Saturday, December 31, 2011

A few photos to share...

My bday!

Oh no he didn't!! Actually, he did. Hubby gave me a Kindle Fire!

New Year's Eve!

Sunset over the Pacific from Birch Aquarium
Does it get any more gorgeous than this?

Almost gone....
Scott's birthday dessert at Black Angus. Note the other spoon sneaking into the photo. LOL

I read 70 books this year!!!!

Holy cow, that's alotta books.

Looking back over the ever-lengthening list in the right-hand side bar, I have to say that I enjoyed most of the books, but only truly loved a couple.

What does it take for me to love a book? Truly amazing writing, unique and believable story line and characters that become real, honest-to-goodness people within the first two chapters.

While We're Far ApartHere's an example of great characterization: About half an hour ago, I finished reading While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin. If I mention too many specifics right now, I'll give away something crucial, so forgive me for not being more verbose. But at one point, upon reading some wonderful news regarding a character, I actually said out loud, "Thank God!" Yes, I praised God for a fictional character. Now if that doesn't represent strong characterization, then I don't know what does.

Okay, so While We're Far Apart is definitely one of my favorites for the year. How else do you explain reading 416 pages in about 32 hours? (Not that it took me 32 straight hours to read it, mind you. I did have to sleep and all. LOL)

I also adore the Rather series by C.A. Belmond and had the pleasure of reading two of them for the first time this year.
Love, Ruby LavenderAs for children's books, one of my very favorites of all time is Love, Ruby Lavender. Seriously, how can you go wrong when the opening scene involves a daytime raid by a grandma and her nine year-old granddaughter on a nearby ranch to rescue three soon-to-be euthanized chickens? Talk about creativity in writing! I love it! (BTW, the author is Deborah Wiles.) Read all her books, you won't be sorry. In fact, you may end up joining me in a daytime raid on her house to demand more, more, more!!!

I just glanced back through my list of Books Read and don't see any others that I feel compelled to write about. So there. Just wait till I get my own novel published. Then all of you Delicious Readers will feel your own deep compulsion to write about how wonderful it is! ROFLOL!

Our 2011 ABC list...

If you've been reading Delicious as Pie for any length of time at all, you know that I inject creativity into just about everything I do. So when it comes to the annual Christmas letter, I can't just dash of a few paragraphs, can I?


Instead I write the D___ Family's ABCs of 2011 (or whatever year we happen to be finishing). Now I can't take complete credit for the ABC's. I have to get the family involved so that if anything significant is forgotten, it's not my fault alone! (LOL)

And so, Delicious Readers, here are the D___ family alphabetical highlights from 2011!!!

Awarded! Scott received 2 Hustle Awards and a Regional Outstanding Engineer Award
Bronze Award (Girl Scouts)—Emma made blankets for Project Linus to earn this award
Confirmed at church in May—Hayley
Disney the Dog (a sheepadoodle) is our newest family member
Emma made Honor Roll and ATC (Above the Crowd) in her first trimester of middle school!
Finding Truth is Kate’s first novel. She finished it in October and is now looking to publish it.
Girl Scouts! Hayley and Emma are both in a multi-level troop which Kate leads.
Hayley started high school this year and loves it! She, too, made the Honor Roll!
In July, Emma went to church camp for a week and Hayley went camping with friends.
      January found Kate in Chicago visiting two of her BFFs for a few days   
Kate manages the middle school student store
Long drive up north three times this year to spend time with Kate’s family to celebrate brother Will’s 40th, Matthew’s baptism and Thanksgiving
Music in the house—Hayley continues to delight us with her piano playing
November was National Novel Writers Month—Kate wrote 50K words and Hayley wrote 20K
Oh what joy to find a 100% hypoallergenic dog!
Presidential Award for Academic Excellence—Emma received this award last June
Quite the trip—Hayley spent 5 days in Philly, NYC and DC with her eighth grade class in April
Regarding said trip, Hayley raised almost $800 with her card-making business to help pay for it
Sea kayaking—Scott and Kate tried this in La Jolla Cove. So fun!
TV-Emma made her TV debut while singing with her school choir this year
Upgraded (for free) to the Presidential Suite at the Hollywood Marriott—3200 sq. feet of fancy!
Visitors: Barbara, Ken, Will, Gillian, Sophia, Melanie and Gabrielle
Wicked—Hayley saw her first Broadway show in NYC
    Xciting that Disney graduated from Puppy Training 1! (And he, too, made the Honor Roll(over)!(Hahahaha!)
     Year’s favorite book (according to Kate): Love, Ruby Lavender
     Zowie! We saved thousands of dollars this year by couponing



Can't believe the year is turning over already. Did it just do that like two months ago? LOL

I hope all of you have a deliciously safe, happy and productive 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Girl Scouts ROCK!

I am so gosh-darned proud of my Girl Scout troop!

Last week, my scouts combed through their homes for any extra toiletries. With a big ol' tub full of goodies, they filled 20 stockings for the homeless.

Then they spent a few hours at Barnes & Noble gift wrapping people's purchases and made $223!

How awesome is the generous public, right?

Well, I have to let you know how my scouts used their funding. They decided to donate goods to San Diego Youth Services. I took them to the dollar store and armed each of them with $20. My amazing girls bought clothing, toiletries, non-perishable foods, baby items, toys, art supplies and so much more!!

We drove it down to SDYS and let me tell you, the director was so excited! All of the items my girls bought will so totally help all the youth they support.

Take a look...

Oh, and did I mention? My girl spent some time on Monday evening caroling at an assisted living facility.

Now don't you agree? Aren't these girls just the best ever???


Christmas Carma!

No, not a misspelling there. Just had to take a minute to show you evidence of my fantastic parking karma!

First stop... Target. Got the first spot right after the handicapped spots.

Second stop... Albertson's. Again, right next to the handicapped spot.

Third (and final) stop... Barnes & Noble. Second spot two aisles over from the door.

Gotta love parking karma at Christmas!!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Thank you, Christmas Spirit, for making yourself known!

You'll remember that last week, I wasn't feeling the holiday hoo-ha.

Well, it took a couple days, but the spirit found me and I've been hoo-ha-ing for Christmas ever since. I think it took a night out with Scott for dinner and some gift shopping to kick start the mood.

Take a peek at the holiday joys of the past week...

Emma sang "Silent Night" at with the church band. (The guy next to her playing the guitar is Billy. He was in our wedding.)

Emma also sang in a concert at school. I won't upload the entire thing 'cause unless your her grandma you probably don't care to sit an watch it. (And quite possibly, she doesn't either! LOL) But here's a photo of Em and her "twin", Hannah.
My Girl Scouts sang Christmas carols at an assisted living facility.
My Girls Scouts also raised money by gift-wrapping at Barnes & Noble. They're planning to use the money to buy supplies to donate to a local homeless shelter. They already donated a ton of toiletries from their own homes and divvied them up among 20 Christmas stockings that we're going to hand out this week.
We hosted a cookie exchange today. As near as I can figure it, we had about 25 people and a table full of cookies. Naturally, it didn't occur to me to photograph the cookies (or the people-LOL), so I just snapped this one of some of the remaining cookies...
Disney. Just Disney. He's so darned sweet and adorable that even when he makes me crazy, I love him to death. Today, Hayley was holding him as we were saying goodbye to some party guests and Disney looked over at me and REACHED FOR ME! I am not kidding about that. It was just like a baby reaching for his mama. And it was just about the cutest thing EVER!
I hope that you are having a similarly auspicious beginning to Christmas! (And if you're Jewish, Happy Hanukkah!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Where art thou, oh Christmas spirit?

I can't find my Christmas spirit anywhere.

I've looked under the couch. I've looked behind the washing machine. I've peeked in among the stealthily hidden Christmas gifts and in the filled cookie tins and in the branches of the sweet-smelling and ornament-bedecked tree.

No spirit.
It's not dangling from the pretty lights around my desk. It's not hiding inside the cute triangular elf tissue box. It's not curled  up inside giant rolls of candy cane wrapping paper.

Christmas spirit, where are you? Only twelve short days remain before Jesus' birthday, yet you elude me. I can't find you, so please, please, please come find me.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lengthening the "Deliciously Read" column

I realized a couple weeks ago that I was behind on my reading for the year. Each year, I read right around 70 books and as of the end of November, I was only at 59.

Time to get crackin'!!

So I made a trip to the library to pick up some books, both regular and audio. My neighbor invited me to her book club and I needed that book, as well. (The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck.)

Naturally, it wasn't on the shelf but I did find several books by Elizabeth Berg that I hadn't read before. Yay!

Berg's story lines are, well, rather depressing. Grieving prevails in several of them, be it a death or something else. So I'm not wild about the stories, but Berg's writing is just so beautiful. Lyrical. Magical. She sees things in ways that I can only dream about and I love reading her books because it helps me looks at things in my own world with clarity and distinction.

*sigh* I adore wonderful writing.

Now flip that coin over, please. Let's talk Janet Evanovich.

I adore her stories. They are hysterical and I laugh out loud throughout each of her books. And her characterization! Evanovich is a master!

Her writing, though, is anything but lyrical. It's basic. Fluent, but basic. It's like stepping firmly across concrete, whereas Berg's style makes me feel like I'm gliding across smooth ice.

At any rate.... 

I've finished several books in the past week and am feeling more confident in achieving my 70(ish)-book goal.

What book have you enjoyed most this year?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winna! Winna! Winna!

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am thankful for my Delicious Readers!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and if you're not from the good ol' US of A, then happy Thursday to you!

Want to hear what I'm thankful for this year? Besides health and family and Delicious Readers ('cause those go without saying)?

1. We're celebrating with my family. Seven adults, five kids, three dogs.
2. Speaking of dogs, I'm thankful for our new puppy, Disney, even if he makes me insane sometimes.
3. I always feel warm and comfy inside when I'm with my mom.
4. My NaNo book is going swimmingly! (When I say swimmingly, I do not include the crawl stroke. I like to think that my plot is *not* crawling along. LOL)
5. Scott is so, so, so, so happy with his job.
6. We will have paid off two credit cards this year.
7. And we are better off financially than we have been in YEARS!
8. Creativity
9. Brownies
10. Patience

What are you thankful for? Click on the word "comment" below and let me know!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

100 Things About Me

1. I still have baby teeth.
2. I adore crackers.
3. Almost as much as I adore the color pink.
4. But it has to be the right shade of pink. None of that rose shade for me. Ick.
5. I'm addicted to my iPhone.
6. And Angry Birds.
7. I'm embarrassed about being addicted to Angry Birds.
8. I'm trying really hard to become a dog person.
9. Some days it works.
10. Other days it doesn't.
11. The verdict is still out on today.
12. I have a Jane Austen action figure.
Jane Austen Action Figure from Accoutrements
13. Sometimes I play with her.
14. I don't think 24 crackers is a big enough serving size for Special K Multi-Grain crackers.
15. I am one of those insane mothers who volunteers way too much.
16. I am manager of the middle school student store.
17. I should be over there right now reordering Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
18. I love plants, but hate watering them.
19. I abhor the color orange.
20. I have moved 16 times. I think.
21. I wish laptops never ran out of battery power.
22. For that matter, I wish dogs didn't chew through laptop power cords.
23. I'm very good at avoidance.
24. How else do you explain an exceedingly long blog post when I should be writing 1,667 words for NaNo?
25. I used to not mind cooking.
26. Now I abhor it almost as much as I abhor the color orange.
27. Maybe even more.
28. I love to look at the sidebar on my blog that says where my visitors are from.
29. I don't know where a lot of those places are. Pardes Hanna, Hefa? Not a clue.
30. Google is one of my bestest bffs.
31. My other bffs live all over the country.
32. I don't have a bff here in San Diego.
33. That makes me sad.
34. And sometimes lonely.
35. If I could take one food on a desert island, it would not be chocolate.
36. I can see your mouth hanging open all the way from here because of that shocking statement.
37. You should close it before you swallow a fly. You know, like the old lady in the nursery rhyme.
38. Sometimes I recite Mother Goose because it's fun.
39. Then my children tell me that I'm weird and to be quiet, please.
40. I don't feel old enough to have a 14 year old.
41. I think it's funny (and ironic) that I just noticed in #35 above that I typed "dessert" island.
42. If I was stranded on a dessert island, I wouldn't have to bring chocolate, would I?
43. I would like to be stranded on a dessert island.
44. Can prime rib be considered a dessert?
45. Because I would miss that.
46. You know when you watch a movie and the THX surround sound logo comes on and makes that sound they think proves their superior sound?
47. It embarrasses me.
48. I don't know why.
49. I always squirm in my seat when it comes on.
50. I agree with you that that was a totally random thing to share.
51. I agree with you that I should probably take a break here and work on those 1,667 NaNo words.
52. Organizing is fun.
53. Staying organized is not.
54. My desk can attest to my lack of skills in staying organized.
55. I think adverbs are under rated and under appreciated.
56. I'm very persistent.
57. Especially when it comes to Angry Birds.
58. Because I'm addicted to Angry Birds
59. Oh wait. I already said that.
60. I must be running out of things to share.
61. I'm currently craving a Walnut Chicken Salad sandwich from Paradise Bakery.
62. I can't have one, though, because Paradise Bakery is in Vancouver, not San Diego.
63. I just wrote 29 words on my NaNo novel.
64. Yay, me!
65. I'm resisting updating my word count on
66. I have a crush on Tom Selleck.
67. And Pierce Brosnan.
68. And Scott D.
69. My biggest pet peeve is when people hang up without saying goodbye. What is that about???
70. At Target today, I put a pair of thong panties on my head like an eye patch.
71. I wanted Hayley to take a photo for all my Delicious Readers, but she refused.
72. I did make her laugh, though.
73. I have amazing carma.
74. Not karma. Carma.
75. That means I usually get amazing parking spots. Even at Target on Christmas Eve. Which is my birthday, btw.
76. I'll be 38. Ouch.
77. The dog verdict from numbers 8 through 10 is in.
78. Today I am not a dog person. Disney the Dog is Can. Tank. Er. Ous.
79. Slimy dog bones falling onto my laptop are not my favorite thing.
80. I have spent the afternoon and evening writing 1,884 words on my NaNo novel.
81. My favorite tv show of all time is Gilmore Girls. It makes me giggle.
82. My goal in life is to amuse people.
83. Sometimes I get confused, though, and annoy people instead.
84. My children will eagerly attest to that.
85. I read very, very, very, very, very fast.
86. I have the weirdest dreams.
87. Once I dreamed that an army of chocolate chip cookies carrying machine guns was marching down the street in front of my house.
88. I am not making that up.
89. I wish I was.
90. Because I'm not sure what it says about my mental health.
91. Three weeks after we started dating, I knew I was going to marry Scott.
92. Apples make me hungry.
93. I have been in over half of the United States.
94. I started writing this post over twelve hours ago.
95. My favorite book of all time is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.
96. Come on, there have to be four more things about me I can share!
97. But I'm getting really tired.
98. My highest Scrabble score ever is 485.
99. I'm mighty proud of that fact.
100. I scored a 5 (the highest score) on the AP English exam.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Yelp and the Plumbing Is Free" (A True Story by Kate)

Once upon a time, a happy family of four moved to a new kingdom. And they smiled because no longer would they have to contend with water still struggling from the effects of a volcanic eruption 30 years before. But sadness enveloped the family bank account each month when they saw the effects of the new kingdom's hard water. Clothing wore out quickly. Glassware became etched by water minerals. Filters were needed to create the most basic of necessities--drinking water.

So one day, the happy family called the royal plumber to come provide an estimate for installing a whole cottage water filter. The plumber came and told them it would cost several hundred dollars. That was much more than they expected and too much for their meager budget. When the master of the happy family said as much, the  plumber shrugged and asked if he wanted a written estimate. "Yes, please," said the master. The plumber went to his wagon and scratched the cost onto a scroll of parchment.

When he came back, he confessed that he made a mistake and that the actual cost was two hundred dollars less. This was still much more than the happy family thought it should be. The master also got the feeling that the plumber was taking advantage of them, so he sent him on his way.

Now the mistress of the happy family was very disappointed because she had consulted the great wizard and found this particular plumbing company to be the best in the land. So deep was her sadness that she wrote a letter to Wizard telling him of their experience.

Some months passed and the happy family had forgotten about the whole cottage water filter. Then one day, the mistress received a reply from the great wizard The owner of the plumbing company had heard of her disappointment in his business and felt so badly that he wanted to do whatever it took to earn her good graces. The mistress planned to contact him, but before she got a chance to (for she was very busy with her royal volunteering duties), one of his employees stopped by their royal cottage with his two small children.

The mistress and the gentleman had a lovely chat while all the children romped with the happy family's new puppy. She promised to have her husband call the owner the very next day.

Soon the master and the royal plumber talked. How sorry and forlorn that plumber was at the horrible service his employee had provided the happy family! After explaining how he had hired two new plumbers to help expand his business only to find that they hindered it more than helped, he offered to install the whole cottage water filter free of charge!

The happy family was delighted by the generosity and the strong morals of the royal plumber. The mistress couldn't wait until the water filter was installed so that she could write back to the great wizard and tell him how thrilled she is by the generosity and concern of the royal plumber. His high level of ethics proved to her that her happy family would live happily ever after in a hard water-free cottage.

The End

(P.S. This is an entirely true story. Courtesy Plumbing is installing the whole house water filter FREE OF CHARGE on Saturday!)


Monday, November 14, 2011

Shhh... don't tell anyone that I took TWO naps today...

I couldn't help it. Really. I tried not to fall asleep this morning while typing my NaNo novel.

Yes, I actually did fall asleep while typing. Scott found me snoozing away, laptop warming my lap and dog warming my side. He closed the computer, moved it and THEN WOKE ME UP!

Horrible man.

No, I'm just kidding about that. He is amazing and I adore him and he was entirely right to wake me up because I had to leave the house ten minutes later. (I drove up to Anaheim to meet a wonderful friend for lunch.)

So then I'm driving home from lunch and (imagine your eyes now following a trinket swaying back and forth in front of your face)... you are getting sleepy... you are getting sleepy...

I was getting very sleepy, so I dug out my leftover chocolate mousse cheesecake (heaven!!!!) and ate that to stay awake. Got home, kissed the kids and said, "I'm going to take a nap."

And I did. I slept for an hour before opening my computer to start playing word catch up. I stared at the last two sentences I typed wondering why they made so little sense. Then it occurred to me. "Ah, I wrote those while falling asleep." ROFLOL

Too bad those sentences didn't really work. I could have used the word count since I've made so little progress this evening too. But it's not for lack of trying. The dog was being insane tonight and it's really hard to concentrate when you have to get up to let him out (and in) over and over and over again.

I finally sent Hayley up to bed, turned off the TV and knocked out several hundred words. Progress!

Tomorrow is mostly wide open so I will be writing (not sleeping!) and by the end of the day, I'll be 50% of the way through NaNo, both in word count and day. Yay!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hayley!!!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Hayley!
Happy Birthday to you!

Well, technically, her birthday was yesterday, but we were celebrating so I couldn't really blog now, could I?
I cannot believe that my little angel is 14!!! She is such an unbelievable person, so compassionate, intelligent, kind-hearted, talented and gorgeous...
Here's my girl last week just before the Homecoming Dance. She went with a group of friends since she's not allowed to date yet.
Opening gifts on her birthday! Scott and I gave our avid reader girl a  Nook.
Where's that cake already??
An ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins--white cake with rainbow sherbet
Hayley couldn't decide what special activity we should do on her special day. Ice skating, bowling, browse around a cute town... She eventually decided that a movie was the best option given that the day was rainy and sodden. Let me just say that I was bored silly during "Puss in Boots". I tried desperately to fall asleep to relieve the agony of the boredom. Didn't work though. But the movie wasn't too long and we all went to the bookstore afterwards so Hayley could buy a cover for her Nook.

A fun dinner at Macaroni Grill, then home for cake and xBoxing rounded out a super fun day!

Happy birthday, again, Hayley! I love you!