Tag Archive: house

Making Winter Green

 This picture was taken on Christmas Day. Winter in its utter perfection.

My neighbor's Pine Tree

 We still love winter and its whiteness. But when there is a lot of snow on the ground and the wind starts blowing, it gets cold. Today we are to see a wind chill of 8 degrees.

My desk in the office is right next to a west window. As much as I love the light, the cold wind that comes through makes me run for my wool socks. (Thanks goes to the hubby for giving up one pair of his, I wear them all of the time now.)

Because January and February are soooo loooonnnnngggggg, I made a bold step this past fall. I brought the pansy in the hanging planter and put it in my bedroom. I had my husband bring the bench up so there could be a resting place.

Pansies in my bedroom window

At first, the husband thought I was a little crazy but then he liked the look of the bench in front of the window. After that I added the pansies and the pot of spearmint. Both had suffered from fall dieback. Since the daily watering, the pansies have come back to the point that we have a bloom this week. The spearmint is just leggy and not interesting.

You are thinking “I want pansies in the middle of winter.” Perhaps next year, you can bring a pot in during the late fall. For now, it is possible to buy African violets and set them in a north facing window. Soon the primroses will be in the stores and March will see daffodils and ox-tails available.  

How do you bring the green into your home during the winter?


I hate my trainer.

Last week on Facebook, one of my friends made a comment about how tough the new Jillian Michaels yoga workout has turned out to be.

I made a jokey comment that I think the woman must be a sadist, just like my boxing coach on Wii.

Except I was not kidding.

I really think the Mii used as the boxing coach is an SOB. He is mean and tough and makes me crazy. I considered firing him except he is not real and I do not pay him. I feel a little crazy talking about an animated figure like this.

I still hate him.

My quest to lose weight has hit a plateau. I am only 13 pounds from my goal weight and it is the Christmas season. I know I am going to eat any rich and fatty dish put before me. I know I could use moderation and not eat as much.

Instead, I have chosen to amp up the exercise a bit by doing the boxing training modules on Wii in an effort to whittle down my waist. I still do the walk with the dog every day and have added an extra block to up the ante. I am still working the diet with yogurt and fresh fruit. A recent cold has made me up my liquid intake.

I know, I know it is not real exercise. Heck, I could just sit on the couch and do the movements with only my hands. But I am making the effort to sock it to the punching bags and dodge those laser fast tennis balls the trainer shoots at me with what seems like bazookas for hands.

I know there is a benefit to all of that punching and moving back and forth. I need the physicality of this exercise before I jump back into working out with my kickboxing tape. I am trying to make sure I have a good stance and punch that bag as hard as I can. A lot of the tightness that has been in my shoulders is starting to loosen up.

Missed me this time!

But then the trainer has to throw balls at me to make me learn how to dodge punches – the bastard. Just when I think I have the rhythm down, he throws them even faster. And lets not forget the double ball throws he makes every now and again. The beautiful girl who is my Mii should have had several concussions by this time. I would be on the disabled list if I were an NFL player.

Does it get me a break? Not a chance.

What is a girl going to do but just keep coming back for more punishment. After all, my waist measurement has now hit just under 42 inches. With my birthday only a few weeks away it would be great to suddenly be at only 40 inches. That might be a pipe dream but it is my pipe dream that does not involve crack.

Oops. I missed the paddle again.

Just a trainer who seems intent on my destruction. At least I can give it right back to him on the paddle punching excise.

That’s right, coach, I did mean to miss the paddle – a little on purpose.

Making the Trip Bearable

Our family just got back from going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.  It was a 450-mile trip in our small sedan with three kids in the back seat.

 You can ask if we are crazy, you can wonder how much alcohol was consumed by the end of the trip. But as a parent who has done this many times over the years, I can tell you there are a few tricks to get this mode of transportation with kids to be successful.

Picture by Bethliebee

 1. Always have an activity bag with books and toys for each kid. Double check it to make sure the items are good for the car. My oldest plays his game boy, the youngest has stuffed animals and action figures. My daughter likes to read.

2. Bring along blankets for sleeping. I have a large number of baby quilts and those are the best size for in the car. You can always roll them up to be a pillow if the car is too warm to use a blanket.

 3. Have songs in your head when things are looking a little dicey. We were singing Christmas carols and Frère Jacques on the way down. At some point I had to ban Jingle Bells after the millionth time but the point is we focus on something besides the overwhelming length of the drive.

 4. Be ready with an “ABC” game of some sort. Maybe it is naming what you see or saying a word that starts with that letter or coming up with a word starting with the last letter of the last word said (i.e. “elephant” leads to “train”). This took up 30 minutes driving through one big town. The “last letter” game is a good one to play when it is dark out and the sites cannot be seen as readily.

 5. Have a kid-friendly restaurant planned for one stop. If you are driving several hours as we did, one blessing can be that fast food place that is a little different or has a play area. This time around we hit Cozy Drive-In that is located in Springfield, Illinois. They state they invented the corn dog. I can attest that the cozy dogs and hamburgers are very tasty. So was the bottled Route 66 Root beer.

Picture by Karpati

6. You might have to make other rest stops along the way. Pack in a Frisbee or, if you have space, a soccer ball or football. These are good ways to stretch those muscles and work off excess energy.

This is what works for my family. What works for yours?

The Oscars™ are going to be held on March 7 this year and the Bowman house is getting ready for the Celebration.

David has requested to be in charge of the Oscar Supper, usually my domain, because of his plans to be an actor some day. He wants to serve pizza and I requested he make one or two of them something Wolfgang Puck would make for his Hollywood restaurant.

I keep joking that one has to be made of goat cheese.  Now, I am wondering where I can find goat cheese in the Kankakee area. Suggestions anyone?

What I am also  trying to do is see as many of the nominated films as possible. We took out Julie and Julia a few weeks ago. Inglorious Bastards is available for rental as is The Hurt Locker.

Last week we crossed another off the list when the family watched Up. My family had seen it in the theater and I missed out. While the kids were waiting for the good parts, I was seeing this movie for the charming tale the Pixar crew had created.

Every time I see a title by Pixar that I want to doubt, they come back with something great. I thought Finding Nemo was going to reek more than dead fish, that Wall-E was going be a bucket of missing parts. Cars was a sign that these guys were starting to run low on ideas; and that movie was better than most animation out there.

Yet, Pixar is a company that never fails to impress, to go out on a limb creatively, and never fails to entertain.

 I felt all of this with Up. There were so many moments that made me want to cry, that made me want to cheer. I worked for years in the healthcare system and knew a lot of couples as devoted as Carl and Ellie.

 While I enjoyed the first part of the movie, the kids loved the second half when Carl goes off on his grand adventure. Who could ever imagine that balloons could carry off a house to South America? Or that a childhood hero could still be alive? And through it all you learn how to live again?

 There is a lot to like in this movie even if it is hard to believe a 78 year-old man can pull a balloon-lifted house across a canyon. It is a movie all family members can watch AND enjoy together.

 Maybe Up is not deserving of an Oscar™ Best Picture nomination but it is certainly deserving of being viewed again for its bravery, for delivering a great message, and for willing to think that inside the heart of a septuagenarian lives a seven-year-old waiting to explore the world.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.