Category Archives: Home and Garden

Menu this Week

  • Sunday: “Mathura Palak Paneer” and “Sesame-Flavored Green Tomatoes” from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer
  • Monday: Variation of “Garden Paella” by Rose Murray
  • Tuesday: Takeout
  • Wednesday: “Stuffed Pumpkin” from Dr. Sukol’s website and “Braised and Glazed Brussels Sprouts” from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: “Slow-Cooked Creamy Black Lentils with Whole Spices” by Raghavan Iyer with a variation of “Stir-Fried Okra with Tomatoes” by Suneeta Vaswani
  • Saturday: Store-bought Spinach and Cheese Ravioli and Sauteed Spinach with Sesame Seed oil and Garlic

Additional Notes: Soak the beans for Friday overnight. Make a double recipe and freeze half for later.

Grocery Store Changes

Last week I had almost finished an update when my computer suddenly died. Of course, I had not been saving my epic entry. Jaeger helpfully pointed out that if I had been using a smart text editor, something would have saved anyway. However, while I like Vim for some things, copying and pasting into a browser is not one of them. Jaeger suggested I should try gVim for this purpose so we’ll see how well it works . . . Below is a quick recap of what I had typed last week as well as my new up/downs.

Our King Soopers store has been adding NuVal to many items. Their rating system doesn’t really match my own personal rating system. For instance, a product can get a pretty high rating for being low in sugar even if this is entirely due to artificial sweetners being used. I’m more of a whole foods type person. I’d much rather buy full-fat, full-sugar ice cream and eat a small portion than eat a larger amount of no-sugar, no-fat ice cream.

However, I was fascinated to discover that even though I don’t really believe in the system, it still influences my buying decisions. I buy a package of individually wrapped Dove Dark Chocolate pieces every week. I’ve discovered that if I don’t have something sweet within the house when I’m craving sugar, I will instead make brownies and eat half the pan the same night. Not a good idea. Instead, I compromise by allowing myself several pieces of Dove chocolate every day. I usually get the dark chocolate variety but two weeks ago I was contemplating getting milk chocolate. Then I saw that it had a slightly lower NuVal number than the dark chocolate. I couldn’t make myself by the milk chocolate variety. Same thing happened last week. I was reaching for the milk chocolate and got stopped by seeing the NuVal number. It’s really odd since I haven’t been impressed with the rating system so you wouldn’t think a number it assigns would stop me from buying something.

In other grocery story news, I was taught that, in general, buying larger amounts of items tended to mean you paid less per ounce for it. For instance, a gallon of milk tends to cost less per cup than a half-gallon of milk. However, I’ve noticed that this is less likely too be true these days. Quite a few times within the last month I’ve picked up the larger size without thinking and then just do a quick sanity check on the price per oz and discover that I’m better off buying two of the small sizes. This has been true for frozen orange juice, oil, and shampoo. I’m wondering if this has been going on for a long amount of time or if it’s a new trend in grocery stores. I’m use to a smaller size being a better deal when it’s on sale but in all of the cases mentioned above, I was comparing non-sale prices.


  • Calvin stayed up later than normal for a couple of nights last week. He refused to stay in his bed and instead would bring out a book and quietly flip through it at the top of the stairs. On one hand, I can remember reading after I was suppose to be in bed when I was a child. However, he obviously isn’t getting enough sleep when he does this which is disastrous for the following morning. Also, the only way to get him to sleep like this is for me to go and fall asleep next to him in his room. Then, when I wake up, I sneak back to my own bed. It’s not very restful.
  • I lost my cell phone about a week ago. Somehow in the five minutes between checking the time on it to actually leaving the park, I managed to lose it. It hasn’t turned up. Several days ago I gave up and ordered a new unlocked phone. I took it into T-Mobile and was impressed by how painless they made it to transfer my existing prepaid account to the new phone. I think I actually prefer the new phone but I would rather have not spent the money for a new phone.


  • Calvin and Jaeger went to an airshow today which left me alone. I used the time to make a trip to Costco, where I spent too much money, and then cleaned out the fridge in anticipation of our next Fest.
  • I’ve had quite a few good books to read recently. I loved Ghost Ship, the newest Sharon Lee and Steve Miller Liaden book. I also enjoyed A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal, by Meredith Duran, Hounded, by Kevin Hearne, and Heart Search, by Robin Owens. Currently, I’m re-listening to Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. A couple of weeks ago I had been listening to Faking It which reference characters in Welcome to Temptation and made me want to re-visit the first story :-) Not sure what physical book I’m going to read next but I’m queuing up Visions in Death, by J.D. Robb, as my next audio book. I love Robb’s Eve Dallas series but I have to take breaks between each book before I can listen to the next one.
  • It turns out that I had maligned Calvin when I claimed he lost my iPod. It had fallen into a box while I was cleaning the basement last December. I just found it. Since I already bought a new iPod that I like, I’ve decided to give this one to Calvin. That is, I’m loading it with “Calvin Music” and playing it in the car when he’s with me.

Calvin Moment
Calvin seems to be getting more into books recently. I checked out a copy of Richard Scary’s Best Storybook Ever from the library about a month ago. It’s not really my preferred type of book for Calvin. To be frank, I find the book to be a bit mediocre. The illustrations don’t speak to me and the stories are extremely simplistic. However, Calvin loves it. He’s spent up to a half-hour at a time flipping through those pages which, for a toddler, is incredible. So, when I stumbled across a used copy at The Boulder Bookworm, I immediately snapped it up. At this point, having Calvin enjoy the concept of books is much more important than nitpicking about quality.

Calvin is also becoming more involved in book selection at the library. When we visit, I’ll sit down at a couch in the children’s area and Calvin will scamper off to a book bin and pick out a book for me to read to him. Once we’re finished, he’ll scamper off to find another book. He still plays with the toys in the library some but obviously is becoming more interested in the books themselves.

Well, it turns out that Calvin is refusing to go to sleep again tonight. So, I must head upstairs to fall asleep on his floor as an example . . .

Cat Teeth Cleaning


  • I took the cats to their yearly vet appointments last month and the vet said they needed their teeth cleaned. This didn’t surprise me because the prior year a different vet (that use to be at the clinic but isn’t anymore) had told me that Willow would probably need her teeth cleaned next year. Up till now, I haven’t had any experience with cat teeth cleanings. I have no idea if this is usually done on an annual basis or if they just do it when they see a problem. Willow had her teeth cleaned first which was fairly expensive but also pretty straight forward. Cat5 just got her teeth cleaned today and it turned out to be a much bigger deal. She had to have five teeth pulled. Last year the vet hadn’t said anything about Cat5 needing her teeth cleaned so now I’m wondering if she needed it and it just wasn’t mentioned or if her teeth really deteriorated that fast. I feel bad for 5 and annoyed that I didn’t realize I needed to be paying attention to this earlier. The new vet, who I like so far, also said that Cat5 throwing up all the time might be due to allergies. I hadn’t thought about cats being allergic to their food but it makes sense since humans can react poorly to food allergies by throwing up. She suspects that 5 might be allergic to chicken so I’m now buying special rabbit-based food for her. We’ll see if this helps. Hopefully this is the end of our cat expenses for a while since the two cat cleanings (and teeth extraction for 5) added up to about $700.
  • I’m really sad that Borders is closing. I know it’s a chain bookstore but it’s one of the few places I enjoy that catered to people interested in some solitude and a book. When Jaeger was gone for some reason or another I would often hire a babysitter and then go to Borders to drink their hot chocolate and read a book. When I went, I always bought a book as sort of an entrance fee. Now I feel like I should have bought more books there sigh The Longmont library doesn’t have a cafe or any particularly relaxing place to hang out (they also have an aggressive “no cell phone” policy which, while no doubt well-intentioned, is a non-starter for me when someone is babysitting my child). In addition, they close at 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays and aren’t even open on Sundays during the summer. The other bookstores in Longmont are small and aren’t really designed as places to hang out. I guess I could go to a coffee shop and have mediocre hot chocolate but then I don’t have the special treat of buying a new book to read. I suppose I could drive to Boulder which has several good bookstores but driving 1/2 hr away means I have less time at the bookstore itself. I could also go to Carbon Valley Library but they also close early on the weekends and isn’t quite as relaxing since I work there :-) Anyway, I’m pretty annoyed about the whole thing but haven’t figured out a good solution yet. What’s particularly exasperating is I believe the Longmont store made a profit.


  • Today was my “day off” and I couldn’t handle doing my normal exercises today. So, I walked to the Longmont Library and checked out a copy of Don’t Throw It, Grow It. While there, I found a used copy of Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs, that was in good condition. Cry Wolf was the first Briggs I ever read. I think I like the Mercy Thompson series a bit better but this one is still pretty good.
  • Jaeger was gone Thursday-Sunday to climb Kings Peak in Utah with his brother. To my surprise, I survived alone with Calvin perfectly fine. In fact, I think it was less work than when Jaeger’s here because I didn’t have to make supper most of the nights. Calvin and I require substantially less food than Jaeger so we’re fine if I just whiz up Tomato Bean Soup. Nighttime was still a problem. Jaeger does put Calvin to bed easier than I do. The first night I didn’t get Calvin asleep till it was my bedtime. I finally dragged our “yoga mat” into his room and slept on that and he happily slept next to me. The later nights I lay down on the mat as soon as it was time to go to bed and listened to my iPod until he was firmly asleep. This worked fairly well.
  • Several months ago we ordered a sleeper sofa and a new dining room table with 8 chairs. They’re suppose to be delivered this Thursday. It’s the most expensive furniture we’ve bought so far but hopefully it’s worth it. Our current couch was used when I bought it in college. It has lasted pretty well but the fabric is almost worn all the way through in some places. Our dining room table and chairs were bought at the thrift store right after we were married. The table has lasted pretty well but the chairs have been breaking for years now. Jaeger was able to patch them together for a while but at this point we’re only left with two functional chairs. As a result, anytime we entertain we have to pull out the folding chairs which are a little tacky. At the moment, we’re planning to keep the sofa and just move it down to the basement. However, we need to get rid of the old table and chairs.

Calvin Moment

  • Jaeger likes chopsticks. I think he feels my inability to properly use them is a moral flaw. Calvin appears to be taking after his father. He adores chopsticks. This summer his daycare had an “around the world” theme. Last week, their theme was China. Since it’s zucchini season, we had Ratatouille for supper. Calvin was already at the table preparing to eat when Jaeger arrived home. Jaeger glanced at Calvin’s daily report card and noted they had done something with chopsticks at daycare. Calvin heard Jaeger mention chopsticks and immediately demanded we provide him with chopsticks for his Ratatouille. Ratatouille is not something I would normally consider eating with chopsticks but Calvin insisted. He certainly doesn’t have the technique down but he does have the motivation to learn how to use the chopsticks.

Calvin & Cat5


  • It’s hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. I don’t like hot. I miss the misty Oregon beach :-( (It seems a bit cooler today but still, too hot.)
  • I’m getting increasingly annoyed by all the machinations around the debt ceiling issue. Very unhappy with my representative at the moment.


  • A got a chance to clean the house for the first time in two weeks. I feel much better now.
  • My tomatoes are starting to ripen. Like last year, I doubt they’ll be able to keep up with Calvin’s appetite but he’s very intrigued by eating tomatoes off a plant. Unfortunately, it’s hard to explain the “no, they’re not red enough” concept.

Calvin Moment

  • I referenced this next anecdote on twitter a couple of weeks ago. However, it’s funny enough that I think it deserves it’s own mention. Calvin usually watches kid DVDs while I make supper. This time, the show had ended and he wanted me to start it at the beginning again. I told him no because it was almost supper time. He insisted but I kept declining. Finally, he became so upset that he literally stomped up the stairs, opened the baby gate at the top and then closed it, ran into his room and slammed the door. When he heard me coming up the stairs, the baby gate is very squeaky, he poked his head out of his room and yelled, “Go way! mommy! Go way!” while gesturing me frantically away. It was the funniest thing I had seen in a long time. I’m sure his mood wasn’t improved by my helpless peels of laughter. I went back downstairs and waited for him to cool off, which he did fairly quickly, and then he wanted to cuddle.
  • Calvin has started picking his own books. I took Calvin to Pajamara Story Time at the Carbon Valley library last night. Its theme was trains so he was entranced. On the way out, he veered and grabbed a book from the bookshelf and then demanded we read it immediately. Since it feels like sacrilege to deny such a request, I complied. We then checked it out and he’s asked me to read it three times since. There’s a segment in the book where Molly, the protagonist, is being carried away by helium balloons. Each time we come to this section Calvin tries to pinch her friends between his fingers and move them up closer to Molly to help her. I’m not entirely sure what he thinks he’s doing. He does have a sticker book so maybe he thinks he can peel them off the page and put them closer to Molly and everything will be better.
  • This evening Calvin decided he wanted to go on an expedition on the path behind our house. I shrugged and hopped the fence to follow holding the book I was reading. Cat5 decided she wanted to join the walk also. When I was a teenager, I developed the ability to walk and read at the same time. So, 5 and Calvin walked side by side with me following slightly behind with my nose in a book. (5 follows us when we walk better than many dogs I’ve seen.) However, once Calvin got closer to the busy road beside our subdivision, I stopped reading to keep a better eye on the two small mammals. There’s a pretty wide grassy area between the busy road and the first houses in the subdivision so I let Calvin run around in circles giggling to himself. All was well until, for some reason, both Calvin and 5 headed straight for the busy street with the fun vehicles. I shoved the book under my arm, scooped up 5 with one arm and Calvin with the other and firmly started walking back toward the walking path. Neither mammal was pleased by my interruption of their run and protested loudly. Eventually, once I felt we were a safe(ish) distance away, I set them back down. I told Calvin that we needed to find “daddy” at which point we started our journey back home. However, it was a very long meandering one, very like the story of the Israelites in the dessert. I’d suggest going one way and 5 and Calvin would protest and run squealing in the exact opposite direction. (Well, Calvin ran squealing, 5 just followed Calvin.) Then I’d catch up and Calvin would reverse direction and run circles around me before falling down in the grass. It was exhausting but Calvin seemed to have a lot of fun.