Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Since we moved to our house in the woods, we no longer get visited by tiny trick-or-treaters in their cute costumes. So I hope on Monday to see pictures of everyone's little moppets! Have a fun evening and keep safe. 
     Every Halloween, this video gets dusted off and passed around the Internet. I do NOT believe in ghosts, but I have to admit that it's a little freaky. You can detect movement on the top left footage shortly after the guy leaves the room.

Dinner last night: pizza

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Magical Sweater

I love this sweater that my friend, Barbara, handknit for my first baby. It has been handed down since then to each of my daughters to wear on cold days. You would think it would be a tattered mess after four children, but it is as lovely and warm as the day I unwrapped it from its nest of tissue paper and ribbon. I'm convinced it possesses magical properties—the kind of magic found only in gifts made with painstaking care.

1. It endures. This sweater is now ten years old and has lost only one button in all that time. No holes. No unraveling. No pilling.

2. It is warm. The yarn is of such quality and the weave is so tight that this sweater can be worn as a jacket out in a brisk breeze.

3. It fits. And fits. And fits and fits! Not only has it fit four different little bodies, each girl has been able to wear it for a good two years! How can an article of clothing fit and look just right as a child grows and changes? It's magic, I tell you. Here's one girl wearing it at 12 months of age:

And the same girl wearing it at age two:

By the bye, see the purple sweater in the background of the photo on the stairs? That's the first piece my mother ever knit. And she knit it for her first baby: me! Which makes that particular sweater extra magical because it is over thirty twenty years old and the original zipper still works beautifully, the silky lining is still perfectly intact, and those little poodles are still adorable. That sweater was knit with magic all right . . . the magic of love.

Dinner last night: almond chicken over rice

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Downside to Raising an Independent Daughter

My eldest walked into the kitchen and proudly displayed her handiwork:

Evidently she felt her bangs had grown entirely too long.
Who better to trim them than a fifth grader
who is not wearing her glasses?
Why, they're quite lovely, if she does say so herself.

I'm sorry, but a jaunty tilt of the head does not
detract Mommy's fixation on the weirdly short bangs.

Dinner last night: clam chowder, toasted English muffins

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This Almost Makes Up for Getting Called "Sir"

Thank you so much for the award, Helene! It is high praise indeed coming from such a fab blog as I'm Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor.

I'd like to pass on the Brillante Weblog Premio 2008 to a couple of sites that I enjoy:

Saddlepotatoes (Alaska, children, horses, and the precious Dandelion . . !)

Bringing Up Twins (TwinMama writes the way I wish I could about the joys and tribulations of raising twin daughters)

The Homemakers' Library (tips from a Christian mom living in a house full of boys)

The rules are:
1. Place the logo on your blog.
2. Link to the person who awarded you.
3. You can nominate up to 5 blogs.
4. You can then add their links to your blog.
5. Leave a message in the comment section to each nominee on their blog.

Dinner last night: meatless spaghetti

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bag This, Buddy

So I'm checking out at the grocery story. The teenager hands me my bag and says, "Have a nice day, sir." Have a nice day, sir? I pause for a moment, and he looks at me. "Oh. I mean, ma'am," he says nonplussed, as he turns his attention to the next customer.

Okay. I'm tall. And I'm wearing my bulky coat. And maybe he's got poor peripheral vision. But sir? Sir?? Now I'll admit there have been times when I've looked into the mirror and nearly fainted at the sight of my Uncle John staring back at me. But this is not 5:00 in the morning, with me standing there all bed head and no makeup. I actually have lipstick on. And sparkly earrings.

What a way to start my week.

Dinner last night: tamale pie

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Euclidean Love Story

I can't help it. When I hear James Blunt's voice, I immediately feel a lump developing in my throat, and if you don't change this radio station right now, mister, I will start to weep silently. So what are you trying to do to me, Sesame Street? This is just not right.

By the way, if you want to know what my husband looks like on the dance floor, keep an eye out for the guy in the striped yellow shirt at about 1:35. I'm not joking.

Dinner last night: pizza

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Favorite Spot

The dining room is probably the space that sold me on this house. Calling it a "room" doesn't quite do it justice, as it's more of a grand hall—a long, spacious area between the kitchen and the rest of the house, with the fireplace at one end. And by "fireplace," I mean "wood-burning stove." This is Alaska after all. We may not be fancy, but we know how to save money on our heating bill.

During the winter, we move the table to the center of the space and make this end of the room a cozy sitting area in front of the fire. It is here that Daddy takes his nap, the girls curl up and read, and Mommy sits and thinks. *yeah, right* When I sits, I eats. A cookie and a cup of tea in front of the fire is not a bad thing at all.

Dinner last night: smoked salmon fettucine

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Guess What I'm Doing Today?

I'll give you a hint . . .

It's stinky.

You never know what you will find lurking in its midst.

There's a sure chance toxic waste will be involved.

The daunting task I face today requires a strong back, stout heart, steady nerves, and a deep and abiding faith in a loving God who will not abandon me, even as I stare into the maw of evil.

That's right, it's . . .


Laundry Day

Lord help me, it's gonna get worse before it gets better.

Dinner last night: ravioli

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun and Games

As I spent a jolly two hours picking up the mess my twins made of the game cabinet, I was sorely tempted to toss everything in the trash. I calmed myself, though, and decided to use my cleaning opportunity to reassess which games we really like and which we don't ever seem to play. In other words, I weeded. HGTV would say that I de-cluttered. I reorganized the game zone, if you will. Which means I boxed up a truckload of dice, cards, dominoes, and plastic pawns that I never want to see again and sent them all off to the Lost Boys in Neverland.

Here are a few board games that I decided to keep.

Candyland is a classic for a reason . . . kids love it. I don't remember exactly how old my girls were when they first started playing—I think maybe 3? 4?—but Candyland is the perfect introduction to gameplay. It doesn't need dice, requires no strategy, and—because it relies solely on the luck of the draw—anyone can win. You don't have to pretend to lose to your kids . . . they will legitimately beat you! My 8- and 10-year-olds still play this game on occasion, but I'm mainly keeping it for the twins to play in another year or two.

Clue is probably my older girls' favorite game at the moment. Parker Brothers has really snazzed up this detective game, with cute little figurines and a cool new board.

I don't know what it is about Sequence for Kids, but it's a family favorite. Even my husband likes to play. It's a nice mix of strategy, luck, and silliness. It's the most fun with 3 players, because then someone can usually win . . . 4 players results in such a busy board that no one can create a "sequence."

Maybe 'cause we're from Alaska, we really like There's a Moose in the House. You use picture cards to set up your house, while trying to move moose into your competitor's rooms. The object is to keep your own house from being overrun by the skinny-legged freaks.

I Never Forget a Face Memory Game. My sister and I used to play "Concentration" with a ratty deck of cards; this version is infinitely more aesthetically pleasing with its beautifully illustrated tiles.

Dinner last night: lasagna

Monday, October 20, 2008

Public Service Announcement

For all you new parents out there, I'd like to tell you about this great invention called a child safety lock. It comes in all shapes and sizes, but I prefer the plastic U-shaped device that slides easily through the handles of cupboards. It prevents curious toddlers from opening up, oh, let's say, the doors on the game cabinet in your family room, and pulling out, oh, let's just say for example's sake, every single board game you own.

And spilling out the contents.

All over the floor.

There's one flaw in the design of this child safety lock.

You have to close the cabinet doors first.

Dinner last night: Kalbi flank steak pinwheels, rice, salad

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Say "Cheese!"





Dinner last night: leftovers (pot roast/enchiladas/rigatoni)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Got Nothing For Ya . . . Head On Back to Camp

All girls love pink, princesses, and baby dolls . . . right? Wrong. Two of my daughters wear blue, are athletic, and prefer books. The other two? They love pink, princesses, and baby dolls monkeys.

Do you know how difficult it is to pry a favorite monkey from a 2-year-old's fingers? You would be impressed with my mad camera skillz if you had seen how capably I held off an enraged toddler while snapping this pic. You're welcome.

Dinner last night: rigatoni ala vodka

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Fog Creeps In on Little Cat Feet

I was looking over at "Kim's Categories" –––> and noticing that I don't have many Tie-Dye posts. I thought I'd be writing a lot more about our cat, but as you can see, she doesn't do much. She likes to lay around and take naps on the couch. Not unlike myself.

Dinner last night: sour cream enchiladas, refried beans, corn

Monday, October 13, 2008

Earning My Keep

Third grade is hard. Stickers and smiley faces are replaced by percentages and letter grades. There are weekly spelling tests and history quizzes and science exams. English packets must be completed at home, and big-kid chapter books have to be read for at least 20 minutes each night.

Studying and reviewing and time management are new concepts for a carefree, disorganized eight-year-old. Good thing she has a mother who helps her keep everything straight.

Dinner last night: ham and cheese calzones

Friday, October 10, 2008

What a Morning

A windstorm hit us with a vengeance in the middle of the night. Flying tree limbs smashed against the side of the house. Windows rattled. The front door blew open and a million leaves came billowing in. Mommy children screamed out in fright. It was quite thrilling.

The power went out at around 5:00 a.m. We're early risers around here anyway, so we all got up to start a wood fire, plug in the one phone we have that's not a cordless, eat a cold breakfast by candlelight, and talk about the "olden days." The phone rang! A friend called to let us know that school has been postponed until 10:00.

The power's back on now, so I 'm whipping out a quick post before I run the girls over to school. Even as I type, the wind continues to rage about the house. It's all very loud and wild.

I promise I'll move on to a different subject next week, but in honor of finter, here's one last post about this time of year that's not quite fall, not quite winter . . . 

Dinner last night: pizza

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Make Up Your Mind, Alaska!

Is it fall?

Or is it winter?

'Cause there's no such season as finter . . .

Dinner last night: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gray, corn

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Harvest Decorations

When I was a kid, autumn passed by pretty much unnoticed. Kids dressed up in costumes on Halloween and people set out a nice centerpiece on Thanksgiving. That was about it in the way of Harvest decorations. It wasn't until I moved to Ohio for a couple years that I was introduced to the myriad uses of scarecrows, pumpkins, bales of hay, dried flowers and pressed leaves in beautiful earth tones. Buckeyes are serious about their fall decorating!

The table in our mudroom,
where the family enters the house from the garage.

A touch of garland above the fireplace.

Each fall, I let the girls pick out a piece from the Department 56 Halloween Village series. Since I don't like anything gory or evil-looking and my girls have an aversion to skeletons, we're creating a family-friendly Harvest Festival that includes a caramel apple stand, children in costumes, and some rides.

Dinner last night: cheeseburgers

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

One Day You're Raking Leaves . . .

. . . and the next day, YOU'RE SHOVELING SNOW!

Literally, the next day!!

Do you see the snowflakes? And do you see the leaves still on the trees?! I'd say we have ourselves an early winter.

Several thoughts are crossing my feeble mind. 1) What's up with my camera? Because I took a bunch of really cool pictures of the tops of the trees and of the snow on the ground, and they are nowhere to be found on my card. Also, I got a weird error message a few days ago which could be a lens problem. 2) Why did I go to Hawaii at the end of August? It messed up my head. I returned to a chilly Alaska, and though my brain was telling me summer was over, my heart was saying, "But look at your toenails, Kim. They look so lovely with their purple polish. Show them off in your summer sandals." 3) Where is global warming when you need it?

Dinner last night: chicken pot pie

Monday, October 6, 2008

Guess What We Did This Weekend?

I'll give you a hint . . . 

It involved leaves . . . 

and rakes . . . 

and lots of hard work.

Although, some people didn't work at all . . . 
they just jumped around and had fun,

while other people worked their fingers to the bone. 

Dinner last night: macaroni and cheese

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thumbsuckers Unite!

Remind me again . . . why will my girls all need braces?

Thumbsucking is merely a habit.
And habits can be broken.

I mean, come on, how hard can it be?

They've only been sucking their thumbs
since they were 2 weeks old . . . 

Dinner last night: pizza

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An Apology of Sorts

Little did I know when I started this blog o' mine that the favorite feature would be "Dinner Last Night." While everyone else may enjoy reading my evening menu, I'm starting to resent this daily snippet for tattling on my lack of creativity in the kitchen. I'm really going to cringe tomorrow morning when I have to type, yet again, pizza.

You see, tonight is Survivor night. And if you happened to read my post last week you may have figured out that I'm a bit of a Survivor freak fan. During the Survivor season, I don't cook dinner on Thursdays. To my daughters' great delight, Thursday is pizza night at our house. 

I wish I could guarantee that we'll at least be trying gourmet pies or vegan dough or fresh spinach toppings, but by virtue of the fact that we have established a family tradition of pizza night, you'd be correct in surmising that we are creatures of tedious habit around here. The kids will only eat cheese or pepperoni and my husband demands a meat lovers'. I alternate between Hawaiian or chicken/garlic. Occasionally I'll order a hamburger and mushroom. I also like a plain slice of cheese pizza. Oh, I should mention that I've had a hankering for taco pizza lately. And I wouldn't say no to a nice stuffed-crust veggie/meat combo.

You can see that I don't put much thought into pizza. It's not like I wake up each Thursday morning all giddy with excitement that I get to watch Survivor and have a cheesy piece of heaven for dinner. That would be crazy.

So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that every Friday's "Dinner Last Night" is gonna be pizza. Sorry! But not sorry enough to change my unhealthy ways.

Dinner last night: chicken and rice

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Go Ahead, Make My Day

The joy and wonderment
of seeing autumn leaves fall from the trees.

Dinner last night: corn chowder, cheesy ranch crescent rolls