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.