Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Hair Like Mine!"

Until today, my youngest daughter had never seen anyone who looks quite like her. She has oculocutaneous albinism, which means that although she is Chinese, she has very blonde hair, gray eyes, and pale skin. We have known for a few years that a family in the area has a granddaughter with the same condition, but the granddaughter lives in Kansas City. Well, on Friday, I ran into the grandmother in Wal-mart, and we remarked that we still really did need to get the girls together. She said, "Hey, they're coming for the family's Easter celebration- you should come and bring your kids!" So, I did.

It was so cute- as soon as she climbed out of the car, my daughter saw the other little girl and ran across the lawn to her. They hopped up and down, hugged, and one of them squealed, "She has hair LIKE MINE!" And they were instantly friends. That' my little girl on the left. I love it :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bits and Bobs

Spring is here, yay!! I decided to take some of my leftover fabric scraps from other projects and turned them into happy, springtime outfits for my younger two daughters. First, I sewed together strips of brightly colored fabric, then cut out the tops from those. I used a matching yellow for the pants, and the green hearts were cut out of little odd shaped pieces left from some pants I made for my older son. I used orange thread to make it extra bright and happy. The girls said they got lots and lots of compliments when they wore their new outfits to church!  The best part for me was the girls' smiles! Their brother decided to dub them "the little neon tetras."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pray for Japan

The kids and I have been watching in horror as the events unfold around the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We cried with Thailand and the other nations affected by that tsunami, we cried with Haiti when they experienced that devastating earthquake, and we cry with Japan as they go through this one. The world is connected, and when one place is hurt, we should all feel it.

I was very moved by a tweet page a friend of mine, who is currently teaching Japan but not near the more affected areas, sent to me called Pray for Japan. Here is one post that stood out to me:

"Last night when I was tired out waiting for the train at the station, the homeless people gave me one of their cardboards to prevent the cold... even though we usually ignore them in daily life... So warm."

Please keep Japan in your prayers!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

JieJie's Magnificently Creamy Tomato Soup

The kids brought home a school cookbook this year and JieJie was very interested in it, so I told her... pick a recipe and we'll make it for dinner! She chose a creamy tomato soup recipe and we modified it by adding extra veggies and some minced garlic... turned out FANTASTIC!! Everybody voted that next time, I need to make a double batch so they can all have seconds.  Here's my version of the recipe, so you can make some and enjoy it, too!

JieJie's Magnificently Creamy Tomato Soup

1 onion, chopped small
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. minced garlic (more if you love garlic)
1 large can tomato soup
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. paprika
2 cups milk
1/2 of a 16 oz. pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
8 oz cream cheese, cubed

In a large pan, saute onion, potatoes, margarine (or butter), basil, and garlic until potatoes and onion are soft. Add tomato soup, tomatoes, sugar, milk, and paprika. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add frozen mixed vegetables and bring to a simmer until vegetables are heated through. Mix in cream cheese until melted. Serve with oyster crackers sprinkled on top.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Out like a lion, in like a lamb, isn't that what they say? If this weather keeps up, March will definitely be in like a lion. My oldest daughter and I caught the hail on video tonight, when it was coming down like gangbusters. I'm just glad it wasn't really big enough to dent my car, so we could just marvel at the wonder of it all. I love the sound of hail on the rooftop!
When my kids and I think of hail, we think of 2006, when we were at their soccer practice, at the furthest possible place from our car, sitting on metal bleachers (which of course, you can't get under due to the possibility of lightning) and golf ball sized hail started raining out of nowhere! I don't think I have ever seen a field full of parents and kids run that fast, ever!!! I was carrying my middle daughter (then, 4) because she still couldn't walk, and I would never have believed I could have covered that much ground so quickly, while cradling a 35 pound child and trying to make sure she didn't get pelted with mega-hail!! What I marvel at, in retrospect, is that the hailstones were fairly far apart and not very many actually hit me. Thank goodness!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Surviving Snowpocalypse

Last night, the weather forecast went something like this:
In other words, cloudy with a 100% chance of snowpocalypse. We live in the far southwest part of the "these people should hit the liquor stores" swath. I already knew before I went to bed that both school and work were cancelled for the day, and so I slept in until the kids woke me up at about 7:30, then went downstairs to check the weather (the upstairs windows always cloud up and I can't see out). There was only about an inch of snow, but I noticed it was really, really COLD. Then one of the kids yelled from the back room, where our pets and downstairs bathroom are, that the lights wouldn't go on. I checked the breaker box and the lights went on. Took another 10 minutes or so for my brain to register that the heater had not also come on. Hmm... I checked the temp on the thermostat and it read that it was 10 degrees colder than it ought to be. And still not kicking on. 

I called the heating and cooling service, and they sent a tech out fairly quickly. He poked through the heater unit, made a call, then gave me both the good and bad news. Good news is that it's only the panel with all the wires that needs replacing, not the whole thing. So it will cost a few hundred, not a few thousand. Whew! Then, the wires had burned and melted, and it tripped the breaker and didn't burn the house down. Also good news. Bad news- the parts I need have to be ordered from out of area (he called all the other local heating service places just to make sure), and no freight is going through, so it'll be at least Friday before I get my heater working again. :( 

So, that was not great news but... there was only about 3" of snow at the time (we have about 10" now) so I was able to run to walmart and get a couple of space heaters so I can keep my pets warm, and the area in the living room where we most often hang out. And, my house has a separate heating/cooling system for upstairs and downstairs,. so my upstairs is toasty warm. So, it may not be the way I'd have had things go if I ran the universe, but we are inconvenienced rather than devastated, and the kids will have a story to tell their grandkids about how we weathered snowpocalypse 2010 with out heater deciding this was its time to crap out.

Funny thing, though. I discovered puppies make great space heaters. My computer is not in an area that's heated, and it's about 58F in here (people who know me well know I am always cold and prefer my house about 72 in winter, 80 in summer... so I am COLD!). I am wearing a long sweater, and rather than curl up in my lap, Dove the puppy crawled  under my sweater and behind me, and he's keeping my back all nice and toasty warm. My oldest daughter said it looks like I have a living bustle. Ah well, that is a WARM living bustle and a very nice thing to have.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Invasion of the toast people...

It's been cold this month, so we've mostly been indoors, trying to find things to do to keep ourselves amused. The kids have been watching old classics on netflix (it was the original Karate Kid movies this weekend), reading, and drawing. Today they requested eggs for dinner, so I did it a little differently... and tada... the toast people invaded...