Archive for September 2012

The Best Nephews EV-ER!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

 I had such a great weekend with Marc's little sister Becca and her sweet boys Drew and Wes. They were my baby fix until November when we'll see them again. Even though I know my child bearing days are long gone, there is nothing I like better than a baby. Unless it's two babies!

I love seeing my younger kids get a chance to be the big kids. Jonathan even had an "opportunity" to practice his diaper changing skilz.
Both boys got a ton of attention.

On Saturday Becca went to a friend's wedding and we took the boys to Tilden Park in Berkeley. 

They rode the carousel.

Drew didn't like it.
Wes did.
We took a little break and let them play in the grass, er dirt? Well, we tried to convince them of the pleasures of grass but they kept heading for the dirt.
Admit it! I have the cutest nephews in the world (insert evil laugh)! I wish I was a better photographer though.

Then we went to the "Little Farm," where they have BIG cows to feed.

Wes slept through most of the farm visit,
but Drew was a pro at feeding the animals by the time we left.

 Yes, he fed the heck out of those sheep!
Then we were done.

Except the part where Marc and I took copious amounts of photos of the farm and the terracing saying to ourselves, "We should totally do this in our backyard," because, sure, we know how to farm and keep livestock and whatnot. How hard can it be anyway? We'll get a book. Farming for Dummies."
Do you think we could make our two acres of weeds look like that? Dream.

Tip for Dinner

Friday, September 21, 2012

Becca and my sweet nephews are coming today and I have to clean like the wind so I only have one tip today. (Actually, they came last night and I was so busy smooching those boys that I forgot to post this.)

Let your kids cook.

Sharing how much I love food and cooking with my children and really letting them get in there and make a mess with me has paid off.

They make me really nice dinners now.

Here is a recipe ten year old Ellie has mastered and it is really good. Like, really.

8 tbs butter
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
(I use this kind of recipe to teach my kids how to guesstimate measurements ie. the little dent in the middle of your palm when you cup your hand is about a teaspoon.)
2 lbs. fresh or frozen pizza dough-we like Trader Joe's
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
one small jar of pizza sauce warmed up for dipping.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a bundt pan with non-stick spray

Melt butter

Mince or press the garlic and add to the butter, add oregano, garlic powder and pepper. stir.

With a sharp knife divide the dough into 40 small balls (I do this part)

Flatten each ball and place some of the mozzarella into the center of it. Roll the dough up around the cheese. Do this with all 40 balls.

Dip each ball into the butter mixture and place  in the pan.

Sprinkle the Parmesan over the dough balls.

Place in the over and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

My family actually just ate this and a salad for dinner the other night and we were all happy.

I Am the Boss of TV Tips

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today's tips from my WEEK O'TIPS are about what television shows you should be watching. You can see my other tips here and here.

I have excellent taste in television shows. You know it's true because even after Marc and I decided to stop watching tv (which you can read about here) and cancelled cable, the shows we watch are so good that we had to buy a ROKU and start watching them again. I know!

So if you love your J. J. Abrams like we do you will certainly be watching the final season of...

1. Fringe-because alternate universes and bowler hats and super mind powers=YES!

2. The same way you will be watching Revolution and hoping it can take the place of Fringe which was taking the place of Lost. I watched the premier, it looked good. The set reminded me of Terra Nova which was pretty disappointing especially since it looked like Lost and Jurassic Park had a love child that was going to be super awesome. But it wasn't. 

3. Marc and I both watched the first season of the night time soap Revenge, and we are looking forward to some back stabbing, long staring, enigmatic smiling second season.

4. And you don't want to miss Modern Family. Marc wants you to know that he knows it is true. 

5. We also picked up Once Upon a Time last season and are looking forward to it coming back. It is coming back isn't it? Can someone check that for me?

I was sort of hoping I wouldn't think of anymore shows so as not to appear overly invested...but the truth is we also watch every show Gordon Ramsey has. Not really. Just Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef, Kitchen Nightmares, and Hotel Hell. That's like, only half of them, right?

So what are you waiting for? Go set your DVR.

P.S. What are you watching?

10 Witch Doctor Tips

Monday, September 17, 2012

This week I am pretending I am a large and fancy blogger by giving tips as if I am an expert and people care what I think. Some people do, actually, care what I think so I'm not completely faking here. When they are hungry my family members care very sincerely about what I think we are having for dinner. Because it usually comes true. So. That's good.

Tips! Today I am sharing my "witch doctor" tips that I mostly learned from my Mother-in-law and Sister-in-law who shall henceforth be known as "Mom" and "Jenna." To say I have 10 of them would be (is) a gross exaggeration, but the four I'm giving you are really pretty good so I think it's going to be worth it for you to hang in there with me.

I'm going to go from least powerful to most spectacular a la David Letterman.

4. Okay, this one is good for when you get a sty on your eye. You take a penny and rub it rapidly back and forth over your jeans until it feels hot. Then hold it on your ouchie (closed!) eye until it cools down. Do this two or three times, it helps the swelling go away much quicker. I don't know why, but if someone else does it for you it works even better.

3. Marc learned this one from his Mom-it's for when you have an earache. Pour a little olive oil in a spoon and then heat the oil by holding a lit match under the spoon. The first time Marc wanted to try it on me I wouldn't let him, then I got a really bad middle of the night earache and figured warm oil in my ear was better than the ice pick I was planning to poke in there any minute. And it worked! I was able to sleep that night and then went to the doctor the next day.

Um, when you go to the doctor the next day I don't know how she'll feel about you getting vicarious medical advice from a witch doctor on the internet. Maybe you shouldn't mention it.

2. Airborne. It does help kick a cold. My number 1 tip is better, but it's hard to get kids (or a sick baby husband) to participate so sometimes you have to go with second best. Which is Airborne.

1. And the number one witch doctor tip from my mom is what we fondly refer to as "the cocktail." Here's whatcha do. At the first hint you are getting a cold, and I mean the first itch in your throat or slightly stuffy nose, you've got to bust out this cocktail:
Rx-take whatever the bottle recommended dose is of
vitamin c
vitamin a

Then chase it with a tasty glass of Alka-Seltzer Gold. It's so good.

And finally suck on a zinc lozenge. 
It may sound like a lot of effort, and you should do it twice a day for two or three days, but it really really  really will send a head cold packing.

And if that isn't a good tip for September I don't know what is!
Now. Share your best home remedies. Share the love.

Half of 10 Beauty Tips

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I like to read some of the big blogs as noted on my sidebar. I dream about having that kind of readership, mostly because I love writing and think it is fun when people read what I write, also I love comments, and also Pop-u-lar; I want to be Pop-uuuu-lar!

So in an effort to emulate I am going to spend this week giving tips. Because the big girls often give "10 tips on how to(fill in the blank)." I haven't thought of that many things I know enough about to give tips on, and I don't think I have 10 tips for the things I can think of, but I don't think that should stop me from believing in myself!

Here I go then. These are my beauty tips; I think those kind of tips are the most popular:

1. Get dressed. Try to do this everyday. Pajamas are not an outfit the same way a ponytail is not a hairstyle. Don't hate me, it' just the truth.

2. Use this lipstick. I have no affiliate links, I just really like this lip color. It is light, smooth and medium shiny. It reminds me of Burt's Bees but has more colors to choose from. 

3. Also, I do my own hair color with the John Frieda hair color and have excellent results, I tell you what. This product is so good that I have repeatedly embarrassed myself by gushing to friends about how awesome it is until their eyes glaze over. It goes on like a mousse and it lets all the variations of shade and highlights in your hair shine through so it looks really natural. And it is SO much cheaper than a salon do, which I have paid for for years and I actually like this better because as soon as I notice my roots I swing by CVS to get a box and take care of it that night. Half an hour and twelve bucks and BOOM, I look like this:

4. Sometimes I ask my 17 year old daughter if what I'm wearing looks okay. Feel free to text her a picture of your outfit and see what she says.

5. Okay, this is the last one...I'm seriously thinking here...maybe I should have come to this post better prepared...HA! I've got one. If you get acne on your chest like I do, invest in some chunky necklaces that you can cover it up with. I know that is gross to talk about but sometimes beauty is a harsh mistress.

Wowee, I did it (well, half way). What are your beauty tips? For real? I love to hear what real ladies do to keep it together!

Little Light Refurbishing

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I decided that I needed a small improvement project that I could actually finish before I go back to the project that shall not be named this weekend. Since we bought the house there are a million things that need to be done, some big, some small. Improving the light fixture in the entryway seemed like a quick little soul satisfying project.

It feels like I am always messing with the entryway, trying to make the first impression of our home a little bit better each time. Read about one of my early entryway efforts here. Oh for a complete demolition and makeover...sigh.

Notice I say improve the fixture and not replace the fixture. Replacing costs money. Surprise! Here is a before picture.

And an up close portrait of that beauty queen after I took it down.
Replacing the glass shade with an, I don't know, shade from this century, seemed like a good idea. Although I wasn't sure how I would attach it, I figured an idea would present itself after I got the shade.

Here is the naked fixture after I took the glass shade off:
I got this little guy at Target for $18. I had to muscle the metal part out so I could fit it over the candle-ish parts.
I wish it was a little longer, but it was the longest one they had. So. Attaching it. This is a little embarrassing example of my low standards. I wanted it up there quickly and easily-I'm impatient like that, so I hot glued some poster paper around the inside edge for all those "arms" to rest on.
Is that too ridiculous? At the time it seemed like a good idea. Then the tension in the little arms and the little "lip" made by the paper keeps it in place.
It could be better, but it's a lot better than it was. It actually makes me really happy. Have you done any quick and easy projects lately? What are your best decorating short cuts? Or would this kind of half baked project drive you crazy?
Inquiring minds want to know :) 

I Remember

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Driving home from work today I saw a row of American flags that had been arranged on an overpass above the freeway.

Of course it made me remember 9/11. And it made me think of the phrase I sometimes hear, "never forget." I felt bad for a moment because I have a fairly poor long term memory (except for bad/dumb songs; I remember those forever)and I tried to take a mental inventory of what I remember from that sad day and the weeks that followed.

I remember standing in our little condo in Northern Virginia, watching my little girls play and talking on the corded phone with my friend Brandy when the television coverage started.

I remember the feeling of confusion about what was happening and her immediate recognition that it was al-Qaeda (she was a reporter in her pre-mom days).

I remember feeling desperate for Marc to get out of D.C. where he worked and to get home. That feeling of fear, of being unsafe is something I will never forget. Knowing that feeling, I have more empathy and desire to help people who live in countries where they feel that way all the time, and I have a much vaster appreciation for the feelings of safety and peace that I enjoy now and have been blessed with for most of my life. In spite of our mistakes, this is a Great country.

Later in the week we called our dear friends the Klasses who lived in New York. We only knew one family in the whole state, surely they were fine...but we were still afraid to call and find out. 

When we finally reached them they weren't fine. Kristen's brother-in-law had an office in one of the towers and had died while on the phone telling her sister how much he loved her and their two children. Although we didn't know Eileen and Michael well, I remember how unbearable it felt.

I remember Kristen telling me she was glad I called. I told her how useless and stupid all my words felt but she said her friends were now divided into two camps, those who cared enough to check on her, and those who let their fears stop them. I learned that I should never let fear stop me from telling someone who is suffering that I love them.

September 11th changed us all. What do you remember?

The (Almost) Finishing Porch Touches

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm thinking another post about our house painting project may be kind of overkill, but I'm putting up the porch pictures just the same because it is the best part. If you've painted a whole house yourself then you know what I mean, it's the little details that finally make it look good.

If you want to follow the process, here are links to the other posts.

So here it is.
I so love a red door. The little detail I love the most is the hook for dry cleaning we hung on the inside of the lattice on the right. Hooray, no more dry cleaning sliding off the bench and getting walked on by the dog...not that that ever happens here.
I also like the bench painted black. I started out painting it with the orange/red we used on the shutters.

But after moving it on and off the porch mid-paint we decided all black would be better.

Now, even though we have more windows to trim, I'll try to resist talking about it here. Good times though, right?

House Paint Update

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I tried to be fresh and modern, I really did, but the trim paint colors that won are black and red. I guess I'm just a traditional girl at heart, and after painting the green I kept coming back (like Leslie and Linda recommended) to the craftsman colors. 

Let me refresh your memory, here is the house before we started painting.
And one more time now that Marc and I have agreed on trim colors.
We kind of ruined the plants that were in the planter box under that front window with our ladders and spraying and stomping and whatnot. I'm still trying to figure out what to plant. Maybe some boxwood as a nod to our time in Virginia?
We also ruined those metal awnings over the windows. We couldn't get them down so we could spray until we turned into the hulk, and I guess that makes me She-hulk, to tear them apart and throw them off the roof. Now we kind of regret it but at the time it seemed like a good idea. Wonder twin powers, activate!
Katie and I took that down with a bow saw. Go girls! OOPS,  just in, Phallic is spelled Phallic.  What a funny phallic word.
I'll put up the pictures of the front porch tomorrow. Right now Marc is bugging me to come cut his hair. (That link has a really bad picture of Marc; sorry hon.)
And before you ask if we're all done, let me share this little gem with you.

It's franken-window and we will never be done.  Thanks for all your input, it was super fun hearing your opinions!


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