Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our excursion at Lakemont Park

So this last weekend the kiddos went to AR for the summer. We decided that before they left, we would take them to Altoona, PA for some fun at Lakemont Amusement Park. This is a nice little park with 1 big roller coaster, lots of smaller rides, and a water park. We didn't have time for the water park because this was a side stop on our way to Knoxville (via PA and WV).

Here are my kiddos and hubby posing in the train just inside the gate. Dougie is hiding in the red engine. A couple of shots of the kiddos in the 4x4 kiddie ride...


On the carousel. Tim and I were on a bench in front of the the kiddos on their horses. There might have been 30 people in the park, so we could walk up to any ride and get right on. The best part is, it was only $5 per person!


They also have 2 Indy tracks, one for the adults and a mini one for the smaller kiddos...




And the resident favorite... the swings. For the second year in a row I wasn't able to ride this one (something about skinny seats). Don't worry, by this time next year, I'll be in them!


I managed a pretty awesome shot of the 4 of them...

We're turning this into a yearly tradition, I think, and going before and after their vacation. Next time we'll take a longer day so that we can also go to the water park side of it.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Generation Photo #2

A couple weeks ago the family and I accompanied my parents to visit my great-grand mother in Cresaptown, MD. While we were there, we sat everyone down for a 5-generation photo.

Yep, you heard right. 5 generations... one photo.

From left to right:

Top row: Shaunna (my youngest sister, generation 4), Kris (my younger sister, generation 4), me (the oldest of the 3, generation 4)

Middle row: Dad (generation 3), Grandmother Brown (95,generation 1), Aunt JoAnn (generation 2)

Bottom row: Audie (8, generation 5), Dougie (5, generation 5), Chloie (7, generation 5)
My grandmother (Dad's mother, Grandmother Brown's daughter, and Aunt JoAnn's sister) passed away when I was 12 from a rather nasty form of cancer, so Aunt JoAnn represented the second generation. We were always told to call Grandmother Brown "grandmother" instead of "great-grandmother" because it made her feel old. We've continued the tradition with my kiddos even though she's "getting up there". She's still as spry as she used to be, or at least as spry as I've ever remembered her. We crunched the numbers, and the only way we could see getting any more living generations in one picture would be if the entire family, each generation, had their respective children at 15 years of age, and even then that would be pushing it.

So, here's one for the news paper!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Generation Photo #1

While in NY, we thought it would be nice to get a photo of the oldest and youngest generations of the family. From left to right - Audie (8), Chloie (7), Great-Grandma Rose (90ish), Christian (6), Douglas (5), and Cindy holding Connor (3) and technically Carson (in progress).

This was at a restaurant local to the Rochester area with great food and quippical signs and sayings on the walls. Part of the meal was just spent reading all of the nifties in view. :)

Monday, June 06, 2011

More progress on the cross stitch

I know I haven't posted progress of the eagle in 2 weeks, but really there has only been slow progress. There were 8-9 colors crammed into the white areas of his head and tail feathers so I'd do 20-30 stitches, switch to another color, then do 20-30 more and switch again.
He's starting to look very regal sitting on his partially-formed branch. This week I intend to do more of his body, though for indulgence's sake I might do his beak. :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maybe this does work

I've been using SparkPeople to track and plan my weight loss. I really like their site, and honestly, I'm feeling better about this whole thing than when I did before.

You've probably noticed that I haven't changed the weight tracker widget on the right side of my blog. I've done this for two reasons:

1. I'm lazy. Plain and simple, I just haven't gotten around to it.

2. It reminds me of what a failure of an attempt it was, and that I need to do better.

Since I started SparkPeople two weeks ago, I've lost 5 pounds (knocking on wood so as not to jinx myself). I'm happy with the way things are working and not dreading the whole process. I feel motivated by others on the site that feel the same way I do. I'm not the only one!!!

Here, I know there are loved ones and friends that read this and care for me, but there's nothing worse than feeling inadequate and alone. No one else I know is trying to lose weight (except Tim now), and lets face it, there's only so much relating he can do. He thinks it and the weight is gone. I struggle and I gain. It is helpful (comforting?) to talk to others having (or have had) the same issues. For some of us, this will never be an easy process.

Case and point: Tim made plans with his sister to take the kiddos to the opening day at War Memorial Park's pool. Great. He didn't plan with me. He didn't even ask how I felt about it. I don't like public pools. Too many people, no security for your belongings, no space. And like I'm going to try to put on a bathing suit that hasn't fit in forever and parade around like a beached whale. Um, NOT! He tried telling me that there are others walking around "large" and "in charge", but I'm not having it. I have no desire to see guys and gals (fit or not) walking around topless or parading 1/2 naked so that I can feel "better" about my physique. He didn't understand why I was so upset, why I wasn't having fun, why I didn't want to leave the shaded spot under the tree to get my feet wet (aside from other crispy complected concerns). So how is he supposed to help me?

Sorry, I suppose I should crank down the vents here. I know he loves me, and that he's trying to support me the best way he knows how. It will take me some time before I am willing to venture out in less than full coverage. He will just have to accept that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Last night's giggle fest

Tim finally let me scrub at his feet.

I know, that sounds weird, but when you consider the condition of his feet, it's a miracle.

For as long as I've known him, he's always had cracks in the skin of his feet. Some are just little ones that might be considered cosmetic blemishes? Others run deep and can be painful. Either way, the skin along the cracks becomes dry and hard. I've been "nagging" on him for months (years) to let me take car of them beyond just slathering them with Vaseline.

So last night we soaked his feet, I grabbed my tools, and we went to work.

For a man that is barely ticklish anywhere else on his body, his feet are extremely ticklish - and normally I can't even tickle his feet on a good day. Last night, however, I almost had to restrain him from jerking his foot out of my hand. If I could have sat on his leg and still scrubbed at his feet, I would have. He was in fits of laughter the entire time!

It took me 45 minutes to remove all of the old, dead, ashy, nasty, uckiness from his feet. At one point I only scrubbed (read filed with the pedicure cheese grater look-alike thing) a small bit of his heel and was amazed at the difference. Uh, yeah. So, scrubbing and trimming aside, his feet looked a lot better, especially after the obligatory coat of Vaseline. I've talked him into doing it again next week with the understanding that if we do this more often, I won't have to work as hard on his feet, and it won't tickle as much.

I must admit that I did receive a "teensy" bit of sadistic pleasure from his uncontrollable laughter as repayment for all of the "tickle Mommy" attacks he's initiated. :D

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A "Golden" Opportunity

After Hubby and I went car shopping last night, we decided to go to Golden Corral for dinner because, as he suggested, we might find better food choices there than say at McDonalds or somewhere similar. I love how supportive he is! So we sit down at our table, he with his orange soda and me with my water, to contemplate our next move.

I start with a salad with sliced mushrooms, hard-boiled egg, and non-fat ranch. He counters with a plate of boneless ribs, fried chicken legs, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Good one.

For my next round, I grab a plate and start looking for something "healthy". Not finding anything appetizing, I opt for steamed broccoli; he chuckles and counters with strawberries and buttered rolls.

Craving meat, I go looking for something baked (not fried). I see the little markers advertising baked fish, but I see none on the buffet. I finally decided to take the advice of a recently-read Spark article, flagged someone down, and asked about baked chicken or fish. No chicken, but fish will be done in 10 minutes. I'll wait. In the mean time, I grabbed a mulit-grain roll and some margarine. Hubby laughs at me and counters with a plate of dessert.

Somewhere I confiscated his Iphone and downloaded the mobile app from Spark and started entering the dinner I'd eaten so far. I even looked up how much the strawberries and fish would be added to my dinner. Deciding that they were worth it, I selected some very tasty strawberries to add to my plate and went in search of fish. The talapia, I found out, was ready, and I returned to our table with the spoils of my quest. Hubby was done, so I gave him some of my strawberries.

Overall, I've seen my calories go down as I've more closely monitored what I've eaten. I'm usually way over on carbs and calories, right on my fat, and way below on my protein. Last night I was only 3 calories over my max, 7 over on my fat, right on my carbs, and I was only 1 g under my protein. It was a good day. Hubby keeps telling me that he's proud of me for sticking with it... especially when he doesn't make it easy (read ice cream). We've decided to clean out a cabinet for my dietish foods so that I can plan my meals out for a week and see how I do. My goal is to be under all of my max limits by the end of the week. Hopefully I'll get used to the reduced amounts of food I'm eating and my stomach will stop growling!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Total Loss

We received word from the insurance adjuster yesterday that the Trailblazer was declared a total loss. WV regulations on flood damage to vehicles says that if the water comes into the passenger compartment, it is totaled. Fool me once, shame on the red one; fool me twice, shame on the green one; third time is the charm. I'm convinced that the Chevy Trailblazer has been cursed for my sake.

So we're car shopping. Yay (insert sarcasm font).

We think we've found a minivan in Hagerstown for a reasonable price, and it gets pretty good gas mileage, too. I keep hoping that maybe we can make do with what we have for a little bit and maybe save some money up for a later purchase. We'll see. It depends on if I fall in love with this vehicle.

Oh, and as promised, I have a progress picture of the cross stitch. There's not much of a difference - only a little more of his head and part of his tail feathers, but it is still progress.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oops.

I left the house this morning feeling like I forgot something. I couldn't quite place my finger on it, but there was definitely something missing from the car as I drove to work.

Was it my purse? No, I had that on the seat beside me along with my cell phone and lunch, but what was it?

Then I realized... I'd left my cross stitch home... and I hadn't taken a picture to post here showing the progress (albeit little) that I'd made on it. I'm still working on the bald eagle in the design, specifically the "bald" part of him. I promise I'll post my picture of it tomorrow.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spread the Spark

I've decided I'm tired of being fat. Unfortunately blogging about it doesn't shed any inches off of this overloaded frame. My little ticker hasn't been updated in what, 6 months? I decided to join SparkPeople.com and try working through the website. One of their first things is that you set 3 "Fast Break Goals" that get you into the goal-achieving habit. They also get you into recording the things you eat during the day. I didn't realize how many calories I was eating. I even thought I was making healthy choices. Apparently not. So today I'm going to weigh/measure myself and see just how bad it is. Maybe when I start exercising (bleh) Monday, coupled with this food monitoring thing, I'll start seeing results. I've even talked Tim into doing it with me for now.

Wish me luck and pray for me, please, this is going to be difficult, and I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What have we learned?

Tuesday night after dinner we elected to go grocery shopping in Hagerstown. Our first stop was SAM's club for our bulk food items and to look at laptops for Tim. Then we went next door to Martin's to get the rest of our food items. On our way home, we stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up a couple odds and ends and look at their laptops.

Busy evening, right? Yep.

So it's already after 9:30 when we start the final leg of our trip home. We fully expected to be home around 10pm and get everyone into bed, but as you've probably already guessed, it didn't quite turn out that way.

5 minutes from the house, we turned onto McCubbins Hollow and made the first turn by the farm house, only to be confronted with a "puddle" and a "high water" sign. Knowing that the creek will flood that section of the road if it rains hard enough, but also knowing that 3 hours ago it wasn't anywhere near the road, we guessed that it wasn't all that deep and decided to just plow through it to the other side. Squeals of glee were heard from four of us as the water rooster-tailed around us.

About that time we start thinking that we shouldn't be doing this, and rightfully so as the headlights illuminated the orange clay-mud water as it splashed up and over our front windshield and roof. The Trailblazer stalled and could not be started again, and the water started to seep in at the bottom of the doors.

We had to call a tow truck to come get us out. While we waited about 15 minutes for him to get there, the kids started freaking out thinking that we were going to drown. In reality, the water was only two feet deep, but it took prayer and LOTS of primary songs to calm them down. At some point I gave up trying to keep my feet out of the water; I ended up with water half-way up to my knees and it was like the movies when we opened our doors and the water poured out onto the road! I felt bad (but grateful) for the guy that had to wade out into the water to hook up to us and pull us out. He called a friend (or coworker?) to help under the hood so that we could try to start it, and a DirectTV guy stopped to help, too. Unfortunately there was too much water in the engine for it to turn over, and we almost burnt up the started trying.

We called a nearby friend who graciously braved the roads to come get us and our groceries and took us the long way home, arriving shortly before midnight. Interestingly enough, she had been thinking about me off and on all day, thinking it was because of my recent birthday, and was still awake when we called. I love it when the Spirit works!

So, what have we learned here?

1. "High water" really means high water.
2. Never go through a "puddle" at night, especially on a road that can flood.
3. If you do brave the "puddle", do so SLOWLY so that you can recognize danger early and back out if necessary.
4. Snorkels are wonderful things.

We had to have the TB towed to Big K's (awesome guys, BTW, they worked on the TB for over an hour trying to get it working that night). The insurance will be looking at it today or tomorrow so that we can get the repairs started. I'm hoping it is not a total loss because if it is this will be the second TB we've killed. Tim has been going around for the last two days telling everyone that he "drowned" the TB. I've decided to get him a set of goggles, flippers, and (of course) a snorkel for fathers' day. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oh, the places you'll go

As you might have read in my last (sporadic) post, we traveled to NY last week to attend the funeral of Sam Papa. We left Tuesday afternoon, arrived that evening before 10pm, and slept until mid morning Wednesday. I opted to take the kids (both mine and Cindy's) to the park so that they could go to the viewing... I don't do viewings very well, so I was glad to have this distraction.

The funeral on Thursday was, um, interesting. I'd never been to a Catholic funeral before. I'm still trying to process what was happening during the whole thing. They interred him in a mausoleum not far from where he lived. Overall it was a lot better than I was expecting.

Tim and I decided to attend a session in the Palmyra temple on Friday with his mother. It was the first time I've been to a session with her. It was BEAUTIFUL! I even got to wear the slippers I crocheted on the trip up (I'll post pics of them later). We even stopped in to Savoia's to pick up some of Tim's favorite cookies.

The trip back on Saturday was equally tiring, but this time we left earlier and arrived around 6:30. We ended up working for a long time with Audie and Chloie on their homework. I didn't realize how much work they gave Audie until we sat down to go through it. Funny thing is, he didn't once mention on his own about his work, but Chloie was asking often if she could do hers. :)

In any case, it's Monday, and I owe you a progress shot of the cross stitch. I finished the left half of the picture except for the eagle. The moon is done, as are the stars and branches. I've decided to scroll over only half way so that I can complete the eagle, and then I'll start on the right side of the moon, branches and stars.
On another interesting note... I have another cross stitch called "The Castle". It has a castle on a rock outcropping in the middle of a lake with a dragon curled around it. It's really pretty, and I started it upwards of 9 years or so ago. During one of my military moves, I lost the pattern, but I still had the thread and stitching that I'd started. I finally found the pattern to download online, so at some point I can finish it. YAY!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On the road (again)

We are leaving this afternoon, bound for East Rochester, NY, to be with family. You know, I love spending time with Tim's family, but I hate that we're doing it under these circumstances. :(

In the mean time we've gotten the kiddos packed, and we're picking them up early from school so we can get on the road. It's funny, every time we start on a trip like this, the first thing the entire family does is sing the first line of "On the Road Again". It's a family tradition. By the time this posts, we'll already be back, but I'm a little paranoid about someone breaking into the house while we're gone.

On the road again
Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cake and Cross stitch

I did a baby shower cake for a co worker's sister. Seeing as the new mommy-to-be likes rubber duckies, this was the idea we came up with.I decided to use a real rubber duckie on the cake so that she would have a souvenir. Funny thing is, when I went to the store I couldn't find the duckies in the toy isle where *I* thought they should be. So, I asked a delightful employee, "If I were a rubber duckie, where would I be?" He just stared at me for a moment before suggesting the baby department. Aha! I'm so glad I talked to him. The best part is, I heard him chuckling to himself as I walked away. Success!

Behold the cuteness that is the rubber duckie!!! The cake is 10" across and almost 8" tall. I carved the sides and covered them with slats of brown fondant with "wood grain" marked into them with a clay carving tool (love those tools).

For the bubbles, I rolled white fondant in random sizes and just stuck them on there in clumps like I imagined bubbles would gather. Oops, a little bit got out of the tub...

I had a failed attempt at making my own piping gel. After reading the ingredients on the pre-made stuff and deciding I didn't want to pay that much for something I might only use once, I used corn syrup, a drop of blue food coloring, a little hot water, and some gelatin to make my own. The gelatin didn't dissolve like I wanted it to (I was hoping it would thicken the corn syrup), but it did give it that uneven textured frothy-shiny look that bath water might have, so it wasn't a total loss. :)

OK, enough about "fun with fondant". Here is the weekly progress pic of the cross stitch I'm working on. It may not look like much was accomplished, but I assure you that the branches are now done, and I've started on the white of the moon (you can see a little bit at the bottom - it almost glows against the black fabric).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Put it in your calender

I found an interesting missionary tool!

I have a HUGE white board on the wall of my office at work. Some time ago, I put a calender on one side so that I could keep track of holidays and other time sensitive projects. I also put personal appointments and events so that I know if/when I have to leave early or take time off to prepare or attend. I like to draw pictures to represent the importance of the date. Sometimes they're funny, sometimes just something to give the calender a little life. There are people at work that make a point of checking the calender to see what I've got up there. This month I've got Cinco de Mayo, Friday the 13th (just 'cause I like to draw little black kitties), Mothers' Day, Memorial Day... but what's this on Saturday?

This Saturday Tim and I are joining other members of our Stake in the Solemn Assembly room of the Washington D.C. temple. I can't wait to go! I've never been above the third floor, but this time I get to go all the way up. So, I drew a little picture of the temple on May 7th.
My friend and coworker, Randy, stopped a day or two ago and asked about it. He first called it the Tabernacle and remembered seeing it as he was driving around the I-495 beltway; he also wanted to know if there were buildings inside the high marble walls and wished he could see inside. I was able to correct a few of the details and explained about recommends, open houses, dedications, the font, and the annex. We even talked about the temple grounds and the visitors center where I offered to give him a tour. :) Yeah, I'm so subtle. He was genuinely interested in it, and I was so happy to be able to talk to him about it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

My blonde moment

I was driving to work a couple mornings ago. From behind me and to my right, I heard road noise as if the window was open so I used the controls located on my door to roll up the windows, only nothing moved when pressed all four buttons to check the windows. Oh, so the door must be ajar because the doors didn't automatically lock; that must be it. At the next stop sign, I opened and closed the rear passenger door. Driving off, I still heard the noise. I must not have closed the door hard enough (I'd leaned across the car to do it and didn't really get a good grip), and the noise was starting to irritate me. Whatever. I'll leave it until I get to work and check it then. I pulled into my parking space and turned off the car, got out and walked around the car, only to find that the door was closed correctly. What was going on?

After work I got in the car to go home and went to roll down the front windows. The passenger window didn't budge, so I unlocked the windows and it went down fine. Then I started driving, but the wind was too much so I rolled up the front windows, still hearing the road noise. Ten minutes down the road it dawned on me. I tried the rear passenger window again, AND THIS TIME IT CLOSED!!! Boy oh boy am I glad it was a nice day or the back seat might have been a little wet. The rest of the ride home was nice and quiet except for my chuckling. Lesson learned here? Always check the window lock before checking to see if the windows are up.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Four Hours?

For Christmas last year Tim got me Star Wars: the Force Unleashed. I was able to play it for a little bit, but then set it down and hadn't touched it in months.

Last night after the kiddos went to bed and while Tim changed the oil in the Trailblazer, I sat down and got to play. Shhhh!!! Don't tell anyone. They'll revoke my mommy privileges! I was able to play through two levels before I realized that I'd been playing for four hours. The last "boss" fight took me a few tries because I had to employ a slightly more sophisticated form of button mashing to finish the fight, and I'll admit I got a little frustrated... but I beat it! I don't know how much of the game is left, but I'm looking forward to playing it again soon.

I will say this, however, that I'm glad I invested the upgrades that I've earned during game play into the different combat moves available. It's funny how many you actually use when you employ my strategy of random button mashing during the game. :)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Over the weekend

With family in town, things were busy!

Friday night Sarah and Mom came up to visit for a while. We got to sit and talk while the kiddos were getting ready for bed. It was nice to catch up, and definitely nice to see Sarah. I haven't seen her since Tim and I got married.

Tim and I also got the wood for our bed Friday afternoon. We've been having trouble with our backs during the day that seemed to be stemming from the bed at night. We could both lie on our backs on our respective sides of the bed and roll towards each other by the end of the night. It caused a few "arguments" about who was the greater bed hog! It didn't just curve from side to side, but also top to bottom which curved our backs in a crazy way because we are both stomach sleepers. So, we made a quick frame that would make Dad proud to replace the dilapidated box springs that only cost us $37 for a few 2x6 boards and some OSB. It was put together in under an hour, and OH MY it feels wonderful! I've slept so much better since we put it in two nights ago!

Saturday was non-stop, too. Tim wend to the DMV to renew the tags on the Nissan; I got to play Star Wars: Force Unleashed while he was gone. :) We went to Peyton's baptism at 3pm where I got to play the first song, and then we went to a dual adult baptism at 5pm where I led the music and sang a solo for the special musical number. I was SO nervous. I keep hoping that I'll get over it, but I never seem to. Both baptisms were awesome, and I'm so happy that the three of them made their choice to join the church.

We went to China City Buffet after the baptisms and met my parents there for an early mother's day/ way early father's day dinner. Mmmm, tasty Chinese food! We didn't know it because no one called my phone, but Tim's family had called his phone (left at home) to invite us to the Olive Garden for dinner at the same time. It's OK, we'll have dinner down there sometime later, but I think it would have been nice to spend that time with his family as well. We ended up getting the kiddos in bed when we got home and spent the next hour putting the new bed frame together. We also watched The Tourist until the wee hours of the morning (awesome movie BTW, it had me guessing until the end!).

We got to sleep in a little on Sunday morning, but not much. I got up and straightened my hair before we left for baby Matthew's blessing at Steve and Hannah's ward. He was so cute dressed in a little white suit! Squee!!! I was so proud to see Tim go up there to participate in Matthew's blessing. He's come so far since I met him almost five years ago. Tim and I were chuckling to ourselves as we tried to sing the hymns during sacrament. They... Were... So... Slow... I couldn't keep up. Just wow. But I was impressed with the members doing ASL. I don't know how they do it, but kudos for the effort!

I had my first taste of Thai food at their house for the luncheon afterwards. It was pretty tasty and toasty, but I've decided that curry doesn't agree with me at all. I paid for it later. I did get to hold Matthew and ogle and coo over him for a while. It makes me happy. It also worries Tim a little. Every time I get to hold a wee one, it rehashes our conversation about having one of our own. It would cost a lot of money, however, if we were to try, and then we'd have to worry about having more than just one. For now, I'm happy with our three. We got to talk to Chris and Lori for a while towards the end as well. If we can get the clearance anytime soon, maybe we can get everyone back out this way for our sealing when it happens.

Sunday evening we had home-made pizza rolls for dinner at our house with Tim's parents while we watched TRON: Legacy. I liked the movie, but I loved the music. :) The pizza rolls were made with a double batch of pizza dough cut into 16 parts and rolled, filled with 9 slices of pepperoni and a little mozzarella cheese, then rolled up and baked for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. We used spaghetti sauce to dip them in. Tasty!

Finally before I close, an update on the cross stitch project... because the branches are a full cross stitch and not a half like the moon colors are, they take a little longer, AND I haven't had time in the last two days to do much on it, but here is the progress pic. I'm on the last color of the branches and doing the outline on them as I go.


BEFOREAFTER

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hackers

From the Computing Dictionary:

hacker definition - person, jargon (Originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe) 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming... 8. (Deprecated) A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence "password hacker", "network hacker". The correct term is cracker.

OK, so I might have the technical term wrong, but according to PSN, they were the victims of a malicious computer attack in which their security was breached and the personal information of its users was compromised. Which means that because someone was having a little "fun", millions of users now fear for their credit safety... and we're unable to watch Glee.

Tim realized last night that we can get Netflix on the Wii. Well, sort of. Some of the streaming videos available elsewhere are not available on the Wii... like Glee. We're batting 1000.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh, no! Not the network!

We discovered the PlayStation Network was down for "maintenance" in the middle of last week. Most notably, we couldn't watch any streaming videos on Netflix. Tim hadn't been on to play team death match recently, so that wasn't an issue. It seemed that it kept logging out of PSN, and our videos would run for a few seconds and buffer again and again. Grrr. I'm GLEE deprived!

Really it's not so bad. Apparently they had a major virus or hacker something-or-other that downed the network, and they've been tirelessly working to restore it. They're taking their time with this one to make sure it doesn't happen again. My question is, if my Netflix is through PSN, and it's not working because of PSN, what are they going to do about it? Some of us just can't live without GLEE!

Oh, look they're bringing me my white coat with nifty buckles!

Just kidding.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Over the weekend

We spent a fun-filled weekend baking and preparing for Easter. I had cupcakes for a special Easter edition of "Singing Cupcakes" in primary that were all shades of the rainbow, a last minute cake order for a white cake with coconut filling, Tim's Mounds birthday cake (for Friday), and an angel food cake for choir practice. Whew!

We had a steak dinner at the house for Tim's birthday. We had a full house and plenty of food. Tim grilled some awesome steak, and I made herb and garlic mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Mom even brought some veggie pizza that was really very good as an appetizer. I was made with croissant rolls rolled out for a crust, cream cheese spread out for "sauce" and a mix of shredded carrots, broccoli (or green beans for those with a green-tree aversion), and shredded cheese. Tasty!

Saturday night we colored eggs with all 5 kiddos. I didn't know this, but this was Christian and Connor's first egg-dying egg-sperience. :) (you liked that didn't you!). We had 5 colors (one for each kiddo) and we rotated through. Each one got to dye 4 eggs. We made deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches out of them later. Sunday we went to my parents' house after church and ate tasty ham and had an Easter egg hunt. My sister was the "bunny" and had a "bunny manual" so that she could make sure we found all of the eggs. Don't laugh. It worked.And as promised, progress pics of the cross stitch. Since last Monday, I've completed the third color (darkest in the moon) and have since completed a fourth (med-light on the moon), fifth (darkest brown on the branches) and started on #6 (med-brown on the branches). So what we have here is an (almost) full moon and the beginnings of branches for the eagle to perch. I actually had to scroll over to the left to reach the left most branches. I'm going to finish them and do their outlines before I complete the moon and finish the bird. Then I get to scroll to the right and do that half of the picture. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting ready for Friday

Tim turns 27 tomorrow! I've decided I'm not throwing a surprise party this year seeing as it is impossible to do anything without him finding out. We're having steak and corn on the cob for dinner, and I'm making his favorite cake (mounds cake) tonight. The kiddos and I already gave him his birthday present - Crysis 2 - so we're not doing much else besides invite family over for dinner.

(and then I just remembered that I forgot to wake him up, oops, better give him a call)

I'm totally looking forward to having Friday off from work. I plan to vegetate as much as possible before the kiddos and I start cleaning for dinner, and I am SO sleeping in!

Oh, oh, and we have good news! Tim received his acceptance letter from Blue Ridge!!! He has orientation in the next week or so, and classes for summer start May 31st. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A beautiful baptism

I needed to get out of the world.

There's been too much noise recently about finances, work, commutes, school, kids, family, friends... I just needed some quiet time. Sure a bubble bath works for a few minutes, but I felt drained. Nothing I did seemed to work. Then last week I heard about the youth temple trip.

Perfect!

I talked to Tim about going down early and doing an endowment session and then meeting the youth down there, and we tentatively agreed. Then Sunday he talked to those in charge of organizing the trip and decided that we'd be there at the church instead in case they needed more seat belts. He felt that Heavenly Father would appreciate that more.

OK, fine. I can deal with that.

While we're getting everyone ready to do the baptisms, could I at least sit in front of the mural and ponder for a while?

No, we won't have time.

My hope dashed, I felt like I wasn't ever going to get the peace I needed. We met up with everyone at the church. It turns out that they didn't need the extra seat belts after all. Oh, well. We started the trip down, and Tim and I got to talk to each other without interruption for the whole trip. It was nice. When we got there, we met up with everyone and waited for the last few adults to get there from work locally. One of the sisters decided to go in early so that she could get the family names she'd submitted for work. I decided to go in with her and see if the store was open so I could exchange some items (6 months later and I'm still trying to figure out what is most comfortable for me), but the store was closed. Disappointment again. Wow, I'm batting 1000.

I finally approached the brethren at the desk, showed my recommend, and asked if I could just sit by the mural. One smiled at me and said, "You can do whatever you want to in the temple." Finally, some encouragement. Once inside I sat down and just looked over the faces in the painting. What are they thinking, I wonder, looking at Him. What is He thinking as he looks on. He has a serious expression, but it's not sad or angry, just there. Like when I come home and the kiddos come to me to say hi. I just hold out my arms and they give me hugs. :) Maybe his expression is more 'Here I am, come to me.' It felt good to sit there in silence. I didn't hear anything about outside. No traffic or finances, kids or work, just silence. It was wonderful.

I met up with the other sister a few minutes later, and we went downstairs to meet everyone else at the font. I was excited now because I got to work this time. I even brought my own clothes and everything. :) I was amazed at how much further away the world seemed while I performed my tasks in the temple. I felt like I was contributing to something bigger and better than outside had to offer.

Our group was joined by a brother and sister I didn't recognize. I didn't know it was possible, but I truly saw a beautiful baptism when he baptized her. I just sat in awe and watched. She never touched her face when she went under the water so I had a clear view of her peaceful expression as she arose each time out of the water. She was angelic almost. There was a different feeling there. I don't know why.

The youth on the trip were awesome. They were highly complimented by the temple workers, and I'm very proud of them. We went home after 10pm so it was a late night, but it was worth it. I feel relieved, and I think I'm ready to face the world again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Over the weekend

We had some rain this weekend. In other areas of the country, this storm produced a record number of hurricanes. Here, however, we got hail and plenty of rain. The back yard turned into soup, we had a stream flowing along side the house, and the bridge flooded. We received so much rain so fast, that it almost backed up into the basement. Tim and I spent two hours in the pouring rain digging up landscaping rocks (sorry, Dad) to dam up in front of the basement door so that it wouldn't flood with Cindy and the boys down there. We even had to go so far as dig down the path to the social circle because it was holding up the flow of water (sorry again, Dad). We've decided that to fix the drainage issue, we're going to dig down even further and run some culverts along the bottom of the ditch. Then put the path back over top of it. That way the path will still be there without hindering the torrent. As for the basement door, we're going to bring the level of the walkway there up a few inches and slope it away from the house to encourage drainage without collecting water at the door. We were seriously within 1/2 inch of pouring in.

For the first time in the 2.5 years we've lived in the house, I saw flood damage to the road at the bridge.It actually lifted sheets of asphalt 3/4" thick and the size of my desk and just slid it off of the road and onto the shoulder. I've never seen it do that before.On another note... how about creation instead destruction? I started a new project. Cindy has been cross stitching words as part of a project she's working on for Christmas (I think), and it renewed my interest in counted cross stitch. My unfortunate curse is that I'll start a project and work on it for a while, get bored with it because I don't see any progress, and put it down for weeks (or months) before I pick it up again. Sometimes it's because the project (i.e. the quilt) isn't portable so I can't take it on trips like I can with knitting.

My mother gave me a couple counted cross stitch kits that I showed Cindy last week while we were discussing cross stitch. She took one look at this one and said that her husband would love this one... so I decided to do it for them for Christmas.So I started working on it on 4/11/11. One week later, this is the progress I've made...I've decided to work 1/2 at a time, so I started in the middle with the black on the eagle, then moved to the moon to his left with a second color. You can see at the top that I've started in with a third color and filling in more of the moon with the darker gray. Unlike the last cross stitch I did, this one is going a lot faster because it has about 10 fewer colors and they're not tiny bits here and there with a stitch or two in places spread out so far that it takes forever. Another thing I like about this project is that it is on black Aida cloth so the moon really comes out of the fabric. :) More progress on this in a week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My latest knitting adventure

Right after I finished the blue baby blanket I did for my S-I-L and her first baby, I started on this one for another first-time mom in our ward. Even though they knew they were having a boy, she asked for a green blanket. I chose Caron Simply Soft Collection yarn in pistachio for the main color and cream for the trim of her blanket. The best part is, that was her favorite shade of green. The whole thing was knit on circular size 6 needles. The pattern called for alternating a plume panel with a cable panel and measured approximately 3 ft. x 4 ft.
I love how soft this yarn is even before you wash it, and the colors are georgeous!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I've been visited!

My visiting teachers came to see me last night! Yay!

I know, it doesn't seem like it should be a huge celebration, but this is the first time I've been visited this year (only the 3rd time since I joined the church). I even dragged Cindy up from down stairs so that she could be visited, too. It was nice to catch up and just talk. We also had a nice lesson on personal revelation.

I know I might joke about how busy our house is sometimes with the addition of two very energetic boys, but I would be remiss if I didn't also say that having Cindy at the house is a blessing for sure. I mean, I talk to Tim about everything, but it is nice to have another woman/mother/sister/wife/daughter...'s point of view - someone that can relate. It's really a relief to be able to get some of these things out and feel like I'm understood. I think this might be cause for celebration... a bubble bath might be in order. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Which was more painful?

Before we fell asleep last night, Tim and I were talking about a recent news story from Utah. A man accused of multiple counts of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault of children was deemed too mentally unstable to be held accountable for his crimes, but he wasn't sick enough to be remanded to a mental institution. They released him. Why would they let him go? They know full well what he is capable of.

That conversation segued into Lucifer's predicament. Why would Heavenly Father allow the conception of a son he knew would oppose him unless he planned for it? It almost seems like the 'son of the morning' was doing exactly what he has born to do. Tim didn't like me in the role of "devil's advocate" (no pun intended), so we agreed that there's more to this than what has been revealed to us. For now we agree that Lucifer has made is choice and continues to be angry that his plan wasn't chosen.

So my rhetorical question to ponder last night was this: Which was more painful for Heavenly Father to endure - the suffering and sacrifice of Christ for the benefit of the rest of His children, or the disappointment in the decisions and actions of His other son? How exquisite, I imagine, is the pain He suffered as Christ suffered, longing to comfort Him but unable to interfere lest He negate all that Christ was doing for us? But this pain was only for a finite time, mere moments in the grand scheme of things, and never to be done again. On the other hand, as a parent I have felt deep disappointment and sorrow in some of the choices my children have made. Other parents have experienced greater pain for more serious disappointments. Sometimes it makes me question if I am teaching them enough, if I am loving them enough, if I have failed them in some way. How much more has Heavenly Father suffered for His other son? This isn't years as we know it; it is ages - eternities - each with new acts of rebellion, more of His children led away in Lucifer's acts of defiance, a constant and lasting reminder. Just wondering.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An interesting conversation

We learned two songs in Primary this Sunday. One was #277 from the green hymn book called As I Search the Holy Scriptures. I had the junior primary help me come up with hand movements to help us learn the song. We're also doing the movements when we sing the song in the primary program. We taught the senior primary the song/movements as well. Their favorite movements were "spirit" - where you start with your pointer fingers and thumbs interlinked like a chain and pull one hand away from the other in a floating spirit like movement - and "study" - where the left hand is flat and the right fingers are pointed at the left hand and wiggled like you're casting a spell on the book in the left hand. We even had them stand in the front of the room in front of the teachers to practice their song. This way they can become accustomed to performing in front of other people.

The second song we learned was page 77 in the primary song book called Did Jesus Really Live Again? It's a 3-verse song we wanted to learn so that we could sing it in primary on Easter as an Easter song. Not many of those out there. So the junior primary learned the song as just a song. No big deal. It was fun and that was all. The senior primary, on the other hand, was a little different. The first two verses just ask if he really came. The third verse said, "And there were nail prints in his hands and a spear wound in his side. Did Jesus really come again after he had died?..." One of them said, "I didn't know he was wounded by a spear. That sounds painful. Why do we write songs about that?" Such a deep question from our youth just floored me.

So, I explained about crucifixion, what it was, how they did it, and how painful it was. How if they wanted you to die quickly they would break your legs, but they didn't do that to Christ. How the spear was used to make him bleed out as another form of torture. Then I took them through one of my favorite sacrament hymns, Behold the Great Redeemer Die, and read through all 6 verses focusing first on the pain and suffering of the Savior (including the crown of thorns they didn't consider), and then on what his suffering meant for us. It was amazing to see the eyes light up with understanding as they realized that we write songs like these to remind us of what he did for us. These songs start as teaching tools for the kiddos, then turn into discussions and reminders as they get older.

They become more than just songs. I am humbled to be the one to have these conversations with them when singing time becomes more than music and turns into a true Gospel teaching moment. Just wow.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Auction of the year

We went to the auction last night that benefited the young women. Oh, what fun!!! My Triple-C cake was the first item up for live bidding. It was heated at first, but in the end it went to the Carpenter family. The White Chocolate Strawberry Cordial was in the last group of the silent auction. All I know is paddle #17 won the bid, but I don't know for how much. We were worried that the Eagle Scout Cake wouldn't sell, but it came down to two families battling it out. Once the winner was announced, I offered a second to the other bidder for the same amount. They accepted. Congratulations to all the winning bidders!

The only two things we seriously bid on were a scrap booking basket I won for $40 (and split with Cindy) and Sister Cas's carrot cake. I had to fight Joe Kemer for it, but at the end of the bid it was mine. Mmmm, tasty. I've been looking forward to that cake for months! I had a piece as soon as I got home, and I brought a slice with me this morning to work. Sweet victory!

Speaking of sweet, Tim going back to school reminded me that I still have GI Bill money to use for college. I tried to transfer my benefits to him under the 9/11 program, but you can only do that if you are active duty, and you have to sign up to serve another 1-3 years. Nixed on both accounts. So, I have until 2019 to use them up before I loose them. Yay. I did look into the degree programs at Blue Ridge and discovered they have 2 I am interested in. One is a 73 hour Associate of Applied Science in Food Service Retail Management that would give me the foundation I need to open my own bakery. The other is a 67 hour Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry. If I complete the FSRM degree and take an additional 19 hours of B&P courses, I could have that one as well because most of the classes required are common between the two degrees. I'm hoping that some of the courses I took at HCC and ITT will fulfil some of the GENED requirements and that some of my work experience will allow me to test out of a couple more. It would save me time (about 1 semester's worth) and money making it possible to finish both degrees in 2 years. I suppose the first step would be to get my transcripts and talk to a counselor.

Tim is already getting his stuff together and filling out applications for school and financial aid. He's really excited to start. He told me yesterday that his goal is a 4.0 for the time he's working on his degree in criminal justice. I'm so proud of him!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Back to school

Just when you think you understand what's going on, the Lord shakes things up! Tim lost his job earlier this week because of an admittedly stupid mistake. He's learned from it, and that's all that matters. In the mean time, we're adjusting fire. We're taking a look at budget cutbacks (wow, I just sounded like the government didn't I?), looking into college for Tim, getting things straightened out. We'll be OK... I just know it.

After so many messages in General Conference about searching the scriptures, studying out issues, and then going to the Lord for answers, I felt that I needed to seek comfort in my scriptures. Tim was understandably upset and worried about our future and finances (before we decided on school). I said a prayer requesting words of comfort for us both, closed my eyes, and opened my scriptures to a "random" spot that turned out to be Matthew 24. As I read the chapter to myself (and later Chloie when she sat next to me) I felt the Spirit strongly as I read verse 13, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

So the lesson here? Stay strong, stay faithful, stay focused, and everything will be alright.

And it will be. We've figured out what we're going to do, and going to school makes Tim happy. He's wanted to do this degree in criminal justice for a couple years now. He wants to be a police officer or something similar. While I'm not happy about the safety concerns that arise from such a profession, its been his dream to do this kind of work. Who am I to say no? We've been talking about him going to school for a while, but we couldn't figure out how to do it with him working the hours that he does. Something tells me that this was our answer. So we're looking into different schools, part time work options, financial assistance, GI Bill options, and so forth. Hopefully we'll have something figured out in time for the summer semester.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Blue and Gold Banquet 2011

We attended The Blue and Gold Banquet last night for Audie's scout troop. Tim was even able to take his lunch to be there with us for a while. I was in charge of food for the event (in addition to cake), so we had a hot dog bar. We borrowed a hot dog machine from friends of ours to heat them up, had various toppings like mustard, spicy mustard, mayo, chipotle mayo, relish, cheese, and chili. We ended up with TONS of buns left over, but had just enough hot dogs, potato salad, chips, and cake. I love it when things work out like that. It means that I didn't have to take a bunch of left overs home. :) The scouts did skits for us, and there was an audience participation portion of the program. Overall I think they had a good time. I really enjoyed being there with Cindy and all 5.5 of our kiddos.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The baking continues

Last night I started the cakes for the Blue and Gold Banquet on Wednesday. I've got 3 beautiful cakes sitting on the counter right now. Tonight I get my first official helper/student to help me decorate them with fondant and the badges for Wolf, Bear, and Weeblo scouts. It should be a lot of fun, and it'll be nice to have someone there to help me. I can't wait! I've also got a fridge FULL of hot dogs and other fixin's for this shindig. Sometime tonight, I'm doing the potatoes for the potato salad. It should be fun. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

My poor bamboo plant + the weekend

My sister sent me a message over facebook this past week asking what "a Sister/Aunt had to do" to get recent pics of my kiddos. Apparently it's as simple as sending a message. We had a busy baptism weekend. I played piano for Dylan's baptism on Saturday. I had the kiddos with me, and we visited my parents afterwards. Then we went shopping for the food for the Blue and Gold banquet on Wednesday. I also had to get new jeans because I'd managed to split mine. It took me 45 minutes to find something that fit and I'm up a size or two. Grrr! Sunday evening we attended Dusty's baptism. This time I brought cake.
The birthday boy blowing out his candles...
So my poor bamboo plant. Yeah. My dad bought me this plant 3 or so years ago for my office. at the time the leaves on top were only 4 inches high. I've kept it watered and fertilized, but over the years the stalks have died out one by one. It's now twice the height it was when he gave it to me, but the poor little thing looks so pitiful.
I've been trying to find information on bamboo care. One site suggests removing the old stalks and replacing them with pruned ones from the top of the display.
I think I'm going to print out what I can find and take it home on a warm day to see if I can't help it out.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm almost done...

It seems like I have survived the plague. The recovery is slow. I still have coughing fits every once in a while. My head is still stuffy, but at least now I can breathe through my nose. My right ear still feels and sounds like I've got a cotton ball in it. At least I'm not achy, tired, stiff, and sore.

Speaking of almost done... I'm helping Tim write a letter. A letter that's been two years in the making. A letter to the First Presidency. A letter so we can get the clearance we need to be sealed. FINALLY. Between his self admitted bad memory and ADHD, it wasn't worked on very much during the last two years. Last night, I sat down with the paperwork and what he started and drafted what I hope will be a letter completed and turned into the Bishop in the near future. Sunday would be nice. Sunday would be very nice. I'm tired of waiting and worrying that something will happen before we get sealed. I know our respective patriarchal blessings say we have plenty to do and plenty of time to do it in, but that still doesn't help my paranoia!

Soon... very soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ruh, Roh

Yesterday I spent some time updating the website for graduation cakes and plugging a little for the auction on April 6th. I was so proud of myself for getting all of this done and up on the website. I even updated both my personal facebook page and That Little Cake Place's page with links to the website about the auction.

Now, I think I might have gotten it wrong.

When they first approached me about donating cake to the auction again this year, they mentioned that they were teaming up with our Scout troop. So in addition to the two cakes I did last year, I volunteered The 'Biod' (Eagle Scout Cake) for anyone who wanted to bid on it for their scout's Eagle Court of Honor. I probably wouldn't have done it otherwise. They're even having the auction on a Wednesday... a scout night.

Now I'm finding out that they'd decided not to team up... OK... so what do I do now?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bills, bills, bills

It seems that we do fine for a while, then things take another turn. I know that we are making progress towards paying off our debts (student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc.). I can see the balances going down every time I balance the checkbook. I also know that everything will be paid off at about the same time. It just happens that the payments and amounts worked out like that. I can't wait until we're able to save all that money and put it aside for, oh I don't know, a house of our own or something crazy like that.

At the moment I'm torn as to whether to draw the payments out a little longer so we can start building savings, or pay everything off first then save. Idunno. ...?

Really, I'd be happy if I could get Tim to stick to our budget. He was "really bad" over the last couple weeks (his words), and it wasn't until I reconciled the checkbook that I found out how "really bad" he was. Why do I go grocery shopping and plan meals to save money if he's just going to go to Wendy's, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, Sheetz, Chick-fil-a, and more for dinner every night? If all feels kind of pointless at times.

Sorry, just needed to get that out there somewhere.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Settling down

Things are starting to even out... I think.

Having Cindy and the kiddos in the house certainly fills the open space and fills the rooms with sounds of being lived in. All 5 kiddos in the house now play nicely for the most part. Mine keep forgetting that there are rules they still have to follow, but other than that they do well. I don't think I'll ever get a turn on the Wii again!

The ward choir gave their first performance Sunday in sacrament. They did very well; I'm so proud of them. A little snag when I/we missed the count-in for verse 2, but it's OK. And the A Capella... Oh, MY! It was gorgeous! We started working on the song for April. So far it sounds really good, though we only managed to get through the first of five pages in practice.

And cake! I have 4 cakes within the next 10 days! Not to mention the one I delivered Saturday to the new Spanish Branch's Relief Society meeting. In case you're wondering, the "SS" where the "RS" usually is stands for Sociedad de Socorro.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

As promised, pictures of the afghan I finished for my cousin's first baby.This was done in a hexagon pattern using Caron Simply Soft in Purple, Lavender, and White. It was really soft and only took me 3 weeks to do (working mostly at night for an hour or so). This is one of the chocolate butterflies on the cupcake roses I did for Elena's birthday last Sunday. I think my favorite here was the extra chocolate. :)
I drove to Baltimore yesterday to pick up my SIL from the airport along with her 2 kiddos. Traffic wasn't bad at all, but we got lost trying to get out of the airport and ended up driving towards DC for a 20 minute detour! No worries, because we made our way home with little trouble. We talked the whole way home while the kiddos passed out in the back seat. I've missed Cindy SO much! We're going to get every one settled in today and see what we need to get for her apartment downstairs for the time she's here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ugh!

I just wanted to drop a quick note here on the blog to say that I haven't died... *yet*

Whatever this plague is, and we're thinking it's "only" the flu, I'm feeling better today than I have in 3 days. With no voice, I was a pitiful mess in Primary on Sunday, and thankfully the choir did all the singing for practice. For only having 8 people show up for practice, they sounded pretty good.

I've spent the last 2 days home from work trying to rest and recover. I'll let you know how it goes. I also have some pictures of an afghan I finished over the weekend and cake pictures that I'll post soon.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Post # 200 !!!

Wow, that's a lot of typing!

Speaking of a lot of something... we have a lot of water. When Tim got home last night after 11pm, he said that the water was *close* to the road, but not on it. That's happened before and the water receded before it became a problem.

Not this time.

The bridge to our house wasn't flooded this morning when I started to work, but the low-level roads on the other side were. I got through the first "puddle" (18 inches deep) only to find another flooded stretch of road. I couldn't even see the end of it. Instead of risking it, I turned around and started on the alternate route through Glengary and warned 2 other vehicles on my way.

Then I got lost.

Yep, I missed the turn onto Route 45 and ended up going all the way to 522. I finally called Tim to get it all straightened out. I even had to stop for gas. So this morning I clocked in an hour later than expected. Grrr!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blue and Gold

Last night we had my MIL over for dinner. This was our only night to see her before she goes back to NY. We finally found the apple quilt she's been looking for... I didn't know it, but Tim had it hidden in our room and was hesitant to give it up.

I took Audie to Scouts after dinner and was "drafted" into sitting with one of the Young Women's groups for 30 minutes because their normal chaperon was at home sick. It wasn't too bad, and I got to do some knitting while I listened to their planning discussion.

I had a meeting after Scouts with the rest of the parents/leaders for the Blue and Gold Banquet on 3/30. I'm in charge of food. At the moment it's a toss between Hawaiian haystacks and sandwiches. I'm leaning towards the sandwiches simply because I know what goes into a sandwich. I also get to do a cake (or 3) for the occasion. I've decided to do 3 square cakes - one with the Wolf badge, one with the Bear badge, and one with the Webelo badge. What I hope to be my first future employee of That Little Cake Place (excluding my sous chefs) will be there to help me that evening. :)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Don't stop the music!

It's March now, and that means a new song in the Primary program. This month we're working on Stand for the Right. It's a really short song. We're going to sit while we sing it and stand at the end when we sing "stand for the right". Once we learned the song, I brought out a stop sign. Each of the kiddos got to stop us at any time through the song, and we had to pick up where we left off. They had fun stopping us in the middle of "prophet" and half-way through "stand". Some of them stopped us after every word, so I had to help them calm it down a little.

We had a visitor in primary named Timothy. I introduced myself and said hi, but he was so shy that he barely shook my hand. By the end of singing time, he was giggling and laughing just as much as everyone else. I think that was one of the most fun lessons I've done so far. Even the senior primary wanted to do this game, and usually they're "too old" to do the fun stuff.

Because this is such a short song, I'm going to start working working with the senior primary on their solo song Praise to the Man. I'm going to teach them the parts for their performance, so I think we should use all the time we can get even though it's not in the program to learn until May. Considering they've moved the Primary Program up from October to September, it gives us less time to practice. I know these kiddos will do splendidly!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Spring cleaning early

My Sister-in-law and her 2.5 kiddos are coming to live with us in about two weeks. We've been working on setting things up for them for when they get here.

Then again we still haven't taken down the Christmas tree.

It seems like the only time we have that isn't busy is the time something always comes up. At some point this evening, I think I'm going to insist we take down the tree. Maybe even finish going through the boxes in the quite room and bring down the second stove and the mattress for my SIL to use while she is here.

We might even get crazy and start planting seeds for the tomatoes.

Ah, spring! I see you just around the corner.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Denied!

The pain in my back is better today. I can at least move more easily and get up from my chair and sit down again without too much discomfort.

I realized yesterday that there was a blood drive at work. I'd signed up, but completely forgot to put it on my calender at work. As a result, I forgot to make cupcakes for the donors. :( In addition to that, when they tested my iron, I was too low! I've never been too low. I started at 11.6, and they said I had the option to be tested by the supervisor on duty because sometimes air bubbles can cause a low reading. I gave them the OK and the pricked my other finger only to come up with an 11.2! Sorry folks, no blood loss this time.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ow, Ow, OW!!!

It started innocently enough, a twinge here and there, usually after standing too long at the counter making cake. Then it increased ever so slightly, finding relief in the form of a chiropractic crunching. A twisting adjustment here, a back rub there, maybe a soak in a nice hot bath of Epsom salt.

Now it just hurts.

The jerkiness of my movements coupled with the stiffness and waddling is almost comical. I've even included Tylenol in my regular diet because two of the uses include "muscular aches" and "backache" and switched my chair at work back to the ergonomic thing. Tim has crunched me more times in the last 3 days than I care to admit, and yet all of these attempts are only temporary.

I now understand how my mother feels on a daily basis. The inability to reach low objects, pick up things from the floor, get off of the couch, etc. is almost as painful as the pain in my back. When you "over do" it just by "doing". Ouch!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

And now for the main event!

This weekend we did the Pinewood Derby for Audie's Scout troop at church. Because there were only 10 boys, they competed against each other. They had some circular bracket system that provided each scout 2 races in each of the three lanes of the track. First place of each race was awarded 3 points, second received 2 points, and third received 1. At the end, scores were totaled and the top 3 raced against each other in 3 races to allow them a full rotation through the lanes.

Audie was a little disappointed that he didn't win, but he did receive a certificate naming his car the Car-ma Chameleon (after the song) and a participation medal. Ashton was our first place winner, and as a special treat, we raced his car against mine from the cake.

I started with a piece of green floral Styrofoam the same size as a pinewood derby blank and carved it into this shape. Then I covered it in fondant and had Dougie pick the colors and design the paint job. I used real pinewood derby wheels.The whole thing was 1.2 ounces under the max of 5 ounces, so Ashton's car already had a clear advantage. As his car was crossing the finish line and mine was 3 feet behind it, the front 2 wheels flew off and the car skidded to a halt. It wasn't meant to be a serious race, more for entertainment, and everyone loved it.
This last shot was on the table at the derby. I was also asked to coordinate food for the event, so in addition to cake we had chips and dip, a veggie tray with ranch dip (that I totally rocked, BTW), and taco bites.
After the race was over and clean-up complete, we headed down to Winchester to see my newest nephew, Matthew Vinh. I got to hold him, so tiny, and snuggle, look at him, look at Tim, look at him, look at Tim and smile, and hear, "No, we already have 3!"

Tim even held him... and I have PROOF!!!

All you see is a little fuzzy head and then Tim's ARM!
I want one! OK, reality check. I'm satisfied to snuggle and coo at this little guy. In the mean time, I was the first on the Whitcomb side that got to hold him... Nanny, Nanny, Boo, Boo!

Friday, February 25, 2011

When enough isn't enough

I've been working on a blanket for a young couple at church expecting their first baby (a boy). Two 6oz skeins of Caron Simply Soft Collection yarn in "pistachio" later, I'm only 2/3 complete. I need to get another skein to finish the blanket, but neither wally-world nor Michael's in Martinsburg have it in stock.

Monkey!

I'm waiting until after the AC Moore in Hagerstown opens before I call to see if they have any. Lucky for me this particular color is a no dye lot, so the yarn shouldn't be any different. If I can't find it at AC Moore, I might be forced to order it online... for $4 a skein with $5 in shipping. Grrr! My hope is that it doesn't come to that. As soon as I get it done, I'll post pics of the blanket here. Hopefully it won't take long to locate that last skein.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"I am a dalek... EXTERMINATE!!!"

My parents and sister showed me a video last night that my sister had captured on her camera. Somewhere after a TV show that had a model or picture of a dalek from Doctor Who, Dougie began walking around in a stiff robotic manner with his hands out in front of him, moving in choppy up and down arcs, saying, "I am a dalek... EXTERMINATE!!!"He "attacked" my father who played along and screamed as Dougie the dalek touched him. Then Dougie went after my mother in the kitchen with a similar response from her.

I love that my kiddos are as kooky as I am sometimes!