Saturday, April 27, 2002

One day late again, but here's my Friday Five:
1. What are your hobbies?

In a previous life, I had many. Now, it's computering, mainly creating websites. What I would like to do, given time: glass engraving, calligraphy, reading, creating with Sculpy (a kind of clay), stamping etc. I also create wreaths and decorations for our front doors, I'd like to make that more of a hobby. I can spend hours at Michael's. And the kids have inherited this craft interest, so Michael's really likes us!

2. Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I collect ducks, and I have been collecting them from when I was 8. I have ducks from all over the world. I also collect fantasy creatures: fairies, gnomes, dragons and gargoyles.

3. Is there a hobby you're interested in, but just don't have the time/money to do? I'd love to get into scrapbooking and, although I have a lot of the basics, I just don't have the time or the room (and creativity) to do it.

I'd like to get into that as well. I'd love to do a scrapbooking album about our trip to Paris. Realistically, I get an online album going, but I'd love a "real life" album.

4. Have you ever turned a hobby into a moneymaking opportunity?

I have engraved glasses for fraternities and individuals and made a lot per glass. But it hurts my fingers, so it's not something one can do on a day to day basis. And I've made wreaths for other people's doors and made some money doing that. But also nothing to write home about.

5. Besides web-related stuff (burbs, rings, etc.), what clubs do you belong to?

A health club, it's fun! And I go to a bible study weekly, but that's not really a club.
Yay, Mark´s here! Rick and Katja went to get him from the airport. It was dicy for a moment, as Rick´s car died on his way home and he had to be towed home. He was worried it wouldn´t be as much of a surprise for Kai, if he´d seen him before.

But Kai was playing outside and then he and I worked on his book project due next week (he doesn´t like reading and I usually read one page, then he two, then one for me again etc.). So, an hour or so later, I heard them come back and Mark came in. It was total surprise on Kai´s face! I wish I´d had my camera ready :). They played computer games for a while and we had dinner and then everyone was tired.

Today is Kai's birthday party (his actual birthday is Monday). Since we have one car this weekend, Rick will take Katja and me to the gym and then get the cake (a Safeway Star Wars one). The party is at a Lasertag place. I'm sure I'll sit in the party room with Saskia, because she'll be scared. The boys are really looking forward to it, though!

The weather is downright gorgeous! I hope it stays this way, nice cool spring weather. The dogwoods and azaleas are still gorgeous. Driving through the neighborhoods is so wonderful, it's a sea of color!

Thursday, April 25, 2002

We got home too late to write last night, but did we ever have a great time!

First I'll write about the rest of the day, as it was quite nice as well. I had a great hour of personal training to start out. I'm not sure why I'm gaining weight again, though, it scares me. I exercise more than ever and yet I'm gaining :(. I'm watching my calories, I guess that's all I can do, besides the exercise. I hope my thyroid is not acting up again, but I doubt it, since I'm not having the other symptoms I usually get, like hairloss and severe fatigue.

After I got K.'s blinds (which I put up today and I'm very proud of it ;) and sprayed them with Bitter Apple, so the kittens won't eat them again), I went to Fresh Fields to get the kids dinner (uncured beef hot dogs (no nitrates and delicious), tomato soup and rolls) and our breakfast bars (we're loving Balance bars these days!).

At home, I felt energetic and organized the coat closet, the kids' bathroom and my closet. That felt good!!!

After school, Chris came with her daughter, who's 7 and gets along great with S. They played for a few hours, while we chatted and then I made dinner for the kids.

When the babysitter showed up, we left for the Paul McCartney concert. We got dinner at the arena and then got our seats, we had a great view!!! The concert was great! I totally agree with the reviewer. The new songs were so-so (maybe because we heard them for the first time?) and the pre-show was weird! But I have to say, for a 60 year old, I'm totally impressed! He started singing at 8:30 and didn't stop till after 11!! His band took breaks, but he never did. I felt like I was at a once in a lifetime event the whole time! Nothing but praise for that concert! I feel like I was truly privileged to be there. I loved the song "Freedom", which had the whole audience on their feet (they performed it first (and wrote it for) the benefit concert in New York after 9/11).

We did get home quite late and weren't in bed till after midnight. This meant difficulty getting up this morning. We were all very late and besides that, it was raining, further delaying us. I dropped the 2 youngest kids at their schools and went to the gym. K. went to work with her dad, as it was "Take our daughters to work day" . His company set up a special event for the daughters and it was a great success. They learned a lot, which I think is great, other years it was more a day off, this year, she has something to show for her day away from school.

After the gym, I went to pick her up at the office and got to join in the lunch and the presentation. Much fun!

Now we're all tired (the kids stayed up late last night as well) and soon off to bed!

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

First of all, the taco soup recipe (I use vegetarian ground beef and vary ingredients, like I used black beans instead of pinto beans last night, or regular ranch dressing instead of the mix, I also don't usually use hominy as the kids tend not to like it):
Taco Soup
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 lb ground beef -- browned and drained
1 onion -- chopped
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can hominy
1 can rotel tomatoes with green chiliesDump all ingredients into a large crockpot. Cook all day on low. Serve with tortilla chips and top with grated cheese.
This morning we rushed to get everyone out the door early. Rick had a meeting and I wanted to get my workout in quickly, as I was to help out at K.'s Colonial Day celebration at school.

As a workout, I decided to stay on each machine for 10 minutes and do the speed training setting. This means going really fast, then slowing down some, fast, slowing down, etc. Changing machines every 10 minutes makes the workout less boring. I used the Stairmaster (both the stairclimber and the stepmill), the Precor elliptical, the Lifefitness crosstrainer
and the Freerunner. It took an hour and 10 minutes to complete.

After a shower and a disappointment, as I had hoped to have a smoothie from the cafeteria for lunch and they were closed, I made my way to the school. Every year, the fourth grade puts on a Colonial Day. All the kids are dressed in Colonial outfits, as are the teachers.
K. was wearing the costume shown on the webpage.

During the day, the kids got to do different colonial crafts: quilling, butter making, silhouette cutting, cornhusk doll making and charcoal drawing. I was in charge of the latter, having the kids draw "old" artifacts, like candleholders, gavels and the likes. My hands were black after a few hours, but the drawings were great!

Once the crafts were finished, the kids performed songs and dances for the kindergartners and first graders and at the end dansed the Virginia Reel. The really cute part was, when the kids asked the parents to dance. K. and I did quite well, if I say so myself, he was a handsome companion ;).

Then I quickly ran to Seven Eleven for another Slurpee, got S. from school and gave her her Slurpee and medicine.

Tonight we went back to the school for more Colonial song and dance and this time Rick danced the Reel. We ate dinner as a family at the local Greek restaurant. Now everyone is in bed and I'm about to follow!

Monday, April 22, 2002

My neck is in a knot today and it hurts! I tried to exercise it away, but that didn't work this time. And as the day wore on, it went from my neck to my shoulder to my hip. My whole right side is in agony. Thankfully, Rick gave me a shoulderpad, that can be microwaved, that helps somewhat.

Whenever I feel this way, I'm always grateful for anything I get accomplished that day, because my natural reaction is to want to go lie in bed. But that's not exactly an option with a busy family :), thankfully, I'd say.

After working out, I went to Trader Joe's and Fresh Fields, to get ingredients for tonight's dinner: taco soup in the crockpot. It's my all time favorite crockpot meal, as it is just the best comfort food and the kids love it too.

After 2pm I had to go to CVS to get the rest of Saskia's antibiotic (she has another 2 bottles to go!!!) and then to Seven Eleven, to get her a Turn off the TV week, but to be honest, I get very annoyed at such "initiatives". We will decide for ourselves what's good and bad for our family life. We actually really enjoy watching tv together, though we spend just a few hours a week with the tv on.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

The moment I woke up this morning, I went into Kai's room to get all his books and stuff back on the shelves. Why? Because I knew I'd lose energy by the middle of the day (the weather has turned, it's rainy and cool).

By the time I went downstairs, Rick had gone to Vie de France for a breakfast of croissants, butter and jam. Yummy!!!

After an argument with the kids, who are now on a roll and want their entire rooms changed, Katja and I went to the gym. We had a nice workout together, during which she convinced me to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond afterwards, in that same shopping center.

There I found new comforters for Kai's room (his old ones have been clawed to pieces by the cats :() and Katja chose an inflatable chair for her room (they were on sale). I worry about that chair, as one cat claw will be the end of that!

So now, both Katja and Kai have rooms that can grow with them till they leave the house. Phew! That leaves Saskia's room, but no rush there, as she still sleeps next to my bed every night and I don't see that changing any time soon. Matter of fact, Kai still sleeps in our room most nights as well. I figure they will be in their own room by the time they're in high school.

One problem we've been having in Kai's room, is the cats lying on his top bunk and making it very hairy and gross. So we put a little shock treatment on there, hoping it will work (it's like a sheet and when the cats step on it, they get a tiny electric shock).

Around 3pm, an old college friend of Rick's stopped by. He's in the army and stationed in Germany, he was taking a red eye back to Germany tonight. Very nice guy and we had a nice chat. All the while, we tried to inflate that chair, that Katja got for her room. Both Rick and I have sore shoulders from pumping! Rick ended up taking it to the gas station and inflated it there. We had a happy Katja :).

We ate (from the vegetarian restaurant) and now Rick and the kids are off to the movies (Ice Age) and I'm cherishing being home alone for an hour or two. I'm also really tired and achy, so I'm going to lie down upstairs and read some magazines.