Friday, March 29, 2013


From the other room, I heard Meg opening the fridge.

"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Mm, looking for something good to eat."
"Would you like a bowl of cereal?"
She considered this. "Yes, that would be app'op'iate."

When I walked into the kitchen, she presented me with the bowl and box of cereal she wanted; she started digging for the best spoon; and then, when it was all poured and ready, she told me which chair she wanted to sit in (the new one). There you go.

Speaking of new chairs, we have new dining chairs! We were down to two, plus the desk chair, so it was time. I found two of those upholstered dining/occasional chairs at Homegoods. They are covered in leaf-green pleather, which is not quite what I had intended to own ever in this universe, but it's a good green. It matches my cherry dishes and green glassware beautifully, looks good with the rest of my red and black and white and cobaltware, and even does pretty well with the other furniture. Also, I'm liking the pleather - it cleans up easily.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I gave Pulse a good try, but it just wasn't working for my blog-reading purposes. It's good for news sites where you want to scan headlines but only read the text occasionally, and I really wanted something that would tell me which blog posts were new since I checked last.

The two main contenders I considered were Feedly and Bloglovin. The reviews were helpful - I learned that in Bloglovin, you have to click through to the original post to read the full text. Yikes. That would have been exasperating for me, so I ran the other direction very quickly and downloaded Feedly.

That works fine. It was very low-stress setting it up. It asked for access to my Google Reader account, so don't go with Feedly if you don't want them accessing your Google Reader info, but it syncs fine with it, back and forth. I was able to organize with as many blogs per category as I liked; none of that twenty-blog-maximum nonsense. I haven't quite gotten the hang of how much of a post you have to read for it to mark it read, so often I will get through a category and then click the "mark all as read" checkmark at the top to clear it out - which is an extra step, but not bad. Feedly also has a very friendly user interface for their app.

I did keep Pulse for news sites, though. It's nice for browsing on my Kindle.

Poppy clutch

Poppy clutch by Roger Vivier
A good purse is hard to find. It's kind of a long story, but I've been looking everywhere for a pretty clutch that isn't on a crossbody strap.

I came across this beauty in a magazine. Isn't it darling? It's quite high-end, of the if-you-have-to-ask-how-much-it-is-you-can't-afford-it kind, but I fell in love anyway. That is hand-painted silk chiffon. Clearly it was time to get creative.

Poppy clutch by me
First I went shopping for a base purse. I found a silver sequined fish-scale purse with a removable strap on clearance for about $7. Then I went to the fabric store and picked up half a yard worth of red chiffon. They didn't have silk chiffon like the original, but the polyester was at any rate cheerful and red. I also got a bottle of glue.

I started by cutting up some red knit to cover the sequins, which I glued down. Then I cut the chiffon in quarters to get two layers for each side, hand-stitched two layers to the clutch right below the base of the closure, and started experimenting with the right pleats and twists. Then I stitched the twist down and used a candle to melt the raw edges of the chiffon so it wouldn't unravel. I would recommend doing this in a well-ventilated area. Then I did the same process on the other side. Last of all, I got out my watercolors to imitate that lovely poppy center from the original.

I'm not sure it worked. It's not like the original, but it's kind of pretty. It turned out soft and floaty and very red. Nobody else will have one like it. Will I be happy to carry it? Is it better than not having a poppy clutch at all?

Um.... probably?

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Last night we went to the outlet mall, where they had a number of ride-on toys for the kids. One of these was a train with Barney (you remember Barney?) sitting in the conductor's seat. Jonathan asked Meg about him.

"Um.... he's a hippopotamus."
"I can see that. Rounded snout... But hippopotamuses aren't usually purple, are they?" said Jonathan.
"He's a special hippopotamus," Meg announced.

I just about died laughing.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wait, what?

Meg, looking out the window: "What is that?"
"What is what? The wind?"
"What is the wind?"
"It's when the air gets pushed around."
Meg, nodding sagely: "Ah. That's why I'm eating my breakfast."

Do we need to work on cause-and-effect??

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Song of the Day: Da Doo Ron Ron

"Young lady, you will have your time-out, and you're not supposed to like it!" Jonathan

"Dad, will you please play Minecraft? It gets dark and all the monsters come out." Meg

In other news, Meg has a new favorite song. She sings it, "Did you run run run, did you run run?" --which makes a lot more sense than the original, actually.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A visit from a leprechaun

This year the St. Patrick's Day ...leprechaun? left us treasure to find when we got up in the morning. It was in a treasure chest and everything.

Meg has been praying regularly for God to send her more dinosaurs, and He must have told the leprechaun, because there was a parasaurolophus in there. There was also a pack of stickers; we figured those must be for Meg too.

We also found a red glass guacamole bowl, a Wallace and Gromit movie, and quite a bit of chocolate coinage in gold and green. The gold ones were American coins, but the green ones had big shamrocks on the back, so those must be what leprechauns use. We were glad they shared.

For breakfast I fixed us green milk, which Meg thought was about the awesomest ever, and Lucky Charms cereal, which she turned up her nose at. I finally explained she didn't have to eat the marshmallows if she didn't want to. Then we all found green outfits for church.  And afterwards, we watched the VeggieTales St. Patrick's Day segment (Fanciful Flannelgraphs with Lutfi!). I've always liked that one.

I think it made a big impression on Meg. After her nap, she asked, "Is it still St. Patrick's day?" And this morning, again, "Is it still St. Patrick's day?" Furthermore, she's changed her regular prayer. Now she's asking for "A whole treasure of dinosaurs." She would particularly like a coelophysis, pteranodon, and a pterodactyl.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sweet tea

I've tried making sweet tea several times, and it's the nastiest stuff. McDonald's, on the other hand, makes quite good sweet tea and it's on the dollar menu. So I go to McDonald's all the time. However, it was getting to the point where I went to McDonald's every day, which was possibly excessive.

My mother makes good sweet tea.

So I called her this morning and asked directions. Which pan do I boil water in? (The smallest saucepan.) How long to steep it? How much sugar? I followed her directions and the tea turned out great. Thanks, Mom!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

No more Google Reader

When I called up my Google Reader this afternoon, I was surprised to learn that it will be closed down as of July 1. Who knew? I've been using Reader since before I was married, which is pretty much forever in technology years. But I loves my blogs, precious, and would miss them if the list disappeared, so today I went out foraging for a new feed reader.

Several reviews recommended Pulse. I assumed it would be like most sites, and you should sign up via web browser and then sync the Kindle to that, so I did. That web interface was the most exasperating thing. It had no functions - no buttons to push - no menus to find - the directions from online tutorials didn't work. Menus named didn't exist. I couldn't import my feeds from Reader, and I couldn't even figure out how to import the dratted blogs manually. I would have deleted my Pulse account then and there, but I couldn't figure out how to do it, since I couldn't even find the FAQs (hidden under "Feedback").

So. The welcome email said to feel free to reply if I had any questions. (To put it mildly.) I composed myself, then a very polite email explaining my problem, and shot it off. Not three hours later,  I got a response - in good English! - from a tech person at Pulse, walking me through how to import blogs. I tried it and it still didn't work.

At this point it dawned on me that all the instructions assumed you were on a mobile device.

So I got the Kindle app and tried it through there. Lo and behold, happy days, the missing buttons were right there. And they worked. Whew. So I spent the next three or four hours importing, arranging, organizing, and playing with my new toy.

My initial reaction is that Pulse has a pretty high learning curve, if you're coming off Google Reader. It would save a lot of frustration if you do your set-up via a mobile device in the first place. The interface, once it's going, is a lot of fun. It's image-based instead of text-based, so it will work better for some blogs than others.

One major difference is that you have to sort your blogs into folders of no more than twenty blogs each; I had about a hundred, so that forced me to look through and categorize them. But that needed doing anyway. Another thing to note is that it does not seem to have a "mark as read" function or list for you how many posts, exactly, are unread. Newer posts float to the top when you open your category and you can slide back to older ones until you catch up on what you've missed.

All in all, I'm relatively pleased. If I had to be shoved forward technologically, at least I wound up in a pretty good site. That tech support is incredible.

House hunting update

I haven't posted about the house search for a while because, well, it's been pretty nondescript, aka depressing. The housing market around here is getting more expensive - not totally sure why that is, except apparently everyone wants to live here?

We still learn new things, every house we consider. For instance, if it's over a hundred years old and never been seriously remodeled, run away quickly. Kitchens from the 1960s tend to be a danger signal. I think it would be one thing if we were carefree do-it-yourselfers who were happy to stay up till 2 am every night ripping floorboards and replacing joists, but as parent of a joyful three-year-old, I really draw the line at living rooms slanting downhill. There are projects our church family can help with, and then there's ridiculousness, yours for a limited time only for a quarter of a million dollars!


The process is cementing some things firmly in my mind. First of all, I. have. got. to. have. a. yard. I am going nuts. I need to plant daffodils. Secondly, we have got to get a second bathroom. Not even a choice. Third, I still detest townhouses, for me. I read an article that said an astonishing 25% of young couples/families actually want townhouses. That seems... inflated, for the young couples I know.

I went and looked at two houses the other day. The first, sadly, was only two bedrooms. It was a bit raggedy round the eaves, but cute other than that. Then I went home and read the description, which went "Unsafe - do not enter." Oh. I do prefer being able to enter houses I live in. The other house turned out to be the next-door neighbor to one we looked at a couple months ago, which we had turned down due to wavy floorboards and the presence of neighbors with a yard full of trash. I hear they were very nice people, just... lots of trash. Well, it was the trash house for sale this time, and visions of cockroaches danced in my head. Also - more seriously - that neighborhood is up-and-coming and I suspect developers of harboring trendy little townhouse dreams there.

I'm getting discouraged and starting to contemplate filing house-hunting under "mythical creatures." I'm trying hard not to get all jealous and cranky about it. This was my choice, when I opted not to go back to work after Meg arrived.

A foreclosure just came on the market today. It's sorta kinda mostly actually in our price range, depending how much fixing it'll take, and it's nice and close by. Meg and I are off to investigate in a little bit. As my mom says, when we do get a house, we'll know for sure it was the Lord's provision. So do please keep praying.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

what once was lost

Meg found her missing glasses lens. It was in the gas tank of her little car.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Music to my ears

Meg to me: "Is there another job I can do, sweetie?"

"Oh mommy, you're so beautiful."

Straightening her arm out: "Look! I have no elbow at all!"

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Cat, like i-kat

This morning we changed Meg's sheets and bedspreads, and she got really excited when I got out her pink and purple ikat comforter.

"Yay! Purple cat! Purple and white... cat!" Meg

Sunday, March 03, 2013

My dino girl

I did a search for  "dinosaur" on Pinterest, much to Meg's delight. I may, possibly, have created a monster.

"Oh, cute! More dinosaurs! I should wuv to play wif some of those! ...No, I don't want to eat any of your bread. I'm busy scrolling." Meg

The echo

Today at church we had a responsive reading. It was one of those where the Lord is giving the law and finishes every phrase with, "I am the Lord." The leader would read his sentence, the congregation would read our sentence, and then, bright and clear in the pause, a little Meg voice echoed, "I AM THE LORD!"

I heard later that our college friend Andy (sitting in the clear opposite corner) nudged his sister Anna and said, "Is that Meg?" And Anna said, "I think so!" Yes, yes it was.