Showing posts from April, 2008

Reading Roundup: April 2008

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley Though I spent most of my life (up until the last five years) avoiding fantasy novels, I did fall in love with Beauty by McKinley sometime around eighth grade. This is the second book I've read by her and I really liked it. As some of the reviewers on Amazon point out, the plot and characterization really aren't all that unique--if you want a unique take on Sleeping Beauty you should read Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. But McKinley's writing is beautiful and this book is truly "spellbinding". Making Peace: Personal Essays by Eugene England Click on the link, spend seven dollars, and buy and read this book. Seriously. It will be the best seven dollars you've ever spent. During the last few years I've started collecting books by Eugene England and I haven't been disappointed yet. The essays in this collection are all well-written and timely--although published over ten years ago most of them discuss peace, diversity, an

Like rain on your wedding day

For about a month now I've been looking forward to Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's ice cream. There's a store in the mall near my house, and I tried to go last year but the kids were sick and I didn't remember until the evening and the line was too long. So this year I had it marked on my calendar and have been looking forward to walking over early enough in the day to beat the lines. Well, the other day I walked through the mall and realized that there is no longer a Ben and Jerry's there. They are turning it into a frozen yogurt shop. So sad. There's not another store in Seattle that's participating in the promotion either. Maybe some day I'll get free ice cream from Ben and Jerry's. Then a friend of mine posted about the fact that tomorrow is a promotion at Baskin Robbins . There actually is a store near our house--I know this because we just went last night to use my birthday coupon. We chose Monday night because my family has a tradition of go


I've been thinking about fear lately. It seems like there is a lot of uncertainty in my life right now, both in the world in general and in our particular situation this year. The other day I was randomly reading the blog of a friend-of-a-friend and she wrote about a dream she had. In her dream, she and her husband went to a store to buy food and the only thing on the shelf was a bag of rice. It cost three-hundred dollars, but they bought it because that was the only thing available. Reading that filled my heart with fear and I've been thinking about it ever since. Sudden inflation is a reality in many countries around the world, and it could certainly happen to us here in the US. For years I thought of food storage as primarily something to have on hand for disasters and emergencies. During the last few years I've really seen the wisdom of stocking up in order to "shop from your pantry" for meals. Generally we have a fair amount of food on hand and, as I've p

So, what do you eat?

I feel like I've been posting a lot about food and grocery shopping, but cooking is a passion of mine so I'm going to keep talking about it. As I've mentioned before, we've gone mostly vegetarian lately. I'd like to find a local, healthy meat source, but when we do we'll probably just eat meat a few times a month. Maybe just for Sunday dinners. We still have a bag of frozen chicken from Costco in the freezer that we're trying to use up right now, but I think we only have one meal left. I think that cutting out meat has been one way to keep our grocery bill low. We also don't buy chips, soda, lunch meat, or very many processed foods (canned soup, Hamburger Helper, bakery items, frozen foods, etc) at all. Most of the time my shopping list includes produce, bread, and dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk. I also go to Costco occasionally (like every six months or so) to stock up on things. I've found that I can often buy things on sale for cheap

Sometimes we do have fun

In an effort to appreciate more fully the fleeting moments of childhood I will now write a post about the great Family Home Evening we had tonight. I think it was only ten minutes long, but that's part of what made it so great. We've actually been pretty consistent about having FHE every week for some time now, but I will admit that I've often just focused on the fact that it's a great excuse to make treats. Usually the lesson is just a story from The Friend or something like that. Today I decided to make a little more effort and came up with a treasure hunt. S-Boogie has been into playing "pirate" lately and I thought she'd enjoy it. I made a bunch of simple clues like "I'm a yellow fruit that [Little Dude] likes to eat" and she figured out each one. She had so much fun running through the house finding each clue for us. S-Boogie loved her treasure hunt and I felt good about picking an activity that helped her talents really shine. She told


A few random thoughts that aren't worth putting in their own post: I think hummus and pita is the new chips and salsa. We had a ward "international dinner" the other night and there were several kinds of hummus and pita and absolutely no chips and salsa. Asian and Mediterranean foods are the cool ones now and I guess Mexican is not so exciting anymore. It's interesting to see where food trends go. I wonder what will be cool next? ***** I've been trying to figure out my classes for the Fall and feel a little lost because I don't know what I'm supposed to register for or when to do it. I'd also like to learn Portuguese but they don't seem to have any classes available. I should have done that while I was at BYU. Maybe I'll start looking into grants for a trip to either Brazil or Portugal next summer. The idea of living abroad is kind of overwhelming, but I think it could be a lot of fun for us. ***** I hadn't really thought that grocery price

We have some winners!

So I'm still a little sad that only 11 people thought enough of my cooking skills to enter my contest (Mr. Fob said he would enter but that he already gets plenty of baked goods for free). But all that means is that those who commented had a better chance of winning. I chose the winners completely randomly and they are: Desmama Audrey Emma If I don't already have your address, email it to me so I know where to send the goodies. Thanks for playing and maybe we'll have some other sort of random giveaway in the future :)

Take Two: Pay it Forward

So my last post included several different memes and I guess that the last one kind of got lost in the confusion. So I'm reposting it, since I'm surprised that so few people want free cookies: I first saw this on Dandelion Mama's blog , but unfortunately didn't win. But my friend mhuff won and posted on her blog , so I was lucky enough to win over there. She mailed me a beautiful necklace a while ago and I feel bad that I have taken so long to return the favor. The way this particular thing works is that you have to leave a comment in order to be entered into the contest. I will pick three random commenters on Sunday Night and they will win a prize made by me. Since I'm not very crafty, I will make some sort of baked goods. If you live near me it might be something like cupcakes, if not it will be something more sturdy that will last in the mail. You must be willing to pass on the good will if you win, so remember that when you enter the contest. Why don't we m

Write it Down, Pass it Around

Sometimes it's seems like I've done all the little memes floating around there in blogland, but new ones keep popping up. Mr. Fob tagged me to do the book one, but I've done it before . Silly Marie recently did this post and I thought I'd go ahead and tag myself to do it: Rules: 1. Link to your tagger and post these rules. 2. Share 5 facts about yourself that: a. explain how you got your first or middle name My parents got my first name from a country singer who was Waylon Jenning's wife and released a number of hit albums in the 1970s. They did change the spelling a bit. My middle name is from my grandmother on my father's side. She died when he was only ten years old, so I look forward to someday meeting her because many people tell me I look and act a lot like her. b. where you were born I was born in San Diego, CA nearly 30 years ago. In my parents' living room. c. your favorite fruit I love a lot of fruits: lemons or cherries when cooked in things, r

Are we having fun yet?

On Friday we drove up north about an hour to check out the "tulip festival". There are a bunch of farms in the valley that raise tulips and daffodils and during April they have extra activities and things to entice people to come up and see the flowers. We've had a late spring so only about half the tulips were blooming, but the daffodils sure were pretty as you can tell from this picture. We first took the kids to a little "petting farm", where they had some animals in an old barn for the kids to see. Little Dude loved the chickens and the calves. S-Boogie, in her usual style, ran through the entire barn in about five minutes and was ready to go. After the farm we went to "tulip town", ate a picnic lunch, and then drove the long way home down Whidbey Island so we could ride the ferry and see more of this state we're about to move away from. The kids fell asleep for most of the ride home, and I nearly did too. Thankfully Cheetos are a good way to

Farewell to old friends

My mom bought me these shoes at Price Club about fifteen years ago. At first I didn't really like them; I thought they were clunky and looked funky. Since I usually only wore jeans and T-shirts with airbrushed pictures of wolves on them at fifteen, I find it kind of funny that I turned my nose up at a good pair of Birkenstocks . Thankfully over the years I came to love the way they fit my feet and to realize that they didn't look that bad. I had them resoled a while ago when they started wearing through to the cork on the bottom. About two years ago I realized that it was probably time to do that again, but I procrastinated. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the heels are now worn clean through to the footbed . The footbeds are cracked across my instep, the straps are coming unglued, and they are filthy. My mom bought me new sandals when I was in Las Vegas last week and I'm excited to wear them (they're not Birks ). But for some reason I still can't bring

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that I am teaching a class this quarter. There's only one available, and even though I'll miss the extra money I'm looking forward to more free time. And it means that we have more income and a plan through the end of June. The other good news is that the college of Humanities at Davis has awarded me a special four-year fellowship. I get tuition and a stipend for four years of school, plus I don't have to teach the first or fourth year. Hopefully this means that I'll actually be able to get finished up in four years. I'm not sure since I might have to take some extra classes because I'm going from a single-language program into comparative literature. I don't really know yet what my requirements are or anything like that. The bad news is that my stipend at Davis doesn't start until November first. It's also just enough to cover rent and maybe a bit more, so one of us needs to get a part-time job. And Mr. Fob's stipend ends in

The longest two-and-a-half hours of my life

I have officially been humbled and will no longer be optimistic about air travel with small children. Especially on Southwest Airlines. The kids and I just got back from spending a few days in Las Vegas visiting my parents. S-Boogie and I had spring break this week so I thought it would be fun to get away for a few days somewhere warm. When I sat down to buy the plane tickets that were on sale it turned out that trying to find cheap flights to Vegas was harder than I thought. The biggest problem was that most of the flights were not direct and there is no way in (you know) I'm taking a flight with a layover with small children. So I optimistically booked us on a Tuesday afternoon flight (naptime) and an early Sunday morning flight (butt crack of dawn). Both flights were 15o minutes of pure torture for all of us. First of all, both flights were completely full. So no carseat or extra space for Little Dude. I'm kind of glad he's almost too old to be a "lap child" si

Reading Roundup: March 2008

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Luov I already wrote down some of my thoughts about this book in this post . I thought it was an interesting read, but I had some trouble getting through it. He uses a lot of quotes and his writing seemed disjointed at times. I liked some of his points about children and nature, but the argument wasn't quite convincing. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver I find it interesting to read the negative reviews of books on Amazon; it often seems that people come to books with certain expectations, and when the book turns out to be not what they thought, they end up bitter and angry. This is not a how-to book on local food or on farming; it's a memoir. Also, although it's not really clear until you read the whole thing, this was not the author's first attempt at farming. The family's year of local food comes after many years of learning about garde