Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 83: Clap your hands!

In Peter Pan, Tinker Bell saves Peter's life, and in the process becomes gravely injured.  She asks everyone to clap their hands if they believe in fairies.  Well, in our house, we most certainly would clap our hands!  WE believe!

We have the usual toothfairy that arrives (OK--she has only visited once, but she was a hit), the House Fairy visits our house occasionally, and this past week we added a new and welcomed addition to our fairy collection:  Bernice, the Binky Fairy.

Although Julia never used a binky, Adam loved his.  To be fair, we had pretty much weaned him off of them for the past year and a half.  He didn't use them at night anymore, and they were kept up out of the way unless it was time for a daytime nap.  But the last week or so he has managed to find them hanging around, climbing onto things to reach them, and has screamed blue murder should we take it away.  It was a battle that I really didn't want to get into at his age.  I was never going to be one of those people with the big kid in Walmart with the binky.  No way.

Enter Bernice.  Bernice is a grandmotherly looking fairy who has a strange fondness for collecting binkies. Some childhood throwback that perhaps requires a bit of psychoanalysis. But anyway, her odd obsession came in handy this week. We set up the whole fairy thing.  We decorated an envelope and gathered up the three binkies we could find--including one that was inexplicably in use.  Adam put them in the envelope.  We told him that when little boys get to be big boys, Bernice likes to make a fun trade and give them something special for their binkies.  We sealed the envelope up, and Adam put the envelope in the mailbox. 

The next morning he found that Bernice had left a big, stickered up envelope full of forest animals and cowboys. Whoohee!!  So exciting.  About two hours later, he had a bit of a meltdown over not having a binky, but another explanation, a threatening to his sister that the B-word was like a swear word in our house and would have consequences to dire to contemplate,  and we haven't heard a peep about it since.
Oh yes, our hands are clapping so hard they are tingling. 
We DO believe in the magic of fairies!

Bless Bernice!

By the way, there's a lovely little Christmas give away going on here.  I don't know about you, but a $50 gift card towards Christmas cards fromTiny Prints sounds pretty good to me!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 82: Blue Moon

OK, I did it.  I stayed up too late last night and watched Twilight.  I held off on the books until just a few months ago, before realizing that unless I read them I wouldn't be able to carry on a conversation with many of my friends.  Same goes for the movie.  Hubs was out last night with some friends, so I sat at home watching this thing  and thinking to myself that I just could not get into the Edward as played by Robert P. in the movie.  Too pasty.  And the red lips and goofy hair?  Naaah.

So I'm going to bed NOW, even though it's just 8:30. 


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 81:Ghost Car

So today we decided that we needed to get out of the house.  You know that feeling?  The walls start contracting and it doesn't matter how big the space is, it is toooo small.  So we left the dishes in the sink, the toys over the living room floor, and wet laundry in the washer, tumbled ourselves into the car and drove to Bedford to see the Christmas decorations at Old Bedford Village.

But like many of our family outings, the idea is great but the failure is in the execution!  Hubby had looked online for the hours of operation, so all seemed great.  We strapped the kids in, one in the very back and one in the middle for our sanity and their safety, and away we went.  45 minutes later, we arrived at the Village only to find that they were, indeed, closed for the season!  What do you mean "season?"  They usually have neat displays, supposedly.  ARGH.  So what to do, what to do.  Antiquing?  Uh...3 year old child.  Nope.  Museum?  Same 3 year old child.  But finally we decide to go to the museum anyway.  Drive up. Park and get everyone unbuckled.  The wind is whistling in our ears and we can feel our blood congeal.  It's freezing.  But up the hill we walk to the museum only to see the sign.  You guessed it!  "Closed for the season."

So we went back home and to the mall where we had the kids' picture taken with Santa Claus instead.  Which we only tried once before two years ago to a screaming baby and a Santa who looked like he'd been into the grog.  This year it was fine, the kids were happy, Santa was jolly and kind with a nice, freshly groomed, snow white natural beard, the photographer was great with kids so the picture turned out cute, and now we're safely home after, almost quite literally, the whole afternoon in the car!

So I guess these pictures of a few old cars taken through some glass at a private display on a Bedford corner where I yelled "STOP!!!  Picture of the day!!!" are appropriate.

I was going to delete this next one right off the camera because there was so much glare.  I'm glad I didn't though, because I think it looks waaaay cool!  Kind of like a ghost car.  OoooOOooo!!!

And then I thought, "Hmn.  I wonder..." and did this with it.

Which one do you like best?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 80: Just for fun

Today was one of those slow, sleepy days.  I'm not quite sure how we filled the hours, but I think it was mostly reading stories and just hanging out while eating left overs.  We tried to take a photo for our Christmas cards, but it really wasn't that good, except for Adam, who was actually looking at the camera and smiling for a change, and the sheet kept falling down and we just couldn't keep everyone focussed enough to try for any more, so to "fix" what we had.  Kinda.  Without Photoshop, which I don't have, so I had to go with the ridiculous.

I think we're going to have to try again...  :oD

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 79: Thanksgiving

It was just us this year, and with the kids still small and one who refused any sort of meat anyway, we decided not to do the full turkey thing.  But we thought it would be fun to do Cornish Hens instead.  The orange glaze on them tasted nice.  But guess who the bozo was who, even though she thought it odd that the directions said to place the bird breast side down, did so anyway without rechecking the recipe.


Of course it was supposed to be breast side up.  Ah well.  Still tasted pretty good, and we have enough left over for sandwiches tomorrow.  Julia thought the whole bird on her plate was pretty fun, and we even found the teeny tiny wishbone to break!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 78: Corner View

Today's Corner View challenge is Menu del dia.  Basically, what kinds of foods would you find at a local restaurant in our town.  This challenge was really hard, because Johnstown is filled with chain restaurants, pizza parlours, Chinese buffets, and spaghetti joints, and really doesn't have many small, local restaurants.  That said, there IS a little place called "Valley Dairy," which used to be an ice cream parlor and has developed into a family restaurant.  Just for this challenge, and because we had a coupon, we went there for lunch this afternoon.  It is a classic American place--almost diner-like.  Nifty.  None of these photos have been edited, except for a bit of cropping.  I'm late submitting for the challenge, so simply didn't want to take any more time. 

This first photo is a complete accident.  I "oopsed" and clicked the shutter as I was checking to make sure I had the settings right.  In an odd way, I like it.

Here's the grill guy.  He was a little bit scared at the idea of my taking his photo (I had the waitress ask!), but I managed to get a stealth shot of his tattoos.  He was a HUGE bald guy with major sideburns and tattos all over his arms.  Notice the sleeve rolled up--all he needed was a cigarette box tucked in there and one behind his ear to make the look complete.  In all seriousness, though, since we were sitting really close, I could see that he was really clean.  The grill was his territory, and he protected it with a passion!

Soup bowls

Our food.  Hubby ordered a philly cheese steak:

I sacrificed my figure for this challenge and ordered a typical American meal:

And I thought this was kind of fun.  Three burgers ready to go on the line, a poppa burger, momma burger, and baby burger.  teehee

On a side note, as I was clicking away, the manager came over, waitress hovering behind,  to see if they were in trouble!  LOL  When I explained what I was doing, he thought it was pretty fun. 

The big thing around here is "Homestyle Cooking."  Chicken friend steak, salisbury steak, hamburgers, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fried get the jist.  Food that mama can make.  And since I'm a mama, well, I might just as well make it at home as pay someone else to make it for me!  And if I had my druthers, I'd eat something different when I eat out, if I could, anyway.

Johnstown is really insular.  It's nestled in a valley in the Allegheny mountains, many residents have never been outside this place, and food that is different than what they are used to at home doesn't appeal to them.  There's a bit of a suspicion towards anything new. 

About a year ago, a Japanese Steakhouse opened.  YAY! We're hoping it stays open, so we can occasionally get our sushi fix. The first time we went there, we despaired of it surviving, because the people all around us were going on about how stupid chopsticks were, why couldn't you get a burger there, and there was no way THEY were going to eat raw fish. They didn't like their steak chopped up, they didn't like the teriyaki sauce, they didn't want rice.  They wanted their potatoes.  The servers and chefs looked funny.  They couldn't speak english right...on and on.  But we went last Friday, and the place was packed and everyone was having a wonderful time.  So maybe it has caught on and will be around for awhile, filling in a much needed niche.  I took this photo of our meal and posted it last Friday. Here it is again:

I realize I'm sounding kind of out of sorts, here.  I guess I had gotten spoiled.  I miss being able to go to a small, locally operated place where food is prepared in an interesting, tasty and tasteful way.  I miss the variety of international cuisine that is found in Vancouver, where I lived before moving here.  I miss the fusion of international flavors with western foods.  I miss food prepared with imagination. 

We're going to Chicago this Christmas to spend it with hubby's mom.  I think we're going to start to work on eating our way through the city. 

For more yummy Corner Views, visit Jane's place.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 77: Corny all round

Two weeks ago, when I wasn't down with a cold, I signed up to make cornbread for Adam's preschool Thanksgiving feast today.  So this morning, I had to drag myself out of bed and make cornbread, being careful to wash my hands every few minutes and to not cough all over the ingredients.  Yes, I managed to keep it sanitary.  So here it is:

And here's Adam at preschool enjoying it:

And the cutest little Indian brave ever, relaxing in front of his teepee. 
(I know, it's not really PC, but it WAS pretty adorable!)

And after taking these pictures, I realized I had the ISO set for 100 instead of 400 inside, so had to tweak them on the computer.  They're a bit grainy.  Who knows how long I've been doing that.  It's one of those things I KEEP forgetting to check!

The cornbread recipe is pretty good.  Moist and a bit sweet.  I can't take credit for it, since I found it online a few years ago.  Wish I knew WHO to credit, because it's the only cornbread my husband likes! Give it a try, if you'd like!

1-1/2 cups cornmeal
2-1/2 cups milk
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, combine corn meal and milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
2.  In a large bowll whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Stir in the cornmeal mixture, eggs, and oil until smooth.  Pour the batter into a prepared pan.
3.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 76: Say Hello To My Little Friends

Robitussin, Tylenol, and Kleenex. 

Robitussin is the kind of fairweather friend that says they'll be with you through thick and thin, but when the pressure is on bails on you, leaving you to hack it out alone before they come back, promising another 6 hours of relief, then buggering out again at only 3 hours.  But for some reason, even though they fail you again and again, you have a sense that their intentions are good, so you keep forgiving them and try to make the friendship work the best you can.

Tylenol is great.  When the chips are down, Tylenol kicks that headache down and sits on it.  Tylenol is the kind of friend that's good to have when you're lost in a bad part of town and are afraid of getting mugged.  You know that he's got your back.

Kleenex--always there.  They sympathize with your plight and help you mop up the mess.  They're not flashy, and most of the time they're not noticed, but when you need them you know you can count on them to help you through.  They never give advice and they don't try to fix your problems for you--they just sit by your side and listen.

All three friends are having ample opportunities to prove themselves the last couple of days, and as much as I am grateful to have them, I really, really wish I didn't need them right now.

Hack hack.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 75: Invasion!

It's a good thing we have cats, because today we were invaded by a veritable ARMY of mice. 

An invasion of 65, to be exact.

Counsel of war:

Their fearless leader:

Off to brief the troops.

Personally, I think our family is outnumbered, and the best thing to do would be to surrender.
They played the cuteness card, so what else can we do?

Actually, they give a whole new meaning to the little verse that goes something like this *ahem*:

Love them little mousies
Mousies what I love to eat
Bite their tiny heads off
Nibble their tiny feet.

These were made for the Young Women group at church.  Easy to make.  Just cut a little heart out of felt and a tail from thin ribbon.  Carefully unwrap part of a kiss and remove the tag.  Tuck the ribbon under the chocolate and replace the foil.  Unwrap just the tip of another kiss and remove the tag--even just the top part of it will do.  Glue the ears and bodies together with tacky glue.  Glue the eyes on.  Giggle like a child at the sheer adorableness.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 74: Brenda's Photo Challenge link and stuff

I completed the Brenda Photo Challenge early this round.  It can be found here.

Today's photo:

It's not bird feeder.

It's a...

cat feeder!

Or neighbor's cat, a friendly, sociable little gal,
Often comes over to visit.
The other day she discovered
The bird feeder.

She thinks it's a smorgasbord
Put out
Especially for her!

I beg to differ.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 73

What to tell you about the day.  Hmn.  Bright spot?  A few!  Woke up this morning with a sore back.  It's one of those hazards of being in my *teensy print* 40th decade.  Anyway, I was sitting on the bottom step, and Adam, who's 3, wanted me to pick him up and carry him upstairs--who knows why the carrying, but anyway.  "Sorry, Buddy...Mummy's back is too sore to carry you today.  You're a big boy now.  I'll hold your hand and we can go up together."  "My Pooh Bear blanky will make your back better." Now, you have to imagine this said in the cutest, albeit hardest to understand, 3-year-old lisp.  Adam has some speech issues and will be starting therapy soon.  In the meantime, we can understand him, most of the time, with context.  Anyway, he gets his blanket, brings it over, and put its over my shoulders so it hangs down my back.  And do you know what?  It must be three year old magic, because my back DID feel better!

Tonight before the kids went to bed, we took this silly picture of our feet:

Kind of a goofy picture, and it was HARD to get everyone's feet in there.  But we had a blast doing it.

Hubs and I hadn't been out on a date forever, so we went tonight.  We did THIS after the kids went to bed.  Nothing like eating this much late at night, but I guess I can exercise tomorrow to work it off.  Riiiight!

Have a nice day!  I'm going to roll off to bed, now...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 72: Whoa Nellie!

I'd like you to meet our little Nellie girl, the sister component of our brother/sister pair of kitty cats. She's a small, delicate, fine boned little thing, a real snuggly sweetheart.  Her brother, Mooch, is bigger, fluffier, and bit of a klutz.  With Mooch in your lap, if you move or shift position, he gives you a dirty look, jumps down,  then stalks off.  Nellie takes things in her stride.  Then again, it's not surprising, given what life has handed her.

A few years ago, she was in an accident.  We're not sure what happened, but she went missing for a few days, and when she hobbled home it was with a mangled paw.  It looked like perhaps she was caught in a snare of some kind, and her leg couldn't be saved.  So now she's our sweet tripod cat.  She has never let only having one front leg stop her.  When we brought her home, her front shoulder all shaved, stapled, and traumatized, she simply hopped out of the carrier, hobbled over to check out her food and water, then back into the living room, where she hopped up into my lap and snuggled in for a nap.  She moved a little like a bunny rabbit...front leg forward, then hop with the back, until she found that running was the same action with three legs or four, and when she runs you'd never know she has only three legs.  Her favorite pastime?  Catching chipmunks from the back yard, bringing them in the house, then letting them go.  I can almost hear her giggling as we scurry around with a plastic container trying to catch her prize. 

What I've learned from Nellie? 

There's nothing better than a warm lap.

It's good to shake things up a bit sometimes.

Challenges can be overcome and life faced with joy and without fear.

Sun Chips and ice cream are yummy.  Together or separately.

You can get pretty much get anything you want if you annoy people enough--mews, scritches, making dough--especially at 4 am.  Works wonders.

In other news...
Work was crazy today.  Actually, for the last couple of days.  It has been all I could do to get a photo up a day--but doing so allows me to lift my head out of it enough to see that there IS a world out there!  I'm hoping things will calm down a bit by the weekend, at which point I'll be going through the blogs I usually read and comment on.  I'm not ignoring everyone!  I just want to be able to savor your posts.  :o)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 71: Corner View AND an award!

YAY!  What a DAY! 

For Corner View this week, we were to take pictures of what we see when our cell phone rings.  Sounds dandy!  But how, I ask you, am I going to participate in this challenge when A) Nobody calls me on my cell because they know that chances are that B) it is sitting on my kitchen counter being charged? 

As you can tell from my high tech phone, I have a basic basic basic, used only for emergencies.

Which isn't much use when it is HERE and the van has broken down someplace else.  With me in it.  And the kids.  In the rain.  Grk.

For more corner views, head on over to visit Jane at Spain Daily.  I'll be back in bit--going off to take some photos of a friend's adorable pregnant tummy!


How fun was it to find that Maureen at Island Roar had given me this awesome award!  I LOVE awards!  :o)  Maureen is one of those great people that I would probably never have the pleasure of getting to know without this wonderful blogging thing.  One of the things that impresses me about Maureen's posts is that when she writes, she WRITES.  She is clever and funny and writes from the heart.  Go over to her place.  Now.  No...don't read any  more of my blather.  I mean it.  NOW!  GO!  ;o)  (But then come back again.  Please?)

To accept this award, I'm to simply link to a few other blogs I love. (I think 5, but Maureen did 3, so I'm following her example!) 

First, I'm going to choose Natalie at Nat the Fat Rat.  For a daily dose of sparkle and because even when she's having a really AWFUL day she manages to be joyful and spread it around.  If you haven't found her yet, you're missing out.  Seriously, she should write a book.  She is that good a writer.  So go.  Now.  But check out Maureen first.  Her blog, that is.  Then Natalie.  Then these next two:

Katie at Color Me Katie because she lives a sweet, whimsical, fun, colorful life--and it shows in her photographs and daily doings. 

Otli at Le Blog d'Otli.  Beautiful photography from a beautiful person full of interesting thoughts.  I just wish I read better french!  He has become a great blogger buddy.  I so appreciate getting to know him a bit.  His comments on my posts make my day brighter. 

So go and take a look.  Click "Follow" on all three of these.  But be sure to come back and visit me.  I'd miss you!

It has been a hodge podge of a post today.  Remember earlier I said I was going to take some photos of a friend's tummuy?  Here are a couple of pictures from Jaime's mini, fun, at-the-last-minute, let's take a few pictures, photo shoot at my place this morning.  More to come.  I just don't have time to edit any more right now.  :o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 70: Ahoy!

Hubby plays with toy soldiers.  Really.  OK, in a more grown-up, sophisticated form than the playroom tin soldier variety.  He paints and games with teensy-weensy little miniatures, painted to incredible detail.  It's actually pretty nifty looking.  Today he dug out a ship game and introduced Julia to her first set of miniature rules.  This game uses premade ships, but the idea is similar to the even tinier metal figures that he usually plays with.  Just a few photos to kind of give you an idea:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 69: Shhh!

Otli invited me to play a little "7 Confidences" game, where we post 7 secrets, I suppose, or 7 things about ourselves. Frankly, I don't have many secrets and my life is pretty normal. On the other hand, it gave me something to think about for a photo. HA!

1.  I have my mom's hands, and realize it more and more as I get older.  When I was taking the picture above, I took a bunch because I was doing it blind, and in some of them you'd think Mom was my hand model! (Mom--I know you read this.  What do you think?)
2.  I've parked the car to cry over beautiful music on the radio.
3.  There are vital parts of my very soul that life has tamped down, and the fact that I want to resurrect them and can't is something I struggle with every day.
4.  I love that time before the sun comes up and before everyone else is up.  The idea of being up that early is a great one but too often fails in the execution.
5.  Salty and sweet together is the best combo.  Give me a bag of chocolate dipped pretzels, and I'm yours.
6.  I love Christmas music, but feel I can't legally play it until December 1.  And I don't.  Neither should shopping centers.  Really.
7.  I love being a mom more than anything in the world.  Snuggling with my kids is the fuel that keeps me running.

I'm supposed to tag seven other people.  The thing is, I'm so new at this that I don't know seven people that I think would play!  A couple, maybe, but seven?  Nope.  SO, if you read this and want to play, please leave a comment.  Let us know you're playing, and we'll head over to your blog and check it out!  Thanks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

DAy 68

A quick shot of a detail from our living room clock.  Just squeaked unter the wire--my time, it's 11:58!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 66: Brenda's Photo Challenge

The theme for this round was "Ageless."  Tricky.  So I just thought of an ageless piece of advice, paraphrased from scripture, and here you have it:

Ed:  I just went back to link to the challenge, only to find that this isn't due until November 21!  I'm early for something for once.  If you'd like to participate in this challenge, just go to visit Donna for instructions.  I hope I can still use this next week, because I'm not sure if I can come up with anything else!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 66: UFOs and things!

I actually saw one!  A UFO!  And here's the proof--it's going through the "fly-through!"  ;o)

We hadn't been out for ages, and decided today to bag responsibility and go out to eat.   Neat reflections in the glass--including visitors from outer space!  Hehe.

Here's a couple more.  No aliens this time, though.  Sorry. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 65: What's cookin'?

The thing about at 365 day project is trying to figure out what to take a photo of when you haven't been able to leave the house all day and when FINALLY you are able to take some time to take a photo, it is pitch black out, thanks to the time change.  So I go rushing around the house eyeballing everything, and this is what I came up with.

Both my husband and I love cooking, as you can probably tell from our partial cookbook collection.  These are the ones we use regularly, as well as a shelf of cooking magazines.  There are some fanshy-shmanshy ones still in a box in the attic--rarely used these days.  Sigh.  Now that I'm working from home full time, and hubby's off work, he has taken on the cooking routine, and I'm the beneficiary.  Last night and tonight's left overs?  Polynesian beef.  Yummer!  I'm a lucky woman!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 64: Corner View "Favorite Dish"

Today's Corner View was tricky!  At first I thought I'd cook or bake something.  But what is my favorite?  I couldn't decide.  So then I started looking around the house for my favorite dish.  Hmn.  I have lots of favorites, but I couldn't figure out how to make them photo worthy with the items that I had around the house.  They're pretty plain looking, and I wasn't feeling particularly imaginative in how to present them.  Not enough fruit to fill a bowl, I wasn't making french toast this morning, so the flat bottomed blue bowl that used to be grandma's and that I use often wouldn't work.  Finally, I happened across this.  This creamer set was given to Mom by my Great-Grandmother, Grace Schreiber.  We named our daughter after her, her middle name being Grace.  About three years ago, Mom was going through her things trying to downsize a bit, and asked me whether I'd like to have it.  Would I?!  Of course!

So I brought it home.  It was black with tarnish, and I just tucked it in the china cabinet for safekeeping, telling myself that I'd polish it one day.  That day was this morning.  I had read somewhere that baking soda and water worked great as silver polish, so I mixed a bit of goop together and rubbed it on.  Holy Hannah!  It was like magic!  Turns out that this set is actually copper with a silver overlay.    Pretty nice, eh?

Now I feel that I need to bake a cake and have someone over for a cuppa!  Would you like to come by?  Maybe I'll bake Jane's chocolate cake, which can be found here along with a list of other Corner View participants.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 63: Tools

Adam, 3 years, reaches into a kitchen drawer and carefully pulls out particular tools, one by one.  He knows exactly what he needs and chooses with care.  "What are you going to make with those?" I ask.

His answer?