Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Silly me

This afternoon, Munchkin and I had the following conversation...

Munchkin: Mommy, do you know how to use a drill?
Me: Well, no, not really.
Munchkin: You press the button and it goes, "Zzzzzzz!"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Exciting developments & new name

Exciting news on my Purple Elephant project -- I've approved sketches of the illustrations and am eagerly awaiting the color versions! In the next few weeks, I hope to share a preview. Stay tuned...

In anticipation of publishing my book, I'm also making a small change in my blog. For the sake of privacy, I've changed the blog name of my son to "Munchkin." It was either that, or publish my book under a pen name. Maybe I'll do both, but in any case, you'll now be reading "cute Munchkin stories." It's the same little boy and he still loves those tools. :) I'd ask that those of you who know his previous blog name please don't use the old name in your comments.

When I began this blog, I never dreamed that anybody except a few friends and family members would read it. Now, I get almost 500 hits every month, and growing. The average self-published book sells 150 copies, mostly to the author and friends of the author. Maybe that will be my luck, too, but this morning I learned that a friend of mine sold 60,000 copies of his most recent book! I have no idea how he did it, but believe me I intend to ask! I'd be thrilled with 10% of those sales numbers! Anyway, I have no idea how popular (or obscure) my book will be and what numbers of readers it will attract to my personal blog, so I decided to do what I should have done from the beginning and give my son a layer of anonymity.

It's been a royal pain to have to go back and edit about 300 posts since Blogger doesn't have a "search and replace" function (does it?). I also had to delete comments that mentioned Munchkin's name and I'm very sorry about that since I had to get rid of some really good ones by some of my best blogging buddies! As time consuming as it was to go back and read everything, it was really wonderful to reread all the comments. I'm so grateful to all of you who leave me comments as it makes blogging so much more fun. So please keep reading, and keep those comments coming! I appreciate them all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Luke 2 (NIV)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grandma's Walnuts

Better late than never, I finally have a contribution to Abbie's recipe exchange. I'm afraid that the old family favorites I was going to post about didn't get made this year. Might be because I had so much on my to-do list...

Anyway, I did make my grandma's candied walnuts. I saved enough to give away, although this picture is all I have left. :) I'm posting her original recipe, with my comments in italics.

Cinnamon Walnuts

1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
5 Tbsp water
2-3 cups walnuts They taste better if you use local nuts and shell them yourself. :)

Cook sugar, cinnamon and water slowly until dissolved then boil until syrup threads. (I use a candy thermometer and cook until 236-240 degrees.) Remove from fire. (I just take them off the stove.) Add vanilla and nuts and stir until nuts begin to sugar. (They still taste fine if you goof and put the vanilla in at the beginning.) Pour on buttered sheet to cool. (Separate quickly with a fork or they will all stick together.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Meme me

I followed Joyce's post to Arduous's blog for this little meme. It's a good one. You bold the things you've done and italicize the things you'd really like to, but haven't, yet. I'm amazed at how much of what I'd like to do on this list I've already done! If anyone wants to pick it up and use it on your own blog, please do!

1. Started my own blog - obviously!
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity - one year in college I gave more than I made. Obviously, it was my parents who were paying for my expenses.
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning - worst night of my life! The next day wasn't much better.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - back in 1977 when it was still open!
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort - Can't remember, so I'll say no
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run - yeah, right!
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language - sort of. I tried to teach myself both Russian and Chinese, but I didn't get very far with either. Spanish I learned in school.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - in the Caribbean!
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie - I was in a friend's college project. We spent so much time waiting around that it was one of the more boring experiences I've had.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - not that I didn't try, I just was never eligible
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter - see #4
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt - lots of them!
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book - stay tuned!
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - Jimmy Carter, Madeleine L'Engle
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - I think that's where it was!
97. Been involved in a law suit - Sort of. The crook who built my house tried to solve his legal troubles by letting his lawyer put a lien on my house 6 months after I bought it from him (!) and I had to get rid of it.
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant - at a fair :)

Christmas secret

The other night at dinner the little one, with everyone present, asked, "Mommy, what store did you say you would take me to to buy a tool for Daddy for Christmas?"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas cookies

I'm planning to take part in Abbie's Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap later this week. Actually, I was planning to post a favorite family recipe today, but Munchkin reminded me on Monday that I had promised to let him bake gingerbread cookies.

Between making the dough, baking the gingerbread men and frosting the cookies, it turned into a two-day project -- perfect for a snowed-in week. Many thanks to green bean for her recipe and inspirational picture. I'll post one of our other recipes later.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Slight change of weather


And today...

I'm at the Blogging Bookworm this week -- come visit!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


As I watched Munchkin play with the figures from our wooden nativity set, we had the following exchange...

Munchkin: Why is Baby Jesus out of his manger?
Me: Is he learning how to walk?
Munchkin: No, he wants to see how to take it (the manger) apart. He's looking for a drill.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What impressed the marble guy

After my most recent post, the marble guy shared how Munchkin so impressed him. He was installing some molding, which he needed to cut, and Munchkin asked what kind of saw he was going to use. Marble guy said, "A chop saw."

To which Munchkin responded, "You mean a compound miter saw.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Contractor magnet

Today is Marble Day and, as I write this, Munchkin is "helping." The marble guy is so charmed by him that after he gave Munchkin his own roll of green tape, he asked me to take a picture of the two of them so he could show it to his wife.

So how do we break it to Munchkin that we're not going to do this every year for Christmas?

(Yes, I know Munchkin has his shirt on inside out and his jeans on backwards. I can't talk him out of it -- he says he can reach his pockets easier. Not quite sure of the advantage of the inside-out shirt.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On my must-do list this week

Choose floor & marble colors for bathroom
Choose neices' Christmas presents
Bake Christmas cookies with Munchkin
Grocery shop
Prepare final project for work
Keep Munchkin from getting in bathroom contractor's way
Shake printer cartridge until it prints final project
Borrow painting supplies for bathroom
Purchase primer, supplies & pick up paint chips for bathroom
Return incorrect fixture for bathroom
Arrange childcare before deadline at work
Keep Munchkin from getting in contractor's way
Do research on one Christmas present
Run household errands
Download picture sketches for my book
Keep Munchkin from getting in contractor's way
Paint primer in bathroom
Turn in final project at work
Work with illustrator to approve sketches
Choose paint color for bathroom
Purchase paint for bathroom
Get plumbing thingy for bathroom
Keep Munchkin from talking the ears off of contractor
Phone consultation with doctor
Paint bathroom
Keep Munchkin from getting into wet paint
Review insurance options before deadline
Be here for marble installation guys
Keep Munchkin from getting in marble guys' way
Attend work Christmas party
Be here for floor installation guys
Keep Munchkin from getting in floor guys' way
Work on homemade Christmas presents
Mail neices' Christmas presents
Get Christmas tree
Decorate for Christmas
Paint molding for bathroom window

It sure seems like I've forgotten something...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Everything he tried, he learned from his 3-year-old

I don't know if I can do this one justice, but I'll try...

This evening I made my family's favorite "Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta" (recipe to follow). Scott normally claims the leftovers for his lunch the next day. This evening, I planned to save the extras for my sister, who will be babysitting Munchkin tomorrow night and might want something for dinner. Even with that, there would have been plenty except for the fact that our growing boy really likes this meal.

At the end of dinner when Scott eyed the remaining pasta, I told him of my plans. He tried begging with his most pathetic face, but it didn't work, so he asked Munchkin what was the best way to get someone to do something. Munchkin put on his cutest expression and sweetly said, "Please?" Scott tried it, but couldn't get the cute little expression quite right.

Then Munchkin suggested Daddy try crying. Scott asked how, so Munchkin gave a perfect one-second demonstration before he broke into a big grin. We all laughed so hard that Munchkin almost choked.

Scott tried the "cry," but he's not nearly as good as Munchkin, who suggested, "Keep crying!" Poor Daddy just didn't quite have the technique. At the end, Munchkin took my side and insisted that Daddy couldn't have the pasta because it belonged to his aunt (who didn't call back to confirm tomorrow night, so the fate of the pasta is still undecided...).

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
(I'm sure the original recipe had quantities, but I lost them long ago. Put in amounts of ingredients to suit your own needs & taste.)

Pasta (I use tube pasta but macaroni or rotini is fine)
Ground beef or pork
Bacon, diced
1 can tomato soup (sorry, locavore friends, I've tried substitutions and nothing tastes as good!)
Cheddar cheese, grated

Cook pasta in boiling water about 10 minutes. While pasta is cooking, fry ground meat in a frying pan until brown. Remove to another bowl. In same pan, fry bacon until done. Drain on paper towels. Drain pasta. In same frying pan, combine tomato soup, pasta, ground meat and bacon and heat through. Sprinkle with grated cheese and cover until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Purple Elephant update

For those blog followers eagerly awaiting my upcoming book, I just wanted to tell that Kim Sponaugle is beginning sketches and will be drawing the illustrations in the next month or so. I can't wait to see how my characters look!

I am still planning to print the book sometime this spring or early summer, and in anticiptation of that, I am working on a website for the book. As soon as I have mug shots of the main characters, I hope to get the site up and running. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Little boy's delight...

Mom and Dad's nightmare.

Our contractor suggested we send a copy of this picture to the crook who built our house. You think I'm exaggerating? A couple hours after I signed the papers, the police were here looking for him. Anyway, he apparently didn't know how to properly build a bathroom. But, hey, Munchkin's watching and learning how to use a crowbar. :)