Monday, April 24, 2006

Raising the Roof

We are looking to redo our roof. It is driving me up the wall. Do we do it ourselves or hire someone? (I'm leaning towards hiring someone since I don't want to be up on the second story nailing shingles.) But who to hire? At first I called some people in the yellow pages. I got quotes.

(In case you're interested our roof will take 18 squares of shingles and the estimates are in the $3500 range for a full tear off.)

Then I called Home Depot since they will install a roof for you (for $2,000 more than any other contractor.) They had a very nice salesman. I love listening to salesmen spin the truth. The problem with the salesman is that he isn't the installer, so really I know no more about how Home Depot will do than I did before. I was leaning towards them even with the higher price tag since it'd have the Home Depot name and a 10 year warranty and inspection, but then I read on line some bad experiences people have had with them (not here in Utah though). Basically, although Home Depot can't disappear with my money like a smaller contractor can, they can give me the run around for months since no one seems to be ultimately responsible.

My main problem was I knew nothing about these people. So I finally found 2 more contractors that people in the neighborhood had used and liked or at least their roofs hadn't leaked. I got one bid today.

The City of Orem requires an over-the-counter permit for putting on a roof. They told me it would cost about $50 and an inspector would come out and look at the roof as it's being put on to make sure it was OK.

Anyway, that's where things stand now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Children's story: Sir Duck and his Noble Companions

Once upon a time, a duck was flying over a forest when he was shot by a hunter. The duck managed to fly to a castle where the princess nursed him back to health.
"I wish there was something I could do to help you," said the duck.
"There is," said the princess, "A magic spell prevents me from leaving the castle. The only way to break the spell is for someone to plant the magic flower outside the castle gate."
"I'll do it," said the duck.
"It will be very dangerous and you cannot yet fly."
"I can walk and swim," said the duck.
"Then take this map, it will show you the way to the magic flower. You will know it because it smells like lemons."

The next morning, the duck swam across the moat with the map tucked under his wing and some rope around his neck. He followed the map and soon found himself following a path in a dark, enchanted wood. After he had gone a few miles, he heard a strange sound, "Awooo, Awoo" and the sound was coming closer. At first, the duck wanted to run away, but then stopped himself. "Help comes from unlikely places," he said to himself, "I'll wait and see what is making that noise." The duck quickly climbed up a tree and waited. He looked down and saw a large dog howling in the most pitiful manner. "The princess has always been so good to me. I'll never find the magic flower to save her. What ever can I do?" The duck, thinking quickly, jumped down from his branch.
"Ahh!" shrieked the dog, "Who are you?"
"I, too, am seeking the magic flower. But I have a map to show the way. Would you like to join me?"
The dog agreed and two continued down the path.

After they had gone a few miles, they heard a strange sound, "Meow, Meow" and the sound was coming closer. "It's a monster," said the dog. "Perhaps," said the duck, "but let us wait and see what it is. Help comes from unlikely sources." The duck and dog quickly climbed up a tree to see what it was. They looked down and saw a cat howling in the most pitiful manner. "I want rescue the princess and now I am lost. I'll never find the magic flower. What ever can I do?" The duck, thinking quickly, jumped down from his branch.
"Ahh!" shrieked the cat, "Who are you?"
"I, too, am seeking the magic flower. But I have a map to show the way. Would you like to join us?" The cat agreed and three set off.

In the same way the duck was joined by a sheep, an ox, and a pig.

The duck looked at his map. "The map says to be careful because a band of thieves roams in this area."
"Ah," said the dog, "Thieves are nothing. Leave them to me."
They traveled on. Suddenly, the dog began to bark and growl ferociously. The animals heard sounds of running as the robbers ran away. "That takes care of that," said the dog.

It grew dark, and the animals were tired and hungry. The duck looked at his map. "Ahead there is a barn full of food for any traveler who needs it." They entered the barn ready to eat, but it was full of rats and mice selfishly feasting on all the food that hissed at them as they approached. "Ah", said the cat,"Leave them to me." With a loud meow, the cat jumped among the rats. The rodents fled, leaving plenty of food for the other animals.

Well fed, they laid down to sleep. As the night drew on, it became colder and colder. The animals began to shiver. "There are no blankets here," said the duck. "Ah, " said the sheep, "Leave this to me. I am made of wool. If you will all cuddle close to me, I can keep you warm." Warm and content, the animals slept.

The next morning they continued their journey. The path ended at a swift river. Duck knew he could swim across, but the water was too swift for the other animals. "Ah," said the duck, "Leave this to me." He swam across the river and tied his rope around a tall tree. Then he swam back. "Now hold onto the rope and we can cross." But even with the rope, the river was still too swift.

"Ah," said the ox, "Leave this to me." He began to pull and strain on the rope. With a loud crack, the tree fell over making a fine bridge. The animals all crossed and found themselves in a field full of magic flowers.

There were thousands of flowers and they all looked the same. "Ah," said the pig, "leave this to me." She began to sniff the air. "This way," she called as she ran. The other animals followed her lead. Suddenly, she stopped. "Here is the flower." They all smelled it and agreed it was the one. The dog carefully dug it up, and they began their trip home.

Soon they were at the castle. They planted the flower and the spell was broken. The grateful princess came out of the castle. "In return for you bravery," she said, "I dub all of you knights and grant you one wish."

"We wish to have a farm where we can all live together and help each other."

So the princess put them in charge of the royal farm and everyone lived happily ever after.

(c) 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Restaurant Review: Tucanos

restaurant Name: Tucanos
Location: 4801 North University Ave Provo, Utah (Riverwoods shopping)
Type: Brazilian with lots of meat
Average Meal: $11 lunch ($17 dinner)
What we ate: churrasco, Brazilian lemonade
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Kid friendly: Mostly, children eat free
Review: I love Tucanos, but due to its cost, we only eat lunch there. It is a Brazilian style resturant. There is a central salad bar with lots of different types of salad. Then you sit at your table and the waiters bring skewers of grilled meat, vegatables and fruit to your table. If you want some, you get some. You can eat as much as you want. My favorites are the garlic sirloin, the grilled pineapple, and the grilled pineapple. My husband really likes the brisket. The lemonade is pretty good, but I wouldn't buy it (I had a coupon). This restaurant gets busy so come early. (On a random note, they play Brazilian music in the bathroom. It's great.)

Restaurant Review: Shoots

restaurant Name: Shoots
Location: 4801 North University Ave #820 Provo, Utah (Riverwoods shopping)
Phone: 801.225.0445
Type: Chinese
Average Meal: $8-10 per person (Sat. lunch)
What we ate: pot stickers, broccoli with spicy garlic sauce and beef, kung pao chicken (meals also included egg drop soup and egg rolls)
Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars
Kid friendly: Mostly, no children's menu, but willing to accommodate (let us use plastic cups and a take out box for our 19 mo. old that likes to throw things)
Review: This is a great restaurant. We'll be coming back. The service was excellent and waitress very willing to help us. We enjoyed almost all the food. The egg drop soup was really good. The egg rolls were also good. The only thing we didn't like were the pot stickers we had gotten for our kids. The pot stickers were very heavy on ginger. No one in our family liked them. But the kung pao chicken was great. The first bite wasn't quite what I expected, but was still good. The broccoli with spicy garlic sauce and beef was excellent. It was a little spicy, on the spicy end of mild. The beef was excellent, very tender and the sauce delicious.

One word of caution, if you are using Riverwoods gift certificates there, they will give you your change in a gift certificate for Shoots. That annoyed my husband and I since now we have to go back, but other than that, we loved it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Diamond in the Rough

The other day at Wal-mart, I saw some SkyDiamond kites for $1. I bought some on impulse. It was one of the best decisions I've made recently.

These kites are the traditional diamond shape, but they really fly. It was trivial to get them up in the air (unlike many of the other kites I've tried.) My almost-four-year-old daughter could get and keep hers up with a little help.

In the interest of full disclosure, these kites have two quirks. First, their tail is really long, like ten feet. Second, when you put the kite together, their is a black piece that can flip around and be backwards, so if your kite isn't wants to fly upside down, flip that piece around.

We went back to Wal-mart yesterday and got some more :)

Here's the kite.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Review: Bride and Prejudice

About 2 weeks ago, I saw the movie "Bride and Prejudice", a musical set in India based on the plot of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". I liked the movie, but I recommend watching it late at night with friends after eating lots of sugar. I enjoyed the songs, especially "No Life Without Wife". It was fun to watch, very colorful. If you are a Pride and Prejudice fan, definately see this one. I don't think I'll buy it, but I'd definately be willing to watch it again.

As an aside, I didn't realize the movie was a musical until I saw a bunch of men in turbans and beards break into song and dance.

My making new purse

I've been wanting a new purse. As the mother of two small children I needed to stuff in more stuff than my current purse of about 6 years could handle. I found a back pack style purse at Wal-mart for $5, too good to pass up. The problem was I couldn't organize all my stuff. So I decided to make my own purse. It turned out to be a good experience (mostly because of the kind intervention of my mother-in-law. She fixed all my sewing mistakes.)

The purse measures about 8 1/2 X 11 inches. I based my design on this free pattern I found on the web, but I have a dreadful sewing secret: I cannot sew a straight line. I'm getting better at it, but the pattern I had found had a bunch of curves. I wasn't quite ready to tackle that yet, so I decided to stick with squares. I also wanted a purse bigger than the one in the pattern.

I found a denim remnant and a cute cotton pattern remnant at Wal-mart to use for the purse. (Note: using denim is a pain because you have to zigzag stitch around all the seams to keep it from unraveling, but I was used to it since I had recently done a jean quilt.)

I learned how to install a zipper, why it is important to be careful with a seam ripper, and how to sew a corner. I also learned that having pockets go to the edge of the panels isn't the greatest idea since it meant I was trying to sew through five layers of fabric.

Anyway, my purse has a small outside pocket for cell phone, keys, and chapstick. On the back of the purse is a large pocket for holding papers.
Purse back
purse front

Inside is the main pocket, great for diapers and stuff. There are two inside pockets. The one is for little items I don't want floating around in the purse proper. The other pocket I sewed to make a pen holder, checkbook holder, and PDA holder.

Here's the inside of the purse before it was sewn:

I attached the strap with two D-rings.

I am happy with how my purse turned out, but for a while it did bear a striking resemblance to a scripture case. I also hope the cloth will hold up.

I always knew the weatherman was a democrat

I was reading this article on Slate (, where it was talking about bias in the news. Then came this great quote:

The authors predict more bias in stories where the outcomes aren't realized for some time (foreign war reporting, for example) and less bias where the outcomes are immediately apparent (a weather forecast or a sports score). Indeed, almost nobody accuses the New York Times or Fox News Channel of slanting their weather reports.

I'm sorry, I just couldn't stop laughing at the idea of accusing a newspaper of slanting the weather report.

Hmm... I wonder if news sources who favor the current party in power tend to predict more sunny days to make people feel happier. Sort of the "is the sky half cloudy or half sunny" debate. Although it would explain why the long range weather report is really hit and miss :)