Sunday, February 22, 2009

Musings (Rantings) of an (not) interior designer....

Ok, I had ONE class in college, and I don't remember most of it, but there surely must be "rules" for creating a space that "flows," and I'm PRETTY sure it does NOT include 6 different types of flooring!

I DO love our new house. There are also things I DO NOT love. I (mostly) love the carpet. There's basically no pad left to speak of, so it's a bit like walking on concrete. And I'm not sure I'd choose black and white for myself (blue and white, yes), but I LOVE that it's mulit-colored AND it has a pattern: the dirt doesn't show very easily!

I DO love that our bathroom floor has blue tiles (with the white) and that it has BLACK grout. On purpose. That's different than the black grout by the fireplace--I'm pretty sure that grout is supposed to be white.

And white grout on a floor? WHO was smoking crack when that decision was made? I'd like to give them a piece of my mind--or a mop.

And I think my old floor must have been dirtier that I previously thought. Because now that we've got WHITE tile in the KITCHEN, I find myself sweeping multiple times each day and mopping more frequently--and it's a PAIN! White tile in a KITCHEN?! Oh please!

I do like that the paint type (while I'm uncertain SPECIFICALLY what type it is) is NOT flat paint. Whoever invented FLAT paint should be shot. What kind of crackhead decided THAT was a good idea? Someone without kids, that's for sure.....

I would also like to submit that builders should not only need to get their plans approved by the city, but they should also have a group of women who should have to look over the plans--because a woman (or a man who spends ANY time in a kitchen) would have things to say about the lack of storage. I know that's a rampant problem here in SD, but for pitty's sake! Are we to have NO belongings?

Making our new home "work" has been WORK. It's still a work in progress, and we're tackling it at a slow pace. Despite my complaints, I DO like the new home. I LOVE the location. I LOVE the HUGE back yard. I LOVE how quiet it is. I LOVE that we get to stay at the same school. There's a lot to LOVE, if I don't get myself sidetracked with the stuff that's NOT to love.....

Just a matter of perspective........

Friday, February 20, 2009

Little Tarts

Oh. My. Gosh. DELICIOUS!!!

So we did our belated Valentine's day dessert this afternoon. It's something I cooked with Hannah's class at school, so I knew we could do it. Little tarts--mine with boysenberry pie filling. YUMMY!!!

First, we made instant pudding with the stick blender. I just have to say that cheesecake flavor is going to be the favored flavor. Gotta LOVE instant pudding. Put it in the fridge until you're ready for it.

Next, we put graham crackers in big ziplock baggies. Mashed the heck out of them until they were dust. Then we added enough butter to get the mess to stick together. Knead it until the butter is distributed and well-mixed.

After the "crust" is properly kneaded, spoon about 2 Tbsp. into paper lined muffin tins and smash it down. We found that using the bottom of a small cup worked well for the little ones. Once the crust is smashed, spoon on about 2 Tbsp. of pudding--NOT up to the very top of the cup, or you'll never get it out of the muffin tin. For those willing, a small spoonful of pie filling tops it off nicely.

ENJOY! Kids had theirs "naked" and I really enjoyed boysenberry. I think my favorite pudding flavor was the cheesecake, and if I'd eaten it "naked," cheesecake would have been definitely my favored flavor. But when eating with a berry flavor too, the pudding flavor is not as important.

All in all, this was a cooking activity we REALLY enjoyed. And dessert BEFORE dinner? Priceless!

Honey Love.....

Warning: If you do not want to be subjected to spousal goo, don't read this--you've been warned. No whining.

My Honey did something unexpected today--2 things, actually. He came home after early-morning surfing to shower and exchange cars, as today was car wash day at work, and the Honda NEEDS it. But I guess I was grumpier than usual. He showered and then asked if I wanted the good or bad news first. Always give me the bad first--then I have something to look forward to.

Bad news: The car was not going to be washed today (thus ensuring that we will NOT get rain this weekend, in case you had plans).

Good news: I could go back to bed, because my Honey arranged to work from home until it was time to leave for the scout campout. I didn't lose any time; I went to bed immediately. After finding it almost impossible to sleep last night, and being worried about Hannah's bark, I mean cough, I was TIRED.

I guess I fell back to sleep, because at some point I realized that I was dreaming. Then I was pretty sure I was dreaming, as I heard sounds from downstairs that sounded like my family setting up a Wii Fit! But it hurt when I pinched myself, and so I went downstairs. And what, to my wondering eyes, did I see? My little ones on a Wii Fit balance board!

Now, I was initially AGAINST the acquisition of a Wii. They are, after all, the COMPETITION (although Robert assures me that they will NEVER be able to compete). And we do have quite enough video game systems, thank you very much. But then I saw my Fresno Family playing--and off of the couch. So we got a Wii (such lemmings we are!). Then, after seeing Wii Fit last July, I've been trying to buy it. I'm always a day late and a dollar short. You'd think I was trying to buy the stinking Holy Grail (not the movie). CAN'T find one anywhere! But I've heard a lot of, "oh, we had them an HOUR/DAY ago!" I've bid on Ebay too, but I'm too cheap to pay more than I'd pay if I could find it at Target or Costco or Game Stop. So we are like the ONLY humans on the whole planet who don't have Wii Fit--until today! I don't even want to know how much........

Yes, I'm aware that it shows your BMI and adjusts your Wii character to "look" like your BMI says you should look. I'm not real excited about that--especially as it relates to my kids. I am NOT excited to see my kids making 11-pound weight loss goals either. We will be discussing the whole BMI thing and making sure that the kids understand that a VIDEO GAME is NOT qualified to determine if/how much weight needs to be lost. And if I think that the kids are getting obsessed about it, they won't get to play on it that way. But for now, they're EXCITED to exercise, so bring it on!

And, NO, I haven't been on it yet. That will have to wait until there are NO witnesses, as I do not want my personal information broadcast for anyone else to see. And I don't need anyone else to see a VIDEO GAME tell me I weigh to much. I'll save that humiliation for when I'm alone. But the kids go back to school Monday (let's pray them back into good health, ok?)...... I can't wait!

Again, Honey, YOU ROCK!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Little Bookworm

For Valentine's Day, Hannah got a Junie B. Jones book. She is SO FUN to watch when she opens presents. "Woo Hoo! It's what I've always wanted!" She's animated and just FUN to watch.

She did not disappoint when she opened her Valentine's presents. She LOVED getting "her very own chapter book" and she's been reading every night before bed. The deal with the kids is that if they're in bed by 8:15, they can read until 8:30. Last night she was supposed to go right to sleep, but (according to the informant) Hannah read "for only like 5 minutes." This morning, Hannah did not come in our room to announce that she'd awakened (THAT'S a first!), but we found her in bed, reading.

My little bookworm (said with reverence and awe) has read 19 pages!!! Then we sat in my chair and read some more together. She's doing pretty good on her own--not getting ALL of the content, but she's trying. I'm so proud of my little bookworm!

Valentine's Weekend

We had a nice, relaxing Valentine's weekend. I spent the better part of Saturday morning at Urgent Care to get medicine for my ear infection. That's right, last weekend I was down with "it" (germ of the week), and this weekend, I got to be in serious pain with an ear ache. Only the second in my life (that I can remember), and OUCH!!! I know why little kids cry! I didn't notice until I went to bed on Friday.

And, speaking of Friday, I got an early Valentine's present from my Honey. It came in the mail--a PajamaGram. He sent me the most cozy pair of flannel PJ's! They came in a beautiful, organza gift box with a lavender sachet and an "unwinding" door sign. NICE! Thanks Honey!!!!

The rest of Saturday, we just hung out. We watched movies and read books and played video games and we just stayed home. Until the last-minute Wal-Mart run I made with Hannah. Grandma D sent the kids Valentine's cards with stickers and Wal-Mart gift cards. The money was burning a hole in Hannah's hand and she COULDN'T STAND IT, so I took her--more to get her out of the house than anything else. I wouldn't buy her a stuffed animal earlier in the week--like she NEEDS another one?! So Hannah used her Wal-Mart money to buy a stuffed animal. It's a little teddy bear that's holding a small balloon that says "I love you." If I thought they'd have any left on Monday, I'd have tried to persuade her to wait. She was in 7th heaven! We also found a metal Princess "purse" that she bought with allowance money. She's poor now, but has a nice little purse and a new stuffed animal.

Saturday night was a painful experiment in sleeping on a different side--it didn't go well. Sunday I spent sleeping much of the day in my recliner. Another quiet day--and I stayed in my PJ's all day!

Monday it was raining here (SO rare, and on a holiday!). We unpacked some boxes and cleaned up some and welcomed the repair guy. Toph was in 7th heaven, as he played video games pretty much ALL day. Sometimes with Dad and other times alone. It was a gift to him to let him just video veg all day--not something I'll let him do the rest of vacation, but every one in awhile, I don't have a problem with it. We had a fun "veg" day.

Now Daddy has gone back to work, and we're trying to figure out what we're doing here. The kids and I will spend today (a sometimes rainy day) unpacking some more boxes and just hanging at home. The rest of the week is supposed to be pretty nice, so we'll hit the Science museum and Legoland this week.

I LOVE living here, and I LOVE my family!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Better than Bankers' Hours

Our new Property Management Company is quite a bit different than the old. An alternate title to this post would be: SO NOT LOVING the PMC.

They're open Monday-Friday, 10-5, but don't count on anyone being there during business hours. Last week I drove down to deliver something, and found the office CLOSED. At 11:40 on a Monday. No note, no explanation, nobody there. I put my papers through the door slot and called to request a call back to verify that they actually got the papers. TWO HOURS LATER I got a call back--"Sorry, we were at lunch."

Seriously? Lunch after being at work for less than 2 hours, and a 2-hour lunch?! Must be nice. I've never had a job like that.

I had a repair order--several repairs, actually. I was told that they'd email the maintenance guy and he'd call me to set up an appointment. If I didn't hear from him by the end of the week, call them back. Now it's 11 days AFTER that day. So I called yesterday afternoon at 4:20 to let them know--guess what? Nobody answered the phone. I wonder if they were having an early dinner? Not only did the guy never call me, but when the PMC called me today at 3:40, they gave me Rigo's number so I could call him myself. Now, why not do that in the first place? Rigo is coming Monday between 12-1. I'm not holding my breath. Promptness does NOT seem to be a characteristic of this PMC.

Somehow the "dumb and dumber plumbers" we had at the old house aren't seeming so bad.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Homage to my HONEY!

UGH! I've neglected to publicly chronicle something major.

Last week, I tried to kill myself (NOT literally!). I decided that I could not live with the condition of the garage. It was my brilliant idea to take all of the boxes OUT of the garage and then re-load the boxes in some kind of order. That way, when I'm looking for something that WAS in the living room, I can go to the living room pile and find it faster. I also was looking for the box that had our scriptures and our shoes (beyond what we were wearing at the time of the move).

Well, I got 2/3 of the garage unpacked onto the driveway. One of my neighbors saw the boxes and asked, "You're not moving again already, are you?" NO, it just felt like it! Boy, book boxes are HEAVY! I'd neglected to eat anything for breakfast that morning too (no lectures, I know!), and when Robert called me at 2 pm to ask me to do something for him, I lost it. I was just overwhelmed. I was hungry. I was TIRED. I was wondering HOW I was going to leave to get the kids from school with all of the stuff left in the driveway. I cried. I didn't mean to, and it wasn't a ploy for sympathy, but I cried.

About 10 minutes after that conversation with my Hubs, he called me to say that he was ALMOST HOME!!! He felt bad that he hadn't helped more, and he took the rest of the day off to rescue me. I cried more! How sweet! He came home and did the rest of the heavy lifting, and we managed to get the garage into order. I don't think I'd have finished without Robert's help. I was beyond pooped.

So, Honey, YOU ROCK!!!! Thanks for rescuing me!!! I love you!!!!!

Rainbow of Friends

Ever wonder what a Rainbow of Friends looks like? 140 Kindergarten students all decked out in their rainbow "Kindergarten Rocks" T-shirts--ADORABLE! Each class has a different color. Hannah's is orange. Then all of the classes stand on the risers and sing their program (and they literally make a rainbow).

This year I did NOT cry!!!

Hannah LOVES to sing. In fact, this afternoon when we were rushing to complete the homework for this week, she could not stop singing. Toph needs it quiet for homework, so this was a most distressing time. Hannah has been practicing parts of her program for several weeks now, and it never ceases to amuse me how her "singing voice" is so different from her speaking voice. Of course, since it's Kindergarten, there were hand gestures for most of the songs, and Hannah really got into it!

What does the Multi-Purpose Room look like when 140 Kindergartners are doing a program? Standing room only, and 30 minutes before the program! We were literally in the very back of the room, so no photographs would come out (can't stand perfectly still long enough). Robert took video, but I don't know how to add it to the blog. Be patient--I will figure out how to do it, and the video/pictures need to magically get from the camera onto the computer.

Hannah, darling, we were very proud of you. You guys did a GREAT job! Your class ROCKS!

And the Lost is FOUND!

Robert ROCKS! Our camera charger has been missing since the move. BAD, because we have a camera full of move-in pictures to document our move. BAD because the camera is D-E-A-D! BAD because Hannah's Kindergarten program is TONIGHT!!!

I've been looking, really I have. And I have not found it. And I did not do the last-minute packing of the room where it was previously kept. I was thinking we'd have to have a seance to find the thing. Then, this morning, Robert said, "have you checked the Radio box?" NO, because who keeps a camera charger in the RADIO box? We do!

Great Job, Robert!!! Thank you!!!

Now, who's going to find my keys? Toph used them on Sunday. They haven't been seen since. I'll give you a dollar...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love at Home!

NOT! Fighting like cats and dogs is more like it. The KIDS, that is. If they're awake, they've been fighting--today. Maybe it's the wind. Maybe it's the rain. Maybe it was being cooped up all weekend while Mom gave in to sick. Maybe the planets are mis-aligned. Maybe they just like to get on each other's nerves. But it was KILLING me!

So I asked them to stop fighting. I demanded. I threatened grounding. And then I grounded them to their own rooms.

The fighting just moved locations. Now they were upstairs, fighting through the wall.

Seriously? STOP!!!

An hour later, they decided to be friends. Now they're playing very nicely. Can both kids turn bi-polar at the same minute?

Get Ready to LAUGH!

My friend, Christi, sent me this YouTube video. It's HILARIOUS!!! If you need to laugh, watch it!

Sorry, I don't know how you put a You Tube video actually IN the post. I'm not that advanced.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm in LOVE!

Yes, I'm in LOVE with my new spice rack. Our new cupboards are SMALL and SHALLOW, and I have a lot of spices. If you like to cook at all, you'll have spices you use 2-4 times a year, but you still need to have them.... So in trying to move into our new house and trying to find a space for everything, I discovered this online. I looked all over, and Amazon has it for the cheapest price. It's WORTH it!!!

I put it in the cupboard yesterday, and it exactly fits my shelf. Then I unloaded all of the spices I wanted to put in it, and I LOVE it!! The drawers pull out and rotate down (like in the picture), so you can see what you've got in it! JOY! If you're vertically challenged, like me, this is fabulous! No more climbing on a chair to see to the back of the cupboard for the curry.

My only complaint? It doesn't fit the cupboard where I wanted the spices to live. There's a stupid support bar in the middle, and it's not wide enough for the spice rack. TOTALLY not the rack's fault. I just have to be flexible.

If you've gotta have it, you can purchase it from Amazon. I'm not getting any kind of kickback, but if you like to be organized, you will LOVE this!!!


If you haven't had the pleasure of dining at Sweet Tomatoes (or Souplantation), you're missing out on some yummy goodness.

One of my FAVORITES is a salad called Joan's Broccoli Madness--broccoli, red onion, raisins, and cashews. Oh my YUMMY!!!!

I made it myself, with help from recipeczar. You can get the recipe and try it out for yourself by going HERE. I made it Thursday and then ate at Souplantation Friday, and the recipe you make yourself is a dead-ringer. I LOVE IT when that happens!

Now if we could just eat the salad without the fuel it generates.....

Friday, February 6, 2009

GREAT Advice!

Parents Should Lovingly Correct a Child’s Actions
from Family Gems

“When a child needs correction, you might ask yourself, ‘What can I say or do that would persuade him or her to choose a better way?’ When giving necessary correction, do it quietly, privately, lovingly, and not publicly. If a rebuke is required, show an increase of love promptly so that seeds of resentment may not remain. To be persuasive, your love must be sincere and your teachings based on divine doctrine and correct principles.” Russell M. Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation,” Ensign, May 2008, 9-10

Elder Nelson is one of the 12 Apostles in my Church. He gives AWESOME talks--this is taken from a talk he gave in a General Conference last year. I think it's sage advice, and I really *try* to employ his suggestions as often as possible. Hugs and kisses after the rebuke are great too--especially with little ones. It helps remind them that you can dislike the BEHAVIOR and still love the PERSON. It's getting harder to parent now though, as my children get older, because they are exercising their free agency--and I don't always like what they choose. I guess that's how Heavenly Father feels about us. And to me, He'd probably say, "suck it up!" Well, maybe he'd be nicer about it.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We *MIGHT* Need an Intervention

I love my phone.

Really. Love. It.

I've never been "into" video games before, but I like playing games on my phone. I've even played one completely through. I like the game "bubble trouble" too, and I've played almost 1,900 games of it. My highest score is 5006--that's considered extreme. Anything over 4000 is considered fantastic. It's a nice way to take a brain break.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE the phone?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Nobody told the car....

I've driven about a few times lately, and the car just goes to the old house. NOT all the way, because I catch it and correct the problem. But if I had not been paying attention, I would have ended up in the wrong place.

I guess the car wasn't informed of our move--either that, or she's got a secret boyfriend in the old neighborhood.