Saturday, January 12, 2013

Party! Party! Party!

Got the house ready for the big party today. You shove the laundry basket behind the couch, right? Uh... yeah, no... me neither. Finally got all the Christmas decorations put away last night. Converted the house into a pink, Hello Kitty wonderland. Katie said the house "looked lame this morning, but now it looks AWESOME!"  Put out the international symbol of "The Party is Here!"

Balloons and crepe paper can go a long way to make the house look bright and party ready.

And the Barbie convertible makes an appearance as a lovely centerpiece! :)

Katie had fun putting together gift bags for her friends. All the basics were included. Cherry scented Hello Kitty notebooks, swirly straws, cute erasers, bouncy balls, fuzzy slap bracelets, and lizards. Yep, lizards.

Since I only found that awesome rainbow-cake-pops-baked-into-a-cake cake yesterday,  we didn't have one for this party. I'm okay. I'll get over it. :(

Instead, we had donuts! (And I refuse to spell it "doughnuts", because it is spelled Dunkin' Donuts and that is the way it is.) I captioned this picture on Facebook as: "Cake is so last year." But I should have said regular cake is so last year, because I declare this year as the Year of the Cake Pop Cake!

Katie chose that one in the lower right corner. I bet you can guess why.

We found the perfect glittery candle in the shape of a 9, but come party time we realized that we didn't have anything to light it with. Oh, well!

Apparently, there are lots of uses for slap bracelets. They are huddled around the Hello Kitty popcorn maker, because even though we didn't have time to get together the plans for that awesome cake, we did have everything we needed to make Party Popcorn. I warn you though, it will be very hard to go back to regular popcorn after you've had this stuff. It's excellent and addictive!

Pop some popcorn. Every time we use this air popper, there is always a kernel or two that doesn't pop until it is already in the bowl. It sends the already popped kernels flying! It's kinda funny and exciting. Then spread it out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Melt up some Candy Melts. We used pink. Big surprise!

I dropped blobs of the melted candy onto the popcorn and then mixed it together with my hands. It was hot, but not burning. Which is exactly what Amy at She wears Many Hats said would happen.
And then I sprinkled the rainbow nonpareils all over!
Amy suggested using different colored sprinkles for different events, but I say use different colored Candy Melts for a fun allover color effect. Yellow and Green popcorn for all the Ducks games. That's the only football you watch, right?!

Final product:
Donuts and fun were had by all. It was a good day. :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Party Time!!!

Tomorrow is the big day, Birthday Party Day!!! I'm busy cleaning the house and getting everything ready for the party. I've found some fun ideas on Pinterest that I can't wait to try. Katie got a Hello Kitty Popcorn machine for Christmas. We are going to use it to make Party Popcorn. :) She Wears Many Hats used white candy melts, but we're going to use pink. If you've met Katie, you already knew that we were going to use pink. There is no question, the candy melts will be pink and so will everything else!

We went to Target to pick up the party supplies and so Katie could use her birthday money from Grandma. She got a few items from the dollar section. A pink microphone for her and a blue microphone for Matthew. The last thing the-loudest-person-I-know needed was a microphone, but it was her money and I let her spend it the way she wanted. Seriously, she does not possess an "inside voice". She got a few other things, but the one I wanted to tell you about is a Barbie Convertible. So? Those have been around forever? Okay, maybe not forever, but still. The reason I'm so excited is that they are on sale at Target. Not a little fake 50 cents off sale, but almost half off!! Regularly, $19.99, it was $10.49! And the second part to my weird excitement is that it is a great Elf on the Shelf prop! Especially since I got Clyde a girl elf friend. I know this year's elf season just ended, (and maybe some of you are happy that it has), but I love Elf on the Shelf and it doesn't hurt to think of a few new ideas when the pressure is off.

We are having donuts instead of a cake, but if I had seen this earlier, we would be having cake! This cake is so cute!!! Rainbow colored cake pops baked into a white cake!!! Where has this been my whole life?! And cake pop pans are available everywhere now. And on clearance at Micheal's. At least the Christmas colored ones are. And who cares what color the pan is?! I'm probably going to find a reason to make this cake soon, so stay tuned. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Books and weights. Maybe I should use books as weights! :)

Just a quick update. Finished The Messenger and now I have to wait for Son to be turned back into the library. The Flagstaff City Library is quite amazing. No late fees, you can renew as many times as you want, (unless there is a hold on a book and I put one on Son). It's pretty great. It's just annoying if you're waiting for a book and know that there really isn't anything pressing the one who has it checked out to return it. But the good news is that I had another book to read. And it was one from the BBC List! The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I didn't know anything about this book before reading it, but if I did I would have read it sooner! I LOVED it! It is written in the perspective of a 15 year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I understand the "rules" that people with Asperger's Syndrome prefer to live by. Each has their own, but I mean I appreciate the logic they use when coming up with them. The main character, Christopher, loves science and math, my two favorites. I also enjoyed the description of Jacob Hunt's life and rules in Jodi Picoult's book, House Rules. I didn't enjoy the plot. I figured out what happened long before it was revealed and I couldn't stand the way the people around Jacob acted. But I enjoyed Jacob. And I LOVE Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. I'm the "Sheldon" of our family. :)

I've been running, but I need to do more. Cardio is great, but everything says that strength training is just as important. So, I've made up a nice list of exercises to do and I upgraded my hand weights to 8 lb ones. Now is a great time to pick up some new equipment and to refresh your workout wardrobe. Everything is new in stores and there are also many sales for New Year's Resolutions. I got my weights on sale. I'm also thinking of picking up some running capris and a new sports bra or two.
Time for bed!

January 9th. Miles Run: 13.4. Books Read: 4. BBC List: 35.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Getting back to regular life.

Today was a good day. The temperature actually made it above freezing! I went for a run outside. It was glorious! Okay, maybe not glorious, but definitely good. It was a little like an obstacle course, weaving around the ice on the almost-dry streets, hopping over piles of snow. But it was nice to get out of the house and feel the sun on my skin. And, hopefully, start to work off some of the Christmas goodies that seem to have found their way to my midsection. I used to think that people running in cold weather were crazy. Even crazier than just runners. But it turns out that once you get going, you're not cold. In fact, I think I sweat even more, because I'm wearing a sweatshirt over my usual running get-up. I wish that sweat really was liquid fat melting away, but it is just fluid that has to be replaced. Make sure you drink your water!

This afternoon, the kids asked if they could have donuts. There were still some leftover from yesterday's birthday breakfast. I made them each do a chore first. To earn their donut. Then, tonight, while cruising Pinterest, I happened upon this gem! An Uh Oh Bucket! There are always a toy or two laying around and this is the perfect solution. :) You get a big plastic bin and fill it with whatever gets left laying around. To get the items back, the kids have to do a chore! I love it! Larissa over at Just Another Day in Paradise created a cute printable to attach to your Uh Oh Bucket. I printed my copy out already and will be purchasing a bucket in the morning. Christmas toys and birthday toys seem to be popping up everywhere. And it is also a good way to get the kids used to doing more chores.

I finished reading Gathering Blue, today. The companion book to The Giver. It is definitely not a sequel in the traditional sense. None of the characters are the same and it is set in a different community. Much closer to a dystopian society. A slower read, too. But I enjoyed it. Some of the reviews complained about all the descriptions of how to dye threads with natural dyes from plants. But I really loved those parts and it got me thinking about trying it myself. But not until summer. I just think it would be fun to have something that I not only made myself, but actually dyed myself.

January 5th: Miles run: 6.5. Books read: 2. BBC Top 100 List: 34

Birthday time.

Yesterday was my daughter's birthday. Yes, that's right, a birthday 10 days after Christmas. But I always try to make sure that it is a special day set apart. Not a Birthday/Christmas double duty gift day. That's just mean. No one hands a July birthday kid a present that is both their Birthday/Christmas gift. And if they give them school supplies for their birthday, then there is something really wrong with the Giver. (I LOVE school supplies, but that is not a birthday gift!)

We had donuts for breakfast. With pink sprinkles, of course!

Presents wrapped in pink wrapping paper, (not leftover Christmas wrapping paper), appeared throughout the house during the day.

I didn't tell her that it was there. I waited for her to discover it. :) It was a Magic 8 Ball. She really loved it!

She asked it if there were more presents, and no joke, this is what it said:

HA!!!! :) Of course, a few more showed up.

Birthday Girl chose where we went to dinner. She picked Chili's, because she knew they clapped and brought you a special sundae. She wore her Birthday Girl sash so they would know. :)

Don't worry! She shared. :)

Her actual party with friends will be next weekend. That way she can hand out invitations at school after Christmas Break is over. I'm sure they would have gotten lost or forgotten if they had been handed out before Christmas Break. It was a fun day! :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So far, so good!

Before I get into resolution talk, again, let me make a little announcement. Elf on the Shelf are on sale at Barnes & Noble for 30% off!!! And members get an additional 10% off. So, if you want to get a girlfriend or boyfriend for your elf for next year, now is the time to get it. Bonus, the skirts are 50% off! They aren't with the elves anymore. They have put them in one of the many Christmas clearance tables spread throughout the store. I had to hunt for them. Almost all the Christmas stuff is 50% off now. Including books!!! So many good children's books on clearance! Stock up for next year. :)

On to resolutions! I got a book on my BBC Top 100 list, The Count of Monte Cristo. The copy I bought is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series. Hardcover classic books from only $7.95. And it was 50% off! Plus, 10% for members. The final price was $3.57 for a nice, hardbound book! That is a great deal! I might have to pick up a few more tomorrow. ;)

I'm also reading through Lois Lowry's books. A good friend of mine is an English teacher and she suggested I read The Giver. I started and finished it yesterday. It is written for middle school age students, but it was still a fun read. I love utopian/dystopian novels. (Brave New World is one of my all time favorites.) Once I finish the next three in the series, I'm going to read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. What? But you just bought that Cristo novel? Yes, but there is a book club in town and their next meeting is about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It's on the BBC list and I'm hoping to meet a few adults around here.Two birds with one stone.

As for Science Nerd books, I picked up Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur & Jay Burreson and Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements From Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. I really loved The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From the Periodic Table of Elements by Sam Kean. I'm hoping these two are as interesting as that one.

As for my running resolution, I ran 2 miles yesterday even though we still have snow all over the roads. Since it was New Year's Day, the gym was closed. But I really wanted to start of on the right foot. Or rather, my left foot, that's my dominant one. :) It was 28 degrees outside, but I found that once you get going you're not worried about the cold. It was actually a little fun running in the snow. I know, I'm one of those weirdo runners.

January 2nd. Books read: 1. BBC list: 34. Miles run: 2

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year!! New Things!! New You!!

Happy New Year!!!

What are your New Year's Resolutions?

I have two. Number one: To run a least 300 miles in 2013. Number Two: To continue reading through the BBC Top 100 Book List.

Number One is totally new! Sort of, I ran 157 miles in 2012. But I've never made a running resolution before. I just started running last May. Seriously, I couldn't even run the whole mile in Junior High. And if you had told me last New Year's I was going to run 150+ miles in the coming year, I would have laughed in your face. But a group of my friends was meeting a few times a week to run and they invited me. I was the sad, pathetic one walking and falling way behind. I decided that I needed to figure it out and get my lazy bum running. People have asked what got me into running. And the truth is: pride. I really didn't know if I could do it. I just wanted to try. Shake off some of the humiliation of every walked lap or mile throughout my life.

I started in my very rural neighborhood. Where I knew no one would see me and my sad attempts. I knew that to be able to go any distance I would have to figure out my "pace". It turned out to be a very slow, granny pace, but it worked! I was running!!! I started with half a mile. Then, a whole mile. Then, I realized that I could go as long as I wanted! I had figured out my pace and how to breathe. I also found out what chaffing is, but that's another story and I'm sure you don't want to hear that one.

I poured over running websites and found the right clothes to wear, (no cotton!). I figured out that my iPod already had a cool little app to track my runs. Nike Fitness +. I love it. I don't have to keep a log of my runs. It does it for me. And a little voice tells me how far I've gone, so I can just lose myself in the scenery and run. At first, I just ran in some old sneakers that I had, because I didn't want to waste money on running shoes if this wasn't something I was going to stick with. (I think we've all done that with one thing or another.) But I eventually traded up.

I prefer running on neighborhood streets. Obviously, the weather doesn't always allow that. Whether it's too hot or too cold, there are just times when you have to go inside. Luckily, we have a cool place in Flagstaff, the Aquaplex. The kids can go swimming or rock wall climbing, and I can go running. Sometimes, like on New Year's Day, I just have to suck it up and go outside anyways. It's easy to come up with reasons why not to run. But I always feel better if I just do it. I saw a post on Pinterest that said, "Run while you can." So, I do. Rain or shine. Or snow. I just run.

So, without ever meaning to, I became one of those weirdos who love to run. I still think other runners are weirdos, I just realize that I'm, now, also one of those weirdos. When I see someone running, I check out their form, their clothes, their shoes. I guess next on my list should be to run in a race. But I'm still a little chicken. Running with all those other "real" runners is still kinda intimidating.

I started Number Two last year. I have read about 34 so far. (I also read a bunch of other books that weren't on the list, so that kinda put me behind. Science nerd books. I won't bore you. But if you want to know, ask in the comments.) And it has been more difficult than I first thought, because these books are on this list for a reason! I get emotionally invested! And it can take some time to digest a book before you move onto the next one. Yes, some of the books on the list are lighter than others. I happened to start with Winnie the Pooh. Because we had it in the house. But even that book was quite surprising! Racism, (sort of, I don't know if it is called that between animals), kidnapping plots! It was a wake up call as to what has really been going on in The Hundred Acre Woods. :)

So, what's on your list for 2013?