Friday, September 26, 2008

Housekeeping and safety

This post might not be about what you'd think from the title. I've made a few little "housekeeping" changes to my layout: cleaned up some buttons I'm not using while I take a hiatus from writing poetry (more on that in some other post, some other day); got rid of my blogroll and replaced it with a "followers" list; deleted the part in my profile about which town I live in. This was after reading an excellent post about blog safety by my good friend Aubrey. Which is just the segue I needed to transition from housekeeping into safety...

Recently Aubrey had a truly horrific experience with her blog and some very benign pictures she had posted of herself being viewed by an unintended and unwanted audience. She had an unfortunate crash-course in blog safety, and has generously passed on what she learned. It's definitely worth a read.

The reason I replaced my blogroll with a followers list is to safeguard the online privacy of my family and friends whose blogs I follow. Instead of using a blogroll to see when you update your blogs, I'm now doing it from the privacy of my dashboard. And I would request a favor of any of you who have me on your blogroll, if I may: if you have a link to my blog which uses my first and/or last name, please change it to "chicklegirl." I'd be ever so grateful.

I would strongly encourage any of you aforementioned friends and family who have used your first and/or last names as well as any information about where you live (like pictures of your house with the address showing, etc.) on your blogs to discontinue doing so. One of my friends who is a writer uses her full name on her blog to establish a professional reputation, but she is otherwise careful to omit any other distinguishing characteristics that would enable identity theft or stalking.

It may seem like a pain to go to all the trouble to remove information if you've been posting it on your blog. Especially if you've been doing it for a while. But it's worth every effort to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Better safe than sorry.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tightwad tuesday: take note

With the price of gasoline hiking ever upward, the cost of food will continue to follow. Keep tabs on the lowest prices by making a price comparison notebook.

Write down the costs for items you use often and compare between different stores, as well as between different brands within the same store. This will also help you be sure you're truly getting a good deal when something goes on "sale", because some brands are still cheaper at their regular price than other brands at a "sale" price.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jimmy got game

At the risk of seeming too much the doting soccer mom, I'm excited to report that Jimmy scored his first goal today. Sadly, I missed this historic event because I was home mowing the lawn.

Thank goodness for camcorders and husbands who are willing to trade off taxi duty. You can get all the game day commentary and video highlights (complete with rockin' soundtrack) on Jim's blog.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Summer in a jar

Every year at the beginning of September, my mother-in-law heads to her favorite orchard in Wenatchee to buy peaches. She grew up there and has known the owner for decades. His peaches are always lovely: firm but tender, unblemished, and the flavor is... well, amazing.

Usually Jim and I have her pick up a 30-pound box for us, which will yield about 18 quarts of canned peaches. Last year I was still recouping from Audrey's birth so I didn't can any peaches, but this year we ordered two boxes.

I used to borrowed my mom's kettle whenever I was canning, but about five years ago I invested in a nice big one of my own that can process nine quarts at a time. Jim and I spent the last two evenings in the kitchen with our oscillating fan cranked up to high and the back door open to let out some of the steam emitted from the kettle.

For me canning is always about bonding with family and sharing skills. I learned how to can from my mom, who put away fruit and vegetables every year when I was little. My dad taught me the nifty trick of using a table knife to slide the fruit halves through the neck of each jar so that they stay round side up and form orderly nested stacks. Jim learned about canning from his mom, and always pitches in. This year Jimmy was old enough to start helping, and was very proud about learning how to cut the peaches in half and then peel off the skin. The fruit will be that much sweeter when we eat it because we worked together.

I woke up sore and stiff this morning, and it was only with much creaking that I managed to extract myself from bed. But how wonderful to come down into the kitchen for breakfast and see the neat rows gleaming in the early morning light, like so many jars of bottled sunshine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Game day

We decided to sign Jimmy up for soccer this fall. Back in March, during the sign up period, he was adamantly opposed to playing, but we took a chance and signed up anyway. Over the last few months we've been talking it up and gradually he has warmed to the idea. It helped that his cousins Maddy and Olivia also play and that they got him a new ball for his birthday.

A week ago Wednesday was his first practice, and then the first games were held jamboree-style last Saturday. The top two photos are from pre-game warm up that day, and the bottom photo and video are from today's games.

Both last week and this week, his favorite refrain in the middle of practice has been, "Mom, I'm too warm. I'm tired. I need a drink. I need to rest." But after a little pep-talk from his dad and lots of encouragement during the game, he's started to hustle after the ball and suck it up when he gets "tired". Check out his excellent save at the end of the video clip!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tightwad tuesday: cool to be cheap

Seems like lately it's getting more hip to be a tightwad (or so I've been reading). I'm sure that has much to do with thrift being compatible with conserving natural resources and our society's rabid consumerism being the ultimate anti-green. Trendy or no, it's always a good time to jump on the bandwagon and get thrifty, so if you haven't yet, check out these "fabulous freebies" and try a few of them.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Ah, where did the last year go?

For grandmas and other far-away relatives: a video clip of birthday cake will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Not to be confused with Mod Podge, because hodgepodge refers to a motley assortment of ideas or things, whereas Mod Podge is an abbreviation for the "Modern Decoupage" craft glue invented by Jan Whetstone in the 1960s.

I've been looking back at my blog and realizing it looks rather like I fell off the planet (other than writing a dumb post about J.Lo), and honestly I've felt that way lately. The last month has been a blur: sewing a baby quilt, taking dinner in to a friend who's a new mom, sewing a blouse, going to my 20 year reunion, teaching five pre-teen girls to make freezer jam, getting really sick during the same week Audrey cut four molars, writing an amazing poem, sewing a green and white polka-dot baby dress to enter in the the county fair, taking a mini-family-vacay to the Pacific Science Center, riding the ferris wheel at the fair, Audrey's first birthday, cleaning house to get ready for out-of-town company and a birthday party, baking two batches of cupcakes (because the first ones all collapsed flat right out of the oven) and finally, yesterday, Jimmy's first day of kindergarten.

Did I mention we're homeschooling? And Jimmy has his first soccer practice in less than an hour? And Audrey has not had (and probably at this point will not have) an afternoon nap? And even though according to the calendar we still have 18 days of summer, it's already fall here in Ellensburg but that's okay because fall is my favorite season? And yesterday I found out Jimmy has been peeing in the bathtub because he's afraid of the noise the toilet makes when it flushes? And I'm having a really excellent hair day?

It's all good. It's a hodge-podge and it's mine and I love life.