Sunday, November 30, 2008

Train Cake

Tonight we are celebrating the birthdays of my sister in law, two brothers in law, and a nephew. (We'll celebrate three more birthdays in December. That's a ton of birthdays for this time of year. My mother in law got to the point where she was threatning to kidnap her children to her house for the months of March and April to prevent and more December birthdays from joining the family. LOL)

My nephew is turning three, and is becoming a train fanatic. It's a bit nostalgic for me, as M was a huge Thomas nut for years, and is just barely recovering from it.

I am charge of dessert, so I made an egg free, nut free train cake:

I realize it is definitely not professional quality, but I don't think you *CAN* get an allergen free cake from a bakery. At least not at a price I am willing to pay. I usually do my egg/nut free cakes from scratch, but I am still feeling tired from Thanksgiving, and used mixes. The engine is a funfetti cake, and the cars are chocolate. Instead of using eggs, I used 1/3 c. applesauce per egg (so I used 1 c. applesauce per mix, as each mix called for 3 eggs). I don't think it rose nearly as much, but it was pretty close. It also seemed wet. I don't know how it'll taste until I eat a piece tonight. Let's hope it tastes good.

I also took the lazy way out on Thomas' face. I did a Thomas cake for M, and the face was pretty much impossible to make look "right". So, I printed up a color picture of Thomas, cut out his face. Then, I "laminated" it using packing tape so that the butter in the frosting wouldn't leave grease marks on the face.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why my husband is grounded from his Rhino

He swears he was driving in a safe and cautious manner.

Hmmm. Do we believe him? Let's review. Photo from a trip he took back in May. (he is looking over my shoulder now and commenting he doesn't even have "good" pictures from the trip in May. Perhaps I should check him for brain damage, as that is NOT a bright thing to mention just now...)

Here's a couple photos from trips he took with my dad and my father in law last month.

Cautious and safe? Uh huh. Sure. At least they wear helmets and seat belts.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sad ending to a happy day

I took a whole bunch of wonderful photos of all the yummy food I cooked for Thanksgiving. I was all set to post them tonight, but we made a sad discovery.

K's leopard gecko has died. She has not been eating well for a couple months and has seemed sluggish. I have worried a bit about it, but several google searches have assured me that it's common for a leopard gecko to go somewhat dormant in the wintertime, so I decided to not fret. I didn't remember her doing it this much last winter, but I am a bit senile, so who knows?

We got home tonight and discovered she was gone. Poor K is pretty upset about it. We put the gecko in a tissue box, and we'll bury her tomorrow. I have offered to buy her a new gecko, but I'm not sure if she'll do it right away or not.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have to admit I am a huge fan of the book series. I have read them all multiple times, and own all of them.

I am going to the movie tomorrow night. A girlfriend and I are dragging our husbands to the movie by promising them dinner first.

I always like the books better than the movie, but I am still really looking forward to the movie. I do have to admit I am a bit disappointed with their casting of Edward. While I like Cedric (Robert Pattinson played Cedric in the Harry Potter movies), I got a glimpse of Henry Cavill, who was Stephenie Meyer's original choice for the movie. Oh. My. Gosh. I developed the biggest starcrush on him immediately.

For comparison, here is Robert Pattinson:

And here is Henry Cavill.

Be still my heart!

Am I alone in wishing that Mr. Cavill got the part? Don't get me wrong, I think Robert Pattinson is a very talented actor, and he will make a good Edward. I was perfectly happy with him as Edward til I saw Henry Cavill.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Before I Eat

More horses in the yard

When speaking to G yesterday, I told her that we were ok with the horses being tethered in the back portion of our yard to graze. They had hung up the phone by then, so I didn't know if they had heard that or not.

I halfway expected them to approach us yesterday when we were outside and talk to us about it. But, they did not acknowledge us in any way, shape or form.

Just now, I glanced out the back yard, and this is what I see:

I guess they took us up on the offer. I am more than happy to provide pasture, I have been worried about the horses. But, I would've been happier if the horse owners had talked to us before hand, if nothing else, just to tell us how wonderful and generous we are. We also would've been open to them temporarily changing the fencing arrangements to allow the horses free rein (heh heh) of the back part of our yard.

Oh well, I guess this just makes it tougher for them- doing it this way, they have to babysit the whole time they're in our yard to make sure they won't wander off.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chasing Horses

Our next door neighbors are boarding three sweet horses. Two mares and an older filly. Both of the mares are pregnant. They are all very nice, friendly horses. Unfortunately, they are also very hungry. They have quickly almost decimated the weeds/grass in their yard. I've seen the horses' owners bringing hay in, but apparently it wasn't enough.

This morning as I was loading kids into the car, I glanced over and saw one of the mares in our neighbor's front yard. I told the kids I was sure she was tethered there so she could get to some fresh grass. As we drove by, however, I could tell she was NOT tied up. So, I stopped the car and knocked on my neighbor's door.

"Hey, G, guess what you have in your front yard?"

"Um, what?"

"A horse!"


I got an apple from her to lure the horse back to the fenced part of the yard while she called the horse's owners. The horse was happy to see me, and followed me back. She had bent a fence post just enough to get through. It was tight enough that I didn't see an easy way to convince her to go back into the fenced portion. So, I gave her the apple. She finished, and then saw our back yard, full of grass and alfalfa. She made a beeline for it.

Meanwhile, her fellow horses had noticed she was out, and they were going a little crazy, calling to her.

By this time, my kids are very nearly late to school, so I had to go. When I got home, all horses were back in their yard.

I told my neighbor that the horse owners were welcome to tether the horses in our yard to give them a little something extra to eat. I hope they take me up on it. I have been genuinely concerned about whether or not the horses are getting enough.

Friday, November 14, 2008

So excited I could cry!

We found a last minute killer deal on a cruise. J and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend seven days in the Caribbean for under $250 per person, so we booked yesterday!!!! We are going sans kids. My parents are taking them the bulk of the time (Thank you mom and dad!!!) with my grandma taking them two of the kids two nights, and my sister in law taking the other two for two nights (Thank you grandma and K!!!!). We get back home just in time for Christmas!

I am so excited about this. The last two trips J and I have taken alone, I have been in early pregnancy, and had a tendency to vomit if jostled or carried across more than one time zone.

So, if you have been to Samana, St. Thomas, Tortola or Great Stirrup Cay, I would love love love to hear your opinions on what we should see.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I guess it's bound to happen to nearly every little girl. I never cut my own hair, but I've gotten the impression that's the exception, not the rule. My girls seem to be intent on playing out that rule.

S grabbed the scissors off the kitchen counter and gave herself a little trim tonight. This is how it looks if I hold the upper portion of her hair back.

And if I leave it alone.

Either having four children has made me numb to getting too upset about this sort of thing, or the fact that K gave herself what seemed to be a much worse haircut has made me not terribly upset about the whole thing. Sure, I'm not thrilled, but I don't think it's that noticeable.

To refresh your memory, here is a picture of K the evening after she cut her hair.

K had been in the process of growing her bangs out. They were driving her crazy. Because she'd been asking me to cut her hair, I was suspicious of her, so I'd been hiding the scissors on top of the fridge. She snuck downstairs, and gave herself a little trim. When she saw all the hair on the floor, I think she realized she'd done a bad thing. To try and hide the evidence, she used the handvac (seen in the picture) to try to get rid of the hair. She also scooped up hair and threw it in the garbage. The noise of the vacuum was what tipped me off to what was going on, and she was caught.

I won't lie. I was seriously upset. It didn't help that my mom laughed until she cried. She swore it would be funny one day. Well, I guess it is a little funny now, but it sure wasn't at the time.

If nothing else, it's made me take S's haircut in stride, because I know all too well it can be worse.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My car bling

I was trying to explain the decorations I have on the back of my car to a friend, and found that there's not nearly enough pictures on the internet, so I'm adding to it.

First off, here's the back of my car:

Explanation: In Japan, they have stickers or magnets available in stores for people to purchase. I chose to buy magnets so that I could remove them if I wanted. The one on the left (the green and yellow sticker) indicates that the person driving the vehicle is an inexperienced driver. It's basically the Japanese equivalent of a "student driver" sign. The sticker on the right tells the other drivers that the person driving the car is elderly.

People were very considerate in general in Japan, but I noticed that people with either sticker in their car were given an extra wide berth and consideration.

So, this is my idea of a joke. The idea of a really, really old person deciding to learn to drive strikes me as a very scary idea. I know that most older people are very excellent drivers. They tend to be more cautious and cool headed than their younger counterparts. Unfortunately, there does come a time when a person needs to hang up their car keys. I promise that I am not prejudiced against the elderly, or elderly drivers. I just thought it would be kind of funny, conceptually. Unfortunately, very, very few people "get" the joke, since they don't know what those stickers symbolize.

For the record, I did not have either of these on my car in Japan. I figured it was scary enough for the Japanese people to see a gaijing (foreigner) driving on their roads, no need to terrorize them more with these stickers on my car!

Friday, November 7, 2008

From Z

I know this isn't really remarkable for anyone else, but I thought it was cute/funny.

This morning, Z woke up. It was early, so I was hoping he would go back to sleep, so I was holding off going to him. After a couple minutes, he started yelling, "Mommy, come get me!" Clear as day. I was impressed.

A million times a day, he'll call out "Mommy?" and I'll answer, "What?" and then he'll jabber away unintelligibly.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I painted S's fingernails a couple days ago. Yesterday, she came to me in a panic, reporting that her "nail paint was melting off", and we needed to paint them again.

I hate it when I get really irritated with someone, working up a good steam of irritability at them, and then they go and do something very sweet and kind. Talk about feeling petty.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Obama

It is official. The next president of the United States will be Barack Obama. I liked his plans for healthcare, the economy and Iraq, so he got my vote. Not that it mattered, living in Utah, and having the antiquated, outdated, and totally useless electoral college still in place. Even if it was simply popular vote, my beloved husband cancelled out my vote. He is less than thrilled, but accepting.

I was impressed with both McCain's and Obama's speeches last night. Very gracious. I do have a bit more hope for the future. I really wasn't at all excited about either candidate in 2004, so it was refreshing to feel like either candidate was going to be an improvement.

I've been watching a lot of the election aftermath on tv. It's all about race. I think that's a shame, and that it cheapens Obama's victory. Yes, he is African-American, and this is a HUGE step in the right direction to fight racism in America. I can understand that, and it is very exciting. But, I'd like to think he won based on his merits, not his skin color. If he was elected simply because he was black, that is just as racist as the water fountains for "coloreds". Sure, it's racist in a way that benefits him. I don't know. I guess I just hope that our country has moved to a point where it wouldn't matter. I know that's not the case, but I can dream, right?

To quote Martin Luther King Jr: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I voted for Obama because of the content of his character. His skin color was not something that was voting criteria for me.

In other news, California had two propositions that really interested me. Proposition 8 was a ban on gay marriage. Unfortunately, it appears the gay marriage ban will pass. I am really disappointed. I loved Barbara Young's quote, and it illustrated my views perfectly: "We believe all families matter, and we do not believe in discrimination, therefore, our family will vote against Proposition 8." Utah passed a similar ban a couple years ago, and as much as I wanted that ban to fail, I wasn't entirely surprised. I thought for sure that CA would be more supportive.

The other proposition was Proposition 2,
which was calling for more humane housing for meat animals. It looks like it passed with 63% voting for it. I am glad to see that animals will have more humane housing. I'm sure meat prices will take a hit, but it's worth it to me. Of course, I have been buying free range/hormone/antibiotic free beef for a couple years already. We buy our beef from a friend of J's. He raises them as a side job. They are grass fed til the end, free range. Towards the end, he feeds them grain to fatten them up. When it's time to be slaughtered, the butcher comes to the field, and shoots the animal there. No traumatic transport to a slaughterhouse, no inhumane slaughtering techniques. I feel good about it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Littles Halloween Costumes

I already posted pictures of the older two in costume. M didn't let me paint his face for real halloween, so it wouldn't have been worth taking a picture of him on the big day anyway.

Here is S. She has pants under her dress so that she wouldn't freeze. We also ended up putting a turtleneck on underneath as well.

This was the warmest Halloween I have ever remembered. It was so nice. No coats to ruin the costumes, no numb fingers or toes, no crying kids
because they're cold.

Z was initially opposed to the idea of putting on a costume and trick or treating. Maybe it was because we lost his plastic pumpkin, and he was using a buc
ket with Easter Eggs all over it? Anyway, once he realized all these people were giving him "Can-nee", he was all over trick or treating, and had a blast.