Friday, December 31, 2010

Onward and Upward

So many people have gone through trying and difficult times this past year, I thought I should write something wise and helpful as 2010 comes to a close. My pitiful attempts, however, seem trite. There's not much I can say to make anyone feel better about his or her particular situation when life can be rock hard and crushing.

My prayer is that if you are questioning God's love for you—asking whether He cares, whether He even exists—you will hear a clear and resounding YES throughout this next year.

Happy New Year, gentle readers.






Dinner last night: split pea and ham soup, sweet cornbread muffins


Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We're All Winners

My girls' dreams of spending their Christmas vacation sledding and skiing have been thwarted by the colder than typical temperatures of this December.


Since the kids are spending so much time indoors, I came up with a plan to play a different board game each day and keep a running list of who won—at the end of two weeks we would have a Game Master.

We lasted about 3 days with keeping track of first place; after that, we began playing games willy-nilly and just for the fun of it. My eldest daughter loves Scrabble. My 10-year-old prefers Apples to Apples. The twins are learning how to play Chutes & Ladders. I'm partial to card games and my husband likes jigsaw puzzles.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go whip some girls' booties in Sorry and then beat a couple of preschoolers at Candyland.



Dinner last night: caprese pasta salad

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:



Monday, December 27, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Regret

My 10-year-old's science teacher sent out an e-mail, reminding all us parents about the eclipse that was forecast to be seen in clear Alaskan skies on Monday night. Evidently, a full lunar eclipse will only occur once in our lifetime, and is an event not to be missed.

In celebration, my husband made me sit down to watch Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight series, and then he promptly fell asleep about 20 minutes into it. Some loud noise—perhaps Bella shouting at Edward that SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE WANTS—finally stirred my chick flick watcher, and he stood up and abruptly turned off the TV. We both shuffled off to bed, where our tired old bodies immediately fell into a deep sleep.

I awoke with a start and croaked in despair, "We missed the lunar eclipse." My husband peered at his glow-in-the-dark watch and said, "Well, it's exactly 10:30 right now." I'm continually amazed at my inner clock. I wanted to see that lunar eclipse, and my subconscious woke me at just the right time.

If you're thinking this post ends with beautiful pictures of the exceedingly rare and awe-inspiring amber moon, think again. The temperatures were subzero outside, my bed was toasty warm, and I was too tired to roll my lazy rear out of it. I missed the once-in-a-lifetime full lunar eclipse.

The moral of the story? Petulant teenage girls who prefer a thin, pasty, soulless vampire over a good-looking, warm-blooded, passionate wolfman are crazy.



Dinner last night: Chinese takeout

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:



Thursday, December 16, 2010

COO - KEE!! Ruhm! Yum! Um!

One of my family's favorite Christmas traditions is baking and decorating sugar cookies. This year, the twins joined us for the first time. I didn't know what to expect from them—sprinkles poured directly onto the floor? eating the frosting straight from the bowl?—but they were so creative and focused. They sat at the table for a good 45 minutes, working diligently and carefully. It's a Christmas miracle.



My 10-year-old was clowning around and deliberately dabbed frosting on her nose, but the twins were too busy for hijinks. Cookie decorating is serious business.




Cookies don't have to be pretty to be pretty special.





Dinner last night: spaghetti and meatballs, corn, salad



Monday, December 13, 2010

The Santa Dilemma

When I was 7 or 8, I started hearing rumors that Santa was a made-up character. I asked my dad, and he assured me that Santa was real. So I broke some kid's nose when he argued with me that Santa did not exist. Kidding. But I did vigorously defend Santa's honor against the other children who chanted that I was a big dummy for continuing to believe. When my dad eventually admitted that Santa did not exist, I was furious. I wasn't upset about the overall myth of Santa; I was angry that my father had lied to me when I asked him straight out for the truth. I remember thinking to myself that I would tell the truth to my kids if they asked me about Santa.

Ahem.

I've never set out deliberately to fool my children into believing in Santa, but they've managed to learn about him despite my attempts to run ahead into stores and hide all the displays or tape the mouths of their playmates who begin babbling about Claus's reindeer or his elves or his big jelly belly. I've said NOTHING to my 4-year-old twins about Santa, but this year, they seem to know all about him and how he works.

So do I give in and let the charade continue? Or do I nip it in the bud?

My eldest daughter figured out on her own. She never cared one way or the other about Santa, so realizing he was a myth didn't bother her. My second daughter was one of those kids who really got into Christmas, and I may or may not have encouraged her excitement with a present marked "From Santa" and a half-eaten cookie left on the plate she set out for him. When she eventually came to me in earnest and asked me to tell her the truth, I did . . .  and we both had a big cry at the loss of her childish belief. It was quite traumatic for her and for me, and I don't ever want to go through that again.

I'm such a hypocrite.



Dinner last night: salmon patties with creamed peas, green salad


Friday, December 10, 2010

Sing, Choirs of Angels

I've attended my share of dance recitals and 6th grade band concerts and kindergarten graduations and poetry recitations and award ceremonies and elementary plays and soccer games and science fair demonstrations. But there's something about children singing Christmas hymns that warms my weary heart.








Dinner last night: eggplant parmigiana, salad, steamed asparagus

Exactly two years ago:



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Merry Bypass to All, and to All a Good Stent

My dad and his wife decided to give an early Christmas gift to all of us kids. Hospital visits and prayer chains for everyone!

Last week, my stepmom skipped up the stairs per usual to her bedroom. My dad noticed with apprehension that upon reaching the top, his sweetie was shockingly winded and gray in pallor. He insisted she visit the doctor, who after reading the results of her stress test, said Get ye to Anchorage stat. They drove to the big city for further tests, during which two blockages were discovered at a spot where cardiologists couldn't place a stent—complete blockages of the sort that cause a DROP DEAD ANY SECOND kind of heart attack. She was whisked off to an operating room, where surgeons cracked open her sternum, rummaged around in her chest, and tied the whole package up with string.

Three days into her recovery from open heart surgery, my dad was sitting at her bedside quietly weeping as he mopped her brow—okay, maybe he was reading the newspaper while she talked on her cell phone—when he started experiencing chest pain that wouldn't pass, despite the popping of nitro pills like candy. In fact, the pain intensified and radiated down his left arm. Since he was in the hospital any way, might as well take a ride in the wheel chair. Turns out he had a major blockage requiring emergency surgery and the insertion of two stents.

Both are now resting comfortably in their hospital beds, while visions of IVs dance through their heads.


UPDATE: Dad and Vickie are out of the hospital and recuperating at my home for a few days. Welcome to Kim's Kompassionate Kare, the fastest recovery center around . . . because there's nothing like a pair of screeching 4-year-old lunatics asking 500 times a day to see your scar to make you want to get out of your bed, on your feet, through the door, and back to your normal life.



Dinner last night: vending machine delights

Exactly one year ago:




Friday, December 3, 2010

An Afternoon with Hans Brinker


The days are cold and crisp.


Ponds have frozen solid and smooth.


Guess who'll be receiving skates for Christmas? Until then, the twins are happy to shuffle across the ice in their boots.










Dinner last night: split pea and ham soup, cornbread


Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:




Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good-Bye, November

Some years, I am really organized when it comes to the holidays. This is not one of those years. Unfortunately, if I don't prepare for Christmas around here, it won't happen. My husband will make sure to stock the fridge with eggnog, but that's about it.

I need to accept the fact that time is indeed flying, buckle down, and get to work . . . hauling the totes of Christmas decorations from the attic . . . writing Christmas cards . . . planning a schedule for baking and the menu for Christmas Eve dinner . . . shopping for and wrapping gifts . . .


. . . right after I finish my mug of cocoa and the book I'm reading.



Dinner last night: venison with cranberry sauce, wild rice, brussels sprouts

Exactly one year ago:


Monday, November 29, 2010

A Foot of Snow and a Ton of Turkey

We woke up Thanksgiving morning to a winter wonderland. The snow continued to fall for most of the day, leaving us with 12" of perfect powder for sledding and skiing. The kids had a blast playing outside while I prepared the big meal.

My family isn't known for their love of exotic foods—at each holiday meal, my husband says grace and then regales us with his horror story about once having to eat a fancy cold oyster stuffing at someone's dinner party—so we stick with traditional fare for our Thanksgiving feast.

Just call me Martha.



Dinner last night: turkey noodle soup

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are We Ready for Tomorrow?

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the skies decided to open up and throw down some rain to freeze across the ground in sheets of glare ice. I thought I lived in the wilds of Alaska, where all the women wear Crocs, all the men are hairy, and all the children run around without coats, but I guess I'm residing in a delicate suburb where the schools CLOSE DOWN FOR TWO DAYS because of icy roads. TWO DAYS. So I'm trying to prepare the house for guests, bake a pumpkin pie or two, and stay sane with four children unexpectedly home from school, screaming for hot chocolate and demanding the password to the computer so they can watch Disney shows online.

If you ask me, the teachers aren't banning children from skating in and out of traffic to school; they just want a 6-day weekend this holiday. Well played, teachers. Well played.

Whether you're in the icy rain or in the sunshine this November, I hope your day tomorrow is peaceful and blessed. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.



Dinner last night: herb-crusted chuck roast and veggies

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:




Monday, November 22, 2010

The Battle Begins

During summer, I fight vainly to keep my girls' feet in socks and shoes. When winter arrives, I continue my useless nagging to wear socks and . . . warm boots, please. Also, a hat would be nice. Where are your mittens?

Coats are for sissies, Mom.

 Alaskan kids eat their snacks outside. In short sleeves.







Dinner last night: turkey sandwiches, soup



Friday, November 19, 2010

Spinning Dervish

It's hard to believe that less than a year ago, my 10-year-old daughter could barely skate. She begged and pleaded for lessons, and we finally gave in. We figured she'd learn the basics and go her merry way, but Little Miss Persistence is determined to become a proper figure skater.










Dinner last night: penne bolognese, antipasto salad

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Phlegm City

I've been offline for a week tending to sick children, a rundown husband, and my own grumpy self. We're all feeling much better this morning, and I'm hoping we can return to a more normal schedule. I forget how much I depend on routine and structure in my life until order is removed for a few days.

I'm so discombobulated that I don't even know what to blog about. Until I can gather my wits about me, here is a profound and thought-provoking metaphor for you:



Life is a sandwich-stealing beagle, sleeping on the hand-sewn pillows
that you just made for the sofa.



Dinner last night: salmon patties with creamed peas, green salad

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cold and Flu Season

I like to post pictures, but I'll refrain today, since the only appropriate photograph would be a crumpled-up tissue. We've got the yuk running through the family. Fortunately, it's not a stomach virus—just an achy, cough-y, run-downy sort of cold/respiratory flu.

Whenever I'm sick, I tend to worry a lot. My mind latches onto weird little strands of thought and obsesses over what should be insignificant events. For example, the other day I commented on someone else's blog that I hated my dog, she was so stupid, because she had jumped up when I wasn't looking and snagged a turkey and cheese sandwich off the counter. She hid behind the sofa AND ATE THE ENTIRE THING. Now I can't stop worrying that my dog will find out about what I said in a fit of pique about her and that people might think I actually hate my dog.

I'm so sorry, Daisy. I didn't mean it. I love you and your velvet ears, and you are actually a clever little beagle. I didn't appreciate your stealing the girls' lunch before I had a chance to pack it, but props to you for executing your sneaky streak in a room full of people who didn't even see you commit the crime. Who knew beagles could jump silently? That they could even jump at all?

I think I just came up with a great name for a polka band: SNEAKY STREAK.




Dinner last night: beef stroganoff over noodles

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Room with a View

I love looking out at the snowy trees and catching a glimpse of the sunset beyond. It's snug and cozy inside the warm house, but I don't feel stifled.
























There's a great big world out there.



Dinner last night: cracked pepper steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

Exactly two years ago:



Monday, November 8, 2010

Mooned by a Moose

There I am, minding my own business, wandering about the house looking for some leftover Halloween candy, when I decide to open the curtains and let in some light.


And good day to YOU, sir. Or is it madam?
On second thought, forget I asked.


From a less graphic angle, you can see that a mother moose and her calf are lounging on our deck, eating something . . . orange? What the . . . ?


Please. Help yourself.
We spent hours carving pumpkins
just so you could enjoy a mid-morning snack.



Dinner last night: teriyaki chicken, stir-fry rice



Friday, November 5, 2010

Three . . . It's the New Terrible Twos

I've heard that age two is when most children exhibit their unruliest behavior, but all of my daughters went through their toughest stage at age three. I experienced a particularly difficult patch with my youngest girl.

I've always lovingly referred to her as "independent," but I've come to realize that she is by far the most strong-willed of my four daughters. My experience in raising children amounts to a hill of beans when dealing with my youngest. What in the world was the point of raising my older kids if nothing I learned works with my baby? My usual arsenal of weapons, such as the stern look and the mean teacher's voice, are useless. Forget about time-outs or counting to one two THREE! She is so strong-willed that I made the mistake of Googling "oppositional," which led to my discovering "oppositional defiance disorder," which resulted in the subsequent taking to my bed in a state of despair.

My daughter is definitely oppositional, but after much reading about ODD, I am convinced that she does not suffer from that particular disorder. She's a contrary little thing, to be sure, but she's not hostile or violent or mean. She likes to be the boss, to control the situation, to make sure things are done her way or the highway, but she doesn't throw tantrums, freak out (too much) at her sisters, or deliberately hurt our pets. I'm not sure exactly where she gets her independent streak, but I'm starting to have my suspicions. The other day, I caught myself snatching something out of my husband's hands while snapping, "I can do it myself!"

Aha moment.

I realized that I am oppositional. Er, I mean strong-willed. Or is it independent? Whatever it is, I am it. My daughter seems to have inherited that particular trait from me. On one hand, I am very distressed about this revelation; on the other, I am relieved. When I see her pitching a fit, I am pierced through the heart at how childish my own argumentative nature must seem. At the same time, I now have better insight into her frustration and irritability when others try to tell her how to do things or, Heaven forbid, refuse her demands to let her do them by herself!

I don't know if she will learn from the mistakes I've made over the years because of my oppositional independent ways—that would involve actually listening to and valuing what her old fogey mother has to say, and that's not likely to happen until she's a grown adult with a strong-willed child of her own—but at least I know how to start praying for her. And myself. Patience, unconditional love, wisdom, and humility. Oh, and patience.



Dinner last night: chicken-veggie soup, cheese-garlic bread

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

. . . and SCENE.

Fall is officially over. Well, not officially, I guess, since the first day of winter doesn't occur until December. For all intents and purposes, though, autumn is over and done with in Alaska. The first snow of the year fell during the night, and we woke up to a winter wonderland.

Perhaps wonderland is too strong a word.


Each morning, my twin daughters act like it's a big surprise when I call them over to get their hair brushed. Their eyes grow large and round in bewilderment, and they begin yelling indignantly.

"I don't WANT my hair brushed!" one screams into the cruel universe. "You're a MEAN mommy!" the other hisses at me. "NOOOOOOO!!!!" they both shriek, and off they run to hide behind the recliner in the family room. EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

Normally, this behavior annoys me. After getting their hair combed daily for the past 4 years, they continue to express shock and horror when I walk out of the bathroom with a hair brush and stack of rubber bands in my hand. Today, however, as I looked through the window at the snow that I know good and well falls out of the sky each and every year around this same time, I finally understood my girls' complaining.

It's a matter of principle.




Dinner last night: shredded pork enchiladas

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:



Monday, November 1, 2010

The Bat and the Butterfly

The twins have been insisting for a good month or more that they wanted to dress up for Halloween as a beautiful, ethereal, gossamer-winged butterfly and a bat. Yes, a bat. A black, creepy BAT.

I vant to eat your candy.


Dinner last night: leftover food from the Harvest party





Thursday, October 28, 2010

Smart Phones are Wasted on the Stupid

I haven't been blogging this week, due to the upcoming Harvest Party that my girls will be throwing this weekend. All they have to do is sit back and wait for the fun to arrive; meanwhile, I'm scrubbing and crafting and decorating and baking . . . yeah, yeah. BOO HOO, Kim.

My husband surprised me with a new iPhone, so I thought I'd get all techno-savvy on his heinie by snapping a photo of the twins in face paint and e-mailing the picture directly to him. Aren't I the whiz? One, I never did get a picture. Two, the phone somehow recorded video footage, which is impossible since everyone knows a cell phone is not a video camera.






Dinner last night: spinach and 3-cheese ravioli, salad





Monday, October 25, 2010

Washington's Version of Moose

Looks like Alaska is not the only state that suffers from skinny-legged twig eaters running through the flower beds.

Fortunately for me, moose are not as sproingy as deer. Sproingy? Moose don't spring out of the hotel bushes like a jackrabbit on crack and send my heart into arrythmia, is what I'm trying to say.



Dinner last night: chicken pot pie, green salad, strawberry shortcake








Friday, October 22, 2010

Limbo

Autumn has passed. The glorious leaves of gold and red and purple have fallen to the ground, where they lay brittle and brown.

The overcast sky hangs grim and grey over skeletal trees,
providing the perfect setting for Halloween.


Alaska sits and waits for snow.



Dinner last night: roasted chicken, garlic bread, potato salad

Exactly two years ago:



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cruel Shoes

I thought I'd act like a lady and wear some pretty shoes to the wedding that we attended last weekend. The only problem is my current collection of shoes cannot be classified as "pretty." Comfortable? You bet. Functional? Absolutely. Croc-like in a lovely shade of blue? Oh, yeah.

I went shopping and found appropriate footwear for the special event. They complemented the gray pants I planned on wearing and they matched my handbag. Score!




I wore Pretty Shoes to the wedding and reception, and . . .

Holy Blister, did those slingbacks kill my feet. I will spare you a picture of my wound in its full glory (big as a dime, bright orange, and full of fluid), but . . .

 . . . here is the aftermath 5 days later.

I would really like to know if designer shoes are more comfortable than the cheapos I wear. I mean, do $650 Christian Louboutins feel better on the foot than, say, a $25 pair of heels from Famous Footwear? 'Cause, I'm telling you right now, if expensive pumps are easier somehow to walk around in, I'll gladly sell off my husband's John Deere tractor and use the money to buy myself some fancy shoes that won't give me blisters.


Dinner last night: pot roast and veggies

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:







Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

There are 2 types of children in this world: those who spend their time at a wedding reception cavorting and frolicking with their cousins, and those who park themselves at the cake table.



We're not leaving until we get our hands on those kissing dolls
and then consume the entire cake by ourselves.



Dinner last night: barbecue short ribs, mashed potatoes


Exactly one year ago:



Monday, October 18, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend

We returned home last night after attending an out-of-town wedding. The ceremony was so beautiful, and from the moment the piano began to play, the poor mom started losing it. There she sat in the pew, hands clenched, weepy-eyed and breathing with difficulty as she watched her daughter walk down the aisle. No, I'm not referring to the mother of the bride. I'm talking about the sweaty, nervous mother of the . . .


flower girls.


Dinner last night: small bag of pretzels on the plane



Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday's Five: Angela

Welcome to Friday's Five, my regular feature that asks a fabulous follower 5 random questions.


I'm visiting today with Angela, also known as Cambridge Lady, who blogs at Just Waffling . . . I stumbled across her site just as she was posting pictures from her holiday in Australia. I lucked out with this fab blogger because not only does she take an awesome vacation, but she lives in England! If you're like me and enjoy traveling vicariously, you'll love Cambridge Lady's commentary and photographs of flowers, animal life (yay for hedgehogs!), and gorgeous architecture. Angela also runs a weekly Mystery Picture Competition and puts up interesting videos that often reflect a British perspective and/or humor.

1. How old are your children and what do they say they want to be when they grow up? I have a son aged 13 and a daughter aged 10. They are very different characters. My son is somewhat academic and, much to my amazement and joy, loves a lot of the subjects that fascinated me at school—history, geography and maths. He is a whiz with computers and, although he hasn’t expressed any particular career ambitions, I can see him doing something that combines IT and multimedia with his academic interests. My daughter is very creative and has the most incredible imagination. She loves and is talented in acting, singing, dancing, and drawing and says she would like to be either a book illustrator, an actress, or a model (hope she leans more towards the first two choices!!).

2. You've spent some time in the U.S. Where did you live and how was your experience? We lived in the suburban area just to the west of Portland, Oregon. It was an “easy” international move in the sense that we kept a similar standard of living and we spoke the language. The bureaucracy was extraordinary though! I loved the people we met—Americans truly are a very friendly and generous people who will go out of their way to help you. You all seem to have so much energy too. There were loads of stay-at-home Mums where we lived who got really involved with the school and community and they made it very easy for me and my kids to feel at home.
     I loved the natural environment in and around Portland (coast and mountains, bliss!!) and a lot of the flora and fauna were new and very beautiful. I liked the summers in Portland—wall to wall sunshine for 3 or 4 months—but the rain the rest of the year was a bit much!! I did get very homesick—I was surprised how much I missed the UK (silly things like food, the BBC, the daft humour) and also being so close to mainland Europe. I found the suburbs a very depressing environment—endless characterless retail and restaurants, with no sense of being anywhere in particular. Everyone drove everywhere and I love to walk and use public transport. Now I am home I take great joy in walking to the park or the town centre, sitting in a cafĂ© by the river and just being amongst old buildings and fabulous architecture. We have the big box retail and shopping malls but I’m happy to avoid them!
     I also felt very isolated from the rest of the world. It’s probably not apparent to Americans who have never left the USA but everything is so US-centric (TV, news, magazines, etc. . . . ) In school the kids only learnt about US history, US geography and US scientific achievement. It was like the rest of the world didn’t exist at times. It was a great experience, one I might consider repeating when my children have finished their education, but it has made me appreciate what “home” actually means to me and I now know the UK is where I feel happiest—before there was always the possibility that the grass was greener somewhere else.

3. As someone who has never traveled to your country, but desperately wants to some day, what 3 places should I see if I ever get the chance to visit? I think a lot of people, understandably, look at the physical size of the country and think they can “do England” in a few days. I have lived here most of my 44 years, travelled a lot, and yet there are so many places I would still like to visit. Every village, town, and city has its own character and history, and the countryside, whilst not on the scale seen in the USA, is very varied and beautiful. Three places? Impossible to narrow it down but I’ll try . . . 
     I’ll assume you would automatically go to London – it’s an amazing city and you must go but it’s not the real England. I would probably choose North Yorkshire – wild countryside and coastline, little villages and towns full of character, and of course York with its Viking and Roman history and Minster. Secondly you have to travel around the coastline of the West Country (Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall) with its mix of isolated coves and traditional seaside resorts, great walking routes, and opportunities for fossil hunting. There are loads of pubs and restaurants in which to enjoy the local seafood, cream teas, and English ales. Lastly, well you’ve got to come and see me in Cambridge! The city is full of great architecture, museums, and culture and the University is something special. The history of the surrounding area is very interesting as well.

4. I love the English turns of phrases you use in your writing. For those of us Americans who can't get breakfast foods out of our minds, can you explain how you came up with your blog's title? Well, waffling in British English just means talking a lot, often about nothing in particular. Actually I had no idea this word wasn’t used in the USA. We seem to have a lot of vocabulary that hasn’t travelled to the USA. I started my blog as somewhere to put my photos from Australia—not all my family and friends were on Facebook—and thought I might occasionally write a bit on the blog but didn’t want to have a theme or limit myself to just one aspect of life. So I can, and do, use my blog to waffle about everything and anything. I’m not sure how many people have found my blog because of a love of all things patisserie but the search term “Belgian waffle with cream” has brought one hungry soul to my writings in the past couple of weeks!! They must have been a little disappointed!

5. What did you have for dinner last night? Duck and beef wraps/fajitas with sweetcorn followed by apricot and peach crumble with custard.

Thanks, Angela! You can bet your bippy that if I ever make it over there, I'll be showing up in Cambridge . . . asking for some of that apricot and peach crumble! Until then, everyone grab a candy bar and meet back here next Friday for a chat with another great blogger.





Previously on Friday's Five . . .

Friday's Five: Katherine (The Katherine Wheel)                      Friday's Five: Joey (Big Teeth & Clouds)
Friday's Five: Karen (A Peek at Karen's World)                         Friday's Five: Karen (Karen's Journal) 
Friday's Five: Quadmama (Buried in Laundry)                          Friday's Five: Stephanie (Steph in the City)                   
Friday's Five: Michelle (Table for Nine)                                    Friday's Five: Dawn (Bee and Rose)                                
Friday's Five: Francesca (Three Bay B Chicks)                           Friday's Five: Michelle (Scribbit)
Friday's Five: Dianna (The Kennedy Adventures!)                    Friday's Five: Jen (Li'l Man's World)
Friday's Five: TwinMama (Bringing Up Twins)                           Friday's Five: Michele (The Stefo Crew)
Friday's Five: Geri (saddlepotatoes)                                         Friday's Five: Lana (The Kids Did What?!)
Friday's Five: Lisa (Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy)                            Friday's Five: Helene (I'm Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor)

Exactly two years ago:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Boys and Their Toys

As children, my sister and I spent many hours trailing after my dad while he walked the docks in the harbor, looking at boats and talking to his fishing buddies.

Now I sit in the car and read
while my husband visits the motorcycle shop and talks bikes.



Dinner last night: chicken enchilada soup, cornbread

Exactly two years ago:





Monday, October 11, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog, Interrupted

October has arrived, which means I've been hauling out my orange plastic totes full of Harvest-themed doodads and trying to clean and decorate the house for fall. This process is more complicated than it sounds, due to a couple of 4-year-old girls who like to "help" their mother.

To whom it may concern:
pumpkins are not toys.

This week also officially marks the October Changing of the Plates in my kitchen.

 Good-bye, summer dishes with flowers on them . . . 


Hello, winter dishes with ack! moose on them.

I've spent much of the week on the computer; unfortunately, it hasn't involved posting. I've been selecting photographs, enlarging them, and sending them off to be printed.

I bought a bunch of 12x18 frames that were on sale last month, wondering at the time why such perfectly good frames were so cheap. Then I discovered this week that nobody around here sells pre-cut matting to fit a 12x18 frame. Who knew it wasn't a standard size? Me, that's who. So I've had fun using my x-acto knife to cut out my own mats. And by "fun," I mean "a good old-fashioned crying jag." Thank goodness for grosgain ribbon . . . I placed it around the pictures to accent the colors and add a touch of charm. How dare you suggest I did it to hide my horrid matting skillz.

I've also started painting our home office nook, which required pulling out the computer desk in the corner. The twins, of course, promptly raced over and dove into the mass of cables and blinking lights. They must have disassembled a hard drive or detached an important cord, because the Internet was knocked out for an entire day, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it. I fretted and fumed about how we're going to have to call a highly-trained specialist with fancy computer tools to restore the delicate balance between fiber optic wires and, um, nanomolecules or something. My husband arrived home from work, walked over to the mess, took one look, and switched on the power strip. Internet restored.

But can he make a chocolate cake from scratch?



Dinner last night: salmon patties with creamed peas

Exactly one year ago:




Monday, October 4, 2010

A Leaf or Two-Thousand

We seem to be in the middle of fall, a term which I believe comes from "the falling of leaves."

Leaves fall from the trees . . . 


upon the lawn . . . 


then blow onto the driveway . . . 


and cover the deck.

I have decided that pumpkin-carving parties are passè. Instead, I shall throw a leaf party. Next weekend. Bring your own rake.



Dinner last night: Chinese buffet






Friday, October 1, 2010

Chef Boyardee Reporting for Duty

I'm guest posting today over at Sweet Jeanette, a charming blog that focuses on crafts and food, with a weekly feature called Freezer Foods Friday. Don't fall off your chair, but the queen o' pizza I am actually writing about batch cooking for the freezer. I've dusted off a post from last year's experience with Once-a-Month Cooking and am sharing it with an audience that I'm sure will appreciate my advice on how to ignore one's children and then suffer through fallen arches while standing on one's feet all day, madly preparing 30 meals at once.

On another topic altogether, it's October. ALREADY! How did that happen?



Dinner last night: spaghetti with meat sauce

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Speaking of Tomboys . . .

My 10-year-old takes after her dad. They both like motorcycles.

He drives. She rides.
I pray.



Dinner last night: ravioli

Exactly two years ago:




Monday, September 27, 2010

Tomboy Checklist

My husband gave me a break and took our 4-year-old twin daughters to visit Grandma over the weekend. The cute skort outfits and colorful hair bows I packed for the trip were left untouched in the suitcase.

Carrhartt overalls? Check.


Rubber boots? Check.

Backhoe playground equipment? Double check.



Dinner last night: chicken dipped in ranch batter and oven baked, mashed potatoes (harvested from Grandma's garden!) and gravy, corn, rhubarb/strawberry crisp with vanilla ice cream



Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday's Five: Katherine

Welcome to Friday's Five, my regular feature that asks a fabulous follower 5 random questions. Well, not totally random . . . question 5 is always the same. I'm not running a restaurant over here, people. I need ideas for dinner!


Today I'm delighted to introduce you to Katherine—the smart, talented, and friendly blogger behind The Katherine Wheel. She's a wife, mother to two precious little boys, and if those responsibilities don't keep her busy enough, she's also a physician in the middle of a busy anesthesiology residency. Katherine is a fellow book-lover, whose occasional reviews of her latest reads I always enjoy. She's also into photography, and just so happens to take great pictures of feet!


1. How old are your children and do they have any favorite movies that they like to watch over and over? My boys are 8 and 4, each with birthdays over the summer. I guess at age 4, I'd better stop calling the youngest one a baby. Their favorite movies are anything Pixar. They know the entire script from Cars and Wall-E. We've also started renting Disney Classics from the library. They can't get enough of Swiss Family Robinson. We have as much fun watching them giggle over the movie as they do watching it.


2. My sister-in-law was called Cathy as a kid, but now prefers Catherine. Have you always been Katherine? I've always been a Katherine. The year I was born, my parents didn't know any other Katherines. But within 6 months, I had three cousins born, all named Katherine. Their names were shorted to Kathy, Katie, and Kat. My mother insisted that I would go by Katherine. Which I have.

3. You've got one of the busiest schedules in the blogosphere, and you recently decided to cut back on your blogging in an attempt to balance your life. How is that going? Do you have a regular time set aside for writing or are you just taking it day by day? Well, I'm sure that other people have exhausting, busy schedules as well.  I just complain about mine a lot more. But juggling my job and my family can be difficult.  Especially this July, when my schedule drastically changed, I went through a rough patch. I thought I would have to give up blogging completely. But since my sanity correlates to blogging, we thought it would be wise for everyone that I continue to write. The new schedule is actually going great. I get more family time, more study time, and am getting a somewhat reasonable amount of sleep. The plan is that I have time twice a week to blog (although sometimes I sneak extra posts in when I just have to share something.) 

4. What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about applying for med school? Don't do it! No, I'm kidding. I think that there are people who are meant to be doctors and people who aren't. The unfortunate thing is that you're not exactly sure which group you belong to until you are most of the way done with medical school. I would recommend talking to other physicians that have the same life circumstances that you do (kids or no kids, married or single, etc.) I would also look seriously at dentists, physical therapists, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, all of whom get patient interaction but have less stressful careers. Also, make sure you have a stellar support group, because you're going to need it. There, did I scare everyone off?

5. What did you have for dinner last night? Roasted butternut squash soup. I like my food to sound all fancy. It still doesn't make my boys eat it any better.


Thanks, Katherine! Unfortunately, a butternut squash by any other name is still a vegetable, isn't it?! But a Friday's Five by any other name will still be a fun Q & A with a great blogger. See you all back here next week!









Previously on Friday's Five . . .
Friday's Five: Karen (A Peek at Karen's World)                         Friday's Five: Karen (Karen's Journal) 
Friday's Five: Quadmama (Buried in Laundry)                          Friday's Five: Stephanie (Steph in the City)                   
Friday's Five: Michelle (Table for Nine)                                    Friday's Five: Dawn (Bee and Rose)                                
Friday's Five: Francesca (Three Bay B Chicks)                           Friday's Five: Michelle (Scribbit)
Friday's Five: Dianna (The Kennedy Adventures!)                    Friday's Five: Jen (Li'l Man's World)
Friday's Five: TwinMama (Bringing Up Twins)                           Friday's Five: Michele (The Stefo Crew)
Friday's Five: Geri (saddlepotatoes)                                         Friday's Five: Lana (The Kids Did What?!)
Friday's Five: Lisa (Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy)                            Friday's Five: Helene (I'm Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor)