Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm back!

We finally joined the land of the living and got our internet access up and running again.  We had planned on just forgoing it during the summer -- the plan was to encourage us to do things outside... or basically, do anything but sitting with the laptop on our laps or wasting hours in front of Netflix.

Yeah, that didn't really work out.  With moving into the new house and being busy, we didn't really do anything this summer.  Well, it feels like we were busy, but we didn't really do much worth mentioning.  Frank went camping with friends a couple times.  Lenon spent a week (or so) with his mother and her family in Rapid City in June.  And Ezra ran through the sprinkler a few dozen times in the back yard.  I mostly read during my spare time.  

Sounds like a hoot, huh?  We didn't even spend time at the pool because it was so dang hot this summer.  

I feel like we are finally getting into our schedules since school started for Lenon.  He walks himself to and from school, which is really nice.  His middle school doesn't start until 9 am so we are gone by the time he has to walk to school.  We were nervous about that... but he's done really well with it.  He hasn't been late and remembers to lock the doors when he leaves.  He's done with school at 3:45 pm and gets home around the time Ezra and I are getting home.

Ezra is now almost completely potty trained.  There are still a few accidents and he still sleeps in a diaper, but most mornings it's dry.  He has moved to the "Robins" room at daycare - one of the 3 year old rooms.  His good friend Olive is going to be in the Robins room starting next week and he's pretty excited about it.  They're going on a field trip next week on a bus, which he's really excited about.  I can't believe that the teachers are willing to take a dozen 3 year olds to pick out pumpkins and out for pizza after.  I'm going to go along... the teachers said parents are more than welcome to come. :)

This weekend I'm going to get started on Ezra's Halloween costume.  He's waffled between wanting to be a hero, a tiger, and a spider... but he's pretty sure he wants to be a spider now.  I'll be posting pictures when I'm done with it.  I have big plans...  Which reminds me that I never posted the details of his Woody costume from last year.  He still wears the hat and vest around the house sometimes.

Before this becomes a ridiculously long post, I'm going to sign off.  But be looking for updates in the near future.  I've been doing some thrifting and I've made a handful of things in the last few months that I'll be sharing.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hello again

The move was successful.  We got everything moved in 1 day thanks to Frank's parents bringing up a huge trailer for us to move.  We had some great friends help too.. Couldn't have done it without Matt, David, and Jason... And Stacy for watching Ezra ALL DAY!  All it cost us was some pizza and beer. :)

We are slowly getting unpacked.  Ezra loves his new room and had no problem adjusting to life in a new house.  Slept through the night every night since we moved.  When I pick him up from daycare he asks if we are going to our new house and when I confirm he shouts, "Yay!"

Lenon has his room all set up in the basement.  He loves his freedom.  :)  He only goes to his daycare/summer camp 3 days a week so the other days he gets to hang out at home.  We don't have our cable or internet hooked up at the house yet, so he's been going through movies like crazy.  I did remind him that he has plenty of books to read... He sort of curled his lip up and said, "Oh, yeah..."  Clearly he doesn't want to spend his summer reading.

That's all that's new with us.  I just thought I'd check in.  Hopefully in the next week or so we'll get our internet back up and running.  We have been spending our spare moments unpacking so perhaps in a few weeks I'll have some photos to share.

OH!  And Ezra turns 3 in July... which seems so crazy.  But I'm getting started on planning a birthday party for him.  We have a cute little yard and an air conditioned house so now I need to get working on it.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Assorted "beauty" products

I'm not sure if one would actually categorize the following things as "beauty" products, but I wasn't sure what else to call them.  But they're staples in my daily life and I love them so I thought I'd share.

First up...

Goody Rectangular hair clips AKA "gymnastic-y clips"

buy them here

It took me a couple years to find these babies.  I had 3 random rectangular clips that I had been using (two were purple and one was gold -- ick!) and I couldn't find any more of them anywhere.  I didn't want the tapered end ones you can buy anywhere - I wanted these rectangular ones that are the same width the whole way across.  Here's why... I do the bang bump.

See it?  When my bangs aren't cooperating I brush them back and bump them up a little and clip them.  I don't like to use bobby pins for this because it always ends up falling out.  And I don't like the tapered end ones because... well, I just don't.  So with those rectangular ones I pull out that little "stay in place" plastic thing and throw it away --- because it just gets in the way --- and then I do the bang bump.  

Are you wondering why I called them "gymnastic-y clips"?  Growing up we loved watching the Olympics, especially the gymnastics portion.  Those girls always had their hair so tight and filled with so dang many of those clips that they became "gymnastic-y clips" whenever we needed to talk about them.  Which really wasn't very often, but whatever.  They got a fun name anyway.

Remember those, Erica and Holly?

Next up...

Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment

buy it here

For a long time I was a Chapstick Medicated girl.  That's what I always used and that's what I liked.  I'm not sure how I eventually converted to this kind but it was Frank's preferred "lip stuff" so I tried it and was hooked.  I have 1 in my purse, 1 in the diaper bag, 1 in my desk at work, and 1 in a mug on top of my desk at work.  Sometimes they even come in a handy 2 pack.  Plus they make your lips shiny but not sticky like lip gloss.


Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover Pads

buy them here

These are by far the best eye makeup remover things I've ever used.  I tried them once and loved them. The pads are really soft - not scratchy like the cotton rounds you can get at drug stores.  Plus the liquid in the eye makeup remover doesn't sting your eyes when it (inevitably) gets in your eyes.  You get 30 in a jar - so they last a month.  Target and Walmart both have them for about $5.99.  It's totally worth it.  You should try them.

And finally...

Shea Cashmere Hand Cream in Secret Wonderland

buy it here

I don't really shop in Bath & Body Works anymore.  Maybe it's because at one time I had 13 bottles of lotion or body spray in my bathroom cabinet and Frank put his foot down.  In all honesty, I ended up throwing most of them out because I either got sick of the smell or they got all separated and runny.  But this smell is SO GOOD!  The first little bottle of this was used up completely.  And when I say completely, I mean it.  I even cut the end off and scraped the last little bit out of the bottle.  Spending $10 a bottle for 3 ounces of lotion is pretty unheard of for me.  So I was delighted to find a coupon so I could get 2 bottles for the price of 1... so 1 lives at work and the other is in my purse.

Do you have any favorite products I need to know about?


Like all my FTF posts, these opinions are my own.  I was not compensated in any way for my review.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We're Moving!

At the end of the month we'll be moving to a new house.  It's another rental, but it doesn't matter.  We are so excited.  We are moving from a huge (and totally inefficient) house built in 1917 to a 1960's ranch.  There will be less square footage, but all the good things outweigh that.

We'll have central air, a 4th bedroom, a finished basement, and an almost totally fenced backyard complete with two lilac bushes.

We can hardly wait.  I hope to document the transformation of each room on this blog so everyone will get a complete house tour by the time it's all said and done.

Here's a preview.

P.S.  The blog will retain the name Life on Ninth Avenue.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: A Memorial

I didn't love the Beastie Boys until I was 22.  In fact, I had only heard Brass Monkey, (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party), Sabotage, and Intergalactic up to that point in my life.  The very first band Frank asked me if I liked was them... But I misheard him and thought he said the Beach Boys.  To which I said an adamant "No!"  He couldn't believe it.  And I couldn't believe that someone under the age of 50 actually enjoyed the Beach Boys.

We got it sorted out shortly after and I admitted that I had never heard much of the Beastie Boys so I didn't really have an opinion.  Coincidentally, the Boys had an album that came out the year we met (2004) so we bought it.  It only took a few songs and I was hooked.

Sadly, today Adam Yauch (MCA) died of cancer.  He was my favorite.  Something about his rugged voice was so fantastic to me.  When Frank told me, I got choked up.  I didn't have any idea how sad I'd be.  He seemed like such a good guy.

MCA, you will be missed.

You can read more about him here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Almost Deal Breakers...

Do you have things that you believe so completely in your heart to be true?  And what if someone you were really close to disagreed with those things?  What if that person was your boyfriend/fiance/husband/spouse?

I have two of those things with my husband.  They're almost deal breakers.

Okay, so these things are sorta petty...  Well, not sorta.  They're totally petty.  But it's hard to be serious with someone who believes the complete opposite thing you do.  And so adamantly!

Do I have you on the edge of your seat?  Can you hardly wait to find out what my silly, petty deal breakers are?

They're two men.

This delightful fellow is man number one...

O.J. Simpson

Before you go and say "Oh, no you didn't!" Let me tell you something.  Frank and I fight about this TO THIS DAY.  I assume anyone who reads this will agree with me.  Because I'm right and that's all there is to it.  

Frank:  Not guilty.

WHAT!?!  Yes.  For real.  He thinks The Juice didn't kill Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.  

I can't believe I married a man that thinks this guy is not guilty.  Sick.

Ready for fellow number two?

John Travolta

Do you like him?  Would you categorize him as one of your favorite actors?

I know, me either.  He's terrible.  That's where Frank and I disagree.  He thinks John Ravolta is good.  Like, really good.  

Sick.  He's terrible.  Worse than terrible.  

Do you have any silly, petty things that you and your spouse disagree on?  I'd love to hear it.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Busy Tray

I've found hundreds of things on Pinterest that I'm dying to try.  I have a whole board dedicated to creative things to do with kids and this was one of them.  The idea comes from In Between Laundry and I think it's brilliant.  She used an old cookie sheet as a magnet board.  What a great idea!

I had Frank get a cookie sheet at Dollar Tree for... you guessed it, $1.  It's a little one.  Only 9 x 13 but it's big enough.  Then I found some magnetic letters at ShopKo for $1.49.  

Clearly Ez was delighted.  And all for $2.49.  He played with it for a good half hour.  

His daycare has been teaching the kids the first letters of their names.  He points out "O" for Olive, "A" for Alex and "S" for Saul as well as his favorite... the "E" for Ezra!

I also plan on making some magnets for this tray, too.  I've seen people use sheets and decorate them and cut them out.  Ashley of Make It and Love It made some paper dolls for her daughter and a cute little cover for her tray.  And she had a great idea about a pirate scene or maybe I could make dinosaurs.  Or perhaps The Wiggles since Ez is so crazy about them.  

He told me that "E" was first... I placed the "Z" and the "R" and on his own he added the "A".  

My child is a genius.  For reals.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Random Things

I like a lot of strange things.  Perhaps not "strange" things, but things that people may not even consider if they were making a list of the things they like.  I decided this was the post where I'd include some of those things.  I'm guessing this will become a series of posts because I do have several things I'd like to include.

1.  Peanut Butter

When Frank and I were first dating we asked each other all those random "get to know you" type questions.  He asked my favorite food and my reply (without hesitation) was "Peanut butter."  He was surprised and even laughed like I was kidding.  I'm not.  I truly love it.  But this is one thing that we NEVER buy generic on.  It has to be Jif and it has to be the reduced fat one.  We always have a jar of peanut butter in our house.  And if we didn't, I'd be driving to the grocery store to buy some.

2.  Making lists

My love of lists is definitely from my mom.  We would wake up during the summer and go downstairs and there was almost always a list on the kitchen table.  It always had hand drawn check boxes with initials in each box indicating which sister was responsible for which chore.  This clearly rubbed off on me.  I make check box lists ALL THE TIME.  I have no fewer than 3 in my purse at this exact moment.  One of my favorite things about making lists is going grocery shopping with one.  We know our HyVee store so well we have our list written in the order of the aisles in the store.  We even have subcategories within the list:  "Dairy corner," "Meat counter," "Frozen," etc.  When I go grocery shopping I also round to the nearest half dollar and put the price next to the item when I cross it off the list.  That way I can add up my total so I know the approximate damage before I get to the checkout and she tells me "167.41" or whatever it is.  It's much less of a shock that way.

3.  Pajamas

Some women love shoes.  Some women love purses.  I love pajamas.  I think the reason why I love them is because I can't love shoes... not with a size 12W.  Try finding cute shoes when your feet look like skis.  It's not possible.  And purses are too expensive to hoard.  So I hoard pajamas.  Two of the five drawers in my dresser are filled with pajamas.  I have like 10 shirts that are solely pajama shirts, about 6 pairs of pajama pants, 4 pairs of pajama capris, and 4 pairs of pajama shorts.  So clearly, I have myself covered no matter the weather.  The one thing I don't dig are the dresses.  They always get all tangled up and twisty.  No thanks.  Not for this girl.

4.  Smooth sheets

This might be less of a "favorite" and more of the opposite of a pet peeve.  (Did that even make sense?  Who cares, I guess)  Bottom line, I HATE wrinkled sheets.  To me, the act of washing and drying sheets is completely worthless if you can't immediately fold them into perfect squares right after they come out of the dryer.  I've been known to re-wash the whole load of sheets because they were forgotten about in the dryer overnight.  We have the oldest washer and dryer known to man, so we don't have the steam wrinkle releaser thing that some fancy dryers have nowadays.  This also goes hand-in-hand with an unmade bed.  I detest an unmade bed.  I've even overstepped the line and made my friend's beds if I happen to walk past their room and their bed isn't made.  It drives me nuts.

5.  The sound ice makes when you pour water over it

Weird?  Maybe.  Okay, yes, weird.  But it's such a great sound.  The next time you get yourself some ice water, listen for it.  The crackle and pop of the ice cubes.  It's a great sound.  There's just something about it that is music to my ears.  So now, if there ever was a doubt that I'm a little out there, here's your proof.

Do you have any random things that you love?  Did you go try the ice water thing and now believe me?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Here's a snippet of a conversation we four had at the dinner table the other night whilst enjoying a pizza dinner...

Lenon:  "Can I have some marijuana sauce?"
Frank:  "Um, what?"
Lenon:  "Marijuana sauce.  Can I have some with my breadsticks?"

Frank and I exchange a curious glance.

Lenon points at the counter.  "That red sauce.  Can I have some with my breadsticks?"

Frank:  "OH!  Marinara sauce! Yes, you can have some."

No, our child is not on drugs.  This was shortly after a drug talk at school.  Clearly he had "marijuana" on the brain...  but not literally, because our child is not on drugs.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Books from my Childhood

Growing up we always had books.  Tons of books.  Berenstain Bears, Little Critter, Busy Town, you name it.  About 7 years ago, when my parents moved from the farm house where we grew up my two sisters and I had a draft of sorts.  We filled the kitchen table with our childhood books and each took turns picking the ones we wanted to keep.

We all had to make sacrifices for our favorites.  Someone ended up with The Easter Egg Artists (which is selling on Amazon for $159!) and it wasn't me.  :(  But I did end up with some gems.  

But... I haven't shared any of my books with my children.  They're still in a box in the basement.  It's terrible of me, but I'm afraid they'll get stepped on or ripped or discarded like the Kleenex that's crumpled up on the floor next to my child at this very moment.  So I keep telling myself that I'll share them "soon" but I'm not sure when "soon" is.  Ezra is getting much better with books.  He carefully turns the pages and doesn't pull and thrash like he used to.  We'll see...

buy it here

This is my favorite favorite favorite book ever.  The pictures are so simple and the story is pretty basic.  But there's something about it that I just love.  I think it might be the "kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk" that made me love it so many years ago.  

buy it here

I'm not sure why we all loved this one.  The pictures are okay.  The story is okay.  But it was so great.  Maybe it's because they all give him hand-me-downs and we did that, too.  Maybe it was the cat.  Who knows, but this one is one we fought over.

buy it here

This one was another one I didn't get.  It's a story about kids who go to school and no one is there... so they tell everyone they meet that there's no school today!  But it turns out they're just early...  Poor kids.

buy it here

I barely remember this one.  I just remember that I loved it.  Clearly other people do too because they're basically asking for your first born for a copy that's in decent shape.  What I do remember about it was that it wasn't a typical happy story.  It was a mystery!  And that was mysterious!

buy it here

Oh, Caps For Sale.  You and I are BFF's.  I'm pretty sure I have 3 copies of you... you know, just in case.  It's partly because I was afraid of how this one would fare with Ez and partly because the thrift store was having a book sale and ALL their books were 10¢ a piece!  

buy it here

Of all our Berenstain Bears books, this one is my favorite.  For years we used the names of the junk food in this book to name any junk food we ate.  Choco Chums and Sweetsie Cola were our favorite names of junk food in this book.  

I could list several more, but I'll spare you... or maybe keep them for another post.  

What's your favorite book from your childhood?


Friday, April 13, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Office Products

I could never wait until "back to school" time at stores.  All the aisles of pens, pencils, markers, tape, notebooks... I was in heaven.  I still have a love for office products.  I've tried almost every pen there is.  I've purchased notebook after notebook, filling each with doodles or class notes or the beginning of a story or a combination of those.  I loved organizing my art box, knowing that in a few short weeks it would never look the same.  I still have a box in a closet with pens and markers from school.  They're probably all dried up by now.

Working at an "office" so to speak, I get to use fun office products all day!  Well, not really.  Only if I buy them myself and take them to work.  See, we are provided with plain, boring pens and yellow stickies.  And they're fine.  But anyone who knows me, knows my inflection on fine.  You know, I sorta make a face and shake my head.  Meaning they're just "ehh, fine" not like "yeah, they're fine".

So I buy my own and bring them to work.  Colored pens are delightful and they make my day.

These are my favorite colored pens

buy them here

They're smooth writers.  None of those missing ink problems like you get with plain old pens on the upcurve of your "O" or whatever.  Plus the colors are so fun!  PINK!  PURPLE!  GREEN!  None of that boring black or blue for me with these guys.

Here's my favorite black pen

buy them here

These are my absolute favorite.  They're a gel pen without the smearing!  For real.  No smearing.  Even you lefties can use this guy and not have to worry about an inked up hand (unless your hand is tattooed).  The cap is completely removable - none of this clicking to operate for this girl.

And one of my favorite parts of this pen... get ready... you ready?  The cap makes a "click!" noise when you open it and put the cap on the other end! ...I'm waiting to hear some excitement, people...  Anyone?  No?  Oh, guess it's just me that loves that part.  

But you really have to watch out with these babies... cause they disappear.  And they're expensive.  So you might have to lock them in your desk at the end of the day.


buy them here

I love them.  They're great for writing lists or... you know, notes.  And the boring yellow ones are so boring.  So I try to get colored ones that aren't quite so boring.  I recently won a pack that looks just like these during our work Bingo game.  One of our managers calls 5 numbers a day.  It's pretty fun and I've won several times.  People think it's rigged.  Nope, I've just been lucky.  

Amazing Correction Tape

buy them here

Have you seen this stuff?  It's amazing.  And SO much better than the liquid that certain teenage girls once used as nail polish... It's so slick and you can write over it immediately.  What a great invention.

Colored Staples!

buy them here

It might seem silly, but I love my colored staples.  I've had all of these colors except the grass green.  (Which I think might be next on my shopping list.)  They're way more fun to use than the regular silver ones.  Just a cute little pop in the corner of your sheaf of paper.

And last but not least...


buy them here

I'm particularly fond of these ultra find point ones.  They are so fun to draw with.  And they work on darn near everything.  I have a sketch book full of drawings done with these guys.  I have a million colors of them and they're all so pretty.

That rounds out my favorites.  

Do you have a favorite I should know about?


Monday, April 9, 2012

A Reflection (and Happy Birthday to me!)

I turned 30 on Saturday.  We had a quiet, uneventful weekend, which was exactly what I wanted.

Now, I'm not going to beat myself up about not completing everything on my Thirty Before Thirty list.  A year ago, I might have.  I only accomplished 11 of the 30 items on the list, but the list was hastily written.  Some of those items aren't even things I want to do anymore.  Some were pipe dreams and I was setting myself up for failure.  I will try to complete those items I still feel are worthy.  But at least 11 things were accomplished in the last year.  And I really feel like I've grown as a person.  I know it sounds cliche, but it's true.

Of the items still in the "to do" phase of the list, here are the ones I actually do still want to accomplish this year:

1.  Complete at least 1 DIY project per month -- I have a ton of things I'd like to make.  And I think one item per month isn't too much to ask.  I just need to work on some time management and assign a project to a "due date" or just carve out time on a certain day each week to work on things.
2.  Make an upholstered headboard for our bedroom -- This I'd still like to do.  The supplies wouldn't even cost that much.  My goal is for this to be done by the end of June.
5.  Try a new recipe at least twice a month -- We did try several recipes this year.  Not twice a month, but we did find some winners.  And some not so good.  I want to keep this up so we have a good compilation of recipes when we wonder "what should we have for dinner?" 

8.  Get a new tattoo -- I really want to get a tattoo when I KNOW what I want.  Maybe that won't be this year.  That's the reason why I haven't done it this year.  I just don't know what I want for sure.
9.  Lose 75 pounds -- With Holly's wedding approaching I really want to lose some weight.  Maybe it won't be 75 pounds, but I want it to be something.  That's all I'm going to say about that one.
14.  Blog at least twice per week -- I've been really good about keeping up with my Favorite Things Friday posts.  And maybe that's what I need to keep up with blogging.  I'd also like to document my monthly DIY projects.  Blogging is fun, I just worry that what I write about is boring.  So if it is, just tell me "Kara, this post sucks.  We don't care about what you ate today."  Or whatever dumb thing I've written about.
28.  Plan a budget and stick to it -- This is huge.  We've been way better with money in the last year.  But we want to get even better.  We are both such consumers.  We need to stop with the consumption.

These are things I don't really care about as much... Well, maybe that's not right either.  Just not things that are as pressing.

17.  Take an overnight getaway with the hubs -- I think this would still be nice.  But honestly, at this point in our lives it's just not financially feasible do to something like that.

18.  Work out at the gym at work twice a week -- The gym at work... I'm not sure what I was expecting.  I hate the idea of spending my lunch break (which I'd much prefer to spend reading) working out and then going back to my desk all sweaty.  Plus, I'd really rather not see my co-workers half naked.  So I'm done with the work gym.  I'd rather go somewhere that I don't know anyone.
19.  Work out at home at least once a week -- Using birthday money I'm buying a bike.  I've wanted one for like 5 years and I'm so excited to start researching.  That is going to be my "at home" workout.
20.  Go to the dentist -- This is important.  It's true.  And I'll go... sometime.  Probably this year.
21.  Go to the gyno -- Okay, this one I'll do by... um, say... August?  It's never as torturous as I think it will be.  But I still need some time to prepare myself.
23.  Trade babysitting with a friend for a monthly date night with the hubs -- Again, like #17, this would be nice.  Maybe not monthly, but we definitely need some adult time.  Even if it's just going to a movie or going shopping without kids.

The Business section of my list is hard.  I do still have the desire for an Etsy shop, but I really want to know what I want to sell before I have a shop that has a bunch of random junk in it.  So this section is going to be on hold until I decide what I want to sell.

24.  Have professional business photos taken
25.  Learn about getting a business license for my Etsy shop
26.  Create 5 different items to sell on Etsy
27.  Sell my first item

These lofty ridiculous goals that I didn't expect to accomplish... well, I didn't accomplish them:

29.  Pay off credit cards -- We don't have a ton of credit card debt.  Probably because we work for a credit card company so we know the ins and outs of the credit card business.  But we do have some.  We've hardly used the cards in the last 6 months, so the balance is being reduced, but they aren't paid off.  Maybe next year... well, let's be honest, maybe in 3 years.
30.  Pay off car -- Again, it would have been nice.  We don't owe much on the car.  We only have about a year left and it sure would be nice to have one less payment to make each month.  But until we need a new car, we can certainly afford our meager $200 car payment.  Once I talk Frank into another baby we'll need something bigger.  But we'll work on that when we get there.

While I didn't accomplish all these items, I still feel pretty good for having done something.  It's more than I've done in the last few years combined.  

I have a feeling 30 is going to be a good year.  I'm optimistic.  A few good things are on the horizon... but more on that some other time.  I'm sure I've lost half of you, because this has turned into a ridiculously long post.

Do you have any goals for yourself this year?


Friday, April 6, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Magazines

People say they love magazines.  They may be telling the truth.  But when I say I love magazines, you better believe it.  Anyone who has been to my house has seen my piles of magazines.  Literally.  Piles of magazines.  I subscribe to 8: Parents, Do It Yourself, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, Lucky, Self, and Good Housekeeping.  

I'm obsessed.  I would subscribe to People but it's too expensive.  I know if I were to buy it each week it would be WAY more expensive than if I were to subscribe.  But the initial $129 or whatever seems crazy for a magazine.

It may seem lame, but I love Family Circle.

It has great recipes, fun activities, parenting advice, and decorating tips.  It might seem like an old lady magazine, but I love it.  

I also totally adore Parents.

I love this one.  They have birthday party ideas, parenting tips, beauty tips for busy moms, and real recipes that kids will actually eat.  Fantastic.

Holly gave me DIY for Christmas.  I love all of Better Homes and Garden's Special Interest Publications.  This one is especially wonderful.  

They have great ideas that I could actually do myself.  For real.  Not like those shows on HGTV where you'd need to have a table saw and a drill press and all sorts of other tools.  There are painting projects and sewing projects.  It's wonderful.  

Ahh, Good Housekeeping.  I love you.  Again... it's sort of an old lady magazine, but I love it.

My favorite part of this magazine are the product reviews.  They're wonderful.  Anything from frozen french fries to bed sheets.  And it's surprising sometimes which company comes out on top.

Do you have a favorite magazine?  Should I subscribe?


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fun Times at the Park

Last Saturday it was beautiful outside.  Warm enough with a slight breeze.  We've been so anxious to get outside and enjoy ourselves.  Sioux Falls has tons of great parks.  Some with playgrounds, some without. There are two near our house and Cherry Rock Park was our choice on Saturday.

Of the 4 slides, Ez chose one and went down it a dozen times.  Each of the other slides were only used once.  It's funny how he'll be so deliberate in his actions.  

He spent like 2.2 seconds on this bouncing bird.  
But allowed me to snap a quick picture during his brief ride.

He ran and jumped and squealed and ran some more.  
He has gotten so independent and wants to do everything himself lately.    

He even wanted to ride on the "big boy" swings.  But not too high.

I'm really looking forward to a nice Spring.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: The Hunger Games

It's been a while since I've been this obsessed with a book.  A series of books actually.  Out of stubbornness I didn't want to read it.  Everyone else had read it.  It was wildly popular.  I didn't want to like it.  I was the same way with the Twilight series and the Harry Potter series.  Both were good - but this series was amazing.  I'm contemplating reading them again - and I only finished them a couple weeks ago.

I read The Hunger Games in two days.  It would have been only a matter of hours, but I started it in the evening one Friday and stayed up past midnight reading.  I had signed up to work overtime at work from 6am-11am the next morning and was regretting that decision.  One the way to work the next morning I seriously contemplated pulling out my Kindle while at a stop light.

At work the following Monday, while reading Catching Fire, I thought about taking my Kindle into the bathroom with me during a potty break.  This series was all I could think about until I was done.  The books were so well written and vivid.  I finished Catching Fire in two days.  Two days later I was done with Mockingjay.  I read the entire series of books in 6 days.

Then I became obsessed with the thought of the movie.  It consumed my thoughts.  I watched the movie trailers over and over.  I wanted desperately to see the movie.  But I told Frank he couldn't see it until he read the book.  (He has a similar prerequisite for me with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).  My good friend Barb and I went on Sunday afternoon.  It was so wonderful.  There were a few parts they could have spent more time explaining, but I understood everything because I had read the book.  A few things changed here and there, but nothing of much significance.

I'm already thinking about going to see the movie again.  Maybe this weekend during Ezra's nap time.  Until then I think I'll start reading the book again.

If you haven't read it, or had any desire to read it, please try.  But good luck waiting at the library.  Your best bet is just to buy a copy.  They're like $7 at Target right now.

Did you see the movie?  Read the book?  What did you think?


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More Ezra-isms

My child is just like his dad.  A talker.  When he's playing he whispers to himself.  In the car he's singing and talking.  At the dinner table.  At the store.  In his bed when he's supposed to be sleeping.  This kid talks.  All.  The.  Time.

Here are a few of the words he says:

  • "feud"
    • This means food.  He always wants more "feud."
  • "pick-ups"
    • This means hiccups.  He thought he needed medicine to fix them.
  • "too cute/too funny/too much"
    • He actually means "so cute/so funny/so much."  i.e.: "I love you too much, Dada"
  • "I no like dis"
    • Yes.  This one is pretty self explanatory - "I don't like this" - We've been hearing a lot of this one lately.  He's decided to be picky with food, toys, books, movies, you name it.
  • "Kawa"
    • My name.  He recently realized that I had a name besides "Mama" and he likes to use it.  He pronounces it just like I did - where the "R" sound is replaced with the "W" sound.
He is so funny.  He's developing opinions about everything and finally really seeing everything around him.  Frank took him with on a grocery shopping trip and he wanted EVERYTHING.  We used to be able to push him around and he'd just be oblivious and sit there with his slice of cheese from the deli and his red sucker from the meat counter.

He's totally obsessed with red.  He wants to wear his single pair of red pants everyday.  He only wants red suckers.  He has been sleeping with his red blow up guitar.  He has a red and white striped shirt with a guitar on it and wants to wear it every time he sees it.  I'm sure it stems from Murray the red Wiggle.  Murray has been his favorite Wiggle since he started watching them.

He recently got his hair cut and looks so much older.  He was such a good boy and sat totally still.  The stylist even said he was the best 2-year-old she'd ever had.  I think he was terrified.  But he was rewarded with a red sucker - so all was right with the world.


What a cute boy I have.

Don't you think?


Friday, March 16, 2012

Favorite Things Friday: Sioux Falls

Our town is pretty amazing.  It feels like a small town, but with a population of 153,000 it's a little metropolis.  It's pretty, has great shopping, and it's safe.  It's the 47th fastest growing city in America.  People clearly love it here.  Including us.  We moved here 8 years ago (seems like that couldn't possibly be true!) and can't imagine living somewhere else.  We love the conveniences of living in a city: 7 Hy-Vees, 2 Walmarts, 2 Targets, a huge mall and tons of movie theaters and restaurants.

Downtown Sioux Falls is a little delight.  Phillips Avenue is so cute.  Little hometown shops line the streets.  Bars, restaurants, and the State Theatre (which is being renovated and has plans to reopen sometime in 2013).  Every year artist have an opportunity to submit a sculpture to the Sculpture Walk which is a collection of 50 sculptures from around the world that are on display downtown.  There are maps in the downtown stores so you can see them all and vote on your favorite.  

At the North end of downtown lie the falls.  The landmark Sioux Falls is named for.  All the times I'd been to Sioux Falls before moving here, I can't remember ever actually coming to the falls.  I didn't really know they existed.  They're actually quite pretty.  There's a sidewalk that meanders around the park and a bridge that goes over the falls to the Overlook Cafe.  There's even a visitor center and a viewing tower.

There are over 50 parks and greenways in town.  One of our favorite is the picture above: McKennan Park.  Someday I'd like to live in one of the houses that surround it.  A girl can dream.  There are parks with playgrounds, baseball diamonds, pools, soccer fields, tennis courts... The parks are amazing.  There are also 3 aquatic centers and at least 3 other basic pools in town.  They sure come in handy when it's 99ยบ in July.

The Sidewalk Arts Festival is my very favorite event each year.  Usually the second weekend in September hundreds of artists and crafts people bring their wares to Sioux Falls.  They close down streets surrounding the Washington Pavilion and it becomes a walking market.  There is an application process - you have to submit photographs of your work to the Washington Pavilion and they'll decide if the things you make are worth enough to sell.  The applications are submitted in May - maybe next year I'll apply.  I wouldn't have enough time to make anything wonderful in time to apply this year.  

This weekend we are going to the Japanese Gardens.  I've never been there since we moved here.  Frank just went the other day and insists we go this weekend.  The weather here has been fantastic.  It's been in the low 70's and as long as it doesn't rain, we are excited to check out a new place.

One of the best things to do in town is go to the Great Plains Zoo.  I got a half price family membership last year and it was totally worth it.  We are going to get a membership again this year.  They have tons of animals and a petting zoo.  Ezra totally loves it.  The penguins especially.  Wonder why.  

We love our city.  The only thing we don't love is the snow... but that's not Sioux Falls' fault.