31 March 2009

What are YOU going to do today?

Well - it's already 10:13 and I haven't done much but check up on a whole bunch of blogs and read a little Huck Finn. I'm not sure what to do with the rest of my day - although I should at least take a shower.

I kind of feel like painting the bathroom and making a new curtain for it. (I haven't done anything but clean it since we moved in.)

I also kind of feel like scraping the rest of the wallpaper off the hallway ceiling.

Or I could put together some tool chests I bought at IKEA months ago and organize my tools so I could actually find them when I need them.

Or I could work on my quilt. But I don't really feel like it today. (I have 17 of the 25 squares done - yippee!)

I could machine quilt Jack's and Charlie's quilts, but I don't really feel like doing that either.

I kind of feel like doing a few little jobs in the kitchen that I never finished. (a little touch up paint and filling nail holes).

Or I could just read all day.

What should I do?

25 March 2009


I forgot about taking these pictures of Carrie's family while they were here one afternoon. She is Dan's sister and lives far away. We rarely get to see her or her little family. While they were here we rocked a bit (Todd and Carrie are very serious rockers, Stella's on guitar), and played a bit, and had to bribe the kids to take pictures with the cousins. It was nice to see everyone.

jack the quilter

the dress

Here is a picture of the dress I made for Sara's wedding. Thanks for wanting to see it. You guys are a lovely blog audience. I definitely wouldn't be a blogger without you. (Sorry for the not so great photo - Jack was my photographer.)

short lived

On Saturday we went to a petstore we hadn't been to before. Sam really wanted a mouse (because he cost $2.49 and Sam could afford him). I told him he didn't have enough money for the mouse house, food, accessories, etc. I told Sam maybe we could start with something easier like fish. So each person picked out a standard-run-of-the-mill goldfish. The feeder fish that cost 16 cents.

After we told everyone they could pick one out, the guy there told us that gold fish wouldn't survive in a bowl without a filter very long. We thought we'd try it anyway - we figured they last a few weeks at least. Wrong.

Sunday morning we woke up to the first dead fish. And during church the other 3 died. Jack cried (surprising, I thought it would have been Sam) and the other 3 were relatively unaffected. We thought about replacing them with a betta fish because they live well in a bowl with no filter (and now we have a bowl). But no one's really said anything. So for now, we have an empty bowl, some blue rocks, a can of food, and some water conditioner (to take out the chlorine).

p.s. Sam's fish name was by far the best. He named his Jeff. Charlie named his Max, then Nick, then Nemo, then Bandit (and I'm sure it would have kept changing if the fish had lived longer). Jack never got around to naming his. Luke's was named Junior (by Dan and me - though Dan wanted it to be Dan Jr.)

21 March 2009

the taco diet

As I have mentioned before, I am trying to lose a few pounds. Actually, it's quite a bit more than a few. (By the way, if you're feeling bigger than you'd like, I suggest not taking a bath. Or if you do take a bath, try to keep your eyes closed. I pretty much had a break down the other day after taking a "relaxing" bath. I still recommend that you take a shower.)

Pretty much I've been eating a lot of tacos, because I love them, and because they work on my plan (which I am not revealing right now - but if you want to know and you're not in the competition, email me.)

Here is a recipe from this book (which I have blogged about before) that you should try if you like tacos as much as me. (I use chicken breast instead of pork, and I omit the potatoes but I'll give you the recipe the way it is in the book.)

Guajillo-Spiced Pork and Potatoes

serves 6
6 medium (1 1/2 pounds total) red-skin boiling or Yukon Gold potatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast cut into 1 inch cubes
8 medium dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes in juice (fire-roasted)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
1/2 cup chopped white onion, for garnish

Spread the potatoes over the bottom of a slow-cooker (I use a large stock pot on the stove) and top with the pork.

Set a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, toast the chile pieces a few at a time, pressing them against the hot surface with a spatula until they are aromatic and lightened in color underneath - about 10 seconds per side. (If you see more than a whiff of smoke, they are burning.) Transfer the toasted chiles to a blender jar.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, garlic, oregano, Worcestershire, a generous 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Blend until as smooth as possible. Stain the mixture through a strainer directly into the slow-cooker, over the meat and potatoes. Stir to mix thoroughly.

Set the lid in place and slow-cook on high for 6 hours.

Gently stir the stew. If the sauce seems thick to you, stir in a little water. Taste, and season with salt if you think the dish needs it.

Serve in bowls, sprinkled with the cilantro and onion. A stack of warm corn tortillas is the perfect accompaniment.


Just in case it wasn't clear - there was no announcement about me for sure having another baby in this post. Dan wants one but I am undecided as of yet. Losing weight will have a little to do with it but the rest will be me trying to figure out if I am capable of being a mom of 5 kids. I'm not sure I'll be able to be nice enough, have enough time for everyone and everything I need to do, or stay sane enough.

A funny story that may or may not mean something: Last summer when we got our family pictures taken I got out of the car and said to myself, "who's missing?" I looked around and everyone was there. We all walked out to the field and I heard Dan say, "we're missing someone, everyone isn't here." He looked around and everyone was there. Then we both kind of said, "oh no." Since then neither one of us has felt like we're missing someone. And maybe it doesn't mean anything, who really knows. I'm not going to base my decision on that but I really don't know how I'll know what I am capable of handling. I will be doing a lot of praying :)

20 March 2009

quilt progress

I've made 4 blocks (almost 5) in the last few days. Progress is going slower than I'd like because after Jack offered to help me, he changed his mind and wanted to make his own quilt. (He's been home all week due to a very annoying sickness.)

1. designed it (with a few tips from me - like no curves, a good starting size, etc.),
2. chose all the fabrics,
3. cut the colored blocks after tracing a template (I cut the white ones for him with a rotary cutter),
4. sewed all the blocks together in strips on the sewing machine,
5. ironed the seams (even with help from me he burned himself twice, not very badly),
6. sewed the strips together (I ironed the whole quilt after the burns.)

When Charlie saw Jack working on a quilt he wanted to make one too! I cut the strips from the fabric he picked but he wanted to use the sewing machine. So with me sitting right there making sure he stayed on the line, he sewed about 10 strips together.

Then Sam came home and wanted to make a quilt too! (Can you see why I only got 4 squares done?) He changed his mind and started a little dog stuffed animal (which I'll show you when he's done.)

Here is Jack's quilt top:

Here are my 4 squares:

18 March 2009

new quilt

Okay - I figured out what I'm going to start. This is my current bed quilt. It took me 2-3 years to make/finish so it's been on my bed for around 8 years or so. I still love it, but when spring and summer come around, it seems too dark. (This picture is kind of washed out, the background of the quilt is navy).

I've been wanting something for a long time that has a white background. So here's the fabric I'm working from, and the quilt will look a something like this. What do you think?

sick Jack

Jack's still sick. I'll be taking him to the doctor today to see if there's anything they can do for him. But I think if I could pick any of the kids being sick, it would be cute Jack.

Yesterday he went grocery shopping with me, helped me bring all the food in, even put away everything that goes in the pantry without being asked. He is such a helpful guy (I heard he was helpful while we were gone too.) He also just offered to help me with a quilt I'm going to start.

Besides telling you how great Jack is I wanted to give you a book recommendation from him. If you have boys, you should get The Dangerous Book for Boys (and they also have a girl version.)

In it are such things as: hunting a rabbit and then making rabbit stew, the seven wonders of the world, making a bow and arrow, stories about historical happenings, making the perfect paper airplane, doing coin tricks. Some chapters are short and other are longer. If you don't already have this book, Jack thinks you should go out and get it. (I'm not sure they're still selling it at Costco, but I have seen it there in the past.)

17 March 2009

what's going on

I can't think of a good post, but I thought I'd let you know what's on my mind, just so I don't go MIA for too long again.

Spring is nearly here! Since we did part of our yard last fall (sprinklers and sod) we now have many planting areas (or dirt) just sitting there waiting for some lovely flowers or something. Which means that I need to put my degree (Horticulture) to work and plan the flower beds. This is a daunting task, even for me (not exactly an expert, though I did have 1 class on design where I designed 1 project - my parents' house.)

Jack is sick with the flu. I thought he'd already had it before I left but apparently that was something different. I'm hoping that everyone else doesn't get the flu coming up here. It's hard to get anything done with sick kids.

I've got a huge stash of fabric that I'm feeling like I should start using up. I've also collected several quilt patterns that I like lately. I'm not sure why it's so hard to start something new, maybe I'm afraid I'll spend all that time on it and not like it. Maybe I'll show you some pictures of some possible quilts and you can tell me which one to start. (Among them is a new quilt for my bed, which I'm kind of dreading because it will definitely take a while.)

I've joined a family weight loss competition. But it lasts for something like 20 weeks! I'm not sure I can hold out for that long. But I did eat rather perfectly yesterday and today so far, so I'm feeling great about that. Which leads me to the next thing . . .

Dan wants a girl. He'll take a boy too. I'm not so sure about being a mom of 5 kids (read boys - because you know that's what we'll have.) How will I have enough time for everyone (including me and Dan)? How will I have enough time to do everything (laudry, dishes, etc., etc., etc. )?Where will we put another one? I really don't want to get fat again. So for now I'm undecided.

What's going on with you?

12 March 2009

more maui pics

Logan (my bro in law) was the designated animal catcher. These lizards were a little tricky because 1. they were super fast and 2. if you catch them by the end of the tail you could break it off.

you didn't think I was going to skip all the beautiful flowers, did you?

chillin at the beach (where everyone else went in swimming with a bunch of sea turtles. dan and i planned to go back, because we got there at the end, and because i'm still afraid of sharks, but then we got sicker and never went.)

This snail seemed huge to me, 2 or 3 times biger than the ones in my garden. (Eric - Dan's dad, and Emily - Dan's sister.)

more flowers. I liked these because they were this great color of orange, plus pink and yellow on the same bush.

I'm not sure if you can see this black crab, but he was pretty big. Bigger than my hand. He blends in pretty well with his black rock home there.

This is just a normal old canna, but I liked the orange and yellow, so I took a picture.

11 March 2009


To answer a few questions:

Yes - I've been in Hawaii (just got back)
Yes - I wore the dress I made
No - I will not post a picture of me in it
Yes - It was fun
Yes - Dan and I were both sick the whole time (and so were all the kids and my mom, and we're all still kind of sick.)

We went to Maui for Dan's sister Sara's wedding. Here are Sara and Travis listening to Todd (another brother in law) while he gives them a little advice. (He was the unofficial officiator - there was also a Justice of the Peace there to do the actual paperwork, which is apparently the only official business.)
The happy couple cutting the cake. What do you think - isn't it a gorgeous spot? (ps - the cake was yellow with white polka dots, so cute.)
another shot of the beach we were on for the wedding. (see the chairs set up behind Dan and to the left.)

Laura, Sara, and Dan

some of the wedding flowers. all orchids.

Congratulations Sara and Travis! Thanks for having your wedding in Maui!