Mail Call

September 29, 2007 at 7:04 pm (Uncategorized)

mailcall2.jpg 

I have always loved the mail. When I was about ten, I received one of my first stationery sets, from my Aunt Rozanne, for Christmas. It was also one of the first years that my grandparents spent the winter in Arizona. I spent a lot of that winter writing notes to my grandma, and also mailing letters to my cousin Kelly who lived just across the harbour in Halifax. One of the reasons that I loved writing letters was that I got letters back. I would wait anxiously for the mailman and see what had come. It didn’t have to be letters, I also enjoyed magazines and surveys, but letters really were the best.

When I was twelve we moved to a new house that didn’t have house delivery. I got the mail from the box every day. The mail key was mine, and I was very possessive! When I lived in France, before the advent of e-mail, I wrote more letters than I remember. In France I also discovered the beauty of Saturday delivery. I mean, I love Canada, but what’s with only M-F delivery?! I still have a lot of the letters I received when I was in France, and they’re part of a great set of memories. One time my Nan sent a whole huge box of her home made cookies. I had to hide them from the little girls in my house!

Mail delivery was very important when I was living at Walt Disney World. This was my first stint in the USA, and I was finally able to send away for all of those free offers that weren’t available in Canada! I also took possession of the mail key here. It wasn’t so helpful the day I threw it into the dumpster along with our trash!

My first apartment all by myself also came with a mail key. That was the first time I received any bills in my name. It was all very grown up! I loved getting the phone bill; it meant I had my own phone and my own number.

Now, here I am many years later, and I still love the mail. I went through some serious USPS withdrawal when we first moved into our house, and we had to wait three weeks for the post office to issue us mail box keys. Doug drove up to the post office once a week for the mail. It killed me. Once a week! Plus, that meant that Doug went through the mail first! I have a mail system, and he was always messing it up! Not only that, he would actually go through my magazines before me! Now, I don’t care if he wants to read the Ensign first, but there is no need for him to open up Saveur and tell me what looks good!

One of the great things about moving and having a new baby all at the same time is the treasure chest of packages that have been arriving at our house. I already mentioned the flowers from Doug’s work and the Unicef bag from my sister, but just last week three other packages came to my house. It was such a great surprise. I received two separate packages from my cousins. Liz sent some fun books, and an adorable monogrammed towel (it pays to steal names!), plus some candy that barely made it out of the box! My cousin Anne sent a package just for me with a bracelet and a bag. I would be so unstylish if it wasn’t for Anne! Yesterday, a package came from my sister-in-law, Ingrid. The greatest part of that package was that the contents were surrounded by packing peanuts, which are now all over my living room!

Now I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. This is in no way a plea for packages! After the castle post, I had an urgent call from my father telling me that we should let Grandma and Grandpa purchase the castle. It was tough, but I resisted (we’re still trying to teach a lesson, cruel, I know!). In fact, it’s not just the receiving, but also the mailing. I have three packages downstairs ready to mail.  I love the mail!

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I love food!

September 25, 2007 at 11:31 am (Food, Makes me Smile, recipes)

I’m not sure if I qulify as an emotional eater, but good food definitely makes me happy! Do you ever just sit down to a meal and smile when you take the first bite? This has happened to me at the following places:

  •  Chocolate Mousse at the Phoenix Ritz  
  • Wild Mushroom Tart at the The Metropolitan
  • Duck at the, now closed, Dijonin SLC
  • Mushroom and Chicken Ravioli, in Halifax, at Il Mercato
  • Poutine, which is normally only available in Canada, but which I found last year at the Utah State Fair. Heavenly!
  • Fish and Chips at the Tavern in Dartmouth.
  • Alright, now I’m craving some food. I need to find so go-to restaurants for San Antonio!

    I’ve been trying some new recipes lately and I found a couple that were quite successful at my house. It takes something special to get Doug to compliment food, but he loved this Plum Tarte Tatin that I found in  Bon Appetit Magazine.

    PLUM TARTE TATIN

    Recipe

     

    This recipe was so easy. It takes a bit of time for cooling, so if you want to have it for dinner dessert you need to make it early. Very yummy.

    I also got a good recipe for whole wheat bread from Taylor. I made it, and it turned out. I used whole grain flour instead of whole wheat, so it was a little heavier, but my kids asked for extra bread instead of extra flan cake the other night!

    2 packages dry yeast

    2 cups warm whole milk

    !/4 cup honey

    2 eggs

    6 cups whole wheat flour

    2 tsp. salt

    6 tbsp. soft butter

    dissolve the yeast in a bowl for about 5 minutes

    whisk in the honey and eggs, then add the other stuff and stir it together or use the dough hook on a mixer.

    Mix until it all comes together, then knead for 5-7 minutes.

    Form into a ball and put it into an oiled bowl–cover with plastic and let rise until it doubles (1.5–2 hours)

    Punch it down, divide it two balls and form loaves by pressing them flat and rolling them up.  Place the loaves, seam-side down into prepared pans and press them down slightly.

    Cover with a towel and let them rise until they double (45-60 minutes)

    Dust the tops with a little more flour and place them on the middle rack of a preheated (375) oven and bake ’til they sound hollow when tapped (about 35-40 minutes)

    That’s another winner for Taylor!

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$1,020.25

September 22, 2007 at 9:39 pm (Uncategorized)

That was my week-end in wasted money! That was not what we spent, that’s just what we lost. No, we didn’t have a wild week-end in Vegas, and no we weren’t robbed, it was justa series of unfortunate events! (I know, very unoriginal!)

It all started when I was reading Design Mom the other day. I was inspired to go to Ikea to buy this for the Play Room:

TROFAST Storage combination

The closest Ikea to us is in Round Rock which is 110 mi. away. The drive to Austin is usually horrible for us because we always run into some kind of traffic, but I figured we’d be safe on a Saturday. Not so much. Today we hit game traffic! That’s not so bad though, because we were still going to Ikea, and I had a $20 coupon that I got in the mail, so I was set.

Ikea was crazy! Do people ever annoy you just by being around? That’s how I felt walking around the maze. There were so many people just stopping wherever, whenever, and they were not following the big, yellow, directional arrows. Normally I’m one of those people, but not today! Once again Samuel refused to go in the play room, and then he wondered why he couldn’t have pink bins for his shelf (ask his father)! We got the bins, the shelf, plus a couple of other little things. It was only after we got home, and I was flipping through the catalogue for my next trip that I realized I still have the $20 coupon in my pocket. I hate a wasted coupon, and it’s too far to go back! Aargh!

Then, I was so upset about the coupon that I didn’t want to get the kids dressed for bed. Okay, maybe it had nothing to do with the coupon, I don’t usually like getting the kids ready for bed! Anyway, I didn’t want to go and get pajamas and so I gave Samuel a quarter to go get all the clothes and diapers. Maybe his castle is closer than I thought!

Now, as for the other $1000. That’s between Doug, his truck, and the insurance company!

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I have a Dilemma

September 20, 2007 at 9:10 am (Kids)

 When I was younger we had the Fisher Price Little People Castle. We spent many an hour sending little men through the trap door, and raising and lowering the drawbridge.

A couple of weeks ago I took Samuel to the local toy store to look at what they had. I wanted to teach him about saving money, and using a small allowance. I was hoping that he would pick out a Thomas Train, and that after a couple of weeks of saving and some extra chores he would be able to buy one train. Instead he picked the castle below.

PLAYMOBIL® Rock Castle

This PlayMobil castle is $90! We give Samuel $3 a week for an allowance, so you can imagine how well this is going over in my house! Even with his extra dusting he’s only up to $8 in two weeks! I kind of want to get him the Fisher Price castle, and I can get the vintage one off Ebay for around $20, but Samuel wants nothing to do with it. He thinks it’s a girl castle, I don’t even know why he cares considering he spent a good chunk of the time we were at his cousins’ house running around in pink fairy wings!

I know I’m king of projecting what I want, but I really would like him to have the castle that I had (maybe it is a girl’s castle!?) If I can’t let him get the castle he wants, how am I going to be when it comes to picking out a wife (Oh no, Doug is right; I am going to be a horrible Mother-in-law!)?

Also, if I let him buy his castle should I make him foot the bill for the whole $90? After all, he will end up sharing it with his brothers. Does anyone have any ideas for other extra chores that a 3 year old can do. I don’t want to pay him for cleaning up messes that he makes, which has left me with wiping down baseboards and chair rail. Any advice would be much appreciated!

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I’m Free!

September 19, 2007 at 2:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Alright, I think I might be out of my funk. I have left the house every day for the past three days… with all my kids! I had been nervous about carting three kids around, not to mention trying to fit them all in the back of the cobalt! On Monday I took the boys for haircuts. There is a little place in our neighborhood, and the kids get to sit on ride-on toys to get their haircut. Samuel sat on a motorcycle and William had a pony. They also got to watch a cartoon. This made all the difference. The didn’t even notice the clippers.

Yesterday I took them for pictures. I haven’t taken the boys for professional pictures since William was a couple of months old. There is a space on my fridge where I keep baby pictures, and Benjamin was missing. I tell you, these photo studios are con-artists. I don’t know what they do, but the pictures they took were not my children. There was no trace of the screaming, smelly, snotty mess that normally represents my boys! That’s why they can charge so much! No lie, the girl bought out a frame that she was trying to sell me for $250. It took me a whil to figure out that the family in the frame was mine! I wish I could show you all this picture! Clearly I didn’t spend $250, but I bought the picture by itself for $20!

Today’s trip was just to the playgroup. I’ve got to make some friends so that I can figure out who the best babysitters are, and also where these people are sending their kids to pre-school.

Today I’m making bread from a recipe that I got from Taylor . I’ll let you know how it goes. If you haven’t gone to Tayor’s site, head on over. His food is amazing, and the pictures are great. He tells me that he just uses a regualr camera, but I don’t believe it! Just like I don’t believe he always just happens to have all those ingredients “on hand”! Either way, the food always tastes amazing, it’s very easy, and my whole family loves it!

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Who is John Galt?

September 16, 2007 at 11:38 pm (Random Thoughts, Texas)

After 1069 pages and two months of reading, I have to say that I don’t know if I really care who John Galt is, but at least now I know! If anyone else has read this, could you please comment on if you were as annoyed as I was that Eddie Willers was left behind? Hopefully I haven’t ruined anything for anyone who’s now in the middle of Atlas Shrugged!

Atlas Shrugged

Now, for the weekily re-cap:

  • Thanks for everyone’s concern concerning the bathroom situation. All is well with the plumbing. All of our bathrooms our now fully functional!
  • Word of advice: if anyone is in need of a passport for upcoming international travel, do not go to the only post office in the region that processes applications on Saturdays … on a Saturday. I spent 4 1/2 hours in a line yesterday with a 3 year old, 20 month old, 7 week old and a 36 year old. Not a pleasant way to spend the day! Of course, we fared better than the lady in front of us who waited, and didn’t realize she needed a birth certificate!

  • Note to self: how many times do you have to get lost in this city? Buy a map!

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Happy Birthday Dad!

September 14, 2007 at 1:13 pm (Family)

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This is my Dad in all his glory: reading books to his grandkids! I don’t get to see my dad nearly as often as I would like, and because of that, I feel like we sometimes miss out. You know, know extra trips to Swiss Chalet, or croissants from Juliens, but even more than that, no hanging out on the play-yard or home-made jars of spaghetti sauce. Today, we’re definitely missing out on some yummy cake! I hope that because my kids only get to see their grandpa a couple of times a year, that it makes it all the more special for them. Samuel memorized Horton Hatches an Egg because my Dad read it to him so much last winter, and he still talks about the sleepover at grandpa’s house with his cousins, and how grandpa bought everyone doughnuts for breakfast!

When I was growing up I saw both sets of my grandparents on a weekly basis, and I just figured it would be the same for my kids. How wrong I was! We don’t have family anywhere near us, on on special days, like today, we really notice.

So Dad, we hope you’re having a great day. We miss you and we love you, and we definitely wish we were closer.

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Why I Love Doug

September 13, 2007 at 3:48 pm (Marriage)

Areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union after the Winter War in 1940 and the Continuation War in 1944. Porkkala was returned to Finland in 1956.

The other day I received an invitation to a friend’s wedding … in Turku, Finland! This was a girl a knew when I lived in France. There were three exchange students at our rural high school that year, me, Miia, and Karla. I have not seen either of these ladies since I was 16, but you know how it is when you go through something that only a few people really understand!

Anyway, for fun I priced out a ticket and hotel for the big event. When Doug came home I jokingly mentioned how I was due a little “me time!” Just when I think I know the man, he comes out with “I think you should go.” What’s with that?! Normally he questions me on little things like organic vs. non-organic, or liquid vs. powder detergent. Now, he’s all for a trip halfway around the world. He said that it’s not every day I get an opportunity to go to Finland and see old friends.

How nice is that? Now, I thought about it long and hard, but then I calculated how long the flights are, and I decided that a 14 hour travel day with a 7 week old baby would not be fun. Plus I haven’t applied for  a passport for the new baby yet. Also, Going all that way to spend two days and not actually spending that much timewith my friends because, after all, it is a wedding, and I have a nursing baby. Still, the fact that he encouraged me to go and was willing to take the time off work to watch the other boys makes me very happy!

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Oh no, not again…

September 12, 2007 at 3:51 pm (Uncategorized)

Peterhouse Boathouse flooded in Cambridge, U.K. (2001).

Many of you were around to witness the great flood of ’03 and the subsequent mini flood, home robbery, my mini meltdown,etc… When we were in the middle of all of these mini disasters, we knew that we were supposed to be learning something. I thought we were supposed to learn that we shouln’t buy old houses. Apparently, that wasn’t the case! We bought a new house, and imagine my surprise when I walked into a bathroom covered with water this morning. Now, don’t fret, the water wasn’t gushing out a frantic rate like last time, in fact I don’t know where this water even came from. It’s like it magically appeared on my bathroom floor. Normally, I would blae my children, but they were all with me! So, we have a plumber coming this afternoon, and hopefully he can solve the mystery! Doug told me that we can’t run away from our problems; they’ll just follow us! I didn’t think he meant toilet problems!

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Itty Bitty SLC

September 11, 2007 at 10:56 am (Things I love)

 

When I lived in SLC, I waited anxiously every year for the DNews to arrive on the friday before Labor Day. Why, you ask? For the Itty Bitty SLC. contest. There are 23 clues in the newspaper, and there is a grid to search downtown. It’s a great time of year, and it’s a great way to get to know your city. We would o on Sundays either before or after church. We always met really great people, and last year we ran into Rocky Anderson (Doug is still kicking himself that he didn’t tell the mayor what he thought of him!).

I kind of knew that we would be leaving SLC because last year we found every clue. This was something that I obsessed about in the same way that I had to visit every shop on the ShopHop. I’m so sad that we’re not there this year. I encourage everyone in the valley to try it. It’s a great family activity, and it makes a great date activity. The prizes are great, and usually there are only around 100 people who finish the contest, so the odds are pretty good (not so good for me, but it’s not about winning!) 

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