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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Naturally Nifty!!!

My blog friend, Jessica from Naturally Knitty sent me the cutest package today. It included an awesome note, some homemade stitch markers (love those ones that look like flowers!), and some note cards. It really made my day! I've really appreciated all of the people I've met through this blog and others that I read. Who knew that putting my life out there on the internet could be so rewarding?

Something else came in the mail today that I thought was for me at first glance. Then, I looked a little more closely and realized it was my husband's Mechanical Engineering magazine! Now he can't deny that I'm on the cutting edge of cool!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sock on Tour

Here's my Lorna's Laces sock (generic pattern) waiting to go whale watching. No sock was harmed during the puking aboard the boat.

In other knitting news, I finished one of the socks I'm making for my sister, Lisa (also known as "loser" when she comments on this site). I don't have a decent picture of it. I'm using an earth-toned Koigu and the Child's Fancy Silk Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. I love the scalloped edge on the cuff.

House news: we are about ready to make an offer on the Victorian house. Need a reminder? Here's a pic.
We went and saw it again tonight and had a look in the garage (which was locked the first time we went). Our realtor had been on vacation and didn't have the last bit of information we wanted before we placed an offer so we're going to do that on Wednesday. Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Frog!

My little frogger turned 3 today. Here he is before church. That was his best shot.


Big Apple was dressed up in her red Christmas outfit from Grandma Greer. Here is her best shot.
After a long day at church and going to some open houses (we found another possible home...makes us feel better that we have 2 good choices now), we came home and baked a birthday cake. I made a devil's food cake in my Pampered Chef skillet. Yummy. Frog agrees.

After the cake, we brought out his birthday present...the drum set! He immediately started drumming. He's got some skills.
Now it's off to the bathtub to play with his other great presents (a bath drum and some bath flutes from Uncle Eric and Aunt Connie). Sorry, no pics of that!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Long Beach 2006

I just want to say that I missed blogging so much more than I thought I would! I thought about it every day (okay, sometimes more) and was wishing that the hotel had free internet access. We were usually too busy or too tired to go up the street with the kiddos and sit in the Long Beach "hot spot". So, I'm making up for it by starting this entry just a few hours after we got home.

Here's a recap of our trip.

Monday: This was our travel day. Sugar Daddy spent the morning enriching the bright, young engineering minds of Nebraska. I spent the morning trying to put pants on two toddlers. We got out of the house around 11am and by 2pm we were in the air. Frog loved the airplane. He's been on plenty of airplanes but this is the first time I think he really "got it". He loved it so much that he threw one of his famous tantrums on the way out of our first leg (Phoenix). He kept screaming, "MORE! MORE AIRPLANE!". We tried to explain that after a quick stroller ride he would indeed get his wish, but try reasoning with a tantrum-throwing two yr. old. We were lucky enough that there was enough room on both flights that Big Apple got her own seat. The flight attendants were really great and gave us plenty of pretzels and drinks.

Our rental car was awesome. I'm a big fan of using Priceline for rental cars and most hotel rooms. This time around we got a Chevy Impala. It sure beat the Dodge Stratus we would normally get. Note: I owned a Dodge Stratus for several years and enjoyed it immensely---I just don't want to drive it as a rental with 2 kids to get in and out.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach. It is right along the harbor and has a great view of the Queen Mary. I would have taken pictures but we didn't have a balcony and the flash from the window wouldn't have done it justice. We went to bed almost as soon as we got there.

Tuesday: Sugar Daddy woke up early to go and register for his conference. He was also kind enough to snag us a little breakfast from the reception. I got a banana nut muffin and freshly squeezed orange juice. I made sure that he brought me that same breakfast the rest of the days we were there. I got the kids ready and we hung out in the hotel most of the morning. Sugar Daddy came back at noon to take us out to lunch. We just went across the street to Chilis. It was okay. The service was horrible. But, we had some good leftovers for dinner. That afternoon the kids and I walked around Shoreline Village and then played in the hotel until SD returned from his sessions. That night we went to Gameworks. We played skee ball, shootin hoops, and lots of games to win tickets to buy wonderful toys. Oh yes. We got plastic bracelets, a slinky, bubbles, a glider plane, and some other things. Very lucrative. :) The kids weren't so big on playing the games, but they loved the booty we brought home.

Wednesday: We started the morning with a good breakfast at the Long Beach Cafe. It was one of the best breakfast plates I've ever had. SD concurs but only because it was cheap, I'm sure. We had to have a good start to our day because we were going to DISNEYLAND! We went with our friends, the Vaughans, that live in Redondo Beach. They met us there and we started off at California Adventure. I hadn't been to Disneyland in probably 20 years. It was so great to see it again. The kids had a great time in the Bug's Life area at CA Adventure. Then, the grownups took turns riding Soarin'. It was pretty good. I loved how they have the smells of the pine trees and the ocean. Good stuff. After that, we booked it over to Disneyland to ride Buzz Lightyear. What a great ride. I wish I could have gone more than once (the kids and SD did while I went to Space Mountain w/ Catherine). It's my kind of ride. They score you on your ability to shoot at the alien targets. After Space Mountain, the kids danced at Club Buzz. Frog stole the show. He's really a talented dancer. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother, either. He's got some skills that are clearly genetic (SD and I aren't totally lame dancers but we have nothing on this kid). We also rode Pirates of the Caribbean (one of my all-time faves), Indiana Jones (so-so), It's a Small World (don't you have to go on this?), and the carousel. The lines weren't very long at all. I was surprised. We only used our fast passes once.

This day ended after the long trek back to the parking garage and then a 3o minute drive back to the hotel. The longest lines of the day were by far the ones for the parking tram.

The kids fell asleep on the way home and I had us make a little detour to the Alamitos Bay Yarn Company. I bought two skeins of Lorna's Laces in Flames and one skein of Debbie Bliss cashsoft in pale blue.

Thursday: Sugar Daddy spent all day and some of the evening at his conference. The kids and I walked around a lot. That night, Merrill and Bruce came over to swim. Frog and SD went down, too. I stayed in the room with BA. She was sleeping and I was knitting. I don't remember much about this day except that I remember questioning why I would want to spend a week in a hotel room instead of a week at home with the kids by myself.

Friday: This was our last full day in Long Beach and I was determined to make the most of it by going whale watching (also known as the $20 purge). Most of you know that I get horrible motion sickness. Why I thought I could do this is beyond me. The last time I went whale watching was when I was in 6th grade. I spent most of this trip puking. But, I did see 5 whales. I should have learned from my experience skiing and with horseback riding that there are some things I'm just not cut out to do. In my defense, Sugar Daddy puked first. I was doing okay. The kids fell asleep almost as soon as we hit the open water. I had to go to the bathroom and while I was in there I knew I wasn't going to make it much longer. I'm glad I puked in private and not over the side of the boat like my dear husband. We saw one sea lion and no whales. Lovely. No matter what I say remind me to never, ever go whale watching again.

Saturday: Like Monday, most of today was spent travelling. It was pretty much a repeat of Monday except the people at the LAX US Airways are jerks. The other airports had great customer service. Not LAX. I hate that place. Frog threw his tantrums today but I was more prepared for what I was up against. It didn't make it any more enjoyable, but at least I was ready. The leg from Phoenix to Omaha was a nightmare. It was a totally booked flight which meant that Big Apple had to be on our lap. We took turns. She was squirmy and cranky the whole ride. Luckily the guy sitting next to us was understanding and nice.

When we got home, we assessed the kitchen situation and I made a quick trip to the store. We need to have some food to celebrate the Frog's THIRD BIRTHDAY tomorrow! I can't believe he's going to be 3 already. I'll be sure to post about that tomorrow (and I'll include pictures!). For now, it's bedtime!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sock-A-Month KAL

I joined the sock-a-month KAL that is being hosted by Knittinmom. I've read her blog for a while (it's the "next" one on the Knitting Parents of Young Children ring) and was so excited to see this KAL start up. I've been knitting a lot of socks lately. They're so portable and fun. Here's my January pair.

Pattern: Lichen Ribbed Sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.
For: Sugar Daddy. This is the last time I'm making him anything, though, until he can prove himself "worthy" of hand knit gifts. He has only worn his professor vest a couple of times and I've been telling him to wear it or let me rip it out. I can make a lot of things out of that yarn!
Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote color: Zane Grey

I'm going to post some pics of the kids while I'm at it. I might not be blogging much this week since we are going to Long Beach again. The hotel we're staying at this time charges for internet service so we're not going to do that! There's a hot spot not far away where we can go and use the laptop but the chances of me getting to do that (and have the time to blog) are pretty slim.

Here's the sweet Big Apple. I tried really hard to get her to have a big toothy grin. You can see the bottom teeth but you're missing out on SIX top teeth as well! She's only 10 months old and is starting to look like a little grown up.

Frog is "Flippin' Sweet". I bought him this Napolean Dynamite shirt (mega-clearance!) because of my sister. This pic is for you, Lisa.


Last, but not least...a pic of both of them! Plus, a bonus! That's my big butt in the background knitting another pair of socks.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

House Update

We went to see the house today. It was better than I had imagined! We're going to wait a week and mull it over during our vacation and then we'll come back and decide whether or not to make an offer.

The wicker chair was still in the bathroom! We'll make sure to say that it must stay...otherwise, would Wendy want to come and visit without a throne room?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The New Dream House

What do you think?

It's an old Victorian in a little town outside of Lincoln (but still in our same church ward).

The porch

The kitchen

A bathroom


Check out that tub!

We're going to see it on Saturday. It's almost $20K cheaper than the house #1 in my previous post and is twice as big. Here are my concerns:

1. It's about 20 minutes outside of town.

2. While the school district is known to be good, I'm concerned about my kids being the only non-white kids in school (or in a HUGE minority).

3. Can I live without pizza delivery?

4. Can I really go back to small town living? I never really liked it much when I was growing up. But, then again...it will probably be a great place to raise a family.

5. What kind of resale value are we going to get out in the boonies?

Well, that's it. I'd love to hear what you think about the house. Also, from the people that know me---will I make it as a country girl again?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Simple, Really.

My favorite magazine is Real Simple. I love it. The ideas are useful to me and the design is stunning. I always get great ideas from it every month. One of the questions for next month is "How do you make house cleaning easier?". Hmmm. Can it ever be easy? It's no secret that I'm not the best homemaker in the world. I prefer knitting and making messes to cleaning them up. Doesn't everybody? Anyway, I was thinking about my answer to that question. I invite people over. I guess it doesn't really make house cleaning any easier but it does give me motivation.

Book club is at my house tomorrow night. I haven't finished the book yet. I'm loving it, though. It's The Kite Runner. Being sick has really taken its toll on the whole family and the house. With neither parent feeling good, we haven't been accomplishing too much. The Christmas tree is still up (surrounded by the Christmas presents we haven't put away yet). There's about an inch of dust on everything (I can't really blame that on being sick for 4 days since it probably took a little longer than that for it to accumulate). The good news: I know exactly what I'm making for treats and it shouldn't take me too long at all.

Back to Real Simple. They have some cleaning to-do lists that look pretty good. They would look even better if I didn't have major cleaning to do before I could even get to their "every day" suggestions. I guess I'll give it a go. I'm keeping my expectations low, however. Two very mobile, and very messy kids follow me around wherever I go.

Happy cleaning!

Monday, January 16, 2006

PFA Update

Down 2 more lbs. Not bad. I'm going to have to be more careful this week because I'm afraid the weight loss is more from me being sick than what I did myself.

I only went to the Y once this week. Big Apple was sick first. Then Frog. Then Sugar Daddy. Now me. We're all still dealing with it in one way or another but I'm the only one that can't talk. I've lost my voice. It's annoying. I also have no energy. Probably because I haven't had much of an appetite. No fun.

Well, duty calls. No sick days for me around here.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dream House

We went and looked at houses #1 and #3 this afternoon. The first house was everything I had imagined. But, I'm not ready to run out and buy it. It has beautiful hard wood floors and an awesome backyard. A great old house. But, it's not that big. We can get a much bigger house for the money if we find a newer one in a less "prestigious" neighborhood. That house just didn't give us room to grow. It would have been the perfect house for us had we been "empty nesters" instead of "nest fillers".

House number 3 was a disaster. The inside made no sense whatsoever. It had vaulted ceilings in the main living space and a wall dividing it from a hallway that only went up halfway. It had ugly wallpaper and really old appliances. No way José. No wonder it was so much cheaper.

Time to keep looking!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Home Search 2006

We got our first set of listings from the real estate agent. We're trying to take it slow but I can't help myself. We have until May on our lease and I really have no clue how long the process is to actually buy a house. I'm having fun looking. I made a list of my top 3 and so did Sugar Daddy. We picked the same ones! Finding a house we both like is probably going to be easier than I thought. Here are the pics. Any comments? Which one do you like the best? I think you should be able to click on the pics to make them bigger.

We only had a few criteria to give the agent. We wanted an established home in an established neighborhood. No cookie cutter subdivisions. No new houses w/o trees. She did a good job with the ones she sent us. I can't wait to go and see some of them...and then see more!

1.

2.


3.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Money Making Schemes

I tried to be a stay at home mom. I'm still trying. But, I miss making money. I don't want a job. I've got my hands full around here as it is. Teaching Spanish again is out of the question for many years. I don't want to teach piano again. I did my stint as the queen of Pampered Chef. What's left? Here are some of the options that Sugar Daddy and I discussed last night.

1. Stampin' Up. I've already got a crapload of the product and I know it is something that I really like to do. Concerns? It costs quite a bit to get started and the kit has hardly anything that I don't have yet. I'm also afraid of becoming my own best customer and not making any money. I also don't know for sure how "flooded" the market is here in Lincoln with SU demonstrators. Maybe Wendy could help me out with this one...

2. Knitting. SD came up with this one but I don't think he realizes how much time goes into making things. There is no way I could get paid what I'm "worth". I don't mind making things for people I know (for the cost of yarn)...especially if it's something I've been wanting to make but, I just don't think there is anything I could make that I could sell at a reasonable price.

3. Handmade gift cards. I can make cards. So can lots of other people. Could I make knitting note cards? Would my LYS carry them? I don't know. This could use some looking into I guess.

4. Paper route. Yeah, right.

5. Web designer. Huh? I don't know how the heck to do that. Sugar Daddy was on crack when he suggested that one. He quickly agreed.

Those are the options we've come up with so far. Got any ideas out there for me?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mormon Crafty Scary Frog Pics

I've been making it a habit lately to check my site meter. It's been a lot of fun to see the referring web pages. The best ones are usually the searches that happen on to my blog. Here are a couple I've seen in the last few days:

Mormon crafty
Scary frog pics
Veggie Tales fruit snacks
Creamy garlic soup
Big Apple vacation

I'm probably not exactly what these people were looking for. But, I can tell that VeggieTales searcher that I've found them here in town at the HyVee. I'll probably never buy them again because the whole time they were in the house Frog kept carrying the box around and saying:
"What's this?"
answer: "VeggieTales"
"Mmmhmm. VeggieTales! 1-2-3 10 VeggieTales!"
Even when they were gone, he kept getting the box out of the trash. He's so crazy.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

PFA Update

This past week was a disaster. Well, let me tell you the good things I did first. I worked out at the Y 3 times last week. They were really good workouts and I was sore...a good sore. Bad thing: working out makes me hungry. We had pizza 2 nights last week. Oops. I also finished off a bag of Twizzlers that came in my stocking. So, I lost a pound. That's it. At least I didn't gain.

I must say my clothes are fitting much better. My former "skinny" pants aren't tight. I should be keeping track of my inches lost. But, I'm not. I would probably be showing better progress there than with the weight.

I've been drinking my water and cutting down on the Diet Pepsi. I'm still not drinking as much as I should, but it's been a good start.

Last night I made my first Rachel Ray meal and we had leftovers today. It's #21 in her 365 cookbook. I can't remember the name right off hand but it is a citrus marinated chicken w/ a salad made w/ oranges, red onion, arugula, and radicchio. Boy, did I have a hard time finding arugula and radicchio. Actually, I didn't find them by themselves. I had to buy an organic wild greens salad mix that had both of them in there. It worked rather nicely. It is a definite "keeper". Tomorrow or Tuesday I'm going to try #19...Rosemary Corn Cakes w/ Prosciutto and Chicken Sausages. Yum-O!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Disneyland

In three weeks we are going on another trip to Long Beach. This is yet another perk of Sugar Daddy being a professor. He's going to a conference and we're tagging along. This time, we are going to go to Disneyland. We'll be going just shy of Frog's 3rd birthday. That'll save us about $60. :) Anyway, I haven't been to Disneyland in ages. When I was little, we'd go all the time. My grandparents lived in Anaheim so we would go anytime we would visit them (which was often since we lived in California, too). I know Melessa is an expert on all things DisneyWorld but does anyone have some tips for Disneyland and California Adventure?

Speaking of conferences, I found out SD is going to go to one this summer at Amelia Island, FL. It's at an awesome spa resort. I really want to go with him but I don't want to take the kids. I know. Good luck with that one. We don't have family close by...and even if we did, they probably wouldn't want to watch the kids for a couple of days. I've got a few months to think of something.

I have a feeling all of our family vacations for the next several years are going to revolve around where the ASME conferences are. In September we're heading to Philadelphia. I've never been there and I'm looking forward to it because that's where Eric & Connie live. They should still be there unless Eric decides to find a better job elsewhere. Either way, a trip to Philly is something to look forward to as well. We'll take the kids on that one for sure.

Speaking of the kids...here's an update. Big Apple has been doing laps around her room while I've been blogging tonight. She really is becoming quite the walker. Frog is busy playing with a balloon---make that a RED BALLOON--that he got from his trip to the mall with daddy today.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Crawling Out

Guess what? We're in debt. Sugar Daddy just got his first "real" job in June and I only worked full-time after college for 2 years before we got our kids (another huge expense) and then I only worked part-time. It was bound to happen, right?

Now that Sugar Daddy is gainfully employed, we've been working really hard on reducing that debt. Our goal: buy a house. We're not there yet but we're close. Today we had an appointment with a loan officer so we can possibly consolidate some of our high interest credit card debt. Looks good. What's even better? We got our credit report. I didn't realize how much not knowing my credit score was stressing me out. I've been worried for the past year or two that there was no way anybody would give us a mortgage. I don't know why I was so worried. We're good about paying our bills (even though they are numerous) and we haven't had credit problems in the past. I just thought my score would be low. Well, it's not. I'm so happy. We should have enough saved by the end of 2006 to have a good down payment and we'll be ready to go. What a relief.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cleaning House

I finally cleaned up the sidebar on my blog. It's been bugging me for some time but I never got around to doing anything about it until today. I also added a ticker for my 1st weight loss goal of 10 lbs. Once I reach that goal, I'm getting a massage. Oooh. I'll update that every week when I do my PFA blog entry.

I also got around to cleaning up around the house some today. With two little kids, it's a never-ending process (especially cleaning the living room where they play) but I feel good about what I accomplished today. I'm almost done with the laundry.

My next big job is to tackle the organization of my bills. I have a basket that I throw everything in but it gets so cluttered and I have to clean it out every time I pay bills. It's not working for me. I've got to come up with a better system and a better place to keep it. Right now it is on the kitchen table so if we ever want to eat there (and have more than 2 people sit down at a time), I have to move the basket. I'd like a permanent place for this stuff but it may not happen in the near future. But, I'm going to work on it. While I hate cleaning; I love to organize. I love throwing things out and putting things in containers and stuff. Fun fun fun!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Go Texas?

As a Sooner fan, it's hard for me to root for Texas. They're getting my support tonight.

Speaking of support...I'm wearing a pair of my khaki pants for the last time today. They keep falling off! Yippee!

Christy's Shrimp Pasta

I used my awesome cooking skills to come up with a great recipe. It was absolutely delicious!

1 package Tiger Bay shrimp sized 51-60 (found in the freezer section), thawed and peeled
1/2 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tbsp. butter

approximately 4 servings of angel hair pasta

I placed the first four ingredients in a pan on medium heat and started cooking. During that time, I cooked the angel hair pasta. It only takes a few minutes to cook once the water is boiling. The shrimp are done when they are nice and pink. It took about 5 minutes (I didn't preheat the pan or anything). I drained the pasta and added it to the pan and turned off the heat. I added another tbsp. of butter and swirled it all around to mix. Plate it up and eat it up!

This pasta was way better than any other shrimp pasta I've ever had (all restaurants included). It was yummy yummy. Even Sugar Daddy liked it and he's not a big fan of shrimp (crazy, I know...shrimp is absolutely delicioso!). He asked me if this was my first Rachel Ray dinner night. But, oh no! It's a Christy original. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sanitation Engineer

Frog has always been very keen on putting things in the trash can. He loves to clean up. I'm so proud! Lately he's been in the habit of putting trash in my face and smiling as big as he can. That's my cue to say "Put it in the trash!". Then, he'll repeat that and run off to the trash can to deposit whatever it is (usually an apple core). These past couple of days have been different. He's becoming less of a sanitation engineer and more of a poet. Instead of repeating 'put it in the trash', he'll stick out his pointing finger to make a check mark in the air and says, "Check into Cash!". He does still put whatever it is in the trash so I'm not complaining. What a good boy, right?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Big Apple Resolves

I guess Big Apple got it into her little head to have her own New Year's resolution this year. She has resolved to start walking full time. Beginning yesterday she went from taking a few timid steps here and there to walking just about everywhere. Fun times.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Project Fat Arse 2006

January 1st is almost over. I've had one whole day of this year to mess around and not work towards any of my goals. Yippee! My excuse? It's Sunday...a day of rest.

Project Fat Arse has been in motion for more than a few months now and I've been shedding some poundage. The food poisoning really helped with that but it is definitely not my preferred method of weight loss. At any rate, I took down my weight this morning and we are starting again at 0. I will be counting down the pounds from today---not from the beginning of PFA, or even from my highest weight. I plan on checking in with a PFA blog entry once a week with my progress.

Here is my plan.

a. Go to the Y at least 3 times a week. In the past, I've been averaging about 1-2 times a week. Some weeks I can go 4 days, others 1 or none. I took a pretty big break over the holidays so it's time to gear up again. I got a lovely new gym bag (2 actually--I took the one that I got from Sugar Daddy back to the store since I had a receipt for that one and truth be told, the other one was cuter and just as functional).

b. Eat out less. I got the new Rachel Ray 365 No Repeat cookbook and I can't wait to try out all of the great recipes. Even the most calorie-ridden recipes in that book aren't as bad as what I would get at a restaurant. So...see you later Monday night pizza and Rolling Wok chinese food.

c. Drink more water. Why can't I do this? I don't mind drinking water. But, if I have the choice between water and a Diet Pepsi--water almost always loses. Maybe I should make my Diet Pepsi less accessable or use them as rewards? We'll see about this one. I'll work on it.

That's it. If I have any more parts to the plan I'll most surely fail. Sweet and simple. The good news is that I already know that I love the Y. I like working out. Before the holidays I was doing really well working up to more and more mileage on the treadmill. I'm going to try and get more weight training as well. This should be a piece of cake. Mmmm. Cake. Well, maybe not so much.