Thursday, November 29, 2007

I come by it naturally

I'm not a follow the recipe kind of a cook. I mean, I follow the recipe the first time, but after that, all bets are off. A little of this, a pinch of that, throw some of this in there and voila! Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so much.

I made ham earlier in the week and wanted to make my great-grandmother's ham potpie with the leftovers. I've never actually made this recipe because my mom always does it. I'm a wimp and I don't really like to touch meat that much. Pennsylvania Dutch potpie doesn't actually have a crust, instead you make dumplings with the dough and drop them into the boiling broth.

So I pulled out my grandma's recipe and here is what I found:

1 c celery
1/2 c onion
2 diced potatoes

Dumplings: Flour, salt and enough leftover broth to make pie dough. Cut into squares and drop into boiling broth. Cook in covered pot for 1/2 hour.

So I guess on the broth and the ham parts. And the dumpling part. Okay, I guessed on pretty much all of it. And I can pretty much guarantee it is not going to taste like hers used to. But hopefully we will still be able to eat it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I should have pictures to go with this post

but I have been a bad scrapbooker and left the camera at home so I could just enjoy watching my kids learn to ice skate.

And it has been an ear-splitting grin kind of adventure. Charlie took to it like he was born with skates on his feet. After only two lessons, he is a tasmanian devil out there. Gracie is a little bit more timid... which is odd because in real life, it's the exact opposite. But she is tiptoeing along, even after watching the figure skaters, determined that she is going to be a hockey player.

Tonight the hockey team that has the rink after lessons didn't feel like waiting to get on the ice so the boys (and they were all boys) were racing around the fledgling skaters, dodging and jumping and being boys. And then one of them got his finger caught under someone else's skate. Ugh. It was at that moment that I decided I'm not sure I have the stomach for this sport. My kids are undeterred though and convinced that this is the coolest thing on earth. So on we skate.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I had a hint

what kind of day it was going to be when we put in Homeward Bound to watch (for the 763rd time) and I cried at every single emotional part. The part where Shadow asks why Peter is leaving. The part when the animals set out on their journey home. When the family finds out the animals are gone. When Sassy goes over the waterfall. When Shadow finds the little girl. When the her dad finds Shadow and the little girl. When the family finds out the animals are found. You get the idea, right?

It's just the kind of day when even the smallest task seems insurmountable. And annoying. And like I just finished doing it 5 minutes ago so why do I have to do it all over again. You have those kinds of days, right? Please say yes.

It was the kind of day where if someone had a whole container of leftover cheesy potatoes from Thanksgiving in the refrigerator, someone might be tempted to eat all of them. Smothered in chocolate. Okay, not the chocolate part. But you believed me for a second didn't you?

Friday, November 23, 2007

A shameless plug

Have you ever thought about digital scrapbooking, even for just a minute? Have you seen all the cool stuff you can do with brushes and fonts and all the great products that are available?

Now I'm a paper and glue girl at heart but I have to admit I'm curious and I've played with Photoshop Elements a little bit but it is not intuitive for me. So... I've signed up for Digital Scrapbook Basics here at

The class is being taught by my friend and 2007 Creating Keepsakes Hall of Famer Paula Girarde and if that's not enough to convince you, check out the awesome kit you get from Katie Pertet at Designer Digitals. All for only $20!

So this is my shameless invitation for you to come and join me in this class. You can even download a trial version of Photoshop Elements for this class FREE! How can you beat that deal?!!?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

And hi Jen! Don't make fun - I warned you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Things I wonder

why does one of my cats like to play with my hair all night long?

why is my husband's boss making him interview someone at 9:00 on Black Friday morning smack dab in the middle of the biggest shopping plaza in our area?

why isn't Ghosthunters on everyday?

why shouldn't I eat Halloween candy for breakfast?

why didn't Scott McClellan tell us the President was lying back when it could have made a difference?

what am I going to be when I grow up?

where did all of this laundry come from?

will anyone in my family eat poached pears and brie if I bring that for Thanksgiving?

can I take a nap yet?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

There are no pink tutus here

Although I only lasted in ballet for about a second, (I did competitive highland dancing. With swords.) I confess that I've always had a secret hope that my daughter would show an interest in dance and that she would show an aptitude toward graceful, flowing movement belied by the clumsy "can't walk and chew gum at the same time" genes passed on to her by her father and me.

And while Grace is at times a "girly girl", she is mostly not. My mother's description as a tomboy princess fits her to a tee. So she said "no" to dance and signed up for gymnastics. Then she took a break from gymnastics to try karate. And then we took her to an ice hockey game.

I should have suspected something was up from the start. We sat in my husband's company box and rather than bounce around the box and play on the couch and watch tv, she sat in her seat paging through the program, asking about the players' pictures. She showed particular interest in Mario Lemieux's picture when we told her he was one of the greatest players ever. When she discovered Mario was sitting in the box next to ours, she developed quasi-like paparazzi skills. She pointed at his picture. "Dat's Mario. He is wearing a blue shirt tonight."

And when the game started, she was riveted. She turned to me halfway through the first period and told me she was going to play this game. Then she asked her dad if girls were allowed to play this game. We honestly didn't know. We know soccer, football, t-ball... but next to nothing about hockey. But it turns out that there are lots of opportunities for girls to play hockey. So she is trading in her karate uniform for skates.

When I asked her last night if she was interested because of the ice skating, she said yes. Then she looked me straight in the eye and said "and because of the hitting." That's my girl.

Monday, November 19, 2007

That crazy amino acid tryptophan

Well, scientists says it's really not the tryptophan that makes you sleepy on Thanksgiving and it's really the carbs but tryptophan is much more fun to say. Anyway, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my in-laws here yesterday and it was a lovely day right up until the tryptophan kicked in during the Steelers game and I fell asleep and missed it all right up until I woke up just in time to see the Jets score in overtime. It would have been better to sleep through that part too.

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions? Aside from the meal of course. Our is The Muppets Christmas Carol. Best Christmas movie ever and it goes on as soon as we're done eating. This might be why my husband often decides to go home as soon as we're done eating because there is no football at my parent's house. And then the girls play Scrabble. Come to think of it, I'm surprised Justin doesn't go home even earlier. The last two years we've had a sick kid and he's used that as an excuse, if they stay healthy through Thursday he might have some trouble.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Some more links for you

because I like to share like that!

This sight is really cool. It's a vocabulary test and they will donate 10 grains of rice for every word that you get correct. I got 25 right on my first visit. Check out the donation schedule at the end... pretty darn amazing.

Have you discovered the Pioneer Woman yet? My friend Marci got me hooked and it has quickly become my favorite place to visit on the web. Check out her series of love story entries.

Speaking of Marci, you really owe it to yourself to visit her blog and take in some of her fabulousness.

Did I mention that Tim Holtz has a blog now? ;)

This blog belongs to a very creative, talented woman named Christine Middlecamp. Christine's work has this indescribable quality to it - it's full of details and surprises and well, it's simply amazing. I've long since given up trying to scrap like her but I love to check out her blog and see what she is up to. Her husband is struggling with brain cancer but she has a very positive, inspirational outlook that is equally amazing.

Have fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I mean, it snowed today. For a minute. There are many things I prefer about the colder months. (Mostly that the colder months are not the hot, humid months.) But one thing I do not prefer is pumping gas in the driving wind and sleet.

We are hosting Thanksgiving here this weekend. And I just remembered to take the turkey out of the freezer this afternoon. Think it will thaw in time?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The next iron chef

(I am blog cheating this morning and copying this straight from an e-mail I sent to my husband. Love you honey!)

I put Charlie to the task of making his peanut butter and jelly sandwich for his lunch. It wasn't long before I heard him talking to himself... "it's beYOOtiful, such a lovely shade of magenta... it's simply aMAZing." I asked what was going on and he lifted the first piece of bread proudly in the air and said "just look at that. LOOK at that color. It is amazing." I left him to continue his work and shortly I hear (in the deepest, most iron chef-iest voice "it is FINISHED!" When I complimented him on his enthusiasm, he replied "I made the perfect sandwich. It is simply PERFECT."

And I guess it is!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another funny thing she said

while playing with alphabet blocks (you know, the ones that have a picture of an alligator next to the letter A.)

"Mommy!" in a horrified and very indignant voice.

"What?!" (that's me) in a very alarmed tone afraid that something is seriously amiss.

"Crocadator doesn't start with a A! It starts with a Q!"

And how do you begin to argue with that logic?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I moved out of the dining room

Because I was tired of having to clean up my mess for dinner. Or tired of us eating around my supplies when I didn't clean it up for dinner. It's not perfect but it's an improvement. My family thinks so too. Glitter and spaghetti don't go together that well.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Saturday!

Finally something to share. I did this for a recent call in which you had to scraplift the original layout. It got no love and since I can't submit it anywhere else, I will share it here! Charlie was a mummy for Halloween last year... I haven't figured out what I'm going to do with this year's Darth Vader pictures.

The kids have been advocating that they need to get out of the house so we're going to take them to see Ratatouille at the maxi-saver theater this afternoon. Justin has to work most of the day so it's quite convenient that the theater is only a few minutes from his office. Now I just have to survive the part of the day that lasts until the movie starts.

I've been inspired by being inspired lately. Does that make any sense? I've been stalking pictures of bulletin boards and Christmas projects and the like. And yesterday I made my own little bulletin board and clipped up things that make me happy. And it makes me happy. I don't have a scrap space or even an office so it perhaps looks a little odd hanging in the corner of the dining room. But since the dining room has long been taken over by scrap supplies, I suppose it works.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The monkey house smells bad

Well, not anymore. But Grace had a wicked stomach virus yesterday. Everything is washed and lysoled and disinfected. So I guess it might still smell bad but at least it's eau d'lysol today.

Justin and I went to Charlie's parent teacher conference this morning. Ever since I called her asking her about the curriculum, she has us pegged for those meddling, interfering parents who put our child's name on the waiting list for Harvard the day after he was born. After our meeting this morning, it seems unlikely she will change her assessment. Happily, she still seems to like our kid. She has observed his perfectionist, anxious tendencies and she agrees that's our biggest concern right now. She said kids like Charlie get to MIT and then freak out when they get a "B". Justin said, we don't really care about MIT, we just want him to be happy. I don't think she believed us.

So I'll tell you what is making me the most happy about my kids these days. And it's that their new favorite cartoon is Scooby Doo. I was such a fan of that cartoon back in the day that my nickname was (and remains to certain loved ones) "Scooby". So we are going to spend this morning off from school watching the Scooby Doo marathon and eating cinnamon toast. Because that's the kind of things kids should do.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Being a parent is a constant source of amazement

as Grace yells from the bathroom "Mom, I know what 3 + 3 + 3 is." I reply "mmmhmmmm" as I focus on sorting through the bazillion papers that have come home from Charlie's school this week. "It's 9 mom!" What? Where does she learn this stuff? And if she's smart enough to figure out adding three figures together, why can't she learn how to clean her room?

We had an awesome morning. I kept her out of preschool this morning so that I could go get some Tea Tree Oil shampoo to protect her from a lice outbreak at school. So we headed into the city and visited all the stores we don't usually have time to visit. I think in another life, I would love to manage a Whole Foods store.

I keep forgetting to mention that I am going to teach my very first scrapbook class. Okay, it's going to be a "learn how to scrapbook" class at the library but you have to start somewhere, right? And I will come up with a more imaginative title than that. Or not. I think my focus group is all over 70 so maybe I should keep it simple.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Here is my gift to all of you...

Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist. I can not say enough how awesome this stuff is. You shake it. You spray it. You've got bling.

And did you know that Tim Holtz has a blog now?

And did you know that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End comes out on dvd on December 4th?

Merry Christmas a few weeks early!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Creative blocks and life changes

So if you've read my blog for any length of time, you will know that back around February or March I began lamenting that I had a creative block. It went on and on. Eventually, I started scrapbooking again but it has felt like pulling teeth for months. It just hasn't been fun, it's been something I've forced myself to do because a) I feel guilty when I'm not scrapbooking the memories as we make them b) I feel guilty because I certainly didn't stop buying stuff and c) because I scrapbook and that's part of who I am.

But in the last couple weeks, something has changed. I don't know how to explain it other than it feels like my brain opened up. I have ideas. I have stories to tell. I can visualize the page in my head. The process is fun. For the first time in months and months, I am staying up late because I just have to get this idea translated onto a page. I am letting the laundry and the dishes wait while I create. I won't take this burst of creativity for granted because I know too that it will not last.

And in the midst of all this creative energy, life has shifted subtly. Justin is really happy in his new position. I mean really and truly happy in a way I haven't seen for a long, long time. He is working crazy hours and working even when he gets home and before he leaves. And yet, we are laughing more and playing more and enjoying our time together more. I can't help but see the connection.

In the meantime, the rest of life carries on as normal. We deal with the dramas of schoolyard disagreements, temper tantrums, not enough sleep and loading the dishwasher 800,000 times a day. Or maybe it only seems that way.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

On my camera this week

It has been a long week. L O N G.

I had to go into the city this afternoon to file something at the courthouse and I just happened to park beside my sister's car. Her meter was about to run out and so I put another quarter in it and left her a funny note under her windshield wiper. She repaid me with a foofy mickey mouse pen under my wipers.