Saturday, September 21, 2013

The last daily blog post

I determined to post a picture every day in 2012, then when 2013 rolled around I realized Kevin looked at my blog every week to know what was going on at home (in addition to lots of emails, of course!) so I decided to keep going until his mission was done.

Technically he still has a couple of days, but I won't be here to update, so this is it for now.  Look for occasional updates here and there.

Below you can see what happens when airlines sell their meals for ridiculous prices.  I bring my own food!

Friday, September 20, 2013

I finally got smart about learning little tap routines in class

I'd keep thinking I'm going to practice the routines at home so I can improve faster, then I'd get home and not be able to remember exactly how they went. 

Today I took my camera to class and made a short video of the teacher dancing so I could remember what she did.  If you look at it you'll want to laugh that I couldn't remember such an easy thing, but she covers so much, it's hard to remember everything.  Plus almost everything is new to me so I don't have a frame of reference for new things. 

Here is the first video I ever uploaded to youtube:
Here is a little bit of footwork in a routine the instructor is teaching us:
The teacher is teriffic and I signed up for section II of the classes because I'm having a ball!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sharing the blog love . . . .

I found Iris's blog via a post on another blog a number of months ago.  She's a cute LDS French gal married to a cute LDS American guy living in France. 

She is a photographer and her blog is easy to read (in English AND French, if you are so inclined!) and focuses on organization, family, home, and great photographs.

You can take a look at today's post here, see her cute Parisian apartment here, and see some of her organizing ideas here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A quick email from Kevin . . .

. . . said we will stay with another of his friends in Brazil and to please bring another hostess gift.  So I pulled out my sewing machine and fabric and whipped up another pillow cover.  I corrected the mistakes I made on the first two and I'm really delighted with this one.

I used a darker color for one of the reds plus the small square in the middle and I like it.  Now I'm wishing I had used a more muted white and . . . and . . . and.  I know this will be gratefully accepted with the good wishes and gratitude I feel toward the families who have been so kind to Kevin.

Here are all three pillows:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Caroline brought a little friend home on her walk from the bus

Look at the cute little lizard she chased down and brought home:
And yes, it is now safely outdoors.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Evening treat

One of the girls told me she wanted to make chocolate fondue for dessert.  Ummm . . . why not?  We had enough interesting things to dip, along with all the ingredients for the chocolate dip.

We had big and little marshmallows, banana slices, dried apricots, and pretzel sticks.  The chocolate was a mixture of chocolate chips, sugar, and canned milk, all warmed in the microwave until smooth, then put over a tea light candle.

It was really good.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hostess gifts completed!

I have a busy first-of-the-week coming this week, then a few days of downtime (big holiday in Korea).  I was actually planning to make the pillows during those few days, but decided to just get going on them.

I did my favorite get-going mental game which was to do things in little steps.  Eating an elephant a bite at a time, you might say.  First I had to get down the box of fabric.  Then I had to look for a pattern.  Then I had to choose fabrics.  Then I had to just cut out the pieces, etc, etc. Everything I did was only one thing and then I could quit and do something else for awhile.  If I wanted to continue to the next step, that was fine too.  I do this all the time when I have a project I'd rather procrastinate doing.

However . . . I'm very happy with the outcome because they are d-o-n-e done!

They are 14" square and have an envelope opening in the back of the cover so they can be easily removed and washed.  In addition, I'm going to have Kevin write a note to each of his families inside on the back of the quilted part with a Sharpie.  That way they'll have a little special something from him, but it won't be open for just anyone to see.

If plans change and we don't give away both of the pillows I won't mind keeping one . . . . :-)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Making a couple of hostess gifts

When we go to Brazil we'll stay with a couple of Kevin's friends.  I want to bring gifts to the families and I know hostess gifts often reflect the native area of the giver.

I mentioned cactus jelly earlier, along with some quilting, and settled on the quilting.  Here is a hint of the pillow covers I'm making:
Red, white, and blue figure prominently as well, so you may guess I changed the colors from the directions I'm following.

Both quilt blocks are underway and I'll post more when I have more to show.

Oh, and Kevin requested I bring jars of peanut butter along.  I guess certain Brazilians appreciate ambrosia as much as my family does.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

D.C. Club

At my girls' school there is a 6th grade club that leads to a great trip.  In June they'll go to Washington D. C.!  For the entire school year before that, they learn all about our country's history and about the interesting things and places they'll see in Washington D. C.

At 5:34 pm I was informed there was a parent meeting at 6 o'clock tonight.  I guess I should get used to this kind of advance notice, right?

I thought there might be down time so I brought along my book club book--Cold Sassy Tree.  Didn't get a chance to even open the cover.  I used my cell phone to sign up for text messages from the parents' branch of the club.  I brought home a T-shirt order form for each girl.  (The T-shirts are very cool--the children's art is chosen and reproduced on each day's shirts and each kid gets a new one each day of the trip--makes it easy to keep track of the group of kids, plus they have a clean shirt on every day.)  The purple sheet had the agenda, full of interesting information for the parents.

It was a fast-paced and interesting meeting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Elizabeth's dark night

This is what Elizabeth uses to sleep.  Well, not the cat costume, but the eye shade.  Caroline likes to sleep with a tiny night light and Elizabeth likes darkness.  Nice compromise, I'd say.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Something new for me to wear

Don't laugh, but this is the first pair of dressy slacks I've owned in about six years.  My weight has fluctuated and I prefer skirts, so I just haven't had a pair of slacks.
Now I have something to wear on those "wear slacks to Church" Sundays, right? ;-)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Spaghetti sauce and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

Last month I read The Kitchen Counter Cooking School which was an eye-opening read for me.  I learned that you don't have to have mixes to make basic dinner foods.  You can use whole, fresh foods instead of packages to make almost anything.  I don't use tons of packaged foods, but I do use some.  I'm going to use fewer in the future.

Tonight I made spaghetti sauce sort-of from scratch.  I used canned tomatoes, but I did can them myself. 

1/2 lb hamburger cooked with
1/2 diced onion (the book tells how to do that easily and neatly)
1 minced garlic clove
1 quart diced tomatoes
1 pint tomato puree
Italian seasoning, all to taste

That "to taste" is kind of new to me.  You're supposed to actually get a spoon and taste the food and see if you like it.  If not, change it.  Sounds basic, but it doesn't come naturally to me.

Good spaghetti dinner tonight!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday: Spaghetti

Tuesday:  Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Wednesday:  Chicken Lo Mein

Thursday:   Chicken Nacho Bake


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bill's painting project

Bill's car had trim in two colors--silver and matte black.  He wanted to go to all matte black so he took things into his own hands.
That is the hard top to the convertible and you're looking at the back window.  The top of the picture has the part of the back window that rests near the trunk.  Next he painted the grille and a couple of other parts.

I really urged him not to spray paint his Mercedes, but he did anyway.  So far it looks really nice.  I told him to check back with me in a year about that.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Do you have a gate like mine?

Here in Arizona backyard fences are often constructed from concrete block, which is nice because it is very low-maintenance and looks good too.  We have only one gate in ours and it goes to the back alley. 

The old gate, which was here when we moved in, never worked right as it always dragged on the ground and was hard to open.  Impossible, for some of the girls at times.

Bill built a very nice new gate from scratch, one that glides just above the ground.  It is really a pleasure to use.  Painted gates are common in our neighborhood vs. stained wood, so he decided it need a couple coats of paint and he had to decide what color.

After the recent front door painting, we considered the same orange, but instead asked the girls what color they wanted the gate to be.  Why not?  It faces into our yard and we can repaint it any time we need to.  Pink!  Purple!  Blue! 

Bill went to the hardware store and returned looking like the cat that swallowed the canary.  He had THREE cans of paint.  Pink!  Purple!  Blue!  The blue went on the alley side of the gate and you can see the other results here:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Look what curly hair + humidity look like!

Elizabeth has really pretty, curly hair.  During the winter when it is crackling dry here, her hair sometimes borders on straight.  See how it looks during the summer rainy season!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

ANOTHER passport photo!

We got our visas and really, really thought we were done with passport photos, but NO!  In order to rent a car in Brazil, you have to show your International Driving License.  You can imagine that bit of news produced a little stab of fear in me, after the visa battle.

Luckily, it turns out getting the license is easy, not expensive, and the office is actually very close to the house.  However, part of the application is a set of passport photos which Bill has in abundance.  Except we couldn't find them.

Lucikly when I took my own pictures for my visa, I blogged about it and thus I just went back, followed the links and directions there and sent Bill's picture off, to Walgreen's this time, for printing.  I'll pick them up on my way to get the license.

I think this trip is going to happen!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How did I let this get away from me?

Haha, this month it's *my* book we're reading for the book club.  We all suggested a book almost a year ago and mine was the very last in the lineup.
I took the picture from so you can't really look inside.  I don't think so anyway. :-)

But!  The book club meeting was moved up a week and on Monday I remembered with a start that I had less than two days to get my book read!  So now I'm off to finish the remaining 2/3 of the book because I absolutely won't have time to finish it tomorrow.  Adios for now!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hostess gifts

When we travel later this month we're going to stay with friends of Kevin's in a couple of towns.  I want to bring them something that is kind of native to the United States and maybe to our area specifically. 

We live in the desert, so I've thought about bringing something like cactus jelly.
However, although I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find something like this, I'm thinking about making a pieced and quilted pillow cover for each family, and perhaps using a red-white-and-blue color theme as I did in this quilt I made last year:
That quilt is on my bed right now and I like it more with each passing day.  Anyway, I think the red-white-and-blueness of it is subtle enough to not shout UNITED STATES, yet is still American, don't you think?  I'm thinking I might make each cover the same as one of the five blocks with the small pieces, although I have to see what size pillow forms are to make it the right size.  Or I might use a different pattern.  I think I can buy the pillow forms here, then cram them into my luggage.  That will leave room when I come back for all the souvenirs, right?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The first thing I thought of this morning . . . .

. . . when I woke up was not that this is the month of my birthday, for which reason I always love September, but this is the month Kevin comes home!

In honor of that, I'm actually going to look at the pictures on his disc and choose one instead of throwing a virtual dart at the disc.
Funny boy.  I can clearly see he is in NO way touching that beautiful girl.