Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Awesome Freeness!

Or Free Awesomeness...I'm not sure which I like better.

Anyway, this is not a shameless plug, since I don't get anything, but I wanted to pass on a cool freebie. If you go to the Walden Media site, there's a banner in the center of the page for a free calendar and a free copy of the DVD Amazing Grace (Yay Horatio!) for registering at their site.

I'm not sure if it's necessary, but my username there is Euphrasie if you want to put it in the referrer field. But that's probably just for their tracking purposes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gratuitous YouTube

This clip is awesome. It's a British public service announcement.

Shameless Plug

Okay, so...I was over reading the Money Saving Mom blog, and she had a post up about Swagbucks.

Apparently, the deal is that you sign up, and they award you points for making searches through their site. You get 3 points when you sign up, and can win 1-5 points for each search (Apparently it's random, but it didn't take me more than a couple searches to win one for 2 points). A $5 Amazon electronic gift code is 45 points, which seems pretty easy to earn in a month. You can save up to get cards for other stores, but I did a couple of point-per-dollar comparisons, and Amazon has the best return on investment.

They also have toolbars you can add to your browser (including Firefox--yay!) to make it easier to use. It's powered by Google (yay!) and Ask.com. Not a bad deal overall.

What are you waiting for? Sign up here.

To my sisters...I'm looking at you. You know how I make you sign up for things so I can get points? Yeah. And you love My Points, right? Do it.

Friday, November 07, 2008


1, 2, 3 little pumpkins.

Noah's is a regular scary face he designed. It looks a lot like last year's model. Karen's is a puppy dog with floppy ears. And Sarah's is a vampire pumpkin.

I was fully planning to cook them all up after Halloween, but there was some melted wax I didn't want to deal with...and eventually they were goners. They went in the trash today.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


A little late for Halloween, I came across Sense & Sensibility, a website offering digitized ePatterns for vintage clothing, like a Regency dress (with an additional neckline supplement for those who don't want to bare all), children's pinafores and bloomers, Regency underwear (!), Spencer and Pelisse, embroidery patterns...I am so ready for a Jane Austen costume party!

There are also Edwardian, 1910's, 1940's, and Swing items that the owner of the site will eventually have all digitized.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Karen is such a fruitcake

I made chili tonight, and cooked some extra beans to freeze. After Karen ate half her chili, she told me she wanted 'more rice' and pointed at the cooling bowl of plain beans.

Me: Do you want more chili?
Karen: No, don't like it! (pointing again at the beans)
Me: Do you just want beans?
Karen: Yes.
Me: There are beans in the chili. See?
Karen: No! Don't like it!
Me: But here's just a plain bean.
Me: Fine, here's a bean from the bowl.
Karen: Don't like it!
Me: Wha? What did you want then?
Karen: Lots. On plate.
Me: Okay fine.

I gave her a spoonful in a little bowl, figuring we'd probably throw them out once she finished playing with them. She lifted the bowl up and poured them in her mouth and ate them. Plain unsalted beans. Gross. But I guess she knew what she wanted.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Halloween Fairy and Russian Tea

It's a double header post. Yay!

The basic concept of the Halloween Fairy is that she comes and takes away all the candy and leaves a toy or money in its place. The kids get something in exchange, and Mom doesn't have to deal with limiting candy, finding candy stuck in carpets, wiping chocolate-y finger prints off everything, or settling disputes over stolen candy. But...

Okay. I couldn't do it. I couldn't make all the Halloween candy disappear overnight. I just couldn't abort the fun of sorting and hoarding the candy for a few days... But I also couldn't dispute the existence of the Halloween Fairy after the kids got so excited. So Miss Fairy took some of the candy (mostly the plethora of things I know the kids don't really like) and left $1. She might be back later for the rest. We'll see.

Per Jenni's request, here's the Russian tea recipe I got from Rich's grandparents, straight from the family cookbook:
Cornaby Russian Tea

11 c. water
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
6 whole cloves
1 c. pineapple juice
3 T. lemon juice
6 oz. (1/2 can) orange juice concentrate

Bring to a boil the water, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice concentrate. Serve hot or cold. Yield: Enough to cure many.
This is the favorite Cornaby cure for colds and sore throats. A kettle simmering on the back unit of the stove has chased away many a virus.
I like it best hot. They serve it every year during the family Messiah sing. It soothes sore throats from illness...and over-taxed vocal chords.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween (and this post) Go on ForEVER!

Sarah started out as a pumpkin, but we altered that to a witch for dance class. She was so cute, we kept it.

That's one saucy pirate. Arrr!

Karen the Candy Fiend, complete with wings. She caught on enough to say "Treat?" at doors. And finally, "No! No pictures!"

I swear, Halloween has turned into a week-long marathon. We've been busy with activities all week.
  • The Trunk-or-Treat and Fall Festival carnival at Church was last Wednesday.
  • We used Family Home Evening on Monday to carve Noah's pumpkin and make a plan for Karen's. Sarah and I used the clearance candy-making kit we picked up after Halloween last year.
  • Then on Tuesday, Sarah's dance class had a little Halloween party where the girls showed us some dance moves - kangaroo jumps, skeleton walking, ghost gliding, something or other leaps...basic dance things with Halloween-y names. And then they exchanged treats (Sarah brought Halloween suckers made from the kit).
  • Thursday, I took Noah and Karen to the library for storytime and trick or treating around the library.
  • That night, Noah's karate class practiced for 10 minutes then spent the rest of class doing 'fun drills' - a ring toss, bean bag toss, bowling, sack races... I was in charge of the bean bags, which got interesting when Karen insisted on being held while I did squats with 30 pounds trying to pick up bean bags for the kids.
  • As if that weren't enough in one day, I took the kids to the safe house run by the firefighters at the town hall center. It was CRAZY. They said they were expecting 4000-5000 kids over the two days. All I have to say is that if they were expecting that many, why on earth did they cram it into the tiny center?? We pushed our way through the crowds so the kids could play some carnival games, get some candy, and earn some prizes. They handed out paper money for winning games that the kids could exchange for prizes at very reasonable rates, I must say (great options for 1 or 2 'dollars'). Although, we really didn't need to come home with four more stuffed animals. I wish they'd gone for the glow sticks instead. And the highlight for the kids? Getting to ride in a real bus that shuttled us from the high school parking lot to the town center. Highlight for Mom: getting to round out the lower body work out with some upper by carrying a tired Karen the whole time. Love it. Love the pain.
  • Friday finally rolled around. It's Rich's off Friday, so he took Noah to his art class and took Karen with him. I got to catch up on laundry and dishes. I also made a big pot of Russian tea to combat these nasty colds and sore throats that have been plaguing us all week.
  • Sarah went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Apparently the patch called the teacher yesterday that they were OUT of PUMPKINS! Nice. You can't tell a 1st grader that. They worked quickly and made a deal with Walmart. They trucked a bunch of pumpkins from the store out to the patch, and some volunteers went early to set them out in the field. None of the kids any the wiser.
  • I went over to the school to help set up for the Halloween party when the kids got back from the field trip. They kept sugar to a minimum, having popcorn, fruit, veggies and dip, and juice. Just a cupcake and a few pieces of candy to take home.
  • Halloween night...finally. Rich and I browbeat the kids into actually eating dinner. Then we dressed up, Sarah a witch, Noah a pirate, and Karen a ladybug. There is no photographic evidence, but I was 'The Night." All black. And then I took a white jacket so I wouldn't get run over. Trick or Treating was fun. We only went once around one side of the block...the kids were worn out. Then they had great fun sitting in the driveway handing out candy. Karen tried to put half eaten pieces of her own in kids' bags, but I think we caught everything except a piece of popcorn.
  • And by this time, I'm thinking I should have been blogging all week, because this post is turning into a book. Sorry. At least I put the pictures first, right?

And now the candy. Lots of candy. Here's my latest trick. I just learned about this book from another blog. I was going to give the kids a day or two with the candy to enjoy it then set it out for 'the Halloween Fairy,' but they were so excited they ate some tonight and put it out. Sarah was sooo excited, she put hers on the front porch without consulting me, and it promptly got dumped in some teenagers' sacks. Grr. She was really sad when she found out I'd meant by her bedroom door. She knew the fairy didn't get it because nothing was left behind. We put some other candy by her door, and 'the fairy will understand.' I'm leaving money instead of toys because #1, I wasn't on top of things enough to get something when I went shopping early in the week, and #2, I think it will be fun to take them to the store to pick something out themselves. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Karen Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Roots - Last name

Noah Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family history - Geneology

Sarah Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family reunion - Family history

Kid Quotes

Sarah: "If bad guys were sounds and the police were a satellite, they could just bounce the bad guys back."

*blank stare* Uh...yes...

Me: "Karen, you're a beautiful girl!"
Karen: "Your hair pretty."

This girl knows how to work it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Happy Birthday Sarah!

So, here's my big girl. 6 years old.

The cake was all her idea. It's supposed to be a castle with a ballroom on the roof.

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Just before Fall Break, they had Spirit week at school. Magic Monday was fun with fairy wings, Twin Tuesday was typical jeans and T-shirt like her friend Abby, Wacky Wednesday had clothes on backward and a side ponytail, and Pajama Thursday was pretty darn easy. So, we weren't the most elaborate participants, but we did it.

This is from Hippie Friday. Who has child-sized hippie stuff? We made do, and she looks like she could totally be a flower child...

Here's her quarter-end school project, a desert shadow box. She did everything herself (except cut the box opening). My favorite part is the pipe cleaner ocotillo.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Noah!

What a happy kid. :D

So, how lame am I? I was planning to decorate his cake as a giant Oreo. The white filling was going to be a cream cheese/powdered sugar/whipped cream filling. But of course I waited until Sunday morning to bake it and realized we have no cream cheese...or whipping cream.

So I was going to do just a plain whipped topping substitute with powdered sugar filling. But I am not sure that would survive the hour drive to Nana's house for the party.

So here's what he gets. Happy Birthday Noah!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Family Pictures

I'm having photo paralysis. There are so many cute pictures, I just can't pick which other ones to post. Where's a slide show applet when you need one?

Of course, the other pictures would be individuals. There can be only one good family shot (if you're lucky). I'm pretty sure that's a rule. And this one is good only because my mad Photoshop skillz came through this time.

Kid Updates

Do you know the boys in my class? {No, I only know a few of the girls. Which boy is cutest?} I like Michael. {Is he nice?} Yeah. Well, but he doesn't really play with me. But he is young and looks handsome.
Good thing she's got her priorities straight.
Make sure I have a shirt for Spirit Day. Otherwise, I'm the only one who doesn't and it's embarrassing!
Goodness. Already? Although she does have a point. The past two weeks when I've dropped her off on Friday, there has been a sea of school shirts. Seriously, I think I could count on one hand the kids who didn't have one. Poor Sarah. She will go to school tomorrow properly attired and hopefully unembarrassed.


Spent the first two or three days of school asking every 15 minutes when Sarah was coming home. Then the light bulb went on. If Sarah's not home, he gets to pick all the movies to watch and gets all the turns on the computer. He's still ready for her to come home by 2:30, but he's enjoying being the oldest at home for a little while.

I love watching his brain work too. He asks some interesting questions...which I can't remember right now, of course. He's figuring things out all the time.


Girly girl. I don't know where she's gotten this obsession, but she is into toiletries every chance she gets. I thought I'd succeeded in convincing her that deodorant is not chapstick, and then I caught her putting it in her hair today. It's progress, I guess. She does love her "chappie" though.

My little singer can sing a good portion of the song "The Call" from the Prince Caspian soundtrack. (I think we may have listened to it a few times or something.) She just grins when she does it too. Her verbal skills are a runaway train these days. Tonight she was stringing words together to make complete thoughts if not quite sentences.
Seepy? {It's not quite time for bed. Did you want to go for a walk?} Walk. Walk...back, seepy.
Yes, when we get back from the walk it will be time for bed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sarah's First Day of School

So, we got the call that a space opened up at Great Expectations Academy, and we are so excited that Sarah got to start first grade today! Her teacher is Mrs. Trella. She says her first day was fine. "It's not at all like preschool. It's harder. And it took a long time." Here's the rest of her report:

"My first day of school was good. It was good. My teacher was nice. My teacher was fun. I was good in school, and I liked it. I was second in being good. Recess was the most fun of all. I love you, Sarah."

I tried to prompt a few more details, but she must have been going through computer withdrawal because she's glued to the monitor and not paying much attention to me. She told me on the ride home that she had two recesses plus lunch. She talked a lot about her lunch and what she did and didn't eat. She said they eat outside, and there are sprayers around the tables (to keep it from getting too hot). They played Bingo with classmates' names, and Sarah got a Christmas tree eraser. They wrote lower case letters, and Sarah wrote her name with lower case letters. They had 'math minute,' but she forgets what that was. They also read Chicka Chicka 1 2 3.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Going, Going...


I wasn't quite expecting this yet, but Sarah woke up the morning of the 2nd asking if her teeth were loose. Lo and behold, the bottom two were. One came out that evening, and the second followed soon thereafter.

She scored an extra 50 cents over the standard dollar from the tooth fairy for the first one, since the tooth fairy was late. She left a note that she had a pickup in Alaska... Oops. Second tooth was right on time with another dollar. She's currently hoarding the cash.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Memory Game

Memory Lane

Here are the directions:
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you know me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you.

It’s actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I’ll assume you’re playing the game and I’ll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don’t want to play on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, I’ll leave my memory of you in my comments.So let’s have it! Don’t be shy! What do you remember? Anything funny, embarrassing, silly…

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Kid Updates

The kids all love to use Mommy's mp3 player. I just think it's hilarious that Karen will carry it slung over her shoulder with the armband. And she has to hold the ear buds up to her ears because they're too big for her bitty ears.

You know there's something wrong with the picture when the 20-month-old comes complaining "Diapey!" and requests a diaper change while the 3 1/2-year-old will wear a soggy diaper until it's dripping down his legs if I don't catch him first. He really has no interest in potty training. At all. He can do it. He will do it if bribed with a treat or something. But he just doesn't care, and ongoing rewards like sticker charts or big prizes or big kid underpants have no motivational power. Kids don't usually go to kindergarten wearing diapers, right?

And if I didn't know it already, I think this clinches it. We're in trouble.

The kids have almost filled the rewards jar (finally). Almost time for an outing to McD.

Sarah quoting Monsters, Inc. on why you don't leave the door open behind you: "It could let in a giraffe [draft]?"

Friday, June 27, 2008

You get what you ask for

Karen is becoming a talking machine. Aside from her latest favorite word, two/to/too, she is mastering lots of words.

Foods: milk, cheese, cookie, cracker, cup
Commands: up, more, hep (help), op[en], down, "do it!"
People: MomMEEE!, DAddy!, Mememe (Who's a big girl? Mememe!), Ba-pa (Grandpa)
Animals: Kitty-meow, puppy-oof oof, duck-quack
Basics: Yes, no, pease, thanks

She's getting better at asking for things too. It's always frustrating to have her come ask, "Pease? Pease?" And then play the guessing game called "Please what? What do you want?" Her new, improved request: "Pease? I want! Pease? I want!" That's very helpful Karen.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sarah's Dance Recital

Sarah with dance friends Kiya and Jasmine.
And hamming it up outside before going backstage.

If you're up for a slightly longish video, here's the dress rehearsal (she's fourth in the line behind the teacher). Karen helped with sound effects a little toward the end:

It actually might have been better than the performace for Sarah, because during the performance, Sarah kept turning around to admire the fog coming from the machine at the back curtain.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Karen: 18 months old!

Karen in her cute summer dress and sandals.

And, of course, her Cinderella phone.

Who is soooo adorable? Karen, that's who!

She is so cute in the sunglasses. She kept taking them off though.

Oooh. She has some good pouts. We see them a lot. Usually accompanied by "Noo!"

Sarah wanted to get in the picture too. She made the little yellow hair thing herself.
The second picture is "Give Sarah a kiss Karen!" When she doesn't want to give kisses, she offers you her cheek to kiss instead. Unless she pouts and says, "Noo!"


We already did a detailed summary of the cruise for our weekly email, but here are some pictures and highlights.

Formal night, and a sunset at sea

Catalina Island:

The captain of the glass bottom boat took the picture for us, and let me touch the steering wheel...er, helm. I didn't notice that one side of my necklace had broken and all the beads slid down to the center. I wore it that way all day before I discovered it. The island is very pretty, but I won't bore you with all the pictures of cool houses and things I took. Just this one shot of the coast and the birds posing for me. Very cooperative of them.

Look! Rich is all relaxed and happy! We must be having fun!

These towel guys were way fun. They appeared in different incarnations every night, usually wearing my sunglasses. You can tell how giddy I was from so much relaxation and sleep because I was posing with them. We'll spare you the rest of that reel too...

Best thing about the cruise: Food. Nice formal dining without having to find a babysitter, ordering random stuff like roast lamb and Caprese salad. Buffets open just about any time. Desserts of all varieties.

Close second: Freedom to get up and go do anything we wanted without having to spend 1/2 hour finding everyone's shoes, pack a diaper bag, make sure everyone's used the bathroom, fixing snacks first... Spontaneity. That's what that's called. Remember that?