Friday, December 31, 2004

"Blog" Made Top Ten

In the Register this past Monday, there was a list of the ten most popular words, phrases, and sayings of 2004. "BLOG" made the list! Some fun statistics from the article: "Technocrati, a website that tracks 5 million blogs, estimates 15,000 are started each day. had more than 2 million active users and almost 400 postings a minute." Want more blog fun? Check out K Murphy J's Blexicon - so very clever.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Lost in a Good Book

I was able to finish Lost in a Good Book over the Christmas weekend, and it did not dissappoint - a very clever, very good book. I'm going to go to the library and get the next book about Thursday Next, that is, if the library is even open this weekend. If you love books, love literature, love libraries, you will like these books. They are on the top of my list, right up there with Mary Russell (books by Laurie King) and Harry Potter (you know that fellow) books. (A note to you perfectionists out there: I haven't changed the sidebar yet because I can't remember the name of the new book I started, and I'm too tired to walk back to the bedroom and clean up enough to find it. Yikes, huh? So why am I typing and not going to bed? Good question. Bye.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Summing Up Christmas

We are back home after a long weekend with my parents, and I am happy to report that we had a road trip with no puking! (it was so nice to come home and not clean up a huge mess in the car) Samuel did very well on this trip - he only cried for the last 20 minutes in the car, and it wasn't even hard crying. Sally, of course, is a great traveler - such a trooper. We listened to the end of "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" and the beginning of "The Magician's Nephew" (thanks again, Mom and Ken, for a great gift!). At my parents, we had a very nice, relaxing time. The nice thing about where they live is that I have never lived there, so I know almost no one. I can wear jeans and sweats and no makeup and my hair in a clip the whole time and not care. My mom and sister and I went out for coffee and a bagel on Friday morning, and I got ready to go in four minutes. I'm not kidding! The wind was strong that morning, so that's what styled my hair :) Anyway, we had a great time, and all the kids played together so well. My nephew, Evan (he's four), told me one afternoon, "Aunt Sheila, Samuel has been sleeping long enough. You need to get him up because I want to play with him." So cute! They mostly played trains - Evan and Josh are into the Thomas the Train sets. My mom and dad got a starter set for Samuel, and when we got home and he realized he had his own trains, his face was just pure joy. He makes a little clicking sound with his tongue when he pushes the trains - he's so funny. Well, I could go on and on, about how my mom made too much good food - as always - or about how we played several games of liverpool rummy, our family's favorite card game or about how we laughed at the kids or all the nice gifts we got - but I think you get the picture. It's nice to be home, too. I was able to do three loads of laundry yesterday after we got home (we ordered pizza for dinner :) ) so now I'm facing taking down the Christmas decorations. It's raining hard outside, and the sun hasn't come out yet (it's 8:30 as I finish this - I got interrupted several times) so Sally has suggested we make hot chocolate. Yum. I think we need to make a fire, too. And maybe read some books before we clean. Maybe clean. Maybe not . . .

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Weekend In Pictures

The fishing trip. I think this is Evan's catch. Posted by Hello

My favorite pic of the season - the crazy family pose. We took some regular ones, too, but you'll have to come over to see that one! :) Posted by Hello

Just the girls - my mom, me, my sister, my daughter. Posted by Hello

My parents with all four of their grandkids. Don't they look happy? :) Posted by Hello

Sally with her favorite gift - the cradle that my Dad made for me many many Christmases ago. (Sally, being the only granddaughter, also got the highchair that Dad made for my sister, Joy.) Posted by Hello

How does this drill work? Posted by Hello

Samuel, modeling the favorite gift of the year - the safety goggles that came with the toy chainsaws that my parents got for my nephews. Those boys LOVED the power tools! They were sorely disappointed that they didn't actually cut wood. Posted by Hello

Samuel, Christmas morning. He kept up with the other kids with the unwrapping of the gifts, ripping paper like a pro. (That's me on the left, with my new jammies. Thanks, Mom and Dad!) Posted by Hello

This is my family, my sister's family, and my cousin's family. Yes, there are seven children there - and Sally, at 5, was the oldest. Posted by Hello

Sally gets a share of the shake . . . finally. Posted by Hello

Samuel with MY chocolate shake! He wouldn't give it back! He's actually laughing at me. Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

We are enjoying a wonderful Christmas at my folks house - too much food, too many gifts, too much fun :) We've played the cards (liverpool rummy), put together the puzzles (my sister and I love this - we've done two this year), and managed to watch the kiddos all the while. My dad took Stuart and Sally and Uncle Dre (Sally's uncle) and Cousin Evan (again, Sally's cousin) fishing today, and they were thrilled that every person caught at least one fish. I'll post more once we're home, and put up a few pics, too. I hope you are all having a wonderful day with your families. Blessings.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Well, I called it pretty close - the sixth Harry Potter book will be released on July 16, 2005. Such happy news! So, I know KMJ is a fellow HP fan - anyone else out there? Who do you think the Half-Blood Prince is? Rowling has already revealed that it isn't Harry Potter or Lord Voldemort. My guess is Seamus Finnigan, and Stuart's money is on Dudley Dursley. (Some internet fun: if you haven't been to J.K.Rowling's site, it's pretty cool. She has lots of little goodies hidden for you. If you want to know all the secrets, there are hints at MuggleNet, my favorite HP fansite.)

Monday, December 20, 2004

Thanks, Foxtrot. (thanks, blog technos, for the advice!) Click on this for a bigger pic that is easier to read :) Posted by Hello

I did it! Enjoy! (When I tried this the first time, I changed the file name to .jpeg, but this time I used the pulldown menu to change it to a .jpeg, and then it worked fine. Go figure.) Posted by Hello

Desperate for Housewives

I'll admit it - I'm totally hooked on Desperate Housewives. I know, it's a trashy, nighttime soap opera. I know it's the new version of Dallas or Dynasty. I don't care. It's so great. Every week, there are new secrets revealed and someone does something really stupid. It's my guilty pleasure, but I don't really feel guilty about it. It's an hour a week (well, less, because I tivo it and fast forward the commercials), and I don't watch any daytime soaps (ooh, doesn't it sound like I am trying to justify it? :) ) Bree, Susan, Lynette, and Gabrielle have replaced Carrie, Miranda, Charolette and Samantha for me. Interesting. (And you must check out this apron in the merchandise section - too funny!)


Sally has been running around the house for the past five minutes singing, "Chubby chubby cheeks! Chubby chubby cheeks! Yummy chubby cheeks! Kiss the chubby cheeks!" All the while, stopping to squeeze, rub, and kiss Samuel's cheeks. And he's laughing and loving it.

Quote for the Day

This one is another anonymous email I received this morning. (Thanks, Uncle Cliff!)

The older I get --
the longer I hold on to a holiday hug--
the more I realize Christmas
is a matter of the heart--
the tighter my throat gets when I sing
Silent Night--
the more I enjoy giving than receiving--
the more I try to see Christmas
through the eyes of a child--
the longer I sit at night in the
glow of the Christmas tree--
the more wondrously beautiful
the Christmas Story is--
the deeper my awe at God's infinite love-
the more I love Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Foxtrot Does It Again

Today is another great Foxtrot comic strip. Check it out!

(I've tried to put the comic here for you to see, but I can't figure out how to do it. I can paste it into an email, but not into blogger. There is probably a very good reason for that - I'm guessing a copyrighted deal - but if anyone can enlighten me, let me know. I've also tried saving it as a pic file and then posting it through "Hello" but no luck there either. Help, oh blogger brainiacs!)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ah, a photo of a typical scene - Sally being darling, Samuel throwing a fit. The blankets are cute though, huh? Posted by Hello

Sally took this picture of Samuel with his new blankie (thanks, Grandma Tina and Grandpa Ken!). He had a cold - can you tell he feels lousy? Posted by Hello

Sally is really good at the hula hoop. Stuart and I are amazed at her talent. (Thanks, Grandma Tina and Grandpa Ken, for the new purple jammies!) Posted by Hello

Miss Muffet

According to Sally:
"Little Miss Muffet, sat on her puffet,
Eating her curds away.
Along came a spider, sat down by her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away."
When asked what a puffet is, she laughed and said,
"Something to sit on, silly!"

Blown Away

It's windy here today! Our windchimes have been going nonstop since last night. Hopefully our little dog Simba won't blow away! Weather says gusts are 25-35 mph, but I think it must be higher than that. The house is making shaking sounds!

I've Got A Golden Ticket!

Oh, we love "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"! And we can't wait for the new one to come out in July 2005! The trailer was released today. Johnny Depp looks like a great Willie Wonka! (i went a little link happy today)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Murder Must Advertise

You may have noticed that I have taken Murder Must Advertise off of my reading list. I finally finished it! It took me awhile to get into it, and to get used to the english phrasing that I am sure is classic Sayers writing. By the end, I was hooked. Loved it. I put the rest of the Lord Peter books on my "To Read" list. Now I can devote myself fully to the Fforde book :) I've had to renew it twice - that's a first for me.

Email Fun

You know those email jokes - you get them, you've probably forwarded a few. My sister, Joy, sent this one to me this morning, and I got such a kick out of it that I had to post it here. I don't know who wrote this, but whoever you are, thanks for a laugh.

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly! Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch.You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're goingto turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your appetite. Christmas is a time to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it.

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. What other holiday can you eat more than one dessert?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, you have to have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Weekend In Pictures

Samuel and Sally at Disneyland. Sunday was the last weekend non-blackout day for Southern California Passholders, and lots of us were there enjoying the lights, the gianormous (our word we made up) tree, and the Christmas parade. Posted by Hello

We've decided to call this room our "Breakfast Nook". I'm so excited! Posted by Hello

Sally and Simba stand in the new door. Posted by Hello

Stuart and his friend, Bruce, started work on enclosing our patio. They got all the framing done in one day! Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Last weekend Sally and I made paper snowflakes. Today my friend, Debbie, showed me the web version. Make your own snowflake too!

Please Pray For This Girl

Please join me in praying for my friend's four year old daughter, Cassia. She was attacked by dogs earlier this month, and is now recovering from several major gashes, a long hospital stay, and the emotional scars that come with such an attack. My friend, Barbara, went to high school with me (well, ninth grade). Now, she is a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators, along with her husband and three kids. They were about to leave for furlough when this tradegy delayed their trip.

Mommy's Little Helper

Yesterday, as I was putting Sally's hair into ponytails, Samuel stirred my coffee with a makeup brush. Silence is such sweet sorrow to a mom.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Everybody loves soup

We are soup eaters in this house. We all love soup. I had to try this recipe when I saw it on Rachel Ray's Thanksgiving in an Hour program. It's very good. We served it with extra nutmeg. Yum. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Soup (from Rachael Ray)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 fresh bay leaf
2 ribs celery with greens, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 tablespoons hot sauce
6 cups chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can cooked pumpkin puree
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add bay, celery, and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, poultry seasoning and hot sauce then cook flour a minute. Whisk in chicken stock and bring liquid to a bubble. Whisk in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate it into the broth. Simmer soup 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

Adjust seasonings in soup and serve soup in shallow bowls.

Bad Mommy Syndrome

Sally comes home from school today, and hands me her papers, and then hands me her lunchbox. "Mom, I couldn't eat my banana today because you forgot to give me cereal and Mrs. Griffin gave me the ABC crackers." Oh no. She didn't say that. She couldn't have. I sit down at the kitchen table and stare long at her.

"Sally, what did you tell your teacher?"

"I told her you didn't give me no breakfast today."

"Well, that makes me mad, because I asked you two times to come to breakfast, and you told me you weren't hungry."


"You wanted to play your computer game longer, remember?"

"Oh yeah."

"And now I'm upset that your teacher thinks I didn't give you breakfast, when really I tried to get you to eat twice. And I'm mad that you told her that I forgot to feed you, because that's not true, and now she might think I am a bad mommy."

"Oh no, Mom, she thinks you are a nice mommy." We stare at each other for awhile. I am at a loss for words. "Well, maybe I could eat that banana now. Good idea, huh mom?"

Good idea, Sally. And here's another good idea: no computer, no tv, no music, until you eat your breakfast in the morning. I'll let you know if I get a visit from Child Protective Services.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Quote for the Day

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice."
Matthew 12:7

Monday, December 06, 2004

Decorating for Christmas

Peppermint hot chocolate in a big holiday mug. I love it! Posted by Hello

This is one of our nativity sets. I haven't got all of them down yet, as most of mine are breakable, and Samuel is, well, you have been reading my blog? He's one and a half. I think I'll just be happy with the kid-friendly ones this year. This one lights up and plays "Away in a Manger." Posted by Hello

Here is our Christmas tree, decorated by Sally. Posted by Hello

Friday, December 03, 2004

Wardrobe Malfunction

We are teaching Samuel the names of body parts. Where's your nose? Where's your eyes? Where's your hair? My favorite is Where's your fingers? because he wiggles his fingers, and he's just so cute. So the other day I asked him Where's your belly button? He grabs his shirt and pulls it up, but it won't budge - it was one of those snapped at the bottom shirts. He couldn't find his belly button. He was so confused. It was so funny.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Welcoming the season

Ah, December. I can welcome you with a strong hand and a happy heart! I felt a bit cheated the last two years - last year, I was recovering from gall bladder surgery and caring for a five month old baby (tired,tired,tired) and the year before that I was experiencing the horrible 24-hours-a-day morning sickness that is the legacy of the women in my family. So Christmas has been rushed, cut back, and during the sickness, canceled altogether. So I am so excited to begin December this year right - with decorations and cookies. Monday we made the spritz (almond sugar cookies - my favorite) and today we're making ginger ones. Sally has decorated our little fiber-optic tree all by herself (it looks good, too) and I've put up some wreaths, some garland, some outdoor lights. There's more to do, but it already looks and smells like the holidays here, and for that I am so thankful. I'm also thankful to my wonderful mother-in-law for teaching me about parchment paper and cookies - what a genius! It's so much easier with the paper! Samuel, bless his little heart, wants to help with the baking so much, but he just isn't old enough to be trusted with a spoon and a large bowl of cookie dough. So he pushes the chairs around, climbing up to see what's on the counter, coming back to the table to see if there is an opening near the bowl (there never is), and begging for hot cookies when they come out of the oven. Sally is a great stirrer, and she is also in charge of decorating sugars. (I also taught her to dry dishes, which she thinks is a great job.) It's a wonderful life! (oh now, don't groan, it's my favorite christmas movie and I cry every year. please indulge me! thanks!)

Comics for smart people

Foxtrot is one of my favorite comics. This one makes me so happy. See it while you can!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The family looks on as Uncle Giff plays the piano for Samuel. I'm told this is a special treat, as Uncle Giff doesn't play often these days. He sounded good to me! Posted by Hello

Tai-Tai and Sally chat on Thanksgiving afternoon. Tai-Tai is Stuart's grandma - an inspiration to us all, a great great lady. We are so thankful for her. Posted by Hello