Thursday, September 27, 2007

Birds and Lounge Music

Anyone into birds? Enough so that you'd design your backyard for the sake of attracting and making a more comfortable existence for the creatures?

I've taken on a magazine article about just that, but I really don't know much about birds at all. Except that I'd rather listen to them than city noises. Even at 6 a.m. on a Saturday. So, let the research begin.

On another note, I'm tasked with finding Vegas-esque music to compile on a CD. Our M.O.M.s group is hosting the Midwestern conference in the spring and the theme is all about Vegas - showgirls and the likes - not so much a gambling focus. As part of the teaser mailer going out in December, we plan to toss in a checklist of roadtrip necessities (e.g. movie-star shades, foo foo slippers, etc.), including a CD to get in the mood.

Any ideas you have to share are VERY welcome. I'm afraid that my pregnancy brain is making my creativity a little low these days.

Happy weekend! Enjoy the fall colors while you still can - this might be your last chance for the season!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Little Piggies

We went to a very special party today - Great Uncle Harry turned 87. And in celebration of the big occasion, our girls donned sundresses and for the first time ever - drumroll please - pigtails! Yay!

Breanna and Lillian stole the show at the party, visiting with each person there. It was the perfect size party - all family - at the Assisted Living home in Lisbon. We enjoyed the drive there - the leaves were beautiful. And the girls were good sports about so much carseat time.

On the way home, we stopped at our new house and checked out the construction progress. The concrete forms are being put up, and there's mud everywhere. Just as we pulled in, Breanna woke up, so she came out with me to inspect. The sunset was gorgeous behind our woods. What a great end to a great (though windy!) weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Girls' Nights Out

I got a pretty special treat this week - two evenings of girls-only evening entertainment. Both started around baby bedtime, so I didn't have to miss out on twin time. One night I had a very relaxing visit with a very comfortable friend at a local coffee shop. We talked about our toddlers, careers, home plans, dear hubbies, extended families, the whole gamut. She's one of those gals who completely refreshes the spirit in just a couple hours. As the coffee shop closed up, we said our TTFNs, then both drove away. Only to drive into the same grocery store parking lot a few minutes later. Great minds...

Last night I went to a Tastefully Simple open house fundraiser. All the profits went to our local Mothers of Multiples group, so of course I stocked up on the goodies. It was an intimate group in size, but the conversations were fun and laid back. The hostess lives in a beautiful house that a I spent a few evenings in during it's construction a couple years ago. DH created the stairway railing, so it was fun to see the home finished. I'd puttied all the nail holes on that project, and I must say, everything in the home really looked great!

I sometimes miss helping out at the job sites. I never had to do anything hard, but I was pretty swift with the putty and accomplished with final varnish applications. DH and I work very well together - visiting while we go. Some of the conversations we used to have were quite deep, others simply strange, and others all in rhymes. Although our life is lovely as it is, I occasionally miss "back in the day" visits. Once we reach the finishing part of our new home, I may have to hire a sitter one evening and head to the job site for a revisit. It's been quite a while since I've had putty caked under all my nails.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's official - baby is inside

I felt/saw my first tummy movement last night. I was so bummed out because I was all alone and had no one to show. Two minutes later, my DH walked in. And hooray - the baby put on a show! I just felt more wiggles just now, which prompted me to post about it.

Yay for baby and yay for us!

The weekend has been long so far - DH has been working a lot and the girls have icky colds, which they've now passed on to DH and me, too. Oh well. They're still cute as ever, and Breanna is good about walking up and making sniffy noises when she wants to blow her nose in the kleenex. Hooray for not having to use the snot sucker on both of them! I hope Lillian catches on soon.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Regret

I made a mistake. A big one. One that no one else seems to understand. One that's almost as bad as once accepting a job working for a lunatic-run ad agency. Almost.

When we packed up our house before the move, I boxed up my recipe box and all my recipe books except for two basic ones. I argued with myself that if I need a recipe, I can simply look one up online.



Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

I miss my tried and trues. I miss Dan Ness' Mexican Zucchini Soup. I crave Lazy Day Stroganoff. I'm dying for my own version of Taste of Home's Chicken and Dumplings. And the Grilled Eggplant Basil stacks...ugh! Nothing else is satisfying me!

So I plead with you, dear readers, to share my recipes back with me. When I find something good, I often evangelize and then forward it when requested. If I've ever shared a good recipe with you by email, and if by chance you still have the recipe in your mailbox, will you please send it back to me?

In the meantime, I did stumble on a new hit when forced to look outside. Our whole family loved it and it was pretty darned easy.

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter
1 - 2 lbs. asparagus spears, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/8 t. black pepper
2 T. butter
2 t. soy sauce
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper
Grated lemon rind (opt.)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a banking sheet. Coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 3. Bake for 12 minutes or until tender. 4. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. 5. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus, tossing well to coat. 6. Garnish with cracked pepper and lemon rind, if desired.

(From the Sept. 2007 Cooking Light)

Wish me luck as I search our stacks of boxes in our garage this weekend. And if no luck, on to the storage unit. And then to my sister's quonset. We have stuff everywhere - but at least the boxes are clearly labeled and in the same geographical region. Why didn't I think to keep a spreadsheet of what went where? Oh yeah. Because I do have a little bit of a life and am not totally lame all the time.

Enjoy the rest of your week, friends.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Love Care Packages

Have you ever received a care package in the mail that has made you feel so loved that you just want to sing? I recently received a little birthday gift from an out-of-state friend. It arrived just in time for my birthday, and was the first "real" thing I received at our new apartment. And it made me feel so very special.

This was not the first surprise package I've ever had, but the first one in quite a long time. She didn't have to spend a ton on an elaborate gift. But what she did send was something she knew I'd like, and something I think of as a bit of a splurge. She made more that just my day. Thanks, Jess!

When I was in college in Iowa, my folks were wonderful about sending treats. Especially my first year, when I didn't have a car and felt a little stranded.

Somehow, the contents kind of blur together. But the thought, the effort, and the glow I felt are certainly memorable.

It's got me thinking... who can I send a surprise treat to? And can we start a mini-movement toward care packages? Friends, I encourage you to open your address books and see whose day you want to brighten. You don't have to spend a lot of money and send a spectacular gift. Even some silly cozy mittens (yes, the season is fast approaching) or the recipient's favorite candy - even something dumb will do. (I have a pack of obnoxious pumpkin stickers that I'm going to toss into the package I'm sending, along with a dozen home-made cookies and some hair chopsticks for my pal.)

Just let your far-away friends know that you're close in heart. You'll feel good. They'll feel good. As the overused hip-hop saying states, it's all good.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Breaking Ground

Digging up soil. Less than a week away. Finally moving forward. Excitement in the air!

Soon it won't just be "the lot." On Wednesday we'll have a big hole in the ground and a house on the way. Hooray!

We're heading out to the lot tomorrow morning to burn a huge brush pile (as long as the rain doesn't squelsh our plans). I have the marshmallows in the glove box already. It will be the girls' first bonfire. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Change of Seasons

Lake season has officially ended and I'm somewhat relieved. This narrows down our expected travel locations to only a handful. And another many months of not having to hear my ex's obnoxious laugh coming over the trees. With his cabin being only two away from ours, it gets a little annoying to continually hear him when we're trying to relax at the lake.

The girls and I spent the weekend at the cabin with my mom and dad and my mom's sisters, as well as their families. It was two full houses, and really nice. New baby Chloe joined us - she's three months old and so precious. It's a reminder of the joys to come when I have just one baby in the spring. It felt so nice to hold her warm little body in my arms. Even her cry was sweet.

Chloe's mom and I had a date on Sunday night. We went to a restaurant on the other side of the lake and splurged. I felt like a recovered alcoholic with my two O'Douls, but the Shoreham pizza was worth it. Our conversation was so relaxing and so comfortable that it felt a bit like we were sisters, reuniting after years apart. It was really a nice reconnection. We returned to find a roaring fire, complete with neighbors and laughter. I brought out the marshmallows and Jiffy Pop and we continued to feast.

Both of my girls came home a little bruised up, but happy. They spent a lot of time outside, running through the yards and to the lake. Lots of tumbles, but many more smiles. Lillian flirted her heart out with the fellas. Breanna cuddled with Auntie Jeanne as much as she could. And both girls floated in the lake and loved it. Exhausted today, they slept in late and took two very long naps. All is good.

As nice as it was to spend the weekend with our family, it was just as nice to close up the cabins for the year. When we returned home, DH met us after his long weekend of antelope hunting. He'd been in the Black Hills, and only returned with one deer. He really enjoyed his weekend, though, so it seemed to be worth it. But I think we enjoyed all being together again even more.

Time for the new season. More walks outside as the temperatures drop (hopefully soon). More bonfires and s'mores. More coats and tights and cider. Let autumn begin!