Archive for November, 2009


guest blogger: happy birthday kindra

Happy Birthday to Kindra!  Celebrate the great day you were born! (I hope you read your blog today.)


Guest Blogger: Goldfish Racing on Thanksgiving

This year we decided to add a different kind of entertainment to our Thanksgiving festivities. We had goldfish races! Kristen suggested it and John gathered all the needed equipment: 2 gutters filled with water and caps for each end to contain the water, small pump and heater to keep the water warm enough for the fish, a table for the gutters to sit on, 2 squirt bottles filled with water, and a goldfish for each person. We set up a single elimination tournament so 2 fish raced and the winner moved on to the next bracket. You may be wondering what we did with the squirt bottles. When you put your fish in the gutter to race, you use the squirt bottle to spray the water to create a kind of current to urge your fish to head in the right direction toward the finish line at the other end of the gutter. It was crazy fun and a hit with everyone – from the teenagers to the grandparents.
My dad won with mom coming in a close second. I will try and post some photos tomorrow. The only bummer was Kindra, Derek and Alec weren’t here to join in with us. So sad!
(Just so you know, the goldfish were not harmed in any way and have all been adopted out to good homes.)


guest blogger: the monster of florence

Recommending books to others is a risky business, at least for me. What I enjoy reading gives something away about me and I’m not always sure I’m ready to share. On the flip side of that, I selfishly love to ask others for their favorite read as it gives me a peak into something a bit more personal about them. However, I have a nagging feeling to spread the word about this nonfiction book. The Monster of Florence is a retelling of the on-going investigation of the serial killer that has haunted Florence since 1968. The authors, Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, join forces in an attempt to find the horrific killer(s). This book is the suspenseful retelling of their search, loaded with Italian roadblocks and conflicting evidence. So, why do I recommend it and why now? Amanda Knox. It is not about her, but it gives you an insider’s view into Italian law and order well as the impact of media on the general public. I do not know if Amanda Knox is innocent or guilty and this is not an attempt to sway anyone’s opinion. I am just always amazed how the general public takes the news and media for the actual truth.


guest blogger: Kindra from her mom’s perspective

If you are a regular reader and/or Kindra’s friend, I thought you might be curious about Kindra’s young years. Here are a few anecdotes from her childhood.

I will never forget the time I overheard her and her little sister playing “house”. You can learn quite a bit about children if you listen to their play talk. Of course, since they mimic their parents, the lessons are really more about you as a parent. But, I digress. Kindra, always the little executive, and pretending she was the mother, announced to her make-believe family, “I’m going to the office and I have a meeting tonight.” I guess she was born with it.

Kindra loved to hang out with the adults as a child. Most of the time she would do it without us really noticing. When I did notice and told her to go play with the kids, she would eventually sneak back to eavesdrop on the conversation. She didn’t want to miss a beat.

When Kindra was in her later elementary years, she offered to help me with my busy schedule. Her suggestion was that I hire her as my assistant. You know, someone to keep track all of my appointments and responsibilities so I wouldn’t forget anything. It was in that same conversation she reminded me that my driver’s license was about to expire and needed to be renewed. I pondered how much I might pay her.

Kindra took her education very seriously – starting in kindergarten (I should know, as I was her kindergarten teacher). You can imagine her search for the perfect college. I believe she was a sophomore in high school when she announced to me that she had done research on colleges, figured out her requirements, and after an elimination process, had narrowed it down to 97 colleges. I just nodded and told her to keep narrowing.

If you’re a regular reader, you know camping is a big part of her life during the summer. I wasn’t surprised when she offered to email me her checklist for preparing for a camping trip. She didn’t miss a step. After she became engaged, she emailed me the link to the excel spreadsheet for the wedding planning.

Being Kindra’s mom is a privilege and a joy beyond what I ever imagined parenting would or could be.

Kindra writes the best thank-you notes – and the most.
She is an achiever – something I admire.
She plays hard, works hard and loves hard.
She inspires me.
She is easy to make laugh.
She loves sushi!
She is passionate.
She makes me feel like she is my biggest fan.

I am a better person because of my daughters. I think all along, from the moment they were born, they began raising me – I just pretended I was raising them.


give it up…

for our guest blogger – my mom. Take it away Mom!



Last night I watched two really disturbing shows on A&E. The first one was Intervention. I’ve seen this show before, but this episode was particularly horrible. The show followed an alcoholic mom with three children. Ok, I know I just described a million Americans, but the disturbing thing about this mom was that she drank a bottle of mouthwash a day. Apparently mouthwash has a lot of alcohol in it – I’ve never heard of people drinking mouthwash before. GROSS. Think about what that does to your body!! I seriously almost puked watching the show, it made me ill. The second show I watched was called Hoarders. This show followed a mother and her nine year-old son – both hoarders. This child was so emotionally attached to his stuff, that he had a complete emotional breakdown when they tried to throw away his “favorite cotton ball”. This seems like such a strange affliction for a child!

Seriously, what has the world come to? I think I should lay off the A&E for awhile.


yes please!


chiang rai







Normally I’m not obsessed with new gadgets and electronics – and especially cell phones. I don’t really care if I have the best, it just doesn’t matter to me. However, last week Derek brought home a new cell phone…and I want it. He got the new Motorola – Droid phone (google operating system).  It’s so intuitive and it does EVERYTHING. I’m so jealous.



Well, it was bound to happen. All the wedding planning has been going so smoothly, we were bound to have some kind of setback. Friday night, our band cancelled on us. MAN!! I was really happy to have that decision checked off the list. Oh well, back to the drawing board.


what’s cookin’?

I really enjoy cooking. Not baking – cooking. There is nothing more satisfying than trying a new recipe and proclaiming it a success! Now don’t get me confused with a foodie – because I definitely do not qualify. I doubt my pallet is very refined and I certainly don’t make complex or complicated meals. I shy away from pretentious ingredients and have been accused of under-salting my food. Nonetheless, I do enjoy it and I think I’m getting better at it! I thought I’d share a few of my favorite cookbooks, food blogs and magazine subscriptions. Do you have any favorites you want to share?



Everyday Cooking: Great Food Fast (Martha Stewart) – I love this cookbook because I’ve never been disappointed. The photos are great (a photo for every recipe), the directions are simple and the food is delicious. It’s also nice because the recipes require little time – perfect for weeknight dinners. My favorite thing about the book is that it’s organized by season – which is brilliant for those of us who like to use in-season produce.


Barefoot Contessa  (Ina Garten) – I have three of her cookbooks (The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Back to Basics and At Home)and I love perusing them and selecting my next triumph. The photos are gorgeous. The only issue with these cookbooks is that the Contessa’s recipes are really fatty and rich. Cooking too much out of these cookbooks will make you gain weight – fast.


The Food You Crave (Ellie Krieger) – This cookbook is the opposite of the Barefoot Contessa books. This book has very few photos and focuses on healthy eating. Living up to the name, Ellie showcases recipes that you love – but she focuses on maximum flavor with limited calories/fat. I’ve been impressed with these recipes, although I wish there were more pics!



Fine Cooking –

Cuisine at Home – (Thanks Kristina!)


Food Blogs

Smitten Kitchen –

101 Cookbooks  –


Here are pics from dinner the other night – lamb shanks – nummers!





I’ve had a few requests to post pics of my ring…so here it is! Didn’t it turn out beautiful?DSC_3351


a blog for anyone, but mostly for me.