Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

So two of my, um, three followers said I should blog more than twice a year.  I was soooo productive this morning, cleaning like a mofo, and Dh is making salmon for dinner, so I find myself with a spot of time right now.  I can blog, since watching Breaking Bad is limited to naptime and after kids go to bed.  NSFK.  That is totally an acronym now.  Anyway, the point is, ask and ye shall receive!  A blog post!

I have been up to...

  • Reducing the household budget in any way possible.  Dh started a new job in January, and it came with a sizable pay cut.  We sat down and crunched the numbers...and there's just not much left after all the bills are paid.  And Netflix counts as a bill, because I had to draw the line there.  Seriously.  We did have the freezer and a chest freezer stocked with mostly meat before this went down, so Dh hasn't had to go vegetarian.  I have been baking more so I can mostly stop buying snack food.  Cookies, waffles, kettle corn.  Honestly the kids are snacking better now!
  • Listening to podcasts.  Hardcore History, Mormon Stories, and The Naked Scientists are all rocking my world.  Naturally those are all free.
  • Knitting and crocheting.  I've recently churned out a black winter hat for myself, a scarf for E, a short-sleeved sweater for C, and an open cardigan for myself.  Now I'm working on a blue cap for Ace and a baby blanket for a pending niece.
  • Reading.  Would a blog post by yours truly be complete without a mention of books?  Recent books I've enjoyed: Birthmarked, What Do Women Want?, Magic Rises (6th book in the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series), and Infidel by Tim Hetherington (kind of a companion book to the movie Restrepo, which I finally watched last month).  Right now I'm very slowly making my way through The God Who Weeps (very good so far) and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (trying too hard to be funny, but I'm committed.  Maybe it will improve?)
  • Travel & family fun.  We had a reunion on Dh's side in central Washington in late June.  We flew to NY for a reunion on my side in mid July. (Oi that's a post all its own.)  We hit the local amusement park and the zoo.  E & Ace did two weeks of swim lessons and made a LOT of progress, so there was lots of pool fun in the backyard with friends coming over.  E also did a soccer camp.  Towards the end, she confidently told me, "If I keep playing soccer, I could be in the Olympics."

Ace started kindergarten this year and E started 2nd grade.  Due to geography, Ace is in afternoon kinder, and C still takes naps, so the entire kinder school day is kid-free for me!  (Thus Breaking Bad.)  Ace had a rough time starting school.  The week leading up to school he started throwing these awful fits where he would refuse to do anything and cover his ears, and scream, etc etc.  Very annoying and frustrating.  I asked Dh to get off work to accompany us to Ace's first day because I had a feeling he would freak.  And freak he did.  When we left he was throwing books on the floor.  Quietly, at least.  Ugh.  One of his teachers reported later it took him an hour to calm down.  The next day, for two hours leading up to school-time, Ace was a pill.  He refused to eat lunch, he threw fit after fit and spent a lot of time in his room.  But then he did fine at school.  I think he threw one more fit at home that week (last week).  Then this week, on Monday C curled up in her bed and fell asleep well before kindergarten started.  I am anal about naps, so I wasn't going to wake her up.  I put Ace on the bus.  Kicking and screaming!  Then his teacher called, saying he refused to get off the bus!  So the bus driver brought him back home.  When C woke up, I matter-of-factly told Ace it was time to go to school, and he complied.  He's been fine since then.  He rides the bus HOME just fine, so I do not see what is different!  Whatever.  At least the fits are pretty much over.  He really doesn't like change.  He also does not like to be late (I figured that out during swim lessons this summer).

Well this is quite long enough for one day, think you not?  Stay tuned for my newest beauty discoveries!

Photo Dump!

 Ace lost his first tooth!

My kids are total hams.

E on her first day of school.  Yes this is a crappy pic; it doesn't even show her cute skirt & shoes, I am too lazy to fix the nice pic.  Also, the pic of Ace is still on the camera and I am too lazy to upload it!

Dh was the camera man so there is no evidence he went to the zoo.  I am wearing the cardi I knit!

How do YOU measure up?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Best Children's Books of 2012

Amazon has a list of the best children's books of 2012 here.  It took a while, but I read just about every one to E & Ace.  Obviously an adult curated this list, because some of these were crap.  Some were fabulous.  Below, my reviews, and my children's reactions.

The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare

Me: Two thumbs down
Kids: Two thumbs down

We didn't even finish reading this.  Boring pictures, boring stories.

Bear Has a Story to Tell

Me: Neutral
Kids: Not keen

The kids were indifferent.  I thought it was cute enough.

Big Mean Mike

Me: Loved
Kids: Loved

The children had me and Dh read this several times.  Funny, cute, and had a good message (to wit, don't be afraid to be yourself, even if that self is cute AND tough).

The boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Me: Liked
Kids: Liked

The kids were very hesitant about this book at first, but I insisted on reading it to them.  We were all glad by the end.  This is an inspiring awesome story.  Based on the true story of a boy in Malawi who built a wind pump out of spare parts.

The Cloud Spinner

Me: Meh
Kids: Liked

I found this book preachy.  The kids liked it, but never requested a re-read.

Crafty Chloe

Me: Meh
Kids: Liked

Not sure why this is on the list.  It seemed pretty mediocre to me.

Those Darn Squirrels Fly South

Me: Liked
Kids: Loved

This is one of those books that kids would put on the list, but not necessarily adults.  We were not familiar with the darn squirrels, so I got Those Darn Squirrels first.  My kids loved both of the Darn Squirrel books.  This got a re-read.  Also, now we all occasionally raise our fists and say, "Those darn squirrels!" in grouchy, old-man voices.  Very fun.

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

Me: Liked
Kids: Liked

We all enjoyed reading this, but the kids didn't click with it.

Extra Yarn

Me: Loved
Kids: Liked

I loved this of course!  It's about knitting!  The kids thought it was okay.  No re-read.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Me: Meh
Kids: Meh

This was too long and not exciting enough for any kid under 7.  I did like the illustrations, though.

Llama, Llama, Time to Share

Me: Liked
Kids: Liked

I think my kids liked that this book is written all in rhyme.


Me: Meh
Kids: Meh

Too many words on each page for young kids.  Maybe older children would go for it.

Oh No, George!

Me: Liked
Kids: Liked

We all enjoyed reading this.  The kids loved seeing the antics George got up to.

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

Me: Meh
Kids: Liked

I found this to be too full of jokes aimed at adults.  For instance, Olivia starts the book by announcing she is having an identity crisis. I really hate when children in books talk like adults.  This also turns kids off.  My kids were not interested in a re-read. 

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Me: Loved
Kids: Loved

This was probably the kids' favorite book off the list.  They loved it so much E read it to Ace later on her own.  They still sing the little song Pete the Cat sings in the story.  I also love the message: Stuff comes and stuff goes, but do I cry? No oh no!

Rocket Writes a Story

Me: Disliked
Kids: Disliked

This felt like being in school.  With a boring teacher.  We all kept waiting for it to get more interesting, but it never did.

This is Not My Hat

Me: Liked
Kids: Didn't get

Z if for Moose

Me: Loved
Kids: Loved

This book is cute and fun.  It's about being a good friend, even if your friend throws a fit.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ho Hey

I love that song - Ho Hey by the Lumineers.  Sometimes Ace sings it in his cute little boy voice - adorable!  That and Home by Philip Phillips - I could just listen to those two songs on a constant loop right now.

So my husband started a new job in January.  It's a paycut.  But way better hours.  It's kind of stressful because of the money $$$$.  There wasn't a whole lot I could trim from the household budget.  Except for my craft expenditures.  :(  Whatever, I need to shut up, I have enough craft supplies to probably last me til the zombie apocalypse!  In January I kept crafting < $20, and so far in February I'm at $0!  Go me.  Doing my part to not put us in debt.  Now I make meatless meals 1-2 times a week and my husband can't complain!  Sucka!  Though - scene from yesterday:

Miss E: What is this?
Me: Spaghetti.
Ace: No meatballs?!
Me: No. (eyeroll)
Miss E: Are we eating vegetarian to save money?
Me: Yes. (thinking, you're 6, how do you even know the word vegetarian???)
Miss E: I prefer to eat like a meatosaur!
Me: A carnivore?
Miss E: Yes! NOT like a triceratops.

Because, you know, triceratops ate a LOT of spaghetti during the Cretaceous!

We sold Dh's truck a few weeks ago and bought a Camry.  That alone is going to save us about $175/month in gas!  Sheesh.  I drove that Camry once and decided it was mine.  People, it has leather seats and a sound system 20x better than the Pilot I was driving.  I ordered these teensy narrow booster seats for the kids so they all fit in the back.  It is more work for me, because now I have to buckle all three children in myself, but it's worth it to me!  Leather seats!  I can plug my mp3 player in to the car!  The Pilot is sooooo basic, it doesn't have that feature.  I hardly have all 3 kids in the car at once anyway.  Dh is fine with this because he feels the Pilot is more manly than the Camry.  I think the Camry is sexy.  It is black and the windows are so heavily tinted Dh is afraid I am going to get a ticket.  (Who knew that's illegal here?  Lame, Oregon!)

Here is a sad, sad tale.  Actually it is totally a first world sad tale.  Dh was looking for something last night under the sofa and apparently he put the sofa down right onto his tablet.  No one noticed all day.  But we sure did sit our bottoms on the sofa!  I pulled the tablet out tonight and the screen is totally shattered.  It's stuck on the scriptures.  You can scroll to the next chapter but can't exit to a different app.  Dh now owns the most expensive set of scriptures in the world.  Miss E started crying.  I'm still not sure why.  She is very tender sometimes, very empathetic.  Ace was really bummed because now he can't play Angry Birds.  I'm really bummed because we don't have $300-400 to replace it.  Dh doesn't actually know yet because he has to work late tonight.  Just want you want to come home to, right?

I have been searching for a new girly tv show to watch when Dh is not around.  Vampire Diaries is just not doing it for me anymore.  Suggestions?  I am pretty much limited to what streams on Netflix or Hulu Plus.  I tried Hart of Dixie but that show could not be more cliched if it was called Cliched Cliches Cliche.  Seriously.  OH I did just watch a great movie though - The Queen of Versailles.  Loved it.

Right now I'm reading No Easy Day, the book about killing bin Laden.  Oh my gosh the man cannot write.  He even has a co-author who has supposedly written 4 books.  They both suck!  The writing makes me want to gouge out my own eyeballs, but it's fast reading.  I just really want to know the story.  Somehow I've already read 12 books this year.  (No good girly tv shows!)  My fave so far is Tell the Wolves I'm Home which I sort of expected to hate but ended up loving.

The above two pics are from Christmas Eve, when Dh's family had a great self-defense lesson from my brother-in-law's father-in-law, who teaches martial arts.  I can totally disarm someone holding a knife to my throat.  Cool huh!

 Miss E as a mummy.

 Baby C enjoying a blueberry candy cane Dh found in our bedroom.