A month of posts

Final day...who is sick of this?

It was a fun experiment and I hope to post more often. But with google reader going away, will/do people really read blogs anymore?

I will keep at it because I enjoy it.

Without reader, what do people use? I would like to hear.


Sun Paper

Thanks to my sister for this cool stuff perfect for a summer's day.



Early morning hours are my most efficient hours.  I think this is the same for most people.  I am amazed at what I can get done between 7 and 10am.  After that, I am not as consistent and I certainly cannot say much for the hours between 8 and 10pm.  I'm a person who will leave the dinner dishes for the morning.  My mom didn't like to keep dishes in the sink overnight.  I've tried to keep that habit up because it seems more fresh, but I just can't do it.

And speaking of the evening, I just read in a sleep book (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child) that the hours between 6 and 9pm are hours that are very hard for adults to fall asleep during (barring the fact that they are over tired). And that's partially why television during that time is "prime time."  Adults will most always be awake during those times and are much more likely to watch TV.



These two make each other smile.


A Review: Free Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy

While reading this book I’ve had a great many conversations, all of which have been with superb parents who are doing things right.  Still, each parent had a different take on the book.  While some lean more toward a free range lifestyle for their kids, others are a bit less inclined to agree.

Lenore Skenazy preaches giving kids more of an opportunity to live like kids of the past, with more freedom to do things on their own while gaining the responsibility and independence kids seems to yearn for.  She also emphasizes the importance of teaching your kid what to be aware of while not being over the top.  For example (one of my favorite take-aways), don’t teach your children NOT TO TALK to strangers, instead, teach your children NOT TO GO OFF with strangers.  I found myself loving some chapters and wanting more thorough research in others (i.e., why has the crime rate been going down since the 90s? She mentions more law enforcement, better prosecution of criminals, cell phones, and medical and social work system.  But what about parents being more watchful of their kids?  Shouldn’t that hold some water in this argument?) 

If you read this book, you will be laughing.  I did, especially during Chapter 4: Boycott Baby Knee Pads.  I read about kid gadgets that couldn’t get more ridiculous.  And then there was Chapter 2: Turn Off the News.  This I have actually done.  My psyche can’t take all of it.  I dwell on the bad long after I’ve viewed it.  And that is why I have stopped watching the nightly news (am I bit disconnected? Yes), all iterations of Law & Order, all iterations of CSI, 48 Hours, Dateline, Criminal Minds, Body of Proof, and well, you get the gist.  Skenazy says the news and these shows feed off fear and I don’t need help nourishing my tendency to worry.  The book also goes on about how experts can tell us one thing and then another thing later (e.g., don’t put sunscreen on your kids.  And then later, turns out kids aren’t getting enough vitamin D [which we get from sun], let them play outside…but only for 15 minutes without sunscreen.)  This gets exhausting.

As you can tell, I liked the book.  I agreed with several of the points.  And while I may not let my kid ride on the subway at age 9 (maybe age 12, 13.  I’ll have to see what I think when my kids get there), I am all for letting your kid fall at the park and not help them up (I’ve actually done this a lot and have received a few stare-downs from other parents because of it).  I am also fine with letting my kid sit in a grocery cart without the protection of a seat cover.  Still, I am protective too.  I like my kidlet to play in the backyard and not the front yard without my supervision.  I don't want to be a neglectful parent.  I don't want anything AT ALL to ever happen to my kid, of course!  I guess the point is, you’ve got to find a balance between fear, freedom, and fun.  And that’s what the book is about.  The author also wants you to empower your kids so they can fend for themselves when it comes time, preferably before the age of 21, or even 18.

This topic requires a lot more discussion, as it is complex, and there is more to it than just relaxing as a parent.  But this is a blog post, and as such, I will conclude.  What do you guys think?  I'd recommend the book.  It makes you think, even if you don't agree with the premise.


Not so sweet

My sweet basil has been eaten alive. What could it be? I think I will grow sweet basil inside from now on. That or plant marigolds.


15 degrees colder

We took a hike up the canyon the other day. Beautiful stuff. I walked through some snow in sandals and we enjoyed the views.


get a move on!

Yesterday, while driving home, I was taking a 25 mph road.  I was going about 29 mph.  A teen tailed me for most of it, got fed up, and passed me using the oncoming lane.

I didn't get all that bothered.  This surprised me.  I mean, a while back, that would have really bugged me.  But not anymore.  Ha!

About three blocks after the teen passed me, he had to stop at a stop sign.  I saw him slam on his brakes.  Sweet justice.

Okay, maybe I was just a little bugged.



Some of Ollie's latest word interpretations:
He calls drool tears, as in, "mom, there are tears coming out of my mouth!"
Bonus features on a DVD are called bonus "futures."
He says prinkle for crinkle.
The other day he spelled human, hyoomin.
And buckled, bucld.


Happy Fathers Day

This guy here is a great dad.

Happy Fathers Day to good fathers everywhere, including the ones I love!


4.01 K Business Run

My brother-in-law came up with a run that’s 4.01 kilometers, goes down Wall Street, begins with clever business banter, and is run in business attire.  Jess participated in the event a few years ago and this year it was my turn.  It was a good time.  The onlookers to the event were one of the best parts of the race; that, and the clever comments that came from the event organizers and participatees.  I couldn’t stop laughing while running.  We ran through the Salt Palace, some with coffee cups and keyboards, others with notepads and office tech gear.  I just came with a dress (light blue, below) and running shoes.  The race finished at the Gateway fountain with grape juice.  The organizers never know if they are going to keep going with the event, but it just keeps coming back each year.  I have to yell "success!" to that.

photo courtesy of said brother-in-law


Correct punctuation

Help me out here, does the period come before or after the quotation mark in a sentence?  I thought it was one way and then at work a few years ago I was told it was another way and since then I've seen it both ways.  But which is correct?

John said, "I like spaghetti with meatballs."


John said, "I like spaghetti with meatballs".

I've always thought it was the former, but at work they liked me to use the latter and with all of the autocorrect going on with smart phones and tablets, I am confused.

I've heard that the former way resulted from back when they used printing presses.  The typesetter would place the period inside the quotation marks because if he didn't do it that way, the period could possibly get bent.

Hmmm, what do you think?


The gardeners before us

Lucky for us, our yard came with some beautiful perennials. It has been a fun surprise to see what spring means for us. Tulips, iris, peonies, and the yard just keeps on giving.I take no credit but thank the gardeners who came before us. We’ve been trying to make sure we can keep up with it.


The art of supplementation

I'm pretty sure at one point in everybody's childhood their parents added stuff to boxed macaroni n' cheese for dinner: peas, corn, hotdogs, craw fish (yes, we had that once).  Now tell me, as an adult, have you done the same thing?  At the age of 8, I never thought I'd add a thing to mac n' cheese.  That would be a travesty! A shame!  A true detriment to the cheesiness of the boxed meal!  But as an adult I have done the unthinkable, I have been guilty of adding peas to my mac n' cheese.  And it was, well, still not that great but a bit healthier (peas are not my favorite).

This brings me to the art of supplementing a dish to make it taste better and/or become healthier.  I find that it is an art.  Maybe peas in your mac is not an art, but other supplementing can be quite delicious and sometimes very necessary.  But it takes experimentation and honing.  Take for instance pre-made ravioli or tortellini.  For some reason, I buy the stuff thinking it will taste good on it's own.  This is never the case.  There is a reason the food company uses the word "delicate" when describing the taste of it's seven cheese blend.  How can a blend of seven cheeses be so bland?  I don't understand it nor can I believe it, and that is probably why I keep on going back for more.  I think another package will prove the blandness wrong.  And each time, I eat a serving and think, this really tastes like nothing but paste. Then I salt and pepper it in hopes of saving the meal.  I've been known to add marina sauce as well, and that's an improvement.  But I've finally come upon something that's really good at turning "delicate" into "delicious".  Cook up that tortellini, then add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, pesto and stir.  Like I said, delicious.

Other good supplementing that I've discovered includes adding stuff to your bottled marinara sauce.  I like to add balsamic vinegar (my sister taught me this one), a can of tomatoes, fresh spinach, and Parmesan cheese.  And lately, I have been adding Greek yogurt to anything sweet for a kick of protein.  Try this recipe for waffles.  It includes yogurt as well as oatmeal.  Fiber, here we come!

Is there any creative supplementing you do?  I'd love to hear.


Snapshot of our little fam

With these beautiful June evenings we can't help ourselves from spending them outside and using the nice light for some quick pics.  In this first photo, Oliver wanted to take a pic where he was very tiny. He got quite a kick out of how small he was in this photo and how his parents just couldn't believe it!


Frugal or just plain cheap?

You know you are frugal/cheap when:
  • Your version of internet shopping is perusing the pages for items, placing them in your cart, but never pressing the "buy" button.
  • Going to Costco is one hour of long division practice, taking the price of an item and diving it by the number of items in the box, then trying to remember if that is a better price than the previous math you've done earlier that month at the local grocery store.
  • You wait so long for something to go on sale at the Gap that it is no longer there, or it is there but the only size they've got is XXL.
  • You never get items that you so desperately need, so your sisters/friends end up buying the items for you.
These are some of my current examples.  How did I get this way? I'm not sure.  Sometimes it serves me well and sometimes it does not.  The funny thing is, I don't mind spending money (sometimes) to eat out or travel, but when it comes to other things it takes me forever to make the purchase.


four months

Ansel is growing like nobody’s business. He is such a smiley guy. When Oliver notices he announces, “Ansel’s smilin’,” and we all love it around here. Ansel likes bathtubs, he’s getting better at sleeping, and he’s recognizing his hands. He’s just about the cutest babe around, talking lots and laughing during a good tickle. He loves to go outside, sit on my lap, and listen to the wind rustle through the leaves. I remember doing the exact thing with Oliver. Now I am at it again, and it’s nice.

Look at him grow!
  Getting some good sleep


Reliving my high school smoothie days

Back in high school zuka juice had just opened around my neighborhood and it was very popular. We'd go there on weekends and pay top teen dollar for a smoothie packed with flavor and any power-powdered extras we were interested in.

Fast forward a few years and now zuka juice is jamba juice. The smoothies are near the same and the extras are something like 25 cents. But now they serve sandwiches too!?!

Anyhow, in my desire for something delicious, nutritious, and flavorful I look to the tradition of high school (ha!). I whip up a smoothie at home and add an extra, spinach. Very good. Fairly cheap. And just about as good as those at zuka...I mean jamba juice.


Mom, am I still four?

Oliver turned four this past month.  It was a birthday that had Oliver patiently waiting.  In fact, on Sunday the 19th of May, the primary sang to Oliver.  He was excited about the singing but reminded some of the teachers that his birthday was actually the 23rd.  When the day came, he was very excited.  He is a great four year old and has really started to be a ham.  The day after he turned four I was woken up with the question, “Mom, am I still four?”. Of course!

Oliver does some awesome things as a four year old.  He requests that Ansel be up in his room with him during quiet time.  Sometimes I set Ansel on the foot of Ollie’s bed and he watches as Oliver draws, lines up blocks, and the like.  One time, I heard Ansel whimpering a bit.  I went up to find Oliver comforting him with the one word Oliver knows Ansel speaks, which is, “A-goo.”

Oliver is between having a nap during the day and not taking a nap.  As a result, he is very sleepy during the late afternoon hours.  As such, he falls asleep during dinner and I just wake him up again.  Just today he fell asleep during reading lessons.  He was mid-sentence – “the fat eagle”- when he was out.  I moved the book which woke him.  He then said in his half awake voice, “Mom, I was reading about a bird.” He then continued reading, “the fat eagle saved the white eag…” and he was out again.

And finally, Oliver likes to write "birthday messages."  This involves getting a square of toilet paper and writing on it with a marker.  Some messages included: "Oliver Dad," "Mom I love you too," "Big Bird I love you," "2 Grade," and " Your prise is a stuft anamal.".  All good stuff.


A month without posts...

...makes me want to take on the challenge of a month full of posts, that is, one post a day (excluding weekends).  Can it be done?  Will it be interesting?  Who will care?  Well, let's face it, just me.  But I am up for a challenge.  And so, here we go.

I finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.  It is (sadly) the first book I've read completely through this year.  Let's just say I need a very good book to keep the interest, especially when I have to stop and start often, and I like to nap.  With that said, here is my review:

Excellent non-fiction book about the life of a woman and the science behind her cells that never die*.   Part science, part history and present day, this book reveals the remarkable path of HeLa cells and how they’ve helped science.  But what’s more, the author explores how these cells have affected Henrietta’s family.  It also examines the ethics behind using patient tissues for research and how the laws have changed over time.  This book is a good read for anyone interested in science or not (I promise!), a page turner indeed. 

*And for anyone wondering how the cell never dies, well, it turns out the enzyme telomerase is missing in these special HeLa cells, so chromosome telomeres never break down, thus, never signaling the cell to die.