"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

And for my next trick...

>> Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm frugal. Well, actually, I'm pretty cheap. There are things I will spend money on like my clothes (since I'm not likely to outgrow them in 6 months), shoes (ditto) and necessary scrapbooking tools (the Wishblade is extremely versatile).

But when it comes to expensive toys for the girls... I just can't do it. Like those $300 Power Wheels? Just. No. Way.

But yesterday my BIL called and said his neighbor was giving one away. It was in pretty rough shape and needed a battery, but it ran fine with a battery in it. So we picked it up.

Yep, it's seen better days. But I'm thinking that if I pull the stickers off, give it a good wash, paint it and make new stickers with my Wishblade (HA! More uses!) I can have it funkified within a week.

Be sure to watch for updates!


Fab Food Friday

>> Friday, June 29, 2007

It's time for another installment of Fab Food Friday. Today I bring you Potato Crust Quiche. It's another recipe from Cuisine at Home, this one sent to me through their online recipes. I made it for Mother's Day Brunch (and for dinner recently) and it was a big hit. And it reheats really nicely for breakfast!

Recipe makes one 10"quiche. Total time: 1 hour

You will need:
3T unsalted butter, divided*
1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage
1/2 c onion, chopped
1/2 c jarred roasted red bell pepper, drained and chopped
2T vegetable oil*
1 pkg (1 lb 4 oz) fresh hash brown potato shreds
1 1/2 c fontina or Swiss cheese, shredded
6 eggs
1/2 c heavy cream
2 dashes hot sauce
8 slices Roma tomato
1/4 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 c sour cream
1 T minced chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt 1T butter* in a 10" ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage, brown for 3 minutes. Stir in onion and saute 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the bell pepper to combine. Return skillet to burner; heat 1T butter and the oil*.

Arrange hash browns in pan (I used a pie plate), pressing and spreading them up the sides to form a crust. Season with salt and pepper then dot with 1T butter. Cook 10 minutes or until the edges start to turn brown.

Sprinkle fontina over potato shell. Spoon sausage mixture over cheese.

Whisk together eggs, cream,hot sauce, salt & pepper to taste; pour over sausage and cheese.

Arrange tomatos on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes or until filling is firm and tip of knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minuts then run a spatula around the edge to loosen quiche. Slide onto a serving dish (I didn't) and cut into wedges. Combine sour cream and chives and add a dollop to each slice.

*I cut out the butter and the oil the second time I made this. It doesn't need it, in my opinion, and made it oily.


See Doug; See Doug Mow

People sometimes ask me if it offends Doug when I call him "My Geek". No, it doesn't; it's an endearment as Doug is a self-professed geek. (A geek is a nerd who makes over $80K/year- just FYI)

As a geek, Doug is all about working smarter, not harder and he is all over new technology. Which is why, when he first saw a Robomower he had to have it.

And then he had to share it with the world (some of you may remember this classic):

We had such fun with our little "gerbil" when we first got it. We would sit on the deck and just watch it go. We would laugh as people driving down the street would stop, turn around or back up to watch. We would giggle as dogs tried to play with it and small children wanted to touch it. We should have charged admission.

Of course we try to keep up on all that is new in the world or robotic lawn care and recently Bamabots.com came to our attention. This site has it all: Robomowers (new and improved over our little "gerbil"), Lawnbotts and (what I now covet) the Garden Groom. I've been in contact with Kerry, an Iowa native who admits that the IQ of both his home state and Alabama were raised when he moved, and he is full of information. And wit. Because of this he is considered by both Robomower and Lawnbott to be the best resource of information on robotic lawnmowers. The #1 Robomower and Lawnbott Dealer.That's pretty impressive. He also has a 100% feedback rating on eBay and extremely fast shipping.

If you're a geek (like Doug), a techie or you just like to have something noone else on your block has I definately suggest contacting Kerry , reading the articles and checking out his Top 10 Reasons to get a robotic mower.

Of course, I would add to those reasons:
11) Entertainment- both the mower and the people who see it
12) Great topic at boring parties- "I have a robot"
13) No more fighting with the kids to mow the lawn- with the remote it's like a video game!

You know you want to go.... The robots are waiting....


May I Have The Envelope, Please?

A new blog friend and native Iowan, Jill at Who Could Ask For Anything More has nominated me to recieve a Rockin' Girl Blogger Award. I'm completely delighted and a bit taken-aback as I know Jill has only recently "discovered" me, and vice versa. So a BIG THANK YOU to Jill. I'm honored.

Now, the best thing about this award is that I get to share it with 5 other bloggers that I think rock.

This is actually really hard as I have so many great girls on my list. Here goes:

I have to pass it on to Meritt at Coffeetalking.com. Not only is she a blog friend but she is a friend in "real life". Her youngest daughter is Brenna's favorite babysitter and her daily life leaves me exhausted.

Next is The Kept Woman. I began following the life of TKW back when she was "Mama Duck" living in Texas. Now that she is struggling through life in Wisconsin she keeps me laughing. I only wish I could be so clever. Plus she's a crafty kind of gal. If we lived closer together I know we'd be amazing friends because,honestly, she would laugh at my stupid humor and tell how to make pillows that rival Pottery Barn.

I would nominate Wendy, the Iowa Mom but Jill already did and I really don't want Wendy to feel too flattered. But seriously, Wendy is one busy lady. She not only raises 4 adorable kids but she runs a couple websites (IowaMoms.com and a craft one that I can't find the link to right now) and manages to remain sane. Well, as sane as any of us are!

I have to nominate Randi at I Have To Say because she is my sewing guru. If I ever have a question or want to find a specific pattern (preferrably free) she is there for me.

And, finally, I will nominate Boudicca. I so love reading about her boys and all the activities that take place in her life. She's funny and sweet, an amazing mom and loving wife. And the blogger that I have been reading the longest. She never has a dull day.

So, there you are, my 5 Rockin' Girl Bloggers. But, if I may, I want to give a consolation prize to William at Poop and Boogies who only missed out because he's not a girl.

OK,girls (and William) you rock! Now share the love!


Because Size Matters

>> Thursday, June 28, 2007

I’m here today to talk to you about enhancement. Because some things are just better larger. Get yer mind out of the gutter- I’m talking about email files. Geez… Just what kind of person do you think I am?

Seriously, though, don’t you hate it when you try to email pictures to your family and they get kicked back because A) your email limits the size file you can send or B) their email limits the size they can receive.

Driveway - Online File Sharing is the solution to this problem. And it is so easy to use… No registration necessary… Just upload your file and provide an email address for ID and confirmation…

You can upload files to a maximum limit of 500MB. That’s a lot of space. And new enhancements, like password protection and folder uploads, are on the horizon.

So what are you waiting for? You don't have any more excuses. Go share something!


Show Me The Love

Time is almost up. If you want to enter my Scrap Bribing contest you need to do so by Saturday. The winner will be announced Sunday, July 1.

Wow, July. I'm thinking next month will have an Independence Day theme. Because I am assuming that everyone is as behind on their scrapbooking as I am. :)


My Favorite Travel Diaper Bag

>> Wednesday, June 27, 2007

If you, or someone you know, are having a baby check out this great diaper bag. I got it as a gift when Caelan was born and absolutely love it! The link will take you to my little travel blog. I just finished my Ireland advice; lots of photos. Why not visit if you have a chance?

The ladies who make it started their own baby boutique, The Essential Bebe' online and they are carried in some fun stores in the Twin Cities area. Man, I miss the Cities. So many fun, fancy little shops...


Stop! Police!


Sometimes I wonder just how many girls were named after that song. Even if it was about a prostitute. (It was, right? Or am I just getting the message wrong?)

You couldn’t be a child of the 80’s, as I was, and not know practically every song The Police put out. Who could forget the so catchily titled “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”? And didn’t everyone own “Synchronicity”?

After much denial by all involved, up until the official announcement, The Police have gotten back together. And you can find out all things “Police” with just one click.

It's like a one-stop Police shop. Want to see a video? Pick from some of their greatest tracks. Want to view the track list for the new two disk Police Cd? And with a click you can "plug in" to the jukebox and listen to some of the greatest cuts. Just gotta see The Police in concert? Tour info is at your fingertips.Or, if you feel lucky, enter the contest to see The Police at Madison Square Garden. Got a friend who still has her Police posters on the wall? Use the "send to friend" button- she'll thank you for it! And don't forget to download some ringtones to your phone. I'm thinking "Don't Stand So Close To Me" would be a good choice.

The Police were one of the most successful bands of all time. You still hear their stuff everywhere. And since they realease the new two disk Police Cd June 5th you'll probably be hearing it from every other car. Including mine. But, hey, stop mooching my music and go get your own! You also get a vintage Police poster. You can use it to make your friend jealous. Or, even better, buy two and give her one.

Please click on this to go and view an awesome banner where you can watch The Police's videos, listen to tracks from The Police's new 2 cd hits collection, enter to win a trip to NYC to see The Police in concert and even view details about their current world tour.


Mirror Images

>> Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Photos of my girls at nine months. If they weren't almost two years apart they could be twins...


Is There Finally Hope?

I am a skin care junkie. There, I’ve admitted it. Supposedly that is half the battle.

HA! The battle lies in the fact that I have Sensitive Skin. So I continue to try products hoping that they will produce the desired results (clear skin) without my skin reacting and becoming dry, red or itchy.

A new skincare line from Japan, used by dermatologists, has recently been launched in the US. I have actually spent quite a bit of time perusing their website as it is full of great information for those of us with adult acne, fine lines or reactions to household cleaners. Their product leverages NanoMoisture to deliver moisture deep into the skin to protect and heal from the inside out.

The prices are reasonable, equal to what you would pay for a big “name” and less than you would pay at the dermatologist. And right now you can get free shipping on orders of $100 or more or on any set.

If you have Sensitive Skin like me it’s worth a look.


Monday Again?

>> Monday, June 25, 2007

Isn't it amazing how you can be gone for a day and a half and when you get home you are just overwhelmed with things that "must be done"?

We had a first birthday party to attend Saturday in a small town in the southwestern part of the state and a family reuinon on Sunday even farther south. And it made no sense to come home between so we packed up our family and found a hotel.

Let me just say that the pickin's are darn slim in southwestern Iowa. The nicest hotel thereabouts is a Super 8. Now, in my book, that's darn close to a pop-up trailer. Not that I have anything against pop-ups, but there isn't a lot of room or amenities. At least with a pop-up you can spread yourself outside.

But there was a pool. Brenna had a wonderful time splashing with Daddy and playing with her cousins who decided to "rough it", too.

We were squished into one room as the hotel didn't have any connected rooms. The girls are both noisy sleepers- Brenna was talking about having a lollipop in her sleep and Caelan wakes at least once a night; usually she plays but in a strange place in a strange crib you can imagine the screams.

After a full Sunday spent in the sun we were exhausted when we got home last night. Baths were had, stuff was brought in from the truck and put in a pile and we were all in bed early.

So there is lots on my agenda today. Laundry, cleaning, I should grocery shop but I may wait until tomorrow, put things away... I should get back to it. *sigh*


Because Otherwise It Was Just Another Rainy, Crappy Day

>> Friday, June 22, 2007


Fab Food Friday

A while back An Iowa Mom wanted a simple, yet impressive appetizer for her Bunco night. When I made this the other day for a backyard cookout I immediately thought of her. So, Iowa Mom, this is for you:

Mediterranean Marinated Cheese

So simple, it's a recipe from Kraft.

Prep: 10 minutes

TotalTime: 1 hour 10 minutes (including refrigerating)

1 pck. (8oz) cream cheese
1/2 c. Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinagrette Dressing
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, stems removed
6 sprigs fresh thyme, cut into pieces
1 tsp. black peppercorns
Peel of lemon, cut into thin strips

Cube cream cheese into about 36 pieces (just keep halving until you have 8 pieces, then cube thoese into 8 pieces each). Place in a 9-inch pie plate.

Add remaining ingredients to dish, toss lightly, cover.

Refrigerate at least one hour (up to 24).

Serve with crackers, crusty bread or pita chips. Each cube spreads nicely and is perfectly proportioned.

This was a big hit with everyone- and no one knew how easy it really was! I served it with toasted crusty bread that I found in the bakery and olives. The ice was to keep it cool as we were outside.

You'll get rave reviews for this! The kids even loved it!


A Busier Day

>> Thursday, June 21, 2007

So, I tried to make up today everything I didn't get done yesterday. And as I type that I realize that my drier has shut off and I need to fold clothes... I'll be back!

OK, I'm back. No, wait, I forgot to put the stuff in the washer into the drier. Ugh! Right back!

OK, really back. Well, except for the fact that I am listing stuff on eBay right now. Earlier this week I went through everything that didn't sell at the garage sale and sorted it into 3 piles: eBay, Craig's List and donate. Then I sorted the eBay stuff into "lots" to post. Which is what I am doing now. Earlier I itemized all the donations and took them to Goodwill. I'll get to the Craig's List stuff next week.

I'm sure some of you think I'm nuts to do this eBay stuff after a garage sale; "Why not donate everything?" you wonder. Well, the simple fact is that some of this stuff is really, really nice. Lots of it was barely worn and I can make a bit of money. Every little bit helps, you know. Besides, my truck was full already.

The girls were extra needy today; probably since I was sick yesterday. After our run to Goodwill I took them to Panera- where they were little angels. Umm, hello? How come you can't be that good at home?

I'm on my third load of laundry and have two more boxes of stuff to list. Then I am going to watch something trashy and mindless that TiVo has so thoughtfully recorded for me.

I suppose I should be embarassed that I am actually watching The Starter Wife. But I'm not. In fact, I'm going to enjoy an alcholic beverage while I watch it!


What A Waste

>> Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Today, that is. Well, I feel like it was wasted as I got absolutely nothing done. Nothing. My kitchen is full of dishes that need washed, my living room and basement could stand to be picked up -at the very least, no laundry was done... We didn't leave the house.

I went to bed with some little intestinal bug and it stuck with me all day. I just, finally, ate some soup that Doug got for me when he took the girls out for dinner. (I didn't even know they had gone. I was in bed and completely oblivious.)

What I did do today was spend lots of time on the floor. Which Caelan enjoyed immensely as I was at her level. And Brenna was such a big girl, kissing my tummy to make it feel better and patting my head.

So I suppose it wasn't a complete waste.


I Wish I Were In Bed

I love our bed. Doug actually owned it before we got married and I will admit that he did an excellent job picking it out. It’s king size, solid wood, designed by Thomas Kincaid. It’s gorgeous.

I do not, however, love our bedding. It’s a little dark for my taste. So I’ve been searching online to find something I like. I found this site with beautiful quilt covers and other bedding.

I really like the Anastasia line; it’s not so feminine that Doug would refuse to sleep under it. And since our room needs redecorated anyway now would be a perfect time to replace our old set. And since I see thatTerry's Fabrics also offers curtains and throw pillows I'm betting I can get my entire bedroom outfitted to coordinate.


Do You Feel Lucky?

In a very blatant attempt to gain readers and linky love I am beginning a new monthly "contest" that I call Scrap Bribing. Each month, on the 20th, I will post a prize. You will have until the last day of that month to write a nice little post that links back to my Scrap Bribery. Then leave me a comment letting me know that you gave me some linky love.

On the first day of the following month I will have one of my lovely assistants draw the winning entry out of a dish.

Since I just thought of this (after seeing Jill's book of the month drawing) you may have already seen this month's prize:

The Girl BABY Name Book

For more pictures click here.

This is a 4-page book perfect for the new mom you know. Pages are fully embellished and ready for photos and memories of baby's first days.

Of course it was created with my Wishblade. I am learning new things all the time. Tonight I learned how to make my own paper piecing and created a corrot for Caelan's baby book.

Yes, I made the carrot. You are impressed, no?

So, anyway, I plan to be creating lots of stuff. Who knows what I'll give away next? Show me your love!


Still Just Average

>> Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Caelan had her 9 month "well baby" check today and everything checks out. She is 18 pounds 11 ounces and an even 27 inches long.

Completely, perfectly average.

Well, average if you don't count cuteness. On the cuteness scale she's off the charts. Don't believe me? Check out her new pictures: (click link for more)

Of course I'm biased!


Cuz I Was Tagged

>> Monday, June 18, 2007

Ok, so I go over to Boudicca's and see that she has tagged me with this really long meme. At least she complimented my Inside Out Ice Cream Cake recipe... So, Bou, this is for you....

My mom says no, that I was almost named Tanya. However, I went to school with 5 other Jody(i)(ie)s and I figure that there is no way that many women giving birth at that particular time named their kids the same without it coming from somewhere.
Probably earlier today. I’m sure it had something to do with the stress of a fussy baby and a two-year-old talking non-stop. And to think I couldn’t wait for her to talk. Silly me.
Handwriting…. Handwriting…. Not really sure. But I like my typing. Especially when I use a really pretty font. This italic is nice...
Meat good.
The doctor says they are kids. Sometimes I think they are homemade torture devices.
Probably not. Women don’t seem to like me very much. I think it’s the boobs.
Me? Sarcasm? Of course not!
Well, the doctor did ask if I wanted to keep them in a little jar but I said no because I didn’t think anyone would ever ask me a question like this.
Again? No. Sober? Never.
Cereal? Is that allowed after the age of 25? Wait, let me rephrase: is the good stuff allowed after the age of 25?
Shoes tie? Didn’t know they did that anymore.
Physically? Mentally? Scented? What?
Ice cream good.
Teeth. Oh, the teeth. I am always amazed by the people who don’t care for their teeth. How can you do that?
Flowers- red. Steak- pink.
I’m really not fond of the part between my neck and knees. Wait, I’m not too fond of my knees, either, so I’ll change knees to ankles.
To be serious for a moment I miss my friend Erika. If you’ve been around for any length of time you know why.
Pale green lounge pants; no shoes.
Leftovers from last night: a brat, some tortellini salad, some broccoli salad, horseradish cheese
I hear the computer fan. Brenna in the other room. Possibly some chirping birds.
1000 Shades of green
Freshly washed baby. Freshly mowed grass. Rain.
An answering machine. I tried to make an appointment to get my brows arched and the message said the salon was open today but all I kept getting was the machine.
Hockey is the only sport I can watch.
Today it is a deep burgundy. Check out my new profile pic...
Green. With my contacts really green.
I’m pretty sure I just answered that…
Food good. Right now I would kill for a warm chocolate chip cookie. Or maybe some of that ice cream from a couple questions ago...
Happy. Preferably romantic comedy happy endings.
The Quiet Man. I own it yet I watch it every time it’s on TV.
Maroon tank top. Matches the pale green lounge pants.
Neither. Why do spring and fall get the shaft on these questions?
Kisses. Hugs have white chocolate and I can’t eat white chocolate. It’s a psychological thing.
Dessert good. Not enough of an answer? Check out my Fab Food Friday posts.
I'm reading Galations. It's in the Bible. And a book by David Back about finances.
My cat atemy mousepad. Then she puked it up on my floor.
I haven’t turned the TV on in days. Surely TiVo has something waiting for me.
Silence. Yes, really.
A rolling stone crushes the beatle that gets in it’s way.
London is just a bit farther than Ireland.
I have no talent what-so-ever.
Mt Ayr, Iowa. I dare you to try to find it on a map.


What Would You Do?

The fear of the unknown keeps many people from trying so many things. Like travel. Or food. Or life in general.

What would you do if, suddenly, you had none of your resources? No money, no car, no place to sleep? How would you eat? Where would you sleep?

Of course there are a few options available for the eating and sleeping… I suppose a homeless shelter would be a good place to start, to get your bearings. Or a church could always steer you in the right direction.

But what if you had to completely recreate your life- from scratch? I actually did just that in 1993 when I moved to Minnesota. I didn’t know anyone and had used the last of my money to rent an efficiency apartment in a not-very-nice area of St. Paul.

I needed a job- one that would cover rent, transportation, food. And I had found out that being a hairstylist just didn’t pay that well. But it was what I knew, so I found a job doing hair. And realized right away that I couldn’t survive on that salary.

So I searched the job ads and found an opening for a cocktail waitress in a rock & roll bar. Which was connected to a strip club. I was 23, attractive and had a nice figure. You can guess that I didn’t stay long waiting tables for chump change. Nope, I was soon on the stage.

That choice was one I made a long time ago and is definitely not one that I would make now. But it got me through and helped to shape who I am.

USA Network's Burn Notice will show you what one man does when faced with a sudden change.

What would you do?


9 Months? Already??

I'm not quite sure how this can be true, but my sweet baby is closing in on her first birthday.

She had a terrific photo session last Friday. Probably because she knew that she looked so adorable in her flouncy top and capris.

She waved and waved this flag~ and was so happy when she finally caught it!

Caelan has turned into a happy baby~ a fact that everyone is happy about. Although she is still "Mommy's girl" she waves her arms and laughs when Daddy comes home and fully expects to be played with. She adores her big sister and will happily watch Brenna run in circles around the house~ but it is much better if Mommy or Daddy will carry her so she can "chase". She isn't crawling yet, but rolls and scoots around the house. Soon she'll be doing her own chasing.


When Can I Go?

I love a deal. I love to travel. So you can bet that I love a travel deal. I use a lot of different travel sites to make sure that I am getting the most trip for my money. And now I have another booking engine to add to my list.

HotelReservations.com offers Cheap Hotels- as the name implies. The prices easily compete with the “big boys” out there.

But HotelReservations.com has other booking options, too. You can, of course, book flights and car rentals, but you can also book vacation rentals. That’s a really great option when, like me, you have a family. With a vacation rental you get a kitchen, living area and more than one bedroom (a must for my family!)

Not sure where you want to go but have an idea of what you want to do? The Destinations and Interests page is great for giving you ideas that you might not have thought of. The Road Trips page is really nice; you just input a driving distance (by hour) and a list of destinations is revealed. Once you pick your city HotelReservations.com has a handy destination guide, as well, to make sure you get the most out of your trip.

Or maybe you like to stay at Bed and Breakfasts. The food is usually exceptional, the service is personal and the atmosphere is levels beyond what a hotel can offer. From country inns to historic homes HotelReservations.com can hook you up.

Right now I am researching options for Ireland. HotelReservations.com is helping me with that, too, as they have a vacation packages option. And a quite thorough one, at that. It allows me to book a hotel for only part of the trip, instead of the full trip, and gives me lots of different options. Then I can choose my flight, car and any other package options (like tours, theater or “must see” sights).

The next time you are planning a trip don't overlook HotelReservations.com. The resources are great and so are the prices. You should definately add it to your list of travel sites.


Happy Father's Day

>> Sunday, June 17, 2007

Doug will be spending the morning sleeping in. It's what he would want most... Later he will get his gifts... Again, things he said he would like but nothing as crazy as the Wii my BIL got.

Later this afternoon my siblings, their families and my dad will come over and we'll grill. Water fun will be had on the extra long slip and slide (that we have positioned down a hill) and the pool/splash/ sprinkler thing we have. Oh and some water balloons.

So just a low-key, fun, family-typ day here.

Happy Father's Day to all you daddies. What big plans do you have?


Play Us A Song, Piano Man

When I entered the 5th grade I had the opportunity to pick an instrument to learn and join band. I wanted to play either the saxophone or the drums. My mom, however, nixed those instruments as “for boys”. And very soon our home was hosting a very large organ.

Yes, an organ. And my sister and I were taking lessons.

Now, the organ is nothing like either the saxophone or the drums and you can imagine the joy I felt at being forced to take these lessons. I can’t really recall how my sister did- but I know that, of the two of us, she was the star pupil. I was lucky if I could pound out “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Needless to say, the organ was the big white elephant in our home and soon no one even touched it.

And I still didn’t get to play the sax or the drums.

Of course, in hindsight, I should have thanked my mother and taken those lessons happily (and maybe not wasted my parent’s money). Ah, the things we learn when we grow up.

But now there is Chords & Progressions Piano Tips to help me. This is a free piano lesson and chord progressions newsletter that comes to my inbox every 5 days and lasts for 101 issues. And if I choose to, I can purchase DVD courses.

I really like this website; everything is straight forward with plenty of sample links and testimonials. I could probably even learn!


It's Done

>> Saturday, June 16, 2007

Today was the big garage sale. I put the signs out shortly after 8; we were going to begin at 9am. As I was coming home and opening the garage to enter the house people started to pull up and stop. Oh, seriously! I told them that we weren't beginning until 9. No, I am not going to just let you have a look around. Sheesh.

When Jen got to my place at 8:30am, two cars pulled up behind her and stopped. By the time Holly arrived she had to park down the block quite a way. When we opened the garage at 8:45 there were a dozen people outside. Crazy.

But we all ended up doing well. The big stuff sold; so did a lot of stuff that we poked fun at Jarod & Amanda for bringing.

Now it's 8:15 and I am exhausted. I want a shower and sleep.


Hey! You! Want to Read a Good Book?

>> Friday, June 15, 2007

Follow me over to Jill's!

Jill is new on my blog roll; her blog Who Could Ask For Anything More is a fun read. She's an Iowa native who has been in the south for 11 years.

Anyway, she has a new monthly contest: Jill's Book Bag! To win the contest all you have to do is drop her a comment and write a nice little post directing others to visit.

If you want to enter this month you better get over there right away! Go!


Fab Food Friday

Inside Out Ice Cream Cake

I made this for a recent family gathering... I think it was Memorial Day. Easy and yummy.

Recipe from Everyday Food Magazine. Serves 12. Prep time:40 minutes. Total time: 8 hours (because you gotta freeze it!)

What you'll need:
1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 1/2cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for the pan
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c low-fat buttermilk
1 c fresh strawberries, hulled and finely chopped
1 T seedless raspberry jam
3 pints vanilla ice cream, softened (let it set out about 30 minutes or soften in the microwave at 10 second increments; you want it spreadable)

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8" round cake pan. **see tip at bottom** In a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

With an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated; mix in vanilla. With mixer on low alternately add flour mixture in three parts and buttermilk in two, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until just smooth- do not over mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth top. **see tip at bottom** Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Cool cake 15 minutes in pan, turn onto rack and let cool completely. Using a long serrated knife, halve cake horizontally **see tip at bottom**

While cake is cooling combine strawberries and jam in a bowl.

Line sides of a 9" springform pan with a strip of waxed paper (to prevent sticking); wrap outside of pan with plastic wrap (to prevent dripping). Center bottom half of cake in pan, cut side up (if you didn't make two).

Spread 1 1/2 pints of ice cream over top and down around sides. Spread strwaberry mixture on ice cream leaving a 1-inch border. Set top half of cake over it.

Spread remaining ice cream over top and down around sides. Tap cake on counter to help ice creamsettle. Smooth top and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Can be covered and stored for up to 2 weeks.

To serve,remove plastic from pan, unmold cake, and peel off waxed paper. Let cake rest at room temperature 15 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy and let everyone compliment you on your great contribution to the party!

**Tip: I just made two cakes as I can't cut straight.**


Sales in the Suburbs

>> Thursday, June 14, 2007

Our local shopper (that would be a small-town weekly paper to you big-city folks) is full of garage sale ads. And this weekend one of them is mine. I just read on Meritt's site about how much she hates holding garage sales. So she has a bedroom full of stuff on it's way to Goodwill. Really good stuff, too... I'm going to her house tomorrow... I wonder if it will still be there, I saw a few things that might be handy here at Casa Geek.

But, back to garage sales. I really don't mind them- for buying or selling.. When you're on a budget and the kids grow out of clothes so quickly that they are barely worn you really can't do much better than a good garage sale. I've got Brenna all stocked up on summer clothes and have begun the search to outfit her for fall and winter. And because my suburb is upper-middle class I find lots of really nice clothes for not a lot of money. Which is great because spending big $$ on little clothes makes me crazy.

Now, holding a garage sale... I gotta be honest here... I enjoy every bit of it except for the people. I'm such a freak, I know, but I have this "thing" about organizing. And a garage sale is nothing but a big organizational opportunity for me.

I bring everything in to the designated sorting room and slowly begin the piles: Items to sell, items to be free or donate, items that will be folded, items that will hang... Pricing and considering much as I go along, it is relaxing for me. Probably because I know that it will all be gone soon! I really hate clutter.

A couple of days before the sale (that would be today) I begin moving items into the garage, collecting tables and arranging the layout. Because, as you know if you've ever worked retail, the display is everything. Pricy items out front, kids clothes with easy access, and the (lots) of scrapbooking items in the back. Of course we have plenty of computer accessories, too... Software, printers, scanners... Something for everyone. Of course I will alter my display a couple of times before is feels right to me.

The night before I do my final prep and set everything up. Signs on the clothes so people don't have to root around to find things, making sure the parts of the garage that are off limits are blocked...

And then comes the part I hate. The people. Or, more specifically, the early birds. The ones that begin camping outside your house half an hour before you open because they want something specific that you listed. This year I decided to begin our garage sale at 9am because maybe at 8:30 it won't bother me so much. (Last year we began at 8am and the 7:30 people made me insane!) People around here scope out the addresses - I do, too, when I go garage sale-ing - and, because our address is in what the realtors term an "exclusive neighborhood" we get a lot of people. Which is good because it brings in the whole reason for the sale:

Money. Because, honestly, you wouldn't put yourself through holding a garage sale if there wasn't a pay out at the end. And if you say otherwise I'll call you a masochist and hand you a cat-o-nine-tails to flog yourself with.


Where Will Your Blog Be When The Lights Go Out?

This blog has changed a lot since Doug started it back in the late summer of 2004. Brenna had yet to make her grand appearance, Caelan hadn’t even been thought about, my brother was just back from Iraq and Doug did most of the writing.

Flash forward to now. I have taken over the Iowa Geek-iness and it has morphed from Doug’s political thoughts and ideas to my mommy musings. And because I do record so many of the girl’s “firsts” and funny stories here I want to be sure that they can read them far into the future.

I found this free Online Backup site for blogs. The thing that I really appreciate is that after I set it up once it will do automatic backups. Because half the time I can’t remember to save my pictures. Or anything else.

And if your blog is really big, or if you have other stuff you want to backup, you can get unlimited space for $4.95/month. Which is really a bargain compared to what you could lose. Trust me, I know that for a fact.


This Is Controversial?

>> Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The CDC is telling doctors to use the word "obese" instead of warm fuzzy words like "at risk" or "overweight" when a child when a child is clearly obese.

Dr. Reginald Washington, a committee spokesman and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said Tuesday that some doctors have avoided the blunt terms for “fear that we’re going to stigmatize children, we’re going to take away their self-esteem, we’re going to label them.”

Currently 17% of the nations children are obese and one third are overweight. I think that is enough of a problem to deserve a label. If our population is allowing itself and it's children to develop this problem then I really think that our nation's doctors have the obligation to stick our noses in it, so to speak, and bring it to the forefront.

Because, honestly, you know if you have a problem. Your kids know if they have a problem. Maybe a few honest words from your doctor will get you to do something about it. Correctness has gone too far when your doctor can't be honest with you.

And, you know, "obese" isn't as harsh as kids taunting "fatty, fatty, fat pants". Tell me that doesn't lower their self-esteem.

I'm all for protecting my kids. I'll protect them from drowning, protect them from a vicious dog, protect them from harm, but I don't understand protecting them from the truth. Get over it and let doctors do thier jobs.



>> Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Caelan was up early this morning- I'm guessing as she didn't call to be taken out of hr crib until 7am- so she is taking a short nap. Brenna is sitting on the potty. We had some success the past couple of days and hope to have continued potty use.

Speaking of success, did you make it down the page to see this: (Link takes you to pictures of it opened)

I am pretty darn impressed with myself.

There isn't really much going on here. In just a little bit I'll load the girls into the bike trailer and head to the park. It's already hot and humid outside. Heading for insane hot & humid. Best to get the outside stuff out of the way early.

And in the news:

I don't usually write much about the news but this article caught my eye: Father in Honor Killing Found Guilty of Murder.

I suppose I should be more shocked by the story itself but, sadly, it is becoming more common (more than 100 other killings in Britain are being investigated as "honor killings". What bothers me the most is that this girl went to the police multiple times and was dismissed.

Now, I'm positive that my family didn't approve of many of the guys I dated. Honestly, I think they approved of 3, maybe 4, one of whom I married. Lucky for Doug. But I'm pretty sure the thought of killing never even entered their minds.


Opportunity Is Knocking

Well, I’ve been doing the Pay Per Post thing for almost a month now. In just a couple of days I will begin receiving payment. I’m pretty excited about it as I am in the planning stages for our trip to Ireland next spring. I figure that if I can make about $200 a month that will give us a nice bit of cash – or maybe help us to extend our trip a few extra days.

I am really enjoying this opportunity to earn extra money. It only takes as much time as I give it and I can pick and choose what I post about. I do my best to keep my sponsored posts interesting and hope that you enjoy some of the stuff that I share.

And, on the topic of sharing, it was announced today that Pay Per Post has raised another $7 million in investments which will allow for additional development and, with that, more opportunities for me. Like the new Pay Per Post Direct, which allows advertisers to browse the blogger directory and make a direct offer to individual bloggers.

“PayPerPost created this exciting new advertising space and has established itself as the industry leader,” said Ted Murphy, chief executive officer of PayPerPost. He adds that the support from investors unlocks significant growth potential. I really look forward to that growth as it means more advertisers; thus more opportunities for me to share great stuff.

With this investment news Pay Per Post asked it’s bloggers “What do you think we should do with the money?”

“Share it!”, thinks I. And they are. Over the next week they will be releasing $7k in opportunities- with some paying $700! Now, to get one of those I may not get to sleep for the next week and I will have to have my laptop strapped to me… But how great would that be? Wish me luck!

And if you are interested in becoming a "postie" check out the link in the left sidebar.

The PayPerPost Revolution Accelerates, Sponsored
Blogging Marketplace Secures $7 Million Series B

Draper Fisher Jurvetson leads round and joins Board of Directors

ORLANDO, FL – (June 12, 2007) – PayPerPost, the leading marketplace for advertisers to reach bloggers and other consumer content creators, today announced it has completed a $7 million second round investment led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, an investor in the company's Series A and one of the world’s leading high-technology venture capital firms. The financing brings the total amount of capital raised by PayPerPost to over $10 million, giving the company considerable resources for further development as the industry’s leading Consumer Generated Advertising marketplace. Additional participants in the round include existing investors Inflexion Partners and Village Ventures as well as new investor DFJ Gotham. With this investment, DFJ Managing Director Josh Stein also joins PayPerPost’s Board of Directors.

“PayPerPost created this exciting new advertising space and has established itself as the industry leader,” said Ted Murphy, chief executive officer of PayPerPost. “Although we’ve only used a portion of our first round capital, this added support from investors unlocks significant growth potential. Our content creator and advertiser ROI metrics clearly demonstrate the upside for PayPerPost’s model. We intend to use this capital to build the infrastructure, visibility and professional expertise necessary to reach and retain a greater network of advertisers and content creators than ever before.”

Since its founding in June of 2006, PayPerPost has signed more than 6,500 advertisers to its groundbreaking service, which has enabled Consumer Content Creators to be compensated for their efforts discussing specific companies, products or services via blogs, videos or other media. The content creators are required to disclose relationships with advertisers on their blog, providing transparency for the end reader. Over 125,000 Internet postings, most in the form of blogs, have already earned money for their creators through PayPerPost’s innovative marketplace. PayPerPost recently released PayPerPost Direct, a disruptive new service that allows advertisers to contract and negotiate directly with individual bloggers they identify through a safe, managed system.

“PayPerPost has laid a strong foundation for the future,” noted Tim Draper, founder and managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson. “It continues to attract a critical mass of participants from both the advertising and blogging communities. Analogous to Overture’s sponsored search model, we believe PayPerPost’s business model holds disruptive potential and will enable the company to thrive in the evolving paid-content arena.”

To mark the $7 million dollar funding, PayPerPost has launched a new website detailing the company’s service offering at http://www.payperpost.com. Bloggers and advertisers can easily sign up at the site and begin leveraging the self service marketplace.


Potty Time

>> Monday, June 11, 2007

Yesterday we used exactly one Pull Up- and that was during nap time. Otherwise Brenna used the potty. Yippee!!

Today, however, is proving difficult. She woke up wet and hasn't pee'd yet. She's been on the potty for an hour and a half this setting. We tried earlier, too, with no results. But she hasn't wet herself, either, so it must be progress.

There is no way I am putting a Pull Up on her until she uses the toilet. Doing so is just an invitation to fill it.

Grrrr.... Does anyone know if she could explode?

Finally! It seems that 2 hours on the potty will make the magic happen! WooHoo!


We Are A House Full of Book Lovers

We are a house full of book lovers. Doug and I could both sit and lose ourselves in books for days at a time if you let us. I am currently reading 3 (one on personal finance, one of health and wellness and another just for fun). I'm pretty sure Doug has at least two in various stages of read-ness. Brenna loves to be read to day and night and can usually be found in the morning sitting in her bed “reading” to Cow. Caelan is also a book lover- she seems to think they are tasty.

With all the books we buy you can bet that coupons come in handy for savings. In fact, I ordered a couple of Father’s Day gifts using Amazon.com’s deals.

Not sure what to do? Not to worry! There is a "how to” video at the bottom of the page to walk you through.

Not an Amazon shopper? Never fear! There are over 1000 merchants! Shopping has never been easier! Or less expensive!


More Wishblade Fun

Doug gave me time for myself and watched the girls. So I did a tiny bit of shopping and then got creative.

I made a word book. Complete but for the photos...
The tag says: Name, Date of birth, Hieght, Weight, Length
That mat says: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

It is cute, no?


A Home For All Seasons

We bought a great house 18 months ago. Lots of room, high ceilings, big kitchen, Jacuzzi tub (which was my only requirement. It’s ironic that I don’t use it but maybe once a month.) But, of course, there are things I would like to add or change.

Highest on my home improvement list is completely changing the back deck. It scares the bejeezus out of me. It’s just your typical second story back deck; nothing special about it. But, like I said, this house has high ceilings. So the drop from the back deck to the ground is quite far. This bothers me for many reasons, most of them being related to children.

I also really want a four season porch. I love that feeling of open-ness. So I figure we can have a four season porch built off the kitchen where the deck is now and have the deck wrap around the back of the house where the slope of the land will negate any large drops.

So to pay for this I have been researching Home equity loans online. It’s always good to know your options going in.

The possibility of refinancing may be likely if interest rates stay low. I see that there is an all-in-one mortgage and home equity credit line package out now.


Have You Visited Yet?

>> Saturday, June 09, 2007

I don't know how many of you ever look at my list of links. If you do you may have noticed a link that says My Little Travel Blog. Well, that link will take you to my pet project, Have Kid Will Travel.

My idea (which is currently in it's third incarnation after I didn't really like either of the "real" websites I tried to build) was begun after I decided that I really wasn't finding what information that I found useful for traveling with kids on the web.

So, what's on it? Well, lots of pictures from our trips. Helpful tips for driving and flying. Product reviews for things we have actually used. And links within the posts for more information.

My plan is to expand the site as we travel and share our experiences- good and bad.

I have lots to share and hope that all my blog friends will add this site to their blogs and maybe even share the link in a post. I would really appreciate it.



I'm Pretty Sure We'll Be Visiting...

Did you know that there is a Harry Potter Theme Park being created at Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando?

It's set to open in 2009. From everything I have read and seen it looks incredibly cool. I'm sure that, if the reviews are good, we'll be visiting more than the mouse when we're in Orlando.


Looking Forward to Learning

I’ve begun to worry about school for the girls. Yes, I know that we have some time but I think time may be part of the issue.

Our little town isn’t so little anymore. We have become one of the fastest growing suburbs in the country due to all the insurance/banking/tech companies that are moving into Des Moines. With all this growth comes opportunity for people to move up and out of the city. Our schools aren’t growing as quickly as our population which leads to a myriad of problems.

Of course we have a couple of option beyond public schools. We can enroll the girls into the local Christian School (a strong possibility just for the values) or we can home school (which we have discussed quite a bit).

No matter what we decide I am thrilled to know that I always have another learning opportunity for the girls through an educational center like Score.

Being able to help our children reach their full academic potential is very important to us. And with school over crowding and the US slipping further behind in over-all learning I will take all the help I can get. Especially if the girls feel about math the way I feel about math. I can definitely see a few Math Tutors in our future.


Friday Night

>> Friday, June 08, 2007

So, what's everyone up to? Me? Well, Doug is out with the guys at a baseball game. Caelan has been in bed since 7:20 and Brenna just went to bed. I have plenty of things I *should* do...

So I'm going to eat some ice cream, watch a chick flick (Catch and Release) and drink an alcholic beverage. Maybe two. Maybe, if I am feeling very "multi-tasking" I will price clothes that Caelan just grew out of for the garage sale I'm having next Saturday.

But don't count on it. I'm feeling pretty lazy.


Weekly Recap

I know that with summer here and school out it can be tough to visit as much as you might like to. So here's what happened this week:

Brenna, the fearless one, fell in the creek, talked to a telemarketer and changed clothes... Alot.

I finished sewing my laptop case and shared a bit about a rally for Jetseta Gage (most Iowans know that name).

Caelan learned to sit up on her own and "wrote" her first blog post. A very insightful piece on the differences between Mommy & Daddy.

And a healthier Fab Food Friday was featured.

And now you're all caught up. Have a great weekend!


Fab Food Friday

>> Thursday, June 07, 2007

Yogurt Parfaits

Brenna usually asks for yogurt or strawberries for breakfast. So last Sunday I surprised her with these easy, pretty and fun to eat yogurt parfaits.

All you need is yogurt, fresh fruit and some Grape Nuts type cereal. The parfait cups aren't necessary- but they sure do look nice!

Just layer the fruit and yogurt, sprinkle a little cereal on top and serve! Brenna thought she was getting ice cream for breakfast!

Anita- I was thinking of you when I posted this! Hopefully it looks good and you can eat it!


I Don't Want To

Today is just one of those days that I don't want to be a mommy anymore. It's a thankless job that doesn't pay, has no benefits and seems to produce nothing.

And I don't care to hear about how lucky I am to get to stay home. Or how I am producing great kids. Or any of that other feel-good crap right now. Because right now I don't care.

I just want to go to my room- alone- and cry.


I Wear My Sunglasses At Night... Or Not

So we have this land in southern Missouri. It’s right on a tributary river that drains into Lake of the Ozarks. It’s beautiful land. But that’s all it is- land. No facilities, no running water, no electricity. Maybe someday we’ll develop it, but for now it is our rustic camp site.

Now, I actually enjoy camping and “roughing it” doesn’t bother me in the least. Unless I need to use the “facilities” at night. Because, as there are no “facilities”, I have to trek through the foliage, find a clear spot and (because I’m a girl) squat. That’s no fun when the sun is up. At night it is even less so. You just can’t hold a flashlight and toilet paper and wipe at the same time.

So I’m thinking some night vision equipment might be just what I need. I could strap on a pair of night vision goggles and be good to go. (No pun intended)

And maybe I could see that sneaky little raccoon before he swipes my toilet paper.


Mommy and the Allan Wrench : by Caelan

>> Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Just the other day Mommy told Daddy that my crib needed to be lowered. Daddy went into the garage and returned with his arms full of tools. I saw the look Mommy gave the tools but she didn't say anything. Daddy saw the look, too, and said that he was going to hang our new towel hangers while he was up there. Mommy just nodded.

Mommy pulled my crib away from the wall and Daddy removed the screws from one end of the crib with his big battery powered drill/screwdriver thingie. He handed it to Mommy. One screw was stuck. Daddy told Mommy to move; he would get it.

I'm not sure exactly what happened but when I got in bed later the crib had not been lowered. I know I heard Daddy saying something about needing to drill through the screw. And I'm sure I heard Mommy say something under her breath about the screw. Or maybe she said something about being screwed. I'm not sure.

Fast forward to last night, about midnight. Mommy had gone out so Daddy put me to bed. I didn't get my evening dose of Mommy's milk so, knowing that she would just be falling asleep, I called for her. And she found me sitting up in my bed- yes,I did it all alone!- gripping the side rails.

After congratulating my amazing feat and taking care of my thirst Mommy mumbled something about definately needing to lower the crib before I launched myself out. I guess that the fact that I was sitting up in bed again this morning must have really made Mommy determined to lower the bed because she pulled everything out of my bed and brought up what she called the most annoying tool known to man:
And she lowered my crib all the way to the bottom while she muttered something about men and their big tools. Or maybe it was men are big tools. I couldn't really tell. Mommy needs to stop mumbling. I do know that she taped the allan wrench to the crib and put in a note about only using it and not needing to tighten the screws until wood cracks.

And now I have no chance of escape until I can stand. I'll have to get on that.


Just A Little Advice For Paris

>> Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Oh, Paris, how I do enjoy the daily updates from outside the jail where you are serving your time. I enjoy the thought of you using a stubby pencil and paper to write your notes instead of your diamond encrusted Sidekick. I relish the thought of you taking 15 minute showers and using- gasp!- soap instead of gold flaked French milled body crème. I adore the idea of you eating cold bologna sandwiches instead of caviar and escargot. And, to be quite honest, I truly look forward to the photos of you being released from jail. How will you look having gone 3 weeks without hairdresser, make-up artist or personal stylist?

One couldn’t help but notice –since you so prominently displayed it- that you took a Bible in with you. Honestly, I’m not sure you can do much for your soul in 3 weeks; especially if you plan to continue your lifestyle.

What you should have taken in with you is some staphaseptic. According to The Drudge Report staph infections run rampant in those 3-hots-and-a-cot boarding houses. MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is highly resistant to most otc antibiotics and penicillin. Luckily you can get staphaseptic at every major drug store chain like Walgreens, RiteAid, CVS and Eckerd. Or maybe ordering from Amazon would be better for you.

Just don’t shave your legs or give yourself a jailhouse mani until you get some.

Staphaseptic:what Paris should use . Please visit the staphaseptic website for more information and to see this very important video.

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