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Back to the Future

26 April 2011
So today I had the opportunity to drive to Ogden (about an hour north of where I live) and attend the 50th anniversary of one of the elementary schools I went to. This particular school (MarLon Hills) was one I attended from 2nd-first half of 5th grade, which translates to the longest I spent at any one school. (All told, I went to 7 different schools, including a brand new one in a new state during my senior year. Awesome.)

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This is my old middle school. It falled down. But not when I was going there, despite my best efforts.

It was pretty fun to see my old teachers. I saw all but one, and actually I'm a little nervous that she maybe passed away, because she was pretty old when I was in her class. It was really neat to take Sparrow and introduce him to some teachers who I loved and looked up to as a child. My mom taught kindergarten at this school and her room smelled exactly how I remember it. They had some yearbooks out and I showed Sparrow pictures of his Nana from 1992 and me as a second grader. The look on his face was something like this: "o_O"

Several people remarked on how much Sparrow looks like me. Well, he really doesn't. But if you haven't met my husband, then he does. Actually, Hawk and I could be siblings - which is really weird - so Sparrow is really a good blend of both of us. Except he has my eyes. And my musical inclination. And Hawk's weird toes.

And my genius.

And Hawk's weirdness.

(Take that.)

Look! More pictures!!

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I am so glad Hawk grew into his ears.

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So cute on the surface...so evil underneath.

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Unfortunately, Sparrow inherited my evil streak.



I think I was about 6 here. I'd post a picture of Hawk at age 6 but I don't have one.

Oh and, Sparrow definitely inherited my love of Diet Coke. Too bad I haven't learned how to share yet.

I hope I hope I hope

25 April 2011
This week I am sending a manuscript to a few publishers in the hopes of getting it published. It's a small market I am writing for, but there's a real need for this book - at least from where I'm standing.

I'm being deliberately vague, but I'll add in details eventually. For now, sit in suspense and hope, pray, and send out good vibes to the universe that I can get this thing published!

Bummer

22 April 2011
Guess what - Ebates doesn't work if you forget to go through their website. Rats.

My friend Dove is here visiting from California and yesterday we drove to Park City, Utah with our wee ones. The reason for our journey? OUTLET STORES.

Despite Sparrow being a quintessential 3 year old (read: EVIL HORRIBLE NAUGHTY OH MY GOSH HE WAS A TURD), it was an awesome day. The weather was perfect, the prices were fabulous, and oh! The Gymboree outlet had my all-time favorite line of clothes in Sparrow's sizes.



I love these turtles for summer clothes. They are so cute.

Ideally I would be shopping at thrift stores or Walmart for Sparrow, since he's a kid and will outgrow stuff fast. But since he is my only child, I feel it's okay to go a little nutty every once in a while. And Gymboree clothes last forever and have good resell value. So we came away from the shops with Sparrow's summer clothes all set - he also got a pair of sandal-shoes and a new jacket (pictured above). It was a fun day. I'll have to stay away from Park City if I don't want Hawk to murder me, but I think a trip every six months or so will be fine. Right Hawk? Right???

In other news, I want to move to a small farm somewhere near Heber, Utah.

Heber City, Utah

I want to own chickens, a horse or two, and some goats. But mostly just the horses. Oh, and a dog. Yes, definitely need a dog.

Looking cute by the rug

This is a breed of dog called a Tamaskan. I want one. It's the closest to a wolf-dog I will ever get.

Ebates

19 April 2011
If you shop online ever, you really should check out Ebates. Trust me.

The first time you make a purchase on Ebates, you'll receive $5 automatically, plus a percentage of cash back depending on the store you are shopping at. I just bought a set of sandals for Sparrow and me and a pair of winter shoes for next year at Famous Footwear and I made 9.0% cash back. In the last few weeks I have saved $8 shopping through Ebates. It's totally worth it.

All I do differently is instead of typing the store I want to shop at directly in my address bar, I go to Ebates first and search to see if they have the store I want. If they do, I click on it and they send me off to the site, ka-ching! If not, well, no harm done.

It's not really making me thousands of dollars, but it is kind of nice to be able to say "yes, while I spent X amount, Ebates credited me back this much." I highly recommend it. Here's the link again, just in case you missed it the first hundred times :)

Couponing win!

18 April 2011
I am new to this coupon clipping business. I have read some blogs, and used some little coupons here and there, but today was the first day I had a win. Last week Family Dollar sent out coupons - buy 2 Betty Crocker baking mixes and get 1 Betty Crocker Cake/Brownie mix for 1 cent.

So I took a deep breath and loaded Sparrow up, and off we drove to Walmart. We don't have a Family Dollar nearby that I know of. Walmart had Betty Crocker cake mixes for $2.50 all the way down to muffin mixes (just add water) for 88 cents. I picked up 2 of the muffin mixes and a box of $2.50 brownie mix, and got all 3 items for less than the regular price of the brownie mix.

I don't know why I felt so awesome about it, but I am thrilled! The Walmart checker was very, very nice and helpful about getting it rung up for me. I like having just-add-water mixes because if the world ever ends or something, they will be great in an emergency situation. The brownie mix I keep around in case I ever have a chocolate craving on a Sunday when I don't like to go to the store. Also, they are great for emergency situations too.

Did you know you can add a can of black beans to brownie mix and make a decent pan of brownies? yep, it's true. Someday I'll post about it. Someday when I feel like eating brownies (or as I call them, "beanies.") Yum.

Cat proof your deck for less than $20. Woot!

16 April 2011
We have two cats, Bamboo and Panda. Panda, unfortunately, is dumber than a stump. I would very much like to leave our glass door open so that Sparrow can go in and out onto the deck, and so the cats could go out there too, but every time I let Panda out on the deck he would jump off, land on his face, and cry at the basement door to be let in.

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Yeah, he's a moron. Pretty, but stupid.

So here's what I did. I went to Lowe's and bought some plastic netting for $13. Then I bought zip ties for $1. Then I zip-tied the netting to my deck. That part was easy.

The problem was getting the netting hooked to the deck itself, so that the Stupid One couldn't climb underneath it and attempt to fly again.

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One borrowed ladder, 3 near death experiences and 15 nails later, the cats were able to go out on the deck without supervision for the first time. Panda, as expected, poked at the netting and tried to get out, but he was thwarted. He glowered and yowled for a few minutes but finally decided to just chillax.

It was a good way to spend a Saturday.

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I've caught a bug

11 April 2011
I think I've caught a bug. The quilting bug. It is a bad, dangerous bug to get under your skin. When I was working on this quilt, I told myself I would never, ever sew again. I was going to sell my sewing machine as soon as I was done with this project.

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See, I've been carting this fabric around for 3 years now. I bought the fabric to make a baby sling for Sparrow when he was an infant. I've been working on the quilting process off and on for the last 2 years. The squares have been cut for ages, but only recently did I decide to actually start putting it together.

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So thus you have my most recent finished product. It was a pain in the butt. I was not careful, precise, slow, or patient with it. Nope. But I don't care, I think it still turned out decent. And it's very comfortable and warm. Sparrow and the cats fight over who gets to cuddle with it.

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This quilt is a twin size. I made it out of fabric from Hobby Lobby, 4 pairs of old jeans, and a full size cotton jersey knit sheet. I stuffed it with a duvet insert from IKEA. Ta da!

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I think I will quilt again. But next time I will try to be more patient and careful. Patience is not my strong suit. Rats.

Clean enough to eat off of

08 April 2011
Yesterday I spent a good 3 hours scrubbing the holy-bananas out of my main level bathroom and our upstairs level.

Why do we have 4 bathrooms? We only use 3 on a regular basis and the 4th just sits in Sparrow's bathroom growing a moldy water ring (not sure how that happens but it's taken care of now, yessir.) Bathrooms suck. Uh, I take that back. It's snowing and I rather enjoy my indoor plumbing.

Anyway, our main level bathroom is quite tiny, but it packed a surprising dirt punch. Nevertheless, the toilet is gleaming, I scrubbed the walls and the baseboards and the floors and behind the toilet and the sink and blah blah. Upstairs I accomplished about the same thing, except that it doesn't look like I cleaned at all because the rooms are still a little messy and I didn't vacuum. But I did dust, scrub the doors and baseboards, windows, pictures, mirrors, etc etc. I am talking deep cleaning. It needed to be done really bad. Our bathroom had about an inch of yucky black dust behind the toilet. I do a double take when I walk in now because it's so clean.

Lest you get the wrong idea, I do clean. Regularly. Ish. I just kept putting off sweeping and mopping upstairs because I can never find the broom. But I do a general wipe-down/toilet scrub weekly. We do not live in filth. Mostly.

The weirdest places were dirty. Like the corners of the walls. I could not figure out why they were so dirty until I realized we have a feline who gets his lovin' from the walls and corners in general. At least, when he's not harassing us.

Anyway, it's all done now. Now I am moving on to the kitchen deep clean, and then down again to the basement deep clean. That's the one I am really dreading. Sigh.

I had to let Sparrow and Hawk know of my cleaning ninja-ness, and boy if they mess anything up, they are going to be sorry. I left these notes on the bathroom door at their respective eye levels. I hope they know I am deadly serious. Don't mess up my clean house, boys. You can be replaced you know.

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I am very grateful we have such a beautiful home. It is very big and very spacious. Really, it's too big for us and I wouldn't mind moving to a slightly smaller home, but then I would have to move out of my fantastic ward and that would kill me. So we will stay here, probably until we can buy a house for real.

Wake me up when it's over

07 April 2011
Wow, it's been a long time since I blogged. But I am tired. So I guess you have to wait just a little longer for an update. Try to tear yourself away from your computer screen.

In other news, goodnight.