Saturday, January 26, 2008

I am a Repblican!

A few days ago I received a Hillsdale College (my alma mater) monthly publication called Imprimis in the mail. I generally read the title of the one article and throw it out. This month’s title, however, caught my attention: “Is Canada’s Economy A Model for America?” Hmmmm. Given that one of the hot items for the 2008 U.S. elections is a Canadian import (nationalized health care), I’ve been paying more attention to that issue within Canada itself (in the news, in blogs, online, etc).

I’ve also spent the past several months trying very hard to talk myself in to voting for Obama if he is on the ticket in November. I just can’t seem to get myself to do it, but I also couldn’t come up with a good reason for being a conservative Republican. I know deep down I have reasons, but I’d forgotten. This Imprimis article reminded me why.

It comes down to this question: do collective rights outweigh individual rights? A Democrat (and Canada) would say yes. It is our duty as a nation and a government to provide for “the people” at large. The more money you make, the more of a duty you have to provide for the collective. A Republican would say no. If you leave individuals alone, they will do what is right, which is to help out your neighbor when he is in trouble. And if you choose NOT to help, that is your business.

I believe individual rights outweigh collective rights. I believe that big governments are corrupt, overworked, and easily abused. I believe that while the human soul may be depraved because of sin, that left alone many (if not most) people do the right thing. I do not want to pay taxes that will be used to give an illegal immigrant (or a person fully capable of working, but who refuses to do so) free health care, free education, free food, and free housing. I can tell you dozens of stories of people I know who abuse the system. I can tell you one story of someone I know who used the system to get on her feet and then got out of it! I want the government to work for me – I don’t want to work for the government. I'm OK with some government programs designed to help. I'm not OK with many government programs designed to help.

I am a Republican. I am proud of it. I just needed a little reminder why.

P.S. The picture is for those of you who prefer my pictures to my politics!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our Daily Constitutional

Every day we walk with Ella to get our mail. We live in the back of our apartment community and the mail is at the front. It's a healthy walk for a little girl and she loves going so much that sometimes we go twice. Yesterday she desperately needed to get out and run around so we went a little early. Much to my chagrin, the sprinklers were on everywhere. I managed to avoid them. Ella did not. Is there anything more delightful in life than the sound of your child giggling and enjoying a sprinkler when it is 50 degrees out? I think not!

Today Ella decided to take a baby in the doll stroller with her on the walk. The baby had a good time and apparently needed to be carried at one point. It was a lot more fun to go off-roading than to stay on the sidewalk. Ella chattered to her baby the entire walk and did a really nice job gettting the stroller around.

Bento Pics

Here is the Bento I packed last night for today's lunch. It is very "American"! That is bread for the tuna in the little round container; blackberries; and veggies. Mitch is loving his new lunches! He is even game for getting a "real" Bento set.

Sorry, Stephanie, for putting up pics of food!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I came across Bento boxes this weekend on the internet. Bentos are basically a Japanese version of the American brown bag, but way cooler and healthier! I've become fascinated with them as an interesting way to eat healthy on the go. There are "rules" for Bento packing. The ratio of food in the Bento is 3:2:1 (3 parts grain/1 parts protein/2 parts veggies). Different family members get different size boxes depending on age/weight/height. The food separated in to little compartments and sometimes put in cupcake liner type holders to keep the flavors from melding together.

I found this blog to be very informational and she has a lot of links!

There are TONS of different Bento boxes and sets out there for purchase (tons on eBay). Not wanting to invest too much money right now, I bought a nice sized plastic Tupperware-type box this weekend to pack Mitch a bento for lunches. I packed the first one last night for today, but failed to get a picture. I'll try to snap one of tomorrow's masterpiece! I'm thinking this is good practice for when I have to pack lunches for the kids. I have a few years to perfect my Bento making.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Caucus is a Verb

This morning Ella and I attended the Republican caucus here in Nevada. I have always lived (and thus voted) in states with primaries and I mostly went to see how a caucus works. It was very interesting and I really wish everyone "voted" this way. It was truly democracy at work.

We showed up at our caucus site (a high school) and there were about 200 precincts caucusing at this site. Each precinct was assigned a different room. We had 15 people from our precinct present. I was expecting someone from the Republican party to be in our room to run things, but no one was there. We ran our precinct caucus all on our own -- and none of us had ever caucused before! It was so cool! One gentleman volunteered to go get our packet from the folks in charge. He read the directions of how to do things to us and we preceded. We voted in a caucus chairman (our volunteer) and another lady to be the caucus secretary. They checked out photo IDs against the provided list. If you weren't registered you could still vote as long as you signed and affidavit.

The first order of business was electing precinct delegates to the county convention. Our precinct needed to elect 7 delegates to send to the county convention (then the county elects delegates to the state convention and the state elects delegates to the national convention). I was one of the 7 delegates "elected" from our precinct (we volunteered) to attend the county convention in April. They wanted to send Ella, but she is too young! It was really cool to see people step up and volunteer to go. I was expecting this to be just a formality -- that the Republican party would have pre-selected delegates to go. No such thing. We voted ourselves in to go.

Next, everyone was given the opportunity to stand up and speak on behalf of the candidate they supported. Each candidate on the ballot was allowed a total of 2 minutes. We had a brief discussion about Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, but that was it. The ballots were then distributed and we each voted and handed them back in. The ballots were counted by our chairman, out loud, right there in the room and recorded by the secretary. That sheet was then turned in to the party. Romney won our precinct -- I was the lone Thompson supporter! And then we were done. It took about an hour total.

This was by far the most hands-on experience I've ever had in politics and I've been involved in politics since childhood. When you vote in a primary or general election, you walk in and cast a vote, but really have no idea what happens next. It was really cool sit there with a bunch of like-minded folks, discuss our views, and be involved in the future of our nation. Interestingly, the room was evenly split between "older" folks and "younger" folks. It was great to see so many young people involved!

I'm very excited to be able to go on to the county level and see how that works. If this had been a primary, I would never have had that chance -- I have no idea how precinct delegates are chosen in primary states (even though both my parents have done it before). So I'm feeling very "American" today and perhaps a bit more hopeful as it seems my vote and my voice really did count today.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Last night I was craving those chocolate Hostess cupcakes. So I asked my sweet husband if he would run down to 7-11 and get me a 2 pack (it was cold out and I was toasty inside!). The 7-11 is about 2 minutes away... so when my sweetie walked in 30 minutes later, I was a bit concerned (I was ready to call the police!).

He brought me this:

I'm not sure why except maybe he wanted to cover all his bases...??

Someone's in the Kitchen....

...with Ella! Last week Ella received a Dora kitchen from a band "family". She absolutely loves it and it keeps Ella out from under Mommy when she is cooking. We put it right next to the real kitchen so we can cook together!

Mommy also got some new kitchen gadgets for Christmas. The red pot is a very heavy cast iron pot. I've wanted one (a la Le Creuset) for a good 3 years, but at $200 a pop.... We found this Wolfgang Puck version at Sams for a tenth of the price. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

And after 4 years of asking from my other half, I finally gave in and agreed to get a toaster oven (I didn't want to give up precious counter space). I had a conversation with Karin over Christmas about microwaves and how bad they are. Did you know that you can't just throw a microwave away? They are classified as nuclear waste! Uhh... yeah. Then last week I ran across an article all about how awful microwave cooking is.... I was convinced it was worth a shot not to use it anymore. So far I've made toast, brownies, chicken nuggets and salmon in the new little oven and it is fantastic! It's worth every inch of space it takes up.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I had a weak moment yesterday and gave Ella Cheetos during lunch. I had been cleaning and found a bag hidden in the chip bucket (we stash chips in a bucket). No idea where they came from as I never buy them, but Ella had them at a birthday party once and loved them!

Friday, January 4, 2008


We made S'mores over the fireplace one evening (with a choice of plain, chocolate or coconut marshmallows!). Ella very much enjoyed this treat!


These are just too fun not to share. Sarah went to sit at the table to have a piece of pie. Ella, on her own, also went over and climbed up on to the chair next to Sarah and watched as Sarah ate her pie. That's some fake sushi rice from the play sushi set (yes, we got them sushi play food!).

Snapshots of a Family

(I didn't take most of these! Bonus when you leave your camera sitting around a house full of aunts and grandparents with their neices/grandkids!)

Ella's 1st Snow

Ella was very excited to put on her new snow gear (including Dora boots that flash when you walk), but she wasn't so sure about that snow. It was fun to watch fall...and even to let it fall on your face, but get it down your mitten and it isn't so much fun anymore! Ella lasted about 15 minutes before heading back inside to watch from a safe distance.

Swimming in the Snow

Not really! Ludington has a hotel with an indoor pool, hot tub and water slide! We spent a day there last year and loved it so much that we decided to do it again this year. This year Ella was able to join us and she loved that water slide! She wore out 3 adults going up and down the slide!

Christmas on the 26th

After flying from Vegas to Philly on Christmas day, we picked up Sarah and flew to Michigan. We connected through Detroit, where we were delayed, and drove 2 hours from the airport to our final destination. It was a long day of travel! But did that stop us from opening presents that night -- HECK NO! Try to tell an 8 year old she has to wait another day....

Sarah and the tree

A head lamp from Aunt Chris

Playing with the wok from the toy sushi set

A new tradition: matching PJs for Christmas!

Happy 2008!

...a few days late! We finally made it back to Vegas after 10 days in Michigan. We had a great time visiting the Van Burens and playing in the snow. Unfortunately, Ella is sick again. I'm not one to take my kids to the doctor for every runny nose and a week before Christmas, I caved in and took Ella to the pediatrician after two days of a fever (fevers that won't go down with medicine scare me). Sure enough, Ella had an ear infection in both ears. It cleared up nicely, but this morning (after traveling all day yesterday) she woke up with an extremely high fever. Back to Dr. Noah today and the infection is back. We got a new medicine and the fever is gone as of this evening. Phew. Not the way I was planning to start the new year!

I have lots of pictures of our trip to Michigan and rather than posting in one long post, I've decided to do some short ones. We have videos as well, but those may take longer to get up so bear with me!

Just as an aside... when children travel on airplanes, they have to sit in the window seat (FAA regulations). So if you don't want a small child who doesn't understand that he/she shouldn't be kicking the fun tray in front of them for 4 hours -- I would suggest booking a middle or aisle seat.

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