Monday, December 27, 2010

Buying Things for Myself at Christmastime

I found this shirt online, and I just NEEDED it. It came while we were out of town for Christmas. I am rocking it today. Probably no one who sees it gets the joke, but that's okay because I do.

Hubs got me a yarn swift (yay!), the Farm Chicks cookbook, a deluxe kitchen timer (can time 4 different things!) and the Broken Bells cd. Also some gift cards to Banana Republic because he loves to spoil me. And I love to be spoiled.

The kids followed strict gender roles with Christmas presents this year. Miss E got an Ariel barbie doll and Littlest Pet Shop. Ace got motorcycles and fire trucks. They are both THRILLED with their presents.

Dh says we need to go RIGHT NOW so ciao. We are meeting up with Dh's brother and family for some fun.

Monday, December 06, 2010

In Which I Cry Over Shredded Cheese and Invent the Next Big Thing Whilst Sleeping

I got this baby on Black Friday for a sweet price. And I didn't even have to get up early. We rolled out of the house at 8 and wandered into Bi-Mart around 10, where I saw that not only was the 9-cup food processor on big sale, it had an extra $20 mail-in rebate. SOLD! The next day I shredded vast amounts of cheddar in 3 seconds and wept great tears of happiness.

Last night I had a cuh-razy dream. It included spiders that Dh & I planned to eat for dinner and a newscaster carrying my groceries for me at Winco. I have no idea where my subconscious comes up with this stuff. Anyway, at one point in my dream I was using the facilities and the bathroom contained a combination gum dispenser and toilet paper roll holder. How genius is that? Someone show me how to patent because the advantages of that device are plain to see!

I am back in the YA fiction because it is a devious vortex from which no escape is possible. I have read some great YA novels in the past month:
Technically I am not done with that last one, but I'm half done and really enjoying it. I liked Ship Breaker so much I am thinking I should give Windup Girl another chance. Seriously I LOVE everything I have read by Bacigalupi thus far, so perhaps I didn't give Windup enough time. His story in Wastelands was amazing. I STILL think about it, a year and a half later. It's the only story from that book that I remember in any detail. So good.

I gave Dh Dark Life to read and he really liked it too. I plan on giving him the other two from the list above. I might have to wait on Number Four. Dh hates to start a series before it is completely published. He made it a firm rule after I had him read Hunger Games 1 & 2 and he realized he would have to wait ages to read the 3rd.

Dh is working swing (complete hate) (though wonderfully he switches back to days in a week!!!) so I've been entertaining myself with this* and this. And admittedly, also this. Don't judge me. The longer I watch Doctor Who, the more I love it. My husband thinks I'm loony.

*I have no idea why there is such a lame/weird pic for Witchblade. The show is geekily awesome. Also fantastically unrealistic. Those are the two things I love in a tv show.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Morning Breaks

Dh drove up to Portland yesterday and turned in his final project for graduate school. He has a presentation in a couple weeks, and then he is COMPLETELY DONE. It's surreal. He's been working towards this for so long. I've been working towards this for so long. I almost can't visualize grad school not being a part of our lives. I don't know if Dh'll know what to do with himself. All his new-found free time!

Oh wait, yes I do. FISHING. Ha ha

I've read so much young adult fiction in the past while that I am absolutely sick of it. And I've even been reading some really well-written stuff. It's just the teenager-ness of it that I'm sick of. I needed to purge my head. I read a couple of non-fiction books, but it wasn't enough. I wanted a classic. So I started reading Vanity Fair...about a self-absorbed teenager...ahhh! Next perhaps I'll read The Road or something that is unquestionably adult and doesn't have a single teenage character. Not that I have anything against teenagers. I'm quite fond of (some of) them. I just want some rich, multilayered fiction about adult topics.

I still haven't made that Cinnamon Squash Bread. It's summer...and I haven't felt like turning the oven on. I've done almost no baking this summer. We've had some very warm weather (for western Oregon) and our little a/c units are doing the best they can, without me adding oven heat to the mix. Though I will hereby prove the lie to everything I just wrote, because I made a squash casserole from the Paula Deen magazine a couple of weeks ago that was quite good. And it had to cook in a hot oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. So...apparently I'm just too lazy to cook this summer. *Shrug*

Monday, August 09, 2010

Summer Living

I dreamed that Taylor Lautner was a childhood friend. Then I dreamed that I was kidnapped and forced to become the wife of a bushman.* I helped all the other kidnapped women escape but for some reason we had to crawl an extremely circuitous route on our escape - through a movie theater in fact. Because, you know, there are LOTS of movie theaters in the African bush.

This has been a really fantastic summer. We haven't done anything big. We went over to Dh's parents for a weekend. We went up to Yakima for our niece's baby blessing over Fourth of July. A couple weeks ago we took the kids to the zoo for the first time. But this summer is fantastic because we've been spending time as a family, having fun, relaxing. (And Dh has been able to go fishing/boating so he's happy too.) Last week we made homemade ice cream and I looked around at my family as we relaxed out back and I took a mental picture of pure joy.

I love summer in Oregon! Right now the children are playing outside in a chilly Oregon summer morning. By eleven the clouds will have burned off and by five it will be uncomfortably warm, but right now Miss E is rocking a long sleeved tee and winter boots. As for me, I'm wearing socks, obscenely loud pajama pants, and an apron! And yes, it looks AWESOME. I'm very used to the temperatures of Oregon now. I wilt in temps above 90F. And I freeze in temps below 30F.

Our garden is looking fabulous. I shouldn't say "our." It's all Dh. I've done completely nothing with it. I did cook up his green beans last night and they were so good. And organic! I plan to make cinnamon squash bread this week as four good-sized summer squash are sitting on the counter right now. Summer squash and zucchini are always so...prolific. The carrots, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes should be ready soon. I have my eye on making this with the little cherry ones. I figure I can try my hand at pesto too, since there is also some basil out there and Dh makes very grouchy noises when I don't use the herbs he grows for me.

*Sorry Bushmen for the slander.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Mac N Cheese

This post over on Meredith's blog inspired me to actually write a post! Wow!

I love macaroni and cheese from scratch. Love, love, love. Sometimes I use a recipe from Real Simple with crisped prosciutto on top. Usually though I use the macaroni and cheese recipe from Bake Until Bubbly. That book, which I highly recommend, is full on sinfully delicious casseroles. It's probably been at least a year since I ate the Kraft stuff.

However, my children are irritatingly picky eaters. They disdain pot roast or grilled chicken and adore hot dogs and bologna. They hate Parmesan-Reggiano. They love Kraft mac n cheese. See, irritating.

This morning at lunch time I was ravenous due to not eating breakfast. I took a bite of the kids' mac n cheese and it tasted awful! Metallic with a really strange aftertaste. Dh was home for lunch.

"Dh, try this! It tastes weird!" I said.

"Why would I want to try it, if it tastes weird?" Dh asked, though he ate some anyway. "You taste weird. This tastes like normal mac n cheese."

"Well, that's gross. I've ruined myself to Kraft macaroni and cheese." I announced.

Which is not really a bad thing. Sorry, Kraft.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Graduate School, Babies, and Eavesdropping

We are in the final countdown for graduate school classes ending. Three weeks........
I think I hate Dh's graduate school classes as much as Dh does.

Yesterday I cleaned Miss E's room. Before you think, "Wow she is setting herself up for a life of servitude and lazy kids," let me tell you I did it for a specific reason. She had a lot of trash in her room. Obscene amounts of trash. Crumbled leaves, at least thirty scribbled-on post-it notes, stickers ripped off paper, ripped up papers, cheap McDon@lds toys. If she cleaned the room, she would fight me to the death to keep all of that garbage. So I cleaned her room (it only took about fifteen minutes) and filled up a grocery sack with very small pieces of junk.

I have done almost nothing constructive today. Does going through my Google Reader count? I got up at 6:45 with the kids and JDub said (whilst chatting on FB) that counts as work right there. And I fed the kids, as opposed to giving them bowls of dry cereal and sippy cups of milk and calling it good. Which of course I have never, ever done.

I watched Babies on Stephanie Nielson's recommendation, and I loved it. It did not make me baby crazy, though. I know there is one more baby waiting to join our family, but I do not feel ready for said baby to pop in just yet.

And when I went to see Babies, I went to the movies by myself for the first time. Which I have always been scared to do. EK did it, so I figured it must not be awful. And it wasn't! I brought my knitting, and eavesdropped on other people's conversations, which I have always enjoyed doing. The three sisters in front of me were encouraging each other not to be like Gigi. It was really hard not to laugh out loud.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

It's May Now

Can you see why I am totally in love with this kid?

So late April is an orgy of celebration - Ace's birthday
, Dh's birthday, our anniversary, and my birthday. I gained about six pounds. Since I am certainly not willing to bid adieu to cake and eating out (not to mention eating my birthday candy - this year gummy worms & candy orange slices - Dh knows me so well!), I have decreed that May shall be detox month in perpetuity. So naturally I kicked it off by eating crap all weekend. Boo-yah!

I made an Oriental Chicken Salad tonight from a recipe I got from a friend. It's not really healthy...but I tried to make up for it by doubling the cabbage and keeping everything else the same. It was sooooo good so I'm hoping the cabbage really upped the health factor.

My birthday was pretty good. It kicked off poorly, with a big ol' accident on the carpet from the little miss pictured above. Last week she was acting strange - really angry and sassy. (This week she is sweet and helpful, I am happy to report.) But Rainbow had us over for lunch and that was really nice, as she is fabulous and fun to hang out with. Her daughter Becca is one of Miss E's dear friends. In fact, that night Miss E insisted that I call her Becca, and she kept calling me Rainbow. That got old! Ha ha

Dh got P@pa John's pizza for me for dinner as that is my favorite pizza. After all those afore-mentioned celebrations, I didn't feel like getting a babysitter again, and going out to eat again. So I guess I kind of shaft myself for happening to have the last birthday in April. Oh well! He also got me a lovely bouquet of flowers. I got myself a few presents: this book and this album.

I devoted some time to pondering whether it bothered me to buy my own presents. It does not. Dh cannot pick out a book that I will like from off the shelf at the bookstore, my tastes are too specific. Nor does he care for the folksy retro sound of She & Him, so it would never occur to him to buy me that. I like buying things. And I especially like buying things for my birthday, as no guilt need be involved.

I also got some goodies from EdgyK and my visiting teachers. Yum! Goodies!

The children enjoy eating fresh pineapple with Dh.

Recently I have had itchy fingers like you wouldn't believe. I have been churning out knitted and crocheted projects. Several of my friends are expecting or just had babies, so it all coincides together nicely. I get soooo bored with empty hands while the kids are playing at the library or playground, so I just bring some knitting and am still able to pay attention to the kids but not get antsy from idle hands.

Okay now I really must finish proofreading Dh's schoolwork. (Four months until he is done with graduate school FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Top 10 Kitchen Items

A few days ago, Martha and Me did a post on her top ten kitchen essentials. It inspired me. So here is mine, in no particular order, except in the case of the first item which will always be first in my (kitchen) heart. Seriously, we're talking true love's kiss here. (Watching a lot of princess movies in the Superhero household now...have an almost-four-year-old girl...)

1. Oh Kitchenaid, how I adore you. Sometimes I wonder how I ever got along without you. It feels like we've always known each other. Before I got this baby, I had a crappy little hand mixer. It sucked, yo. Even cookies were hard to make with it. I nearly wept as this beautiful red mixer effortlessly creamed sugar, brown sugar & unsalted butter for a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I have used it to make many, many things. Primarily bread, as I hate kneading by hand. Also frostings, muffins, mashed potatoes. Those are its primary functions.

2. An instant-read digital Taylor thermometer. For testing the temperature of water or milk while making bread. Yes I know REAL bakers can tell if water is too hot with their wrist or some such nonsense, but I have killed yeast with too hot of water. So I use this little number. (In case you're wondering, no I don't really use it for meats. I have a meat thermometer that has a "probe wire" and stays in the meat while it's cooking, then it beeps when it reaches my chosen temperature. I love it, but I rarely use it (don't make much of that kind of meat), so it didn't make the list. But you can get your own here.)

3. A small strainer. No link because I think I just got it at Target. I have a medium size one too, but this is the one I use again and again. I get dried onions from my church cannery, and this is the perfect size for straining them afterward. Also used when reconstituting dried minced garlic (see #7).

4. I think I've talked about this one before, but well, I love it. EK introduced me to the Roul'Pat Pastry mat. It's perfect for rolling out pie crusts, cookies, breads, etc. Anything you want to, you know, roll. Easy clean, too!

5. The Anolon Saucier Pan, which is on sale right now on Amazon for much less than I paid for it, which is quite irksome! This pan was quite an investment for me but is so worth it as I use it at least three times a week. That and my old nonstick pan was flaking off cancer-causing particles into our food! Yum! For nonstick, you should just fork out some dough, because otherwise you're going to have to buy a new one in a year.

6. Pyrex measuring cups. Here you see the 2-cup one, which is the one I use most often. I also have the 4-cup and 1-cup. The 2-cup is so versatile. The 1-cup is handy for smaller amounts. The 4-cup is good when you're making broth, or have to strain lots of liquid off something. Or when you're making macaroni and cheese and have to measure out 3 1/2 cups of whole milk. Or whatever.

7. No list of Anth's kitchen essentials would be complete without a respectful shout out to Penzey's spices. Since discovering them via a prize won at Bunko many years ago, I have seen the light and completely converted to the amazing spices produced by Penzey's.

True story: my s-i-l made curried chicken for the whole family over Christmas. As we were trapped in a small town in eastern Oregon, she had to make do with some cheap curry powder from Safeway's. It made Dh and I burp like anything. I have the same recipe (since I got it from her originally) and make it all the time. Dh said, "I never burp when you make curried chicken!" "That's because I use Penzey's curry powder," I replied. Experiment: made the curried chicken at home later, no burping. Moral of the story: use Penzey's. Some of my favorite Penzey's blends are Krakow Nights (good on sausage pasta dishes), Sandwich Sprinkle (I use it on my omelet burritos), and Cajun style seasoning (obvious, so I'm not going to tell you what I use it in!)

I also recommend that you throw away any spices in your cupboard that no longer smell right and/or that are older than one year.

8. Williams-Sonoma bread loaf pans. Yeah, they're kind of pricey for loaf pans, but you'll pretty much never have to buy bread loaf pans again. And if you make bread with any frequency, you'll thank me for this recommendation.

9. I think this might even be the pattern of Corelle bakeware that I own. I hate the pattern, but whatever, man! These are the best for a reason. Bake the casserole, cover it and stick it in the fridge. They last forever, can go in the dishwasher, etc etc. They were a wedding present eight years ago (woah I am getting old) and I use them a lot.

10. This chef's pan is the newest addition to my kitchen essentials list. I got this pan in February because I wanted a saute pan that was not nonstick. I use it to brown meat mostly. It's a lot lighter than my nonstick pan, so it's easier on my wrists. (Weak wrists, right here. And weak knees. And ankles...)

So that's my list of items I would really prefer to have with me always and always. What's yours?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Ace copies everything Miss E does. Literally. And I have no idea why they are being so serious.

Check out my sweet loot from the thrift store. I have a weakness for old cookbooks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Which I Sound Like a Corporate Shill

I took the kids to the library last week, and right on schedule Ace got sick a few days later. He was so nice as to pass the cold along to me. Lovely, really. I've been sick off and on ALL WINTER. That makes me grouchy.

So I started taking a multivitamin. Don't tell my mother about the multivitamin. She is a rep for Us@na, and keeps trying to convince me to take their products. At $30 for a one month supply, I don't think so!

I also started Zicam whenever I feel the twinges of a new cold. My dad and Rush Limbaugh suggested it to me. Who am I to resist those two? So....not to sound like a commercial, but holy crap Zicam totally works! I'm susceptible to colds, I get them hardcore, they last a full two weeks, can't breathe, feel like death, etc. But after taking just a few Zicam, my last cold was really, really, fabulously mild. I was completely functional. I was feeling so good, I didn't keep up taking the pills, so my cold still lasted about 10 days. Since now Ace has handed me another opportunity to test Zicam, I'm really going to try to take them the entire length of the cold.

In other news, I joined and I looooooove it. I listed 10 books, people started requesting them. I mail a book, and once the other person receives it, I get a credit, which enables me to request someone else's book. So I essentially just pay the media mail rate for each new book. Cheaper than I can get them at used book stores or thrift stores.

In other other news, Ace is walking around the house in Miss E's princess shoes. And falling a lot. And then crying. But refusing to take off said shoes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2009 Survey

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Competed in the Mrs Oregon pageant.*

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made a goal at some point to get to my pre-Ace weight, and I'm now four pounds away from my goal. I'm ten pounds lighter than I was last January. It's really nice to put on a skirt and it's loose.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My sister-in-law had a baby girl in January and my friend Becca had a baby boy, um I can't remember which month because I am a bad friend. ha ha

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? I barely made it out of the state. Woo, Washington!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? I didn't really lack anything in 2009. We have enough. Though I'd like to request obscene amounts of foreign travel.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Um, I guess Miss E's birthday. I threw a party, my first kid birthday party, and I was kind of stressed. For no reason, of course.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Once Ace reached 1, things got easier. I kept a pretty clean house and I developed my homekeeping skills. I baked bread a lot more and tried lots of new recipes.

9. What was your biggest failure? I made a baked pasta recipe from Martha Stewart Living. The sauce called for anchovy paste and tuna and some other stuff all combined in the blender. Once cooked, it smelled so awful I thought I was going to hurl. I took one bite and couldn't force down another. Martha? You let me down. Oddly enough, Dh thought the dish was just fine. I hate when a recipe sounds good on paper, but cooks up into awfulness.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Swine flu, October - November. That blew.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I scored a Sitwell skirt (Anthropologie) at the local thrift store for $2.50.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Everyone in my family! Dh for sticking with grad school, even though it's awful, and possibly created by the devil to make Dh suffer. Miss E for learning to count to 14, and sharing so sweetly with Ace (sometimes). Ace for finally getting off his knees and walking!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Tiger Woods, the Gosselins, Obama for breaking promise after promise before he'd even been president for a year.

14. Where did most of your money go? Graduate school. Dh just reminded me, Fixing up his boat.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Dh says, Him having a boat. I've got news for him. Not exciting. When Ace said "I love you," to me, and my heart exploded into radiant happiness.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift. Miss E calls it, "I'm in the Room" and requests it often. (You know, "I'm in the room, it's a typical Tuesday, and I, I'm listenin' to the kind of music she doesn't like." Yeah. Anyway.)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? A little happier (see looser skirts, above).
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner.
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Saving of $$.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Stressing out over things I have absolutely no control over.

20. How did you spend Christmas? In eastern Oregon, with Dh's entire family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? Nooo...

22. What was your favorite TV program? I was introduced to Tru Calling. I liked Southland, then it got canceled. Boo.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. (Usually I would put "Your mom" here, but I'm trying to elevate my speech. Lucky you.)

24. What was the best book you read? Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Gone by Michael Grant, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, Little Bee by Chris Cleave and Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I really got into Muse.

26. What did you want and get? Shallow answer: black knee-high boots. Deep answer: time spent with my family. Both are true.

27. What did you want and not get? I honestly can't think of anything important that I really wanted and didn't get.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Star Trek. I am a bit of a Star Trek geek; I grew up on ST:NG. This movie was far better than I expected and I was delighted with it in every way.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28. I went out to dinner with my husband to my favorite restaurant in town.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? An obscene amount of foreign travel.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? "In Which I Refuse to Wear Skinny Pants in Any Way, Shape or Form."

32. What kept you sane? Dh giving me regular time away so I could be all by my lonesome.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Pass.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Health care reform.

35. Who did you miss? My sibs. They are flung out across the country and we are all too poor to travel much. I got to see my brother Pat, but not my four other siblings.

36. Who was the best new person you met? My friend T. I guess I didn't meet her in 2009, she was an acquaintance before, but in 2009 I got to know her better, and the more I find out, the more I like her.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. If I read my scriptures first thing in the morning, the day goes much, much better.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Oh for heaven's sake. I can't think of a thing. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz. That sums up how I tried to relax and enjoy life in 2009!

This survey was snatched off Cassie's blog. Thanks Cassie!
*Yeah, that's a total lie. I couldn't really think of anything good.