Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Do You Think Our Daughters Look Like Us?

When I first saw this picture I couldn't help but think that this looks just like Millie and Laurie. However, it is SB and me around year 1987.

Doc looks the same except for cooler glasses. 

What do you think? 
*click on picture to zoom in better

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Orange Scones

About a month ago I made some orange scones. Any time I go to Panera I can never decide between a bagel or an orange scone (I know, big problem), but they are both so good. Instead of trying to decide one morning, I thought I would make my own scones.
I used Ina Garten's recipe found by clicking here.  I had some dried cranberries in the pantry, but I left them out of this recipe. Even though it would have been good, I just wanted some plain orange scones. 
These scones took no fancy tools or techniques. I combined all the ingredients in my mixer, rolled out the dough, and used a cookie cutter to make each scone. I think mine might have been a little smaller than the original recipe called for. I can't remember exactly how many scones this made, but I remember it was a lot. I think I had at least 2 dozen, and I still had some dough left over. I froze the left overs, but I haven't tried to cook with it yet. 
The icing was just powdered sugar and fresh orange juice whisked together. These are delicious. Give them a try. I ate these for days. However, if you make these for an event (or someone else) I suggest making them the day of or at least waiting to ice them on the day of the event. Things like this are always better fresh, but for me, popping one (or two) in the microwave each morning was great. Next time I may get adventurous and try throwing in the cranberries. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cable Free

Our house has been cable free for a little over a year now.

Before we cut our cable, we watched TV all the time. We would have it on in the background, even when we weren't watching it. I'm not saying this is bad. I know a lot of other people who do the same thing. Nick and I realized that we were only watching the same four or five channels out of 70. We didn't have hundreds of channels or DVR. I was also bad about doing nothing but watching TV while home all day.

When Millie was a small baby, I would watch TV instead of doing things around the house, or the TV would keep me from running errands at a certain time. I am a huge TV fan, and I always have been. I thought not having cable would be hard for me. However, I have loved it! Let me tell you how we watch TV now.

My sister's family cut cable first, and they told us about a Roku box.
picture from Amazon.com

We bought one of these at Best Buy for about $80 dollars, and plugged it up to our TV and the Internet. It can also work on wireless Internet, but our Internet router is right behind our TV. 

You may be wondering, what is a Roku box? 
According the description on Amazon.com: 
Roku 2 HD makes it so easy (and so affordable!) to stream tons of entertainment to your TV instantly—without a PC.
750+ channels and counting. Features the top sources, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, and Amazon Instant Video.
High-definition streaming—up to 720p HD.
The smallest footprint. The size of a hockey puck, Roku 2 uses less power than a night-light.
The easiest setup. Works with virtually any TV, includes built-in wireless, and sets up in minutes.
It is basically a box plugged into the TV and the Internet that allows us to watch Netflix instant directly on our TV. We can also listen to Pandora and access hundreds of other Roku channels. If you have a Hulu, Amazon Instant, or HBO account you could also watch those through the Roku box. 
All of the Roku channels that we have are free. They are a little like apps for your phone (by the way there is a Roku app for your phone that allows you to use your phone as the remote). For example, we have the Fox News station. It is not the live station like on cable, but we can watch clips from different shows and listen to the live radio that is playing on satellite radio. Another example is the Disney station. It is not the cable Disney channel, but it has short cartoons, clips from Disney movies, and classic Mickey Mouse cartoons. 
Picture from Amazon.com

The thing we watch and use the most is Netflix instant. We pay about $16 a month for Netflix. We get one DVD at a time in the mail, and we can watch all of the shows or movies that are offered instantly. We discovered that the shows we were watching on those four or five channels on cable were almost all offered on Netflix instant. The best thing with Netflix, or any other Roku station we use to watch movies, is that you can fast forward, rewind, or pause a show at any time. So I don't feel obligated to finish a show all in one sitting. I can hit pause and leave it knowing it will start right where it left off. 
picture from Amazon.com

There are hundreds of kids shows offered on Netflix too. Millie enjoys Veggie Tales, Mickey Mouse, Thomas the Train, and several others from the Roku box. I like these shows much better than what is offered for her on cable. I can also monitor it better this way. I am also able to stop it whenever I want. The TV doesn't just keep playing like on cable. So when a show is over, she stops watching. 

Questions you may be asking:
How do you get local or live news?
Well we also have an antenna. It is plugged right into our TV, and we get a few channels this way. We mainly watch NBC (local news, Today Show) and PBS (Downton Abbey) through the antenna. Some people also get ABC and CBS, but we don't. I think if we bought a better antenna then we would.
We can move the antenna out of the way behind the TV when we need to. 

Do you watch any shows that are currently running?
Yes. All the time. I watch all my shows on my computer either the next day after they aired or weeks later. ABC.com, NBC.com, and CBS.com show full episodes of their shows. For example, Nick and I still keep up with How I Met Your Mother. It airs on Monday nights. We watch it every Tuesday night by plugging up my computer to the TV. So we watch it on the TV instead of a computer screen. There are also a few shows on ABC I keep up with that I watch in the same way. For a lot of shows, we just wait until the new season comes out on DVD and get them through Netflix in the mail. For example, we are watching season 5 of Mad Men on Netflix instant. Season 6 just started on AMC last Sunday. So we won't see the new season until it comes out on DVD. We have also watched several HBO series this way.

How do you watch sports?
Football is the main sport we watch on TV. It helped that Auburn wasn't too good this year, and most of their games were not on TV anyways. If a game comes on NBC then we can watch it through the antenna. If not, then we can almost always find it on the Internet and connect the computer to the TV. We watched most football through the internet, including the Super Bowl. We also didn't care about March Madness (don't hate us), but I think all or most of the games were streamed through the Internet. There was not a sporting event that we missed that we wanted to see. Nick never watched much Sport Center on ESPN to start with. There are also a lot of sports channels on the Roku box. A lot of ESPN special shows are also on instant Netflix.

Do you watch less TV?
Yes, I think so. I usually watch the news on the Today Show in the morning, and then I turn off the TV. Sometimes we watch something while eating lunch, or I'll watch something when Millie naps. Then I try not to turn the TV back on until Millie goes to bed, unless it is the 5:00 news or a show for Millie to wind down to right before bed time. In the afternoons I try to play music (through Pandora, through the Roku box), instead of watching TV. I also know that if I'm interrupted or can't finish a show right now, I can pause it and watch it when I have time. I don't feel like I'm missing a show by not having the TV on constantly. The shows Millie watch are also available at any time. She doesn't have to watch a particular show at a particular time because of when it airs on cable.

Is there anything on cable that you cannot watch or miss?
I have actually gotten used to not having cable, so I don't really miss anything. The only thing I miss a little bit is 24 hour news stations. However, I follow a lot of news stations on Twitter, and I'm able to get the highlights there. Nick also liked to watch the History channel, but there are hundreds of documentaries on Netflix. Nick and I find that when we go to a hotel or somewhere with cable it is hard to find something to watch.

Anything else?
Having the Roku box is also great for waking up in the middle of the night (feeding a baby, just can't sleep). I can watch what I want at 2:00 instead of infomercials on cable.

We are also saving money. Instead of paying about $100 or a little more a month for cable, we pay $16 a month for Netflix. The Roku box was a one time purchase of $80, and the antenna was about $30. We are saving almost $1000 a year!

Like I've said, there are a lot of movies and TV shows through Netflix and other Roku stations. We can easily pick a movie or good TV show to watch in the evenings. I love that Netflix has classic shows like The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.  They even have newer movies and TV shows available. The Hunger Games movie is on instant Netflix now. I can watch it whenever and however many times I want.  Shows like The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Grey's Anatomy, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and some reality shows are also available to watch instantly.

This has worked for our family, and I don't plan on switching back to cable anytime soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mary Poppins

My aunt and cousins came to stay with us this past weekend. The main event for the weekend was going to Atlanta to see Mary Poppins. The play was showing at The Fox Theater. Before the play, we enjoyed a brunch across the street at the Livingston Restaurant. It was in the bottom of an old hotel, The Georgian Terrace Hotel. We walked around the hotel and saw that this was the location of the reception for the premier of Gone With the Wind. There was a picture of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, along with some others, from this special night. Margaret Mitchell may have also been in that picture. 
Although there were some good scenes in Mary Poppins, it was not my favorite musical. On the way to Atlanta we watched the movie Mary Poppins. We heard that the play was going to be different, but I thought there would only be slight changes. I was thinking it would be similar to how a book and a movie of any story are almost the same with small changes to make the movie more dramatic. I did think it would be hard for them to jump into a painting and dance with some penguins on stage. However, the play Mary Poppins was a lot different. I'm not saying it was bad different. I was just surprised. There were some new characters and story lines. There were a lot of new songs, and all of the original songs did not make it into the play. There were also several little girls in the audience (including our group), and the play was not as kid friendly as the movie.
My favorite scenes were 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' (click HERE for clips from the play) and the one with the chimney sweeps dancing on the roof. Bert even walked on the ceiling! Also for the first time in my play going experience, the show had to be stopped shortly after intermission for some technical difficulties. The play was stopped for almost an hour. We almost left. We decided to go to the restroom across the street in the hotel. With mostly women and little girls in attendance, the bathroom lines were ridiculous. Before making a final decision to leave, we decided to check and see if the play would be starting soon. We returned with only five minutes left until the show started. We were glad we stayed! We would have missed some of our favorite parts. 
We had a wonderful time! It was a beautiful day, and we didn't even have to sit in traffic. This was a first for me while visiting Atlanta. We had a great time visiting and playing with cousins. Y'all come back soon!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bring on the Blue

Monday morning we went to the doctor to find out that we are having a boy!!!
We also saw that our baby boy's organs are all working perfectly.
We could also see all of his little fingers and toes. 
Millie and I went to get some blue balloons to celebrate! 
We also made some blue onesie cookies for Bible study Monday night. 
 We are thrilled to be having a boy! We can't wait to meet brother.