Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Fun

The kids and I had a wonderful, silly, fun evening tonight. I had initially thought we might go to M's school for their "family movie night", but he declared that he didn't want to see that movie. So, hmm. I didn't want a night of kids on computers. So what to do?

Get the whole family on electronics together! We had a Wiiment (Wiinament? Wii tournament).

A chose a boxing tournament. He beat us both.

M chose a bowling tournament. Close match. A won again.

I chose a golf tournament. A pulled that one off too, beating me by one stroke.

Then we each did our fitness age. I won that one, even beating my actual age.

Then we came upstairs and had luscious fudge-topped Ghirardelli brownies. Ummmm. *

After the brownies, M got silly. He was dancing around singing "Oh, do you know the muffin man?" So, I got silly too. I did a different dance to "Oh yes I know the muffin man". Then we danced together to "Yes we know the muffin man". Then we made A get into it too. We had to take the dance out into the living room so all 3 of us could lock elbows and sing and dance.

You know, reading that, it doesn't really sound that great. But really, it was fun and silly and terrific. We got all crazy-silly and had fun. And then the kids went and brushed their teeth and went to bed. (OK, they tried to procrastinate, but didn't get far with that - and really they went off to bed quite nicely.)

* and in the middle of writing this post D came home, so here I am finishing it up Sat night. D and I had a good long catching up chat and then went off to snuggle in bed. The kids were so quiet this morning I wasn't sure they were up (A was, M wasn't yet). And now, off to bed tonight...

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Western Day at School

A's school has "spirit days" a couple of times a month with various themes. Some are obvious - like red or pink for Valentine's Day. Today's was Western Day. This at least, was somewhat manageable. Plaid flannel shirt and jeans. Oooh, and amazingly enough, we had boots. Boots, which if you believe the size stamped in them, A should have outgrown at least a year ago. But he managed to shove his feet into them. (I sent his tennis shoes in his backpack in case the boots ceased working - but he was still in boots when he came home.)

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A gets his Bear Badge

Here are the promised pictures from last night. M did quite a nice job taking pictures (though the flash doesn't really work that far, so I had to lighten the first photo).

They had all the kids earning rank badges come and line up with a parent to receive their badge. Now A has to do a good deed before I can sew the badge on his uniform.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maybe not the best way to earn money

I "earned" $2 tonight - by virtue of M not taking out the trash. Hmmm... if it is worth $2 to him to not take out the trash, I guess I need to set the price higher. Though he drew the line at 25 cents per trashcan to put new bags in. So, first thing tomorrow morning he will be doing that - or owing me some more money.

I know I ought to have the kids doing more chores, but somehow it just doesn't get done. A couple of times a month I get everyone involved in cleaning up - but I seem to spend as much time doling out tasks as getting anything done myself.

I'm tired tonight. D's gone, so I've been kid-wrangling myself yesterday and today. And tonight is the 3rd night in a row that we've been out late - Scouts, Lenten program, and Scouts again. But now, A is the official recipient of a Bear badge. I have some pictures (not sure how good they are, most were taken by M, at a distance). But no camera battery tonight. So the battery is charging and I will try to put up photos tomorrow.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


M decided he really wanted to upgrade his iPod to a video iPod - one of the new 3rd generation ones. And he really, really wanted to have it to take on his big field trip in mid-March (ie before his birthday). We finally agreed that he could have the same iPod money match for his birthday as A got, but early. He debated between the 4GB and the bigger, more colorful 8GB, but finally decided on the 4GB.

M has been asking me daily, nay hourly, if the iPod has come.

We've been tracking it through the Fed-Ex website. Only problem - they didn't update between Reno, NV and Ellenwood, GA (whereever that is!). And, M had signed up for email updates, which never arrived. Hmmph.

Anyway, last night we knew it had reached GA and was put on a truck for delivery today. So, I stayed home all day waiting for it. Giving up going in to A's class to help out. (OK, truth be told, it was a great day to stay home - cold, WINDY, rainy - all around yucky - and A's teacher lately often doesn't have anything particular for me to do). So, I stayed home and slogged away at the taxes and the package finally arrived at 2:22pm.

I had asked M whether he wanted to open it himself, or have me open it and start charging it. He debated it, but finally decided he wanted to open it up himself (I'm not surprised, but I thought I'd offer the option of charging it for him).

Here's M with his package:

Hurry up and open, you box you!

The inner box...

and finally the iPod itself!

It is cool and shiny (much more metallic and silvery than the old one, which was more buffed silver). It is charged up and he listened to/played with it this evening - on the way to and from Scouts, and while hanging out with me in A's den meeting, waiting for his meeting to start. Oh, and he managed somehow to switch it into Japanese at one point. Luckily he managed to get it back to English!
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Finally ready for taxes?

I got what I hope is my LAST piece of info to do our taxes in the mail yesterday.  I always wonder at all the tax prep stuff that is out there in early Jan.  I never have ANY info until the very end of Jan!

This week the kids have been off school, so not very conducive to working on taxes, though I did manage to sort and file all the financial info from the past year - took me most of the day Friday and generated 9 bags of trash.  Which included several bags that the kids shredded for me.

I'm hoping to make some serious inroads into the taxes this week.  I HATE doing taxes, though, so I always seem to procrastinate.  My goal is to have them done by Easter.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

February Flowers

Yesterday was a pretty day, so I took advantage of at least a bit of it to do some yardwork. M and I gave the monkey grass a crew cut - all ready for spring...

Then once I was out there, I needed to show off some of the blooms in the yard. Of course, some of them have gotten almost buried...

The ivy is taking over this area. And the rosemary has grown a LOT since we planted it, probably 8 years ago.

Then this little dwarf iris is having to poke its way up through the leaves in the front island.

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These daffodils aren't far from the iris, but, being bigger, don't seem to mind the leaves at all!

I saw the hyacinths and day lilies putting up greenery too. And the Easter lilies - but they'll be way off on Easter this year!

We're finally getting some rain today. It has rained off and on all day long. We're at a little over an inch now (and needing more). It's supposed to rain again tomorrow. I know we need it, but its a little bit dreary all day long.


Saturday, February 16, 2008


We went to game night last night. Somewhat reluctantly, on my part, as I've gotten rather tired of dominoes. I haven't even managed to go to game night all that often recently, but dominoes have lost their luster. But the kids and I went, taking Blokus in the hopes that we could convince someone to play that with us. No takers at first, but M and I decided to play a 2 person game, with each of us playing 2 colors.

In the midst of the first game, E (college age) and his dad arrived, and agreed to take over our extra hands. They were rather enchanted with the game and quite good at it. E plays much more defensively than any of us have tended to. After playing another game, where E and I managed to tie, with only one 4-square piece left each, I inquired about the game they had brought.

They showed us Munchkin. At first M wasn't interested in playing - he would rather read his book. I persisted and said he needed to come try it. It looked like it might be interesting in the way that various games we have from Uncle D are. Well, it is. It's somewhat like a card game version of D&D. But without any arcane knowledge needed. It was really fun. And funny - many of the cards are puns, like the Maul Rat, or wordplays ( Buckler of Swashing on Cotion of Ponfusion). Then there are other monsters with strange powers - like the lawyer (won't attack thieves - professional courtesy). The deck we were playing with was the original Munchkin plus expansion pack 3 (clerical errors). M and A (who had ditched his dominoes game to come watch us) were thoroughly entranced by the game - and started insisting that we MUST get it.

So, this afternoon found us at Borders purchasing the original game. They are hoping for expansion packs to follow. After that, they felt a need to visit Baskin-R*obbins to redeem their Christmas gift certificates. Today was even warm enough to feel like eating ice cream.

Then, once back home, we HAD to play Munchkin. It moved along a bit slower at first, compared to last night - partly because we weren't quite as sure of the rules and partly that our deck wasn't well shuffled (and maybe that we didn't have extra cards from an expansion pack, who knows?). As we got to the final rounds, that part takes a long time, as everyone gangs up on the person who is about to win. We each had about 3 turns of "I could win this time", but were successfully prevented - until finally I prevailed. A bit on an anti-climax as I had 2 great cards to help me be sure to win - and I ended up defeating a level one monster, with my level 18 warrior. Piece of cake (or as the card might say, peace of cake).

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Belated Valentines Post

We had a lovely Valentine's Day and I have some lovely pictures.  However, the various computers are not cooperating with photos at the moment, so no pictures.  

So, picture in your mind.... I cleared the dining room table of all the homework and art stuff.  Set the table with the china, crystal and silver.  Found candlesticks* and pink candles.  Found heart decorations for the table.  D brought me some lovely red tulips, just starting to open.

Dinner was shrimp and crab cakes, bacon-wrapped scallops, veggies with pasta, and fresh simple crusty bread.  

M even tried a scallop (not his idea) and decided that the bacon hid the scallop flavor well enough, but he wasn't choosing to have anymore. He had fish sticks. A, though, he initially said he would prefer fish sticks, after trying the scallops, asked for more.

But then, the candles started swaying as we cut the bread.  They weren't standing up straight very well anyway, but sawing through the crust on the bread had them lurching drunkenly and threatening to spew wax all over the place (and possibly flames).  After fixing them multiple times, we finally just blew out the candles.

*We don't often have candle-lit dinners, as shown by the fact that I had to dig up the candlesticks from a box where we had packed them away when we got the new flooring - umm, 2 years ago.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hit a Snag

I thought I was done with the piecing for A's quilt.  I had it all laid out and sewn together.  I laid it out on his bed yesterday and showed him.  Cool, he says.  It's wide enough, but it needs to be longer.  Oops.  I was figuring on putting a wide border on it, but now he says he doesn't want it much wider (it hangs a few inches over each side of his bed).  Easy solution is to add a few more rows to the length.  But.... I ran out of the orange flannel.  So, after my quilting meeting today, I ran up to JoAnn's and was lucky enough to find more of the orange flannel (and it was even half off!)  So, flannel is home and washed, but I didn't manage to get any further today.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get some more strips cut and pieced.  And maybe even get some strips cut on my challenge quilt...  I was planning to defrost the freezer tomorrow, but looking at the weather (predicted to be right at freezing still at 9am tomorrow), maybe I'll sew tomorrow and defrost on Friday.  Besides, who wants to spend Valentine's day defrosting the freezer?  Not me!


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pinewood Derby Day

Today was the pinewood derby. The great race that some of the dads have been working towards for months. Not in this house, though. D and A started working on the car this Monday.

Monday, D cut the car at school, then he and A sanded it and took it to pit night, where A put a coat of paint on and D straightened the axles.

Tuesday, D put in the weights and wood puttied them into place. They sanded some more, then put the wheels in and tested it on the track at pit night.

Wednesday, A and I painted it again and D added a bit more weight.

Thursday, D polished the axles and put in graphite and they tested it (and several old cars) on the track at pit night again.

Friday was the last touch up of weight.

And then Saturday was the race.

Here's A at the track.

And here's A's car, closer to us, unfortunately not winning - though it's close.

It was a double elimination tournament. A lost in the first round and went into the loser's bracket. Then he won a race, which turns out to have been the wrong race to have run. Then he won his correct race. Then he lost. But that race his car shouldn't have been in - the kid A beat, went on to take 3rd place. A was disappointed that he didn't win, especially because this pack gives out trophies for the top 3 finishes in each den. Previously A took 2nd and 1st place, but only got a pin.

A did win an award for "I can't believe it's a car!", which I think is really meant for cars that look like animals or such. In this case, it means that his car was the least fancy of the Bears.
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Thursday, February 07, 2008

A different perspective

I was trying to figure out whether I wanted to put thin borders between the "windows" of my jungle quilt, but couldn't quite decide. Oddly enough, looking at the pictures here on the computer helped me see which I liked better far more than seeing it up close in person. This one is the picture from a few days ago, without any border.

Then on this one (with Shadow enjoying himself), I tried out borders in a brown (on the left) and a black (on the right) print. Although the black looks better with Shadow, I think I'll use the brown print.

It's odd, juggling 3 different sewing projects at once. I would really have preferred to have only one in any one stage at a given time, but it doesn't always work out that way. M asked earlier this week if I was going to get his quilt done before it got warm. Oops. Given that the groundhog saw his shadow (and our 70's weather yesterday made it seem rather springlike), I knew I'd better get busy on the kids quilts. I let them pick out the fabric (I bought it the day after Thanksgiving on a big sale), but then I knew I didn't have time to get into the sewing with all the busyness of getting ready for Christmas. They are really going together rather quickly, I just have to carve out time to work on them (when I don't have the help of either cat...).
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Happy Chinese New Year!

In honor of the Chinese New Year (Year of the Rat), we had a medley of Chinese food for dinner tonight. (and no, no rats in evidence -though maybe the cats caught one someplace else and ate it all themselves). We had (clockwise from top left) soy ginger carrots, buffalo style wontons, beef lo mein, Thai ginger soup and lemongrass spring rolls. All yummy, but my favorite I think was the lemongrass rolls! With the carrots coming in second - both from Trader Joe's.

As anyone who knows us might expect, A liked pretty much all of it, and M liked none of it. But we all had fun practicing with our chopsticks. M laughed at me when I speared a wonton - it was the only decent way of picking it up with chopsticks!
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The cats help me quilt

The cats have been trying to "help" me quilt again. They are so cute, but can be so very unhelpful. This morning Pounce kept trying to walk on the fabric I was trying to cut. Sorry cat, but I can't see through you, nor can I cut between your legs. Later on they each took a turn lying on the pieces where I had them laid out on the bed. Still not actually helpful, but I can deal with this.

Then when I tried to lay out the fleece M wants for his quilt, Shadow decided he needed to lie down and have a bit of a wash. M will be delighted if Shadow wants to come visit him and the quilt in bed.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Happy Mardi Gras!

or as I grew up, Happy Shrove Tuesday.  I never really connected that the two were really the same day until I was an adult.  As a kid, Shrove Tuesday meant pancake supper at church.  Yum.

Then I went to college and had the chance to go to Mardi Gras over Spring Break one year.  Wow.  We got LOTS of beads (and NO, I didn't show anything I'd regret - I still got plenty of beads, just not so many big, long beads).  Then, I moved to Louisiana after college.  Let's just say, Louisiana isn't voting today.  Mardi Gras is a huge holiday there.  The kids are off school.  Lots of people are off work.  No pancakes for Mardi Gras, but we generally had king cake.  Also very yummy.

Usually our church has a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, but, unfortunately, not this year - because they are using the parish hall for voting.  So, we had our own pancake supper at home - oatmeal pancakes and bacon.  Tasty!

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Super Tuesday

I've already gone out and voted, so now I really wish the candidates would quit calling already!  I obviously made my choice and I can't go back and change it.  The attack ads are getting really old.  I wonder - if I registered as an independent, would I skip all the calls or would I get calls from both parties?  Hmmm.

I was pleased that there wasn't much of a line when I showed up to vote around 10:45 this morning.  In fact, they said the line hadn't been bad all morning, except to work through the people waiting when the polls opened.  D was one of those - I checked and he did vote this morning.  He said he would vote as long as the lines weren't too long (otherwise, he'd do it this afternoon).


Monday, February 04, 2008

New Quilt Project

I have a challenge quilt to work on for my quilt group, but I've been having trouble getting started. For a couple of reasons - 1. trying to decide exactly what to do
2. it's cold down in my basement sewing room

So, finally last week, I decided I could at least solve the 2nd problem. I took the space heater down there and got the sewing room fairly cozy. Shadow had to check it out...
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Then, even once I had decided what I wanted to do, it seemed so "final" to cut holes in the fabric. But this is what the fabric looked like once I was done cutting out the pieces...

I was pretty impressed with myself that I managed to get these 4 done the first day. Y-seams and all!

Here's where I am now. Next is to decide how to put them all together. I'm thinking of a lattice between the windows, either black or brown.

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