Monday, November 29, 2010


A whole lot of random today.

First, a few of you wanted to know how we roast veggies in the Starnes casa. Easy peasy. I buy fresh broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, squash, etc.......just about anything works except for potatoes.

Chop up the pieces and lay them out on a cookie sheet. I know yours looks better than mine. It's clean. I promise.

Toss with a tiny amount of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then, add some good Parmesan. And, a fair amount of it.

Cook in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. The Parmesan will brown a bit when ready.

Yum. I eat this as a meal by itself sometimes.

Trying a Countdown to Christmas chain this year. Starnes Family Advent calendar will be created tomorrow!

Here's an update on the tree. Jackass Blake put the train at the top and refuses to move it. Looks like the space needle in Seattle. Awesome.

I received our first card today. First! And, it's not even December. Guess I need to get started on repairing our wreath. I lose clothes pins each year during storage.

Tacky Santa is back. You love it.

This year, I'm so happy to see Jack and Lainey hanging their own ornaments, made last year at church.

Our headless Wise Man. Nice.

My favorite table runner is in place.

And, a few special trinkets are scattered around the house, rather than hung on the tree.

My favorite duo from Playa del Carmen, Mexico. And, the little house is from Santa's Workshop in Cascade, Colorado. Notice my bird house salt & pepper shakers, too. Out year them.....Jann gave them to me just before we moved to California. Thanks, Jann!

Blake's favorite, no doubt.......the cheap Polaroid of a baby Batman, baby Jack and 5 year old Carter from Christmas in 2006.

Preschool is going well, folks. Proud of our youngest 2. Both are behaving and learning lots. No cries or hesitation upon entering. They're having too much fun to miss Mom.

Jack did tell the teacher yesterday, "You're dead!" when she declined giving him another bag of crackers at snack time. Lots of "dead" talk around her recently due to the snail casualties after it rains. That being said, if he had remarked, "You're dead to me", I would have been totally impressed. Where's my Mom of the Year trophy?

Missed this little story while posting on Caroline's visit.

We were running around the house preparing for our second day at Disneyland and the two little ones were playing together. They've been doing so well lately and actually going 30ish minutes without a fight or blood drawn. So, after a while, I ran back to Caroline and proudly said, "Jack and Lainey have been playing for 45 minutes. Progress!"

Guess I should have checked the bathroom first.

Another baptism. What you can't see in these pictures is the inch of water on the floor and soaked mats, towels, etc.

Love how they used the soy sauce cup from their sushi set to pour the water over the kitties' heads.

I believe this makes Sassy Kitty the sacrificial lamb. Jack and Lainey are so spiritual.

What else?

***I'm finally catching up on Parenthood. Been weeks behind. I'm really terrible at keeping up with TV shows. Modern Family and The Office are next on my list.

***While we're on Parenthood, is it inappropriate to STILL have a lifelong crush on Hayden Fox Craig T. Nelson? I've loved him since Poltergeist and the man can do no wrong.

***Reading The Almost Moon right now. Alice Sebold's. Good Lord, it's odd. Anyone read it? I loved her memoir, Lucky. And, of course, The Lovely Bones.

***Dying to read Cutting for Stone. That's my next one. Hopefully will start it this weekend. I'm so sad without Half Price Books out here in California. Need to find a discount used book store.


Question Of The Week

Well, folks, we have 2 out of 3 children secured in their Santa request.

Jack wants a big boy bike.

Lainey wants a princess trike with a basket on the front to hold her kitties.

Carter is always our biggest challenge. We don't spend ridiculous money on Christmas gifts and this is often difficult to explain to Carter without compromising the Santa equation. So, we wait nervously to hear his final suggestion and then start the negotiations.

So, with that in mind......two questions today:

1. How does Santa work in your house?

2. What do you want him to bring you this year?

My answers:

1. Santa delivers one "big" gift to each child and fills their stockings. All other gifts are given by us, friends and family.

2. Photoshop. I'm pretty sure I could rule the world (the tiny one in my head) if given this key instrument for blogging.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Caroline Visit Recap, Christmas Decorating And More Planning

It was a holiday visit to remember!

Caroline rounded out her trip by joining us at a neighbor's house for a good old fashioned bonfire and s'mores roast.

Nice family picture before leaving.

This might surprise you, but Jack took his job very seriously and went right to work.

Carter explored our neighbor's fabulous backyard.

The group!

We returned home to decorate the house and immediately adorned the guest bathroom with snowman, the toilet cover. Nothing but class in this house, folks.

Jack organized all of the decor.

Lainey hung her stocking on the tree. Sweet girl.

Carter made everyone hot cocoa with marshmallows, complete with taped-on napkin wraps to prevent the mugs from burning our hands. Thoughtful kid.



I adore this nativity set, given to me by my grandmother years ago. It lasted an entire day on the floor before we ended up with a headless wise man. Now, it sits on the armoire and waits for repair.

Batman got into the holiday mood.

And, then ran like hell once he was out of our reach.

The tree. Blake remarked that it's not quite as hideous as in past years. I think he was right. Thankfully, since this tree decorating, our train has arrived and was placed in the most awkward of heights, leaving it looking like a total mess. Coming soon.

Our usual attempts at a group photo. Carter is crying, Lainey is acting like a fool and Jack refuses to cooperate. Good times!

I give up.

Friday brought us out with the masses and into a shopping frenzy. If money was no object, I'd buy 80% of my gifts and 100% of my wrap from the Container Store. Such loveliness.

Went to Fashion Valley in San Diego. Haven't been in a Bloomingdale's since the late 80's, I believe. Still fabulous.

Fashion Valley is outdoors and chock full temptation.

What the?

We were in pursuit of old school Vans for Carter, from Caroline. Came across this display of Minnetonka Moccasins. If you'll remember, I blew out my flip flop upon entering Disneyland this summer and had to make do with what the park provided in the manner of footwear. Happy to say I found some mocs in Frontierland and started this trend.

Jelly bean Vans for Lainey? Yes, please!

Found them. Blake had a pair when he was younger.

My 4th grader's feet are as big as mine. And, I wear a size 9. Crazy.

H&M. My first visit. All I was hoping for and more. Loaded up on Christmas gifts.

No time for my love, Anthropologie. We were off to the airport to return Caroline home.

Love her. She is such a joy to have around.

Oh, and we saw this movie while Caroline was here:

Loved it. Not at all what I was expecting. It was actually thought provoking and quite entertaining. Jake is Caroline's TrueLove4Eva, so that didn't hurt.

On the agenda this week:

Major 4th Grade Project
Basketball practice x 2
Christmas cards
Advent calendar
Gift wrapping
Job search
Produce shopping
House cleaning
Church registration
CCD sign up


I love this time of year!