Saturday, May 31, 2008

We bought it!

Our new house on Blue Sage Way... which, by the way we're still trying to decide on a name for.
  • Sh---r Station - was our first house in Arizona.
  • Sh---r Siding - is our apartment in Wyoming.
Now, we need a new name for our new place. We have thought of:
  • Sage Sh---r - because it's on Blue Sage Way.
  • Sh---r Pit-Stop - Frank's submission.
  • Sh---r Stop
  • Sh---r Speedway - because we can see the freeway from our upper back windows.
  • Sweet Sh---r Spot - because of the county we live in.
  • Sweet Spot - shorter version
What ideas do you have? I'd be interested to hear them.

Anyway, we closed at 4 yesterday and funding will happen on Monday. The seller allowed us access (even though it technically won't be final until Monday.) Yesterday, he even let me in, while we were waiting to close, to start prepping for painting. I was able to mask the whole house yesterday. So, now we're headed over to remove fixtures and switch-plates and start painting! I even have a friends 13 yo son who wants to come help (to earn some summer cash!) Gotta run!

Oh yeah... we're ALL sick now, but not feeling terrible, just with head colds. :P

Friday, May 30, 2008

Just Our Luck

As luck would have it. In addition to being overwhelmed, overworked, and generally exhausted.
  • Tuesday afternoon/night - Frank developed a runny nose.
  • Wednesday night - Jack developed a runny nose.
  • Thursday evening - Jack added a slight fever to the mix.
  • Thursday evening - Tom crashed early, "feeling terrible" with a sore throat and fever.
I've been tired, but taking regular time out to rest... like yesterday afternoon, I put both boys down (Jack slept, Frank rested until his radio music turned off (a "quiet" timer I use for nap-times), and I slept for 90 minutes. I've been trying to relax and take it one-step-at-a-time, but, it is hard to keep all these balls in the air!

Our 9:00am closing on the house Friday? We're still suppose to close on Friday, but we "just need to be flexible" and PATIENT with when it will happen. The bank is STILL waiting on ONE piece of paper from the VA. Our last lender didn't send in the paperwork to show our previous VA loan as paid off. So, even though the credit reports show the loan paid off, the Veteran's Administration must send a special paper over. Even though we already gave them a Certificate of Eligibility. What's most frustrating is that we applied for the loan over two months ago, and now, at the moment of closing, they still don't have all the pieces in place. In the past week, we've had AT LEAST SEVEN things that the loan officer needed "right now". I've been very confused by all the last minute running about. I guess my loan officers in Arizona really knew there stuff, because with them, I seem to remember getting a list, brining everything in, and being done with it.

Anyway. Positive thoughts for today. We'll close by lunch-time so I can start masking and painting the house... with a whole bunch of people who are feeling GREAT! :D

Thursday, May 29, 2008


What does it say about my personality, that perhaps the single-thing I am MOST excited about with the upcoming change in housing is that today was the last time (in the foreseeable future) I would have to find myself here... the Laundromat? I was SO EXCITED about this being our last day there! I even brought balloons (and cookies). No. Really. I did. Look...

I brought balloons and decorated the place with them. And when people would walk in and look at the questioningly, I would tell them "We're buying a house tomorrow, so today is our last day at the Laundromat, and THAT is a reason TO CELEBRATE!... Would you like a cookie?"

In case you're wondering. They were Lofthouse Sugar Cookies, with white frosting and Patriotic Sprinkles. And no. No one else ate any. :P Phooey on them!

This truly has been the nicest place I could have washed laundry each week (other than my own home). It's clean. It's bright. And the employees (especially Jolynn, the Manager) are very friendly and nice. If it weren't for the process being so exhausting, it could have been... fun.

Actually, I guess today I showed myself that it could be fun even while being exhausting. Oh well! I'm a little tired for such thoughts right now.

If I were witty, or poetic, I might have something clever to say. To this scene, I'll just say this...


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Day Out with Thomas Recap

It’s been two years in the planning. My father-in-law and I wanted to take the boys on A Day Out with Thomas trip. We were going to do it last Spring, in Arizona, but Tom left the state the month before-hand and I was very busy prepping a house to sell. So. We rescheduled. This past weekend, we drove and my FIL flew into Salt Lake City. Then, we stayed at a rented Townhouse in Park City (which was half-way between the train and SLC).

The boys knew we were going to meet their Grandad and spend a few days together, but they didn’t know about the trains until the morning of the trip. Here are a few pictures as well as their own descriptions of the day:

Jack's Description:

I was riding on the Hollow Express. I was riding on the big Thomas. I was standing on the big train. I took a nap on the Soldier Hollow Express.

Frank's Description:

We're back from our vacation. We went to Salt Lake to see my Grandad. They surprised me and Jack with riding on Thomas and the Soldier Hollow Express. They are trains that we got to ride on. I had fun riding on Thomas the Tank Engine. Daddy bought us (actually, Mommy bought them and had Daddy fetch them from the van and give them to the boys) some wooden Thomas the Tank Engine toys, Gordon and his tender, and brother got a Breakdown Train. We have lots more of wooden Thomas the Tank Engine trains that are wooden.

The boys had their first Cotton Candy experience... they each ate less than half and were all-sugared-out! I thoroughly enjoyed having my very own “Sugar Floss” (although I could have eaten off of theirs).

We waited and waited in a good sized line to have a picture with Thomas the train. As we approached the front of the line, Thomas departed for a 25 minute trip.

We waited for his return. When we finally got to the front of the line, here are the great pictures I was able to get! :P Oh well… as Pioneer Woman says, just “keepin’ it real!”

The weekend started out with drizzly rains. They continued off and on while we were at The Thomas Event. It actually made for a temperate day and interesting, refreshing weather. Blue skies and sunny one minute, drizzly and gray the next. It was the perfect temperature throughout, though, which was a blessing. Here's a view from our Thomas train ride:

We climbed around on some old engines and train cars. This old caboose just begged for the "Vintage" action from Pioneer Woman's Action Set!

Actually... truth-be-told... I took that picture, of the guys on the caboose, with the Vinatge Action in mind... hee-hee!

This was one of my last shots of the day... right as we were returning on the Soldier Hollow Express (a 90 minute, okay, it was advertised as 90 but really was only 70 minute train ride). I was trying to catch the fact that the cars were waiting for us, while we were on the train, and I did! I got the flashing lights, the train seats, the crossing bars, the waiting cars. I only had a few seconds and luck was with me for the shot!

Anyway. We had a great day!
They opened at 9. We arrived at 11. Our Thomas ride was at 1:30 and the second longer ride was at 3. We left at 4:30. Our crew would have been happy with the 11-2 schedule, but, I still think it was a nice way to wind down by just sitting on the second train and watching things go by. Frank sat and talked with his Grandad at one end. Jack fell asleep leaning against Daddy. I took pictures of it all. :D

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Helpers and My CRAZY Schedule

Lately I've been enforcing the fact that the boys help with the dishes. Usually, Frank washes after breakfast while Jack rinses, and then they switch at lunch. Today, they mixed it up, but the results were the same... after quite a while I had clean dishes, a clean counter (flooded is more like it), and a floor ready to be mopped (and thus kept clean too!)

Jack doesn't like his clothes wet. As you can see...

...not liking wet clothes, and being a 3-year-old assigned to dish duty can be problematic. Well not problematic for the 3-year-old, he just rips another shirt off the hanger (usually breaking the hanger) and throws the wet one on the floor. It's problematic for the laundry washer and folder (ie: ME!) I've been thinking of making him a waterproof smock. I actually found some great Lightening McQueen tablecloth fabric at JoAnn's this weekend, and now that I'm home, I really don't know why I didn't buy it. I could have made him a water-resistant smock, I've been wanting too... why didn't I buy the material? Could it be that I'm just exhausted and so, since I didn't remember how much fabric I needed, I didn't buy anything. I guess so.

Here's my schedule for the next little bit:
  • Wednesday and Thursday - finish packing, set up utilities, wash at Laundromat FOR THE LAST TIME!!!
  • Friday - Close on house, mask and trim for painting
  • Saturday - Painting Party... EVERYONE's INVITED! We are planning to repaint the ENTIRE 1800 square foot house!
  • Sunday - Finish Painting
  • Monday - Appliance Delivery
  • Tuesday - Moving Day, local High School boys are helping (for cash)
  • Wednesday - I don't know. I can't think that far ahead.
  • Saturday, 7 June - Last day of apartment, turn over to new occupants who are taking over our lease.
Nope. No reason for me to be tired. None at all!

Anyway, here's Jack in his third shirt of the day (he wore four shirts and three pair of pants
today, all because he helped with dishes twice).

I'm not sure what the fourth shirt was all about. I think he just wanted a different shirt on. :P

After the Lunch-Time Washing Fiasco, Frank was all about helping! He even labeled a box with their names and "BOX 1 OF TOYS! OH YEAH"...

They are good helpers. They are also young kids and interject a lot of... surprise and mischief into my life! I love my boys.

Hello Legos; Goodbye Nails!

Well, if I had any hope of growing my nails out (it's always a touchy situation), it's GONE NOW!

Over the weekend we finally bought the boys two small Lego Creator kits. I've been eye-balling them for quite a while now, thinking the boys would like them. On a trip to a store, Tom, came up holding the very same two I've been thinking of getting... Train and Construction sets (they are both available in stores for $5 each, so disregard Amazon's atrocious Train price!)

Jack is amazing at doing puzzles! Frank also has an aptitude for fine motor skills and small puzzles. They regularly work on 50-100 piece puzzles. They also love the subject matter of these kits. So, even though the Lego sets are for "6-12 years" and my boys are 3 and 5, it has been just as I suspected... they love them! Actually, I've been amazed at how much time they are spending with these two small sets AND the fact that even Jack will build up his 73 piece train, from memory, to within a few pieces. I mean, when I got up this morning, he had everything but the smokestack and bell on train, with just one piece assembled out of order! This just stuns me! He and I built the train together ONE TIME yesterday, and at 3 he can remember the sequence within ONE piece! WOW!!!

Maybe I'm tooting my own kids' horns here, but I think it's impressive.

What I don't find impressive is what I see happening to my nails. I'm all too happy to take pieces apart for them, because they are building and learning and creating, but, as I said, those itty-bitty-pieces and my nails are going to be at odds. So. If anyone's come up with a good, easy way to get the teeny-tiny-pieces apart, PLEASE, let me know!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sweet Tour

After picking my Father-In-Law up from the airport yesterday, we went to the Sweet Candy Company for a tour. Have you ever had candy fresh off the line? It's amazing! Certainly not stale; it's warm and soft, not yet set, just delicious!

I found out about the Sweet Factory from Factory Tours USA. The tour was a fun, free, informative stop on our weekend itinerary. I definitely will look for more tours as we travel in the future!

Perhaps the best/worst part about this tour is the discovery of the factory itself... it's just three miles from the Salt Lake City Airport and a stone's throw from Tom's Office for work. So. When we want fresh candy (they make over 250 kinds), we now know just where to get it! :D

A Little Off the Top.

I must preface this by telling you that Frank has been asking me for "a new style" of haircut since May 2007. Jack has been asking me to cut his hair off, or at least like Frank's, for several months.

Here's a picture taken at Kiddie Kandids of me and the boys last month.

Now. Please don't look any further if you LOVE the Golden Locks and Curly Brown Hair! And furthermore, if you see any pictures in any future posts for about the next, oh, I don't know, YEAR! Just close your eyes and scroll down!

When we went to Salt Lake last week, I went in for myself to Great Clips. Walking in, Frank said, AGAIN, that he wanted a new style. We went through the books and he decided he really did want his hair cut. So we did. While watching, Jack decided he wanted a matching cut. So. Without further ado, here are my New Spikey Haired Boys...

I know. I know. Pull out the handkerchiefs. Go back to the top and look at the picture of the magnificent locks. Call me in a few months and we'll see how long their hair is.

Oh. And if you were wondering. They ABSOLUTELY LOVE their new do's! Jack prefers his down flat "like Daddy's" and Frank still enjoys spiking his.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Itinerary for this Weekend

Here's our plans for this weekend. So. If you don't see me online, you'll know why!

  • Drive to SLC
  • Visit with Alice
  • Pick up Grandad at Airport
  • Lunch
  • Tour Sweet Factory
  • I go to Bead Shop
  • "Boys Time" at Train Shop
  • Depart
We're also thinking of going out on a date to see the New Indy Movie, and of course we'll throw in a few shopping items. It'll be a full, fun weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Amazing Amy and her Accomplices

So. I first spoke with Amy at 9:24 am. I met her at 10:24 am. We then drove around town for about 1 1/2 hours. We decided to let our boys keep playing, so I kept her son with me. The boys were together for TEN HOURS with no fights or injuries! They had an absolute blast!

Upon realizing that Amy and her family had been eating out FOR WEEKS (they are relocating from the East Coast), Tom and I threw together a supper (chicken & rice bake, veggies, tossed salad, biscuits, mixed drinks, cookies, and banana bread) and insisted they stay when they picked up their son. Lucky for us, Tom and Caleb hit it off too! The four of us adults just couldn't stop talking! We had to force ourselves to part when it was after 8:30 pm.

I am just giddy with excitement at making new friends that we HAVE SO MANY things in common with!!!

Now. If you're one of my new or old friends, don't get me wrong here. But isn't is just INCREDIBLE when you click with someone else? I consider myself lucky to find another Mom I can visit with, where our kids play nicely. But this, where nine people meet and "click" instantly. I think it's just PHENOMENAL!!!

To top it all off, they wrote a contract for a house this afternoon... just six doors down the street from us! We're going to be neighbors and we're all DELIGHTED!

I've ALWAYS wanted the kind of neighbors you could just drop in on and hang out with. I think we're going to FINALLY have it! They are planning to close on their house in the middle of July... still plenty of time for lots of Summer Fun!

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old.

One is Silver,
nd the Other Gold.

That's a song we use to sing in the Girl Scouts.

Today I am SO EXCITED that I am LITERALLY jumping for joy!

Yesterday I made two new friends. Roxie I met at the laundromat, only to discover that she just moved into my apartment complex (in fact, I have her moving boxes from beside the dumpster!) She has two boys, ages 2 & 4.

Amy I met online yesterday and in person today. Her 5yo son is actually over playing with my boys. We hit it off SO WELL! AND... while giving her a private, 2-hour-tour of Rock Springs, she loved the houses for sale on our street. She took her hubby over, and, well, they are writing a contract with the developer in about two hours! I've actually called the developer and left a message... I'm going to ask him for a Referral / Finder's Fee... I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

It is just SO COOL to be making new friends! I now have four great lady friends here in Rock Springs with a total of eight kiddos (5 girls and 2 boys) to hang out with me and my 2 boys... hey, we've got a balance of genders now! I've also met several other ladies, but I can see that I'll be getting together with these ladies A LOT!!!

Oh yeah! Amy, who's buying a house just down the street, has been homeschooling her oldest for two years, and our 5yo's are both going to be in Kindergarten this year. We're already talking about sharing teaching responsibilities. I'm just SO EXCITED and I HAD TO SHARE it with you!

Also, I mailed off my Summer Sassy Apron Swap items today. So, that's a relief! I had fun making them and hope she enjoys them.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Blog About Blogging

I wrote a response to Mr Monkey Suit's Blog this morning, and it is, perhaps, the most coherant thing I've done all day. I'm actually having trouble staying awake... we are running around A LOT since we went House Shopping last month and made an offer. Right now, we are getting ready to visit with my FIL for the weekend. We're driving and he's flying so we can take the boys to A Day Out with Thomas. Anyway, back to my most legible thoughts of the day...

The questions were these:
Do you blog every day? Or even several times a week? If so how do you do it? Do you pick a set time each day? Do you make notes about what you want to say? How do you make your blog feel consistent?
And my answer now follows...

I posted irregularly for a year. Then I moved 1000 miles from my friends and family and started blogging about once a week for six months or so. During that time I found a blog I REALLY liked (The Pioneer Woman). She posts everyday. I enjoy reading her, everyday. So, I decided to start posting daily.

Perhaps I should note that I had a writing streak of over ten years, hand-writing in my personal journal every night. Interestingly enough, I tend to blog at night.

I've always found getting ideas out in words to be therapeutic. I actually stopped blogging for a period (after doing it daily). I was feeling bad because I didn't think other people were reading my blog. My hubby reminded me that I NEEDED to blog regularly, just for ME! He was right! And, as it turns out, others do read it, they just don't comment a lot.

Since starting to blog daily, I've had a lot more people calling me on the phone to chat. They read my blog, so they know a lot about what's going on. I find we now talk about bigger "life" issues, instead of just daily ins-and-outs.

What else... that's right, I've always credited the fact that I feel comfortable writing (and am told I write well) with the fact that I wrote EVERYDAY for ten years. It was just for me, but it helped me learn to put words to paper. You know, practice and all that, the more you do something, the better you will get.

Also, remember it takes 30 days of doing something consistently to make it a habit. So, maybe try to give yourself a goal to write everyday for a month, and do something like put a fun sticker on your calendar as a visual reminder and pat-on-the-back.

I have really been enjoying the fact that Blogger now offers a "schedule" feature for their posts. So, if I feel like writing about several topics, I'll save them up and schedule them for days I'm unavailable or busy. Even if you're blog-engine doesn't "schedule" out, you may be able to save drafts and then just log-in long enough to post them each day.

Sometimes I "write a post" in my head, then I rush to a computer to type it up. I do have a Word Document with an ongoing list of blogs. Sometimes just a topic, or idea, sometimes it's a working blog. I find it's easier to write in Word, I can see more and edit easier, and then copy and paste into my blog window. Also, it's MUCH easier for me to upload pictures first, then copy and paste the text. I think I can also email my blog to list posts, but I've never worked with that.

The other thing that helped me to start blogging regularly was to think about a handful of people I'd left behind. I blog things that I might call or write them about... just like chatting with a dear person, rather than writing something High-and-Mighty for the world.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Amazing Family Photos

Do you ever stumble upon photos of family members where they have the same expression? I mean, you look at the pictures side-by-side and you just KNOW that they are related. The first time I remember doing this was about two years ago. I was working on a Mother's Day project for my Mom and stumbled upon my sister and I with the exact same faces. It was almost eerie! I did it again last year with my two sons. It just so happened that the refrigerator magnets I made of them, they were looking the same direction, with their heads turned the same and the expressions so close!

Well, a couple of days ago I was playing with our Family Photos taken by Joe Chott last December. I started out looking for a "happy" expression, but had trouble finding one of Jack that was close enough or where he was turned toward the camera. So, I went with the "serious" expressions. I was busily working away; making each photo the same size and cropped similar, then, I tiled my windows in Adobe and was shocked to see this:

I mean, WOW! Can you TOTALLY see that this is Father and Son? Get away from their coloring, and just LOOK at the expressions! The eyes, the nose, the chin, the cheeks! It's ALL THERE! Well, maybe Frank has my lips,

but everything else, just AMAZING!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sassy Packing

So. Today I stopped doing this packing long enough to do this:

In this day of rotary cutting, I always am surprised at how good it feels to lay out fabric (on the floor) and put the tissue down, with a few pins, then grab an actual pair of scissors to cut through it all. It's always so... so... exciting?, no.... I can't put my finger on the word. There's just a certain joy and anticipation in cutting through the fabric and tissue, knowing you're about to CREATE something. It will be something new and different and "YOU" or rather "ME", because it's entirely my creation! Anyway, I always enjoy doing that... cutting out the carefully chosen fabric with the pattern that speaks to you.

I also started the required "embellishment" phase of the give-away apron. W
hile I was waiting to have my fabric cut, Tom actually found some ADORABLE little appliqué flowers. I ironed them on to the pockets and one of the back shoulders. Tomorrow, I'll top stitch them, then put ric-rac on some of the pockets before starting the garment sewing. It's gonna be SO STINKIN' CUTE!!! :D

Height Predicting Fun

I know that there's no exact science to figuring out how tall a person will be. I also know that there are laws of averages and mathematical equations can show you a lot.

Parent Center has a tool you can use starting when your children are two and going until they are twelve. I've always had fun typing in my kids info. Basically, you take their height and weight at certain milestones (every six months between two and twelve), plus Mom and Dad's mature heights and the child's gender. You type all that in to the calculator and then see how tall your child will likely be. It's also interesting (to me) to see how the predictions change with time. I have a spreadsheet for all of my kids medical visits (what for, why, who they saw, height, weight, etc). I just added a sheet for their height predictions. It's fun to see them side-by-side...

Frank Jack

Actual Weight Prediction Within
Actual Weight Prediction Within
2 years 36" 37 lbs 6' 8" 4" 34 1/4"
31 lbs 5' 10"
3 years 41 1/4" 42 3/16 lbs 6' 5"
2" 37 1/2"
36 lbs 5' 11"
4 years 43 3/4" 44 lbs 6' 4"

5 years 46 3/4" 50 lbs 6' 4"

How tall are your kiddos suppose to be?

Do you have the numbers from when your children (who are now grown) were little? Type them in and tell us how close the numbers are.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sassy Apron Swap, Summer Update

So, I joined the Spring Sassy Apron Swap and the next week Tom broke his leg. Shortly after joining the Summer Sassy Apron Swap, we made an offer on a house and started another move. So, thinking about the aprons has been challenging, but also a welcome relief from the other things I "HAVE TO" do.

I did get an unexpected chance to go to Salt Lake City this past week and my top priority was to find fabric for the summer apron swap. I'm SO DELIGHTED with what I found!

The fabrics on the left are seer-sucker and they are for my swap partner. The ones on the right are shirting materials for me.

I actually bought the hand towels and dish clothes at the stop BEFORE the fabric store. I REALLY like these Kitchen Aid dishtowels. I have several already. They are waffle weave on one side and terry cloth on the other. I get them at Target (in stores only). I found these and thought "these are bright and Summer-y, I'll see if they will match the fabric I find."

I think the fabrics will look so cute with The Paisley Pincusion's Scalloped Apron pattern. It's a reversible pattern I found recently at Valley Fabric Shop (Lyman, Wyoming). Actually, I'm going to get off the computer and layout the fabrics to cut the patterns. I think I'll be able to lay them out and cut both aprons (all four pieces of fabric, eight layers) at one time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Google Doodles

Another cool Google Doodle. The first LASER demonstration was 48 years ago. I once did a report (for Physics) on LASERs. Here, I'll share with you that LASER stands for:

Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation

Country Mouse, City Mouse Article

I think this article speaks of much since our recent move from "The Fifth Largest City in the Nation" (Phoenix) to "The Least Densely Populated State in the Nation" (Wyoming).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm A Winner - Thank you Kind Ladies!

I have been VERY remiss is offering up thanks to several EXTREMELY generous ladies!

Way back in February, I told you that I was a winner of several give-aways. Well, then I went on a trip, and when I returned, I had a pile of boxes full of prizes. I snapped pictures of the contents, fully intending to post and thank the ladies, and I’m just now FINALLY getting around to it!

I’ve been participating in Lucy's Sassy Apron Swap this year. There are four swaps planned, one per season. You may join any or all of them. For the Spring Swap, I made these matching Mom and Daughter Aprons and sent them to Murray of Studio Domestique.

When I returned from my trip (in March) I had received my Spring Apron from a very kind lady, whose contact info I can't put my finger on. Also, I received both of the prizes from the One World – One Heart Giveaway. They were from Vanessa of A Fanciful Twist and from Teresa of Moonvalley Quilter.

I continue to enjoy the gifts, especially the bright and cheerful items from A Fanciful Twist. They bring a touch of cheer to a gloomy little galley kitchen.

Yesterday, I received my Summer Apron from Valerie of Yarni Gras! I just peeked at her site and I think I'm going to enjoy reading it. It looks like she has a lot of fun with life! She's also the only other person I know who has her own business cards with just her name, phone number, and email/blog address. Too fun!

Here is a picture of the apron I received on Monday:

Look at all the fun stuff she included! Cupcake wrappers (to match the theme), a hot-pad made of scraps, plant stakes, measuring spoons, several recipes on handmade cards (also to match the theme), and hand towels… all tied up with some ric rac. VERY fun to go through… and my boys have already claimed their SWAG from the bag! I really like the fact that the front is actually a SUPER-HUGE pocket!

I have the pattern for my Sassy Apron Swap recipient, and I’ve been trying to decide just what specific theme to do for her… she’s in another country, and so several of our Summer holidays I associate with are American, so, I’m thinking of some other themes (watermelon, picnic, ants, “cute” bugs, etc.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I read this in a catalog a few days ago and I keep thinking of it and laughing out loud...

Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.

For some reason, it strikes a cord with me. :D

Hillary’s Picture

In her what, sixteen or so years in the public eye (at least that I’ve been aware of), Tuesday MSN’s home page had the first picture of Hillary that I can remember liking. It seems natural. Her hair seems tame. I like the background. I just kinda liked the picture.

During Monica Lewinsky, I remember thinking that the only reason Hillary would have stayed with Bill would have been for political / power reasons. I also remember, about the same time, that she might one day be our first Lady President. Now, here we have her in the running.

To be quite honest, I’m not happy about this Presidential election. It’s the first time when I haven’t been excited to go to the polls and vote for my candidate. I’m just not sure I like what any of them have to say. Is this related to the fact that the State of the Union seems so poor? It must be very difficult to campaign for the presidency of a Nation that is in such turmoil.

I just think it must be tough for all the candidates. I also know that only one candidate has caught my eye, and he dropped out of the race a while back. So, I sit and wait to see if there will be some sort of a “Dream Ticket” or just what. I truly wonder what the next few years will be like. I also tend to doubt there will be any sort of “magical turn-around” as the result of this Presidency. The troubles of our Country have been a long-time coming, and they can’t be fixed quickly by just one Presidency.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mmm Good?

Yesterday the following “Mmm! This is good. I like this!” was heard at our lunch table.

Had I FINALLY found a meal that would delight my children? No.
Jack had high praises for his sandwich, but it was made not by I, but by his brother, Frank.

“What’s on it?” you may wonder. Well, it’s a combination I’m sure I NEVER would have thought of. Here’s a picture of the inside of Frank’s similar sandwich…

  • Butter or Peanut Butter
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Sunflower Seeds (unsalted)
  • Saltine Crackers

Like I said. I NEVER would have thought of this. Both of the boys (ages 3 years 4 months and 5 years 7 months) ate EVERY BITE! They did so without complaints, but with “this is really good” and “I like this.”

Now I guess I know why they complain while eating what I fix them! If they think this is “good food”, I also suppose they think my food looks really weird.

And, “no”, I didn’t even THINK to taste it!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Recipe - The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

One of my favorite things to do online is read Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Ree, the author, has recently redone her site to have several main sections, including cooking. For almost a year, I've been wanting to try one of her rich decadent recipes, Cinnamon Rolls, but just couldn't justify it until this past weekend. While staying at my cousins', his wife ask for Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast on Mother's Day. We substituted milk for the coffee in the frosting and were all delighted with the results!

If you are interested in trying these light, tender, sweet, buttery, maple-y rolls, you can view the complete article, including lots of pictures, at The Pioneer Woman's website. If you'd like a condensed version that reads more like a recipe, please take a peek at RecipeZaar, where I posted the recipe.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Word of the Day - Graupel

At a recent Knitting Circle another lady new to town (from Texas) had done some research to find out about something that falls from the sky here. It's not rain, and it's not snow, and it's not sleet. They are about the size of small BB's; basically, they are tiny little white balls of frozen water, but unlike hail or sleet, they are soft and squishy when pinched. They are GRAUPELs.

You can read all about
Graupel on Wikipedia, and even see microscopic pictures of the things.

If you're like me and can't figure out how to say "graupel", then, head over to
Merriam-Webster Online, and click on the speaker by the word.

Or you can just say "soft hail", but I think it's much more fun to learn the "real word" and use it, especially if no one else knows what it is and then you can pretend you're a human dictionary and tell them all about it. :D

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Recipe - Chicken Cordon Bleu in a Pot

In honor of, and for, Mother's Day, here's one of my Mom's newest recipes that is quite simple to make, even for novices. So... if you're still looking for ideas of something to do for your Mom/Wife tomorrow, take a peek at this recipe. It's rich and creamy and definitly a Holiday / Company recipe.

I've posted Chicken Cordon Bleu in a Pot on Recipe Zaar. It is a rich, creamy soup with all the flavor the popular baked dish, and all the warmth you need on a cool day. Take a look and try it out. I know you will find it as delightful as we have!

Enjoy, and please let me know (in this forum OR on Recipe Zaar itself) how much you love it!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Holy Photography! What a GREAT Giveaway!!!

Because I enjoy the fact that you visit and read my thoughts so much, I'm actually going to tell you about an incredible give-away for one Nikon D80 SLR Digital Camera Kit, and one HP 8180 All-in-One Printer. I'd love to win it myself, but, I just HAVE to share this with you, it's the kinda girl I am.

They are both over at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, today only. Just leave a comment with your website or your favorite website.

Personally, I've been talking about SLR's, with my friend's hubby, Joe Chott, trying to decide what to get for myself. He's recommended a Cannon, but I can certainly go for a free Nikon! If you win, be certain to remember who pointed you in the direction!

Best of luck!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Amazing Athletic Shoes

Tom says he's going to rename me "Funky Feet" because for some reason my current shoes aren't getting along, odorifically, with my feet. Today, I refused to wear my shoes because I'd decided I HAD to get a new pair.

I went out TWICE looking for shoes. First time I went to JCPenny's, but they only had a handful of New Balance and they just didn't fit or weren't a color I liked. So tonight I went to Famous Footwear. They had like fifteen pair of New Balance! I started a pile with a few New Balance, a pair of Naturalizer, a pair of Sketchers, and a pair I'd never heard of, but they were right next to the New Balance, Asics. The Asics are AMAZING!!! I wore them around the store for about 20 mintues and then went back to my Ariat Riding Boots (not that I "ride" horses, but I have them, just in case). An hour later, my feet are still feeling good from the Asics!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my exciting new find. Basically, I find a brand and shoe that works for me and stick with it for a long-while, but every so often I'll try something else and then be delighted with what I've found. Today was one of those days.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Out of the Mouthes of Babes

Mommy, did you know that when you talk grouchy to me that will get me to shut up and talk to Dad and brother? And if you talk nice, that will get you talked to.
Yep. Here on Great American Grump Out Day, that's what Frank just told me, in a nutshell "talk mean and I won't talk with you, talk nice and I will." I wonder if he knows the whole "flys with vinegar/honey analogy?"

That he should tell me this is pretty funny in more ways than one... just last night I was thinking to myself "I really need to talk nicer and more with my boys." Like, actually talk with them and sit during the day and cuddle with them and not just always telling them what we "need / have to" do next.
My throat is hoarse because of all the "talking" I've been doing lately.

We've had two REALLY busy days getting things in order for our House Purchase. Today an ad ran in the paper for our apartment. I had eight phone calls and three appointments for people to look at it. The first call (and first visitor) has paid the application fee to the apartment and the transfer fee to be added to the lease. If he's accepted, then, next week we'll ask for the deposit and first month's rent to hold the apartment for him.

This afternoon I found myself smiling. I've been busy all day. I think a lot of why I'm smiling is that things are falling into place for the house. We needed to make pay $400 for the Appraisal today. This morning our Arizona tax refund hit the bank... $643. :D By the 15th, we need $1400 in our account to close with... my friend got her economic stimulus payment yesterday, so, we think we should have ours in time. Even if the economic stimulus hasn't arrived, we're planning a trip in two weeks with my Father-In-Law. I thought we'd be sharing the cost, but we just received a check from him for the full amount of what I've paid for the hotel and the tickets (another $820)... so, that's another bonus!

Anyway, I'm glad to be getting things all set up. Now, to excavate my boxes from storage and get to packing!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Washday - Part 3

Maybe you're tired of hearing about my Washdays by now, but around here, for me, they are still a big deal. Probably because it pretty much takes the whole day for me to get our family's laundry taken care of.

I much preferred being able to wash one to two loads per day. Sure, then you are doing laundry everyday, but it's just five to fifteen minutes at a time, not a WHOLE DAY lost to something as mundane as

In any case, here's the latest:
  • The past two weeks I've tricked myself by doing the laundry on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
  • Also the past two weeks, they're have been homeless, wandering vagrants (I'm sure there's a Politically Correct description for these people, but I'm sure I don't know what it is) at the laundromat. They have been using the bathrooms as bars and showers (neither of which they are designed for). It must have something to do with the nicer weather here (50F-70F days) that suddenly we are seeing more Wanderers. They are causing discontent for the Laundry Management and patrons. To be sure, they have been washing clothes there, and that's okay, but using the bathroom as a shower, leaving the floor soaked and beer bottles in the trash... this is just not acceptable. This is the cleanest laundromat I've ever been too, with the nicest, friendliest employees. At least they add some different, excitement. But I digress...
  • I've just not been putting the pressure on myself I once did.
  • The folding stool is helping!
  • I've been sitting at a different table for folding... it feels more open and friendly (although it's also closer to a TV that people insist on turning on). Why is it that just because there is a TV people think it HAS to be on? And why is it that when they see children they assume cartoons should be on? And why don't they notice that the same children they'd just commented on being my "good little helpers" stop helping when they turn the TV on? It's so frustrating to be in public places where one's almost forced to watch TV! Is it okay for me to walk over and turn off the TV immediately after they turn it on? Why doesn't anyone ever say "do you mind if I turn this on?" I guess I need to pull out my TV-B-Gone and get some new batteries! That's always fun to observe. :D
  • I have been sticking closer to the laundromat without "plans" for things to do while the clothes are washing or drying. Less running around is creating less stress.
  • We've been packing PB&J sandwiches and other lunch items to eat while we're there. This helps a lot since we've also been leaving later and are generally there over lunchtime.
I guess that's about it. We're still tired at the end of Laundry day, but at least I'm not biting everyone's heads off!

Oh and I think it
might help that I now know there are just a few weeks of this left and I'll have my own machines at my own house again! Let's see... four weeks from today and my new machine should be delivered... we'll still be painting the new house and technically living at the apartment, but if I want I can start using my own machines! What a feeling of relief!!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Quilt Layout - Alien Monsters

I've been tinkering with a layout for a little "Monster" quilt I'm making for Jack.

Today, I went from paper, to EQ5 (which always feels so
laborious), to Adobe Photoshop. I actually had FUN in Photoshop and came up with several design layouts. Tom and my favorite is shown.

It has four 12" pieced blocks (two light & two dark), six 9" panels, and two odd sized rectangle blocks (to be cut out of a large scale fabric). The overall size is around 42"x50" (before borders). Next up is figuring out the cutting sizes for the background pieces and seeing if I can cut them out of a certain piece of fabric I have in mind.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What Lord Vader has been up to...

You may have been wondering “just what HAS Lord Vader been up to?” Well, I’m here with a photo journal report…

After moving North from the Dune Sea, he tried filling his idle time with hobbies, even taking up bowling…

He found bowling to be a little… cumbersome though. So, Phoenix Vader thought he’d take a job delivering pizza for some extra cash.

Unfortunately, since his customers would run away screaming, he had a difficult time collecting for the pizza… let alone getting a tip!

FINALLY he decided it was time to get some helpers together and go do what he does best (scare small children and amuse large ones)…

Seriously, today, Tom did his first event in Wyoming… actually the first time he’s had the costume on in almost 18 months! He did have trouble getting his boot on over his injured ankle (there’s now a steel plate, bolts, and scar tissue, so we’ll be taking the boot to be stretched).

We went to a Bowling with the Stars fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Frank and Jack carried around a jar for donations from the people taking pictures with Darth Vader. We worked two different crowds (the teams switched every couple hours and we went to two different times) and in less than an hour "on stage", he collected $49 for the pictures people took. We were tickled that something he normally does for free (posing for pictures) was able to earn a little extra cash for the local BBBS organization.

PS: We REALLY need to gather up some troopers! Lord Vader looks so, so, well, he just looks lonely with just two little kids with toy helmets following him around! I was hoping that if he started trooping he could start recruiting to build a new detachment/garrison. There is ONE other 501st member in ALL of Wyoming. He lives over four hours away (in Casper) and he's also a Vader! :P So, wish us luck as we look to find new trooping friends!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Color Me Happy Quilt

Hey! Look what I worked on yesterday and today...

I started it yesterday and had planned to work on it a little each month, but a girlfriend offered to watch the boys and then Tom was able to pick them up. So, I worked myself to exhaustion to finish quilting it.

This is "Color Me Happy". From a pattern I first saw at Quiltz in Phoenix, Arizona last Spring. It's the first "jelly roll" I've ever bought... Moda's "Spring Fling". I sewed it last August while at my cousins and needing a little "creative release". Now to clip threads on the back and attach a binding. It's going to be our new cuddle quilt. Here's the list of words I quilted into the top:

1. Joy
2. Peace
3. Fun
4. Love
5. Faith
6. Smile
7. Bubbles
10. Tom
11. Suzy
12. Rainbow
13. Prism
14. Relax
15. Flow
16. Glad
17. Content
18. Cheer
19. Bliss
20. Delight
21. Pleasure
22. Harmony
23. Grin
24. Smirk
25. Play
26. Jump
27. Run
28. Appreciate
29. Empower
30. Freedom
31. Passion
32. Enthusiasm
33. Eager
34. Optimism
35. Sparkle

I also stitched daisy-like flowers all over it along with dragonflies - both inspired by the fabric.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fit for Life - Observations

In March I made an Action Plan to be Fit for Life. It involved quite a few steps, to be slowly integrated into my life. Two weeks ago I hurt my calf, so, I rested. Then, something else wasn't "feeling right", so, I stayed away a few more days. Then, it was a few days until Pay Day and I needed to renew my monthly membership, so, I waited another day or two. Finally, yesterday, after 13 days "off" I went back to the gym.

What I realized is that going to the gym is the Rosetta Stone of the whole plan. When I stopped going to the gym, then I stopped doing my Yoga, my daily journalling and mediative, introspective time also ceased. As did taking my vitamins and planning meals. I also began skipping flossing my teeth. Pretty soon, the house also started to slip because I wasn't in my Control Journal each day. So, like it or not. "Feel like it or not" I MUST keep up with going to the gym in the mornings.

This has been insightful. It's also been interesting that so much benefit comes from so little. I started out the month riding a bike for ten minutes and swimming for six. I built myself up to eighteen minutes on the bike and eight in the pool. Still, not a lot, and not exhausting, but rather quite invigorating and energizing. Amazes me too that I also improved my disposition and spirit. I'm calmer and more relaxed, just by getting up an hour earlier. Oh yeah, I got to bed on time more too... which I've failed at tonight.

All this good stuff about exercising, and right now I REALLY don't feel like getting up early again tomorrow! I couldn't sleep two nights ago and I still need to catch up from that night of just four hours sleep - not nearly enough for me! So. With that, I'll off myself to bed.