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.