Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Girl's Loft

Well the girl's loft bed is finally finished. Her room is white and pink now and she's quite pleased with it.

I know it's kind of hard to tell from the photos but the loft is white, the shelves are pink and the pegboard is pink.

While we were making the loft white and pink, we decided to change her dresser to pink & white too. I wish I had taken a before and after picture of the dresser, but I didn't so you can just imagine how ugly it was with a nasty brown color.

The above photo is the top of the loft bed where the reading and sleeping actually takes place.

The photo below is kind of washed out but it's brighter so I thought it might give a better idea of the bottom of the loft. As always, if you click on the photo you'll get a larger picture.

When the sun shines through the pink curtains it actually adds a pink glow to the whole room which makes the pink loving girl happier I'm sure.

A white file cabinet fits perfectly under the desk.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bread Machine Advice

We are contemplating the purchase of a bread machine.

Up until now I've shunned them - thinking that I would not really be making my own bread if I used a bread machine. But, we are wanting fresh homemade bread more often and I just don't want to be held hostage to a bread making schedule.

So I need some advice.

If you have a bread machine that you use at least 3x a week and you love your bread machine - please let me know what the make is. Thanks.

A Little Global Cooling...

I've been spring cleaning, packing up winter clothes, and I put the electric blanket in the closet just on Friday.

Then yesterday morning I was greeted with this...

A sure sign of Global Cooling I'd say. I hope they survive.

Most of Saturday it was raining and at some point in the wee hours, it turned into snow.

Dd commented to me, "I wonder what the Global Warming People (GWP) think about this."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

GroovyGirl is Baking

Yesterday GroovyGirl baked some delicious sugar cookies...she was kind enough to share them with the rest of us :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Eero Saarinen - Architect for St. Louis Gateway Arch

Last night we visited the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum (first visit ever) and saw the exhibit "Eero Saarinen Shaping the Future".

Eero Saarinen was the genius architect that designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

We enjoyed seeing photographs of other buildings and houses that he was the architect for, as well as seeing pieces of furniture that he designed (some which I know I've seen around before).

If all you know about Saarinen is his work on the Arch - then you need to check out the exhibit (closes April 27th).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rainbow Jell-O... A.K.A. Layered Jell-O A.K.A. 8 Layer Jell-O

I have never been a fan of Jell-O.

In fact when I was a kid I hated it. It was OK if you swished it around in your mouth until it liquified - but other than that it was gross. I should have liked it b/c it's pretty much sugar - but I didn't.

I did like it when my mom added "Dream Whip" to it and whipped it into a frothy, cloudy dessert - delicious.

But now that I have matured...I'm still not a fan of Jell-O. But I like Rainbow Jell-O a.k.a Layered Jell-O.

I was introduced to this delicacy via my mother-in-law. I think part of why I like it is that it is simply BEAUTIFUL!

The other day I made Rainbow Jell-O for the second time in my life and I think it was a success. The kids thought it was great fun to mix up the Jell-O - adding boiling water to the powder creates such a deep, beautiful hue - it makes me WANT to like Jell-O. To make the cloudy layers - evaporated milk is added to the liquid Jello.

The Rainbow Jell-O is actually very easy to make - just a bit time consuming. The recipe below is from my MIL - I didn't use the flavors she mentions just b/c I had already purchased the Jell-O before I got the recipe.

Rainbow Jell-O
(makes a 9 X 13 Tupperware and serves at least 20.)

2 (3 oz) packages each of the following Jell-O flavors: raspberry, apricot, lemon, lime (I buy half of them sugar-free whenever I can find it)
2 cans evaporated milk (won't use all of second can)

Method: Begin with raspberry and layering in the order given.

First layer: Dissolve 1 pkg Jell-O with 3/4 c boiling water. After totally dissolved, stir in 3/4 c cold water. Pour into 9 X 13 container. Cool in refrigerator until firm. (make sure it is level)

Next layer: Dissolve 1 pkg Jell-O (same flavor as the 1st) with 3/4 c boiling water. After totally dissolved, stir in 3/4 c evaporated milk. Pour over firm layer. Return to refrigerator and chill until firm.

Continue until 8 layers are formed. Cover with plastic wrap or lid.

NOTE: It can be made a day ahead. Other flavors can be tried, but these are the original and seem to be the best. The apricot is essential for flavor. I usually use sugar-free in the clear layer. You can mix up the next layer and leave in bowl at room temp while the previous layer is chilling. That seems to speed up the cooling. The more layers that are in the pan, the quicker they set up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Well this morning I will be crowned! Well more exactly my tooth will be crowned.

I should be happy, being that this should be my last root canal related visit and I shouldn't ever have to think about it again. And that is what I am hoping/praying for.

BUT - I'm still having pain when I eat/drink something hot or cold and it's not just a mild tooth sensitivity but a sharp pain.

When I first went to the dentist we were not 100% sure which tooth needed the root canal b/c of how the pain radiated and it's a back molar. He thought it could be two teeth that needed treatment but once he began he thought this was definitely the problem tooth as it was obviously dead inside.

Also since the last appointment I've developed a pain in my lower jaw...

So this appointment shall not be the crowning glory that I hoped it would be...it's pretty discouraging to think that I might have to go through the whole root canal procedure again on another tooth - especially when the discomfort/pain/intensity is so recent in my mind.

I'd appreciate your prayers :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not Much Happening

The girl arrived home safely after her days at the farm. Much fun was had.

There will be a report from her later.

Today we're beginning the finishing process on the girl's bed. Hopefully we'll get it all sanded tonight, primer tomorrow and 2 coats of pain on Saturday. Her loft bed will be white with pink shelves...

I can't wait for the finished product - I don't like this messy stage - but by the time the weekend is over the work should be over too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I thought I'd show off my Shamrock Plant today in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Being neither Catholic nor Irish (except for a small part on my mother's side) - we generally don't celebrate S.P.D., other than to perhaps wear green and for my son I'll probably try to come up with a green-ish type meal :)

A friend gave me this Shamrock a couple of years ago - and it is incredible! You just can't permanently kill it!!! For those of us lacking a green thumb (quite appropriate term for the day) - it is a great plant to have.

When my friend gave it to me - it became the first plant in our house. When my kids were young I was not wanting a bunch of plants around for them to grab, knock over, pick off the leaves and eat etc. etc. I didn't know much about plants and so very quickly my shamrock "died". I left it in front of the window for awhile and one of the kids did knock it down. I picked it up - put the dirt back in and the plant was totally "dead". I don't even remember if there was any green showing about the dirt at all.

But for some strange reason (laziness?) - the plant remained in front of the window for some time. Soon we started noticing little bits of green poking up through the soil. There there was more and more until we had a thriving plant going on! I read some info on taking care of it, fed it some vitamins and placed it in a spot where it got some light - but not direct sun and it did beautifully!

About a year later the Shamrock was starting to sag and wasn't looking too great - my friend said to snip the whole plant down to an inch or so and let it revitalize. Shamrock received a shave and a haircut and it wasn't too long before it started blossoming once again.

So if you are looking for a plant that just won't die - or at least won't die permanently - go get yourself a Shamrock. I'd say this is the right day to find them in stores or at the florist.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Note From GroovyGirl

"Dear Mom, We almost got hit by a deer yesterday. We were driving along [pretty fast] when Grandma yelled,"deer!" Grandpa slammed on the brakes,and the deer past within a foot of our car. It was a little scary. I slept in Dad's bedroom last night [in the big bed.] Did you know that the small bed belonged to my great,great grandmother? I also found out why Stubby stays on the porch. If he "sits on the step and looks cute" Grandma gives him a treat.We did have McDonald's for supper. Aunt B. tried a "Shamrock Shake." We didn't get home until 9:30!! Love, GroovyGirl xoxo P.S. tell my brother that I miss him a little ."

On Saturday the girl went home after a wedding with her grandparents (3 hrs from home). Since we've rarely been apart in her short 9.5 years, this is the first letter she has ever had occasion to send us.

I'm sure she'll have much to report when she gets home :0

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Little of This and That

Well yesterday was my 3rd appointment for my root canal - ugh! Nothing like stringing out the suffering. Actually I'm not sure if I could have done it all at one time...there will be one more appointment in a week for the "crowning ceremony" :)

"This visit won't be as intense as the last one", my dentist told me when I arrived yesterday. Nice how he says "intense" instead of pain-filled...

A drive to the dentist means driving past a Trader Joe's store. Unlike me, my children do not enjoy shopping - but someone they have fallen in love with Trader Joe's. Could it be the free balloons? How about the free food samples? (yesterday's was some juice and a chocolate)...How about the free pkg snack from the treasure chest as they go out the door? Or is it the crazy little kid sized shopping carts? I'm there for the Whole Wheat English Muffins (with raisins), the Puffins cereal for the kids and miscellaneous other bread items.

This weekend we are driving out to a wedding in Kirksville, MO and leaving behind the girl. She'll be travelling home with her grandparents to spend a few days out at the farm by herself (well by herself meaning w/o her parents and brother). She's been looking forward to this day for a long time...

And what will I do with the boy? His constant companion will be gone. I'm sure he'd be happy if I just let him toggle between videos and computer the whole time. Actually he's always been good at playing independentantly...Legos, Playmobil, and weapon manufacturing are good solitary play activities. Speaking of weapon manufacturing - I've got to keep an eye on the boy in that department. Usually he's making things like a bow and arrows or a slingshot or a stick sword - things that are basically "safe".

Then one day recently I saw him sitting on the swing in the backyard with something that didn't look very safe. A long, thin, sturdy piece of wood with a 2 or 3 inch nail sticking out of the end!! A spear maybe??? The nail was taped extremely tightly to the tip of the piece of wood. You can just imagine the emergency room scenarios...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sweet Gums

Because we are not "blessed" with having a sweet gum tree in our yard, the children have had to look elsewhere for these "treasures".

It was very windy on Saturday & Sunday - so a bunch of sweet gums got blown into our yard and in front of our driveway.

The girl cheerfully collected them all - along with some from the neighbors yard I'm sure - and filled up this box.

According to her counting - she collected 1000 sweet gums!

The box is partially empty b/c there was a reason she collected all those sweet gums - so her and her brother could pretend that the balls were ammunition and have a little sweet gum war with them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This afternoon my daughter came in and said she had a surprise for me.

She held in her hand a little forsythia flower from the bush in our backyard. The first of the season!

Forsythias remind me of my son. When I returned home from the hospital after giving birth to him - I remember the forsythia bush being full of flowers.

One Down One To Go!

This weekend we finished staining and painting the boy's loft bed. By Sunday night he was excitedly sleeping in it.

We had planned on painting the whole thing - but during the sanding process we decided to leave it au natural (somewhat)...a little stain...some poly and painted shelves are what we decided on.

We wish we hadn't painted the shelves but I guess that could still be changed later and it might look a lot different once the shelves are filled with boyish books (waiting for the shelves to "cure" awhile long before putting the books back). Still need to add a matching painted trip along the edge of the desktop to pull it all together.

Need to also figure out what to put on the pegboard at the back - I know they do (somewhere?) sell desk accessories that are made to be put on a pegboard.

I bought the boy some army green curtains from Walmart and want to find some sort of army green cover for his bed.

From this...

To this... (before stain and poly)

To this.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Still Alice - Book Review

I think it was while I was searching for some books on lobotomies, that I came across this touching story - "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova.

Actually it has nothing to do with lobotomies.

It's about Alzheimer's - and to be specific - early on-set Alzheimer's. This book is fiction - though it took me awhile before I even realized that. If I'm really enjoying a book I hate finding out that it's fiction...

Alice is a nearly 50 yr old psychology professor. She has a very busy life...teaching and traveling.

When Alice begins to realize that her memory isn't as keen as it once was, she originally thinks it's due to her lifestyle and just getting older. Then one day when she is out running on a familiar route - for a few minutes she cannot remember how to get home.

Alice eventually goes to see a doctor and Alzheimer's is the diagnosis. This is the story of her progression through Alzheimer's, written from her own perspective.

There were many times I was crying or close to crying while reading about Alice. That doesn't happen to me very often when I'm reading fiction (unless they are children's fiction books by someone like Barbara Cooney).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Beautiful Weather and Under the Weather

It is absolutely beautiful outside today!! A lovely 75 degrees.

Seems like the kids picked the nicest days of the year to decide to get sick!

Yesterday the boy felt crummy and had fever - and now the girl is feeling sick. The boy still had a fever this morning but felt well enough to consume a goodly portion of some Mike n' Ikes (seems like when he has Tylenol and the fever goes down he feels pretty spritely).

So instead of being outside enjoying the beautiful weather - the girl is snuggling up in her bed.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Garden Art

With the warmer weather the kids have enjoyed playing outside more.

Yesterday and today they've been working on a little "Garden Art".

There is quite a bit of hopeful green in the garden but the kids decided to add something to it while we are waiting for the flowers to arrive.

I especially like the twig fence and the broken chimney bits used for a little path.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Whole Wheat Pizza

For years the kids were happy with my fast and easy version of pizza.

Take one tortilla, sprinkle on some shredded cheddar and throw on a few pieces of pepperoni and throw it in the toaster oven on "broil" for a couple of minutes. They loved it! The kids asked for it at least once a week.

One day the girl decided she didn't like them anymore. Might have been due in part to my switching to whole wheat tortillas. She wanted some real pizza.

"Real" pizza is a deadly substance. Not that that stops us from eating it when we eat out - but it's one of those things I stopped making at home some years ago.

So lately I've been wondering if I could come up with a "healthy" "real" pizza that wasn't just a white carbohydrate smothered in fat (albeit very yummy fat).

Trader Joe's (my new favorite store!) to the rescue. They actually sell pre-made whole wheat pizza dough. It cost about $1.50 and it was enough to make a cookie-sheet sized pizza.

The girl was my ever willing pizza maker helper.

I carefully measured out a reasonable amount of cheese and pepperoni.

The kids kept wanting "another slice" so I think they enjoyed it.

Personally - I didn't like the crust. It was kind of soft and chewy (I even took it out of the pan after it was cooked and placed it right on the oven rack to see if that would crisp it up a bit).

I also thought it needed more cheese and pepperoni :0 Or at least some heavier toppings to compensate for the reduced cheese.

But all in all it gave me confidence to experiment some and to consider making my own crust (maybe I'll just use 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour).

I still surprise myself that I'm turning into one of "those moms" that I would have scoffed at years ago when my daily lunch consisted of a bag of Salt n Vinegar potato chips and a Coke. Just thinking about the good old days makes my mouth water.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pomegranate Exotic Juice Drink

The kids (and I) love pomegranates.

The boy LOVES juice - especially the orange variety (gag!).

We decided to try some "exotic" juice (so says the box).

Number one ingredient is water followed by fruit juices from concentrate (pomegranate and aronia).

What on earth is aronia?... AKA chokeberries.

The juice was great - we all liked it - didn't take long for the kids to finish it off.

I just looked at the box again and found out Rubicon is a product of Canada :)

Speaking of Rubicon - many moons ago, when my dh and I were still "penpals", he ended a letter with a reference to "crossing the Rubicon". I hadn't a clue what that meant. Partly because I was unable to even decipher the word in the first place.

Monday, March 2, 2009

When It's Really Quiet...

It's probably b/c they are doing this.

It only lasted until the girl finished her book - the remainder of the Louisa May Alcott COFA story that I began reading last week. Out of the 10 COFA books received last week - the girl has finished about two and the boy has been reading a third - Sacagawea.

Notice the bare feet on both of them. That's pretty much how they are day in and day out regardless of the season or the temperature. Socks & shoes are required when they go out (except weather permitting) but as soon as they get in the house - the socks and shoes are off.