Monday, September 29, 2008

Stop traveling to catch my breath? Moi?

Yes, it's true; right on the heels of a fabulous trip to wine country, I took off with my dad and the boy to see my cousins in Michigan. It was one last hurrah before the summer officially ended. We spent Saturday at the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Empire Park. It was a perfect day & the kids had a blast!

Unfortunately all that sand had to go somewhere, and despite a thorough cleaning in the outdoor shower, we just didn't get rid of it all. Hayes wound up with some of it in his eye. After a quick trip to the ER, he came away with a corneal abrasion and some eye drops. He was a good little patient, but it was so hard not to rub that eye! No harm, no foul. Just some good clean- well maybe not so clean - fun, and loads of sand.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Have I mentioned that I love wine?

I just returned from one of the most INCREDIBLE vacations I have ever taken. It's certainly in the top 10. My good friend Amy and I spent an entire week in wine country (Sonoma, Napa, Callistoga) and did everything we could to relax and enjoy ourselves. It was amazing. We started in Sonoma -- which holds a special place in both our hearts. The Cheese Factory is the BEST place to pick up a picnic for the square.

We hit several wineries while there, including Sabastiani, Gloria Ferrer, Mondavi, Mumm, Clos du Bois, Rubicon, Biannco & Rosso, Jessup, Sausal and Korbel. It was fantastic. Sausal is definitely a new favorite of mine. I am an old vine Zin girl and this just hit the spot!

We also bit off a bit more that we could chew in the mud baths at Callistoga. I feel I am just not enough of a "California girl" to have enjoyed this the way I should have. But I will say, the effervescent jacuzzi and the massage were to DIE for. I could go back again and again for that. The facility looked a bit scary, but we pulled through.

I can't wait to go back. Next time we take the family so we can go on the Safari together at Safari West. In fact, I would love to stay in their tent cabins. Can you imagine? This giraffe tried to kiss everyone in the jeep! It was surreal being so close to these animals! I loved it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When she was good she was very good...

You know, when I don't want to kill her, I really do love her. She can be so sweet.

But she's not really foolin' Jezzy, is she?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A bit odd if you ask me...

I admit it: I am a webkins mom. I love to play the games, hunt for gems, the whole shmear. But what are the odds of getting this message? I mean, really?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Putting Food By

I have been working hard to preserve what I can of this year's produce. It's been an on-going task and certainly a time consuming one. But there is something so marvelous in putting up food that I grew and processed myself. So far this year I have:
  • frozen 4 quarts of blueberries
  • frozen 6 quarts of green beans
  • frozen 4 quarts of strawberries (the harvest was slim this year)
  • canned 12 quarts of tomatoes
  • canned 12 pints of blueberry jam (2 of which were sugar-free)
  • canned 4 pints of sugar-free strawberry jam
  • canned 6 pints of applesauce
  • canned 6 quarts of salsa
Not to mention all the wonderful salads and sorbets we have made this summer. I love doing this. I feel like it is one of the most meaningful contributions I am making to my family. I am so lucky to get to do it. I hope there will be much more to come. We are hoping to try mincemeat before the last frost gets everything.

Friday, September 05, 2008

New Background!

I finally figured out how to create my own blog background! I'd love your feedback on it.

prayer to the election gods...

Dear gods of the election,

I know it's lame (perhaps as lame as making your election choice based on who the first lady will be), but I can't bear the thought of not being able to listen to the State of the Union address for 4 more years. Please, election gods, let there be a new president who can deliver a speech that does not put the electorate to sleep. Please, oh please, oh please.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Scrapbook Layout #985

Actually, I don't know how many I have done. I just liked this one and thought I'd share.

Politics, as usual?

I was trying to wait until both conventions were over to post about them, but last night was my tipping point. I just have too much to say not to comment.

First, the Democrats are my party; so let there be no secret about it -- I love Barack Obama; I will be voting for Barack Obama; I think he is the best thing to happen to this nation in a very long time.

I could go on and on about how fabulous Ted Kennedy is and how gracious Hillary was in her speech, but instead, I'll just point out the parts of his speech that struck me as true, as right, and as good for our country. Here's what Obama said:

We are a better country than this...

Let there be no doubt that the Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform his country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect. And next week we'll also hear about those occasions when he has broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need. But the record is clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90% of the time...

It's not because John McCain doesn't care, it's because John McCain doesn't get it. For over two decades he subscribed to that old discredited Republican philosophy: give more and more to those with the most, and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington they call this the ownership society. But what it really means is that you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you're on your own. No health care? The market will fix it, you're on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don't have boots, you're on your own...

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems. But what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education, keep our water clean and our toys safe, invest in new schools and new roads and science and technology. Our government should work for us not against us, it should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who is willing to work...

I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies who create jobs right here in America. I'll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow. I will cut taxes for 95% of all working families...

In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East...As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America...And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power, and solar power and the next generation of biofuels -- an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced...

If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most. Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave...

I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy...

We must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents, that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework, that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children...

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances...As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation...

I will not suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that pople cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism... So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain...

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country...

The reality of gun-ownership may be different for hunters in Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals...

I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and the live lives free of discrimination...

I just want to point out that he is a man with specific ideas, who talks straight and who respects all people. What's not to love?

Second, Sarah Palin is AMAZING! I am so glad she is not the presidential nominee, because I'd be re-examining my commitment to Obama. What an incredible speech. She's a small town girl with a knack for politics and seems to be true to her ideals. What a team she and Obama would make! Too bad we don't live in a time like Lincoln's where members of opposing parties worked together in Washington.

I just have a small bone to pick with Ms. Palin: she mocked Obama's experience as a community organizer. But community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies. They give voice to the voiceless. Don't mock that.

John McCain has a tough act to follow.