Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My First New Year's Resolution

Now that Christmas has passed, my brain has started to think about what comes next.  I know some people refuse to set new years resolutions, because they always get broken, but I like the idea of starting fresh, trying something different, and setting goals.  Even if some of them only last for a week or two.  Here's an easy resolution:  Clean the microwave more than once a year...

I stumbled across this website on pinterest, and after looking around a little, found something that made me get up from my computer and do some cleaning.  It seemed like such an easy, quick job, that it would be silly to NOT get up and do it.  In fact- go do it now!  You can get started and then come back and play on your computer for 8 more minutes until it's ready to wipe...

How to Clean Your Microwave

1) Put 1 cup of vinegar in a glass microwaveable bowl and microwave it on high until it's boiling and has covered the walls of the microwave in vinegary condensation. (this takes about 5 minutes in mine)
Let sit 3 minutes.
2) Carefully remove the bowl of vinegar. With a cloth or paper towel, wipe the surfaces clean. If there are some really stuck on messes, use a scrubby suitable for non-stick cookware.
3) clean the turntable in warm soapy dish water. Dry and put back.
4)Wipe down the outside of your microwave with a damp cloth.

Kelly (the blog author) also suggests sprinkling some baking soda down your kitchen sink drain while the vinegar is in the microwave, then you can pour the vinegar down the drain when you're done with it. You end up with a clean microwave AND fresh drains.  

My addition would be to just use your rag that is now covered in warm vinegar and wipe down the outside of the microwave as well- I guess if the inside was really bad, you might need a new rag, I just folded my rag in half and used the clean side.  I just did mine, and it looks great and was really easy.  I used a microfiber rag.  I would recommend not trying to breathe when your face is in the microwave, with all that vinegar.  :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas News Letter

J is in fifth grade this year, and can now wear my shoes.  His interests are soccer, electronic games, beyblade (although I’m told that beyblades are no longer “in”), and origami.  At school he sold origami creations as part of his class store, and got really good at folding ninja stars.  Mom got really good at folding boxes.  For his birthday this year, he invited his whole class and had a movie outside in the field, and found out what happens when you put mentos into diet coke (we did that on purpose, we were’t just feeding kids diet coke and mentos...).
A is in second grade, and is still just a happy kid.  He loves his teacher, his friends, soccer, and legos.  His smile is infectious, and his teacher has told me several times that he really knows how to make her heart melt.  There are few things better than knowing your child’s teacher loves him as much as you do.
CP is in preschool this year.  When I pick him up he likes to ask me, “so, what did you do today?”  He also played on his first soccer team this year.  Preschool soccer is fun to watch, since most of the kids don’t know what’s going on, and are busy climbing their coach or playing house in the goal net.  CP, thanks to his older brothers, knew what was going on, and we got some good footage of him running down the field to score a goal.  In a few years when the other kids figure it out, that may be a little trickier.
E is finally walking, at 15/16 months.  His favorite things are going down the slide, being carried around, and playing fetch, I mean catch.  He’s a happy kid, except when he’s teething, and we’re so happy he’s part of our family.  CP especially likes having a younger brother to play with (and carry around- E is not so fond of that).  Time is going by so fast, that we’re just trying to enjoy his babyness as much as possible before it’s gone.
This year I’ve discovered that I have hobbies again!  I had forgotten about them for a long time.  I ran a couple of half marathons and my very first full marathon this year (after which I promptly stopped any form of exercise- I’m still recovering- I’ll get back to it one of these days...).  I also rode (and finished) a 100 mile bike ride with some of my friends.  I felt great until mile 70 or so, after that I was grateful to my friends for keeping me going.  
Kyle had a pretty busy training schedule earlier this year when he was training for the St. George Ironman.  He finished, and is crazy enough to want to do it again in a couple of years.  He’s decided that triathlons are more fun that single-event races.  (I tried a sprint tri this year, and am unconvinced.)  
We’re still working on getting our houseplans ready for building in the spring, and are keeping our fingers crossed that everything works out to proceed as planned.  Hopefully next year I’ll be writing this letter from the comfort of my very own home.  Maybe you can all come visit.    All Our Love,  Kyle, Alice & the boys.
Track the progress of our house at

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Crunch Bread

CP calls french bread "Crunch Bread".  He likes it dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar.  

CP, ever since he was a baby, has done this thing where he sucks on his pointer and middle finger, and holds his ear with his other hand, when he's tired.  Tonight, he told me that he can't suck on his fingers because he had chap stick on, and that he couldn't hold his ear because they were warm.  He can only hold his ear when it's cold.  It's hard to go to bed with chap stick and warm ears...  Funny kid.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Damage, Round One

Notice the pine tree.  I'm not sure what happened there, but it looks like something took a bite out of the side.

A couple of the posts for the grape vines have fallen over.

The corkscrew willow in the front yard has been dying/falling over for a couple of years now, so it was decided to cut it down to prevent it from falling on any houses/cars.

Snapped branches on pine trees in the field.

Strawberry bed is missing a side.

Screen door at grandma's house.

The rest of the screen door- looks like it was more glass than screen...

Porch support.  

Oops, one more piece of door.

Siding on a shed.

The new backyard, minus some trees/bushes.  Maybe grass will grow back there again?


Good thing we didn't have a dog living in here anymore.

Fruit tree in the garden.  I think this was a peach.  Not too sad, because it would have had to come out anyway, it's where our house will be.

Broken fence, where the tree broke off and crushed it.  The clean up crew had the fallen part chopped up and hauled away amazingly fast this morning.

New, flat roof, on the chicken coop.  Hopefully it will work until spring.  We can now call it the chicken cube.

Siding damage from the coop roof hitting the shed.

We'll need to get a new boat cover.  The boat looks okay, maybe a little scratched up.  We haven't looked under the cover to be sure.

There's the roof!  It put some nice gouges in the back corner of our camper too.

Siding damage, so that's where the wasps were coming from.

Up high there's siding damage where the cable wire was pulled out of the wall.  The cable is now laying on the ground.  
Wind speeds reached 102 mph.  That's class 2 hurricane.  School was cancelled Thursday and Friday.  Church was cancelled today to allow everyone to go around and clean up the debris before the next round starts tonight.  It's not supposed to be as bad, but who knows.  I moved the cans into the garage, and picked up as much as I could so there are fewer things to blow over to the neighbor's house (or beyond).  We still need to put the small sailboat somewhere safe so it doesn't blow away again (last time I grabbed it before it went too far- that was fun), some big pieces of plastic, and maybe do something with the wood from the former chicken coop roof and the dog run.  Probably ought to clean up as much as we can with the door next door too.  The boys are hoping school is cancelled tomorrow, we'll see.

It's been a really great feeling to see all the neighbors out working together to get things cleaned up.  They're piling stuff up at a church building down the street, and from there it's being hauled to the dump.  I'm not sure how the dump is going to keep it there, but at least it would have to blow a long way before it hit anything from that point.  Kyle brought home a load of pine for our wood pile when he came home for breakfast/lunch.  I'm not sure when they'll be done.

The majority of trucks going by are full of pine branches.  It's surreal.

UPDATE: Round 2 of the wind storm petered out, so YEA.  No more damage.

Baby E learns to slide!