Saturday, August 31, 2013

Alicia and Carolyn sell at the swap meet

Alicia got the great idea to sell her crafts at the local swap meet.  She brainstormed about what items with a "southwest flair" she could create in addition to her online best-sellers.  Then she asked Carolyn to sell her pot pourre sachets along with her and split the space rent.

They sold quite a few things and in addition got a feel for what people are looking for and the prices for the items that sold best.  They said they'll be back next Saturday!

Friday, August 30, 2013

I tried out a new pair of shoes today . . .

. . . and not the summer sandals I so deperately need!  Here they are:

Pretty awesome, right?

Okay, okay, there is something special about these shoes.  Here is the bottom of one:
Today was my first tap dance lesson.  I've wanted to try it most of my life and I finally did it.  I'll be doing a routine like this any time now . . . .

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Singin' in the rain!

Monsoon season is bringing us rain!  I think this year has brought at least average rain, which is really needed in our area.  Here is Elizabeth living it up in the rain!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I teach a creative student!

One of my cutest students is a little girl named Anglina.  She loves to draw pictures for me as well as doing other kinds of art.  One night she showed me some of the things she'd made recently and I promised I'd put pictures of them on my blog.
Isn't she cute?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Today I was reading the Life as Mom blog and came across Jessica's suggestion to plan for after-school snacks.  I typically have three somethings waiting on the kitchen counter for the girls to eat when they get home, since I am working at that time.  That way they can help themselves right away and not have to wait for me.  Anyway, Jessica happened to post a picture of her children's snack and I realized I had everything needed to make it for the girls.
There was air-popped corn, dried apricots, and dried cranberries waiting for the girls when they got home and they ate all of it and told me it was a very good snack.  Score one for Mommy.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Look at the cute things Alicia is making!!

Alicia has one of those super-creative minds I know I'll never have.  She can crochet anything she can imagine.  Then she thinks up ways to sell them.  She is active on and now has her eye on the local swap meet where you can sell new as well as used things.

How do you think these will do here in the heart of the Southwest?

I see a coyote, a cactus with a Stetson, another coyote, a saguaro, and a final coyote.  In the second picture she is holding a chihuahua.  She made some flat crocheted creations with magnets that also include a road runner.  Love!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Clever marketing

I sent for a free sample of Finish dishwasher detergen packs and this is how it came inside the package.
The dark gray is closed-cell foam, and the rest is just CUTE!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Random Kevin picture

After that last one with the peeling . . . "something" . . . on his leg, I'm a little nervous.
This looks much nicer.  It's a chocolate tie, maybe for father's day or maybe it was for his birthday.  I'm going to assume the police badge is a toy, not that he took this picture while sitting at the police station.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to Mexico after a 5 month hiatus

The last time I went to Mexico to take Caroline to the orthodontist was March 29.  There were some problems and I didn't go back.  Then Bill and I had to send our passports away to get some travel visas, so we couldn't go to Mexico.

Our passports are now in hand, so I made Caroline an appointment for today at 4 pm so she wouldn't miss much school and also so we could see the orthodontist vs. a technician.  It's the first time we've gone so late in the day and I was surprised at how much was going on in the outdoors.
I picked up some old wax transfers last night from the sharing table at homemaking meeting.  Now I see I could have just bought some preprinted ones from this stand.  Just kidding.  I don't know what to do with "table scarves" anyway.  Or are those napkins?
It doesn't cost much to open a restaurant in this city.  Block out a parking space with your motorcycle, set up three chairs, roll your food stand out and you're in business!  His food handler's permit and business license are probably tucked under that basket.

So here is the follow-up on the linked post above.  When I made the appointment I told the receptionist I wanted to talk to the office manager and why. She said the manager would be in when we came for Caroline's appointment.  Part of what ticked me off was that I sent a letter to the office telling them why I was unhappy and what I wanted them to do about it. Crickets.  I sat down with the manager and in my skilled and practiced Spanish I told her what happened that day in March, showed her the original appointment card and my parking ticket, and had her read a new copy of the letter I'd written in early April.  Haha, just checking to see if you're really paying attention.  I'm not sure I could negotiate for a baby's lollipop in Spanish if my life depended on it.  Luckily the manager's English was very adequate and in the end she credited Caroline's account with the $100 I had asked for, along with offering a sincere apology.

I had suspected the line at the border would be challenging, and in fact Caroline and I each brought along a book to read in line.  This is what we were met with when we got there:

Those people you can see were talking to the Mexican guard, not standing in line.  The people in line were waaaaay up past where the line angles to the left.  Our total wait was about 7 minutes.

Such a good trip to the orthodontist.

A new reason to wear slippers or shoes in the house!

Last night Caroline knocked on our door.  "Dad?  There's a snake in the hall!"  Really???
You can click to read about the Night Snake and see where I found the picture above.  Thankfully, this snake is non-poisonous to humans and the one in our house was a small one, about 12".

Elizabeth had gotten up to use the bathroom and thought she saw a piece of yarn on the hall floor, then saw it moving!  She went back and told Caroline, who had the guts to run past the snake and tell us about it.  Dh threw a towel over it and tossed it outside. 

Thank goodness Bill was here.  I'm not exactly sure how I would have handled a snake in the house if he hadn't been here.  He handles ALL creepy crawly things at our house.  Oh, except for the errant mouse my mom killed with a broom. :-)

Brave Caroline. Brave Bill.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Breakfast before school

Breakfast is a pretty casual and help-yourself affair most school mornings.  I used to make a simple but nutritious breakfast every morning.

Then I began working early in the morning, extending until after they leave for school some days.
I usually set out what I want them to eat, along with whatever dishes and utensils they'll need.  Today was a choice of peanut butter toast (on Emily's delicious bread) or cold cereal, both with milk.  None of the three girls is a big eater first thing in the morning, so I'm glad when they'll eat a modest breakfast.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Need a good laugh?

I was searching on the Internet for information for an assignment the girls are working on.  Somehow I came across this article:
On November 12, 1970, a 45-foot (14 m) long, 8-short-ton (7,300 kg) sperm whale beached itself at Florence, Oregon, on the central Oregon Coast.[1][2] All Oregon beaches are under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department,[3] but in 1970, Oregon beaches were technically classified as state highways, so responsibility for disposing of the carcass fell upon the Oregon Highway Division (now known as the Oregon Department of Transportation, or ODOT).[4] After consulting with officials from the United States Navy, they decided that it would be best to remove the whale the same way as they would to remove a boulder. They thought burying the whale would be ineffective as it would soon be uncovered, and believed dynamite would disintegrate the whale into pieces small enough for scavengers to clear up.Thus, half a ton of dynamite was applied to the carcass. The engineer in charge of the operation, George Thornton, stated—on camera, in an interview with Portland newsman Paul Linnman—that he wasn't exactly sure how much dynamite would be needed. (Thornton later explained that he was chosen to remove the whale because the district engineer, Dale Allen, had gone hunting).[5][6]
Coincidentally, a military veteran from Springfield with explosives training, Walter Umenhofer, was at the scene scoping a potential manufacturing site for his employer.[1] Umenhofer later told The Springfield News reporter Ben Raymond Lode that he had warned Thornton that the amount of dynamite he was using was very wrong—when he first heard that 20 cases were being used he was in disbelief. He had known that 20 cases of dynamite was far too much dynamite to be used. Instead of 20 cases they needed 20 sticks of dynamite. Umenhofer said Thornton was not interested in the advice. In an odd coincidence, Umenhofer's brand-new Oldsmobile was flattened by a chunk of falling blubber after the blast. He told Lode he had just bought the Ninety-Eight Regency at Dunham Oldsmobile in Eugene, during the "Get a Whale of a Deal" promotion.[1]

The resulting explosion was caught on film by cameraman Doug Brazil for a story reported by news reporter Paul Linnman of KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon. In his voice-over, Linnman alliteratively joked that "land-lubber newsmen" became "land-blubber newsmen ... for the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds."[5] The explosion caused large pieces of blubber to land near buildings and in parking lots some distance away from the beach, one of which caused severe damage to Umenhoefer's parked car. Only some of the whale was disintegrated; most of it remained on the beach for the Oregon Highway Division workers to clear away. In his report, Linnman also noted that scavenger birds, whom it had been hoped would eat the remains of the carcass after the explosion, were all scared away by the noise.
Ending his story, Linnman noted that "It might be concluded that, should a whale ever be washed ashore in Lane County again, those in charge will not only remember what to do, they'll certainly remember what not to do." When 41 sperm whales beached nearby in 1979, state parks officials burned and buried them.[7]

Linnman's implication that the highway department had made a mistake was not subscribed to by Thornton, who later that day told Eugene Register-Guard reporter Larry Bacon that "It went just exactly right. ... Except the blast funneled a hole in the sand under the whale" (causing some of the whale chunks to be blown back toward the onlookers and their cars, he went on to say).[8]

Thornton was promoted to the Medford office several months after the incident, and served in that post until his retirement. When Linnman contacted him in the mid-1990s, the newsman said Thornton felt the operation had been an overall success and had been converted into a public-relations disaster by hostile media reports.[9]

Currently, Oregon State Parks Department policy is to bury whale carcasses where they land. If the sand is not deep enough, they are relocated to another beach.[10]

You can read the rest of the article here.

I'm sorry for the whale and all, but you have to admit this is a pretty funny story.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Whay are all these things on my desk??

I work from home and sit at my desk many hours a day.  Stuff collects!  But really, why did I have these things on my desk??

suncreen in a stick
2 spools of thread
package of bias binding
measuring tape
package from the dentist sith a toothbrush and toothpaste

Elizabeth left the sewing things there, but the rest collected over time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Random Kevin picture


Ugh and double ugh.  This canNOT be peeling skin, but I don't know what else it might be.  Some kind of Brazilian after-sun lotion that dries to protect the burned skin??  And what was Kevin doing to get so badly burned below his shorts?

September 2, 2013 update:  Kevin wrote a letter and said YES, that is his skin.  He and his companions played soccer waaaaay too long that day.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The trail into Sophias bedroom

Last night dh and I went out to a Church meeting.  When I went to go check on the sleeping girls, I found these notes taped to the wall going down the hall to her bedroom.
What on earth had happened while we were away?
Had someone been invading her space? (she is the only girl who doesn't share a bedroom)
I wondered if Sophia had had a very hard evening being the youngest child.
In the morning I asked Sophia how her evening had gone and she delightedly told me she had been pretending to be an ogre and had made lots of signs!  Whew.  I was relieved to hear that.  It means Bill and I can go out alone again soon.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A shout out for Costco

Tomorrow we're having a bbq dinner here at the house with local and visiting relatives, so I went shopping for a few food items we'll need.  I've heard Costco has very nice meat and decided to try their ground beef for the hamburgers.

I was looking at the 5-6 pound packages, trying to decide if I wanted the "patties" which are about 3/4 pound each, or the bulk package, both of which were $3.29/lb, when I noticed something.  See if you see it too.

Yep, that package is weighed at 0.21 pounds and priced at 69 cents.  I thought about leaving it there because I didn't want the hassle factor of dealing with a mispriced item, but I remembered reading on a blog somewhere that stores will usually honor obviously incorrect prices when it's clearly their error (not someone switching price tags or something dishonest like that).

I knew I'd have to point out the error to the cashier or I'd never feel good about the price, then be prepared to pay the right price.  And guess what?  Costco told me it was their mistake, so I got to buy all of this ground beef for the tiny sum of 69 cents!

We will think kindly of Costco tomorrow as we enjoy our hamburgers!

Linked to:
The Modest Mom Blog

Friday, August 16, 2013

What would you do?

Yesterday Caroline needed to go to the doctor but hers was out of town, so the office asked if I would mind her seeing the new associate.  I somewhat reluctantly said all right.
Okay, here's the problem:  I LOVED the new doctor and so did Caroline!  The two of them were truly hilarious with each other, although Caroline probably didn't realize it.  Later Caroline asked me if she could see the new doctor in the future instead of the old doctor.  I was wondering the same thing.

What should I do?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sophia's exciting letter

A month or two ago Sophia wrote a letter to President Obama.  I didn't see the letter before she sent it, but afterward she said she told him he should stop smoking.  LOL  I hoped that wouldn't get us put on a "watch list"!

Today Bill brought in the mail and showed me what Sophia received today.
She was delighted beyond belief!  In it was a "Dear Student" letter, two pamphlets with information about the White House, and an "autographed" picture of the president.  She was really pleased and her sisters were jealous.

Their program of sending letters back to children made a fan of my daughter.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Poor chickens!

It was 103F today and wearing feathers is not usually recommended this time of year, unless you're a chicken.  Excuse the water-spotted window.  The kids come in and out from the pool and it gets to be a mess.
This sweet chicken is Pumpkin.  She belongs to Elizabeth and she lays speckled medium-brown eggs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Kevin picture

Here we go!

I'm going to say the missionaries went out on their preparation day to play games like soccer in the park with some of the people they met.  It sure is green in this area!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Any excuse for a little art . . . .

Caroline loves to draw and uses any opportunity to do so.  The other day Bill told the girls they could each have one Nutty Bar bar, so Caroline made a sign just to make sure the girls knew what was theirs.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Another trip to the Phoenix area

No rest for me after driving to the Phoenix area yesterday.  My niece Carolyn needed a ride to one of the metro airports there this afternoon.  Due to church and work I couldn't take her in the afternoon, but told her I could take her hours early if she were willing to wait.  She was.

Here she is grabbing her things out of the car at the airport:

After dropping her off I headed back the 15 miles to the main freeway and as I was driving along I saw something on the other side of the freeway earthen berm and thought to myself, "That looks like an LDS temple."  But of course, I wasn't near the Mesa temple and the Mesa temple doesn't look anything like the thing I saw.  Oh.  Except there are TWO new LDS temples being built in the Phoenix area, including one in Gilbert, which I was passing.  You can't see it very well in this picture I snapped, but it is just above the berm in the middle of the picture.  Oh, and behind a light pole.  Next to Waldo.

This artist's conception picture miiiiight give you a better idea what it looks like.  The exterior seemed to be in place, so I assume they are working on the interior now.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A sort-of trip to the temple

Our ward has been sponsoring a trip to the LDS temple 2 hours away twice a year as long as we've been living here and we haven't missed one yet.  We provide our own transportation, but they provide babysitting near the temple, along with lunch after our temple session of worship.
In all this time Bill and I have never been asked to babysit, but today was finally our turn.  We were assigned to watch the children for the first half of the time the parents would be gone, then we would go to the temple and do some faster-than-normal things there due to the shortened time.

But!  There was a wreck on the way to the big city that didn't hold *us* up because we passed it only about 10 minutes after it happend and the freeway wasn't closed yet, but almost everyone else behind us got caught in the traffic jam as they rerouted traffic off the freeway and then back on.  And then the temple apparently was PACKED!  There were weddings!  There were guests!  There were photographers!  There were bridesmaids in their pretty, matching dresses!  There were more regular temple attendees than normal, even for an August Saturday because of some internal changes!  We decided to just stay at the babysitting place and skip the extreme hustle and bustle of the temple today!

Honestly, one reason I go to the temple is to feel the peace of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  I wanted to feel that today and I feared I wouldn't, or at least not to the extent I usually do.

So the picture is of the girls as we got ready to leave.  You can see how excited Elizabeth was to leave.  The girls really love this semi-annual activity and guess what?  Our ward juuuust changed it to a quarterly activity, so we'll be going at least four times a year from now on.  So happy about that!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Save money on cheese

Today I stopped by Costco because I needed some mozzarella cheese for our Friday night pizzas.  As usual, I bought the 5 lb bag of shredded.  I'm always vaguely uneasy about buying 5 pounds at a time because I'm pretty sure it's going to go bad before I can eat it all, but if I freeze the bag I have to remember to get it out of the freezer the night before I want to use it, or I have to make good use of an ice pick.

So I did something smarter:
As soon as I got home (no procrastinating!) I got out 9 new plastic bags and using the package as the 10th (for tonight's pizza), I divided the cheese into the bags, pushed the air out, and flattened them.  By flattening them, they will thaw faster when each pizza night comes, even if I forget to take the cheese out ahead of time.

I laid them out on a cookie sheet for quick and flat freezing and popped them into the chest freezer on the back porch.  No waste and fresh mozzarella every Friday night for a couple of months.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Random Kevin picture

Have you noticed I'm posting more Kevin pictures?  I haven't been taking my camera everywhere with me like I once did, and other times, like tonight when I wanted to take my camera with me to the food bank service project, I couldn't find it.  I'm pretty sure it had something to do with an eleven year old daughter.

So, compliments of my dear son, here is another picture and below it my comments.  No matter what.
Okay, this didn't turn out exactly as I hoped.  I went back to the disc and tried to turn the picture 90 degrees, but it wouldn't go.  Maybe this was a special panoramic picture?  While I was messing around with the first picture, I looked at the ones on either side of it.  Look at this terrific picture!  And to think I'm going to see that bay soon . . . .
Because I see a sitting backpack in the first picture, I'm going to say Kevin and his companion and perhaps some other missionaries or church members or other people they met in the area went for a pretty serious hike on their weekly day off.  What a payoff!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Madame Butterfly

Okay, don't laugh, but I've never known the story of Madame Butterfly.  One of my students and I were talking about Nagasaki, Japan this morning and this opera came up (it takes place in Nagasaki).

The first thing I did was go online to see what the story was about.  I read the synopsis first, and then the story was so interesting I read the blow-by-blow account on wikipedia.
Pinkerton was a jerk.  Butterfly was naive.  I don't really like tragedies because I always want a happy ending.  However, if I get a chance to see this opera, I will.

The source for the picture is the wikipedia article linked above.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Back to our schedule!

This summer was pretty free-form as far as schedules and plans went.  Now the girls are back in school our days have more structure.  Actually, that's a good thing.  I think some moms like the summer because they can sleep in later in the morning with the kids, but my job gets me up uber early year 'round, so summer is no advantage to me there.  Even though homework time can be a bit hair-raising around here, doesn't this look sweet?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Random Kevin picture

Whoo boy, I'm going to take a guess here.  How about the post office or consulate or wherever American guys living in Brazil have to go to get continued permission to "teach and preach and work as missionaries do"?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sophia's first birthday?

Sophia was wondering what it was like on her first birthday when she got to eat her birthday cupcake with her fingers and make a real mess.  Don't you wish you could remember being picked up and carried around or pushed in a stroller?  She decided to find out about the cake, so she made a cake for the family and a small one for herself and frosted them.

Funny, huh?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A little change to the front of our house

Okay, here is a confession:  I'm not very daring.  I don't like to rock the boat or do the unexpected because I think the "normal" thing is usually what I typically like best.

I've been thinking about painting my front door.  I know, I know, not too daring, but I've been thinking about a surprising color for it.  Lime green.  Soft mustard.  Something like that.  So when I saw a commercial on TV saying Ace Hardware was giving away a free quart of paint today, I decided to just do it.
The "before" wasn't bad at all, but I just wanted something more interesting.  In the end I couldn't get either the lime green or mustard because they both used a yellow base which wasn't included in the giveaway, but got this instead:
I know.  Orange.  Isn't that cool and funky?  Oh, and a 4-5 coat paint (grrr . . .).  I'm not sure if that's due to the paint I'm using or that it's a light color going over a dark one or that my brush is not a super-smooth one.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sophia's first day of school

No matter how you look at it, Sophia is an "upper classman" now. Her school is a K-5 school, so last year in 3rd grade it could have been argued that she was in the upper half of the school, but since most elementary schools are K-6, I really think 4th grade is the first upper grade.

All that aside . . . she wouldn't let us take her to the bus on the first day or even go along with her, so here she is ready to roll:
And she's off!

And I must say, I really thought this patio picture was cute too: