Sunday, December 31, 2006

In case you were wondering...

It really was just PMS - The Flow started this morning right after I slept 11 hours with the kids last night.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Inspired by my friend Marie and her husband Roland, I made lasagna for dinner for the whole family + a guest (Joe's parents and Scott) last night (December 27). Just like canning, I was amazed at how easy it can be to do.

2 boxes of uncooked regular lasagna noodles
1 16 oz container of ricotta cheese w/ fresh minced oregano mixed in
10 oz frozen spinach sauteed in 3 cubes of basil pesto
3 quarts of pasta sauce
2 cups milk
some shredded Parmesan/Romano/asiago cheese
1 lb grated mozzarella
1 lb ground beef cooked up with garlic

Mix the sauce into the ground beef and heat
Mix the milk into the ricotta cheese

Spoon some red sauce into the bottom of the 13 x 9 baking pan. Lay down a double layer of lasagna noodles. Spoon on a layer of white sauce. Spoon on a layer of spinach - use half. Apply a light layer of the aged cheeses. Spoon on a layer of red sauce. Add a new double layer of noodles and press them down into the other layers - get out all the air bubbles. Layer white sauce, the rest of the spinach, the aged cheeses, red sauce, noodles then press down. Add the last of the white sauce and the last of the red sauce and top with a layer of the aged cheeses and the whole pound of mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil, place on a cookie sheet to catch overflow and place into a preheated 375 oven for 1 hour. After the hour, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 15 min - until you see it bubbling around all the edges and the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned. Let rest for 10 min after removing from the oven before cutting. Makes 12 servings.


Before all the gifts were opened

And after all the gifts were opened and some relocated to the playroom

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

This morning the kids opened the last door on their chocolate advent calendars - it was a big Father Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Chilly a bit

It was a bit chilly at the Market today and it rained lightly for the last hour. We were gifted our xmas pie (pumpkin harvest - just like the one we had at Thanksgiving) from Aunt Nita's Baking Company, a chipotle cheese ball for xmas lunch from Full Quiver Farms, extra milk from Finca Pura Vida to make rice pudding for our xmas breakfast and 2 poinsettas too. One of the poinsettas is a yellow one with curly leaves - so cool looking! I'll take a picture and include it in this post later.

We've got dinner with friends tonight at a fancy new steakhouse, III Forks. I'm sure that Joe will be stressed about driving with us in the rain but it's not supposed to get below 40 so the streets will be just fine - except for the holiday drunks out on the road and we'll just avoid them.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Twas The Night Before Christmas....Mom Style

Twas the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode
Only one creature was stirring, & she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Hot Wheels & Barbie, flipped through their heads.

The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
With a half-constructed bicycle propped on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
Which made her sigh, "Now what is the matter?"

With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs, & saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes & soot, which fell with a shrug,
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug."

"Ho Ho Ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake."
"Your gift was especially difficult to make."
"Thanks, Santa, but all I want is time alone."
"Exactly!" he chuckled, "So, I've made you a clone."

"A clone?" she muttered, "What good is that?"
"Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit chat."
Then out walked the clone - The mother's twin,
Same hair, same eyes, same double chin.

"She'll cook, she'll dust, she'll mop every mess.
You'll relax, take it easy, watch The Young & The Restless."
"Fantastic!" the mom cheered. "My dream has come true!"
"I'll shop, I'll read, I'll sleep a night through!"

From the room above, the youngest did fret.
"Mommy?! Come quickly, I'm scared & I'm wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
"Hey," the mom smiled, "She sure knows her part."

The clone changed the small one & hummed her tune,
As she bundled the child in a blanket cocoon.
"You're the best mommy ever. I really love you."
The clone smiled & sighed, "And I love you, too."

The mom frowned & said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal."
That's my child's love she is trying to steal."
Smiling wisely Santa said, "To me it is clear,
Only one loving mother is needed here."

The mom kissed her child & tucked her in bed.
"Thank You, Santa, for clearing my head.
I sometimes forget, it won't be very long,
When they'll be too old for my cradle & song."

The clock on the mantle began to chime.
Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."
With the clone by his side Santa said "Goodnight.
Merry Christmas, dear Mom, You will be all right."

Sometimes we need reminding of what life is all about. Especially at times during the Holiday season, when all we seem to do is clean and bake and shop and.... you get the picture. So stop for a moment and hug that little one that is so special, whether he/she is 2 or 22, child or grandchild, or perhaps even someone who is in a different category.
They all are gifts that God put in your life ... and such a gift should always be treasured.

So, why not send this on to the all the Mom's you know, for they will no doubt need this at this time of year.

I don't know the author of this as it was a fwd of a fwd of a fwd, so I consider it ok to post.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Tomorrow's Forecast Calls for Blue Skies"

From NOAA Weather:
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 68. North wind around 5 mph becoming east southeast.
We WILL be at the park all day, even will try really hard to get there before noon!
Oh how I love the weather in this town!
And oh how I love ELO, listen to this song and try to tell me that this isn't one of the greatest bands EVER!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is Charlie Sick or Old?

We've had Charlie only 2 and a half years but this evening we discovered what looks like a cataract on one of his eyes. They live to be 2 to 4 years old but we have no way of knowing how old he was when we got him, only that he wasn't fully grown since he got bigger after we got him (either that or he was wasn't thriving in his previous home at WalMart). Hopefully it's only a bacterial/ick thing and it will go away in a week with treatment.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

I don't use this very often but when I need to clean something that nothing else will remove, the Magic Eraser is a kid lifesaver! I never have bought one - I'm still using the second one that I received as a free sample a few years ago. Remove Tough Grime and Everyday Messes, and Clean Everything from Your Walls to Your Floors with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser DUO.

Merry Christmas to Me or Osterize Me

'Joe' bought this for me for christmas last week: Oster Convection Toaster Oven. It actually only took him 1 day to notice it there on the counter! My old toaster oven (10 years old Black and Decker that was WONDERFUL) was getting 'hot cord' every time that I used it so I knew that it was time for a new one. So far I'm happy with this one. I especially like that it has a dehydrate function. I haven't notice yet that the convection function cooks things any faster. It fits an entire Digornio pizza inside because it has a curved back inside the oven. And in looking at the specs I noticed an error - it does NOT have an 'Auto-advance rack for safe and easy removal of cooked foods'. I've been happy with my new Oster Blender that I bought to replace my worn out 5 year old Oster Blender so I figured that the toaster oven would be a good purchase. This summer I bought one of the Oster Single Serve Blender Cups, it's good for making a single basic batch of green juice.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jamie Said - followup

Jamie said: We've happened across a couple live shows of the B.B., but we can't really seem to get into them. And, Kayla will NOT watch their T.V. show either. The songs don't seem kid-friendly. For instance they were singing a x-mas song, but the changed all the words. Kayla's still trying to figure out the REAL words to Rudolph. Maybe they are for slightly older kids?? Tell us what it is that we're not getting. We'll keep trying and I'll let you know if our opinion of them improves.
December 17, 2006 8:39 AM

1 - The majority of the Biscuit Brothers' songs are traditional folk songs such as Comin' Round The Mountain (that was the one that they redid into an xmas song at Whole Foods), Oh Susannah, Old McDonald, Bingo, Froggy Went A Courtin', Wahbash Cannonball, Eirie Canal, Skip To My Lou, I've Been Workin On The Railroad, etc. We have a book of Folk Songs here at home that we've been singing together out of since Giselle was about 2 years old so she was already familiar with many of the songs before she ever heard the BB sing them.
2 - The BB are targeting 3 to 8 year olds for music appreciation - during the school year they do shows during the day at all the local elementary schools.
3 - Giselle didn't start going to any 'kiddie' shows or listenting to the music until she was a month shy of 3. That's when we started going to Sara Hickman shows and listening to Sara CDs (Paul was 4 months old) and Giselle was into it from the start. Yes, prior to that she loved to dance to Enrique Iglesias and Paulina Rubio but she wasn't looking for anything more than something to dance to. With Sara (and subsequently Joe McDermott and the BB) she could actually participate with the musicians while they were performing - actually become part of the show. That's why Giselle is so into these 3 performers - she actually knows them and they know her. They give her hugs and remember her name and recognize her when we run into them in 'non-performance' situations. She enjoys the Wiggles (we started watching them when she was 4.5) but it's just not the same as with the local folks.
4 - Paul knows them all (Sara, Joe & the BB) but it's only recently that he sings the Sara & Joe songs. He has the BB songs all memorized but that is mostly a result of having an older sister and mom who listen to the CD alot in the car. We've seen the BB enough in the last year that he treats them like they are neighbors who sing songs that he already knows.
5 - The two of the them still love to dance and 'sing along' to the Latin Pop & Rock that we listen to in the car (104.9 fm). Paul recognizes all the Juanes songs and Giselle can identify even brand new Julietta songs whenever they come on the radio.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Canning again

So this last Saturday the Market moved Finca Pura Vida to another spot due to the Sustainable Shopping Ball. This totally screwed them and we had loads of leftover product. Subsequently I went home with another 2 cases of Russian Black Plum tomatoes. I attempted making more sauce yesterday - this time I was going to make it more concentrated by cooking it for longer. Unfortunately in the last blenderfull of pureed tomatoes I added in an eggplant that was past it's prime - it had gotten seedy - and that added a bitterness that was impossible for me to get rid of. Doubley unfortunately I didn't taste it and notice the bitterness until AFTER I had been simmering it for 4 hours. So I turned off the burner, let it cool off and poured it out on my front garden as fertilizer. Fortunately I have 1 case left and I'm going to attempt it again, sans the eggplant!
Oh well, live and learn!!!!!

And Gayla said that if the lids sealed onto the hot jars and formed a vacuum then I did it right and the other sauce is perfectly fine - no botulism!

The last Biscuit Brother show of the year for us

Tonight's show was at Whole Foods and was the last of the year for us. In the meantime we'll have to live off of our DVD's and TiVo to tide us over.

The free show ended up costing us $30 for dinner from the Whole Foods carry-out bars - a meal of 1 chicken enchilada, beans, rice, sour cream and 2 strips of fajita beef for each kid, a bowl of fruit salad, some Greek orzo salad (really good - black olives, feta, orzo, cilantro, pine nuts, olive oil, and some kind of vinegar), some spicy sauteed zucchini and 1 small cup of gelatto ($30.26).

Gingerbread Houses

So we made one of the semi-premade gingerbread houses from Wilton. We started it on Saturday - 'glued' on the walls and roof, finished decorating it on Sunday and ate the entire house on Monday. That's the trick on them - eat them immediately instead of letting them sit around for 2 weeks.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Trail of Lights 5K

Last night's 5k is now over. We made a point to get there early so that we were part of the first folks to cross the start line - I felt that we lost a lot of time each year slogging through the walkers - and we crossed it within the first 20 seconds of the start (special thanks to Kathy for lending me her double jogging stroller!).

At mile marker 1 I was keeping a 12 min mile but by mile 2 I had dropped to a 13 min average. I ended with a time of exactly 42 min which I was content with due to the fact that I haven't 'trained' since I ran the TOL 5k last year. Oh and when I say ran I mean walk really fast - I don't care for the pounding that jogging does to my body so I walk really fast with a little trotting now and then. But since we finished relatively earlier than usual I fully expected there to be bananas left when we finished BUT NOOOOOO! We saw people eating them but they were all given out! What's the deal? EVERY year they run out of bananas within the first 45 min and I REFUSE to eat those nasty ham & cheese, chicken salad, pimento salad, & turkey & cheese sandwiches that they offer. The cookies were all gone too. My only option AGAIN was to eat a whole bunch of candy canes while the kids had some kisses and canes. They could at least make PB&J sandwiches for us vegetarians but of course they don't. So once again I left the race feeling stiffed somehow.

The lights were OK, you know, for as much money as Dell makes from this town they sure could do a better light display, especially in their designated section!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


So last Saturday Edgar gave me 2 cases of Russian Black Plum Tomatoes to can up - something that I had never done before. Gayla gave me a quick lesson in canning - it's a lot easier than I had imagined - and I committed to doing it. While Giselle was at Sunday School Paul and I went to HEB and got 2 dozen wide-mouth 1 quart canning jars and after church we commenced to cooking and canning pasta sauce. By the time that I quit at dinnertime, I had made 13 quarts of pasta sauce and still had 1/3 case of tomatoes left for making green juice for the week. I'll know in a few weeks when I try the sauce for the first time whether or not I did it right - if I get botulism then I did it wrong!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What Tarot Card Are You?

I am The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. I am lucky in all things that I do and happy with the things that come to me. I should be careful that success does not go to my head however as sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We Registered

The kids got registered for the Trail of Lights 5K yesterday - we'll go pick up the race packets on Friday before going to the park so that we are sure to get our tshirts now instead of mailed to us in 3 weeks.

One house down, one to go!

Closed on one house yesterday and we'll probably start the dance on the other one after the holidays - actually I just hope that I don't have to stress about that during the holidays!

Now Playing at Casa De Galletti

So this is the holiday station that I'm listening to . It's only classic holiday songs but they are 'modern' versions. There are still Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby versions but there are also versions by The Cocteau Twins and Brian Setzer and Chet Baker. I like it better than the XM holiday music channels on DirecTV since if I don't like a song I can skip forward to the next song - can't do that on the TV.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

night school

So Giselle and I often do some school in bed at night before she falls asleep while I nurse Paul. Tonight Giselle started it by saying that 10 + 10 = 20 and I followed up with 10 + 20 = ?. Her vizualization skills are not all there yet so we had to move it to the playroom/schoolroom and and after a significant amount of time spent on getting her to realize that the answers were actually written down right in front of her (although I wasn't going to GIVE her the answers) she now TOTALLY gets the concept of double addition and the ease of adding in columns. We were only adding 10's for the 5 problems that we did and I figured that I'd see for sure if she really got it so for our final bonus extra credit problem of the night I asked her to solve 22 +35 and she got it on the very first try = 57!
She is so proud of herself for realizing how easy it really is!

Friday, December 01, 2006

RunTex/AT&T Trail of Lights 5K - NEXT SATURDAY!!

Zilker Park, Austin, Texas,
Saturday, December 09, 2006 Starts at 6:30 pm
This year the Trail of Lights Festival will include the AT&T Trail of Lights 5K event. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, 2006. The course runs through Zilker Park and the awesome Trail of Lights, with more than 180,000 lights. The entry fee also includes a "Trail of Lights 5K" long sleeve t-shirt.
Awards will be given to the top 50 overall male and female entrants.
Entry Fee will be $22 if received on or before Wednesday, December 6th, $25 if received on or after Thursday, December 7th. $17 for children 11 & under.
Packet Pick-Up and Late Registration will be at RunTex Riverside: RunTex Riverside, 422 W. Riverside Dr. Phone: (512) 472-3254 The hours for packet pick-up will be: Friday, December 8th (11 a.m. - 6 p.m.) Saturday, December 9th (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) Registration is only at RunTex Riverside on Friday and Saturday.
Parking A detailed map and instructions can be found in your race packet. Please READ!

personal note from Natalie: Register in person at RunTex NOT online (online registration costs an additional $3 per person).
The trick is to just register your kids and not yourself - and get the t-shirt in a larger size so that your kids can wear it when they are teenagers.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

yeah it's cold TODAY but we'll be back in the 60's by Saturday

Today: Rain or freezing rain likely before 11am, then rain, snow, and freezing rain likely between 11am and noon, then a chance of rain after noon. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly sunny, with a steady temperature around 36. Windy, with a northwest wind between 20 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Tonight: Clear, with a low around 29. Northwest wind between 15 and 20 mph becoming calm. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 56. Calm wind becoming south around 5 mph.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. East wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
Saturday: Partly cloudy, with a high near 62. Calm wind becoming east between 5 and 10 mph.
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 31. North northeast wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Sunday: Partly cloudy, with a high near 54. North wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 30. North wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 58. North wind around 10 mph becoming southeast.
Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 39.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy, with a high near 61.
Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 44.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 59.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm A Sidecar Searching For A Train

This shot is from the last voyage (until next August) of the River City Flyer.

The Abundant Green Bounty Of Finca Pura Vida

This is a shot of one of Finc Pura Vida's tables at the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market 2 weeks ago. On the other tables we had: Bok Choy ($2/bunch), Diakon Radish ($2/bunch), turnips ($2/bunch), Burgundy okra ($3/lb), green okra ($3/lb, Calafornia Wonder bell peppers ($4/lb), rendered organic lard ($3 sm jar, $5 large), Black Beauty eggplant ($3/lb), Rosa Bianca eggplant ($3/lb), French Breakfast radish ($2/bunch), Black plum tomatoes ($3/basket), Big Boy tomatoes($2/lb), Ayote squash ($1.50/lb), organic beef, organic pork, organic raw milk, organic chicken eggs ($3.50/dzn), organic fresh whole turkey ($4.50/lb), Lebanese cucumbers (sale $2/lb), and I think that's it. Of course everything is certified organic. Oh, the Arugula label got cut off of the picture (it's $6/lb) and all the greens are $2/bunch also. The herbs are $1/bunch!

Our Trip to Jalisco Mexico

Not really! We were at the Victorian Christmas On Sixth Street and we watched a presentation of traditional Mexican dances by a local dance school. We loved the dresses and want to get some of our own!

I have a secret 3rd child farmed out to another house

Guess which ones are mine!


This is one of the plants in my sister's backyard. She has many Brugmansias, in both pink and orange. I've got lots of them rooted in my yard but they die back every winter so they don't get as big as hers do.

Jim Belushi is Everywhere!

From our viewing spot at the beginning of the Annual Chuy's Christmas Parade - 11th and San Jacinto.

Monday, November 27, 2006

fish out of water

OK so these homes are being built right off of 969/MLK BLVD) over in Far East Austin - East of 183/Ed Bleustein - Literally a mile from where I used to work on Nixon Lane. They SO don't match the giant mobile home park that is located directly across the railroad tracks from this place. That's actually how I noticed it - on our train trip yesterday. Totally neat homes and great concept but WRONG location - the folks that can afford these $200K+ homes are NOT going to be comfortable driving through Pecan Springs or the Loyola Lane neighborhoods to get home every day.

Friday, November 24, 2006

no fair

when viewing my profile it says that I have only done 40 posts. Well I just counted them all and this post brings the total to 101.
Humph! as Giselle and Paul would say

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cranberries' health benefits are fact

Cranberries' health benefits are fact -

Tamiflu May Be Linked to Risk for Self-Injury and Delirium

by Yael Waknine
Medscape Medical News 2006. © 2006 Medscape
November 14, 2006 — The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Roche Laboratories Inc have notified healthcare professionals regarding safety labeling revisions for oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu capsules and suspension) that warn of the potential risk for neuropsychiatric events associated with its use.The warning was based on postmarketing reports (primarily from Japan) suggesting that patients with influenza receiving oseltamivir, particularly children, may be at increased risk for self-injury and delirium. Although the role of the drug remains unclear, patients receiving oseltamivir should be closely monitored for signs of abnormal behavior, according to an alert sent yesterday from MedWatch, the FDA's safety information and adverse event reporting program.Oseltamivir is indicated for the prophylaxis of influenza and treatment of uncomplicated acute illness in those who have been symptomatic for no longer than 2 days. It is approved for use in patients aged 1 year and older.Adverse events potentially related to use of oseltamivir should be reported to the FDA's MedWatch reporting program by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, online at, or by mail to 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787.

Thanksgiving is on for Today

Giselle woke up with a temp of 98.8 so after she digests breakfast and passes the temperature test we are heading out to Whole Foods or Central Market to get the rest of our dinner ingredients for this evening. I'm psyched to share a bottle of the 2006 Beaujolais Nouveau, Georges Duboeuf of course, with Joe (and a glass each for the kids).

Ice Skating on the Roof returns

For the 2nd year, this time from yesterday until January 14!! Whole Foods Market : Stores : Austin

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Can you say 'flu'?

I woke up last night at 2:40 am and said to myself "there is a hot child at my back!" 30 seconds later Giselle woke up to tell me that she hurt all over and was very thirsty. I took her temp with our temporal thermometer (which is very fragile and breaks easily - Joe has resottered the inner connections once already in the 9 months that we've owned it) and she had a fever of 101.5. I started her on Oscillococcinum and other homeopathics and she went back to sleep, albeit restlessly, for the rest of the night. All day she ran a steady 100 with a few blips up every so often and shortly before bed it was up to 102.3 - gave her some Infant Tylenol and some Vitamin C to bring it down. She and Paul took a long hot bath with some Kiss My Face bath wash and she went to bed all bundled up. Her temp was down to 100 even by the time I got Paul asleep at 9.
Needless to say, I didn't make it to the stores to finish my grocery shopping. Joe generously suggested that we could delay Thanksgiving until Friday, what a great idea!

But while sitting around all day I did manage to change the provider of all of our homeowner's insurance policies, thus saving us a few hundred dollars now and potentially saving us thousands of dollars if anything were to happen to the rental houses.

I would like to thank the makers of TiVo for making this sick day not as miserable as it could have been. And also our satellite provider DirecTV for providing us with the Disney Channel, the Family of Discovery Channels, and Noggin. And an extra special shout out to Joe who was the one to get us hooked up with all of this years ago, you are THE MAN!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

TX homeschooler picked to be a Rhodes Scholar

Galveston native picked to be a Rhodes Scholar - Houston Chronicle

Pictures from the special Biscuit Brothers show

Save the Biscuits - Nov 3, 2006


So Suzanne complained to me about me needing to post more often because she checks every day and is bummed when there is nothing new posted. The funny thing is that I do the same thing - I check my blog every day and wonder why there is nothing new posted!

It's insane here currently - closing on one house in less than 2 weeks, maybe another by the end of the year, getting ready for Thanksgiving here not at a friend's house, getting school done every day, getting the green house up before it really frosts, getting 2 weeks of laundry washed AND put away, getting rid of a crib-full of clothes leftover from the homeschool clothes swap (Suzanne what size are the kids wearing?), cleaning up play-dough every morning in the playroom, getting the yard ready for winter, thinking about what the heck is going on for Christmas and how I'm going to shop for Giselle (the girl who wants EVERYTHING - well not really, just more Bitty Baby stuff, an American Girl (I say not till she's 8), more Polly Pockets, more My Tiny Pets, and a Yorkie puppy), getting all the last of the summer/fall produce frozen and put in the freezer, and did I mention closing on 2 houses?

But just as I was shutting down the kitchen for the night (oops I forgot to tend to the 2 sinks full of dishes from lunch - we had a visitor (Gayla got off of the farm for the day and dropped by for a visit) and I made spaghetti w/ a killer sauce - Giselle had 3 servings) Giselle & Paul came dancing out of the bedroom and proceeded to ballroom dance around the living room for 5 min. I got some on video. It was a nice end to a crazy day.

Oh, and the guy at the HEB checkout charged me for 2 books of stamps but only gave me one. I only asked for one so I didn't notice until I was checking the receipt 15 minutes ago that I paid for 2. They said to just come buy the Business Center and they'll give me the 2nd book.

We hit WalMart & HEB today but we still have to go to Bark N Purr tomorrow to get more dog food and to Wheatsville for our biweekly shopping there and maybe even to Whole Foods if Wheatsville doesn't have Turkey parts. Oh, and HEB to get my other stamps!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Two From The Zoo

Giselle being eaten by a lion and Paul being eaten by a snake!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We're Trippin'

The kids and I are going to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston tomorrow to see the exhibit Best In Show: The Dog in Art from the Renaissance to Today. The drive should be fun, I think that we're going to stop off at the farm on the way there and back. My sister flew in another one of my sisters for the weekend just so that we could all hang out together - how nice is THAT!?! On Monday we are hoping to go the zoo, there's a slight chance of rain but we'll have our raincoats and umbrellas so that won't stop us. I hope that they have my favorite zoo animal!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween 2006

New-camera issues but it's us: Joe the candy giver, Natalie the trick-or-treat escort, Cinderella Giselle and Biscuit Brother Paul.

As we do every year, we carved pumpkins that were big enough for the kids to fit inside - one weighed 33 lbs the other weighed 31 lbs and they were both 47 inches around.

They ate all the candy they could last night and again this morning after breakfast then even before lunch they traded what was left for a stuffed dog and a pull-string powered truck. After dinner Giselle regretted her decision to trade in her candy so quickly for about 2 minutes - I had originally told them that we wouldn't do the trade until tonight but they insisted on doing it this morning.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A few pictures from the car shows

This guy is obviously a Tolkien fan.

The owner of this car spends too much time and money at fast food places.

The owner of the first 2 cars has a very loving wife who totally understands that as the over-worked sole-supporter of a family of 4.5 (the dog counts as half) he deserves rewards and 'ME time' whenever he feels it necessary!

Back-dating to 2 weeks ago

For Joe's 40th we took him to dinner at Trudy's South where we had some suprise guests join us. We then blindfolded him and took him to Peter Pan Minature Golf as a suprise family gift. Afterwards we went home and enjoyed a lemon tart from Central Market and opened his presents. Joe said that it was his best birthday ever! Great, how am I going to top THAT? I guess we'll just have wait till 50 to try and top 40.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

car show updates

The Art Car Show bit the big one - only about 10 to 15 cars there and they were already leaving at 3 pm when we got there - it was supposed to last until 4.
Paul was screaming because he had just woken up from a nap and wanted to nurse. It was hot and we were sweaty. There was one really fun car that the kids wouldn't leave. Finally we did leave and went to eat some mini cream puffs at Vespaio's store/cafe (next door to the restaurant).

We drove home and stopped for 30 min at Joe's car show - he was showing 2 of the Caddies at the Oak Hill Cruise n Blues Car Show.
I'll post pictures of it all later today.

We might do our annual train ride today or in 2 weeks.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

austin art car parade

austin art car home I think that we are going to this after the farmers market today.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So I have this pair of shoes that is now, hmmmm, 24 years old. I wore them to church on Sunday and thought that I'd take a picture of them. Well, I didn't really wear them to church - I wore them to the playground at church where Paul and I play while Giselle is at Sunday School. So the shoes, I bought them to wear with a teal taffeta dress that I bought to wear to my sister Joan's wedding in the Fall/Winter of 1982. I was the maid of honor! I recycled the dress for my Jr/Sr Prom the following Spring. Of course for that I wore my black patent leather shoes and a fuchsia taffeta sash instead of the teal sash I wore at the wedding. I've managed to keep these shoes when all other 'old' shoes have been given away because I didn't like them any more or chewed on by a dog or worn out beyond all use. I like these shoes and I'll be crushed when they wear out. Oh wait, I do have a pair of red lamb leather heels that I bought in 1984 that I still have too! It's neat to see Giselle dress up in my shoes just like I used to do with my mom's shoes, although my mom had WAY more shoes than I have now.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Yeah, if you call tasting and smelling like mold to be unusual!

Algae may affect water taste, odor; City water supply safe to drink
For Immediate Release – October 11, 2006
AUSTIN--- Austin Water Utility (AWU) officials want customers who notice any unusual taste and odor in their tap water to know that their drinking water is completely safe.
A similar taste and odor fluctuation resulted from a blue green algae die-off in the City's raw water supply in October 2004, and AWU officials believe the same cycle is occurring now. The 2004 episode lasted about two weeks.
"The water is absolutely safe to drink," said Jane Burazer, AWU Assistant Director for Treatment, adding "The algae bloom is a product of weather conditions, as well as river conditions."
She said AWU is feeding powdered activated carbon at its drinking water treatment plants in an attempt neutralize compounds that cause taste and odor variances.
"AWU will continue to monitor and test water from the lakes as it is treated and distributed to our customers," Burazer said. Check the Austin Water Utility web site: for updates as they become available.

Joe got me a new camera!

Christmas came early at the Galletti house on Thursday. Joe came home at lunchtime and presented me with this: Olympus Stylus 720 SW underwater camera, waterproof camera, shockproof camera . Evidently the thought of me regularly using the 10 yr old HP digital camera was the final inspiration for getting a new one for me. He has a 5 yr old Nikkon digital (5 mp) that he uses on occasion that he is still relatively happy with. My poor Olympus film camera will get used less and less, and I just bought that one 3 years ago. Ahhh, modern progress.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Giselle's tooth has come out

With the help of some dental floss and a door knob, Giselle has lost her first tooth. The other tooth is almost all the way in already. The top two teeth feel like they are next to go.

This is the beautiful tooth box that we made to hold all of Giselle's teeth in - complete with the first tooth (circled in red)!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Jurassic Park

The kids were playing out front with a Rhino and a Brontosaurus this afternoon. Giselle built both animals their own park to play in - the pictures don't do the real things justice.

War Of The Worlds

Take me to your leader! And don't even try giving me cupcakes made with that fake sugar!

Our visit to the Wildflower Center on Sunday.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What's That Bug?

Put this in your favorites!!!!!
What's That Bug?

Laphria sp. - Robber Fly (Bee Mimic)

This is him - my fly!!! My mystery from last month ( ) is finally solved! It's a Laphria sp. (Robber Fly Bee Mimic)

Here're my pictures of him, posted again.

fly not bumble bee

I am convinced that my picture back in August was a of a fly NOT a bumble bee - totally different leg structure. These pictures are of real bumble bees Burning Silo � Blog Archive � the bee’s knees and the rest of the pictures on her blog are quite nice too! Here is a source of good identifiers for bumble bees .

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Caldo De Pollo

I made the most amazing caldo de pollo this weekend! The kids love it although Giselle gives me all her onions and celery and I give her all my chicken pieces.

fresh chicken pieces and carcass simmered for 12 hours
ayote squash
diced tomatoes
fresh oregano
salt & white pepper
fresh rosemary

Friday, September 22, 2006

Making Butter

I tried making butter today because I had two quarts of milk from The Farm that were each almost half cream - one of the cows had a calf last month so her milk is super rich and creamy - and I couldn't resist the temptation of trying to make my own butter. I didn't use quite the 'proper' tools so it took a long time (45 min) and I stopped while it was still just buttermilk because I was tired of shaking the jar. I now am freezing the 2 cups of buttermilk for future cooking and next week I will try again using these instructions: Cooking For Engineers - Kitchen Notes: Making Butter

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bedtime at Casa De Galletti

This is what I have to pry apart to get into bed at night. They scootch towards the middle looking for me in their sleep, they run into each other and then are satisfied that they have found a warm body to be near. Once I'm in there, they're content with feeling my breath on their face or being able to reach out and touch me with their hand or foot. I love being able to snuggle with them like this every night - it lets me know that they will always be my babies no matter how old they get!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Everyday Food

The new issue arrived today (October)!! These are the recipes that I'm interested in making soon:
Roasted Fall Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
Being from the South, I already make my egg salad per their recipe plus I add celery
Bats and Cobwebs
Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup
Red and Black Bean Pies
Ginger Pumpkin Bread
Apple Brown Betty
Croissant Pudding
Manchego Crackers
Everyday Food
I wonder which one Suzanne will make first!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Whirlwind Week

Last Saturday was the Farmers Market as usual. It was a pretty slow day at the market - not a lot of produce due to the heat and drought and not a lot of people due to whatever.
Sunday was Sunday School and Free Museum Day - we went to The Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria to see the Biscuit Brothers with all of our friends.

Monday was shopping at Walmart, Central Market and HEB day.
Tuesday was go to Sam's to repair a nail in the tire day and we went to the Austin Zoo.
Wednesday was Homeschool Day at Pioneer Farm.
Thursday was a La Leche League meeting.
Today was Homeschool Park Day.
And tomorrow is Market Day again for us and Classic Car Show Day for Joe.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Night time

I can't believe it, the other night Paul stayed asleep from 7:30 pm all the way to somewhere around 1 am without waking to nurse! Too bad I didn't go to bed that night until 11:30 so I didn't really get the break. Although he's near the age that Giselle was when she started dropping some of her night nursings - I think that she was down to only waking 2x during the night to nurse just before Paul was born - so maybe it will start to happen more often. So it's now been a little over 5 years of nursing a kid pretty much every 2 hours, 24 hours a day (with a 3 hour break after bedtime until 10:30 - you could set a watch by him on that - no earlier than 10:20 and no later than 10:35). Fortunately they are both in bed with me so all that night nursing never seemed like much of a big deal.
I guess that I learned to accept that it's just part of life with kids with a high metabolic rate and a 12-hour sleep time of 7:30 pm to 7:30 am - heck my blood sugar freaks out if I go that long without eating or drinking so I can just imagine what it's like for a growing kid. For that same reason, I never leave home without some snacks packed in my purse, a reserve of snacks in the car and some more snacks in the water bag that also has 4 24oz bottles of water.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Here's proof that a 36 inch 34 lb child can still be easily carried around in a sling. A sling, by the way, that I made myself (from a pattern from Elizabeth Lee Designs). It's the Classic Sling pattern and I follow the instructions with the exception that I leave out all the padding 'cause it's too bulky and hot for Texas.

When he was first born I carried him in a plum colored fleece sling that I made from the same pattern.

That spring I switched to a lovely floral material that we used until he was 1.

Actually, just last month I carried 46 lb 48 " Giselle around in the striped sling while at HEB - no picture of that.

Rain Bubbles

So on Tuesday it rained here for the first time in like forever. Giselle and Paul played out in the rain as much as they could and Giselle did some pretty bubble art, then Paul smashed it all (after Giselle said it was ok).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Paul's Latest

OK, since the sprinkler accident last week there was:
1 - Saturday - He tripped and fell while running at the farmers market and scratched the palm of his right hand. He always wears long shorts to the market to keep his knees from getting scraped in these falls so those were unharmed.
2 - Sunday - He was chewing on the string to his binoculars and then pulled it back and forth in his mouth giving himself a major rope burn on each side of his mouth. He looks like the Joker from Batman.
3 - Tuesday - He was stabbing the etch-a-sketch with a pen, it slipped and he stabbed himself in the finger.

Oh, and the day before the sprinkler accident he got stung by a bee on the bottom of his other foot.

Dick Nichols Pool Update

It's officially open year-round as of yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, we are in the middle of a cold front right now with highs only in the upper 80's so it's WAY too cold to go to an unheated pool (the heaters won't be turned on until October). Yea Suzanne, you just keep on laughing at me but you know how Giselle is about cold water and cold air mixed with cold water.

Dick Nichols Neighborhood Pool 8011 Beckett Road
Dates September 5 - March 29
Monday-Friday Activity
11am - 1:30pm Recreational Swim and Lap Swim - Swim Lesson (9/5-10/12)
5:30pm - 7;30pm Recreational Swim and Lap Swim
6pm-7pm Youth Fitness Program

Saturday-Sunday Activity
1pm - 4pm Recreational Swim and Lap Swim

Monday, September 04, 2006

Croc Hunter Diaries - The true Final Entry has been made

Joe told me this morning that he heard on the radio that Steve Irwin died. I've spent the last 2 hours pouring over all the articles on the web - the accident happened last night (Sunday) at 8 pm (our time - cst US) which was 11 am Monday in Australia.

Media statement released by Australia Zoo – 4 September 2006
Steve Irwin
At 11am today, the 4th September 2006, Steve Irwin was fatally wounded by a stingray barb to his heart whilst filming a sequence on Batt Reef off Port Douglas for his daughter’s new TV series.Emergency services were called from Cairns Rescue Base and met Croc One, Steve’s rescue vessel at Low Isle on the Great Barrier Reef.The Croc One crew performed constant CPR during the thirty minute dash to Low Isle, but the medical staff pronounced Steve dead at approx. 12 noon.
His producer and closest friend, John Stainton said on Croc One today,“The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest Dads on the planet. He died doing what he loves best and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind. Crocs Rule!”

I've watched all his shows so many times that I feel like I knew him. The love that he had for his family, friends and all animals should be copied by everyone. This world has lost a great person. My heart goes out to Terri because, from all that I've learned of them over the years, theirs was a true life-long love that should have continued for another 40+ years.
Thank you Steve for sharing yourself with the world and you will be missed greatly by the occupants of Casa de Galletti!

Death as perplexing as fame

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dental Complications

Giselle's first adult/big tooth has made an appearance but it has neglected to eject it's predecessor prior to it's emergence. We have to manually wiggle the old tooth all the time for the next week to get it to come out on it's own or else the dentist will have to step in for an assisted removal. The funny thing is that it's her top 2 teeth that are totally wobbly!

Two months ago we met this wonderful mom & her 2 kids. Her oldest is 2 months older than Giselle and at the time that we met her she had just lost her first tooth. Giselle was so excited because this gave her hope that she too would start loosing teeth soon! Two weeks later, after her first dentist appointment she decided that her 2 bottom teeth were wobbly. I humored her slightly but also reminded that she was 2 months younger than Leia so it might be a little bit longer before the teeth actually came out. A month ago while eating vegetarian corn dogs, Giselle bit down on the stick by accident and said that it hurt her top tooth so it was not much of a surprise when last weekend she noticed that her top teeth had gone wobbly. It was highly exciting but not a surprise. Paul refuses to wobble it for her, he politely says "no thank you" whenever she offers to let him feel it. But here she is, at the same age that Leia was when we met her and IF Giselle's teeth had cooperated she also would be missing a tooth right now.
Now Giselle is all over me to finish making her Tooth Box - a pretty wood box that she painted and I'm lining for us to keep all of her baby teeth in. I'll be sure to post pictures of it with it's first resident when the time comes.

Paul's latest

So, while playing in the sprinkler on Monday morning, Paul stepped on either the sprinkler or on a half-chewed dog bone and cut his foot. I can see that I'm in for a lifetime of this.

Friday, August 25, 2006

scar update

The silicon bandages are way cool and I may use them on some of my own old scars (Homeopathic Silica is a 'cure' for scars so I'm ok with using the silicon things) but they definately DON"T hold onto sweaty heads, even at nighttime. We have switched to the Mederma. I just apply it at every diaper change since it's supposed to be rubbed in 3 to 4 times a day.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Paul's Scar

We started using this last night before bed - a friend who used to work for J&J recommended the silicon sheets.
Neosporin Scar Solution : Frequently Asked Questions

The Pediatrician advised using either the silicon sheets or Mederma. I got some of that too in case the sheets don't hold well to a sweaty forehead.

Was it a bee or a fly?

You decide and let me know - is this a bee or is it a fly? It was on our back porch the other morning - I guess he got 'cold' during the night and needed to warm up because he was letting me move him all around with a toy shovel. By the way, he was HUGE! I'm talking at least 1.5 inches long and .5 in wide!


My alien cactus

So I have this fuzzy cactus that when it blooms it has fuzzy flowers too. It's called a Stapelia Hirsuta aka Hairy Carrion Flower, carrion flower because the flower smells like rotting meat - to better attract the flies to pollinate it. But the flowers totally look like some alien lifeform.

A high in the 70's in August?

Don't talk to me about it being hot where you live, this is a picture of our thermometer that hangs outside of our back door (in direct sun from 4 pm until sunset). This picture was taken 3 days ago at about 6 pm and be aware that the high and lows were just reset 2 days before.
Current temp was 104, daily high was 122 (in the sun) and the low had been a chilly 76.