Friday, February 25, 2011

The Brick Wall of Irony

Hey Humble Readers...

I mentions quite some time ago that I have been working on my geneology.  I know, given my relationship with my bio family, it's odd that I want to do this, but I have my reasons.

First and foremost, I want Ginny to know where she comes from.  When she's old enough, I will tell her about my bio-fam, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it, after all. 

Secondly, and probably the most driving force for me at the moment, is the violin.  An heirloom violin that has been passed down on my bio-mom's side of the family since 1893.  It was made by one of my ancestors, and I would love to know more about him and how the violin made it's way to me. 

I know that the violin was made by Frederick Barnes of Accrington, England.  My great-grandfather, also named Frederick, is either Frederick Barnes' grandson or grand-nephew.  I have been using a very well known geneology website, but I am good and thoroughly stumped. 

I can find Frederick Barnes in Accrington, in the right time frame, but I can't find anything about his siblings, or about his children past 1891.  When did they emmigrate to North America?  Did they come straight to Canada or did they come in through the US?  And I can't find anything about my great-grandfather at all.  Part of the problem is that he used a nickname for most of his life, and that makes finding any records of him challenging.  I keep coming up against brick wall after brick wall.

And the ultimate kicker is, I know that my bio-mom knows some stuff that might point me in the right direction. 


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Randomness & Updates

Good Morning Humble Readers!

So, I have a question... what are the odds that Ginny's first word is going to be 'gesundheit'?  The poor wee girl has been sneezing up a storm.  Basically, if she's awake, she's sneezing.  At least it's moving that nasty congestion through.  I think she likes the sneezes, because she smiles like crazy after she does it.  And I've become very adept at booger mining (with a tissue of course) in her little nose.  Whoddathunkit?

It took almost three months, but Ginevra has finally learned how to suck her thumb.  She didn't do it in utero, at least not on any of the gazillion ultrasounds I had.  And of course, being my child, she has to do things in the oddest way possible.  To get an idea of how she sucks her thumb, hold your hand in front of your face, palm to nose.  Insert thumb into mouth.  Rest palm on tip of nose.  Keep fingers extended.  Tap fingers on eyelids and forehead. 

Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post.  For the time being, I'm not going to go see her.  Call it chickening out, but I decided to use my lingering cold as the reason.  They don't allow people with colds into the ICU, right?  Right?  (I never claimed to be a brave person.)  I called and checked in with the nurses last night, and she's responding well to treatment and they are hoping to wean her from the ventilator sometime today or tomorrow.  They have my number at the nurses station if anything changes drastically.  At this point, I'm hoping that she recovers to a point where she can be transferred back to the little hospital in the town where she lives. 

I made some buns yesterday that I'm pretty proud of.  They taste really great, even if they don't look all that perfect.  I'm still really new to bread baking, but I never guessed how hard it is to shape dough.  First the pizza, now buns.  Anyone care to share some tips?  (And how do I keep myself from binging on fresh baked bread?)

I know I've said it before, but I love ICLW!  I've come across some great new-to-me blogs and added a few to my blogroll.  The breadth and depth of this community never ceases to astound me.

My new favourite pic of our wee girl... taken at Gramma's house last weekend.

Doesn't she just look like she's up to no good?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gamgee Family Drama

Hey Humble Readers...

If you've taken a peak at my 'Cast of Characters' tab, or if you've been around long enough to pick up on it, my family is a bit complicated.  There's my foster family who is the family of my heart... and then there's my bio family.  *sigh*  They generally suck my will to live with all the unhealthy emotional garbage that they perpetuate. 

Because of their continuing dysfunction (and I don't count myself as blameless in the mess) and their on-going co-dependance, I chose to separate myself from them many years ago.  Our only contacts since then have been random and initiated by them (they like to show up at my workplace unannounced).  They weren't at my wedding, and they don't know about Ginny or our previous pregnancies. 

Tonight we got a phone call.  Apparently someone gave my brother my Beloved's cell phone number.  It turns out my bio-mom is in the ICU at our hospital with pneumonia.  She lives in a little town a couple of hours away and ours is the closest ICU.  I've spoken with the nurses and she's very ill, but it's unlikely to be life threatening with proper treatment.  They intubated her this morning and she's on all the meds she should be.  She will recover, but it's going to take awhile.

The tricky situation I'm in now revolves around going to see her (as the only family member in town, I am feeling obligated to go).  Thankfully, they only allow immediate family into the ICU, and of course children aren't permitted, so I don't have to immediately deal with not introducing her to my child.  I chose to remove myself from her life, but what does that mean for Ginevra?  I don't want Ginny exposed to their chaos, and honestly I would much rather they all remain ignorant of Ginny's existance... at least for the time being. 

I won't lie to her.  If she asks, I will tell her we have a child.  But I really don't want to have to get into everything with her, while she's in the hospital.  I also don't want her to think I'm inviting her into my life.  Argh! 

I'm feeling torn, guilty, and defensive.  Not to mention pissed off for being in this position in the first place.  And guilty for feeling pissed off. 

And I don't know what to do...

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: The Cold Goes Ever On & On

Good Morning Humble Readers...

So, just when I was thinking we were past the worst of this crud, it's come back and landed squarely in sweet Ginevra's sinuses.  The poor wee girl woke herself (and me) up at 3am with some sort of combination sneezles and coughs.  She seems to be only moderately congested, but this is certainly a new experience in feeling helpless.  I've tried using the nasal aspirator, but I don't seem to be getting anything.  Steam is next on the list if she gets worse.  Thankfully, she doesn't have a fever, and she's her smiley self this morning.  I'll take any suggestions on how to help her.

Okay, so looking at another type of cold... you would think that after all this time, we might merit a break from the cold and snow, or that I'd be used to it.  I'd love to have a day above freezing.  That's the thing about this time of year, I start going crazy for warmer weather.  This morning isn't quite as cold as it has been... only -10C but it's snowing AGAIN!  I love Canada, and being Canadian... but really, enough is enough of this winter crap!

I think Ginny laughed for the first time yesterday.  It was just three little notes, but it sure sounded like a laugh.  What a beautiful noise!

In my current quest to discover new foods and eat healthier, I have come across a new favourite.  How is it that I have lived in Canada for 4/5 of my life and somehow have never had Red River Hot Cereal?  It's awesome, people!  Whole grain wheat, rye, and flax... that's it.  Super low on the glycemic index, low in carbs and high in fiber.  Amazingly easy to cook up and tastes so much better than oatmeal.  Do you think they need a spokesperson? 

We have a new little person in our extended family.  Do you all remember that wedding we went to last summer?  For one of my Beloved's nephews?  Well they were just newly pregnant when they got married, and wee "Thor" (the first great-grandchild) arrived just about two weeks ago... 7 weeks early.  A's water broke in the middle of the night, and after what sounds like a very hectic/chaotic journey to the hospital in the big city 2 hours south of us, the little man arrived.  Thor was less than 4 pounds when he was born, but he's living up to his nickname and is getting stronger every day.  He's been transferred back to our hospital and is in the special care nursery.  We won't get to meet him for a few more weeks, but I've seen pictures and he looks like a wee little piece of his daddy fell off and just grew.  The one tragedy... they had to shave off most of his hair so that they could place the IVs and things on his scalp.  He's sporting a pretty sweet mohawk tho. 

The pizza dough turned out pretty good last night.  The recipe was easy enough and I was able to make it in the bread machine.  What I struggled with was shaping the dough, making it fit the pan at an even thickness without putting holes in it.  Any of you cooking superstars have any suggestions for next time? 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday: Long Weekend Brunch

Good Morning Humble Readers!

Lori at Write Mind Open Heart defines a perfect moment as "noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." Every Monday bloggers from all over the blogosphere pause to be mindful of the perfect moments that happen when we aren't even trying.

Last week was pretty rough on our little hobbit/ent faamily.  When we got back from K-town, I ended up with a brutal head cold.  I hadn't had a real cold in over a year, so this hit me pretty hard.  Foggy head, dizzy, feverish... not to mention going through a ridiculous amount of kleenex.  Then sweet little Ginny got some sort of tummy issue that caused some pretty serious projectile vomitting (she gets a gold medal for distance).  And finally, my Beloved seems to have come down with a combination tummy-head cold thing that's making him not his usual happy-go-lucky entish self. 
Ginny and I are both on the mend now, and seeing as it's a long weekend here on the frozen flatland, I decided I would do something that usually happens only two or three times a year... I made brunch! 
Okay, so it was just a brunch casserole, but it happens so rarely that I had to brag about it!  It's taken me a few rounds of experiments, but I've finally found the combination of ingredients that we really like.  It's super easy.
Mrs. Gamgee's Brunch Casserole
6 large eggs
2 cups ricotta cheese (one container)
1 pound breakfast sausage, casings removed
1 med onion, diced
2 med tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
3-4 cups frozen hashbrowns (diced or shredded)
1/4 butter, melted
Shredded cheese (cheddar, mozza, whatever)
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a lightly greased 9x13 pan, spread out hashbrowns until bottom of pan is covered.  Pour melted butter over hashbrowns evenly, and bake for 45 minutes (until golden brown).  Brown and crumble the sausage, with the onion, and drain well.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, ricotta, spinach, tomatoes and a handful of shredded cheese.  Add in sausage and onions, and stir until just combined.  Pour over hashbrowns, and sprinkle another handful of shredded cheese over the top.  Bake for one hour.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. 
I wish I had a picture to share.  I totally forgot to grab the camera.  This recipe is totally flexible.  You can use cottage cheese in place of ricotta (drain off most of the whey), and any veggies you like can be used.  You can bake the potato crust and mix the egg/sausage part the night before, and then just pour it over the potatoes in the morning.  Sooooo good!  It's appalling how much of this my Beloved and I can eat.  And the leftovers reheat really nicely in the microwave. 
Feeling good enough to cook brunch is my perfect moment of the week.  What's yours? 

I'm trying my hand at making my own pizza dough tonight.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

February ICLW - The ABCs of Me (Take 3)

Howdy Humble Readers, and welcome ICLW visitors!

I came across this meme the other day over on Laurie's blog, the Panda Diaries, and I really liked it.  I've done ABCs before, but this one had the alphabet subjects already laid out for you, so it's a heck of a lot easier, especially when it comes to the X, Y & Z. 

So, some randomness about me...

A-AGE: 36... how in the world did that happen?  College seems like it was just last year.

B – BED SIZE:  We have a queen. When we got married and bought our new bed, we specifically decided against a king because we wanted to be close to each other.  Now, four years in, I think we should have gotten a king size.  We're both big people, and my Beloved is a big time bed hog (though he denies it). 

C-CHORE YOU HATE: Laundry!  I hate hate HATE laundry!  It's never ending and it takes forever!

D-DREAM JOB: Honestly I don't know.  I'd like to cook professionally, but it's a brutal industry.  I dream of writing novels, but lack the perserverance.  Own my own bookstore... not likely in this day and age.

E-ESSENTIAL START YOUR DAY ITEM:  My glasses.  I actually sleep with my glasses on.  I have anxiety issues about my vision.  I couldn't function without them.  I've tried contacts, but I've worn glasses for 30 years, and contacts weirded me out. 


G-GOAL IN LIFE:  Lose enough weight to be able to shop for clothes in any store I want.

H-HEIGHT: 5'4.5" (with my shoes on)  I always wanted to be 5'5''

I-INSTRUMENTS YOU PLAY:  Does the radio count?  I took piano lessons when I was in college, but it didn't last.

J-JOB TITLE: SAHM right now.  My former job title was ACEM (Assistant Customer Experience Manager)

K-KIDS:  My beautiful Ginevra!  But you knew that... I also have two angel-babies: Emily Hope & Olivia Noelle

L-LIVE: In a small city, smack dab in the middle of two big cities on the frozen flatland.  It's not my ideal locale, but it's home.

M-MAJOR IN COLLEGE: Bachelor of Arts in Youth & Family Ministry, with a minor in Christian Education

N-NICKNAMES: Good heavens... too many!  The ones that stand out... an aunt called me Fred for years.  In college people called me by my first initial.

O-OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAYS:  When I had Ginny & when I was 4 I had to spend a week in a childrens hospital for extensive testing.

P-PET PEEVE:  Currently my biggest pet peeve is people who don't shovel their walks!  Grrrr!  I hate taking my life into my hands when I go to the grocery store.

Q-QUOTE FROM MOVIE: I guess my all-time favourite applies to both books and movies, and it's up in the right column up there.  The one from Return of the King.  But I watched "The Color Purple" the other night, and there is a fabulous quote near the end... "It must piss God off if someone walks past the color purple in a field and don't even notice it." 

R-RIGHT OR LEFT HANDED:  Right.  Funny thing about me:  I'm dyslexic, and the only way I can tell left from right is that there's a callus on my right hand from holding a pen.

S-SIBLINGS:  Bio: one sister (33) and one brother (31).  Foster: one sister (35)  I have also had an assortment of step siblings.

T-TIME YOU WAKE UP:  Currently, between 7:30 & 8:00.  Ginny sleeps amazingly well which is a huge blessing.

U-UNDERWEAR: Always colourful

V-VEGETABLE YOU DISLIKE: Okra, lima beans, creamed corn (I can't tell you how much I hated church potlucks when I lived in the South!)

W-WHAT MAKES YOU RUN LATE: I procrastinate, so I end up running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get all our gear together.  Pre-Ginny it was looking for my cell phone or keys.

X-X-RAYS YOU’VE HAD DONE:  A chest x-ray a few years ago, the HSG I had done a couple of years ago, a number of x-rays of my bladder & kidneys in my childhood, and countless ultrasounds

Y-YUMMY FOOD YOU MAKE:  I can't decide... you should check out the Larder tab for some great recipes. 


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Overdue Post #1 - Our Trip to Kelowna

Hey Humble Readers!

I'm planning on doing a few posts that are long overdue, starting with the most recent and working backwards.  I want to get these posts finished and out there, so that I have them to remember. 
So, the trip last week was fabulous and far too short.  We flew out on Friday, the 4th, and Ginny is an airplane super star!  Granted it's a short flight, only about an hour, but she slept the whole way there and back with nary a peep out of her.  When the plane took off I was praying that the pressure changes wouldn't hurt her ears too much, and all she did was suck on my finger.  Not even a whimper.

My mom met us at the airport, along with Zman (my former-foster-step-nephew) who is the sweetest 16 year old boy out there.  He was so excited to meet his new little cousin.  He wanted to take her out of the car seat right away, but we talked him into waiting until we got home.  Sadly, I didn't get any pics of the two of them together, and we didn't see him again while we were out there.  But he was just so into holding her and making her smile, it was awesome.

The week was a lot of visiting and going out for brunches and lunches with family.  These pics are from brunch when Ginevra met my Grandma & Grandpa F (Dad's parents). 

Mama & Ginny havin' brunch

Great-Grandma Dodo & Ginny

Great-Grandpa Won & Ginny (don't listen to his tall tales baby girl)

Papa & Ginny
When my parents moved a couple of years ago, they got rid of all the baby stuff they had from when Oscar & Felix (my sister's kids) were wee, so we had to improvise where Ginny would sleep.  The laundry basket worked double duty as a bed and as a bouncy chair (when padded with a pillow). 
Maxin' and relaxin'
My mom threw a little baby shower for us, so that more people could get to meet Ginevra.  It was just a little get together, but everyone was so generous and so incredibly taken with Ginny.  My favourite moment was when my cousins D & H met her.  I came into the family when they were preschoolers, and now they're all grown up and ooh-ing over my little girl. 
Ginny and her cousin D

Mom and Dad babysat one evening so that my Beloved and I could go out.  We had a nice casual dinner and went to a movie (the Kings Speech - totally rocked!!!).  For the first hour that we were away from her, I felt a little panicky, even though I knew that she would be just fine with my parents.  After that, I seemed to be able to mellow out and enjoy myself.
Ginny with Auntie J, and cousins D & H

Mom and I cooked a ton of good food together, something that I miss tremendously.  We made ribs & chicken in our homemade bbq sauce, I taught her how to make my chicken curry with quinoa and she showed me a great new cake recipe.  We drank some really good wine.  Man I miss having her close by.

Overall, it was a quick and uneventful trip, but I'm so glad that we got to go.  I know some day they'll live closer to us, but for now we have to cherish the brief times we get to spend together.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kinda Freaky Realization

Humble Readers, something hit me last night...

Those of you who have been walking this road with me for a while may recall the baby dream that I had just before we lost our second angel-baby, Olivia Noelle.  For those who are newer co-journey-ers with me, the basics are:

I dreamed that we were at the little grocery store across the back lane from our building, introducing our newborn little girl to all the cashier ladies.  Somehow during the dream we managed to 'misplace' or lose our new little girl.  I was frantic.  I was racing all over the store, looking for her everywhere, but I just couldn't find her.  In the dream, I was heartbroken, sobbing and bawling over our misplaced baby.  But then my Beloved walked up to me, carrying a baby, but it was a different baby.  He said to me, 'I know we lost our little girl, but here's another that can be ours'.  The little girl was dark haired, with a little round face, and beautiful blue eyes. 

Now, I'm not one to put a whole lot of stock in dreams.  I mean, they are what they are.  I honestly just thought it was my mind's way of dealing with the fears I had of having a second miscarraige.  And, after the miscarraige happened, in my heart I kind of clung to that dream as a hope that maybe there would be a baby in our lives some day. 

Fastforward just over two years...

A beautiful little dark haired little girl with a round face and stunning blue eyes. 

(For the record, I really didn't think that any child that came from my body would have dark hair, much less have hair of any sort, as all babies in my family are either blonde or bald.  I totally forgot to take my Beloved's family into account.)

Kinda freaky...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Valentine's Day Dinner

Hey Humble Readers...

This crud that I picked up while on vacation is currently kicking my tail.  It's currently sitting in my throat and ears... ugh.  So far, Ginny is appearing to be immune, which is a blessing.

But I wasn't going to let a cold keep me down last night when it came to making dinner.  Due to our financial situation, we agreed that we were only going to do a fancy dinner at home and exchange cards this year for V-day.  So, back in mid January I started looking for something new and outstanding to rock my Beloved's tastebuds.  And this is what I found...

Mediterranean Chicken in Puff Pastry

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and cut in half
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (of similar size)
2 cups of spinach, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Egg, beaten

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.  Roll out, on a lightly floured board, one half of the puff pastry until it is almost triple the size of your chicken breast.  In the center of the puff pastry, place 1/2 cup of spinach.  Top with chicken breast.  Spread one tablespoon of basil pesto on chicken breast, then sprinkle with half of the sundried tomatoes and feta cheese.  Sprinkle with a pinch of oregano and thyme.  Top with 1/2 cup spinach.  Bring sides of pastry up and press/roll together tightly.  Do the same to each end, so that the pastry forms a packet around the chicken.  Place wrapped chicken on baking sheet, seam side down.  Repeat all steps with second chicken breast.  Using a sharp knife, slice 2 or 3 small slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.  Brush both packets lightly with beaten egg and put in the oven.  Bake for 40 minutes, until the pastry is nice and golden.  To serve, cut each packet in half on an angle and stack on a plate. 

What they looked like fresh from the oven.... YUM!
I served this with boiled new potatoes dressed with a bit of basil pesto, and oven roasted asparagus.  It was incredible, and I can't wait to try this with different combinations of meats and cheeses. 

Okay, it's time for this hobbit to crawl back into bed.  Thankfully the wee little girl is napping too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Perfect Moment Monday: Ginevra & G.G.

Good Morning Humble Readers! 

Lori at Write Mind Open Heart defines a perfect moment as "noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between."  Every Monday bloggers from all over the blogosphere pause to be mindful of the perfect moments that happen when we aren't even trying. 

The main purpose of our trip to K-town last week was so that my extended family could meet our precious little girl.  There were other perks, like Beloved and I getting an evening out while my parents babysat and good food made in my mom's kitchen, but most important was that Ginevra got to meet lots of people, particularly my Grandma R.

Meeting G.G. for the first time
Our first day in town we headed to the nursing home where my Grandma R lives.  She had a debilitating stroke three years ago, but in recent months she has shown a great amount of improvement, even being able to feed herself (a huge step from where she was last fall).  When we arrived, she was just finishing her lunch, but she pushed away her tray and demanded "Give me that baby!".  It was so cute!

We went down to visit almost every day of our stay, and "G.G." (as all the great-grandkids call her) demanded to hold her.  She was so sweet, smooching on her, hugging her for all she was worth.  And Ginny, she did really well too.  Especially considering all the strangers she met, and all the little grannies at the nursing home who felt the need to pinch her cheeks. 

Four Generations - Me, Mom, G.G. & Ginny
Do you have a Perfect Moment you want to share?  Well, do it already!  Everyone is welcome to join in.  Click over for more information.

More pics from K-town, Audrey's baptism, and this year's fancy Valentine's Day dinner all coming this week!  (Provided this sinus thing stays at a dull roar)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Good Morning Humble Readers...

Just wanted to pop online and say that I'm back on the frozen flatland.  The time with my family was absolutely fabulous and I'm planning on sharing some of the highlights tomorrow. 

The unfortunate news is that a very irritating sinus thing hitched a ride home with me.  My head pounds, my nose aches and my throat scratches.  I can only hope that it is short lived and that Ginevra doesn't get it.

I'm off to go make some tea. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

We're Outta Here

Hey Humble Readers...

I really shouldn't be blogging just now, as I have laundry, dishes, and packing to do... not to mention a baby to bathe!  But I just wanted to pop on and let you all know that we'll be away until February 13th.  I hope you all have a great week, and when I get back I have pics and video to post of Ginevra's baptism. 

Can I tell you how excited I am for our wee girl to meet my grandparents?  Yippee!

Be good, stay safe, and have a smurftastic week!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Awards Season!

Good Evening Humble Readers...

In the last couple of days, I have been bestowed two wonderful awards from some lovely new bloggy friends! Thank you so much, ladies, for thinking of me!  Both of the awards have basically the same requirements, so I'm going to do both together.

MoonNStarMommy from A Page In My Book gave me...

And Journey Girl from Donor Eggs Journey gave me...

Here are the rules for the acceptance of the award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 other bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Alrighty then... seven things about me.
  1. I'm adventurous when it comes to food, but there are a few things that I just can't bring myself to enjoy.  In general, fruit and meat shouldn't be consumed together.  Turkey with cranberries? Ick!  Ham with pineapple? Ugh!  Pork chops with applesauce? *shudder*  Don't get me started on chutneys with things like chicken curry.  The one exception to the rule is citrus... because citrus fruits like lemon and orange lend themselves to savory applications.  (I never said I made any sense).
  2. I love writing with fountain pens.  I've only ever used cheap ones, but I dream of one day owning a really fancy fountain pen.
  3. On my life list... Go to Tanzania and work with the Lutheran Masai Girls School.  It's a school that takes in abandoned/orphaned Masai girls.  My college is affiliated with the school and I would love to go over on one of the trips they organize.  I would also really love to go on safari.
  4. I used to collect postcards.  I had them from all over the place, and had some pretty crazy ones.  I wish I knew what happened to them all.  I'd like to get back into it.  Wanna help me? 
  5. I used to be a cat person.  Used to be.  Right through junior high and high school, we always had cats.  Then somehow I developed an allergy to them.  Now I can't be around them for more than a few minutes without having my face puff up like a blow fish.
  6. I currently hold the high score on Wii bowling.  That's right folks, I beat my Beloved!  Woohoo!
  7. I am a wimp when it comes to throwing out the leftovers that sit too long in the fridge.  I make my poor long suffering Beloved do it every time. 
I know that these awards have been making the rounds for the last couple of weeks, so instead of awarding specific people, I'm awarding everybody!  If you haven't gotten these awards yet, please consider yourself awarded!  And know that I am sending these out with much bloggy-love!

Ginny has done really well with her vaccinations.  She cried (read: SHRIEKED) when they did the three needles, but fifteen minutes later she was just fine.  She's been a little fussy today, but so far no fever or any other side effects.

Don't forget to stop by Dragondreamer's Lair and enter Kristin's giveaway!  Who couldn't use $125 to spend at

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Really Groovy Giveaway!

Humble Readers, I have great news!

Kristin over at Dragondreamer's Lair is offering up a great giveaway... a $125 giftcard to!  Yippee!  I don't know about you, but I can easily find a way to spend that at one of their 200+ stores. 

Pop over and check out how to enter...

(but if you don't, that just means more of a chance for me!)  :)

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Jeopardy Training

Howdy Humble Readers...

I hope you are all doing well, and if you're snowed in, I hope and pray you still have power and lots of supplies, puzzles, and books to keep you busy.

So, of course we decided that my Beloved has to go to the Jeopardy audition next month.  He'll be going by himself because there is no way we could afford for all of us to go.  Funny story... there are no direct flights from Calgary to Salt Lake, so he has to fly from Calgary to Pheonix to Salt Lake.  He's going to be traveling for more than 7 hours just to get there.  And that's just the air travel... it doesn't include the two hours it will take to get to the airport. 

We've now begun a training program of sorts for him... it consists of watching Jeopardy together every evening, and working on things like using the form of a question and not answering until Alex Trebek finishes reading the clue.  He's also started reading random sections from the various reference books we have, focussing on areas of knowledge that he's not especially adept at... like award show winners and other pop culture stuff. 

I seem to recall Ken Jennings (I think it was him, anyway) saying that it was important for him to practice clicking.  He used a highlighter pen and clicked the cap on for every answer.  I guess we need to track down a highlighter... :) 

Do you all have any other suggestions for Jeopardy training?

I found out something a little disturbing in regards to our trip this week to K-town.  I can take prepared formula through airport security, but I have to be prepared to taste it in front of the security personel.  Ick!  I wonder if they'll let me have Ginny taste it?

I recently signed us up to start earning air miles, after I found out that my mom did all of her Christmas shopping with her miles.  I've become a bit obsessed with finding ways to earn the maximum points.  I've transferred my prescriptions, signed up for magazine subscriptions, and bought a ridiculous amount of yoghurt this past weekend because they were on an air miles promo.  Am I nuts?  I think so.

Do any of you play Wii Sports Resort?  I'm addicted to the Island Flyover game, and I'm missing just one point of interest.  It's driving me crazy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Resurrecting the Book Reviews: January 2011

Howdy Humble Readers...

It's been a year since the last time I did a book review post, and I'm thinking it's time to bring them back.  I haven't been reading as much or as fast as I used to, which is annoying, so I'm hoping that doing book reviews will help motivate me.

This month's books are a varied mix, and there's something for everyone here.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - In the final installment of the Hunger Games Trilogy, a series written for teens, Collins brings together all the threads that have been left dangling after book 2.  A fantastical story of life in a dystopic North America, revolution is in the air and Katniss Everdeen is the unwilling posterchild for the rebels.  Can she keep her family safe from the manipulations of the evil Capitol and the leaders of District 13?  Can Peeta ever recover from the torture and brainwashing he's been subjected to?  Will President Snow be deposed?  All the questions are answered in a fast-paced, action-packed, and incredibly well written manner, and given the glut of vampire fiction out there for teen readers, I loved this series for being something so different. 

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League (3 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - What really struck me when I was reading this book was the idea that this information used to be passed from woman to woman as a part of our daily lives, but after the advent of formula it was all but lost.  I liked this book for the practical advice, the how-to parts of this book.  What I didn't enjoy was the quasi-political, preachy tone of the book.  The idea that breastfeeding is always this blissed-out, peaceful, zen bonding time between mother and child is misleading and misguided.  I found myself in tears of disappointment and frustration when I was reading the introduction because I felt like such a failure for not meeting up with the high standard depicted.  Ultimately, I give this book points as a reference tool, but it's not something that I am going to use often.

Luther's Small Catechism (with explanation) by Martin Luther (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - The last time I read this was waaaaaaaaay back in college, when I had to read it for a theology course, and before that waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when I was in confirmation classes.  I started reading it this month in preparation for Ginny's baptism, and I just ended up re-reading the whole thing.  The basics of Lutheran theology, laid out in Luther's typical format of questions and answers, are simple to understand and broken down into easily digestible sections, while still being thought provoking and eternal.  I liked reading this now, many years later being many years older.  It's fun to see how my understanding has grown as I've gotten older, and how the philosophies remain the same.

Distant Hours by Kate Morton (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes) - I really enjoyed this book, once I was finally able to get into it.  Like in her other titles, Morton has set this story in multiple time periods.  At times you are in 1992, then in the late 1930's-early 40's, and other times you're in the period just following WWI.  Once I got into the rhythm of the story, I was engrossed.  The story of the Sisters Blythe, three elderly women living in a decrepit castle that holds a multitude of secrets, and of the young woman who is trying to find out how her mother's life is intertwined with the castle, twists and turns and takes you to all sorts of unexpected places.  From present-day publishing houses to the evacuation of London during WWII, whispered secrets and hints of ghosts walking the halls of Milderhurst Castle, it takes until the final chapter to find out why Thomas Cavill never arrived that stormy night in 1941, and what Juniper Blythe and her sisters had to do with his disappearance. 

I hope all my friends to the east are stocked up and prepared for the storm they are predicting to hit you later today.  It's another sparkling clear winter day here on the frozen flatland, but it's still crazy cold.  We are under a wind chill warning today, with temps dropping as low as -45C.  Ugh!  Glad that I made that big pot of soup yesterday.  Stay warm, wherever you are, and stay safe!