T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birthday Brunch Bunch

This morning we gathered together for a family birthday celebration.

Here are some photos from the occasion.

Happy Birthday to Terri and Julie!

T Rex insisted he sit with Grandma and Grandpa before brunch started. This was a welcome chance for us to visit with some of the other folks around the table.

Thomas playing with his cousin Joe.

"Doc" and Skip

The Brunch Bunch - our server was kind enough to give Thomas a balloon - he has really been into balloons lately so he kept a firm grip on it the entire time - another good distraction.

Our little guy fell asleep on the way home - balloon in hand.

Thanks everyone for a wonderful time.

Happy Birthday to Rob, Terri, and Julie!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Honest Scraps

My first award!

Thank you, Caitlin.

Here are my ten "honest scraps":

One: I'm Monica! If you ever watched the sitcom "Friends" you know what I mean. I take glee in organizing and cleaning. I even like helping other people organize and clean. My fifteen-month-old son has learned to put unused food in a special place on his tray rather than throwing it --> throwing food = increased heart rate for Jenn.

Two: I am an RN - although I haven't practiced in a few years, I am still currently licensed and actually just applied to nurse practitioner school.

Three: I was once a drug dealer. Nothing illegal! Last month I was laid off from my pharmaceutical sales job. This was how I was saving for NP school.

Four: I am a perfectionist - I only expect it from me - no one else. So all my friends and readers out there, don't panic and think I am critiquing everything you do.

Five: I was head cheerleader when I was in high school. Yep, I wore the short skirts and stood on top of the tallest stunts - that was me - I'm sort of embarrassed about it now, though. Not sure why since as a child it was my dream to be a cheerleader and the happiest day of my life, up to that point, was when I was asked to be the captain.

Six: I am a closet survivalist - you should see my pantry - it is so big it has two doors and a freezer in it. Plus, we also have a refrigerator and another freezer in the garage.

Seven: When I was a teen, I often ate pop corn for dinner. Not because I loved it, but because often it was all we had. I was the daughter of a single mother who's sole income, aside from the whopping $200 child support check, was employment at a grocery store. This probably explains my obsession with stock piling food! God bless my mother - we never subscribed to any government programs and she would often go without so I would not want for anything.

Eight: I have two bachelors degrees - in addition to nursing, I also have a BS in Psychology - Child Development. I don't mention this all that much because people have this expectation that I should know everything about everything regarding kids - which I don't. And it's been seven years since I graduated so things get a little foggy. Not to mention the fact that some how the rules always change when it's your kid! Can anyone relate?

Nine: I believe in love at first sight because it happened to me - when I was 16! And now I've been married to him for almost 8 years. I know what you're thinking, but we did not start dating until I was 21. My sister kept trying to set me up with other guys which I'm glad she did because then I could be 100% of who I wanted to be with. He and I could talk constantly for the rest of our lives and we would always have more to discuss. It's actually quite scary how much we have in common.

Ten: I am a Star Wars fanatic - my husband says one of the reasons he had to marry me was I took him to a midnight showing of Star Wars Episode I - after standing in line for 7 hours to get tickets - partially because I wanted to do it for him but mostly because I wanted to see it! And I am the only female he has ever met that can out-quote him with Star Wars quotes.

With that being said, I will leave you with the commonest of Star Wars quotes:

May the force be with you, always...

I pass this along to my niece, Joshlyn...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Three Babies and a Freezer

Today was my turn to watch the three one-year-old boys of our playgroup.

Left to right: Joseph, Thomas, and "C"

Today was also the day my new deep freezer for the garage was being delivered. We have half of a steer waiting for pick up at the butcher shop.

8:30 am - "C" is dropped off

9:25 am - Caitlin calls - she and Joseph were on their way

9:30 am - Freezer delivery - I had everything lined up in the garage but they still needed me to "inspect" the freezer - okay, how do I do that with a couple of toddlers cruising the house?

Guess there is a reason women have two hips! I put "C" on the right and Thomas on the left, and out we went to the garage to "inspect". The boys thought this was great! Thomas looked at the delivery men hesitantly and "C" flashed a big smile while waving a pretend fork. The delivery men watched me as I signed, babes still in hand, and commented, "Got your hands full, huh?" (Probably assuming they were my twins). Caitlin said I should have told them there was one on the way (referring to Joseph). Wonder what they would have thought then!?!

If you want to know what it's like to have the three boys over - here's a 30 second slice of our morning!

As always it was delightfully wonderful to have the boys over. I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful ladies as friends and we get to experience life with toddlers together!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Star Trek Favorites...

I just love these posters. I am a huge fan of the original Star Trek series - I never get enough of seeing these!


(This one is my favorite)

One more item - My favorite of all Star Trek movies and pretty much nearly all movies in general is Star Trek: Wrath of Khan. I just think it is a perfect movie - especially the music (but that's a separate posting in itself!).

Here is an "opera" version of the movie - hilarious!!!

Still shot from the opera

Below is the actual video:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Animal Photos from the Zoo

Thomas and I met our play group at the zoo today. It was a bit chaotic for a while but we pulled it together and I was actually able to take some decent photos.

I am only posting photos of the animals - there were tons of them out and about. And some that I never get to see were also basking in the warm sun - it was a comfortable 50 degrees - I think Thomas and I were a little over dressed with our multiple layers.

There is a new African exhibit that I had never seen before - very cool! Here are some of those photos:

Doesn't he look so relaxed? The kids liked the lions the best - probably because they could see them so easily.

What a life!

The two new giraffes - I'm not sure who is who, but one is Joseph and one is Julius.

This was just a cool close up - I always say it but it merits repeating - God has a sense of humor because he created giraffes! They're one of my favorite animals!

The zebras were braying while we were there - it sounds pretty much like a donkey bray with a thick accent. It was a little scary sounding.

Leaving the African exhibit:

Bald Eagle - there were a pair there - we see wild ones around all the time. But mostly we see golden eagles. He is a little disheveled but still recognizable. They are huge - they were sitting on a log on the ground and stood a good three feet tall. Very large birds!

I did not see the sign but I think this is a brown bear - every other time I've gone I've never seen this guy before so I was pretty excited to see him! He really does look like a giant teddy bear but looking at those claws I had zero desire to get any closer - Thomas LOVED him!

Meerkat - these are always my favorite - when I first went to the zoo about 10 years ago, they had just had babies - they were SO cute - still are but not nearly as much. The photo is not that great because it was taken through glass with the sun shining right on it. They were also enjoying the sunlight.

Thomas loves to read "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What do you See?" - in it is a depiction of a spider money - it was cool to see the real deal! They are pretty fun to watch and have very cool tails - like an extra arm! Again, photo taken through glass.

And last but certainly not least, the prairie dogs - always a favorite - it looks to be dinner time!

That's all folks. If you want to see some photos with the other kids and moms in them, check out Thomas' blog as "he" will be posting them later. Also there are more on Caitlin's blog as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now the real "Horsin' Around"

Today I dropped Thomas off with his "Nan" and I met my friend at her horse stable. She and I used to board our horses at the same barn. In fact, BlackBerry (my horse) and Mia (her horse) used to have "apartments" right next to each other.

My horse friend, TG, and me with "Tiger Jim"

Mia (aka Princess Mia or The Miata) and her mom - Mia was getting her "pedicure" today (getting her hooves trimmed). Our horses get far more "pedicures" than we do - there is definite truth to "horse poor"!

Farrier trimming Mia's feet

Barn decor - on the left, very typical of stables to have such decorations. On the right, what I think about every time I get on a horse (John Wayne - he rocks - "What do ya say, Partner?")

My friend's bumper sticker - I love it!

One of the barn dogs - and most stables have a least one, usually more - canines as well as felines keep the place in good working order.

A cute palomino paint horse. I thought the background clouds were beautiful and very typical of winter in Idaho.

My friend and I used to take lessons together - here we are with our trainer (she's the one with the REALLY long hair - best trainer I've ever had! )

TG getting a little coaching from our trainer. Nice work, TG and Tiger!

Still shot of my friend and Tiger showing us their moves.

My turn on "the tank" - not only is he a gorgeous gelding but extremely powerful. I've never ridden a horse that walks out so fast and with such purpose! BlackBerry meanders along - so much so that I usually have to wear spurs when I ride her!

Thank you, TG, for a nice break in my week and for a wonderful time. You are such a dear friend and I am so grateful we "suffered" through those early horse days together!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Horsin' Around"

I hope someday my little T Rex wants to go horseback riding with me. To try and inspire ideas for such activities I often dress him in horse-related clothing or cowboy attire as well as play "horsie" with him. (Note - you might not be able to tell but he is wearing one of those horse outfits in the photos - it says, "Horsin' Around".

This morning he pounced me and demanded a round of "horsie" - Skip snapped some shots:

These are photos of my perspective:

Aaahh, life is wonderful...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

We celebrated our Valentine's Day tonight. We made the drive out to my mom's so she could watch Thomas for us, did some book shopping at a favorite used book store, and an early dinner at our favorite restaurant.

Very fun to get out and eat good food - especially since we did not have to cook it or clean up afterward! (Maybe that's why it was especially good!!!)

Also extremely nice to not have to eat in a hurry because our little T-Rex is anxious to get going!

Jenn and Skip celebrating a happy heart day! Doesn't the ambiance look so romantic?

Thomas with Nan when we arrived - he always has the best time!
(Note Thomas' finger in the mouth and his rosy cheeks - he is getting his molars in - poor guy - he's been so miserable lately but always happy to see his Nan!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Telephone Solicitors...

A couple weeks ago we starting receiving urgent calls to lower our credit card payments. Very interesting because we have no outstanding credit card debt. We would just hang up when the automated message started. Finally, Skip got tired of the calls and he pressed 9 to" lower our payments". A very polite, well spoken girl came on and started asking questions. And my hubby just started feeding her incorrect information. The conversation went something like this:

Girl: Do you have outstanding credit card debt?
Skip: Yes.
Girl: About how much?
Skip: Forty or Fifty thousand.
Girl: About what would you say your interest is on that debt?
Skip: 10 to 12 percent.
Girl: Gosh, I think I need to get my manager and see if there is something we can do to help you out with this.
Skip: Wait, you seem like a nice enough person. Let me save you the trouble. We don't have credit card debt and we just want you to stop calling.
Girl: (click - line disconnected)

We went another couple weeks with no calls. Then they called again today. It showed up on my caller ID as "Florida" and the phone number was: 1-407-000-4712.

After the initial phone tree message asking if I would like to lower my credit card payments, I dialed 9. A man answered:

Man: Did you dial 9 to lower your credit card payments?
Jenn: No, I dialed 9 so you would stop calling us.
Man: How old are you?
Jenn: What do you mean how old am I? It should not matter how old I am?
Man: Is you mommy or daddy there?
Jenn: Excuse me?!? I am the mommy of this house and I want you to stop calling!
Man: Sorry miss, we will remove you from the calling list.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act of 2008

"Don't just lament about it - do something about it!"

This is one of the mottos I live by. Recently I've learned about the new legislation passed for children's products. Basically, all products containing potentially hazardous amounts of lead, regardless of manufacturing date have to be either tested or not sold.

This was of concern to me because I do so much shopping for toys and children's clothing at thrift stores and consignment stores. The local consignment stores are just small businesses and this could be what causes some of them to close their doors - something we do not need to see in these harsh economic times.

I do not see this impacting the thrift stores all that much or even some of the clothing consignment stores. Only those consignment stores that sell predominantly children's toys. However, those who I can see potentially being affected are those folks that make handmade items. I purchased these at a local Christmas bazaar. They are amazing quality. The ball was $4 and the rhino was $5. Not to mention made in the USA! The lead containing products are mainly coming from China.

So rather than lament, I did something. I wrote to my congressman. Here is the response:

Dear Jennifer:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the new lead testing requirements for children’s products. I appreciate hearing from you and having the opportunity to respond.

I have heard from small business owners and manufacturers across Idaho who are concerned about the implementation of new mandates of H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act of 2008. The new lead and phthalates testing requirements, which go into effect on February 10, 2009, will burden them with costs many say they will not be able to afford. Under the law, any children’s product with more than 600 ppm total lead may not be sold in the United States, even if they were manufactured before February 10. I recognize that the most disconcerting piece of the regulation is that it requires testing for all children’s products retroactively. All products containing potentially hazardous amounts of lead, regardless of manufacturing date, must be either tested or removed from shelves.

Confusion regarding new regulations is creating enormous problems for responsible manufacturers who want to do the right thing but may incur considerable costs complying with the law before the rules and regulations are finalized. In some cases, this confusion could put manufacturers out of business at a time when our economy can ill-afford any unnecessary and avoidable job losses. I recently wrote to the Acting Chairman of the CPSC, Nancy A. Nord, to express my concern over this issue. Toy manufacturers are still awaiting further clarification from the CPSC on exactly what products are considered safe.

Although the CPSP recently clarified the law to exempt thrift and consignment shops from this testing, it still directs resellers that they must avoid selling second-hand products that are likely to have lead content. Those who continue to sell products that likely have lead will be in violation and face civil and/or criminal penalties.

I have also contacted the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to request that they promptly hold hearings to explore the implementation of the law and consider if any revisions are necessary that would maintain protections for children but lessen the burden on small businesses and manufacturers. I specifically requested that the Committee focus on the retroactive nature of the law, which has been the main source of discord in its implementation. After I wrote that letter, Ranking Member Barton also requested hearings, and has suggested to Chairman Waxman that the February 10 date be delayed to ensure proper implementation of the law.

Neither the goals of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Improvement Act nor the motives of the CPSC in implementing the law are at question; in fact, I voted for the passage of the bill in Congress. I strongly support robust consumer protections on any product that comes into contact with children and believe parents must be afforded every assurance that the products they purchase for their children are safe. That said, the unintended consequences of this law may have a devastating effect on manufacturers and small businesses in Idaho, and all efforts must be made to ensure that the law is implemented in a responsible way to protect both children and those who make a living selling products designed for children.

I will continue to closely monitor this situation as it develops, and will keep your thoughts in mind should a bill come before me on the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about this issue. As your representative in Congress, it is important to me to know your thoughts and opinions about issues affecting our nation today. I also encourage you to visit my website, www.house.gov/simpson, to sign up for my e-newsletter and to read more about my views on a variety of issues.


Mike Simpson

Member of Congress

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oatmeal Milk Bath Powder Recipe

Continuing my trend of homemade gifts...

I always like doing a little something for Valentine's Day. I found this idea off this website for inexpensive handmade/homemade gifts. I'll probably be borrowing a lot of ideas from there.

Actually, the intent is to make the bath soak and put it into Victorian style envelopes but I opted for Valentine style sandwich baggies from the Dollar store. The powder is very fine so I would recommend some kind of zipping bag but if you want to go with the Victorian envelope I have attached the template.

Finished product - Oatmeal milk bath soak in Valentine style bag - ready for gifting!

Template for Victorian envelop - recipe on back (better version on website)

Here is the easy recipe:

- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 2 cups milk powder
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- Dried flowers or herbs (i.e. lavender or dried rose petals)
- Essential Oils

Ingredients - aside from essential oils, the remaining ingredients were ones I had in the pantry.

Process oatmeal in blender until finely ground. Add milk powder and blend until the consistency of fine powder. Pour into bowl, add cornstarch and baking soda mixing very well. Grind herbs and stir into milk bath mixture. If desired add a few drops of favorite essential oils. Use three tablespoons for one packet. One packet per bath. Lastly, enjoy bath!

I did not use any dried herbs or crushed flowers. Instead I used 6 drops of eucalyptus and 6 drops of peppermint essential oils. It gave the mixture an amazing fragrance. I considered using lavender by itself but it was twice as expensive as the other essential oils combined. This makes me want to grow my own lavender this year to use instead.

I often use oatmeal and milk baths for my son - either when he is having a break out of eczema or a bout of diaper rash. It works great for either but make sure to allow the infected area to soak at least 10 minutes - not a problem for us since we have to fight with him to get out of the tub!

Enjoy! I'm off to take a bath tub soak!