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.