Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meal Planning Sheet

You know, I love to try new things, but sometimes I just want to have a list of things we usually have for dinner.  When I'm in the store or making up the meal calendar for the week, it's sometimes hard to remember.  So I looked through the meal calendar for 2010 and concocted this list.  For dinner, I try to at least have a protein, starch, and fruit/vegetable, so I've organized the list that way.  This list is mostly for me, but if you find it useful in planning your meals, great!  :-)

Plan-a-Dinner Sheet

You know, I thought we ate a lot of different things, but this list is not that big . . . :-/

Is it too late for a Christmas post?

Wow, we enjoyed our Christmas vacation so much I totally forgot to write anything about it. 

Here's a few things I don't want to forget:

1) Best Homemade Present I Received - Quartz gave me some papers stapled together and wrote on it "A Book For Makeng A Book".  We made a story together about the police catching some motorcycle thieves.

2) Best Homemade Present Overall - Definitely the knitted stuffed animals from Aunt Susan - an armadillo, loch ness monster (though Quartz insists it's a plesiosaur), hammerhead shark, and doll-sized horse!  This has stepped outside the realm of cool and into the realm of awesome.

3) Most Fought-Over Present - Sapphire's Duplo house.  Everyone wanted to build it at the same time.

 4) Most Popular Activity - Building Legos.  There were days when it was eat-sleep-legos all day long.  :-)
 5) Person Whose Picture Is Most Likely To Be Posted For No Other Reason Than Being Cute - that would be Sapphire. 

6) Person Most Likely To Ask to Have His Picture Taken - Quartz!  Here he is with a backdrop he painted and his Atlantis Legos -- pretend it's under the ocean.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Airwear Lenses Review

Hold on to your seats!  I have shocking news.  I. Wear. Glasses.


I know.  I don't wear them in my photos because I generally wear contacts, but a girl has to rest her eyes sometimes.  Sometimes contacts just aren't all that fun to have in.  So, I pull out my clunky old glasses and place that heavy prescription across my face.  Ugh.  Ok, so glasses aren't all they're cracked up to be either.

But, then, I was on Twitter one day and saw Airwear Lenses offering review opportunities.  Hmmm...this could be interesting.  I've been wearing them since the fifth grade. I'd say I'm pretty much an expert by now, right? 

Let's start from step one.  I receive my form to fill out prescription information and call up my doctor.  As we chat about how my blogging is going, I tell him about the review and explain the need for some info.  "Airwear?" he asks. "From Essilor?"

"Why, yes!" I exclaim, intrigued at his sudden interest.  He goes on to tell me that he is very happy in dealing with them.  They have a great product and an even better work ethic. 

Score one for Airwear.

I send out my info and my glasses arrive quickly.  With a strong prescription, the lighter the lenses, the better.  And these really earn their name.  Airwear Lenses are a polycarbonite plastic.

A what?

Polycarbonite.  In regular people terms it means lighter, stronger, better.  It's great for its scratch resistance, durability, impact resistance and it's lightweight, too.  So, when I drop them, sit on them, or neglect to place them delicately on the counter, they are less likely to crack, break or scratch.  Another fantastic feature...ultraviolet protection.  We all need that.  Because if you wear glasses, sun protection can be a hassle.

Score another for Airwear.

Ok, now for my favorite part.  I've been doing my best to be as green as possible.  I recycle.  I turn off all the lights and put bricks in my toilet tank.  I know, I'm on my way to a Nobel Prize.  Maybe not, but I'm trying to do what I can and help others to do the same.  It's a process. 

But I digress...

Airwear Lenses are totally eco-friendly!  Check out this list of green-ities:
  • 100% of the waste from the manufacturing process of Airwear is recycled
  • They are manufactured using 100% recycled water, conserving millions of gallons per year
  • All lenses are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard
  • Their choice in packaging eliminates more than 460,000 lbs of plastic waste per year
Another score for Airwear. 

Honestly, with all of these benefits, how can you not want to race to your optometrist and get a pair of Airwear Lenses?  They are all the wonderful you need to finally make you LOVE to wear your glasses.

**I was not paid for this review, I did however receive a free pair of lenses to try. My opinion of this product is not being compensated for. I found out about this trial from the wonderful Beth Aldrich, @realmomsluv2eat.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Christmas Letter

2010 Christmas Letter

In case you didn't receive this earlier, here's our Christmas letter:

 How do we measure a year such as 2010?  “Days” are too coarse, too commonplace.  We could measure it in trips to work or school, or bowls of cereal consumed (or cleaned off the floor), but I would rather measure it in new words Sapphire has learned, LEGO creations the boys have made, hugs from Quartz after a hard day at kindergarten, or from Onyx before an easy day at preschool, books read, games played, goodnight kisses, date nights, and days spent with those we love. 

We hope your year is full of not just life,
but of all the things that we live for.

The Landakers

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chick Magnets and Clothes Pins

Sorry.  It's been a while.  I've been busy.  I don't mean sort of busy; I'm talking knock yourself unconscious and wake up in a bathrobe in the fetal position covered in microwave popcorn wondering what happened to your life busy.

  My uncle died last week.  He had struggled with juvenile diabetes since the early 1950's.  It would have been a pretty somber funeral if not for my mom putting the moves on a much younger man.  I'm not even kidding. 

And she had help.  She and my aunt Lynn double teamed him.  He was 6'10 and he had good hair.  My mom and Lynn would argue that Adonis himself had attended the funeral, but I assure you homeboy was a mere mortal and also a divorcee with a 3-year-old.  Clearly far too much for two middle-aged women to handle.   

However, he was more than gracious, because at one point my mother did tell him TO HIS FACE that he was, and I quote, a "chick magnet."

And my dad and uncle were both in earshot. (To clarify, my dad has two brothers.  One was being celebrated, the other was standing slack-jawed with my dad as they watched their wives go weak in the knees over Too-Tall Timmy)

All's well that end's well though, because at the end of the day we could all take comfort in knowing that Uncle Mike probably got the biggest laugh of all at the antics of the women in our family.

And speaking of antics, Coach and I went to the movies so that I could get my Reese Witherspoon fix.  The previews started and the next thing I knew Brooklyn Decker was bouncing across the screen.  It was evident that the focal point of the shot was supposed to be her scantily-clad chest.  Her very young, pre-childbirth/nursing, gravity-defying chest.

Coach said, "Well, that's not subtle is it?  Holy Cow."

And I replied, " Oh give me a break.  I can look like that too; I just need some duct tape and a couple of clothes pins."

And y'all.  He was speechless.  SPEECHLESS.

So anyway, I'm still hunting for the clothespins.  I'll let you know how it goes.

See y'all!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eavesdropping Results

Eavesdropping Results:

Onyx: "That LEGO thing is very cool, but not that cool.  I want to buy it."
Sapphire: "I do it by self.  I want help mommy!  I DO IT SELF!" ::stamps feet::  "Mommy Helping Me!"
Andrea: "Let's pretend that I'm your mom that you love, and talk to me about that again."
Wes: "Flamingos are cute, and flamingos are pink, but the real question is, would one fit on the grill?"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'll Be Brief

I swear I'll be back one day soon. It's like Gallagher said, "I don't know why they put Christmas in the middle of the holidays when everyone is so busy." Except Christmas isn't my problem; my problem is exams. I gave mine today. I'll be back in the land of the living by Saturday.

In the meantime, I have a question. If you had to guess, would you say a man or a woman created these?

Friends, I present to you the Terramar Men's Nugear Wind Brief.  It provides wind protection.  And prevents chafing.

I guess a better question to ask is this: is wind protection in this particular area really a concern?

Just something for you to ponder until I return. 

See y'all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

At Christmas time, I love to make cookies.  Ok, I'm lying...I will gladly make cookies any time.  They are one of my favorite snacks to make.  A few days before Christmas, the kids and I make five or six types of cookies and pack them in tins for family and friends.  The cookie I probably love to make the most are Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. 

1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick butter softened (4 oz)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag Hershey's Kisses

Preheat oven to 350°F

In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, brown sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt and beat in gradually until dough is smooth, scraping sides of the bowl with a spatula frequently.

Instead of using a teaspoon to drop it on the cookie sheet, I like to roll it into one inch, or slightly larger, balls.  I line them up on a cookie sheet three by six.  Then I flatten them, only slightly.  Just enough so they are still pretty thick in height. 

Bake for 8 minutes.  While they're baking, remove the foil wrappers from the kisses.  Remove the tray of cookies, leaving the oven on.  Place a kiss on top of each cookie pressing in just enough to set into the dough.  Return the tray to the oven and bake 2 to 4 minutes more.  They're done when they are golden brown.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Listen, I am not going to even try to pretend that I have a handle on things.  I'm so excited about Christmas break that my head is about to blow off.  It's my favorite time of the year, except for the cold.  I'm not a fan of the cold.  It's 21 here.  Relatively, you may say that's not cold, but for the South, that's darn cold.  And I'm a wimp about the cold. 

Turns out, it's Mack's favorite time of the year too.  He's a fan of baked goods.  I made Puppy Chow this weekend- NOT the kind that you actually feed puppies, but the kind that creates hail damage on your hips.  My mom thought I had actually taken time out to make homemade dog food for the dogs. 

I love 'em, but I don't love them like that.  I'm a big fan of all things Purina.  Anyway, Mack enjoys Christmas goodies.

I made 9 cups of Puppy Chow on Saturday afternoon.  By Sunday evening almost half of it was gone.  I couldn't figure out who was eating it.


Guilty as charged...

Coach, who incidentally was secretly appalled when we met because I kissed and hugged my dog, has started spoiling ole Mack.

He has no shame.

Neither does Mack.

And don't even get me started about this...

Can you believe that this is the same person who almost stroked out the first time I let the dog in the house?

And can you believe that after all I've done for him, he goes and cuddles up with Coach on the couch?

Little twerps.

I'm in the middle of a grading, exam writing, Christmas project frenzy.  I'll be back to myself by the end of the week.

See y'all!

Anthropological Surveillance Notes

Our cultural observation of the Landaker household continues.  I can now surmise with some certainty each person's role in this small society.

Sapphire, The Town Crier - Tells in a loud voice what everyone is doing; repeats until acknowledged, e.g., "Quartz wearing that shirt!"  "Mommy carrying me up the stairs!"  "Onyx putting Legos on head!"  "I doing this!"

Onyx, The Creator - Often hides away in his basement laboratory and emerges with a new creation, e.g,  "This is the king's castle!  It has two drawbridges with chains and a catapult, but not a portcullis.  This is the jester.  He's in jail because he was taking apart the castle."

Quartz, The Police Officer - Notices rules infractions; reports to the Mayor and Sheriff, e.g, "Mom, Onyx is dropping Legos on the floor" or "No, Sapphire, the small fork is not for dad!  It's a kid's fork!"

Circle Time Activities

I spent 3 years working at a daycare and it was the best job I have ever had.  Because of that job, I learned a lot about preparing my kids for school.  One of the greatest activities I took with me was Circle Time.

It can be tough keeping the little nuggets occupied during the day.  My daughter is 3, and a little spitfire to boot.  She needs attention.  She CRAVES it.  When I started sitting down with her to have "lessons", she was in her glory.  I knew she needed a steady routine to keep her going, so every morning after she's had breakfast and some playtime, we sit down together. 

Her favorite circle time activity is using her calendar.  We sing a song and then talk about the day, month, year, season and the weather.  It's a simple way for her to learn by putting up the velcro tags herself.

Our song is to the tune of Oh My Darlin' Clementine:

There are 7 days, there are 7 days,
There are 7 days in a week
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Then we work on reviewing a packet that I add to every day.  We have pages with shapes of different colors.  Once she knows them all, I add another.  After a few days, I add another.  The gradual progression allows her to remember what she already knows and build on it.  At three years old, she can identify a parallelogram.  (Don't worry...we are far off from geometry lessons.)

We have one page with numbers up to twenty.  Every day, she points at each number and tells me what it is.  And because she loves Dora, she knows one through ten in Spanish. 

The next pages are letters.  We started with a page that has the whole alphabet and learned how to identify.  Once I thought she knew them well, I would point to them in different order.  Mixing it up assures they know the letter rather than remembering them in their order. 

Just like with the shapes, I added something new each day.  We started with the letter A.  I write the letter at the top of the page in capital and lowercase form.  Then we talk about the sounds it makes while we list different words that start with "A".  Once she understands, we even list a few words that have the letter in them, but do not start with it.  The next day, we reviewed "A" and added "B" in the same manner.  Each day we review the previous letters and add the next one.

While my daughter loves this routine, you might find you need to tweak things to your child's needs.  Try reading books that teach the basics.  Some of my favorites are Bear In A Square and Elmo's Big Lift and Look Book.  Reading these books together can be a great start for circle time activities.

As your child gets older, you can also purchase activity books to help them learn how to write.

Most importantly, remember to praise your child for every success.  The more excited you are, the more excited they will be.

*For more information about how important it is to prepare your kids for school, check out Nickelodeon's program "Beyond the Backpack".


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Getting Our Game On

So, we turkey-trotted on Thanksgiving. 3.1 miles to be exact. Coach and G ran more like gazelles and subsequently both beat personal records. AC and I ran; AC ran an extra half mile because she got so far ahead of me I had to make her run a loop twice so I didn't lose sight of her.

And then I did. Lose sight of her. Again. So, I prayed that God would either give me the strength and gumption to catch her or that he would deliver her safely to Coach and the finish.

Let's just say, to my absolute dismay, He did the latter, and I found myself gasping for breath along with the elderly and a man running "commando in velour lounge wear."

To be clear, those were his words, not mine.

All I'll tell you is that by mile 2 he had some significant chafing issues which significantly changed his running gait. You can visualize as you see fit.

It took me about a half mile, but I did manage to pass him in the end.

Then we ate Thanksgiving dinner. Twice. In one day. We ate twice in one day.

And I had cheesecake for breakfast on Friday.

And then on Tuesday? Coach was finally able to return to Weight Watchers with me. He hasn't been since July because of football. He lost 50 in 5 months, and he managed to maintain that throughout football season.

I anticipated a weight-related disaster. I wore leggings and Crocs out in public (seriously, do have any idea how light Crocs actually are? So what if I looked like a smurf?) And while I did manage to lose 2 pounds during the Thanksgiving week, I can only attribute it to a mild case of the trots (not of the turkey variety) and night sweats.

But whatever. If mild stomach upset and raging hormones are what it takes to lose weight, then so be it. I'm okay with that. Oddly, those two things in addition to a new Weight Watchers program have motivated me to once again shoot for Rock Star status. (The person with the most weight loss at our WW meeting on Tuesdays gets the Rock Star Award. It's cut throat.)

Coach is also setting his sights on the Rock Star Award.

It's an epic battle: Testosterone vs. Estrogen. Strength vs Strain (colon strain). Determination vs. Diverticulitis. Me vs. Coach.

I'd appreciate your prayers, thoughts, and any ideas for sabotage you might have.

See y'all!