Thursday, February 21, 2013

I guess . . .

You've probably heard the Midwest is getting hammered with snow today -- not quite like the storm that hit the east a few weeks ago, but still a good amount of snow. We had a good wave come through this morning, and we're supposed to get more tonight. I love it when we get snowed in and life stands still for a bit. I have a big case of the lazies going on today.

Anyway, I was talking to my sister on the phone today and also sent an email to my aunt and told them both it looked like we had about 4-5 inches out there. Then, talking with Marc, he says, "No way, we have about 8 inches." 

You know how they say opposites attract? I guess it's true, and this is one area where we are so different. I can't guess or estimate a measurement to save my life. 

I can't tell you how far away anything is, while Marc can say, "Oh, that's about 50 feet.

He'll describe one of Anna's track races as, "When she got to 600 meters . . ."  and it takes me several seconds to mentally compute, "Okay, a 400 is one lap around the track, the 200 starts over there, so that must be where he's talking about . . .

A couple of nights ago, he and Ryne weighed themselves, something they hadn't done any time recently. Marc predicted both their weights almost to the ounce. He can accurately guess how tall someone is. He can tell you without looking at a road sign or his iphone how many miles and how many hours it will take to drive somewhere hours away. 

I can't do any of that. I can't even make an educated guess. Oh, and those games where you have to guess how many gum balls are in a jar? My answers are never even in the ballpark. 

Isn't it funny how God makes us all so different?

How about you? Can you guesstimate? 

Can you tell I have a bad case of the lazies today? : )

P.S. Look at the cool patterns the snow made on our picnic table that we should have put away in October.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Easy to please

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My family is easy to please.  I started to search Pinterest for an idea for a Valentine treat to make them, but everything seemed too complicated.  My energy level has been way down since being sick all last week, so it didn't take much for a recipe to seem complicated. That's when it hit me -- layered jello.  All I have to do is boil water. Perfect!

My mom made layered jello for special occasions, like Easter, using a variety of flavors.  It was treated more like a side dish than a dessert, which I don't quite understand. I also don't understand my family's obsession with jello.  Seriously, they thought I was the best mom in the world last night when I served the jello. The kids come by it genetically. Marc has always joked that there are four basic food groups: red, orange, yellow, and green jello. 

And that's fine by me. Who needs complicated? I can ignore the artificial colors, sugar, and even the animal bones and hides, if it means I get to be a rockstar mom every once in a while.

I increased my rockstar status, by ditching my dinner plans too. Boiling water all week to make the jello really sapped my energy, so even though I had the meat already thawed and everything ready to go, I decided last minute to take the kids out to our favorite Chinese restaurant.  Marc was going to be out late and miss dinner. 

We're rockstars at the Chinese restaurant too. It's a tiny little place and the ladies always seem so excited to see us. Before we even get in the door they ask us how many (because for some reason we always seem to be missing a person or two or we bring an extra friend) and then they start confirming drink orders. Yes, confirming -- they already know lemonade, water, water, Pepsi . . . (we try not to hold it against them that they carry Pepsi products).

After stuffing ourselves silly with Chinese food, we went to the library to pick up one book we had on hold, but ended up leaving with a stack of books instead. It's so rare we actually go to the library to just browse, so it was kind of fun.

Soon Marc was home and we all enjoyed our Valentine jello.  So, no, we didn't have big Valentine's plans, but it was still perfect. Tonight I get to go out to eat a second night in a row, this time just with my favorite Valentine. After dinner, we're going to get all romantic and shop for a new refrigerator. I guess that's to be expected when you've been married for twenty years, right?

You might remember me saying the refrigerator died in December. By disconnecting the water supply we were able to squeeze a little more life out of it, but then last week it died again. So now it's time to finally say good-bye. I've been researching online, and I'm still not sure what we're going to get.  Any advice?

Did you have a nice Valentine's Day? Fun plans for the weekend?

My Mom's Layered Jello Recipe

Boil 1 1/2 cups of water, add a packet of jello, mix well. Add some ice until the jello mixture measures 2 cups. Pour 1 cup in a glass baking dish and refrigerate. Add 1/2 cup sour cream to remaining jello mixture, mix well.  When first poured layer is set (an hour or more), add the sour cream layer. Repeat with additional flavors. For our Valentine's jello, I used cranberry, cherry, raspberry, and strawberry. I try to start a couple days in advance.

Or you can find an alternate version at Pioneer Woman. Hers is a firmer, finger version -- mine is definitely not a finger version. And I've never finished mine in less than a couple of days; I let the layers set longer.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sanibel & Captiva

It's been a fun week at the Blue House . . . not really.  At least not for me. I've been sick in bed since Saturday, four days of fever and now it's just a bad cold. Today is the first day I've been able to even think halfway clearly (emphasis on half).  The kids, on the other hand, probably really have thought this was a fun week. They've been drawing and playing legos as much as they want. It's been like a second winter break for them. 

Speaking of winter break, I thought I'd post some photos from our recent Florida trip.  From the moment we arrived in Florida, the girls begged to go shelling.  Marc checked the tide schedules and picked the perfect day for us to go to the perfect shelling spot, Sanibel Island.  We got up before the sun and drove out to the island, but that was about as far as we got in our planning.  We had no idea where we were going to go once we got to the island.  So I borrowed Marc's iphone and found the cutest blog, I Love Shelling, that is all about shelling on Sanibel. Score! We were able to find a few different beaches to try out. If we had discovered this blog a little sooner maybe we would have been better prepared like the serious shellers who bring nets, shovels, and buckets, but we just used our hands and stuffed the keepers in our pockets. 

Okay, enough of my rambling, let's just get to the pictures, shall we?

We were on Lighthouse Beach for all of five minutes when Marc and the girls found their first starfish.
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It was fun to watch him move around -- don't worry we put him back!
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Ryne wasn't as much into shelling as he was just exploring the beach, but he did bring me a handful to admire.
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The lighthouse all dressed up for Christmas.
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When my friend Dawn goes on vacation her family identifies 132 different kinds of birds; I can't even tell what kind of seagull this is. Laughing gull, Dawn? It should be laughing at me for spending over an hour on the internet trying to figure out what it is!
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Brown pelican. Ha!
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Strange signs of life below the sand.
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Grace was glad to hear the little starfish will grow its ray back.
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No, we didn't add a cute little dude to our family, but this guy was the star of the beach for finding this huge conch shell. He was so proud! We were sad he couldn't keep it, but obviously someone still considered it home.
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Marc's find might not be as big, but the colors are gorgeous and that little crab fellow is cute.
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Part of me doesn't want to hit publish on this post until I've identified everything in all my pictures.  But that's proving quite a bit more difficult than I thought, especially for a picture I've already deleted because I decided it was more gross than interesting (it might possibly be a sea cucumber). So I've decided to just tell the homeschooler in me to go back to bed, so the rest of me can say, "Hey look at this cool shell-bridge-thingy sticking out of the sand." There, I feel much better.
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Heart shell. Scientific name, really.
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It inspired my anniversary message. Forgive me for reposting, but how often do you get to celebrate 20 years of marriage?
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Even the greenery we found on the way back to the car was beautiful.
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We also found some "starfish" grass (actually called Egyptian grass, go figure).
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I was sad to see I took very few shots of the kids while we were at Sanibel, but I did get one of Anna at Blind Pass. That's Captiva Island behind her, and those rocks were actually a great shelling spot.  Marc and the kids would just stick their hands in the water as the waves crashed ashore and would literally catch handfulls of shells. 
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After a hard morning of shelling, we took our wet, sandy, windblown selves out to lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger and stuffed ourselves silly. It was a wonderful day!