Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mr. Pie's Dirty Little Secret

No, we do not need referrals to any 12 step programs, it's not that kind of secret. Here's the deal. Mr. Pie has a fancy degree, which got him a fancy job, and that fancy job requires him to travel entirely too much. When he's away, as he's been this month, I'm very busy and miss him something fierce. Mr. Pie is also very busy and misses me something fierce.

So what's the secret? Because Mr. Pie has a fancy traveling job, airlines pay attention (he's my George Clooney from Up in the Air, minus that whole nasty career choice and cheating lady thing!). So while I'm at home trying to live my "sustainable, reduce, re-use, recycle, slow-food life", he's tearing up the carbon points and indulging in first class food and free champagne. We both pretend it doesn't happen. Unfortunately, he had a bit too much champagne this last time, and now we have photographic proof of the shame. I thought we should both come clean before these pics make it across the internet without any disclaimer by me.

I do, however, have to say I am very proud of him for finally taking his very own picture of a meal. I love ya Mr. Pie in the Sky! (sorry couldn't avoid the pun) Come home to us soon.

P.S. - I promise I'll eventually get to that book list. In the meantime, send me any great reads you've indulged in recently. I'm always on the look out for a page-turner!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Useless Applications for the New Year

This picture will make sense in a minute, I promise.

I have finished regurgitating '09 and am in a much better mood. I'm ready to share a new found time-waster in my life,iPhone apps. If you are into technology of any kind you should not look at this list, as you will most likely laugh at me for my barely-there-knowledge of apps and my obvious choices. Everyone else, who is somewhat of a luddite like me, don't be afraid of the list! If you have a phone with apps, these are just plain fun and somewhat ... maybe ... useful. They were all free except one.

(Oh right, and I'm supposed to tell you that no one asked me to review this and I don't get any compensation from anyone. Frankly, no one in the tech world has ever, or will ever, know me, so why would they want my review?)

Shazam: helps you identify a song you are hearing on the radio, TV, or in a movie. Just hold up your phone to the music and it finds the song and links you to the iTunes selections for the artist if available. How clever, and yet somewhat creepy and Big Brother-esque! My phone is communicating wirelessly with radio, TV, and film. The whole Terminator thing is definitely in the works, and I'm betting on the non-carbon life forms in the take-over. In the meantime, have fun with Shazam!

Epicurious: I loved, loved, loved, Gourmet mag and then it shut down (another example of technology ruining the printed page *sigh*). However, they were owned by Epicurious and now I can find most of my favorite 30 minute Gourmet meals on this app. I can't tell you how much food apps have helped me at the grocery, and this one has the yummiest food. I would also love to get the app Locavore, but it costs $3 and I told myself not to pay for any apps in 2010 if they were over $1. Locavore is supposed to direct you to farmer's markets in your area and what is in season and available. I'm not sure it would be that useful, since we have our CSA for that, but it links to Epicurious recipes for the ingredients in season.

Scramble: Scramble is much like some of the word games you can play on facebook. It is created by Zynga. I am addicted to non-confrontational word games, meaning those I don't have to play with Mr. Pie where every triple word space is nabbed by him and used for a 7 letter word, wherein he gains 8 billion points, and I have a melt-down. Can you tell I have Scrabble issues? This is my alternative.

Cat Paint: Explains post picture and is utterly ridiculous. With CatPaint, put pics of a fat cat next to your baby or your furniture or your trip to Hawaii for laughs. Why did I spend a dollar on this? Because I too am ridiculous and it was a virtual stocking stuffer for myself. Use it when you are too stressed out and need a good laugh.

Bump: Another obvious choice, info from another friend's iPhone can be instantly transferred to yours by doing a fist-bump with your phone. How does this work?? Who knows, is my iPhone smarter than me? probably, yes. But I'm better looking and have grown babies and parented, so I have some skillz. Still, the Terminator thing ... definitely gonna happen.

And last but not least ...

Kindle for iPhone: I don't have a Kindle, I don't know how it compares. I was completely against this whole e-book concept. But ... now .... have to say I'm a convert. Classics are many times FREE. I can also keep a whole library of book club books with notes (it syncs with a note taking app). If you can't wait 8 months for book club selection to be at the library, you can pay under $10 and get most new titles. You don't have to spend quite as much as the bookstore charges, and you can delete the entry if you completely hate it, instead of passing it off to a friend as a good choice, and saying something like, "Well it wasn't my thing, but YOU might like it". Translation, "This sucked, here take it out of my house". Books at your fingertips is highly titillating to me, I can't help myself. It might not be your bag of tea, and those books which I treasure will always be in print on my bookshelf, but I love this new choice.

Tomorrow, a less techy, more intellectual post about my book choices in the coming year. If you think this was a rambling list ..... until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some Holiday Pie, then Some Serious Ramble

Hope everyone had a large dose of joy and rest this holiday season! Here are some of our highlights:

-Mr. Pie talking to his little brother after the birth of our new niece, the siblings have all officially joined the ranks of parenthood now. Welcome to the club.

-the eating of clementines and pistachios (so against my attempts to eat local, organic, sustainable, etc.),and yet so addictively delicious!

-Mr. Pie and I both chose just one gift for one another - a book. And both are great selections.

-Youngest kidlet's refusal to take off his new Batman Lego outfit for 3 days straight. His superhero dreams were worth the stinky laundry.

-The yumminess below that went into this winter fruit pie, found here.

-a pared down, new-tradition-filled holiday, which, though exhausting, felt right and good.

-And last, but never least, the kidlets enjoying it all.

Now onto 2010. I've been debating and desparately ignoring this post since the clock struck midnight. Instead of looking ahead and reflecting on the past, I'd rather tell you about ridiculously fun and useless iPhone apps I'm in love with (like the Kindle for iPhone, which I'm giddy about, even though I'm disgusted by my part in the demise of the printed page). Or it might also be fun to wax on about my book selections for the Parenting from Different Faith Perspectives for church, or just all the books I have hanging on my "To Read List".It might also be entertaining to get your opinions on organizing posts and weeding out the useless. However, what keeps churning in my mind are the things which really impacted me this year and where it will all settle out in 2010.

This year, just when I had hit my weight loss goal, Mr. Pie had found his long sought after new job, and we finally felt settled and happy back in the midwest, our oldest kidlet had a lump removed from his foot. All went well and he recuperated with nothing more than a scar. When I say all went well, I mean we dodged the cancer bullet. For a couple of weeks, we weren't sure what that lump on his foot was, or what ordeal our son might endure to rid his body of it. Those are the kind of moments which freeze time -when you wait to hear whether your flesh and blood, your first born, your joy made real, will be yanked into a "new normal" of tests and medicines, needles and nurses, hospital walls. We steeled ourselves for a war which luckily we won in the first battle. I don't want to imagine what the fight would have been, but I know our family had the strength to bare it. I know because of the outpouring of love, love from family, friends and even acquaintances. Those nightmares which bring you to your knees, also keep you on bended knee in gratitude for all you've been given.

So where to put all that gratitude? How to keep up with the weight loss and lifestyle changes I've maintained, even with a big scare thrown in? How to keep living in the moment, instead of in my head, as I promised I would do when we heard his tumor was benign? How to give back to the universe the love we felt? How did that experience change my thoughts on God?

See? It's all a bit too f***ing serious isn't it??

Maybe an iPhone apps list and a good book club selection are all that's needed. I'll save it for next time when the mind stops regurgitating '09. Hope you all have entered 2010 in a less churnful manner than I. Thanks for the listen.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


All is calm, all is bright.

Sleep tight.

Wake with joy.

Merry Christmas....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Crafty Goodness

This is a much behind schedule update on our very first year participating in the Crafty Crow ornament swap. It was so fun creating our "Kingdom of Nutville" ornaments and mailing them to all corners of the country. And, other than spending way too much on mailing because I thought they needed to reach the families a week before they actually did, our little project was a great success! (Note to self: read your emails carefully, even when you are also playing crazy eights with the kidlets and dinner is burning on the stove).

The theme for the swap was Fairy Tale. I have to say this was not a popular theme with my house of boys, but we settled on using walnut shells and adapting a Family Fun craft, here, which we did last year. This meant nothing new to buy, except for a new bag of walnuts. I was in charge of the queen, while the kidlets and Mr. Pie worked on the rest of the court. We used an old pack of cards for decoration, and odds and ends from the craft pile for the rest. The nuts have a little surprise hidden inside, which can be cracked open on New Year's.

We thought we should hang them on the tree before saying our goodbyes (sorry for the blurry pic, I'm hoping Santa sees my desperate need for a new camera).

We received many adorable ornaments in return, and the kidlets have found each the perfect spot on our tree. Thank you families far and wide for your little pieces of crafty goodness.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happiness is...

-These snow balls fresh from the oven.

-Our new niece, born into such a wonderful family, and at such a beautiful time of year.

-Knowing our days grow longer, even if our ground becomes heavy with snow.

-Cub Scout holiday parties, where you see in the faces of these grade school boys, both the silliness of childhood and glimpses of the men they will be.

-And last but not least, almost everything crossed off my holiday crunch list.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advent/Solstice Candles Finale

The last Sunday of Advent, and Winter Solstice eve has arrived. We had fun breaking out the nativity people for their first appearance in the ring. We found our little felted wool nativity set at a non-profit store which sells global items to help those who make them. I love how it looks like a little social gathering in the ring.

And here are Mary and Joseph on their journey (if their journey to Bethlehem were our dining table, and the manger was our candle ring). And, yes, kidlets request to keep baby Jesus up Mary's skirt until Christmas day has been respected.

The verse for the fourth week is my favorite I think:

The fourth light of Advent,
It is the light of man.
The light of love, the light of thought,
To give and understand.

Original words were found on Pea Soup's blog, here.

The winter sky was so gorgeous and clear this evening. It is nights such as this, filled with the promise of more light, and yet perfect in its crisp, cold dark, which I treasure. Happy Solstice everyone, hope you are finding peace in the winter air.