Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Gift That Keeps on GIving

My poor sister had no idea that that tickle in the back of her throat Christmas day was not in fact just a dry throat. She and her husband provided a gorgeous prime rib roast and salmon for Christmas dinner. She was excited about it and helped prepare it. That evening, she got a fever. She spent the next day in bed with the flu. Needless to say, she shared more than prime rib. five of the ten grandkids got sick. My mom got sick. I got sick. My other sisters got sick. it's been lovely. (and I mean that sarcastically.) Although, I have to say, I am feeling a bit better, even if I didn't get a good nap today.

in better news (that also seems to fit with this entry title) I have been asked to join the Polar Bear Press design team. Polar Bear Press is a small manufacturer, but they have some cute stuff and I'm very excited for the new stuff they have coming out at CHA!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Time to Breathe

that's what tomorrow is. We've been running since Christmas Eve. It's been a great holiday though. the kids are thrilled with their gifts. Joshua and Sarah went running into Grandma's house yelling "We got guitars! We got guitars!" very inexpensive half size guitars, but something they can learn on and decide if it's a skill they want to persue. All Rilla wanted was a Doodle Bear. All Matt wanted was more GeoTrax stuff. All Libby wanted was chocolate. so we're good.

Christmas morning as we're headed into church Steve asks me what time we are opening presents. I tell him not until the next day. He flips. "What? It's Christmas! why not?" scheduling conflicts make it necessary. I explain and the whole time I'm trying to figure out why he reacted so strongly to this news. He really doesn't often care about this stuff. So we get to mom's and I go to say hi in the kitchen. As I'm sitting there visiting, in walks Matty with a little box all wrapped pretty. "open it, Mama." he says. The label reads, "to Amy, from Steve." I got my present a week and a half ago. (a professional camera tripod, btw. with the pistol grip. see he pays attention. isn't he a good boy?) I'm surprised to say the least. "what is this?" "open it." is the only answer I get. I refuse until he comes in the room. So I open it to find a small jewelry box. Inside is a beautiful set of pearls. necklace, earings, bracelet. Of course, I cried. I love pearls. He had hidden the box under my mom's tree so it would be found when we unwrapped presents as a family. He wanted to really surpise me with it.

oh yes, he is a very good boy. :) and he's mine. :)

off for the rest of the week! have a good end to your year. I'll be spending mine with family.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Stop Thief!

this time of year, many bloggers wax nostalgic about the upcoming holiday. I'm not going to do that. Mostly because I'm not a nostalgic sort of person. Once in awhile I'll get a bit misty thinking about my baby growing up, but other than that, nah. Not nostalgic.

So instead of my thoughts on past Chirstmas season and family traditions (which almost all involve homemade candy and board games,) I'm going to tell you about the theives that live next door.

Yes! the thieves! oh they are wiley ones too. It took many-a weeks before I noticed what they were up to. Of course, they were stealing from off the carport and I tend to avoid looking there. It's just a good avoidance technique, works for housework as well, in case you were wondering. Anyway, there I was, washing dishes at my window and I look up to witness my neighbor scampering out of carport and across the yard next door. The bold little stinker was carrying my property right there in his paws!

oh, yeah, did I mention he's a squirrel?

There's actually two of them and they steal my apples. Apples that I don't want anymore and due to my overwhelmingly effective avoidance techniques are still out in the carport long past their peak freshness date. The two will come one at a time about every other day. They carefully sneak up, watching the windows and perching on the apple boxes to be sure there are no witnesses to their crime. Then they grab an apple in their mouths and go scampering across the yard and up the tree next door.

Perching on the branch, they eat through their apples.

Needless to say, our neighbors are getting fat.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Squeemish Men May Skip This Post

Libby has a little game that she gets a kick out of. It started from her habit of putting her hand down my shirt. Yup, I nursed her. I don't know why she does this. It seems to be a comfortable position for her. I think she just likes to feel my skin. I do try to deter her, but it doesn't seem to help much.

Her game is this: she sticks her hand down my shirt then pulls it out and pretends to put something in her mouth and eat it. Then she says "mmm." It's hysterical. The first time she did it, about two weeks after I weaned her, I laughed for five minutes. I knew she missed nursing but it was so cute to see her find a way to tell me this. Now she does it just because it makes Mommy laugh.

Silly girl. Of course, I will make her stop before she goes to kindergarten.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I need more time is what I need

have you seen the google "needs" game? it's getting pretty popular. I saw it first about a month ago and filed the idea away but didnt' do anything with it. then this week Becky played it, so I thought it would be fun to dig up and play myself.

However, I am foiled by my slowness. Aparantly this meme is all over the blogs and done by lots of women named Amy. The game is you type your name needs, so I would type "Amy needs," into the Google search box. you list the top ten results in your blog.

My top ten results were ten blogs written by Amy's who have played the game already, lol! so here it is, my cheater lift of someone else's blog (with my own comments in italics, I didn't stoop to lifting hers):

Amy needs a new pair of shoes--I actually do. I'm just too cheap and picky to find what I want.
Amy needs to either wake up or start getting some extra will-power
I don't believe that Amy needs sex --I think Amy needs to not comment on this one
Maybe what Amy needs to do is to make up to her fans --dude! I have fans??
Amy needs an emergent Caesarean--How do C's emerge? is it a gradual thing? does it come out of truly connecting with my pregnancy? can I have one if I'm not pregnant and never plan to be pregnant again? teehee. that was a fun typo.
Amy needs to manage her time more effectively than ever--so very true.
Amy needs to spend a few years working in office environments. --good. I need the break from my real job.
Amy needs to get to town from the village.
Amy needs roommates--got six thanks, although it would be nice if they paid some rent.
Amy Needs Help!! so true it's scary.

and the one I found on my own not as part of someone else's blog:
Pit bull mix Amy needs some training.

but in reality, Amy needs to get to work. It's time to get serious about candy making. oh and making PJ's so I can have five children in cute matching pj's for Christmas morning. oh and present wrapping. oh and staying sane. that's always on the list.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Evil Plastic Box Update

I managed to turn off the alarm myself this morning. (steve refused to respond to kicking.) I accidentally hit the snooze before I turned off the first alarm, but I think under the circumstances, that's progress, don't you?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Defeated by plastic

I consider myself a pretty technologically advanced individual. I've watched my share of Star Trek. I don't hesitate to try a new program on my computer. I didn't even think twice about buying a digital camera. Heck, I've even been known to set the clock on my VCR.

However, there is one little piece of electronics that is making me look bad. Every time I go to run the thing I can't remember what to do. Maybe it's because I only think about it at six am in the dark. Stupid alarm clock.

It's got two alarms. One of which my husband set for the insane hour of six am and the other set for a more reasonable seven. It's his own little one hour snooze button. Every morning, the darn thing wakes me out of a deep sleep an hour earlier than I want to get up. Most of the time, Steve takes care of it. However, sometimes he doesn't even flinch from my kicks to his legs and I have to get up and turn the darn thing off. Frankly, I'd rather leave it going than get out of my bed. I have a down comforter and a down pillow and the last thing I want to do on a cold December morning is drag myself out of bed to figure out where the right button is to turn it off.

I'll fall out of bed and blearily stumble across the room (strategically placed to keep us from using such trickery as two alarms and snooze buttons.) Our current clock is a bare bones model. tall and narrow and nothing like any clock we've ever owned. My first alarm clock is the sort of alarm clock that dominated the market for years. a flat rectangle with lots of nicely labeled buttons that were easy to figure out because the thing lasted for 17 years, literally. I could have still run the thing if I had gone blind. Which is very usful at six am, because I am somewhat lacking in physical dexterity and mental acumen at that hour.

(btw, if you ever think it would be cool to get your daughter an alarm clock for Christmas, don't. Seriously. Even if you think she needs one. She won't thank you. And the only joy she'll get from the darn thing is being able to lord it over her sister that she gets to decide when it gets turned on because it's her Christmas present. And it's totally not cool for her to have to tell her friends she got an alarm clock for Christmas. Even if you do buy one that's built like a tank and will last for 17 years.)

Our current alarm clock is nothing like the previous tank model. It has switches. Lots of them. And they all look the same. Or I should say, feel the same, because, as I've said, I never look at the darn thing and only deal with it at six am. Since I never look at it, when I'm facing it with my brain on 10% power and my fingers still asleep, it's imposible to work.

But you don't need to feel sorry for me. I have figured out a solution. I stay in bed and just kick harder if Steve doesn't get up the first time.

PS. Mom, you know I love you. I love just about every other present you've ever gotten me. Really. Can I still come for Christmas?

Friday, December 16, 2005


Now carmels aren't my favorite thing to make. I have a harder time getting them the right consistency than I do anything else I make. perfection with carmels is difficult to attain. But when I do, it's heaven.

Short-cut Carmels
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

mix together everything but the vanilla into a heavy bottom saucepan (at least 3 quart size) and cook over medium heat stirring constantly. sweat the pan when the mixture begins to boil. Then add the candy thermometer and cook, stirring constantly, to 248 degrees. remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

for standard carmels just pour into a buttered, square cake pan. let cool and cut apart. (this will be a pain the neck). if giving away, wrap individual carmels in waxed paper.

good luck! this is my last candy post. it's been fun, but I'm ready to talk about my life again. aren't you all just lucky?

*Edit Dec 2007: Just for fun, I'd thought I'd post that the vanilla fudge recipe also makes a great carmel if you cook it to 240 degrees. Not too tough, not too soft. try it just for fun.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Making Truffles

truffles are one of those luxury things that makes me think of furs, diamonds, and women lounging around in dresses that say "we don't have to clean anything ever and you can tell this because of this dress that would be completely ruined if it got near the slightest bit of sweat or dust." For years, I thought of truffles as being difficult to make.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the suckers are easier than fantasy fudge. seriously. The toughest part of the whole thing is tempering the egg yolk and a bit of patience and judicious use of your microwave will get you through that easily.

Truffles are traditionally rolled in cocoa powder. Buy some good stuff for this. Go name brand and a name that makes you go "oooooh." Preferably dutched cocoa. No idea what this means, but it makes it better. You can also roll them in candy sprinkles and chopped nuts. Make sure you have a different coating for each of the flavors you plan on making so it's easy to tell them apart. Also, make the coating work with the flavor. Mint probably isn't going to work with sprinkles but would be lovely with crushed peppermint or the cocoa.

There are lots of different flavors you can use for truffles. If you drink alcohol, you can use liqueurs, rum, brandy, whiskey, etc. as the flavoring. I don't drink alcohol so I prefer not to make rum balls. ;) I use flavoring extracts. Use a good brand, the cheap stuff can leave a bitter aftertaste. Try orange, vanilla, mint, butter nut (a McCormick flavoring that is wonderful!) maple, anything you think would work with chocolate.

You can also dip your flavored truffles in chocolate. This is what I prefer to do, because more chocolate can only be better, right? For instructions on melting and tempering chocolate try this link: Once your chocolate is melted and tempered drop your truffles into it one at a time and carefully fish them out with either a fork or a dipping chocolate fork (it's a fancy schmancy fork with teeny round tines made for fishing little truffle balls out of chocolate.) Set the truffles on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. The cookie sheet is so you can pick them up and move them if you need to. If you happen to have a kitchen that is exactly the opposite of mine (which is to say the opposite of the size of a closet) and won't need to move them, just lay the waxed paper out on the couner. Let them set at room temperature. when the chocolate is completely set, you can put them in your fridge for a bit to harden up the chocolate some more.

the recipe (from BHG)
6 oz semisweet chocolate
1/4 butter
3 T whipping cream
1 beaten egg yolk, room temperature, or warmed slowly in a microwave set on LOW power (20 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating, until the yolk is just barely warm to the touch.)
3 T your choice of liqueur or other alcoholic beverage for flavor
1 t flavoring extract of your choice
12 oz chocolate for dipping
other coating stuff

in a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine semisweet chocolate, butter, and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate melts (about 10 minutes.) take pan off heat. Gradually stir half the hot mixture into the egg yolk, I mean gradually in a thin trickle, stirring constantly. This is what I meant by tempering the egg yolk, btw. return the egg mixture to the pan. Cook and stir over medium heat untill the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove the saucepan from heat. (if you are doing more than one flavor from one batch, pour the mixture into two to three seperate mixing bowls before you add the flavoring.) Stir in your flavoring (please adjust this if you are doing more than one batch! use half or a 1/3 of the amount the recipe calls for depending on how many flavors you are making.) Pour the mixture into a small mixing bowl, cover and chill till completely cool and smooth, stirring occasionally (about an hour and a half.)
beat chilled mixture with an electric mixer (hand mixer is fine) on medium speed till slightly fluffy (about 2 minutes.) Chill again untill mixture holds it's shape. (1o to 15 minutes) Drop by well rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Chill till firm. if you want you can gently shape these into balls.

dip in chocolate or roll in coating whichever you decided to do. Let sit until set. store tightly covered ni a cool dry place for up to two weeks.

this are so lovely! have fun with them! you can give them away and get your friends thinking that you own dresses that never get dirty. ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I Love Toffee! It's my favorite of the candies I make. I always eat way too much of it at Christmas time. Toffee is pretty easy to make but it does take longer than fudge. Well, my mom's toffee recipe is easy. there are some out there that are pretty finicky. Her secret? water.

You may notice that a lot of candies cooked to the crack stage call for water. It may seem strange, especially knowing that every bit of that water evaporates before the candy gets to temp so it's not even in your final product. Don't leave it out though. That water makes your candy take longer to get to temperature so the sugars have more time to disolve. When the candy takes longer to cook, it fails much less often. As a matter of fact, I've never had this toffee recipe sugar on me and I've been using it for over a decade. pretty good track record, wouldn't you say?

anyway, if you have a favorite candy recipe that tends to sugar when you don't hold your mouth right, try adding 1/4 to 1/2 c water into it. This will help the confection be a little less fussy with you. It won't affect the final product at all, except that it will come out right instead of grainy and inedible. ;) it's a good trick.

When making toffee, you can either leave it plain or add almonds. Slivered works best. Always use semi-sweet chocolate as well. It makes a perfect blend of bitter and sweet. You can add the almonds into the candy as soon as you remove it from heat, or you can sprinkle them into the bottom of the pan right after you butter it. (which you do before you even start the candy, remember.) I prefer my toffee plain, but my mom likes the almonds. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the western states that has a WinCo, buy your chocolate and almonds in their bulk foods section. Both are high quality and cheaper than you can get anywhere else. Heck, the big blocks of chocolate are Ghiradelli, and American chocolate doesn't get much better than that.

The recipe. Make this. You'll hate me. You won't be able to stay out of it.

English Toffee
2 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
1 c water
1 c butter
1 c marg (you can use a full pound of butter instead of the margarine/butter mix if you prefer)
about 1 c slivered almonds

mix all ingredients together and cook over med heat to 300 degrees. Stir continuously while cooking but do not scrap the sides of the pan. when hot enough, pour onto large, buttered jelly roll pan. Do not scrape the pan out! only pour out what comes easily out of the pan. Gently spread the candy out. let cool for a few minutes. then spread about 6oz of melted semi-sweet chocolate on top. Let cool until the chocolate is set. To serve, break into pieces with a butter knife.

Have fun with this one!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fudge Making 101

There's a lot of "easy" fudge recipes out there. Things that mostly involve melting chocolate chips into marshmallow concoctions or condensed milk. This makes a rich candy but not fudge. It's never as creamy as the real thing.

When choosing a fudge recipe, the only two ingredients that really matter are cream and corn syrup. You must use real cream. Evaporated milk is purported as an adequate substitute in some circles, but it doesn't give good results. The milk sugars in evaporated milk are more condensed, which makes your fudge heavy and overly sweet. Stick with cream and real butter and you'll be much happier with the results. As for the corn syrup, it seems like such an insignificant thing, but it's important. It helps the sugars melt and keeps your fudge from being too fussy. A lot of fudge recipes only call for a couple of teaspoons (or none at all) and with that little of corn syrup your going to find yourself with fudge that only comes out right when the stars are aligned and you hold your mouth right. No fun. Stick with recipes that call for at least 2 T of light corn syrup. You'll have more consistant results. You can sometimes just increase the corn syrup to 2T if you need to without affecting the candy too much.

I use a chocolate fudge recipe that calls for cocoa powder. It's almost foolproof and easy. The best part about it is you never, ever stir it. nope. not once. Once you turn the heat on, you leave it alone. You may be tempted, thinking that mixture will never smooth out, that it will scorch. Nope. Leave it alone. Sweat the sides, put in the thermometer and pour it out into a mixing bowl as soon as it reaches 238. if you stir it, it sugars, without fail. If you don't stir it, it comes out great. Don't you love it?

When using a candy thermometer, make sure the tip is fully imersed in your candy but not touching the bottom of the pot. You will also want to pre warm it by putting it in a small pan of water and bringing it to a boil before you stick it in your hot candy. remember what happens when glass changes temperature quickly? Exactly.

A note about beating fudge. You can either use a stand mixer or beat it by hand. Don't try using a hand mixer. Even if you have a $90 Kitchen Aid hand mixer. Just don't. You'll burn it out. My mom has a stand mixer and prefers to beat it by hand anyway. It doesn't take long. Let the candy sit at room temperture in your mixing bowl until it reaches 110-120 degrees. (wash your candy thermometer and dry it before you put it back in the candy. There may be sugar clinging to it.) If your bowl is metal, you will be able to rest your hand on the side of the bowl; it will be hot to the touch but not burn. If you are using a stand mixer, use a low or medium setting and your flat paddle. If you are beating by hand, use a clean wooden spoon. Hold the bowl firmly to your chest and use a strong stirring motion. Keep going until the fudge begins to thicken and it loses it's gloss. If you are adding nuts, you add them now. mix those in and then scrape it out into a buttered dish. Pat it flat and let it cool for a few minutes to set.

If your fudge does not thicken even if you whip it for ages, you probably did not bring it up to a high enough temperature. You can cook it again. Put it in the pan with 1/2 to 1 c hot water and start over. If your fudge gets really dry and crumbly, you cooked it too long and you can't save it.

Now the part you've been waiting for: the recipes! Fudge comes in many flavors, chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, penuche (brown sugar,) opera, mint, etc. I'm posting three recipes that have become reliable staples in my recipe box.

My Grandmother's Chocolate Fudge
2 c sugar
1 T cocoa, rounded
2 T butter
2 T light Karo
3/4 c cream
1/4 c water

dump it all in a pot and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Do not stir! not at any point! it won't burn, I promise. cook over medium heat to 236 degrees. remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl. Do not scrape out the pan. Just pour out the stuff that comes easily and leave the rest. let cool to 120 degrees. add one 1 t vanilla. Beat until there is no gloss. add 1 c walnuts or pecans. pat into a square cake pan.

Grandma's Vanilla Fudge
3 T butter
3 c sugar
1/4 c lt corn syrup
1/2 t salt
1 c cream
1/2 c milk
2 t vanilla
1 c chopped nuts.

combine butter, sugar, karo, salt, cream, and milk in a 4 qt. heavy bottomed pan. Cook over med heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Cook and stir occasionally to stoft ball stage (236 degrees.) Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. add 1 t vanilla. Cool to luke warm (110 degrees) beat until it loses its gloss. knead in the nuts. Press into a 9x9 buttered cake pan. cut, then cool. makes about 1 1/2 lbs

Peanut Butter Fudge
2 c sugar
2 T butter
2 T light Karo
3/4 c cream
1/4 c water

dump it all in a pot and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Do not stir! not at any point! it won't burn, I promise cook over medium heat to 236 degrees. remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl. Do not scrape out the pan. Just pour out the stuff that comes easily and leave the rest. let cool to 120 degrees. add one 1 t vanilla and 3 T creamy peanut butter. Beat until there is no gloss. pat into a square cake pan.

You may notice the peanut butter recipe is very similar to the chocolate fudge recipe. That's because it's essentially the same thing sans chocolate with peanut butter added. I have been searching for a good peanut butter fudge recipe and found nothing, so I made my own ;)

Good luck with your fudge! I'd love to hear how it turns out for everybody! Please feel free to use these recipes as much as you like. Make some changes if you like. Stir broken peppermint pieces or mini marshmallows into the chocolate fudge, add unsalted peanuts to the peanut butter. Have fun with it. If you want to pass them on, refer your friend to my blog instead of just giving them a copy. thanks.

Let's talk candy

I know many people are intimidated by fudge and candy making in general. I grew up helping my mom do it. Over the last eight years, I've also done a lot all by myself. Every year for Christmas I give each member of my husband's family a two lb box of candy and cookies. I wish I could stop now, but they love it and look forward to getting it. And I can't give up that ego stroking that goes with all the praise, to be honest. Let me tell ya, them boxes are goooood. ;)

ok, so all this week, I'll be discussing candy making with a new kind of candy each day. Today we'll do just general candy making tips. Things you need to know before you start your first pan.

first off, you need a wooden spoon and a heavy bottom pan. the heaviest bottom pan in your cupboard. I use an old 4 qt pressure cooker. The best wooden spoon for candy making is the kind with the flat top. I use a wooden spatula, you know the kind that is flat with a slight angle at the top. You have to be able to keep the candy at the bottom of the pot moving so it doesn't scorch.

Now there's a trick to stirring. Keep it moving but don't splash up the sides of your pot. I use a fat figure eight that covers as much of the surface area of the bottom pot as possible. Once you feel something sticking to the bottom stir more over that spot, but do not scrape it up. this is scorched candy and you don't want that flavor getting through the whole batch. turn your stove down and be careful. Also, you never, ever want to scrape the sides of the pan when stirring. never. This can introduce sugar crystals into the candy which can make the entire batch sugar. bad. The stuff on the sides is also not cooked to the same temperature as the rest of the batch and that can cause problems.

always cook your candy at medium or medium low. you don't want it cooking too fast or the sugar doesn't have time to completely melt. basically, the two biggest hurdles in candy making are cooking to the right temperature and melting the sugar. if either one are done badly, you've got a mess.

I use a candy thermometer. If you have very little experience with candy making, you will want to get one. it makes the temperature part easy. be sure to test it in a small pan of boiling water before you use it. It should get to 212 degrees in boiling water. if it doesn't, make the necessary calculations and remember them. you will need to make that same adjustment with your candy.

Now, before you start a batch of candy, you want to have everything ready, your pan buttered, the mixing bowl ready if you are doing fudge, etc. once it reaches temperature, you don't have time to stop and get that done, because it will keep cooking in the pan after you've taken it from the heat and will get too hot which makes it too hard. I like to get all the ingredients into my pan before i turn on my stove top. This gets everything cooking together at the same temperature and means my cream won't scorch if I take too long hunting down the butter.

so you've got everything in the pot, start cooking it with the lid on the pan. The water that is evaporating from the candy will condense on the lid and sides of the pot and wash the sides down. this is called sweating the pan. When the candy starts boiling, remove the lid, start stirring and add your thermometer. it will take a bit, but keep an eye on your thermometer, especially as the confection gets close to temperature. Candy can take five minutes to go the last two degrees and then zip five more degrees over the right temp in thirty seconds. the second it reaches temp, pull your pot from the stove and pour it into your prepped pan (or mixing bowl for fudge.) Only pour out the stuff that comes easily, don't scrape the bottom or sides, just leave it alone. (if it bothers you to waste that much you can scrape this candy into a different bowl.) the candy at the bottom and sides of the pan is a different temperature than the rest and mixing it with the rest may cause your candy to sugar, so never scrape the sides! (I know I said it twice, it's important.)

let your confection cool and it should be perfect. Candy makes a great gift for friends. they'll love you and nick name you the new Martha.

tomorrow, old fashioned fudge. the kind that does not need marshmallow cream. you know, the good stuff.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Small House Construction

We made our gingerbread house tonight. Luckily, I decided to go with a kit this year so there were no tears or toppling walls or colapsing roofs. I'm not sure I'd actually want to eat this gingerbread as I really don't care to chip a tooth right now. I already owe my dentist too much money. But who eats gingerbread houses anyway? seriously? My kids had a ball making it but I think over time they may consider it closer to torture. It'll be this lovely house of candy which they can't eat, perched carefully above the tv, tempting them. all week.

we are already getting the "when can we eat it?" question. I said never. who wants to eat a gingerbread house after it's been sitting aroud getting dusty for three weeks? Not that I think my kids will care about that. I'm very afraid that when the time comes to throw it away, someone will sneak off with it so they can eat the candy and I'll only discover the miscreant by the blob of dried up frosting by their cheek and I'll have to say, "Self, there's frosting by your mouth. better hide it before the kids see you've been eating the house again."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Doing a Happy Dance *shuffle, shuffle, q-tip, q-tip, throw it away, throw it away*

about six months ago, I submitted a story to the Chicken Soup people for their Scrapbooker's Soul edition. and guess what?? I know three guesses first two don't count. Yeah, they liked it! they want it. doing a happy dance, but since I dance even worse than that guy on Hitch, you should all be happy you don't have to see it.

the story is about how scrapbooks brought my mother and I closer together while my parents were in Japan on their mission. and no, Mom, you don't get to read it until it's in the book. ;) Scrapbooker's Soul is a paying publication. I'm still excited. still dancing.

Have a good day, because you know I will.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

In Which Amy Reveals How Much of a Nerd She Really Is

Don't you hate it when you get too good at online arcade games? you know, when you get to level 14 of making Tribble like creatures disapear and you manage this feat through rough moments of only being able to move two ways and you display amazinging amounts of puzzle solving acumen but through it all you keep thinking that you've been on the computer too long and you really should do something more productive, like say clean your fingernails or feed your children or read a book but you can't stop because you've never actually made it to level 14 before and you are proud of this accomplishment and yet ashamed at the same time and really kind of bummed that you can't brag about it to anyone because it's really the most lame thing you've managed that day and not exactly bragging material but you still want to tell somebody even though you are actually tired of the game but keep playing because it's, like, level 14 (!!) and you can't blow it now or else you know you'll never get back to level 14 even though in your heart of hearts you know you will go ahead and play the same dumb game again probably the same day despite the ennui you've developed over it in achieving the great accomplishment of level 14 (!!) and then you lose?

yeah, me too.

Friday, December 02, 2005

My Husband is a Stinker

I had a really bad night last night. What I call a "wall" night. basically I feel like I hit a wall and I can't function any longer. it usually happens when I haven't been getting enough sleep. Steve took over and let me get a break from the kids for a couple of hours which was nice. then I got up and watched Shop Around the Corner (cute old Jimmy Stewart movie, I would recomend it) with him and proceeded to medicate with chocolate chips.

I tend to do that with the chocolate chips. mostly because they are the only kind of chocolate I keep around the house. Steve gave me a hard time about it so I handed them to him and asked him to put them away for me.

(this is where the stinker part comes) This morning as I fielded the fourth temper tantrum performed by my almost four year old in a 15 minute period (sadly, not a record,) I felt the urge for chocolate. But my chocolate chips were not in the door of the freezer where I keep them. my stinker of a husband had tried to hide them from me. I think he had better stop that.

btw, love, I found them. pbbbbttttthhhhbbb to you.

When in Doubt, Quote Princess Bride

the latest blog I added to my list: I am not left-handed Karen Burniston's blog. you know, Karen, practically the inventor of the rub-on. (No, it wasn't Making Memories. Scrapperware came first. ;) ) I don't know her personally, I just followed a link from Ms. Sharyn's blog.

Her blog is hysterical. A very fun read. one of those personalities that makes you think "If I were to have a slumber party, she'd get an invitation" and then you would make sure there would be no fizzy drinks at the party because those hurt too much when they come out of your nose when you laugh while you're trying to drink, which you know would happen because it would be that kind of party.

I would do a TPBQOTD but I'll leave that to Karen.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Amy's Amazing Fantastic Christmas Wish List--Part Deux, the affordable schtuff

1. a big piece of glass for my scrap table. measures 43 1/4 x 23 5/8 with rounded corners and smooth edges. recycled glass is fine.

2. a nice pair of gloves. probably something stretchy since I have short fat fingers. Tiffany Glove and Leather here in my town has my measurements on file, dark brown buckskin would be nice. I like the Mickey stitching on the back. :) (ha! you think this wouldn't be affordable, but it is. custom made gloves for less than $30 out of hand dyed buckskin. they are just lovely.)

3. a white or grey sweatshirt fleece zip hoodie.

4. the odd size measuring cup set at William Sonoma. I would show a link but they don't have them online. I think I have their brand with the wide handles.

5. a really good quality stainless steel measuring spoon set. I love the rectangle ones that fit in spice jars. I would prefer it had a 1 1/2 T spoon.

6. black picture frames.

7. a nice sweater. I don't like the big boxy shapes. something sleek is good. no cute apliques please. solid or subduded pattern.

8. scrapbooking gift certificate. either to an online store or Paper Cottage or Cut and Paste. don't worry about picking it out yourself. I love the fun of getting shop and choose without the guilt.

that should be enough.

ps. Mom, does that help? ;)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Drat! Foiled Again!

a few weeks ago I came up with a wonderful blog game. You were all going to love it. Trust me. Given me the Blog Queen crown and everything. great game.

See we were going to play 7 steps to Kevin Bacon blog style. This time you had to trace back through the list of people read in the side bars of the blogs to see how many blogs you had to go through to connect with Donna Downy. (Ok, so it could have been HS, CZ, or Ali Edwards but I like Donna's photo and I still consider myself one step removed from her, so Donna it was.) Ok, so it sounded like more fun in my head.

Here's where the bad part comes in. Unbeknownst to me, it has suddenly become unfashionable to list names of people in your side bar. When did this happen? All I remember is everybody had a list of friends a couple of dozen names long right there in the side bar and then all of the sudden you were lucky if they linked Dooce or Wish Jar. I feel so out of it.

Yet once again another trend has past by and I'm the geek again. Just like old times.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Amy's Amazing Fantastic Christmas Wish List

Fantastic because it's almost complete fantasy ;) but just for fun I'm going to post the stuff I'm dreaming of this Christmas.

1. 600 tc sheets. They also sell 1200 tc sheets, but I think I can settle for the 600. ETA: Ivory.
2. a Pistol grip ball head and a set of tripod legs to go with it.

3. a cute button up shirt. something like this would be nice. or one of these so I can do that layered thing I keep seeing everybody doing.

4. Bazzill cardstock. in packs too.

5. Canon 28-135mm IS USM lens.

6. an Alien Bee flash strobe in either Martian Pink or Alien Green. I just think about what a difference this would make in my flexibilty as a photographer. I could take my little sushine with me where ever I went. :)

7. a reflector stand. absolutely essential with the Bee.

8. a background stand. maybe not that one but something good quality that's portable. and a nice backdrop.

9. of course, if I'm dreaming, I want this for my photo studio. or when I turn the upstairs computer room into my photo studio. (did I forget to mention that, Steve? don't freak. I did say I was dreaming) oh and some muslin to hang on it ;)

10. The Architect's Brother by Robert ParkeHarrison.

11. Photoshop 7 or higher.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Bubba to Rilla: If you love your mom and dad you get a heart in your tummy.


I caught a quick clip this evening on a short PBS show showing the process the husband and wife artistic team go through to create a photograph. They are Robert and Shanna ParkeHarrison. I am mesmerized by their work. Just in awe. Everything is done with traditional techniques. no digital. It gives the photos are true ageless quality. But they aren't just photos. They are a photographic representation of an idea. I can't describe them except to say it's like Roald Dahl took up the visual arts.

go here: Robert and Shanna Parke Harrison. look through their gallery. I am now adding the book of their work to my Christmas wish list.

Monday, November 21, 2005

don't go out into the rain, you'll drown

My sister gave Sarah the Wicked soundtrack this weekend. I love it. I've listened to it several times and already have favorite songs. It's really beautiful and Kristin Chenowyth is one of my favorite Broadway singers. So as I'm looking up some things about the musical, I run across the ineveitable critics. A lot were positive. Of course they were, it's a fun show.

Some were down right idiots. Not because they don't like the musical. I perfectly understand people having different tastes. They could even say it's not to their taste giving no reasons and I'd be ok with that. It's the smug elitists who judge the entire work as bad because it's popular that drive me nuts. Just because a lot of people like it, it stinks.

Since when did "art" become defined as "something which only a very few can understand?" Who decides this anyway? Have you ever noticed that the more the general public deride certain inexplicable artistic efforts, the more the art critics scream about how good it is? How it perfectly sums up the artists total understanding of humanity and general detestation for civilzation as we know it at the same time? Smear paint on a beloved painting? art. Take photos that make most people cringe and sick to their stomachs? art. Play music that grinds in the ear drum? art.

if all Art has to be is something everyone hates, then Ross Geller is a music genius.

if Art can not be something that millions of people love than Starry Night is crap.

There are ways to judge music. Principals by which we judge visual pieces. Counting the seats sold in the theater and at the gallery has never been on the list.

I think the thing that bugs me the most about these elitists that apply their "everyone has to hate it" principle to Muscial Theater is that it completely disregards the entire history of musicals. Musicals evolved out of Vaudville. Yes, Vaudville, the entertainment for the masses. Musicals have historically been popular entertainment, loved by large numbers of the
American public. So to say a musical is bad simply because it sells seats just completely contradicts everything Broadway has ever represented. It boggles my mind.

Can we please start judging music and art by it's own merits and stop counting tickets? Can't it be ok for me as the average individual who hates wearing black and dislikes sticking my nose in the air to like something?

Go back to your Wagner. Leave my Broadway alone.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Two in a row

two days in a row I've done letter size layouts. I don't think I'm going to switch, but I'm enjoying the smaller format and the change of shape. I"ve got a few other ideas for layouts in the 8.5x11, so we'll see where I go. anyway, I had to scrap my red couch:

the "red" pulls out and has a huge journaling block on it. I don't feel like typing the whole thing. basically it says, I endured used furniture and I'm ecstatic to have this finally. I love it and I'm stinking proud I could buy it with my own money. the end. only it says it much more eloquently. I don't do eloquent at midnight ;)

short term memory problems

I keep thinking of things throughout my day that would make a good blog entry. Of course, five minutes later the idea is gone. You will all have to pretend then that this is a brilliant entry that really changed how you view life . . . . ok, never mind. for brilliancy in writing you can read Cathy Zeilke's short tretise on passion. I loved it. Or you can get some great ideas for creative inspiration from Keri Smith (the Live Out Loud author.)

my goal is to work on something creative everyday. I did it yesterday. a really simple layout of the lighthouse we visited on the WA coast. Our vacation album is 6x6 and my main album is 12x12, but I wanted to play with this design.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It's not an obsession. really.

I organize my favorites list in IE in folders and sub-folders. There came a point where it was too long and I couldn't find what I needed, so into folders it went. There's one for scrapbooking, one for photography, etc. The scrapbooking one also has several subfolders, like magazines. I like this system because it means I can find the link I need.

I told you all that so I could tell you this: my favorite blogs folder now has sub-folders. Yes folks, it has gone that far.

also in Bedlam news:
Libby has advanced enough in taste she can recognize sour milk. isn't it sad that I know that this is a milestone in babies lives and they can't always distinguish that sour milk is yucky? Wanna know what's even sadder? every single one of my kids have learned this one pretty early. says something about me doesn't it? please don't judge too harshly. There's no rotting food under the couch. ummmm. maybe. we cleaned out from under that late last week. anything under there shouldn't be rotting yet. ;)

Matt has been asking me to spell stuff lately. all the time. "how do you spell dog? how do you spell cup? How do you spell dinosaur? how do you spell discombobulated?" ok not really the last one but if I said that word to him he'd ask.

Rilla is asking me to spell stuff for her too. only she's trying to write the words.

Joshua has declared he will wear his jacket (the one from Aunt Cathy) until the snow flies. I hope he doesn't get too cold.

Sarah is willing to tell friends to stuff it when they are being jerks to her. good girl.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A decision:

this is what I'll be sending off to the printers:

This is what I printed on white photo grade cardstock and stuck in my purse:

thanks everone for your help and your comments. It really helped me come to a decision on this. The libby card will eventually get printed. but I'll start with the toes. :)

It's Like an Acid Trip I've never had

So I finally got to watch the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I wanted to see it in the theaters but since it costs $60 to take the whole family out to a movie, we waited until it went to DVD. We got it from Netflix on Thursday and we watched it four times before we sent it back. I loved it. I knew I would, but it's nice to have those feelings confirmed.

first off, no I didnt' like the little addition of WW's dad into the story, although we had to laugh at their casting. Daddy is the ultimate bad guy. Not only was he Saruman the bad wizard in TLOR trilogy, he also played Count Dooku, the sith lord in the new Star Wars flicks. good choice. Only a man that evil would throw chocolate on a fire. However, the addtion of the dad just seemed a bit contrived, like they were coming up for motivation for WW to extend the end of the movie.

The music was so fun. Danny Elfman really let his hair down on this one and went back to his rock roots. The homage to himself that is Mike Teevee's song is cool and funny and very cleverly done. It great fun to hear Danny Elfman being fun and not just creepy. I love that the lyrics are the ones that Roald Dahl wrote, preserved in all their sick humor and unapologetic truth. It would have been so easy to slick them up and go too PC. Luckily, Tim Burton never worries about PC.

The visials are gorgeous, with their over saturated colors and swooping lines, the sets were like dream version of themselves. very beautiful. Very Tim Burton. I love Tim Burton visuals.

The movie wasn't just fun to look at. I liked the script too. for the most part, the small changes were fun (the puppet introduction) with one exception of the Dad storyline. They stuck to the book! I adore Roald Dahl's books. I love their quirkiness, their honesty, their off beat humor. I love that Tim Burton played all that up instead of trying to tone it down like they did in that travesty that is the 70's version.

Yes, I hated that one. I hated Gene Wilder, he's too serious, too mean, and not weird enough, he's just a bit off, not really weird. I hated the story changes they made. I hated the scripts. the changes. oh and the charlie in that one isn't meek, he's a dork. ok, so Jonny Depp's mediocre performance isn't deserving of awards but it's better than Gene Wilder's masacre of the character.

So coming from that, loving the book, loving Tim Burton's work, and Danny Elfman's soundtracks, is it any wonder that I loved this movie?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I am without a PEZ accessory!

It's so sad. I went to four stores last night and the only ones I found were Revenge of the Sith collectible ones for $14 a set. they weren't cute anyway so I passed. sigh. back to the old standby of telling knock knock jokes.

She's nobody's (fashion) slave

The other day I followed a link to Gymboree's new winter line, just out of curiosity. The stuff was very adorable. Sarah came and started looking over my shoulder and pointing out things she liked. Then I scrolled to the bottom and I had to laugh.

"You can buy underwear to match your clothes. How silly is that?"

"no sillier than putting words on the butt." says Sarah.

good girl.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Seeking Opinions

ok, I've finally decided it's time I took the plunge and ordered business cards. I've been playing with a couple designs. One is a two sided card, and one is single sided. please let me know what you think. do you like the wording? placement? are the photos working for you? can you read it? thanks!

version 1 the first image is the front the second image is the back:

version 2:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Finally, a camera accessory I can afford

I want one of these. How cool is that? I had the worst time getting a non cheesy smile out of the six year old client a few weeks ago and I have a four year old that tends to cheesy to shoot on Saturday. I think a fancy new hot shoe attatchment is just what I need to solve the problem.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Can I "go to the mattresses" now?

Lately, I've been hearing a lot of people say about magazine publishing "it's not personal, it's business." And I can't help thinking of Kathleen Kelly's (Meg Ryan) response to that phrase: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's *personal* to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway?

my work is very personal to me. It's my words, my photos, my children, my art, so I do take rejection of them personally. I know I should just think of it not as the magazine rejecting me but as the magazine choosing someone else. I can't do that yet. I haven't seperated myself that much from the process. So I sit through another round of layout requests with an empty mailbox and I start to question my taste. I love my pages. I love the designs. So if none of them are suitible for publishing, doesn't that mean that I haven't the slightest clue what "good" means? if I take this so hard, should I even be trying?

I dont' really need an answer. I guess like Kathleen Kelly I just want to send my cosmic question out into the void. "good night, dear void."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Photo a Day

You may have noticed my second blog over in my sidebar. I joined a challenge on 2 Peas called A Photo a Day. Which is basically what it sounds like. I take a photo and we all share our pictures. It's been fun. I'm feeling more creative with my photography and I'm actually taking more pictures. I'm seeing subjects everywhere. Love it.

I am also getting inspired to do things with my photos. I did this collage of Libby from the Friday photo:

Saturday, I printed up the collage so I could show a photography client. It was only 11 inches long, but I you get the idea of it. I ended up with an extra one (dumb printer) so this morning I cut the photos out if it and created this layout:

Love the POD challenge!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

When Restaurant Owners Watch Too Much Trading Spaces

Steve: where's the salad bar?

Me: Over there behind the covered wagon.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Scholastic--The School Sanctioned Crack Dealer

We always make it a point to buy books at the school book sales. It supports the schools, the kids would hate us if we didn't, I get to feel like a good guy, hey, everybody wins!

Except of course, we had to go and choose too well at the last book fair. I bought Libby the adorable book Knuffle Bunny. Why, yes, it is as cute as it sounds. With fantastically clever lines like "And by the time they got home, her daddy was unhappy too." and my favorite, "well, she had no choice . . . . Trixie bawled. She went boneless." Adorable. Clever. Everything a good book is supposed to be. I was terrifically pleased with myself. Until Libby discovered it. I am now forced to sit and read Knuffle Bunny six times through at least once a day, preferably (for her) twice a day. Even six times is not enough. I must read more! more! Libby bawls. She goes boneless. I am tempted to hide a book . . . again.

Yes, I have hidden books. I am that kind of mother. There is only so much Very Hungry Caterpiller one woman can take before she goes certifiably insane. Unfortunately, I hid that book too late and that's why I now run Bedlam. If I don't hide Knuffle Bunny soon, Steve's going to have to find me a padded room. Luckily for Libby, the idea of a nice, quiet, padded room is very appealing.

btw, if you would like to join me in my padded room, there's a link to Knuffle Bunny in my new sidebar section "what we're reading." bring the chocolate when you come. I'm sure I'll have run out.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Blog Archives meme

I usually don't do the blogging memes. I think I've done maybe two, but I ran across one recently that really sounded interesting so I had to try it.

go to your 23rd post and the 5th sentence in that post. Ponder this for meaning and hidden subtexts. I was all over this. how cool. I can get all deep and philosphical and show how deep and philosophical I've already been and not sound like I'm bragging! whoohoo! So off I go to count post and sentences and I find it: my twenty third post. Which, coincidentally enough, was the first blogging meme I ever did. cool huh? The fifth sentence of that entry reads . . . are you sure you are ready for my deep meaningful thoughts? are you? ok. I said:

"Thanks. "

LOL! yes. that's it. shows me doesn't it? I get all excited about it and then hit a brick wall. sigh. I did however find this little gem in the same post:

"9. Blogs. current adiction that is totally affecting my writing voice in case you couldn't tell. just be glad my current addiction isn't Jane Austen. "

I thought it was funny considering my recent entry where I had, in fact, been reading a lot of Jane Austen. (btw, give Mansfield Park a pass. yawn.) ok, maybe it's just funny to me. I'm giggling anyway. I'm glad you are just reading this, because in person, I would probably be getting some funny looks. I do take on the writing voice though of whatever I've been reading a lot of. I can't help it. I even think that way. What I've been reading just twists my thoughts into whatever sentence pattern the author of that book tends to favor. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's annoying. What's really annoying is that I once got a C on a Genre paper because I couldn't call up the writing style of the literary critic I was supposed to be emulating in the paper.

BTW, if you are now trying to place the first paragraph of my post from this morning, I've been reading a lot of Douglas Adams.

oh and I'm supposed to be tagging someone with this. I think I won't, but if you do it, please leave me a link in the comments. I'd love to see it. I do hope you get a better sentence to play with though ;)

You say "budget" I say "huh?"

This weekend we bought a tub of cool whip for a pumpkin pie. I made the pie. It was good. This is all completely off topic but I wanted to point out the pie since I never, in fact, make pie. well almost never, which is how the pie in question here came into being.

The top of the cool whip had a contest advertised on it. Groceries for a Year! it proclaimed in bold colorful letters with a cutsy graphic of a grocery cart with generic food items in it. Pretty standard food item contest and graphic so it didnt' really register until I turned over the cardboard top. "A $10,000 value." yeah, $10,000 for one year of groceries. Are you kidding me? Who the heck spends $800 a month on gorceries? If I wanted to spend that I could go out to eat three times a week and eat steak the rest. It seems so excessive to me. I guess if I spent $800 a month I could afford to cook the stuff in the magazine recipes.

I once read Flylady make the assumtion that my food budget was the second largest expense in my budget. I guess food is expensive to a lot of people. It used to look too expensive to my husband until I sent him out to do the shopping. He did most of the grocery shopping for about six months before he stopped complaining about how much I spent. Oh, he didn't really complain. He just held his breath at me. Did a slight, almost not there head tilt and didn't say anything for about a minute.

So what are people spending on food? Are there a lot of people spending $800 on food for their average family of four or five? That just seems like so much to me. You could spend half as much a month, save the difference and pay for a week at Disneyland at the end of a year, and never once had your family feel like they didn't have enough to eat. I know I could spend less, of course I would get tired of spagetti, leg quarters, and potatoes, but I could spend about $100 less a month if we needed to. Right now I'm not feeling like we need to, but after that Disneyland comment I just wrote, I'm thinking I might need to cut back on some groceries. ;) I couldn't take everyone to disney after one year, but $1200 would sure pay for something fun.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Late Fall

I've enjoyed the warm weather we had all through October. Days up to 70 degrees. it was beautiful, just perfect for being outside. I'm not much of an outdoor person except in the fall and spring, so I always apreciate it when I get a few extra days to enjoy it.

There are drawbacks however. The leaves haven't fallen much yet. My kids keep wanting to make big leaf piles but there just wasn't enough on the ground to do it. Until yesterday when the leaves began falling in large groups. Today it's raining. Just when we get enough leaves to have fun, the fall rain starts so it's too wet to enjoy them. dang it. so much for fall photos. guess it's time to cave up in the house again.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Crazy Season Has Begun

Halloween makes it official. the holidays are upon us. I should be making lists at this point. making decisions. but all I've got energy for this morning is avoiding the candy. Steve invited me to join him back on the diet today. I need to. so I'm back and I'm glad that my kids are mostly smart enough to hide their candy.

they had a good time last night. Matt did go as Darth Bubba. it was easier. I dressed Libby up as a scarecrow, a last minute costume that came out very cute. Sarah and Joshua were vampires. I was hoping for pretty ones but I let daddy run the face make up so they came out "scary." and once again I didn't get any good pictures. I'll try and post pictures later. In the meantime, you can enjoy the rows of doughnuts. That's from my mom's house where she made 144 doughnuts last night and gave out at least 100 of them. They look good don't they?

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Catherine by any other name . . .

Our children are named after people we know with their middle names. (First names mostly because we just liked them.) We chose carefully, but never thinking how accurately we could name a child until Marilla came along.

Marilla Catherine, after my older sister, is quite the girl. She's so tiny, that at five and a half she still wears a four slim. Pink is her favorite color. She loves anything feminine. She has been known to oooooh and aaaaaah at jewelry store displays and sigh in longing at department store makeup counters. She's chatty and fun and laughs easily. In short she's a fun girl and I couldn't be happier that she takes so much after my sister.

Until Tuesday. We had our first Parent Teacher Conference with her Kindergarten teacher. It seems that Rilla takes a bit too much after her Aunt Cathy. Rilla is bright and happy and a joy to have in class. She has a few too many friends though and has a difficult time paying attention because she's busy talking to them. All the time. She also doesn't pick up the toys when she's done with them.

so, Cathy, would you mind having a visit with your niece? I'm blaming this on you. Sure, I'm her mother, but it's your name. ;) please don't throw doughnuts at me on monday for this.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Another Bubba Quote:

while wandering around the house with his pajama bottoms on his head, with one leg pulled down over his face:

"I'm the ghost of laundry paaaaast! I'm the ghost of laundry paaaast! Give me a hug!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Popari? Poparet? Poperit? big mess of smelly flower petals

lots of things going on in Bedlam today:

-My camera is back from the hospital! woohoo! I need only to go to Boise to get it. Unfortunately, this happy circumstance can not occur until Saturday.

-My new favorite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion. My frequent readings of Austen in this past week have affected my writing style greatly. I find myself too often influenced by the writings and speeches of others. gotta work on that.

-Libby has learned how to go down stairs and loves to practice this new skill. Heaven help me.

-I have three black capes to make for Halloween. Two vampires and one Darth Vadar. I still have no clue what to dress Libby as.

-my neck is stiff and I'm having a hard time sleeping. I think it's time to buy a new pillow and this time I'm going for something good. no more $5 cotton ball pillows. This time I'm buying goose down!

-Steve wrote his version of the blueberry pancake episoide in his blog, link to the right. It's so much more funny and insightful than mine. Everytime I think I've managed a well turned phrase or a deep thought, he goes and shows me what good writing really looks like. Love ya, babe. ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


With my XT in the shop, I've had to go back to using my film camera. Surprisingly, this hasn't been such a bad thing. My film camera is an Elan 7e (also Canon) and I do love it, but it's different to work with.

The Elan wasn't my first SLR. That was a Konica FC-1. A heavy brick of a camera that required me to do everything. I had to think about each shot, carefully focus everything by hand, watch my meter and adjust my exposure myself. Every single frame was considered before I squeezed the shutter release. I had to think or I would get nothing. I had so many out of focus pictures because the kids would move at the last second or I would try to shoot too quickly. It drove me crazy and I begged my husband to help me find room in the budget for something better.

I researched for months. I went to camera stores and held different models. It was a tough choice and there was a moment where I almost went for the Nikon. But I wanted my Elan. I wanted the "e" that stood for eye control focus. It was auto focus, auto exposure and heck, with eye control focus, it had auto focus point too. I didn't have to stop and think quite as much. the camera was thinking for me. I still had to worry about the expense of the film and the developing though, so I still spent time considering each frame.

But after a couple of years, I wanted more again. When we got our tax return money, I talked my husband into letting me spend a good portion of it on a digital SLR. The Rebel XT. That baby was brand new. I was able to buy it five days before the offical release date. It wasn't even out yet and I had it in my hands! Bliss! Heaven! I could take as many shots as I needed to get what I wanted. I could fill up my memory card as fast as I could think of pictures and never have to worry about the cost. Delete at will became my mantra.

And my photography changed. I was a bit more creative, but mostly, I wasn't thinking as much. I began to hate my own work. It was ugly. Most of my pictures were worse than snapshots. I let the advantages of digital become my weakness. Because I could just delete the bad ones, I wasn't taking time to have good ones.

Recently, however, as I've taken up my Elan again, I am thinking about my pictures. I'm taking time to compose the frame, to really take a photograph instead of just snap a pic. I am happier when I'm actually doing the photography. that's not to say that I will sell the XT and just go back to film permenantly, the advantages of digital are too hard to pass up. I think that I will pull out my Elan a bit more often though. When I find myself just "snapping a pic" I will take a moment to breathe. Load a roll every now and then and use a format that makes me think about what I'm doing.

And every once in a while, I will feel nostalgia for my Konica, for the camera that made me do all the work myself and gave me some of my very best work in the bargain.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

It's Like Blueberry Pancakes

Saturday at our house means pancakes. It's quick, it's easy, and my husband makes them. I sometimes miss the waffles on Saturdays that I grew up with but since Steve doesn't make waffles, I'm very happy with pancakes.

Yesterday, Joshua asked Steve if we had blueberries so we could have blueberry pancakes. Amazingly enough, we did. Joshua told everybody that daddy was making blueberry pancakes. The kids got all excited. Everybody told me about the pancakes. They were so excited to get something different. Except Matt who declared he did not like blueberries, so steve made some plain ones for him.

So we sit down at the table with our big pile of blueberry pancakes. About halfway through the meal we notice little, gooey purple balls on their plates. They had all been pulling the blueberries out or eating around them. And who else was doing this? why yes. Joshua. He declared he didnt' like blueberry pancakes.

Steve was very frustrated with them and has declared a new family catch phrase. All day anytime someone changed their minds about anything he said "Ah! blueberry pancakes!"

I was going to get all philsophical about this story, but it's like blueberry pancakes, I don't want to anymore. ;)

Friday, October 21, 2005

False Advertising . . . I hope.

My toddler (sniff!) is wearing a shirt today proclaiming her to be a "Princess in training." I bought this shirt. it's adorable hot pink with a puffy sleeve/long sleeve layered look. When I bought it, I didn't think much about the words. The capital P on Princess is apliqued plaid and the other letters look a bit Doodlebugish. In other words: it just looked cute and the price was right.

This morning, however, as I contemplate my "princess" in all her teething demon-child moodiness, I am struck by how right and wrong those words are at the same time. She is my baby and will always be. Always the last so I'll always treasure her little milestones with a deep, bittersweet nostalgia that wasn't there with my others. For them I cheered for their growing up. For her, I want to develop the first time machine so I never have to let go. And all this is to say, she'll most likely be spoiled. I hope not to completely ruin her or get my other kids thinking she's the favorite, but I'm thinking some spoiling is going to be going on. So, yeah, as the baby of the family, she's going to be a Princess.

But do I want a Princess? I'm not talking a Cinderella like princess, unbelieveably perfect, who is willing to scrub floors and make tea and invite to her wedding people that any other person would have drop kicked to the curb. When I hear "princess," I think of the modern incarnation of the spoiled girl who gets every whim fulfilled, with a mercurial temperment that parents conciously attempt to sooth by fullfulling all her wishes, being perpetual Fairy Godmothers and never parents. The Paris Hilton of Suberbia.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this (and my English teachers would have taken this opportunity to point out that free writes and first drafts are useful things) except to say, I want my girl to be a princess and not a Princess at the same time. I want her to feel loved and treasured but not that it's appropriate to throw a fit when Mommy won't buy the $40 t-shirt at Limited Too. It's a delicate balance. I don't know if I can swing it. I picture myself standing in the middle of a teeter totter like the 10 year old trying to be cool with the stepmother on one end and the fairy godmother on the other, trying desprately to be both and neither at the same time.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Finally! someone to make my decisions for me

So I found someone who could tell me what's for dinner. Her name is Leanne Ely and her website is Saving Dinner. I've been seeing her stuff promoted in my Fly Lady e-mails for over a year now. I have even tried a few of the sample menues and liked them somewhat. Recently however, I decided I needed to just use my Paypal money I had sitting around waiting for me to use and signed up with her "frugal" menu.

Ok, this woman really doesn't know a thing about being frugal. Basically, it's like her other menues only there's no fish or pork and instead of buying chicken breast you buy chicken thighs. (I don't. I buy the big bag of frozen breast instead.) oh and beans. gotta have beans to be frugal. so far I'm spending more than I do when I plan my own menu, about $15 a week more. It's not a lot and it is nice to have someone else tell me what to cook, but I'm not sold on this yet. I'm not sure how well I like her meals. She wanted me to make beef stew but without potatoes. who makes stew without potatoes? (I put them in anyway.) She's also a bit too fond of spinach and her stir fries are not even close to authentic. all in all, they aren't bad. They taste all right and the kids are adjusting to the "weird" food. That's what they call it anyway.

If you are wanting to try this menu mailer thing, I highly suggest you try the sample menus. She's got a new set every quarter and you can try a sample menu from each of her mailing lists just to be sure you get the one you want and that you actually like the system.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Trials and Tribulations of a SAHM

So I'm trying to start a book club. I'm asking women at church which means I'll probably be subjected to a lot of mediocre Deseret Book titles. (hey, they think Work and the Glory is the best book ever! and while I enjoyed the series, it is not in any way great writing. Come on, I dare you to count "it hit him hard" phrases next time you read it. It'll drive you nuts.) I'm ready to enjoy their book choices because I want the fun and the social aspect of the group. Part of having a book group is reading other people's choices and making them read yours.

Anyway, the first couple of women I asked, I chose very carefully. they seemed to have simmilar intrests to me. They were at the library with their children for reading hour. I figured they must like reading. Their response? "Oh, I don't have time to read!" huh. ok. I've got five kids and suddenly I feel three inches tall because I do take the time to read.

And it is taking the time. You choose what you do with your time. If you choose to have sparkling baseboards, that's your choice. If you choose to watch tv, or sew, or scrapbook, or whatever, that's your choice, and the big part is you can always choose something else. It's so easy to get wrapped up in my current life and how I do things, so easy to forget that I can change my schedule anytime I need to. Some things are set, like school schedules, piano lessons and church, but most of my life is very fluid. I can choose what I do and change my choice when I want something else.

I have found other women who are interested in a book group. A couple of them sounded excited about the idea. I'm excited too.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pandora's Box is now lying empty

Link has been editted. it actually works now.

There is no hope for mankind if these fashions become mainstream. Explore the horror that is the fashion shows of Dior and Jacobs. I realize that the runway crap is not what women wear, but the shapes and details often translate from runway to street. I truly hope and pray for the sake of all mankind that these clothes die the quiet pathetic death they so deserve so we may move on to clothes that actually look good.

(and did you see Jacobs breaking the cardinal law of baggy clothes and putting baggy on top and bottom? ack! give those women cardboard signs and send them to Salvation Army!)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Negligent contract workers

that tooth fairy. She never remembers to come to our house. Poor Sarah had two teeth pulled on Wednesday and would you believe that the tooth fairy has yet to make an appearance? sheesh. I guess this is what you get when you pay your workers in teeth.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Something To Say

I'm looking. having a hard time finding it. We have a pretty routine life and there's not a lot to say about it at this point. Everybody is coming home from the Memory Trends show and I'm a bit jealous. I want to go to one of those shows. I want to meet people and have fun and see my pages posted in a booth. Stand in a booth and promote a product I love. Unfortunately, in order to get there, you first have to get a job on a manufacturer's DT and I seem to not be appealing enough as a designer for that. I gave up on keeping my pages "fresh" for submitting to mags and I'm updating my gallery at 2ps. it was so out of date that I had pages I posted four years ago on the first page. Really not a good promotional tool with the Paperkins peeking out of the thumbnail, lol. Just for fun, here's the last one I posted:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Marketing why?

I bought a big box of goldfish crackers for the kids. They love them and I don't buy them a lot so I caved. But only because it was a great big carton and at a good price. It had nothing to do with the little bubble that said "FREE Finn Figurine INSIDE!"

I found my FREE figuring and I'm left scratching my head. what the heck does one do with a three inch plastic goldfish cracker?

and yes, Sharyn, it's another slow day in Bedlam ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's petty but it needs to be said

and I don't have the guts to tell it to the person who needs to hear it. For five years I have been getting announcement papers from the elementary school. Every single one of them sets my teeth grinding. How can a secretary who works at a school not know the proper use of quote marks?! She uses them to emphasize things. Your fundraiser money must be turned in "tomorrow." So it's a pretend tomorrow? only we call it tomorrow, she calls it something else? We also have fake "permision slips," lunch "charges," and, unfortunately, "children." Everything is "important" and must be brought to our "attention."

arghhhhh!!! do the principal and teachers not read these things??? has no one told this woman that she's an idiot? really????? I swear I'm going to go into the office and show that woman how to use bold and italics as a Christmas "present."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pottery Barn's True Nature Revealed

Did you ever read your brother's Mad Magazines? (or your own if you happened to buy them) Remember the last page? the inside back cover? how it would have that one picture that if you folded it right would reveal the punch line of a joke?

Ok, now take your lovely new fall edition of the Pottery Barn catalog and carefully make a mountain fold right before the R in Barn. Now bring that mountain fold over just to the right of the O in Pottery.

And the truth is revealed:
But you just read it for the articles, right?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Teaching a Lazy Dog New Tricks

I'm not very good at the cleaning thing. When I had one baby and my dh was gone sixteen hours a day, I was perfect at it. Even my bedroom closet stayed spotless. Now that I have five kids and a house that doesn't have quite enough room, I'm terrible. There's always something that should be done around here. The bad part is I'm essentially a lazy person. I've read all the Flylady lit and, believe me, perfectionism is not my problem. I'm not avoiding it because I can't do it "right." I'm avoiding housework because I just plain don't want to do it. Her idea of only focusing on one room at a time really doesn't work for seven people living in a 1400 sq ft house.

However, I do like her 15 minutes at a time philosophy and I have adapted it to my own cleaning routine. starting this morning actually. 15 minutes in four rooms a day, the three main rooms and alternating days for my bedroom and the bathroom. I think if I can keep this up I can get to the point where I'm cleaning baseboards and walls and getting down cobwebs to fill my 15 minutes. That's my hope anyway. ;)

btw, this post is just to put it out there to the world what I'm doing so I can hold myself more responsible. That whole writing down your goals thing, you know. anyway. here's to a clean house and lots of time to read at the same time ;)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Linguistic Influences and the Leveling of American Dialect

What's up, Dawg?! Word. I watched a movie about a high school basketball team. Baby, that was good. They burned it up. They got it togeth-a, man. Word. I can't stop thinking like this. Man, this is trash, dawg. Need me some of that Meg Ryan. She's got it, baby. You know dat. Gotta get this crap out a my he-ahd.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Out of the mouths of babes

Matt, counting fingers: One, two, three, four, five . . . hey! I don't have enough!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Playing Dress-up

Recently, as my sweetie was planning the house concerts, I realized that I had no dressy shirts. Ok, I had one but I had to wear a safety pin to keep the front from gapping. My dress up wardrobe was seriously lacking. This comes from spending the clothing budget on the kids (and paper, but we won't go there.) Really, it's not that big a deal that I wouldn't have had a dressy shirt to wear. I have some t-shirts that look ok on me and most people around here don't dress up for stuff much anyway. I wouldn't have stood out or anything, but every once in a while even a casual girl wants to be mistaken for high maintenance.

I made myself a new shirt. khaki stretch poplin with a white collar and white french cuffs on a 3/4 length sleeve. It looks great on me. (yes, I said "made" and "looks great." My mother is a seamstress. I know what I'm doing ( ; ) I painted my toe nails red and even wore flippy sandals with a bitty one inch heel. (in khaki to match the shirt.) btw, there is no point to painting toe nails anything other than red. I spent extra time on my make up and hair. Things I normally spend five minutes doing.

I looked good. And even if no one else thought it, I felt like a high maintenance girl just for one evening.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My Bad Week Got Worse

Last week was tough. On Wednesday I watched 24 happy people post about how they loved pink. I wanted to love pink. :( Cactus Pink passed me over. On Thursday we tried to pick apples but the orchard we chose had not sprayed this year and the apples weren't worth the time. Since we were supposed to be having a big apple cider making party, we had less than 24 hours to find an alternative. Bright spot in the week was finding a good orchard. The apples make good cider btw. On Saturday I was passed over for another dt and our cider making party got rained on. we went ahead with it and moved it into the carport. My brilliant idea for making the pulp did not work so hot.
Friday was the biggie though. The worst thing that happened in the month of September. My camera died. (steve says it's only mostly dead.) We were using it one minute and the next it wouldn't turn on again. just nothing. Tried charging the battery twice, changed out the CF card, took out the CF card completely, cried over it, nothing helped. Last night we drove to Boise so I could drop it off at the camera store so they could send it in for repairs. It is still under warranty since it's barely over six months old, but I still keep having aweful thoughts that they will find some stupid nit picky reason why they can void the warranty so I get stuck with the bill. Yes, I borrow trouble sometimes. in the meantime, I am without my camera for at least three weeks, maybe longer.

at least I never got rid of my film camera. it will be weird going back to it though.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I think I'm a closet modernist. My whole life I've been thinking of myself as a traditionalist. I love big ol' victorian houses, adorable bungaloes, old buildings. Then one day I wake up and discover I love Frank Gehry's work. His curves are so fabulous. The next thing I know I'm admiring big rectangle windows, stainless steel bars snaking across orange, curvy graphic chairs. It's almost scary. I secretly go to Design*Sponge and drool at her links.

It all started when I was looking for fresh inspiration for my scrapbooking. I started looking in modern architecture and now I can't stop. I'm seriously contemplating a subscription to Dwell. Just for scrapbooking inspiration. really.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Sisters Love

just messing with that doodling fad that has come over from the art journal craze. I feel like it needs something else. I suppose if I were just going to give in completely, I ought to have Prima flowers on there somewhere. LOL!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's Official

I no longer have a baby. I have a toddler instead. I just watched her walk away from me, her little knees picking up and her feet stepping like she was walking across a movie theater floor, pulling them out of stickiness. She's speeding up. She no longer pauses between steps readjusting her equilibrium--she just goes. It's not running yet, but I think she'll be doing that very soon. When she falls, she just stands back up. It was just two weeks ago today that she learned how to stand in the middle of the floor for the first time.

She's still chubby and adorable and babbling. she still nurses and wears diapers. But she's not a baby anymore.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I've been grumpy lately. Can't say it's "that time" because I haven't had a "that time" for 21 months (and that makes me happy.) so my sweet husband brought me home a present this evening. You are free to be as jealous as you like. For informational purposes the chocolates are from Fawn's Fudge Factory (Home of the Cow Pie and Roll in the Hay ;) ) truly at least as good as See's.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Warning: Gushiness to Follow

I married a dreamer. He calls himself an "idea man." And he has ideas. Unfortuanately, they are always million dollar ideas, as in it would take a million dollars to make work. Needless to say, we have to let them go and nothing ever happens with them.

About a year ago though, he had an idea that wouldn't cost us anything. It would just take a lot of work to make happen. So he started planning. He worked out the details. Then he started making it happen this summer. He has worked very hard and smoothed out a lot of bumps, and tonight his dream is going to happen.

Cherie Call will be playing a house concert this evening. She is a Deseret Book recording artist from SLC and a fabulous musician. She'll perform this evening in one home and then tomorrow in another. Bascially, a house concert is what it sounds like. A musician comes into a home and puts on a small concert. Someone has to be host and invites friends and family to come listen and everyone pays a small donation to the artist to pay their expenses and time. It's a pretty cool idea and I'm very much looking forward to the concerts.

Steve is hoping that these two house concerts can steamroll into a series of concerts in our area hosted by different people and featuring many different artists, known and unknown. I think he can make it happen.

I'm proud of you, Steve.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

They Finally Got Me

I have never been very tempted by the Swiffer. The idea of a broom that I couldn't use unless I bought particular dust cloths really repelled me. I could just see myself doing cost per use averaging, "it cost me 50 cents to sweep my floor today. I had better just skip it tomorrow." I'd be pulling out the old broom and letting the swiffer sit. Because a swiffer doesn't just cost $20 the first time you buy it, it cost something every single time you use it. It's really a slam dunk product for the company. Once they get you to buy the broom, you're hooked and they will get money from you as long as you use the product.

Of course, then they had to come out with fancy new products in the swiffer line. I thought the deep ridges clothes were kind of cool. Sadly, those are the kind that I would have to use in this house, what with the dirt from seven feet and the dog hair. The Swiffer Jet is pretty cool too. A mop without a bucket is always a handy thing. It intrigued me, but never really temped me. I have a mop that is basically free to use sitting in my closet right now. I paid $5 for it two years ago and cost per use is sitting under a penny.

Oh but then Swiffer had to come out with that stupid vaccuum. And about the same time I got an area rug in my living room. Right now I have to get out the broom and vaccuum every day to keep my livingroom floor clean. Besides the fact that my full sized vaccuum is hard on my woven rug, it's akward and a pain to break out every day. Now that Swiffer vaccuum thing would be perfect. I could dust mop the floor and vaccuum the rug with one shiney new, lightweight pretty toy. It would be easy. I would do it every day. My floors would be pretty and shiney and the Millenium would be ushered in.

See, I need me one of those vaccuum things. Oh and while you're buying me one, could you pick up one of those Mr. Clean mop thingys so I can mop the floor around my toilet without having to get down on my knees? thanks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

More Bubba Stories

This morning Matt found a flashlight. It's one of those big ones with lots of light. He's turned off all the lights he can reach so he can play with it better. He said to me, "turn off the light, so I pretend my hand is a duck."

so I turned off the light and he set the flashlight down and ran right over to the wall. With his little hand an inch away he brings his fingers and thumb together "quack, quack." then he giggles and runs off to turn off all the other lights.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Just Sharing

my favorite layout of the moment (click to make it bigger):

Friday, September 16, 2005

Yes, I'm going to discuss the red couch again

When we were at the furniture store buying the Red Couch, there was another couch there that tempted me. It was sleek and low, with blocky lines and Italian leather. It was red too but a more orangy red and not quite so bright. It was trendy and modern looking. It looked hip and cool. It was also $300 more than the couch we bought.

I was having a hard time deciding between the two couches. Steve was so cool. He just said, "get what makes you happy." And I almost bought the leather couch. The hip one, because I wanted to be hip and cool.

As I stood there in the middle of the store contemplating both couches, I said to Steve, "The canvas couch is more who we really are but the leather couch is more what I wish I was." and that sweet man just said "well then get the leather, because you should never let anything hold you back from what you want to be."

But we came home with a canvas couch with big fluffy cushions and soft lines anyway. it's a casual couch. a fun couch. a cuddling couch. And you know what? I don't miss that leather couch. I love my big, comfy couch. It's so nice to curl up in. It fits with my life and with what I need a couch to be. What I need myself to be.

Because sometimes, what you wish you were isn't really right. I am a jeans and t-shirt sort of person. I'm very casual and a home body no matter how much I picture myself in a sleek house with dinner parties. It wouldn't be me and I wouldn't be comfortable there.

It's hard to get comfortable with yourself and accept who you are. I'm learning. I never thought I would learn something from a couch though ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


last night at dinner Matty pulled the neck of his shirt up over his nose: "I'm a Boobah!"

he's a crazy one. He also likes going around saying listen to this and then breathing heavy or saying "Luke I am your father" in the deepest voice he can wrangle out of his throat.

His daddy found a Darth Vadar mask at Wally's. guess what Matt's going to be for Halloween? ;) Steve's trying to talk me into letting him be "Darth Bubba" which would involve the mask paired with plaid flannel and overalls.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Reason God Invented Valium

After two sessions and 4 dozen frames, we finally have the annual family photo. the one that was supposed to be done back in July. I have learned that I really need to get a remote for my camera before next year. I have also decided that I need to be able to take photos in burst mode on my timer. oh, and that I need a magic power that lets me freeze them all in place so they stop turning their heads right before the shutter snaps.

They ran around and Matt was upset that we wouldn't let him wear a hat in the picture. Then he found a big rock and dubbed it his nose rock and of course, he wanted his picture taken with it . . . up by his nose. Marilla kept trying to shield her eyes and since this little trick was what ruined the last set of pictures (that and the fact that she was wearing a dress and didn't sit like she was wearing a dress) we jumped in to nip that in the bud.

pictures were taken and then they got to explore. We went up to the hill that's a block from our house. It's a fun place for the kids to run around and look at stuff. they threw rocks and scuffed their feet in the dirt and generally acted like wild hooligans, in other words, they acted pretty normally.

Here's the result, one picture out of 48 tries:

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pondering Life's Great Mysteries

Why is the difference between too hot and too cold on shower faucets always less than 1 milimeter's movement on the knob?

Why is it when you don't need something you can name exactly where it is and in the case of pens or cotton balls, have excess amounts that fall on your head when you look in cupboards for that thing you need right then that until the moment you needed it you knew where it was but now that you need it not a one can be found?

Why is it the clothing industry thinks that if you have size 18 hips you must be 7 feet tall?

Why is it children will be having a roaring game of race or tag inside but the moment you send them outside the game is over and they suddenly become bored?

Why is it so easy to fall asleep on the couch when you are tired but when you get up and take yourself to bed you lay awake for an hour trying to fall asleep?

And the big question of the day:
Why is it that even though I have known for a month that I would be teaching a lesson today at church I put off preparing that same lesson until the last minute?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Evil Mommy

last thursday I cleaned my children's rooms for them. While they were at school and couldn't watch me do it. They thought I was being nice. They thanked me and everything. Gave me hugs. smiled. If I could do an evil laugh it would fit in here right about now. tsk, tsk. they just don't know. They have not yet learned that the last thing any child should want is for Mother to clean their room.

Because you know I tossed. A full garbage bag for each bedroom. Toys have disappeared from the shelves, paper work from school that was being saved for who knows what reason have melted in ether. Puzzles missing pieces vaporized. ah yes. Mom cleaned, hoping all the while that the hard work was actually going to get her somewhere, that the rooms would in fact stay clean and be easier for the kids to clean.

But that's the big joke. It does not, in fact, work like that at all. Somehow, their rooms look exactly the same as they did before I put all that work into them. So, really, the last thing any mother should want is to clean their kids rooms for them. Someone had to learn a lesson from all this, I suppose.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

And She's Off!

Rilla is reading. Really reading. I think it's clicking for her. I knew she was getting very close to being able, so I checked out a Dick and Jane book from the library. I love Dick and Jane for early reading. The often repeated words are great for helping her have success and early recognition of high frequency words. The stories only introduce one or two new words each time, so she gets more confident the more she reads the book.

We have been reading Dick and Jane together two nights now. After I'm done helping her, she goes on to read some by herself. It's so cute to listen to her as she reads words she knows and carefully sounds out the ones she doesn't. Sometimes she does a wild guess but we slow down and I encourage her to sound out each letter to be sure she gets the word right.

I love that she is reading now. I love that she wants to read. I hope that she develops the same love for books that the rest of us have.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How Amy Got Her Groove Back or Creative Blocks Suck

So I mentioned that I had scrappers block for two months. It was horrible. I avoided my desk completely. But I have broken through it and I don't see it ever happening to me again like that. why? because I've given myself permission to scrap how I want to scrap.

I know, I know, not a big deal right? You just do what you like and heck to everyone else, there's no wrong way and all that. However, this new way is totally backwards from how I had been scrappping, so it wasn't just a matter of deciding it was ok, it was a matter of discovering what worked.

Anyway, a few months ago as I was doing my pages for the Power Team contest, (the evil, evil contest! sorry Jyl) I had an epiphany about inspiration. I had been trying to see layouts in art work and advertising because, well, that's the fashionable way to get inspired these days. It wasn't working for me so well. One day I was thinking about how I had really wanted to be an architect in high school and how I still really loved to look at buildings and then it hit me. I could use architecture as my inspiration.

It worked. I picked up a copy of Architecture Digest and read through it with a sketch pad next to me. I had page layouts flying through my head. it was amazing. I was getting ideas just from my other ideas. I sketched out everything I thought of whether it would make a good page or not. And then I started translating them into pages and that's where I hit a snag.

See, I just went digital in march. I was still used to having a stack of 4x6 photos to scrap. 4x6 photos that I carefully composed and seldom wanted to crop in any way. So all my layouts had to be based on that size of photos, but my sketches weren't like that. my creative side was arguing with my scrooge side (which is pretty dominate since I've given it free reign over the years.) Creative said I needed to be printing out the pics myself in the sizes I needed. Scrooge said it was too expensive and I needed to be ordering pics online at 12 cents each.

As soon as I gave Scrooge the boot, my mojo came back. It's been fabulous liking what I'm doing again. even the pages that I can honestly say are not my best work, I still like. They are ok and that's fine. I'm enjoying the process again. It's fun to start with the design and not the photos. I flip through my sketch book looking for a design that speaks to me, one that I would love to create at that moment. Then I go find pictures that fit, edit and print them up, and I scrap. And I like the results.

when all is said and done, that's the miracle: that I like scrapbooking again. It's a great feeling.