Tuesday, December 28, 2010

home sweet home.

It's sometimes difficult to keep this updated. But when I really think about it there are plenty of times that I'm doing absolutely nothing productive or useful when I could be updating something here... or somewhere else... not that this is overly productive or useful...

I'll start with today - we started getting our windows installed today! Dale, our window salesman/installer, came over today and, all by himself, installed 8 of the 15 windows that we're getting. He didn't get a chance to seal the windows completely on the inside or the outside yet but already we're noticing a significant difference! The two double hung windows in our living room and the two in our kitchen were by far some of the worst in the house so having those replaced is wonderful. We're also already noticing a difference in the behavior of our boiler as our thermostat is on the first floor. It's turning on much less often and staying on for a shorter period of time. Honestly, with the wonderful deal we got on these windows, I think we'll pay them off in a couple of years in heating cost savings! In order to get all 15 double hung windows replaced we went with a little cheaper vinyl option. I've always been a bit against vinyl windows, especially in older homes like our own, but I have to be honest with you - these windows don't seem too bad and the fact that we got a color rather than white (we got clay, I believe) and got grids in the windows in the same places and layouts as the originals. Also, to keep with the character and style of the house, we're not getting any of the casement windows or French doors replaced. Oh, to be a homeowner and be excited about new windows. Who knew?!

Our Christmas break was great. It was very nice to have so many days off of work and to not be at home. We have so much to do at home that even having a day off at home can feel somewhat stressful to me. We left Wednesday evening (after a day off at home) and drove to Illinois where we stayed at my dad's house with our honey pup. Thursday was spent at my mom's house exchanging gifts and having dinner with family. On Friday we visited Granny Weaver, I made a pie, and we enjoyed an evening of dinner and gifts with my dad's family. That day fresh beautiful snow fell, which I greatly enjoyed! When we got home we had just slightly fewer than 5,000 gifts to open! Christmas morning we drove to my mom's house to squeeze a few more things into the car and head to Iowa for Christmas with Tyler's mom's family. There we also had a mini baby shower where we got a few neat things. Before heading to Tyler's parent's house we went to his aunt and uncle's to spend some time with some of his dad's family. On Sunday we woke up for Fiala Christmas and breakfast. We had a nice day full of treats and crazy snowy dog running around fun and ended the night with a few games. On Monday morning we woke up, honey got in some more crazy snowy running around, we squished millions of things into the car, and headed back to Minnesota. Home! (for now!)

I'll post a few photos soon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

schools kill creativity

You MUST watch this video from TED 2006!

[ted id=66]

I've been talking about the "process of academic inflation" since late high school. This video speaks to me perfectly - hits the nail on the head - and other nice phrases, etc.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

baking bread.

Why do people buy bread? I had no idea how easy it was to make your own bread. I'm on my second homemade loaf tonight. And I'm making ginger cookies for work tomorrow! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

vaccinations - mmr

How does this sound to you? 49 doses of 14 vaccines before the age of 6. Yikes!

I'll do my best to be brief with this one but I'm tempted to quote almost an entire page from a website that I found most interesting! You can read the info, in it's entirety here: http://www.nvic.org/Vaccines-and-Diseases/MMR.aspx

I will not touch on the association of Autism and the MMR vaccine. From the bit of research that I have learned of, mostly due to my job, it seems as though there is little to no link. And while I hold my current position I would rather not investigate much either way...

The most significant info that I found on each disease (potentially) preventable with the MMR vaccine is as follows (everything in italics is a direct quote from the website linked above):

Measles is highly contagious. Up until the past two decades, measles was one of the most common childhood diseases in America... and almost every child had measles by the age of 15. Some researchers believe that measles as a childhood disease in years past helped the human immune system to mature, priming it to be more effective in dealing with challenges from viruses and bacteria later in life. Recovery from natural measles infection confers lifelong immunity and a woman who has recovered from measles as a child passes maternal antibodies to her fetus, which often protects her newborn from measles for the first year of life. Young mothers today, who were vaccinated as children and never had measles do not have natural maternal measles antibodies to pass on to their babies and, so, most American babies born today are vulnerable to measles from the moment of birth. Historically, the majority of children in technologically advanced countries recovered from measles without major complications. Although it can be more severe and possibly fatal in teens, adults, and very young infants. In 1941, there were 894,134 cases of measles reported and in 2002 there were 44.
So, we currently see a large amount of cases of measles in infants under the age of one when there is a measles outbreak. (In the 1989-91 measles outbreak in the U.S., the largest increase in measles cases was in infants under one year old.) The vaccine is given at 12 months or older. The infants that contract measles before the age of one would have been immune if their mothers would have contracted measles naturally rather than being immunized. Hmm. There's some natural protection there that we're clearly interfering with.

Mumps used to be a very common childhood disease in the U.S. among children under age ten. In 1968, there were 152,209 cases reported, the highest number of cases ever reported in one year. In 2002 there were 270 reported cases. A usually mild disease in children, it can be much more severe in older teenagers and adults. Rarely, mumps can be more severe and cause an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Recovery from mumps infection confers lifelong immunity.

Rubella is usually a mild childhood disease and used to be common in American children five to nine years old. Today is most often seen in teenagers and young adults when it can be more serious. In 1969, there were 57,686 cases of rubella reported in the U.S., the highest number of cases reported in one year. In 1992, there were 160 cases of rubella reported in the U.S. with one death reported to have resulted from disease complications. In 2002, there were only 18 reported cases. Recovery from rubella is usually quick but occasionally brain inflammation and chronic arthritis can cause permanent damage.

Here is information about the MMR vaccine. (I made lasting effects bold.)
Frequent reactions include brief burning and stinging at the injection site; fatigue, sore throat, cough, runny nose, headache, dizziness, fever, rash, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, and sore lymph glands. Other reported reactions include anaphylaxis, convulsions, encephalopathy, otitis media, conjunctivitis, nerve deafness, thrombocytopenia purpura, optic neuritis, retinitis, arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
In 1981, the British National Childhood Encephalopathy Study concluded that there was a statistically significant association between measles vaccination and the onset of a serious neurological disorder within 14 days of receiving measles vaccine. The risk for previously normal children was estimated to be 1 in 87,000 measles vaccinations.
In 1991, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is compelling scientific evidence that the rubella vaccine portion of the MMR shot can cause acute arthritis, with the highest incidence occurring in adult women who receive rubella vaccine (up to 15 percent) and that some individuals go on to develop chronic arthritis.
In 1994, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is compelling scientific evidence that the measles vaccine can cause anaphylaxis that can end in death and that the MMR vaccine can cause thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of platelets, the cells involved in blood clotting) that can end in death. The incidence of thrombocytopenia was estimated to be 1 case per 30,000 to 40,000 vaccinated children.
In 1995, a British study concluded that adults who were vaccinated with measles vaccine as children were at much higher risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, as adults.
In the mid-1990's, reports of an association between autism and vaccination (specifically suggesting a possible link with MMR vaccine) were published. Although the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) acknowledged the hypothesis was biologically plausible, IOM concluded there was not enough evidence establishing a causal relationship. Nevertheless, in light of persistent reports by parents that their children are regressing into autism after MMR vaccination, there is an on-going scientific investigation by independent scientific researchers, such as British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, M.D., into clinical and laboratory evidence that MMR vaccination may cause autism in biologically vulnerable children.

Are those risks worth it? Measles, mumps, and rubella are not nearly as terrifying as I previously thought when I had basically no knowledge of them. I assumed that since there existed a vaccine they must be pretty horrific but, from what I've read, they were common childhood ailments that generally caused a lifelong immunity that could even be temporarily passed on to offspring.

(I know I've only quoted one source here - before making our final decisions I will references more sources.. don't worry!)

vaccinations - hepatitis b

I'm feeling a little bit lost. I'm doing a bunch of research about vaccines for our baby on the way but I'm missing one thing. I really wish that I had someone to bounce this stuff off of. I feel like back in Chicago in college I probably had quite a few friends and acquaintances to bounce thoughts and ideas and research off of but I don't seem to have that anymore and any online community that I can find to either agree or disagree with is not in the least bit satisfying this need to converse. I'm pretty sure I could find a few people to talk at but no one that I feel connected enough to to really get into a deep, substantial, educated, and possibly heated conversation with. That stinks.

So, um, here I come to my blog. Is that the best I can do? Well no, I do know real people, but I thought someone else might be interested in what I'm finding and, if anything, what I'm finding will be compiled here for my own reflection later on.

First I will start with the Hepatitis B vaccine. I'll try to be brief.
Let me start by pointing out that Hepatitis B is a disease transmitted by bodily fluids and is most often seen in drug users (needles), prostitutes, sexually promiscuous people, and infants whose mothers have Hep B. So, let me ask you, how many infants or children do you think are likely to ever contract Hep B? Seems highly unlikely to me.
In addition, if you do contract Hep B... 90-95% of all hepatitis B cases recover completely after 3 to 4 weeks of nausea, fatigue, headache, arthritis, jaundice and tender liver. (http://www.nvic.org/vaccines-and-diseases/Hepatitis-B/diseasevaccine.aspx)
Here is a bit of info that I found quickly while searching earlier today: Hepatitis B is a rare, mainly blood-transmitted disease. In 1996, only 54 cases of the disease were reported to the CDC in the 0-1 age group. There were 3.9 million births that year, so the observed incidence of hepatitis B in the 0-1 age group was just 0.001%. In the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), there were 1,080 total reports of adverse reactions from Hepatitis B vaccine in 1996 in the 0-1 age group, with 47 deaths reported. Total VAERS Hepatitis B reports for the 0-1 age group outnumber reported cases of the disease 20 to 1. (http://www.thinktwice.com/hepb.htm) So if you trust the sources that's 54 cases of Hep B in a year when there were 47 reported deaths from the vaccine.
Additionally, many of the side effects from the Hep B vaccine mimic or potentially cause autoimmune disorders such as arthritis and lupus, both of which I have. Did I develop those due to vaccines? Who knows. Do vaccines bring out disorders that a person may be already susceptible to? Who knows.
From this info, I conclude that, due to the unlikeliness that our child will contract Hepatitis B and the significant fact that there is a history of autoimmune disease in my family, we're opting out of this particular vaccine.

Next up... MMR.

Friday, December 3, 2010

facebook thoughts.

Multiple times a day there are instances in which I am denied some sort of information or opportunity. None of these things have been of great importance to me but that’s not really the point. WHY do so many organizations and corporations make the giant and unrealistic assumption that EVERYONE has a Facebook account? No, I will not become your fan to get $1 off. No, I will not respond to that answer to win a prize. No, I will not keep up with your Facebook account to keep track of your events, etc. Honestly, because of your great and inaccurate assumption of my Facebook account possession, I will most likely not consume your product because you make me feel as though I do not belong, as though my no Facebook account holding self is not good enough for you. I seriously encounter this every day and it’s bugging me more each time it happens. Be unique guys – don’t use Facebook so much… try appealing to the rest of us as well or you’re really going to miss out on some business and advertisement opportunity. Kay?

Oh, also, I really dislike clicking on links in tweets that take me to Facebook.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

friendsgiving prep.

I made yum yum salad yesterday while Tyler was working late.

Today I made the sweet potato thing but it needs to go into the oven for a bit tomorrow. I also made three pie crusts. With one of those crusts I made a pecan pie. I also made maple cream sauce for that pie. mm! I made brine for the turkey and then I put the turkey in it. The turkey is currently in a cooler filled with brine and ice packs on the back porch.

Tomorrow when I wake up I need to flip over the turkey.
At 9:30 the sweet potato thing goes in the oven while I prepare the green bean casserole.
At 10:00 the green bean casserole goes in the oven.
At 10:30 the turkey goes in the oven.
At sometime I make a simple salad.
When the turkey is done I make gravy.
At 2:00 we eat a lot of food.


I think the pie is really pretty. We'll see how it tastes but for my first pie I'm feeling pretty good.

Don't worry - I took step by step photos of EVERYTHING. :D

I'm sure you were worried.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

oh, hi.

I made banana bread today. In a loaf and in muffin form. I'd have to say it was THE best EVER. Moist, banana-y, a slight crisp on top, golden brown. mmm!

We're having tikka masala for dinner. I basically put that off every night last week - I think we were supposed to have it Monday and I kept not feeling like making it.

This year we're not going home for Thanksgiving. Instead we're having a Friendsgiving with Brooke & Scott. The menu includes the following:
(b & s) duck, rolls, harvest pie, roasted brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, wine
(e & t) sweet potatoes, salad, green bean casserole, pecan pie, yum yum salad, turkey & gravy

We seem to be moving pretty slowly on the baby bedroom. We sanded and patched in there a little bit today. Hopefully the super short Thanksgiving week will give us some extra work time.

Speaking of baby - we registered at Babies-R-Us officially yesterday. We're also registered at MyRegistry.com mostly for things that are at online stores, like etsy. Plans seem to be complicated for baby showers, unfortunately. I suppose living out of state from family makes it tough, having a baby shortly after the holidays makes it tough, and people seem to be worried about the weather. Today I feel like I had to convince my mom to have a pre-baby shower. It makes me feel selfish but we need help getting things before the baby rather than after. Of course there are things we will need after but it just seems impossible to do it without a shower before the baby. So it sounds like that might be near the end of January, though my mom sounded reluctant. I gathered up a couple of very very kind MN friends who are going to help me have a friend shower mid-January. I have yet to have a ton of good friends up here and most ladies that I know don't know each other so this is pretty much guaranteed to be small and awkward but hopefully fun. I just think it would be nice to have some pre-baby party fun. Don't you?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I bought some Swiss Miss hot cocoa packets today for when we're too lazy to chop up the mexican hot chocolate and boil the milk... I just wanted to point out that the hot cocoa I bought has 14 extra essential vitamins and minerals. How odd?! But it sold me! :)

Also, we went way over our grocery budget today. oops.

And, KATIE IS GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ohmygoodness. :) :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

your creative brain, and mine.

It's a little ironic that I'm researching this post's topic on the internet and spending time laying here on the couch while on the computer, but when I'm confined to this space and this position, for the most part, what else can I do? (see previous post re: my horrible headache)

And what is the topic? you ask... It's creativity! Yesterday I heard a brief mention of a study concluding that creativity is decreasing in our society on MPR (which does not surprise me in the least, unfortunately). Today, while struggling to drive home from dropping Tyler off at work, I heard more of the story. You can hear the entire story here and I encourage you to do so!

I'll give a quick summary, in my own words, with some of my own opinions and experiences thrown in. But first off I must mention that what I learned did nothing but encourage me to homeschool our children, limit computer time, possibly get rid of the television all together, and most likely not encourage video game or computer game use (though I'm sure Tyler has different opinions on that one!).

This study began in the 1950's by measuring the Creativity Quotient of children in Minnesota. The study has followed most of them throughout the past 50 years. I believe not too long ago another group of children was screened and there was a significant difference in their total amount of creativity. In case you're wondering the basic definition of creativity used here is to create something new based on ideas currently given or experiences pulled from memories which is useful and potentially solves a problem. Creativity is not simply for media artists but is found in all areas that require significant thought and problem solving. It is not yet known if the least creative of these kids have reduced scores, if the most creative have reduced scores, or if the entire group seems to have declining Creativity Quotient scores.

It is currently theorized that the decline is due to an increase in "screen time" (computers, televisions, video games, etc.) and a dependency on standardized testing. Both would make sense to me.

"Screen time", for the most part, decreases your use of imagination, skills, and problem solving abilities. Yes, there are many games out there that require you to make choices (role playing games) but you're confined to the game, to a set of predetermined rules, and you can only do what the game allows. That causes you to work inside a teeny tiny box.

In addition to an increase in "screen time" but along similar lines I have noticed an increase in all types of rule based, predetermined outcome, games. No longer are kids creating with crayons, building blocks, and sticks, they are following rules. How about we color on a piece of blank paper rather than in a coloring book? And if we're going to color in a coloring book I personally think its okay to scribble on top, color outside of the lines, or do whatever the artist thinks is best. I've noticed a recent difference in play between Tyler and myself. We both grew up with Legos as did most people who are our age. I had the big bins of random colors and sizes and shapes. Tyler and his brother had boxes with pieces for space ships, boats, and other things. The difference between these things is huge, in my opinion. With my Legos I built houses, mostly. I did not look at a map or a picture or a set of instructions - I created based on what I wanted to see. I had color schemes to my houses, logical floor plans, and landscaping. I also had a great time pushing them off the table when I was done building. :) On the other hand, Tyler's Legos allowed him to build what a set of instructions told him. Yes, they were able to play with those things after building them, but for the most part the play is confined to the theme that the designer of that Lego set created. The creativity was found in the designer of the theme, not in the child. I want our kids to build things with blocks, paper, glue, sticks, rocks, and leaves. I don't want them to simply push a bottom to get a desired outcome or to follow a map to get sucked into predetermined structured play. I want to foster creativity and problem solving. Of course I know that following maps and directions is a useful skill and it's not something that will be ignored but I want to do more than that.

Speaking of maps, I want to encourage our kids to look at a map while we're on family vacations just like I did when I was young. I have a great sense of direction now and little fear of trying out different routes. I don't want to raise kids who rely on GPS and Google maps to get to a destination. If we continue to not use these types of skills and parts of our brains I fear that we'll loose it all together. Maybe I'm being drastic but I want to raise kids who can think. No offense to you GPS users out there... I know some of your are just terrible at directions and that's the way it is. But there are far too many people who are perfectly capable at figuring out how to get to their friend's house but they rely on the GPS instead. Use it or loose it, right?

And as for standardized testing, I can also see how that may hinder creativity. From what I hear it sounds like teachers and more and more required to "teach for the test" as they want their students and their schools to perform well. But not everyone learns that way and life is not a test. It seems like going too far in that direction may create perfect little test takers but horrible little problem solvers. But I'm not a teacher and I haven't been in school for a while, so I could be completely mistaken. But I do know that I was taught in high school for the ACT and SAT tests. I learned in college specifically for exams. And I don't remember too much of those things now, because life is not like that. Life is a bit more hands on, from what I've experienced.

Now I should get on to doing something somewhat creative. :)

the swing?

Tyler and I took a trip to Seattle last Saturday and got home Tuesday night. It was a relatively relaxing trip. Mostly nice to not be at work, to be with friends, and to not be on any sort of schedule. I noticed on Wednesday, approximately mid-day, that I had a headache. I'm typically a headache prone person so it's not unusual, but I was aware that I hadn't had one in a while (but couldn't recall how long "a while" really was). I took some Tylenol (knowing full well it probably wouldn't do anything) and got on with my dad. Comes Tuesday the headache was still around and slightly worse. I tried the Tylenol thing twice (again knowing it wouldn't work and feeling slightly guilty for subjecting the little baby in my tummy to medication). Later that evening I skipped my last pre-natal yoga class because my headache was pretty yucky by that point and bending down and changing elevations, however minimal they may be, was sure to encourage excruciating pains. Last night I fell asleep on the couch and woke up really hot and icky. Despite the chilly temperatures outside and my usual sleeping habits, I opted to sleep with little clothing. I was still incredibly hot all night long. I woke up around 5 and couldn't fall asleep again.

So here I am sitting in the living room on Friday attempting to get some form of work done. I also have this list of things I would like to get done at home that always rears its little head when I'm home sick (because when I'm home sick is totally the best time to get things done, right?). I just ate a lot of ice cream. I drank a lot of Vitamin Water (thank goodness for that). I'm dreading the thought of walking up the stairs to use the bathroom. Or getting off the couch for that matter.

So is this "getting back into the swing of things"?


Also, I think Honey has a pretty nasty case of separation anxiety. I did a bit of research today and am going to chat with Tyler about how we move forward. I hate to think that she's having panic attacks while we're gone - that sounds so scary. If I had it my way we'd just lay in bed together for the rest of our lives. I think that'd be having it her way as well. She's cuddly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

stormy storms.

There has been a storm over Minnesota and quite a bit of the Midwest/Canada for a few days now. It sounds like a very unique storm – a bomb cyclogensis (cool name). While the components of the storm sound way cool, in my opinion, I’m a little disappointed in the manifestation. It’s been gloomy and windy and a bit rainy. I think the most significant feature has been a record drop in the barometric pressure which apparently briefly lowered the boiling point here in MN. You can read about a bomb cyclogensis, which is kind of like a hurricane, here.
Sometimes I think I should have been a weatherman (except a woman). But most times I think I should have been a little bit of everything that I’m not. Up next I will be a mom. Following close behind I will be a self employed photographer (Don’t hesitate to pray about that one. Actually pray about the mom thing, too!). Someday I wouldn’t mind being a barista again. I would love to be a city planner. There are sometimes that I would like to be a mechanical engineer. There are many times I would like to be an architect. I would also like to be a full time crafter. I wouldn’t at all mind being a journalist. One time, in high school, while I was working at Trader Joes, a costumer asked me what I was going to major in in college. I believe I was rather undecided at that point (a biologist, a biology text book artist, or an architect). I expressed my frustration and inability to choose and the man responded by saying my spectrum of interest and my personality are “both a blessing and a curse.” Hmm. So, what should I be when I grow up?
Tyler’s family came to visit last week into the start of this week. They helped us get a start on baby’s room. Early this morning, when the doors at my office were not yet open, I took a trip to Home Depot and bought the paint. The walls will be Newport Blue and the trim will be Blanket Brown. No, that does not mean we’re having a boy. My mom thinks that means we’re having a boy. We don’t know. Okay?
Early Saturday morning we’re taking a plane to Denver. In Denver we will get on another plane and fly to Seattle. In Seattle we will look at things and I will take photos of things and we will visit our friends Ben & Jordan. With Ben & Jordan we will drive to Vancouver for a bit. On Tuesday next week we will fly to Denver. And from Denver we will fly back to Minneapolis where we will go to sleep, get up and go to work, and go to sleep, and get up and go to work, and do it all over again and again and again and again. Until February. Oh, February, sweet February.
Oh, back to the trip. When in Canada I want to go to Point Roberts, WA. Why do you want to go to Washington when you’re in Canada, Emma? (You might ask) Well, internet reader, you can only access Point Roberts from Canada, boat, or air. I think that is odd and I would like to see it for myself. Kind of like that funny little part on top of Minnesota. I want to go there, too.
In conclusion, substituting the word “babies” in the place of the word “birds” in the phrase “kill two birds with one stone” does not seem to have the same effect.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anti-BPA Victory!

The government of Canada formally declared bisphenol A, a chemical widely used to create clear, hard plastics, as well as food can liners, to be a toxic substance on Wednesday.

The compound, commonly known as BPA, has been shown to disrupt the hormone systems of animals and is under review in the United States and Europe.

This is why we rarely used canned things and no longer use plastic water bottles or cheap plastic Tupperware. We do have some nice plastic storage containers that are BPA free but I continue to refuse to warm them up. Even without BPA there are still probably pretty weird things in there that I would rather not help leech into my food. Especially while being pregnant. And I am registering for all BPA free kid stuff – teething rings, spoons, bowls, cups, nuks, etc.

It just baffles me that there can be something so potentially harmful used in so many ways without hesitation – maybe its cheaper to use, maybe its easier, who knows?! But if it is causing harm its significantly more expensive and harmful to humans in the long run due to medical costs so governments really should take note, even if only motivated by the potential future costs. But really, what if chemicals in plastics cause developmental changes in fetuses and infants and they end up with developmental disabilities? They then weigh on the system for the rest of their lives needing increased medical and school services. So… save some money in the long run and research our food and research what chemicals are in and around us and maybe everyone will be better off, no?! I don’t know. I could go on forever….

I encourage you to read this article (quoted in italics above) in the NY Times titled Canada Declares BPA, a Chemical in Plastics, to Be Toxic.

I'm glad to see some countries acknowledging it and am interested to see what this may spur...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Caponi Contest / Cookie Cookie

I keep repeating posts but here's something somewhat significant that I just posted tonight on frostonflower.com:

When we visited the art park highlighted in my previous post I happened to notice a 1/4 sheet flyer for a photo contest ending on 10/10/10 on our way out. I pocked one as we walked back to the parking lot. In the midst of a weekend full of plans and other photo things I quickly edited a few and sent them to the contest email address. I heard back today that I received an Honorable Mention. I believe there was a 1st & 2nd place as well as 3-4 honorable mentions. I suppose, for not having known about the contest prior to taking the photos and simply taking them to practice using certain settings, I did pretty well! You can view all of the entries and the contest info here. The winners are not currently highlighted.

Tonight I have made cookies for the second time this week. Probably 4th time this month. Wow. Are you drooling?? :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Caponi Art Park

Thursday of last week was our third anniversary. Unfortunately since it was a Thursday we both had to work. It was also the second post season Twin's game so we went to Tooties in NoMi and watched the game and at dinner (for the second night in a row!). I ducked out early for pre-natal yoga and met Tyler at home before heading off to bed.

We (thankfully!) took Friday off. We had a city inspector over to our house to view or roof issue before writing an order for Sela to come back and fix the still leaky part of our roof. We bummed around before heading to St. Paul for lunch and a midwife appointment at a new clinic. I'm pretty sure we were both pretty impressed by the place and the time and attention that they gave us. I think we made a good switch moving to HealthEast. :)

After the appointment we went to The Tea Garden for some bubble tea and sipped them as we drove to Eagan to visit the Caponi Art Park. The following are some photos that I took while I was there.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Good day for a ceremony.

If I just heard the Sunday news correctly, this day last year (10/10/09) we had an inch of snow and it was in the 30s. The forecast for today is 78 and on Friday a record of 87 was set. October weather is so... interesting!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Frost on Flower News

There's a new post up over at frostonflower.com. Click here!

I shoot my first wedding tomorrow! Oh my! Wish me lots of luck and send beautiful photo thoughts my way, if you would. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


We had our ultrasound on Monday. *FINALLY* I think it got scheduled back in July. Isn't that a horribly long time to wait? July - October? Granted it was the end of July through the very beginning of October, but still!! I left work early (which worked out well since I stayed late a few times last week) and picked Tyler up and we headed over for our last visit to Park Nicollet, at least for this child having thing.

[ Have I mentioned that in a previous post? We toured both Methodist (Park Nicollet, where I'm going right now) and St. Joe's two weekends ago (Health East) and were both left feeling like Methodist was not the place for us and both really enjoyed St. Joe's. I've had my records transferred and have my first appointment at a Health East clinic on Friday but still went with the ultrasound so it would be done sooner. :) ]

Per ultrasound protocol, I drank a lot of water before the appointment and did not go to the bathroom. Boy was that not the least bit comfortable. Ugh. In fact it was terrible. Luckily about half way through the tech wanted the little guy (or girl) to change positions so she told me to go to the bathroom. Oh, relief! :)

The ultrasound was quite long and we saw and learned much more than I anticipated. We saw all of the usual parts: head, facial features, arms, legs, and tummy, but also went inside each of those appendages and into all of it's organs! I wasn't expecting such detail. Our tech measured the thickness of it's skin around it's skull, parts of it's brain, the chambers of it's heart, all of its leg and arm bones, and even it's kidneys! We could see the heart beating and see each of the chambers. We saw it's fingers and toes. We saw something in it's tummy which means the digestive system is working correctly. It has a chin, it doesn't have a cleft lip, it doesn't have club feet, and all of it's measurements are in line with a 9 1/2 week baby (with the exception of the legs which are measuring 20 weeks). We saw it scratching it's ear and the back of it's head. In one of the photos below it's hand is resting under it's chin. Overall the ultrasound was a lot of fun and everything seemed to be pretty normal! :)


Sunday, October 3, 2010


Today I went on a sort of shopping adventure. I rarely shop - besides the grocery store, of course - but today was different!

First, I went to Marshalls in Crystal with a gift card and a pair of white Levis jeans to return (because who wants white jeans?!) in hopes of acquiring a yoga mat and possibly something else if the gift card would allow it. I was in luck! I have a new comfy green yoga mat that I can begin using at my next prenatal yoga class on Thursday. I also stumbled upon something I had seen online once before. Its a ceramic compost container for the kitchen that has a carbon filter to reduce the smell. We've been using random bowls so this is a huge improvement! Its bright red and will look lovely whenever we happen to improve the kitchen. It looks like this (which I now realize is strikingly similar to a fire hydrant - oops):

I then went next door to Target. Now, I have nearly vowed to not shop at Target due to some discouraging, but somewhat expected, comments that Tyler was made aware of BUT a few days ago I stumbled upon some Target giftcards in our bedroom. I can't recall how exactly this happened but we had two cards with $63 left over from our wedding nearly three years ago! I knew immediately that I wanted that money to help me get some better fitting maternity clothing. (Maternity? Oh it sounds so weird!) I tried on quite a few shirts, a dress, and some pants. While I had $64 to spend I had to be careful. Pants are a priority - I think I can stretch shirt wearing out for quite some time still but bottoms are getting awkward. I found two nice pairs but they were both $29.99. :( I put everything else back, grabbed a very cheap and much needed article of intimate apparel, and left!

Next I headed to Barnes and Noble in Minnetonka for a much needed book. I had previously placed it on hold online so all I had to do was walk up to the check-out counter, tell them my name, and purchase the book. Its a very well reviewed book about how to use features on my Canon 7d as well as when to use the different features. I have wanted this book since I first read about it. I've already begun reading it and hope it will help me a bit a week from today when our neighbors Beth and Carly get married as I'm taking photos for them! :) Here is the book:

I ended my adventure at Rainbow in St. Louis Park doing this week's (and hopefully some of next week's?!) grocery shopping. I got needed ingredients for meals as well as for baking more stunning chocolate chip cookies. :)

In conclusion, I spent about $4 at Marshalls and $1 at Target and it felt nice to have the freedom to shop a bit today. :) We budget for basically everything and while it gets us what we need it can sometimes feel a little restraining. But I know its for the better!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

poor little thing.

This made me laugh/nearly cry. At 19 weeks this is what they tell me "it" looks like. Doesn't that look horrible? I feel so sorry for it! I wish I could give it more room! I hope it doesn't look like that when we get to see it on Monday - I'll feel terrible!

Have I mentioned that I feel it all the time? Maybe not all the time, but close to it. Much more than I would have expected at 19 weeks. I can feel it in my tummy, I can feel it with my hand on my tummy, and I even saw my tummy move today! I'm not even very big yet - its just crazy active. I guess its making up for my inactivity... Or maybe its telling me it wants more chocolate milk. That's something I can do. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy October 1st :)

Occasionally I get a bit down on blogs that do not update frequently enough, enough to keep me entertained while I'm on hold at work, or eating my lunch, or whatever it may be. And then I realize that I tend to be pretty inconsistent when it comes to updating my (our) very own blog. So I've come to apologize. I'm sorry.

I've finally edited the photos from our trip to Chicago so I'll add a little postie post about that soon. Possibly this very weekend.

On Monday is our ultrasound so we get to peer inside and see our new little friend. Its been trying to communicate by poking/kicking/hitting me but I am unfortunately not fluent in morse code so I have no idea what its trying to say. I started prenatal yoga last night. I think I stretched my bottom muscles a bit too far - they bothered me today.

A somewhat amusing text message interaction with Tyler yesterday when I was thinking about the wonderful cupcakes from Cupcake across the street from work:
Me: Please tell me that I don't need a cupcake.
Tyler: You don't need a cupcake.

Honey found a cat in the backyard this morning. I sat outside and called it kit-cat for a while and made cat calling type sounds. I was hoping it would still be in the backyard when I got home from work but that was an unrealistic thought.

Also, we just booked tickets for a trip to Seattle. 10/30-11/2. Neither of us have ever been there before.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cookies that I baked.

I'm proud of these cookies. That's rare. I'm very self conscious of edible things that I make.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Raising Hope.

A big thanks to Tath for pointing this out. I've seen a preview for the new show Raising Hope on Fox a few times and completely missed something somewhat significant. I know (or knew) the main actor! His name is Lucas Neff. He went to UIC and lived near me in Pilsen. We weren't best friends or anything... but I had been to his apartment a few times, eaten lunch at UIC with him a few times, things like that.

Here is the preview, in case you're interested.

So... Congratulations Lucas! :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I definitely felt it moving last night when I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep. Somersaults, I think. Oh my!

Ultrasound on October 4th!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dabbling in editing.

I tend not to take the time to edit photos but I know that it is something that I need to explore and hopefully master at some point. On a whim I gave it a go tonight. I'm hoping to set up a new etsy shop sometime soon for photography - mostly starting with prints of flowers and need to do some editing before doing that. Here is an example of my first kind of try. I'm pretty sure I spent between 5-10 minutes on it but I sure am happy with the results. Hopefully it looks decent on more monitors than just my own!

Original Berries

Edited Berries

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Last week I received an email on our larger Willard Homewood/Hay listserv from a woman who lives quite a few blocks south on our street. She was wanting some input from the neighborhood about starting a massage therapy and doula services business in her home. I immediately responded and first mentioned that I thought that was a great idea. I then immediately inquired about her doula services as she had mentioned she is getting certified. Her response was better than I could have asked for - she needs to do one more birth before she can be certified and it would be for free! Doula services is something that I've known a bit about and have researched briefly but decided we probably can't afford that extra expense. So obviously free services would be wonderful and quite a blessing if it works out.

Christine came over tonight after we got home from work so we could meet, learn a bit more, and decide our next steps. I think she seems like wonderful a wonderful and positive person, I think she would be a great fit, and obviously a useful asset to this entire process. It's also neat that she's from our neighborhood. She may even be interested in having a website made for her. :)

If you're interested in learning more feel free to check out www.DONA.org.

Up North.

I shouldn't spend much time here this evening so I'll try to keep this brief. Over Labor Day weekend Tyler and I went camping for one night up near the north shore of Lake Superior. We went to the William Crosby State Park where there are multiple hiking trails and a few backpack in sites. When making reservations we were rather limited as it was a holiday weekend and we were a little late to make plans, thus we were only able to camp for one night. Our site ended up being amazing though!

It was 1 1/4 mile hike - lots of elevation change, rocks, boulders, and roots. Tyler carried my backpacking bag with millions of things attached. I carried a much smaller backpack and pulled/carried our cooler. It was a little rough. I had to leave the cooler on the way in and Tyler was wonderful enough to go back and get it for me while I set up the tent and prepared for our evening fire.

Our reservation informed us that wood would be available at the office. There was no office and there was no wood so, even though we're not supposed to, we had to hunt the area for wood, most of which was damp and squishy. Not sure we would have been able to carry wood in anyway! After a failed attempt at creating a dinner fire I searched around for birch bark and dead pine branches, rebuilt the fire, and got it going really well. I prepared dinner in our "kitchen" steak, vegetables, and garlic potatoes. After dinner we made some Mexican hot chocolate - mmmmmm! And of course s'mores. I spent a really funny 15 minutes trying to toss some rope over a branch in a birch tree while shinning a flashlight and wearing mittens hoping to bear proof our food, trash, and dishes - just in case. When I was about to give up I got it over. :)

The low was supposed to be 42 that night but we're not sure what it ended up being. That night and in the morning we could definitely see our breath! It was a chilly night but we tried to stay cozy in our sleeping bags and pile of blankets with a dog on top.

Speaking of dog - I think Honey had her most exciting two days ever. We let her roam around for the bulk of the time. She immediately ventured into the river when we arrived and kept venturing further down the surrounding trails. We'd notice she had been gone for a few minutes, call her name quite a few times, and she would come running (so fast!) down the trail right past us down the next trail. She was completely knocked out on the car ride home.

On the way home we stopped at Gooseberry Falls to go to the lake shore. It was a little too chilly and windy for me which most likely bothered me more since I was tired and sore... We headed back into Duluth where we hoped to eat the yummy Indian place we found last time we were there. Unfortunately it was closed, like many other restaurants. We checked out the tourist area but decided against all of the places were basically refuse to eat - Old Chicago, Green Mill, etc. So we got on the road, stopped at a few places with intriguing names that ended up being mostly bar-like, and found ourselves at a Perkins in Cloquet where I had a very un-mocha-like mocha. We had some great conversation inside and in the car about cities, living situations, and homeschooling.

In summary... I cannot wait to go camping again! We don't think we could ever settle for a drive in campground again, unless it was a really good one. But the weather is changing - it feels very fall-like here so we may have to wait until next year when it'll be an entirely new experience with a 3 person 1 dog family.

Enjoy the photos! :)


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dear people that read this: Feel free to leave comments. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010


Today Ronick and I went to the Aveda Institute for haircuts. I must say we both look lovely. I wish I had a photo of her to share. Also, my hair smells so surprisingly yummy.

Wonderful timing, too. This little lemon (3.5" this week) is making my hair grow quite quickly. If only my nails would slow down.. ick.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

We're going to see the Twins play tonight. yay!

Last week the were tied with the White Sox at the start of a three game series in Chicago. The Twins won 2 out of 3 of the games. This week they have a three game series here in Mpls of which they have won 2 of 2 games. So... fingers crossed for a sweep tonight. My sweep song posted on twitter last week didn't work so maybe I'll try again.

please sweep the sox, please sweep the sox. sweep sweep sweep sweep, sweep sweep sweep sweep, please sweep the sox.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Community Garden

Our neighborhood, Upper Willard Homewood/Hay, has a wonderful community garden a couple of blocks west of our house. Unfortunately we haven't spent too much time over there what with having our own garden and basically being tired all the time... I hope I'll get to contribute more next year.

We have stopped by a few times to look around, collect a few things for recipes, and harvest some yummies such as cucumbers and peppers after reading an email about an overabundance of ripe vegis. On our little venture yesterday in response to that very email I had a chance to take some photos as well, which I added to the community garden section of our website.

There are so many varieties of tomatoes and peppers, quite a few herbs, some flowers, regular and lemon cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, swiss chard, and more!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tiny camping trip.

Here are some photos of our Sunday with Ben & Jordan - camping, exploring, eating, and a beach. I'll add some more words later when its not bedtime!



Wow, it's mid-August already! I can hardly believe it. Honestly, I have to admit that we wasted a good portion of our summer. We relaxed quite a bit but didn't really invest in too many outings or too many friends, save for Brooke & Scott for the most part. (Which is quite alright - they're good friends!) So August came upon us and a few things seemed to change a tiny bit.
Last week our friend Matt Nelson stayed with us Monday night - Thursday night as he was attending a conference at a Bible school in Plymouth and the hour or so commute to his house daily at 9pm and 6am would have been pretty icky. He brought us ice cream one evening. But mostly I just went to bed as soon as he got home. Oops!
That Friday our friends Shawn & Kaele came into town with their daughter (our goddaughter), Maeve. They recently moved to Fergus Falls. They had a wedding to go to Saturday that also had rehearsal dinner on Friday night. After dinner on Friday they came over and stayed through Sunday. On Saturday we had high hopes of being productive while they were gone but ended up wasting a few hours in urgent care because something felt funny. Apparently it was just me and nothing was wrong. Luckily they were willing to meet us at IKEA so we could eat quickly and get some blinds for our bathroom. I think we also ordered pizza later that night. And Maeve kissed me a lot. On Sunday we went to church at Bethlehem and headed to Bloomington to celebrate Shawn's birthday with his family. We had homemade enchiladas and watched cooking and baking shows.
(Speaking of baking shows - have I ever mentioned how addicted I am to Cake Boss? We watch it with Brooke & Scott constantly.)
And here were are, a weekend later, spending the last night with another pair of friends who came to stay with us, Ben & Jordan. They came Friday evening where we met them for food at Red Dragon. Yesterday we went to Steamworks Cafe (one of the few cafes in north Minneapolis), packed up, and went camping. We joined Brooke & Scott as well as Brooke's sister and her husband at the Minnesota Valley State Park. Jordan and I popped up the tents (I really like the tent my dad gave us) and crossed the path to join the other site for dinner, a fire, and s'mores. It rained a little but that was okay. This also marked Honey's first camping experience. She was a trooper! She was not difficult in the least and she didn't chime in when the other dogs at the campground were doing their morning barking thing. I'll post later with some photos. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

I forgot to add... Today I discovered a garage completely smashed by a tree where the power line went down Saturday night. Yikes! It didn't look like there was a car inside, so that's good!

Ice Creammmmmmmmm! :)

We got the word on Friday afternoon that Honey is just fine - false alarm, thankfully. :) This weekend we purchased some new food for her. A sales rep at Petco convinced us to go all natural. It was something that was already on my mind so it didn't take much of a push and it's less than a cent more expensive per ounce so why not, right?! In the long run it'll probably be much better for her. In the short term there are claims to different energy levels, a softer coat, less shedding, and less chemicals in your yard (eww). She seems to enjoy it though I'm pretty sure she would eat anything.

On Saturday evening Tyler and I went to Scott and Brooke's house for dinner. We drove because we had been watching the weather on the news for quite a while and knew some icky storms were potentially on the way. After dinner, while playing board games, the tornado sirens went on so we went into the basement. They turned off pretty quickly but we stayed downstairs, just in case. Eventually we went back upstairs, watched the weather on tv, looked out the windows, and watched a few episodes of Cake Boss (amazing show). On our way back home we noticed the stoplight was out in between our two houses and as we expected we had no power at our house. We lit a few candles and soon went to bed. The next day we saw the power company working down the alley and went to the store to get some ice to salvage our food after eating breakfast at a diner in north Minneapolis with Scott and Brooke. Eventually the power went back on at dinner time so we quickly ran to the store to buy ice cream making supplies to utilize the 5 small bags of ice we purchased. Last night we made maple & walnut ice cream. It was so very yummy! Right now we're making lemon yogurt ice cream. I'm so excited! :)

Also, I stayed home from work today. I was feeling really off on Friday, fine on Saturday, and a little weird again on Sunday. I thought I'd be safe and rest a little extra. I've been having a lot more heart palpitations lately than normal and occasionally I get really worn out at the same time. I'd rather have that yucky feeling at home than at work or at a client's house. I hear palpitations sometimes increase for some people during this... time. I also read that I should try eating more foods with magnesium. We'll see!

In conclusion, here are two photos that I added to flickr last week. They've been getting lots of comments. :)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010


So sorry for the delay in posting. I've been a little busy... but mostly tired.

We finally made the purchase (on July 4th)! I own a Canon 7D digital SLR. yay! You can see what I've had fun with in the past couple of weeks here at my flickr.

I've been asked by a coworker friend to photograph an event on July 24th. July 24th is also the northside arts crawl called FLOW, where I hope to take photos for fun. Also, a former coworker friends asked me to take engagement photos of her and her fiance. So... here I go - I guess it's finally happening! **Fingers crossed and praying**

Also, today we started having new gutters installed on our house. The gutters are up and wonderful looking - they're brown to kind of match the roof. The downspouts will be installed tomorrow - those will be red to match the brick on the foundation and chimney of the house. Please ignore the fact that the trim is green and our house will temporarily look like Christmas. Please.

Also also, I think Honey has worms. :( I took a.. um... sample to the vet this morning and we should get a response tomorrow. Hope that works out alright. I'm a little turned off by the fact that humans can contract worms as well. ick. I know you're probably incredibly interested in Honey's intestinal situation so I will keep you updated.

The end - it was time for bed 1.5 hours ago.

Honey love:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

sweet home chicago. sort of.

Tyler, myself, and our pup took a trip home to Illinois for my family picnic. Honey was successful at not throwing up in the car, so that was lovely. We drove down Friday around three. We had wonderful weather the entire drive and unknowingly left crazy weather back in Mpls. Apparently there were crazy flashfloods and downtown flooded significantly. We ended up at my mom’s house where we lived for the weekend on our air mattress.

On Saturday we waited around for a decent chunk of the day expecting to have a meal with Granny Weaver. Little did we know she was still having a wonderful time in Alabama with her family and had forgotten about our plans – oops! We mostly hung around the house that day and told my mom and Wally some news which was then returned with a gift.

On Sunday we got up early and headed over to my dad’s house before the family picnic, leaving Honey to be confused at mom’s house. We also informed my dad of the same interesting secret via a belated Father’s Day card. We hoped in the car and contemplated the dark stormy clouds that were appearing overhead. We were the 4th, 5th, and 6th attendees to arrive at the picnic and began setting up. This year Pat’s pancake/omelet station was moved inside the pavilion as those clouds continued to look fierce. No long after unloading beverage and other items the clouds opened up and it poured and poured. The pavilion nearly flooded as a biker took shelter with us and relatives who arrived stayed sheltered in their cars. As soon as it let up more people came funneling in from the parking lot. That interesting news mentioned previously continued to spread. Tyler and I played with Adam and Kim’s iPhones. The sky quickly cleared up and the day became quite lovely. Everyone who attended seemed to have a great time. We left around 4 and headed back to my dad’s house to continue the task of digging through and sorting my belongings that have collected over the years. After dinner and a great gift of chocolate we returned to my mom’s. I think we made a quick evening trip to the Oakbrook Mall Apple Store to continue playing with iPhones. After I went to bed Tyler drove to Oak Park to hang out with his sister for a bit.

Our Monday plans had high hopes of including Chicago but we didn’t end up having time. It was nice to not have to rush off to more planned activities though. We packed up and had a good time. I hooked up my old printed to Wally’s computer and I made Wally a new draft of his resume. Per Tyler’s mom’s request we drove one block over to visit her cousin. Tyler’s mom’s cousin, Ron, grew up in the same town (Downers Grove) that my mom and I both grew up and happened to move to Westmont quite a few years ago. He just happened to move one block away from the house that Wally grew up in where my mom and Wally are currently living. We found the house and had an awkward greeting at the door while trying to explain who we were. Ron seemed very happy to see us. He has Parkinson’s and is most likely confined to his house most days. My mom is generally stuck at home as well so she left her phone number and encouraged him to call. Ron suggested they get together to have a coke sometime. Not too long after that nice visit we finished loading up the car, said goodbye to everyone, and ventured back to Minnesota.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Clean up the streets.

While driving home from work today Tyler and I spotted two KSTP channel 5 vans. The television one had its big antenna thing all the way up. As we drove by I looked in all directions trying to figure out what they had been or would be covering. KSTP never seems to be too kind to North Minneapolis. So.. the two trucks were parked on the east side of Penn Ave just before Golden Valley Road. Almost right in front of Wally's - a northside INconvenience store. This intersection is known for loitering, lots of drug activity, and numerous 911/311 calls. Seeing the KSTP vans there could mean anything! When we got home I immediately went to KSTP.com where I got distracted by a home video of one of the tornadoes from Thursday. I also turned on channel 5 on the television though I don't really enjoy that station. Eventually the story aired, which you can read/view here. Basically, on Friday night a woman was in her car at the intersection of Penn and GVR and she was shot in the chin by a stray bullet. It looks to have grazed her chin so she's fared very well but something like that, obviously, shouldn't be happening. She was quoted as saying we need to clean up the streets - boy is she right. We drive by the intersection AT LEAST two times a day, it's only a few blocks from our house. That is definitely a crime too close for comfort. I'm so glad she's alright.


Laura N. told me about this at work today. Guess I'm a little late as its from March 2009 but I still think its neat!


(I prefer to refer to sheep as "eep")
I'm laying on the couch. We put the two sections together for Kyle to sleep on while Tyler's family was here for the weekend. We decided to try keeping it this way after we made a few adjustments to the angle and the placement of the rug. (The legs of the couch were on the rug and that made me very afraid for the rug - it's the most expensive rug I've ever had.. though that doesn't mean too much..) Anywho - Honey is on the rug and playing with a little blue squeaky toy that I got her at the pet store the other day. She likes to run around with it outside - run in circles while squeaking it. She also likes to squeak it in other places including the rug pretty close to my right ear. It's incredibly high pitched and VERY loud. But... she's having fun. :)

So as I just said, Tyler's family was here this weekend. They were coming to help us with the fence but last minute we decided to scratch that idea and have a fun weekend. Tyler, Abby, and Kyle went to Valley Fair after they got into town on Friday night. I stayed home with Tyler's parents, Hal & Judy. We looked at cabins to possibly rent for a weekend in August and watched something silly like Dateline about some murder mysteries.

While they were here we got the baseboards painted in the dinning room, some light switches changes, and a new light installed by the basement stairs. We also ate a lot of yummy food and went to one of my favorite stores - Arc's Value Village. I bought a lot of old jars with lids to keep things like flour and sugar in as my current jars are too small. I bought some shirts, a neat wooden carving for the dinning room, a game called Huggermugger, and a few other things. Judy bought Othello. When we got home quite a few games of Othello were played and a very interesting game of Huggermugger. Huggermugger is a tough game! It's basically about spelling. Very educational. :) On Sunday we opted to stay home from church to do some painting and went to Buca Di Beppo for a big lunch before they headed back to Iowa (as usual!). At lunch we gave Hal his father's day gift and shared a special surprise. We also ate one of these:

They'll be back in three weeks to help with the fence. Yay!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We've painted the dinning room walls! And the ceiling! And hung my wonderful chandelier that I found for $20. :) We need to do a second coat on the walls tonight and will hopefully get to the trim soon. The dinning room very well may be my favorite room. It is the prefect shade of wonderful green - olivine! I kind of wish we could paint every room a wonderful shade of green. But I should probably stop at two.

We had a leak in our roof on Friday when it was raining heavily. A leak is always unfortunate but we just spent a decent amount of money on a new roof last fall! I put in a call to the company, Sela, who did the job and a flat roofer contacted Tyler. He stopped by the house and blamed it on the open window on our storm door. I couldn't disagree with him more. The man came out this morning to do a water test and it was quite the ordeal. There was some miscommunication and he now needs to come back. Honestly I didn't like this guy one bit. I don't usually have such adverse reactions to people, especially right of the bat. I couldn't help myself! Hopefully we'll get it sorted out and can safely fix up some spot that got wet in the kitchen soon. While hunting for the leak I ended up pulling out a ton of wet drywall from the kitchen and over the back door this weekend. I guess it's better to have the space open so everything can dry. That drywall seemed pretty messed up and I wouldn't be surprised it it was modly. eww.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Seriously - wow.

magazine face

Hide and Seek


Tyler is sanding in the dinning room. I've just return from a grocery trip and am looking a things like this:

water can case

Simply amazing! See more here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Strawberry Drama.

Read this disturbing article. Research studies under masters in environmental science programs should tackle the development of stricter safety guidelines in crop production. The motives of so many companies to simply turn a profit rather than consider the safety of their employees, the environment, AND their customers boggles my mind. Read this:

Scientists Claim Warnings About Strawberry Fumigant Ignored
By Elise Craig on June 7, 2010

In California, pesticide regulators plan to approve a fumigant for coastal strawberry fields that experts say could expose bystanders and field workers to health problems, California Watch reports.

Scientists from the Department of Pesticide Regulation and peer-review scientists were shocked when exposure levels for the agricultural chemical methyl iodide were set 120 times higher than they recommended.

All eight of the peer-review scientists told California Watch that their recommendations must have been ignored. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said panel member Ron Melnick. “Why have someone review a document when you’re just going to ignore it?”

Strawberry growers are looking to methyl iodide to replace methyl bromide, a fumigant that is being phased out because of damage to the ozone layer.

Studies show that the new chemical can cause miscarriages and thyroid cancer in rabbits and rats, and some scientists point to case studies that link the chemical to irreversible brain damage.

Because of health concerns — particularly what the chemical could do to the developing brains of infants and children — the review panel added the “uncertainty factor” when they set a recommended limit, lowering it by a factor of 10.

A Department of Pesticide Regulation spokesperson told California Watch that their risk managers had deemed the “uncertainty factor” unnecessary.” She also said that the scientists’ recommendations were only one part of DPR’s decision, and that the EPA had approved the chemical at levels even higher than DPR in 2007.

But EPA pesticide scientist Jeff Dawson said that the agency may re-evaluate the fumigant, and that the agency is interested in “the conclusions of the panel.”

The California State Senate will hold a hearing on methyl iodide on June 17.

Spinach Pesto with Scallops

I've made this recipe a few times in the past but rarely use fresh spinach let alone spinach from my backyard!

I sauteed some scallops in oil, garlic, and basil (from the garden). I added some spinach leaves (from the garden) about 1/2 through the cooking process and kept adding some every 30 seconds or so. I smushed up quite a lot of spinach leaves and basil (both from the garden) as well as some garlic in my chopper thing. Tyler cooked the pasta. I added the smushed stuff to the pan, cooked it all together briefly, and then mixed it into the pasta. And... yum! :)


Natural Pesticide - yay!

I just found this on wordpress.com. Natural Pesticide! Just what I need as our spinach, swiss chard, and lettuce seem to be yummy to more than just us. Here's the recipe and a link to where it came from.

Here is my recipe: Mix 1 gallon of water with 2 tablespoons of neem, and ½ teaspoon each rosemary and lavender essential oils (I used organic version of all the oils). You can also add a couple of tablespoons of phosphate-free liquid dishwashing soap. Mix thoroughly and pour into a spray bottle. Spray over every part of your plants, mixing frequently to keep the oils and water from separating.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

last night's dinner

mmmmmm! :) Steak & chicken kabobs. Tyler made some cous cous, too.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So far this week Tyler and I have enjoyed wonderful and incredibly fresh salads with our lunches. In the morning I've been taking a few minutes to go outside and cut leaves, wash them, and pack them for lunch! Here is a photo of the leaves (organic mixed salad and organic spinach) right after I washed them yesterday:

On Tuesday afternoon I showed quite a few coworkers. I'm incredibly proud.

Pesticides, ugh.

I recently read a study linking the presence of pesticides on fruits and vegetables with ADHD. The best time to avoid certain fruits and vegetables and to eat organic produce is during pregnancy due to the significant development taking place every second. I would assume this would still hold true for a few years into a child's life and they're obviously continuing to develop... Not that once you hit a certain again I think it's okay to start consuming pesticides. It can be hard to afford organic or be too picky about food so at least there is a pinpointed time when it is best to put forth the effort. Today I found a list of the "best" and "worst" fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticide content.

Things like this frustrate me to no end. Why must our country be so darn focused on profit making rather than the general well being of the people? Pesticides exist to increase profits (less bugs, more crops) but we very well may be creating a generation of kids with attention problems and potentially other disabilities. Who knows how these things affect us but the people at the top are constantly focused on making things more profitable. I think that's disgusting.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Home Improvement.

I could really do without spackling the dinning room ceiling due to the previous owner's ability to stick a piece of drywall to the ceiling with bubble gum shortly after walking all over it and leaving footprints (due to the owner before that neglecting a leak in the roof that may or may not have turned into a hole).

I had enough of that - so I watered the garden in back and the plants in front at 11pm. A neighbor walked by and commented on my "midnight yard work".

Tiny Vacation!

On Saturday we took a day trip up to Duluth. I had not yet been that far north in Minnesota (gasp!). We spent some time there driving around and found an Indian place for lunch. We then went along the north shore and stopped at Gooseberry Falls and at the Split Rock Lighthouse. We took Honey with and I think she had a wonderful time. I was very proud of the way that she behaved in such a different environment with so many people, new smells, and other dogs. It was supposed to be around 90 degrees in the Twin Cities on Saturday and only 2.5 hours north in Duluth it was supposed to be in the 70s. Since we were right on the shore of Lake Superior the entire time it didn't get much warmer than the mid 50s. I thought that was an interesting span of temperatures for one day and for such a short distance. I've included some of the most interesting photos below. :)[gallery order="DESC"]

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Creating Food

I'm sitting in bed right now and Honey desperately wants to be with me.  She keeps pacing around the bed but she is not allowed for two reasons.  1: She will most likely attempt to sit on, lay on, or lick the computer.  2: She is shedding like I've never experienced a dog shedding in my life (I don't have very much experience but it's kind of blowing my mind).  She just led me on an uneventful chase through the house.  She was most likely getting annoyed that I had not yet invited her onto the bed and she began to sound a rather soft and deep bark at any little sound she heard while standing quite alert at the door.  Eventually I gave in and she bolted downstairs and had to look at everything.  She then wanted to go outside where she proceeded to just stand there.  When I opened the door she ran in, grabbed a ball, and reluctantly followed me back upstairs.  So here I am, in bed again.  Tyler is in the basement playing a computer game.  So we're three floors apart.  Wow.

Today Tyler mowed the backyard. I was supposed to mow the front but Tyler had to fix up the lawnmower so it would run more smoothly and we were nearly out of daylight and I was nearly out of energy by that point so it didn't happen. It's now on my weekend list. Instead I spent some time weeding the garden and digging up chunks of grass and dandelions from the boulevard in front where I have planted some perennials. After everything I didn't want was gone I filled in the section south of our sidewalk with extra mulch taken from our community garden. It's a step in the right direction. The most exciting next step, in my opinion, is a new fence.

So... on to the point of this post. Tonight dinner was nothing special as I spent much of my energy outside and was out of one of the main ingredients for the dinner I was supposed to prepare tonight. We just had spaghetti. BUT while cooking the sauce I decided to run outside and grab some fresh basil from the garden and toss it in. Yum! And THEN I ran outside and grabbed a ton of fresh spinach from the garden and cleaned it up. I made two bowls and Tyler and I both created some dressing. Mine included olive oil, apple cider vinegar, parsley, and oregano. Quite yummy! I'm not sure about Tyler's. It was just amazing to run into the backyard and grab some food. In my typical negative looking into the future thinking I have to say: I wish I could do this all year round. But how about I calm my brain down and just enjoy the food I have growing in the backyard and not worry about winter until it gets here. Goodness Emma, calm down.

Below are some photos of food. The beef & vegetable soup from last night (which Tyler enjoyed very much, and again for lunch today), the spinach after being washed, and my bowl of spinach and dressing. mmmmmmm!



Check out this animated gifs - I can't help but stare!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dog days of May

This blog has been on the tip top of my brain since I last posted. Imagine that! However I have had THE busiest work week in my 2.5 years at Fraser. Five school meetings (IEP, Kindergarten transition, etc.) for both Case Management clients and FACT clients, multiple Case Management meetings, and many first in-home meetings with families that I am now doing Direction of Behavioral Aide. The majority of these meetings have been off site so I have really racked up the miles thus far this week. The weather has been amazing so it really hasn't bothered me too much, save for being incredibly slow replying to some personal emails (sorry Melanie & Chelsea!) and having thoughts about this blog but not having a moment to breathe until now.

There is some soup cooking in the kitchen, a beef & vegetable soup, that should conveniently be done at about 10:15pm. I tend to start making dinner too late and most of what we eat is homemade so it tends to be time consuming. Tonight has proved to be wonderful for cooking as it's a refreshingly cool one! I wouldn't be surprised if you're slightly confused.. you most likely assume that it's cold here in Minnesota 365 days/year, 24 hours/day. Well my friend... you're wrong! Currently it is a refreshing 71 degrees outside. This is refreshing as the weather the past week or so has been in the 80s during the day, at least. We made it up to 97 at one point last week. The average for this time of year (a few days last week when I paid attention to the news) is 72. The current temp that day was 83 and the record (set last year in 2009) was 95! Woah! A coworker put it quite well on Monday afternoon, we just tell everyone that it's terrible and cold in MN so we don't get all kinds of weird people moving here. Not that I have much right to agree with something like that as I'm not a native Minnesotan...

While writing this I'm also updating the "news" portion of our neighborhood's website. If you haven't yet please check out UpperWHO.org! We're getting rather involved in the neighborhood here in North Minneapolis, which I love! And by we, I mostly mean me but also a little we. Tyler & I went to a meeting yesterday evening to review grant proposals for facade improvements on Broadway. It was really neat and felt great to be a part of the decision making process that will bring significant change and visual benefits to our neighborhood. :) The grants and being awarded via the West Broadway Coalition. You can learn more about them here. We met in the Northside Art's Collective space which you can learn more about here.

In conclusion, tonight we should be at a concert at The Cedar Cultural Center. I won tickets on twitter to see The Very Best. The two times that I have won tickets from vita.mn I have been extremely excited to go and very interested in the band/ensemble. However, we somehow fail to go each time. Something about it being free seems to a bit less motivating to rush through our typical routine. We were too slow when arriving home after work and I had this soup dinner scheduled so it just didn't work out. :( Yes, I had dinner scheduled. I plan our dinners weekly so there is no wondering and whining back and forth about what we should do for dinner every night. It also makes grocery shopping significantly easier and slightly more enjoyable. It also helps us stick to the budget.. sometimes. Occasionally I rush through the store and don't total it up as I go. I have recently vowed to contribute my "personal" money to the "family" money whenever I go over the allotted "food" money. We have entirely too many checking and savings accounts. :)

The end.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chlandi Singing

This is too interesting and amazing to not share. Please watch this video and click on the following link for more interesting things.

Chladni Singing from meara o'reilly on Vimeo.


This is inspiring.


I'm going to try this again.  I had good intentions the first time and they fizzled out.  I had succumbed to the thought process that often hinders me from following through my with my good intentions.  In short, I have an idea/plan/good intention.  I start out strong and something along the way causes me to get off track.  That something could be anything but usually manifests itself as my feeling too busy (feeling too busy is not the same as being too busy).  Once that process begins I either jump quickly back into that idea/plan/good intention or I get discouraged and disappointed.  The latter is what happened here.  I got discouraged and decided to never come back.  Well, that's silly.  So here I am trying again.  I suppose having a blog is not the most important thing to get myself all stressed out and risk having great disappointment in myself about.  But it is something that I would like us (tyler & myself) to have.  Seeing as we do not participate in the typical ways to stay connected via the internet (facebook & myspace) maybe this will be useful and interesting to some who wish we were connected in that way.  And now I have found the end of this long paragraph.

Right now I'm sitting in the backyard typing into Text Edit as the internet struggles to reach our concrete patio slab.  I would be upstairs sitting on the porch as I know the internet can find itself there but I'm at my post keeping an eye on the weather.  At my post?  Well, yesterday I hung up a laundry rope since our backyard came with one of those "T" shaped metal poles with hooks and metal hooks placed appropriately on the garage.  While filling the dryer with clothes this morning I remembered the rope!  I just finished hanging up the laundry but the sky looks confusing and the air feels as though rain might be on the way.  The weather was similar yesterday - you know those hot summer days when it may or may not rain but it feels like rain?  And if it does rain it could be all day or for 10 minutes or less?  I opted to risk it and hope to enjoy some air dried laundry, a slightly smaller gas bill, and the having the pleasure of know that I'm being "green".

It's amusing to watch Honey, our pup, right now.  There are squirrels in every yard but ours - which is rather smart of them.  She's peeking out the holes in our not-so-structurally-sound fence.  First looking west to the squirrels in the trees and on the garages that are slightly up hill from us.  Then running diagonally across the yard to peek through the chain link fence to the north.  She runs back to the west and then darts to the east where there is a huge gap in the fence.  Luckily she seems to know better than to escape through these holes/gaps.  Now that she's larger she can't fit through most of the holes.  She has managed to wander into the front yard on a few occasions but is quick to hop into the back as soon as she sees us or we whisper her name.

I don't have much dog experience, save for the little dog that my mom and I had in our apartment for a much too brief period of time, but I would have to say that Honey is quite intelligent.  I know - how can you trust me on that?  80% of pet owners and parents always seem convinced that their dog, cat, child, or other small thing is most intelligent than others.  But in all seriousness she learned simple commands (sit, shake, stay, high five) in her first couple of months with us.  She was potty trained almost immediately for about 9 hours at a time while we were off at work.  She rings a bell to signal whens he wants to go outside  She remembers where she puts toys.  She waits eagerly for the go-ahead when it's meal time or she wants to jump on our bed.  Of course she has her faults.  We probably fell short in the socialization department (which hopefully will not be the case when we have children!!!) and she gets incredibly excited when friends come over.  Granted she is still a puppy so certain things are to be expected.  Unfortunately this gives visitors a much different picture of her than what we experience daily.  She has got to be THE most cuddly pup you have ever experienced.  She's wonderful!  And honestly, I've never met a softer dog.  :)

I suppose it's time to make sure Tyler is waking up and get ready for church.  I'll include a few photos of the backyard.  :) (taken with photoboth so everything is backwards...)[gallery link="file" orderby="title"]