Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Reads and Bad Seeds

I have been doing A LOT of reading lately. Actually, I bet that I've read about 50 books in the last 6 months or so. I normally read quite a bit, but starting towards the end of my pregnancy (when I was trying to rest) and then continuing one since Juliana was born (I have to do something while she's nursing or I will go insane) I've done more than usual. It does help that I haven't been taking my usual load of classes - until last week when Summer term started - so not so much time for reading anymore. But I thought I would share some of the books I've read and my thoughts about the good, the bad, and of course, the ugly.

OK, so I really didn't read any bad books lately, but I do have one for the UGLY list:
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III - OK, what was Oprah thinking?!? I can see how one might justify this book by saying that it an example of human emotion and circumstances and some other blah-de-dah nonsense, but really what the book is, is bizarre. That is the best word I can find to describe it. Interestingly I think it would adapt into a movie really well, but really the only reason I finished reading it was just to see where the author was taking it. It's basically about 3 complete strangers and how their lives randomly end up completely intertwined and it ends in horrible tragedy - there now you don't even need to read it.

Now onto the good - I don't have a top 10 at the moment, but (sort of) 8 isn't bad. I'll count them down for you:
8. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordon: This series was recommended to me by my 12 year old neighbor when we happened to be talking about books one day. He was looking for a good read and came over to ask for any suggestions. I'm not sure what he came away with, but he brought me the first book in this series, Lightening Thief, to read and I really enjoyed it. Definitely Harry Potter-esque, but with a Greek mythology twist. A Young Adult book, but still an enjoyable and easy read, especially for anyone needing a Harry Potter fix.

7. The Children of the Red King by Jenny Nimmo: Again, a Harry Potter-esque series, but can hold it's own. I happened upon the first book in this series, Midnight for Charlie Bone, in our apartment complex's freebie bin and was pleasantly surprised. Coming of age, secret powers, good vs. bad, all that usual stuff, but in a new way.

6. Anything by Mary Higgins Clark: I've been reading a lot of her lately and am always impressed. she tells so many different stories, you never really know what to expect, except to know that it will be a good mystery - I never seem to know who did it until it's revealed.

5. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown: Mr Brown is better known for his book The Divinci Code, which is also a fabulous book. Angels and Demons actually occurred first and is the better book, I think. But both were very interesting and very enjoyable to read. Good clean books, both of the treasure hunt nature, but keep you on the edge of your seat.

4. When the Wind Blows by James Patterson: I've actually read quite a few of his books, but this one is the best, in my opinion, for a couple of reasons - first, I really liked the story, not his usual, it actually reminded me of a Dean Koontz novel, but better, and second, there was minimal swearing and only 1 1/2 sex scenes, both of which were tasteful and not too graphically detailed. As much as I like James Patterson, I don't usually recommend his books because of the swearing and the not always family-friendly sex scenes. While I have no problem glossing over these part and reading the book for the big picture, I know that some would prefer not to come across them at all. So - if that describes you, this may be your only chance to read Mr Patterson - I'll let you know if I come across any others.

3. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: I actually read this book last summer, but it is still on my list of top reads. I'm not usually a history person at all, but I really liked this historical fiction. Some of you may be a little scared away, since it is about geishas and hence one would assume there is sex in it - but that's not really true. What little graphic detail there is is from such an innocent point of view that I didn't find in offensive at all. The world of geishas is completely fascinating to me.

Update 7-2-08: I rented this movie and just finished watching it this morning - SO GOOD! One of the best book to movie adaptations I have seen. It is rated PG-13, and there was one scene that my edited rental place cut out, so I don't know how graphic it was, but other than that - LOVED IT. This is one I would actually recommend reading the book first as there is some information that makes more sense when you already know about the story. However, you could watch the movie and still enjoy it without reading the book as well.


2. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer: OK - while most of the books I read can be enjoyed equally by both genders, this is one series that I would definitely dub as "chick books". Cameron did read them because I love them so much, but he did not find them as alluring as I did. I originally read the series last summer when I discovered it, passed them on to my sis-in-law and some of her friends, they were recently returned to me and of course I had to read them again. Oh and did I mention that I read them 2 times over the summer? So this was reading #3 for me and I still enjoyed them. Though I found myself leaning more towards Jacob rather than Edward this time - I wonder what that means? I can't wait for the next book to come out in August.

1. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (book 1 in the Inheritance Cycle series): This is one of the best books I've ever read - now that's saying A LOT! And I found out after I read it (in the acknowledgements) that Mr Paolini was a mere teenager when he wrote this! After doing a little bit of research I found out that he was actually 15 when he wrote the first draft in 1998, the book was first published in 2001 and quickly picked up by a bigger company, republished in 2003 and became a bestseller. There is also a movie version of this book - STAY AWAY! It does not do the book justice at all, and has to cut out so much of the book that the story doesn't hardly make any sense. But back to the book - amazing. I really enjoyed it. For those of you who don't know the story - a young farm boy finds a beautiful blue stone, which of course is really a dragon egg, which then hatches and he, the boy, becomes the first dragon rider after a century of the empire being ruled by the last remaining dragon rider, who happens to be evil. Enough said - read the book. It is another Young Adult fiction, but I would recommend it for anyone up for the read.

OK - this post took my waaaaay longer than I thought it would. I hope that some of you benefit from it! And now I have to go read a book that I'm not looking forward to - homework for my World History class. I don't know, maybe I'm judging it a little early, but it sure doesn't sound like fun to me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Funney Video

My sis-in-law commented that her children love watch the video that I posted of Juliana because they think it's so funny. My kids do, too. They watch it over and over. So I thought I would share another video that my kids think is hilarious. I don't remember who emailed it to me - I think it was my Aunt Lynne. It is too funny - hope you enjoy it.



video

Update: I've just heard that this is also a commercial on TV, so maybe you've already seen it. We don't really watch TV here, so.....

Enjoy :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pony Rides and Butterflies

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for some friends of ours. It was at the Gunstock Ranch - located right here in Laie, they offer horse riding, swimming and loads of other stuff I'm sure. My kids were most excited for the "pony rides" - well actually they were horses, but somehow ponies are more appealing to kids.

Here are a few pics - at first Isaac didn't want to go at all and the girls were scard so they went together. Then the girls told Isaac how much fun it was so they all went back and rode by themselves. They loved it.





They've been talking about going back all day today, but I don't think we will be going anytime soon - they don't break out the "ponies" for just anyone passing by.

We also went to the beach yesterday - it was a great day for snokeling - but of course as soon as we got there and all suited up the clouds rolled over and it rained. But Cam said he saw a few cool things, a couple turtles and lots of fish. He took an underwater camera with him, so we'll have to see what develops (haha, get it).

After that exhausting day of being outdoors you would think my children would pass out, but so such luck - well, 1 of the 4 did (and it wasn't the baby), but the other 3 were bouncing off the walls. While I was trying to get them to sit down long enough to eat some dinner, my friend Ema came over to show us something - cool enough that I just had to share:



A friend of hers that is a make-up artist did it. The picture does not do it justice. It was the most beautiful butterfly and it was all sparkly and everything. I'm glad that I thought to take a picture of it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Tid Bits

Today was a great day - appropriate for the first official day of summer. Blue skies, puffy white clouds, and glorious sunshine. It wasn't even too terribly hot here. We thought about going to the beach, but Cam's back has been really sore today, so we decided to play closer to home and had a family water balloon fight! It was so much fun. I wish I had taken pictures, but it all happened so fast and the camera probably would have gotten ruined, so maybe its a good thing that I didn't. But it was a blast.

In other news - we've just found out that we will be moving to a bigger unit in our apartment complex! This is fabulous news - because not only is that layout of the apartment so much better, it has a 3rd bedroom! Well, it's really a loft, but everyone uses it as a bedroom and I've been told that it says nice and cool up there. If that's true then we can possibly leave the portable AC unit in the living area. We'll have to see. We don't move until July 11 - and then we have 4 days to move. The building is right behind ours, which is nice since we won't have to haul our stuff far, and we'll still be close to the playground, but I won't be able to just step out the door and look for the kids anymore. But I'm excited about the new space and the better floor plan.

And for those of you wondering - we still don't know what we're doing long-term wise, but we'd really like to stay here in Hawaii. We know that the Lord has brought us here for a reason and we have a hard time thinking that reason is already over. But we're praying and pondering and searching for what it is that we should be doing next. I'm know many of you are probably already praying with us and we greatly appreciate it. We know the Lord has a plan for us, we just need a nudge in the right direction!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Big 0-4

OK, so I couldn't come up with a better title. But Juliana is 4 months old today! I can't believe that she's getting so big, but in other ways it seems like she's always been a part of our family, not just for the last 4 months. (That could be because she looks EXACTLY like Danielle, with the exception of their eye color - in fact we are constantly calling her Danielle all the time.)

Here are some pics we took to commemorate the day:





And here's a little clip of one of her current favorite activities - which we play nightly to help distract her from teething woes.

video

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's Totally Useless Trivia About Lisa:


I searched the internet for a good 15 minutes for a decent picture of a Ti plant to show you - and couldn't find one. So I was forced to walk all of a 100 feet to the plants that I use when I need a few leaves so I could take a picture for you. I'm so lazy sometimes. By the way - this is the same plant/leaves that I used to make Abby's waistband for May Day.





So here are the pics:

The plant from afar


A little closer


I'm not the only one that harvests a few leaves now and then.


PS - Kalua Pig recipe is up on Yummies in My Tummy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New Recipe Up

I posted a new recipe on Yummies in my Tummies for you to try. I also have a great Kalua Pig recipe that I will post later this week (with a picture and everything) - I'm just tired of typing for tonight.

So I'll leave you with some Totally Useless Trivia About Lisa that I realized as I was writing up my recipe post.

I HATE nutmeg. I don't care for it in anything. The only time that I ever use it is when I use apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice that comes premixed. Even then I kind of cringe. Nutmeg just ruins the flavor of anything for me - whether it's sweet or savory. I don't know what my problem is. But now you all know. If you ever cook for me - leave out the nutmeg.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Smorgasbord

I'm just full of all sorts of stuff today - all those things that I've been promising, or meaning to post, but just haven't gotten around to. So here they are:


#1 - Isaac's baseball video. I think I've been promising this one for a month. I didn't even take the video, all I had to do was upload it from my email, but somehow I just haven't gotten to it until now. Thanks to my friend Lindsey whose son is on Isaac's team - she captured this great moment that we can all now share.

Isaac making his hit off the T and running all the way to third - way to go Isaac!
video





Then the short run home:
video





#2 - My cutest, chubby baby. Juliana is of course growing by the minute, that's just how babies grow, but I swear this one has more baby fat than the other 3 ever did. So here's a few pics to show off her sweet chubbiness.











Look at those knuckle dimples - so cute!








And of course the chunky thighs - and keep in mind that there are two more rolls just like it inside her diaper!








#3 - Yet another nose injury - and yes, this one involves Danielle, again. Sigh..... I don't think this one hurt as bad, but it looks nastier. This time she fell down that last stair of our building stairway - the stairs are cement with that annoying metal tread on the ends so you don't slip when they are wet. Of course she managed to scrap the same exact spot on her nose right across one of those metal treads. I was not a witness to the accident, but from the crying (and the fakeness thereof) I'm postitive that it didn't hurt as much as it looks like it should have. She was more worried about the "bleed" and getting a bandaid than the actual pain.











#4 - All those stinkin' projects I've been working on. I failed to take pics of the items I made for my Close to My Heart stamp of the month swaps, but I will when I get everything back. But I did take a pic of the layout that I made for our Fouth of July Secret Sister swap in the scrapbooking group I was in in Utah (hope that all made sense). So here's the layout - oh and I got to use my Cricut that I got for my birthday - love it!!!







Sorry, I totally didn't crop the pics - I'm being lazy today. They are just straight off my camera. But they do match - I promise! All the supplies are Close to My Heart - the colors are White Daisy, Cranberry, Outdoor Denim, Indian Corn Blue, Honey and the patterned paper is from the new kit Blue Ribbon.

And of course I've been going a little apron crazy around here, too, so here are a few of the creations that I've made in the last month.

This is the one that I made for the apron swap hosted by A Feathered Nest

I love the way it turned out. And I made a necklace to match - where is the pic I took of that? I'll have to find it later.


This one I made for fun and then gave it to a friend - but she doesn't know it yet, it's still on it's way to her. This one has a ruffle on the bottoma and is reversable - completely the floral print on the other side.



This one I thinkthis last one is my favorite - I made it for my friend Larisa for her bridal shower. I made some modifications after making the first 2: I made the ties longer, I like the way they hang down further; I also made it longer in general - it's about mid calf length instead of knee length; and lastly I made the sides wrap around further, because as I was trying on the others I realized that I tend to wipe my hands on the side of my legs and they weren't covered enough. Anyway - I like the way it looks and fits better.


All the aprons were way super simple to make - and I have fabric to make a few more. I'll have to see what I come up with next. but really, once the pieces are cut and ironed it only takes about 15 minutes of sewing to finish them. Even with the cutting and ironing I bet I could make one in under an hour (not counting clean up time) even while being distracted by kids.

OK, I think that's it for now. I'm sure I have more that I could share, but I have other things I need to do with my day. Have I mentioned that my house is a complete disaster area? I know - I have 4 kids and no space, it's to be expected. But I would like to be able to walk from one room to another - or even to the front door - without having to shove something out of the way, or trip over something, or even just eithout steping on something that may or may not be a cochroach..... Ew, I know - and keep in mind that the house isn't dirty, just a mess, but we live in Hawaii, so there's going to be bugs no matter how spotless I (might, someday) manage to get this place!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Totally Useful Trivia

Tomorrow - I promise - I will be posting pics and videos galore. Tomorrow's the day. But I do have some trivia to share today, but for once it's actually useful!

1. My friend Lorelei, who lives in Canada, is a co-author of a fabulous cookbook called The Big Cook. It's all about saving time, money, and sanity! Just what I need - if only I had some freezer space now.... Anyway - they recently posted a video on youtube. For some reason I can't get it to pull up here, but click here and it will take you right to it. You can also check out their website at thebigcook.com. These girls got a good thing going. And I just happen to own the cookbook and we've been trying out recipes as we go, yummy. It makes me really miss my big freezer. But I'm determined to make some room and whip up a few meals to have on hand for those days I need a supper break - wait that's every day!

2. Teething Tablets are my new best friend. Juliana is teething in a major way, is very grumpy and letting everyone know. Especially when it's time to go to bed. But teething tablets to the rescue! 2 little tablets in her mouth and about 5 minutes later she's conked out for the night. Really, I just gave her some before I started typing, and she is now sound asleep in my lap - ok, that doesn't sound so impressive when you didn't hear her screaming her lungs out for the 1/2 hour before.... Oh well, you get the point.

Off to bed with me. I ran 3.5 miles this morning (thank you very much) for my jogging class. I ran the entire time, no walking - this is a first, in the 8 times that I've had to run this route (2 times per each of the 4 times I've taken the class). I'm pretty proud, I'm also pretty tired.

Oh one more very important piece of news - one of my very best friends, Alesha, had her baby over the weekend - on my birthday to be exact. I haven't gotten a hold of her yet, but I hear that mom, baby and family are all doing great. I'm so excited for them!

Make sure to check back tomorrow....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Going Postal

I hate going to the post office. Especially here - who told them that they could just close up shop at 3:30 and go home? I don't care that that is when the truck comes to take the mail into town (Honolulu). Why can't they just stay open until 5 like the normal world and just collect mail for the next day's run? That's what they do in post offices all over the country. That's the North Shore for you.
Now the banks closing early - that bugs, too, but at least it make sense - they have to deal with other banks/businesses on the mainland that close up shop when it's still early here. But shouldn't that mean the bank should be opening earlier, too? Like that's ever going to happen:)

But the point is that I did manage to get the PO at 3:15 and mailed off all but 2 (out of 6) packages that have been needed to go postal for a while now. I got my apron swap apron off (a day late), my scrapbooking swaps - 2 of them - off (2 days late), and a birthday present for a friend that's been ready to go since Memorial Day. Now I just have a baby gift (Alesha, have you had that baby yet? I hope so) and a scrapbook layout to get in the mail (sorry, LeeAnn, it's coming - I'm definitely not the world's greatest secret sister, but I'll make it up to you!).

At some point too much crafting becomes a chore and is no longer fun. I haven't quite reach that mark, but I'm getting awfully close!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Can I get you something to drink?

Totally Useless Trivia About Lisa

If you asked me what I would like to drink, and I could have anything thing at all that I wanted, I could narrow the choices down to 2 - and even then, depending on the season, temperature, and/or my mood, I could tell you exactly what I wanted. Of all the beveages in the world (at least the ones that I've tried), there are exactly 2 that I would call my very favorite - and currently I cannot locate either one. It's a sad, sad world. So what are they you ask?

The first is Stephen's Cinnamon Hot Chocolate - I absolutely love it. The fact that it's hot chocolate would imply that it would be hard for me to find here in Hawaii in the first place. Not really a hot item on the grocery shelves, no matter the season. However, even when I was visiting Utah last October, I hunted in every grocery store I could and still couldn't find any. We bought a whole bunch in December of 2006, we gave them out as our Christmas gifts that year, and I had about 5 cans that I brought here when we moved. Those lasted through the summer - I know, I'm weird and like hot chocolate no matter the weather or season. But I haven't been able to restock - I couldn't find it, I had relatives, friends, anyone that visited or lived in a wintery place, searching the shelves for me. I'm thinking they must have stopped making it.

My other favorite drink is Strawberry Kiwi Crystal Light. I know, it sounds weird, but I love the way it tastes. And it doesn't matter how thirsty I am, this juice does it for me. Sometimes even better than water. And honestly I'm not a water person - I like a little flavor. At our house we call it Watermelon juice. I'm not really sure how that got started, but it stuck. The kids all love it to. Our local grocery store has never carried the flavor, but the bigger store about 45 min away has always had it - until a few months ago. There's not even a tag on the shelf for the flavor anymore. And any employee that I have asked I'm sure just thinks I'm crazy, but I want to know why I can't find it anymore.

I miss my favorite drinks. I crave them. Substitutes, however good they may be, just don't do it for me. So keep your eyes peeled and pick up a few cans if you happen to find some on your grocery shelf - I'll even pay the shipping! I need a fix!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday's Totally Useless Trivia About Lisa

I love the way the restroom at the Laie Hawaii Visitor's Center smells. I'm sure that sounds strange, but it's true. We were at the kids' last baseball game today (for WAY longer than should have been necessary) and of course someone needed to use the bathroom, even though I made them all go before we left. And, of course the restrooms at the Park never seem to be unlocked. After (vainly) checking around for a secluded bush I loaded Danielle into the car - luckily Cam was there, too, so I only had to take her - and we started to drive home (and don't think I didn't continue looking for that bush along the way). When we can to the temple I decided that the visitor's center was better than the literally one more min drive to get home, so we pulled in and used their bathroom. And it smelled so good. I'm going to have to go back and ask them what brand of air freshener they use...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday's trivia

I thought I was going to have time to blog today, but instead I got a nap. Nice trade-off if you ask me. And it was all because my sweet hubby keep the kids under control for a few hours. So while I didn't get a few things done around the house - I'm glad I got a little more sleep in, I've needed it.

Today's addition of
Totally Useless Trivia About Lisa
Why do I go through the trouble of washing a bowl and spoon every time I want to have cereal (which is apparently a lot), when I could just take 20 minutes and do all the dishes and have bowls and spoons for days, or even a whole week!