Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bikram mini-challenge

My sister William is coming to town and while she is here, we are going to do a mini-Bikram challenge.

I figured there are very few times where I will have a willing partner to go with me everyday, a babysitter and the time off to actually go to yoga everyday. So over Christmas break we are hoping to go everyday that they are open.

I am hoping to just jump start my fitness routine for the new year - which I am hoping will include Bikram every weekend.

The problem I have now is I go so sporadically that it always feels like I am starting over.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mom's bag

Since my mom knows that I am working on a bag for her, I figured it is okay to talk about it.

To be honest, this has been a fantastic learning tool for me, so I feel a little bad giving my mom my practice bag.

I learned how to use dpns (double pointed needles) and how to knit on circular needles too. I also learned how to weave a new ball of yarn onto an existing one without a knot. I have learned yarn overs and knit two together, basically it is a very loose lace pattern.

The idea was to knit a green "green bag" ie a reusable grocery bag for my mom. Here is a picture of the progress to date.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Recently we went to put on some Christmas music on my ipod only to discover that my 2nd generation ipod is now officially dead!

Which is okay because lets face it they have come a long way since then and I want to be able to watch shows on it on travel too. So onto the wish list it goes.

To be honest though, an ipod is not nearly the necessity it was several years ago (when I took the metro to work) and it has been months since I last used mine, so I should perhaps make it a low priority acquisition.

One of the reasons for this is my discovery of which is really the coolest thing ever. It is free and it reads your mind and plays music you love and introduces you to new music that you also love. You get to create your own commercial free radio stations with it. So far I have a holiday one - awesome mixes of sinatra and dave matthews; a justin timberlake one - dance on; an r&b one - for my inner soul sista; and a vivaldi - violins and love.

Tell me what radio stations you have if you use pandora.

Weavette Looms

My grandma Foster has a blanket made out of these little woven squares that is awesome. She even lent me her original Weave-It loom at one point so I could make one too. But I was in college and didn't really have the time to devote to it. Plus, hers was a nice wool blanket and the yarn that I saw at that point in my life was all acrylic - which didn't seem worth the effort.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that someone ( has started making these delightful little looms again. The only problem is - they have been sold out for a very long time. I am even tempted to get a rectangle (2x4 or 2x6) one to make bookmarks since that is the only kind they have in stock - plus a blanket with a subway tiles look might be pretty snazzy. But what I really want is the square one.

So for any of you thrift shop/garage sales goers - if you happen to see a weave-it loom for sale - please think of me. :)

Xmas shopping complete

You read that right - I am done shopping for presents and even stocking stuffers. Yippee!

The funny thing is that I really enjoy Christmas shopping, but I don't like shopping during the rush - feeling pressure to find the "perfect" thing, waiting in miserable lines and fighting for a parking spot - I will pass on all of that.

Unfortunately I am not finished making Xmas presents - so I spend my extra hours knitting furiously in an attempt to get things done in time. Luckily, that part involves a nice cup of tea and a cookie rather than the other frantics mentioned above.

Oh also, a shout out to Genny - who wrapped all the presents (even hers)! They are now pretty under the tree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blackberry sadness

What?! I ask - is the good of having a sister with a fancy new blackberry, if she doesn't write during meetings (and other inappropriate times) with funny little quips throughout the day?!

I am so sad.

William - if you are reading this - I expect one liner emails daily from your fancy new blackberry - please :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Holiday cookie swap

I love cookies! There is nothing better than a soft gooey warm out of the oven KA cookie with a tall glass of cold milk. So I am trying to organize a cookie swap with my coworkers. I am trying to decide what type of cookie I am going to make. So far my thoughts are: KA chocolate chip cookies (kick-ass is the name William's coworkers gave these delicious favorites), molasses spice crinkles, snickerdoodles, lime meltaways, sugar cookies or russian tea cakes. If you leave a comment, please include your favorite cookies.

And here is the famous Kick-Ass Cookie recipe:

2 c. butter
2 c. b. sugar
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla

4 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 1/2 t. powder
2 t. soda

5 c. oats
24 oz choco chips
handful of cocont (about 1 cup or so)
sometimes nuts

cream the top group. mix the middle group - then add to the butter mixture. add the oats and coconut. then the chocolate chips and nuts (if desired).

bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

the thing about these cookies is the coconut makes them amazingly moist, but they don't keep well unless you freeze them (frozen they last a very long time). a full batch makes so many cookies you could almost eat your body weight in cookies (okay maybe that's just me). also, use the real stuff (butter, vanilla, chocolate, etc) if you want amazing cookies!

Added on 11/27/2007: this link is awesome - it has hundreds of cookies at your fingertips.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Spoiled!! Coffee Swap

This post is also long overdue. My coffeeswap partner Lindy sent me two terriffic packages.

The first one was straight from a yarn store. She sent this yummy cashmerino (100% merino wool yarn that is soft like cashmere) lace weight yarn in charcoal grey - love love love. Along with 3 lace patterns and a cute stitch marker (this is my first stitch marker - thank you). This was such a thoughtful treat. I mentioned that I wanted to try some lace, but didn't know where to start, so she took all the guess work out of it. I am so excited to start on this - after the holidays. I am planning on doing the middle shawl :).

Then she sent a separate package with goodies from Australia - coffee, plastic knitting needles (I think these will be Audrey's first real pair of needles when she is old enough to learn), dark chocolate - yum, a cute stuffed Koala, three kids Koala books and a cute Koala ornament. It has been fun learning about Koala - now we will have to check our zoo.

Thank you so much Lindy!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I am here in Iowa and so when we passed a western store right down the road from some relatives, I took the opportunity to go back and get some boots that I have had my eye on for a while now. They are so cute. What do you think - will they work with a suit?

Friday, November 16, 2007

On the needles

A scarf (my first ever) in this yummy alpaca yarn that I got at The Point in NYC. It is a "ribbed for her pleasure" scarf (pattern from the Stitch n Bitch Nation book that is way past due from my local library). I made the ribbing a little wider than it suggested and I wish everyone could feel how soft this is.

This is Ryan's xmas present - even if he did pick out the yarn.


This post has been a long time in coming - owing to a camera without a recharging battery. My spoiler for the DC swap sent me an awesome package!!

She sent me 3! dishcloths all halloween themed - wow. Then she sent some cotlin yarn, which i have been wanting to try forever and she sent 2 sets of needles - some fantastic short bamboo ones and some vintage ones. She also sent a pattern of the ball band dishcloth - which is one of my favorites. As if all that wasn't enough - she sent some fantastic smelling soap, a witchy notepad and some treats - swedish fish and coffee - yum! Thank you Val!

On a side note, i posted earlier that I didn't like handmade soaps - well I have since changed my mind. After shopping for some soap for my partner and getting this great soap from Val, I have changed all of my bathroom soaps to handmade fancy soaps.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I don't think i look anything like my avatar - especially in the slimness.

Oh well, one can pretend :)

Rolling with the punches

Sometimes I think I try too hard. It really means something to me to have the people around me like me (i know i know - it "shouldn't" matter what others think of me, but the truth is sometimes it does). So the other day at work - one of my younger coworkers gave me a hard time about something - in a way that i thought was kind of rude. Ok, it just plain hurt my feelings. So later on (still smarting from his rudeness), I reacted poorly to a normal question by the same person in a public setting. I basically refused to answer. It was a snotty jr high sort of thing to do and as soon as "wouldn't you like to know" came out of my mouth, i wondered why it did (though it is better than what i wanted to say which was "not telling" - so i at least have to give myself credit for that -right?).

I think it all boils back to the wanting to be liked. Which is of course the opposite of what my response brought about. It was just weird - at least for me. I am sure this collegue has not thought about my answer since, except to think that maybe i was a bit snotty. He probably didn't even think he was rude in the first place - i mean he said just kidding - so of course, it couldn't have hurt my feelings. sometimes it feels vulnerable to want to be liked.

and as a tangent - why in the world do people think that saying "just kidding" makes it okay to say rude things? (a very piratey arghh!)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fear and Living

I am part of a recovering from Mormonism support group. It is an interesting bunch of people and sometime it is profound. I am copying and pasting an email "Chad" sent to the group. This one really touched me and made me think.

One thing that I have always felt to be important was to live life deliberately and passionately. I love Thoreau's Walden where he talks about living a deliberate life and not coming to the end of one's life only to discover that one had never truly lived. (Obviously, he said it much more eloquently.)

So when I read this I again had to pause and think - where am I now? Am I living a deliberate life of my own choosing and passion? Happily the answer is yes! I am. I am as happy as I have ever been. I love my little family and my dear friends. I have a job that I love with people that I really enjoy being around. I have a comfortable warm home with good food to eat and comfy clothes to wear. Are there daily frustrations and irritations - certainly - DC traffic alone is enough to make my hair turn grey; but overall this is the life I have chosen and I am happy with my choices.

And now for the bit that inspired my thinking...

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

While serving my time for Mormonism as a missionary in Germany, I
would often spend a little time each day reading through the Luther
Bible in an attempt to understand the role of Christ and his
mission, not to mention reading the most correct translation of the
New Testament according to Joseph Smith. On one such occasion, I
came across a passage in 2 Timothy where Paul gives encouragement
and hope to the beleaguered Timothy. Paul's words gave me comfort
with a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance.

As I read the words, I saw that fear was not from God, yet as I
examined my missionary experiences, I saw that fear was always
present. The missionary program was fear based. My temple experience
and requirement to keep my temple covenants at all costs was driven
by fear. My experiences with mission authority were fear based. My
personal life, filled with regret and remorse for not doing and
being enough was fear based. Yet as quickly as I discovered that my
life was riddled with fear, my fear caused me to bury it deep down
inside of me again and ignore it as I had always done.

As I made my way out of Mormonism, I saw my old nemesis was always
present. I was afraid to see, I was afraid to investigate, I was
afraid of what my family and friends would do and think, and in some
ways I was afraid of myself.

I have not yet transcended fear in my life, but I do confront it
frequently, removing its power and hold over my mind and heart. For
those who still struggle on their road of discovery and self-
acceptance, distance yourself from the fear which holds you back.
Turn to friends and loved ones for strength and support if possible,
but move forward, removing more and more fear as you go. Once the
source of fear has been removed and the distance grows between you,
fear diminishes and its power lost.

One of my favorite films is Defending Your Life, written and
directed by another of my favorites, Albert Brooks. In this film,
we see the main character Daniel in his sojourn into the afterlife,
wherein he is required to make an accounting of sorts for his life's
experiences and decisions. The thrust of the defense is not based on
good or evil, but on how well he confronted his fears in life.
Failure to prove that he had conquered fear during his life would
require that he return to earth to repeat his earthly experiences
until he mastered his fears and could then be permitted to move on.
Without spoiling the film for those who have not seen it, suffice it
to say that Daniel eventually conquers his fears through love and is
permitted to move on to bigger and better things.

Just as Daniel used the power of love to conquer his fears which
held him back, we too must love ourselves enough to stare our demons
in the face and remove their power over us. There is life after the
fear. There is understanding, self-acceptance and love after the
fear. There will still be trouble, heartache, misery and challenge,
but there will be less fear in our lives giving us more strength to
face whatever life throws our way.

Face the fear.

Thanks Chad for the great thoughts!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

WW underoos

I miss superhero underoos. If I could buy some comfy superhero panties for everyday wear, I would be all over that.

Characters I would like to wear: Wonder Woman (4 pairs), She-Ra princess of power (4 pairs), Thundercats, Hello Kitty (3 pairs), He man (4 pairs - he is just cool), maybe Daisy Duke and maybe Scooby Doo or the Gummie Bears (though the last three would definitely be weekend wear - I mean how could you take yourself seriously if you were wearing Scooby Doo panties.

If you want to post a comment, please do mention which characters you would wear?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knitting lately

I taught G how to knit a little over the weekend and so we made several phone cozies. They are actually quite fantastic. Then yesterday I went to my LYS at lunch and got some cool yarn with some bling - so don't be surprised if you get a sparkley phone cozy for Yule this year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wendi's Weekly Question

Something(s) I can't live without:

crocs/dansko shoes
suits with stretch in them

perhaps I am taking this too literally, i am having trouble thinking of things.

Coffee Swap Questionairre

Here are the questions:
1. Whole bean or ground?

Definitely Whole bean - I grind my beans fresh right before I use them.

2. Fully-loaded or decaf?

Both, most of the time I go fully-loaded, but I recently found a decaf that was really good, so I enjoy that in the afternoon sometimes.

3. Regular or flavored?

Regular - I haven't had any flavored coffees that I like yet. But I do like to add spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and occasionally vanilla) to the finished product. I love the natural flavor of Kona coffee - those Hawains are awesome!

4. How do you drink your coffee?

Generally I make a double shot latte. I have a cool machine called the aerobiepress that makes the most fantastic coffee/espresso. I usually make a double shot with that, add a little raw sugar and whole milk.

Much to my surprise I also really enjoy the Kona coffee black.

5. Favorite coffee ever?


6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do?

I am a bit fussy, but I have noticed that has more to do with freshness than anything. I like to try new beans, but I stick by my old favorites - which incidentally are all from Costco :).

7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee?

A croissant in the morning. Or a piece of dark chocolate in the afternoon. I also really like to eat macadamian nuts while drinking my coffee - though I don't do this often.

8. Anything else about your coffee preferences?

I for one feel that the mug makes a difference in my coffee enjoyment. I have an adorable caldron shaped mug - black with green interior - that I got for halloween and my sister just got me the one from starbucks with all the coffee beans on the outside. Big, cute mugs with comfortable handles and nice shapes are my favorites.

9. Yarn/fiber you love?

I love it all, but am inclined to use the non-itchy stuff. I have been dyeing to try some sort of cashmere for a shawl - but have yet to find a pattern that I want to make my first attempt on (suggestions appreciated).

I use a lot of cotton because it is readily available and useful in my favorite thing to make so far - dishcloths/facecloths.

10. Yarn/fiber you hate?

Acrylic - does this even count as yarn?

11. What's on your needles?

A couple of dishcloths, a bib and a bag.

12. Favorite colors?

In general I love black, but not in cotton because it fades and just looks bad very quickly. I love punches of saturated colors and more muted earth tones.

13. Allergies?


14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest?

I am so excited for this swap and I can't wait to meet new friends with

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Menu Planning Saturday

I know all the good blogging moms of the world do menu plan monday - but that just doesn't give me time to shop. So I am posting my menu today.

Saturday - Salmon with ginger/soy sauce, risotto and salad
Sunday - dinner with in laws
Monday - zesty crock pot chicken, rice, veggies (we'll see what looks good at the store)
Tuesday - Turkey meat loaf, mashed potatoes, veggies (see monday)
Wednesday - Chicken enchiladas w/ corn
Thursday - Spagetti, garlic bread, salad
Friday - Grilled cheese sandwhiches with roasted red pepper and tomato soup
Saturday - Misty's wedding - free dinner with gift :)

Kudos to Wendi for the menu posting ideas and for the monday recipe.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Coffee Swap

I'm in! I was hoping I would get to participate this time around.

This swap is for people who love knitting and coffee - which is certainly me.

For more info go to the blog's page. They are also keeping everyone linked together on ravelry. So much fun.

Monday, October 01, 2007

DC Exchange Q4

Are there any recipes you especially enjoy having in the Fall? Any foods that are seasonal that you especially enjoy?

I love Pumpkins and squash. So this time of year is great for making all kinds of good squash foods. I love the roasted butternut squash soups and the pumpkin pies. And we can't forget the pumpkin spice lattes - yum. Though I must admit mine is much better than Starbucks (unless you like really sweet drinks - then go for theirs).

I also really love the apples. One year an old boss of mine bet me bushels of apples over various patent law questions. It worked out really well for me. I won 5 bushels of hand picked apples from up-state NY. They were the best I have ever had in my life. It was a real challenge to eat them all before they went bad and we had almost nothing else in our fridge for about a month. But they were so yummy!

Anyone else have favorite fall foods?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Crafty Bastards

Today we are going to Crafty Bastards and I am so excited. This is not the cutesy type of arts and crafts show that I go to with my MIL in the climate controlled expo center (though I must admit I love that too). We couldn't ask for better weather for the event 70s - bright and sunny, with a nice light breeze. I just hope the drive into downtown is as pleasant as the day itself.

I am hoping to pick up a cool thing or two. I have a strong dislike of chatchkey - ish things. So anything I get will definitely be useful - maybe a laptop sleeve or cool shirt. I will post any cool purchases (unless they are gifts for folks who read my blog).

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I am sooo excited! I just got invited to ravelry! I have been waiting forever it seems. So my warning is that this blog may be a bit neglected as I spend some time getting onto ravelry - yay!

Friday, September 28, 2007

DC exchange Q3

Autumn has now officially begun here in the States!! What is your favorite thing about Autumn/Fall? Why?

I love the crisp weather and sleeping with the windows open. I love the turn in the leaves and seeing all the trees in all their beautiful colors. I love the food - the apples, the squash, the home canned harvest goods - it makes me wish all over again that we had a garden.

For me autumn feels like a natural place to do a thorough cleaning and nesting of my house in order to prepare for winter and more time indoors. I love getting things cleaned out of closets, getting out my sweaters and flannel pajamas.

I also love football season. We are redskins fans and we all don our sportswear every Sunday for the games. It is a lot of fun. I wish we lived near college football. I really loved those BYU football games - and we could afford those. Redskins games are just out of our price range.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Must have Tee

My DishCloth swap spoilee, put this tee on her blog as a "must-have" - and I have to say I totally agree! Isn't this the coolest knitting shirt ever!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Claire told me all about "Coupling" a British sit-com. It is a cross between Friends, Seinfeld and Sex and the City.

It is like Friends in that it is about 3 men and 3 women all single living in London and regularly meeting at the local pub to chat about life, etc. It is like Sex and the City because the show revolves around one couple and both of their best friends and both of their ex-es, so the show talkes mainly about their love and sex lives - definitely more edgey than American sitcoms. But the best part is that it is also like Seinfeld in that they use unusual ways of presenting a story of interconnectedness that is really funny. One of my favorite things they do is show one night from several different perspectives that build on top of one another.

So imagine my disappointment when it ended so strangely after 4 seasons. Arghh - please come back.

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part - I watched all of this on Netflix's Watch it now feature - Fantastic. Any other coupling fans out there?

Friday, September 21, 2007

DC exchange question #2

When you knit or crochet dishclothes, washclothes or face clothes, what do you use? What size needle or hook? Wood? what type? Metal? Plastic? A specific Brand? Why do you love that needle or hook so much? Is there one you are dying to try? Is there a particular yarn you love and use all the time for clothes? What is so special about it?

I usually use my metal needles #5 by Boye. They are purple which originally I thought was good - not necessarily purple per se, but just that they are a nice bright color. I like that the yarn slides pretty well on the aluminum metal. I don't like the tips - which have lost the paint coating slowly and the transition between the silver on the tips and the purple of the rest of the needle has become quite rough. This has been disappointing. So I am actually looking for a new set of metal needles that won't lose their slickness/paint. I do like the size 5. It makes for a nice tight dishcloth. And I usually like to do an oatmeal color trim with a bright color in the wash cloth. I like my cloths colorful. I almost always use peaches and cream and/or sugar and cream cotton. I like it, it is cheap and it comes in so many colors.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Can we really be altruistic?

Sometimes I think there is no such thing as altruism. Doing some small good for someone else makes me feel just as good if not better.

Lately, I have felt this strong affinity to help out a young unwed mother, whose family (except her mom) are trying to make her give the baby up for adoption.

A good friend asked me why I felt so strongly about this person and this cause in particular. I can't really think of any one super strong reason, though I have several smaller reasons.

For one, I feel that every child deserves to be celebrated and cherished and every mother - especially new mothers deserve to be honored. And I definitely was the lucky recipient of much love and celebration during my pregnancy and after my daughter's birth.

Another is that I was raised in a church that preached very strongly in favor of adoption when a mother is unwed. While I think that is an option that should certainly be open to a woman - I don't think it is something that should be pushed on people - EVER!! There is just too much at stake to let someone else make that decision for you or even influence you in it. Ideally a woman in this situation will have a good sounding board and people who will be straight with her about the consequences of her choices. Each of us has to live with our decisions, so I think we should take full ownership of them for better or worse. Sorry for the soapbox - I was fed the "free agency" thing while being told what to choose for a little too long and now it makes me angry to see that happening to others.

Perhaps the most compelling reason for me right now, is that I feel like my small contribution towards this young mother and child will actually make a big difference in their lives. And how often do we (and by we I mean human beings) get the opportunity to make a concrete difference in someone's life - especially at such a special life meridian. I really feel like I am the lucky one to find someone truly in need so that I can repay a little of the human kindness shown to me in so many ways big and small.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cool soap site

Ok, I will admit that I have had a few less than favorable run-ins with handmade soap. While I think it is an awfully nice sentiment, I like the creaminess of a bar of dove soap. So this was the one requirement for the dish cloth swap that I wasn't really excited about. It's hard to get excited about giving something you would just as soon not get yourself - KWIM?.

But, I just found the coolest soap site with all kinds of soaps that I am actually excited to give (and to try myself). My spoilee doesn't like lavender or vanilla scents, but there are lots of other good options on here. I think I may go with the green tea soap for her and I may try the lavender or jasmine for me - we shall see. I may get a bar for my mom's bday too - she is one who actually does appreciate handmade soaps.

Bomb Week at Work

This past week the building that I work in had bomb threats MTW and so we have been on lock down and higher security. It was quite crazy. Luckily no one was actually hurt, the bomber did not actually bomb the building and I was able to work from home for several afternoons.

One of the days when we were evacuated, my car was stuck in the garage below the building. I took Ryan's car home and he took the train. The next morning I took the train in and used the opportunity to start on the dish cloth for my secret pal. I am pretty sure she will really like it because it is going to have one of her favorite colors. I can't give any more details because I have not done a very good job of keeping myself anonymous and she could easily find her way to my blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dish Cloth exchange - week 1 question

Now that in some geographic locations the weather is starting to turn cooler, do you change the type of yarn(s) you knit/crochet with? If so, what do you now knit/crochet with instead and why? If not, why do you not switch and what do you knit/crochet with?

As a new knitter, this is my first cooler weather change. I am considering trying to make something wearable - like a sweater, but I think I should have started a bit earlier in the year if I hope to be wearing it by the end of the winter. So instead, I am busy working on some gifts for various people right now. I am also getting really excited about the Charmed Knits book that is coming my way from zooba v. soon.

The changing of seasons is inspiring me to change out my color pallette a little bit. I think I may go to work on some halloween colored discloths for myself. I just have my doubts on how black cotton will look after a few uses.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dish Cloth Swap Questionnaire

1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been doing it?

I have been crocheting on and off since I was about 10 years old, my grandma kay taught me one Christmas and I have been hooked ever since.
Recently (within the last year) I picked up knitting and I love it! I am self-taught, though to be fair to my grandma miller - she taught me one Christmas when I was a teenager, so it was probably easier to reteach myself with Internet tutorials after her kind tutelage.

2. Have you made dischloths before? Do you use them yourself, give them as gifts, or both?

I love dishcloths! I have made several for myself and I have given several away as gifts too. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well received they are.

3. What's your favorite cotton to make cloths from? What cotton would you like to try that you haven't before ?

I love the peaches and cream; sugar and cream is nice too. I would actually really like to try a cotton/linen blend for a cloth or seven.

4. If you knit, do you prefer circular or straight needles? For all, do you prefer wooden, metal, or plastic needles?

I prefer straight needles and I appreciate all types. I am a newbie knitter so I have only tried metal and bamboo.

5. What are your favorite colors? Any colors you don't like much?

I love color. I haven't seen a color yet that doesn't work well as a dishcloth.

6. What do you like best about Autumn?

I love the crisp smell in the air, the fresh apples (and going apple picking), I love the baking and I love wearing sweaters and corduroy again.

7. Pies: Pumpkin? Apple? Pecan? All of em? or No Thanks!

I will take a small bite of each - Pecan then Pumpkin then apple (if I still have room).

8. When you were a kid, were you the one who couldn't wait to get started with school , or the one who overslept on the 1st day?

I was the one who couldn't wait. I am a morning person with a strong aversion to being late, oversleeping is an extremely rare event for me.

9. Do you celebrate Halloween? (The real key here guys is especially knowing if you have an aversion to the holiday or little goodies/decorations associated with it, given the time-frame of the swap)

I love Halloween. I think it is actually my favorite holiday. I already have my daughter's Halloween costume for the year and every year I dress up as a witch to pass out candy out of my black Calderon. It is such fun.

10. If you had to choose just 3 edible 'goodies' to eat for a full year, what 3 would you choose?

Dark Chocolate; Kona Coffee and super dark chocolate!

11. Do you have any pets? Kids? Husbands who seem like kids? ;)

I have a daughter - 2 yo and a husband. No pets - though I really want a fish :)

12. If you were to describe a particular yarn that shares traits of your personality, what would it be and why?

I think Linen is a good yarn to describe me. I can be a little rough around the edges, but quite soft after a few washings :).

13. Do you use your cloths mostly for dishcloths, or as facecloths?

I use them mostly as dishcloths, though my daughter likes to take one to her bath (along with some plastic dishes to clean while she is in there).

14. Favorite Fall Holiday: Halloween or Thanksgiving and why? (Feel free to share another fall memory if you do not celebrate either of these holidays)
I love both fall holidays. But if I were to choose I would say Halloween. I love dressing up and I love giving candy to little kids and having an excuse to dress my child up and I love decorating my house with pumpkins and black accents everywhere. I love Halloween parties and spooky treats and spooky drinks.

15. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should know about?

I don't really like smelly things (heavily perfumed) they tend to give me a headache. I prefer clean/light scents.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Coolest Sweater Ever!!

I found the coolest sweater I have ever seen and I wish I had the skills to make it. If you go to Practical Polly's blog, she has several really good pics of it. I hope she decides to publish the pattern because even though I am sure it would take me awhile to figure out, it would be well worth the effort for this beauty. Knitting is so cool!

In the meantime, I shall continue to knit dishcloths, because dishcloths are really cool and really useful. Perhaps I'll take a picture of all of my beautiful dishcloths someday soon.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Back to work

Being back to work is working well for me. I am really enjoying it. Though I must admit, I don't enjoy it when I have down time at work like I used to (luckily, I am busy enough that I have only had a few moments like that). It is strange though. I feel like I really like working and I feel like I am doing something good for the world in general. But when there is downtime, I wish I was home just being silly with Audrey for 5 or 10 minutes.

The real adjustment has been the hours. I am not used to waking up at 5:15 in the morning and being out the door by 5:50. I get into work at 6:30. I really love doing 4 10 hour days instead of 5 8 hour days, but I really don't have a whole lot of time at home to lounge about during my work week. I really have to be in bed by 9:15 or else I don't feel like a very happy camper. Which means that I am getting ready for bed around 8:45 - it is almost like being a kid again (I had a bedtime all the way through high-school - 9:30).

Audrey is adjusting pretty well to me being gone. We just finished our second full week of Genny being here and Audrey was actually fussier this week than last (for me, she gives G no problems at all). She is also waking up really early too - 6 ish. I am hoping once she adjusts, she will get back to her normal sleep habits - 7:30 ish pm - am. But she still seems to be her happy self.

Friday, August 10, 2007


One thing I have always loved about my mom's houses in Seattle is the walkability factor. We walked to the grocery store, the library, the coffee shop, restaurants, parks, etc. As a kid, summertime was wide open because everything was within walking distance - no need to wait for a ride. So I was thrilled to discover a website that rates the walkability of any location -

My current location got an 11 out of 100 - and I think that score is too high because someone nearby sells nutrition supplements out of their home, so it looks like food is a short walk away, but it really isn't. If you do check it out - please post your walkscore in the comments, I would love to see who lives in the walkiest place.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Today Ryan and I made a list of all the things that we wanted done in our house - cleaning, organizing, etc. Then I took the things that I felt ownership of (such as cleaning out the fridge, planning the menu, and making a grocery list) and started on those things while Ryan started on the rest of the list. We have done so many things it is fantastic and best of all I have our menu planned for a week +, which for some reason is really the key to me feeling peaceful and happy as a homemaker/mom/wife.

Along the idea of menus/meal tricks for working moms - I know the assembly dinners for the freezer are a big thing out here. I haven't ever been to one and am reluctant to try one (cost/quality issues). The Dinner Diva had an idea that I like (though I probably will use my own recipes). She offers 5 for the freezer menus based on a certain type of meat - like chicken or ground beef. I like this idea because then you can take advantage of loss-leader sales and buy in bulk with a manageable plan. So next time I see a great deal I am going to try it.

My latest food idea is to try to implement a soup night. Soups are generally really healthy, full of veggies and beans and grains, delicious (homemade of course), frugal (you can use lots of leftovers and smaller bits of meat and still have the full wonderful flavors) and best of all they freeze well. So my plan is to make soup once a week as dinner and freeze the leftovers (in portion sized containers) to take in my lunches to work. I figure since I will be doing 10 hour days and I like to eat lots of smaller meals I will need to pack much more than a typical sandwich and fruit if I am going to be a happy camper. I think soup will bridge that gap beautifully.

So tonight we are having a tomato lentil soup. Any fellow soup lovers out there?

Cool things

I just discovered It is fabulous (and free)!

You can put all of your books into it or just some of them and then post the covers on your blog - as you see on mine. I am not quite tricky enough to get rid of the standard headings that they put on the code to copy and paste, but hopefully I will figure it out soon. Even with the headings, I like it much better than my old list - if for no other reason than it automatically pulls up the book covers.

Friday, August 03, 2007

New Magazine subscription

Someone was kind enough to get me a new magazine subscription for my bday that just arrived yesterday - Airstream Life. It is awesome. I nearly read the whole thing before going to bed and dreaming of doing my own tour of America.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Since I last posted, I turned 31! And I had a great birthday. My sister, William, was in town for the past couple of weeks and helped Ryan sneekily purchase the most beautiful pair of earrings for me (William and I were shopping earlier in the week and I saw them at a jewelry counter and fell in love, so Ryan had her buy them for me). He also got me a cute pair of light pink crocs (which I have wanted forever) and a movie.

I told Audrey that since it was mama's bday she had to give me lots of kisses all day - and she obliged.

William, aside from flying out to visit me, also painted my bedroom (the cathedral ceilings made it more of an act of kindness than painting alone would have been). I also got a watch, and several new shirts and Ryan's parents got me the Anne of Green Gables DVDs set. Plus, lots of people called, sent cards and emails. It is surprising how much it still means to me (at this old of an age) to hear from people I know and love on my bday.

One of the best parts of the whole celebration was William and I having a bday adventure. Margaret was kind enough to volunteer to watch Audrey so Will and I could do something fun. So we were going to go get mani/pedis, see a movie and go to eat at my favorite Thai restaurant (Thai in Shirlington); but I decided (it is nice to be the sole person in charge on your bday) that we were going to drive 40 miles south to tour Airstream trailers - because I have wanted one forever and I have never even seen the inside of one. We got a little lost and made a couple of wrong turns. That was actually fun.

Warning: tangent - See, I live in what I consider to be the southernmost part of Northern Virginia. Technically, Virginia is Southern. But Northern Virginia, being a Washington, D.C., suburb isn't really "the South". But anything further south than me and you are in fact in "the South". For example my I-95 exit has Ikea, Potomac Mills, Costco etc. The next exit south has Cracker Barrel, Waffle House, etc. There are quite a few places in my general area that I may even say still have a strong Southern influence. We live off a parallel road to I-95 - route 1 or Jefferson-Davis Highway. If you head south about 8 miles, there is a huge (maybe 50-60 ft tall) crucifix (complete with larger than life Jesus attached) on the side of the road all on its own - no church or anything. Ryan and I now use that as a point of reference, e.g. head towards Jesus on Rt 1 or vise versa.

So (back to the point) driving south on I-95 for 40 miles puts you in the South. We pulled up to a gas station to ask for directions and the only spot available was between two trucks - one was a monster truck, the other was an old well-loved truck with some colorful bumper stickers including: Keep Honking, I'm reloading and Redneck. And as we were pulling out of the gas station across Rt 1 was a huge church (they are everywhere) with a mural on the street side advertising the times of services and motorcycles (I never even knew the two were related). So we certainly enjoyed the colorfulness of our detour.

Finally we got to tour Airstream trailers to our hearts content and we both agreed they were awesome and we both want to own one and go camping together. Then it was too late to fit in all of the other stuff, so we headed North into Alexandria for lunch at my favorite restaurant and then ate so much that we had to take our Maggie Moos ice cream to go.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Working Woman

The interview at BP went well - and in fact they offered me the job and flexibility - I am going to work 3 10 hour days in the office, 1 10 hour day from home and have Friday's off. The only point of contention was the start date.

My sister G is going to come and live with us, but she could not be bribed out of her own previous engagements and can't come until mid-August. In the end, I am going to start work on August 13 and Grandma and Ryan will take time off for the first week so that we can get G settled in and Audrey used to her. Then G will be watching Audrey until the end of the year. Then she is going back to school for Winter semester and we are (tentatively) planning on getting an au pair.

Child care is a huge deal for working moms and was almost enough to make me just turn down the offer completely - luckily for both myself and BP they were willing to let me start later.

In the end, I am v. excited to be going back to BP. I am really excited to work with some old colleagues and meet some new ones. I am also excited about doing the work and having a new challenge - the two countries I will be supporting have quite large programs. I am also thrilled that I will only be commuting 3 days a week. Around these parts - the commute is what really sucks the life out of you. Plus working from home one day will let me eat lunch with cute Audrey and make her dinner too.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Tomorrow I have an interview at BearingPoint. I worked there for a little over a year about three years ago. It was one of those slightly crazy jobs where people just didn't really believe you when you told them what you did - which was foreign military sales - which is a nice way of saying arms dealing admin.

Part of me would really love to work there again - mainly because of the people. I met and am still good friends with some amazing people there. Some of whom are still there. It would be very nice to work with them again. Plus they have hinted that they would be willing to do some sort of part-time or flex-time arrangement - which is of course dreamy.

Part of me doesn't want to work there again because of the politics of it. It is the type of job that you can and do take home - not necessarily because there is not enough time to do your work, but because there are always so many cooks in the kitchen. I think I would be better at dealing with all of that now than I was then, if only because I know what to expect (more or less). Even so, I still wonder if that is what I want.

My other option, though an interview is still pending is with a small defense agency that I worked at right before having Audrey. They are hiring my old job again and have expressed a great deal of interest.

Again, part of me would love to work there again. The work itself was extremely interesting and the nature of the job made it semi-autonomous, though still part of a team. I also liked that it was not a job that I could bring home at all. I couldn't bring home papers, my computer, nothing. So, when I was done, I was done and that was nice. And they paid well - the philosophy there was, we want to hire and keep the best, so we are willing to compensate accordingly.

The down side - there isn't any possibility for part-time or flex-time arrangements - which I really want. And my good friend and old roommate who worked with me there is no longer there, so the social aspect is greatly reduced.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Latte my way

It is a well established fact that I make the best coffee around. And with the contest going on, I have had to come up with a new lower calorie way to make it just as delicious. My solution has been to make it iced - still using whole milk, raw sugar and a double shot of coffee. Here it is right before I put the ice in and mix it up. I love how beautiful the colors are and the way they blend.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tightwad Gazette

"The Complete Tightwad Gazette" is one of my favorite books. It is a collection of newsletters over a period of six years. Ryan thinks I am a little crazy for reading it or perusing it as often as I do. But honestly it is a great read.

The whole premise of the newsletter (and therefore the book) is that frugality is a great way of life and can help you achieve your dreams. Amy (the author, who I feel is a kindred spirit and therefore I feel entitled to take the liberty of referring to her by her first name as if we were great friends) loves a challenge and she looks at being frugal as a great way to use her creativity - to fix a household item in need of repair or turn a failed batch of jam into something else useful and edible, etc.

I like Amy's no nonsense approach to life, parenting, decorating, organizing, etc. She is an upbeat person with a sense of personal responsibility - which I like. I also enjoy her sense of humor and her great drawings. Another aspect of tightwadding that I really appreciate is environmental. The whole idea that if you consume less you are causing less waste. I like her approach to recycling more than just bottles and paper - she finds new uses for all kinds of things. And I must say I am jealous that her family eats so well (and on so little). They have a tremendous garden and they can the surplus to use throughout the year. I have a few memories of eating home canned peaches and apricots and I can't remember anything store bought tasting quite as good.

For many years I have been a closet reader of this book with only Mary (I hope she won't mind me outing her) as my fellow tightwadder (I sent her a copy of the book for her birthday as soon as I discovered it - there are several other readers of my blog who almost received the same gift for your weddings, birthdays, xmas, etc.). My hope is that by telling the world that I am a proud tightwadder, perhaps other friends and family will join in the movement - it is really much more fun to be thrifty with friends. I do realize this is not for everyone, so do as Amy suggests and check it out from your local library first.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Good and Tough

Life is both good and tough. I think the hardest thing to figure out is what you really want and what *really* makes you happy.

Recently I have been feeling like I am missing a part of me - like I lost some part of me when I became Audrey's mom. I love being her mom, but I also love being me. I know the two aren't so separate but sometimes I feel like I am only her mom and not me - especially as a SAHM. I feel like this isn't quite coming out exactly how I am feeling it, but I am still going to try to express it - though perhaps rather ineloquently.

I have tried to jump into projects and things that interest me and I have really enjoyed them. Even so, I wonder if I wouldn't be happier working outside the home. I have talked to a couple of good friends who have pointed out how difficult it is for parents who are both working full-time. I agree and I think part-time would be ideal. That would give me something that is just mine and still lots of mommy time.

But then the idea of missing Audrey's cute giggles all day long, her hugs and kisses and tackles (yes she loves to tackle both me and her daddy) kills me. I love reading with her and running back and forth in the house holding hands and playing with the race cars or cuddling up for a movie. Would I *really* be more satisfied with my life if I am missing those moments - even a couple of days a week. I just don't know.

Not to mention the thought of putting her into a stranger's care is somewhat terrifying. And yet I have many friends (with extremely happy, smart, well-adjusted children) who do that and have great experiences with it. I could see Audrey enjoying playing with other children all day long and doing just great or being overwhelmed and just crying for mommy.

So how do you know what really makes you happy in life? What trade-offs are worth it for you and your family? Everyone just says "follow your heart" - but what if your heart wants to lead you down several paths at the same time?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fitness Contest

Mary, Desiree and I are having a 3 month long fitness contest. I am really excited about this one. Mary and I used to always do contests as a way to motivate ourselves, but recently they just haven't been working out very well. We couldn't really think of anything that was both affordable and motivating. So when Mary called and told me that she and Desiree were trying to come up with a good contest, of course, I was in like Flinn (as they say).

We are blogging our contest at, should anyone be interested in following along.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Banana Muffins

Audrey used to love bananas and eat at least one a day. But now the novelty of eating what she has peeled herself has worn off and we have too many bananas. So the other day I decided to make banana muffins. I decided to try a new recipe from my Cooking Light cookbook. They were the best banana muffins I have ever had. The difference was wheat germ - it gives them a fabulous flavor and texture.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Slumber Party Movies

The other day there was a Bring It On Marathon on TV. Ryan was a little surprised to hear my declaration that I consider Bring It On and other movies in this general genre to be "great movies". I think what I really mean is that it is a great slumber party movie and even though I am no longer invited to slumber parties, I can still appreciate the spirit of them in a good movie.

This brings me to a list - great slumber party movies:
*Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
*Bring It On
*Stick It
*Monty Python and the Holy Grail
*Anne of Green Gables
*Much Ado About Nothing

For some reason I thought of a whole lot more earlier in the day - oh well.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I recently started reading a book called "Clutter's Last Stand" which I borrowed from the library. It has had a profound affect on the state of our house. The author points out how when you save everything 'just in case' you end up with so much junk that you can never find the thing when you actually need it and then you end up going out and purchasing the thing anew. He also talks about how much time we waste finding our stuff and then maintaining it. So I have been doing a major decluttering of our house. It has been liberating! I am definitely planning to travel through life a little lighter from now on.

So my project for this week is to actually tackle the office - which has long been the dumping ground for miscellaneous paper, cds, books, electronic equipment, etc. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

First Stitch

I just realized that even though I now knit a little bit almost everyday, I haven't even mentioned how this came to be. It all started earlier this year. You see for Christmas I wanted to make crafty things for people in my life - following my homemade sends love motto. So I made a knitting themed bag for Mary and included some needles, yarn and instructions so that she could learn to knit (as most of you know we have long been avid crocheters with crochet parties that were the stuff of legends).

Getting the knit kit together for Mary, made me want to learn to knit myself - so after I finished William's quilt, I finally took it up. It was actually quite easy to learn off the internet - several sites had great illustrations on various stitches and then with the arrival of the aforementioned knitting book. So... I am hooked.

Here are pics of one of the hand towels that I did for Mother's Day and a wash cloth that I did for my mom as well. There is a close-up of the hand towel so that you can see the neat texture/design of it. The wash cloth is so bright and happy that I actually got it wet - hoping it would bleed - so that I would have an excuse to keep it for myself. It did not bleed, so I sent it off to my Mama with love.

Mason-Dixon Knitting

I recently - several months ago - got a new book from zooba that I absolutely love - Mason Dixon Knitting. It is my first knitting book so I don't know much about the genre, but I must say it is fabulously fun to read. As I am reading it - looking at their projects and stories to go along with them, I can't help but feel like I am among friends (the type who love crazy projects and crocheting parties). I also can't help but want to try to knit everything they show in the book.

As I am a beginning self-taught knitter, I am trying to pace myself. Even so, I have made several hand towels and several dishcloths so far. In fact, I am hoping to be sponge free very soon. My goal is to have a fresh dishcloth for each day so that they never get that funky smell that I can not seem to microwave/dishwash out of my sponges.

For some reason though, perhaps it is the frugal fanny or the closet environmentalist in me, I am drawn to the rag ball rugs. I am desperately trying to think of a place in my house that needs a rug knit from strips of old clothes - unfortunately, nothing comes to mind. Maybe I will just have to make another denim quilt to satisfy my urge to reuse fabric in a useful way.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Seeing Indigo

Every once in awhile, I rediscover my favorite band of all time - The Indigo Girls. This time it was brought on by the title to a friend's blog entry. So I went and hunted down my actual cds and listened to them. It was fabulous. The Indigo Girls are so soul full and have actual substance to their songs. And nothing says cool like old school IG booming from a mini-van.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Coffee Solution

Since leaving the church, I have rediscovered (I had a two-week rebellion in France as a 13 year old where I had cafe au lait, which was included with our dinner, almost every night) the joy of a good cup o joe in the morning. William says, and I humbly agree, that I make the best cup of coffee she has ever had. In fact, she always tries to talk me into opening my own coffee shop.

William also told me about my mom giving her a taste of her coffee when she was young and how much she didn't like it. So when Audrey asked for some of my drink, which she does with everything I consume, I thought I could give her a spoonful and she would hate it and never ask for it again. Well that backfired - lil' Miss Audrey loved it and kept signing for more.

Obviously, she is far too little to drink coffee, so I have come up with a clever solution. I heat up some milk for her and stir in a spoonful of molasses. That makes it very close to the same color as my latte and Audrey is very happy with flavored milk.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Flossing milestone

This post is probably TMI in a major way - but I finally finished off my first whole container of floss in my life. This is not actually as bad as it sounds. Every year we each get a container of floss in our stockings and so we have quite a few that are started in some way or another. Plus floss is one of those things that you end up buying every time you buy a toothbrush or paste, just to be sure you have some (which I recently realized I have a whole box full).

Until I started FLYlady I was a sporadic flosser at best. Since FLYlady, I have been flossing 2-3 times a week. When William came to visit however, that all changed (she has braces and is a fanatic about dental hygiene these days) - I have been a daily flosser since. She mentioned that she goes through floss rather quickly and I mentioned that I have never gone through floss at all. So here I am proving that I have seen the flossing light!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Project - car in garage

We have a very small one car garage, which until now we have used as storage space. Well this week that changed. I was watching an Oprah on Monday about a family who had Peter Walsh - an organizing guru come and help them get their crazy house in order.

The first thing they tackled was the family's two car garage that didn't have room for any cars. He pointed out that the family's most expensive possessions were their cars and they were storing them outside in the elements while storing a few hundred dollars worth of miscellaneous stuff in their garage. When he said that - I realized how utterly silly it is for me to do the same.

So, today while Audrey was asleep I emptied our garage of all its junk and put the mini-van in it. It is a very snug fit. So snug in fact, that I can not get the sliding door open because of the garbage can. Needless to say, I need to keep decluttering in there so that I can rearrange. (I think I am going to put the food storage stuff in the laundry room and then I should be able to fit all of our painting stuff on the shelf and move the garbage can to where the painting stuff is.)

So my project this week of getting the car in the garage is nearly complete. However, my project for next week of finding a new home for all our stuff is just begun.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Crafty Adventures

I finally gave William the demin quilt that I have been working on for what seems like forever. Luckily she loves it. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before she took it home, so nothing to post by way of picture. Hopefully William will take a picture of it and send it to me and then I can post one for all to enjoy.

Thanks for the pic William!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

One can dream

I found an intriguing advertisement in the real estate section of the WSJ for a private restored Tuscan estate called Castello di Casole. Now of course, I still really love my Mexican casa idea, but there is something so romantic about a Tuscan Villa that just can't be beat. I may have to put Under the Tuscan Sun on my netflicks list again.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Anne of Green Gables

I borrowed some of the Anne of Green Gables series from my MIL under the auspices of reading them aloud to Audrey. At first I did just that. But truth be told, Audrey is a bit young to listen to a story being read to her without pictures or the like, so she got bored of listening and played while I still read aloud to her. Then I just got into the story too much myself and I just kept reading without her. So I just finished reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time in its entirety. (Prior to this I read an abridged version once.) The real thing was absolutely delightful! I can't wait to read the rest of the series. And I really want to visit Prince Edward Island - which sounds so magical.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bikram Yoga

William has been raving about Bikram or Hot yoga for a couple of months now. She is completely addicted and goes several times a week. When I first heard about it, I thought she was crazy. It is 90 minutes of yoga in a 105 degree room. Somehow, I gradually found myself wanting to try it too. Yesterday I finally got my chance.

The room was shockingly hot - I guess I didn't realize what 105 felt like. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised when an older fellow, our teacher, walked in to start the class in a speedo - but I was. William had warned me to keep myself hydrated so I brought in a big bottle of cold water - which was luke warm half-way through class and down-right hot by the end.

I was pleasantly surprised that I made it through the whole class. When I walked out of the room my whole body felt like jello. But about an hour later, I felt energetic and good in a way I have never felt before and it lasted about half the day. Coincidentally I think it took about that long for my face to return to a normal (non-red) shade. So even though I am good and sore today, I am going to try to do it every weekend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Recently someone asked me what I was reading and I was a little embarrassed to tell them I had read three Harry Potter books back to back and was planning to keep going. The truth is my daily reading is almost exclusively the Wall Street Journal. I read at least four or five articles a day and often more over the weekend section - which is my favorite. I rarely read anything that has "hedgefund" or similarly boring stuff in the title. I always read their wine and cocktails articles - because I don't know much about that stuff and would like to learn. I generally read their real estate articles and especially the column talking about who is selling and buying what for how much - v. interesting. I usually read their product review sections - I found the section on affordable suiting very useful as was their review of shaving mirrors. So you could safely say that I am a soft reader of the WSJ - with one exception - I always read articles about companies that my investment club owns or is thinking about buying.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Ocasionally I get a bit nostalgic for our old 68 VW poptop camper van - Frufru. I can think of a number of times where we got stranded when Frufru broke down, but I can think of even more times when we had great fun at campouts, road trips, etc. in Frufru.

So it is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I regularly look at VW vans on ebay and dream of owning one again someday.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Harry Potter

Last month, I found out that HP 7 is finally going to come out in July. I am definitely not a fanatic, but I do like Harry Potter quite a bit. I remember when HP 6 came out I hadn't read the first 5 books for several years and I felt like I was forgetting so much history and depth to the characters. So this time I decided I was going to reread all 6 books before I read HP 7. I figured if I read one a month I would be done just in time to get book 7.

I am happy to report that I finished the first two books already and I am really enjoying this. Harry Potter books are just fun and have a way of making you feel like you are in on some secret world - just hiding among the muggles like the other great witches and wizards.

If anyone else would like to join me, it isn't too late...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Project - blinds

This week my project is to put up the valances for the last 4 windows in our house where the valances didn't fit. Sadly this project has been in the works since we bought our house and put up all the blinds in the first place nearly 1 1/2 years ago.

Steps to do:
-Measure the 4 windows
-cut the valances to size
-install the valances

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Project - basement door

It is funny how sometimes I can just procrastinate something for no real reason at all. Lately, I have been trying to get to the small and big things that I procrastinate finished one project per week. So this week I put up a paper shade over the window to the basement door. This project took me literally all of 5 minutes - and yet, I have had the supplies to do it for months just sitting in the garage. At least it is done now.

As a side note, I must give credit to Mary Merna for letting me in on the one project a week idea. She found a blog where the lady does that and posts her progress.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Milanya the mini-van

I have been trying to figure out a good name for my beloved car for quite some time. The other day, it just hit me - Milanya the mini-van. I am so happy to finally have a good name.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sleep Solution

I have felt generally sleep deprived for a while, but recently (two days ago) I decided to take a stand. I decided that for one week, I was going to head up to my bed at 9:00 with the goal of being in bed by 9:30. So far I am already feeling much better.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gilby Baby Blues

Ryan and I went to a Wizards game today for his 30th bday. It was one of the worst games I have ever seen. The Wizards played like they didn't care and/or had a collective hang-over.

Gilby Baby said he was going to score 50 points this game - he scored 9. He couldn't hit a three point shot to save his life.

I am still a huge Gilby Baby fan, but he really has to just stop buying into his own hype. He is fantastic, but it would be nice if he let his playing do the talking.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Recently I realized that I live in a silent house. We don't have any radio or anything except my ipod and computer. So I went down to the basement and got Ryan's old stereo with a cd player and speakers and brought them upstairs and hooked them up and viola... the stereo only plays AM radio. So today I am going to try to add on an FM antenna and then I am going old school and getting some of my cds out and I am going to listen to music again - yay!

Speaking of going old school - the salvation army near my house has a huge selection of albums (vinyl records) for $1 each. Most of them are pretty random, but the other day I found some of my all time favorite and I just couldn't resist. I came home with the Footloose and Flashdance soundtracks. I am so excited about these albums. There is just one hitch - I don't have a record player... Oh well, I can still work on my record collection sans record player.

I also recently realized that I don't really like most kids music. Poor Audrey - the music that I consider to be kids music "for both of us" is the classical stuff. I went online and found a good list of kids music for adults who don't really like kids music and I added it to Audrey's wish list. I may end up purchasing some of it myself just so we can have some good stuff to enjoy together.

And since this post is becoming a hodge podge, I will also share a little known fact - my favorite musical genre is R&B. Audrey and I listen to R&B almost exclusively on the radio in the car. I think I must have been black in a former life.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hanging Pictures

For some reason the hammer and nail bug bit me today and I walked around our house hanging up pictures every where I could. Surprisingly we had a lot of framed things - posters, art, pictures, etc., that were just stacked up in corners here and there. I was waiting to find the perfect thing to put in every room and so most of the rooms in my house had bare walls. Well today I just decided something was better than nothing. The difference is amazing. Our living room is still basically bare, but the basement, and the master bedroom look tremendously better.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I guess I have been feeling like I wanted something new with my hair lately, so when I went to get a trim a couple of weeks ago, I came out with blondish orange highlights - not a good look for me. I went back the next day and they turned the highlights a cherry cola color - and now I love them.

So yesterday I decided to get some hot rollers and try to do my hair with a bit of curl in it - I am hoping it looks as good as I imagined it would.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I think chili is a great way to use leftovers so that they are actually delicious. Yesterday I made what was perhaps my finest chili ever, and used up all kinds of leftovers in the process. Here are the leftovers (from the freezer) that I used:
-ground turkey
-ground beef
-marbled steak
-tomato paste
-tomato sauce

Monday, January 29, 2007

Frugal Food endeavors

Last year I started off doing great with the $50/week for food, but then I got quite, how shall we say, flexible, as to what constituted a week. So this year I am trying something new. I am taking out a whole months worth of cash for food ($200) and for non-food items (diapers, shampoo, etc.) ($50) on the first of each month. Then when it is out, I won't spend anything else on food until the next month.

It worked pretty well for January. That is until Ryan and I went to Costco on Sunday with only $11 cash for the rest of the months groceries. I figured this would be just enough for the basics (milk, bananas and bread) and then we wouldn't be tempted to get any extras. I was right, it was enough for the basics, but Ryan talked me into getting one the foods they were sampling, and since we were going to have to write a check anyway...

Monday, January 22, 2007


We went to Ikea over the weekend - which is always a crazy idea - that place is a zoo. But we braved it and bought an entertainment center with glass doors that lock so that lil' Miss Audrey can't open the DVD player at will. So we now have our coffee table back and I am very pleased to have a place to rest my dogs again. :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yogurt part deux

I love my yogurt maker. My first batch didn't turn out at all - I tried not heating the milk first (the manual says that should work as long as you are using pasteurized milk). The second batch was delicious, but a little thinner than the store bought kinds we are used to. The third batch I added a bit of powdered milk to thicken it up and it turned out perfect. It is so creamy and smooth. I just add a little brown sugar and it is like I am having a brown cow maple yogurt - yum.

I am actually surprised by how easy it is to make. Seriously, you heat the milk to 180, let it cool to 115, add the starter (other yogurt) and any other fixings (powdered milk, fruit, whatever), pour it into the cute little jars and leave it alone for six hours. The hardest part is not disturbing it for six hours. This is a new staple for us - I feel so frugal just thinking about it.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I have wanted a yogurt maker for a long time. I really love yogurt, but I don't really like how sweet or how tart most brands are. The one exception is Brown Cow yogurt. There is nothing better than a little container of Brown Cow Maple whole milk yogurt - seriously a little slice of heaven. But since Brown Cow is expensive and hard to find it is a rare indulgence. I knew there had to be a better way.

As a family (of 3) we spend around $10/week on yogurt (Audrey's Yobaby is $3 for 6, Ryan's Yoplait is $4 for 8 and my Danactive is $2 for 4) and since I try to spend only $50/week total on groceries, this is a significant chunk of our grocery bill. I am so excited to save so much money. The major expense for yogurt is the milk. I figure it takes just under 1/2 gallon to make a batch of 7 6 oz containers and I will probably need to make yogurt twice a week. So I am basically adding one gallon of milk to our grocery budget - which is about $2.50 at Costco. I am feeling so frugal just thinking about it!!

After some research, I decided to order a yogurt maker with my Christmas money. My mom suggested getting one that uses glass jars and I took her advice. I just got the package today and I can hardly wait to make it tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

VA Holidays in review

It seems that it has been a crazy few weeks since I last updated my blog. We had Christmas first in VA - it was lovely. Audrey is at a really fun age for Christmas. Here is a list of the fun things we did:
1. Went to the National Yule Log/Christmas Tree/Menorrah display in front of the White house. After looking at all this stuff, we had a mini car picnic with hot cocoa, cookies, veggies, and fruit. Then we all headed to the Temple to see the lights. Audrey was out like a light at this point, so we just drove through this year.
2. Stayed over Christmas eve at the in-laws. We had our big dinner and program after visiting the old folks home and passing out candy, while my FIL played the piano (which he does at this home every other Sunday evening and they absolutely love him). Then we watched Muppets Christmas Carol (which is the best rendition around).
3. Opened presents Christmas morning with the family. It was fun to watch Audrey's reactions to everything.
4. Ate Christmas brunch at Westfields Marriot. This is one of my favorite traditions that the in-laws have introduced me to. It is always delicious.
5. Christmas evening when we got to our own home, we opened presents that had been sent to us and that we had for each other. I think we should do this the following day next year because we were all pretty tired at that point.
6. We had a girls night out activity (a broadway play at the Kennedy center) and a boys night out activity (hockey game tickets) a few days later.