Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year Goodness

True to form, I will be donating money to Heifer International.  Though I only got about 5 comments, including those that follow me, I will be purchasing a bee hive for a family.  I think a bee hive is a good way to try to increase the bee population, increase pollination to help other crops and have products for sales later like honey, wax and pollen.

I don't do new year's resolutions, but I am kick starting my new year with a free spin class tomorrow!  I figured I could handle 8:30 am.  My real class starts a week from today.  It's at a newly opened bicycle shop, so I am hoping that they will start to help me choose the proper bike for my trek across Iowa in 2012 and in training during 2011.  I've also signed up our family for a community family fitness challenge sponsored by the hospital and school district.  It appears to be helping us work on our eating and exercise habits as a family.  The kids are all ready to point out what fast food places we should avoid.  I think it will be good if they are our reality check on staying healthy.  I like how they are willing to be into it.

So here's to you and yours for a happy and healthy 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Goodness: More Jolly Goodness

First things first.  Nathan Bransford and his wife and Alexia over here are donating $1 for every comment made on their blog to Heifer International.  I have always loved Heifer since I first heard about it in church and my children's Sunday school got to choose what their money would go to, whether it was rabbits, a flock of chickens or a calf.  I like that these families that are in need are given animals to supply food to their family and are offered a chance for breeding more animals and extra income.  Along the lines of "If you give a man a fish, feed him for a day.  Teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime."  I am very much for giving people resources that can help them now and in the future.

Nathan's ended on Wednesday, so, please comment here on the blog between now and midnight Christmas eve (CST on December 24) and for every comment, I, too, will send $1 to Heifer International.  Depending on the number of people will determine what we get, a flock of chickens, a calf, or a goat, etc.  To increase the amount we send, you can do these additional things:

1. Follow me here on my blog (over there on the right hand side), click follow and be my friend.  Leave me a separate comment pointing that out.

2. Join me by posting in Thursday Goodness this week, using Mr. Linky.  Leave me another comment to let me know you did that.

(Ok, so both of those benefit me, but I think it will benefit you as well, thinking of positive things by participating in Thursday Goodness and getting to read my fabulous silly little blog, which may (or may not) brighten your day.  In the end, the winners are those that benefit from Heifer International.)

I will post on next Thursday's Goodness what animal or animal grouping we will be donating our money for.  Check out their website to see how the donations work.  My kids love looking and picking out animals.  They will probably pick out what we will send.

Now, below is some real Thursday goodness.  What a sweet story and Merry Christmas!

Plucked from NPR, a great story about how a man won his wife over.

Jim Crane didn't date in high school. Not at all.

But when he went to college in 1955, he found out he liked girls. A lot.
"They were soft and they smelled good," he tells his daughter, Missy Worden, at StoryCorps in Atlanta.

During his senior year at Union College, Jim met his future wife, Juna. He was working in the business office and she was a switchboard operator.

"I'd come up the hall a-whistling and she'd always fuss at me because she was trying to hear," the 73-year-old says. "I got to talking to her and I got to liking her. I finally said, 'You wanna go to a movie with me?'"

Juna declined. "I've double-dated with you. I see what you do to those girls in the backseat," he tells his daughter she said.

Jim had never gotten a "no" from a girl.

He had given a woman he had been dating in Charlotte, N.C., a pin.
"I wrote and told her to send it back to me," he says. "And the girl I was dating in town, I'd give her some little something or other and I told her to give that back to me. And another girl I was dating on campus, I'd done something for her, and I told her to give that back to me. "

Jim took those three trinkets to the switchboard where Juna worked and laid them down.
"I said, 'Now, lookahere. I done broke up with all three of those girls.' I said, 'Will you go to a movie with me?' She said, 'OK.'"
Jim and Juna started dating. After graduating from college in 1959, Jim went immediately into the Navy.

"I was gonna give her a diamond engagement ring when I got paid at the end of boot camp. But the Navy screwed up the pay somehow, and everybody got paid but me," he says. "Well, I'd told everybody what I was going to do with my money, and I was very despondent.

"I was sitting on my bed and this guy I didn't like came up to me and he said, 'Crane, give me a match.' I said, 'I don't smoke and I don't have matches.' He said, 'Yeah you do. I've seen them in your locker.' And I gave a great oof, and stood up and went to my locker and opened it."

Jim's locker was full of money.

"The money started falling out, so I sat down and cried," he says. "I guess they passed the hat. And I used that money to buy your mother's first diamond ring.

"I said, 'Now, you're gonna marry me, but you gotta know that you're engaged to Company 290,'" Jim explains. "So she said, 'That's fair.'"

The Cranes will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on Monday.
Produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo. Recorded in partnership with WABE. 


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Random Tuesday: Oh the Christmas Love


 I am really extra giddy over here.  Tonight is the start of my Christmas vacation (or holiday vacation, depending on how you want to look at it).  I am planning on serving up myself a hot whiskey to kick off the season.  I have presents to wrap and I am determined to start my wrapping before Christmas eve.  That's insane.  Fortunately, the children are still in school tomorrow, so maybe I can squeeze in a few more in daylight.

I have no clue what to make for supper tonight.  What goes with hot whiskey?  I am making lasagna for Christmas Eve.   It's a tradition, though perhaps unintentional by my parents.  They for some reason seemed to make something Italian for Christmas Eve dinner.  Not because we're Italian in anyway.  Maybe because it was easy to make?  My kids like it, too, and I hardly throw together a lasagna on any other night, so I might as well make the most of it.  As you know, finding anything that BOTH my children like at the same time, is a potshot in the dark.

I am also giddy because I've launched myself out there more in the blogosphere, doing some commenting here and there and feeling the LOVE of all the people visiting my blog and then following me! Which is so sweet of everyone and I hope I can live up to their expectations.  It's an increase of about 30%.  (Did you see how I did that calculation?  I know, so geeky.) We can blame my new blog friend Jen.  She inspired me to get my a** in gear.  Well, that and actually participating in the blog give and take.

Don't you love how kids change their minds on their Santa gift list?  I don't know how the big man does it.  One announced, near the end of our shopping spree on Saturday (which is tricky, but we split up the duties and got stuff done, all behind their backs) that he needed a watch.  Great, got to pick up a watch now.  The other announced, as she saw the clock ticking down on her Webkinz time in the virtual world, "I've got to have a Webkinz or I won't be able to play with them anymore."  Imagine that in a whiny voice.  Usually, Santa might ignore these pleas, but Santa is feeling extra nice this year and they may get what they wished for.  Since Santa's not bringing the DSi or the Wii, I think these little things can be handled.

I'm making this short and sweet, because it's the holidays.  Go, hit the button, join us in our randomness!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly! Blogfest

Hi all, I'm joining in on the Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest, hosted by Jen and Melissa.  And I'm getting it in under the wire.  I was working/interviewing, getting physical therapy for my arm, fighting off snow and taking the family out to eat.  So it's a busy season.

Obligatory festive decorations.  My camera is dying and I don't get very good pictures (or maybe that's just my excuse for a really crappy camera eye).

I've posted about my springerle before, so I thought I would try a different twist and post a different cookie (well, candy) recipe.  This was my favorite treat at my grandmother's house.  She was the kind of person who made 6 dozen each of twenty different kinds of cookies and fudge (I am not kidding), but this was the standout for me.  No matter what else I ate, I had to eat one of these.  Maybe it was the total of two sticks plus two tablespoons of butter in it.

Napoleon Creams

1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chopped nut meats

Combine first four ingredients in a double boiler.  Heat over simmering water until butter melts. (you must do this, it will not work otherwise)  Add egg, cooking until mixture thickens (add in a thin stream to stop the egg from curdling), about 3 minutes.  Blend in crumbs, coconut, and nuts.  Press into a buttered 9 x 13 in pan.  Chill.

1/2 c. butter, softened
3 Tbsp. milk
1 (3 1/2 oz.) pkg. vanilla instant pudding
2 c. powdered sugar

Cream butter with pudding mix, milk, and powdered sugar until creamy and fluffy.  Spread evenly over bottom layer.  Chill.

1 6oz. pkg. of chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. butter

Melt chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl (follow the melting directions on the package for melting the chocolate chips in the microwave, this worked well for me).  Spread over vanilla layer.  Chill and cut.

Now for the beverage, which doesn't necessarily go with the cookie, but that's just fine and dandy.  One of my good friends is Irish and she introduced us to hot whiskeys, which are excellent on cold nights.  This is the best warm alcoholic drink I've had.  I also like spiced wine, but this takes the cake on a cold night.  Sorry we don't have a lovely picture.  We usually drink them up fairly quickly.

Hot Whiskey

Whiskey (preferably Jameson)
Boiling water
Scant teaspoon of sugar (white works best, or a sugar cube is good)
Lemon, sliced
Whole cloves

Pour a bit of whiskey in the bottom of a heat proof glass (Irish coffee glass is a good one for this, though we also just use wine glasses).  Pour according to taste, I can't tell you exactly how much, I do it by sight and feel.  Add the sugar at the bottom and stir a bit to mix it up some.  Cut the lemon slices in half and stud each section in the slice with a whole clove.  Drop it in the bottom of the glass.  Pour the hot water over all, filling about half to two-thirds of the way up the glass.  Stir with a spoon.  Let cool a bit and enjoy!

Be Jolly By Golly, and check out the rest of the participants here and feel full of holiday cheer!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Goodness: What's in your soapdish?

A friend of mine on FB shared this picture and link:

Cleaner Science at

Would you like the Hib virus or the glowing Legionella to rub on your hands?

Best laugh, so far, I've had today!

Join me for more goodness.  Add a link to your goodness this week.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Other things writery...

I've been floating around in the writer's universe a bit and ran across this book: Across the Universe.  The author, Beth Revis, has a blog and it is interesting to see her progress through to a finished, published book.  And the first chapter is fascinating.  It is very sci-fi, but I like sci-fi and it seems entertaining.  She's offering a generous contest, in which 100 prizes will be awarded.  All book related, as it will come out 1.11.11.  If you're slightly sci-fi leaning, or interested in seeing more about her publishing journey, go check it out and see if you'd like to win some free stuff, too.  Good luck!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts


Once Willa had a bath, she came down the stairs in wet hair and footie jammies, raiding the construction paper pile, making a pretty big mess.  Well, she just stated she's making it into a good pile, because "it's just weird when paper is sticking out."  Ah, wouldn't you enjoy footie jammies?  I almost bought some today.  But Mr. Wild already hates my fleece blanket cocoon, I think he'd find the footed pajamas, let's say, offputting.

I love eating Mexican at a restaurant.  When I suggest going out for Mexican, my kids are very excited.  "Can we go to El Jefe?" they ask.  Don't let their enthusiasm for Mexican fool you.  They actually want to go to this restaurant because they serve KRAFT MACARONI AND CHEESE.  It's in the kids' menu.  With fries on the side.  Willa shows some sign of a possibly maturing palate, because she doesn't want fries, she wants the Mexican rice.  But Andrew is all about the mac and cheese and fries.  Sigh.

Speaking of Andrew, he turns 11 today.  The years just keep rolling by, don't they?  We all say that.  We all hear others say that.  Yet, why are we so surprised?  What is more surprising, when the jeans you bought last fall are no longer long enough?  Or the fact that they turn one more year older.  Bonus: most people think eleven is an acceptable age for me to leave the oldest in charge of the youngest for an hour or two.  Ah, the freedom.  I need it, otherwise, Santa doesn't get her shopping done.

I agreed to make banana muffins for his class treat.  We can't, or aren't supposed to, send unhealthy food to school for snacks, not even for birthdays.  I understand why and I accept it, but I'm a little sad I'm not sending cupcakes.  My muffins have extra wheat germ in them, in addition to the banana, so I think we're sending something better than a cupcake.  On the other hand, in Willa's class, the girl with the birthday last week sent home a giant pixy stix for each classmate.


I was all set to try my free Oikos Organic Greek yogurt and the store I stopped in didn't carry it.  They had every other kind of Greek yogurt, plus Stonyfield's regular organic yogurt, for which I also had one free coupon for.  But it wasn't worth it to me to pick up any of the free yogurt at that point.  I got orange juice instead.

For the word coupon, do you say "Q-pon" or "COO-pon?"  I say "Q-pon," really I do.  I think it's an Iowa thing, because another gal I know who grew up in Iowa says it the same way I do.  Actually, maybe eastern Iowa, my husband is from the western Iowa side of I-35 and he says "COO-pon."  Those Westerners.  What are you going to do with them?

I am thinking about joining up with some blog fests.  I'll let you know how that goes, if I get to doing it.  Just some more fun for the holidays.

Hot whiskey in hand, the last batch of muffins in the oven.  Go Random up with Keely at the Unmom.  Click the button above and enjoy the muffins you aren't having.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The healing starts when you admit the problem...

I am coming to terms with it.  I started looking at the "genre" of my blog.  I was hoping to be some cool, hip, authoritative person on anything and everything that would garner lots of love, free offers, and followers on the internet.

Recently, I have admitted to myself.  I am a "mommy" blogger.

I don't really care much about the pop culture scene.  Okay, I am addicted to maybe too much television, but I don't have the self-effacing gall to go googoo over all the hot actors that are on my TV screen (my really big TV screen, mind you, which really rocks, but I still feel conspicuous about my consumption) in my blog.  For heaven's sake, they are way too young for me anyway.  Sheesh.

And I find my children much more amusing than anything else in my daily life.  You can't make up things like the forged signature or the blank stare during concert practice.

I wanted to talk about books more, but that would mean I need to read some.  Okay, well I've read some recently, and I want to critique one, but I actually know the author in a roundabout way and would rather tell her to her face (or via email) before going all ballistic on the blog (well, not really, but I have some issues with the history in one of her books).  And I keep saying I need to read Persuasion. (that would be the Jane Austen reference)

I find I don't wax literary like some of my other blogger friends (Irish Gumbo, Psuedo).  I don't even take good pictures like Feet Off the Table.

I do say short brief things about mulled wine, my choice of teas, a few recipes here and there, hot whiskeys (dang I could use one tonight, good night for it), wishes hopes and dreams, rolled in with kiddos, travel and Mr. Wild.  I occasionally dabble into politics, but I have friends who are much braver than that (True Blue, and Helen and Margaret) and do it better.

I'm not sure what I thought would come of my blog.  I enjoy that friends near and far and sister and mother read it some.  I like the small laughs that I give, or get when I follow other blogs.

But, I have to admit, I am a "mommy" blogger, because I really don't delve too deeply anywhere else.  I guess I thought I could be category-less, but no, I must admit, that is a bit how a mommy blog flows, isn't it?  And no, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that. Because I read them, too.  Just there's so many good ones to choose from.  Soooo many!  Keep em coming, gals and guys!

Now I have to do some shopping.  Non-Christmas shopping because the schools decided that today would be a snow day (more like the roads are still freakin' ice and snow covered and we can't get the buses out today) and my free day off with no children is thwarted.  But, much better than being at work.  Which is a whole other subject I won't touch.  Not in the blog if I can help it.  Early on in my blog discoveries, I learned the lesson to not blog about work from an oldie but goodie, Dooce.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Goodness--Part II

We got a flat screen TV.  Happy Birthday to Mr. Wild, Happy Birthday to Andrew, Merry Christmas to all of us and probably Happy Birthday to me and Willa.  It is still in our den, sitting in its box, because we need a stand for it.  This is what we got:

Vizio Razor LED (42")

I keep staring at the box, wondering if my eyes were bigger than my eyes.  Everything I read said that the distance we would be viewing should work with this size, but again, I wonder.  I am feeling rather conspicuously consumtive.

Oh, and Andrew lost his first molar, which none of us, including him, knew it was ready to pop out so easily.  He had just announced in the morning that a molar was loose, leading us to scramble to make sure it was the right kind of molar to be loose. (Hey, it's been nearly 30 years since I lost molars, I can't remember)  It was one that was supposed to go, then he comes home and says, "My molar fell out.  I was chewing at lunch and I might have swallowed it, except I bit down on something hard."  Eew!  They have cute little tooth shaped containers to put teeth in.

So, I had intended my first goodness post to show up this morning, but apparently I can't distinguish between AM and PM in the scheduled post section.  Please link up to the post below with your "goodness," anything heart-warming, fun, silly, or just plain ridiculous, to make us all feel warm and fuzzy.

Oh, here's one more thing, a picture from Andrew's teacher while they are rehearsing for the school concert tonight.  Andrew is front row, on the right end.  He looks thrilled, doesn't he?
It's still goodness, because Mama is absolutely thrilled to see her babies get up and sing, no matter how bored they are with it. (Willa is not bored, she LOVES the stage)

Thursday Goodness--Geek Out!

For my dear husband, Mr. Wild.  He loves Doctor Who.  I like it, but I am not as into all the various Doctors or minutia.  And really, I can't think of anyone better than David Tennant.  Though I'd be willing to give the newest one a look.


If you're joining us on Thursday Goodness, use Mr. Linky!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Thinking about getting an iPod Touch.  To replace my Palm Tungsten E, which I use for my calendar function and not much else.  And it's pretty out of date and worthless now, because I cannot sync any calendar with it.  Supposedly, iPod can sync with Outlook and Google, which is good, plus can surf the web with wi-fi, take pictures, video. Oh, and play music.  Which is like the last thing I want it for.  I'm not a huge music fan, I do listen to stuff, but I don't buy much.  It turns out the photos are not much better than my camera phone.  The videos look pretty good on its screen.  I know this because my son has two in his 5th grade classroom and they were using the video function to record their experiment results.  The kids really liked it. (They also have an iPad in the classroom.  I wonder if the teacher got a discount).  Our point and shoot is losing parts and may need to be replaced.  But I now know that the iPod isn't going to replace our point and shoot.  It must have been a cost thing, because why they didn't put in the 5 megapixel camera in the iPod that's in the iPhone is beyond me.  I like to think I'm a closet techie, but I really don't understand how all the things work and never use them to potential.

I bet you're wondering why I don't get a smart phone.  I am not paying $70+ a month for just one smartphone to be able to take advantage of what it has to offer.  I don't really text that much for heaven's sake.  To pay for a data plan seems ludicrous at this point.  I am in the mood to upgrade a lot of stuff in my house, but I need to prioritize.  We want a flat screen TV (I may delay that until after the holidays, the prices may come down), perhaps a Wii gaming system (we're still not sold on that yet), a new printer/copier/scanner would be nice (it's harder to find the cartridges for our old one), a new camera (the zoom function is partially broken, probably due to the crack in the casing that has copper bits hanging out of it), and now I am thinking about this iPod.  Oh, and the youngest wants her own iPod shuffle, like her brother won two years ago (lucky boy).  He uses it as much as we listen to music (like never).  On the other hand, she listens to a lot of music (comparatively speaking).  Her reasoning is that she won't bother her dad with her music if she has the shuffle and earphones.  This from a seven year who listens to Irish style music.  I almost died laughing.

Speaking of the youngest, check out this assignment she handed in.

Yeah, you're seeing that right.  She's already started forging my signature.  Of course, she didn't think that putting "mommy" would look suspicious.

In the museum business, reproductions of historic clothing are often called period clothing.  Period meaning they are designed for a certain time period.  These are often not factory made, but made by enterprising tailors and seamstresses.  So, Etsy, being the home of handmade, I thought might have some reproduction historic clothing on it.  Since those of us in the know call it "period clothing," I searched on "period clothes."  This is an example of what I got.

Epicerma's Shop

Um, yeah, not quite what I expected.  And there were lots!  I'd like to be more green, but personally, I really appreciate the Always Infinity.  And apologies to the gentlemen readers.  I've strayed a bit into TMI.  I did other searches on period clothing and period costume.  Got better results, but not a lot on there in the way of historic clothing.

College athletes?  Should they be paid?  Should the coaches be paid their outrageous salaries?  Should schools use their sports teams to "promote" their schools?  Shouldn't our professors get paid more than coaches?  Should corporations sponsor bowls, i.e. Insight Bowl (formerly known as the Copper Bowl), TicketCity Bowl (formerly known as the Dallas Classic)?  Should outrageous amounts of money be paid to the schools to show up at the bowls?  Should athletes be forbidden to profit from their sports skills while playing for a school? (Some FB friends are having a hot debate on a topic I brought up.  Thought I'd throw it out there to a more general world)

Personally, I think our nation is backwards.  We pay people who are essentially entertainers, (actors, singers, professional athletes) millions, while the people who are teaching our children never break 5 digits (if you know of a teacher who is making 6 figures, I'd love to see it, I'm not counting professors, but I hope some of them are getting six figures).  We pay corporate leaders billions, while the people in the front line, making the business work get pink slipped.  Those of us at the bottom, if we don't prosper, we won't have the money to throw around to help make those above us prosper.  I really don't know.  I guess I want to live in a utopia, but that means all the people have to be unselfish.

What do you get parents who are over sixty for Christmas?  Magazines, charitable giving, new gadgets, what?  I could use some help here.  Only 18 shopping days until Christmas.

Go be random!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

I'm a winner!

I entered a contest on this blog.  Guess what?!  Of course you can guess!  I won.

I eat a lot of yogurt, but have never tried Greek style, so I'm looking forward to it.  Also, check out her blog, Fit in the Midwest.  She takes lovely pictures of her food.  It always makes me hungry, and has certainly given me ideas for work food.  I always want to do better than taking frozen dinners.  Her ideas are pretty good.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Goodness

Oooo, shiny!

Nothing more fun that getting a new look, dressing up, putting pretty colors together.

No, not myself.  My blog.  I'm getting into the winter wonderland look and the holiday spirit.  Enjoy!

Maybe I should try a little of that on myself.

I would like to get some folks to participate in Thursday Goodness.  Pass it around the internets.  Pay it forward with spreading posts about good things we know, hear about, remember, enjoy.

If you want to join me in Thursday Goodness, link up, shout it on your own blog and encourage your followers to come find me.  Nothing better than a sharing good things this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RTT: I also suck at NaNoWriMo


Well, random up, or rant up, I guess...

NaNoWriMo: I got a total of 4,740 words.  I started out okay, then after-work and school activities got away from me.  It is a poor, poor showing.  I also got bogged down in the I have to look something up to make sure it is right.  Hazard of a historian I guess.  So research prone.  That was what I wanted to avoid.

I think I need to start over again.  Maybe in January, when things have died down?  I have a fun story idea, maybe I need to map it out better first and then take another month to monitor the situation.

It does have me worried about my goal to go on RAGBRAI in 2012.  I need to complete something.  I need to attain a goal.  Though, I am getting back on track with the exercise.  I was at the gym again yesterday.  This time, I used the stationary bike to its full advantange and worked up a sweat.  Thirty minutes hardly hurts my bottom any more, so I need to carve out more time sitting on that seat, while I am looking for a good road bike.  I really do intend to next summer to do some biking to work, 22 miles of it.

I have a former work colleague who has a fit and food blog.  She has a giveaway for Stonyfield yogurt coupons.  Go get yourself a chance to win.  I miss having her around, because it was great to talk about the museum field in general and the challenges and triumphs the field faces.  This month, I got to be chaperone mom at her museum with my daughter.  I gave her a report about my thoughts and some other parent thoughts.  Overall, it was a pretty good experience.  I shared some ways I thought it could become outstanding, but also commiserated with the fact that budgets are tight and staff is limited, making our ability to impact the visitors' experience limited at best.  But we keep on, keeping on, knowing that we will touch some people a little bit every once in a while.

My family Thanksgiving was early this year, the weekend before.  My brother and his girlfriend and mom and dad came here.  I made the meal all organic, for my mom, who is trying to cut down on the chemical influences in her life.  Except the turkey, which was all natural.  The guy at Whole Foods said the only difference between the two (besides the jump in price) was that organic means they've built a berm around the farm to guarantee no pesticide run off.  Mom was fine that I didn't bother going that far.  I was just hoping that maybe the farm was located away from others with pesticides.  We were willing to take that chance.  I was really proud with the results and I got it planned and everything came out on time and done.  I made rolls from scratch (I found even organic yeast), pumpkin pie straight from roasted pumpkins, my own pie crust, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole (ok, the French fried onions were not organic either).  It really came out pretty well.  My bro and girlfriend brought a squash casserole that may as well have been dessert.  She cut the sugar to 1/2 cup, but it was still pretty sweet.  I skipped the sweet potato casserole that is very similar to it.  The only thing missing was my sister and her family.  I did so miss them.

In case you're wondering, going all organic for the meal was about twice to three times as much in cost as it would be for all our cheap processed stuff.  Cheapness of food should make you think twice.  I know I have made a personal decision to quit buying non cage free eggs at the least.  On the other hand, we like to save money in our house, so I can't totally ditch the cheap stuff.  I can make better choices, no HFCS, avoid artificial sweetners, no trans-fat, make things from scratch more often.  My kids are learning as well.  It's a slow process and we are not perfect, but perhaps in the future this will lead companies to producing items with better ingredients and healthier lives for farm animals.  I need to keep working on it.

I hosted another Thanksgiving for friends here in town.  I sort of blew it on the turkey this time because I was up late the night before watching America's Test Kitchen.  I love that show, but neither the turkey, nor the tweaks that I did to my grandma's pumpkin pie came out really well.  The pie was fine, but my grandmother's method tasted better than I what I got.  The only thing I did do better was make the pie crust crispier and flakier and not soggy on the bottom.  The key is to keep all your ingredients really cold, whatever pie ingredients you prefer to use, then let the pie dough sit in the frig and get cold for 30 minutes, roll it out with minimal handling and pre-bake it (15 min at 400 covered with foil, 10 min at 400 without foil).  Make sure it and your pie filling are both warm, combine them, then bake again at 400 without foil for 10 minutes, turn down to 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Hope you are recovering from the overabundance of food.  We are eating leftovers for days.  I need to throw some stuff out before it goes bad.  Americans truly have plenty of food and choices.  Enough random, go see Keely.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I suck at Cyber Monday

We're in the market for a flat screen TV, with some money saved up, we thought this would be the year for door busters for one we might want.  No dice.  Not a single really good savings or really good TV deals in any of the ads.  What gives?  No big deal.  I figured, what the heck, I'll check on-line deals.  On-line prices seemed to beat in store prices, as suggested by Consumer Reports.  And it was true, much of what we looked at pre-sales were cheaper than the non-sales in the stores.  So we figured we'd keep looking.  But I haven't seen a lot of deals anyway.

Had the day off today.  Yay!  Dropped the kids off at school, drove over to the gym and exercised.  I got home about 8:45 am and just caught the tail end of Cyber Monday deals on ABC Good Morning America.  I went back a few minutes in the DVR because I had just missed most of the segment.  First item up?  A 47" Vizio with 120hz flat screen for $599!  You saw that $599!  Augh, I said.  I had to get dressed and take my son to his orthodontic appointment in a town 30 minutes away.  No matter.  Emailed the link to the hubby (because we never make a buy over $100 without consulting the other).  He voicemailed me while we were in the appointment.  Sure it's bigger than what we really wanted (40-42") but one heck of a deal.  I was no where near a computer.  Drove son back to school, went to get a sandwich.

Got a plate for my sandwich.

Took it in the computer room.

Opened the window I had saved on my computer with the Amazon TV deal in it.




Thought I found something comparable in the 42" size at $499.



And won't ship until after Christmas.

That's what I get for not jumping on an opportunity.

Maybe I should wait until after Christmas?  When they want to get rid of overstock?

You watch, there won't be anything I want then, either.  I have to be a reasonable consumer with research and making sure the item meets all my demands.

I have a feeling shopping for a good road bike is also going to be painful.

I have yet to see a good holiday deal on the things I want for the family's holidays.  Maybe it means it is not in our best interest to get these items.

Happy shopping.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Goodness

If Alaska can return to sanity, there may be hope yet for the rest of the United States.  Murkowski may be a Republican, but she is closer to the middle than the Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller.  Please, let's get back to the middle and work together.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Goodness

We're just too cute.  I had to share the Wild Child family.

This was taken in September, but I have it on my desktop at work and look at it every day.  I like Willa's expression the best.  It is the most recent one I have of all of us together.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Geeks Grow Up

Remember some of the geeky actors in the 80s.  They really grew up, filled in and became hunks.

Remember Anthony Michael Hall?


Don’t you like the way he grew up?


And how about Can’t Buy Me Love nerd, Patrick Dempsey?

He was cute, but sooo geeky.


And now we see him as Dr. McDreamy.


Aging isn’t so bad for gentlemen, is it?


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Goodness

A thought for all my friends who were hoping we were moving forward.  Yes, we were sad that things seemed to move backwards.  But now, as what happened in Clinton's admin, the onus is on the Republican House.  Can they really fix things?  Can they really get things done?  We shall see.  My guess is they will screw up royally, the Dems will look better and the fickleness that is the American electorate will swing back the other way in two years having gotten frustrated on the fact that two years is too long for them to wait for anything to be fixed.

Besides, the Republicans led the way in overspending money on a war that I felt was not justified.  (I remember praying that we wouldn't attack Iraq without the support of the UN.  Ah, no such luck).  So fair enough that they get to lead the way in cleaning up their mess.  Should be interesting as they try to not raise taxes, spend more money on war and try to take away Medicare when they can't find anything else to cut in the budget.

Someone else told me that Reagan, their precious Reagan, spent us into debt to get us out of a recession.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  That someone was listening to NPR, which I think is pretty careful with its sources.  They really just can't learn from the past.  Maybe this time more people will start to see the light.

We can only hope.  There always is hope.

BTW, I got into an FB argument with some die hard conservative.  He doesn't want to be forced to buy health care.  When I pointed out that we are required by all states to carry car insurance, he said owning a car was a privilege, living (with or without health care) is a right.  I did not carry the argument on because I was so frustrated.  If living is a right, then shouldn't healthy living be a right for everyone?  Meaning shouldn't we all have access to basic health care without going into debt?  Or do we have a right to have our lives saved in an ER and other patients then carry the cost of what we couldn't afford because we didn't have the insurance to pay for it?  I just don't get it.  Why isn't one's health and keeping it in good health a right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Halloween Candy Mystery

The candy sits out in the open on the counter.

And it's not all gone yet? How can that be?

A picture for Wardrobe Wednesday. You can see the detail in the upper part of the dress. Notice the Drink Me bottle.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Random Tuesday: Post 251, White Queen, Voting, NaNoWriMo

How can I already be at 251 posts? I guess it has been over two years. I am not even really keeping track anymore.

Here's something I made for Halloween. Well, two somethings, my daughter's costume and my costume:

The White Queen with Alice.  I had a pattern for Alice, I only sort of had a pattern for the White Queen.  Actually, the only pattern pieces i used were for the bodice, then I made up the rest.  I'm crazy like that.

Let's compare:

Little apron thingy, check, puffy side sleeves with transparent shoulder stuff, check, bodice with lace at bottom and in front, check, pearl like beads around shoulder line, check.  Big pouffy skirt, check.
Not bad given what I had to work with.

(Did I mention that the finising work on this was not done until 5:30 am on October 31st?
Yeah, you got that right, it was an ALL NIGHTER!  Sigh, I actually miss the all nighters.  It's quiet, no one bugs me and I can catch up on my dvr recorded shows.  Not that I remember much of them, because it was 3, 4 or 5 am in the moring.)

Better than what I could buy:

Those in the US, did you vote today?  I don't care what your vote is, but don't sit there and be lazy, get out and vote.  Every little bit matters and counts.  Some of these elections are going to be decided by the thousands, or hundreds even.  You better make your voice heard, or don't complain about what is or is not happening.

I put in my 1667 words last night in my first attempt at NaNoWriMo.  Go me.  Some others I think have taken on the challenge of NaBloWriMo.  Go you.  I'll keep you posted, maybe during the weekly random.

Go see Keely for more random.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday Goodness: I love my kids!

Playing together:


And Andrew actually rolling out and cutting noodles.

I think this is the first time I let him use the knife so freely. Is ten a good age for that?

So proud of my little people.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eight questions to while away the time

Taken from Aliceson @ Feet Off the Table.

Thanks for the fodder.  Remember when we used to tag everyone?  I think that trend has died a bit.  Thank goodness, though I don't mind when I can steal from someone else to do this.  Maybe I like that better, don't tag me, just feel free to steal and let me know if you did use it.

1. What's your favorite book? Still has to be the Little House series.  Have loved it ever since I first picked them up and am now loving it every time I read it with Willa.  And loved it that Andrew took it upon himself to read every single one.  See, they are my kids.

2. How do you get over writer's block? I need to get over it.  I am going to try the NaNoWriMo with a silly little idea I have.  I need discipline and less fear about writing crap stuff.  It doesn't have to be perfect the first time, because it never is.  I also need to get out of my creative funk.  Like not having sewn anything in nearly two years.   Oh, and when I mean sewing, I mean something that I cobble together with 2-6 different patterns, plus parts that I make up and put together and get it to look good.  Or what I think looks good.

3. What's your favorite Holiday? why? Still has to be Christmas.  The magic that happens around then, for when I was a kid and recreating that for my kids, it is just amazing.  It is also amazing how we can create the family and friend togetherness magic during then, too.

4. What's one place you would love to visit? Darn, just one?  Okay, next on my list is the Netherlands for my husband and kids.  I just want to see how he feels when he's in a country of his ancestors and how he may find he fits in well.  I loved the British Isles for that reason and I think he should get an opportunity to experience that. (also on my list are Australia, India, Ireland and a grand tour of interior Europe, plus a revisit to Hawaii, and somewhere near the Rockies.  Got a long list, need to get working on it.)

5. Do you have any pets? Two children and a husband are enough, thank you very much.

6. What's your favorite thing to bake? As insane as they make me because of the long convoluted process and extremely large batches, I still really like my springerle cookies.

7. Do you like sunsets or sunrises? Sunsets.  If I had my druthers, I would not get up until 10 am and stay up past midnight.  I do not care to ever see any sunrises and if I do, I just feel depressed because I would rather be in bed.

8. What's your favorite movie? Like one I would go back to and watch over and over again?  Maybe the original Star Wars trilogy.  The second batch is fine, but I still adore the characters in the originals.  Every three months, Spike TV obliges with a marathon weekend of them.  We just love to have it on in the background.  I can quote way too much Star Wars.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Goodness (oh me, oh my!)

I did it.  I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo.  Because I just needed to kick myself into gear with my writing and see where it takes me.  What the heck!  I'm not out any money.  I have a crazy idea for a story that I want to go with.  So, go it is!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just a reminder about October...

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Having had relatives have this disease and lose, I want to make sure other people keep it in mind, among all the other good causes out there.  This one is just very close to my heart.

I have a little clicky button in my sidebar there to the right. Go give it a click and the sponsors of the site will donate to getting women free mammograms who need them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random Tuesday--R2D2, Yogurt, and 40 year olds (who are probably not virgins)


Take your own strawberry freezer jam you made earlier in the summer, put it on the bottom of a reusable plastic container, dump in about a cup of plain non fat yogurt on top and you have your own made by you fruit on the bottom yogurt, minus the extra high fructose corn syrup and no need to recycle an individual-sized plastic container from the yogurt. (at least not until the large container is empty).  You're welcome, environment and body.

Who hasn't seen the R2D2 pumpkin carving? You're welcome, Star Wars fans.

Making costumes seems like it should be easy and cheaper than the stuff in the store.  Not true, but you can be sure of the quality and make it fit.  Theme this year for us Alice in Wonderland meets the White Queen.
This is the Alice and this is the idea for the White Queen (more here).  The White Queen that you could buy on-line was really bad, so I'm making my own.  Wish me luck! And daughter and the economy, you're welcome.

Son has decided that he will trick-or-treat this year.  About a month ago, he was not going to do it.  Then he got swords to go with last year's ninja outfit.  I think it's safe to say he's got a cooler costume, so he feels he can wear it in public.  He didn't want me to make him anything, though we don't mind doing it. You're welcome, son.

How is it our lives are so busy?  This week alone I have a meeting tonight, Mr. Wild has one tomorrow night, I am hanging with my girls on Friday, daughter has a birthday party on Saturday, son has a soccer game on Saturday and Sunday we have a family birthday party.  October seems to fill up fast, November even more so and December gets to be insane.  You're welcome, friends.

What does one get for her husband's 40th birthday?  I was going to go with boudoir photos, but I can't get my act together to get to a photographer.  Where would you put those anyway?  In the boudoir?  The back up plan was blacksmithing lessons.  I think I still made it work.  You're welcome, Mr. Wild.

Speaking of 40, I have decided, for some reason, that I'm really excited to turn that in a little over six months.  I was thinking this morning, the 20s are for discovering yourself, the 30s are all about raising your kids from babies to more mature, able to take care of and entertain themselves children, so the 40s must be when I can have some time to be me, who I discovered in my 20s, but hadn't had a chance to really explore that me.  Or be a couple, without the kids, sometimes, again.  Or spend more time with my adult friends.  It may just be a perception and totally bogus.  But you're welcome all you nearly turned 40 year olds.  Enjoy the ride!

I still get the "you're so young."  I know, I know, it is awesome to be almost 40 and be considered young, but professionally it actually sucks.  I'm sorry, there really has been 20 years since I was in high school.  I should get some credit for experience and maturity.  I still get so tired of being treated like the 20 year old.  You're welcome bosses whom I have worked my butt off for and you don't give me a shred of credit.

On Facebook, I decided to like NPR and it was an awesome decision.  I get news in my news feed that I actually want to read and learn more about.  If you are on Facebook, you might want to check it out.  It's pretty cool.  That's how I found out about R2D2.  You're welcome, Facebook and NPR lovers.

Nuff random, I need to eat my lunch.  Visit Keely and the gang, just click through on the button above.  You're welcome, visiting randomizer.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Nothing like a night out with friends to recharge your batteries.  Me and some gal pals went down to the local pub, obstensibly for book club, but really to socialize because book club seems to be fading fast.  We're not into the books as much anymore, and it is getting hard for all of us, of which there are only eight, to get together and have a night as being us.  Not so much moms, doctors, vets, lawyers, nurses, historians, teachers, office managers or writers.  We do talk about our kids, but we also talk about community, a little gossip about our work lives and spend the time learning about each other as we tell stories of our past.  I enjoy this little group of friends, and though book club may not be what we need, I think we do need time together, separate from our kids, husbands and work obligations.

So I woke up this morning, thinking about how I got the opinions from one friend on the youth sports programs in our town.  She's probably more knowledgeable about that stuff.  I wouldn't know if the high school was winning or losing.  I'm not one to care about winners and losers in sports, just how they play the game.  Yes, it is great to win, but I'd rather they focus on team work and skill building, especially at a young age.  I was also thinking about how we compared notes on sending daughters to dance, and our thoughts on local Cub Scouts.  Most of us walked, but some drove to the local pub to meet.  It's so cozy to be just blocks from your downtown businesses.  I walked in the warm fall air to meet up with one friend on the way to walk the rest of the way to the pub.

This is the community that you wonder about when you move away from home.  It's not very big, but it's part of the larger town landscape.  It's the friends and neighbors that give you their advice and opinions, invite you over for backyard parties and pumpkin carvings, take pictures of your kids in Halloween costumes, debate with you and accept your differences, share cookies and holiday recipes, invite you over in the winter storms for coffee cake and hot beverages while your children play and argue together.  It can be found.  But it does take work.

I now understand how hard it is to move.  It's not just hard on your children, it's hard on the grown ups leaving their social groups behind.  That next job somewhere else needs to be pretty spectacular to make you want to uproot your whole sense of being as self, as a couple, as a family.  We did move once before as a whole family and we were pretty strong in our convictions that we wanted a smaller town life for our children.  The uprooting was deemed worthy of the goal we were looking for.  We had our very good friends in our city suburban life and we miss them dearly, but it was a much smaller group of people we knew compared to how we've branched out.  The only thing that would make living here better is if we could have brought them with us.  But each family has to weigh that decision.  For us, the move to the small town was a mystery that we couldn't be sure it would be totally right, but turned into a great thing.  It could have turned out different, but for that fateful day my then stay-at-home husband took our then two year old to the library and the librarian said, "Oh, are you here for the playgroup?"  He wasn't, but it seemed like a good idea and somehow a group of similar minded parents met each other, let their little children play, and eventually grew to bond in different ways.

The "new" job maybe has faded in its previous expectations, but we have something we value so much more, the community that we live in is something that makes our lives full, balancing any of the difficult challenges that we face.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Badness (really, but it's a good one)

I think the CSA folks were chuckling when they put this in our box for this week:

My husband was laughing at the images as I uploaded them.

Doesn't hurt being sophomoric every once in a while.

Mr. Wild says, "They were very productive carrots."

There were two "legs" on each, but it looks like there's more.

Let's hear it for vegetables with sex appeal!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Goodness

is Chinese food from your favorite buffet.  Nothing makes me feel better.

is the turning of the leaves.  I love their almost fluorescent reds, oranges and yellows.  As they start to spread over the landscape, they bring me joy in my favorite time of year: autumn.

The teeming autumn big with rich increase, bearing the wanton burden of the prime like widowed wombs after their lords decease.
-- William Shakespeare

My day started out not so well, but doing these things and enjoying the color helped bring my mood up.

Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random Tuesday: I have smart phone envy

Just because I married a Dutch guy, doesn't make me Dutch.  But, maybe I am cheap.  I cannot, for the life of me, see my way to trying to get a Blackberry, Samsung Acclaim, iPhone or any of the other myriad of smartphones out there.  They are cool.  I would like to be able to whip one out and look up information on the web right there and then, maybe post an update or two to Facebook, but at $100-$150/month just to own one of these things does not appeal to me.  I still cringe that we pay $70/mo just for two of us to use a service, though when you break it down, it's $35 each, which in the grand scheme of things, is not bad.  I will have to wait until I am an old lady and my fat fingers cannot maneuver the little keys.  Sigh.

No surprise.  Many Americans know little about religion, its origins for it tenants and about other religions.
In a perhaps counterintuitive finding, the researchers discovered that atheists and agnostics generally know more about religion than people who profess a belief. Atheists and agnostics, on average, answered 20.9 questions correctly. Dave Silverman, president of the advocacy group American Atheists, told The New York Times that he was not surprised by that.

"I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people," he said. "Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That's how you make atheists."

Atheists and agnostics were closely followed in religious knowledge by Jews, who answered 20.5 questions correctly on average, and Mormons, who averaged 20.3. Protestants averaged 16 correct answers; Catholics averaged 14.7.
There were also some differences due to amount of education, which stands to reason.  In addition, though they knew more about their own faith, what they knew was still relatively low.
Respondents were generally more knowledgeable about their own religion than about other religions, but still had significant gaps even there. More than half of Protestants (53 percent) could not identify Martin Luther as the man whose teachings inspired the Protestant reformation. And 45 percent of Catholics did not know that that the Catholic Church teaches that the communion bread and wine actually become -- not just symbolize -- the body and blood of Christ.
I took the quiz.  I got 14 out of 15 right.  I guess nirvana is part of Buddism.  I thought Hinduism.  Still, not bad.  But I am an historian and we do study a lot of the backgrounds to cultures.  It depends on how broad your undergrad is, but mine was pretty broad.  In addition I was raised in a church that studied books of the Bible carefully and intellectually.  I wish I could find a church that studied the Bible for my children, rather than making them memorize verses.  Really?  Doesn't anybody do Sunday school classes where the kids hear the Bible story and then learn about what it is supposed to teach us about our own lives?  Memorization teaches you nothing but a bunch of archaic verses.

Not so random today.  Go random up.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Get it in at the last minute

So, I found this little scifi tidbit (seriously hate the Scyfy.  One question: Why?)

Disney princesses reimagined as superheros.

That is pretty awesome.

I want to like the "new" Doctor Who.  This article makes it look as if the stories might continue to be campy and interesting.  But really, can anyone live up to David Tennant?

Courtesy of
Do I seem a little geeky?  Well, live with it!  I do.  Someone had to marry my husband and all his geeky likes.  It might as well have been me.

So, thanks for waiting out all of Tuesday with me until I got my act together.  Writing has been harder of late.

Random up: