Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ice Skating

I broke my rule of venturing anywhere near Old Town Pasadena around the New Year. It wasn't horrible or overcrowded yet when we arrived, but was beginning to get a bit crazy when we left at noon.
The girls and I went ice skating. It's been a few years since E1 and I went last, and E2 has never gone ice skating. I don't think that hockey will be in her future. She had fun, but I am going to have sore muscles in the morning from "helping" her around the ice. E1 did well and had fun with several girls her age that she had met at vacation bible school last year.
It's over 60 degrees outside, but I'm chilled to the bone. I am such a weather wimp from living in SoCal so long. I hope this hot tea helps.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

It is almost Christmas.
According to NORAD, Santa is almost here.

Stuntman arrived home from work just in the nick of time to attend Christmas vigil mass.
I have a few things to finish tonight for the morning, but nothing like last year.
I really have no idea how I did everything last year and held it all together emotionally. I must have been on auto-pilot or something.

For the first year since we have been married, we are staying home for breakfast on Christmas morning. In the past, we drove the 20 miles to Stuntman's mother's home to open presents and have breakfast. For the last 12 of the 13, I have done all of the cooking for everyone. Not this year. We are staying home and enjoying our time together. It just isn't the same down at the "family house" since my mother-in-law passed away 2 years ago. A couple siblings still live there, but I believe the tradition is over. We'll catch up with most of the extended family later in the day.

I feel so blessed to have my family here with me all under one roof.
My prayers go out to all of you that are separated from your loved ones now.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sleds and snowballs

We drove a few minutes to the snow today. We hit a few "Road Closed" signs and had to change our route, but eventually we hit a good place with untouched snow.
We knew the area well (it's a great little dirt-biker place that we used to frequent) and we drove off-road for a 1/2 mile or so to the perfect place. E3 wasn't interested in sledding. He was content throwing snowballs at everyone and building a snowman.
The girls, on the other hand, loved sledding down the hill. The hill was steep, so I went first.
It brought back a lot of memories. As a child, I would go sledding almost every day in the winter. All I needed was a heavy frost. I don't think that I've ever mentioned the time that I hit a frozen cowpie with my face. I had abrasions all over my face, but I was still glad that it was frozen and not fresh.
Today was different. The snow was deep (but not too deep) and just the right combination of fluffy and sticky.
Great memories were made today.

Friday, December 19, 2008


In 3 hours, 25 people will be here for my annual Christmas cookie party.
To Do:
2. Make Frosting
3. find sprinkles
4. Shower
5. Take seeds out of pomegranate to garnish pomegranate martinis
6. bake the brie
7. Arrange tables, etc.
8. scan for and remove any poop in the back yard

Gotta get moving!!

*end of day update*
I finished everything :)
Everyone had a good time and I have a ton of cookies now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Snow

Nada, nothing, no rain, no snow overnight.


But it is COLD and WINDY

*update at 1:30 pm*
GIANT flakes are coming down between rain drops right now
whoo hoo!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The time between posts has been stretching.
It's been a bit busy around here and it seems as if the one moment that I have a chance to type up a quick post, that is the exact same time that E3 has decided that has the perfect game. I really cannot believe how computer-savvy that little kid is. It is so fun watching him click-around like a tiny computer geek.
My paying job has been extremely busy. My backup person, hence, I am her backup as well, is on vacation for a couple weeks. Add in the end-of-the-year-sales-crush, and I have been BUSY. But, ya gotta make hay when the sun shines, doncha know.
I listen to podcasts as I type, and last night I ran out, so I listened to music instead. I heard songs that I listened to on my trip to California to marry Stuntman. (it was on a walkman, not an ipod at that time) After 13 years, he still makes my heart flutter.
I also listened to songs that I played a lot during the deployment. It seems like ages ago.
I cannot believe how happy I am with my life right now. The anticipation for Christmas is as strong as it was when I was a child. Not because of what I'm hoping to see under the tree Christmas morning, but because we are all here as a family.
I feel so very blessed.

There is snow on the local mountains, only a couple hundred feet above us. We can see it from our windows. It is suppose to be even colder tonight, and I am hoping that the precipitation that we receive overnight is in the form of snow.
If so, the kids will be late to school. It's not as if there are a lot of snow days here in Los Angeles.
I hope to post pictures tomorrow of newly fallen snow and kids on sleds. fingers-crossed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I have half a mind to write a nasty letter to the Hershey's CEO

the Kiss. Tasty, but not addictive. Did they need to mess with the original?!?!
Now they have all of these other flavors.
Candy Cane... tasty
Cherry Cordial... very tasty
Coconut... waaay too good
Now, I just had a few dozen of the Cheesecake flavor.
COME ON!! They are freaking delicious!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I didn't know

Did you know that when pepper spray is used on someone inside a building, the droplets can linger around for some time?... and your eyes burn?
note to self #1: never do anything that would cause me to be pepper-sprayed
note to self#2: Only go to the market in that part of town in the morning, when the hoodlums are still sleeping

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I was just cleaning the house and heard a BOOM!
I checked outside, no explosions, so I turned on the TV.
Duh, the shuttle just landed at Edwards AFB, it was the sonic boom.
The kids and I watched the landing. We had watched the blast off 16 days ago.
E3 ran to the Christmas tree and grabbed the little Space Shuttle Hallmark Ornament and said "Rocket Ship!!"
Now he's playing with a toy astronaut. His rocket-scientist/Navy pilot grandfather would be proud :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday...

I just returned from my Black Friday shopping trip. Coffee tastes...gooood.
I don't usually venture out before dawn to go to the store. I've shopped early on the day after Christmas, but never on the day after Thanksgiving.
I left the house without even turning on a light. I didn't want to wake anyone before I left, and it worked. The dogs didn't even wake up. My clothes were ready to go, I washed my face and brushed my hair and teeth in the dark, and headed out the door.
I didn't see another car on the road until I was almost to the freeway.
I thought that maybe the cold kept people in the house today. (it was 45 degrees!!)
Once I was close to WalMart, I saw the crowds. Cart after cart was filled with giant flat-screen TV's.
People were pleasant, and I had a fun conversation with the shopper behind me in the electronics line. We agreed that chatting the entire time sure made the hour and a half line go quickly! We figured that we could take the guy in front of us in case the Wii's ran out... but they didn't ;) The laptops and x-box's ran out, but the Wii's were safe. Yes, I finally broke down and purchased a Wii for the family. The kids and I have played it several times at friend's homes, and it is a blast. Probably not for the serious gamer, but a lot of fun for the family. You should have seen E3 boxing on it last week, hilarious.
My workload the last few weeks and the upcoming months will definitely cover todays shopping trip. Actually, I think the next 4 days will cover it... My inbox is stacked about 3 feet high, and I don't see an end. Hopefully, we can catch up after the giant hit our finances took the last year with the deployment and everything. I am so thankful that as far as we know, our jobs are safe. No matter what the economy, people still get sick.

On the drive home, I happened to pass by the mobile home park that was hit in the most recent fire. I don't know what to say. Over 500 homes were lost. The devastation just goes on and on. Two of the people that were at Thanksgiving dinner yesterday had lost their home in the park. They are getting back on their feet and have a good outlook and a new place to stay.

I'm calculating what I saved on my shopping trip today, and I'm splitting it amongst charities (one is on my sidebar).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Only one night

I hadn't realized that it had been so long since my last post. I guess the day to day excitement around here has kept me entertained. The nonstop hilarity of getting the kids to school, volunteering at the school, housework, diaper changes, cooking, cleaning and working has been keeping me away from my blog.
Tonight is the first night that Stuntman is away since he returned from deployment. He's had several late nights at work, but tonight he will not be home. He's only in San Diego, but it still hit a chord in me. As I was closing up the house for the night.... double-checking the doors, turning off the automatic sprinklers (it's raining, whoohoo!) and setting the alarm for the morning, I had the same empty feeling that I had every night when he was away at war.
I so love that man, and I wish that he was home... I don't want to wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Still burning

The fire from last night has raged due to the tremendous winds around here. Remind me again, why do we live here?!
Stuntman had to go to work for a little while today, so I'm here trying to keep the kids entertained while I go through a box of tissues. The air is so dry, but yet my nose won't stop running.
E3 now needs the computer to play a game online. Have I mentioned that my 2 year old is quite proficient with the mouse? He can't use the toilet, but he can use the computer, priorities, I guess.

*update* what a nightmare today has been for so many people. Please keep up the prayers for everyones safety.
The wind has lessened for now in this area, but I'm not sure if it is only temporary.
*update a few minutes later* the house is shaking again, !@#$%, the wind is back, !@&^%!!

Busy night

The firefighters are again having a busy night. Please keep them and those in the path in your prayers.
I'm not in the path of this one, but we are watching it from our window. I'm pretty sure our power will be going out tonight, it has been flickering due to the high winds.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I picked up some virus from the kids... can't swallow... feel like crap, but it'll hopefully be short-lived.

It's hot, dry and WINDY today. REALLY windy.

I'm praying that everyone stays safe today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Project Valor IT time!

The Valour-IT Veterans Day fundraiser, a friendly competition among blogs, will run through November 27, 2008 (Thanksgiving).
To donate, click the Donate button for your favorite team the Army Team. Division by service branch is for the purpose of friendly competition; all funds ultimately go into the same account.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Soda Pop Shop

We went to a soda shop today in Highland Park. We had heard about Galco's for years, but never ventured there. They carry all kinds of unique sodas, beers and wines. Stuntman was in the mood for a sugar cane soda instead of a high-fructose corn syrup blend. He acquired a taste for them when in Iraq. The people at the store were as unique as the store. We parked our mini-van between a DeLorean and a Smart Car.
As you can see from the photos, we purchased an array of sodas and beers (you can click the photo for larger). I have the LaBatts Blue chilling right now. I recall the most delicious restaurant meal that I have ever tasted. It included a LaBatts Blue. I ate at a lodge just feet from the Canadian border and was the only one not wearing flannel; I was wearing the standard business skirt, blouse and heels. My mouth waters thinking of the walleye, asparagus and Labatts that I had that evening. Mmmmm.

The Leninade label has a few catchy sayings: "A party in every bottle!" , "Our 5-year plan; drink a bottle a day for five years and become a Hero of Socialist Flavor" , " A taste worth standing in line for!" and, "get really hammered and sickled!"
On the other hand, the Pure John McCain Cola says "What this country needs is natural leadership and a great cola. At Jones Soda we use natural sweeteners, like pure cane sugar. Pure McCain Cola is also made with 100% pure patriot spirit and the love of the red, white and blue."
We purchased a few to share :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We are sooooo moving

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Los Angeles County will charge shoppers 10.25 percent if the governor's plan is adopted by lawmakers. The sales tax increase would be in effect for three years.

Do they really think that we believe that this would be temporary?
....and I like the Governator.

Resistant vs Proof

Did you know that if something is marked "chip and break resistant", it can still hit the countertop just so and EXPLODE into a million pieces all over the kitchen?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To those more eloquent...

So many people have said it better than I can today...

Chuck Z., geez, I wasn't expecting him to say that he's OK with Obama, but I'm glad that he did.

Buck, he's disappointed as I am, but has a great perspective.

El Capitan, agrees that Obama is OUR President, even if we didn't vote for him.

Toy Soldier, His mother should be proud (I know that she already is).

I would love to link more, but real life, and hungry children await...


Yes, I am disappointed about last night's results.
I am sorry to see that yes, the presidency can be bought.

I will, however, pray that the president-elect does what is best for the country as a whole. I'm going to suck it up and move on.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'm watching the Obama infomercial and I'm thinking that this may be a bit over the top.
The music and the production... mmmmkay.
When do we text our vote to see who is given immunity and who takes the walk of shame away from the White House?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Early Gift

I just received my Christmas present from my mom.
Early, yes... but that is because she knows that I will use it for my Christmas cards. I already have so many ideas for projects around the house, and Brownies, and scrapbooking, etc. My mother has had a cricut for over a year (I bought it for her birthday), and E1 used it when we were there visiting. I'm sure that E1 will be jazzing up her school projects as well.
One good thing, I was forced to clean, really clean my office/sewing room/craft room to create a designated space for the thing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Holiday Ham

With the holiday season fast approaching, I thought this was the perfect time to repost this recipe. The ham is bargain-priced, but tastes like you waited in line at the ham store and paid 5 times more.
During the holidays, many stores have specials on spiral-sliced hams. Buy two, this recipe is enough to glaze two. Do NOT use the glaze that is often included in the package, use this recipe instead.

1 fully cooked shank half ham, bone in (pre-sliced)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash ground ginger
dash ground allspice

Mix the sugar and spices in a small bowl. Place the ham flat side down onto a large baking sheet. Rub the sugar/spice mixture all over the outside of the ham. Use a blowtorch… yes, a blowtorch, on medium flame, to caramelize the sugar on the outside of the ham. You can use the small little torches that are sold in kitchen supply stores for crème brule, or, you can go to the garage and borrow your husband’s blowtorch.
Carefully wave the flame back and forth over the ham so that the sugar bubbles and browns, but does not burn. Turn the baking sheet around so that the entire outside of the ham is glazed. Rub additional sugar/spice mixture onto the ham and continue with the caramelizing process. Repeat until the entire ham is covered with glaze.
Reheat the ham in the oven as stated on the ham package.
I usually bring one ham to share at a gathering and keep one at home for the family because there are never any leftovers to bring home.
I originally found this recipe on a website some years ago and it is requested by family every holiday.

You can see other delicious recipes at Gayle’s Grocery Cart Challenge

If you can

From the Sky Terrace Fire Victim Relief Website:

The Marek Fire Devastated This Neighborhood
Early Monday morning, October 13th, the Marek Fire stormed through the Sky Terrace Mobile Home Park. Residents were given only minutes to evacuate. Fortunately, all residents were evacuated safely.

Unfortunately, the fire, aided by gusts of Santa Ana winds up to 60 miles per hour, destroyed 40 of the 58 mobile homes in the Park. 40 families lost their homes lost and everything they owned.

Firefighters Did Their Best
Please support these families to rebuild their lives.

Please donate to the Sky Terrace Fire Victim Relief Fund.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Plan B

In a comment on my last post, Buck asked for photos.
The camera battery was D.E.A.D., but we did catch a couple on the camera phone.
I was not able to ride my bike. As we were loading it, I noticed the front tire was low. It was fine a month ago when I rode down the street just to see if it started. The valve stem is crap and won't hold air. So, there goes my spontaneous trip riding.
We salvaged the day with a fun 4x4 drive around Hungry Valley. The new truck is awesome off-road. The kids had a blast and the weather was perfect. The day reminded me of the many times Stuntman and I drove all over SoCal off-road, except this time we had three kids squealing and laughing in the back seat.

looking down on the valley... see the tiny trucks down there?
Stuntman and the kids tossing rocks down the giant hill that we had just conquered.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Going Riding!

I can't wait!!
My bike has been lonely!
Off to grab my gear, See Ya!

Friday, October 17, 2008

the crappy spa

One day this week, I sat in a room full of other women. Many of us were wearing matching robes, reading magazines, and drinking tea. It was very similar to my visits to Burke Williams … except… we weren’t waiting in the quiet room for someone to call us for our massage or facial. We were waiting for our mammograms. Otherwise known to me as a b@@b panini.
It was my first time, so I was a little nervous, but the thought of it being a low-grade spa kept my mind entertained. It wasn’t bad, and not painful… uncomfortable, but not painful.
I needed to stick around for additional tests after the initial mammogram, but I was finally told that there was “nothing of concern”.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can't blink

The relative humidity is up today from the last few days... up to 12%.
I need to buy a new humidifier.

It was so dry last night that in order to sleep, I hung damp towels all over the bedroom. It looked like some odd voodoo practice or something. Stuntman didn't even notice.

damn Santa Ana Winds

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This bugs me

I've heard similar statements on several newscasts...
"Thankfully, only one home was lost in the fire, blah, blah, blah,... 40 mobile homes were destroyed in the blaze, blah, blah.."

Hey! a mobile home is a mobile HOME! It is still a HOME. Families still live there, all of there possessions, and pets are still there.
Quit writing them off.

Mistaken Identity

We went to WalMart a few days ago. Somehow (I think I became distracted), we were separated. Stuntman and E1 were looking for me, E2 and E3. E1 ran up to a woman saying “here’s Mom!” but it wasn’t… luckily, I was only an aisle over and they found us:

Stuntman: “E1 ran up to someone else, mistaking her for you”
Me: “awwww, poor girl… who was it?”
Stuntman: “the lady in the next aisle”
Me: (I peek into the next aisle and whisper back to him) “ the 50-something lady with the big rear?”
Stuntman: “wha???” as he looks into the next aisle, then keeps looking into other aisles. “No, the one two aisles over now”

Well, I now realize that I must look like a bleach blonde with giant b@@bs, but she did have a tiny rear, and was obviously younger than 40 ☺

I think E1 may need glasses.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wind and smoke

As you may have heard, there is a nasty fire in my area. The wind is horrendous. We had pomegranates, branches and small animals hitting the side of the house all night.
The Marek Fire that was barely smoking by the end of yesterday, flared up overnight.
I have a friend that lives right in the area that has been evacuated. It has been reported that homes have been destroyed in that area as well. I have not been able to reach her since yesterday. If you pray, please keep her, her family and all of those affected in your prayers. Thank you.
Thankfully, we have the best firefighters in the world here in Los Angeles County..

*the photo is from my front yard

my friend and her family are doing amazingly well. She is very involved in a parenting group around here so everyone has really stepped up to help. Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers, they will make it through this. The most difficult thing for them is lost photos, and their lost cats.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Not my turn

My badger-dog, Emma is obsessed with this little house we have in the back corner of our yard. It's a little brick house that currently contains old lawn equipment. The previous owners used it as a chicken coop. That could explain the blood splatters on the roof of the laundry room when we moved in, right?
This little house is notorious for rat infestations. We have trapped, poisoned, and shot the little suckers, but they keep returning. Emma has been barking at it, circling it, and then barking some more. Yesterday, something must have moved in there, and Emma jumped back 10 feet, then began barking some more.
I hope Stuntman can find a solution this weekend.
That's part of the trade-off with marriage, I do the dishes, and he deals with rodents.
Sounds fair to me.

Friday, October 10, 2008


This is my family's favorite recipe for chicken. I try to make at least 2 at a time so that I can have leftovers for chicken salad or sandwiches. Great when whole chickens are on sale!

Tasty Roast Chicken

Wash and dry 2 whole chickens.
Rub chicken inside and out with whatever seasoning you prefer. I use lemon pepper seasoning mixed with onion and garlic powder.
Place in large baggies, and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Place chickens in roasting pan, stuff half of an onion in each chicken cavity.
Roast at 250 degrees F for 5 hours, uncovered. (chicken should be at an internal temp of at least 180)
Let stand 10 minutes prior to carving.

See more delicious recipes here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A good one

I saw this Saturday night, and the video hasn't been available on their site the last few days.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This is cool

I may need to work a little extra to buy this for Christmas.
I just don't know if I should wrap it for the kids, or Stuntman.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This and that

I just finished mowing the lawn. I actually enjoy mowing the lawn, except for the occasional rock in the yard. We have rocks everywhere around here. You should see the size of the granite boulders dug out when we had the pool built!
It was worse when Sparky was still around, she carried rocks all over the place and would leave them scattered throughout the grass.
When Stuntman was deployed, I hired a gardener. It was difficult to justify a gardener now that we are fully-staffed at home, so we let him go. Just because the majority of my neighbors don't mow their own lawn, doesn't mean that we can't.

I've revived my thriftyness as of late. I've always been relatively frugal, but the key term here is relative... compared to most people that I know. The deployment and the subsequent pay issues on re-deployment have whittled down our liquid assets. We're not in actual financial trouble like many are right now, so I'm not complaining... OK, our so-called house value dropped $200k, but does that really affect me day-to-day? No. I'm just taking this as a wake-up call.
I remember when I was in college and lived on $5 spending money a month. This broke down to one candy bar (peanut butter Twix) and nine 50 cent beers. OK, not the best financial plan, but it worked.

One of the easiest places to trim our budget has been our food bill. We were never really big on eating out, maybe 2 or 3 times a month, but that has changed to one or zero. I'm planning our meals better, and doing the majority of my shopping at my new favorite store. The produce is ultra-cheap, and fresh. It's a bit of an adventure the first time, but you just need to realize that some people have different definitions of personal space, or courtesy.
I have found a great site, via a comment on Spousebuzz, Gayle, at the Grocery Cart Challenge, has great posts regarding her family's food budget. I have found fresh ideas from the site as well as from those who comment at her site. Plus, I'm always up for new recipes and she has tasty ones each Friday in a recipe Swap.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Though his eyes

I don't think that E3 remembers rain.
I don't remember the last time that he saw rain.
It rained once on our vacation, but he was asleep at the time, so he missed it.

Today, I looked at the rain through his eyes.
He asked to go outside in the rain. I obliged. He got his jacket and hat, and actually wore shoes.

It's not as if I was going to melt or anything. We played in the sandbox, got soaked, but had fun.

Friday, October 3, 2008

To whom it may concern:

If you drop your son off at my house for the day, and leave me with a few Pull-ups, please ensure that he has one ON before you leave him here.
I don't tend to check those things right away, especially if the kid is old enough to tell me if his diaper is dirty.
I had asked him if he was wearing a Pull-up, or if he went in the potty now. He thought he was wearing a Pull-up, can't blame the kid for going commando and not noticing.

I shampoo my carpets enough the way it is. I don't need extra work to do.

Also, Pull-ups are a scam by the diaper companies to prolong the need to purchase their product. OK, I have no actual proof on that, but I've devised the theory from observation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


For her birthday, E1 received $20 from her uncle.
In the past, she's be known to take this money to the store and buy something for herself.
This time, she decided to stretch her dollar a bit and did her shopping on ebay.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Out of the club

I am no longer a milspouse,
I think.

Stuntman's time is up, and he's not re-enlisting.
We both have mixed feelings about it, but we believe it is what's best.
Several years ago, he saw that the best way to "support the troops" was to become one, again.

I am very proud of what he has done.

If he feels the need to re-enlist, I'll be behind him 100%. I wouldn't be surprised. He said "Infantry is in his blood, but Airborne is in his knees".

Soldier's Angels

Since I no longer send care packages to Stuntman, I adopted a soldier through Soldier's Angels. I have been lucky enough to receive several letters back from my soldier already.
I am so psyched about sending letters and packages to this soldier that needs my support at this time. It has just been an awesome experience.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A new look

Yes, I have been messing around with my blog layout.
I wanted something a little "prettier"
It's a work in progress, it's still not exactly what I want, but it's on the right path, I think.

I need to get to work, so I'm done messing around for now and will leave it like this until I have more time.

What do you think?

Do I need a cape?

I sent this email to the parents of the girls that attended E1's birthday party:
To all of the parents of the 3rd-grade girls;

I just want to tell all of you about your amazing kids. I was truly
impressed with their behavior on Friday. They were thoughtful,
polite, and were respectful of each other. It is not by accident
that these girls behave this way. I give all of the credit to you,
their parents. Not only did I survive the evening, I enjoyed having
them all in my home.
Thank you!


I just received this response:
Thank you Susan, you are a brave woman. God bless you for having the strength for that. I guess being a military wife does give you extra powers that be!!

Calling all moms!

E3 has been on antibiotics for 5 days now.. and I think he's ingested almost one full dose... total.

Anyone have any new ideas on how to make a toddler take their medicine?

I've tried forcing it down his throat, most of it ends up on his chest, or me, or the wall.

I've tried hiding it in chocolate milk and smoothies.

I've tried bribery.

I just mixed some in a tablespoon of chocolate frosting, no deal.


What's Next?!

from the AP:
Cadbury says Chinese-made chocolate have melamine

A Cadbury spokesman says preliminary results show its Chinese-made chocolates contain the industrial chemical melamine.

How greedy and evil can people be?
Melamine can falsely elevate protein levels in foods. The most popular tests measure the protein content in a sample by measuring the nitrogen content. Since melamine is high in nitrogen, it looks like protein to these tests. The only problem is that it should be used to make countertops, not food.

First pet food, then baby formula, now candy bars, next...?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

party time

I just said "goodbye!" to the last of the partygoers.
E1 had a slumber party last night... Nine third-grade girls.
Most of the parents asked if I had been drinking when I sent out the invitations. I must just be crazy.
I think it was the easiest party to date. The girls had a blast, kept busy the entire time, and were respectful of each other.
E2 played right along with the big girls; they included her in everything.
went swimming,
ate pizza,
decorated cupcakes,
ate cupcakes,
played on the playground,
picked tomatoes,
played frisbee,
drove electric cars,
played flashlight tag,
made a music video,
decorated pillowcases with fabric paint,
watched a movie,
ate popcorn,
told scary stories,
slept (yes, they were all out by 10:30),
ate breakfast,
made friendship rings,
and played outside.

I'm sure the neighbors loved hearing Hannah Montana well into the evening... oh ,and the screams during flashlight tag. The dogs are napping right now, they are exhausted from following the girls around all evening and morning.
E1 has been blessed with a great bunch of friends.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Longer than the trip itself

Yes, another riveting installment of my vacation log...
As we drove into Minnesota, and the Twin Cities, I saw familiar sites. We headed up I-35 through St. Paul and saw that the hospital at which I did my internship, and had my first real job, is going through major construction. It looks to be almost double the size that it once was.
We drove to Grandma's place. This was my first time to my mother's new senior apartment. I can see why she likes it so much. The apartment is in a nice quiet neighborhood, the neighbors seem friendly , and the apartment itself is just the right size for her.
We spent the first day hanging out and chatting, and watching the construction site next door.

The second day in Minnesota was the annual family reunion. It's my mother's side; her siblings, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It's a LOT of relatives all in one place. My mom has 15 siblings. Seriously.
Everyone lives in Minnesota except for me, and a few odd-balls that moved across the border into Wisconsin. I guess that I'm the black sheep of the family.
As usual, the food is delicious. This is one family that knows how to throw a pot luck. Mmmm , the food was good.

We camped the next couple nights at my best friend's house. They live in a rural area outside of St. Paul, so the dogs could roam, and the kids could play outside and make as much noise as they wanted. Here are a couple photos of Emma trying to corral the pony. The pony didn't enjoy it, but luckily, Emma was too fast to catch.

My city kids fished in a pond on the farm. Within 10 seconds of throwing a line into the water, they would have a fish. My kids are going to think that is the normal way to catch fish.
We picked apples in the orchard

and rode in the wagon through the cornfield, and saw real-live Tonka trucks.
The weather was perfect, so they ran through the sprinkler.

The kids (and adults) had a blast.
Roxie was exhausted.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Being Neighborly

There looks like there is a bit of a neighborly feud going on down the street.

It all began with a McCain/Palin lawn sign in one yard.

The next day there were 4 McCain/Palin signs; One in the yard, one on either side of the driveway, and one at the end of the driveway on a post.

This driveway is shared by several homes, and I think the guy in the middle, who basically needs to drive between two homes in order to get to his house that is behind, has different political views than his neighbors.

Because... on day 3, the sign in the middle, on the post, was replaced with an Obama/Biden sign.

Today, there is a big hole in the ground where the post once stood.

*update 9/22*
The Obama sign has reappeared, but on the wrought iron gate to the entrance of the house. It is difficult to see because the driveway is so long leading up to the gate. The McCain signs remain.
I think it is hilarious, but I hope it doesn't lead to heavy artillery either. It's going to be a long 6 weeks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Yes, I am STILL continuing the journal of our vacation. I have been too lazy to update for a bit... you can find previous ones here, here, here and here.
We thoroughly enjoyed our mini-vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The morning that we left, we visited Mount Rushmore.

Truly, amazing.

E1 named many of the state flags without even looking at the plaques below them. I have no idea how she knows so many. We ran into one of the friends she met at the campground while we were at the monument. They exchanged addresses and have become pen pals.
We didn't have much time left for sight-seeing before heading to Minnesota, so we opted for a quick tour at Crystal Caverns, it was on our way out of town. We wanted to visit Wind Cave National Park (as suggested by Buck), but we knew it would take much of a day, so we saved that for our next trip.
The kids loved the caverns, and had the opportunity to wear their miner helmets that they had purchased the day before.

We continued our trip through the state of South Dakota.
Of course, we stopped at the famous Wall Drug. If you have never been to that part of the country, Wall Drug signs are everywhere! They begin several hundred miles from Wall, SD. It was a fun little stop. Touristy, kitchy, but fun.

Along our route, we travelled through Mitchell, SD. Home of the famous Corn Palace. Never been there, so we went. We drove through the nice, quiet town.
Here is a photo of the corn palace.
Yes, I know, it sucks. That is as close as we got. The place was packed. The entire population of South Dakota must have been there. Some festival was going on. There wasn't parking anywhere near the place. We drove past, and gave up.
We drove into Minnesota late into the night, and once again, parked at Wall Mart for some zzzzz's.

Monster Jam

I spend time playing this game EVERY day.
It's actually E3's game, but since he is only two, he watches while I play.
A couple times a day, he will take my hand and say "play GraveDigger in room?"
He then says" jump and crush? jump and crush!"
There is nothing like the sound of a two-year old saying in his best announcer voice...

"IT'S GrRRRraaAAAaavediggerrrr!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekly update

Just a little update on what has been going on around here.
The 2nd week of school is finished. E2 loves kindergarten. I'm really looking forward to E1 in 3rd grade. I believe that she will truly thrive this year. Her teacher has a great philosophy that I think will work perfectly with her style. Both of the girls have awesome teachers this year and I know they will learn so much.

One day this week, I received a phone call from E1's teacher requesting that I come to the school to help with something E1 got herself into. It was picture day. Just after E1's photo was taken, she used one of the small black combs to comb her hair. It became entangled in her hair. REALLY entangled. I could barely see the comb through the mass of blonde hair.
Cutting it out wasn't an option, it was too close to the scalp, right in the front of her head.
A couple teachers had attempted to remove the comb, but to no avail. That's when they decided to call me. E1 tells them "my mom's a scientist, not a hairdresser". Thanks for the vote of confidence there, E1.
When the teacher called me, telling me that E1 had a comb stuck in her hair, I said "How in the heh..., oops, I almost swore to the teacher". Luckily, the teacher/former nun laughed at that one.
When I arrived, I tried to untangle the comb.. no luck. Eventually, I was able to remove the comb, piece by piece. I slipped a tiny bit of hair off of the comb, then snipped off a few millimeters of the plastic at a time. After the comb was removed, we untangled the giant snarl that remained. I only needed to snip a tiny portion and it's unnoticeable. Some day, E1 will look back at the incident and laugh, I hope.

I play in the sandbox at least an hour each day. I build obstacles for E3 to knock down with his Matchbox monster trucks. He has at least a dozen of these little things and knows the name of each one... Gravedigger, Maximum Destruction, Hot Wheels, Airborne Ranger, Brutus....
His vocabulary has exploded, and not just with the names of monster trucks. I don't remember the girls speaking this much when they were this age. It's easy to carry on a conversation with him. He must pick it up from his constantly-chatting sisters.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I just returned from the Freedom Walk. It was to remember those who lost their lives seven years ago and to honor troops and veterans. Just after the speakers and the band, we were graced with a fly-over by four F-18's.
We were sitting on the top of the hill at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the jets were just over our head.

Like all of you, I keep thinking about the morning of 9/11/01. I remember our friend Tim calling us early in the morning while I was getting E1 ready for an early playdate at the park. Stuntman was still asleep. I thought Tim was joking, I didn't believe what he was telling me. He said "no, really, turn on the TV"
Tim died this year, at the same time Stuntman was traveling home from the sandbox.
Today I thought a lot of our good friend.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I just watched the National Guard Warrior video for the first time.

They did a great job on the video and really showcased all of what is done by the National Guard. At the end, is a behind the scenes look at the making of the video. I tried to catch Stuntman's face somewhere in there, but didn't. He was at some of the filming at Los Alamitos just after he returned home in May.

I downloaded Kid Rock's song for free as well.
I'm still a HUGE fan of Kid Rock.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lucky Thirteen

A year ago

This year, Stuntman will be home for our anniversary. We don't have any big plans for tomorrow, just being together is enough.

it's the little things

Right now, Stuntman is searching through the laundry room and workshop. Last night, he scoured the entire attic.
There is a smell.
A smelly smell, the kind of smell that smells...smelly.

He did find a dead rat in the attic last night, but the smell is still there, and is worse than ever.

It's times like this that I really appreciate having him home.

Last year I had to deal with several suicidal rabbits in the pool. I used all of my kitchen tongs retrieving them from the pool, although I did wimp out and call a friend to retrieve the one stuck in the filter basket.

*update 9pm•
Flies began coming out of a wall socket in the kitchen.
Yuk, yuk, yukity yuk!
Stuntman just arrived home from work and has taken out the outlet. The smell... is gagging.
We're in the middle of ripping apart the wall or just keeping all of the windows open until the bastard totally decomposes.
On a positive note... I may lose a few pounds because for some reason, I have no appetite.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Into South Dakota

The trip continues...
We awoke early in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in eastern Wyoming. Unlike many places, most Wal-Marts allow overnight parking at their stores. There were a few other RV's and semi-trucks in the parking lot as well. I think it's a smart business move on Wal-Mart's part. We always stock up at their store before we head out for the day.
The kids were still asleep, so we had a few miles down before the first "are we there yet?"
Here is a place that is not named after me.
We had never been to the black hills of South Dakota, so we had no idea where to stay. I found one campground in the directory that sounded good. It had a pool, and horses, and took pets. The photo in the guide looked a little plain, but we only planned one night so it didn't really matter.
We drove past Mount Rushmore on the way. Wow. What an amazing work of art.

The campground was only 5 miles past Mount Rushmore. When we drove in, we could see the horse corrals. Check in was smooth, and we followed a guide in a golf cart to our space.
It was a perfect spot.
This is my definition of perfect:
-we had no adjoining spaces
-a quiet, private space
-a small stream ran alongside our RV
-the girls were "panning for gold" within minutes of parking
-there were 3+ swimming pools
-there was a water slide
-there was a splash pad
-there was a big playground
-there was a big bounce pillow
-there was mini-golf
-all these things were NO extra charge
-showers, laundry, and a store were nearby
-the girls could go trail-riding in the morning (many places won't allow kids)

A few minutes after we parked, I walked down to the reservation desk and booked a second night.
Here are a few photos of our mini-vacation in South Dakota:

This is a photo of our campsite. It didn't photograph well. I tried to catch a photo of Roxie, but she wouldn't get out of the stream that is just inside those bushes.

We stayed 2 nights. On our way out of town we saw a couple sights... to be continued.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Son's of Anarchy

No, I'm not talking about the idiot "anarchists" in St. Paul right now. (by the way, did anyone see the video of the guys trying to tip over the trash can? geesh, what a bunch of wimps. I laughed hard at that one)
I'm talking about the show, it's on tonight.
Stuntman is out of town, so it'll be on the DVR for when he returns. I'll try not to watch it until then.
*update 9/7*
I liked the show, how 'bout you?
I'm looking forward to the characters developing in upcoming shows.
I recognized the location of almost every outdoor scene. There must have been a lot more filming around here than I witnessed.

The trip continues...

The morning of day 3 we left Grand Teton Nation Park and headed north to Yellowstone. None of us had ever been to Yellowstone, so of course we needed to see the famed "Old Faithful" geyser.

Everyone else in the park was there as well.
It was crowded.
Again, we took turns with the kids and dogs. I could imagine Roxie trying to swim in a boiling spring, so it made sense that dogs aren't allowed near the geysers.
Even though it was crowded, and hot, the geysers were a sight to see. It's a bit uneasy knowing that you are on top of an active volcano. That's what the ranger said, and active volcano. The caldera is outlined on the park map, and it is HUGE! I would have loved to spend days looking at the geology in Yellowstone, but we had places to go and people to see.
We drove through the park, ooohing and awwing at the scenery.
We saw elk in a nearby field. We thought those were close until we drove through Mammoth Hot Springs and saw them lying all over town.
We decided to drive to Billings Montana for the night and stay in a hotel for a decent shower. We drove, still admiring the scenery around us.
We arrived in Billings after dark, saw that the Motel 6 in which we planned to stay was between a crummy casino and an adult bookstore. For around $70 a night. Forget it.
We drove to a different part of town and saw a Country Inn Suites. $140 for a few hours of sleep and a shower. No matter how much I liked Curt Carlson personally, I'm frugal. So, we drove on, leaving Montana in our dust, and boondocked at a Wal-Mart Supercenter near South Dakota.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The first couple days

A little about our first couple days of vacation...

We left early in the morning, so we had travelled well into Utah by the time it was time to stop for the day. We wanted to travel as far as possible that first day, because traveling through the deserts of California isn't fun when the AC doesn't work well. When driving through Las Vegas, we saw a large homeless tent city alongside the freeway. After seeing that, we stopped complaining about how warm it was in the RV.

Our favorite billboard in Nevada

The first night, we stayed in a campground that was filled with ATV's and dirtbikes. We didn't bring ours along this time, so it was just a tease. There was a nice little pool for the kiddos, and they enjoyed it after the sweaty ride through the desert. I warmed chili over the campfire and sat at the picnic table. Walking by the table, my ankles became entangled with the dog leashes. I was like a calf roped and tied at the rodeo. My feet came to a halt, but my upper body continued... I fell straight down onto the side of the picnic table, hitting E2's head with my head as I fell. Her face slammed against the table top and I saw that her mouth was full of blood. I thought that I had surely knocked out some teeth. I grabbed her and ran into the RV for ice and a towel, limping as I went because I had hit HARD. Thankfully, all her teeth were still in place, but she had bitten her tongue in two places. An otter pop relieved the pain, and she was fine the next day. The giant bruises on my thigh and knee are still healing. I didn't wear shorts most of the trip because it looked as if I had been beaten with a baseball bat. I was afraid that this was a bad sign of what was to come during the trip, luckily, that was not the case.

The next morning we were on the road again. We stopped for gas in Filmore, UT and saw that gas was cheaper across the street, plus, they had this sign:
So, we drove across the street and gave them our business.

We decided to drive to the Grand Tetons for our second night. We took a wrong turn along the way, but we enjoyed the drive. We took the "road less travelled" and only saw 15 cars in several hours, but countless cows.

We pulled into the RV park in Grand Teton National Park well after dark. It was straight to bed, but up early for a beautiful morning in the woods. Because of bear warnings we took turns walking to the lake with the kids. Dogs needed to stay near the campers and off the trails because we were told that they tend to attract bears. great.

The kids practiced skipping rocks into the lake. E1 and E2 were able to skip rocks, and E3 was happy as can be tossing rock after rock into the water.

Later that morning, we headed north to Yellowstone.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

By the numbers

2 adults, 3 kids, 2 dogs
24-foot long class C
4840 miles
12 states
13 days
10,000+ bugs squished on the front of the RV, and 1 pheasant
4 national parks
5 campfires
1 bag of marshmallows
581 photos
1 hubcap lost
1000+ cows seen
1 dead moose
16 rides on the golf cart
1 ride in a race car
42 fish caught
25 fish cleaned
25 fish eaten
87 relatives seen
12 Wal-Mart’s
1 Wall Drug
14 mini monster trucks
3 miner helmets
1 Sturgis t-shirt
1 stream filled with fool’s gold
3 horses
4 newborn kittens
0 trips to the ER
Countless memories
1 wonderful vacation