Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FHE: Night Swimming

It's July again tomorrow and that means... L-Infinity is headed for Michigan! Since her normal stop is in Chicago, then she gets to travel with Mr. Man. But before all the packing, errands and chores must be done!

We had a difficult time today; no one did their chores unless I was practically breathing down their necks. Everytime I turned, they were about to start another race on the Wii! Boy was I stressed out today! Whatever it was, I was irritated and could feel myself getting more and more frustrated! Let's just say I was eager to start the day and be distracted!

We first went to return all the library books since we just couldn't find any other time to return them with all the things lined up. Then, we went inside to turn in the kids' Summer Reading forms and they received certificates and a free book each! L-Infinity will get a free book for each book review she adds on the library's teen review website! As she would say, "that's pretty legit, Mommy!" She read 11 books in 4 days! I say she deserves what she gets! ;-)

J-Pony is really into thrillers lately and I-Dude is just having fun exploring chapter books. He loves "multi-stories" books.
Then again off to Half-Price Books and turn in their "Feed Your Brain" weekly reading forms for $3 off coupons. J-Pony chose a multiple story Goosebumps hardcover for less than $4 and I-Dude found the two chapter books on the bottom. I even found the newest Artemis Fowl book for over than half the listed price! Cool!
We grabbed some more luggage out of the storage then hit the store for some chicken. While my version of "Shake and Bake" oven fried chicken were in the oven working on becoming delish, I remembered to water the plants.
The herb seedlings are starting to come out more and my coleus are doing great on our living room window sill! See that green shoot at the top? It's a flower! I am so excited! I've killed a few pots before and it totally traumatized me for a while... These ones are so important for me to keep alive because they are deep purple and the pots are an indulgence... (I've been wanting them forever!)
Then we went night swimming at the pool of our family friend we were "yard sitting" for. Yes, we did get their permission. LOL
We invited "D-Boy" to tag along the whole day so he and L-Infinity can have a long "farewell".
And there they go!
Our lesson for tonight is making the best of our time together and not worrying about having money or thinking of things we do not have or wish to have because others have it.
Have a great week! I miss my teen baby already...

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Thought We're Swimming!

So today was the day J-Pony get to have her "Big Girl" party with a few of her friends. And we decided to go to our local Rec Center to try this new... two flumed water slide! But the clouds threatened with rain, lightning and thunder so we didn't get to go...
Instead, we took three girls and our family to see this movie. It was amazing! Two thumbs up!!!
And because we were early, we saved major dough! Gotta love that!

Then it was lunch time, so we went here to unwind and have fun! The "King" made sure we "had our way". LOL
But before any play, they must eat! There's J-Pony and I-Dude on the right with Alexis, then Rubab and Allison on the left.
And here are Mr. Man and L-Infinity on another table. Yours truly, of course, behind the lens!;-)

After dropping off two of the girls home, we watered the plants for some family friends and they let us use their pool, so since the smallish kiddos never took off their swimsuits, we let them have fun while I watered the plants, L-Infinity took pictures and Mr. Man supervised as a lifeguard.
Here they are...

The dark rumbly clouds never did fruit beyond a short lived drizzle, so I visited my own patio to water and to check on my herb pots and I was pleasantly surprised to see these!
Sprouts everywhere! Yay! I can't wait to see them get big and ready to top our meals! Yum!

While I was cooking, I asked the kids to open up the window and Cece quickly parked herself on the sill. Well, I-Dude thought it was a good spot as well, so Cece, nuzzled his hair from gratitude. LOL

Have you ever seen the tendrils on a grapevine? I've always wanted to see one and I did! How cute is this? We capped the night with a pasta and sausage dinner with these awesome grapes and the rest of the brownies J-Pony baked. Hit just the right spot!

FHE is tomorrow; night swimming! Yay!!!

How did your Monday turn out?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Repost: Just Me

From January 23, 2009


Growing up, I had very few friends and mostly boys at that. Even after I came here back in 1987, I tended to befriend boys easier than the girls. I did belong to a group of 12 girls that I still keep up with, but my most meaningful and memorable friendships were with the opposite sex. Of course, after a while, the eventual spread of unsubstanstiated rumors got the best of me. I started to feel uncomfortable about having so many "guy" friends. At my wedding reception, it was very apparent that most of the guys that attended were "of my party". I think it was because I grew up with four older brothers that I got along more with the boys, and having a younger sister and an even younger step-sister made me act more like a second mom to them rather than a friend or mere sibling.

Like I've mentioned before, it got to me. I wanted to have some real "spill your guts out without fear" kind of female friends, but I guess it's just not that easy for me. Sure, I have Facebook, but I see that as more a storefront to how many friends (or the friend of a friend of a friend) you could link up with. It's great for genealogy though! In comes blogging... In blogs, thru comments bantering, I find my equals, my mentors, my life classmates. It is exhilarating!

Just like many, I started just to have a quicker way to log down the day's adventures. I didn't really share it with others in the beginning, but as I found more friends from back in AZ and the comments they get, I was able to see just how many women out there see things the way I do, feel the way I do, about their families, careers (they gave up), relatives and friendships.

In real life, I quake in my boots to talk to many women because gossip and husband bashing eventually becomes the "special of the day". And then there's the jealousy aspect of hearing about and being with other women. I grew up surrounded by all of that and I really try to avoid it, so most women, they don't understand that about me. Very few in fact, because venting is women's main crutch to hold themselves up. I do vent a lot, but not about my husband or another woman who I think is prettier than me or more talented, but rather my venting is more about "why am I so different from most women out there?" "Am I afraid to be a friend or are they afraid to be my friend?" It gets pretty tiring, you know, not to have someone close by to talk to.

Of course, I can't count the exchanges of given and shared advice because that comes with the territory of being a woman and a mom, much less an LDS mom. Thru blogs, I've found and met talented, beautiful, resourceful women who know how to bring a repeat audience into their cyber journals. I've met women who are truly hoping for a miracle because their faith is what sustains them. I've met women who are so creative, they can write about things that I've never thought about or hoped to remember again.

Being LDS and a mom, I read a lot about the great childhood they had and have used it as bonds to connect with others, but me, there was nothing like that: I had to learn things on my own, find things that bring out what's good in me, on my own. As it turned out, it was food and children. I dress my tables in the most appetizing way I can because that's how I respect food- growing up hungry and all (Just like Sandra Lee, I know...). I was a lonely child then, so children from lonely homes seem to find me and they find that connection thru my own very friendly children. My best callings have been in serving children.

My daughter L-Infinity, 16, last night said, "I'm so glad you are the kind of mom who stops what she's doing to listen to what I have to say." (funny, since I was dusting the table while she told me this) "I hear many of my friends, LDS or not, complain about their parents not listening or being too strict to talk to them, and then they meet me, then you, and ask me how we do that."

This is my true self; I am lifted up by children's innocence, their need for attention and my respect for food. The few friends that I count, it is because they let me be who I am though we don't seal it with scheduled lunches or shopping trips. I've been told that I don't take care of myself enough or that I could do with more ME time, but that's not who I am. I love staying home because I moved so much in my lifetime. I love to read children's stories because I never got to. I didn't like much mystery then (my kids do now)(I'm a fan of the supernatural) because the books belonged to my brothers. The other things that I can do, I learned from all the LDS women that have crossed my path, and for that, I thank Relief Society.

I love reading others' blogs because I see myself relaxing; by laughing with them, it helps me remind myself to laugh at my own situation and appreciate the small things in life. I cry with those that poured their hearts out. I scream with those frustrated authors. I rejoice and go ga-ga over posts about beauty, rewards, accomplishments, discoveries and great talents. I read them all because each one makes me think, and boy do I love to think! I read and I leave a comment because, as one of my friends reminded me, she reads all of her comments. (Thanks, Lara!)

I could write about how I didn't like the "weaning and potty training" stages of my children plus I hate ironing. Or that if I have my way, I would only make Filipino food all the time, but I'd be facing a sure mutiny in the near future. How about how our diva of a cat still thinks the new couch is her biggest scratch post despite the awesome cat tree my dh made with his own hands. Or, that I have a habit of not finishing projects, that I am a literal zombie due to a family with 3 schedules. What about that I'm afraid of growing veggies of my own despite promises to my 9-year old enthusiast. Or even how I like to observe people, though I am not a people watcher, being able to decipher reactions pretty accurately. But truly, I find all that frustrating and awful to remember (but it's funny reading about it in y'alls blogs!).

So... I write in my blog about things that are good in my life; careful to focus on the highlights of the day. It's not to have a perfect front (as others like to describe it), but to show anyone who wants to linger in my blog, my own struggle to appreciate the life that I now enjoy- which only took about 20 years to receive. (So yes, I feel somewhat hurt when other blogs claim that "only good news" blogs like mine are only fronts to cover up the bad. I find that it's a little bit judgmental. Just a tiny bit...)

You see, I'm a faithful sap, meaning I look at each blog as a different chalkboard to take notes from, from different teachers of life. And just like different teachers, bloggers have different ways of looking at their lives and which part of it they wish to share. (Just sayin' y'all...)

I feel that everyday is a gift; not because mine is never as chaotic as most people's (oh, the stories I could tell you!), but rather, at the end of the day, I make a choice- to dwell on the bad but funny or the good that makes me hang on to my sanity and show my family how great they truly are. This is my journal after all, plus we talk about how funny and imperfect we are (even with visitors) that we can all laugh about it now rather than later. Right now, everything is still surreal to me- a great husband who truly cares about me, three wonderful and beautiful children who can hold their own and a life that I am truly grateful for despite the lack of excess in resources.

Back in 2007, I taught in RS a lesson about how gratitude leads to happiness. I recall being so inadequate to teach it, but equally excited to share the good news. I came out of it just as well fed as those I hopefully fed with my lesson. It spoke of how gratitude leads to better actions and decisions that bring about happiness. But to me, throughout my whole life journey so far, my pursuit of happiness has been my source of gratitude... It's been the only consistent workout routine I've been able to stick with! To the women that I've truly connected with (you know who you all are, thank you so much!). Those that taught me much thru your leadership, thank you. To those that left a kind word with me or my family, we are in your debt. And to those new, I thank you for letting me know I'm not an alien, just different...

Why write this long missive? To show all of you how much I love all blogs, except those truly offensive of course. My talents now were born through your examples. But most of all, I am still a woman who secretly wants to be just like all of you. I've been different my whole life, and it's getting pretty tiring you know? I truly want to get to know you and your friends. Share this post with them and see how many other women out there can relate to me.

Thanks for letting me "read your eyes off"... 'Til next post! :D

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Getting Ready for Sunday

Today was another hot and rather dry day. But chores wait for no one, especially when Sunday is tomorrow. So... from the moment we all woke up, we were mindful of that.

While the kiddos did their chores, I started the rest of the laundry and watered the plants. I also gave our pets their much needed baths! These two, Cece our "diva" cat and Dexter, our "sound effects" cockatiel are buds, but they do get stinky and shed like crazy!
First to bathe, Cece, in the patio. Here she is, being soaped and cleaned by "Mama". I'm the only one that can give her a shower (no tub for this girl) and stay calm. I shower and she runs around until she is completely wet then settles in front of the patio door and wait for the "sudsing" to commence. Look how calm she is...
Then I place her in one of our patio chairs and let her "sunbathe" to dry off. She stays there quietly and just waits until she's dry. When she's dry, she meows and waits for me to come call her in. I told you she's a diva! LOL
Next, is Dexter. I first clean out his cage of all the litter and poop and spent feathers from preening. Then I hold the hose near my head, set it on mist and simulate a light shower in the tropics. He just loves it and stays put until he gets his body wet then shakes it off and stays put again. It's funny really.
Here's Cece all fluffy and clean! Look at our carpet, also freshly vacuumed by L-Infinity. Cece's on I-Dude's booster seat. Right behind it is J-Pony's seat. They use it for the Wii Mario Kart racing game. My living room's a mess, another sorting project. *sigh*
Yes, they played Wii and also read for their programs. Then, I told J-Pony that she should try to make her own brownies using one of the packets Grandma & Grandpa M gave her.
So, she did! From step 1 to the cutting. We offered minimal help, she got frustrated holding the metal bowl with one hand. She was just in heaven! What word did she use again? Oh yeah, "I was pumped!" I got a clear thank you on this one! Yes! ;-)
Doesn't it look great? She even added 1/4 cup of M&Ms! Of course, I put the pan in the oven for her. Yum!
Afterwards, she asked if she can plate my portion "pretty" like I do and to take a picture of it. I was impressed! What do you think? It looked and tasted amazing with the fruits and the crunch from the M&Ms! Great job, J!

For tonight's dinner and tomorrow's, I made two chicken dishes, Adobo (tonight) and Tinola (tomorrow)(Filipino dishes the kids love to eat) and steamed rice.

We then watched some "Aaron Stone" on Disney and "The Pacifier" on Sleuth. L-Infinity even managed to find me a game online that I love playing so I can relax. Then our neighbor Annette, came by and let us know that her hubby's doing great at work and how her children are doing.

In between the movies, Mr. Man called and again, we were blessed to pray as a family. (I did gripe to Mr. Man about the in between bickering and "outdoing" of the kids that drove me insane!) In reality, I shouldn't have...

Lastly, the kids are upstairs, getting their Sunday clothes ready and getting ready for bed. Then even remembered to use their mouth rinse!

Mind you, this is not normal for us. But I do hope it happens again! Do I have a fever? LOL

Hope everyone had a great Saturday

Friday, June 26, 2009

Catch-up Day

From Curtis Martin Group dot com

Not much excitement around here... Woke up early enough to remember that maybe I should start watering the plants twice a day now that we've been experiencing the wrath of summer fun- blistering heat! The plants and windows got another soaking at 6 pm, the first, 10 am. I'm still not giving up on my herb garden pots, though I am surprised that the marigold and moss rose seeds are finally sprouting after weeks of being planted. Soil a little parched, perhaps? LOL

The kiddos did their new routine of chores, reading and Wii, but with the addition of Friday's laundry added to the mix. Also, Friday is "Soda and Movie Night" over here so Mug rootbeer all around with a round of "Phineas and Ferb" as well as "Jonas" episodes in lieu of a 2-hour flick from our budding collection of DVD library.

Honestly, we are still recovering from the big party last Monday night. We ended up doing our FHE on Tuesday where errands abound but we all did it together. The lesson we learned, finding ways to better manage our time together when errands abound! ;-)

As for me, I'm still deciding if I should redo the decor or just leave it be and just dust, dust, dust since I really prefer the earth tones and can't wait for Fall again. That seems to be the time of year I feel alive the most. I do have two major tablescapes I want to pull off before Fall and hope to pick up my energy soon to do so.

Have a great weekend!

I know Paper is from Trees...

Hosted by "Vintage Postcards Cpaphil"

Sorry for not joining in last week, been really busy!

Hello again! If you love postcards to send like I do or collecting them blank or used, then you should join in every Friday and meet Marie Reed, our darling host residing in France. She lets everyone show off their fave postcard for the week and talk a little bit about them.

Me, honestly, I love the unusual and mailing them out to friends. Like these ones for example. I don't own any, yet, but I'd love to if I ever came across one for cheap! Maybe, I'll just ask Mr. Man to make me some. LOL

If paper is the result of wet wood pulp being smoothed out, then...

Is this a step before that? LOL

Imagine that, carvable wooden postcards by Drus Dryden through E-Potpourri dot com.

I just love it!

Thanks for hosting Marie and hope you all enjoyed seeing these wooden postcards. It made me smile! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lots of gigglin' going on...

I guess this was the dreaded "Giggle Day" that the kiddos had been planning for. Whatever they told each other, laughter followed and the cycle repeated.

A Sample:
"Does February March?" "No, but April May before June."

"Why does fried eggs taste so good?" "Because they came from fried chickens!"

Along with other jokes, movements, quotes, sayings. They just kept laughing and singing even. I tried really hard not to laugh too much as I know that'll just encourage them further and nothing would have been done. I guess it helped that I was feeling a little grumpy?

I actually woke up feeling like my back is hopelessly bent, which made me feel grumpy. But there were the chores, the gardening (my herb garden just won't take for some reason)and going back to the grind of our summer chores, I mean projects.

Chores and reading didn't make a dent on their fun at all today, one always seemed to have a funny thing to say.

And it would seem that the kiddos really love their new Wii games, it overheated from too much playtime. LOL

I even tried to calm them down with three rounds of
But the giggle and laughing fit just hit them good today. The noise level was wow!

I may have had to tell them to quiet down several time, but between you and me, it's one LOVELY sound...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The List is Longer than I Thought

I guess the errand list got cut in half yesterday since we were also everywhere today!

Apple Store- Mr. Man got a replacement I-Pod because the power button on his didn't work anymore.

Claire's- J-Pony has very sensitive ears, wants earrings but we can't afford a lot of the good ones. LOL Found some good ones for B2G1F!

Wet Seal- L-Infinity found an inexpensive top for her traditional "farewell" outfit gift from us each summer she takes off to Michigan to see family.

Panda Express-I was watching my neighbor's kid and she says, "I haven't eaten any breakfast or lunch yet." Great! Change of plans... (We were gonna wait to eat a late lunch at home).

Half-Price Books- the two smallish kiddos are on their "Feed Your Brain" Reading program. Read for 15 minutes a day and at the end of the week, turn it in and earn $3 off any book! They earned their first set of coupons and promptly found books! No surprise there!

Library- we had some books on hold. Again, no surprise...

Walmart- food for Mr. Man in Chicago and more yeast for me! I was also needing new flip-flops, but couldn't find any "non-crazy" styles for the cheap ones or too much for the nice ones.

I am exhausted!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Errand Day

We found ourselves cramming every errand we had, today. It used to be Wednesday. Before that, it used to be Monday. I guess as long as things get done it doesn't matter when you do it, right?

After waking up, I remembered I signed up for an all-white tablescaping meme at my other blog. This is what I came up with.

Then I called to change appointments for L-Infinity so it wouldn't interfere with her trip to Michigan.

After, we headed to Costco to return this gorgeous recycled green glass lemonade dispensar jar that had a huge stress crack on the inside. We discovered it last night after everyone left and were feeling so blessed that it did not crack and flooded the carpet with lemonade! Talk about relief! Whew! Oh yeah, also socks; and soap to wash the socks. LOL

We then went to Fry's Electronics to grab a new power supply box for our "dead" computer. Mr. Man made a good call in swapping that since with the new one, the computer is alive again! (Mwah-ha-ha-ha!!!! What, too much? hee hee).

Right next door is a Home Depot. We needed some pull chain for the kiddos bedroom ceiling fan that kept on breaking. Since we needed two, each two smallish kiddos got to choose one. The verdict, a green swirly design and a... baseball! I've also been wanting to have something block the bottom part of our window ledge outside since we love to read and lie down on the couch. I chose some purple coleus (6 /$8.00) to start me off to a good mood each day I open the blinds. (Photo borrowed online)

And a new nozzle is needed. Can't be wasting water you know! Our current one, sprays backwards! (If you can see that, that's what happened!) We found something similar to the online pic below but green I think...
We treated the kiddos to lunch at McDonald's so that's their "vacation treat" today. We splurged with $20 plus change. (That's about $10 cheaper than our usual, yes!!!)

We hit Ross and Target for some items on Mr. Man's list. Last stop, Albertson's for some milk. Then home for some leftovers! Yep, in my house, leftover is a cause for celebration... (You got me, I'm as normal as you are, I don't cook everyday either!) LOL

The kiddos asked for the remaining lumpias, so I cooked them but I requested to take a few pictures for my cookbook that I can never seem to start! Here they are for your viewing pleasure...

A good dinner means a good round of a Wii game afterwards. In Fry's Electronics, we found a combo of game+wheel + another wheel + another game for a comfortable price for us. When we went to Target, we found out that we saved $20.00! (woot woot)
So now, Mr. Man and I-Dude have their Mario Kart racing game complete with the steering wheels while J-Pony & L-Infinity have their Agatha Christie mystery game! Mommy (that's me) is so happy to finally stop the noise of begging and whining and hinting for these games since they came out! Aaahhh.... silence.... ;-)

How are you enjoying your vacation? Btw, it was a sweltering 100 degrees today!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Party On!

Tonight, J-Pony partied, her theme; "Dinner at the (Horse) Ranch".
This is the adults' table; surrounding the centerpiece are horses and tealights. She helped me choose the typical ranch "fauna". I love the look!
We also used her dinnerware, "Running Horses", a transferware of an original drawing of the artist and naturalist, Scotty Zimmerman. She loves those plates, we do, too! But where did she go?

She's at this table! Love that smile and that hair! Big sister, L-Infinity made sure her coiff was perfect for the party and it is!
Here's a closer look...
One with I-Dude is always a great shot don't you think?
Here are her guests: From the left: Annette (next door), Cori & Matt Adams, Ricky, Scott and Naomi (Cori's family). Below is her mom (also named Annette) and her first baby girl, Adolina Adams. Grandma is pacifying Adolina with a mock binky. It worked; go Grandma!
Oh, sorry you got to peek into my messy kitchen. Oh well, my kitchen motto is, "No mess, no party!" (Anyone who knows me, knows that... LOL)

From the left again; Rick (Cori's dad), our missionaries, Elders Patterson & Zobel. We found out later that Elder Patterson was being transferred to another area, so he earned another rib! LOL That's L-Infinity's back. There she is with one of Annette's kids and J's friends, Megan.

We fed everyone baby back ribs (got cheap at good ol' Costco), garden salad, corn, maple baked beans and white bread. To drink, lemonade and rootbeer!
Mr. Man was the grill master and his ribs were a hit! It was a simple enough wet rub. We waited until all was done then it's "keck" time! See, there I go again... I meant "cake" time!
Do you recognize the cake? Yep, Costco to the rescue! Rainbows form everywhere right?
Here's a better view... That's J with her good bud, Alexis, neighbor Annette's middle child.
See the ten candles, they're colorful aren't they? Believe it or not, we bought the candles at Marshall's (Mr. Man's find) weeks ago. The cake, ordered last weekend. Gotta love great coinkidinks!
See one of the horses on the table? That one is called, "American Paint". That was our gift for her to round out the horse ranch theme. We had all the intention to use the lanterns but we couldn't find the oil! A-yai-yai!Oh look, Cece wants to give J-Pony her present, but it's inside her "bedroom". What is it?
Oh, it's not a gift! It's I-Dude's "Grfffll". Don't ask.... That's my children for ya. LOL
Back to the cake... see the candles, each color had a matching colored flame! There were green, orange, yellow, blue, red and purple flames. So cool!
Gifts next!
She decided to open the last one from Grandma and Grandpa tonight, so here it is... A collection of goodies a budding chef can start with. My in-laws are so cool!
Next, she opened Cori and family's gift and she was wowed with some horse shoe bling and a story/history book about horses! That's an "it's great to be me today" smile.
Annette (next door) and family got her a dog alarm clock called "Rousers". Hope it wakes her up!

Daniel, "D-Boy" joined us at about 8:45 and he too, loved all the food. He gave J a generous Barnes & Noble giftcard. Thanks, D!

We had a great time eating and getting to know each other. All in all, we had 18 people and everyone felt comfortable, welcome and well fed!

I also made the lumpias afterwards when I found out that Cori and family have been to the Philippines. Originally, I decided to wait on it since there were a lot of hugging going on and I didn't want to smell like lumpias as it is a fried delicacy.

Where are the pictures you ask? Sorry... they were that good!

Good night!