Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mixing Legos

As a mother I am constantly fighting against the pull that T.V. and video games have on my boys.  Fortunately I learned when Henry was just a toddler, that the weekly limit for healthy kids should be 10 hours of TV viewing.  That knowledge helps me keep them down to 1 1/2 hours a day; but sometimes when I turn off the TV, the boys show strong emotions of anger or despair.  "There's nothing to do!"  I hear them say.

 Oh, am I just imagining that the house is full of toys, board games, books and art supplies?  Not to mention their bikes and scooters outside.  I had recently been threatening to start giving all these things away if the boys did not start playing with them.
 One day I pulled out our Lego Ideas Book to help get the creative juices flowing, but the boys found it intimidating.
   I realized I was going to have to sit down and build something myself, to prove to the boys that they didn't need a booklet of instructions to have fun with Legos. I didn't have enough gray blocks to build my church like the picture, so that was my first lesson to the boys - you don't have to use the same colors.  Then I didn't have the same smooth pieces as the book for the roof tiles, second lesson - get creative with what you do have.  My Stain Glass Cathedral ended up looking like a Japanese Temple.  I had fun and the boys stayed interested the whole time.
Near the finish, George made a tree for the church grounds and I realized he had used both traditional Legos and Duplo Legos.  What?!  I didn't know they could be used together!  Next time I will use the Duplo to build my foundation, and that will go much quicker.

I do recommend The Lego Ideas Book and have included the link up above.
There are fun projects to be found,  like this one.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Star is Born

Do you know the scene in P.S. I love You  where Hillary Swank hasn't done her dishes in three weeks and her family walks in on her singing her heart out to Judy Garland's "The Man That Got Away"? I love that scene.  I could totally see myself drowning my sorrows in old movie musicals if my husband died at a young age.  I knew this song because I've heard Barbara Streisand sing it in one of her concert albums, but I didn't know where this song originated from.  

The answer to my search is 1954's A Star is Born.
 The film,  starring Judy Garland and James Mason was chosen as #7 in  The American Film Institute's 2007 list of Best Musicals.
Here is a link to wikipedia for lots of details of plot and production notes.

And here is a trailer that's going to leave you wanting more.
                                                 They don't make movies like this anymore.                                             Judy Garland was 32 years old when she made this film and she is really amazing.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day by Day

When we are baptized we promise to remember our Saviour always and take his name upon us.  I really like the song "Day by Day" from the 1971 musical Godspell.  It's very simple message is repeated over and over because its demonstrating how we need to stay focused as life keeps bringing us a new day, often very similar from the last.

There is a scene in the movie Meet the Parents where Greg is asked to say grace for the family dinner.  He agrees but is very uncomfortable about what he should say.  Halfway through his prayer he remembers this "Day by Day" song and decides to recite it word for word as he concludes his offering.  This scene makes me really smile, okay truthfully it cracks me up.  But regardless of Ben Stiller's antics, I resonate these sentiments.

Day by Day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see Thee more Clearly
Love Thee more Dearly
Follow Thee more Nearly
Day by Day

Here is the scene

And here is the song performed by a revival cast, they sing "You are the Light of the World" as well.

Friday, March 1, 2013


It's March 1st!  We've made it through the dreariest months of winter and even though there is still over a foot of snow on my lawn, I know spring is on its way.  These last couple weeks the sun has been shining strong through the west windows of my kitchen.  Today I will be pulling out the Easter decorations and deciding what fabric to use for my accent cushions in the family room.
There is one thing that makes me sad to think winter is coming to an end.  Orion.  He's the one constellation I can identify in the night sky, and he only shows himself during the wintertime.  Is that weird that he brings me such joy and comfort?  Well, I do have a few other things I'll miss when winter is gone and then let's review some mythology.

1. Orion
2. Christmas music
3. Feeling like a stolen bride as I walk from the house to the garage for a new gallon of milk
4. Cold weather makes my fingers smaller, so my rings fit better

There are two different versions of the Orion myth, depending on the identity of his parents. The first of these identifies the sea-god Neptune as Orion's father and the the great huntress Queen Euryale of the Amazons as his mother. Orion inherited her talent, and became the greatest hunter in the world. Unfortunately for him, with his immense strength came an immense ego, and he boasted that he could best any animal on earth. In response to his vanity, a single small scorpion stung him and killed him.

Another version of the Orion myth states that he had no mother but was a gift to a pious peasant from Jupiter, Neptune, and Mercury. "Orion supposedly was able to walk on water and had greater strength and stature than any other mortal. A skilled blacksmith, he fabricated a subterranean palace for Vulcan. He also walled in the coasts of Sicily against the encroaching sea and built a temple to the gods there"(Magee, 48). Orion fell in love with Merope, daughter of Oenopion and princess of Chios. Her father the king, however, would not consent to give Orion his daughter's hand in marriage--even after the hunter rid their island of wild beasts. In anger,
Orion attempted to gain possession of the maiden by violence. Her father, incensed at this conduct, having made Orion drunk, deprived him of his sight and cast him out on the seashore. The blinded hero followed the sound of a Cyclops' hammer till he reached Lemnos, and came to the forge of Vulcan, who, taking pity on him, gave him Kedalion, one of his men, to be his guide to the abode of the sun. Placing Kedalion on his shoulders, Orion proceeded to the east, and there meeting the sun-god, was restored to sight by his beam.After this he dwelt as a hunter with Diana, with whom he was a favourite, and it is even said she was about to marry him. Her brother [Apollo] was highly displeased and chid her [she was, after all, a virgin huntress], but to no purpose. One day, observing Orion wading through the ocean with his head just above the water, Apollo pointed it out to his sister and maintained that she could not hit that black thing on the sea. The archer-goddess discharged a shaft with fatal aim. The waves rolled the body of Orion to the land, and bewailing her fatal error with many tears, Diana placed him among the stars (Bulfinch's Mythology, 191-192).

It is also stated in some versions that Apollo, worried for Diana's chastity, sent a scorpion to kill Orion.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fort Collins, CO

Our friends from Chicago, John and Heather, have chosen to move out west for what they are hoping is a slower pace of life.  They have picked Fort Collins, Colorado as their new home.   Daniel and I met them on our last day in Denver to go see the new house they are about to close on and explore the town.
Fort Collins is a college town, home of Colorado State University, and an hour north of Denver.  This a picture of the reservoir which looks over the town.
 The thing I loved the most about Fort Collins is its so charming Old Downtown.
 This college town must have more industry or lots of tourism because it's a downtown is a big area, filled with nice shops and restaurants. The buildings and sidewalks have been freshened up and maintained, something I don't think alot of cities can afford to do when trying to revive their old downtowns.
Okay, let's talk taste buds.  For dinner we went to a local brewery and John ordered chicken and waffles.  The chicken was so-so, but the waffles were served with pepper butter, creating an amazing contrast to the maple syrup.  He let me try one, and I'm telling you, you gotta try Pepper Butter!
For breakfast we went to the Silver Grill Cafe and I had my first Bloody Mary, virgin of course.  I have always been nervous to try tomato juice, but I think I'm going to look up a few recipes. It was yummy, especially with the big stalk of celery.  
                                       You will never find a more luscious, not too sweet cinnamon roll, than at              the Silver Grill Cafe, Fort Collins, CO.  Hope you get to stop by one day.

Bye bye Chicago.  We sure had a great time with you, but are grateful to have our friends within driving distance.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Book Wish List

My decorating magazines always have a page featuring new books and I am often sold.  Here is my current wish list.

                                                   The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte
I have been interested in sprouting and I think I could do it with some instructions plus recipes.

                                          The Italian Table by Ron Suhanosky
There's a recipe for Eggplant and Peach Parmigiana!

                                       Be Your Own Decorator by Susanna Salk
She poses the question "why not create a kitchen that feeds your appetite and your soul?"

 Taken from National Geographic's collection of photographs, the book is a celebration of color.
Here is one the pages.

Reminds me of another book I've had on my list for several years.
A unique cookbook where the chapters are separated by color instead for conventional categories
I've included links for all these books to Barnes and Noble.  Gotta support the only bookstore left.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Family Pictures

It used to be once in a blue moon, my laundry room would look like this.  But lately, it's been happening more and more.  And don't know what's going on, but I've been noticing that the morning house work is not overwhelming anymore.  After all these years, I'm learning how to handle my responsibilities and its wonderful not to feel weighed down with the never ending cycle of mess, clean, mess, clean.
 Anyway, I decided I want to take advantage of my little bit of new found freedom, and squeeze more into my days.  Today I made a list of extra tasks I need or want to do, all requiring 30-60 minutes of time.  After my list was written, I chose the family room picture wall to tackle today.  Oh, wait.  First I'm going to finish showing off of my laundry room.
 These are all the bulletin boards I've mentioned in the past.  This is my room, filled with books, fabric and clippings that make me happy.  Do you see my two quilt squares I made with my local quilt guild?  They're houses.  I joined in August because I wanted to spend more time with these ladies.   Then I discovered the whole time was spent doing "show and tell" instead of time for chatting.  I'm not continuing my attendance, but I think these two squares will inspire a special quilt.  You know I'll keep you updated.
                                                   My cupboard for 1 yard pieces or bigger.
                                                                   My cupboard of scraps
Okay, so on Sunday night Daniel was sitting in the family room after our dinner guests had left.  "How come the walls are so boring in here?"  he asked.  I explained I still needed to buy the floating shelves, "remember you said you didn't want all those holes again?"  "So I have to mount shelves?"  his eyebrows raised.  "Just put the pictures up, I always liked that wall."
This is what I finished today.  Me and Daniel at the bottom (I'm the big baby), our parents above us, grandparents above them and I have one great grandparent picture at the top.  I want this wall make more sense, like a family tree, in stead of all mixed up.  I am going to leave it like this for a few days.  I want to give myself a chance to add any other pictures of us and our parents before the rest of the space gets filled in with siblings, nieces and nephews.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Denver, Colorado

Last weekend Daniel and I had a little getaway to Denver, Colorado.  We stayed just off of Sixteenth Street Mall.  This is what it looked like in the evenings.  It was pretty cold. Each night we would start out walking towards our restaurant and then resort to taking the shuttle or getting a ride from a bike carriage.

On our trip we met two very interesting people.  One was our taxi driver who took us from the airport to our hotel.  He was from Afghanistan and had moved to America when he was 18 years old in 1974.  Having read The Kite Runner, I was fascinated to meet someone who had a very similar background and time frame to the protagonist in the book.

 The other man I was mesmerized by was Claude, a fifty something black man who was shining shoes on the corner of 16th and Welton.  We stopped because my beautiful boots Daniel had given me for Christmas had a few scuffs on them.  I received a lecture about the importance of cleaning my shoes.  First, shoes are filthy and carry disease, and second, my shoes are made of skin.  It would be irresponsible for me to neglect this skin, let it dry out and crack, when it always took such good care of the animal is was on.
Throughout this learning/polishing session, Claude would look up to notice everyone who walked by.  Sometimes he'd comment on the people, "Are you a bumblebee?"  he'd say to a man passing by.  "Well, how did you get that honey?" referring to the woman at the man's side.  Sometimes Claude would comment on the shoes, "Nice shoes.. to one of you."  Daniel watched as two men carried on walking while looking down at their shoes and then at the other's.  "I think you might have just started a fight," he reported.  Daniel decided to wear his leather shoes the next day and go back to the same spot for a shoe shine.  I loved my time with Claude.  I love people who make me laugh and who are also serious about life.

Our favorite discoveries for food were Vesta Dipping Grill on 1822 Blake Street - Very cool and very delicious.
 Mixed baby heirloom lettuces, shaved butternut squash, ricotta, garden herb vinaigrette.  Garlic grilled scallops, fingerling potatoes, fennel-arugula salad, bacon aioli.  That was my appetizer and main dish.  Then a sliced caramel apple for dessert with a vanilla bean sauce for dipping.

And Snooze, an A.M. Eatery on 2262 Larimer Street
 - so cute and so yummy. 
 Upside down pineapple pancakes with cinnamon butter.  Sweet potato pancakes with pecans and caramel.  The list goes on and on.

Besides relaxing and exploring, the best part about a vacation is discovering the best food your destination has to offer.  Daniel often uses yelp.com to find recommendations.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sugar and Spice

                                       Well, I hope you all know how much I adore my four boys,
but I am thrilled to announce that Daniel and I get a chance to raise a girl! Our daughter has been growing for 20 weeks, and will be ready for her arrival sometime in the first week of July.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

14th Wedding Anniversary

This is me and Daniel February 19th 1999.  How do you measure fourteen years?  In homes?  In babies?  In  vacations?  In fights?  In make ups?  In love....

Here is "Seasons of Love" from Rent, the Broadway show and movie.   
I really like this song, its very sentimental.  And I love Daniel, the man I chose to spend my life with.

Monday, February 18, 2013

South Pacific

Today I am still in Valentine's mode because tomorrow is my wedding anniversary   So for Musical Monday I tried to think of a very romantic show to share and came up with South Pacific.  There are not very many songs more magical than "Some Enchanted Evening".

And I just love the psychological sequence of  "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair"
followed by "I'm in love with a wonderful guy".  It's so fun to watch Nellie  fight her feelings and then give in to love.

These pictures are from the 1958 movie starring Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor.

There have been more recent productions featuring Glenn Close and Reba McEntire.

I am not a Reba fan, but everyone else in this concert is excellent.

Here is a little bit of "I'm in love...." comparing Mitzi to Glenn

One of the best songs in this show is sung by the Navy, "There is nothing like a Dame".
I love these lyrics and I soo enjoy men's voices.