Thursday, December 30, 2004

Seven Years

Monday was spent celebrating.


Went Out of Town Tuesday...

...came home yesterday to 120 spam comments. I believe slow painful deaths would be entirely appropriate for spammers.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It's a Boy!

Baby Josef was born at 6:03 PM on 12/22/04. Since Blair could have been my sister-in-law if she hadn't wised up and married someone other than my brother, I'm considering myself an honorary aunt.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

You Should Have Seen the Other Thirty Pictures



It's A Wonderful Life

From Patricia at Out of the Frying Pan comes a link for the thirty second animated bunny verison of It's a Wonderful Life. Bwahahaha!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

An Update From Blair

Induction is scheduled for tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Baby Arriving Soon

My friend Blair is going to be having a baby soon. An exciting, but terrifying, prospect under the best of circumstances. For Blair it is more scary than normal, her baby has only been cooking for 34 weeks out of the regular 40 and this is following sixteen weeks of bedrest, but Blair's water broke and the time is coming. Please keep her, her baby "Dotcom" and her husband in your thoughts and prayers.

A Very Special Holiday Thursday Three

Because everything Terry does is "special". :)

1. The ol’ Tannenbaum--fake or real? When does it go up? And when does it come down?

When we first got married, we had a lovely real tree. Well, the first year we did. The second year we didn't do a tree at all. I had a baby on December 1 and was too worn out to care. Our third Christmas we had another real tree. Then we moved to Alaska -- the land of a million spruce trees. There we found out that real Christmas trees are hard to come by. If you go buy one at a lot, they've been shipped in from Oregon and cost a fortune. You can go chop one down for free on specially designated government land, but then you have to slowly acclimate it to the indoors, because if it warms up too quickly all the needles fall off immediately and all the hibernating bugs wake up and swarm your house. We decided to buy a fake tree like 98% of the other people in Fairbanks.

It's a nice, skinny, 7-footer that served us very well. Currently though, it is up in the attic. Last year on Christmas Eve, my mom was at Lowes and found a 9-foot, pre-lit tree for $20. Now, I was perfectly happy with only a 7-foot tree, but not having to string lights makes me almost giddy. We haven't decided what to do with the other tree. Maybe some year we'll get ambitious and put it up elsewhere in the house.

As to when we put it up -- normally sometime in the weekend after Thanksgiving -- this year it was about 30 minutes after the last bit of pumpkin pie was eaten at the Thanksgiving feast due to pressure from The Boy. It comes down as quickly after Christmas as I can talk my husband into working on it -- usually right around New Year's Day.

2. Shopping--fake or real? Oh, wait, that’s the last question. Here we are--do you wait until the last minute or plan ahead? Do you give gift cards?

I usually plan ahead and buy things on sale or make things, but I always either can't think of anything for one of my husband's brothers -- and yes, I do all the shopping for everyone except me -- or I forget someone. So there is always a last minute gift or two that I have to run out and buy. My husband, relieved of almost all shopping duties, still manages not to do any shopping until I kick him out of the house with instructions not to come home until he's bought me a Christmas present. He's lucky that this year we decided we're not buying presents for each other at all, having just bought ourselves a lovely new furnace instead.

3. And finally, where do you carry out your celebrating, of whatever sort it might be? At your house, at a relative’s house in the area, or out of town?

At home. My parents don't celebrate Christmas and my in-laws take the, in my opinion, unreasonable stance that children should be allowed to get up whenever they feel like it -- say 3 a.m. to open their presents -- and that everyone should get up and make merry. I'm not merry at 3 or 4 a.m. and therefore we do not go anywhere. We might, and have, travelled later in the day to eat with someone, but the morning time is reserved for opening presents and playing with them and wearing pajamas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Battle of Nashville

Seeing as how I live in Nashville and near the parts where the Battle of Nashville raged, I suppose I should have known when the battle was fought. It took Robert over at the Llama Butchers to point out that this is the 140th anniversary of the battle.

Maybe I'll drag the kids down the street to see the Battle of Nashville monument.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

That's A Little Hard to Explain

I love black liquorice. I think it all stems back to visits with my grandparents. My grandfather liked black liquorice a lot, so they always had it around their house. If I was going to sneak candy, it was going to have to be liquorice. Later, my love of the stuff came in handy. I never had any problem getting everyone to give me all the black jelly beans and I never had to share.

Today I noticed that Altoids now makes curiously strong liquorice. I love their wintergreen and ginger flavors, so I had to buy the liquorice. If you really like black liquorice, it is very tasty. My children like black liquorice and wanted to try the Altoids. The older one wasn't so impressed, but the two year old is wandering around the house, sucking on her liquorice Altoid and telling me and her brother, "I like liquor!"

Uncooperative Models


I tried to take some photos of the two big kids in front of the Christmas tree the other day. It wasn't that they were grouchy or willfully uncooperative, but I only managed to get one good shot out of 68. Thank goodness for digital cameras though. I didn't get the picture up above until about number 50. I would have felt even more sorely tried had I snapped three rolls of film, paid to have them developed and then found out that nothing was worth having. Of course, having a digital camera also encourages you to just keep shooting away.

They were cute though, even when they weren't cooperating.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Six Weeks

Yesterday the kids were looking at our photo albums. They'd pulled out the one from Fairbanks and were flipping through it. The Boy was really excited to see the pictures of him in North Pole sitting on Santa's lap. The Girl was interested in all the pictures, but kept asking, "Where me?" She can't fathom the world before she began. I hardly can either. Sometimes I look at those pictures and wonder why we didn't get any of her, until I remember she didn't emerge from the womb until a few months after we returned to the Lower 48.

Six weeks ago today, I was in the hospital having another baby. I already am beginning to forget what the world was like before we had three children and officially became outnumbered. There are moments when the big kids are playing quietly and the baby is snoozing that make me think I wasn't insane and that life is rich and full. More often, the older ones are bickering, the baby is screaming for food or attention and I'm pulling my hair out.

I can't say things are back to normal. I know a new normal will have to evolve as I get used to life with three kids. Right now I'm generally too intimidated to get out of the house with all three kids. I can take two into a store and do just fine, but three is still beyond my ability to cope. I know I would have a meltdown and turn into the screaming, crying, spanking woman in public which would be bad. It's not a good thing to be at home either, which is why when it is not raining, I make the kids play outside as much as possible. They get along better in the yard, and I get a few moments of quiet. A fenced-in yard is a wonderful thing.

Although things are crazy and loud around here and although there are times when I want to sell all the children to the nearest band of passing gypsies, I love them like mad. In a few years, the baby is going to flipping through the albums asking, "Where me?" I'll have trouble remembering that she hasn't always been around.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

And Since We're Talking Cookies

The kids and I made these sugar cookies (minus the Lifesavers) tonight. They are very tasty and don't require you to refrigerate the dough before you roll it out, which is a big plus if there is an impatient 5 year old or an impatient 29 year old in your family. Penzey's Spice Catalog also has a no-chill sugar cookie recipe, but I think the Kraft recipe tastes better and the dough is easier to work with.

Some time in the next week or so we may make two more favorite cookie recipes -- ginger cookies and chocolate macaroons. The first came from Southern Living and the latter from Martha Stewart, I believe.

Ginger Cookies
makes about 4½ dozen

1½ cups shortening
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine first 9 ingredients (everything except additional sugar) in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until mixture is blended.
Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in additional sugar. Place on greased cookie sheets, and flatten slightly with a flat-bottomed glass.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Chocolate Chunk Macaroons
makes 20

¾ cup sugar
2½ cups shredded coconut
2 large egg whites
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of table salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not wax paper). In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites, chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Using hands, mix well, completely combining ingredients.
Dampen hands with cold water. Form 1½ tablespoons of mixture into loose haystack shape; place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

The Cookie Party to End All Cookie Parties

Scroll down to see the extra special pregnant lady cookie, and whatever you do -- don't forget to R.s.v.p. next time you are invited somewhere.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Update Your Blogrolls

I'm slow to mention this, but Frank Myers has moved his blog to spiffy new digs at If you haven't visited his site before, go now. He blogs about his time in Iraq and is an excellent writer worth reading whenever he gets a chance to post. He's not the only good writer in the family though, and I recommend reading his wife's guest post, if you missed it. Actually, I recommend going back and reading everything you've missed.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I Like My Dentist

I just don't like my teeth. I went this morning for my teeth cleaning and found out that not only do I have several sensitive areas on a watch list -- let's hope the FBI aren't monitoring my teeth -- I also have one real cavity and two fillings that have reached the end of their lifespan and are leaking. Bah. Three fillings. Hmph. And I even floss!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Birthday Pictures

The Cake

The Boy Decorating His Sword and Shield

The Birthday Boy

The Boy actually turned five last Wednesday, but with a mid-week birthday he wound up really celebrating more of a birth-week than a birth day. My mother came down from Ohio on Wednesday to bring birthday presents, take him out for a birthday mango lassi and eat a cupcake with him. She had to leave the next morning though because my younger brother was arriving from Japan.

Because the Boy does not have preschool on Wednesday, they had his celebration the next day. The girls and I went for the last few minutes of school, where they told a version of the Waldorf Rainbow Bridge story all about The Boy, while he got to wear a special crown and cape, then they gave him a little handmade bag with modelling wax, a seashell and a polished stone in it, and the kids got to eat cake the teachers had made. There was nothing for me to do, which was lovely.

And decidely not the case with the real birthday party on Saturday afternoon. The Boy had requested, admist about 900 party ideas, a knight party, so we went with that. I made the cake on Fridaymorning and then made felt crowns for all the kids that night. Saturday morning I decorated the cake, while Justin demonstrated his creative skills and turned one Smiles diaper box from Sam's Club into five shields, five swords, and three archery targets. After the cake was finished, I downloaded coloring pictures of various creatures to paste on the shields (which the kids got to color and decorate), as well as some images for the targets and an extra large dragon for the kids to play pin-the-fire-on-the-dragon.

I made sure the two year old was napping before the guest arrived and a good time was had by all. The kids did archery with The Boy's suction cup bow and arrow set, then decorated their sword and shield with the finest plastic gems, sparkly star stickers and glitter glue, ate cake and ice cream, after which they pinned fire on a dragon and then ran around our backyard whacking each other with swords.

I'm glad it is over, but I'm glad we threw a party this year too.

Piles and Piles of Laundry

When I next get invited to a baby shower, I'm getting the new mama and daddy an extra large jug of laundry detergent. It doesn't matter how many cute clothes or toys the new baby gets, what they really need is more soap to wash it all.

I remember being overwhelmed by the laundry when my son was born -- but we were using cloth diapers most of the time then. After my first daughter arrived, I gave up on using the cloth diapers again in large part because of the extra laundry they required. Now my laundry piles are beyond amazing.

I have a newborn who gorges herself and regurgitates all over herself, me and whatever surface we're on before I can burp her. She also has the occasional poop-splosion, requiring a change of everything in the vicinity.

The two year old has consistently refused to wear a bib since she started solid foods. She usually spills or drips or wipes her hands on her clothes. And if she doesn't, she'll get chalk or something else on her clothes. When she notices even the slightest stain or mark on her clothes, she rips them all off and cannot be convinced for any consideration to put them back on -- they are dirty.

My five year old eats somewhat more neatly and doesn't rip his clothes off at the smallest hint of dirt -- he is a boy, afterall. However, it is not unusual for him to come home from preschool in his spare clothes carrying a bag of soup, oatmeal or mud covered clothing. That much wouldn't be so bad, but on top of that -- the boy who so proudly was staying dry for months and didn't need to wear Pull-ups anymore has reverted. He has wet the bed almost every night for the past two weeks. We limit his fluid intake. We make him pee twice and he still wakes up soaked.

I washed two loads of laundry yesterday. Today I have at least three to do, because I have one spit-up covered down comforter and one pee-soaked one. Have I mentioned that I hate laundry and never have enjoyed washing things?

Friday, December 03, 2004

Wedding Cakes

My mother always said that when I had nothing nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. So, I'll point you to two cake toppers and leave it at that.

Answers to Life's Questions

Terry comes up with answers to my questions about the Auburn cry "War Eagle" and analyzes the upcoming game with UT. Nifty.

A Pacifier

I hate pacifiers! My son, however, sucked everything he could get his mouth on from the first hour after he was born. We used a pacifier for about 6 months and I hated looking at it every time -- but it sure was useful in the car and stuff like that.

My first daughter would have nothing to do with a pacifier. We learned to live without. So this time, I was fairly resistant to even bothering with them. However, the baby seems more like her brother in many ways and I did want to be able to drive without screams from her mingling with the arguments from the other two and I like to be able to pass her off to her dad for a little while now and then. So I boiled up some pacifiers last night.

She took right to them. I sure hate seeing her all plugged up, but it is convenient and leaves my pinkie free for other things.

Music -- If You Stretch The Term

My son probably sings as well as most five year olds -- which is to say atonally and when he makes up his own songs (frequently) they tend to ramble and make very little sense. I admit that when we're in the car and he's sharing his latest ditty, I tend to tune out. It's sweet and cute and all that, but I can only take so much off-key, tuneless, pointless singing.

The other day he was singing "train songs" though and at one point what he was singing actually registered. He was singing a song he'd named "Don't Get On That Long Black Train, Because It Means Death". He must have gotten that from his dad, but it made me laugh.

Watch out for those long, black trains.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Cough, Cough, Sniffle

I have a cold. Hmmph. Why couldn't it have waited until next week or so? Or better yet, have visited someone else?

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Christmas Cards

I sort of want to send out Christmas cards, especially since after painting the picture on the left part of the screen last year, we all got sick for the whole month of December and I never got cards made let alone sent out. On the other hand, cards seem like a lot of effort. I'm not sure I have it in me.


I mentioned below that most of our ornaments are relatively unbreakable. Other than that some also belong to certain collections of ornaments. By which I don't mean Hallmark collections. We have a moose and caribou collection -- with some other woodland creatures thrown in for good measure. I seem to have picked up a lot of snowflakes and stars along the way and my husband has several airplanes.

Some of the ornaments are just pretty, but have no special significance other than the memories of a trip to Target. Others I love hanging up because of some association. There is the moose we got at Glacier National Park and the Buffalo from Yellowstone. The bell I won at a church Christmas party in Fairbanks. The two leather moose from Fairbanks, which we don't quite remember how we got two of. Some old fashioned Santas that my husband's grandmother gave us right after we got married are hanging up and well loved by the kids. Two special ornaments are my son's, given to him by a sweet old lady who died last January, but whom my son always took the time to say hello to and brighten her day. And then there is the B-2 bomber ornament I found for my husband knowing he'd enjoy it, that a friend later teased us about saying, "Nothing says peace and goodwill towards men like heavy artillery and bombs."

What's on your tree and what do you think about as you hang things up?


Tomorrow will be a big day around here. The baby will be one month old and her big brother will turn five. I'm entirely certain that I'm not old enough to have a five year old and that he was born a few weeks ago. Where does the time go?

Thanksgiving and All That Stuff

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We did. All the food was delicious and with my obsessive planning and advance preparation, getting food ready and on the table wasn't crazy. We did forget to make gravy, but since the turkey was moist and the mashed potatoes had plenty of flavor thanks to the chives, garlic and cream cheese, gravy wasn't really necessary. My main complaint was that we wound up with very few leftovers. At least, very little leftover turkey and my in-laws when snacking only ate the turkey, none of the leftover side dishes. We wound up making one meal out of dressing, spinach gratin and sweet potato casserole a few days later.

The Boy insisted that the tree go up as soon as the last crumb of pumpkin pie was eaten. We have a new tree this year. My mother is the queen of bargain finding and happened across a pre-lit 9-foot tree last Christmas Eve for $20 at Lowes. My parents don't celebrate Christmas, so she got it for us. We have 11 1/2 foot ceilings in the main rooms of the house, so it isn't too tall and by luck it also happens to be a very slim tree which works out well since we have more headroom than floor space. We didn't get it decorated until Friday, much to the Boy's dismay and we haven't gotten around to putting any lights outside. We usually hang some garland with lights on the porch rails, but haven't decided if we have the energy this year.

The year The Boy turned one, I decided that almost all of our ornaments would forever after be metal or wood and generally unbreakable. As I watch my children re-arrange them for the millionth time and scatter more on the floor than there are on the tree, I'm glad. We do have a few special ones up high that they can't reach -- at the top of this tree they are higher than I can reach.

Monday, November 29, 2004


One of my favorite teas is out for its seasonal run. I just ordered myself some. Yummy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Big Brother Loves the Little Sister Who Doesn't Steal His Toys

george and beatrix.jpg


Nathan has an interesting piece on the word "choice" and how differently he believes liberals and conservatives understand it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Pippa and Beatrix.jpg

Something to Be Thankful For

I'm wearing my normal pants and am able to button them up and sit down in them today. :)

Thanksgiving and Proving How Insane I Am

Terry always thinks I prove my insanity by photoshopping his picture, for instance like this. However, the real proof of my insanity lies in the fact that three and a half weeks after having a baby, my husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for around 10 people.

I was thinking I was crazy yesterday while I was running out to the store to buy some gluten-free flour, because my husband's aunt has an allergy. I was thinking this as I was looking up diabetic pie recipes for my husband's grandmother as well. I am willing to make a few special things for those with health related diets. I am not however changing the menu entirely for those on Atkins or similar diets (and none who are attending our feast are on that kind of diet for health reasons).

I believe hosting dinner will be doable though. We're keeping the menu relatively simple and there will be almost nothing that can't be made a day or two or three ahead. We'll be having turkey, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, spinach gratin, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, diabetic pecan pie and apple-cranberry cobbler. I've made the cranberry sauce and assembled the cobbler. I think I may bake the cornbread and biscuits this afternoon, since they are supposed to be a bit stale for the dressing anyway. The gratin and the pie will either get made today or tomorrow, today I hope since tomorrow night we have Bible study and the evening gets kind of hectic.

On Thursday we'll just have to make mashed potatoes and turkey and heat the rest up. Sounds simple enough. We actually enjoy hosting these big meals.

Friday, November 19, 2004

You All Will Think I Can't Cook Without Pumpkins

However, since Thanksgiving is next week, I thought I would share the best pumpkin pie recipe. It is a recipe we worked out, taking bits and pieces from a several different sources. I believe the recipe is mostly from Cooking Light and a cookbook called Cooking from Quilt Country : Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens.

Growing up I never liked pumpkin pie all that much, however, the pumpkin pies we had growing up were always from the bakery section of the grocery store or else from the freezer aisle. When I left home and made my first homemade pumpkin pie, I discovered they could be much better. However, they weren't all that exciting. This recipe, though, is delicious. One I would never let go to waste at the back of the refrigerator. I'd much rather let it go to waist. :)

Maple-Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Praline Crust
serves 8

For Praline Crust:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked pie shell (preferably homemade, but store bought does fine)

For pie filling:
¾ cup evaporated milk (fat-free or regular)
½ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon (1 teaspoon imitation rum extract works ok for those strict teetotalers)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 (15 ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin
¼ cup (2 ounces) cream cheese (⅓-less-fat or regular), softened
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450°. In a small bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Blend in pecans. Press firmly into the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes, watching carefully so crusts do not puff up or slip down. Prick puffs with the fork if you see this happening, and pat the slipping crusts back up into place with the back of a fork. Let cool before filling.

Lower oven temperature to 350°.

Combine evaporated milk and the next 9 ingredients (milk through pumpkin) in a large bowl. Stir well with a whisk; set aside. Combine cheese and 1 tablespoon syrup in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Drop cream cheese mixture by small spoonfuls onto filling; swirl with a knife.

Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean; cool completely on a wire rack. Best if aged overnight.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Birthday-licious Thursday Three

In honor of Jim Smith's upcoming birthday, we have birthday questions this week.

1. Is your birthday in a good time of year or does it suck?

My birthday is at a decent time of year -- mid-April. The daffodils are blooming (sorry LittleA, but I love them) and the world is getting bright and pretty. The problem with my birthday though, especially a problem for my parents the year I was born, is that it falls the day after taxes are due. No doubt they had to file for an extention that year -- and every year thereafter they felt extra impoverished by the time my birthday arrived.

2. How did you spend your 21st birthday?

I was in grad school in Delaware. A lady in one of my seminars brought me a huge bunch of daffodils from her garden. I went out with my roommate and a friend from the apartment down the hall to the famous Deer Park Tavern, where Edgar Allen Poe once visited. Then I came home and talked to my boyfriend Justin on the phone. I think that's about it.

3. Do you know anyone with your birthday?

Lots of people actually. In my senior year of college there were three of us all in the same sorority and all living on the same floor of the same dorm. There was a fellow at church in Alaska and one of our preachers down here in Nashville who also share the date. Plus there are all of these people -- a few of whom are actually noteworthy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Is He the Child of a Lawyer and an English Major?

My son, who asked for a reprieve the other day, was just overheard by me having the following conversation with his sister:

"You have these options. You can get this book or this one or this one. Not that one! That's not one of your options!"

Old Friends

I don't think I've ever managed to go searching for any old friends and ever found them on the internet. However, having this blog has led one or two people to find me. My junior high and high school friend Ellen stumbled in here a few months ago. My brother's former girlfriend and a friend to me Blair dropped by once a long while ago and then started coming back more often after she got put on bedrest. Other friends drop in now and then too -- one who found her way here back in the very beginning when we actually had an Instalaunch and another who got here after a link to photos my kids reading NR was posted on The Corner. We got a letter from a college pal and his wife this weekend, who happened to stop by and see the birth announcement for our daughter -- congratulating us and letting us know they are expecting their second child.

These are reasons I'm rather glad not to be anonymous. Sometimes I wonder if that would be wiser. There are weirdos out there and I've had one or two run-ins with nasty commenters. Mostly though, I really like having a my name on things, so that when someone from my past stumbles in here, I can catch up with them again. It is wonderful to make all the new friends I've made through blogging, but it sure is nice to catch up with old friends too.


Before I had children, I swore I would never repeat their baby words back to them. I could not believe that my in-laws still would on occasion use the baby word their daughter had had for fork almost twenty years later. It drove me nuts when my sister-in-law and her husband would refer to things by the baby words my niece and nephew used. It is a good thing that I only complained to my husband about these things though, because I've had fewer people to apologize to and fewer people to make fun of me for my change of heart.

I love the creative pronunciations and completely different words my children have for things when they first learn to talk. As they grow bigger and speak more clearly, I miss the toddler-speak.

My son is very well spoken. He no longer calls bananas "gomanas," backpack isn't rendered as "hatback" any more and he asks for balloons now and not "gaboons." One day after he learned to read, he looked at a tag on some gloves and realized that they weren't called "glubs." He can read and say just about anything. The kid asked for "a reprieve" from the time-out chair the other day. The last vestiges of baby words that he has are calling lasagna "plasagna" and pot pie "hot pie". I'm sure those will disappear soon.

My two year old talks all the time now. A lot of what she says like, "I won't!" isn't all that cute, and a lot of her baby words are disappearing too. She still mysteriously refers to music and singing as "why-o" but she's also started asking to "ding dongs in the dongbook." As soon as her pronunciation gets better I bet we'll never hear about "why-o" again. She's already saying "Be-a-rix" and not just "Bee-rix" for her sister's name. In the past, her favorite animal was the "hippomanus," but yesterday she said it "hippodominus" which sounds like the Latin for the über horse, but really she's starting to notice all the syllables and pay more attention to how one really says hippopotamus.

As with many other things, I want them to grow up. I wouldn't want to see one of my children go off to a job interview talking or acting like a toddler. However, I miss these words -- symbols of babyhood -- as they get bigger and forget them. I wish I had recorded all the funny ones. I'm holding on to all the words I can remember now -- and chances are in twenty years I may pop out with one of these words that no one else remembers. I know it will make me smile.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Head Above Water...

Sunday was indeed a calmer day. The whole family made it to church for both morning and evening worship -- although we did miss about 15 minutes of Bible class. We'll have to work on the morning routine a bit more.

We had a nice calm afternoon between services. No real napping was done, but we did have a nice period where the kids wanted to listen to Tom Petty, The Boy read aloud from a book on bird watching, The Girl brought over one of our poetry collections and demanded "a story," and The Baby just snoozed. Sure it probably sounds bizarre to the rest of you, but it was pleasant.

The Baby had one episode of throwing up yesterday, but seems to be turning a corner and doing a lot better. She hasn't thrown up at all today. We had her two week checkup this morning and she's an ounce over her birth weight, so something is staying down.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Can I Get a Do-Over on the Weekend?

We still have Sunday to go, but Friday was a bust and Saturday has been exhausting. Friday was grey and cool. In the morning I took the older two kids out to run a few errands, while Justin, who has a cold stayed home to nap with the baby -- only she didn't sleep. So he decided to go into work for a bit after I got back, but first he tried to turn on the heat. Didn't work at the thermostat, so he tried going through the whole procedure of restarting it. He did that about 5 times, before it really sunk in that the thing was not going to start.

We called in the guys we buy a yearly service contract on the furnace from and they came out within a few hours. The ignition switch was broken, so the guy went to get the part and then started doing the regular service, inspection and cleaning before installing it -- which is when he found holes in the exchange. Now, it is a 12 year old, bottom-of-the-line furnace, so we knew it was going out soon, but it would have been nice to get another year or two from it. NOT!

The bad news is that a furnace is downright pricey. The good news is that they were offering no interest financing and they could install it today. So we have heat.

Right after the salesman left taking our meagre fortune and plenty of money we don't yet posess with him, the Baby threw up. Now she spits up on occassion, but recently she's been making a hacking noise followed by yellow puke. This time the puke wasn't just yellow, it was clear -- like broth. That scared me enough to call the pediatrician, who must have worried too, because she sent us to the ER. We quickly found accomodations for the big kids and a neighbor to watch the dog and headed off. Lots of hours, an x-ray and a consultation with the gastro-guys and we got to go home with everyone's best guess being that she either has bad reflux, an irritation somewhere or a stomach virus. Anyway, nothing as serious as they'd feared.

Bedtime at 1 a.m. doesn't make for lively parents the next morning, but we were up bright and early to let the furnace guys in. When they finished in a super speed 2 hours, we headed off to get the kids and directly on to a festival at The Boy's school. We were there from noon to four or so and the kids had fun doing crafts and games and all the neat things there were, but that meant no nap for anyone.

When we got home a kind neighbor brought us food. I always try to make a meal for people when they have a baby and people have done so for us in the past, but it has been even more wonderful this time than ever before and I must remember to cook more for others when they are sick or out-of-the-loop. It sure does mean a lot and help a lot.

I'm praying for a calm and peaceful day tomorrow, with a nice long nap in the middle.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Daddy Has Two Girls

Justin and the girls (small).jpg

Thank You!

To all of our service men and women past and present, a great big thanks -- stay safe.

Where Were You at 4:45?

Most sane people answer this question with, "Sound asleep in bed." And I was too. The baby and I were cuddled together and my husband was snoozing away on the other side of the bed, when screams of "Daddy!" followed by much sobbing broke through my pleasant dreams.

The two year old, not the baby, has been the greatest source of midnight wakings lately, whether because she's having bad dreams, getting cold, or just wanting to stick it to her tired parents, we aren't sure. Whatever the reason, she was up again and this time there were a few extra twists. My husband ran up the stairs and I almost fell asleep again, when I heard him running water in the bathroom. That meant either someone had thrown up or someone had wet the bed and needed to be cleaned up. Neither is pleasant at 4:45, but I was just routing for no vomit when I carried clean sheets upstairs under one arm and the now wide awake baby with the other.

Hooray! It's only urine. My son, who has finally graduated from Pull-ups, still has an accident every once in a while and this was one of those nights. Of course, this was also the night we realized that thanks to a few puddle pads not surviving the dryer, we had no spares. We finally threw on two crib sized ones, even though we just knew that since he'd wet the bed once, we'd be fine to make it up without a pad just this once.

Or not. When he got up in the morning, his bed was soaked again. So loads and loads of laundry await. It wasn't like I didn't already have a totally full hamper filled with things covered in baby spit-up, but then I think they are really all conspiring against me. You'd better believe I'm already teaching The Boy how to do laundry on his own.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Out with the Old, In with the even Older

I went through my maternity clothes yesterday and packed up most of mine and returning the borrowed things. It is some what exciting to pull out all my old favorite t-shirts and jeans, a few of which I can already wear and most of which will fit fairly soon. I even wore my regular overalls yesterday, until a tidal wave of baby spit-up washed over the front of them.

Packing the clothes up is also a sad thing though. The vain part of me will miss them, because my maternity clothes are always more fashionable and stylish than the things I generally wear. Really though, I generally hate admitting that my pregnancy is really over. As much as I wanted it to be over and as much as I adore watching the teeny little thing that used to be inside, I miss the comforting feeling of little wriggles and kicks. I miss the quiet and the sleep too, of course. Plus, this was my third and possibly last baby.

I might just be packing these clothes up until some later date when I just give them all away never to be worn by me again. I'm certainly not ready to commit to a fourth child and I spent a lot of my pregancy thinking there was no way I could ever do this again, but I'll miss all those clothes if I never wear them again. I'll miss the wriggles and kicks. I'll look at the kidlets I have and wonder, "What if..."

Therefore, right now the clothes will lie dormant under my bed. In a few years I will pull them out and ship them off to Goodwill or wear them one more time. If the latter, I'll know it will be my last chance to wear them and in the end they'll be headed for Goodwill anyway. But for now, good-bye to them. I need to go figure out which regular pants will fit.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Dreaded Day

Justin has been home on paternity leave, but tomorrow he's headed back to work for at least part of the day. And it isn't one of The Boy's school days, so I'll have all three kids at home. Yikes. I'm definitely a bit nervous and won't be all the surprised if I find myself bound and gagged with the kids doing war whoops around me.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Ho-Hum, Nothing Much Going On Around Here...

Actually there really isn't much happening. There is a lot of baby watching on my part and she's doing the three things babies do best -- eating, sleeping and excreting. Otherwise, the older two are being pretty good and generally tolerating the new addition well.

The Boy takes it all in stride and has gotten out his sling and a baby doll -- his dad probably fears that I'm turning him into Alan Alda, but I'm not too worried. The Boy was a little worried that he couldn't breastfeed his baby because he didn't "have a wife," but he decided he could use a sportsbottle instead -- being the militant breastfeeder, I don't actually have any bottles around.

The Bigger Girl is being sweet as well and loves to "hold" her sister and sniff her hair and then declare, "Mmmm. 'Mell good." Being surplanted as the baby in the family isn't entirely easy though and she is more prone to nasty tantrums than before. She hasn't taken anything out on the tiny one though. It is amazing to me how my teeny-tiny two year old could have gotten so huge overnight. I saw it last time with The Boy, but it seems even more striking this time.

It sure was nice to have a baby daughter and see the candidate I wanted win all in just a two day span. It has been a good week.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

We're Home

Since my press agent has already spread the news and even gotten all the details including the spelling of Beatrix's name correct, I guess that all I have left to do is post a photo and tell you that we're all doing well and even sleeping once in a while.

Jordana and Beatrix.jpg

Friday, October 29, 2004

Parent Teacher Conferences Recap

We had The Boy's parent teacher conference yesterday and all went well. They had nice things to say about him and how creative he is. We got to see his artwork and they said he's a bit ahead of his age in their opinion. I guess he takes after me there. He's also a bit sensitive and prone to bottling up hurts, but we already knew those things and the teachers just pointed them out to encourage him to come talk to them when he's feeling upset.

It's always nice to hear good things about your child from someone else and know it isn't just biased Mom and Dad who think he's pretty special and super.

A Birth Story

I'm always a sucker for reading about other people's labor and delivery, especially at the moment. While I have no desire for a home birth, I find Carrie's story beautiful and amazing. Her son has been having some jaundice problems since though, so I know she's been extra busy and worried all at once and could certainly use good thoughts.

Food, Glorious Food

You might just be nine months pregnant when nothing sounds good for lunch, so you eat grapes, yogurt, sour cream & onion chips and jello. Hmmm. There is a reason we almost never have those last two in the house, and it isn't just to deprive the children.

And in other food notes, this week's Carnival of the Recipes is up.

And finally, pregnant women like tasty food -- except when nothing sounds good -- and they also like food that doesn't take too long to prepare. This is a favorite around my house, although neither kid likes cooked red pepper much. The Girl will eat raw red pepper all day long though, so I feed her as I'm cutting it up. The recipe as written calls for you to cook up the chicken as part of the meal, but it also works very well and is even faster with shredded leftover chicken (or turkey after Thanksgiving). I think this recipe is a modified version of something found in the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-By-Step Cookbook.

Thai Chicken
serves 4

2 chicken breasts
3 green onions
1 medium red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Cut chicken into thin strips. Heat oil in wok and stir-fry until cooked. Set aside in a bowl.

Thinly slice green onions; cut red bell pepper into 2-inch-long matchstick-thin strips.

In a small bowl, mix garlic, soy sauce, chopped cilantro, the next 5 ingredients, and ⅓ cup water.

In a wok, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Add green onions and red bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden. Stir in soy sauce mixture and chicken and cook, stirring to coat the chicken well. Serve over Asian rice.

Maybe This Baby Will Come Soon

I got the bizarre and uncharacteristic desire to vacuum today.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Haven't Done This In A While

It's Thursday and time for The Thursday Three.

1) Name your THREE favorite candies you hope for when you go trick-or-treating.

Dots, Sour Worms and Gummy Bears

2) Name your THREE favorite things at state/county fairs (food or exhibits or rides or animals or animal food rides or whatever).

frozen bananas, lemonade, and onion rings

As this is my blog and so I can do four things, I'll also add that I love the section where they have all the free pencils, ballons and other things. I love collecting all that junk.

3) Which THREE songs you would download for a cell phone?

If I had a cell phone, I might download music for it, though I kind of hate the personalized music one hears blaring from every phone in town, but who knows when I'll ever make that technological leap anyway or how I'll feel about it by then. Perhaps I would get The Doors' "Hello, I Love You" or better yet Homer Simpson saying, "D'oh!" But I'd probably just want an old fashioned telephone ring.

Parent Teacher Conferences

The Boy has been in school since late August and his school starts parent teacher conferences next week. Because of our unique circumstances though, we're having our conference this afternoon. I don't expect to hear that my kid is a bully or anything. I expect to hear that he cries a bit much at unexpected changes -- like when he was allowed to keep playing instead of making bread one time, but I figure that's something that he'll grow out of eventually. He's only four.

Still, I'm nervous about going to talk to his teachers, although interested too. What will I hear about him? What's he like when he's not with us? Other than Bible classes on Sunday and Wednesday, he's done very little that didn't involve his parents before this. I still miss him some mornings when he's at school and I wish I could be the fly on the wall to watch him.

The Boy seems far too little to be in any kind of school and having parent teacher conferences and yet he seems so big too. These kids grow up way too fast.

If Anyone is Wondering

Things are all the same with me as they were three weeks ago. As I mentioned back then, I always seem to dilate to 3 centimeters and then go into a holding pattern indefinitely. The end is in sight though, for which I am glad. I'm pretty exhausted and swollen these days.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Terry thinks the end of this pregnancy might have driven me just a wee bit insane. I submit that I must have already been insane, since this is my third child and I have no idea how to deal with a newborn and The Girl.

Monday, October 25, 2004

A Joke -- Two Year Old Style

I got out of the shower this morning and instead of grabbing my usual lilac towel, I got a dark purple one -- because the lilac ones were in the washing machine. My daughter looked up and said, "Where pink towel, Mommy?" I told her it was dirty so I was using a purple towel. She got an evil grin on her face and said, "Mommy have poo-poo towel! Mommy have poo-poo, pee-pee towel." And then she burst into gales of laughter. Potty humor starts early.

Theology -- Four Year Old Style

It sometimes amazes me what comes out of my four year old's mouth -- and not because he's usually saying stuff I don't want to hear -- usually I just marvel at how interesting he is and all the thoughts that the little chipmunks inside his head are processing.

Obviously he thinks about religion and God more than I realized. Here are some observations and questions from the past week or so.

On God:
The Boy: Do you think God has a wife?
Me: We never hear about one in the Bible, so probably not.
The Boy: But he made a wife for Adam so he wouldn't be lonely, so He probably has one Himself.

On the End of the World:
The Boy: When will the world cease to exist?
Justin: We don't know.
The Boy: Well, why will it?
Justin: God has a plan to create a new perfect world without the flaws in the this one.
The Boy: I like this world.
Justin: God is going to make a new, clean world some day.
The Boy: Will our house get destroyed? I think it is clean enough.

On Polytheism:
If God is everywhere, that's almost like having many gods. That's probably why the Greeks thought there were a lot of gods.

Friday, October 22, 2004

While I'm at it

I should mention that I added a bunch of blogs to my blogroll. There are probably some I should have added, but didn't. Anyway, you might see someone over there you haven't visited before and I think they are all worth checking out.

Cheap Labor

We have two dusters -- one made when wool and one in some synthetic rainbow colored fuzzy stuff. When I dust (ha!) I use flannel dust clothes, but my kids love the dusters. They are currently fighting over the use of the rainbow one, so I've been setting the kitchen timer and making them trade dusters every 3 minutes. It may not get the house all that clean, but if they want to play dusting who am I to tell them no?

Return of the Prodigal

My old high school buddy, Ellen, points out an interesting story about the return of the contents of a briefcase of Bono's that was stolen in 1981. You never know what interesting stuff could be lying around the attic -- not if you're a packrat anyway.

One of the Weirdest Searches Ever

I get some strange search engine hits now and then, not to mention some fairly common place ones and some that don't even bear thinking about. I'm awfully surprised that yard signs (especially Kerry ones) rank so high on my hit list and who knew that so many people were out there looking for applesauce recipes, but the person searching Yahoo for does britney spears wear diapers -- well that was weirder than almost anything I've seen.

I think the real answer is -- who knows? and who cares? and I sure don't, nor do I have any interest in finding out.

Brand New Baby Blogs

You know how some people will call talk shows and say, "Long time listener, first time caller?" These particular blogs have been started by people who could easily describe themselves as "long time commenter, first time blogger." Both of them have spent way too much time reading Possumblog, but don't seem any crazier than the rest of us. Go welcome Skinny Dan and Tex to the blogosphere.

Another Carnival of the Recipes

The tenth Carnival of the Recipes is up at Inside Allan's Mind.

More Ways to Use Pumpkin

The week before last I had a recipe for pumpkin pancakes and if you make those, you have enough pumpkin left in the can that you need to do something else. This muffin recipe, which I believe came from Southern Living originally, but has been through a few alterations by me, uses up the rest of the can quite nicely.

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
makes 24

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Granny Smith apple,
peeled and finely chopped

3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon oatmeal
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 6 ingredients (flour through sugar) in a large bowl; make a well in the center of mixture.

Combine pumpkin, butter, and eggs, and add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in chopped apple, spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, filling two-thirds full.

For the topping, combine sugar, pumpkin pie spice, oatmeal and butter; crumble over muffins.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's All Over As Far As I'm Concerned

I voted today, so I guess my part is done.

The Lover, Again

I mentioned before that my son is quite the lover. He has his preschool girlfriend and on days when she's sick, he's not quite as happy and on many days when she's there he delights in giving her big hello and goodbye hugs -- and who knows how many hugs during the day.

Recently, one of his favorite songs has become Red River Valley and he's taken the time to learn most of the words. He'll go around humming or singing it throughout the day.

Yesterday he told me the reason he liked the song so much was, "Because it is a love song and it makes me think of Preschool Girlfriend (not her real name)." In fact, he's started composing his own love songs inspired by her.

I wonder when he'll figure out yet that Red River Valley is a sad love song, and not one that might exactly be inspirational for young lovers. And I must note that this sweet young thing better not go breaking my son's heart too cruelly when the day comes that she finds someone new.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Motherly, But Still a Tomboy

What with the new haircut and all, The Girl suddenly seems a lot older. She's in the midst of being two without a doubt and she decided not to take a nap at all yesterday, but new things are always happening.

Although she seems to like dolls, we sometimes feared for The Girl developing much of a motherly nature as she tossed her "babies" across the room or used them as a cushion to sit on. She still does that sort of thing, but the other day I caught her cuddling one of her dolls, patting it on the back and saying, "That's okay, baby. Don't cry." Which is not to say she's not still her brother's biggest tormenter when he's sad or in trouble, but it was a sweet moment and a step in the right direction.

On the other hand, I don't exactly want her to be all dolls all the time or too prissy. Our collection of books for very little children is helping that regard, because most of them, acquired for her big brother are all about trucks. She came over this morning, thrust one at me and demanded to see the loader and the bulldozer.

I think she's pretty well-rounded for a toddler.

Monday, October 18, 2004


It looks like beer. It tastes yucky like beer. But last time I checked, the actual alcohol content in non-alcoholic beer was negligible. Anyway, I bought some O'Douls today to use in beef stew since Cook's Illustrated said it worked well and my friends have often recommended beer as a stew base. If I'd thought anyone would think I was buying beer, I would have been more than a little embarassed -- not only because I don't drink and belong to a teetotalling church, but because I'm about as pregnant as pregnant can be and carting around a two year old besides.

I unloaded all my groceries and last but not least the near beer. Everything rings up and when they get to the final item, they scan it and stare at me expectantly. "Can I see your I.D. please?" I don't look that young and it is non-alcoholic beer, so I was a bit surprised, but I complied. The woman checking my I.D. had never heard of non-alcoholic beer and didn't seem to quite believe me when I told her that's what it was. Why would the computer ask for I.D. otherwise? She also told me that since the computer insists on a birthday for all alcoholic (or apparently alcoholic looking) beverages, they now card everyone -- even if they are 80.

The wonders of the computer age never cease.

Rising Property Values Or Not

It is a good thing my husband and I haven't been counting on the rising property values around us as a nest egg. When I went out this morning for groceries, I noticed that the slummy, long-empty house across the street was having stuff done to it. Now I've been aware for a long time that the slum lord was trying to off-load the property and rumor has it that he was offered $125,000 and turned it down, much to all the neighbors sorrow. No word had gone around that the property had been sold, but today the fence was gone, a backhoe and a dump truck were in the back yard and the back yard was now filled with gravel from one end to another.

Yep, the house sold -- and for a hefty sum according to the county maps. Unfortunately it sold to the church behind it, whose building has been "under construction" with nothing being done to it for a year now. My husband called and they have plans to add on to the exisiting house and turn the backyard into a parking lot. How lovely. No doubt they will take care of this place as well as the other two houses they own in the neighborhood -- which is to say, not well.

And this all comes from the aforementioned slum lord, who at a recent zoning hearing complained that a developer who wanted to convert a drug house into a light commercial office space and renovate it was "ruining the residential character of the neighborhood."

Hmph. When I'm emperor, people will only get to freely exercise their property rights when it doesn't impinge upon mine and I won't have to look across the street at a parking lot.

All Sorts of Excitement

My, was this weekend thrilling! I made the kids felt crowns, finished my craft projects for the Waldorf school, got the Girl's hair cut, helped shred last year's papers (which always leaves me feeling like Lionel Hutz) and file all the papers we've been stuffing in our "to be filed" basket for a year. We also watched Ella Enchanted, which was fun even if it was kind of stupid. I packed bags for the kids should we have to make a run to the hospital, but haven't gotten around to packing much of my own. Of course, if you were expecting any sort of thrilling baby developments you are at the wrong place, although all the women at church think the baby looks lower.

And now since I'm still blogging in my pjs, I suppose I had better get cleaned up, make a grocery list and proceed with exciting decisions like bananas or apples or both?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Still Around. Still Pregnant.

I've been enjoying a nice visit with my dad, who has his fall break the past few days, and haven't really had much to say anyway. I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Tummy Ball

I'm wearing jeans with the huge belly panel today. Thanks to the miracles of modern engineering, I actually have other jeans that stretch enough that they can zip up and have no panel at all. They are in the wash though, so I have to wear the ones that I have left over from previous pregnancies. I guess I avoid the belly panel jeans, when possible, because when my daughter saw me putting them on today she pointed and said, "What's that?" I told her it was my tummy and she laughed and said, "Mommy tummy ball." Throughout the day she has periodically come up, pulled up my shirt and giggled and patted my "tummy ball." I already knew pregnancy and parenting weren't really for the vain or faint of heart, but this feels like a new low.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


I had my first internal check, and I'm about 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced -- for those of you who know what that means. My body is making progress towards having this baby, but naturally, this progress means nothing. Nada. Zilch. I don't think I've ever gone past 3 without going into labor, but I've walked around at that dilation with the other two for weeks. Still, I think I had better draw up a list of people to call after the baby arrives and pack a hospital bag -- just in case.

Update: If anyone wishes to be notified by telephone of the baby's arrival and get the exciting experience of speaking with me or perhaps the Curmudgeonly husband, you are welcome to send me an e-mail with your phone number in it. I'm not calling internationally though.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Baby Names

I hate naming babies. This is because I feel compelled to find The Perfect Name that meets a long list of criteria, and since both The Boy and The Girl happen to be holders of The Perfect Name, the third child is in trouble. Not to mention that since I really have no idea whether this is a boy or a girl, I need to figure out The Perfect Name for each sex. No small task.

I don't require myself to go into the hospital with a name completely chosen and settled on. The Boy got a first name within a few hours after birth, although we kicked around a couple of options for a few days. He got his middle name as we were in the process of checking out of the hospital, so we had to call the harassing "name lady" and give her the name over the phone.

We did a little better with The Girl. I had pretty much settled on a first name for her when she was born, but it still took us another day to agree to the middle name that I had thought I liked best all along.

With this baby, we have what one might call "an extended short list." Probably half the names on it are things one or both of us really like, but that we almost certainly could not bring ourselves to actually saddle a child with.

So what do we -- mostly I -- require from a baby name for our child? It can't be too popular. If is in the top 100 baby names from the Social Security Administration, the name is immediately removed from contention (for a first name slot). It has to be a real name with a real spelling -- unusual is dandy, made up is not. It has to sound good with Adams -- a subjective criterion, I admit, but some names do sound better than others. The name must go well with our other children's names -- theirs are both rather British, so something too Italian, French or any other ethnic sounding name wouldn't sound right. The initials, if at all possible, need to not look too stupid or make too odd an acronym. With an "A" last name, almost every initial combination will sound like it belongs to some authority or association or administration, so this one is almost impossible -- but names forming the initials DOA or BRA would be instantly rejected. And finally, as I mentioned, although we don't mind giving the kids names that are hard to spell or hard to pronounce even (I've survived Jordana just fine) it should be something that will grow with them and that will never be a huge embarrassment to them (although I will grant you that at one point or another any kid is probably going to find any name embarrassing, and I was miserable as a small child because there were never any shoe laces, stickers, license plates or other kitsch with Jordana out there).

Should be simple, huh? I just hope this baby gets named before we leave the hospital.


I hate the debates. I try to watch them, but I just can't. My attempt on Friday night went as follows.

The President walked in and I thought, "He looks pretty peppy and up-beat."

John Kerry walked in and I thought, "He's smiling. Make him stop! Make him stop! The Dems thought Zell Miller was going to scare the children, but they let John Kerry smile? Please make it stop."

The hippy looking woman asked John Kerry if he was wishy-washy, and he started talking. I thought, "Oh no! He's talking and smiling. Make him stop! I can't take any more."

So I turned off the TV and read some live-blogging instead. I may have to put even stricter restrictions on my TV-viewing, and I already almost never turn the thing on, if Kerry wins. I find him very hard to watch.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Oddly, It Isn't What I'd Choose To Drink

I like the description, even if I'd take almost any cup of tea or foamy girlie coffee drink over a plain java.

You're a Classic Cup 'O' Joe.
You're a Classic Cup 'O' Joe!

What Kind of Coffee are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

From Melissa.

Friday Recipe Exchange

The Carnival of the Recipes is over at Fresh as a Daisy this week, by the way. Lots of yummy looking stuff.

Pumpkin Pancakes

In October, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns are all around. Pumpkin pies are lovely and yummy, but there are plenty of other ways to eat a bit of pumpkin. These pumpkin pancakes make a lovely autumn breakfast dish. I don't recall where I found this recipe originally, nor if I have modified it over the years.

Pumpkin Pancakes
makes 20

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1¾ cups milk
3 tablespoons melted butter,
plus 1 tablespoon for frying
½ cup canned pumpkin

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl using a whisk to stir.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add 3 tablespoons of melted butter and pumpkin to the other wet ingredients and stir together. Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until just blended.

Heat the remaining butter on a griddle over medium-high heat. Then pour about a ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. When they bubble on top, flip and cook until brown on other side.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

What a Hassle!

We had some chimney sweeps in cleaning and inspecting the chimney. The news on which isn't all that great, but it is over 80 years old and originally designed for coal, so I guess we're lucky it works at all. That isn't the real point though, if that matters.

While the workmen were here, my darling little daughter decided to latch on to the word hassle and say it over and over and over again -- quite loudly. Her father and I probably say, "What a hassle!" rather frequently, being the types who hate being bothered -- or at least complain about it amongst ourselves before doing whatever is necessary. And so she hears all about these hassles. While I think The Girl generally speaks pretty clearly for her age, that h-sound is still not very distinct and so you would swear she's yelling a word that shouldn't be crossing such sweet little lips. It was especially nice when she started telling me that everyone in the family was a hassle. "Daddy 'assle. Brudder 'assle. Dog 'assle."

I wonder what the chimney sweeps thought we'd been saying in front of her.

Pregnant Woman Tries to Put Gas In Her Car...

...lots of stupidity ensues.

I really hate putting gas in the car. Whether I hate it because when the kids are little babies they scream their heads off while the car is stopped, or if it has to do with memories of gasing up at -40, or if there is another reason all together, I'm not sure. But I do tend to put off the evil day and ignore the values my parents tried to instill of always having at least a half a tank of gas in the car. Not that I usually try to wean it, mind you, but I often don't break down and go to the gas station until the gauge is at a quarter tank or so. When the empty light came on last night, I knew I'd been ignoring the gas just a bit too long and something would have to be done.

This morning, the Girl and I pulled into the gas station, I got out my wallet, popped the gas tank opener thingie and walked around to the pump. Only to stare dumbly at my van for few seconds before realizing that unlike every other automobile I've ever owned, this one has the tank on the other side. I jumped back into the van, swung around the pumps and pulled up on the correct side.

I got out, got ready to feed the car and realized that I'd parked so far back from the pump that the hose wouldn't reach. I had to get back in the car, restart it (because of course the car was on a slight incline and I couldn't just roll it forward), drive forward 4 feet and finally fill it up. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I also parked so close to the pump that, with my extended ninth month of pregnancy girth, getting in and out was a challenge.

While I admit to having enough pregnancy brain at this point that my license should probably be revoked, at least I know all the people stopped at the extremely busy intersection had something to laugh about. I'm doing my part to make America laugh.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Political Signs

Ever since I blogged about putting a Bush/Cheney sign in my yard and how weird that felt, I've been getting more search engine hits for political yard signs than just about anything else. I've been getting an equal number of people searching for Kerry signs as Bush ones, and so I suspect I get a lot of disappointed people coming over here. I was surprised today to find out that Curmudgeonry is the number one search on MSN for "I want a Kerry sign in my yard". This blog and I sure wouldn't be much help there.

In other news, I finally broke down and got a "W the President" sticker for my van. I was going to get one for my husband's car, but The Boy insisted that his dad really needed the "Don't Be a Girlie-Man. Vote Republican." sticker. I doubt that will make it onto the car, but it is amusing and more amusing that my four year old loved it so.

Or perhaps the later isn't so surprising. His current favorite joke is to say, "Mom you are a M-A-N, and Dad you are a L-A-D-Y." This sends him into peals of laughter, as long as you don't suggest that he is a "G-I-R-L." Anything that keeps him interested in spelling, huh?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I Know You Will All Be As Shocked As I Was

You Should Vote For Bush

George Bush

(You May Want to Hide This From Your Left-y Blogger Friends)

Good Thing I Went to Bed Early

The Girl decided, for reasons unknown, to start wailing at 4 a.m. I found her curled up on the rug in her room bawling, with her big brother sound asleep, oblivous to the racket, in the next bed over. One major flaw with toddler beds is that they are really not made for parents to cuddle up with their kids in -- especially not mothers with bellies as wide as the mattress. I brought the girl back to my room, where she proceeded to wiggle, chat and complain until around 5 when I decided to take her out to the kitchen, so that Justin could sleep a bit. She wanted food right away, so maybe this was all caused by hunger. Then I curled up on the loveseat and she came over with a book and "read" herself back to sleep. She only slept long enough for me to doze off, but I guess that was better than nothing.

Inspite of being exhausted, I feel less cranky right now than yesterday. However, I suspect that it wouldn't take too much to turn me into a weepy bowl of jello, so I hope for a calm and quiet day today.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Miss Crankypants Is Back

A headache, not going to bed early last night (although Calendar Girls was worth watching), whiny children (one of whom cried that Daddy took all the leftovers for lunch), not being able to get teak oil at Home Depot, a long line at Lowes, a letter I thought I needed weighed at the post office that only really needed one stamp, grocery shopping, and more whining all before lunch, really brought Miss Crankypants back.

I have a month left to go, but I'm really tired of being pregnant. God definitely designed women to become more tired of pregnancy than they are afraid of dealing with a newborn. Even though I know that having a newborn, a two year old and a four year old is going to be taxing in the extreme -- the older two do a fine job of driving me crazy without adding a crying baby into the mix, I still want to be done. I want my fingers and ankles not to be swollen. I want my back to stop aching. I want to stop feeling like the bones of my pelvis are ripping themselves in two. I'm exhausted.

It's nine o'clock -- hours before I usually fall asleep, but as Miss Crankypants I'm declaring an early night and I hope to find that in the morning the world will seem a little happier and brighter -- even if I still will be tired, swollen, pregnant and surrounded by whining children.

I Played a Republican on TV

Terry linked to a picture of Michael J. Fox and John Kerry, which reminds me of something I heard on NPR this morning. I'm quoting from memory, but Morning Edition's quick blurb about the town hall meeting included something along these lines, "Fox, who played a young Reagan Republican in the 1980s, now has Parkinson's Disease and supports stem cell research."

Family Ties was a fun show to watch, but I don't recall ever thinking that just because Alex P. Keaton was a Republican that Michael J. Fox was -- any more than I thought he really travelled back in time when the flux capacitor in his car hit 1.21 gigawatts. Apparently playing a Republican gives him credentials though, from which he has "grown" now that he's older, wiser and sick. I wish Fox the best of luck in his fight against Parkinson's, although I don't support his support of stem cell research, but I think NPR could have written their blurb better.

Meal Planning

It is Monday morning and I need to work on a task I hate more than grocery shopping with two children, one of whom is really a grouchy monkey in disguise. I need to go through my cookbooks and figure out what we are going to eat this week, figure out what we have and what we need and write a grocery list. I sometimes try to involve Justin in this task, but generally speaking it is my baby. With a real baby coming soon this is especially true, because I'm mostly looking for recipes that can be made with less than 15 minutes on my feet and that I feel like eating -- and I don't feel like eating anything these days -- except when I feel like eating everything (but nothing we happen to have in the house, of course).

I love trying new recipes, but right now is not the time to play the gourmand. I also feel compelled to make as many things as possible that will have freezable leftovers for later when no one wants to cook. I have plenty of good fast recipes, but all the old stand-bys are old, tired and or at least I'm tired of them.

There are plenty of places out there where you can buy cookbooks and meal planning services that will give you your grocery lists and all your recipes in a package so you don't have to plan. The problem is I've never found one that offered an entire week's worth of things I actually want to eat. So back to planning.

Will we do penne and pesto again for the umpteenth week in a row? Are quesadillas ever off the menu? Who knows what exciting adventures await? I suppose some day I might be organized enough to create a cycle of meals that I actually like and their corresponding grocery lists, but until then anything goes.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Planning Next Year's Garden

The kids and I went out and watered the garden, which although still necessary seems so futile at this point, when everything looks terrible and the dog has done in half the things I've planted.

If I want things to go better next year I'm going to have to do more research and planning. I think this site will be useful -- or at least it looks like it will be on first glance.

We're Not the Only Ones

I saw another car with a W '04 sticker on it at The Boy's school today. This was an amazing discovery -- especially since the car belongs to one of the leaders of the parent organization. I haven't ever talked the guy, but I feel like I have a compatriot.


There isn't a recipe from me in there, but the seventh Carnival of the Recipes is up at Food Basics. Remember if you want to enter, send a link to a recipe on your blog or a recipe if you don't have a blog of your own to recipe.carnival(at)

And now for this week's recipe from yours truly. This one came from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It is a nice one to get kids involved in making. My two year old can't help much, in fact we made it while she was napping, but my four year old loves reading the recipe to keep us on track, juicing the oranges and lemon, dumping everything together, and helping to peel the apples. He's fairly risk averse and was good at following my directions with a peeler, so no skin went missing in the process. With other children -- probably like The Girl, I wouldn't let them near a peeler at age four unless I wanted a little blood and tears added into the food.

A friend of mine, who is more into health food than I am, didn't think she's like to make an applesauce with sugar. I will say that this is a dessert-y applesauce that goes well with vanilla ice cream, but I suspect that if you left out the lemon juice you probably wouldn't need as much or any sugar. That's for someone else to try though. I like all the sugar I can get.


Zest and juice of two oranges
Zest and juice of one lemon
3 lbs Granny Smith Apples (6-8)
3 lbs sweet red apples, such as McIntosh
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the citrus zests and juice in a large bowl. Peel, core and slice the apples and stir them into the juice mixture. Pour fruit into a large baking dish that can be covered while baking. Add remaining ingredients, cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until apples are soft. Whisk apples to an apple sauce consistency. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Another New Blog Baby

William Isaac Woodlief has finally arrived and shares a birthday with The Girl. I hope he doesn't share her predilection for climbing, bopping big brothers, or loudness, but that remains to be seen.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Two Year Olds

The Girl turned two yesterday. We celebrated with cupcakes and presents, which is really all one needs, right? I hope so anyway, because my plans to actually have a little party with the other two year old from church just aren't going to pan out.

Now I present, four generations of two year old girls in my family -- from 1916, 1944, 1977 and 2004.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Still Alive

and no baby yet. I'm just busy and tired and have no time to blog. I'll be back soon, I promise.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Autumn in the South

It's all about autumn today in the Thursday Three. A time that I used to dislike as the herald of winter, but I have come around and I love it when the days get crisper and there is that certain smell in the air. But I get ahead of myself.

1) What are three things you love about the South in the autumn? To make this extra-special hard (in order to promote deep thought and insight) your answers CANNOT be a) football, b) hog-killing time, or c) perky, rosy-cheeked cheerleaders in clingy white sweaters. Sorry.

Oddly enough none of those would ever be included in my thoughts of fall. I'm not a big sports fan, but everyone knows that football is really secondary and that the true beauty of fall sports lies in the pennant races and World Series -- well, not in the South where we are much underrepresented in baseball and I don't even like the team we have. So it is a good thing sports aren't really on my list, huh?

Anyway, my real favorite things about fall in the South are the colors on the trees, which even in a bad year are spectacular. I like getting out warm clothes and I especially like that all the half-naked people out there finally decide to cover up a bit. And finally, I love the foods of fall. I love Thanksgiving foods, anything involving cranberries, and all the soups and other warm, hearty things that the weather makes me feel like making. I do love summer foods too, but by the time fall rolls in, I am ready for a change.

2) What are three of your favorite places in the South in the autumn?

I don't know if I have three favorites really, but my top, all-time favorite is defnitely Sewanee. The leaves and the crisp air on top of the Mountain are incredible and there are more stars visible on a clear night than almost anywhere else I've ever been. The fog that rolls in from time to time and all the rain feel perfect for Fall and fires in the fireplace.

3) And finally, what is one thing you dislike about Fall in the South?

It is hot and summery for too much of the season. I wouldn't really want to go back to Fairbanks where winter will be starting about next week if it hasn't rolled in already, but when autumn arrives on the calendar I also wouldn't mind a place where the coolth came before November.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

It's a Boy!

Paul and Lenise have a new little boy, John Sebastian Baxter. Go to Paul's blog for a few more details. I can't wait to see photos.

So Much for "No Politics"

I signed up for the parent listserv for The Boy's school the other day. When I signed up, it was specifically stated that there will be no political or religious discussion on the list whatsoever. Here's the text of the second message I got from the group:

Get this everybody. This is for real.

Right now, there is a bill in congress, in June of 2005, every boy and girl 18-26 will be drafted for a mandatory 2 years of service in the armed forces.

If you don't believe me, go to

Type in HR 163. And read it for yourself.

Bush is trying to sneak this through while everybody is distracted with the election.

If you have children, or know of any, now is the time to wake up.

I'm tempted to complain. I wonder if anything would be done or if this is classified as merely informational rather than political.

I'd love to know, as well, how Bush got Charles Rangel and some of the other far leftists to push through his evil plan to draft all of our children. Last time I checked Mssrs. Rangel, McDermott, Conyers, Lewis, Stark, and Abercrombie could hardly be described as sitting in the President's pocket.

Also, would someone decide and write a memo -- is Bush a bumbling idiot who can't string two words together on his own or an evil genius bent on world domination and the destruction of all things liberal? It gets almost as confusing trying to keep track of what people are claiming for him today as it does keeping track of where Kerry stands on any particular issue.

Zero, Nada, Zilch

That's my energy level this morning. I want to go out and run a few errands, but after making breakfast, watering the plants, throwing a couple of loads of laundry in and dusting, the best I could do was to take a shower and get out of my pjs. I want to crawl back into bed, but I have to wait until The Girl naps this afternoon -- plus I have to put sheets on the bed. Ugh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Tiger Fairies and Pumpkins

pippa and pumpkin

The Girl picked out her own outfit this morning, accessories and all. She's my little tiger fairy today and has worn both wings and ears out and about all morning.

She's sitting next to a pumpkin that grew in our backyard. We hadn't intended to grow pumpkins in the garden, but several gourd-like vines started volunteering last Spring and I let one live to see what it was. The pumpkin was really a few days away from being ready for picking, but our dog decided it was a ball this morning and "picked" it all by himself. I removed it to the front of the house for safe keeping, before he started gnawing on it.

Busy Days

We had a great weekend all told, but I'm tired. We decided to go up to Kentucky to visit Justin's grandparents and his parents, who are evacuated from Pensacola for a while. We left Friday night and came back Saturday night. The kids had fun picking muscadines that Justin's granddad grows -- even though neither one likes them. The Girl kept sticking them in her mouth, chewing for a second and then spitting it out with a loud "Yuck" and handing the nearest grownup the remains. We brought some home and made juice though and that's a hit though. Some lemon juice and sugar improved the flavor immensely.

Sunday morning I was really dragging and a mom, who teaches The Girl's Sunday School class, offered to take both kids for the whole afternoon. I fell guilty taking such offers, but Justin had no such qualms. So we sent them off, came home, ate lunch, went to Supercuts and got haircuts -- Justin hates the actual getting of a haircut, so he has to be strongarmed into doing it -- and then I took a nap and he vacuumed out the car.

By the time that and a few loads of laundry were done, it was time for evening church. The Girl was glad to see us for a few minutes and then wanted Ms. 'nise again. The Boy asked to sit with them for worship, but showed up and cuddled with me halfway through.

The Boy had school yesterday and again today. So The Girl and I did grocery shopping yesterday -- a task that isn't nearly as bad as the meal planning and grocery list making -- and then came home and folded laundry, put away laundry, sorted through the clothes in The Boy's dresser. He's shooting up now, unlike his sister who can still wear almost everything she was wearing a year ago.

Yesterday when The Boy came home from school, he was being so whiny about one thing and another at lunch that I finally (after warning him) told him he couldn't watch a video today (a normal weekday after lunch tradition) which produced stormy tears, promises to try again and pronouncements that he didn't love me any more. After The Girl finally fell asleep for her nap -- she keeps pushing it later and later -- I read him a book, which put him in a better mood.

The Boy's school had a parent alliance meeting tonight, I went and Justin stayed home with the kids. It was interesting. They were describing what the various grades were doing and it sounds so cool -- in various classes they are knitting, carving wood, learning to write, botany, mythology, studying Roman law and a number of other things. When I hear what the kids are doing, in general, I always think that this is exactly where I want my children to go to school. But I do wonder if a place where I don't feel like I have much in common with other parents is so great.

Anyway -- then I came home, it was time to put the kids to bed -- Justin and I normally alternate nights reading, but he was worn out, so I said I'd read. The Boy wants his dad to read all the time and so he told me if I didn't "let" Justin read, he wouldn't love me any more (it seemed to have been the theme for the day) and so we took away the priviledge of bedtime stories at all. More weeping and crying ensued and he told us that we'd made him say those mean things, because he just doesn't like it when I read. So really it was our fault. He can be so sweet, but he sure has a mean tongue at times -- as we all do.

After the kids went to bed, we finally finished sorting through outgrown and out-of-season clothes, something we'd started doing about two months ago. I think that was the last big thing I needed to do before the baby arrives. Now I should be able to just pull out baby clothes, unfold the bassinet sidecar thingie and be done with it, when the time comes. It seems like there should be more to this, but I guess there really isn't. I'll pack a hospital bag in a couple of weeks and a bag for the kids, but things seem less stressful this time around than in the past, which is nice.

Today, The Girl and I dropped some stuff off at Goodwill and I decided to go in and look around for a few minutes. As it turned out, they had a double jogging stroller in almost perfect condition (though a bit sun faded) for less than half the price of a new one -- plus I had a $20 off coupon. So I snapped that up and am very pleased. Not that I jog, but I have wanted one for some of the longer walks we take and this one fits the bill and the price was right.

It will be time to get The Boy in a bit and I'm hoping he will have a less grouchy day today. I'm not trying to win any popularity contests with him, but I'd like a little less whining and "I don't love you" talk.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Lenise's Baby

will be arriving tomorrow via c-section. Go wish her well and remind her that we, her public, demand an update with photographs as soon as possible.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Might As Well Do a Few Quizzes Today

Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19!
What Pirate do YOU Talk Like?

from The Sandbox

discover what candy you are @ quiz me

from Amy Loves Books

Kiddie Language Funnies

(1) I told my son this afternoon that stool was another word for poop. Shortly thereafter he yelled from the bathroom, "I'm stooling right now, Mom!"

(2) My two year old hasn't got these manners things down yet. She says "Thank you" and "No thanks" very sweetly and usually without prompting. Unfortunately, she also screams, "I WANT ____ (fill in the blank) RIGHT NOW!" I've starting teaching her, "May I have ____ please?" but it hasn't taken well yet.

(3) The other night when we were driving home from Bible class The Girl said something while Justin and I were chatting. The next thing we heard from the backseat was, "Be quiet, Mom!" Need to work on that one too.

Why did I want her to learn to talk?

Yo! Rocky!

I mentioned a while back that I'd never seen any of the Rocky movies and Captain Frank Myers questioned my patriotism. Not wanting to be considered un-American, I surfed on over to my library's website and put a hold on Rocky, so that I could check it out when it came in next.

Other than the fact that since we watched it last night, my husband thinks "Yo Jordana!" is a good way to get my attention and saying, "Eh" should be a perfectly good way to get me to come over and give him a kiss, I actually enjoyed the movie. I can't say that I was really expecting too and so it was a nice surprise.

I was surprised as well by how much Rocky seemed to be not just another sports film, but actually more of an art film. Not a Euro art film about some failed painter with TB trying to complete his masterpiece, but being dragged down by his lover, his alcoholism and finally when he finishes the painting committing suicide -- not that kind -- but still there were the harsh portraits of difficult lives filmed in gorgeous colors with really superb cinematography, more character development than one might expect, lots of foreshadowing, and, of course, instead of the underdog without a chance winning inspite of all odds like most sports films, Rocky doesn't exactly win in the end. He "goes the distance," but he doesn't win the match, although what he wins is worth more than the heavy weight title.

I can't say that I'm going to watch the movie again and again -- nor even that I have a burning desire to see the next four Rocky flicks -- and it sure made me glad I didn't live in the 70s and especially that I didn't live in Philadelphia in the 70s, but I am glad I finally saw Rocky. It was well done and interesting. So thanks to Captain Myers for forcing me to see it.

For the Children

We all know that Democrats love children more than Republicans. They know it takes a village and the Children's Defense Fund to raise one properly, unlike conservatives who somehow think parents can do the job. Some liberals even realize that is it their duty to educate children about politics, when they don't think the child is getting the correct information at home. I think they got in a message about how not to treat your fellow man too.

Recipe Time

Prochein Amy has the fifth Carnival of the Recipes up. There are several things that look delicious.

And now for my Friday recipe, which will be a good summery one. Summer isn't over yet down here in the South and I have plenty of tomatoes around and if our zucchini plants had grown instead of deciding to look perfectly healthy but never get more than five inches tall, I imagine I'd have a lot of zucchini to use up too. The sausage and noodles make this a dish my kids would eat any time, and it cooks fast. What's not to like? This recipe originally came from Better Homes and Gardens One Dish Dinners. I thought the original needed more salt and a few slight changes, but I haven't altered it all that much.

Rotini-Kielbasa Skillet
serves 6

2 cups dried tri-color rotini pasta (about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cooked turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced diagonally
1 small zucchini, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into small strips
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
8 Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped (about 1 pound) -- because we have cherry tomatoes from our garden, I often use those instead, quartered but not cored.

Cook pasta according to package directions with salt added to the water; drain. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add kielbasa; cook until onion is tender, stirring frequently.
Add zucchini, sweet pepper, Italian seasoning, salt, and ground red pepper; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cooked pasta. Heat through, stirring occasionally.

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