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 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.