11.30.2009

Today I...

Woke up early and could not go back to sleep.
Thought about going for a run (who am I kidding, a WALK).
Decided I did not want to have to wash and blow-dry my hair again.
Made a cup of coffee.
Crawled back in bed.
Started reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.
Instantly delighted 6 pages in and anxious to read more.
Put on my jeans which brings the total wear time to one week +1.
Made an effort to conceal my muffin top.
Sighed.
Packed a lunch for The Schoolgirl returning to school after Thanksgiving Break.
Practiced tough love/life skills when The Schoolgirl complained (whined?) about not being able to tuck both of her shirts into her skort.
Told her to try again because she'd have to do it anyway at school when she went to the restroom.
Wrote out a short grocery list.
Drove The Schoolgirl to school.
Said a prayer on the way (not quite the morning devotional I have pictured in my head, but it works for us now).
Shared hugs, kisses I Love Yous and hurry-ups at the car drop off.
Felt like a neglectful mom when I realized it's much colder than I first thought and The Schoolgirl walked off without a jacket.
Rationalized that since it's rainy they probably won't go outside for recess today.
Crossed fingers.
Drove to the grocery store.
Said "Pooh" to the environment when I left the canvas bags in the car because it was raining and I didn't want to run around to the trunk to get them.
Scored a stellar parking spot!
Noticed large number of older men from other countries working as sackers.
Wondered if that was their main job or if it was a second job.
Wondered also what their profession was in their former country.
Wondered what they think about life in America.
Said a mental prayer of thanks for 1) my comfy life and b.) again, my comfy life.
Felt confused when my short grocery list still rang up to be $100.00.
Considered researching those bargain coupon sites (like the Grocery Game).
Felt lazy because those systems/plans require you to be a planner.
Which I am not.
They also require you to be organized.
Which I am not.
Lugged groceries inside.
Put cold things away.
Seasoned and seared a roast and tossed it in the crock-pot.
Rushed to meet girls for bible study.
I was late. I am always late.
Considered root of this lateness for a few moments.
Came home to yummy smell of slowly cooking roast.
Put remaining groceries away.
Ate Triscuits, turkey pepperoni, a slice of colby jack and 6 almonds.
Pretended it was lunch.
Scanned Facebook and saw a post from a high school friend saying that a girl I graduated with died on Thanksgiving Day.
Felt sad.
Reminded myself of my own mortality.
Ignored some dishes in the sink (will do after I hit publish, promise).
Am planning to start third official knitting project later this afternoon!!
Enjoyed a few minutes of computer/TV time before picking The Schoolgirl up early and shuffling off to dance class.
Felt jazzy wearing this with a simple black shirt. (What do you think? Please, be honest because I am walking around with it on like I am so fashion forward, which I'm really not.)

Made this one too:

Am predicting there will be many, many fabric flower creations in my future.

What is your day like so far?

11.28.2009

Belated Gratitude: In Completely Random Order

I am such an I Meant To type of person. The list of these meant tos (no, not Mentos) is way too long. Maybe my 41st year will be the year I do better with that. I mean to.

Of course I meant to do more gratitude posts during the month of Thankfulness (although thankfulness is not regulated to only one month). But I didn't. So now am writing a stream of consciousness type post to document all the many things of which I am thankful, big and small, that just pop into my head in the next few minutes, in no particular order. Because random is fun.

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for coffee. I am thankful for Jesus. I am thankful for my friends ( in real-life and virtual). I am thankful for books. I am thankful for the Bible. I am thankful for chocolate. I am thankful for Spanx. I am thankful for Tex-Mex. I am thankful for the things my body can do even when I don't always treat it kindly. I am thankful for my home. I am thankful for music. I am thankful for Netflix. I am thankful for the library. I am thankful for Starbucks. I am thankful for MAC makeup. I am thankful for my camera(s). I am thankful for blogging. I am thankful for flip-flops. I am thankful for pedicures. I am thankful for my washing machine and dryer. I am thankful for Bare Minerals. I am thankful for liquid soap. I am thankful for my running shoes. I am thankful to live in the United States of America. I am thankful for Texas. I am thankful for a good bra (and sport bra). I am thankful for TV. I am thankful for my vacuum. I am thankful for toilet paper. I am thankful for TarJay. I am thankful for good smelling candles. I am thankful for ice cream. I am thankful for our dog and two cats. I am thankful for M&Ms. I am thankful I learned to knit. I am thankful for my flat iron. I am thankful for Pilot precise extra fine-point gel pens. I am thankful for the many ways available to express my creativity. And I am thankful for The Muppets. Enjoy!

Even if you are a Meant To person like me, it's not too late to jot down a list of the many random things you are thankful for.

11.27.2009

Would You Like Gravy with Your Migraine?

No, but thank you for asking.

I did something yesterday I have never done before.

I slept through Thanksgiving. Oh yes, I did.

Missed it. Pulled a little ol' Rip Van Winkle on Turkey Day. Can you believe that?

All thanks to the not at all pleasant brain pincher known as a migraine.

I woke that morning with a dull throb behind my left eye and tension down my neck. Not a good sign. I tried to pull a preemptive strike by taking ibuprofen but to no avail. Two sips of coffee made me want to hurl and Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was hard to watch with all the swirling colors and noise.

I soon returned to bed to lie as still as possible in a darkened room. That's the only prescription that works (well, since I don't have any stronger meds).

My dad and Peggy were hosting a Thanksgiving lunch and I hated to miss it, but I could hardly stand up to take a shower, much less sit in front of food at that point. Scott and Annelise left me in my pitiful state and I tried to sleep it off. They spent the afternoon enjoying a yummy Thanksgiving lunch and then working it off with several rounds of basketball.

Annelise also tried her hand at snapping self-portraits with Peggy,

and by herself. Hmm...I wonder where she picked up on self-portraits.

When they returned around 4:00, I managed to nibble on a roll from the leftovers Peggy kindly sent home with Scott. Around 6:00 I took a shower (YAY!) and felt revived. I made myself a warmed up plate of turkey and trimmings, which was delicious and thankfully did not make me hurl. We then settled in for our traditional viewing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which was as delightful as always.

I also worked on a new project. Any guesses as to what it might be?

I'm hopeful next Thanksgiving is much better, at least migraine free.

11.26.2009

Whether you are having a traditional holiday meal with family and friends around a lavishly arranged table, or find yourself outside gathered around a ping pong table and a beagle is tossing you a plate of popcorn, toast and jelly beans...

I wish you a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

11.22.2009

Waking Up to Forty-One

It's rather odd to wake up to a whole different number.

Last year was all about embracing a new decade (yikes!), this year is all about jumping feet first into the flip side of forty.

A family self-portrait as we did a little early celebrating at The Galleria Saturday.
So far it's not too shabby.
I don't feel any older.
Although I did go bowling on Friday night and took a basic knitting class Saturday evening.
Maybe a pair of SAS shoes and early bird buffets are just around the corner for me.

11.21.2009

Love in a Mug

Today I am thankful for my family and the fact that they love me. And speak my love language.

Coffee.

11.19.2009

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians..and a Couple of Pilgrims Too

Annelise's class celebrated Thanksgiving a little early with a feast much like the original pilgrims and Indians did so many years ago.

Sort of.

Instead of typical Thanksgiving fare the moms decided on ordering these laptop meals from KFC. Inside each box were two chicken strips, corn on the cob, mac n cheese, and Teddy Grahams. They were quite convenient to just set out on the desks and everything was ready freddie when they came back from PE.

But they were also very beige with only a dash of yellow.

Annelise, however, didn't seem to mind.

Until she dropped her corn on the floor, retrieved it and debated how to proceed,

for about 5 seconds. Germs, sherms and all that.

After lunch it was time to do a craft. One of the totally brilliant and organized moms had individual baggies with all the supplies needed for each child to make a cute hand print turkey with a poem.

Um...no, it wasn't me.

We then had yummy desserts like homemade apple pie and pumpkin squares with cream cheese frosting which some talented moms made.

Again, not me.

No pictures because I was too busy licking my plate. I declared I could NOT be left alone with those pumpkin bars. They were scandalous I tell you, scandalous.

We finished up the party with a Thanksgiving story.

That, I did.

And I brought forks. And napkins. And small plates.

Sheesh, the things we do for our children.

11.18.2009

Beauty Parlors, The DMV and Inflatable Dolls

Not only do I have the treat of turning 41 in a few short days, it's also time to renew my driver's license. I decided to take as much control of an iffy situation as possible. I planned to visit the DMV right after my long overdue hair appointment this morning. My stylist worked her magic with some dabs of color, snips of scissors and the miracles known as a round brush and blow dryer.

I left the salon with a spring in my step.

And then this caught my eye in the car parked right beside me.

I heard some of the stylists chatting and laughing about someone (maybe a client? a worker at a nearby shop?) who drives with an, ahem, inflatable um...friend to ward off hooligans and trouble with a Capital T when she drives alone.

I'm not sure if it's the red feathered hat or flowered print dress that sends shivers of fear down the the spines of any potential carjackers.

I could not resist snapping a picture.

I then made my way to the DMV. See?

Thankfully, there were no lines at all. I was in and out in, like, 10 minutes and became an organ donor to boot.

Fingers crossed my driver's license picture turns out decent since I'll be stuck with it for the next six years. Why aren't there mirrors at the DMV? Or test shots? Or retakes?

By the way, here is my new do. It's basically the same angled bob thing, just shaped up and a few kicky bangs.

Maybe I should get a red feathered hat?

11.16.2009

A Birthday, A Funeral and Snogging

In six days I will celebrate my 41st birthday. That number, while a fact, sounds odd to me. I will officially be on the flip side of forty. In an effort to think young thoughts and keep a white-knuckled grip on my fleeting youth I have decided to read some young adult fiction. I heard about the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series through Goodreads and thought it would be a lighthearted break from all the WWII I've been reading lately.

Annelise and I stopped by the library Saturday afternoon hoping to check out their book sale. As it turned out, we were thirty minutes too late for the sale. However, we made the best of it. In a perfect library moment I found the (almost) complete Georgia Nicholson series and compulsively grabbed all nine books. I know, I have a disease.

Today I started the first book, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and was immediately captivated by the dry humor (British), teen angst and the fact it's written as diary entries. Apparently, snogging is the British term for kissing and fourteen year old Georgia spends a lot of time wondering when she will have her first kiss. Or snog. If ever, even.

I remember that feeling.

I also remember my first snog. Or kiss.

I was thirteen and it was after my grandmother's funeral.

Is that inappropriate?

Anyway. His name was David and he was a cowboy. An 8th grade cowboy if you can imagine. I met him at a church we visited while on a camping trip with my grandparents. We wrote letters and saw each other a few times (not dates really, always with his parents or mine or my grandparents). He fancied himself to be a bull rider (I know) and I even went to see him (with a friend and his parents) once or twice at little piddly rodeos.

But. He had never kissed me.

Were you like me? Curious and completely clueless how kisses were supposed to work? Where did your noses go? Do you close your eyes? Open mouth or closed? What on earth about tongues? It was all too much to worry about. Did you practice on your hand or kiss your mirror? Didja, huh, didja?

What can I say, I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

Then, suddenly, my grandmother died. The Cowboy and his dad went to my grandmother's funeral and came back to the house for lunch with family and friends. As he was getting ready to leave everything started to move in slow motion. Somehow I was standing in the room alone when he came back inside to get his cowboy hat. I know. In something of a blur, he put his arm around me and leaned in to give me a smooch. Maybe two. Then we mumbled goodbye and he left.

That was that. My first snogging session lasted approximately 3 seconds.

But I still remember it. I also remember being slightly shocked and embarrassed and then happy all at the same time.

In a thirteen year old sort of way.

Do you remember your first snog? Do tell...

11.12.2009

Craft Diva Crash and Burn

If you hear a loud noise and see some broken glass, it might be me throwing my sewing machine out the window.

Tuesday afternoon I saw Mique's 30Days post about making these delightful ruffle scarves. Right away I knew it was something I had to try. Like that afternoon. Immediately.

Well, as immediately as right after picking Annelise up from school and stopping at Hancock Fabric on the way home. I found some pretty turquoise knit fabric, but it wasn't jersey knit like the tutorial called for, it was interlock. Does that matter? This, I do not know.

I asked the ladies at Hancock about elastic thread, which is required. This, they did not know.

After whipping up one of my favorite easy go-to meals (taco soup) for supper, it was time to get down to crafty business. Soon the strips were cut, the Singer threaded, the moment of truth arrived. Whirr...stitch...snip. No scrunchy ruffles. Looks like elastic thread could NOT be skipped.

The crafty muse was in full force, I had to find elastic thread that. very. night. I called Jo-Ann's and asked the young girl if they sold elastic thread. This, she did not know.

My inner craft diva knew they did, the Jo-Ann website told her so. So I grabbed my keys, yelled gently called upstairs that I had to make an emergency run to Jo-Ann's. Doing so broke my boycott, but this could not be helped. (We used to have a Jo-Ann's less than five minutes from my house, then they moved to shopping purgatory, otherwise known as Near The Mall, hence the boycott.)

Guess what? They DID sell elastic thread, which is conveniently located near the elastic. I resisted the urge to smugly ever so politely tell the girls this fact, which was hard. Since I was already there, I also got a couple more yards of brightly knit fabric because I had big plans to make loads of ruffle scarves for gifts.

Now it's Thursday. How many ruffle scarves have I made?

Zip, zero, zilch, nada.

I take that back. I have one tester scarf and one that I thought was going to ruffle. See?

As it turns out, elastic thread is a wily, temperamental beast. I either get the tension too tight so there are no ruffles or the tension is too loose, creating ruffles (yea!) but they fall out as soon as you move the scarf. Seeing as scarves are meant to be worn, this could pose a problem.

Are ruffle scarves in my future? This, I do not know.

Don't worry, I'm not giving up. I won't let the elastic thread beat me. I won't. Um...any one have any tips?

11.09.2009

Of Bouncy Castles, Birthday Cake and, um...Beer

Disclaimer:

First: This is possibly a Judgey Judgerson post. Hate me.
2: I live a sheltered life.
C. I like my bubble.

And, if at all possible, birthday parties should not be scheduled on a Sunday afternoon.

I knew something was a little different as Annelise and I entered the home and made our way through to the back patio. I took notice of the large number of adults mingling in groups here and there, and then I noticed the the kiddy section where children were making crafts (bracelets, crowns or coloring a paddleball) or waiting in line for a clown to make their balloon animal.

Annelise set her present down (another Lego City RV camper set) and got in line. No one had really greeted us, so I made my way to stand near a familiar mom. As I stood there chatting I glanced behind me and noticed a dad holding a beer. Then I noticed a few more between various moms and dads. Okay. I hoped that the brewskis were in a different cooler than the juice boxes.

As the afternoon wore on I noticed something else, the kids were doing kid things and the adults were obviously doing their things, yet few adults interacted with the kids.

At a birthday party for a child.

Not only was there a clown making balloon animals and face painting, there was a bouncy castle with a slide and a cotton candy machine. The kids basically moved from activity to activity, or played in the playroom inside the house as their mood struck. The adults occasionally checked on them or when the child came to find his or her parent. The kids loved it, but it seemed soooooo over the top indulgent (to me) and it broke my heart a little that the kids didn't even realize they were being ignored while they were entertained.

After almost TWO hours no cake had been cut and not one present opened. I realized that this kind of party could go on all evening. What on earth? Would they break out the tiki torches around the bouncy castle once the sun set?

Finally, finally, finally, the mom cut the cake. Soon thereafter, we said our thank yous and goodbyes. (Which was the first time the mom spoke to me, by the way.)

As we made our way to the car I could have sworn I heard another beer tab pop.

Annelise was oblivious to the whole adult scene, which was a blessing. To me, a birthday party for a six year old child should be child centered, and even with all the child party bells and whistles, this one was not. It made me uncomfortable. And sad.

11.07.2009

It's Come Down to This

Blogging on a Saturday night. Do I live on the edge or what?

Since we can't watch Friday Night Lights until January (Boo. Hiss.), we decided to catch the last football game of my alma mater Friday night. I had been nursing a headache for a few hours but downed some ibuprofen and put on my best game face. We ran in to some friends and sat with them which made the game more fun. Annelise and Kamri cheered, watched, chatted, ate popcorn, peanuts and candy and played spies (this was a HIT, they crouched down and spied on everyone underneath the bleachers).

We (Clear Creek) were playing our big rival team, Clear Lake with a chance at the playoffs riding on this last game. Sadly, we lost, 28 to 20. It's funny, when I was in high school there were two high schools in our district (Creek and Lake), now there are four with another opening next year. Talk about urban sprawl.
The girls were also treated to some perks. Mrs. Edna, a lady from our church and a teacher at the high school was so sweet to take Annelise and Kamri to meet some of the cheerleaders, Willie the Wildcat and some band members too. They LOVED it!
Since my supper consisted of a few peanuts, a few sips of shared Sprite and some Skittles, needless to say my headache came back by the time the game was wrapping up. I was beyond ready to scrape my contacts out and hit the hay.
Saturday morning, Scott got up at the hiney crack of dawn to go play golf. Annelise and I both slept in a bit (praise and glory) then got ourselves together to go to TarJay. On a Saturday. Blech. I H-A-T-E driving near the mall on a Saturday, but since I had waited until the last possible moment to buy a birthday present (1.5 hours before the party), we had to venture into shopper purgatory.
Once again, we put on our game faces.

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to shop for school friend birthday parties. Since I don't really know the children very well it's hard to pick out something they would like. I have this unwritten rule that a birthday present for a school friend should cost no more than $15-$20 (preferably $15). I also try to apply the rule of Would I Want This In My House? (especially to crafty things that come with glitter/glue/beads/8,689 small parts or dolls of questionable character/mature clothing and accessories.) We looked down Barbie row, paused beside the crafty things, wavered about the Pixos and Chixos, glanced at games, bypassed stuffed life-like animals that require batteries and ended up on the Lego aisle.
This was good. I like Legos. Annelise likes Legos. Therefore, we shall buy Legos.
I mentioned before how much Annelise loved building and playing with the Lego City RV camper, so when she saw it on the shelf she wanted to get it for her school friend. It met my criteria, so I agreed. I also asked her if she'd like to get the same set for her other school friend's (whose party happens to be tomorrow), so we grabbed another one. We then made a beeline for the gift bags, tissue and cards. How much do I lurrve one stop bullseye shopping?!?!
Since we still had a little time before the party we hit the $ spot to gather items for Annelise's shoebox gifts. Every year her school collects shoeboxes filled with small gifts for a child in need (part of the Operation Christmas Child) and has a special chapel before the Thanksgiving holidays begin. I'm usually such a terrible procrastinator (hello, present shopping 1.5 hours before party), but at least I'll get this project done ahead of time. I felt a little guilty having $30 worth of Legos in my cart for two school friends and then shopping the $ Spot for trinkets for a needy child. (Not that I'm anti-$ Spot at all, I'm not, I love it and you can find some really good things there.) At least $ Spot shopping allows you to buy lots of little things, so maybe it all evens out.
We then went to the birthday party which was at a local Little Gym. Annelise had a great time doing all the gymnastics and playing with her friends. When it came time to open presents, all the kids gathered around the birthday girl. There were oohs and aahs over the various girly craft/princess/Barbie themed gifts. One of the biggest ooh-aah was over a plastic winged horse. I began to fear I had made the wrong call on the gift.
Then she opened Annelise's gift.
And said, "Oh. It's Legos."
And went right to the next present.
Sigh.
I hope tomorrow's birthday girl is more of a fan of creative building play.
On the way home from the party we stopped at a Dollar Tree (lurrve Dollar Tree) to look for more shoebox items. Annelise asked me to buy her a small journal with Troy from High School Musical on it. I suggested she choose a larger notebook or drawing pad because she would get more paper, ergo more drawing power. She was stuck on Troy. We reached a stalemate. I told her to either choose a bigger pad or if she really wanted Troy she had to give me a $1.00 plus tax from her piggy bank when we got home.
I know. I'm so mean.
Scott got home from his golf outing soon after we got home. While I was in the bathroom, she hit him up. When I came out, she handed me a crisp $1.00 bill. Since it wasn't crumpled, I figured she had asked him for the money (the clever stinker). I told her to give it back and get me a $1.00 and a dime from her piggy bank, which she did.
I know. I'm so mean.
On a funny end note, this is Annelise's first aid kit. Yes, she made it herself.

For weeks, even months, she wanted us to buy her a first aid kit. Begged even. When this did not yield fruit, she put together her own.
I know. I'm so mean.
She found an empty wipe container, decorated it (grinning from ear to ear because I let her use Sharpies), and gathered a few things from our medicine cabinet. A few band-aids, Q-tips, gauze, an Ace bandage, some Purell and Calomine lotion. She was in hog heaven.
This afternoon Scott bumped his head on the golf cart and came home with a scrape. Nurse Annelise went into action. She dabbed it with a wet cotton ball (as water dripped down his face), mopped that up with a paper towel, and then sprayed Bactine on his head. We stopped her before she busted out the Calomine lotion.
Also, in the five hours since purchasing the Troy journal, she has already used at least 10-15 pages. I did not say I told you so.
I know. I'm not that mean.

11.05.2009

Sink Full of Thanks

Look quickly and you might see a sink full of dirty dishes. You might sigh deeply (loudly?), turn on the faucet, briefly think to yourself, "Can't my shiny sink last for more than 15 minutes?", rinse them off and put them in the dishwasher. Take a longer look and you might see something completely different. You'll see the turquoise bowl placed in the sink by my husband before he left for work.

I'm thankful for his job and his willingness and ability to provide for his family. I am thankful that because of him I am able to stay home.

You will also notice the red bowl with unfinished Cheerios and the empty glass from Annelise's breakfast.

I am thankful our daughter is healthy and active, even if she tells me her belly is stuffed so she has a few minutes to play before leaving for school. I'll pour her a smaller bowl next time.

Finally you see the knife used to spread peanut butter and jelly on toasted wheat bread, and then cut it in half (on the diagonal, for those curious few) for Annelise's lunch.

I am thankful that I have the resources to easily shop for, store and prepare meals for my family. I am also thankful they love me even when there are long gaps between my cooking sprees.

I am thankful I took the time to notice today.

This month provides the perfect opportunity for me to reflect on my many blessings, both large and small. It's the small ones I usually overlook. From time to time throughout November I plan to reflect on the numerous things for which I am grateful and blog about them. Feel free to join me on your own blog and I'll definitely pop over for a visit.

What are some things you could take a longer look at and see the opportunity for giving thanks?

More Thoughts From My Book Nook {and an AHA Moment}

Could somebody please slap me? Thanks. How long have I been blogging and occasionally posting book reviews the hard way? TOOooo long. I would update my Goodreads page, then I'd search for images, find links and write a blog post. Duh! I was basically reinventing the wheel each time like a cave man with no short term memory.

Today is a new day because I discovered Goodreads has a widget thing that does it for you. It's probably been available for, like, ever and I'm just realizing it. Again, I say DUH! (You can say it with me if you'd like, I don't mind.) I've been faithfully chipping away at my list for the Fall Into Reading 2009 Challenge. In case you missed it, here is my first fall review post. I must say, I like having a set list to choose from, it seems to keep me on track. The list though is of course flexible, I recently read two WWII espionage books not on my original list, but were a nice surprise.

Here are some of my thoughts about my latest reads:

My Life in France


My Life in France by Julia Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thoroughly enjoyed reading about Julia Child's life as she discovered her true calling later in her life. She was honest, had a great sense of humor and a spirit of adventure. I can't say I'll ever try French cooking, but she made me want to.


John Adams John Adams by David McCullough

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wavered between 4 and 5 stars, so maybe I'll call it 4.5 worthy. John Adams was such an interesting man with many strengths and flaws. I am impressed with his journaling habits (he would definitely be a blogger today), his self-reflection, his humor, his groundedness, his willingness to serve his country, his abilty to perservere when the deck was stacked against him, his love for his wife Abigail and his family, and on and on.

This was not a dry, yawn-ish biography at all, very enjoyable and nicely paced. I also liked reading portions of the letters between John and his wife Abigail and between John and Thomas Jefferson. Makes me sad that paper correspondence is such a lost art today.

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2) The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second in the YA sci-fi/fantasy series centering around half-blood (half human, half Greek god) Percy Jackson and his fellow half-blood friends. It was a fun read and helped me brush up on my Greek mythology at the same time. I've heard the later books are even better, so I look forward to reading them.

The Spies of Warsaw

The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While I enjoy reading about WWII, I had never read a typical spy/espionage novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will read more of Alan Furst's novels in the future.





The Unlikely Spy The Unlikely Spy by Daniel Silva

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I never really thought I would enjoy WWII espionage novels, but as it turns out, I do. Certain parts were too explicit, but the overall story was paced well and interesting.




Prayers for Sale Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I don't know. I usually enjoy Sandra Dallas, but this one seemed dull to me. Sweet story, but kind of...blah.





When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sweet YA/middle school story about friendship, belonging and time travel. Yes, time travel.





The Leisure Seeker: A Novel The Leisure Seeker: A Novel by Michael Zadoorian

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I liked the basic story, that of a terminally ill woman and her husband who has Alzheimers, taking off on a last RV road trip. Against the advice of their family and their doctors, they leave Detroit and head out to California and Disneyland by way of Route 66. They share adventures and memories along the way, which is really sweet. What earned this book only 2 stars was the coarse language used way too liberally. C'mon, one or three here and there, okay, but this was ridiculous.

Assassination Vacation Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Very enjoyable, if it's appropriate to say you enjoyed reading about three presidential assassinations, that is. Lots of historical tidbits, humorous observations and comparisons to today's political issues.



The Partly Cloudy Patriot The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Entertaining selection of essays full of Sarah's wit and perspective. Topics range from historical political events to modern day happenings.


I still have several books on my challenge list, although I'm not pressuring myself to race through them or anything just to finish the challenge. My inquiring nosy mind now wants to know what you have been reading lately. Do tell.

11.04.2009

Let's Do Lunch

I am nothing if not a creature of habit, even when it comes to packing Annelise's lunch each morning. Most days involve the following:

*a sandwich (either PB&J or ham and colby jack)
*a hard boiled egg
*yogurt or applesauce
*fruit and/or veggies (either carrots, tomatoes, celery, cucumber)
*a cheese stick (if it's PB&J day)
*sometimes graham crackers or goldfish
*water

Something that has become a tradition is a little sticky note from me stuck to the inside of her lunch box. She looks forward each day to my silly little sayings or pictures and might be upset if I forgot to add a note one morning. Who knew?

I can't say I'm overly green in my packaging, I use baggies, plastic wrap, paper napkins and plastic spoons. I could probably improve on that. The other day when we were at the grocery store she saw a plastic Crayola sandwich carrier and almost fell on her knees begging in aisle 8.

I gave in.

So now I'll use that instead of baggies, at least for her sandwich. Just doing my part for the environment you know.

She hasn't complained about her lunches, she still seems to like what I pack and usually eats it all. But I want to be prepared just in case. So I am turning to you, my bloggy buddies, to share your lunch ideas so I can have some back-ups if I'm ever in a lunch box crisis.

What do you usually pack for your child's (children's) lunch? Do you pack green or are baggies your best friend? Any tips on that?

Thanks friends!

11.03.2009

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl

The other day after school, Annelise asked if she could go outside. After I said yes, I noticed she was carrying her new blank journal and a couple of markers.

Hmm...I was curious.

I grabbed my camera and peeked through the window.

Turns out she was sketching. Our garage. And some flowers.

This kept her occupied for quite a while then she burst through the door shouting for Scott and I to admire her creative efforts. We oohed and ahhed as she beamed from ear to ear.

I will try to remember that smile and that excitement in her voice every time I kick a stray Crayon or two across the floor, move the piles of masterpieces so we can eat supper or find marker marks on her clothes.

Maybe I should also buy stock in paper and Crayola products.

11.01.2009

The Freaks Come Out at Night

Is there anything sadder than a jack-o-lantern the morning after Halloween? Well, of course, yes, I'm sure there actually are sadder things, but work with me here, m'kay?

It's only the day after Halloween, but everything BOO-related already seems terribly dated and tired. Time to move on to the pilgrims and the turkeys I suppose.

Last night though, the jack-o-lantern carved by Scott and Annelise looked perfect on our front porch:

We walked a few houses down to go trick or treating at Pappo and Grandma's house.

They scurried to find some candy and came up with some Hershey Treasures they had squirrelled away. Annelise, I mean Padme Amidala, didn't seem to mind.

We then ventured out to a local Halloween carnival at one of our city parks. I wish we had gone earlier in the evening because a slightly older crowd was in full force. It's true, the freaks come out at night, even at 8:00 pm. Think scarily dressed teens, scantily clad nurse uniforms, Goth skeleton baby daddy pushing his offspring in a stroller, and a freaky troll man carrying a Chucky doll. Thankfully, she was oblivious to all of that since there were several games to play and a bouncy castle thing to jump in. We all agreed to skip the haunted house.

We finished up the evening with a trip to Dairy Queen for some frozen goodness and then our traditional family viewing of the classic It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

Hope y'all had a boo-rific Halloween and got more than a rock in your treat bags!

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