Thursday, January 31, 2008

Superquick Note

I want to tell you what I am reading, but I can't read and be addicted to my blog at the same time. I'm probably in my honeymoon period. So, the quirkiest, funniest and most fascinating item for today is that I was a "guest lecturer" in a 1st grade class reviewing with the students how to tell time. (Would you believe that's a math standard???) It has been raining here a lot, and when I walked in the students were pretty wound up. So I improvised and had them put their right hands up and say "long hand" and then say "short hand" with their left hand down low. They all did what I said, even though I looked a little silly!

So... I read a wonderful post on another blog about the features of two-year olds, (check it out) and I made dinner (again). And, I started making butternut squash soup for tomorrow night.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

So.... not much to write, but I thought it was really cute yesterday when Sean asked if he could have sausage, eggs and toast for breakfast this morning. I informed him that our main cook (Dale) was sick and would be unable to make his elaborate breakfast (and that we didn't have sausage). Sean, nonplussed by this, said, "Well, wake me up early, so I can make breakfast." Then he proceeded to remind me 3 times last night to wake him up early. So I did. (This is probably modeled on how many times I remind him of things!) Sean made some delicious scrambled eggs ( I made the toast). I also made an egg dish last night, quiche. It was made from our newly purchased farm fresh eggs. Then I made an apple crisp. Sean asked if everyone could have there own topping on their part of the apple crisp. I didn't oblige. Unfortunately the apple crisp made me a little cranky (after slicing & peeling 10 apples) and then when I needed to make the topping it called for a food processor. We got a new food processor recently, but no one has washed it yet. Luckily, after the topping got stuck in the bottom of the blender, Zachary was able to step in and mix the topping with his hands. He loves getting his hands in cookie dough, etc., basically anything gooey.

So I decided to make the decorated brownies for Saturday. I am showing the professional pictures because I love putting pictures on my blog. It's like photojournalism. I was trying to take a cute picture of Dale & Sean, but they didn't want to be on my BLOG. Yikes! Apparently, you can run out of space and then have to pay to upload more pictures (I know this couldn't be a free hobby!) Anyway, I'll try to remember to take pictures of my homemade creations.
Last tidbit is my record for playing tennis in the coldest weather yet, 43 degrees. I was wearing a neck warmer the whole time. It always feels good to hit the ball in whatever temperature!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cold Monday

Hi Janis! I hope you find me in blogworld!

So, it's a really cold Monday here in California. I am signed up for tennis Wednesday night, but I can't imagine playing in 43 degrees (Brrr!). I just got confirmation that I will be scrapbooking from 9:00 a.m. until midnight at the Valentine's Crop at Magic Moments & Keepsakes. We are supposed to bring valentine cookies, how fun! When I saw the cute cover with all of the valentine's cookies, I was trying to read the recipes in the supermarket line so I wouldn't have to buy the magazine. The guy behind me told me that I could probably find the recipe(s) on the internet (Of course, he's 20 years younger than I, and probably right).

Anyway, I bought the magazine, and I wanted to share this tidbit with you. You can send a card from the internet! The website will let you select a card and use your own handwriting font. The cards are printed, stuffed , stamped and mailed for for about $1. (Neat tip from Donna Smallin) I think the US Post Office does that too. Dale pointed out that how it would be cheaper than buying a $4.00 card at the store. I pointed out how it would be cheaper than spending $500 on stamps and accessories a year!
And... to add to my blog obession... I added to gadgets (widgets) by adding java code to my blog: the weatherpixie and the counter.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Homebound Saturday

Kitchen Update:
Dale drove down to Sacramento this morning to pick up the next set of wall cabinets. He left at 8:30 a.m. and got home in time for lunch. He worked in the afternoon to take down the current wall cabinets. We have the cabinet "stuffings" all over the place. Of course, we couldn't make dinner. And... we are going to try another yellow. We should have listened to Lauri in the first place! She was trying to tell us that yellows always end up being too yellow when you put it on the wall. We went to Joanne's house and brought paint chips to match the beautiful yellow she has on her walls. So Dale has reconfirmed with me 3 times today, "Are you sure you want to change the color?"
I did go to the farmer's market today and buy: walnuts, eggs, butternut squash, gala apples & grapefruit. There was a lot of bok choy and beets for sale, but I am not sure what to do with them.
Sickness again: So Zachary is sick this time, so he has been hanging out on the couch all day. I am hoping that he recovers quicker than Sean did.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday with Barbara

Well, I'll have to say that my trip to Calistoga was very relaxing, and I am still pretty relaxed. One of my students told me I'm an awesome math teacher today which was sure a nice perk!!

I've been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I am enjoying the author's style. The subject matter is intense and weighty, but she delivers the information in a down-to-earth, readable and humorous way. She was comparing how the American's encourages teenagers to abstain from sex, but how our culture won't wait for vegetables to be in season. Now I am yearning to taste in-season asparagus. Of course, I still have the taste of candy sweethearts in my mouth from this morning when I gave my students a "prize" for using my brand new homework hotline. I was racking my brain for a non-candy prize, but I couldn't think of a quick (& cheap) substitute. (Besides, I am too busy reading AVM)

One of my co-workers husband has been part of the Slow Food movement, and now I finally know what it is! I had all sorts of mental images of slow food.

I have been catching the highlights of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament on the internet because we don't have cable. Of course, if I saved up what I would spend in cable (for a year) I could buy a ticket to New York and see the US Open tournament live. Besides, I wouldn't have time to blog because I would be watching tennis!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Well, my camera shutter was a little sleepy, so my mud bath picture is very blurry. As this was my first mud bath, I'll have to say that I will definitely do it again. I sunk down into the warm mud and was suspended in it. My mom & sis did it too! After the mud bath, it was a mineral bath, blanket wrap, and, to top it off, an hour massage. It was fabulous! The weather was beautiful and we ate delicious food. We did a little wine tasting at Folie a Deux.

I got 2 books at the bookstore in Calistoga: (1) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and (2) Complaint Free in 21 days. The complaint free book encourages you to get a purple plastic bracelet so that you can switch your bracelet from one hand to the other everytime you complain (gossip or criticize) until you wear the bracelet on the same side for 21 days straight. Since my sister is anti-plastic, I am using one of my own bracelets. I switched my bracelet about 4 times today. Unfortunately, this leads to some extra processing, "Was that exactly complaining?"

P.S. (not complaining, boasting) I won our scrabble game Sunday night!

And, finally, I got my new Stampin' up order today, and I couldn't wait to color my elephant PINK. I also bought some PINK ribbon.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Off to see the wizard

I decided I needed a lavender uplift (my blog background). So my latest homegrown remedy (from my mom & sister) seemed to work for Sean last night, he has been coughing constantly since he has been sick. I slather Vick's Vapor Rub on his chest, put a shirt on him and then put a hot corn bag on his chest. He didn't wake me up this morning at 4:00 a.m. coughing! He doesn't really like the smell of Vick's, so he asked if it comes in different scents tonight.

Last night Sean was doing a "book report" on Amos & Boris. This has to be the sweetest book ever. My favorite line is when Amos is looking over the "phosphorescent sea" (I can only spell this because Sean looked it up in the dictionary). While I was helping Sean with his homework, I made the banana bread AGAIN, no broiling required. I had to make some substitutions... like add chocolate chips (no deceiving there!), and no whole wheat flour (we were out of it)... but I did add the pureed cauliflower. Dale says he can taste it! I really couldn't, but I wasn't wild about the flavor. The whole experience made me want to find the perfect recipe for banana bread. I brought it to our morning meeting at work, and some kind teachers ate it.
The perfect kitchen color was found at my friend's, Joanne's. The yellow paint color in her kitchen was soft and bright and clean, so I am going to take paint samples from Kelly Moore and try to find this elusive yellow, so I'll keep you posted!

Off to pack, Calistoga is 58 degrees and sunny tomorrow (which means I'll pack long underwear!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Almost Wednesday

Well, I realize now that when you have a blog you need a few things to say. I hope I haven't run out already! It reminds me a bit of scrapbooking where you intentionally take pictures of events so that you can make the "perfect" page. But I don't want to disappoint my 2 readers, so I'll update you on the kitchen. Dale is ordering phase 2 wall cabinets, so we should have them by the weekend after next. *OH* I just thought of something!


My sister, my mom and I are going to Calistoga. I am going to get a mud bath for the first time! We are staying at Dr. Wilkinson's. This is only my 2nd time to Calistoga. For those not native to Northern California, Calistoga is a very small resort town north of Napa. It has restaurants, spas, hot springs and chocolate. Dale and I celebrated our 12th anniversary there, and I just loved it. The food and wine are delicious. I am totally ready for the mud bath, massage, non-stop talking, and chocolate.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Weekend

Isn't this beautiful? I went on a walk with my mom in Bidwell Park yesterday. We had some sun after our big storm.
To finish on the banana bread saga, My friend Tess shared with me a slate article relating to the cookbook dispute. This was my favorite line:
"Sure, the two books are based on the same unremarkable, unoriginal idea. And a handful of recipes employ some of the same obvious tricks (mostly based on hue, such as hiding sweet potato puree in a grilled cheese sandwich or spinach in brownies)."
I have NOT made the banana bread again, but one of my coworkers suggested it was karma since I was trying to deceive my kids (smile). I DID make lemon bars (without pureed cauliflower) and everyone in my game night group liked them. We played Apples to Apples which was a very fun game. There is also a kid's version.

Kitchen Update: Here is a picture of the kitchen so far, we are loving the cabinets! Our refrigerator instantly looked very dirty and cluttered, so Dale scrubbed it and we rearranged and thinned out some of the many photos. Now we have to figure out what to do with all of the kid's art.

Speaking of kids, I wanted to show you Zachary's hair in the morning. He tried to put in a ponytail yesterday, but I guess it didn't work out. Sean, on the other hand, has been on the couch for over a week. He has something nasty. We're hoping he can make it to school on Monday. Of course, he is getting used to all of the laying around! He has been reading the adventures of Tin Tin. "Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles!" (That is one of the many curses in the books)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Banana Bread Broiled

Well, my culinary talents did not shine today. I accidentally broiled the banana bread! I was wondering what that fragrant smell was! Then I was steaming some carrots (to purée) for the meatball soup, and I burned them! I did make the meatball soup with a little help from Dale because my vision of him arriving home from work to a home-cooked meal evaporated at 5:30 p.m. And, to throw a wet blanket over all of this puréeing, apparently Jessica is being sued for "plagiarising" her cookbook.

Home Again

Well, I am trying out a recipe from my new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. (I saw it at Costco for $14.97). Jerry Seinfeld's wife wrote it. It's a compilation of recipes that has either a pureed vegetable or fruit in each recipe to "secretly" get her kids to eat healthier. I'm home today with Sean who has had a fever for 6 days straight, so while we were playing a game, I steamed some cauliflower to puree. The pureed cauliflower will go into banana bread recipe. Stay posted. I'll let you know if my kids eat it!

(And if you are not the wife of Jerry Seinfield...)My mom just shared an article with me about self-publishing. I could write my own cookbook! (er..., maybe something else). If you are interested one of the websites is You can purchase the books straight from the website. At left is a self-published cookbook that was featured in the article. The description from the website states that it's written by "5 sisters who don't cook, so we thought it would be a great idea to write a cookbook!" You can download it for only $10.00. Back to my cauliflower!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dark over here!

I'm on my mom's computer because our power has been out since 8:30 a.m. Friday morning. We were hoping it would go on today, but no dice. My mom made us chicken soup for dinner. Last night, I was able to go scrapbooking from 6 p.m. until midnight because the scrapbook store had power. I did some layouts from spring. (I'll post them later) I also made a scrabble thank you card for my wonderful coworker, Joe, who came over with a chain saw and butchered a tree that was falling over.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Handles are on!

Happy Wednesday, the days are ticking until I have to go back to work (probably won't be blogging as much). Hi Roseanna & Tyson! I am glad that 2 people are reading my blog today!

So this morning, I wrote detailed instructions for my kids how to clean the bathroom:

  • Clear the floor of any toys

  • Shake out rug, roll up rug and put outside bathroom

  • Sweep bathroom floor

  • Empty trash can

  • Fill trash can with water and ½ tsp of Basic H

  • Mop floor, use a rag for behind the toilet

I'm thinking of having them clean the bathroom every ten days, check in with me in February!

The handles are on. Dale has installed 3 cabinets, and we picked out the handles today. We can't wait to fill up our big pantry. Zachary was disappointed that we didn't pick out the handles that he liked ($8.49 each). I guess he has expensive taste. It will be nice to have that corner of the kitchen back.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking

This is my 4th digital scrapbooking layout using my new Christmas present: Creative Memories' Storybook Creator Plus (check out here). It is so fun to make pages on your computer. Addicting, actually. And, believe or not, I want to buy more digital paper, stickers, fonts, etc. It's weird to think I want to purchase pixellated images. I bought the *digital* paper and stickers from Creative Memories Digital Vintage series.
This layout uses pictures that we took in May when we went on the Feather Falls hike. I used a sketch challenge from splitcoaststampers from Flickr found here. What is really neat about the software is that I can create any size strip I want by inputting the size (no cutting required!). Also, I can click on the paper or font and change the color instantly.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Snow Sports

A Big Happy New Year!

So, we did our "dry run" today at Mount Shasta (for our upcoming ski trip in Lake Tahoe in February). We were planning on skiing on Thursday, but there is a big storm coming in. The weather was beautiful. It was the ultimate in California skiing.
Great things:

  • Seeing families from Chico

  • Doing a family activity

  • Lisa skiing again after 12 years!

  • We are all intact at the end of the day

  • Zachary went on a chair lift today!

Things we learned:

  • Make sure everyone drinks lots of water

  • Make sure people don't get too tired

  • Have bribes ready to get Sean to ski

  • Lisa will never get the hang of a toe rope!

  • Make a master list

I was inspired by a woman I met at the chair lift who informed me that it had been 37 years since she had been on skis. I think she overheard me mumbling about going on a chair lift, and the fact that it had been 12 years for me. I met a lot of very friendly people at Shasta. At one point I was talking about the state of mathemathics education with a Shasta school board member. She was trying to encourage Sean to get back on the slopes and grabbed his hands to show him how make the "wedge" with his skis. And, on another note, Zachary's tailbone is hurting since I told Aunt Stephanie's tailbone story. (!)

Reading Update: I finished Fun Home and started Jesus Land (2nd book from Tess), it's a memoir of a 16-year girl who moves to the country with her family including her (adopted) black brother. It's a tragic, but heartfelt written story. It reminds me of The Glass Castle. I am enjoying it. I've been reading a lot of memoirs lately.