Tuesday, December 30, 2008
With the New Year fast approaching, thoughts inevitably turn towards resolutions, new beginnings, and goals. Some of my goals for 2009 are rather mundane, for example, losing 20 lbs, getting our paperwork in order, finally making a will. But I encourage you to reach beyond the ordinary.
"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep for every dream precedes the goal."
Here are some goals to inspire you:
100 Pushups Challange
40 Day Love Challange. Love like you really mean it.
Break the Water Bottle Habit
43 Things Start making your Life List
What are some of your goals for the coming year?
Monday, December 29, 2008
A quick snapshot from our day:
We recycled this morning. We usually do, but I've felt a little bit of pressure ever since the local newspaper caught me downtown last week with the Question of the Day, which was "Do you recycle? Why?". I stammered out something and posed for a bad photograph. Now, people I know (and some I don't) come up to me and say, "Hey, you recycle!" Um, yes, yes I do. Most all of the time. Just don't go through my trash too closely.
This is simmering in the crockpot and smells wonderful. The Master is sure that we're having lasagna and is happily running around, singing this at the top of his lungs.
I just got a report from the Munchkins that one of our cats is "stuck in the wall".
I've gained 4 pounds over the holidays, in part because of this. And, of course, this.
The FedEx truck just pulled up, with our Christmas cards. yea.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Here's an easy way to make your whole house smell warm and homey and wonderful. Fill a saucepan with water, throw in a few cinnamon sticks (or a few shakes of ground cinnamon) and add the peel of an orange. Simmer on your stove, adding water as needed.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Do you recognize this sound clip? Miss Munchkin watched this "classic" movie for the first time with her Dad last night.
Hint: the photo may or may not be related to the movie. I might just be trying to throw you off! :)
Thursday, December 25, 2008
And here's a yummy cake that we made yesterday. It was a huge hit.
Golden Rum Cake
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. veggie oil
1/2 c. dark rum
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over the bottom of the pan. Combine cake mix and pudding mix. Add eggs, water, oil and rum. Blend well and pour over nuts in pan. Bake 60 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes. Pour glaze over cake in pan, allowing it to seep around the edges. After cake is soaked in the yummy rum glaze, invert and serve.
Glaze: In a saucepan, combine 1/2 c. butter, 1/4 c. water and 1 c. sugar. Boil over med heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 c. rum.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I stumbled across this recipe yesterday. I think it would be a perfect complement with coffee on Christmas morning. I'll let you know - I am definitely going to try it.
In martial art's class tonight, we learned a new grappling move - how to submit someone by performing the Paintbrush on them. Basically, you take their arm and - well, here's a YouTube video to show you - it's rather hard to explain. But it was fun to do on Miss Munchkin. :)
Oh, my Christmas cards are still riding around in the back of a Fed Ex truck. They are now a week overdue.
The Master has become a Wierd Al fan.
Ok, I think that's enough random rambling for now.
I finished my gift for our martial arts teachers. I bought simple white handtowels and embroidered pithy/appropriate sayings on them. These say:
"Sweat saves blood."
"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea." (for our Irish instructor)
"I kick people for fun."
Not pictured is the one I gave out last night, "Sweat is the cologne of success."
I tied each one with a black ribbon, in a traditional black-belt knot.
Since these are plushy towels, they were about $5 a piece, still not bad for a teacher gift!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
If you want to try this at home, ask someone to grab you from behind, trapping your arms to your body. First, drop your weight, like the Master is doing. Even though you can't raise your arms, you can lower them, which allows an effective fist to the groin. Add in some foot stomps and some furious wiggling and you should be free! Now, quick, throw some combatives and run away. :)
Miss Munchkin and I are quietly sporting stiff, new green belts. Woo Hoo! :)
Friday, December 19, 2008
sung to the tune of "O Tannenbaum"
O Christmas cards, O Christmas cards
Why have you not come yet?
I ordered you
so long ago
I had no idea
you wouldn't show
O Christmas cards, O Christmas cards
I need you yesterday.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
This week is Belt Testing for me and the Munchkins. Miss Munchkin and I are going for our green and the Master, purple. The last 3 months we've been working on various self protection techniques including how to get out of choke holds, bear hugs and hair grabs. We've also been working on clinching, throwing knee strikes and some new boxing combinations. Add on a new form and some work with our escrima sticks and we have quite a bit of new material to remember!
Wish us luck. :)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I am constantly inspired and amazed by the talent I find on Flickr. Here are some of my current favorites. Enjoy!
1. Door, 2. my loves, 3. so had to try this...., 4. Quand on aime, on ne compte pas..., 5. Eye, 6. Aubriana with Red Hat, 7. Untitled, 8. smoosh, 9. Coming soon...., 10. Untitled, 11. the one i loved, 12. OMG!, 13. hold on, 14. shhhh...., 15. 20081130_3560-2, 16. 20081130_3557-2, 17. tapout, 18. black and white frosted grass, 19. The Crescent Moon, 20. Untitled, 21. 20081120_2980-2, 22. Let it Snow, 23. november red, 24. Punkin, 25. Clinton Lake Sunset
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This is Buddermilk. Bud for short. Before I met him, he was a wild mustang, roaming free in Wyoming. I bought him when I was 13. He was gentle and timid, he hated trailers and loved orange Popsicles.
Owning a horse was a good thing for me. I worked hard hauling hay, breaking ice, and cleaning stables. I had callouses on my hands and sore muscles. But the magic of having a horse made it all worth it.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Remember at the Tea when you were waiting for a break in the action so you could run up on stage and grab T's guitar? Well, you probably forgot all about me standing behind you. With my camera. Well, your jeans looked so cute that I had to, HAD to get a quick picture. That'll teach you to turn your back on a lady with a camera! ;)
Seriously, I love these jeans.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Miss Munchkin was telling me about a complement a teacher gave her today.
"She said that I was smart and that I was doing great in Latin. (thoughtful pause) I always thought that I was just average. And everyone else was below average."
That's my girl. Humble to a fault. :)
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
This photo cracks me up! Yesterday was our last day of dog sitting. We sure enjoyed spending time with these two. I took over 200 photos and narrowed it down to 75 of the best and will be presenting them on a disc to the owners today. You can see a few more of my favorites here.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
We have two neurotic animals that are driving me slightly insane. Our indoor cat dislikes our outdoor cats immensely. If they come in to visit and leave a little "present" in the litter box, Miss Prissy goes into freak-out mode and promptly starts using any rubber-backed rug in protest. We no longer have area rugs or rubber mats down on the floor because she will mark it with stinky bodily fluids. You can imaging the amount of dirt and mud we are tracking in with no mats in front of our doors.
This is a problem for the dog. See, he has his own neurosis - he can not step on any hard floor without freaking out. If he ventures too far onto our Pergo kitchen floor, he freezes then tries to lurch to safety, causing his legs to slide out from under him. After he falls down, he refuses to move until someone comes along and scoots him towards a carpeted surface.
We have tile by the only door the dog uses to go outside. If there isn't a rug down, he refuses to step over the threshold. If there is, the cat will ruin it.
Friday, December 05, 2008
I learned a little something new this morning. Apparently, if you have low blood pressure (either from exercising enough to be really healthy or just exercising enough to be really dehydrated), it takes longer for Novocaine to kick in at the dentist's. Who knew? Well, apparently dentists do. In fact, if you have low blood pressure, they will ask you to come in to the office 15 minutes early just so they can numb you up properly before doing any drilling. Just saying. I have to admit, I was starting to freak out a bit after the third set of numbing shots. Why isn't this working?!! Well, now I know. And so do you.
I'mb goin' to go rest by numb face now.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
We've been petsitting this beautiful dog and a fat little beagle this week. Lady is the such a friendly, happy girl. I've been inspired by the wonderful work of Shine Pet Photos and I've been trying to get some photos of these guys for a surprise Christmas gift.
Anyone up for a game of "Ball"?
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This year I was thinking about giving each of our martial arts instructors a personalized sweat towel along with a thank you note. I can buy some plain, some white hand towels and embroider something on them (in a very manly fashion, of course). But what to put? Here are some ideas I've been kicking around:
1. Cry in the dojo; Laugh on the battlefield.
2. Sweat is the cologne of achievement.
3. Don't sweat the petty things; Don't pet the sweaty things.
4. Suck it up!
5. instructor's name or initials
6. Sweat (verb): to perspire, to work hard, to exude moisture, to earn or obtain (a result, promotion, compliment) by hard work
What do you think? Any favorites? Other sayings or ideas? I'd love some feedback.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The Master is in little boy heaven. This morning he rescued a little mouse from one our cats and has spent a happy amount of time making a home for him in the woods. "I heard him squeaking for his life," the Master reported. "And saved him from the Lethal Cat of Doom."
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I am feeling thankful for many things this year - my wonderful family, my health, good friends, our home in the country.
I am thankful that this coming week will be an "easy" week (many of our regular activities are canceled) and am looking forward to Dinner at my mom's. Every year she hosts a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. My Favorite Sister will be there - she's coming home from college for a few days - we can't wait to see her!
Ever since I tried Katherine's Sweet Potato Casserole, I've made it every year for Thanksgiving dinner. It's that good. I also like how I can easily adapt it for Miss Munchkin by substituting dairy-free butter and a gluten-free flour.
Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Our President's 2008 Thanksgiving proclamation.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Last night in Martial Arts class we did some basic grappling (sort of like wrestling). One of the things we worked on was an armbar. If you do this right (or wrong), you can break a person's elbow. Here's the basic technique:
When you have the arm, the person's thumb needs to be pointed up for the elbow joint to be in the correct position. If you try this at home, be very careful at the end; if you pull too hard, too fast, you will hurt your partner.
Ok, everyone grab your loved ones and give this a try! :)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
There is a new sound in our house. It's the sweet, sweet sound of silence.
For the last few months, one of the fire alarms in our basement has been telling us that it's time to change its battery. You know, that lovely shrill, short chirp that is impossible to ignore.
chirp.......chirp......chirp........ every. few. minutes.
I found the alarm pretty easily - well sort of. It was in the storage room, the unfinished part of our basement which houses our furnace and sump pump. There are actually two alarms on the ceiling in there, about 2 feet apart. One is a standard hardwired unit, the other is part of the alarm system. So I stood there for ages, up on a chair between the alarms, listening. Which one was it? It was sure hard to tell! Oh well, I changed both their batteries, just in case. Chirp! I took apart the alarms, dusted them, checked the wires and put everything back. Chirp! I voiced my frustration to my husband. He changed the batteries. Chirp! Finally I unscrewed the things from the ceiling and totally disassembled them. We're talking naked wires hanging from the ceiling. The chirping continued! What?! How can a wire chirp? Did we have a haunted fire alarm? I wondered who I could call - my father-in-law, an electrician, a fireman? No, I couldn't - it's too embarrassing!
Fast forward 2 months. The chirping is still there. Frankly it has become a touchy subject in our house. I'm annoyed that my husband can't fix it. Our dog has been reduced trembling whimpers. The children have been avoiding the basement entirely. My right eye has developed a twitch.
Yesterday I had a new idea - maybe the alarm is chirping because it's been disabled. A failsafe chirp. Sort of a "You are not protected. Someone has ripped your fire alarm into pieces" warning. So last night, I went through the whole routine again. I installed new new batteries, inspected all the parts and pieces, wiggled wires, and put the alarms back up. As I listened for the telltale chirp, I heard it - a little closer to the ground then it had been before. I started looking around and focused on several storage boxes that were sitting, um, underneath the smoke alarms. There, hiding deep in a storage box, I discovered a third smoke detector, chirping. I rushed it from the room, put in a new battery and put it out in our garage. Far, far from me.
Ah, finally. Silence. Sweet, sweet silence.
By the way, this if you haven't changed your batteries on your smoke detectors, do so immediately. Not only might it save your life, it might save your sanity.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to take photos in a brand new, beautiful house. The contractor hired me to document some of the features and details that went into this lovely home. I can't wait to post pictures, but I promised myself that I would editing finish poor, patient Rechelle's photos before I started playing with this new batch. (I'm almost done, Rechelle! There are just so many great shots...) So, in the meantime, picture in your head rich wood floors, stone arches, 3 fireplaces, thick warm carpet, beautiful tile work, a fabulous curving staircase and a master closet bigger than Master Munchkin's bedroom.
"O my leg!" (Does anyone know the reference for this? If you have an elementary school-aged child, you just might.) This week in Martial Arts class we did Wall Tortures. You stand against a wall and a partner "helps" stretch your leg up - basically to the point where you are not smiling any more. Then, after a proper front stretch, you turn to the side and do it again. Only this time, once your leg is as high as it goes, your partner lets go and you have to hold your leg up (by your own muscles) until the instructor lets you put it down. You know you want to try it. So, right now, head over to the nearest wall, stand sideways and lift one leg up higher than your waistline and hold it there. Till your muscles shake and you start to complain and sweat. Then hold it longer. It helps if you point your other heel away from the wall. Miss Munchkin loves these because she can get her foot almost as high as her head and, obviously, she likes to show off. Humph!
We had the first snowflakes of the season today.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In a renewed effort to get in shape and loose that last 20 lbs, I've been stopping by the local community gym after dropping the kids off at school in the mornings. Yesterday went well - I "elipted" for 30 minutes on my favorite machine of torture. Today I worked with weights and targeted my arms. Right now, they are so shaky and tired that I can hardly lift my favorite cookie to my mouth. O the pain, the agony... :P
On the upside, I have a photoshoot on Thursday. Something entirely new for me - It's shooting a house, inside and out, for a local construction company, before the owners take possession. I am so excited!
This morning, Master Muchkin, being a 7 year old boy, asked me, "Why does shampoo have the word POO in it?" He sounded somewhat suspicious.
And Daylight Savings Time is still messing with me. I am ready for bed about 9-9:30 at night and wake up, ready to go, around 4 AM. Aughhhh!
It's a cold, wet, dreary day here. I just finished making a pot of tea and am off to spend some time post-processing Rechelle's photos.