Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Failed (and the Mundane Reasons Why)

Hey Humble Readers...

I was doing so good.  I wrote almost a month's worth of posts, and was three days away from saying I did it.  *sigh*

Friday was a great day, for the most part, but then at around 4pm I got what I can only describe as a weather-triggered migraine, or something like one.  We had a major but short-lived thunderstorm blow through at around 3:30, and as soon as it was over a half hour later I was in agony.  Light and sound sensitivity, nausea and dizziness... Not fun.  The kicker is, 4pm is about the beginning of Ginny's cranky time of day.  Bad combo. 

By the time my Beloved got home an hour and a half later I was done.  I handed over the baby and that was it for the night... so no Foodie Fridays post, no Bloggity Summer Camp post, and somehow I forgot to do my On The Nightstand post.  Like I said, *sigh*

Yesterday was full... Ginny's haircut (turned out great!), spent some time at my bookstore, and then we had a family-sized nap.  It was great.  And so I remained generally unplugged for the day.  Today was busy with church, grocery shopping, and making a fun dinner (pork souvlaki, greek potatoes and greek salad). 

Tomorrow is a new day and a new month (and a holiday for many of us north of the 49th parallel).  My Beloved is going to take the wee girl out with him for an hour or so tomorrow so that I can do my first ever dvd without an audience (how great is my hubby?).  And then I'm just planning on puttering around the house. 

SOOOOOooo, now that I've bored you to tears, it's time for something fun... go sign up for Sock It To Me!  (click on that groovy button on the upper right)  Seriously... go do it!  All the cool kids are doing it, and you know you want to be a joiner!  :)

And one last random thing... Happy 31st b-day Harry Potter!  (yeah, I'm that geeky)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Origins & Dreams

Howdy Humble Readers...

Have you ever wondered why David always plays the same creepy perverted guy?  Just watched my first episode of "Rules of Enga.gement" and man oh man, he's creeeeeeeeepy! 

Anywho... back at Bloggity Summer Camp...

Today Calliope has asked, "What size family do you come from, what size family do you want, and why?"

Okay, well, if you've been following along, you know that my family is all kinds of screwed up.  At one point in my life I technically had
  • Three moms
  • Three dads
  • Four sisters, and
  • Five brothers
But in my FOO (family of origin) I was the oldest of three.  In my first step-family (bio-dad's second marraige) I was #3 of 6.  In my second step-family (bio-mom's second marraige) I was #4 of 7.  In my foster family, technically I'm the oldest, but it's only by a few months.  And don't even get me started on grandparents and cousins and all.

As for what my Beloved and I want ... it seems kind of greedy, but we really do want one more.  We've always wanted two.  And then it will be snip-snip for my wonderful Beloved.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: The Question that Stumped Me

Howdy... Hey... Greetings Humble Readers... (I've been here so much today, I can't remember which greetings I've used, sorry!)

Three posts in one day!  Hokey dinah balonafish!  What's going on here?  Well, between it being Ginny's 8 month un-birthday and discovering that Kym is hosting 'Sock It To Me' again and Bloggity Summer Camp... well, just a lot happening today.  And it all must be read... so scroll down and I'll wait.  Just make sure to come back up here.  'Kay?  Go!




Checking my watch...


Back yet?



Beuller?  Beuller?

Ok... so Bloggity Summer Camp.  Calliope's question today has honestly stumped me.  "Which movies or tv shows do you think are the most accurate portrayals of your life? If you could write the next scene of your day what would it be?"

I don't know.  Maybe a little bit of "You've Got Mail" and a little of the "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" with a little bit of "Everybody Loves Raymond" thrown in for good measure. 

The next scene of my day?  One of those heart-warming scenes where the parents stand at the doorway of the nursery and get those cheesy grins as they watch their baby sleep, and then maybe one of those married couple scenes where the couple is in bed, her with the green goop on her face and him doing a crossword puzzle.  That's about it. 

In reality, it will probably be doing a bit of tidying up, watching America's Got Talent, feeding the wee girl again at 11 and then maybe reading a few minutes before unconciousness takes me.

And now, it's safe to say, I'm all blogged out... see you tomorrow!

Rock Out With Your Socks Out!

Hey Humble Readers!!  I'm super excited!!

Kym from The Smartness is back and better than ever, and to get ready for fall, she's hosting another round of Sock It To Me!

Head on over and sign up for the awesomest blogosphere gift exchange ever...  This is open to all bloggers, from all over the blogosphere and all over the world.  Come on Canadian bloggers, we need to represent!

(And then come back and read my previous post about our precious wee girl!)


Ginevra @ 8 Months

Good Morning Humble Readers...

Ginny rockin' the bikini!  (Auntie S hiding behind)
Like every month, I am truly astonished that so much time has passed.  Here we are, eight months into this grand adventure, and I honestly can't imagine life without my wee girl.  (Fair warning: this is a long post, with lots of pics, as I'm talking about my favourite subject... Ginevra!  And my favourite pic is at the end of the post, so you have to read all the way tot he end)

Bath Time!!!
She's growing so much, and everyday she's learning something new.  Just this morning she started making clicking noises with her tongue on the roof of her mouth.  It was hilarious!  (or rather, it was until she started doing it while I was trying to feed her her cereal and strawberry/kiwi applesauce).  She's actually sitting by the window right now clicking away...

Hanging out in her 'toy box'
Ginny's pulling herself up on the furniture and surfing allong the couch and sides of the coffee table.  She still hasn't figured out how to take corners yet, and often gets very upset when she gets to the corner of the coffee table and can't figure out how to get around it. 

Standing like a big girl
She's teething hardcore.  She did have a short go round early on, between 3 and 4 months, with lots of drool and some general fussiness, but then it stopped.  I found out from one of the nurses at the public health clinic that some babies go through teething this way, where the teeth come through the bone first, and then stop for a while and then they'll start coming through the gums.  Her gums are sooo white and I swear that first tooth is just seconds away from popping through.

Hanging out with 'THE GREAT' Uncle Homer
Ginny eats two solid food meals a day and is an amazingly good eater.  She still loves avacado and banana, but she has tried meat (roast beef ground up with some potato, parsnip and carrot, with a bit of gravy) with great success.  She has cut back on how much formula she drinks (about 25 ounces at the most) which has caused Mommy some angst, but she's still having all kinds of wet diapers and she doesn't look or act dehydrated so I guess all is well.  And don't get me started on poopy diapers now that she's established on solid food... pee-ewww-eee!

Our little fam
She sleeps really well at night, but napping has begun to be a challenge again.  She did great while we were in K-town, but now she just doesn't want to sleep during the day.  *sigh*  And I swear she has started having nightmares.  Ginevra will be in a sound sleep, and then all of a sudden she'll be screaming.  It takes a while to calm her down afterward, but she goes right back to sleep.  Odd...

Always on the go
The wee girl weighs in at just shy of 18 pounds and she still looks super tall to me.  The funny thing is, she's still able to wear some of her 3-6 month clothes (mostly onesies). 

Mommy, Ginny, and G.G.
She hates wearing shoes.  She loves her bath.  Her favourite toy right now is her stacking ball, but she still adores her Sofie giraffe and her plastic keys.  She's started turning pages in her books.  She crawls like a speed demon and is into everything.  I'm not the type of mom to pack everything away, I feel she has to learn what she can and can't touch.  (we did move a few things, just for safety reasons)  She has an immense attraction to part of our entertainment unit where we store our wii games and my workout dvds, and she loves the books on the lowest shelves of my bookcases.  It means that Mommy is constantly saying "No Ginny!" and moving her back to her toys. 

Mommy, Ginny, Daddy, Mama, G.G., Auntie S, and 'Felix'
And she waves.  Oh how she waves.  It is SO. DARN. CUTE!  She rarely waves at my Beloved or I, but she will wave at the people on the street, at people in pictures around our home, and at people on tv (she loves Rach.ael Ra.y and waves at Miss Rachael all the time. 

Ginny and her big cousin, Z-Man
Ginny has a big event this weekend.  She's going for her first haircut!  It's so time... If I don't put her hair up in a pig tail, then it's hanging in her eyes. 
Z-Man & Ginny in the pool

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: A Sackful of Ass-vice

Hey Humble Readers...

So I'm waaaaaay late tonight... I'm sorry.  I was out "crafting" (read: shooting the breeze and drinking iced coffee with friends) and just got home a little while ago.  I didn't actually do any crafting, but that's okay.  After a day like today, I needed a break from my precious wee girl. 

I know that teething doesn't really get any better until it's over, but certainly once these first couple of teeth break through, it must ease a little... mustn't it?  (Lie to me, please)  It's affecting her appetite and her sleep patterns.  She napped a grand total of about 25 minutes today, and the rest of the time was either screaming or getting into things she shouldn't.  It was a very long day.

Anyway, over at Bloggity Summer Camp, Calliope from Creating Motherhood has asked us, "What is/are the best piece(s) of advice you’ve gotten or can give others? Do you consider yourself a blogger that people would take advice from? Why or why not?" 

The best piece of advice?  I could certainly tell you about a lot of terrible advice I received from well-meaning folks while we were trying to conceive and dealing with our losses.  From my loving mother telling me to stand on my head after sex to those who told me that it was for the best that my first two angel babies never made it... sooooo much garbage.  But the best? 

I would have to say it was a bit of pregnancy advice.  I don't even recall who told me this, but watermelon really does help with morning sickness. 

Am I a blogger that people would take advice from?  I don't really think so, but maybe.  I don't know what I could really offer advice on, except perhaps book or recipe recommendations.  I would like to think that maybe somewhere along the way I've offered some little piece of info that someone has found helpful. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Vacation & Bloggity Summer Camp Edition

Howdy Humble Readers...

The Gamgee clan is home from K-town and we're all feeling the effects of the day after vacation.  I'm just a slug today, Ginny has been fussing pretty much non-stop (although that could be at least partly attributed to teething, too), and my poor Beloved is back at work.  We drove 11 hours yesterday, and Ginny did pretty well for about 2/3 of the trip.  My shoulder is killing me today from having to reach back into the back seat to let her hang on to or suck my finger for 3+ hours.

Before I give you all a run down of our vacation or answer today's Summer Camp question, I have to put this out there.  Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part 2.  If you haven't seen it yet, kindly skip down to the next section, 'kay?  I need to give my opinion...   Honestly, I was disappointed.  Yes, I cried... twice.  One of which was a point where I have never cried while reading the book.  Once for Snape and once for Harry.  The best I can say about the movie is that it was good... but it could have been so much better.  I really feel that they sacrificed important parts of the story in order to add in big over the top battle scenes.  If you've seen it, what did you think?

Calliope, at Creating Motherhood, our fearless camp director has asked today, "What did you want to be when you grew up? Why and/or how did that change over time?"  Hmmmm... good one.  I'm not sure about when I was very little, but I distinctly recall wanting to be an astronaut or a sculptor when I was nine.  Both of those things faded as I learned that my artwork never turned out as I imagined it in my head, and as I lost ability/interest in math and science that would be essential to an astronaut.  It was shortly after I moved on from elementary school that the desire to write began to take root in my mind and heart.  I still hope to some day grow up to be a writer.

Vacation was great... busy but great.  Ginny did amazingly well on the journey out to K-town, and we were very intentional about stopping often to let her out of the car seat.  The week was spent visiting family, hanging out on the deck drinking wine with my Mom, watching all the kids in the pool, and enjoying a lot of good food.  Mom's potato salad, Mom & I made ribs, and we had a meal of things from my favourite butcher shop (steak, stuffed mushrooms & zucchini, twice baked taters).  We visited G.G. (my grandma) in the nursing home and saw a few of my favourite home-type places.  Went to a couple of movies, did some shopping... and my ever adventurous Beloved spent a couple of days helping my Dad and BIL with some renovation work on Mom & Dad's house.  Ginny went in the pool for the first time, which met with mixed reviews from the wee girl.  And we got portraits taken of all four of the grandkids together.  Like I said... busy!  Pics will be posted in a couple of days with Ginny's 8 month update.

I'm excited about this week's 'On the Nightstand' post.  I've read some great books in the last couple of weeks and I can't wait to share them with you.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Dream Date

Good Morning Humble Readers...

How's your week been?  Has it been rainy or hot?  Productive or relaxing?  Fun or a bit of a drag?

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, Calliope asks a fun question.  "What is your dream date? Have you ever dated anyone you met from the internet?"

My dream date is pretty simple.  Someplace quiet and different (new to me) for dinner and conversation, and then going somewhere interesting, like a concert or an art show or the like.  Nothing huge.  Just time with my Beloved and a new experience or two.

And, yes, I have indeed dated someone I met on the internet.  In fact I married him. 

Honestly, I did date a couple of other guys that I met online before I was matched with my Beloved on eHar.mony.  I remember my Mom freaking out initially... but she got used to the idea, once I asked her if she would rather I meet some guy in a bar.  I could also get a husband like my sister did... fall in love with a groomsman from her first wedding.  After that, the internet didn't seem so bad. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Is There Life Beyond the Blog?

Hey Humble Readers...

I'm just going to get right to it today, because today's Bloggity Summer Camp topic is pretty straight-forward. 

Calliope asks, "What are your favorite activities to do on-line? Is there more to do beyond blogging?"

I am an internet junkie, and there absolutely is more to the internet beyond blogging.  I spend far to much time on, I read and comment on a lot of news stories, I look for recipes, and search for coupons and deals.  I play the stupidest games, and I read parenting articles.  I do surveys and earn points that I can use to buy things like movie passes.  I am constantly googling stuff and wikipedia is my super-friend.  I'm always checking out stuff I see on tv or read about. 

And I blog.

Where do you hang out online?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Just a Wee Hobbit

Howdy Humble Readers...

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking that I could remember every day of my life.  Every single day.  And that I would never forget anything.  I would remember every conversation and every moment.  And maybe I did.  Back then, when I only had 7 or 8 years of experiences, it's possible that I remembered all sorts of things that escape me now. 

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, Calliope has asked us, "What is your most beloved childhood memory? I’d love it if you shared a photo of yourself as a child with this post!"

As I pondered this question, I honestly struggled to find a 'beloved' memory.  While my childhood definitely had its dark moments, there were also happy times, funny moments that live in the recesses of my brain. 

There was the time when I was just a wee hobbit, sitting on the floor in our living room watching the Show, eating pumpkin pie.  My bio-dad said something to me, and I turned to look at him and somehow managed to stick my foot in my pumpkin pie.  I was four years old

There was the time when I was trapped in an outhouse by a flock of wild turkeys while we were camping.  I was eight. 

There was the time my bio-mom sent me to the store across the street for a loaf of bread.  I had only just learned to cross the street by myself.  We lived on a main drag in that little town, but at the far end, where there was almost no traffic.  Apparently, I stood there for quite some time because if I saw a car three blocks away, I wouldn't cross.  When I finally did cross, I raced into the store, grabbed the bread and ran out.  It wasn't until I was all the way back across the street that I realized I was still holding the money that my bio-mom gave me.  I had to go back across the street, AGAIN to pay for the bread and then finally go home.  What should have taken no more than 10 minutes took me more than a half hour.  And apparently my bio-mom was standing in the tub looking out the bathroom window of our apartment watching me the whole time.  I was five.

There was the time, while my bio-mom was pregnant with my bio-sister, that we were crossing the street in a busy downtown area.  Bio-mom was less than a month away from her due date.  We were crossing the street, and suddenly I remember lying on the ground, with my bio-mom on top of me.  She had fallen, twisted her ankle, and landed on me.  I remember the old man who jumped out of his car to help us up.  I remember his big boat of a car and his light blue suit.  He helped us to the other side of the street and my bio-mom thanked him.  In later years I found out that she thought she had only sprained her ankle, and would walk it off.  She had many things to do in preparation for the arrival of my bio-sister, and didn't want to give up that particular outing.  Of course, true to form for my family, she had actually broken her foot and ended up giving birth while wearing a big heavy plaster cast.  I was almost three.

Calliope has asked for a picture from when I was wee... I found three.  You'll notice a bit of a glare, as these are pictures of pictures, all from one of my scrapbooks.  You may also notice a resemblance to another wee little hobbit girl... :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: A Rose By Any Other Name

Greetings Humble Readers...

I have to tell you, I have been looking forward to today's Bloggity Summer Camp topic ever since I first saw the list of topics that Calliope posted.  I have such strong opinions about this... it's almost ridiculous.

Calliope asks, "What names would you NEVER name a child or pet? What name do you wish you had been named? Do you like the name of your blog?"

Oooo... I love it!  So here it is, my list of rules for naming babies.  (some of these rules could apply when naming a pet) 

I swear that I will...
  • NEVER name a child after a piece of fruit, an inanimate object, a colour, city where they were conceived
  • NEVER give a child a name that is not easily pronounceable or spell-able
  • NEVER give a child a gender neutral name
  • NEVER name a child something that rhymes with tick, tock or weenis
  • NEVER name a child something that I will be embarrassed to holler when it's time to come for dinner
  • NEVER name a child something that should be a pet's name
  • NEVER name a child something that sounds like it should be a nickname
  • NEVER name all my children with names that all start with the same letter
  • NEVER name a child something that falls in the top ten of the most popular names lists
Honestly, my personal guidelines for choosing names comes down to four rules.  My children will have OLDER-FASHIONED, GENDER SPECIFIC names, with USUAL SPELLINGS, that START WITH VOWELS.  I have had my children's names chosen for a long long time, and my poor Beloved didn't get a whole lot of say in the matter.  He did get to choose the middle names though.  :) 

As for my name, I wish my bio-mom would have put a little thought into it.  A nurse gave her a little booklet of baby names while my bio-mom was in labour.  Hence I ended up with a name I have disliked for my whole life.  I always wanted to be a Sarah Jane... or something like that.  Instead, I got saddled with a gender neutral name, spelled 'the boys way', and a middle name that could be misheard to be a boy's name as well.  Because of my name, I was mistakenly put on boys softball teams, put in boy's wards in the hospital, and other tragic events.  I could never find key chains or those cute little door plaques with my name on them spelled correctly.  When I was 13 I changed the spelling of my first name, but I actually still have to deal with issues from that decision. 

I'm not a big fan of my blog's name.  I've had another one in mind for a while, but whenever I get close to changing it, I always find a reason to hold off.  Maybe in the fall...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: The Kindest Thing

Howdy Humble Readers...

Your favourite hobbit/ent family is still on vay-kay, visiting with the family in Kel.owna.  This post is brought to you by the wonders of scheduled posting... yay!  I sure hope that you're all doing well, and I am looking forward to catching up with you all when I get home. 

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, Calliope our fearless Camp Director has asked, "What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? Did you repay the kindness? Did you blog about it?"

Sometimes I feel like I'm beating a broken record here, but really there can only be one event in my life that can count for the 'kindest'.  Be advised this is a long story.

When I was sixteen, just home after a three month exchange program to Germany, I made a new friend.  She quickly became my best friend, a sister by choice.  Soon I was spending every weekend at her house and at least two nights during the week. 

At this time, I was in the custody of my bio-mom.  After she and my bio-dad divorced, when I was 9, it was like she reverted back to her teen years.  I'm sure she felt entitled, seeing as she gave up the 'party years' because she got pregnant with me when she was 17. 

She would spend evenings out in bars, partying and drinking.  She met a guy who was a lot older than her and she got married a second time.  Although they lived together for 2 years, the marraige only lasted a few months before everything went bad.  After her second divorce, she went right back to her old ways. 

She worked a string of no-where jobs (waitressing, housekeeping, etc), and we were often on government assistance (read: welfare).  She didn't know how to manage money, and often I had to remind her that we had to pay rent (rather than, say, a fringed suede jacket or a month's worth of smokes).  And don't even get me started on the lack-of-groceries situation.

Actually, yeah, I will tell you about that...  We usually only had food in the house for one meal a day.  I went to school without breakfast, and had nothing to take for lunches.  This was when my 'foster' parents (Mom & Dad) stepped into my life.

It started with Mom making a second lunch for my best friend, S, to bring to school for me.  Every day.  For almost a whole school year.  They even took me on vacation with them to Disneyland and on a huge road trip that covered 12 states. 

The following summer, S & I got a really lousy job together with a telemarketing firm.  I was spending a huge amount of time with the family.  It was amazing to me to know that there was food in the fridge and there weren't strange guys in and out of the house (did I mention my bio-mom's HIV scare?). 

Mom & Dad started dropping hints that if I ever needed a safe place, they would welcome me with open arms. 

September of my senior year, just before my 17th birthday, I broke.  I was sick of being a grown up while my bio-mom played the kid role.  I was tired of her broken promises, and always wondering if this would be the month we would be evicted or if that would be the guy who would hurt her real bad.  It was all too much.  And then, somehow, she gained custody of my bio-sister. 

I couldn't believe it.  I was a total mess.  I couldn't take care of myself, my bio-mom, and now my 13 year old bio-sister too.  It sounds incredibly selfish, but I needed out.  I left, and my Mom & Dad welcomed me with open arms.  They didn't think twice... I was their other daughter, I was part of the family. 

And that's the story of the kindest thing... they gave me a family. 

(sorry for all the long-windedness)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: My Beloved and I

Howdy Humble Readers...

How are things in your world today?  Anything exciting to share?

Today's Bloggity Summer Camp topic of discussion is "How do you (and your partner if applicable) feel about PDA? Does your husband/wife/partner know that you blog and if so are they involved?"

My opinion... public displays of affection are fine, so long as both parties are comfortable and that they aren't being inappropriate in the company of others.  I mean, I really don't want to watch the couple from next door grinding against each other and swallowing each other whole out in the parking lot. 

My Beloved is a little bit more lax about it... at least when it comes to his displays of PDA with me.  He likes to try to cop a feel occasionally when we are out and about, and I am just not a big fan of that, so I give him shit about it.  But that doesn't seem to stop him from trying.

Yes, my Beloved knows I blog.  He will often read my posts, and seems to enjoy the comments the most.  I started this blog almost three years ago, when I was pregnant for the first time.  Originally it was meant to chronicle my pregnancy, but it soon became an outlet for my grief and a prominent part in my road to healing.  Since then it has become such a part of me... almost like another limb.  My Beloved understands that I get great benefits from this humble corner of the internet.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: What's Your Sign?

Hey Humble Readers...

How's your summer so far?  Has it been too hot?  Too rainy?  Too mosquito-y?  Mine's been a little bit of all of those things, but now I'm in my hometown, visiting with my Mom, Dad and all the family, so things are great, no matter what the weather. 

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, Camp Director Calliope has asked us... "How do you feel about astrology? What’s your sign, baby, and do you think it matches your personality?" 

I'm not a big believer in astrology.  I know I'm a Virgo, and I know that Virgos are supposed to be perfectionists/anal retentive.  I guess that describes me a bit. 

But to my mind, there are traits from all the signs that could apply to me.  I don't think that the day on which I was born determines who I am and how I will respond to events in my life.  It just seems so arbitruary.

And horoscopes?  I think they're pretty generalized to cover a multitude of possibilities. 

Funny story... my bio-mom was always a big believer in astrology.  She had a particular favourite author whose annual horoscope book she would buy.  It sat on her nightstand, and she wouldn't get out of bed in the morning without having first reading her daily tidbit. 

I dunno, it just always struck me as silly. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Ahhh, The Weekend

Howdy Humble Readers...

While we are on vacation in the beautiful sunny Okanagan Valley, I am still keeping up with my fellow Bloggity Summer Campers (well, sort of).  I'll be checking in with you folks when we get back home. 

Today, Camp Director Calliope has asked, "What is your favorite thing about the weekend? Do you take a break from blogs or is this when you catch up?"

My favourite thing about the weekend is pretty simple.  I love watching my Beloved spend time with our wee girl.  Most weekdays, he only gets a brief window to interact with her while she is awake.  On the weekend, they get to really play together.  He gets down on the floor with her and she crawls all over him.  Peek-a-boo, wrestling matches with her stuffies, and of course, the constant "Ginny, NO!" when she gets anywhere near the bookshelves. 

It's a nice break for me.  I usually get out of the house for a few hours by myself (super glamerous grocery shopping and the like).  And just not being the only one that she crawls all over is a great thing. 

Because I'm still working on getting my bloggity mojo back, I try to keep my same routine for writing and posting on the weekends.  I do take a little time to get caught up on the blogs that I don't follow all that closely but still enjoy. 

What's your favourite part of the weekend?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: The Hobbit & Social Media

Howdy Humble Readers...

Your friendly neighbourhood Hobbit, Ent, and Halfling are on vacation!  Woohoo!   Today we got up at the butt-crack of dawn (4am), got in the car and commenced what will possibly turn out to be a 12 hour (with many pit stops I'm sure) roadtrip to K-town.  We're off to see my parents and extended family, and I am super stoked!  I haven't seen some of them since Christmas. 

While we're away, I've been a good blogger and scheduled posts so that I can stay on track with Summer Camp.  (I know it's not a big thing, but given my recent track record, I'm damn impressed with myself)  I hope you enjoy and come back to check in occaissionaly.

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, hosted by our super cool camp director, Calliope, we are talking about social media.  Calliope has asked...

"How many friends of yours blog/tweet/actively facebook? Has social media helped or hurt your friendships?"

How many of my friends blog?  I'd say about a third to half.  Many have at one point or another.  Most of my friends are on facebook at least some of the time.  And honestly I have no clue how many of them tweet, because I don't. 

I was super-reluctant to start on FB.  Or rather, re-start on FB.  I was there a few years ago, but found that I was getting a lot of crap (so-and-so sent you a beer, etc) and I just got sick of it.  I got back into it around the time that I went on mat leave last fall.  Sadly, I'm a junkie now.  I'm addicted to the games (I NEED MORE NEIGHBOURS IN GARDENS OF TIME!  I'm stuck) and I check in far too often. 

But, and I know I've said this before, I really just don't get tweeting.  Just not my thing...

I think, for the most part, FB has helped my friendships.  Or at least reconnected me to many people.  I even found my sixth grade crush (and man oh man, what was I thinking?).  However, I can see how it could be damaging.  The impulsive yet permanent nature of comments made online could cause some issues. 

Where are you on the social media spectrum?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: College Days

Greetings Humble Readers...

Today has been highly productive and I'm proud of all that I've accomplished.  Ginny took a bit of a tumble that created a need for a prolonged snuggle, but even so, I'm feeling like we are in a good place.  The plan is to hit the library after dinner for a couple of audio books for the road trip, and then start packing the car.  We hope to be on the road by 5am tomorrow.  I have a bit of prep work left to do for our food on the road (Bloody Mary Steak sandwiches, macaroni salad and  snacky types of things) and a little bit of packing left.

Over at Bloggity Summer Camp, our topic of discussion is, "What was your college experience like? Were you involved in any clubs, groups, etc? If you did not go to college what was your experience like after high school?"

I had a great college experience.  I went to a very small Bible college just outside of Seattle.  I think at the most there were 180 students in all the programs and all four years.  The campus was originally built for an order of nuns, so the dorm rooms were particularly small, but the chapel was gorgeous, with beautiful stained glass windows.  My program of study was Youth and Family Ministry, with an emphasis of Christian Education. 

I had some truly amazing professors.  The classes were small and we got to really know and interact with our teachers. 

But of course the best part of the college experience were the friends I made.  I was blessed with a great circle of friends and they were a tremendous support throughout those years and after.  Sadly I went through stretch where I lost touch with most of them for a few years, but I'm now slowly reconnecting through the magic of facebook. 

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Youth and Family Ministry, and I was so proud to be a college graduate.  I only used my degree occupationally for four years, but it has still impacted my life in a large way. 

What was your college experience like?

Foodie Friday: Tangy Pork Chops!

Hey Humble Readers...

As I write this I am watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  I realized recently that I've only ever seen it once (how is that possible?) and that I don't even own it (how is THAT possible?!?!).  I apologize in advance if there are an inordinate amount of spelling errors, please forgive my distraction.

This week I want to share one of my go-to recipes.  I truly value recipes that are simple, tasty and a little bit unexpected.  This one qualifies on all three counts.  The recipe was adapted from this recipe on

Tangy Pork Chops

4 Pork Chops, boneless
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 med onion, diced
Zest and juice of one lemon (about 2 tbsp)
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 325F.  In a medium bowl combine ketchup, brown sugar, olive oil, mustard, garlic, and soy sauce.  Stir until sugar is disolved.  Place pork chops into a baking dish that has been sprayed with the cooking spray.  Sprinkle pork chops with diced onion.  Pour sauce over chops and allow to marinate for at least a half hour (really best if you can let it go for a few hours).  Bake for 45 minutes or so (depending on how thick they are and how well done you like them), making sure to baste them every 15 minutes.  At the end of the cooking time, I baste them once more, and then put them under the broiler for 5 minutes. 

I serve this with lemony rice (long grain white rice cooked in two parts chicken stock and one part lemon juice).  The sauce is also good over the rice. 

As always, if you try it, please let me know what you think. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Bloggers Vs. The World, Wardrobe Edition

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Today has been an utter waste, as I ended up being completely exhausted from yesterday's adventures.  Beloved and I headed down to the Big City mid afternoon, and parked at one of the LRT stations in order to avoid Stampede parking downtown.  We got to the fair grounds by about 5:30, wandered around for a bit and then had dinner.

You all know that we are under some budgetary constraints, so we haven't eaten out much at all and in the last three months I can count on one hand the number of times I have had fast food.  Well, let me tell you, all that greasy fair food made me feel gross.  I confess it tasted good at the time (half a bloomin' onion, an italian sausage with peppers, and some poutine... I'm gagging now just thinking about it!) but man did I feel awful for about an hour. 

Thankfully, I was feeling much better by the time the concert started.  As usual, one opening act sucked but the other was great... it was the guy who plays the teacher on  He was a blast.  Finally, the main event started and it was FRICKIN' AWESOME!  I had such a good time and danced and screamed until I lost my voice.  My Beloved thought I was nuts, but it was so much fun.  I know that it's going to sound cheesy, but listening to them (NKOTBSB) totally takes me back and suddenly I'm 16 again.  Except that Donnie Wahlberg is just sooooo much hotter now... *drool*

Getting out of the Stampede grounds was a nightmare, and it took an hour from the time we left the concert to get back to our car.  From there it was another hour and a quarter before we were home.  It was almost 2am and I totally wasted today being a slug. 

Okay... anyway... Back at Bloggity Summer Camp.  Our Camp Director, Calliope from Creating Motherhood has asked, "How do you typically dress to run errands? Do you think bloggers dress better or worse than “regular people”?"

I was going to say that I dress pretty much the same all the time.  I have my occasional sloppy days, but mostly I just wear comfortable casual clothes... jeans, capris, tees, etc.  Today, however was a bad example.  I had to run to Wa.lmart after dinner, and it wasn't until I was actually leaving the store that I realize that I had both formula and spaghetti sauce all over my shirt. 

I don't think that bloggers dress any differently than anyone else.  We're all normal people, living our lives, and that's just the way it is.  What do you think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Work Work Work

Good Afternoon Humble Readers...

Well, I knocked out a huge portion of my to-do list, and even managed to give the baby girl a bath and managed to shave my legs!  Woohoo!  I'm stealing a bit of time this afternoon, because I won't be at home later this evening to write my post... NKOTBSB here we come!  (My Beloved gets the award for best hubby of the year, just for going to this concert with me!!)

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, Calliope the Camp Director has asked, "Tell us about the best job you ever had, and the worst. Do you ever blog or read blogs while at work? Do you ever quote or reference blogs while at work?"

Hmmmm.... best job?  Honestly, the job I loved the most wasn't very glamorous.  But I truly enjoyed the work and the people I got to interact with.  When I was in college, I found it easier to stay in Seattle at the school during the summer breaks, and work on campus.  I did a lot of different jobs... housekeeping, conference services, bulk mailings, the bookstore, and, best of all, the front desk.  I loved the front desk. 

Answering phones, checking in conference guests, data entry, giving out general information and directions... I know it sounds boring as all get out, but I really enjoyed it.  I got to meet a lot of really cool people (including a whole bunch of the Sisters of Providence who had originally owned the campus), and in down times I could read or cross stitch or just talk to whoever was around.  I really enjoyed that job.  It was so low key, but I still felt that I was doing something worthwhile. 

Worst job?  Oh there have been a few... telemarketing, working in a cedar nursery trimming dead-wood off trees, cherry picking, being Clarkie the Bear for birthday parties and special events at the restaurant where my bio-mom worked.

I will confess that I did, occasionally, at my last job check blogs... normally when I was waiting for a piece of big news from one of my bloggy friends.  As to quoting or referencing... maybe a little.  I would sometimes share the stories of my bloggy friends with some of my co-workers. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: A Poorly Behaved Hobbit

Good Evening Humble Readers...

The saying goes, 'There's no rest for the wicked, and the righteous don't need any'.  That sure sums up my day today.  I've been cleaning, organizing, cooking, doing laundry, all while dying in the humidity.  I know that humidity on the flatland is nothing compared to what it is out east, but man I'm wrung out today. 

With vacation looming (packing and cleaning... I hate coming home to a messy house!), a self-induced Harry Potter movie marathon that I MUST get through by dinner time on Friday, a book I have to finish reading, a trip to make to the library, AND a New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys concert in Calgary tomorrow (woohoo!)... whew!  I'm tired already just thinking about it.  And I need to do a bit of grocery shopping too, as I'm planning on making most of our food for on the road.  I'm also pretty sure that AF is going to be making her appearance any day too... so I'm not at my best. 

Poor Ginny doesn't know if I'm coming or going.

But the main point of this point is not to whine about my to do list.  Bloggity Summer Camp keeps rolling on and today's topic is a bit revealing.  Calliope asks, "Tell us about the first time you got drunk or tipsy (as far as you can remember…) Do you ever stop yourself from telling too much when you write on-line or do you think you tell too much?"

Ummmmm... is this a truth or dare situation?  Can I take a dare instead?  Please?  No?  Okay...

Are you ready to be shocked?  It was certainly a moment of extremely bad judgement, I can tell you.  The first time I got drunk I was 12 years old.  And I was babysitting...

Alright, now that you all are officially shocked and appalled, here's the sordid tale.

My friend Nancy and I were going to babysit for a lady that Nancy babysat for regularly.  We were both 12 at the time.  At this time in my life, I was living with my bio-dad, his wife and her kids, and would spend every other weekend with my bio-mom.  The lady we were to be babysitting for was going to be working until the early hours of the morning, and so we were going to spend the night there. 

The evening started out as any normal babysitting job would.  Screaming kids, fights about going to bed, and finally getting to watch music videos on tv.  Shortly after the kids finally went to bed, the on-again-off-again boyfriend of the lady we were babysitting for showed up with some of his buddies, ready to party.  I remember Nancy and I having a hushed conversation in the kitchen, discussing that we didn't feel comfortable leaving the kids with these guys, who had obviously already had a few, and we also wanted to get paid.  We stayed...

I honestly don't remember how I ended up with a Co.or's Light in my hand, but I ended up drinking two or three.  I remember being very tired and laughing at the dumbest things.  I remember eating pizza and sleeping in an arm chair in the living room. 

The next morning, Nancy and I agreed that we wouldn't tell anyone, we got our money, and headed home.  But it didn't end there.  You know that pizza that I ate?  Well, it was ordered from the restaurant where my bio-mom worked, and of course it got back to her that her kid was drinking and partying with 25 year old guys. 

That went over well.  I was grounded forever.

Looking back, I am astounded that all that happened was that we got drunk.  As an adult, thinking about all the many things that could have gone so incredibly wrong, I am really appalled. 

It was three years before I would get drunk again, but that's another tale for another time.

Getting back to Calliope's second question... do I stop myself from saying too much here?  When it comes to stuff about me, I don't hold back.  But if it's in reference to someone else, I try to respect their privacy.  We all have the right to tell our own stories.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: The 'Rents

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Today has been a challenging and relatively unproductive day at the hobbit hole.  Wee Ginny is teething like mad, and I know that her first tooth is going to make an appearance any day now.  She was pretty miserable all day, but particularly this afternoon, until I broke down and gave her a dose of ty.lenol.  The only thing I was able to mark off my considerable to-do list was sorting through and boxing up Ginny's clothes that no longer fit.  I MUST clean the house tomorrow!!  (MIL is coming on Wednesday...)

Our Summer Camp topic is a bit similar to one from a few days ago.  Calliope asked us, "How are you different from your parents? How are you the same? Do your parents and/or family know that you write on-line?"

I would like to think that I have managed to take the best of all my parents (crazy family, in case you haven't figured that out yet), and left the worst behind, but I know that's not true. 

I know I nag like my Mom, and I have a habit of leaving my socks on the floor like my Dad.  But I don't (and I hope I never will) use guilt to get my way like my Mom does, and I hate being late for anything like Dad always is. 

My bio-parents are harder.  I see a lot of physical similarities, right down to how I write my upper-case Ls (just like my bio-mom) and how I look exactly like my bio-dad when I wear a baseball cap.  But in terms of personality, I'm not really sure what I share with them.  My bio-dad is a long time alcoholic, and there have been moments in my life when I saw that addiction would be an easy thing for me to slip into.  And for that reason, I choose to stay away from or strictly limit those activities that could lead me into trouble. 

My Mom knows I blog, or at least I know I've mentioned it to her a few times, but she doesn't really understand what a blog is.  I've never given anyone in my family access to this page, and I doubt I ever will.  This is my space to vent my spleen and be honest about how I'm feeling.  (Like the fact that I'm hurt and pissed at my sister these days)  Someday, I may give Ginny access to this site, so that she can read how much we went through to have her. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Foodie Fri... um no... Sunday!

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope you have all had a great weekend, and are enjoying some nice, bug-free weather, wherever you are.  It's been an all around quiet weekend for the Gamgee family.  A bit of shopping, church, and nap time.  Not a bad life if you can get it.

Today's assignment for Bloggity Summer Camp caught me a little unprepared.  Camp Director Calliope has asked us to "Share your favorite recipe (or two) (see! You CAN be a food blogger!)".   Normally, if I'm planning on posting a recipe or two, it's usually something that's on the menu for the week.  And I make sure to take some pics, because I know that pics make all the difference in enticing someone to try a new recipe.  But you all are just outta luck today... ;)

Because Carrie, a new reader, mentioned it, first up is a fabulous recipe for the most dangerous cheesecake you will ever make.  This thing is sinful, it's that good!  I do not claim this recipe as my own... it's taken from the Hershey cookbook and it's FAB-U-LUSS!!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fudge Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 pkg cream cheese, 8oz each, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 cup peanut butter chips, melted

Heat oven to 350F.  Combine vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, cocoa, and melted butter in a medium bowl.Press into bottom and 1 inch up side of a 9 inch springform pan.  Bake for 8 minutes and allow to cool.  Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Add eggs, sour cream, flour, vanilla and salt.  Beat until well blended.  Place half of the cream cheese mixture into a separate bowl.  Stir melted chocolate into one bowl of the cream cheese mixture, and stir the melted peanut butter chips into the other.  Spread chocolate mixture into prepared crust.  GENTLY spread the peanut butter mixture over the chocolate mixture.  DO NOT STIR.  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until center is almost set.  Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool.  Use a knife to loosen the cake from the side of the pan.  Cool completely, cover and refrigerate.  Serve with a drizzle of chocolate sauce if you want to.  TIP:  To prevent the top of your cheesecake from extensive cracking, bake in a water bath. 

Second up, a super simple supper that I adapted from a recipe on  Less than 15 minutes and it's in the oven.  Cut up some raw veggies or toss a salad, and you're good to go. 

Crispy Chicken & Oven Fries

8 chicken pieces, bone-in and skin on (I use chicken thighs, but drumsticks would work well too)
4 russet potatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp each rosemary, oregano, thyme
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.  In a medium bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic and herbs.  Whisk together until well combined.  Toss potato wedges in marinade, then remove them with a slotted spoon, leaving the majority of the marinade in the bowl.  Place the potato wedges on a baking sheet (with raised edges!).  Next, toss the chicken pieces to coat with marinade, and remove to the baking sheet.  Drizzle remaining marinade over the chicken and potatoes and bake for 45 minutes, basting once or twice to crisp up the chicken. 

Let me know if you try either one...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Mama Always Said...

Good Evening Humble Readers...

After a very blustery start to the day, it's turning into a pretty nice evening.  Ginny has just been tucked in (and she only squawked twice), and my Beloved is watching the Chuck Wagon races (on tv) from the Calgary Stampede, and I have some time to turn to my blog. 

Today was a big shopping day, with both and Wa.lmart on the itinerary.  I really try to limit my Cos.tco trips to once every 6 or 7 weeks.  That place is just one temptation after another.  I am so thankful that my Mom taught me to always plan ahead before grocery shopping and always shop with a list. 

Which leads me to today's question from our wonderful camp director, Calliope of Creating Motherhood. (Nice segue, eh?)

What is the most important lesson you learned from your own mother (or other primary caretaker)? What do you imagine the name of your Grandmother’s blog would be and what would she write about?

Without going into the whole long sordid story again, suffice it to say, I technically have two moms (for a bit of info, check out the "Cast of Characters" tab up there).  There is the woman who birthed me, who had custody of me through most of my growing up years, and then there is the Mom of my heart, who opened her home to me when I was 17. 

Both of them taught me things, important things.  Both taught by example.  From one, I learned what I should do, and from the other I learned what not to do.  And I am thankful for the lessons, even if they weren't always easy to learn.
  • My Mom taught me that faith and perseverance go hand in hand.
  • My bio-mom taught me that a parent cannot be her child's friend.  It just doesn't work.  
  • My Mom taught me that, in pretty much all things, quality beats quantity any day of the week.
  • My bio-mom taught me that having the love of one good man is worth more than any amount of physical satisfaction.
  • My Mom taught me that if I don't respect myself, then no one else will.
  • My bio-mom taught me that to be an adult means meeting your obligations and keeping promises.
  • My Mom taught me that forgiveness heals both the sinner and the one sinned against. 
  • My bio-mom taught me that forgiveness does not erase consequences. 
So many important lessons.

As for Grandma's blog?  Well, I'm pretty sure it would be called "Because I Said So... That's Why" and it would be about what it was like to grow up as the oldest of 21 brothers and sisters.  :)  She has some incredibly funny and wild stories!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp:

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Today's turned out to be a blustery day here on the flatland.  Ginny got a huge kick out of watching the curtains blow around and tried to catch them a couple of times. 

She and I also had much fun watching the last of the Royal tour, and I was very clear to her that if, 25 years from now, she happens to meet the future son of the future King, and they happen to fall in love, and then happen to get married... well, I wouldn't be opposed, but that Mommy and Daddy wouldn't be able to kick in a whole lot for the wedding. 

Just sayin'.  :)

Soooo anyway, back at Bloggity Summer Camp (that IS the purpose of this post afterall)...  Calliope asked us today "If you had to teach something, what would you teach? (If you DO teach, when did you discover your love for teaching/the subject?) Do you think blogs can play a role in education?"

I guess you could say that I was a teacher for a while.  My degree and chosen field were in Youth and Family Ministry, and for four years after college, I was a youth director at a couple of different Lutheran churches.  And, until the last few years, I was a regular Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher.  I enjoyed teaching, particularly Confirmation classes.  I really enjoyed engaging the middle schoolers and helping them to think about their faith in a personal way.

These days, I don't teach, but I'm looking forward to helping Ginny learn all sorts of things.  Most of all, I'm looking forward to when she's able to start helping me in the kitchen.  While I don't know if she's going to enjoy cooking like I do, I really look forward to helping her understand that food can be an adventure.

I absolutely believe that blogs can teach.  I have learned so much from the blogs I read.  And with the wealth of different points of view and passions out there, there is no doubt in my mind that there is plenty more for me to learn from my bloggy friendsl.

Foodie Friday: Meat & Taters

Greetings Humble Readers...

I hope you are all enjoying your summer.  This week has been a hot one on the flatland, but not totally unbearable.  Poor wee Ginny has had some difficulties sleeping in the heat, but we're making it.

This week's recipe is a really simple supper that can be prepped in 15-20 minutes and has minimal clean up.  It's also totally adaptable.  You can change it up by switching out different spice blends and salad dressings.  You could even swap out the chicken for a butterflied or thin cut pork chop. 

Easy Meat & Tater Packets

(per person)
1 chicken breast, boneless & skinless
1 med russet potato, scrubbed but not peeled, thinly sliced (like thick potato chips)
1/2 med onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Butter/margarine/olive oil
Greek Spice blend
Your favourite vinaigrette salad dressing (I use either Italian or a pesto/parmesan blend)
Aluminum foil
Non-stick cooking spray

All assembled, just waiting to be covered.
To assemble the packets, spray one side of a square of aluminum foil with the cooking spray.  Then arrange the sliced potatoes on the foil, topped with the sliced onions, leaving one inch of the foil on all sides.  Dot with butter or margarine, or drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Top with chicken breast.  Sprinkle spice blend over chicken breast and potato and onion layers, to your taste.  Drizzle the chicken breast with salad dressing.  Cover with a second piece of foil that has been sprayed with the cooking spray. 

Two packets, ready for the oven.
Seal all four sides by folding at least twice.  If cooking in the oven, place packets on cookie sheets in case of leaks.  Bake in a 350F oven or on a med-high bbq over indirect heat for 45 minutes.  When they are done, carefully open the packets (don't get burned by the steam) and slide the whole contents onto a plate. 

Ready to eat.  Yummy!
The key to this recipe is the indirect heat (if you're using the BBQ) and the non-stick spray.  As I said, this recipe is easily adaptable.  I've used a tex mex spice blend and a lemon & herb blend, but the greek is my favourite. 

Let me know if you try it, or if you make adaptations... I'm always looking for variations.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: A Hobbit's Favourite Subject

Good Evening Humble Readers...

I hesitate to say this, but I think I have gotten myself into a good routine here.  I allow myself the time between when we put Ginny down at 8 until we get her up for her last bottle at 11 to write and peruse blogs.  I'm still not up to par on commenting, but I'm getting better.

And it's thanks in large part to Calliope's Bloggity Summer Camp...

Today Calliope asked, "What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do you read food blogs or would you ever consider writing one?"

She wants us to talk about food?  A hobbit discussing favourite foods?  :)  I could go on for hours!  But I won't, I promise!

Here we go...

Breakfast - While I'm usually craving sweet in the morning, I try not to give in.  I would love to have chocolate croissants and danishes every day, but I know that's just not a good idea.  Instead, I vary things between greek yoghurt, cereal, and once or twice a week I have scrambled eggs and toast.

Lunch - This is my hardest meal of the day, partly because I get so stuck in a rut and eat the same thing all the time.  My favourite thing to have for lunch during cold weather is macaroni with tomatoes, basil, garlic and crumbled feta cheese.  Usually I just have a sandwich.

Dinner - Hmmm, again tough, but this time because there are so many choices.  Things that I've recently really enjoyed... roast beef with sour cream & horseradish potatoes, the black bean salad I posted about last friday, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, and the chili lime roasted chicken that I posted about last year (made it a couple of weeks ago and I'm craving it again, but it's too hot to turn on the oven)

I do read a couple of food blogs, the Pioneer Woman, and the Tasty Kitchen blogs (links on my blogroll).  I love how both emphasize step by step pictures of the recipes.  I have gotten many great recipes from both websites.

I think I probably could write a food blog, but I would have to remember to take pictures of my recipes before they get eaten, and quite often I forget.  The other thing that would hold me back would be the fact that I don't have all that many original recipes.  Most of mine are combinations or alterations of recipes that are already out there.

If you could have your favourite foods all in one day, what would you have?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: Trying New Things

Evenin' Humble Readers...

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, Camp Director Calliope has asked:

"When was the last time you tried something new? What was it and what was the result? Have you ever done something just so that you could blog about it?"

I have to admit this topic made me laugh.  I mean, not only am I second cousin to a hobbit, but I'm also a Lutheran, so I don't take to change and adventure very well.  I mean, there is a certain amount of truth to the old joke, Q - 'How many Lutherans does it take to change a lightbulb?' A - 'Change?!?!

So, in trying to think of something new that I've tried... I confess I'm coming up a bit dry. 

There are a few little things from the last year or so, but they aren't very exciting. 
  • My Beloved and I started tracking our family trees in the last year, but we haven't made much progress yet.  I'm stuck at my maternal Great-grandfather.
  • There was the blanket I knitted for Ginny.  I had learned how to knit many many years ago (I actually took it as an elective in junior high school), but it was the first time in more than 20 years that I had picked up knitting needles.  I'm impressed that I not only remembered the basics, but that I actually finished the blanket.
  • I conducted some experimentation and have found a pretty good recipe for pizza crust.  It has beer in it!  Yum!
  • I guess this whole SAHM and parenthood thing is pretty gosh darn new, too. 
I would have to say that I haven't tried new things simply to blog about it.  But as soon as something new or exciting or adventurous happens, I start composing a blog post about it in my head. 

I do have something new looming on the horizon.  I have ordered some Zumba workout dvds and I'm hoping to find them motivating.  I guess we'll see!

On the Nightstand: The Premier Edition

Good Morning Humble Readers...

I hope you all are having a great week.  I'm totally digging the Bloggity Summer Camp that's being led by Calliope of Creating Motherhood.  It's been a ton of fun so far and we're only a few days in.  There's still plenty of time left, so sign up!  (My Summer Camp post for today will be up a little later)

But this post is something different.  A few posts ago I mentioned a couple of regular features that I wanted to institute here at the hobbit hole (the first being 'Foodie Fridays'), and this is the second.  Once a week, probably on Wednesdays, I will post about what books are on my nightstand and what I think of them.  This will not only help my bloggity mojo, but keep me reading as well.

Today's edition is going to be a little on the long side, but I've recently finished or started several books.

Helen Keller's Teacher by  Margaret Davidson (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
This was a favourite of mine when I was in fourth grade, and then miraculously I just happened to see it at the library on a reshelving cart, and I couldn't resist picking it up.  This was probably the closest thing to the first biography I ever read.  The story of Annie Sullivan, the woman who broke through the darkness that Helen Keller lived in, is told in an age appropriate manner.  I remember it was the first time I ever read about tuberculosis, the Irish potato famine, and poor houses.  Re-reading it now, as an adult, I was surprised at how the mental images that I had as a child when I read this book came flooding back.  A great story of over-coming obstacles. 

DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation & Redemption by  Stefan Bechtal (3 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
I was really excited when I saw this book on the shelves at 'my' store.  I loved the show 'DogTown' about the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.  The show chronicles the stories of dogs that have been rescued from the direst of circumstances (dog fighting rings, puppy mills, and death row at other shelters) and are given all the medical care and rehabilitation they need to hopefully find their forever homes.  And if they aren't able to be adopted out, then they will have a forever home at Best Friends.  The thing with the book that I found very disappointing was that it was all stories that I had already seen as a fan of the show.  There were a few added details, but it was just an expensive hard-cover repeat.  Really the only bonus for me is knowing that part of the proceeds of buying the book go to Best Friends.

How To Woo A Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries  (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
I really love Sabrina Jeffries.  She's a great author, and she writes in one of my favourite genres... historical romance.  Granted, her books are a little closer to bodice-rippers than other historical romances I read, but they are fun and light.  This one is the third in the Hellions of Hampstead Hall series, where 5 siblings are forced to seek out marriage partners or lose their inheritance.  Set in regency England, the story was a tad formulaic, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 

Fall of Giants by Ken Follet  (5 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
I love this book!  I'm not quite finished it yet (about 200 pages out of 1000) but I am enthralled.  This is the first in his Century Trilogy.  The story begins in 1914, and follows four or five families from Wales, England, Germany, Russia, and the US through the lead up to and the duration of World War One.  I will admit, although I knew the basics, I have been fascinated by the political events that led to the start of WWI, as well as all the other contemporary political issues (women's suffrage, the Russian Revolution, etc) and am so enjoying how Follet has woven a great story around these events.  I'm excited to see how he handles the rest of the 20th century.  I know that not everyone enjoys these epic historical sagas, but I think they're great. 

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley  (4.5 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
Alan Bradley is one of my favourite newer authors.  It doesn't hurt matters that he's from my hometown!  This book is the third in the Flavia De Luce Mysteries series.  Flavia, a precocious trouble-making 11 year old, has a habit of finding dead bodies around her tiny village in late-1940s England.  This time around, a travelling Gypsy fortune teller is found mortally injured in her caravan and Flavia manages to get herself wrapped up in the case.  Meanwhile, the family situation becomes perilous as they are in danger of losing their crumbling family estate.  These books are all funny, smart, and I think they would be a great read for anyone 9 to 99.  (The first two are called Sweetness At The Bottom Of the Pie, and The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag... CHECK THEM OUT!!!)

Waiting in the wings... The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett by Colleen McCullough and Standing In the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. 

What are you reading these days?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: My Birthday

Howdy Humble Readers...

It's been a long sunshiny day here on the flatland.  And I'm not complaining!  Tomorrow it's supposed to get into the upper 20s or maybe even low 30s for us here.  (That would be the upper 80s for you fahrenheit folks).  That's a bit warm for my taste, but I'll take it!

Today at our awesome Bloggity Summer Camp, Camp Director Calliope has asked...

"What do you prefer to do on your birthday?"

Hmmm... Honestly, I don't really have a particular preference.  I don't have a favourite restaurant or something that I simply must do on my birthday.  I do like to have a quiet day, with family and a few friends.  Sleeping in is a nice thing, and a nice dinner, maybe at somewhere new.  But really, so long as I have someone to say 'Happy Birthday' to me, someone who recognizes that this is a special day for me, that's all I need.

My birthdays haven't always been fun days for me.  There's a history of angst and turmoil around my birthday (My half birthday has always been so much better).  My birthday is in September, and it always seems to be a time of transition and change.  Some of these changes haven't been the easiest to get through, so if I can have a mellow day I am super thankful. 

If I can just have a quiet day, and maybe a little chocolate cake... that's all I need.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: I'm An Adult?

Hey Humble Readers...

Today at Bloggity Summer Camp, our awesome camp director Calliope has asked...

"What has most surprised you about being an adult? What have you learned about yourself through blogging?"

When I was a wee little hobbit, I had this idea that once you were an adult you knew what life was all about.  That you had figured it all out and that maturity just sort of happened.  And oddly enough I associated that with having kids.  Any time I met someone who had kids, I almost always assumed that they were older than me. 

At least I did until a few years ago... but that's another saga that you're all too familiar with. 

But seriously, anytime I meet someone who has kids, or seems like they have it all together, I always assume that they're older than me.  However, now that I'm closer to forty than thirty, I'm coming to realize that there is no magic switch that makes you feel like an adult.  It just happens over time.  One day you wake up and you realize that you have a mortgage, bills, and aging parents. 

As for blogging... I think the biggest thing that I have learned from blogging the last couple of years is that I have a voice.  I have a story to tell, and it's worth listening to (reading).  And that when your story is heard by just one other person, you aren't alone. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: My Guilty Pleasures

Howdy Humble Readers! 

I hope that you're all having a great long weekend, on both sides of the 49th parallel.  We had a lazy Canada Day on Friday, and spent yesterday visiting with family who were out camping nearby.  Ginny was, as always, the belle of the ball, being passed from person to person and charming everyone along the way.  Today is a typical Sunday, with church and then grocery shopping in the afternoon. 

So, today at Bloggity Summer Camp, our camp director, Calliope, asked a great question... "What are your guilty pleasures?"  What a fun question!

Immediately, when I think of guilty pleasures, I think of food.  Of those things that I rarely allow myself because I know I just shouldn't.  Things like chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, perogies & sausage, and dill pickle flavoured potato chips. 

But I don't just find guilty pleasure in food.  I subscribe to four or five magazines and I purposely wait until all of them have arrived for the month before I read them.  Then, on an afternoon when the house is clean and the wee girl is either asleep or otherwise pleasantly distracted, I take my time perusing the pages of home, fashion, and foodie magazines.  If I come across a recipe that I want to try, I tear it out and add it to a binder I have in my cook book cupboard. 

And my last guilty pleasure, or at least the last one I'm going to share with you all today... ;)

I love love love taking a really long super hot shower.  I can just stand there under the water forever, letting it beat on my head and on my back and shoulders.  This is why I always have Beloved take his shower first... I would hate to use too much hot water and not leave him enough. 

So, what are some of your guilty pleasures? 

And don't forget, you can still sign up for Bloggity Summer Camp!  Just stop by Creating Motherhood and join in the fun!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: The Hobbit In High School

Hey Humble Readers...

Day two of Bloggity Summer Camp and I'm having a blast. (scroll down to my second post from yesterday if you want to see Day One)  If you don't know what I'm talking about, make sure to swing by Creating Motherhood and sign up!

So today our lovely Camp Director Calliope asks: What were you like in high school? What extracurricular activities, if any, did you take part in during high school? Did you consider yourself a writer?

So who was the hobbit in high school?  Well...

Pure and simple, I was a geek... I loved boy bands and let myself get lost in books.  I enjoyed school, but I didn't stand out as an all-star student.  I loved classes like English and History, and did remarkably well in Biology.  I totally sucked at Math and Geography.  I also took a lot of useless classes just to get my credits for graduation. 

I spent a lot of time in the library and had many philosophical debates with the very patient Mr. Gradin.  I was such a book geek that I would get let out of classes to help conduct the annual inventory in the library.  And I loved it. 

One thing that was extraordinarily out of character for me was that I really enjoyed drama class.  I think it was the one place where I could be myself without fear of being ridiculed.  I participated in many assemblies and even competed in Fringe Fest with a monologue about a very self-isolated girl named Emily. 

I have pretty much always considered myself a writer, even though I rarely finish anything I start (a terrible TERRIBLE trait I still work to overcome).  I started writing stories when I was 7 years old and it hasn't stopped yet.  In high school I took a creative writing class and found it very frustrating as it was far more structured and a lot less creative than I was hoping for.  My biggest challenge is moving an idea from my brain to the page.  I have all kinds of plot lines and characters rattling around in my poor brain.  They just don't seem to want to move out through my fingers. 

Well... I'm off to go check out what other campers are talking about today!  :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bloggity Summer Camp: My Bloggity Space

Hey Humble Readers...

Welcome to Bloggity Summer Camp!!!  Calliope at Creating Motherhood had this fantabulous idea to get the bloggy mojo flowing through the summer.  Here's how she describes it...

"Think of this as summer camp in the blogosphere. We’ve all been dropped off at a month-long camp with fantastic cabins and great wifi. Each night we gather at a looooooooong table over a yummy meal. And as the fireflies dance outside someone puts on some sweet sounding Bessie Smith and we talk about something. We get to know each other better."

Cool idea, eh?  And you can join in any time you want! 

So, today's topic... My bloggity space!

I love my little netbook, and it and my lap-desk reside on our big comfy red couch.  It's not the prettiest piece of furniture... it's definitely showing some abuse (too many dinners eaten in the living room, a wee girl who likes to chew on the pillows, and two not-small adults who lounge in front of the tv too much). 

What does your bloggity space look like?

Foodie Fridays: Premier Edition

Hey Humble Readers...

In an effort to improve my bloggity track record, I have decided to have a couple of weekly features here in the hobbit hole.  So, going forward, Friday will henceforth be known as Foodie Friday.  (I know it's not very original, but if you can come up with another name for it, please be my guest!)

Today I'm sharing my new favourite salad.  Like everyone, I often get into a rut with my meal planning and tossed salads are a go-to for me for pretty much the entire spring and summer.  But I get sooo sick of them after a while that I need to get creative. 
(Not my best photography ever.  Sorry)

Rainbow Black Bean Salad

1 lg can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 large tomato, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cup frozen kernel corn
2/3 oil (olive or canola work well)
2 limes, zested and juiced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin

1 avacado, diced
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl wisk together oil, lime zest and juice, chili powder and cumin.  Add in beans, tomato, green pepper, corn, and cilantro (if using), and stir gently ensuring to evenly coat all veggies with the dressing.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes to overnight.  If using avacado, add just before serving.  This salad stands up well in the fridge for up to two days (without the avacado).  Another option is to mash or puree the avacado and incorporate it into the dressing, although that makes the salad's appearance a little muddy. 

This salad is great if you're going to be outdoors or taking it to an event as it doesn't have a mayo or cream based dressing.  It's also really great for breakfast the next morning.

If you try it, please let me know what you think!

So ya, Wednesday's post didn't materialize like I planned, but I have a great excuse... Ginny and I ended up spending the whole day out and about (so rarely happens).  We went to the library for a couple of hours, and spent some time in the park downtown before heading to Beloved's office.  The wee girl had a doctor appointment and we had to go to the public health clinic to get her 6 month shots. 

As I suspected, her weight has completely leveled out, but she is still growing like a stink weed... 2 inches in two and a half months.  She did really great with the needle too, just a little whimper and that was it.  Less than five minutes later she was her smiley happy self trying to wrap her fingers in my hair.

Happy Canada Day!!!! :)