Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Want One
I've never used a laptop till this very moment. Sad, don't you think? Hubby tried to talk me into getting one a few years ago, but I was trying to be good. We needed the money for other things. I turned the offer down. Stupid, right?
Usually when I'm on the computer I'm away from the family. Our PC is in the master bedroom. It's the only place we could really put it when we first moved in. We could probably move it into the living room now, but I'm lazy. I don't want to do it.
But, as I sit here playing around, I'm tempted. Not to move the PC, but to purchase a laptop. This is fun. I'm part of my family's activities right now. I'm carrying on conversations and laughing while blogging. Usually I'm secluded (which is also nice from time to time). But, I'm liking the mobility here... and so I'm thinking that maybe... just maybe we could look into a laptop.
I'm working on a Dell right now and I like it. But I'm wondering, for those of you with laptops, what kind do you have? And do you like it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Little R and R
Help! We're trying to plan a vacation and I have no idea what I'm doing! You see, about 99% of our vacation time is spent visiting family in Idaho. Planning that trip is easy. Drive for 14-15 hours (depending on how many potty breaks are made). Stay with family. Eat family's food. Participate in activities planned by family. Have lots of fun. Drive home.
See? Easy! The route is always the same and there are no worries about lodging, food or activities! But we'd like to go on a family trip this year that will take us somewhere we've never been before. So, now I'm trying to plan a trip that will be fun for a 10 year old, an 8 year old and a 5 year old that doesn't involve Idaho (to any family that might be reading this (mainly my Mom)... don't worry! We're still planning on coming up sometime this summer...). It's not a huge gap between the ages, but it's enough that they really aren't interested in the same things.
Red would love a trip where he got to play video games the entire time. He does like to get out and play but, as I blogged about before, it's not cool to be seen with the family. But, if we have activities that he deems "cool enough", he may just consent to being seen with us in public WILLINGLY. Dude.
Little Bug would love a trip that had to do with animals. Zoos, aquariums, nature preserves... as long as animals are involved, he's a happy kid.
Baby Girl just likes to go and do fun stuff. If she can run around and be a little crazy, she's good.
Hubby and I wanted to take everyone here...
Mesa Verde Pictures, Images and Photos
(Mesa Verde)
But the hike to get to the cliff dwellings is steep. The hike involves going up and down several 8-10 foot ladders. Red would probably be okay. But I'm not sure about Little Bug or Baby Girl. We did a hike this last spring where we had to go up and down ladders and they both really struggled... I want everyone to have a good time, so I'm thinking we'll save this for when they are a little older and a little bigger.
Our tentative plan for now is this... first we're going to go here...
(Aquarium of the Pacific)
Then follow this...
101 Pictures, Images and Photos
...stopping along the way to play at various beaches. Then we'll go here...
Golden Gate Bridge Pictures, Images and Photos
I have no idea what we'll do in San Francisco, but it's somewhere we haven't been before. I found some great travel sites over at 3 Bay B Chicks that I'm going to check out. But I wanted to know if any of you have ever taken your kids to San Francisco or if you have been there on your own? What were the things you really enjoyed? What things were not as much fun? Where did you stay?
We don't want overload on activities during this trip, but we do want to have plenty of fun things to do. Any thoughts or ideas?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Curse of the Curse
We need to find a way to talk with Red about swear words. He was reading a book the other night and came out of his room rather upset. I asked him what was wrong and he said there was swearing in the book. I asked him to show me and so he pointed out "heavens above" and "good heavens" and "he's the devil himself". I explained that those weren't swear words. He was confused and asked what words WERE swear words. I didn't know how to respond. I told him that I needed to talk with Dad (actually, I was hoping to pawn the task off onto him) and then we'd talk about it again.
Our kids haven't been exposed to a lot of bad language. We don't swear here at home. We're pretty strict about the movies we let the kids see. I am of the opinion that they'll be subject to enough garbage out in the world and they need to have a safe place to come to when everything else is crazy. And again, in my opinion, that place should be home. So, we try to keep the general crud out of our home. Maybe we're too strict, but that's how we've done things.
But now, I'm not sure how to explain this to him. Should we sit down with a list of "these are words we really don't want you to say"? Or do we just wait till he asks about a word? Any thoughts or suggestions? How have you approached this with your kids? Did you wait for the words to pop up in their vocabulary? Or did you sit down and talk about the words and explain it all? I wonder if we've made our kids too naive? And is that a bad thing? Not that I want to run out and uncover all the foul things in the world for them, but I wonder... can you protect your kids too much?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crafty Conundrum
My kids love to draw and paint. But, they hate parting with anything their sweet little hands have made. For a long time we would put everything on the fridge. I loved the art work, but disliked how cluttered it made the kitchen look. Plus - every time you opened the refrigerator door, papers would go flying. So, we had to find a better solution.
I had originally wanted to take a piece of wood, glue clothes pins to it, spray paint it and then hang it on the wall. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the clothes pins would stay on very well. And what would I do if one broke? I'd have to make an entire new board. I needed something a little more flexible.
I went into Lowes with Baby Girl to brainstorm. Oh how I love that store! As soon as we walked in I saw the rope and chain you can buy by the foot. The rope was cool, but I was really drawn to the chain. I went through the pros and cons, but in the end we bought nine feet of white chain. It was .40 a foot so it cost me about $3.60. I also got nine feet of black chain for the boys room at .47 a foot.
This is the white chain on the wall in Baby Girl's room. (It's hard to see... look closely...)
Then I decided that I didn't like the way the nail heads looked, so we hot glued flowers onto them.
After that we took mini clothes pins that and hung the masterpieces from the chain...
Wah-lah! Awesome way to display the art and it's not in my kitchen any more! I put the chain in the boys room a lot higher up. Little Bug has a tendency to pull things apart. Hopefully he won't be able to reach it above the closet...I have to climb on a chair to hang things up, but the pictures won't get destroyed, so, it works for me.
Another plus with this is that the kids get to decide what goes on the chain. As soon as there is no more room they have to start making decisions on what they want to keep and what they can part with. That way I'm not the bad guy throwing things out. It will be 100% up to them what stays and what goes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will work!
What about you? How do you display your kids art work? And how do you decide what to keep and what can go?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's a Good/Bad Thing
I had a bazillion things planned for today. That's right. A bazillion.
I was going to start with blog reading - since I'm waaay behind (sorry 'bout that). Then Baby Girl and I were going to head to a play group at the park. After that I had errands to run and laundry detergent to buy. Then, of course, I was going to do laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. While waiting for the clothes to dry I was going to work on Valentine craft stuff - which I will post about later. There were other small projects I wanted to work on today too.
But now?
Well, now Little Bug is sick. He's got a fever and seems to have a sore throat. When I tried to hand him his school clothes this morning (before I realized the fever was there) he burst into tears and croaked out "pajamas... pajamas". I shouldn't be excited, but the kid spoke without any prompts! It's always so hard when he's sick. We never know what to do for him or how to help because he can't speak. (For those of you who are new to the blog, Little Bug has Autism) This is the closest we have ever gotten to him telling us how he's feeling. Obviously today he wants to be curled up in jammies. And while I'm not happy that he's sick (and that my list of things to do is getting tossed out the window) I'm glad that he was able to express this one little thing.
So, pajama day it is! Now, if you'll excuse me... I'm afraid there will be no blog reading today. I'm off to curl up with my kids, watch Wall-e and hope for more spontaneous speech.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We live far away from our families. Our parents, brothers, and sisters all live in Idaho. On one hand, we like living in different areas. We like seeing new things, experiencing new places and meeting new people. On the other hand, we miss our families.
This year our holidays were kind of.... lonely. We were able to go home for Thanksgiving, but then we spent Christmas and New Years with just our little family. Which is great and fine, but it was also hard to hear about all the family parties going on up north. While everyone in the extended family was getting together to laugh and play, we were sitting home twiddling our thumbs. Well, not really twiddling... it makes my hands hurt to twiddle for too long.
The point is, we missed our families and really wanted to be there in the frigid cold to participate in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It just wasn't possible.
But we are about to witness the annual migration. You see, every year, about this time, our families get tired of snow, ice, wind, and everything that makes winter... well, winter. And so, they come here because our winter... well, it's not. It's supposed to be 81 today. We are expecting a "sudden drop in temperature" for tomorrow. All the way down to 68. We might have to put long pants on and (shudder) closed toe shoes! The horror!
Of course, 68 is much better than 11... which is the temperature in my parent's neck of the woods at this very moment. And so, in February we will see my parents and (my Mom just confirmed this) my youngest brother! He's never been down here to see us and I'm so excited to drag him around for a week.
My in-laws will be here in March! I know there are people out there who would not be excited about a visit from the 'laws, but mine are fantastic. We always have a great time when they are here. After that we have a slight possibility of seeing both of Hubby's sisters and their families. They mentioned that they would like to come and go to Disneyland. Now, I admit that they brought it up in a very casual sort of way. There are no REAL plans for them to come. But I am crossing my fingers and hoping that they will! We want anyone and everyone to come on down to play.
So, who's next? I'll take in friends as well as family... anyone else tired of the cold and looking for a warm weather retreat?
Let the migration begin!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I thought I had a few more years. Why didn't anyone tell me that when my sweet and lovely Red turned 10 he would also turn into a bit of a monster? It's like all the teen attitude has come crashing down on me and I'm totally unprepared for it! Just a quick example... on Saturday we went to the mall to look for books and just spend some time together. He kept walking behind me and so I jokingly said, "Hey, catch up! Are you embarrassed to be with me?" I laughed. He didn't. Instead he said, "Yeah. I am. I hope no one from school sees me here."
Wait... what?
When did this happen? Heaven help me. I know I'm not super cool, but I didn't think I was too dorky... maybe I am. Blah... I had always hoped that my kids would pass by this stage. That they would never hate being with me. Sigh...
And so it begins.

Friday, January 16, 2009

See this guy?
It's the same guy you see in this picture that was taken EXACTLY 11 years ago today...I wish I had a current picture of the two of us... but I don't (maybe we can fix that when you come to visit, Mom??).
If I could, I would express just how much he means to me but my vocabulary isn't big enough. So, I'll just say this...
Thank you for the last 11 years. I look forward to many, many more. You're my best friend and I love you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Play Time
Do you like online games? I tend to gravitate towards them when I need a little break. It's fun to sit down to a game of Tetris or perhaps some Wordscraper on Facebook. But, what I love even more, is the thought of taking a break to play these games and having it be worth while.
Games: Playing for Parker
There's a little guy I've gotten to "know" through his mom's blog. Parker is a sweet little 4 year old with Down syndrome. He has been in and out of the hospital too many times in his little life. He's there right now - fighting for his life. And his parents? They are fighters too. But, they are under a lot of stress. Their medical bills are stacking up. That's where the games come in.
5 Minutes for Mom is sponsoring the games. Click on the "Playing for Parker" button above or in the side bar (it's kind of buried in the side bar for now because Blogger is being psychotic... AGAIN) and a window will open. And then, another smaller window with a game will open and you can play. There are lots of games to choose from, the ones I've played have been fun, and the best part? Every time someone plays the game, money gets put into Parker's medical fund. It doesn't cost you anything to play... the money comes from the advertisements on the side. You just give a little time.
So, if you get a moment, head on over and relax. Solve a few puzzles. Enjoy a game or two and help out Parker and his family!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Back!
American Idol starts tonight! I'm looking forward to the new season. I really enjoyed it last year and felt like they found some pretty amazing talent. I'm sure we'll see the same thing this year...
Of course, there's always the people who think they can sing but can't. It always amazes me that these people get up there and say things like, "My family and friends all say I have a really amazing voice."
Really? They do?? You really need to think about finding new friends and maybe even a new family.... the ones you have now are apparently liars. Really big liars. And I think they might hate you... yes, they hate you enough to encourage you to go on national television and make a fool of yourself. May I suggest looking for new people to fill those spots in your life ASAP?
In the past, they have always given more camera time to the people of no talent rather than the ones that can actually carry a tune. I read an article the other day that said they aren't going to do that this year. Yes, we will still get to hear some of the people that make us want to cover our ears and cry out "Mercy! Please, have mercy! Make it stop!" But, that won't be the focus. They are going to show more of the the people who make us say "WOW!"
I know there are some people who are looking forward to the new format and others who are really disappointed that that element will be gone from the show.
If you watch AI, which group are you in? Do you enjoy watching the crazy antics of the tone deaf crowd? Or are you glad that the in-tune crew will get more of the spotlight?
Of course, the article may have just been hot air and tonight we will get to listen to Simon destroy the self esteem of many young hopefuls... only time will tell!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Reading Rainbow
Spellcheck is gonna LOVE this post! I finally started reading the 3rd book in the Inheritance series. I really loved Eragon. I liked Eldest and now I've started Brisingr. Now, I know I'm not the smartest gal in the world, but I feel like a complete moron reading this book! I think he pulled out his dictionary of huge, unused words and tried to cram as many as he possibly could into this book!
Also, for some reason, Mr. Paolini believes that he needs to describe everything. EVERY.THING. This is something that has always annoyed me. It was the reason I struggled with the Lord of the Rings books and all of the Anne books (please don't hate me). I like to use my imagination a little bit. Go ahead and tell me that the guy sat on an old tree stump, but do you really have to take a paragraph to describe it? How it groaned under the weight of the character? How it was bleached from the sun and stripped of bark from the harsh winds??? SERIOUSLY!
Maybe this is why I'm not an author... I'm too pragmatic (that's the biggest word I know). If I were writing the book it would go something like this.
"Everyone got on the dragon, fought the bad guys and won. The End."
It's a best seller, I know. I'm just not detail oriented enough. Most of the time, for me, less is more. I don't really care if the characters walk into a luscious valley covered in a carpet of vibrant grass that is glistening like diamonds with the morning dew as the golden sun rises over the distant hills. Really. I don't care. Just get to the point. Why are they in the valley? What's going to happen? Sigh... I'm probably the only one that is bothered by this sort of thing, but that's okay.
What I really want to know is if you've read any good books lately? I'm in a reading mood right now and am looking for something fun and quick to read after Brisingr. Any suggestions? Also... are you on Goodreads? If you are, would you mind adding me to your friends? If you're not, may I suggest signing up? It's a great way to keep track of the books you've read and the ones you want to read. Plus, you can add friends and see what they are reading, what they've liked and disliked.
Happy Reading!

Sidenote: I'm stealing this idea from Yvonne again :) This is for my mom... yes we felt the earthquake last night. It was centered in San Bernardino. They are reporting it as a 4.5. There wasn't any damage and no one was hurt (She worries about us living on the San Andreas fault... go figure!)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Once a Tease, Always a Tease
Yesterday was Red's birthday. I can't explain in words how much I love this kid! His heart is so big and he's so generous! Case in point: he took cupcakes to his class yesterday. He had a few left over and instead of bringing them home (which is what I was hoping he would do... I wanted one!) he shared with some other people. One of his friend's little sister was staring longingly at the cupcakes and he gave one to her. He made sure he gave one to the principal and some of the office staff. He's always been that way. When he was really little I had to make sure I always had change with me at Christmas time. We had to have something to give to the Salvation Army bell ringers. If we didn't, he would be heartbroken!
Another thing I love about Red is that he's such an amazing big brother. A lot of my attention is given to the younger kids - especially Little Bug. But, Red is not resentful. He digs in and helps when I ask and even when I don't! He's really patient with his brother and sister. I couldn't ask for a better kid!
On top of all that, he's a good sport. Which is a really good thing because he comes from a family that likes to tease and joke around. And that brings us to yesterday's festivities... we got Red an MP3 player for his birthday. But earlier in the day I pulled it out of the box and got it charged up so that he could use it before he had to go to bed. I thought about putting it back in the original box, but then I saw another little box sitting on my computer desk and used it instead.
So, when Red opened his gift he saw this... Yep - that would be a LIGHT MAGENTA printer cartridge. He was so thrilled... (Oh, and yeah... that would be lasagna on his pants...) But wait... what's this? It's taped together...YES!"Wait... what is it?" There aren't any MP3 players in our home... so he wasn't exactly sure what he was holding in his hot little hand. I think deep down he knew, but I had told him over and over that they were too expensive and that we weren't going to get him one this year. The exclamation of joy was mostly over the fact that it WASN'T a pink printer cartridge.
"What did you say Mom? I can't hear you! I'm listening to my new MP3 player!"I'm sure this will be a good/bad thing, but for right now? It's all good! Happy Birthday Red!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sorry about the plethora of posts today :) Soon after I posted the pictures of the cake, Hubby sent this to me. It's an email he wrote and I thought it was funny. So, I'm sharing with you. Enjoy!

It’s hard to believe but the festivities are upon us again. Happy Three Kings Day to one and all! It’s wonderful this time of year when we can pause to celebrate our 3 kings, Obama, Pelosi and Reid and honor their respective gifts of Gold, Nonsense and Myriad Regulations. I trust that, like me, you’ve carefully hung out your free market values in order to receive the traditional tuppence from our generous and omnipotent triumvirate.

I, for one, just can’t wait to see the look of surprise on the childrens’ faces when they open up their new personal carbon emission monitors! How excited they have been to take part in reducing their carbon footprint, and we’ll make a fortune selling carbon credits as they walk slowly to school being sure not to expend excess energy along the way.

Of course the holiday wouldn’t be the same without family and friends with which to celebrate the coming Change as we throw aside the old-new ways and embrace the new-new ways. What a relief it is to see that traditional partisan bickering will soon give way to refreshing abject obedience. That instead of toiling away to sustain ourselves, we can soon benefit from the fruits of our neighbors labors. At this special time of year let us not forget the poor, but rather let us focus on the wealthy who have been so richly blessed with the means to provide for one and all of us.

What a glorious time we live in when we can serve under the sure guidance of an African-American, a Female-American and a Mormon-American all at the same time! It’s staggering to think how far we’ve come and to what great heights we may aspire as we all look forward to the day when there are no more “ – Americans” but rather we can simply be equal subjects in a glorious carbon neutral society.

Humor Me...
I am going to blog about Red a little later... you see, today is his birthday! He's 10 years old and for some reason this feels like a BIG DEAL to me! I'm going to write a little more about my awesome boy later (I want to get some photos of him opening his b-day presents first...) but I wanted to share some photos of the cake.
BEFORE you look at these pictures, you must PROMISE me that you won't laugh! Promise???
You see, I've never worked with fondant before and really had no idea what I was doing. Plus, I didn't have the money to buy fondant or to buy the glucose syrup or unflavored gelatin to make real fondant. So I found a recipe that used items I already had (shortening, Karo syrup, vanilla, salt, powdered sugar) and used that instead. The fondant is so GREASY!! It worked, but it's all shiny and kind of weird... anyway...
I wanted to make a "Wii" themed cake for Red. So, we started with a couple of twinkies...
and transformed it into a Wii remote! (the lettering and detail stuff didn't work well... I bought markers with edible ink, but the fondant was so greasy that the writing didn't work the way I had hoped)
After that I wanted to make a blue shell. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mario Kart, a blue shell is something that is used to hit the person in first place. It has spikes and wings and is not a lot of fun to get hit with. Red is really good at Mario Kart and so he's constantly getting hit with the blue shells. This is what it's supposed to look like... blue wii shell Pictures, Images and PhotosAnd this is how my blue shell turned out...
I didn't know how to make the wings stand up. If I had thought of it earlier, I would have made them with royal icing... but I didn't think of it soon enough.
Here's the finished product! I bought some candies to spell out "Happy Birthday Red. Wii Love You". But since I used his real name and not "Red" on there I'm not posting that picture. You get this one instead.
He saw the cake when he got home from school and knew exactly what it was. He was really excited about it... I'm not thrilled with the way it looks, but it works! More birthday updates later today!

Monday, January 05, 2009

To Whom it May Concern...
Dear Children,
I love you. You know that I do. But I have to ask the question... WHY? You had two blissful weeks of Christmas break and every stinkin day you were up by 6:30, full of energy and ready for the day. So, tell me, why is it that at 7:10 this morning I had to beg and plead with you to get up? Why is it that at 7:15 I used a crowbar to pry you out? And where was all that boundless energy?
Little Bug... you almost missed your bus because it took you 15 minutes to get dressed and 10 minutes to put your shoes on
Red... I just caught you staring at your refection in the mirror instead of brushing your teeth. You weren't even making faces... just staring blankly.
Baby Girl... you WERE up at 6:30 this morning. You ARE bouncing around like a kangaroo on speed. Perhaps it's because you don't have school-itis. Apparently both of your brothers do...
I hope that eventually you'll learn that school days are for getting up early and vacation days are for sleeping in... of course, by that time, my body will be so trained for jumping out of bed to get you moving that I probably won't be able to sleep in any more. Sigh.
I do hope that both of you have a wonderful day at school today and that this half of the year will be fun and interesting for you!
Muchas Love yas,