Wednesday, December 31, 2008
(This is the one I usually end up getting. Opera cake. Then I buy another 1 or 2 pastries to take home and eat later. Seriously.....heaven.)
Monday, December 29, 2008
I can't say that it wasn't completely and totally madening to see my husband lose weight at twice the rate I did when we both did weight loss competitions last year. But at the same time, I was super proud of him. He stuck to it and lost 22 lbs! He looked fantastic afterward--younger, slimmer, sexier. That's him pictured above (in my dreams). And it made it way easier for me to stick to my diet when he wasn't bringing home treats and eating ice cream 3x a day. And when he was willing to eat the diet versions of dinner that I prepared. So I am beyond thrilled to announce that Tiburon will be doing an official men's version of her "The Biggest Loser" competition. Same rules, but just for the fellas. We're not about to let you kick all our baby birthing, saddle-bag sporting, fat-lovin' booties, Guys. So you're just going to have to join your own competition. Anyway, if you're interested, go here and let Tib, the BLMC, know. And ladies, if there is a man in your life who has a bit too many handles-o-love for your taste, ever so gently nudge him over to this website so he can read all about it. Use your powers of persuasion.... There's money involved. And glory. And a hotter bod by the end. And that invariably leads to more sex. So it's pretty much a win-win. Surely that is enough to convince any man to diet for a few months. If sex, glory, and money aren't enough....your man might need electric shock therapy, not a weight loss competition.
If that doesn't work, try this...
So, may the best man win.....your OWN dang competition!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Oh wait. Sorry. They already have these. They're called ROBES.
Well, there must be an advantage to this fancy blanket with sleeves. Is it:
A) Regular robes don't come in THESE sweet colors (royal blue, burgandy, and aqua)
B) Automatic entry into the Vulcan fan club
C) Instantly letting everyone know that you are too cool to wear your robe frontwards.
D) No more 911 calls when you get hopelessly trapped inside your regular blanket. (Come on, you know this happens to you all the time.)
E) When the mother ship arrives from behind the comet to take you to your home planet, you'll already be dressed to go!
F) When you and your family wear matching Snuggies to the game, you'll hear nothing but, "Hey what a smart and stylish family!"
G) With a name like "Snuggie" you'll never run out of invitations to pull your family members' underwear up their buttcrack. ("Mommy, I want a Snuggie too!" "Hey, where's MY snuggie? "Dad, give me my Snuggie!")
H) You don't have to bother with stupid accessories like pockets or a sash to keep your Snuggie on. And your backside will always stay nice and cool when you walk around.
It seems like the advantages of a Snuggie are unlimited! So get yours today!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
So now, here it is, another year later. I've gone pretty well at not gaining back all the weight. I set a maximum weight allowance for myself so that any time I went over that, I had to diet. But as long as I stayed under that weight, I could eat what I wanted within reason. And it worked pretty well until about a month ago. Holiday season began and I stopped watching the scale. So now I'm up about 4 lbs above my maximum weight and it's time for me to get back in shape. Plus, I'd like, ideally, to lose about 10 lbs from where I am right now, 15 in my dreams. So I'm joining The Biggest Loser 6 on January 9th. Who is with me?
Click here for the details.
Friday, December 26, 2008
10. Being invited to a first tea party. Pink sugar water with marshmallows included.
9. Schnizel with noodles for Christmas Eve dinner. Delish!
8. Chocolate pie, chocolate in my stocking, and chocolate several times a day since.
7. Christmas carols. I just really love the spirit that Christmas carols put me in.
6. Christmas cards from friends and family. It's so fun to see how they've changed and grown.
5. Having my sweetie home for several days in a row.
4. Grandma Boppie hanging out all day with us from Christmas Eve to Christmas day.
3. Watching the kids open their big Santa presents.
2. Daphne's excitement about Christmas this year. When she came downstairs, I said, "Santa came last night!" and the first thing she said was, "Did he eat the cookies we left for him??!" She ran and looked and came back to tell me, "He really came!"
1. Knowledge of why we celebrate Christmas--the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ--being strongly testified to me through the spirit this Christmas.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I have this friend. Yeah, um, a girl I knew in high school. Her mom was the seminary teacher (scripture study for the young people at church). She lived in a state without a lot of Mormons, so seminary was always held at the teacher's or some other member's house rather than at church or at a seminary building on the school campus like it is in Utah. Seminary started at 6am. STARTED. Which meant that the kids who went had to get up at 5:30 or earlier just to get to seminary on time. When my mom, uh, I mean my friend's mom, taught seminary, she felt really sorry for the kids who had to get up super early, drive 15 or 20 minutes in the freezing, icy cold Michigan weather, just to talk about scriptures. So she sweetened the deal, quite literally, with hot chocolate and occasionally hot-from-the-oven coffee cake. A big pitcher of hot chocolate and a bunch of mugs would sit on the dining room table. The kids that arrived there on time got to help themselves to the treats and then cozy their pajama'ed selves down on the couch. Those who arrived later got to sit in the hard dining room chairs. Me? I mean, my friend? She just rolled out of bed and onto the back row of dining room chairs where she could sit and doze without being noticed. It was at this time in
p.s. If you want to leave a comment, I'll pass on your appreciation for this information. To her.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I have this thing on the side of my blog called Feedjit. If you dont' have one or haven't noticed it, take a quick look. It tells you where the last dozen or so people who came to your blog came from, both what country and what blog or website lead them to you. I love to take a peak on it whenever I blog, just to guess who might be reading me. Some I am pretty sure I know. Some cities I don't know anyone from, but they aren't that intriguing (Ladeeda, Utah; Wheretheheck, Virginia; Santa Somewhere, CA.) But every once in a while I look over there and someone has logged onto my blog from a foreign country. I've had England, Sweden, Japan, Afghanistan (yes, Afghanistan! He/she logged on to view my vegetable salsa recipe. Good choice!), Turkey, Brazil, and Australia. It makes me feel so special. And it also makes me wonder what on earth (other than really good vegetable salsa) would make someone from an exotic foreign country want to read my blog. Maybe they got there accidentally and left right away. Maybe they googled something I wrote about and google led them here. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm really an international spy and my co-agents come here for secret, coded messages. Don't you wish you knew the truth?
p.s. Seven, niner niner, lightbulb, charlie, tango, Amsterdam, five. Wink.
Monday, December 22, 2008
When we first got married, one of the things I was most excited about was picking out our very first Christmas tree. It seemed there was a Christmas tree lot on every corner, so we had plenty to choose from. It was early December when we first went searching. Cold, snowy, starlit, romantic--just like in the movies. I donned a vibrant scarf and knit beanie for the occasion.
The first lot we stopped at had trees starting at $45. FORTY FIVE DOLLARS! And those were the small ones! Beautiful firs, green and lush, but only about 5 feet high. We were poor newlyweds back then and $45 was about our entire Christmas shopping fund, so that would never work. We stopped at the next place. Their trees were hijacked from some oxygen deprived, north-facing mountainside, I am pretty sure. They weren't firs at all, but some kind of pea green scrawny pine. A branch here, a tuft of needless there. Pitiful. They looked like the kind of tree a Grinch would have. I'm not sure how much they cost because we turned around and left pretty fast. We stopped at the next place and found their trees were decent, but more expensive than the first place. Eventually we got too cold to keep searching and stopped off at the local Albertsons to get some hot chocolate mix. There in the parking lot they were selling Christmas trees. Actually, it wasn't even in the parking lot. It was on the sidewalk right up against the front windows. Big piles of them all crammed together. Nobles here, Douglases there, and on the end the beautiful Grand Firs. And they were all about half as expensive as the tree lots. It wasn't exactly the romantic tree-choosing episode I had envisioned. Instead, here I was climbing on top of piles of trees under the bright florescent lights of the Albertsons parking lot along with half a dozen other cheap-skate tree buyers. Like masses of ants digging for crumbs in a pile of grass clippings. Soon we found a winner. A 7 foot, $29 Noble Fir. Beautiful, full, green, fragrant--everything a Christmas tree should be. So it wasn't an ideal selection process....but it was an ideal tree.
We saved ourselves the trouble, in subsequent years, by heading straight to the Albertsons pile-o-trees. But then, two years ago, the pile mysteriously failed to appear. We went the rounds at other grocery, hardware stores, and independent lots, and just couldn't accept the size, quality, or prices we found. The season was growing later and we still had no tree. It was then that we first considered an artificial tree. And by "considered" I mean that Big Daddy's begging me as he had every year since we got married to please, for the love of all that was holy, just-give-up-my-romantic-notions-about-real-trees-and-get-a-fake-one finally worked. But it was already into the second week of December and we weren't sure just what, if anything, we'd find at the stores. And it killed me to think of spending hundreds of dollars on a plastic tree. But at this point, I didn't see many options.
Our first stop was Target. The Christmas tree section was picked pretty clean. Though a dozen sample trees stood lit and decorated, the shelves were quite bare. After a few minutes, we saw a display tree that we both really liked. Very real looking, a nice ashy green, not brazenly dark and waxy like some of the others. It had pine cones. It was scratchy like a real tree. You had to get right up close to tell that it wasn't real. It was pre-lit. And it was even on clearance. Marked down to $79 from the original $250! But we couldn't find one in a box on the shelf. We called over a salesperson and were told that they were all sold out. Our faces fell. And I don't know if the salesperson felt sorry for us or if they were just that eager to clear the Christmas section, but she told us we could take the sample tree if we wanted. Let me get this straight. We can take the one that is already set up? No putting it together at home, filling out the smooshed branches, figuring out how to get the light strings together? Um, Sold! Next we found two of the hugest Rubbermade bins you've ever seen to store the tree in (of course the display tree's box was long gone), and lugged our beautiful, fake tree to the front of the store. There we were met with another surprise--because ours was he display tree, it was half off. So, our expensive, real-looking, prelit fake tree ended up costing us $42.59 including tax. Now to figure out how to get that tree home in the Mini Cooper.
In the end, Big Daddy drove home and swapped the Mini out for our SUV and came back to pick up me and the tree. We drove home with our artificial proudly strapped to our roof. At least I was proud. Were we posers? Maybe. But it was my last time to make that drive, with a Christmas tree strapped to my roof.
This is the third December since we got our fake tree, and I now take solace as I'm fluffing my fake tree's wire limbs in the fact that its needles don't litter my carpet all month, that my tree looks as lovely when I take it down in January as it did when I put it up in December, that the branches are all sturdy and hold up my ornaments without drooping, and that I'm not covered in sap from putting it up and taking it down. But deep down inside, I still long for the good old days of starlit nights, snowy drives, and a grocery store sidewalk piled with fresh Christmas trees.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
So I need some serious reader participation on this one. I'd like to think of Christmas Eve traditions we can do with our kids. Daphne is just old enough to begin to understand what Christmas is about, and to anticipate it a little bit. So I think I want to start creating family traditions that she can look forward to every year and that our other kid(s) will enjoy as they grow older. We already have the tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve. I plan on us making sugar cookies and decorating them on Christmas Eve Day to leave out for Santa. And maybe doing something with the nativity scene, but they're too young to really act out anything yet so I don't what we'll do. So far people have also suggested getting new jammies every Christmas Eve. But I'd like something really big, or meaningful, or unique to do to make Christmas Eve a special day. So does anyone else have any fun ideas on what we can do for really little kids to create a fun Christmas Eve tradition? Thanks!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
(Click to enlarge if you can't read the shirts)
Friday, December 19, 2008
1) People have really poor taste in soap. Unrefined. Boring. Blah. 2)I really just like to make the soaps. I don't even like to use them. It's making them that's the fun part. So maybe that's why no one else buys my soaps but tons of people show up when I do a soap making party. Everyone likes the creative process, but not the actual soaps. 3) It's totally not economical to sell soaps that you make individually, one at a time. In batches, probably. but that's not how I do it. I like to try new things and make maybe 2 or 3 of the same thing at a time, tops. So it's never going to pay off to make soaps that way and sell them for $4 each. I spend hours and hours and hours making soaps and only end up with perhaps a dozen. It works out to about $.34/hr. Not exactly a working wage. My husband will be ecstatic upon reading this. He's been trying to convince me that I've been wasting my time since last year when I first tried selling my soaps at a farmers market (and sold exactly ZERO of them. I blamed the 40 degree weather and cold drizzle. But those may have been red herrings after all). So from now on, I am restricting my soap-making to for-fun only. Well, that and for gifts. I still intend to pass out my creations for every holiday on the calendar. You should start receiving your Hanukkah soaps soon.
Oh, and this is my latest creation. The Ocean Bar, scented like the Mediterranean sea. Salty and sweet. Price:
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
First, the Christmas tree light foot switch. I have always HATED, with a serious, burning passion, climbing under the tree or under the table or behind the furniture or over the radiator to reach the Christmas tree light socket, twice a day, every day from December 1st to January first in order to turn the Christmas tree lights on and off. Especially when we had a real tree. Sap on my back, needles in my eyes, hair wrapped around the tree bark....awful. So a few years ago I remembered seeing one of these gadgets at my sister's house. They are GENIUS. You only have to crawl under the tree to plug in the master switch once. All the Christmas tree lights plug into this master switch. And then a small, unabtrusive little tap switch comes out to the edge of the tree. I even keep mine under the tree skirt. It's illluminated so I can see where to tap my foot on it even under the tree skirt. Then when it's time to turn on or off the tree lights, no getting on my hands and knees. I just tap it with my foot and, voila! Let there be light!!
I tried really really hard to avoid the Christmas wrapping section of Costco for weeks. I knew if I set foot there, I was going to come out of that aisle $50 poorer. But eventually its siren song was too strong for me to resist. And, sure enough, I spent a pretty penny on new wrapping items. But as it turns out, these gems are both time savers, really good quality, and are certainly worth the price.
1) Scotch Pop-up Tape Dispenser. AWESOME. By far the most annoying part of wrapping presents is constantly having to stop and rip off pieces of tape. You lose your hold on the wrapping paper, the pieces bend over onto themselves, etc. But this nifty little dispenser sits on your wrist or back of your hand and easily dispenses perfect pieces of tape w/o you letting go with your other hand.
2) Thick, premium wrapping paper. Most kid packages these days are not perfect little squares or rectangles. They have exposed parts for you touch and poke and press and try out the toy. Or they they have those awful soft-plastic areas. so when you wrap them with cheap wrapping paper, they invariably break through long before Christmas. One false move and the child has ruined their whole surprise, weeks too soon. But Costco's premium paper is stiff and thick like butcher paper. It can stand up and walk, it's so thick. The kids won't be ripping through this stuff without a bowie knife, which hopefully you're not giving your kids for Christmas. Cause if you are, next year's presents are SCREWED. (And surprisingly, it's easier to wrap with because it stays in place when you fold it.) Available in sets of four, in various color schemes, or one big giant roll for $9.99.
3) Bows. Nice looking bows. Not the ones that come out of the bag looking like they had been stomped on by all of Santa's reindeer. I like bows that have a definite shape, are sparkley, shiney, and beautiful. And the Costco ones don't disappoint.
4) Premium, hand-made gift tags. I know the stick on rectangles are like a two-dollar whore-- cheap and easy-- but the ones made by six year old Malaysian kids are so much cuter! And more spacious--you can write the recipient's name SUPER LARGE if you want. And that just does it for me. I know, this one was a real splurge. But seeing these gorgeous tags on my packages makes me so much Christmahappier!
Ok, that does it for this edition of My Favorite Things. And remember, it's not too late to spend YOUR hard earned Christmas shopping money on tags and bows, too!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I'm all for spending time with my kids. As long as it doesn't bore me to tears. Our time together can't require hours of putting tons of little pieces together for only a couple of minutes of play, or taking off and putting back on again tiny shoes and accessories on little tiny dolls. Putting on tons of my-own-children sized shoes and taking them off again all day is plenty for me, thanks. It can't require collecting, and then--just at the glorious moment that the game is ending--dumping out again, little buckets of cherries. And I really really prefer that it doesn't require watching any hispanic cartoon characters. I'm so over them. So recently I found a charming little website that both my kids and I love to explore. It's European. Most of it is made to work without language (although there are a few sections where letters, numbers, or speaking are involved and you can choose your language). We could spend all day on it and never hit the same activities twice. And most of them are really educational as well as being charming and fun. Check it out. It's called www.poissonrouge.com (which is French for "really cute European website that is SO much cooler than any of your stupid American sites." And they're right).
Monday, December 15, 2008
It is with great chagrin that I realize how many things I do as a parent that I SWORE I'd never do. It's so disappointing to realize that all the parents you looked down on before you had kids you now realize actually had sane, rational reasons for doing what they did with their kids while you stood back and passed judgement (or at least made plans for how much better a parent YOU would be).
One of the things I SWORE I'd never do is raise my kids on kid food. I did not want a bunch of picky eaters on my hands who would only eat five foods: tacos, pizza, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese. And guess what? My kids don't eat those five foods. They only eat four of them! Tacos are way too exotic; they just put up their noses at the site of corn tortillas with several DIFFERENT ingredients on them.
How did this happen? How did my well-laid plans of spinach- and seafood- and casserole-loving kids go awry?
I blame it on Gerber. When your first toddler starts eating solids, Gerber commercials suddenly seem to be on all the time. And they advertise all these cute, tiny, little pre-packaged foods that are easy to open, easy to shovel in, and easy to not choke on. And the time factor of solid food, you quickly realize, is crucial. Because your very young toddler will only wait 9.6 seconds from the time she realizes she's hungry until she is screaming bloody murder. So you get suckered into the concept of speedy, pre-prepared meals at your finger tips. Then as your child grows, you continue to seek out these easy, quick foods like frozen chicken nuggets, frozen mini pizzas, frozen taquitos, and the EZ Mac that takes an eternal THREE MINUTES to cook. And soon your first baby is 3 and 1/2 years old and you realize she won't even glance at a nice steak, a beautiful meatloaf, chicken enchiladas from heaven, or your favorite pasta carbonera. She regards vegetables (even cute little square ones like frozen carrots) as devil-food. Not devils food, which might be encouraging, but DEVIL food, as in from HELL.
So now I'm trying to undo the mess that I have made. I'm trying to catch my younger toddler, now 2 years old, while he'll still try some stir fry from my bowl or ask for a bite of my Indian food and tell him how delicious they are. Sometimes, to get him to try new foods, I tell him they are made out of sugar and candy or some kind of cake. Anything white and creamy is called "ice cream" for his benefit. And once we find a food he likes, like chicken or hot dogs, all meats then become some form these including turkey, steak, ham, pork, and oysters. Just kidding. I haven't fed him oysters. Yet.
And I'm trying all kinds of trickery, bribery, and clownery to get my older toddler to try bites of whatever's for dinner. At times I even resort to actual PARENTING to get her to eat these things (as in "Eat that because I'm the mom and I said so! And no dessert unless you do! And you might be grounded if you don't! I'll explain grounding later...just eat it!) And guess what....it's working. The real key, I think, is the starvation factor. The idea that if I don't give them McNuggets for dinner, they can't eat McNuggets; They have to actually eat what I cooked. Brilliant, isn't it? I know. I came up with that all on my own after months of pondering this issue. Daphne is a regular Gandhi. She can go for four or five days without eating if she believes what I have put in front of her might contain poison (i.e. nutrition). Beck is usually more flexible. Or more easily tricked. If he sees Daddy and Mommy eating it and making very loud "Mmmmmm!" sounds, he will usually get suckered in. But I'm determined from now on that there will be one shift at dinner, not two. One main dish, not a main dish for the grown ups with several frozen McSideDishes for the kids. I can picture it now--the whole family eating together... There will be REAL FOOD. There will be vegetables! And sauces! And things from the ocean! And maybe, if they're really lucky, there will be some actual FLAVOR in their meals too! But I'm getting ahead of myself now. Baby steps, Arianne. Baby steps.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Also there will be great family games, cool bags/makeup/clothes from State of Hype, jeans, scentsy stuff, home decor, vinyl lettering stuff....ummmm...what else? Here, check out the flyer. And come! Tuesday 12-3 and 6-9pm in Lehi. Last chance for my sweet soaps. Uh, Sweet Suds, that is. And if you don't come, I'm telling Santa. He's going to be VERY disappointed.
You know me. I always love a good blog quiz. And I especially like this one because it is quirky, nonsensical, and I actually had to think about the answers! Thanks, Andre.
1. Do you prefer to listen to Kenny G or Michael Bolton? If I HAD to choose one, Michael Bolton. But I'd probably rather have my ears shot off.
2. Would you prefer bad morning breath on you or your partner? Me. Unless it comes with bad morning taste. Then him. I'd just stay far away.
3. Would you rather be blind or deaf? I'd have to say deaf. I'm not very good at feeling my way around in the dark. I bash into stuff a lot.
4. Would you rather eat a chocolate covered ant or homemade whole wheat bread? The chocolate part is verytempting, but....I am going with the bread.
5. Would you rather step in a fresh pile of cow manure or a buzzing mound of fire ants? Do I have shoes on? Then the ants. No shoes? Um, still gotta go with the ants.
6. Would you rather be permanently illiterate or permanently unable to speak? Definitely unable to speak. My sweet typing skillz would make up for that.
7. Would you rather live without the Internet or TV? TV for sure. I'm almost to the point of wanting to live without TV right now. Sure, I'd miss it. But I couldn't live w/o my internet.
8. Would you rather be the best looking person in the world but also the dumbest, OR the smartest person in the world but also the ugliest? This is a tough one. I would have to go with the best looking but dumbest. Not because I'm vain. But because if I were the smartest person in the world, I'd be so keenly aware of my hideous personage that it would make me all the more depressed when people ran and screamed upon seeing me. At least if I was fabulously beautiful and dumb, I could please others from a distance. And I'd be too stupid to know I was super stupid.
9. Would you rather give up eating food with sugar or salt? SALT!!! What kind of insane question is that??? As if I'd give up sugar, mumble mumble CRAZY mumble in love with sugar mumble....
10. Ignoring all other factors except humidity, would you rather live somewhere dry like, let's say, uh, Utah, or somewhere humid like, um, Houston? I would probably go with humid. I kind of like the feeling of humidity. It does make my hair frizzy, but it makes my skin wonderfully clear. Besides, I breathe better in humidity. But if the place had a winter, I'd choose dry. Because humid and cold are a combination I gave up for good when I left Michigan, and I'm never going back.
11. Would you rather read other people's online quizzes or take them yourself? Take them myself, for sure. I do like to read other people's answers, but I enjoy the introspection of answering for myself most.
Well, that was an interesting quiz, Andre. Very different from any others I've done. Anyone else looking for a fun way to kill your Saturday? Then you're IT! (As in, tagged, no as in you're ultra cool and everyone wants to be you. Though you might be that too. I have no idea. If it is the case, please give me your address and phone number so you and I can hang out more. I could use a few more ultra cool friends to make me look good by association.)
Luckily, I performed a router-ectomy night and my husband completed the surgery with a fancy new router implant this morning. Now I am up and running at usual speeds. I don't have to sit on the wood floor with my back against the bookcase, directly underneath the modem with a short ethernet cord attached directly to my computer anymore.
If it seems I've been missing lately--not reading your blogs, blogging (oh, how you've missed it, I know), not responding to emails, etc., just know that it isn't because I don't love you. Or blogging. Or spending every possible moment online. I just needed a new arm.