Friday, September 28, 2007

I know it's still September, but...

I have to stay on top of the seasons, or rather ahead of them, to keep my little business up. So I've designed Christmas cards for a card swap tomorrow with an upline group and for a stamp-a-stack I'm offering my customers on October 6, which is World Cardmaking Day (didn't you know?). The stamp-a-stack will be an opportunity for them to come and make as many of the same card as they want (there may be 2-3 designs to pick from) for only $1 each, with the paper pre-cut. This way, even though Christmas is still a ways away, I can get my customers thinking about what they are going to make and help them get ideas. Here is the card I've been working on (I made 12 for the swap tomorrow):

Images (C) Stampin' Up! 1990-2007

Here's the recipe:
Stamps: Big on Christmas
Papers: Real Red, Old Olive, Very Vanilla, Dashing Designer Series Paper
Inks: Basic Black, Real Red, Old Olive, Yoyo Yellow
Accessories: Real Red grosgrain ribbon, blender pen, Stampin' Write markers.

Since I've got the stamp set now, all the supplies, and have designed the card, I'm considering adding a few more embellishments and mass-producing them not for myself, but to sell in sets of 10-12 to friends and neighbors. Per card the supplies come to about $1, but add in my time and adhesive (and of course expertise), what do you think would be a reasonable amount to charge per card?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Genetic Lottery

I have crooked teeth and poor vision. I'm doomed to have varicose veins and to bruise easily. Once I brought my Grandma with me to an OBGYN visit during my first pregnancy and described all my aches and pains to the doctor. Grandma said that I got them all from her. I was not blessed with superb athletic skills. Actually, I think I have a legitimate problem with hand-eye coordination, since I've never actually caught a ball unless by accident and I continue to fall down stairs on a regular basis. But one thing I did win the genetic lottery on is the strength of my teeth and gums (even though they may be crooked).

I've never been super about brushing my teeth, I really dislike flossing, and I have a monster sweet tooth. But I have never had a cavity. Throughout high school, I drank at least one can of Mountain Dew a day, something a dentist once told me is right up there with altoids at being the biggest cause of cavities. I did not inherit this from my mom, who brushes and flosses immediately after each meal because her teeth are so sensitive to cavities. Since Chris, a devoted tooth-brusher, recently went to the devil's dentist and had 10 fillings, I was anxious to see if I also had cavities--we obviously eat a lot of the same things and have adopted similar habits over the course of 4 1/2 years together. (He has since not missed a single day of flossing)

Today I saw a different dentist, going on the recommendation of a satisfied friend (which I'm learning is always a good idea). They were apalled by my account of the first dentist and assured me that we were right not to go back. I brought home two goodie bags, one for the semi-annual visit and one for being a new patient. These are my spoils: three toothbrushes (one for each family member), three packages of mint flossing stick thingys (3 in each), two containers of cinnamon floss, two travel size samples of toothpaste, a full-sized tube of toothpaste, a water bottle, a tube of Barry Family Dental Group lip balm, a pocket-sized mirror in a convenient case, a bag of M&Ms (so that I have to go back), and a pocket-sized 2008 monthly calendar. Plus, since I had a coupon from the referring friend, I got the fluoride treatment for free, and they said she would also get a free gift. And of course, I brought home the news that I don't have any cavities. I feel like such a cheater!

Perhaps this is a lesson to me that if I'm sweet enough and have a horrible enough experience to tell, I will get really nice service? (Maybe I should try this the next time we eat out...) In actuality, I don't think my horrific account of the first dentist had anything to do with all the loot--it's standard procedure. The only thing "extra" that I don't think they would have already given me was a second adult sized toothbrush for Chris, since he obviously didn't get one for free.

Incidentally, the rate of fluoridation in public water is very closely related to the incidence of cavities. A few years ago, I saw a dental hygenist who could tell from simply looking at my teeth that I had grown up drinking fluoridated water. Sure enough, Illinois is the 2nd ranked state in the nation for the percentage of people on public water systems receiving fluoridated water. Utah is 50th. Check out the list to see how your state ranks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jenny's Ultimate Fruit Smoothie

I'm sitting here enjoying a tasty fruit smoothie as an afternoon snack. Over the course of the past 4 years I have honed and perfected my very own no sugar added fruit smoothie recipe, so now I've decided to share it with you.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

1. Crush 8 ice cubes in blender. (If you crush them at the end, you will have ice chunks)

2. Add 1/4 cup each of frozen concentrated fruit juices: grape, apple, orange, and 1/8 cup of pineapple. Add 1/2 cup water. Blend.

Tip: You can really pick your own fruit ratios however you please. Orange and pineapple carry the strongest flavor.

3. Add 1 frozen banana. Blend until smooth.

4. Add 8-10 frozen strawberries. Blend until smooth.

Tip: You can use fresh fruit, but the result is frostier if you use frozen.

5. You may have to stir the mixture a little (while the blender is off, please!) to get the frozen fruit to the bottom of the blender since it will now be thick.

Tip: If you need to add more water to get it to mix properly, make sure you blend it long enough to see a funnel going through from top to bottom. If you dont mix it well enough, you will have a layer of water on top of your smoothie.

6. Enjoy!

Tip: If you want to make a second batch, rinse out the blender so that the ice crushes properly in the first step.

This method has been tried and tested on my Osterizer 12 speed blender that we got for our wedding. (Incidentally, I only use one speed and I had to order a new glass jar after dropping it). Now that I have finished devouring my tasty smoothie, I'm cold!

Monday, September 24, 2007


We've been expanding the horizons of the Disney movies that Leah watches. We can only handle watching Toy Story so many times in a row before we ourselves want to start blowing toys to bits. I picked up Mary Poppins from the library, interested in seeing if Leah would be able to sit that long and if she would enjoy the music. She loves it! She always asks to see it "again" whenever each song ends. Plus, I'll sing the songs to her throughout the day (and of course, in my sleep) and she'll put in requests by saying "Medicine...down!" and "Kite...up!." It's really quite endearing. I'd love to "Step in Time" with her, but the sciatica really prevents me from getting really involved with her while she's dancing. Needless to say, we've been enjoying having "Poppins" around the last few weeks.

I have to say the most fun part of our latest adventure has been to observe Chris as he watched Mary Poppins through for the first time since childhood. He didn't remember it at all. He actually laughed at the jokes! (I of course told him they would only be funny the first time) He noticed the subtle nuances and social commetaries that I never noticed having grown up watching it for its playfulness and not for its political value. We've been throughouly charmed to be in the Poppins world for the last few weeks, but alas, it is time for Poppins to go back to the library. What should we dive into next?

Broken Up

How often do you really start a movie that you have to walk out of or turn off mid-way through? Usually we can tell pretty clearly if it is something we think is appropriate to watch or not, and we just avoid the trashy ones. I only remember actually walking out of a theater once (and it was the dollar theater even) when we just simply thought the movie was too stupid to be worth our time (Van Helsing). And whenever we turn off movies at home, its usually some crude humor movie that had the potential to be good (why we continue to try to watch those ones, I'm not sure...).

Last week, we got "The Break-Up" from the RedBox at the grocery store. I don't know how this movie got through our radar, but it was awful! Who wants to sit through two hours of watching a couple fight? We thought it would be funny, but it was just angry. It was just depressing to listen to this "couple" argue and demean each other, use hateful words, and basically act as though they had never actually loved each other by saying such cruel, loaded things. Chris and I both looked at each other about 45 minutes through and gave each other that knowing look, "Lets just go do something else."

Although the idea of the RedBox is nice--$1 a night for a DVD, return it to any RedBox location, etc--you are seriously limited in choice of movie to watch and end up just picking whatever you've heard about that you haven't already seen. I returned this movie to the RedBox before my 24 hours was up and said "good riddance." Then I came home and subscribed to Netflix.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh, Boy!

Okay, I spent $5 on this cute little boy outfit, and now I'm really excited to have a baby boy!

(Leah thinks this is a kite. I'm not sure why.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

22 Weeks

Here is a picture of me in all my pregnant glory (and frump). And here's Chris showing off his sympathy weight (not really...he's pushing out his belly because he's actually lost 10 pounds). Please don't tell me you don't think I look pregnant at all...that just means you think I always look this fat. What is the right size to be at 22 weeks anyway? I'm feeling much better these days, as in I'm not puking my guts out, but I do go to the bathroom every 20 minutes, find it difficult to sleep comfortably, and have little boy arms and legs poking me in the bladder constantly...not to mention that I'm so incredibly tired...I'm surprised I haven't fallen asleep on the keybbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Life Disconnected

Our cable modem stopped working at some point mid-Saturday. Since we have VoIP, this also meant that our phone was not working. As soon as I got home and discovered we had a problem, I did some troubleshooting and then I called Comcast. They'd send a technician out on Tuesday. Saturday to Tuesday without internet or home phone? Yikes! That seemed like an eternity!

In actuality, it was almost exactly 72 hours that we were disconnected for. But we do have a cell phone, so we hadn't completely fallen off the face of the earth, and some generous neighbor has an unsecured (albeit VERY slow) wireless network that I tapped onto a time or two to at least check my email. I guess it could have been worse. But seriously, on a daily basis, I spend a significant amount of time on the computer doing email, managing all our financial accounts and paying bills, blogging, etc. I get all my recipes from the internet. I get parenting tips from the internet. I get directions on the internet. I check when my library books are due on the internet. Whenever we have a question about who that actor is, what to do when such-and-such body part is bleeding, or how to fix a bike tire, we simply "google it. " Not having the internet meant that I felt very much...abandoned!

It is so good to be back!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Life is but a dream

Pregnancy has introduced a new world of thought: bizarre dreams. I'm sure those of you who've been pregnant are nodding knowingly.

When I was pregnant with Leah, I mostly dreamt about the strange things I would soon give birth to, such as animals, newborns that could speak, and once I even gave birth to a full-grown Chris, complete with a day's worth of facial hair. This time around, the strange dreams are once again emerging. A few weeks ago, I dreamt that I gave birth to a one year old boy on October 14 (3 months early) and that four days later I gave birth to a newborn boy. I had even named both children in my dream: Samuel Joseph (which is the name we've picked out for our baby) and David James (which is a potential candidate for future baby boys). I remember thinking it was very strange to have two new babies that were a year apart.

But last night...oh boy! At first it was a pretty normal non-pregnancy dream, just weird enough to make my heart race. Here's how it went: My oldest brother Frank and my Dad were working together to launch an airplane they'd constructed. An airplane big enough for a person to ride on. Becky and I were there facilitating and cheerleading, and driving people around in her red Honda Civic which is now ours (I even recall that someone noted "We've just passed 45,000 miles on the odometer," or some other noteworthy milestone). There were lots and lots of hopeful airplane makers preparing to launch on the same runway, but their contraptions resembled motorcycles and old Winnebagos they'd modified for flight (Spaceballs, anyone?) The next launch attempt failed, but for some reason I kept running along the runway pushing my toddler in the stroller, in obvious danger.

This is where it gets really weird:
I was confronted by my sister who was very upset with me for having put myself and Leah in danger. For some reason, I decided it would be appropraite to have a temper tantrum because of my embarassment, and to lock myself in my room screaming. Becky then warned me not to give myself hytugit, and of course I knew what that word meant and how to spell it.

Hytugit [hahy-too-jit] -noun. Starvation and dehydration to the point of hysteria. Ex. By the time the lost hikers were found, they had suffered from hytugit and heat exhaustion.

Hytugit? Yes, in my dream, my subconscious invented a word, its meaning, and how to spell it. No, I checked this morning and it is not really a word. Any dream experts out there care to interpret what it means to invent words in your sleep?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

In Utero

Okay, by popular request, pictures of baby. Sorry its taken me some time to put these up!

Arm/Fingers waving:

Cute little foot:



Isn't he cute?

Book Review: Twilight

I just finished reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Although it is a New York Times Bestseller, I really didn't care for it that much. I'd give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Spoiler Warning! Read on at your own discretion...

The author is a BYU graduate, so I'm surprised that the book is really quite suggestive. It is definately geared toward teen/high school girls who silently pine for a certain someone (which described me in High School, so I can relate to the main character), but in some ways it irks me becuase I don't want my daughter to let boys in her bedroom and to talk about true undying love when she's only 17.

My biggest problem with the book, and why I think it is extremely suggestive, is the concept of pushing the limits. In this case its "I want to drink your blood but I'm going to get as close to you as possible anyway" but in my opinion, his "thirst" for her and his temptation to drink her blood strongly represents to me his physical arousal/attraction to her and his temptation to rape her... The writing isn't superb either, and it was pretty slow to get to the main events of the narrative. In my opinion the ending was rather anti-climactic. I doubt that I will read the next books in the series, especially since I hear that in the second, and particularly the third book, it is blatant in its references to sex. It doesn't seem like children's fiction at all...Anyway, that's my opinion, for what its worth!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Basement Revival

After a three-week ordeal where the cement floor was hammered out of our basement and new concrete poured to level the foundation, we finally have our basement back! I mean, they really took out the concrete and started from scratch. You don't believe me? Here's proof!

This picture is the room after removing the layer of concrete (they chucked it up through the window well). The cord going across the wall is the cable that connects our internet and phone...imagine how ticked I was when they disconnected it!

Pouring cement down a giant hose through the window well. Notice how they used my gatorade cooler to prop up the hose? How considerate!

We are so glad to finally have this room back, and the room next to it which was piled high with stuff and coated in dust, including Chris's punching station which he had to disassemble and which he couldn't use for the duration (woe is he!). It's so nice not to have a stationary bike stored in our bathroom anymore!

We've since had a cleaning crew come and get the cement splatters off the ceiling (yes, the ceiling!) and erase the plethera of dust that settled about the entire house. What an ordeal! It was amazing how little respect the workers had for my time, our belongings, and our privacy! We're glad it's over with, and no, we would never do it again (neither were we paying for it). Here is the finished room in all its glory:

Doesn't it look like a fun, safe playroom? Anyone want to have a playdate? The adjacent room now houses our computer, Chris's punching station and stationary bike, and my stamping supplies, and is next on the list to be organized!

Photo Op

I don't know why it always seems so hard to get a good family picture. Here is an attempt:

Utah Valley:

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Job Interview

For the last four weeks, I've been submitting and resubmitting resumes, attending interviews, and negotiating a salary..for what you ask? Selling a car. I can't tell you how many times I've done the test drive, recited the maintenance history, and agreed on a price with a potential buyer only to hear them say "Well, there is one more car I'm looking at this weekend...I'll give you a call." Then I never hear from them again. Throughout the process I've realized how similar the process of selling a car is to applying for a job.

When you look for a job, you put out your resume, submit yourself to that nerve-wracking job interview and try to make yourself look as good as possible for the person who is looking for one employee, and hoping that you are the perfect fit. And often, they don't even have the nerve to call you back and say "Sorry, you're not the one." In this situation, I'm technically the "employee" looking for the perfect "employer" that will take me (or my car), and I'm the one sending out the resumes and trying to look good in the countless interviews. I only need one person to think I'm 'all that' in order to seal the deal. But in contrast to the job interview scenario, that one "employee" is the one that will be paying me.

But on the other hand, perhaps the person looking for the perfect car is the "employee" applying for a "job" and getting tired of interviewing crappy employer candidates even though they aren't the one putting themself out on a ledge at each interview? I really don't know. My car isn't crappy.

My point is that whether you are looking for one employee or the one car that is the perfect fit, someone is doing all the work. Either one is an extremely frustrating process. Does this rant make any sense? Is anyone interested in buying a 2000 Ford Escort?