Monday, March 31, 2008

Moms for Modesty

Back in the day when I signed the Moms for Modesty petition, it was hosted on a normal blog like this one. The petition was so successful that the woman who came up with it has started a blog just for Moms for Modesty. You can find it here. If you signed the petition before the new site, you'll have to go and re-sign it. And you can get new code for your page as well.

Some people have had hard times finding modest clothes at Target for their children. I found that it was a little tough, but the clothing was there. Could I make an entire wardrobe for Emlyn from them? No, but the few things that I found rounded her wardrobe out nicely. I wrote about it here.

A while back I also found a survey about modesty. It made me remember that even as a married woman I need to be careful what clothing I wear and the message it portrays.

Maybe my new blog coach Amy can teach me how to link the picture on my sidebar to the blog. Please, Amy? Please??? (EDIT: Amy helped me and now the pretty picture is linked to the official Moms for Modesty website. Thanks Amy!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Marathon Kids

Emlyn came home with a T-shirt that said she is a Marathon kid. It turns out that over the course of the school year, she has completed 26.2 miles of running or walking. That adds up to a marathon, and I am so proud of her!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Candied Pecan Salad

This recipe was given to me by Beth. It's yummy and non-traditional as far as salads go. I'm taking salad to a potluck tonight, and I'm tired of making the same old salad (tomatos, carrots, cucumber, lettuce). So I'll be making this one, which I already know is yummy, and a beet salad, which I don't know if it's yummy but I have beets and I have to use them, right? Sorry in advance if it's yucky! Anyway here's the apple one.

Candied Pecans and Apple Salad
Serves 6
1 apple, sliced
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon sugar
lettuce or mixed greens
sliced onion (optional)
toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup vinegar
1/8 cup canola oil
shot of tabasco
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

candy the pecans by combining the 1 T water, 2T sugar, and pecans. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, then microwave 30 seconds. Let them dry.

Make the dressing by combining the sesame seeds, vinegar, oil, tabasco, sugar, water, and salt and pepper.

Mix everything together and serve.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My new laundry room

You may recall that my dryer broke. I had a fun time hanging clothes for a couple weeks, and might even put up a line in the backyard sometime, but it is nice and easy to have a new dryer.

The most exciting part to me (after all a dryer is a dryer and that's not very interesting) is that I got to make a new folding counter. The old counter only went over the washer because our dryer had stuff sticking up in the back of it. So occasionally things would fall back behind and etc. Here's another link to the old laundry room which I loved also.

I took myself to Lowe's and told them how big to cut my plywood (34 by 70 inches). I covered the plywood with a vinyl tablecloth (they are out of season right now so I had to get one from my good friend Beth- thanks Beth!).

I found some scrap wood in the garage and screwed it into the wall where some studs were so that it would hold up the other end of the counter.
There's still room for my basket to the left of the washer. I think the new tablecloth really brings out the color in my great-grandma's painting. I originally thought the red would be too bright, but it really looks nice in this picture.

Those baskets hold: Emlyn's underwear, Denali's underwear, Emlyn's socks, Denali's socks, and the unmatched socks. There's a trashcan up there too.

Did I mention that this new counter goes to three walls and is 34 by 70 inches? That's enormous! And lovely. I bet I could put 6 or 7 loads of unfolded laundry up there. Wow.

Camping with Grandpa

Last weekend we went camping at Inks Lake with Joel's dad. While I was a little packed out (3 trips in 3 weekends) and wasn't in the best of moods, I hope that some of us had a good time. I got some precious pictures of Denali having a very serious conversation with Grandpa.

Emlyn shared a play or story or something that she had written.

Grandpa and Denali are still talking seriously about something.

Emlyn decided to make some silly faces with her apple in hand.

Here's a view of the countryside and the lake.

It was a nice trip. We got to go canoeing and try to swim in the very cold water. We also went hiking and mostly just hung out at the campsite.

The Sneaky Chef: Book Review

Normally I do book reviews on my other blog but this one also raises other questions so I'll review it here.

My mom bought me "The Sneaky Chef" for Christmas. It's got lots of recipes with vegetables and fruits hidden in them so that kids don't mind eating their veggies and parents can rest easy.

I admit, when I first heard about these books (there's a new one by another author called Deceptively Delicious) I was all "that is so wrong to trick your kids. That's like lying."

But then I started reading this cause my mom gave it to me, and the part that sold me on the idea was this one:
We don't want dinner time to be a battle. We want children to have the right to assert their independence and make their own choice how much to eat and listen to their stomachs. We don't want them to grow up with hangups about food. This book just helps you add these good nutrients to their diet so you don't have to worry if they don't eat the side of broccoli. You know they're getting nutrients.

So I decided to give it a try. So far I've cooked about 3 of the recipes. One was "Total Tacos." It adds tomato paste, blueberries, and spinach. It looked sick, but Joel said it was pretty good (he would have cut the tomato paste in half). I enjoyed it too. The kids already don't usually eat taco meat so of course they didn't eat much of this either. I also made the guacamole recipe, which had added peas, collard greens, and something else. I wasn't impressed with that recipe, and the kids don't eat guacamole anyway, and guac is pretty healthy already. I think I'll pass on that one in the future.

One of the other recipes I tried added yams and carrots to boxed mac and cheese. The kids and my sister ate it up and really enjoyed it. Joel wasn't impressed but then I've got a fabulous mac and cheese recipe from scratch that he LOVES. But mac and cheese is easy from a box and we can do that when Joel's not home.

One of the things I liked is that you can make the purees ahead of time and freeze them. I put about a 1/4 cup into muffin cups in the freezer, and when they're frozen I take them out of the tin and put them in a baggie. That way they are all there, ready to be snuck into a recipe.

Anyway if you're looking for a way to get some extra nutrients into your family without hassle and complaining, here's a good way to do it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Horton Hears a Who

I took Denali and my sister Ruth to see Horton Hears a Who today. I liked it and thought it was pretty close to the feel of the book and true to Dr. Seuss.

On the other hand it was way too scary for Denali (3) and probably Emlyn (5). I wish that children's movies didn't have to be so scary. I think Finding Nemo is too scary as well as a lot of other Disney movies.

Some day my kids will be old enough for these movies, but it's just not yet.

Adventures in Motivation

My volunteer job at Emlyn's school consists of having two kindergarteners use a computer program to help their fluency in English. The program is pretty good but the kids started to get very bored with it. All you do is listen to a sentence and then choose which of four pictures matches that sentence. I struggled for a few weeks, trying to figure out how to motivate them to do this program. I couldn't force them (of course) so I had to make them want to do it. I tried various things, and some things worked tolerably well.

Finally I was just frustrated. I knew that they knew the words, and they knew what they were supposed to be doing. They just didn't want to do it. I had discovered that they love just as much as Emlyn does. Starfall is educational as well, and could even be construed as teaching English as a Second Language because it is very simple. So with the okay from my supervisors I went ahead and started using Starfall as a motivator. Once they did a certain amount of time on the other program, they were welcome to go on Starfall. This also helped with the management of two children because one could be on Starfall and one could be on the other program. I could supervise the official program while the other child was on Starfall.

This helped somewhat but the kids were still not excited about using the other program, and they certainly weren't doing those questions fast.

Eventually one day I drew some empty lines on a paper. I think the first day I drew 10. And I told the child that after he got a question right I would draw a star on a line, and when all the lines were filled up he could go on Starfall.

If I had known in January how excited a 5 year old would be about stars drawn on a paper, I would have jumped on it immediately. Today, about 2 weeks after I started with the stars, the first child who wouldn't do the official program at all did 25 questions in about 6 minutes. The other child did 40 questions in about 8 minutes. Then they both got free time on Starfall, which is also learning (just more fun and not as overt).

The lesson here? Try stars on a paper. You might be surprised at how excited they are about filling those blanks.

Also, if you haven't taken your child to look at I encourage you to do so.

(I am not paid by Starfall. I really just love it that much.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Products I do not Like

Well today I have a sequel: products I do not like.

That product is Denny's. We ate there yesterday before the shopping trip, and my jeans are a lot looser today than they were yesterday. Evidently Denny's makes me bloat.

Hopefully my pants will shrink just a bit.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Products that are Great

Amy suggested that I write about some products that I love.

My favorite today is Lee Jeans. They fit real women with actual curves. And now they're stretchy too. They fit me when I was a size 18, and they fit me now that I'm a 10.

Today I picked up a pair with some sort of new comfort waistband. They are so comfy. For reals.

That's all the products I'm going to promote today.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Love Spring Break

I didn't realize how much of a toll it was on our family, having to get up at a set time every day to get Emlyn and myself to school, ready to volunteer every single school day.

Then this week is Spring Break and we are having a great time. Emlyn is missing the routine of it all, but it's worth it. We took a long weekend trip to Abilene and Whitney, and then on Tuesday I got up at 9 am. Wednesday and Thursday I got up at 8 am. It's just fabulous.

The hanging clothes up to dry thing is going fairly well. It's actually more of a motivation to get the laundry done every day because it's a lot easier to have one load hanging than it is to have five loads hanging. Especially because we don't have a line outside.

Well gotta get to a bit of cleaning. Spring Break rocks!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Rodeo Day

This morning Emlyn had Rodeo Day at school. Evidently in this day and age a big part of a cowboy's job is digging for gold. Last year in PreK that was an activity, and this year it is too. Also riding on fake wooden horses. Now I have never been to a real rodeo (I'm a CA girl) but I do not think that those are parts of a real rodeo. But it's Kindergarten. What do you expect?

Emlyn was very excited to wear her cowgirl outfit that originally debuted on Halloween. It has lots of pink, if you recall.

Today there were slight modifications to the costume but overall it looked the same as in October.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Denali and the Potty

We have been potty training at my house, and even though it's a debate who is being trained, I still am excited whenever poop goes in there. Every poop in the potty is one less for a diaper. And that's a great thing.

Evidently I set an interesting example. Every time Denali goes into the potty on his own, he pees and then yells "Just a minute!"

I often have to yell that because the kids are fighting or calling for me.

"Just a minute!"

600 Posts

I totally missed my 600th post because I was too busy with carbon monoxide.

So this is my 602nd post. Pretty crazy that I've been blogging that long.

As far as your water heater is concerned, it might be a good idea to just go look at it. There should be a duct coming right up from the middle of it, covering the CO outlet. If it's not connected that's a bad thing.

We will have to get a new dryer. Ours is going to be too expensive to fix considering the age of it.

So I will be hanging my clothes till the next paycheck (or even longer- I might start to like it!).

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Weird Happenings All Around

Well there's no natural gas leaks, but the lady who came out noticed that our carbon monoxide vent from our hot water heather wasn't connected. So all that CO has been leaking into our garage for I don't know how long (we hardly ever mess with our hot water heater). We also need to reconnect the overflow hose and get some better CO detectors.

Who knew my day would be so interesting as all that?


I've never had anything I considered to be a gas leak before, but today I called the "gas emergency" line. I had smelled something in my closet ever since the plumber came and replaced our faucet, but I figured it was just "under the house smell". Well yesterday my friend Cat said she smelled gas. So we decided I should call it in even if it's very faint.

Turns out they take these things very seriously. Someone will be out here within the hour.

Should I tell them I waited almost 2 months before calling?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Lovely Weekend

I had a great weekend with Joel. We pawned off the kids for a couple days and went camping and rock climbing. Joel did 30 climbs in one day, which is an insane number. I belayed him (holding the other end of the rope so the climber doesn't fall).

I got some good sleep thankfully. The past few nights have been better.

Today I am cleaning my house. I started the dryer and heard a loud bang/pop. So I turned the dryer off. Thankfully I have some great friends who have taught me what to do in case you have to dry your clothes with out a dryer. So I'm cool. I don't even know if it is really broken, but I'm not going to let the lack of a dryer keep me from a clean house today.

It's raining and beautiful.