Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monkey Girl

I really wanted to make Sophie a tutu and dress her up as a ballerina. Then we were invited to a neighborhood Halloween party that required couples-oriented costumes. Well, if Sophie was going to be a ballerina, there was no way I could get Steve in tights. And because I only had a week to prepare (because we weren't planning on dressing up in the first place), we relied on our default costumes that Steve brought back from Afghanistan. We looked like an Afghani/Indian couple. So we dressed Sophie up as our pet monkey. I couldn't find a costume small enough for her, so I bought a sleeper and sewed ears and a tail to it. (By the way, it was my first time back at the sewing machine in over 12 years. I'm pretty proud of myself.)

After I finished her costume, we found out that it was sort of a "no kids" type of thing. ACH! We took her anyway because everyone I would feel comfortable leaving her with around here would be at this party. Plus she's really good and didn't make a fuss. (Picture to come, hopefully.)

This morning she had on her Halloween jammies, and then I put her costume back on her tonight as the trick-or-treaters came by. We had quite a few and went through almost four bags of candy.











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We got the shakes!

You might have heard about an earthquake we had last night. Yes, earthquake. Earthquakes (and hoodlums) were my biggest fear when we moved out here. I'd never experienced one before, and from what you hear on the news, they only reak havoc.

I was in the kitchen feeding Sophie when the house began to rattle a bit, like it does about 10 times a day when trains go by. Only this time, I didn't hear a train. Then the rattling got worse, and it was like a HUGE earthworm was moving around under our house making things wobble around. About 10 seconds later it was over, but the twisty rods on the blinds kept swinging back and forth for a minute or so.

"Did we just have an earthquake?" I asked Steve.

"I think so."

They said it was a 5.6 and it came from San Jose, which is about 35 miles from us.

It was a little scary because it was my first, but luckily the only havoc it reaked was shaking a couple of ceiling tiles loose in a Target in Fremont and knocking a couple cans off the shelf of an Albertson's in another city.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Giggles

I think Sophie was a little sleepy yesterday when Steve came home from school. Or maybe his hiccups are far more entertaining than I thought they were.

(Sorry about the image quality. I had the camera on the wrong setting. The audio is more important anyways!)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

My Adoption Agency

This morning I received feedback from a lady I sold a bracelet (and a pair of earrings) to a few weeks ago. She bought it for her daughter, who she said loves it and has worn it almost daily since she received it. It makes me really happy to know that someone loves something I made!

When I made a pair of earrings or a bracelet, I don't just throw things together and think, "Hopefully SOMEONE will like this." I put a lot of thought into it, and if I don't like the end result, I take it apart and keep working on it until I'm satisfied with it. Everything in my shop is something I would wear personally. Consequently it makes sales a little bittersweet. On one hand I'm glad that I made a few bucks to put toward buying more supplies, but on the other hand it's sad to see my "babies", who I grew attached to, get sent off in the mail somewhere.

That's why I love getting comments back saying how much a piece is loved. I feel better knowing it was sent to a good home. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sunday Best

Here are a few more pictures we took after church on Sunday. She looked so cute in her little dress (thanks to Lindsay!) that we couldn't help it.








Monday, October 22, 2007

A Day at the Temple

Yesterday we had Stake Conference at the auditorium next to the Oakland temple. The weather was gorgeous and the talks were good, too.

I liked when our Stake President talked about parents setting examples for and spending time with their children. He said, "Parents should teach Gospel Principles with what they do with their children." Then he repeated it twice, emphasizing the word do.

There was another good talk about happiness vs. feeling happy. Feelings of amusement are always fleeting and what's more important is to have a deeper source of joy in our lives by living the Gospel and having the Spirit as a companion. He said that there was nothing wrong with wholesome entertainment, but when it gets in the way of spiritually nourishing ourselves, it's not good. He said that many of the youth are "amusing themselves to death . . . spiritual death." That reminded me of Elder Oaks's General Converence talk about how we spend our time. (Good/Better/Best)

After conference we walked outside and from the temple grounds we could see downtown Oakland, San Francisco and both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges. BEAUTIFUL! I guess it's rare to be able to see all that because it's often foggy. Does it surprise anyone that we didn't have our camera with us? We went back just before sunset to try to get some good pictures, but our little camera didn't do it justice. Here's what we did get, though . . .

















Saturday, October 20, 2007

Drinks

Like I said before, Sophie has taken a really strong interest in what we're eating and drinking. We've given her drinks of water from a cup, and the other day she saw me drinking from a water bottle at the grocery store and about had a kicking fit until I gave her about five drinks. Last night at dinner was no exception....


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Friday, October 19, 2007

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

After a ten-day drought of posts, I think I owe you another one today. Fall is my favorite time of year for baking because I LOVE things with pumpkin and apples and gingerbread. MMMMMMM.

I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge last night that needed to be used and because I had signed up to bring a treat to Enrichment, I looked for something to do with it. I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website. If you've ever had one of those Libby pumpkin rolls with the cream cheese filling, these taste a lot like that.

So I brought them to Enrichment, and I heard an older lady who was standing by the treat table start talking about them. Then she went around to all of the tables where we were sitting, trying to find who brought them. When she got to our table, I confessed that I brought them. She gave me this look like she wanted to hug me, then she asked me what was in the middle of them like it was some sort of magical elixir.

"Cream cheese frosting," I responded.

It was sort of anti-climactic, but cream cheese frosting, to me anyway, can be magical. I came to find out that the lady who had asked about them was known as the "Dessert Queen" of the ward and rarely raved about any other dessert besides her own. I think I've made a good impression so far. :)




Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

3 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
5 eggs
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1/2 c water
1/2 c oil
1 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat remaining ingredients until well mixed, then stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. DON'T overmix.

Drop by 2 Tablespoons 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet, shaping each into a circle. Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes or until tops are firm Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small mixing bowl, beat filling ingredients together. Spread over bottom of half the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 24.

Lots of Updates!

I've got so much to post today! I'll start with the trip to Idaho Sophie and I took last week. One of my best friends from home, Stacy, got married over the weekend. After dating for two years, she and Matt finally did it. A little late, though -- if it were three weeks earlier I could have driven up to Idaho instead of needing to fly. Ughh...

The wedding was beautiful, and they had a reception in her parents' backyard the evening after the temple ceremony. When she told me she was going to have a quasi-Asian theme and serve curry, I was skeptical, but everything turned out really nice! Her colors were chocolate brown and a rich, burnt orange color. I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of her GORGEOUS bouquet. It was full of orchids and all kinds of cool stuff. Here's a couple pics of a little tent they had set up with her cake inside. Matt painted the pictures of the two of them and his son, Ryan.





Like always, I have good intentions of taking pictures of everything. This time I remembered to bring the battery charger for our camera, but forgot the camera itself. I borrowed my mom's camera, but since I was running the kitchen, I still didn't get many pictures of the reception. I did take one of Stacy and I, but it wasn't flattering to either one of us. Sorry.

Since my dad's birthday was Tuesday, we decided to stay an extra few days. It was good for everyone, I think. They LOVED having Sophie around for a week (oh yeah, and me too) and it gave me a chance to relax a little. I was wound tighter than I thought I was from all of the stress of moving over the last month. It was quite a house-full, too! Besides Sophie and me, Grandma and Grandpa Henderson came and Steve's buddy Matt came with his girlfriend and two other people. Steve's sister Kimi came down from Rexburg to visit and so did my Grandma Phillips.

Sophie was a little trooper flying back and forth. She didn't make a peep on the way there and only fussed a little coming back. I'm sure waking up at 4:30 to catch the 6AM flight out of Idaho Falls wasn't a good way to start her day. Airport security is tricky if you're alone with a baby, though. In San Jose, where I flew out, I had her in the stroller while carrying her car seat, a diaper bag and my purse. That was after checking two bags. They made me take her out of the stroller and send that through the metal detector as well. I also had to take my laptop out of the diaper bag, and send the car seat through. Our stuff took up almost the entire space of the belt. One funny thing, though... Sophie has a set of plastic keys she plays with. I had thrown them in the car seat before it went through the scanner, but the security person took them out and turned the car seat upside down so it would fit. On the other side of the scanner as our stuff was coming out, I saw they had put her little keys in a small, round try used for real keys. It was really cute seeing it come out by itself. :)

Here are a few pictures of "the loaf" as my brother calls her. (Short for Sophie-Loafie)


Sophie playing with Aunt Andrea and Uncle Devin.


Sophie and Aunt Hillie


Sophie and Mom, ready to go shopping!



In this last picture, she's playing with her new favorite toys: Laffy Taffy's. She prefers them over playing in the candy dish full of mini candy bars. She picked each one up, stuck it in her mouth and threw it on the floor. I bet she wondered why they all tasted the same. Little does she know what's hiding under that wrapper. :)

Other little tidbits:

For the first time in about three years, I found a pair of jeans that I LOVE. I found them at the GAP and they were marked down to $35. It felt like Christmas. I'd given up on jeans because I couldn't find any that fit me right. But now, for the first time in a LONG time I'm excited to get dressed in the morning. :)

My Dad got a webcam for his birthday and we'll be getting one soon so we can talk back and forth. If anyone else has one, let me know!

This is a little video I've been meaning to post since we moved. Sophie went through a phase where she growled all the time. It was hilarous. I think she was practicing to be a monster for Halloween, but she doesn't ever do it anymore, so I think she wants to be something else.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mirror Games

Sophie likes to look in mirrors. She usually smiles at herself, then finds another face in the mirror and smiles. She likes to play peek-a-boo in the mirror, too.



A couple of other things about this picture...

1. Yes, my mirror is dirty and needs to be Windex'd.
2. That's a little preview of the color we painted the bedroom. It turned out to be more like macaroni and cheese than I had expected, but I'm tired of "moving in" and messing around with paint, so I'm leaving it. It's starting to grow on me.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Neighborly Problem-Solving

Problem: Milk costs about $5 a gallon here, and I was worried that our grocery bill would sky-rocket.
Solution: Not only did we find a grocery store where milk is less than $3 a gallon, but my neighbor told me about a farmers market about a mile from here. She thinks it's open year-round every Saturday. AND she knows of a place in Berkeley that has tons of stuff in bulk and wants someone to go with her.

Problem: I really want to plant an herb garden and maybe some other veggies and flowers, but my thumb is about as green as a tumbleweed.
Solution: Same neighbor majored in HORTICULTURE. How lucky could I get? She's been here since July and is already looking for someone to give basil to because she has too much.

Problem: Same neighbor needs to finish making curtains, but the sewing machine that was passed around the neighborhood is currently in use.
Solution: I have a little Pfaff machine that I used in Jr. High during my sewing escapades. I got it "lubed" before I left because it hadn't been used in 15 years. It's as good as new now and will probably find its way next door.

Problem: I haven't sewed a stitch in 15 years and forgot how to thread the darn thing.
Solution: Said neighbor will show me how. :)

By the way, my neighbor's name is Natasha AND she's from Idaho. I think we're going to be friends.