Monday, March 31, 2008

A Great Literary Series

When preparing for my last road trip, I went to the library and checked out several audio-books on CD. One of them was a literary series that we are really enjoying. It is a:
  • Young Adult Fictional Series.
  • Written by a European.
  • About a pre-pubescent boy.
  • The main character is brilliant and extremely wealthy.
  • Audio and Video rights to the series have been sold.
Sound familiar?

Sounds like Harry Potter by JK Rowling, right?

Well, what if I add these points:
  • Written by a Irish Man.
  • About a Criminal-Mastermind.
  • Whose parents are alive and well.
Now do you know who it is?

Artemis Fowl. Written by Eoin Colfer. Currently, there are six books in the series with a movie in the works.
There are also some supplemental materials out like The Artemis Fowl Files.

You should go check it out. Really. Go to your library and check it out! Then, in a few days (that's all it'll take to read the first book), let me know how much you enjoy it!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Phrase of the Day: I will Scoop you up like a Bowl of Soup!

"I will destroy you! I will Scoop you up like a Bowl of Soup!"

This is the threat Frank just made while lying on the couch playing with his Transformer, Starscream.

Tom and I just laughed and laughed when we realized what he'd said. Then we took it a step further... "you will be like Minestrone! You will be like Chowder! You will be like a Can of Cheap of Soup!"

For some reason, to us, this was funny. I hope you enjoy it and that you stay away from people who will "Scoop you up like a Bowl of Soup!"

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fit for Life - Action Plan

I just wanted to give you an update... or maybe I should just be informing you in the first place. I recently realized that I gained weight this past winter. This was a surprise for me. It's never happened to me before. I mean, well, once, I worked - consciously - for a FULL YEAR to gain almost 20 pounds. But since last fall, I gained 25 pounds... without even trying OR being aware of it. Okay, maybe on some level I knew I my clothes weren't fitting quite the same, but I had NO IDEA that such a thing would ever happen to me! My whole life has been one of those "I can eat whatever I want and I'm still always skinny and healthy." It's just been like that for me. Always and forever. Well, then I had two babies (does this story sound familiar) and with each pregnancy I gained about 50 pounds... I grew 'em big! (10 pounds 2 ounces and 9 pounds 3 ounces big!) Still, it was three years ago when I birthed my last child and since then, things have been sitting pretty much the same. I've been fluctuating around a size 14. I just figured the weight would slip away without much effort on my part, because I never had to think about it before.

I think I'm rambling. Yep! The size of the previous paragraph says I'm DEFINITLY rambling! (I do that when I'm tired, which I am).

This wasn't suppose to be a rambling or a whiny post. Just a quick little update, and then relax for the night...

So. Suffice it to say I recognized *something* had happened and it needed to be corrected. With the assistance of my Aunt, I devised an ACTION PLAN to help me get back to a size 10, around 128 pounds... I liked that weight. That's where I plan to get back to.

This plan includes:
  • regular water consumption
  • vitamin and mineral supplements
  • regular, nutritious food choices
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • self-reflective periods
  • consistent sleep patterns
  • walking
  • stair-climbing
  • bike-riding
  • swimming
Now, for the original point of this post, the quick update...
I've been "doing" the exercise portion of my Action Plan for two weeks now. Yesterday I noticed a bit more of a spring in my step and also more energy. I'm glad to feel these things, even though all of the parts of my plan have yet to be implemented and even though I'm still working to forge better habits.

So far, I've been doing the following:
  • regular water consumption
  • vitamin and mineral supplements
  • yoga
  • walking
  • stair-climbing
  • bike-riding
  • swimming
Oh, one other thing... I'm going slow and taking it easy on myself. I started with 10 minutes biking and 10 minutes swimming, three times a week. Also, walking and stairs and yoga each day, but just in small, manageable portions.

Now, this next week I need to get my sleep and eating habits on track. Then my meditative periods (or maybe visa-versa, I'll have to think about it.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Finding Jeans that Fit

A friend just pointed me in the direction of 5 Minutes for Mom who is giving away $200 to the site called True Jeans! I recently went through a blue-jean-fitting-crisis and my hubby found a similar survey to help find the "right" fit of jeans. I'm grateful to know these surveys are out there to help us along (especially now that I'm "rural" and have limited shopping options!)

What's That Name?

I know many people name they're vehicles.
  • My first car, a 1979 Chevy Malibu was "Millie".
  • The Chevy S-10 Blazer I had for ten years (and three husbands) was "THE Blazer".
  • Then, I had a Dodge Dakota Extended Cab, that had been my Father-in-Laws... it looked like a miniature version of my hubby's Dodge Ram (even the same color) and his license plate read LRDVADR (Lord Vader), so, my mini-vaderesque truck became "Ani", for "Anikan Skywalker".
  • Currently, I have a dark-red Dodge Grand Caravan (2005) van... my boys' LOVE Thomas the Tank Engine, where the red engine is James... so, guess what my van is called? You got it, "James".
I've even met people (well, okay, just one person - that I know of) who name they're weapons.
  • My hubby had a Smith & Wesson 44 Magnum "Katherine" (which he sold in during an impoverished period to his brother and desperately wants to buy back, but, brothers (being what they are), his refuses to sell the gun back, even for an inflated price. Personally I don't understand why another S&W 44 Mag wouldn't do just as well, but then, "I'm a woman" and I don't think I'm "suppose" to get this quirk... so, I don't loose sleep over it!) Katherine. That was also the name that my hubby wanted to give our first-born daughter. Katherine. Also the name of his former fiancée... hmm... do we see a trend here? Anyway, I'm off-track here... from what I understand, my husband has named all of his weapons (and that's not a small number!)
I've even named my favorite appliance.
  • My mixer... a giant, behemoth of a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (The Professional 6 in Red). It's name is "Big Red". And that's what we refer to it as. All of us in the house. To the point when we went to visit my Mom recently, my boys wanted to know what she called her smaller white Kitchen Aid mixer;
  • it became "Baby White".
  • My Aunt calls her Dyson Vacuum, "Mr. Dyson", like a name, not the brand.
What inanimate objects do you name?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Technology Overkill

As I strive to simplify my life, I was thinking of some of the things we do without. Then I started thinking of things we do have and also of some that I would like.

Here is a list of some of the things we “live without” in our home…
  • Scale (to weigh a person on)
  • Blender
  • Toaster
  • Cassette Tape Player
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cable TV
  • Satellite TV
  • Video Game System for TV
  • Telephone
  • Answering Machine
  • Television
  • VCR
  • Microwave
Many of these items are considered “necessities” of our times, and others have simply become outdated (tape players, for example). I delight in the absence of these things from our home, and often boast that we “don’t have a TV” (I especially boast about that one).

Some things that we do have - perhaps to an excess - are:
  • Toaster Oven
  • Mrs. Kitchen / Magic Bullet small blender
  • High-Speed Internet
  • 4 Computers (3 Laptops (2 personal, 1 work) & 1 Desktop)
  • 4 Handheld electronic games (2 Leapsters, & 2 (old) Gameboys)
  • 3 Cell Phones (2 personal, & 1 work), with Voice Mail
  • I-Pod Shuffle
  • 6 Sewing Machines (3 antique (1 treadle, 2 electric), 2 “regular” (1 for me, 1 for my son), & 1 serger)
  • 2 Scales (to weigh mail on)
  • 4 Digital Cameras (3 card-deck size (2 personal, & 1 work) & 1 video)
Sometimes I think that “one day”, I might like to have:
  • Headphones / Speakers with Volume control (for use with Laptop)
  • A Sewing Machine with a stitch-regulator for free-motion quilting
  • Popcorn Air Popper
  • Flat-Panel / Projection TV (something that will “disappear” behind a quilt on the wall)
  • “Nice” SLR Digital Camera

Technology can help us so much, but I think sometimes we forget that it’s purpose truly is to HELP us. A big thing I notice is how so many people feel compelled to answer a ringing phone... I say, answer it if it's convenient, if not, they'll leave a message / call back. Sometimes we become over-run by things. It reminds me of a scene from the movie “Sabrina” (with Harrison Ford). Linus Larabee tells Sabrina that he has a personal helicopter to “save time in traffic”. When she observes that he never stops to look out the window of his personal jet (he’s busy looking at work documents), he says he “doesn’t have time to look out the window”. Pointedly she queries “what happened to all that time you saved on the helicopter?” We rush, rush, rush. Sometimes, I think it’s good to purge things from our lives; to reevaluate their usefulness, or how much they hinder us.

What are some things that you don’t have which others seem to consider necessary? What are some of the things that you “can’t live without”? What items do you think about acquiring?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Holiday Weekend

Well, I guess I did it again, didn't I? I disappeared for yet another holiday away from computers. Can you believe that I'm online everyday, several times a day, and yet (it would seem) that none (or very few) of my relatives are online... at least not the ones I go to visit. If they are online, it is with a land-line, not a wireless connection. I guess I'm just not the dedicated blogger that goes to a library everyday to make posts... sorry!

We went to Lander for the weekend.
Stayed with my grandparents.

Played cars / trains / blocks.

Practiced Checkers (I just taught Frank this month).

Visited my Aunt (who cracked a whip for four-plus hours, while we cleaned out her guest / junk room). Also visited with my Uncle (who was very appreciative of all our hard work). No picture… what was I thinking? I got pictures of everyone but them and evidence of the hard work (guess I was too busy... oh, that's right!... WORKING!) Sorry!

Visited my Cousin (who had nasal, pollup-removal surgery on Good Friday)…

...and his family...

Got a good dosing of Churchy stuff (from each household). We're heathens, you know... we don't go to church every week. We don't even "have" a church of our own... yep, that's me and my hoard, just floating out here in Godlessness, doomed for eternity. Anyway, when we go to visit, we also go to Church... keeps the peace and gives us the opportunity to have discussions on beliefs with our boys. Here we are post church...

Tom was a little embarrassed about the "Hawaiian" Shirt I packed for him. I kept telling him it was clean, it was wrinkle-free, and it was Pierre Cardin, so, it was okay. He didn't buy it, which, quite honestly surprised me. I thought the relaxed, but clean and neat, shirt would be right up his Church-Going-Feelings-Alley. Laid back and relaxed. Here, but not really. Oh well! Next time, I guess I'll pack his dress shirt, tie, slacks, and dress shoes... all last worn about four years ago and pretty much guaranteed not to fit! :P

What else?

Talk about being laid-back! Get a load of Jack!!!
Hmm..., what was it?

Oh yeah!

We hunted Easter Eggs!

That pretty much sums up our weekend!

I hope you enjoyed yours. Our weather was beautiful and the break to visit family was good.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Early Morning Time

On Monday I started going over to the Family Rec Center to do some of my exercising. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I now wake up around 5:30 to go before Tom has to leave for work. What then, of course, must happen for me is that my body will start to shift to this time schedule... up early (and soon to bed early). I've never been one who could easily "sleep in" just because it was a different day of the week... my body (and I read it's best for bodies) likes to go to sleep and get up at the same time.

This morning, I woke feeling refreshed and awake at 6:36 (I know it will move up closer to 5:30 the more I get up at that time). Instead of crawling back in bed and just laying around, I grabbed a workbook (Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting Playbook by Lynn Grabhorn) and journal, as well as my robe and some water. Then, I went and snuggled into the couch to do a little self-reflection. I got 30 minutes to myself before I heard anyone else stir. It was quite delightful.

The way I've ordered my life is to spend time cuddling with my boys and hubby each morning. Part of why I haven't allowed myself to get up and do "my own thing" was because of the cuddle thing. Well, this morning, when I heard them getting around, I just closed up my books and went in for snuggling with them. It was a good way to do it.

I am glad to be carving out some time for "me" when I'm at my best... in the morning. Often I feel like I'm trying to "steal" time for myself after the boys are in bed, but that's really when I too need to be in bed. I've always been an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of person.

Also, last night, just before bed I wrote out today's list of things to do today. I feel so much calmer knowing what I wanted to accomplish. You know how at the end of the day you'll think "I didn't get ____ done?" Well, by writing it down when I was thinking it, it helped give me a focus and a reminder for today.

Here, on the first day of Spring in Wyoming, we've been having rain showers mixed with snow flurries. I am so happy to see the ground wet, but not white, and the sky gray, but producing rain. It gives me hope for greener times ahead. Hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

High Altitude Cooking / Baking Adjustments

My Aunt's have had a cabin in the mountains since before I was born. It's actually the only "place" in my life that has remained constant. I've noticed that when I get there, I'm often sleepy and able to rest. I'm still pondering if I rest there because I instinctively know I can, if I take myself there when I "need" some downtime, or if it's some combination. I digress.

My Aunt Ginny was a great cook. Over many years, she gathered information for adjusting recipes to cook / bake at high-altitudes. Since I now live at a high-altitude, I was given these little treasures of info on my last visit. Now, I'd like to share them with you.
  • Increase flour 2 teaspoons per cup.
  • Increase liquid 1 Tablespoon per cup.
  • Decrease leavening agent 1/8 teaspoon per teaspoon.
  • Decrease sugar 1 Tablespoon per cup.
  • Decrease shortening 1 Tablespoon per cup.
  • Increase baking temperature 10 degrees.
When I ask about the source, I was told that this info was discovered by trial-and-error or that it was gathered a piece at a time, Here-and-There. I hope that they help you sometime.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back to Task

Just thought I'd let you know that I'm getting myself back to task. The three things that come to mind are:
  1. Exercise and Healthy Living
  2. Pattern Design and Publication
  3. Routines, Schedules, and Law of Attraction
I am working out Plans of Action for each of these areas and also implementing them, like, yesterday! Literally. I started implementing them yesterday!

Yay me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Kids Art

I feel a little slow to get up-and-running with blogging again... but, since I do enjoy it and the trail of life it gives me, I am chugging away at it.

I've been meaning to give you a tip... you know how kids' art seems to multiply and grow and grow? Well, I put up my favorites, but then, I stash other pieces (right under my cutting mat at my multi-purpose workstation.) Then, when I'm sending something to a friend or family, I have a piece of child's art handy (as in, I don't have to wait for a custom piece to be made (and dry) before sending my item out). I just snatch a piece of artwork from under my mat and include it in the package / envelope. I also use them for wrapping gifts. This is just a little something that makes my life easier (no guilt about throwing away art and I get to share it with people far away).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quilting Projects I’ve Seen

I recently came across two patterns online that look fun, fast, and easy. They are both online tutorials. Take a peek, maybe you'd like to make one of them (from the scrap bin?)

The Future's So Bright Quilt by AmandaJean of Crazy Mom Quilts. Here are the specific instructions for making it.

The second one is SUPER SCRAPPY and FAST... Scrap Strip Squares by HappyThings.

Please send me a picture if you make one of these cute quilts!

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm Back!

Just thought I'd give you a little warning that we are FINALLY back from three weeks of travels. You can expect me to begin posting again regularly... and also, a new feature has been requested, which I am working on... recipes.

I'll be back online again soon...