Thursday, December 20, 2007

Let's Hope

The window in front of my computer looks onto the street in front of our house. Our neighbors below us just came home with a few friends. They were in really scary drag outfits. Blue eyeshadow, slinky dress, greasy looking hair-let's just hope I don't have to explain this to my daughter someday.

Recipe I love

Last night I made a recipe I love, love, love. I wasn't going to post about it, but then I saw Heather's posts about food and thought I'd share. I got this one out of the Phillsbury complete cookbook:

Chinese Sweet-and-sour pork

Wow, I just looked at the recipe in the book and that's a lot to type, if you want the recipe let me know and I'll put it up. (It's not hard, I'm just lazy and I'm not sure anyone would actually use it.) The reason that I like the recipe isn't just because it's yummy though. I really like all the chemistry that's going on when you're making it. Maillard browning, starch gelatinization, denaturation of proteins, mingling of flavor compounds, and much more. It just totally reminded me of some of the experiments that I did during school. It made me feel smart and I loved it. Plus, this time I didn't make the oil too hot like last time. The batter browned perfectly.

Another benefit to this came in the entertainment Charlotte had today with the leftover brown rice. I decided to eat some for part of my lunch and she decided that she wanted some too. So I fed her some. Then she decided that she wanted to feel the rice between her fingers. I figured we could have a messy lunch time (occasionally I think it's important to get dirty when learning new things). Then she decided that it would be really fun to empty the whole rice container on the floor. Well, at least she had fun.

Slow on the Uptake

Have you ever thought of a great response to something awful someone said to you after the fact and really wished you could have said it right then? That totally happened to me last night. Only instead of the situation being a few days ago it was several years ago. I have no idea why that situation popped into my head, but I thought of an awesome comment. At first I wished I had said it. Then I realized that I wouldn't chose to go back and say it because then I would have to be back to where I was back then. I'm so much happier now. I was really in a negative spot right then in my life and I'm so glad to be past it. So maybe the best response to that comment/situation was going on to live a happier life. That realization made me smile.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

munchkin mischief

I was doing the dishes from when I made cookies yesterday. I had different bowls of colored frosting to clean and I just thought I'd put them in the dishwasher. After rinsing off some other dishes I looked to put them in the dishwasher and saw this:

She was sad when I immediately took it away from her.

Another cute picture I took of her was this morning just before she got up. This is how she's decided to sleep in her crib right now:

Notice the little feet through the bars in the back. So funny!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Projects

I'm finished! I finally finished all my Christmas present projects! I'm very proud of how they turned out, but I can't show you any photos of them since they're presents and that would ruin the surprise. So instead I'll show you close ups of the mantle runner I made last year. Also, I was so excited about being done with the presents that I stayed up late finishing the ornaments that I started earlier. I think they turned out quite nicely.

I included this shot so you could see that, no, I didn't iron it when I took it out of the box. Yes, it has bugged me ever since, but not enough to take the nativity off it and iron it. Oh well.
Here's a shot of the six ornaments. You can't really see the detail in them though so I included close ups.
I didn't use all the fancy buttons that the pattern said to because they were super expensive and I told myself that the ornaments were strictly to be made from scraps from other projects. I am now really happy I kept all those buttons from off clothing. I kept the sequins from my graduation dress and they look great on the angel, elf and reindeer. The ribbon was just what I had around (I'm not sure what it was originally for). The white and black buttons were leftovers from the Santa's eyes in the mantle runner. All the fabric was scraps and the floss was from the Christmas projects this year.

My sister, my baby

Ways in which my baby is an awful lot like my sister:
She sleeps in the car. A lot.
She likes to eat Panera bagels.
She likes to go shopping with me.
She's better dressed than me.
She likes to be in control.
She loves me. A lot.

It made me laugh yesterday when this occurred to me. I thought I'd share this little treat with everyone today. Now I keep thinking of more things to add to my list.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Online Prints

I am a user of Costco photocenter. I have absolutely loved this service in the past. When I usually order my prints online I love that they show up in the mail within a week. I did not, however, appreciate how long it took to get my current order. I decided to include photos of my daughter in our Christmas cards. I ordered prints on November 25th. I kept checking back in to the web site when the photos didn't make it. I contacted customer service and all I got was that they had sent them. If they had sent them they'd be here by now! After almost three weeks of waiting I finally decided to just send the cards today without the photos. Guess what showed up after I sealed all the envelopes? Great.


When we got married my mom bought me a cute little vacuum cleaner. I loved it. It was green. When we moved to St. Louis, our apartment had new carpet. They put it in the day before we moved in. The new carpet was just too much for my "little green vacuum that could" because after four months of living here it no longer could. Dan fixed it three times and it kept breaking, plus when he fixed it, it was still really loud and sounded wrong. I mourned the loss for several days before I told anyone. Then when I told my mom she decided to get me the best Christmas gift, a new vacuum! The new vacuum arrived two days ago and I've been in vacuuming bliss ever since. It's red and it has a cord retraction button. I don't have to wind up the cord ever again! My new vacuum floats along the ground with the slightest push and it gets every little bit of cheerio, graham cracker or dirt clod from winter shoes. I felt bad for my old vacuum because now it seems like it was just never going to cut the mustard, but this new one is amazing. I'm in love and I don't care who knows it.

Isn't it funny that with everything that seems to be keeping me busy lately as we count down to Christmas, what I chose to write about is my vacuum. I guess I just love good cleaning supplies.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Merry Christmas

Yesterday was our church Christmas party. There was a talent show and I convinced Dan to perform with me in it. He played the banjo and I played the mandolin on one song and the fiddle on the other. It went.....well, at least it was quick. My opinion though is that the church talent show is the perfect place to start playing something you're still figuring out. Everyone will still be very supportive. So next time it'll be better.

I think I'm really getting into the Holiday spirit now. I've been thinking a lot about what someone told me a week ago. The home she grew up in was culturally Jewish, but she said they were really agnostic. Later in life she converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In other words, she became a Christian. That gave her a whole lot of freedom to decide what traditions she wanted to have in her family for Christmas. While she still lights the menorah with her parents and siblings, she chose Christmas traditions that brought her family closer to Christ during this time of year, and, in her words, "Christmas cards were quickly ruled out." It just got me thinking about all the traditions Dan's family and my family have. Which ones do I want to emphasize? Which ones do I want to take out? What do I want the feel of the Holidays to be? Do we really need to have our counter constantly replenished with homemade candy from Thanksgiving to New Year's?

Already because of the financial restraints of our situation, gift giving has been kept to a minimum. That's a mixed bag of sorts because there are so many positives and negatives. It has helped me see the world through my husband's eyes. He truly has been a real teacher to me about being less covetous and materialistic. Yes, there are things that I would love to have. Yes, I love to get gifts, but that's not really what our home has been focusing on right now. The negative side is on the part where I would love to give more. Oh how I wish I could give all the things I'm seeing that I think my family would love! Although now that I come to think of it, what I am giving them I'm making with my own hands. I think more love has gone into my gifts the past two years than ever before.

My husband and I have decided to do a 12 days of Christmas with the family. I'm really excited about this one. Our plan is to have Christmas envelopes with a family activity in them for each night of the 12. We take turns picking an envelope and do whatever is in each of them. This way we spend more time together as a family this time of year. Also, some of the envelopes will be based on the spiritual message of the season. I was going to have it be an advent type thing and go for the whole month, but thinking of 12 things is much easier than 25. Even though it's Christmas, I'm still a slacker. Oh well. This is a tradition I hope we will keep.

There are others I've been thinking about, but I'm tired and I have to go do the stinking dishes now. YUCK!

Oh, and one last thought before I finish. When I got married and realized that I would be spending at least half my holidays with my in-laws, I never thought I'd be so excited to see them! While it's not the same as the Christmas that I grew up with, it's still a place where I love and am loved. I missed seeing Dave at Thanksgiving and I was super tired the night I saw Heather and her kids so I'm glad I'm going to get a chance to see them while I'm actually awake!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unexpected Advice

Today I was waiting in line at the post office (why is it that there's always a line at the post office?) and I overheard this man conducting some sort of home buying financing business over his cell phone. By the way, everyone overheard it because the man was really loud. When he got off the phone he proceeded to tell all the people in the post office that you're poor if you pay for things with cash. Credit is the way to go to get rich! He has purchased his home, car, and big rig truck all on credit cards! Don't get a mortgage either, because you'll just end up being poor. The only way to buy things in America is with Credit Cards!

Last week, while waiting at the doctor's office with my baby a youngish gentleman started talking to me about his daughter (now five and living with her mother). He raised her on his own until recently and it sounded like he was a great dad. Then he said, "I didn't want my daughter to have any resentment so I didn't beat her, until I thought she really needed it, because sometimes they just really need it." I'm sure he meant spanking. I hope he meant spanking rather than beating. I'll never know. I just smiled an nodded until the nurse called my name.

PS. Neither of these stories were the ones I was going to share, but they were just such odd experiences I had to share them.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Evidence Keeps Piling Up

I am married to the most thoughtful and wonderful man!  First, he made the chili for dinner.  It started with using the garlic press and then he did the whole thing.  Later in the day, I fell asleep.  He let me sleep and made the cornbread and got the baby ready and fed her and just let me sleep.  He is so awesome!  I have tons of stories to tell, but no energy to tell them right now.