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Showing posts from 2009

Hallie...

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colors with her new Christmas supplies!

Nook v. Kindle: Part Deux

Sooo.... I have thought long and hard about this problem of mine. Do I keep the pretty, eye-candy nook or the plainer, content-laden kindle? As much as I really, really love the look and feel of the nook (the rubbery, contoured back is just so nice.. and the buttons click so quietly...).... well... content is king. So I'm shipping off the nook back to B&N. *sigh*

Last night I decided to look on amazon to see how much (in theory) I'd be paying for all those free classics that B&N offers. And the answer? Nothing. Amazon has their own version of B&N's offer of free classics, thereby nullifying that part of my mental argument for the nook. (I promptly downloaded free versions of Little Women and The Phantom of the Opera to my kindle.)

And I looked for a couple other (older, but not obscure) books on B&N, and they didn't have them! As the whole point of an e-reader is to, um, read, I logically, against my eye-hunger for the nook, have to go with amazon on th…

Nook vs. Kindle: Geek Alert! :)

Ok, so this post is solely dedicated to my thoughts about the e-readers nook (by B&N) and kindle (amazon.) If you're already bored, check out now-- it gets worse. :)

So, my nook arrived last week. I have two weeks to decide if I'm keeping it or the kindle, thanks to B&N's 15 day return window. (Amazon's is 30 days.)

All the tech blogs I've read recently have the race at a near tie, with the kindle edging slightly ahead. However, all the reasons they've listed as pros and cons so far are meaningless to me: Google's Android system, which nook runs, the browser (albeit lame!) that kindle has, nook's color display (which I love), nook's loanable books (which is a joke-- you can loan each of your books one time each. I am supposed to be excited about that?) blah blah blah. As far as battery life, weight, look, feel, etc. etc. go, it's mostly a tie, but deep down, I prefer the nook. :) It looks way cooler than the kindle with it's goofy ke…

catch up

Playing catch up (again). I ought to just skip a title on my blog posts since all I ever do is review what we're up to!

:: Tristan's birthday is a week from Friday. He is more excited about this than Christmas, for sure. (I actually have separate Christmas and birthday presents for him, so I feel like a good mom, too. ;)) We're celebrating his bday a day early though, because.....

:: My brother Andrew is tying the knot a week from Saturday! We'll all be trekking 5 hours north for the wedding. Dan's parents are flying in on Wed., so since we have to drive to NY on Tristan's birthday (Fri.), we'll be having his party a day early, on Thursday. It will be fun to have both sets of grandparents in attendance! And can I just announce that I feel officially OUT of the baby stage for the first time in 6 years!? Wow. In some ways I am melancholy, but in others, I LOVE it. Sleep, for one thing; great schedules, more freedom for me... it's definitely not all bad! …

so stinkin' cute!

H: "Mommy, what did he bruise?"
Me: (totally befuddled) "What???"
H: (in much louder tones) "WHAT DID HE BRUISE?"

((sidenote: I think my kids confuse my confused- "what" with my I-didn't-hear-you "what". They apparently need some fine-tuning in reading vocal intonations.))

M: "I don't understand what you're asking me. Who is "he"?"
H: "... yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews..." So what did he bruise?

M: "ohhhh. Hebrews. It's a book of the Bible.
H: "Huh?"
M: "It's a book of the Bible. It was written to the Hebrew people."
H: (looking confused and weirded out, takes off running and yells over her shoulder) "Okay, He-bruise people!"

:D

::

:: I am the most terrible blogger ever. I rarely update, and when I do, it's all train-of-thought and not very well organized. One more reason I need to go back to school-- I need to work on getting my brain more organized. :)

:: Dan and I went to hear Elie Wiesel speak at the Kirby last night. He is an humble, inspiring man. He talked about the Biblical principle that he calls the 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not stand by silently when you see injustice being done." How much wrong could be stopped if we would just speak up? Speak up.

:: The kids continue to get over whatever they had (the flu, I think) last week. Hallie is still coughing (at night, mostly), but the boys are good. Tristan is turning three next month, which puts me solidly out of the baby stage. *sad sigh* I just can't believe it's happening. Six solid years, and it's just... gone? What is that about?

:: Thursday we are going to see Brian Regan with some friends. If you have never heard of …

Sick day at the Blocks...

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Tucker, after the Yanks scored again

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:: while I'm watching the Phillies win the first of four games...

I thought I would write a little about what we're up to.

The kids are asleep, and I'm watching the World Series. By myself. Yep, I'm weird like that. :) (Dan's out in the garage, working on some project. He's not a sports guy-- which 90% of the time I love-- but I mean, come on. It's the freaking WORLD SERIES!) And since my home team the Cardinals flubbed, I'm a loyal Phillies phan. And by the way... all the Yankees fans around here are drivin' me nuts. I mean, what is that all about anyway? Last time I checked, we live in PENNSYLVANIA, folks. Those New York players are overpaid and way too full of themselves... um, Mr. A-Rod-I-Dated-Madonna?? Cut me a break.

ANYWAY, before I tick off half my friends reading this, I'll move along to a less controversial topic. :)

Can I just say that I love facebook? As a stay-at-home mom, I feel like I get all my adult interaction over fb. It's great! I'm currently playing several scrabble games, and have g…

Leaf boy!

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:: cookies

For the past two Sunday afternoons, the kids and I have made ginger cookies. The recipe is from a friend in STL (originally from Paula Deen??) Anyway, they are super fall and super tasty. Make them when you will have a chance to pawn them off on others, cause they are addicting. :) Below is her recipe (and comments).

Thanks, Melissa! Happy fall baking, everyone!

Ginger Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the shortening and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and molasses and beat until completely incorporated. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt to the mixture. Mix until combined. Roll the dough into balls about 1-inch in di…
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Today I looked up to see Hallie poised with a pen by my recipe book.
Me: Hal, don't draw on mommy's recipes.
H: But can I just draw AROUND your recipes?
Me: *sigh*. Sure. Ok. That's fine.
The result:

:today

Hallie: "Mommy, can I take my P-P-E-D-E to the soccer game?"
ME: "What are you trying to spell?"
Hallie: "My STROLLER. Can I take my stroller to the soccer game?"

~~
Dan has a 6 hr. test today, so the kids and I are all off to Will's game together this morning. We'll be playing at W-B's great new playground after, then running errands.(BTW, you can see Dan and Hallie in the background of the picture! :)) This afternoon while Tristan naps, we plan to clean out and wash the van. I am sure the hose and soapy sponges will be the hot commodities, leaving me with the more boring jobs of vacuuming and decluttering. :)

Mommy and Hallie color together

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"Isn't this fun, mama?"

Ok, so it's been awhile...

Here is is, already mid-Spetember! Here're a few snapshots of what's going on in my life (and head. :)) in no particular order!

:: Homeschool with Will is in full-swing! We just started week 4. We are using Sonlight's K program and we are both LOVING it! From phonics to math to history and social studies (and really, a lot more!), I really, really enjoy teaching the material, and he loves the books and the mental/book work. Science is already his favorite. Today we read about fossils and the two different ways they're formed, and then made our own fossils (from baking soda, cornstarch and water). It's so cute to see him get so into it. We also just finished reading the first book in the Boxcar Children series, which he loved as well. The younger two have only had only really had "off" morning; usually they are happy to play together in the other room while Will and I work together. I am so happy (and relieved!) that schooling has gotten off to a smooth st…

Dan, then and now!

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As you might know, yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Dan's accident. Praise the Lord for a good year of recovery!

Checking out the new waterfront park in W-B!

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Will's Day Out

Yesterday Pop (Dan's dad) took Will out for lunch. They got cheesesteaks ("mommy, mommy, AND chocolate milk!") at a mom n' pop joint, and then went to Chuck E. Cheese's afterward. (I still can't believe they did this. ;)) They played racing games and earned 72 (!!) tickets. Will is still glowing and talking about his fun day out. :) Thanks, Pop!!
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I have two scraped up, sore knees.
Yesterday Hallie fell off a dock into the lake, and apparently as I
was scrambling to pull her out, I did some damage.
Whenever I'm aggrieved at the annoyance of the soreness that irritates
me, I remember how blessed I am to still have this cute girl around. A
few seconds longer in the water and it could have been a different
story.
Thank you Lord, for keeping Hallie safe, and thank you for mama-
instincts that helped me pull her out!

On the way home:

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We had an amazing time at the beach!
More pics to come. :)

hallie-girl

Hallie, following me around the house this morning, holding her new box of Band-Aids:

"Mommy do you have a cut that really hurts bad?"
Me (knowing she wants to put one on me, but not wanting to waste them):
"Um, no, I don't think so. Right now I'm ok! But thank you..."
Hallie: "But do you have a cut that doesn't hurt?"
Me: laughing...


Hallie: "Can you and me do something special?"
Me: "Like what?"
Hallie: "Oh... like lie on the floor and eat vanilla ice cream and do puzzle books..."

Crazy Summerness

I CANNOT believe it is already the MIDDLE of JULY. Where the heck did June go?! (And more importantly, where the heck is my warm sunny SUMMER weather?? *sigh*)

Anyway, we are gearing up for a busy few weeks around here. On Thursday, we are taking the kids to the shore for 3 days. *cheers* I love the Jersey Shore! Anyone else with me?? ;) I'm super stoked. This will be our kids' first visit to the shore that I love and remember so fondly from my growing-up years. Yay + yay!!! :) Plus, we'll be with great friends, which makes everything, especially trips to the shore, that much better. Pics to come, I promise!

When we get home, I have about 12 hours of turn-around time before the kids and I (and my very, very brave sister Anna) are driving 18 +/- hours to STL, with an overnight stop at Kak's in Ohio. *brave sigh* I can do this.

After 3 days spent visiting family and friends, we will be at the wedding of Dan's brother Jonathan and his fiancee Sara in downtown STL. Dan…

I'm Such a Wimp

Seriously. Today the kids and I were coming home from a walk to get some lunch when we heard sirens go by-- I didn't think much of it. When I got inside, Dan called and said some friends/neighbors had just been robbed while they were out for a walk, so to be careful, and to lock up if I left the house. While I was on the phone, an email came in from another friend/neighbor who confirmed the robbery and said to stay alert. I took note and --what else was I supposed to do-- went about making lunch while the kids continued playing with rocks (collected on our walk) out front. Not a minute later, Tucker (who we've had for about 3 months and who NEVER barks) starts barking up a storm outside. Of course my heart is pounding and I start fumbling with the locks, trying to get mentally ahead and keep cool. Should I bring the kids in? Lock all the doors? Get Dan's gun? (ha.) Tell the kids? (no.)

I ended up calling everyone for lunch and locking up, and Tucker calmed down. (He was b…

If this isn't the cutest thing ever...

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Then I don't know what is! Wish I could take a nap with all my
favorite things lined up next to me ... ;)

Today

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This morning Tristan and I dropped Will and Hallie at their first day of summer camp. We then cleaned and ran errands and stopped at the park on the way home. Tristan loved the purple "aligator"! :)

And then, look what I found in my hanging fuschia! I'm so pleased! :)

What happens when Hallie gets my phone:

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Why you shouldn't smoke

according to Will (told to Hallie and Tristan over lunch)

"One time a man went to the hospital because he had a little black bump in his lungs. Then the doctor took out his lungs, and then the next day he died."

Hmm. Fairly convincing don't you think!? I guess this is the result of what he's retained from my anti-smoking talks. Haha.

...other things

We have had a mother deer and her twin fawns in our yard lately. I've been trying get a picture of them, but I haven't gotten a good one yet. Yesterday the fawns were leaping and playing like puppies. So cute! They are still very small and spotted. The kids love it when they come around.

Thanks to ALL THIS RAIN, we haven't been able to seed the yard yet. No seed + all rain = MUCH MUD. Last night just before dinner, Tristan got outside and got stuck, no joke, knee deep in mud. Will tried to help him out, but he ended up getting stuck too. By the time I pulled them out they were both in dire need of a shower. But they had so much fun!

Last night I was banned from a forum that I've been following since the Little April Rose story broke. Apparently I posted something that was offensive to the admins, cause I was booted within a few hours. :-( This is a very strange experience for me, as I have never before been asked to leave (let alone banned!) from anything in my life, o…

A boy and his dog

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Random

Well, we made it out and back to Dayton for Kak's graduation. It's 16 hrs. round trip, so I'm very glad we were able to leave the kids behind for the weekend! They had a great time here. One of the highlights of the trip was going bowling last night. There were 10 of us, all Dan's family, (including his 80-something grandmother!) who went from about 9-midnight, and it was a BLAST!! I haven't had so much in ages. :)

I am homeschooling Will this fall for K. I'm using the Sonlight program, which I am totally excited about. I almost wish school started sooner. :b

The landscaping around here is coming along. Last week we planted two azaleas, two forsythias, a dogwood tree, and two lilac bushes. I have two little blueberry bushes yet to go in. The yard is getting seeded this week (goodbye, dusty desert!), so in a few weeks, things should be looking really ship-shape outdoors. In the meantime, the kids and I made a little play area at the edge of the woods under a big…

Guess what we did tonight?

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My perennial bed...

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Points of interest:
The white fence was purchased during my ill-fated trip to WalMart last week, to keep the puppy (seen here napping in the sun) OUT. He blithely jumps over it.

The two wooden planters on the far right house my herbs. They are short and stumpy and not very inspired. In time, this should have the billowy, willowy, garden-y look I love-- more plants, less space. Give me a year (or three or four) and I'll get back to you on that. :)

What my quiet time looked like today:

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Gardening

I have been working outside a lot lately (in between the rain showers!) and am loving it! I have a small perennial bed in next to our back door. A bleeding heart is the centerpiece of it (which I love) and the bed is edged with alyssum and puff-ball daisies. I have lilies of the valley and ferns, and other pretty things in there. I am really hoping to get a butterfly bush (or two!) and a lilac... oh, and some blueberry bushes... before the spring is out. We'll have to see how it goes. It's raining again today; it feels like it's been April for two months now!! I have some tomato plants in pots out front, and the kids planted pumpkin seeds on the front hill. They are already about 6" high! Amazing! Although I want to have a full-fledged garden, this year I think I'll just do it in pots. I don't want to drive myself batty already. :) Dan made me two planters that I have filled with herbs: basil, oregano, lemon thyme and other deliciousness. :) I even hung the ha…

Check out my new craft space!

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My laundry/craft room took a big step in the right direction when Dan hung my awesome shelf from Ikea tonight! I have a "box" for knitting, material, stamp stuff, art books, sewing nonsense, etc. etc. and finally, the four old big cardboard boxes are gone!!! And my 8' long utility table fits just perfect. :) Yay for one more step done in the unpacking and moving-in process!!

Hummus

This afternoon I made hummus from this recipe. Wow. First time ever trying homemade hummus, and man, it's delicious! I had to buy a big jar of tahini (it's all they had) so I think I'll just stockpile chick peas and make this regularly. :) My kids like it too!

Peter

I have a love affair with peanut butter. Specifically, Smuckers Natural PB. I could eats jars of it, on crackers, apples, by itself; on brownies, cookies, waffles... Anyway, this morning when the kids were eating a more normal breakfast of cereal, I went for peanut butter on Kashi crackers... Ummm so good. Anyway, I think I've passed on my quirk, cause when Tristan saw me with the jar, he started yelling, "Me peter! Me peter!" (Peter being the logical abbreviation for PEanut butTER.) I had to convince him to finish his cereal first, and then he joined me in my munching, eating it straight out of jar on a knife! :)
prayer begets love.

go to your knees and stay there

until you are split open

and some miracle - fresh and gasping -

is pulled from your aching body.


[found here]

Nature's playland

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Since we have no grass in our yard, we play in the woods! :)

Happy Mother's Day (and an announcement)

First, Happy Mother's Day to all you fabulous mothers out there! If you have time, listen to Steven Curtis Chapman's "One Heartbeat At A Time." This is a really encouraging song, from me to you! :)

Secondly, I thought this would be an appropriate day to announce some big news:

Dan and I are in the process of adopting! We hope to bring little girl Block home from Ethiopia in about one year! For those who care about details, we have finished all the paperwork and are waiting for three forms to come back from the state. Once they are back, our dossier will be complete and we begin the (long!) wait for a referral. I know it will go by quickly... it just seems so. far. off. Anyway, that's it. But bedroom #4 will soon be turning into a nursery! Yay! :)

My guac "recipe"

There are very few food items I make without a recipe and/or careful measuring of every ingredient. I am just that way.

However, there are a few things I make in the "toss and stir and hope for the best" style. Oatmeal. (Yeah, that's a toughie. But seriously, for years I did measure the milk and water and oats, just to be sure.) Pancake batter. And guacamole. Wow. I really do think that's it. How pathetic.

At any rate, here's my guacamole "recipe". :)


:: two (or three-- tonight's was three) avocados
:: a half (or a whole) diced fresh tomato
:: about 2 tbsp. (??) of minced onion (I use about 1/2 of a small one)
:: freshly ground salt and pepper
:: hot sauce
:: lime juice (if you have it. I rarely do, so I make it without!)

Halve the avocados, jab the pits with a knife and remove them. Score the avocado in the half-shell, then squeeze it out into a bowl. Mash with a fork. Add the diced tomato and onion and crank out salt and pepper liberaly. And don…

Q: How much do I love homemade guacamole?

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A: Probably too much, since I could eat this whole bowl myself. :)
It's all right
It's okay
I won't worry 'bout tomorrow
For it brings me one more day
Closer than I was to You
Closer than I was...
To You.

Book issues

Tonight as I was unpacking shelf after shelf after shelf of books, I
thought... "Huh. I should really organize these by Library of Congress
number." And then I thought... "Wow, Sarah. You are such a dork! LoC
number? Really?!" But see... I am dealing with hundreds of books on 4
differents sets of bookshelves in 4 different rooms. Organizing by
category is not enough for me. Author is too annoying. ISBN numbers
are beyond me. Not to mention, Dan and I have vastly different topics
of reading interest, so I am already dealing with "his" shelves and
"her" shelves. Hmm. I'd like to eventually at least catalog them on
the computer so I at least know what we have. In the meantime I have
dug up several re-readables that I can't wait to get back into. Ah,
yes, the joys of having kids who go to bed early. :)

Yes, I really am that kind of mom... :)

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He self-occupies for literally, an hour or more. Totally worth the
sink-bath later. :)

I guess mud yards aren't ALL bad...

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especially when you're wearing your sister's sweatshirt. Ha.

Running to welcome Cappy home for the summer

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pickedy pic pics :)

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Well, my real camera got busted a few weeks ago, so I just snapped these on my ever-present iPhone. The quality's not great, but you get the idea. :) I promise to post more once my camera is back up and running!

This is looking at the kitchen from the family room. The little desk (read: clutter) area is on the left, and you can see the dining room past the kitchen a little.


A sort of blurry shot of the kitchen. I absolutely LOVE my stained glass pendant lights, but they don't show up very well! Grr.


Looking at the family room from the front hall. The steps go up to the right, and you can see a bit of the upstairs hall railing as well. :)

This is a test

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To see if mobile posting works! A cute test, yes. :)

So, I left xanga...

And came over here! Mostly b/c I like to post pics from my iPhone, which as far as I can tell, is a feature unsupported by xanga. But I hope all my xanga friends will follow me over here! And I will certainly continue to keep up with everyone else's blogs as well. :)

Okay, on to the good stuff. We moved into our big new house about two weeks ago, and had "the big initiation" (Hallie's 4th birthday party) on Sunday afternoon. We had about 30 people in attendance, and it was wonderful!! Everyone seemed to have a great time (Hallie especially enjoyed her princess loot) and it wasn't crowded at ALL. Finally! I am so happy to finally be in a place where we can extend hospitality and host people and really enjoy it!! I am having my book club over on Thursday night, and I am looking forward to lots of movie nights, cookouts and sleepovers this summer. Now we just need a trampoline... :)

We got a puppy last week, a vizsla we named Tucker, after our old dog Tucker. He'…