Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Biblical Coloring

Bible verse at the bottom "For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." - I Samuel 16:7

I found these at a church we meet at for my moms group...they had a few uncolored ones which I figured they wouldn't mind me taking, but it took all my will -power not to rip down some of the ones that had already been colored from the wall that I couldn't find uncolored copies of. Cause you know...stealing kids artwork would be a little low, even for a good laugh.
"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." -Colossians 3:17

My favorite was one with Alladin on a horse with the princess clinging on behind him that said "The Lord is my rock". God is just like Alladin and we are all princesses. Awesome.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thank You Bellingham

Today I am grateful that the city finally got its stop lights re-calibrated as you drive through downtown. Two weeks ago, they added a new one and suddenly I was hitting every single red light on the way to Saben's Preschool. That made me 3-4 minutes late each day, which is a long time if you are waiting for your mom to pick you up.

We breezed through this morning and I was so happy. It's the little things, you know?

Monday, November 16, 2009


Fall evening at the park

Last week and today, the kids have been devouring the Target christmas toy catalog. My sweet commercialist kids have circled about 50% of the catalog. Saben started out one day during Annika's nap. A bit into it he looks at me and earnestly says "I love Christmas catalogs Mom"

The next day, Annika wanted in on the action, so they sat at the table for 45 minutes (WOW) and he carefully asked her which things she wanted so he could circle them for her.

My favorite moments were when he referred to a toy tool bench and said "Do you want to pretend to be a grown up Annika? This one is for boys, but you can play with it too!" Annika was really easy going and agreed to most things Saben suggested. "Wow Annika, you sure want a lot of things!"

Annika's favorites were the 7 pack of disney princess dolls, a $100 doll house (ouch) and two crawling baby dolls, one of whom she kept calling "Baby Ayda". (guess which race that one was) She actually really wants one that "looks like baby Ayda" so that is pretty sweet.

Saben, first day of preschool, 2009. He was having anxiety about his new class so I made the morning extra special to encourage him, including this crown. He ended up going great.

Saben pretty much only wants legos for Christmas, although he circled quite a few other play sets in the catalog too.
Visit from some longtime friends

This summer, Annika got her own big girl bed. I'm not sure if I wrote about it, but it was the easiest transition ever. She slept in it perfectly the very first night and was so excited to be just like her big brother. He is so good about staying in bed, he modeled it for her really well.

This is their old bedroom and the night we went in to check on them and found them sleeping like this. So funny, Saben was about to fall off the bed & Annika wasn't even in it. It was the heat of summer which is why Saben has no pajamas on.

In September (or late August?), they finally moved into their new bedroom downstairs & we bought this awesome bunk bed from IKEA. They love their new bed & bedroom, but the playroom nextdoor gets almost no use because they always want to be upstairs with me. Sigh.

The whole point of the bed story is how much I love the way Annika wakes up. Saben has always just jumped out of bed and been wide awake in the morning. Annika lately has gotten so cute and lazy. She opens her eyes, rolls over, tries to sleep some more, stretches and just generally doesn't want to get out of bed. She looks just like a mini adult, savoring just a couple more minutes. It is adorable.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grateful, day three

I am so grateful for my sweet, funny, hardworking husband. Each year he amazes me more and more. I love watching him with the kids, hearing about his work and just cozying up on the couch with a good (or really bad) movie. I am so proud of him and he is the perfect partner for me.

I love you Kyle!

ps. for the record...there is a picture of Kyle with his neck fur on that he chose to put on the Transition blog, so i'm not betraying him all all. In fact, I think it will be on their buisness cards next year. sigh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grateful #2 (aka, kari's confessions, part 2)

Many women love a great romance novel. Generally, (Twilight excluded) I find them boring, but I admit I haven't read a ton of them. I figured since we are all airing our guilty pleasures this month (or is that just me?), disguised as "things we are grateful for", I would introduce you to my very favorite type of reading. I gobble up these books whenever I need something light, and especially read a ton of them when I was nursing Annika. I am grateful for: Cooking AND/OR Living Abroad Memoirs.

Just for kicks, in case you need something new to read and just happen to be obsessed with food like me...I think that excluded most of my readers. But plunging ahead, I am going to give you a brief synopsis of my favorite ones - at least the most memorable ones, because really, this list is just the ones I remember liking after only thinking about it for ten minutes.

The title above is one of my favorite books of all times, filled with the nerdiest possible details about food all around the world. Wonder what the difference is between wet & dry aged beef? I can tell you, thanks to this book. Ever wanted to know how blood sausage is made? What exactly goes into Pot de feu? Enjoy hearing about the fascinating world of Japanese haute cuisine? Then read Jeffrey Steingarten's book. (click on images for amazon links) Oh, and he's even funny too.

Each chapter is a story in and of itself - in fact I think they were all articles written for Vogue magazine. So its perfect for those with short attention spans.
Man goes to work for Mario Batali, lots of hot stoves, steep learning curve, learns to cook with his nose. He can actually smell when a piece of meat is done. Love it. Then he goes to apprentice with a master butcher in Tuscany. Pretty fascinating, although sort of a weird thing to do just so you can write a book about it. My favorite part was learning that Batali can drink like 6 bottles of wine in an evening and stay on his feet. Amazing.

The life of a restaurant critic in Manhattan and all the amusing stories that go with the job, especially when she starts disguising herself to go places so that they don't know she's a critic.

Oh I loved this book. Two women from Great Britain somehow (I forget how) end up buying this cute little stone house with an olive farm on the Italian Riveria. The town they are in is not touristy and it is such a romantic notion, you can't help falling in love with them. Simple life, lots of hard work, and very interesting insight into the culture they moved into.

They constantly offend the old farmers or break traditional rules/customs - even living in this house is a breach, since they aren't usually a residence for Italians, just a place to stay while they do some farm work. Who would want to live out in the middle of nowhere instead of in town? So antisocial! So dangerous! The culture communications was my favorite part. Unique because the women are pretty young & flippant instead of adoring like the next book....

American cookbook author buys a dilapidated but AMAZING house in a french village & fixes it up, learns to deal with the culture & makes friends. There are so many of this genre, but this one is probably my favorite (it, and the tuscan one below). I think this one had recipes in it or maybe she just described this lunch that I made for dinner several times: an omelet, with an apple, blue cheese & walnut salad on the side. Yum.
I am reading this one right now and love, love, love it. It inspired this post actually. Last time (the first time) Kyle went to China, he brought me back a small package of Sichuan Pepper that his agent's wife had given him. They are little crunchy seed pod things, but when you bite them, this menthol-y incense-y flavor fills your mouth. And your lips tingle and go numb.

So I went to the library to find a Sichuan cookbook and came back with Fuchsia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking" It was marvelous and I made a couple things from it, but when I saw she had a memoir, I knew I had to read it.

Mostly, I love how she explains chinese culinary aspects. Why there are 30 different words for the shape you could cut a cucumber into. (sliver, slice, half moon, thumbnail, wedge, triangle...on and on) How she went from generally avoiding offal to eating rabbit heads as a snack on the way home from a night of drinking. Why goose intestines, chicken feet, eyeballs, abalone, goose tongue and rabbit heads are actually worth eating. (all these are things eaten almost entirely for the enjoyment of their texture)

The book does get a teeny bit slow as she talks about herself to much, sometimes I wish she'd just stick to the food explanations. But maybe that's just because they are so interesting.
After marrying a Venetian, and American woman and her husband move to a small town in tuscany and she befriends one of the older more traditional men in the village who teaches her all the ultra traditional & rustic food methods of that area. Amazing to hear what they used to eat, why they eat it, why they liked it and what it was like living in Tuscany through two world wars. Fascinating glimpse into an Italian village food culture & history.
What list wouldn't be complete without this classic? Discover France through the eyes of Julia Child. I remember loving it, but I'm tired, my memory is growing frail, so I will just suggest you read it.

There, SEE! I can write about things other than my kids!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today, I would like to express gratefulness for my Addiction Sweater.

If you've spent anytime with me lately, you might have thought to yourself "hmmm....kari sure looks....the same?"

Yes. Yes I do.
Every morning, I wake up and think about what to wear. The first bit is easy..pants, shirt, blah blah blah. But I'm still a little cold. Sitting in a heap where I dropped it the night before, I spy my Addiction Sweater.

"I know, I'll just wear it a few minutes till I warm up and then take it off before I go anywhere"

Because, you know...I wore it all day yesterday. And the day before that. And...well I have to admit I've worn it almost every day for the 2 months I've had it. I just can't stop. It beckons me each morning with promises of coziness and it's even fairly cute.

The sweater at the top of this post is not actually my Addiction Sweater. But it is similar, black & super long, long enough to feel like you are wrapped up in a cozy blanket all day. I did buy it at Old Navy and had a similar one (ok, exact same one, just brown) that I borrowed for maternity wear and fell in love with years ago. I loved it so much, I wore it for months after Annika was born. Months. There's not many maternity clothes you have that hard of time saying goodbye to. I think it must appear each fall and I feel so blessed to have spotted it on the rack this year.

It's just dressy enough that I don't look slobby. I tried to break my addiction with an American Apparel hoodie to switch back & forth with, but that one is definitely sporty, a crazy 80's forest green and has to be matched just right so it looks trendy instead of slobby. But my Addiction Sweater looks good with anything. It can even dress up sweatpants to a reasonable level. It's never too hot, never to cold.

The most embarassing thing is that I do this each year. No matter how many sweaters or sweatshirts I own, I always fall in love with one that I really want to wear over and over. You may remember such classics as the "gray sweatshirt with pastel trees". I may have even worn that one for two winters. But its time is now past.

I love my new Addiction Sweater and I am so grateful I found it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Annika loves....

Annika loves...

  • Sleeping with toys in her bed
  • bringing her umbrella with us everywhere she goes
  • picking out what coat to wear when we go out
  • princesses
  • Bananas, yogurt, cornbread, cheeses (cheddar, parmesan, feta...), beans & crackers
  • watching super-why & blues clues on tv
  • riding on Saben's old glider bike, especially when we push it for her, but does it herself too
  • harrassing her brother for attention
  • playing any sort of game with saben & copying what he does (she calls him "sah-bah")
  • jumping off the couch arm onto a pile of cushions
  • balloons
  • reading her princess book
  • drawing circles, especially with markers
  • getting out lots and lots of paper to draw on, a few marks on each piece
  • stickers
  • being tickled
  • playing hide and go seek
  • making us do what she wants us to do
  • sliding and swinging
  • splashing in mud puddles
  • "playing" hi-ho cherrio
  • her daddy
  • sitting next to us during story time, rather than cuddled in our lap
  • sitting in our laps most other times
  • singing twinkle twinkle little store and demanding us to sing certain songs (and not sing others)

Things that scare Annika...

  • When we let go of balloons and they fly around the house
  • WIND. Its November and she is still clinging, crying and even screaming whenever it is gusty outside.
  • bugs, especially bees
  • men, except for ones she knows very well.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Disney on Ice

Have you ever seen hundreds and hundreds of miniature princesses all in one place? Fancy dresses, plastic crystal high heels, sparkling earrings? And oh the crowns....the magic wands, the glitter... Welcome to Disney on Ice and the hip crowd who goes to watch it.

The beauty of little eyes & faces beaming with joy as their wildest dreams were fulfilled by a waving cinderella almost made me forget that princess worship disturbs me and that a beautiful gown wearing woman waiting for a man to fall in love her is not really my ideal role model for my daughter...I digress. But I do sometimes wish my dreams were that simple - to see a princess in person while wearing a shiny dress. If that was all it took for complete happiness, life would be so easy.

Caught up in the magical spirit, I even shelled out $31 for cotton candy, a snow cone and a box of popcorn. (Yes, the snow cone came in a "keepsake" water bottle and the cotton candy came with a foam hat. Still a complete rip-off.)

When the huge plastic Mater drove out onto the ice and Saben gasped with a HUGE grin on his face - It's MATER! It's LIGHTNING! (from the boy who is constantly asking whether things are real or pretend); when Annika just stared and stared at the waving Cinderella; when she danced down the street on our way there singing "See the Princess!"; how can a mom not enjoy every minute of that?

It did get a bit nasty in the end - Annika wiggling erratically on my lap in a cotton candy induced haze, Fairies who seemed to ice skate for ever and ever to songs we'd never heard before. And the parents who must have spent at least $60 in food & toys and made me look incredibly stingy with only $30 worth of snacks. It went way past bedtime, so no surprises that things got a bit crazy when I denied Annika her twirling light-up magic wand, but by 10pm we were home safe, sound and fast asleep.

ps. Thanks for taking us mom!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

"Swine Flu" mushroom hunt, Oct 2009

November seems to be the hot month for renewing vows with your blog. I love band wagons, so here I am, making promises...I will try to post a tid bit every day in November except for the first 5 days and maybe some other ones if I'm too lazy. I will express some gratitude occaisionally, post pictures from our wonderful summer that I missed blogging about, and attempt to capture the hilarious complex overwhelming personalities of my offspring. All while balancing annika climbing around on my lap and pulling/leaning on my arms whining while I type. (which is far easier than writing anything slightly sane and not-humiliating-in-the-morning after 8pm at night)

A couple recent weeks were practically consumed by the swine flu. No, we did not get it, but in a matter of days, it suddenly seemed like everyone we knew had it. Since giving up television, NPR, news and any other form of mental stimulation after having children (ie. too lazy to read anything super serious and having panic attacks everytime I hear another horrific story about children dying/being abused) I felt really out of the loop about the flu.

Everyone at Kyle's work ended up getting swine flu except for him. I like to credit all the garlic we grow & eat, or maybe its just his sparkling personality that drives away germs. Unfortunately we did not yet know about his super swine flu fighting powers and because he had been exposed, we spent a week in self imposed quarantine, just waiting to fall ill. Not fun I tell you. But we did get out one day and hiked on trails where we knew chanterelles lurk. 3lbs of chanterelles later, we headed home with happy grins and ate most of them that night, sauteed in butter. Yum.

Annika in her chosen mushroom hunting outfit. Not one, but two pink shawls. (the knitted one was mine as a child, grandma young made the fleece one)

About 5 days after exposure, the kids got immunized and I have been stress free ever since. I read all the pandemic notices from the preschool and just laugh. Ha ha ha! I am free from their panic inducing power! Even though it takes ten days to become immune and they need a booster in 3 weeks to be 100% immune. But who wants boring details like that stressing you out? Not me.

Note: If your blog is missing from my list, it is because my whole list got erased when I switched to the charming mouse & dolphin blog template and I didn't have a back up list anywhere and last time I worked on finishing the list my computer crashed and didn't save it so now I am procrastinating doing it again. And who are we kidding, I had a breast cancer awareness motif up for an entire year, it could be decades before I finish the list. So trust me, it's not you, it's me.