Thursday, August 27, 2009

not just another day in the garden

I decided to cook spaghetti on Tuesday. YaY. we love it.

The meat is browning.

The garlic is diced.

The peppers are sliced.

Now for the onions. There weren't any in the house, so I headed out to the garden. I only find 4. (keep in mind these are small onions. I don't put 4 baseball sized onions in my spaghetti sauce!) so I start digging around for more and decide to get them all out.

dig. dig. dig.

dirty the fingernails.

dig. dig. dig.

find some onions.

dig. dig. dig.

find a rock-like clump of dirt. I'm about to throw it out in the yard when I see something shiny.

intrigued. I start breaking it apart and this is what I found:

a man's wedding ring.

how neat is that?

it's engraved. cursive and so faint. too faint to read. I tried cleaning it really well and then putting flour in the engraving. didn't work. Husband wants to put ink in it, but I'm not sold on the idea. seriously, the only thing I can make out is "19" it might be "1949" "1964" I think the third number is either a 4 or a 6. but really it could be anything.

I'm not giving up. I would love to be able to reunite the ring to it's owner or family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

wordless wednesday: son's first beach trip

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Aldi - my experience.

Rita, I love Aldi.

Husband says he's told me about Aldi before I told him. I don't think he's a liar. I just don't remember. Our closest Aldi is in our closest "shopping city" Where our Sam's Club, Publix and Target (our major grocery stores) all are. We pass it a lot and I've been interested, but skeptical. cheap groceries rarely equal good groceries.

Susan started talking about it. She's a smart girl. I trust her. I decided we're going. and I loved it!

I decided to wait a few days after our trip to blog about it so we could actually eat some of the things we bought. to see if our cheap groceries equal good groceries.

according to our receipt, we bought 100 items. exactly. we spent $127. not exactly, rounded up. (keep in mind we bought a lot of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste for spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce)

Things we bought that we've eaten:
string cheese
veggie stir fry
whole milk
green bell peppers
fresh garlic
graham crackers
table salt
diced tomatoes
tomato sauce
tomato paste

I am so pleased with everything we've tried. above and beyond what we expected. before we walked in the store I told Husband, "I guess this will prove if we've been buying quality or just buying a brand name." we've been buying a brand name for too long.

we also got:
ground beef
cat litter
frozen shrimp
frozen salmon
red and yellow bell peppers
chicken broth
fresh zucchini
fresh squash
onion soup mix
all purpose flour
10lb bag of potatoes

Before we left the house I had Husband go to Sam's website and write down price per unit/ounce for the things we routinely buy at Sam's because we've already determined it to be the cheapest choice. Aldi beat Sam's on cat liter, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ground beef, wine, fresh vegetables, salomi and provolone (actually, salomi and provolone is Husband's favorite sandwich and it got so expensive he had to switch to peanut butter for workday lunch - we can afford it at Aldi). The only thing Sam's won on was all purpose flour.

When we've used all our Starbucks Sumatran coffee, we'll be trying Aldi's Sumatran coffee. I also wish they had canned artichokes and cous couse. those are both things we buy a lot of that they didn't have. I think we'll try their sandwich bread next time too.

I didn't price their sodas because we don't buy soda. I didn't price their toilet paper. I really have no idea if we're buying the most cost effective toilet paper.

Things to know about Aldi before you go:
  • bring a quarter if you want a shopping cart.
  • they don't take coupons (bc most of their items are their brand, I assume)
  • they don't take credit cards (bad when my Discover Card offers double cash back on groceries during certain months)
  • bring your own bags or buy bags there or like Sam's Club - don't use bags.
  • check out is warp speed FAST. and you are the sacker. it's almost intimidatingly fast. they actually have a counter at the front of the store to move your sacking to after checkout.

It's nice to make your dollar go farther AND it be quality.

Daughter's newest adventure

Daughter is an amazing climber. her latest climbing conquest is Son's crib. unfortunately, she's only interested in climbing in the crib when Son is in there. She either stays on the opposite end of the crib and plays footsie with him, or she cuddles up to him for a shared nap. He'd rather sleep alone.

"mummy, will you please get her out of my bed."
"I love being with Brother."


the hug/cuddle.

the continuing adventures of daughter ...

... the barf-a-matic strikes again.

My sister and brother-in-law got Daughter a pretty fantastic jumperoo for her first Christmas when she was a mere 3 months old. some days she loved it and would play and jump until she fell asleep in it, other days she was less interested.
We left it up for an entire year. until Christmas 2008. When I was getting out all of the Christmas stuff and putting away stuff to make room for Christmas stuff, I made the decision to retire the jumperoo. Daughter hadn't been in it in weeks and was more interested in running around than jumping at the time.
In April, I was cleaning and getting rid of things to make room for Son and I found the jumperoo. I decided to hang it up again and see if Daughter still had love for the jumperoo. she lovedLOVEDloved it.

She spun.
She jumped.
She spun.
She laughed.
She spun.
She threw her head back and closed her eyes with glee.
She spun.
and she threw up.

so out she went to clean her and the jumperoo out. Daughter was not happy. She didn't think a little barf was enough reason to stop playing in the jumperoo. After the jumperoo was laundered, I let her back in it, thinking the throw up was a fluke and surely she wouldn't do it again.


She played until she got sick. and again was mad when she had to get out. That night, jumperoo was hidden again and quickly forgotten. That was April.

I got it out two days ago while Daughter was taking a nap, to see if Son liked it. not so much yet. I, with my perpetual thoughtlessness, forgot to put the jumperoo back in the closet after we were finished. That night, Daughter discovers the jumperoo, which we now call the barf-o-matic.
What the hey. it's been 4 months. let's let her play in the barf-o-matic. she loves jumping and spinning. and apparently barfing. I hate that her favorite toy makes her lose her lunch/dinner/snack/breakfast.
What would you do if something you loved to do made you throw up all the time?

Son, not really enjoying jumperoo

fun. fun. fun. all these pictures were pre-barf, of course.

wordless wednesday: the love continues

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spirits Sunday brought to you by Aldi

I love Aldi but that's not for this post. next time. next time, you'll read all about my new found love for Aldi. The only thing Adli has to do with this post is that it is where I purchased this:

Cost: $2.99. yes. two dollars and ninety-nine cents.

I hear you. you're asking if I seriously picked out a bottle of wine (based totally on the cuteness of the label) that cost $2.99 and expected it to taste good. yes. yes, I did.
and you know what?

yes. yes, it does.

Winking Owl Chardonnay is a light semi-sweet wine. the bottle says I should be able to taste "subtle flavors of ripe apple, pear, toasted oak and a hint of spice." but mostly I just taste a little pear maybe a little pineapple-ish sweetness and some spice.

We drank it chilled and while it'd be best served with a light meal, grilled fish or chicken, we ate it with bread and a New York Strip Husband found on sale.

Seriously, it's good wine. yes. three dollar good wine. It's possible. We'll definitely be buying this and other wines at the above mentioned Aldi in the future.
It actually just started raining and we enjoyed the remains of the bottle on the porch in our rocking chairs. Just like drunk little old ladies. sots. :-)

I can find no vintage year on the bottle, but Husband in his infinite wine wisdom (insert eye roll) guesses 2007. It's an artificial cork (don't let this detract you - you wine snob) and it's 12% alcohol.

Bottled by Winking Owl Vineyards in Modesto, California. (no website, but there is a toll free number. 877-994-4616 if you'd like to call and harass them about not having a website).
uncork and enjoy.

EvaBank 5k results

it bothers me slightly that the sign reads "Midnight" instead of "11:59" because midnight is actually Saturday.

the results are posted online for the EvaBank midnight 5k that Husband ran in Friday. Out of 691 total runners, Husband finished 311 with a time of 28:30. YaY. The winner was a 22 year old guy who finished in 15:34. one more time, !!15:34!! That's some kind of running for sure.

The kids slept in the car, but neither one slept the entire time we were out of the car. silly kids. I also saw a college friend that I knew was going to be there, but was surprised she actually found me with so many people there.
The runners had glow sticks and Husband said it looked really cool in the pitch black turning a corner and seeing all the glow sticks in front of him and hearing the footsteps pounding the pavement.
It was a lot of fun and Husband enjoyed a couple of slices of pizza before we took it to the house.

I actually didn't even see him cross the finish line because I didn't want my double stroller to be too much in the way. I hung back a little and was going to only move up to the front at the 29 minute mark, because I figured he'd finish closer to 30 minutes. GEEZ. I was so mad at myself when at 29 minutes I'm standing on the line watching the runners, waiting, telling Daughter to get ready because we're going to cheer and clap for Daddy. and he taps me on the shoulder! UGH. I missed it.
He did great. I was so proud.
before the race. numbered and ready to go. in his official no prize t-shirt from Talk of the Nation Political Junkie on npr
after the start. it's hard to tell in the dark but that's almost 700 running.
Son. wide awake. only interested in constant motion.
Daughter was more interested in the Chik-fil-a cow. mooooooo moooooo mooooooo
giving me the pirate nod and forgiving me for missing him cross the finish line.

pizza. the best prize ever.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Food Day Friday


There's not much more to say except pineapple preserves are best served on hot fresh homemade biscuits.

the next 5k ...

tonight at 11:59. seriously. well, because if it were at midnight it'd be Saturday, right?

Husband is running in the 17th Annual EvaBank 5k Midnight Run. And after the run: pizza, drinks and entertainment. how about cots? can we get cots? It's supposed to be a pretty big event. There were well over 400 runners last year. That might not seem like a lot if you've ever seen the Boston or New York Marathons, but it's a lot for me to see around here.

It'll be fun and exciting and hopefully the kids will sleep in the double stroller most, if not, all the time. Yes, I'm going to be the mom taking her kids out at midnight. I'm pretty fortunate that while my kids make their own schedules, they are not slaves to them. they adapt well and will get a little extra sleep Saturday and all will be well again.

We've been a little lax about training to past two weeks because Husband's schedule has been more full than usual. I'm not worried he'll have a bad run. I'm more worried that he'll be exhausted before he even gets started. mid evening naps for the whole family? that would be nice.

results tomorrow.

the first of many: a busy day of blogging.

I finished reading _The Lord of the Flies_ last night. and I've decided that because I don't want to include any spoilers I'm not going to really talk much about the plot. Well, can I talk much about the characters? eh, not without giving away more than you can get on the back cover. now my "reviews" are going to be very bare bones, hopefully just enough to get you interested enough to make you go to your book shelf, public library or book store.

I first read this book in high school and there was one part at the end that was in the back of my head the entire time I was reading the book. but there was a completely separate instance before it that I totally forgot about. This really is such a great book. with the themes, metaphors and the fact that it's an allegory. It's easy to read and easy to follow. wonderfully written.

I'd say the part that bothers me the most about the entire book, is surprising. The boys are on the island because the survived an airplane crash (that killed all the adults) but the plane is NEVER mentioned again. seriously. They never returned to the wreckage to look for supplies or shelter. I would've at least liked a sentence that said something like, "the plane was reduced to thousands of little pieces, yet these boys survived, but will they survive themselves?" well, maybe not that sentence because it sounds more like the tag line for a movie than something William Golding would've written. how about, "and the wreckage was drug out to sea?" yes. I could live with that.

Anyway. My two favorite quotes are both on the same page. Ralph, Jack and Simon are exploring the island.

  • He wanted to explain how people were never quite what you thought they were.
  • They walked along, two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate.

To me, the most interesting thing about this book is that is was written in response to _Coral Island_ a similar story where 3 boys are shipwrecked on an island. so now I want to find and read _Coral Island_.

Next, I'm reading _A Separate Peace_ I had to read it in ninth or tenth great for Honors English and loved it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Food Day Friday - For Husband

Mint Tea. Husband loves it. L-O-VES it.

I'm not much of a (sweet) tea person. unless it's a jumbo sweet tea with extra lemon from J&R's (the red building beside the Citgo) or mint tea from Nabeel's. I'd never even made sweet tea before I met Husband. And actually the first time he made sweet tea for me, it was so sweet I had to water my glass down with lemon Gatorade.

He loves sweet tea and can drink a pitcher in two days. When the Shapachs came to visit earlier this summer, we decided to eat Greek. Husband grilled Greek burgers and I made hummus and tzatziki. and I picked up some fresh mint for mint tea. Husband has been hooked ever since. (and I like mint tea better because I use 1/3 cup less sugar per pitcher and Husband doesn't seem to notice)

so without further adieu, Mint Tea:
what you need:
  • 2 liter pitcher
  • fresh mint
  • tea bag (brand of your choice. I use Lipton because I always seem to have a coupon for it. I use 1 family sized bag or 9 little bags when we don't have family bags - bonus tip: when I have to use little bags I tape the strings together so they are all connected and not swimming around freely)
  • sugar (1 cup or to taste)
  • water (2 liters)
  • pot
fill pot with 2 liters of water and cover on high
while the water is coming to a boil, add mint leaves to the empty pitcher. I use about a dozen depending on the size of the leaves.
next add the sugar. I use 1 cup when making mint tea and 1 and 1/3 cup when I'm making sweet tea. Husband likes it so sweet I could barf. now just wait for the water to boil.
after water is boiling, turn off heat and add the tea bag(s) to the water. wait 3 to 5 minutes to steep. I usually forget the pot by this point and sometimes it has steeped for 30 minutes to an hour.

I always squeeze the tea bag to get the last extra bit of flavor. before I thought to use the lemon squeezer, I just used a spoon to press the bag against the side of the pitcher. you can either wait for the tea to cool further or go ahead and pour it hot (hot is better for the sugar to dissolve)

finished, after a stir to dissolve all the sugar. refrigerate and enjoy. and when the leaves make it into a glass, feel free to eat them. or not.

it's good stuff. much like a mint julip without the bourbon. to which some would say, "what's the point of that?"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Great Onesie Cutoff of August 2009

Son is growing. but longer than wider it seems. his onesies (that he only ever wears when we're leaving the house) are too short. I had a few options.

  • pack them away and get out the 6 month clothes. but some of these onesies he hasn't even worn yet, so that seems like a waste of good clothes.
  • onesie extenders but I didn't want to spend any extra money to make Son's clothes fit longer
  • cut them off and make t-shirts. ding ding ding. we have a winner. t-shirts are easier anyway, when it comes to diaper changes.

All of Son's onesie bottoms. Does anyone have a crafty idea of something to do with these? I hate to toss them, but I haven't thought of anything yet. Does anyone want them?

Now, they've been cut off. I have a few more options.
  • don't do anything to them. if they fray, they fray.
  • fraycheck or another liquid bonder. it's inexpensive, but I didn't have any one hand and didn't want to go to the store to get any.
  • serger or sewing machine, but I don't have either of those.
  • but what I did have in the laundry room was Heat n'Bond left over from a busted pants leg hem project that turned out well

so, Heat n'Bond it is.

all my materials: ironing board, iron, scissors, Heat n'Bond and the shirts.

I just turned the shirt inside out, placed the Heat n'Bond, folded the bottom up for a straight line and ironed. And just worked my way around the whole bottom.

the puppy foot print onesie turned shirt, finished.

the first three finished. I had to take a break after these because Daughter woke up. and Daughter and hot irons don't mix. The lines don't look quite as clean as I'd like, but that's mostly because I wasn't taking as much time to make sure it looked great. My main concern is that they don't fray. a crinkled hemp doesn't bother me so much.

Son, modeling his new shirt.

he approves.

"Look Mom! I can play Where's Son with my onesie."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Catcher in the Rye and Holden

my copy

I've really been thinking about this post for a few days. and trying the best I can to not make it sound like a 5 paragraph essay for Honors English 11 (even though I never had to read this book for school) or some dis conjoined piece of mush. While at the same time, not including any big spoilers in case you haven't read it. ugh, here goes.

I don't remember what I thought of Holden and this book, specifically, when I first read it in college. I just remember I liked it mainly because I didn't care too much for the phonies that Holden spent so much time whining about.

Now when I'm thinking about Holden I'm torn. There's the phony hating kid I can still relate to, there's the kid who lost his brother to leukemia that my heart breaks for but there's also the poor little rich boy who can't seem to apply himself well enough in school(s) to manage to not get kicked out.

Phoebe calls him out on all his tomfoolery when he admits he got kicked out of Pencey. I think you can tell a lot about characters by how other characters relate to them. with Holden we see him interacting with a roommate, suite mate, a couple of nuns, a schoolmate's mother, a prostitute, a pimp, a couple of former teachers, a former schoolmate, a girl he dates and his sister. I think he's a pretty unreliable narrator so the best idea you get of who he is, isn't who he tells you he is, but who other people tell you he is. each interaction gives you a little more of the Holden Caulfield puzzle.

but to me the difference between whether I like him or just feel sorry for him has to do with how his perception of life was BEFORE Allie died. Was he always the kid who never tried in school? Was he always the kid who couldn't be bothered to put forth effort? The passive kid who just ran away for the weekend instead of dealing with his problems? or is his massive depression the sole result of his brother's death? and seriously, image how torn up you'd be if your brother/sister DIED as a child.

eh, it's all up for debate. J.D. isn't telling anyone. and won't let anyone else publish their ideas either.

On the whole, it's hard for me to relate to Holden but I still definitely like _The Catcher in the Rye_ and I want you to read/reread it too. What do you think of Holden Caulfield? whiny rich boy or tragic figure or somewhere in between?

This is at least my fourth time to read this book (I can tell because there are three previous kinds of highlighter used - pen, pink highlighter and yellow highlighter. and before you ask, I NEVER mix kinds of highlighter on a single reading)

most of the stuff was things that pertained to personal experiences of mine or inside jokes I shared with others. I'll share a few of my past highlights:

  • I'll just tell you about this madman stuff - I made a smiley face beside that in the margin.
  • That's how I practically got t.b. - for all the Judson girls
  • What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
  • All morons hate it when you call them a moron.
  • Anyway, I keep picturing all of these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around-nobody big, I mean-except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.
  • I mean you can't hardly ever simplify and unify something just because somebody wants you to.

Undoubtedly, the mystique of the book has so much to do with Salinger's reclusive lifestyle, the fact that because of the profane language and sexual references it's one of the most banned books in high school reading and the fact Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley Jr both heavily identified with it. but also, the book is something generations of teenagers could relate to.

I'd sort of like to see the story made into a movie. but then again, those phonies would probably just muck it up. ;-)

I think next I'm going to reread _Lord of the Flies_ I haven't read it since 9th or 10th grade. I'll probably like it a lot more now that AP Cards aren't involved.

Wordless Wednesday: sisters

Monday, August 3, 2009

HELP the puppy

that's right. we found a puppy. or rather, a puppy found us. Husband woke me up Sunday morning to tell me there was "a friendly puppy on the porch."

We're easing up on 30 hours of having a puppy on the porch. He's been splitting his time on the porch in our baby playyard that we bought to put around our Christmas tree last year and the backyard. He loves rolling around in the grass. He's pretty stinkin cute. and he seems to be somewhat potty trained. he hasn't gone to the bathroom in the playyard yet. He's been holding it until he's on grass.

As much as I'd love to keep him, we can't. He needs a good home, but that's not ours. Have I mentioned that Daughter is pretty smitten with him? She's been petting him and playing ball with him. She thinks he's a pretty great toy.

Our vet's office doesn't recognize him and he doesn't have a chip. No one has responded to my post on a community forum and no one but a few kids wanting to play with him has acknowledged our "Found Puppy" sign in the yard.
Want a cute little dog?
Puppy has been reunited with his family. I cried.