The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Frank Woodruff Buckles 1901-2011

This is not the post I planned for today, but one I feel I must write anyway. Frank Buckles, the last surviving American WWI vet passed away on Feb 27 at his home of natural causes. If you've read my blog for a while, you know I have a soft place in my heart for Mr. Buckles. I actually shed a tear or two when I read the news that he was gone. An entire generation of fighting men is forever lost to us now.
Mr. Buckles was born in 1901 and lied to recruiters about his age to join the fighting forces in 1917. He told the Army recruiter he was 18, but was really a mere 16 1/2. He served in England and France during WWI, mostly as a driver and clerk. He helped return German prisoners after Armistice Day and returned to the US in early 1920.
During WWII, Mr. Buckles worked for White Star Line Co. and was captured in the Philippines. He would spend 3 years in Japanese prison camps before returning to America.
In his later years, Mr. Buckles took up the cause of a National WWI memorial. To this day, there is not one honoring the approximately 16 million (MILLION) men and women who served during the "War to End All Wars." This was a war that changed the face of Europe and the world in general. It is unbelievable that almost 100 years later there is still no memorial. Mr. Buckles made it his mission to see a memorial built. If you'd like to honor Mr. Buckles memory and help with the funding for the National WWI memorial, you can donate here.  Details of his funeral have not been released, but it is said that Arlington lifted the restrictions that would keep him from being buried there.  As a military veteran, he can have his ashes interred at Arlington, but since he never earned one of the 5 medals required for burial (though in his own words "Didn't I make every effort?"), is technically barred from an underground burial.  I hope they have lifted the restriction for him.  Even if he didn't earn one of the medals required, he is a true patriot and made it his life's work to honor and keep alive the memory of all those who did fight and die during the "Great War."

Rest in Peace Mr. Buckles.  You will be missed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RTT: Julia and Mom in High Heels (and a recipe), book club and Chinese Food

ETA: Linking Up with Serenity Now's Food Post. Recipe at the bottom of all the other craziness.

Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now


Hello lovely readers! I hope you're all having a wonderful Tuesday. Oh, look at all the pretty randoms!

*On Sunday we watched Ratatouille (it was on TV) and Indy said I should make a batch up for dinner one night. I agreed (I'd made it once before and it was good) and set about to find my recipe. Of course I had no idea where it was, so I turned to my beloved interwebs. I decided to try Julia Child's recipe because, well, um...Julia Child!  My book club read My Life in France a few months back and the host (who is a vegan and I'm now convinced must spend her entire day in the kitchen) made JC's Ratatouille and it was FABULOUS.  The recipe was far (FAR) more complicated than my previous attempt, but I thought how hard could it be?  Oh, hahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Silly, silly, MIHH!  How you mock the gods when you think things like this.  Here are some things I learned and thought about while cooking this dish:

**For a French peasant dish, this is one complicated meal.  French peasant women must have had a lot of time to cook.
**I now know how to peel and seed a tomato, something I don't think I have ever done before (nor want to do again).
**Adding mushrooms to pretty much anything will make James Bond much more willing to try it.
**If you want to eat before midnight, start this meal early!  I started at 3:30 and it wasn't ready until just after 6.  And I was busy almost the entire time.
**Do ALL your pep work FIRST!  Otherwise you'll be scrambling around trying not to burn the eggplant and zucchini while you google how to peel and seed a tomato.
**PRESSED garlic?  REALLY?  What's the difference?  I'm sure there must be one, but for the life of me, I don't know what it could be.
**Julia Child was insane.
**That chick who cooked her way through MTAOFC was even more insane.
**My grandmothers (and their mothers and their mothers and so on) worked REALLY hard to cook from scratch every day.  How did they do it and keep their sanity?
**Always wear an apron, especially when you have a very limited maternity wardrobe.  I would have had to toss my top if I hadn't thought to put on an apron before starting this meal.
**The longer this cooks, the better it gets.
**I am a kick ass cook!
**Don't tell Indy there is eggplant in it (not that he would have known if I hadn't mentioned it).  This child eats pretty much anything (including eggplant), but if he knows there's eggplant in something, he freaks out.
**Recipe (with notes) will follow at the end of the post.

*Speaking of book club (huzzah!) we are reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck this month.  I was so excited when everyone agreed to this.  I.LOVE.THIS.BOOK.   The first time I read it I was in the 9th grade.  Something about it struck a chord in me and I now read it about every other year or so (considering I was in the 9th grade in 1987, that's a lot of read throughs).  I always find something new when I read it.  I so look forward to discussing it with the other ladies.

*Book club is actually tonight!  We are meeting at a Chinese restaurant, which was my suggestion.  No one else thought of it and I thought that odd.  It seems an obvious choice, but James Bond pointed out that not everyone thinks in "themes" like I do.  I never thought of it that way, but I am very theme oriented.  I wonder why?

*I have not received my invite to Wills and Kate's wedding.  What's up with that?

*I know Wills is the grandson of the queen and all, but how much must it suck as a bride to have to have those unattractive invites?  They're really not pretty.  Not that I'd send one back if I got one, but still, from the bride's point of

*I love maternity pants!  Easy on, easy off.  There are no silly buttons or snaps or zippers to get in my way when I have to the bathroom (which is frequently since I have a small person sitting on my bladder).  I'm thinking about wearing them forever.  :)

*It snowed here yesterday!  WHAT?  It didn't stick much past noon, but still.  It has been so unseasonably warm I almost forgot it was Feb.

*I'm not sure I know the difference:

Okay, I promised the recipe, so here you go.  Bolded words are my notes and changes.  That's right, I changed JC's recipe.  I'm probably going to hell.

Ratatouille- From Mastering the Art of French Cooking ( sourced from Bon Apetit August 2009)

6 Servings

1/2 pound eggplant I just used a whole one-I have no idea how much it weighed
1/2 pound zucchini, trimmed I just used a whole one-I have no idea how much it weighed
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 8-ounce onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced into strips I used yellow peppers
2 garlic cloves, pressed .
1 pound firm but ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into 3/8- to 1/4-inch-thick strips Again, I didn't weigh
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Peel eggplant; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut into 3-inch-long, 1-inch-wide strips. Cut zucchini into same size strips. I cut rounds. Place vegetables in large bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain; dry with paper towels. OMG, there is a lot of stuff to drain!  You will also use many, many paper towels to keep them dry.

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large skillet (I used a large cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant and zucchini to skillet; sauté until light golden, about 1 minute per side. Mine took way longer than 1 min. per side. Transfer to plate; reserve.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet; heat over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; sauté until just tender (add mushrooms after about 5 minutes), 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Place tomato strips atop onion-pepper mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet; cook over low heat until tomatoes begin to juice, about 5 minutes. Uncover; baste vegetables in skillet with juices. Boil until juices are almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer 1/3 of onion-pepper-tomato mixture to 2 1/2-quart pot; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Top with half of eggplant and half of zucchini, then remaining onion-pepper-tomato mixture; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Layer remaining eggplant and zucchini over; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley. Cover; simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Yeah, really? Another pot?  I just put the eggplant and zucchini to the skillet, mixed it up, covered it and let it simmer.

Uncover; tilt pot and baste with accumulated juices. Increase heat to medium; simmer uncovered, basting several times with pan juices until only 2 to 3 tablespoons juices remain in pot (I left it covered because I like it with more juices), watching closely to avoid scorching, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.  

James Bond, who hates both eggplant and zucchini (WHAT???) loved this dish!  He said he'd like me to make it again!  Hot damn!  If you're Catholic and looking at meatless Friday's coming up during Lent, this would be a perfect meal.  You can serve it over rice or pasta (which is why I like it juicier).  Bon Apetit!

Monday, February 21, 2011

George Washington: Farmer, Statesman, President, Bad Ass

In honor of President's Day (I hope you're enjoying your day off-if you have it off), I thought I'd spend some blog time discussing our much venerated first president, George Washington.  Yes, we all know he was born a farmer's son, became active in government, eventually commanded the Continental Army, was the first president of the US, and that he couldn't lie when he cut down the cherry tree (okay, that didn't really happen), but how much of his bad-assery do you know about?  Oh, yeah, GW was a bonafide bad-ass.  You didn't know?  It's true.

George Washington was a big man.  He stood approximately 6'3" (some say 6'2") and weighed about 200 lbs.  He was a formidable opponent on and off the battle field.  Before the age of 30, he suffered from malaria, smallpox, pleurisy, and dysentery.  Those are some serious diseases back before modern medicine.  Did GW care? Nope, he beat them like he would eventually beat the British.  BTW, the bout of smallpox may have rendered him sterile and be the reason he and Martha had no children of their own (Martha had 2 from her first marriage).

The Iroquois Indians (who came up against GW in the French and Indian War) called him "Caunotaucarius,"which roughly translates to "Devourer of Villages" for the level of destruction he reigned down on them.  It has been said that he sent small pox infected blankets to Iroquois villages, but this has not been proven, either way.  Since he knew enough about inoculations to sponsor the first mass inoculation in US history at Valley Fore by having a live small pox virus rubbed into small open wounds (made by surgeons on the upper arms of soldiers), it's entirely possible that he did this.  

During the Battle of  the Monongahela, he distinguished himself.  He had 2 horses shot out from under him, and 4 bullets pierced his coat, yet he came away completely unscathed.  He was like an early Superman!
His temper was apparently a fierce thing to behold.  During bursts of anger, he was known to knock around aides and by standers.  He was equally quick to calm down though.  Perhaps he was bi-polar?  His soldiers called him Leonidas. Yeah, THAT Leonidas.  The one who led the 300 Spartans, and was a known serious bad ass.  

He once wrote that "Discipline is the soul of an army." At Valley Forge he issued orders that threatened to court martial (and execute) any officer who was caught relieving themselves anywhere but in the Latrine.  In Washington's command you could be shot for peeing in the wrong place.  I have to say, men are kind of gross and some think since they CAN pee anyway, they should, so I don't disagree with GW in principle, but I'm not sure I'd have someone shot for it.

In 1781, 200 New Jersey men of the Continental Army mutinied and deserted. Washington had them quickly rounded up. The ring leaders were separated and three names were drawn by lot. Washington then ordered their execution. He further ordered that the remaining ring leaders form the firing squad and shoot their friends.
Yikes!  Do not cross GW!

Speaking of crossings (nice segue there, huh?) we all know about Washington crossing the Delaware on a cold Christmas night.  You've seen the heroic painting.  GW is made to look noble and gentlemanly.  He was anything but.  GW liked to attack while his enemy was sleeping.  I have to say, this is not a bad strategy, but was not considered chivalrous.   During the preparations to cross the Delaware, GW stepped into a boat containing the 300 pound Col. Henry Knox.  GW gave Knox a nudge with his foot and said (much to the amusement of his weary troops) "Shift that fat ass Harry.  But slowly or you'll swamp the damn boat!"  
After the cold crossing, the soldiers had to march 10 miles in the snow (many without shoes) and damp.  It was so damp many of them couldn't fire their muskets (wet powder), so charged with their bayonets.   900 Hessians were taken prisoner.  Their commander, Col. Rall was mortally wounded.  When the surgeons cut away his clothes to treat his wounds, an unread note was found in his pocket warning of Washington's attack. 

Seriously, GW was a bad ass!  Lest you think he was all piss and vinegar though, he was an avid animal lover (especially of dogs) and showed extreme compassion in their treatment.  During the Battle of Germantown (which wasn't going well for the Americans), a small terrier was seen wandering between the British and American lines.  It turns out that the British commander, General Howe's little terrier had somehow gotten loose and had become lost on the battlefield. The dog was identified from its collar, and brought to GW. His officers suggested that he might want to keep the dog as a sort of trophy which might weaken the morale of the British general. Instead he took the dog into his tent, fed him and had him brushed and cleaned. Then, to the surprise of everyone, GW ordered a cease fire. The shooting stopped and soldiers on both sides watched as one of GW's aides formally returned a little dog to the British commander under a flag of truce.

So, how much of that did you know?  A lot of people when asked if they could meet any American president, pick GW, but I'll bet he'd be a lot different than what they'd expect.  If I were asked, I would totally want to meet GW because of his bad-assery.  How awesome would that be?  Sure, he did great things, but I respect that he was a real person (perhaps a slightly crazy one) rather than the perfect father of our country he's often made out to be.  My other choice of presidents to meet would be Teddy Roosevelt.  Why?  Teddy was a bad-ass supreme.  Perhaps he looked up to GW?  Not only was he a cattle rancher, a deputy sheriff, an explorer, a police commissioner, the assistant Secretary of the Navy, the governor of New York, and Rough Rider, but he carried a pistol on him at all times, even in the White House, held a black belt in jujitsu and was a championship boxer.  Whew!  Walk softly and carry a big stick indeed!  In 1912, Teddy was SHOT on the campaign trail, but instead of getting treated right away, gave his scheduled speech, with a bleeding bullet hole in his chest.   Oh, GW would have been proud!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Funny Valentine: James Bond is crafting KING!!!

Ah, Valentine's Day! A day to pay twice as much as normal for flowers and big ugly heart shaped boxes of chocolates. Ah, amore!

Well, Indy had cooked up a plan with Gigi (my mom) to take us out for dinner and buy me flowers. Indy said this was a very special V-Day as it would be the last one that it was just the 3 of us. Awwwwww.....

I got these flowers:

And these:
Indy told me he looked at the premade bouquets but could get me more flowers if he bought the loose flowers and if he did that, I could put my "special touch" on them.  What a sweet boy!

James Bond had been specifically told (by me) not to buy me chocolates (pregnant + chocolate = disaster) and said he couldn't step on Indy's plans to buy me flowers so he had to think of something different.  Let me back up here.  James Bond works in a very secure building.  Let's just leave it at that.  I'm not even allowed in without surrendering all my electronics and having an escort.  It's not worth the hassle, so I don't go to his office.  This secure building has to be locked up every night by an officer, so they rotate out this duty.  James Bond had been tasked with it for the first 2 weeks of Feb, which meant he would be getting home late every night.  Why?  Because not only do military work there, but civilian contractors too, many of whom do not have their families with them (and often forget that most military members do), and who like to work late into the evening.  James Bond had to stay until the last of them was gone.  A few nights, he had to throw them out because it was pushing 9 pm and he was ready to go home.  Civilian contractors also like to work late so they can come in late in the mornings, not thinking that they are keeping someone else there at night waiting on them.  Got that?  Yeah, so while James Bond sat and waited for the civilians to leave (believe me, if they can, the military flee as quickly as possible after 5pm), he thought about what to do for me for V-Day.  He's very artistic (he's a lefty, which means he's incredibly right brained) and came up with an idea.  He had paper clips and coffee filters aplenty, so he googled how to make flowers from coffee filters.  He watched a tutorial by Martha Stewart but decided he didn't like the way she did them (take that Martha) and could come up with his own way.  He started cutting the coffee filters and experimenting.  He started hand coloring them with markers, but decided that was too much work, so the next morning he smuggled out our food coloring (good thing I had no plans to use it) and his box of water colors.  While he was in charge of the building, he also couldn't leave for lunch, so on his lunch break and after he finished work, he made flowers!  His co-workers thought he had lost it, but when they saw them beginning to take shape, actually commissioned him to make some for their wives and daughters!  Ha!  He told them when he finished mine, he would get to work on theirs.

So, on V-Day, he pulled out a little vase of these:

Can you believe that????  I was totally blown away.  Of course everyone says homemade gifts are the best, but rarely get around to actually making them (especially guys).  Let's take a closer view at a few of them, shall we?

He decided to use some old buttons he found at the Re-Use-It center for the middle of several of the flowers.  He hand cut each of these petals and leaves!  The stems are straightened out paper clips.

This is my favorite flower.  It's actually the very first colored one he made.  He hand colored the petals with a yellow marker and put the detailing on with an orange marker.  This one is very full and looks real to me.

This flower is ingenious!  He wanted to do something "different" (as if he wasn't already!), so he found some sheet music online, put it into a PowerPoint slide, taped a coffee filter to a piece of paper and ran it through the printer.  He then reversed the coffee filter and ran it through again so there would be music on both side.  He's very clever! Isn't it neat???

He knows I love tulips, so he made one too!  I didn't get a photo of the center, but he covered a button with a gold Hershey Kiss wrapper that had a heart on it!

The button used on this one is from an old pillow he found at the Re-Use-It.  He pulled off the buttons and tossed the pillow.  He said it was gross anyway, but he liked the buttons.

A lily.

A peach rose.

And the last one I took a close up of, is his least favorite, but I think it beautiful because of the paint details.  It's a carnation bud.  Look at the coloring!

He didn't wrap the coffee filters like many of the tutorials suggested, but rather hand cut each and every petal on every flower.  No two flowers are alike!  I almost cried when he handed me the vase (it is actually an Old McCormick's grinders salt shaker that he pulled the top off of) because of the amount of work and thought that went into this gift.  He's been showing me how he makes them in the evenings (he's not closing the office anymore) and really, this is a detailed process.

After I got my flowers, we went to our favorite Italian restaurant, Casa Sorrento.  Indy paid for dinner (via money Gigi sent him) and then we went to see Tangled (which is awesome).  It was indeed a very special Valentine's Day. 

BTW, James Bond said he might be willing to do an online tutorial if anyone is interested. If not, he said he'd show me how and I'll do one, though I don't know if I'd be quite as good at it as he is.  He's super talented, isn't he???

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

RTT; Birthdays and so forth


Before I get started today, I have to tell you about a very important birthday.  If you've been around for a while, you may recall me writing about Frank Buckles, the ONLY surviving American vet of WWI. Yes, WW ONE.  Well, today is Mr. Buckles 110th birthday.  Can you imagine?  Holy cow.  Frank Buckles is on a crusade to have a national WWI memorial built in DC (can you believe that we don't have one?) and I fully support him in this.  Today though, I support him in blowing out candles and having a great day.  Happy Birthday Mr. Buckles! 

*Today is also Arf's birthday! He's 8 years old today.  He's a Maltese and all of 4 pounds but thinks he's a Rottweiler.  Happy Birthday Arf!!!! We love you.

*I had the best Valentin's Day! Seriously. I'll tell you about it tomorrow though because today is RTT. Come back tomorrow though because you don't want to miss what I have to show you. I'll tell you this: James Bond is a crafting KING.

*I went to the OB yesterday and Han Solo is growing right on schedule. He weighs about 3 pounds 3 ounces right now. I have gained 6.5 (six and a half NOT sixty-five) pounds since my very first appointment back in Sept. Han Solo is sitting so deep in my body cavity there's no room for food, so I can't eat much. I'm so freaking hungry. ALL. THE. TIME.

*For whatever reason, Indy has taken to calling Coco, Mrs. Coco Bottoms. I have no idea why. And not only that, but he says it in a very high pitched voice with a British accent. It's pretty funny. He always says "Welllll, hellloooooo, Mrs. Coco Bottoms!" James Bond and I laugh. We find ourselves calling her Mrs. Coco Bottoms too. Sad and strange, really. I'll see if I can get him to do it on the bloggie. If I can, I'll upload it.

*We saw Tangled last night (as part of my awesome Valentine's Date) and it was really, really good!  I love that Disney (and the other cartoon companies) are making movies that appeal to both girls AND boys.  ----Slight spoiler, but not really----The funniest line in the movie IMO is when the mother finds Rapunzel and Rapunzel asks how. She says  Well it was easy really. I just listened for the sound of complete and utter betrayal and followed that.  OMG, what a mom thing to say!  I LOL'd.  So did a lot of others.  It's due out on DVD at the end of March.  Rent it.  Buy it.  Borrow it.  Just see it.

*Huh, I've got no more randoms!  What do you know?  Come back tomorrow for some cool photos of my Valentine's Day.

*Until then, I'll leave you with this. 

I wish you all a wonderful random Tuesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project completed(ish)

You may remember my post last week where I wondered how some bloggers get so much done.  My mom thought I was griping, but I wasn't.  I was genuinely curious.  Well, anyway, between crazy contractions (this child wants out!), I actually got something done! Three somethings. Sort of.

Since everyone else in blogland is ripping apart old books, I thought, hey, why not? and attacked some old books I got for free. Huzzah! James Bond thought I had lost my mind when he saw me ripping off the covers.  I think he thought I'd finally been pushed too far.  Hahahahahah!  Oh, sorry.  I liked the look, but thought it needed something more.  I printed off a French postcard from The Graphics Fairy {heart!} and put it under the twine.  Cute, eh?

Here's a closer shot of the side.  The webbing and paper didn't want to come off in two ares, but had a small strip between, so I took the rest off in a similar pattern.  I like the effect.

I also put some of my mini Eiffel Towers in (under?) my cloche and printed off some more post cards from The Graphics Fairy to place behind them.  I think it looks nice.  Not really a project per se (unless you count the whole process of sizing, printing AND cutting-whew, I'm exhausted), but still.

A while back I saw these awesome Hanging Flower Balls over at House of Smith (actually I saw them on another blog that led me to the HoS, but I can't for the life of me remember which blog-sorry about that!) and knew I wanted to make a smaller version of them to...I don't know.  Sit around?  Put in apothecary jars?  In my bread bowl?  Whatever, I just knew I wanted to make them.  I got my crepe paper and read the tutorial about a million five times and went to work.  Now, over in the tutorial she says "Seriously, you CAN'T mess these up!"  Well, to quote a famous little, yellow cartoon bird "She don't know me very well, do she?" Oh believe me, I could (and did) mess more than a few of these up. Badly.  It looked like a crepe paper massacre had happened at my house.  I may have even uttered quite a few very unpretty words. Maybe.  I don't really recall.  I'm just saying it's a possibility.  I persevered though and finally got my groove on and started cranking out the crepe paper roses.  I then glued them onto styrofoam balls.  Side note: I'm afraid my glue gun, Matilda, may be on her last legs.  She's not working very well anymore.  Poor, sweet Matilda.  She's been so loyal and only burned my fingers a few dozen times..  Anyway, because of all the complete goofs minor mess ups, I didn't have enough to finish the pink rose ball and then when I went back to the store, they were out of the pink crepe.  Gah!  I got most of the ball covered though and then just put the blank spot down.  I'm smart like that.  Can't even tell can you?  Here's a close up of the white rose ball.

And finally, here it is all together.  I had to use the flash though (ick) because I didn't have enough light to get a decent photo. 

Hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day!

Linking to:

The Graphics Fairy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

RTT: Food, the Superbowl, egos and more


*The Superbowl kick off was at 12:30 AM here. I watched until about 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter and went to bed. Fat men (really, many of them are FAT!) making far too much money to play a freaking game. Who cares?

*Indy went to bed at his normal time (8:30pm), but we got him up so he could watch the Super Bowl. He doesn't care about football (we're not sports people), but he wanted to watch it with James Bond and eat pizza and chips in the middle of the night. Sometimes we like to pretend we're cool parents.

*The poor Black Eyed Peas.  They're getting raked over the coals over the half time show.  It wasn't THAT bad.  They're really one of those groups that's better on the radio than live.  Their music requires a lot of voice modulation and synthesizers and you just can't get that live.  Say what you will, though, Indy and I are big fans (with the exception of a few songs). 
*Indy eats really well. Last night we had shrimp and lobster ravioli with a garlic cream sauce (I ate mine with red sauce as cream sauces aren't my favorite) and he loved it. When we eat out though, we let him order pretty much whatever he wants (we don't eat out a lot, so this is no big deal). His favorite eating out meal is chicken (strips) and french fries with a side of ranch dressing for dipping. This is a treat to Indy, not a staple of his diet. Last night we were on our way home from the commissary and passed by one of his favorite restaurants. He had this to say:

Indy: I wonder what Germans have against chicken, french fries and ranch dressing.
Me: What are you talking about?
Indy: You know how in America you can get chicken, french fries and ranch dressing at pretty much any restaurant?
Me: Yes.
Indy: Well, you just can't get that over here. Germans must have something against it.
Me: You think so?
Indy: Yeah. They really need an O'Charley's over here. Then they'd see how good chicken, french fries and ranch dressing can be. You know what else they need?
Me: What?
Indy: You know that place we used to walk to on the weekends for breakfast? When we lived in Illinois?
Me: You mean Panera?
Indy: YES! PANERA!!! They have the best egg souffles ever. Germans really need those. If they did, they'd love them. Man, I miss Panera.
Me: Me too.
Indy: Next time we go visit Gigi, we have to eat there at least 5 times for breakfast. Deal?
Me: We'll see.
Indy: Oh, I'm going there. You can come if you want, but I'm going.
Me: How are you going to get there?
Indy: I'll get Gigi to take me.
Me: You think she will?
Indy: Mom, of COURSE she will. It's me! You know she'll do anything if I ask. Especially if I bat my eyes at her. She can't resist my cuteness.
Me: Well, glad to see you have it all figured out.
Indy: Oh, I do. I'm going to have a souffle and one of those yummy bread rolls with cream [cheese]. And maybe a juice box and a cup of tea. It'll be awesome. And I'm going to have it at least 5 times. Yes. That's what I'm going to do.

*Chocolate milk is my best friend right now. Oh, sweet chocolate milk!!!!! Unfortunately we have to buy Lactaid milk (which is bloody delicious, BTW) and it is $4.09 a HALF gallon. The regular milk and the chocolate milk are the same price, so I buy the chocolate and then don't have to buy chocolate syrup too. I've been drinking about 1/2 gallon a day. This is an expensive habit. Han Solo's bones are getting harder now though (according to the pregnancy updates I get), so I figure I can justify it because he needs the calcium. And I need the sweet, sweet chocolate. In fact, I'm drinking a glass right now. Mmmmmmmmm.....

*According to the Captain it is traditional for kids to get money for the Chinese New Year. WHAT??? You should see how much his kids scored. I feel like I've been gypped. Where's my Chinese NY money? Wait, you think it's because I'm not Chinese? Darn it!

*James Bond and I saw The King's Speech last week.  If you have not seen this, run (don't walk) to the theater and see this movie!  It is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC.  If Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush don't win the Oscar in their respective categories, I will call foul!  They deserve it.  Their performances were solid and powerful.  When it was over, James Bond said "We need to see that again."  That is high praise from a man who usually only watches movies with things that blow up more than once.  Seriously, see this movie.  It is long and not particularly action-y (okay, there's really no action), but it is a powerful story and you need to see it.

*Jennifer Ehle was in The King's Speech too.  She played Elizabeth Bennett to Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy (swoon) in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice.   I know it's been almost 20 years, but I swear I did not recognize her in The King's Speech.  It's not fair.  Colin Firth looks almost exactly the same, but her...not so much.

*I want to know what Wallis Simpson did to get Edward VIII to give up the throne.  She was either a witch or knew some crazy tricks in bed.  ;)  She was stylish and beautiful, but really, to give up your throne?  Though I have to say, given where Edward's sympathies lay (he was an admirer of Hitler-can you imagine?), it was probably a good thing he wasn't king.

*I want to go to Ireland.  And Scotland. 

*My hair hates me.  It is never cooperative.  WHY?????

*Apparently there is now going to be 2 Sudans.  Does this mean I'll have to buy all new maps for the school room?  Maybe I'll just draw a line. 

*An apple a day?

*Why not? What's it going to hurt?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How DO they do it????

If you're anything like me, you read a lot of blogs that feature home decor, recipes, sewing and furniture redos. Really, I am in AWE of all these projects and their creators. I want to do so may of them. My big question though is HOW on earth do these women find the time to do so many projects. Yes, I realize there are loads of different blogs, but some of my favorites are absolutely chock a block full of projects done by ONE person. I know their homes aren't perfect (they're generally very upfront about this and I love them for it), but they seem to be fairly clean and organized, their children are fed and in clean clothes and not neglected. I also know that some of them do these projects as part of a business they run, but honestly, how do they get so much done? They do still live in 24 hours days, right? I'm certain they must eat and sleep and do things other than projects, so how, how do they do it? Is there some secret I'm missing out on? Am I just a slacker?
Yes, I know I am pregnant (and tired a lot) and homeschool Indy, but many of these other women have similar lifestyles (one blog I read-I can't recall who off the top of my head-recovered her dining room chairs the DAY SHE GAVE BIRTH)!  So that's no excuse. Maybe I spend too much time reading their blogs???? I don't know. If you are an uber crafter/decorator and know the secret, why don't you share it with those of us who haven't figured out the magic? I know I (and probably a few other women as well) would appreciate it.

In case you're wondering what blogs I'm referring to, here's a list of a few I really love (if you're on the list and somehow came over to my blog for whatever reason, please, share your secrets):

Susie Harris

Infarrantly Creative

A Soft Place to Land

Funky Junky Interiors

Pretty Handy Girl

Miss Mustard Seed

Tatertots and Jello

Thrifty Decor Chick

The Nester

Centsational Girl

Confessions of a Plate Addict

Even if you're not on the list (I couldn't list you all), share your time management ideas!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dear So and So: Pregnancy, movies and other nonsense

Dear So and So...

Ah, Friday! That day when I get to let out my inner evil. Okay, so my inner evil, isn't really all that inner, as it get let out more often than I keep it in, but you know what I mean. I likes Fridays! On with the letters!

Dear Pregnancy,

You suck.

Sick of you,

Dear Hormones,

Please see above letter to Pregnancy. You also suck, and I'm tired of going from one extreme to the other. Poor James Bond doesn't know whether I'll laugh or cry at any given moment. Although this does seem to keep him on his toes, so maybe you're not all bad. If you could cut out the night sweats and making me cry over the stupidest little thing though, my life would be much easier (though I still might keep James Bond jumpy just for fun) .


Dear Han Solo,

I get it. You don't like my left kidney. I don't know what it did to you, but I'm sure it's sorry, so if you could please for the love of all that is holy, stop kicking it, I would really, really appreciate it. People looks at me like I've lost my mind when I suddenly double over for no apparent reason.

MIHH (Mommy)

Dear 3rd Trimester,

While I'm ridiculously happy to see you, I am less than please that you decided to bring my old nemesis with you: Exhaustion. What gives? I could see Exhaustion coming along with 1st Trimester (believe me, 1st Trimester and I have had serious words in the past and are not friends), I was NOT prepared for him to show up when you arrived. Really, needing sleeping 16 hours a day is completely unacceptable. I've got stuff to do! If you could please send him away, I'd much appreciate it.


Dear Appetite,

I'd really like for you to come back. What happened? Did Exhaustion scare you off?  WHY?  Han Solo gets very, very, VERY angry when I don't feed him (and might possibly taking it out on my kidney) and your absence has made that very difficult.  If you could please come back, I promise to only feed you yummy things.

Not hungrily,

Dear Home wrecker Angeline Jolie,

I saw 2 (TWO!!) movies staring you this week.  I can't believe it.  James Bond really wanted to see The Tourist and Salt.  I was on the fence over The Tourist, as it has my beloved Johnny Depp (call me!) in it too and finally agreed to see it.  While you were in it far more than he (that's just bad directing, IMO), I actually enjoyed it.  Even though James Bond figured the entire plot out in the first 20 minutes and then proceeded to tell me (I HATE when he does that-which is all.the.bloody.time), it wasn't a bad movie.  I'm sure you were airbrushed to within and inch of your life (what's with all the tats?), but you looked fab.  And I kind of hate you for it.  Scratch that.  I really hate you for that.  You've had 3 kids.  Where's the cellulite???  The next day we saw Salt, which was originally supposed to star my most hated movie star, Tom Cruise (that's right, Tom, Matt Lauer may have forgiven you, but I NEVER will).  I have to say, it was was kick ass movie.  Though how your hair still looks perfect after wearing a knit cap over it for hours is beyond me.  I'm calling complete BS on that.  I would NOT have watched it with TC in it, and almost didn't watch it because of you, but again, I did it for James Bond.  I may not like what you and Brad did (oh, that's right, I haven't forgotten about you, Mr. Pitt!), but I respect your talent.  Now, don't ever, ever, EVER kiss my Johnny again.  I mean that.   We might have to have words.


Dear Johnny Depp,

I know it was just a movie, but you may as well have stabbed me in the heart when you kissed that woman.  Multiple times!  How could you?  Oh, I'll forgive you (you know I can't stay mad at you for long), but just know that I'm deeply wounded.  A trip to your private island might make me feel better though.  Just a thought.

Still loving you after all these years,

Dear High School Reunion,

I got the save the date card this week.  I think you sent it to the wrong person.  I'm not old enough to have been out of school for 20 years.  Am I?  REALLY?  No, surely not.  I happened to be talking to my dad and mentioned it to him.  He said HE is not old enough to have a child who has been out of high school for 20 years, so you see, it's not just me.  20 years?  Seriously?

Feeling old,

Dear Girl Scouts,

I bought your deliciously overpriced cookies last week (I even featured you in last week's Dear So and So).  Please stop tormenting me.  You are camped out in front of the post office, PX, commissary and Shoppette.  I cannot avoid you.  LEAVE ME ALONE!  I don't want anymore of your cookies.  OMG, that's a totally lie, I so do.  They're too expensive and don't last long enough (I haven't figured out why).  Even my Appetite shows up for them.

Wishing I were face first in a box of Thin Mints,

Dear Blog Signature,

What is UP with you????  Why are you working and then not working????  Get yourself together, will ya?


Okay, dear readers, if you have something you need to get off your chest, head on over to the super awesome (and I'm not just sucking up here) Kat's and link up your own letters.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Popcorn Love and Kernel Season's

Do you like popcorn? We do. We LOVE it. We eat it all the time. A few years ago, our microwave was on the fritz so we had to resort to actually popping it on the stove! You know what? It was FANTASTIC. It tasted so much better than the bland over salted, under popped, microwave popcorn we'd gotten used to. Since then we've always popped it on the stove. We've found Orville Redenbacher pops the best and biggest kernels. As much as we love our popcorn, it wouldn't be the same without our favorite topping, Kernel Season's White Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning. We first discovered it in a movie theater in Illinois and had to buy some to use at home.  It made popcorn even better without adding a ton of fat or calories.  Yay! 

***Let me stop right here and say this is NOT a paid advertisement. I have gotten nothing for writing this,was not asked to do a review, was not offered a sponsorship and not expect anything for my thoughts.  I just think if you find a great product and a great company, you should tell people about it.***

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let's move on.  We could not find our favorite topping overseas, so I had my family ship some to us, but the stores where they live are frequently out of the white cheddar (because it's so freaking awesome) .  One day, quite by accident, I found their website, where I could order it online and have it shipped directly to me!  Oh, happy day!  Several months back, I ordered 5 bottles of it and a week later a lovely box arrived at our post office with the return address for Kernel Season's.  You'd have thought it was Christmas we were so excited.  When we opened the box, we discovered not 5, but 10 bottles of white cheddar topping and a note that read "Thank your for your service.  We've doubled your order so you have some to share."  Unbelievable.  I sent a few bottles to a friend of ours in the sandbox and he was extremely grateful.  We recently were down to our last bottle (gasp!) so I ran to the internet to order more. This time, I ordered 10 (it came with free shipping and was only $5 more than buying 5 and paying shipping).  A box came today and instead of the 10 I ordered, there were 20 bottles!!!!  Holy guacamole!  Once again there was a note to James Bond thanking him for his service and stating that they had doubled our order so we would be able to share a taste of home.  What an amazing company!  It's rare these days to find a for profit company that shows their appreciation in this way to the military.  We will be sending a few bottles to friends who are deployed and absolutely enjoying the rest.  They have 16 different flavors of topping, both savory and sweet, and they can be used on more than just popcorn: vegetables, dips, casseroles, etc (they have great recipes on their site).   They also carry other popcorn related products and amazing gift packs.  You can order online or use their store locator to find them locally.  Please support companies that support our troops and their families.
James Bond (popcorn popper extraordinaire) is whipping up a batch for us right now. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

RTT: I can't make this stuff up


Wheeeeeeeee!!!!! It's TUESDAY! Huzzah!

*From the I can't make this stuff up file:
Indy: Mom, what's line dancing?
Me: [explanation of line dancing] You've never heard of line dancing before?
Indy: I've heard of pole dancing.
Me (and James Bond): WHAT?
Indy: Yeah, but I don't know what it is. Why would you dance with a pole?
Me: Um....*facepalm*
James Bond: That's it. No more TV. Ever.

*I think it was really inconsiderate of Prince William and Kate not to keep my due date in mind when picking a date for their wedding. I mean really, it's 4 days after Han Solo is due. How on earth am I supposed to make it to London? Gah!

*Have you watched Downton Abbey??? If not, rush over to and watch it. It is brilliant! I can't wait for season 2. They're going to start filming next this month and it won't air until the fall.  Oh, agony!

*I want to see The Tourist, as it has my beloved Johnny Depp in it, BUT it also has that home wrecking Angelina Jolie in it AND I hear that she actually kisses Johnny!  WTF?

*Egypt.  Ugh.  We were planning to go there this fall, but now I'm thinking, maybe not.  Why can't we all just get along?

*Tunisia too!  Darn it.  We're planning to do the Disney cruise again this summer and one of the ports is Tunisia.  We're guessing that's going to change.  That's a bummer too  because we had a good time in Tunisia (and found out I'm worth about $61,000) and were hoping to get to see Sidi Bou Said. 

*Lest you think I'm heartless and think it's all about me (hey, it's my blog, so I guess it actually IS all about me), I do hope there is a peaceful resolve to what's going on in Egypt and Tunisia.  Corrupt gov'ts suck (or so I gather) and I wish both countries a proper, caring government.  And I'd like them soon so they don't disrupt my travel plans.  Darn it, there I go again!

*I griped on FB last week about the price of Girl Scout cookies and the fact that the boxes are smaller with fewer cookies per box (if you read Friday's Dear So and So,-and why wouldn't you have?- you remember my rant) and said "WTF?" (well not the words, just the letters) and one of my friends asked if you could say WTF to the Girl Scouts.  I say, yes, yes you can when they charge you $3.50 for a teeny, tiny box of Thin Mints.  That's right, WTF Girl Scouts?   WTF????

*Speaking of scouts, Indy has the Pinewood Derby this weekend.  He's really looking forward to it.  I am not.  It's sooooo loud and the races take forever.  Apparently it's frowned upon to show up just to watch your kid race and then leave.  Sigh.  The things I do for that boy.

*Speaking of that boy, he's griping about needing lunch.  Isn't it enough that I go to the store to get the food?  Must I actually prepare it too?????  I guess so.  I'll be back with more randomness later.

*Okay!  The boy has been fed (tuna on whole grain bread and an apple in case you were wondering) and will be good for at least an hour, when he'll tell me he's hungry AGAIN.  I swear I don't know where he puts it all.

*Latin.  It's all Indy wants to do.  I guess I shouldn't be complaining, but I do declensions in my sleep.

*I'm tired from lunch.  Why is it when you eat, you often get sleepy?  Shouldn't I be getting a burst of energy or something?

*Given my comments on the situation in N. Africa, I thought this sign appropriate (and more than a little funny):

*Also...the hell you say!  He is not!

Okay, really I'm tired.  I think I need a nap (after we finish Latin, which Indy is working on even as I type), so I'll close.  Click the weird button up there to read all the other randoms.

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