Saturday, June 28, 2008
I've also managed to sell a number of smaller items that we've been trying to get rid of, and we have a few other things we may just end up giving away for free since I don't really need them. Last night we listed our washer and dryer, and all day my inbox has been full of people desperate to take them off our hands. I listed them early thinking that it would take a while, but the peace of mind and extra space from selling them is probably worth being without them for a week. Hopefully they'll be gone tomorrow, as long as I don't get hosed by the lady I'm holding them for.
The best Craigslist score was yesterday. S-Boogie spent some of her hard-earned money on princess shoes and fake makeup at the drugstore the other week. And ever since then she's been devastated by her lack of dress-up dresses to complete her ensemble. So I kept an eye on the internet and found a garage sale that happened to be near our friends' house that we went to last night. They had two beautiful princess dresses and a lovely set of play jewelry waiting there for us. The only tragedy so far is that none of S-Boogie's friends were home today to come play princess with her. Hopefully on Monday she can share her new treasures.
Also at the garage sale I picked up a fun game for the kids, since I'm trying to collect more games and educational items. It had a few color games in it, and we were playing one tonight where you have to match cards with objects on them to your board that has colors. I was mostly playing with S-Boogie since Little Dude has little patience for games yet. Or so I thought, until he picked up a card with red shoes, said "red", and put it on the red space on his board. I was so glad I got a game we could all play together!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
One of the things that reminds me about Lexi is a plant I have sitting on my entertainment center. I bought it years ago in an attempt to green up our apartment a little. Miraculously, it has managed to survive to this day. I've tried to kill it through neglect a few times, but each time it has recovered. When I left on my mission, I gave it to Lexi to take care of. And then I forgot about it, more or less. I didn't think it would last the two years until I got back to Utah. But when I was at her reception, Lexi took a minute to take me in the house to show me the plant. She'd even bought a new pot for it when it outgrew the old one. Now whenever I see my plant I smile and think of her. But the time has come to pass this plant on to a new friend. It's large and the pot is heavy, so carrying around in our car for a month this summer isn't an option. I'm going to try planting a cutting from it, since that has worked out well before. It makes me sad to give away my plant, but I hope that someone will take good care of it and think of me when they see it.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Asian Coleslaw (from More Healthy Homestyle Cooking)
5 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbls. soy sauce
3 tbls. brown sugar
2 tbls. pineapple juice (or vegetable oil)
1 tbls. sesame oil
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
Mix together the vegetables in a large bowl. I actually usually use two packages of broccoli slaw because I like the texture and it's just easier that way. As long as you have about 8 cups total of shredded cabbage and carrots. Then mix everything else together for dressing. I generally substitute a hearty shake of dried ginger for the fresh; the pineapple juice is a lower-fat option, but I don't often have it on hand. Mix the dressing well with a fork to incorporate all the peanut butter.
Potato and Green Bean salad
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
6 small red potatoes, cubed
1/2 purple onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
In large pot of boiling water, cook prepared green beans for about 7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and immerse in ice water for 5 minutes to stop cooking process. Completely cool and drain well. In large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes until tender. Repeat cooling procedure with potatoes.Place beans in large serving bowl. Add potatoes and onion. In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegars, garlic salt, seasoned pepper and sugar. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, stirring or tossing a few times while chilling. Remove salad from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving; toss just before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings. I also added some sliced black olives to the salad the other day and they were delicious. I think feta cheese would be good too. This is a great salad because it doesn't have mayonnaise so it holds up well on picnics. It actually tastes better when it's not cold.
Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes from The Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor (and a comment on Lindsay's blog last week)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 package plain devil’s food cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
½ cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1. Place cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Add vanilla and egg. Beat another 30 seconds on low until egg is incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and set aside.2. Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. 3. Place cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in large mixing bowl. Blend on low speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape down sides. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 more minutes until thick and well combined. Spoon batter into the lined muffin cups, filling each liner 2/3 of the way full. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the filling onto the center of each muffin. The filling will sink into the batter as the muffins bake. Place pans in oven.4. Bake until muffins spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 23 to 27 minutes. Remove pans from oven and place on wire cooling racks for 5 minutes. Remove muffins carefully to wire racks and cool for 15 minutes before serving. The filling actually just stayed on the top of my cupcakes, so I think next time I would actually try to bury it in the dough.
Cilantro Lime Rice (from The McCulloch Family blog--you're awesome!)
1 c uncooked rice
1 t butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 t lime zest
1 15 oz can chicken broth
¼ c water
squirt of lime juice
2 t granulated sugar
3 T fresh chopped cilantro
Combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro, set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook 15-20 min, until rice is done. Pour sugar mixture over the top of the rice before fluffing rice. This is another recipe where I just sort of make it up--I generally just use one lime and zest the whole thing into the rice, then use all the juice for the sauce. I like this because it's simple to make, but tastier and fancier than plain rice.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
During the month that we are without housing we will be wandering nomads in Utah and Nevada. Again, I have mixed feelings about this. I'm really looking forward to seeing family and friends, but I know that by the end of that month we'll be ready to be back in our own place. So we'll be on vacation in Utah for nearly a month--it's your chance to see us in person.
And now I get to spend the next few weeks getting rid of stuff so that we can fit all our belongings into two "relo-cubes". After our last moving experience we've decided that we want to keep more of our furniture, and we like our couches so they're sticking around. My main dilemma right now is the kids' furniture. Little Dude is still in the crib and S-Boogie is in a toddler bed. I want to keep the bed, because it looks like a fire truck and the kids love it. Little Dude could probably sleep in it now, but he's doing well in the crib. But it would make most sense to ditch the crib at this point and move Little Dude up to the toddler bed. S-Boogie's getting kind of big for it anyways. But it's so hard to give him the freedom to get out of bed by himself. So many hard choices. The other day I finally got rid of a giant box of cassette tapes that I hadn't listened to in years. Even though I know that I'll never listen to The Light Within ever again, it still made me sad to give it away. Moving is hard because it's so bittersweet.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I also think that it is serendipitous that graduation weekend and Father's Day coincided. Mr. Fob and I completed our undergraduate degrees at the same time and graduated while I was about six months pregnant with S-Boogie. Our lives during the last five years have been filled with parenting and school and I feel blessed that he has been an equal partner during this part of the journey. Things have not always been easy, but our path has generally been one of growth and improvement. My children are blessed to have him as their dad, especially since he is so willing to be a parent. I love the little things he does, like braiding S-Boogie's hair, as well as the bigger sacrifices he's made. One of the things that made me fall in love with him when we were dating was his commitment to parenthood and family. And I'm still in love with him today for it.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Also, I think Titanic was one of the worst movies to win Best Picture (and all the other awards). I think the music video for My Heart Will Go On is better than the movie.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
It really was a very fun party and we had very few difficult incidents. My friend stayed to help me out, but we both looked at each other about halfway through and said "wow, this is going really well!". S-Boogie had a blast and I'm really glad we did it. I actually got kind of teary at the end looking at all her little friends and thinking about the fact that we wouldn't be seeing them again after next month. Speaking of which, we almost have a moving plan set up. I'll blog more about it when we get things firmed up, but we're getting closer.
Tonight as I was cleaning up the party, I actually felt thankful for my years as a Primary president. I was called to the presidency when S-Boogie was a baby, and just a few months later called to be president. At the time I was terrified because I'd never spent much time working with kids and I'd never had a leadership calling. But I realized today that I am now much more comfortable with kids. And I've had a lot of practice dealing with them in group situations. When we got home from the party my confidence got all shot to pieces thanks to the new demon of extreme sibling rivalry, unfortunately. S-Boogie's friends got her a sweet present with stuff to do in the car; I put most of it away for later, but I let her open this fun little toy. Little Dude was distraught when she didn't want him to play with it. Thankfully I found enough distractions for him and after he calmed down he realized the extreme pleasure of playing with helium balloons. I love balloons--I think we will have them for all our parties.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Since having kids, I've really become passionate about car seat use and car safety. I'm not sure why this is, exactly, but I guess it's just because there are clear-cut rules that people should follow, and I'm all about following the rules. I also think it's so sad that many kids each year die in car accidents because they're not properly restrained. Did you know that car accidents are the leading cause of death for children? A few weeks ago there was an accident in Provo in which a mom lost two of her children because they were not properly restrained in the car.
Now that we got our new car we've finally taken the harness off S-Boogie's seat and let her use it as a booster. She's been anxious to do that for a while, but I'm a stickler about the weight requirements and she's pretty lightweight. Now she finally weighs 40 pounds, plus our car has LATCH so we could actually attach the seat to the car. Unattached boosters make me nervous. I'm honestly nervous now that she's in a seat belt, because a harness really is safer. As someone pointed out in an article I read, each step up in car seat use (rear to front-facing, harness to booster) is a step-down in safety, so we shouldn't be too anxious to move our kids up ahead of schedule. I'll also admit that one of my pet peeves is when I see people hauling their kids around in infant seats that are either too small or too old. Move your kid to a rear-facing convertible seat when they are getting too big. If you are getting rid of your carseat, cut the straps and then recycle the plastic parts. Most thrift stores won't take used car seats, and I think that's smart. Old seats are dangerous.
Since I'm a chicken, I don't usually tell people what I think about their car seat habits. I have actually considered becoming a certified safety tech, just so I can get this impulse to judge others out of my system in a healthy way. If you want more information about safety, check out this site. Whew! Now I'm getting off my soapbox, so it's your turn to let it all out.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I had hoped this post would be a grand unveiling to celebrate my third year on the internet. I guess it's not, but I'm still here at post six hundred anyways. Even if it's ugly. I realized the other day that I have never written down the reasons why I started blogging in the first place. About four years ago, when S-Boogie was a small baby, I stumbled onto a bulletin board for LDS women at a parenting site. I started posting and participating in the discussions and after a short time found myself hooked. While I liked the bulletin board a lot, I never did manage to feel like I fit in with the group or that my voice was heard. I spent about a year participating in the board sporadically. Then I started hearing more about blogs and someone sent me the link to Dooce. I promptly spent three hours reading all of her archived posts and I loved it. Her writing about parenting and depression was so raw and powerful, and I realized that I had found a forum for the things I wanted to say. I've always been not only narcissistic but also incredibly curious (i.e. nosy), so blogging was a great fit. A number of our friends were starting blogs at the same time and I just followed the bandwagon.
During the last three years my blog has changed and so have I. There are some reasons why I love blogging. I like the outlet for my feelings and the chance to refine my writing. The blog has actually spurred me to start keeping a personal journal again, since there are actually things I don't want to say in public (hard to believe, I know). I've noticed that many of my earlier posts were more like snapshots from my everyday life while more recent ones seem to be more focused and self-contained. I think this is also due to the fact that during the last year I've started reading more of the "bigger blogs" that tend to be issue-focused. Also, I tend to write about the more mundane stuff in my journal now and I've transferred a lot of the kid stuff to their own blog.
I think one of the best things I've gained from blogging has been a network of friends. I'm not under any illusions that blogging is a substitute for actual physical contact, but I've gotten to know people much better through their blogs and I've actually stayed in touch with them. Plus I've made friends with people strictly through online interaction and that has been so fun (by the way, we're going to be in Utah for a month this summer, so stay tuned for opportunities to meet me in the flesh). Sometimes I post things just to get feedback, but that's why we talk to our friends, right?
I think blogging has mostly been a positive thing for me during the last few years. As I've read through posts from the early days, I can see ways in which I've changed and grown. I love reading comments also and knowing that my friends and family are out there reading. We'll see how much longer I can keep this up, but I plan to be here for at least another three years and several hundred more posts.
This book was long and dense and took me a long time to read. It's also hard to describe, since it has several plot threads going on at once, but it's mostly about sexuality. I'm still not sure if I liked it or not; the writing was beautiful and the story was interesting, but I really didn't like or even understand the protagonist. At least I did learn a lot more about Ireland and its history from reading it.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
It's hard to talk about this book without using cliches like "I couldn't put it down" or "brilliant and disturbing". I really did read this whole book within a few hours, and it's probably best that way since the plot takes place over the space of a night. Well, kind of. It's one of the better, and most original, teen books I've read in a while.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This was our bookclub pick for the month, and at first I was skeptical since I'm not usually a fan of new-agey allegorical stuff. But I did enjoy it and we had a good discussion about life and dreams and things like that.
Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy KurcinkaI really liked this book and felt like I learned a lot. It's well-written and easy to follow, and I felt like the approach was well balanced and easy to understand. I liked the insights into personality differences and realized a lot about myself and S-Boogie that helps explain some of the things we struggle with.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I was reluctant to read this book because it sounded a little dumb to me. But I did find myself enjoying it and I liked some of her insights about God and spirituality. At the same time, though, it felt like reading a series of blog entries for many of the wrong reasons.
Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey
I did learn quite a bit from this book, but I also struggled with it a lot as well. It is written in a confusing way, with a number of Lists of Important Concepts that Are All Capitalized. There were so many different lists and categories that I had a hard time keeping things straight. I did like her insights about modeling correct behavior and self-control and about making sure we teach kids usable skills instead of simply employing negative discipline all the time.
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Theric mentioned reading this book recently, and I remembered the good experience I had with Atonement, so I decided to give it a try. Like Theric, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the book since reading. I still think about Atonement a year after reading it, so McEwan is at least a memorable writer. The book is beautiful, and heartbreaking. It's also short, which almost makes it worse because you get into the characters and you feel so deeply for them, and then you are left in the end without them.
MoviesI'm glad I finally got around to seeing this--it was really fascinating. I was definitely drawn into the story and had a hard time figuring out everything (still don't think I caught everything). I think this movie definitely lives up to the hype.
I still haven't seen the original version, but I liked this musical quite a bit. After a while the songs did all start to sound the same, but the performances were fun and I had a great time watching it. It still weirds me out that John Waters movie got made into a musical and then back into a movie--I guess I need to see the original to find out how much it changed.
This is another movie I put off watching because I wasn't that interested in it. A period piece about feuding magicians? Well, I guess I was fooled because it turned out to be much more than that. I won't say too much because I really was totally confused by the movie, and that's a good thing.
This movie left me feeling unimpressed. I've never liked Michael Douglas much, and I really didn't like him in this. It wasn't unpleasant to watch, but certainly not my favorite movie.
I seem to remember liking this one more the first time I saw it; this time it just didn't do much for me. The music is good and I am impressed by the singing and dancing of all the leads, but I felt like it was just an average sort of movie in the end.
This one is mostly known for being the other magician movie, but it's completely different from The Prestige. It's a lot more subtle, and I liked that. It's also a love story, not a revenge story, so it was interesting to watch the two movies and see how they take such completely opposite angles to explore magic and the fantastic.