 4


never thought I would get this into a layout

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 19


Journal Your Christmas - Day 16


credits at my DST gallery

Friday, December 21, 2007

Naughty or Nice?

You Were Nice This Year

You Were 40% Naughty, 60% Nice

Okay, so you weren't *entirely* nice this year
But Santa doesn't expect a modern girl to be perfect
You were good enough - and you'll be rewarded for it

Had I been single the past year I would have been a lot naughtier according to this quiz. :)

Journal Your Christmas - Day 17

I'm getting this for my husband.

as usual, all credits can be found in my DST gallery

Journal Your Christmas - Day 18

I'm going to stop marking them belated. They are all belated at this point


This isn't our actual holiday meal, unless the local Cafe is having a Xmas day buffet. It is the meal I would like to serve if more than 2 adult and 2 very picky preschoolers were having dinner.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 9 belated

I'm working on day 17 now. I know how I want to do 16. I can't do 15 because we are going nowhere & no one is coming here. That just leaves 18, 19 & 20, and by the time I get 16 done, 21 & 22. I think I am just going to resign myself to being 4-5 days behind.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 14 belated

Here is the layout for this prompt. Loaded my Zen up with holiday music as well. :)
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Credits at my DST gallery

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Handing Out the Gifts

The prompt for the 13th is about passing out the gifts. How does it get done in your house? I can't see how I will turn this into a page so I'm just going to write it out.

The gifts a placed under the tree on Xmas Eve (usually as they wrapped, because we put that off until the last minute). On Xmas day, after I get some coffee, we all sit in a circle & I hand gifts out to everyone, assembling gift piles next to each person. If we are at my mom's house, then she hands out the gifts. This is because we don't put tags on the majority of our family gifts. We write a small initial in one of the corners & only the person that writes it is really certain where it is or what it is. Tags are for non-family gifts. Once all the gifts are handed out, then we take turns opening a gift at a time.  It is very important in this scenario that small children have the exact same number of gifts to open. They don't seem to notice that a package holds 2 toys instead of one or that a set has been divided into 2 packages. Its the number of packages to open that must be equal. The wrapping paper gets tossed into the center of the circle of people as we go. I like to take a picture of all the discarded wrappings. Stockings are opened last.

In other news, I have finished my mom's calendar gift and my dad's bookmarks. I've been trying to upload the templates for the bookmarks to but the wind is playing havoc with my internet connection. I've also figured out layout plans for Days 9, 14-16 of Journal Your Christmas but I have no idea when I'll get to them.  I'm having RAM issues again & PSP is running really slow or not really loading at all. I am getting 2GBs of RAM for Xmas & I'm not waiting until then to install it. It is going in as soon as it arrives.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas movies

We start the holiday movie viewing season off early here. The day after Thanksgiving we watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We will watch that movie several dozen times before Xmas. We also watch The Grinch that Stole Christmas many times. Frosty gets an occasional airing but the boys don't seem to be that fond of it. My favorite of the animated ones is The Year without a Santa Claus. My favorite regular holiday movie is A Christmas Story. I can so see the boys asking for a BB gun for Christmas in a few years.

We have a couple boxed sets of the traditional kids movies, maybe 8 DVDs & a dozen shows all together. I have a hard time watching some of them. I used to love the Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long Eared Donkey when I was a kid but now they just seem so full of meanness. Sure everyone is redeemed at the end but I have to wonder really if they would even be made today. I have that problem with Rudolph too. Santa really is a callous old so & so at the beginning. It leaves me wondering if any physically handicapped child or even kids with big noses ever got xmas presents from him before Rudolph showed him the light (pun intended).

Friday, December 14, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 5 belated

We ended up buying a LEGO advent calendar. A friend gave us a chocolate filled one last Sunday but Monday morning Mayhem woke up at 5:30am, went in the living room, opened all the windows & ate all the chocolate in it. Howls of protest from Havoc when he discovered it. Mayhem cannot assemble the LEGO figures & knows it. He seems to understand that after lunch every day we open a new window & doesn't bother the box any other time. I think we may make this a regular feature.
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Credit can be found at my Digishoptalk gallery

PS thanks to my secret santa for the Christmas kit :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 10 belated

The journaling is about how I prefer gift bags to wrapping paper
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Credits can be found here at my DST gallery

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 12

The thing that seems to have changed the most over the years is the people. When I think about Xmas past I think first about who was there and then where we were.  What we actually did together is much vaguer in my memory.

When I was a little girl we would usual go to my paternal grandparents house on Xmas eve. I can't recall if we went before or after Mass or if we had dinner with them. I know we did sometimes. I remember my grandfather had many trains set up and running around the house for Xmas & we loved watching them.

Xmas morning it was the immediate family opening gifts & then we'd go to Mass if we hadn't gone the night before. After lunch we'd go to my uncle's house or my maternal grandparents' house or they would all come to us. It rotated around. My mom & her brother seemed to have some sort of game going between them involving giving each others' kids noisy toys.  It was one of the few times we got together with our cousins even though we all lived in the same town.

As we grew older, getting everyone together was more of a challenge. The last time I saw my cousins for a holiday was when I was 17. We continued to visit my grandparents on Xmas Eve until they passed away. My dad's parents divorced & Grandpa remarried a woman with grown children.  There were a few years when we went to their house & spent some time with this new family, but that ended when he passed away.

I married in 1993 and added another family to the holidays.  DH has 3 siblings with families of their own,so they usually all gathered together sometime between Thanksgiving & Xmas. We did spend one Xmas with his whole family.  I remember thinking they were very loud because there were so many of them. We've hardly seen any of them since his mother died in 2001, that would be the last Xmas we all spent together.

One year, soon after my brother married, my parents took all of us on a cruise for Xmas. There were years in there where we traveled to Wheeling to be with my parents & years where stayed at home or drove up to visit DH's mom.

So many people from Xmas past are gone now though death and lack of communication.  I miss them.

But new people have joined us. I have children now and so does my brother. Its harder to get together for the holidays now. We all live so far away from one another. Last year we were all together at my folks for Xmas before that my parents spent several years traveling back & forth between my house & my brother's, one year spending Xmas day with one family & the next year with the other one.

This year it is just us. My parents are in FL. My brother is in WV. My in laws are in Maryland. This year for the first time my family will be alone. It is very strange in some ways but I am looking forward to it in others. Just to be us every now & then is a nice change but it makes me wonder if my children will drift away from siblings & cousins as the years go by. We did and we didn't even have the excuse of distance. I hope not. I hope I change that & get back with the family we've lost touch with. I'm not sure how to fix it, but I am going to try.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 11

I got lucky today. I visited Traci Reed's Hawt Mama Team blog and found the perfect template for this topic. She is running a 12 Days of Christmas challenge until the 21st with great prizes.

credits can be found in my DST gallery

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - day 8

Friday, December 07, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 7

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Credits can be found here

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 6

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Credits can be found here

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How many days left?

I'm a little behind with this journal prompt because I have no idea what do with it.  We never really counted down the days until Xmas, except to say out loud there were this many days until Xmas. I have a vague memory of an advent calendar one year, maybe even 2 years. It was on the fridge and had perforated windows you had to be careful pulling open. There was a picture behind them & possibly some sort of treat. I'm hazy on that part. I remember feeling excited to open the windows & not liking taking turns with my brother.  I have no idea how old I was but I'm assuming somewhere between 5 and 10. I connect this memory with grade school, possibly CCD, which would make it 5 and 8.  It just wasn't something that caught on.

I'd like to do something like that now but I am not sure just what we would be counting down...Santa, Jesus's birth, the Solstice?

We could count the days until Santa I suppose, but I don't see many secular 'advent' calendars out there counting the days until Santa arrives.  I admit I haven't done much looking either.  Finding a Solstice calendar seems even more impossible. This leaves the traditional advent calendar. But why would we count down the days until the birth of someone else's God? Pagans are very inclusive in general and I could probably just stick an advent calendar on my wall & get on with it if it was just me & DH. But sooner or later Havoc & Mayhem are going to ask that question and I need an answer. We celebrate the spirit of giving and the interconnectedness of all things on December 25th.  Our dying & reborn god was born on the Solstice a few days earlier.

I suppose I could put together a Douglas Adams inspired countdown calendar with things like "Today a butterfly beat it's wings in China and the breeeze was felt here" or "It's Christmas Eve. Do you know where you towel is?" as the motivational quotes, mixed in with some general love your fellow humans, we are all connected, stuff.  That's not a bad idea actually...  next year I'll take a better look around at advent calendars & see what is out there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white (and gold) Christmas

My fantasy Christmas decor is all rich white and gold with touches of red and heirloom glass ornaments, lots of candles and Father Chrismas. Call it a Victorian Velvet Christmas.  A 9 foot Douglas fir tree covered in red & gold ribbons with lots of handblown glass ornaments and real candles on it.  Fir swag draped on the walls, the banister, and the mantelpiece, wrapped with white lights and velvet bows.  Fir boughs on the mahogany table & sideboard in the dining room surrounding centerpieces of white & gold candles in glass lanterns.  Hand beaded velvet stockings hung by the fireplace, Father Christmas statues and pots of poinsettias thoughout the house witt more lighted fir & velvet swags all over the place.  Potpourri contaniers, golden tinsel, crystal snowflakes, candles and mistletoe scattered everywhere.

Now, I know people who know me in real life are thinking "I need to call Stacey & tell her her blog has been hacked by some Martha Stewart wannabee." But really, this is my fantasy Christmas look.  This is what I grew up with. Not so much the Festival of Lights itself (which started when I was 18) but the Mansion Museum.  We toured it every Christmas & I just loved the decor. So rich & cluttered and gloriously lit. That is what Christmas decor is supposed to look like to me. The ultimate decor that the romantic part of me just loves to look at and longs to be a part of.

But, I am at heart a practical person and that decor would never, ever work around me.

First there are the physical issues.  I don't have a fireplace or a dining room, let alone a mahogany dining table & sideboard.  My kitchen table sees far to much use to have any sort of table runner & centerpiece on it.  I do not have a second floor, so no banisters for fir swags with white lights. A 9 foot tree would be too tall for my living room & even if we removed a couple ceiling tiles to accommodate it, we'd still have to remove the sofa & chairs to make room for it.

Then there are the small boys who roam my house unrestrained, shouting and waving swords, oblivious to things like fir swags, candles, tinsel, potpourri contaniers, Christmas knick knacks and fragile glass ornaments.  None of these things would survive in my house more than a week.

There is also my husband, who really doesn't like that over cluttered look & who would constantly be moving things around so he can have some clear space to sit or put his feet.

Lastly there is me, with my allergies to dust, and oh yeah, pine. I cannot even imaging dusting all those things regularly. It must take days.

The ultimate problem with elaborate Christmas decor though is one of storage.  I can't help but look at photos of well decorated homes and wonder where they keep the stuff the rest of the year.  I assume they have large attics or basements, which I lack. I'd have to rent a POD or some other storage facility just to keep the decorations some place.

So while I fantasize about an elaborately decorated Victorian Velvet Christmas, I am quite happy with my 3 foot fiber optic tree, decorated with wooden family heirloom ornaments and my fake fir, prelit swag on the wood stove surround.  I like the single row of lights around the living room and the fake fir wreath I decorated with gold bows during one of my "Martha Moments". This year I bought a Father Christmas statue & found an out of reach place to put it. Its a look I can live with.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 3

I managed a layout for this one.

Credits can be found here

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 2

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credits can be found here

Manifesto Christmas 2007

I am doing Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas this year. I've decided to make it a mix of blog entries and scrap pages.  I know I will not scrap a page every day, so this seems best. I'll eventually just print the entries out on a background when I print the whole album.

I have been a practicing pagan since 1993 & stopped attending Catholic church in 1985. Christmas itself has not been a religious holiday for me in a long time, but I still celebrate the spirit of love, peace & giving on that day. Now that the boys are older I am struggling to work out just how this holiday and Yule work together in my life, so I can share that with them. I am hoping this project will help with that

The first thing is to do a manifesto. This is the one Shimelle gave us, with a few alterations.

I declare my intention to journal my Christmas. Writing something down every day. Creating a little bit whenever possible. Getting my stories documented for myself and my family.

I hope that by taking a little time each day to reflect, to write, t create, I will form my ideas of what this time of year really means to me, so I can pass it on to my children.  Family, friends and hot beverages will help.

I may share my work from time to time. I may remember just why I loved Christmas in the first place and that may be a very magical moment indeed.

Friday, November 23, 2007

That is a lot of photos!

622 photos made the printing cut. Even with my parents' cable connection it took me almost an hour to upload them. I didn't go through all of them because I felt it more important to upload them while I had the faster connection. I can do some basic cropping online & that is all any of them really need. It'll be just over $76 to print them all and I only have 2 photo albums at the moment, so they will get printed in batches

I did very little black Friday digi shopping. I got a template set by Teresa fergusson, and kits by ScrapKitchen Designs and Fee Jardine at Sweet Shopp and some some overlays by Stacey J Stahl & Birgit Kerr from DSAG.

I did spend $140 at Amazon on assorted Christmas gifts & now only have to buy one game & something for DH & then I am done.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I had no idea

I'd planned to spend part of my time here sorting through all my photos & pick out some to print. I have no printed photos. I haven't printed out a photo at all in the 21st century (professionally, I do print my own on my crappy printer for certain projects) . I thought I might end up with about 250 photos to print. But no. I selected almost that many just for the first 15 months of Havoc's life. And those are the ones I selected. I've easily got 5 times that many I'm not printing. I averaged about 125 for years 2004-2006. I have about 500 or so photos to print before I get to this year's, this will run me about $60-70 with shipping. I'm also going to need a few more photo albums. I have a couple nice ones that have a space on the side of sleeve to write information but they don't hold enough photos. I also don't recall where I bought them, World Market maybe.

I still have to go through & crops some & fix the eyes & lighting on others before they can be printed. There might be about 30 or so that need significant retouching. If they are just a tad dark or light I'm going to leave them be. I'm not running 500+ photos through Lightroom. I discovered that ACDSee will to batch resizing so once I have them cropped to right the proportions I can just tell it to make sure they are all 4x6 so they will print properly. I'm hoping to finish with this by Friday so I can upload to WalMart from here. My parents have cable internet.

I miss my dual screens. I am so not used to the limited screen of my laptop.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I have scrappers shoulder

As a result of scrapping all weekend I have overextended some muscles in my right shoulder (my mouse arm).  I have a hard time staying properly seated when I am scrapping & end up hunched up with my mouse arm straight out & a bit to the right.  Apparently doing this continuously will pull those muscles. 

But I am about to take an enforced break from scrapping in a few days.  We'll be going on vacation and with 11 people in the house and a minimum of 5, maybe 6, laptops in use, I'll be lucky to find an out of the way outlet & bit of tabletop.  See, those other laptops are 'work' laptops and they take priority on electricity & work space.  My laptop is a 'play' laptop & is at the bottom of the power chain. Plus I really need my flatscreen monitor to scrap. I just can't work on my laptop monitor.  I've gotten a little to used to my dual monitor set up. 

So instead of scrapping I will be going through my photos.  My sons have been complaining they don't have a photo album to look through.  They have an album of printed digi pages & they like leafing through it, but they want just photos.  I haven't had a photo printed (other than by myself) since 2001.  We are 100% digi in this house, due to pure laziness on my part. I have blank albums that I have been intending for 2 years to get photos into. I just need to do. So that is my little project next week, to sort through 2002-2007's photos and choose the best of every month for printing.  My folks have cable internet so even with all the so-called 'work' being done (Yeah I can see over your shoulder little brother, I didn't realize you could sell furniture to you fellow WOW players) I ought to be able to upload everything to Shutterfly or Walmart easily.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Did some scrapping

Finally! I have had a longish streak of non-scrapping but I've done 5 layouts in the last 3 days & I am working on a 6th.  Considering I did about 4 layouts in the past 6 weeks, that is pretty good.

Check out my gallery at Digi Shop Talk to see my latest stuff. 

I'm trying to get it all in now while I can.  Next Friday we leave for my folks place for a week.  My brother & his family will be there at the same time. 6 adults, 4 preschoolers and a preteen in a 3 bedroom 1800sq ft echo chamber of a house. My ears already ache from the thought of the noise. I'll survive it. I always do, but I do get a bit bitchy about 3 nights into it. I love seeing my family & I love that my kids get to spend so much time with their cousins. But I am an introvert among extroverts. My family is gregarious & social & always going someplace & doing something and I left home eagerly at 18 because I like sitting quietly & reading and I can't do that around my family. They are active, involved, chatty people & I can't even manage that as an online persona, you can imagine how I am in real life. 

I'm hoping to get to the beach this year. We missed it last year for some reason, just never made the time. The boys want to go. It looks like the waterpark will be open this time, they closed last year due to lack of lifeguards.  DS1 wants to play mini golf & that is my favorite thing to do on vacation.  I've got my list of 'books to buy' ready. I take one book with me and buy 3-5 while I am there.  When my brother & I had no kids we'd all go out to dinner nearly every night, but now, can you imagine seating 11 people, let alone paying for it??  We'll probably go to CiCis for pizza one night.  Mom will no doubt make spaghetti one night. I've volunteered to make meatloaf for dinner one night and I'm guessing there will be burgers once as well.  And of course Thanksgiving. I offered to make stuffing, so I have to remember to bring both the cornbread stuffing recipe and the cornbread recipe because you can't find cornbread in south Florida, not even a mix. I'd like to make conrbread & oyster stuffing but no one will eat it but my father & I, so I am leaning toward cornbread & bacon, but may stick to the cornbread & sage.

Traditionally on Friday night my brother, SIL, DH and I leave the kids with our folks & go out to dinner together to celebrate our anniversary. But this year they are leaving on Friday (they usually don't arrive until Wed & stay until Sun, this year they are arriving on Sun) and Thanksgiving is so early in the month, our anniversary is well into the following week.  But I think I may have to insist on a nice dinner, in a quiet restaurant that night anyway.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is going to take days

I haven't been scrapping much lately. I had little to no desire to do so for the last 6 weeks. I quit all my CTs but the PSP script one. I totally immersed myself in reading for 6 weeks. I re-read all of the Sarah Kelling mysteries (10), all the Mrs Pollifax mysteries (13), most of the Peter Wimsey mysteries (7, there is only so much Lord Peter I can put up with), some of the Amelia Peabody mysteries (8, again, only so much Amelia can be tolerated), all 4 for Hillary Tamar mysteries, several of the Mary Russel mysteries (Mary's personality is similar to Amelia & Peter's. I'd like to shut them all in a room together with a pot of tea & watch them all one up each other with thier knowledgeable smug superority.) and a half a dozen novels of historical fiction.  50 some books later I think I am as sated with reading as I am ever likely to be (though I have 2 more Polly Platt travel memoirs to go) .  And I'm in the mood to scrap.

I've done 2 layouts in the past 2 days for challenges at Sweet Shoppe.  It's also Digital Scrapbooking Day today so all the stores are having sales.  Plus one of my favorite designers, Traci Reed, was having a special sale a couple days ago to celebrate her new store and it's the start of the month so 2 sites where I have membership have new monthly kits.  I bought 2 kits from Traci, there was a gift kit at MSA and one for signing up for Little Dreamer Designs newsletter, then I went shopping at Sweet Shoppe. I got a paper pack from Lauren Reid, a kit from Scrap Kitchen designs, the SS Quarterly Pack and the SS Goodie Bag.  All together I spent less than $20.  I have 61 folders of stuff to tag in ACDSee!!!!

61 folders of stuff, many with subfolders of other stuff.  I'm going to be at this for a week!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

And the winners of the "our mom is so lame"

category of the Halloween costume contest is....


for their mother's last minute pirate costumes consisting of her belts, her workout bandanas and their father's T-shirts!

And lets not forget to mention her fabulous camera work - taking a photo of kids in black T-shirts against a dark green bush in the dark!

I honestly think it is fun to rummage around the house & see what sort of costume I can come up with.  That was one of the best parts of Halloween when I was kid.  I had some pre-made costumes when I was small but by the time I was 8 or so I was wearing rollers in my hair, had cold cream on my face and my mom's bathroom & claming to be dressed as a housewife. Or my dad's overcoat & old hat with a notebook and calling myself a detective. A cardboard box and aluminum foil made a robot. And there was always the ubiquitous white bed sheet ghost or toga. 

As an adult I am still not inclined to spent $25 on a costume that will be worn for a total of 2 hours & then discarded.  I'm not inclined to buy the same costume, a couple sizes larger for $8 on Nov 1st either. It will either be misplaced or forgotten by next year or the child who wanted it this year will want to be something else next Halloween. Nor am I inclined to spend several hours sewing something that will only be worn for 2 hours. Plus given my children's tendencies, they will have changed their minds on their costume right around the time I get done sewing.  I do sew their Ren Faire costumes (heavily hemmed so I can let the out & get several years wear) & then encourage them to wear those outfits at Halloween. I'd meant to make proper pirate outfits for faire wear this year but then we decided to do Great Wolf lodge instead of the faire this year so I put it off.  They have kilts though. The wore the kilts to a Halloween party last week & were all set to wear them trick or treating, but then at 2pm yesterday I was informed that kilts were not scary enough. I decided they are bit young for me to disprove that by showing them Braveheart, so I went through DH's shirts until I found a couple non-collared, solid colored Ts.  I was going to cut some fabric strips for belts when I remembered I had some that would work.  Pull the shirt on over their regular clothes, strap the belt around their waist, tuck in the plastic swords they got at a birthday party this summer and wrap a bandana around their head. Voila! Pirates!

They looked really adorable too.  I wish I had thought to take pictures when it was still light out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's pumpkin pie time

We had our first visit of the year to a pumpkin patch on Thursday. A little later than in the past but that makes for fewer pumpkins & gourds overall & that is a good thing.  Each of the boys got a small to medium pumpkin & a couple of gourds.  Tomorrow we are going to a Harvest festival where we will come home with fresh cider, lots of apples & possibly another pumpkin or so and yet more gourds.  Pumpkins are not included in the cost of this visit so we might yet escape.  On Wednesday we go to another pumpkin patch & the entrance fee includes a pumpkin & a few gourds and apples.  So I conceivably will have a half a dozen pumpkins, a dozen or so gourds and who knows how many apples to deal with.

DS1 is of the opinion that the main use for a pumpkin is pie. Whenever any asks him about carving a pumpkin he says "We're making pie!" Fresh pumpkin pie is a PITA and takes the whole damn day.  But we make it because he is actually suggesting eating a vegetable and it does taste good. 

DH decided this time that he would carve the pumpkins as well as scoop out the flesh for pie.  2 mediumish pumpkins will produce about 2 cups of cooked & drained flesh, if they are carved & enough flesh is left in them to lend stability to their forms.  But it does take most of an hour to scoop them out. 

Then you bake the flesh for an hour or so. After it cools a bit you puree it and let it drain for half an hour or so.  While it is cooling & draining you bake the seeds you have cleaned & seasoned, for about 90 minutes.  During this baking one of you takes the kids & runs into town to buy the cream & a pie crust that you forgot to get and takes the kids to lunch.  The other loads all the many dishes you have used into the dishwasher & gives the table, counter & floors a good cleaning because pumpkin slime gets everywhere.  After the seeds are done you mix up the pie filling, which as usual turns out to be about a half a cup too much for the pie crust. The pie bakes for 40-45 minutes & then has too cool.  

Having started this little odyssey about 10am, it is now nearly 4pm.   Today is also the VFW fish fry and DH fries hushpuppies for it, so he leaves before the pie is cool. Is it fair to not let Daddy have some of the pie with us? Well, of course it is but in order to get demons to eat dinner you persuade them that it is not and we all should wait to eat pie until Daddy gets home. The VFW thing is annoying because DH leaves me with a mess and boys who want Daddy, but a good thing because it means we can go eat fried catfish and hushpuppies for dinner & I don't have to cook. I've done enough work in the kitchen already today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

thoughts after a couple glasses of wine

I've been reading regency era romance novels lately. Light, fluffy things, wiht romance, sex and mystery in them. Real mysteries - murder, embezzlement, nefarious schemes, spies, not romantic 'does she like me' mysteries, though you can't have a romance novel without those mysteries. I suppose it says something about me that I am mostly reading these books for the actual mysteries, not the romance, certainly not for the sex. I skip over the sex. Simply cannot cope with reading it.
Some things strike me about the romance novels, and i know some of it is publisher dictated. The hero must always be masterful, dashing, over protective and reluctant to admit he loves the heroine. The heroine must always be strong willed and sexually inexperienced. Even widows. Judging by the romance industry there were a hell of a lot of virgin widows of much older men in the 1820's. Or widows of men who simply didn't care enough to bring them to orgasm. Is it so terrible to have had a fulfilling sex life within a marriage before meeting 'the man of your dreams'? Can't you love more than one person in your life? Only one book in the literally hundreds of romance novels I have read in my life featured a fully pleasured widow as the heroine. One. 10 years ago I found that only mildly, very mildly annoying. Now I'm just irritated by it. and by the masterful men. Seriously, I'd bitch slap half of them if they treated me the way they treated these women. Oh it's all explainable & understandable in context but it still pisses me off. But my favorite author Stephanie Laurens writes really good plots with engaging characters, which is why I care enough about them to be pissed off & irritated, so I read anyway.

The other thing is more of a an adjective problem. Heroines almost always have 'heart shaped faces' and several times during the course of the book, when they set eyes on the hero their 'lungs seize'. So I am left imaging that to be a true romantic heroine you have to be an asthmatic with a really wide forehead.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bit of a bummer today

I quit 2 of my CTs.  I've just felt so blah & so totally lacking in motivation & inspiration the past month or so that I don't think I'm doing a very good job for them. I didn't want to quit.  I've been dithering about it for 2 weeks now, but today I made myself sit down and send the PMs. Just fading away with no word is not my style. I really enjoyed working with them which is why it took me 2 weeks to bite the bullet and resign.  I just haven;t been in a scrapping mood lately & my time to do it is limited. I've spent that time re-reading an old mystery series & right now have no real desire to do anything else.  I go through these phases every now & then.  I'll be back scrapping soon enough, I just don't know when & it's not fair to the designers for me to just hover in the background not contributing.

I've remained on Jane's team.  She does PSP scripts & right now isn't doing too many, so I don't feel like I am not living up to my obligations.  I can test a script while not feeling creative enough to do a layout.

I downloaded PSPX2 trial Monday. I don't know....I;m not seeing anything that makes me want to buy it.  But since I haven't really done much scrapping I'm not really giving it a fair test.  Plus I need another GB of RAM.  I'm keeping an eye on prices.  I just missed a deal for 1GB fr $59. I need 2 1GBs.  The gig of RAM I currently have is in 2 512MB chips.  So 1GB chip gets me 1.5GB of RAM.  The computer can run on that, but if I can find it for around $65 or so I can get 2. 

Friday, September 28, 2007

I don't usually do "issues"

They are not my thing and I don't use social networking sites myself so I am not really affected by this but I know lots of digi scrappers who do and many of us are moms so I think this is important & I am sharing it with anyone who stops by my blog.

  Did you know Facebook and MySpace remove breastfeeding photos because they are 'obscene' but leave up photos of women in thongs? That Facebook will ban the account of a woman posting a breastfeeding photo but won't ban pedophiles?  Our culture has so sexualized breasts that their natural function is seen as obscene but groups encouraging anorexia are apparently just fine.

Visit the League of Maternal Justice for more information on this.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Civilization has arrived

We live in the boonies. In a low density rural area. Town is 17 miles away.  So it has been 10 long long years since I have had hot food arrive at my front door, let alone have someone other than my husband be the bearer of this lukewarm food.

But all that is about to change...

The somewhat nearby 'general store' has begun making and delivering pizza!  And subs!  And, according to the flyer, they will also deliver GROCERIES!, including wine and beer!  Be still my beating heart!  Pizza AND beer!  Brought to my door! Even subs and a gallon of milk!  MILK, delivered!  Sure they don't sell produce and meat but they have the general bread, soup, chips, dairy things and they will BRING IT TO MY HOUSE!!  Can you feel my glee?!  I called when I got the flyer, before I let myself get all gleeful, just to check on the delivery radius and they deliver in a 9 mile radius.  We live 7.6 miles away.  I know because the very next morning I drove there & measured. (its on the way to my kids school, sorta)  Since then I have been far to gleeful to actually call in anything. Ever wanted something for so long that when you finally get it you have no idea what to do with it?  That's how I feel. Paralyzed by sheer glee.

They only deliver Thursday-Saturday. Last week we already had dinner plans for those nights.  Tomorrow we're going out to dinner & what with the cost of where we are going & the cost of the babysitter, we won't be in a position to order pizza this week.  but I'm thinking next Friday we're getting pizza. DELIVERED.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

How are my children still healthy

let alone alive?

I don't wipe every surface in my house down with Clorox.  I've never, not once, sanitized their toys.  We've had other children over to play and I've never even sprayed Lysol around the play area when they left.  There isn't a single bottle of Purell in the house.  Why hasn't CPS arrived yet?

The only thing, and I mean seriously, the ONLY THING, being marketed to me on TV currently is cleaning supplies.  No one is trying to sell me a mini van, (going by the soundtracks they are aiming toward moms 10 years younger than me) or investment advice (geared toward women with kids about to go to college), or even a burger.  Possibly they are trying to sell me Nutrisystem but that commercial featuring the woman who went from a size 8 to a size 2 just pisses me off (I've forced my body into unhealthy weight loss and so can you!), so it doesn't count.

Which leaves Clorox, and Lysol and the billions upon billions of germs that I am wantonly and neglectfully exposing my children to everyday through my thoughtlessly lax cleaning habits.  And Taco Bell who just now ran an ad with "I Melt for You" playing. I may just have to go buy something from Taco Bell in appreciation of their not attempting to frighten me with scare tactics.  And I don't even really like Taco Bell

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Some changes here

It's almost the autumnal equinox, so I figure that is as good a reason as any to change the look of the blog. I like the purple/green thing and it will be back in the spring.  I haven't decided if I want a winter look or not, it probably depends on if I have the time or not.  We shall see.

I'm taking part in DSAGs Biggest Loser challenge & I hope over the next 12 weeks there will be some changes in my physical shape as well.  I'll be tracking that over on my Weight Loss Blog, which also needs a face lift.  It's rather a bright blue at the moment.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

How I kill time online!

I read blogs. I have dozens of them in my bloglines - digiscrapping, challenges, food & parenting. I don't read them every day because I don't have time, but I catch up with them when I can.

I love the food blogs! They are a mix of news, stories and recipes. My favorites are, Slashfood, Simply Recipes, The Great Big Vegetable Challenge and the Food Whore. I keep changing out my digi blogs, adding & subtracting as I find new blog or other blogs go a long time without new posts. My favorite parenting blog is Motherhood Uncensored (she really is not kidding about that, so don't read it if you have issues with language or raunchy behavior). Most of the parenting blogs I read are of the venting & humor variety. I'm not looking for advice just entertainment & the welcome knowledge that mine are not the .only occasionally badly behaved kids in restaurants

Monday, August 20, 2007

when will I have time to update

My sidebars are so out of date. I need to update both those slideshows but that means I have to upload all those thumbnails first. I did get the other sidebar done though. I want to do a more autumn color scheme to. Just don't know when I might get to it.

What I have done so far today

2 loads of wash
cleaned the living room
swept & wiped up the kitchen
went to the gym
baked a loaf of cheese bread
refereed about a dozen quarrels
planned meals for the week
did the one grocery run
wrote a newsletter article
sewed 5 buttons on 5 pairs of pants
paid bills/updated online banking

still need to
go to DS1 school orientation
make dinner
call about childcare

I have no desire to scrap right now. I'm not feeling very inspired right now.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

not smarter than a 5th grader

You are 60% Smarter than a fifth grader.

You got mare than half right, atleast. It's 50% for your information, since you're still stupid. A fifthgrader is smarter than you.

are you smarter than a fifth grader?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I'm fairly sure I never actually knew if polar bears eat penguins or what South American country is the largest by size. I also don't know now because the quiz didn't tell me what I got wrong. :)

went for a picnic

DS1 wanted to go on a picnic yesterday. He wanted to go to the park, ride his bike & then have a picnic. So we decided to go early and have a late snack picnic. we left the house at 10:30am  He rode his bike, they threw rocks in the lake & climbed on the equipment. In between we spread out the picnic blanket and had crackers & juice and at one point DS1 and I got stuck in the ladies bathroom and I had to kick the door out. I had though the deadbolt wouldn't open completely but after I kicked it open I think the metal had expanded and the door itself was just stuck. DH and DS2 are no where nearby & can't hear me kicking & pounding on the door. And if it is actually locked I have no idea who'd we call about.  While I am considering the situation I am imaging the call DH would have to make to 911 "Hi.  My wife & son are locked in the ladies room at the lake park."  It's not like there is a phone number anywhere and I'm guessing the county Parks & Rec are probably closed on Saturday.  But I did manage to kick it open.

The park was our only plan when we left the house. But then DH & I decided we wanted lunch & as long as we were there I wanted to swing by Lowes & price outdoor storage. So we drove into town.  Lunch took forever as the place just reopened & are still dealing with staffing issues.  Then there was a long wander at Lowes and some wishful looking at washers & dryers. Lowes didn't have the right size pipe insulation I wanted (to protect the kids from the sharp edges of the woodstove we never light) so we went to Wal Mart.  I forget what we then decided we needed that sent us to Target, by then it is past 3:30 and we were in Target for almost an hour.  The boys got new shoes.  DS2 has outgrown his and DS1s pair, while new, is both lace up and Pirates of the Caribbean themed.  He is showing no progress at tying which makes them a PITA for me.  Also his school has restrictions on stuff on clothing - no cartoon characters, no Harry Potter or wizard/magic themed stuff  (yeah, pagan parents send their kids to Christian schools) . Pirates doesn't actually fit in those restrictions (which puts the school in the odd position of banning Care Bears but allowing Jack Sparrow) but I thought it might be better to just get a pair of plain velcroed shoes.

While in Target DS2 announces he wants to go to Chili's for pizza for dinner. DH & I have no better suggestion.  But Chilis is a cross the street and it is only 4pm.  We live almost a half hour away, so going home & coming back later is a waste of time.  To kill time we went to Pet Smart, next door to Target and looked at the fish, birds, hamsters and cats. Then to Office Depot to price laptop power supplies ($70!) and I got some new earphones for my Zen. Finally it was 5pm and we drove over to Chili's.  DS2 ate 2 slices of his pizza and promptly fell asleep in the booth and remained asleep until we woke him up at 6:30 when we got home.

Today DH is going back with the boys to get the storage shed we found at Lowes (but couldn't fit in my car) and possibly this side table that goes with our outdoor picnic table.  They only had the floor model left and it might have been sold because it was marked way down. It too would not fit in my car.

I've got a meeting from 11-3 and then have to leave for bunco at 6:30, so that'll be 2 days with no real chance to scrap.

Friday, August 17, 2007

some new layouts

I just finished up a 6 week class at DSAG. Intro to Typography & Journaling by Stacey J Stahl. These are some of the layouts that I completed in class. For credits see my DSAG gallery

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Favorite Muffins

Finally something baked came out right! Possibly because I used the bread flour from the fridge instead of the regular flour in the bin on the counter.  I have over soft bananas so it was time for Banana Yogurt muffins.  I love this muffin recipe.  It's delicious! My only problem with it is I always end up needing 1.5 bananas & what do you do with half a mushy banana? I made a smoothie out of it but that isn't always an option.

This makes 12 muffins

Preheat your oven to 375 and set paper liners into 12 muffin cups.

Combine these ingredients:

1 2/3c flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

Then cut in,using 2 forks or a pastry blender until crumbly:

1/2c soft butter

Then stir in:

2/3c bran (I prefer oat, but wheat works too)

1/2c mini chocolate chips

In a larger bowl mix together:

1 egg

2/3c well mashed bananas

1/2c yogurt plain (vanilla is good too)

1/2c brown sugar

1 tblsp molassas

Then add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended, don't overmix.

Scoop batter into the paper line muffin tins. Bake about 25 minutes.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

making yogurt

When I tell people I make my own bread & yogurt I get all sorts of responses, mostly involving the time & effort. Honestly, if either took much time or effort, I wouldn't do them. Bread needs 5-10 minutes of actual effort on my part, most of of the time involved in making bread is spent waiting around - for the mixer to knead it, for it rise, and rise again and to bake and to cool. But you can do other things, even leave the house, while most of that is going on.

Yogurt is the same way, but needs even less effort. Get a quart size glass mason jar, wide mouths are best. Fill it most of the way up with milk (not skim), microwave it for 6-7 minutes until it reaches 180-185 degrees. Stick it in the fridge for about a half hour (check at 20 minutes until you know for sure) until it cools to between 110-115 degrees, stirring occasionally.  You can also leave it on the counter for 45-60 minutes.  Add to it a quarter cup powdered milk, 2 tablespoons of yogurt from your last batch, or that you bought and a good squeeze of honey.  Stir it gently together.  Wrap the jar in a bunch of kitchen or hand towels and put in a 6 pack sized insulated tote or small cooler.  Fill the corners & crevices with towels/washcloths as well.  Wait about 8 hours (at least 6 hours for thinner, up to 10 for thicker).  Unwrap the jar & put it in the fridge, wait 8 more hours. Open and enjoy your yogurt. Seriously. The biggest problem you will have with this is finding enough small towels.

some new products at 1hourscrap

I'm worn out

It's hot & humid. I've been working a lot the past week (and will be for a few more). So the boys are desperate for attention & behave badly constantly.  It's like they forgot how to hear.  I have to grab them and shout to get their attention. And DH worked late 3 times this week, plus had to leave this morning at 5am to be some place & won't be back until noonish.  DS1 came in our room at 6:30 and spent 15 minutes just sobbing that Daddy is supposed to be home today & he wants his Daddy. <sigh>  I know a lot of it is the heat.  I spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon with some friends & their kids & their kids have forgotten how to hear too. By the end of the play date we were 3 women shouting "I said STOP THAT!" over and over.  But I do feel better knowing that they are going through the same thing & it isn't just my own bad parenting at play here.  We;re getting a sitter tomorrow and going out to dinner.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bad, bad baking

I've had a run of bad luck with baking lately. My second to last loaf of sandwich bread did not go over too well with the demons.  I have to tread a careful edge on the whole wheat to white flour percentage with them. I thought I had found a good balance but then I tried with this loaf to add some oat bran to it. Apparently it added a barely noticeable density to the bread, which was just too much for them.  Their basis for comparison is Wonder bread, which admittedly I love too, so I know I am fighting an uphill battle on the texture front.   And I must admit, peanut butter on a slice of dense wheat bread is like eating spackle in my opinion (which i have not voiced to the demons, they arrived a similar conclusion completely on their own).  So I decided to make a different loaf of bread, a 'fluffy sandwich loaf' it claimed and it used a similar proportion of wheat to white that had been working ok for me.  This loaf had 3 rising periods, which is a pain if you are not around all day to check on it and despite that it turned out like a brick.  With DS2 repeatedly begging for 'san-ich, san-ich Mama!' I bought a loaf of Wonder bread. 

Then yesterday I decided to make a cake. I had some yogurt that I needed to use in the next day or so and a recipe for yogurt cake I wanted to try out.  I baked it the initial 40 minutes but it was underdone so I baked it a bit longer & the toothpick came out clean (I've been having that issue with my oven with everything lately.  I need to get a new oven thermometer, the last one got fried when DH ran the the 'cleaning' cycle) It smelled good and looked good.  It cooled & I iced it. Dessert time came around & I started to cut it.  I have never had to SAW slices off of a cake before but I knew when my steak knife was having issues sliding through it there was a problem.  The outer couple inches of the edges of the cake were overbaked & rock hard.  The inside was underbaked.  I cannot recall the last time I have spit food out, let alone cake, but I couldn't bring myself to finish chewing it.  The icing was ok,  but it was Duncan Hines. 

So I am on a baking hiatus.  The cake problem can possibly be blamed on the high humidity - there was too much flour in the mix. Also I am just hopeless baking sweets.  I can bake bread and make a delicious cobbler, but that is it as far as baking goes for me.   The bread flour is kept in the fridge at a constant humidity, though I suppose possibly the humidity did something during the risings...  or there could be a problem with the overm  I won't know about that for awhile. It's too damn hot to be using the oven now anyway.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Back to Blogging

It's August, the last VBS is over & school starts in 2 weeks, so it is time to get back to the routine.  That means trying to blog regularly again.

It was Lammas wednesday, the festival of the first wheat harvest of the year, the loaf-mass.  Given that i am so fond of baking bread, I naturally planned to make a loaf for the occasion & had considered a few of my favorites.  By morning I had decided that family dynamics required pizza for dinner so I would make pizza dough.  Well, the morning went by.  I took DS1 to VBS, did laundry, I did some homework, I read to DS2, & then it was time to pick DS1 up and no dough had been started.  I knew I wouldn't get home in time to start some for dinner so I decided to buy some, even if it meant going into the crappy Food Lion (I like most Food Lions, it's just this one that sucks).  As usual the Food Lion lived up to my expectations - no frozen dough, no premade crusts, not even Chef Boyardee Pizza in a box. I ended up buying crescent rolls, generic ones because they were out of Pillsbury, and using them.  I should have just made a biscuit crust but that didn't occur to me until after dinner.  So for Lammas we had 'bread' about as far removed from fresh ground wheat as you can possibly get.  My sabbat intentions always fall through.  However, last Sunday I prepared a feast for a dozen people that included hot flat bread grilled by me on open fire (ok it was a gas grill, but there was actual fire & I have the scorched arm hair to prove it).  everyone said the meal was delicious & satisfying & this sunday I am making cheese bread for our coven's Lammas feast.  I think that covers me.  I may not have celebrated on the exact day, but I did and will be celebrating anyway.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Not back yet but close!

I'd promised myself I would go back to regular blogging in July but it's the 8th already and we're headed out on vacation in a few days (my & the boys.  DH is staying home) and I'm not sure what my internet connection will be there. 

I'm baking lots of bread & enjoying it, except the house gets hot, so as soon as I can find some foil loaf pans I am going to attempt bread in the gas grill, just to see what happens.  If I put it on the upper rack & regulate the temp to keep it at 350, it should theoretically work like a gas oven.  We'll see.

Friday, July 06, 2007

help me Obi wan kenobi

Your results:
You are Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Han Solo
Luke Skywalker
Qui-Gon Jinn
Princess Leia
You are civilized, calm, and
have a good sense of humor,
even when those around you don't.
You can hold your own in a fight,
but prefer it when things
don't get too exciting.

(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)

Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Quiz

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

this blog is on hiatus for a month or so

It's summer. The kids are outside in the pool, playing with the hose & running around the yard. I have to be with them & my laptop has a high gloss screen, making it impossible to use outside due to glare. Also, it's thunderstorm season, usually in the early evening, which means no computer use during them. So I will be catching up on my reading during this enforced lack of computer time. I am planning on rereading all 10 SPQR books, all 18 Didius Falco books I own and several dozen library books as well. I'm also experimenting with bread recipes that don't involve a bread machine. Mine broke & I'd rather put the $100 for a new one toward a Kitchen Aid 6 quart Professional stand mixer to replace the 4.5 quart Heavy Duty model we currently own.

And maybe I'll get a bit of scrapping in when I can use the computer. See you in July!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Love it or Hate it?

Scary Movies - hate them. They don't give me nightmares but they keep me from sleeping.
Amusement Parks - love them. I love riding rides, though most give me motion sickness now. I even love the rides at fairs
Valentines Day - I'm neutral. I love an excuse to eat chocolate but no one needs to get me anything
working out - I've learned to love it. After 2 years of regular workouts I really miss it when I gon't go
tattoos - love most of them. Not to fond of the death & destruction themed ones, but I love the art in general. I have 4 and I am seriously freaked out about needles. The difference about tattoos is, they are not an injection, and you don't have this big syringe coming at you. The needles are encased in a machine, you don't see them. They scratch you, not stick into you like a shot does. It burns more than hurts.
guacamole - love it. Homemade is best, that way I can control the onions (I don't like onions much)
Hillary Clinton - she worries me. I don't love her or hate her. I won't be voting for her but that is nothing to do with her, I just have this thing about voting 3rd party whenever available.
Napolean Dynamite - the movie - hated it
Meat Loaf - love the food and the singer. Paradise by the Dashboard Lights brings back so many fun memories
Forwarded Emails (videos, stories, etc.) - hate them. All of them, even the cute babies dressed up like fruit. Especially the "totally true stories" that a 15 second visit to would prove false. Please, ask yourself before you hit send "If I had to pay for sending this, would I still send it?"

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sweet Shoppe survey

Q1: If you could vacation anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I'd go back to England. There were so many things we wanted to do & see while we were there on our honeymoon and we lacked the time & money to do them all.

Q2: What cartoons do you absolutely detest & refuse to allow anyone to watch {be it child, spouse- haha, nieces/nephews.. etc just plain don’t want it viewed on your television)?
Sponge Bob. i think he is obnoxious & the boys don't need his example

Q3: You just woke up, you’re a mess, haven’t showered, there are dishes in the sink.. There’s a knock at the door, what do you do?
Depends on what room I am in & where the boy are. we have French doors. Anyone outside can see in them to the kitchen. If I am alone & in the living room or bedroom I'll just peek out the curtains & see who it is, answering or not depending on that. If the boys are home or I am in the kitchen, then the person is basically looking right at me. Depending on who they are I'll open the door or speak with them with the door closed.

Q4:When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thought that ran through your mind?
Goodness those 'fine lines' are getting deeper

Q5. Tell me a story about your Dad..
My dad is good person, very giving. He does a lot of work with teen boys through baseball. There was a boy who was a very very good player and Dad thought he had an excellent chance of getting a scholarship to college & maybe even make the majors. If his grades improved. The kid was from the projects, his dad was absent, his mom was busy providing for her kids & didn't have the time to take an interest in this. My brother & I were out of the house by this time & my parents took this boy into their home, helped him through 2 years of HS and into college. Dad has helped a number of low income teens, boys & girls track themselves into college with grades & athletic scholarships.

Q6: You open your drawer, find 1 pink polka dotted sock and 1 black sock with reindeer on it.. Do you wear them together and hope no one sees them or go without socks today & hope your feet don’t get sweaty?
go without socks

Q7: Are there any strange stains on your carpet, floor, walls, ceiling or couch? Do you know how they got there?
Our old carpet was full of them, most of them from juice spills or coffee spills. The new floor is still to new.

Q8: Are you neighbors annoying???
My nearest neighbor is a quarter mile away. he'd have to be trying very very hard to be able to annoy me. Somebody within a mile or so lets their dogs run wild and a black one keeps getting into our trash.

Q9: Are you a phone person.. if I called you right now would you chat with me? lol
I like to chat on the phone so yeah, I'd talk to you. :)

Q10: What colour popsicle would you like.. Orange, Purple, Red, Yellow, Green, Pink or Blue?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

some books & a discovery

My longtime readers (all 2 of you) will know that I am a major Douglas Adams fan, can pretty much recite the books (thanks to listening to them on audio so many times) and never pass up a chance to work a reference to them into everything I write. I know because I am an American, there are bits & pieces of things I still don't catch in them; references to things that I am simply not going to catch because of my nationality & my age. So I am always pleased when i find one. In his book "The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul", Kate visits a mental hospital called The Woodshead, while looking for Thor. There is a line in there, that when I read it, means nothing, but I've always thought it was given some emphasis on the audio version. Given that Douglas Adams himself is the narrator, I've long suspected I was missing something. The line is "I don't want to see anything along the 'Something Nasty in the Woodshead' business, being repeated". The speaker is referring to some unfortunate recent publicity. But I've recently come across a book of that title. The book was written in the late 70's and is 3rd in a crime/comedy-noir series, that apparently was a cult classic in Britain. It may be nothing, but given that I have always thought there was an unnecessary to the plot emphasis given to that line by Adams in the audio version, I really wonder if he named the place that just to be able to refer to the book. Which is something I can totally imagine him doing.

Being the orderly person I am, I cannot just read that book. I have to read the first 2 first. They are Don't Point That Thing at Me and After You with the Pistol. I have them on audio and am listening to the 1st one. I am enjoying it, but I think perhaps I might be better off reading it. I felt that way about Jasper Fforde's books in the beginning as well but ended up listening to 4 out of 6 of them before ever reading one and loved them all. It's mostly a matter of pacing. The book itself moves along well but the narrator does not.

I have that problem with things by Frances Mayes too. Under the Tuscan Sun was a great read and I suspect A Year in the World is as well. But they are both read by her on my audio versions and the pacing just kills me. She is a poet and she reads her prose
as if
with endless meaningful pauses. I haven't finished Year yet. I get bored with it and it makes me sleepy because she has this soft, melodic voice (great for poetry, not so much for prose) A friend of mine apparently has a version of Year that is read by someone else because she said the pacing was very good on hers. Under the Tuscan Sun was ok with pacing but really should have had the recipes abridged out of it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

April round up

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?

I read Victorian London by Liza Picard, Courtesans (can't recall the author) and the Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain. I reread Cooking for Mister Latte, Marriage with My Kingdom and several Agatha Christie mysteries. I also listened to seveal audiobooks including The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, Heat and The Well of Lost Plots.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?

Various things. I don't watch much network stuff. I'm sick of crime drama and prefer my reality TV to focus on home improvement. I like "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel (but it is in reruns until July), and I've been hooked on "Robin Hood" on BBC America. I watch Mythbusters & Dirty Jobs as well.

What special days did I celebrate and how?

The 15th was my mom's birthday. We called her & the boys wished her a happy birthday.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

None given or received

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

I had some back problems. Drake had an ear infection

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

What were this month's disappointments?

What were my accomplishments this month?

Anything else noteworthy to record?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

how embarrassing

I just paid a repairman $60 to plug in my stove. I feel like an incredible idiot. But given the situation I can't see how I could have known. This is what happened:

DH makes cookies at 3pm on Sunday. Oven is working just fine. At 5pm I set it to preheat, but it only reaches 135 (so it *was* working) and then cuts out. The burners don't work either. However the digital clock display and the timer work just fine. So obviously something to do with heating has broken on it. It's an 11 year old stove & we've had to replace the heating coil once already. Monday I call a repair place, tell them the problem. They say something about circuit boards. So they aren't thinking about it either. Repair shops, unlike tech support, do not ask "Is the appliance plugged in?" before proceeding to troubleshoot. Even if they had I would have said "well sure it is" without looking because it's STOVE not a printer & the odds of it somehow coming unplugged without a noticeable amount of deliberate effort on my part, are really quite slim. The plug is behind the stove, you have to move it out of the way and pretty much CLIMB OVER IT to unplug it. And I am not the sort of fanatical cleaner who insists on moving appliances to clean behind them on a regular basis. Once a year, maybe. So it has been MONTHS since that stove was moved, maybe even a year or more. And the stove WAS WORKING all this time. Seriously, would 'maybe the plug came loose' have occurred to you given the situation?

The guy comes here, moves the stove, says "the plug is loose" pushes it all the way in and the stove works fine. he checked out the circuit board and other electronics to be sure but as it says on the receipt "Plugged stove in" is what he did.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

oven problems

Our oven has stopped heating. It worked fine to make cookies about 2pm but then when I turned it on at 5pm it only heated to 135 and then stopped working at all. We had to replace the heating element within a year of buying the house. I can't recall what we spent. The oven was only a year or so old & Ithink the part was covered but we had to pay $50-60 for someone to come out, tell us it was the part and then come back & put the part in. Now, at more than 10 years old, we'll no doubt have to pay for the part as well. So we looked at stoves online. A straight replacement of our bottom of the Maytag stove will cost $250. Upgrading to the ceramic cooktop (which we've said we would do some day) would be $400. Upgrading still further to the ceramic cooktop and double stove model (which is my dream) would be $1000. I'll call Maytag in the morning & see how much the repair will run.

I cooked dinner in the toaster oven. It worked fine. Its just small. I need to search out my smallest baking dishes & see if they fit because odds are, that oven won't be fixed until some time after we get back from FL.

layout for today

We lost one of our cats on Monday. DH found Buddah on the porch in the morning. He had apparently passed on while laying in front of his box. The scraplift challenge at inspired me to do this layout of him.

I am surprised at how few photos we have of him, or that I can find anyway. I've been going through all the photos for the digi camera years & copying out the ones with any of the cats in them into a separate folder. I found one packet of pics of the cats in with the rest of my photos and scanned them but I am sure I had more.

I'm starting to get stuff together for our flight on Thursday. A friend offered to take us tot he airport & for a bit it looked like I could ride home with DH. But that's not working out. I called around for airport taxis but it's $150-200 from here to the airport. I'll cost me about $100 in parking fees and gas to drive myself. Is it worth $50 to not have to deal with getting from baggage claim to the back of beyond parking with a double stroller, large rolling suitcase, 4 carry ons and 2 small boys at bedtime. Not from where I am sitting right now. But I can't say how I will feel when I land after 2 2 hour flights and a 90 minute layover with all of the above. Previous experience leads me think I'll be thinking "i'd pay $200 not to have to deal with this right now". But I'd have to travel with the car seats. Sure they can be used on the plane, but I'd have to take them from check in, through security to whatever distant terminal my flight is departing from. Along with all the aforementioned items except the rolling suitcase. Do they allow bungee cords through security? Because the only way I can see to manage it is to bungee the car seats into the stroller and then sit the kids in the seats, which is probably unsafe and will lead to the kids falling out. So I am driving up.

While I'm down in FL I'm hoping to have time to work on the pregnancy album I am creating for 1hourscrap. As usual I overcomplicated it by deciding to do all these different options & had to toss nearly everything & start over. I'm planning on using the flight time (assuming the boys actually *watch* the DVD I am bringing) to rework my ideas, make a full list of what I want to include & how I want to include it, so I can just sit & do it once we are there & the grandparents are playing with the boys.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


It was not on the planned menu but Safeway had a sale on leg of lamb so I decided to get it. I had them cut it in half for me because the smallest was 6lbs and really, there is no way that would get eaten. I've never made lamb before. To the best of my knowledge I have never eaten lamb before, though there is a hazy childhood recollection in my memory of skillet fried lamb chops that were as tough as shoe leather. They might have been pork chops though. My mom cooked pork to death as it were. I remember smoked pork chops and ham steaks that were dry & tough because I suppose prevailing wisdom was to cook pork so it was inedible to avoid trychsy something or other. I hated pork chops until DH cooked some that were tender and juicy for me.

Anyway, back to the lamb, my culinary adventure of the month. Not much of a cooking adventure. Joy told me to roast it to 135 & that it would take 1.5-1.75 hours for a 7lb roast. It suggested rubbing it with oil and perferating the skin and sliding garlic slices into the slits but that seemed like rather a lot of work when I could just put it in a bag and pour some garlic & olive oil dressing in there for a marinade. It marinaded most of the afternoon. It roasted for 40 minutes & came out pink. It was delicious!!! Tender & juicy, like the best steak ever only more flavorful. I'm glad I have the other half left & may go buy another one if they are still on sale. I also steamed some asparagus & made some couscous. It was a really good meal. And for probably the first time ever I had the right amount of meat. No leftovers, but plenty for everyone.

Friday, April 06, 2007


from this site

Appetizer When you travel, which mode of transportation do you prefer?

I prefer to travel by train but can't afford the cost to time ratio. It takes 12 hours by rail to get to my parents. I can drive there in 18 for a quarter of the cost or fly there in 3 for the same price. I like the room you have in a train, especially an overnight trip. You can get up and walk around and there is scenery & you can look at it without having to watch the road as well. It's nicer than a plane, roomier, you can spread out more. Some day i would like to take the family on one of those scenic 3 day trips out west.

Soup Have you ever met a blogging friend in person?

No I have not, though I might in June.

Salad When was the last time you were really, really tired?

I was really really tired from about mid 2002 until Dec 2005 when I started taking Lunesta. I was barely functioning with a newborn and then pregnant with an infant and then had a newborn & a toddler and chronic bronchitis. If I slept 3 hours in 24 it was a lot of sleep. My memory was shot, my motor skills were faulty, my personality was non-existent. It was a very bad time for me. Since then I have only been really really tired twice. Dh was out of town and my younger son was up most of 2 nights in a row & I had no opportunity to nap.

Main Course If you could have dinner with any one fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be?

Tough one, either Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Thursday Next from the Eyre Affair (and other books)

Dessert Fill in the blank: One day, I hope to see _______________.

my great grandchildren

Sunday, April 01, 2007

new menu

It's the beginning of the month so it is time for a new 2 week menu. The interesting side dish thing has continued to be a problem & lunch is becoming a serious issue for me. I am instead trying to get more veggies into the main dish & make meals with leftovers that will serve as decent, protein based lunches. I eat way too many carbs during the day. we are also still recovering from $1000 in unexpected auto expenses so keeping the cost down and not going out to eat must be included. I'm also trying to reuse multiple ingredients so I can 'chop once, cook twice' though I have timing issues with it and food sometimes goes bad. So this is what I have in no real order

Pasta primavera (Buttoni tortellini with broccoli & squash & pesto)
Frittata with potato & squash and a salad
Braciole (flank steak is on sale this week) with garlic broccoli side
Beef ragou (also with flank steak) side TBD
Grilled chicken & sweet potato salad (includes other veggies)
Pizza, with grilled chicken & artichokes
Pork schnitzel with honey garlic carrots & salad
Turkey cutlets with creamed spinach
Chicken & bean antipasta (includes artichokes & spinach)
Pasta TBD
Pocket sandwiches of turkey, artichokes & spinach
Grilled tilapia & beets

All of it but the pasta, piza and the fish make decent leftovers for lunch & on those days I'm thinking yogurt, hummus & carrots, and hard boiled eggs. Possibly some salad depending on the leafy greens situation. Pasta tomorrow night & I think after that the chicken & sweet potato salad (assuming a ripe avocado can be found).

Hopefully we'll be back to dinners out again next month & I'll be able to buy some digi supplies as well. I've got a plan to bring in some extra money to subsidize my digi habit & Quizno's addiction but it'll take a couple of months before all the paperwork is done. However it has the potential to become a long term WAH job to carry over once the kids are in school full time.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

share your plans for April

re you done with Spring Cleaning yet? Are you going to play some practical jokes (or even pranks, LOL!) come April Fool’s? Do you practice Lent? What are your plans for Easter?

Yes I am done with my Spring Cleaning. I do a 'spring cleaning' 8 times a year and just did my most recent right before Ostara (Mar 21). I'll do my next at the end of April, right before Beltane (May 1)

I would love to play pranks on people but I'm not very good at it and don't really have anyone to do it on, except DH. I don't practice Lent or celebrate Easter because I am pagan. Our holiday of renewal was on Mar 21, the vernal equinox,when we celebrate the rebirth of nature & the increase of light. The boys and I went outside with drums and woke up the trees then we had a ritual meal of symbolic foods - omlette, spinach salad and new bread.

My plans for April mostly revolve around the yard. We have to dig out an old parking area and till it, fertilize it and the current play area and reseed. That's going to take most of the month. We also have to get started on prepping the rest of the garden and ordering some more trees. Plus I have issues with my computer desk that are going to need addressed with some carpentry.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


These are some questions from the Sweet Shoppee weekly “From Our Blog To Yours” event.

Amazon or brick and mortar? Wherever the price is best. I'll browse books at B&N and then look them up on Amazon and & wherever the deal is best I'll buy. I'll also check my library for a copy as well.
Bookmark or dog ear? dog ear my books, bookmark library books
Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? Grouped by subject but not alphabetized
Keep, throw away, or sell? Depends on the book. I keep the ones I love, sell the ones that are worth a decent price and donate the rest
Keep dust jacket or toss it? Keep
Read with dust jacket or remove it? With it on
Short story or novel? Novels and essays
Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? I've only read one book of each and didn't really care for either. Lemony Snicket if I had to choose
Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? When I get tired I read to a chapter ending.
“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Depends on my mood.
Buy or Borrow? Borrow if it is a new author or one I just like, buy if it is an author I know I love
New or used? Used
Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse? Browse followed by recommendations followed by reviews
Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Unless it is a series I like tidy endings
Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading? Whenever I have time. :) I listen to audiobooks during the day in my car and at the gym and I read in the evenings
Stand-alone or series? I do either.
Favorite series? Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series
Favorite children’s book? The Narnia Chronicls
Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Dirk Gentley's Holisitic Detective Agency
Favorite books of all time? David Eddings Belgariad & Mallorean serieses
Least favorite book you finished last year? David Edding's "The Younger Gods". His first 2 series (Belgariad & Mallorean) were awesome. His second 2 series (Elenium & Tamuli) were very good. His last one (the Dreamers) was just plain horrible
What are you reading right now? Insatiable by Gael Greene
What are you reading next? I'm not sure but I'll probably reread Julie & Julia or check if the latest Anne Perry mystery is at the library

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sweet SHoppe blog prompts

1. If you could witness one supernatural event–whether you believe in the supernatural or not–what would it be? Why? I do believe in the supernatural. I'm not sure if this qualifies as a supernatural event, but it certainly is mystical. I'd like to witness an actual ritual at Stonehenge performed by the people that built it. There are a lot of theories why it was built & what was done there & I'd like to see the 'grand opening' events because I really would love to know why they built it.

2. What is your earliest memory? Why do you think you have remembered that particular event or thing? My earliest memory is of lying on something cold with a sheet over my face. I know I am in a hospital but that is all I know in my memory. I'm not scared or in pain. I'm mostly focused on the way the light looks coming through the sheet. I realize now that I am remembering when I had to get stitches in my forehead. I was about 3. I suppose I remember it because it was a significant thing to happen to you.

3. Pick a friend or acquaintance with whom you think you would like to start a new business venture. What business? We've actually discussed this with a couple friends. They teach yoga & one of them owns a bunch of land so the idea is to run a yoga retreat place. I'd be doing the admin stuff. I like yoga, but not enough to actually learn to teach it. Someone has to do the paperwork & that is what I am good at.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I wish someone had told me...

that disagreeing and arguing with someone does not mean you have to sever the relationship. You can be friends with people who disagree with you on things. You can even continue to love them. You can agree to disagree and respect one another's points of view. Disagreeing with an opinion is not the same as disliking a person. I don't know how many people in the first 25 years of my life I walked away from because we had one fight, one argument. They walked away as well, so its not just me who didn't know it. But I wish that was something that had been explained better to me when I was a child.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

living room is done!

here are some 'after' shots
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Please note, ifyou can see it, my beloved flat screen monitor is back :) It's new. They couldn't fix the old one so they replaced it with a new one that is actually bigger than the old one. I've scrapped 2 layouts since I set it up on Tuesday. :)

And now for the bad news. Yesterday I failed to miss a chuck of tree branch in the road. Hit it pretty much dead on the passenger side. Took out the crossbar on the underside of my car, which sheered the bolts out of the radiator. And that is just the damage I could see. Fortunately I was only a quarter mile from my house & made it into the driveway before the radiator really started leaking....ok, it gushed fluid as soon as I stopped the car. I had it towed to our mechanic that afternoon. Today I called and he says I'd better call my insurance as I have "significant damage' to the car and it needs to go to a body shop. DAMN! 2 weeks ago I got a letter from my insurance telling me that starting March 14th my payments were going down $10 a month. Wanna bet that doubles in the opposite direction? I called the insurance, they arranged for a rental car as I was bright enough to include that on my policy when we switched. I arranged for the mechanics to tow the car to the autobody place (Which is owned by a guy who used to work for the mechanic and is a customer of DH's company. gotta love small towns) I'd been told it would be 48 hours before an adjuster could look at it but he called me about an hour later & actually inspected the car before it left the mechanics shop. He also noticed a cracked front fender. The mechanic said my compressor had been damaged & possibly the transmission as something is still leaking fluid. Lovely. I just had that transmission replaced in August. Not being able to see the compressor or the transmission the adjuster did a claim for $1012 & is sending me a check for $512. If other stuff is needed they will just pay the autobody place directly. unless, and here is the kicker, the transmission is shot. Given the age, mileage and damage to the car (this is the second collision it's been in. DH failed to miss a heavy folded tractor trailer tarp in Nov 2002) they will declare the car totalled. We are so screwed if that happens. My car is paid off. We can't afford a car payment right now, not until DH's truck is paid off next Jan. we'll get at best $5000 for my car as a payout. I am so hoping there is nothing so significantly wrong with the car that they will call it totalled. I really need that car to last another year at least.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

what I have been up too

I haven't been around much. I haven't done any layouts or any products for 1hourscrap. I haven't had a workspace for 2 weeks, with another week or so to go. We're finally getting wood flooring!!! It was supposed to be installed last week. So the week before I spent packing up the living room & moving what i could elsewhere in the house & then we were going to rent a moving can to hold the furniture we had no space for. Last Saturday we were ready to get loading when the guy calls & says he can't be here until next week. The guy is an old friend of ours. So I'm a bit peeved & decide that since the room is cleaned out & the furniture is already piled in the middle of the room, lets take the week & paint the walls. We picked out a medium golden yellow - pirate's treasure if you look on Lowe's and some chocolate brown for trim. The plan was to paint every night last week & get primer & 2 coats done. Primer got done & one coat got done & then we all had this 48 hour bug that kept us from doing the second coat. Saturday we go the truck, loaded it with the furniture & pulled up the carpet & tack strips. Today we were going to go get the plywood for the underlayment (it's concrete slab), but it's snowed 6 inches so far & now we are getting a sort of freezing drizzle thing. So we're stuck here. The other thing we were going to get was the cabinetry for the built in 2 workstation desk area DH is putting in where my old useless plastic shelving & odd desk were. I am so looking forward to that. Of course the snow means our friend probably won't be down tomorrow as planned, so that's another day of no floor. The living room is giant freezing echo chamber currently. Here are some pics of developments so far.

my computer area before clearing (taken by DS1 age 4)

the rest of the living room before clearing- taken this summer, we have new curtains now.

my computer area last week (I'm at the kitchen island at the moment)

the mostly empty living room

little boys painting primer

my work area in color

DH pulling up tack strips

I really hoping to be able to post next week pictures of a fully furnished living room with new carbonized bamboo flooring and custom built in office area. Or by the weekend after that at the very latest.....except the office area, which I am bracing myself for not being done until April. But here's hoping for the best