Categories
books & reading memes & carnivals motherhood reviews

Kids' Picks: Goodnight Gorilla

Last month I picked up one of my favorite children’s books for my son – the one I used to love reading for story time when I worked in a local bookstore – Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann which tells the story of a Zookeeper and his wife and a sneaky gorilla who helps all the animals escape their cages at night as the zookeeper is locking up. I can still remember reading this before my son was born, and thinking how I couldn’t wait to read it to my own children. So I was thrilled when we not only bought it (finally) but he LOVED it. For weeks it became The Book for our bedtime story and it’s still in regular rotation even now that the novelty has worn off a bit (which is always good because you don’t want to get sick of a favorite book!).

Grade: A+

I’d recommend this book to any parent of a young child – my son loves naming all of the animals in the book and laughing at all of the antics of the story. I am still very much in love with this book which I think is every bit as good as the more commonly known “Goodnight” book, Goodnight Moon.

What are your kids reading this month? For more kids book recommendations, head over to 5 Minutes For Books.

Categories
memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Season of Giving

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blogland anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So this morning I’m thinking about Christmas presents. Kailani wants to know what you want for Christmas. I’d like a lot of things – that Leachco pregnancy pillow, a WiiFit, loads and loads of books – but I’m not convinced I’ll be getting any of those things. And that’s fine – for some reason I tend to like giving presents more than receiving them, especially since becoming an adult, so my Aloha Friday question this week is…

What present are you most excited about GIVING this year?

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

WW: The Swag Bag

I had my first appointment today, just paperwork and lab tests. I haven’t even met my new OB/GYN yet but Similac is wasting no time delivering their Swag Bag. I don’t need another diaper bag (and this one is tiny anyway in my humble experienced mom opinion) and I won’t be formula feeding if I can help it – but look at all those magazines and free samples! Sure I’ll take your bag of free stuff!

For more Wordless Wednesday fun (not that this was exactly wordless) just click here or here!

Categories
memes & carnivals

Aloha Friday: Christmas Music

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blogland anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Last Christmas I came up with the brilliant idea to make my own Christmas-themed mix CD – my husband and I both agreed that we like a lot of Christmas music but that we’re kind of picky about what music and by who. So I made a mixed CD from various albums we owned and a few his parents owned, and downloaded one or two songs and after one or two trials it was a big success and we enjoyed listening to the CD the whole season. Some of our favorite songs on the CD are:

  • Anything off Barenaked for the Holidays by BNL – such a brilliantly funny CD, I love The Elf’s Lament
  • We love Baby It’s Cold Outside – our favorite version is the one that Will Ferrell and Zoey Deschenal sing in the movie Elf, but their version is not on the movie soundtrack, so we’ve settled for the version by Dean Martin.
  • My husband loves the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • The Little Drummer Boy by Ray Charles
  • Mary, Did You Know? by Clay Aiken (brings me to tears)

I’m planning to do the same thing this year but I would love to add a couple new songs to the CD, so my question this week is:

What is your favorite Christmas song? If it’s been sung by multiple people, which version do you like best?

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

It's Real Life: Store It: In The Kitchen

This week’s It’s Real Life photo meme is all about kitchen storage… Can you hear me grumbling with dismay from where you’re reading? My kitchen is kind of like my least favorite room in the apartment because we can never seem to live inside its means. We like stuff and have a good bit of it and not nearly enough room to store it all. From first glance I think my kitchen is cute – it has that tacky retro 70’s look that I can be weirdly proud of because it’s mine… but at your second and third glance you’ll notice it’s crowded, cluttered and seems to have a permanent filth that no amount of scrubbing, vacuuming and praying can seem to ease.

But this is REAL LIFE so I’m showing it to you anyway! How’s that for bravery? Let’s begin before I change my mind:

We keep our Tupperware under the sink which has recently recovered from a big yucky leak – we had to have the faucet and stuff replaced and yeah the bottom of the cupboard is sagged and stained but I scrubbed it to sanitary cleanness and all is well even if it looks nasty. I like my little spinny rack of stackable Tupperware – so well thought out and I use the heck out of them! Mostly I just love that they always get put away nicely and never look like a hodge podge pile like that pile next to it.

The cleaning supplies are in the middle drawer of the cabinet next to my refrigerator, held shut with a child safety latch that MM still hasn’t figured out luckily. I know it looks like a mess in there, but I swear it’s organized to an extent and all those sprayers are turned to OFF to prevent leakage – so far so good.

Above my fridge is, well, seemingly everything – a little wooden toy truck that MM broke and dh is in the process of fixing / gluing back together, our battery supply, dh’s “tool cabinet”, glue, extra bowls, pitchers, platters, etc. The entire top of all of our cupboards is used for extra storage – bring clutter up, right?

I have a real spice rack – fancy, pretty, full of spices I never use – this is where I keep the spices that I DO use – I found a shoe box and re purposed it into a Spice Box, which lives in one of the upper cabinets with more food – everything spicy in one easy place to search through, and they don’t fall over when I move things.

This is the cabinet where I keep our dishes – I’ve redesigned the organization method in here a dozen times and I’m pretty happy with this one, for now at least – those drinking glasses are semi new and I had to redesign the whole set up when we got them to make them fit properly – I can fit all but one glass which means that I need to always have one glass being used for everything to seem like it fits, which usually isn’t a problem anyway – someone here is always drinking something (usually the eternally thirsty me).

The silverware drawer – Fitting all of our silverware in here is not as easy as you’d think but the drawer is very narrow and I can’t fit a larger utensil holder in here so it makes due. I just recently had an “ah ha” moment where I thought to turn half the forks sideways and half up right to make everything fit better.

Here’s another mish mash of stuff that we try to fit in the kitchen – chopper grinder thingy, other chopper mincer thingy, strainer and mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and all my snackage and miscellaneous stuff. There is a little wire shelf in there that the bowls and sugar jar, etc. are sitting on allowing me to store things under nearth it, too – which I do.

Here are a lot of our basic appliances – microwave, food scale, coffee maker, George Forman Grill, toaster, knife block, our other spice rack, a jar of spatulas (there is a bigger jar with our other big utensils on the stove and even MORE hanging on walls – I told you we have a lot of stuff) and last but not least the awesome hand / stand mixer we got at Kohls last night for $50 – I don’t know how we made it fit, but I’m happy it’s here.

We keep our cookbooks on an invisible bookshelf on the wall (bookshelf bought at The Container Store – love them). I have a few others on counter tops and scattered about but this was one of my favorite strokes of genius in this apartment – we have a couple in every room.

Well that’s about it – my kitchen storage “solutions” in real life. This was kind of painful, but in a way better than I thought it would be. And now I kind of want to go scrub my kitchen from top to bottom…

For more It’s Real Life participants with probably way better organized lives, head over to Jessica’s blog @ Farm Fresh.

Categories
memes & carnivals photography

WW: What I'll Be Doing On My Summer Vacation

For more Wordless Wednesday  fun click here or here!

Categories
books & reading memes & carnivals

Teaser Tuesday – Death: A Life

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
  • My teaser this week is from Death: A Life by George Pendle:

    “So to set the scene for my downfall: the Romans were up, the Greeks were down, the Jews were in and out of captivity, the Chinese were building walls, and the Arabs were eating so many colored mushrooms it was doubtful they were even on this planet at all. It was a warm day in the Middle East and I was touring Earth picking up my usual quota of beggars, lepers, princes, merchants, leeks, kestrels, and kumquats when I found myself drawn to the site of a crucifixion…”

    – from page 129 of Death: A Life by George Pendle

    What are you reading right now? If you decide to play along on your own blog, be sure to link up over @ Should Be Reading.

    Categories
    cooking & recipes memes & carnivals

    Monthly Menu Plan: December

    It’s time for another month of menu planning!

    Rather than planning my family dinners night by night, or week by week, I’ve taken the habit of planning out one menu for an entire month. This makes my grocery shopping much easier since I’ve already decided what dinners I’ll be making, I only have to pick up the ingredients missing for that week and the very regular cast of breakfast and lunch foods.

    And the looming nightly dinners are now much less intimidating. No longer having to stand in front of the refrigerator scratching my head, trying desperately to figure out something nutritious and delicious to make for dinner? Love that. And by doing this monthly rather than weekly, it leaves more time for life in the days in between. It isn’t rocket science, and thanks goes to Simple Mom who inspired me with this idea.

    So here’s my menu for the month of December:

    Week One

    Monday: Mrs Budds Chicken Pot Pie
    Tuesday: Pasta w/ ground beef, red sauce w/ caesar salad & Texas Toast
    Wednesday: Hot Dogs & macaroni & cheese
    Thursday: Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
    Friday: Grilled Cheese & Pepperoni w/ Italian Wedding Soup
    Saturday: homemade pizza w/ alfredo sauce, spinach & shredded cheese
    Sunday: My dad’s birthday – may not be home? Otherwise: Meatball Subs w/ provolone cheese

    Week Two

    Monday: Chicken strips, sweet potato fries & veggies
    Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo w/ grilled chicken and Caesar salad
    Wednesday: Hamburgers w/ choose your own sides
    Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Pepperoni w/ chicken noodle soup
    Friday: Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
    Saturday: Enchilada style Mexican pizza
    Sunday: Tuna Fish Sandwiches

    Week Three

    Monday: Steak & Cheese Sandwiches
    Tuesday: ABC pasta w/ garlic and olive oil, with Texas toast & Caesar salad
    Wednesday: Beer Battered Fish w/ mashed potatoes & veggies
    Thursday: Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
    Friday: Grilled cheese & pepperoni w/ chili
    Saturday: Dec 20 – Family Party
    Sunday: Gnocchi with red sauce

    Week Four

    Monday: Beef toquitos w/ blue corn chips and salsa
    Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs w/ Caesar salad
    Wednesday: Dec 24 (Happy Birthday to me!) Family Party
    Thursday: Merry Christmas! Family Party
    Friday: Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki w/ mixed veggies & basmati rice
    Saturday: GAME NIGHT dh’s homemade pizza
    Sunday: Grilled Cheese w/ pepperoni & clam chowder

    That’s it for December! Remember, the most important part of this process is flexibility – make a plan, but  don’t get eaten up about it if you decide to switch things up – maybe your dinners for Wednesday and Thursday need to be switched for a week or you make plans at the last minute – that’s fine – this isn’t homework, so it shouldn’t feel like it – the whole goal is to make YOUR life easier! So have fun with it!

    If you’re making a menu plan for the month of November be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post in the comments section below.

    Categories
    memes & carnivals

    Aloha Friday: Christmas Movies

    It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blogland anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

    If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

    So I decided that it would be fun to rent a couple Christmas-themed movies every week and watch them on Friday nights, as a cheesy way to celebrate the season and also to expand my repertoire of Christmas movies – Each week I’m planning to rent one aimed for kids to watch with my son and another more grown up movie to watch with dh. So my question this week is:

    What’s your favorite Christmas movie?