My online journal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh Christmas cookies Oh Christmas cookies, how yummy in my tummy

Quick note while my Yogi Bedtime tea is brewing. This tea, btw, is THE MOST AWESOME TEA EVER. Aunt Jan used to have it and the flavor really is something fabulous. I am going to take my tea and some Christmas Chex Mix up to bed and I am going to read a bit of the last Twilight book before retiring for the evening. And because I REALLY want to drink my tea in bed, I am bringing up with me my floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, cup, pitcher of water (would that be a "ewer"? I really want it to be), and something to spit in. I have grown tired of having no running water on the level where I sleep, so how does that saying go -- if the mountain won't come to Mohammed then Mohammed must go to the mountain? I'm not sure whether I'm the mountain or Mohammed in that analogy; all I know is, tonight I'm eating bedtime snack IN BED. And then NOT GETTING OUT OF IT.

Cute Eddie story I already Facebooked but still must share:

I'm standing, looking at a random piece of paper that mentions "Beauty and the Beast" -- no pictures, just the typed words. Ed can't even SEE it from his angle. Then out of nowhere Eddie sings: "Beauty and the beast..." Me: Why did you sing that? Ed: "I heard it in my heart."

So weird.

Both kids are crazy-excited about Christmas. Lucy has, since the start of school, learned this school-age-kid THING where she hears something she likes and starts jumping up and down and screaming. This is SO something she has learned from other kids -- I can totally picture groups of little kids doing it. She does it any time we talk about Christmas coming soon.

Ed is quick to remind us that "It's not Christmas YET!" which is so Roman Catholic of him -- I totally remember singing "O Come O Come Emmanuel" right up into Christmas Eve and then only getting to sing "Silent Night," "Angels We Have Heard On High," etc AFTER the birth. Mom always got really annoyed by that, for one because "O Come Emmanuel" is little more than a dirge, and B. it's a total waste of all the gorgeous Christmas songs out there. I completely agree with her.

My cards are written, stuffed, and addressed (just awaiting stamps, which are awaiting purchase following Friday's payday). No letter this year -- I might write a little ditty on here closer to Christmas. Most of my presents are bought (though I totally dropped the ball on ECFE and dance-teacher gifts, and I only have a couple more days to work on Lucy's teacher-gift. I'm new at this!!). Lucy's class is making faux-gingerbread houses on Friday, with which I'm excited to help. Joel and I are taking the kids to a Santa breakfast up at the rec center on Saturday, and Joel's family is doing a pre-Christmas Christmas party on Sunday... and then Christmas break is underway! Lucy actually has school Mon and Tues next week, but all other activities are on hold until the new year. It will be nice... but what the heck are we going to DO for 2 weeks!?!?

OK my tea is ready. Good night!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Radio love

Joel just spent about an hour installing our (my) new under-cabinet radio. (Our old one has been slowly giving up the ghost for the past year or so... the volume would cut in and out... then it wouldn't play CDs... it started roaring during All Things Considered... next, the clock broke... it forgot its preset stations... then the static became unbearable. It was a very long and painful death.)

The new one plays no CDs which is OK since I am mostly switched to iPod. On that note, anybody know the best way to back up iTunes? A couple of my favorite RMHS alumni have recently lost all their iTunes and I'd like to avoid that.

So Joel drilled and twisted and knocked and screwed and now I have a functioning soundmaker to cook and blog to. And believe me, I NEED noise to cook to -- I recently wrote a love letter to NPR extolling how I do not care to cook unless NPR is on in the background. Since Joel and the kids care very much to eat, a radio was required.

Anyway, when I plugged in the iPod, the very first song it played was the song Joel and I used for our first dance at our wedding, Lyle Lovett's "She's No Lady." All together now: awwwwww!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I think I need to get on Twitter.

1. What is it about a dumped cup of milk that makes little kids just sit and stare at it, making no noise or movement that would indicate they cared whatsoever that their laps, the table, the chair and floor are FULL OF MILK???

2. I'm trying to upload pics to Shutterfly -- I think I always used Snapfish in the past but I'm switching -- does it really take 2 hours to upload 200 pics?

3. Here's Eddie's lunch order, every day, for the last three months: "Cinnamon on bread wiff no crust and no top and peanut butter on the side and honey on the peanut butter."

Translation: Cut the crust off a piece of toast, sprinkle it with cinnamon, put a glob of PB on the plate and squirt a bit of honey on the PB. ("No top" simply means "open-faced") Eddie says his phrase superfast, with a nice dramatic, sing-songy ritard for the last 4 words. It's adorable.

Advent wreath

I'd decided I wanted to do some more spiritually-based Christmas traditions this year with the kiddos, so I went out looking for Advent wreaths and calendars to try to get a start.

Well, it turns out an Advent wreath can take many forms besides the three-purple-candles-and-a-pink-one I'd remembered from St. Colette. I was going to try to make one out of pine cones but couldn't locate the spool of florist-wire we used to make the bouquets for our wedding (imagine that: I couldn't find something I hadn't used in 9.5 years!)

Anyway, short story long, I didn't want to spend hours of assembly time, but I still liked the idea and decided to make it as simple as possible. And I found this website which not only explains the purpose of the tradition (mainly, just to visually count down the weeks until Christmas) but also gave a really neat way to celebrate it around our dinner table. It also incorporates readings from Isaiah, which I'd wanted to include but didn't think the kids would maintain interest in it through all 66 chapters (plus, have you READ Isaiah? The first half is exceptionally and graphically depressing). In my typical cheapskate way, I dug out one of our Christmas plates and the candles we'd used in the jack o'lanterns.

Anyway here goes: it's meant to be a jumping-off point for families/groups to "make it their own" but this is pretty much exactly what we're doing:

On the first Sunday in Advent

  • Light one purple candle (ours will be red and white, that's what we have)
  • Read Isaiah 60:2-3
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. We who have sat in darkness have seen a great light, the light of Jesus Christ, our salvation. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On the second Sunday in Advent

  • Light two candles
  • Read Mark 1:4
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the way. We who like sheep have gone astray have found the way to you through Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On the third Sunday in Advent

  • Light three candles
  • Read Isaiah 35:10
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who brings us great joy. We who have walked in the shadow of the valley of death have found life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On the fourth Sunday in Advent

  • Light 4 candles
  • Read Isaiah 9:6-7
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace. We who live in discord and strife have found peace in the promise of eternal life, through Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On Christmas Eve after sundown or on Christmas Day
(if you have a fifth white candle in the center)

  • Light all the purple candles and the white candle
  • Read Luke 1:68-79 and Luke 2:1-20
  • Pray something like this:

    We praise you, Lord God, because on this day, your Word became flesh in our Savior Jesus Christ, was born of a woman, and walked among us as a man. Help us to imitate your incarnation, by manifesting our faith in our conduct as well as in our speech. To you, O Lord, we give our honor, praise, worship, and love, in the most holy and precious name of the One who is born today; because He lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Killing the earth through dishes

Hey, who was with me on my earlier dishwashing-detergent discussion?
I've only owned a dishwasher for 23 months but I started using Electrasol (AKA "Finish") and then started trying the more earth-friendly brands. Unfortunately the earth-friendly detergents are LOUSY.

I had a couple people recommend Seventh Generation and I'm dreadfully sorry but it is no better than the rest. I've heard Method is great but I cannot justify the cost -- it's like six times as much! Two days back on the Finish train and I'm happy as a clam, with the cleanest dishes in town.

A nice quote from Mary Hunt, author of "Everyday Cheapskate"

"The wild accumulation of things creates an endless urge to have more.

For those searching for contentment in status symbols and stuff, enough is never enough. The "have-nots" want some; the "have-enoughs" want more; even the "have-too-muches" want more still.

...Having too many things dilutes quality of life and ... having it all is highly overrated."



I just pulled about 50 CDs out of the garage that I completely forgot I even had. (50 is all I could carry -- I bet there are 50+ still in there.) Some of it is junk, like the CD from Dennis & Sally's wedding... some of it is really good music I'd just forgotten about. The point being: it's been YEARS, maybe 3 years, and I didn't miss it. At all. Well, OK, I missed my Oasis CD and that's what I was doing out there. But seriously, I need to clear this kind of clutter out of my life.