Archive for February, 2009

Meet Fin!

On Thursday afternoon, Clara only napped for one hour.  I hate it when she surprises me and wakes up early, since I spend the beginning of nap time cleaning, putting toys away, and generally doing chores around the house that I can’t get done with her around.  The second half of nap time is mine to do with what I please and I wanted to sit and read Brisingr, which I am trying to finish since its already five days overdue from the library.  Its going slowly, as I’m finding that there is a bit too much description and I can’t imagine how it could possibly end in a little over 100 pages.  Anyway, she woke up early and foiled my plans.  Then she threw a tantrum.  Who knows why.  But, after her tantrum I asked her if she would like a pet fish and she was thouroughly excited.  If she could jump up and down, she would have, but as she can’t, she bobbed a bit.  

We went to PetSmart and looked around at the goldfish which were schooling in the tanks just at Clara’s height.  She loved them, but then got in trouble for putting her hands in the water.  Really I just told her not to and dragged her away.  Then we looked at the birds, hamsters, and snakes for a few minutes before finding someone to help us with the fish.  After much discussion, I learned that a regular goldfish would probably just die in a bowl and that we shouldn’t get one.  We settled for a Betta fish instead since they like standing water and have a good survival rate.  I also got conned into water conditioner and a plant, too, which probably can’t hurt and didn’t cost much at all.  The whole setup, including the bowl which I got at City Liquidators cost $15.  Not bad for Clara’s first pet.  

We brought the fishy home and Clara helped me get his home ready by repeatedly spilling the water in the cup he was in.  I’m sure that he was glad to get out of there!  We set him up on Clara’s bookshelf in her room and decided that his name would be Fin since that is the only fish body  part she knows.  So far she has been saying, “Hi” to Fin anytime she goes upstairs and always wants to see him.  She has fed him twice and both times went well.  We’ll see how long he lives before we have to bury him at sea!
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Exercise Kick-off!

I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in… well, really since Clara was born!  I worked out!  I bought a jogging stroller with the best intentions to use it for what it was meant to be used for, but I just haven’t.  My expanding backside, though, has finally encouraged me to start jogging again.  I found a workout plan in my family circle magazine that I get for free and don’t really like that much, but read anyway because its around.  Here’s the plan:

0-5 Minutes~ Warm up walk

5-8 Minutes~ Fast walk/jog

8-11 Minutes~ Bench dips and Bench push ups

11-15 Minutes~ More jogging

15-18 Minutes~ Walking lunges and Calf raises

18-23 Minutes~ Push yourself jogging

23-27 Minutes~ Cool Down

27-30 Minutes~ Scissor kicks and Plank (at home)

I did it yesterday and today I can feel the lunges in my butt and my arms are sore from the bench exercises.  But I  feel good.  Its sunny today (no snow, thank goodness), so I think I’ll do it again after we go grocery shopping.  My goal is to do this every other day (or 3-4 times a week) and if its raining/snowing, then I think that I’ll try to do some of the workouts that I have put on my watch instantly queue on Netflix (have I mentioned that I love our Roku?).  I should make sure they have a great abs workout on there since my belly flab is getting ugly!  We’ll see how it goes.  I think that I’ll commit to checking in with everyone in the blogdom every Friday for the next month to have a little insurance that I’ll actually follow through with my plan.  If you would like to join me in commiseration about your workouts, you can check in on Fridays, too.  Then we can keep each other motivated a bit. 😉

Living room overhaul

The past few weeks, we’ve been working on our living room. Lesley convinced us to move the piano into our dining room, which opened up a huge amount of space in our living room and allowed us to move our TV to an area that is not the focal point. But now we have a huge blank wall of space. The problem with our living room, if you’ve never been there are two fold: 1) it not that big (at least as far as living rooms go), although I know that there are many people reading this with far smaller spaces than we have and 2) there are four doors in the room and a wall covered with built ins and a fireplace.  That leaves very little space for placing couches, chairs, etc.  We have decided that a couch and a love seat are the best solution and that our recliner (which I love, but just doesn’t fit anywhere) has to go.   

Now the question is: what kind of love seat should we get?  We talked to two interior design experts and both agreed that we should not try to match our chocolate brown couch.  Instead we should go with a color (because our living room is very brown and white) and maybe a pattern (but we don’t really like any of our pattern options).  

We went looking yesterday at the craziest store on the planet (well, at least in Portland and there are lots of crazy stores in Portland), City Liquidators . If you live in the area and have never been there, block out and afternoon and visit the three stories of crazy good deals, clutter, and detritus.  Just don’t be there in a fire.  We found quite a few options in love seats, but I think that this is our top choice as of now.  This is a picture of the same couch, but imagine it in a love seat.  Of course we’ll have to get a new area rug, but ours is falling apart anyway.  What do you think?  Do you like it?

Inspiration Needed

At the end of a season, I always get bored with cooking meals.  For instance, at the end of summer I am just fine with putting away  the barbecue and pulling out the crock-pot.  I just get tired of the same meals over and over.  That is where I am this week. Winter needs to be over soon.  I want farmer’s markets and veggies from my garden.  I am out of my lovely frozen pesto from the basil I grew.   I love beef stew, but I don’t think I want to make another one or pull the one in my freezer out again.  Macaroni and cheese is totally yummy, but I’m not sure that I want it either.  

So, I’m asking for help from all of you.  Each week we make a “menu” of what we’re going to have for dinners, then go buy groceries.  Its easier for planning, buying, and shopping to do it this way.  Below is my menu for this week.  Please post yours (it doesn’t matter if its a preview or last week’s menu) in the comments and maybe we’ll all get some ideas to spice things up!

Wednesday~ Pork Chops, rice pilaf, and frozen veggies (BORING!!!)

Thursday~ Oriental Spaghetti and Meatballs a la Rachel Ray

Friday~ Pizza Potluck: Carmel Apple Dessert Pizza (more on this later!)

Saturday~ Mexican Potluck: Mom’s Rice and Beans (yummy, but uninspired)

Sunday~ Tortilla Soup

Monday~ Papa Murphy’s pizza

Tuesday~ Beef and Barley Stew (from the freezer) and homemade french bread

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day has never been my favorite holiday.  Really, I’ve pretty much always thought of it as a non-holiday except for one year in high school when I was young and in love.  But since then, I usually just get the hubbie a box of Sees truffles and call it good.  

That was before I had a one year old and a lot of time to fill, though.  I can say that after making valentines, a heart shaped sun-catcher, and a heart door hanger, she definitely can identify hearts when she see them.  Especially when they are in balloon form at the grocery store.  So, to top off our heart extravaganza, I decided that we would make these for Daddy.  He loves coconut, they are heart shaped.  What could be better? 

 2/13/09

I made the dough during nap time of the day of the most tantrums ever… Friday the Thirteenth.  Coincidence?  I’ll let you decide.  We rolled them out and Clara had a great time making heart shapes. She ate three before they were baked and reported that they were yummy. Halfway through she decided that she had better things to do, like run around the house waving her string cheese wrapper and I finished them off myself. They are wonderful. Adam reported that they were, “Really good.  Butter and coconut…mmmmmm!”

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Seedlings already??!

I just returned from a warm, sunny paradise to snow.  Boo!  But, it has made me start thinking about summer.  Mostly this is in the form of why can’t it be warm right now?  But, I have also started to think about my little garden and I’m thinking I better get a move on or I won’t be able to start my seeds!!  Burpee’s zone finder claims that in zone 8, my first frost free day is sometime around mid-April (although it was closer to June last year because of Juneuary), so that means I have six weeks or so to get some seedlings sprouted!  Ack!  How did this creep up on me?  

So, what am I thinking of planting? Well, Burpee has this little bunch of seeds that looks quite promising and are all things that I was planning to plant.  I’m not sure about saving $650 dollars, but its a nice thing to think.  I would have to work a bit harder at canning, freezing, and harvesting than I have been to save that much. Plus we’d probably have to have a larger garden and eat more veggies in the winter. Here’s a picture show of what I hope will spring up in my garden. Plus we always have raspberries and blueberries. Yum!

I was also thinking of maybe planting some artichokes. I know that I probably wouldn’t get any this year, but does anyone know anything about growing them in this area? How much sun do they really need? The spot that I would love to put them in isn’t in full sun. How do they winter? Do I have to do anything special for them?

Ahh. I can’t wait for it to be summer and I’ll be sitting in my backyard harvesting all of my goodies, lounging on a lawn chair. In the meantime, I’m wearing fur slippers and a sweater.

The Green Light

There are some things that your parents tell you that you never quite believe.  I think that this stems from all of the  “Because I said so”s and “If you make that face its going to get stuck that way”s.  You learn to take what they say with a grain of salt. I remember when I was little I knew that the burner on our stove was hot.  It was red, after all.  Mom had told me never to touch it.  But, I didn’t really believe her.  I stuck my hand down on it and had coil burn marks in my palm for two weeks.  It hurt.  You would think I would start believing what my parents said, but its just hard.

Yesterday, one of the things that my parents had told me about, but that I never really fully believed, was proven to me.  And it was beautiful.  It didn’t hurt at all.  Living in Maui, as they have off and on for the last three years, my parents have made a habit of going to the beach to watch the sunset every night.  I know, they have it really rough.  The first year they were there, they claimed that on a cloudless night, as the sun went down, at the last moment that it was on the horizon, it turned green in a green flash of light.  Dad sent me scientific data to prove that such a thing exists.  We came over, went to sunset and it never happend.  There was always a cloud in the way.  We never saw it.  So, I didn’t really believe. 

Until last night.  I could easily have missed it.  I was chasing Clara around the beach.  She wanted to run and splash her feet in the water, but Dad made sure that I was watching.  He didn’t want the blame if I missed it.  Down went the sun, red ball of flame into the blue ocean as I stood with my toes in the warm sand.  Clara sat on my hip as I told her that we were watching the sunset and that the sun was that ball in the sky, but that its really a star.  And then as it disappeared, it turned green, bright green!  It wasn’t so much a flash as a moment of pure green in the sky at the point where the sun disappeared.  It was just amazing to watch because it was just so unexpected, despite the fact that I had been told to expect it.  And I have to admit that I really should believe more of what my parents tell me.  Well, at least sometimes.

The green flash
The green light, as captured by Mom, 2/6/09