Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Books

I read 39 books this year according to my GoodReads tracker.  This month I read the two I was planning on  (nothing worth mentioning) plus 3 more that were on the best books of the year list at goodreads.com and they just showed up from the library faster than I was anticipating.


I read Confess (romance) and All the Bright Places (YA).  They were easy to read and (mostly) enjoyable.  More like guilty pleasure books than something you'd urge a friend to read.  I also read Modern Romance by comedian Aziz Ansari.  I was confused why the book was listed as non-fiction and not comedy.  That's because it is in fact non-fiction.  It's basically behavioral economics!  One of my favorite subjects!  So I really liked the book even if the topic was something I have zero interest/experience in - online dating.  Good read.

In 2016 I'm going to set my book reading goals back down to 24 books, 2 a month.  Last year I thought of a fantasy book situation I wanted to read but I couldn't find anything like it so I kept thinking more and more about it.  I figure this year I will attempt to construct something.  I don't really see myself as capable plus the idea seems too complicated for me.  But I really want to read it and no one else has agreed to write it.  I might drop the idea in a couple of weeks for as I said, no confidence in the project.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We got a little bit a snow.  Enough to build a little snowman before it melted.  The kids never saw the snow so they were confused about the snowman.  I threw out the idea that maybe he wandered out of the woods, looking for a cold place to stay the night.  I think they are growing skeptical.

We had a nice Christmas but I didn't buy anything for the pets so they were a little sad.  Next year I need to remember to have the kids get them something.

 Daisy impressed me by naming everything she unwrapped.  Here she is with her little 'oshi.  The only confusion was when Guy told her that a microscope was in fact a car wash.  She is still sticking to the car wash explanation.

The boys were just excited to give the gifts they picked out as they were to unwrap them.  That's nice to see as a parent.  I need to get them to pick out all the gifts.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Festivities

We found a tree!  We cut this one down because of the location.  We want our fruit trees and chicken coop here eventually.  Daisy supervised.

Daisy decorated.  The boys helped too. 

 We made our graham cracker houses.  Guy wanted me to take a photo of his in case he decides to eat it.

We went to Storybook Land for the second year in a row.  Daisy's favorite was "MIKE WAZOWSKI!"  I tried to get her to pose with a giant Mike but she was too scared.  Daisy really enjoyed this trip and would run from display to display saying stuff like "Wow!" and "I got lost, momma.".

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pen Holding Skills

I took a photo of Daisy defacing my personal coloring book.  Mainly because I was impressed with her work.  But later I studied her grip and it is in fact correct.  And now I know for the next time someone asks me how she holds a pencil...which happens more than you'd think.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lego Expo

We did something extra curricular!  Well, Guy did.  But I had to drive him there.  Guy was a participant in his first Lego Expo.  The theme of the build was the town.  So his team built a "skyscraper", naturally.  Not a train or a filbert farm or a motor home but a skyscraper.  Future thinkers for sure.  They did good.

Monday, December 7, 2015

December Goals

December Goals
1.  Enjoy Christmas season.
2.  See above.

November Accomplishments
1. We saw The Peanuts Movie and loved it.
2. Christmas plans are underway.  I have a couple little things to buy.  Cards to send.  A tree to put up.  Other than that it's just have fun.  We unpacked our Christmas books and have been reading them at bedtime all last week.
3.  Health Insurance is done and paid for.  It costs a fortune.  We pay 14% of our income on health insurance premiums and about 4% on co-pay/co-insurance etc. 18% of our income on health care.  The national average is 6%.  I looked at all the health care options and calculated out the premiums vs. the coverage on an average year for us and feel I picked the best one.  I have no idea what we are doing wrong but I'm going to assume it's the governments fault.  Or the lack of employer health care.  No matter the case the peace of mind is worth it.  I accept being ripped off.
4.  The garage is clean!  It's cold, though.
5.  Heater vents have been cleaned.  Good thing too, because we are using the heaters.  As I said, it is cold.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Books

This month I will be reading just 2 books.
21 Days to Train Your Dog - I'm going to train the dog.  I picked this one because the other book I found at the library took 30 days.  I'm already daydreaming about all the things I can do in those extra 9 days.
The Body in the Sleigh - My mom was getting rid of it and she said it was good.  Takes place during the holidays.  I think it might be about murder and not yule-tide cheer, but only one way to find out.


In November I read...
Two totally forgettable fashion books (by Tim Gunn and Marisa Lynch).  I guess it's just not that interesting of a topic.  At least to me.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  I think this author is slightly crazy and I really like her for it.  She is very passionate about tidying and enjoys touching things.  I am a firm believer in you should touch your stuff a lot.  And that is why everything in my house is covered in cheeto dust and melted popsicles.  I liked this book but I didn't see it as that different from other decluttering books.

The Wise Man's Fear is a very long, slightly verbose book.  The book's protagonist is a cocky, good-at-everything type of dude.  I was getting bored, it was getting old... but the good thing about overly descriptive books is you get very invested and you feel like you've really been there.  So, I'm attached, yes.  I've been on an incredible adventure.  I just wish I liked the main character.  I find high charisma appalling.

After that very long book, I was so excited to read something easy and short! The Awakening!  WAS TERRIBLE.  If someone is the first person to do something and then other people come along and do the same thing better....I guess you still give credit to the first?  But I don't want to read it.  I don't even want to read the current books about depressed, suicidal women.  No, thank you.

Thankfully I had another shortie to read...The Phantom Tollbooth.  This was an adventure story full of puns for youngsters.  I love puns!  They are very difficult for me to think up.  I find it incredible that someone came up with all of these puns and connected them all into a story.

Christmas Ornaments

We picked out our ornaments for 2015!
I got the house, same as every year.

Guy looked online and couldn't decide between a house that played music and Snoopy's pinewood derby. His favorite part of the "The Peanuts Movie" was Snoopy's airplane so he changed his mind in the store.  I'm glad he picked it over the pinewood derby because that one is Boy Scout-ish and he is not in the Boy Scouts.

Nels wanted Wonder Woman but they were out.  So after a bit of complaining he unenthusiastically picked out the second most bodacious babe, Tinker Bell.  Thankfully the gal working overheard him and found him a Wonder Woman he could turn into his own ornament.  He was very grateful.

Daisy looked at all the ornaments and screamed in delight when she found the babies.  She hugged the box all the way home.

I think we did really good this year.  Now we just have to hope the super glue doesn't need to come out.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent Begins...

Guy made us a very cool Advent wreath at Church. We lit the first candle yesterday for the start of Week 1. We decided to light the candles during dinner and the kids are a little worried the candles will melt all the way down by the end of Advent.  It's possible.  We may have to just start eating faster.
I always want to light the pink candle for the last week, but it's for week 3.  Must remember...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Swimming with Lil' Sis

We are still exploring kids activities in the area.  We found a wading pool!  I was thinking I could just sit on the side but Nels insisted I get in because he was worried about "falling in".  He never needed assistance.  Daisy was constantly yelling "Get me! Get me!" and running/falling away.  She never required assistance either.

At the Movies

We saw The Peanuts Movie!  And I bought too much popcorn.  I had to take the rest home because you could tell by the taste that it was expensive.

The movie was fantastic.  Obviously we just like Charlie Brown but I thought the animation (if you call it that?  CG?) for this movie was incredible.  We didn't see the 3D version.  The 2D was plenty fun to look at. Some tears were shed by Guy during several heartwarming moments and he was okay with that.  He didn't ask to leave like at Inside Out.

Guy remembered two previews he wanted to see after the movie... The Secret Life of Pets and The Angry Birds Movie.  He also added that Norm of the North looks really bad.   IT DID!  I was so proud.  I know everyone has different taste but I think mine are the most interesting. To me.  Kids will get to go see more movies if they pick the "good" ones.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Shopping with Kids

I'm a sucker when it comes to buying stuff for the kids.  Thankfully I resisted at the level of 50%!

Daisy wanted some small sized furniture. - this tiny chair and a small vanity.  She can't have a vanity because she currently has a little cut on her forehead and every time she sees it she gets to sobbing about the pain.  Right now it's best to just cover all the mirrors.  The chair on the other hand... well, it's cute but it doubt I could fit it in the cart.
"Buy dis, mom!"

Nels wanted this Walking Dead toy.  When he saw it he yelled "Cool! A dead guy!"  Who is this kid?  He wears zombie pajamas for the sole reason of scaring Guy.  I'm not sure if he really likes this stuff or if he just thinks it's funny.  I didn't buy the creepy toy.
"Cool!  A dead guy!"

I took the kids to the store to buy Lego Dimensions.  I didn't want it because it looks like a money pit.  But I'd been following the price on it and it was the lowest I'd seen.  I got it for $52 (originally $99) and I figure the rest of the pieces they can ask for during holidays or save their own money for them.  Even Daisy was so excited she couldn't resist jumping in the air with one arm up yelling "Yeah!"

Shopping with kids is stressful so mom deserved some cake.  At the bakery, Guy ordered a croissant and Nels and I, being the smart people we are, ordered cake.  Daisy was asleep and even putting chocolate cake up to her face wouldn't wake her.  Guy ate all his food and felt great.  Nels and I barely put a dent in ours before we decided it was just too much cake.  We shuffled through the rest of the day.  When Daisy woke up Nels had to mention she slept though the cake which resulted in some tears.  Thankfully we had the leftovers to offer Daisy which was promptly stolen by "man's best(?) friend".  If the dog ever walks around with a fork stuck in her eye, I will defend Daisy 100%.
"Too Much Cake!"


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Garage: Done! (For Now)

Outside View
My garage is done!

Back Wall
Here I have the Recycling Center,  Animal Area, and Workbench (with tubs underneath for Guy's schools recycling program).

Interior-side Wall
On the shelves I have Kids Toys, The To-Do Projects (for another day), Not-Often-Used Hobby Supplies (Sewing, Soap Making, Scrapbooking, Canning) Bulky or Specialty Kitchen Items, Office Supplies plus Printer, and the Chest Freezer.

Exterior- Side Wall
 On the exterior wall I have my music and my mini painting area.  Plus the kids ride-on toys (not pictured).  Once I get all these minis painted I'd love, love, love to get a kiln in this area.  We'll see. ;)

I'd love to make the area more visually pleasing but that will be one little project at a time.  I'm just going to enjoy parking in my garage for awhile before I start thinking about it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Spaghetti Night

 Guy and me attended his spaghetti and art night for his school.  When I told Guy I was going to take his picture he quickly wiped his face with a napkin!  This seemed totally out of character for him but maybe I haven't been paying attention.  Maybe he is secretly a really clean dude.

We had a really great time telling a story through coloring.  Guy was not amused when I drew a volcano right next to his house but he was okay with me shooting down his blimp so I wasn't sure where to draw the line (haha).

Guy's artwork from the event.  He was proud of his curly corn stems.  They do look very nice.  It's a nice piece of art for Thanksgiving.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Artist!

"I so piddy, mama"
Well... I guess?  I'll call her artistic.

Today she had to show me her "hippo".

First time I've seen her draw arms and legs on anything.  It's impressive to me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Good Team

With Guy in school, Nels and Daisy have become very good friends.  I feel like they have a special way of communicating.  This morning Nels told me I have to come see what broke - it's one of Daisy's things.  To which Daisy replied "OH NO!  MY THING!"  I still can't figure out what this broken "thing" is and I'm beginning to think I've been played.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Peanut Meal

We haven't made it to the Peanuts movie yet but we keep hearing how good it is!  We did make it to McDonalds for Peanuts toy, though.  Plus I bought some clearance Halloween candy (I know, I know) that is shaped like Peanuts characters.  We'll eat those AFTER seeing the movie.  The kids will appreciate them more that way.
Daisy & Lucy!  

Garage Progress

I pulled out everything from the garage that didn't belong and it looks like I'm having a yard sale.  I wanted to tackle it but it is going to take longer to do than I expected and it was raining!  I moved it all back into the garage.  Productive, yes? I'm having a hard time getting rid of this stuff which doesn't make sense because there is no way I'll ever dig through the boxes to retrieve any of this.  So I am tackling it Friday.  Figure I'll have a car load to donate and several trash bags full of stuff.  Maybe even a box will make it into the house.  Hopefully not!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Super Undies!

Miss Daisy saw some super hero underoos at the store last month and 'Peas! Mama, Peas!'ed her way into getting them.  They are quite popular.  Yesterday morning while Daisy was strutting around in them Nels asked "Will I ever be the right size for those?"

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November Goals

Goal #1.  The most important... take the kids to the see The Peanuts Movie.  This is certainly the easiest goal because you can't stop us.

Goal #2.  Christmas.  I usually try not to think about it until December but going to try something different this year.  I want to get gifts purchased or planned and I want to get Christmas break activities planned.  I love to plan so I'm looking forward to this.

Goal #3.  Health insurance.  The least fun of the bunch.  I need to figure out what we are doing for insurance next year and open enrollment has begun.

Goal #4.  Clean out the garage.  I got it slightly organized in September, I got a piece of furniture out last month.  I should be able to get this thing done, right?  Probably not but my goal is just to be able to get a car in there.

Goal #5.  Vacuum out heater vents.  This is only a goal because it's not going to get done if I don't put it on here.

October Accomplishments...

We planted our apple trees.  We have four and the whole family contributed with digging holes, separating the roots, and planting.  It's been raining since we planted them so I think we timed it perfectly.  We planted them near the future site of the chicken coop.  and the site of two future Christmas trees?

I got the hope chest done, the capsule wardrobe done, and Halloween taken care of.  For Halloween I didn't do as much as I was hoping for but I still consider it a success.  We had costumes and pumpkins and decorations.  I wish we went to a new Halloween experience place but I wasn't up for driving this month.  Next year!  For 2016 reference: Bauman's Farm, Lakeview Farms, or Fantasy Trail.
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Books

I picked out my November books from the library.  I picked up too many to add in from my book pile at home which has thankfully dwindled down to only 4 books - War & Peace, Gone with the Wind, and book 2 &3 from the Farseer trilogy.  Maybe December for those books.

I have two books to read that I'm very excited about The Wise Man's Fear and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I also have two fashion books (by Tim Gunn and Marisa Lynch) since I'm curious now that I have my capsule wardrobe at work on if I can make it better.  And then there are two highly-rated "quick" reads The Awakening and The Phantom Tollbooth.  Should make for a good month of reading.

From October's Reading...
I swapped War & Peace for A Knight of Seven Kingdoms.  I was on the wait list for the book and when it showed up I needed to read it.  I was thinking the book would be more difficult than it was, more of a history of Westeros.  I'm glad it wasn't because it was more fun and humorous than I was anticipating.

I read two self-help book.  Women Living Well is a Christian helpmate book based on a popular blog, I think.  It was okay for what it is.  I have enjoyed this style of support in the past but it's just not working for me now.  I feel like a lot of Christian stuff is just serve and give and take a bubble bath when you are burnt out.  I give enough people bubble baths so I think Codependent No More was much better.  It's also a Christian book and it says it's okay not to give and serve.  I like to hear that.  Also was a good reminder that all you need in life is someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.

Lastly I read What the Dormouse Said and picked out some of my favorite quotes and read the books and I was not amused.  The best new-to-me classic was The Runaway Bunny.  It was sweet with a sense of humor but I'm not buying the book and has no plans to get it from the library again.

Scrapbook Goals for November

I got the last year scrapbooked but I have no where to put the pages.  I see why you should work backwards but from a messy person perspective it doesn't work because these will get ruined before I ever get them in a book.  I'm resorting to my old technique of working oldest to more present.  In fact, I'm going to do one book at a time.  Or in the case of this month, two books.

Daisy Books
Book 1: 0-12months
Book 2: 1yr - end of age 2 (Feb 2016)

Nels Books
Book 1: 0-12months COMPLETE
Book 2: 1yr - end of age 2
Book 3: 3yr - end of age 5 (April 2017)

Guy Books
Book 1: 0-12months COMPLETE
Book 2: 1yr - end of age 2 COMPLETE
Book 3: 3yr - end of age 5 COMPLETE
Book 4: 6yr - end of age 8 (Sept 2016)

This month I want to finish Daisy's baby book (book #1) and Nels' second book.
Week 1: Planning week + print photos.  Find permanent home for finished books.
Week 2: See what I can do with the supplies I already have.
Week 3: Shop for additional supplies
Week 4:  Finish books.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Middle Child Cooking

I used to bake with Guy a lot but Nels, being neglected middle child, hasn't gotten to be in the kitchen as much but he's taken it upon himself to become experienced.  He thinks he's pretty great.  One night he and Guy entered a cookie baking contest.  Nels' ratios were off and I had to overcook his cookies to get them to solidify.  Nels glared at me and yelled "I lost the cookie contest because YOU burnt my cookies!"  He tried to reestablish his cooking cred by making some cookie batter while I had my back turned.  It was a concoction of cheese, eggs, strawberry syrup, worchestershire sauce, and who knows what else.  He demanded I bake it but I kept putting it off until he stopped caring...it was days later before I could dump it and clean it up.  I didn't want him to know he wasn't as good as he thought.

Thankfully Nels has found his specialty in piecing together meals.  He has been eager to put together breakfast and lunches for him and Daisy.  He made this breakfast without my help or knowledge.  Not bad.  The sprinkles condiment was a nice touch.


Hope Chest

This is my grandmothers hope chest.  It doesn't look very good anymore.  The plan was to sand it and restain or white wash it because wood is great and it shouldn't be covered with paint.  

 Sanding didn't go as planned.  I think this stain needed some chemical help?  I don't know.  Sherwin- Williams, you win!  I'll cover the earth.

I went through all the old abandoned paint buckets in the garage.  I found a grey I liked.

We have more house than we need but I'm struggling to find places to put things where they just won't get lost and forgotten.  I put the hope chest at the dining table for a kids bench.  So far I like it and they like to sit there too.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe

I started my wardrobe inspired by Project 333.  When I emptied out my closet I found it easier to pick out my 33 favorite things instead of trying to get rid of "x" number of items.  Aside from my husband accusing me of trying to move out with my empty closet, I have found it quite nice.  It is easier to find clothes and I feel like it's still more than I need.  4 pairs of pants?!  I can only wear one at a time!  I have noticed that I don't love all my clothes but with this method I think I'll put more thought into replacing things.  When you know what you have it's easier to pick out what you will use.

Clothing
7 Sweater/Jackets
7 Shirts
4 Tank Tops
4 Pants
2 Dresses

Shoes
Casual Shoes
Sandals
Boots

Accessories
3 Necklaces
1 Belt
2 Tights

Monday, October 19, 2015

Newts!

I saw a newt about a week ago and threw him in a shrubbery, hoping he could hide from the dog and cats that way.  Not sure if this is the same one or a different one.  Nels was happy to pick him up for a photo opportunity.

I tried to give the newt to Daisy but she ran away and cried.  I thought girls loved amphibians?