Monday, December 31, 2007

How we spent New Year's Eve Day

We spent the day in the front yard playing in the sprinkler. Well, I played with the sprinkler and the kids played in the dirt and mud after running through the sprinkler for 30 minutes.

The thermometer on the west side of the house showed that the high for the day was 82. Too bad that, as is usual, winter starts tomorrow. Historically, the cold seems to come to stay for 6 weeks starting tomorrow.

Giselle drew the most wonderful picture on the driveway today. She had me trace her body and then she colored it in.

The kids are watching TV for the next 6 hours (Reading Rainbow and Super Why, thank you TiVo) while they try to stay up as late as they possibly can - on New Year's Eve we let them stay up as long as they can. Paul made it to 11 pm last year while Giselle had to be shut down by me at 2 am. Maybe if I let her have more champagne this year she'll fall asleep sooner.

Totally out of the blue, Giselle just informed me that she likes it when people scratch the bottom of her feet but she doesn't like it when they tickle them. I keep thinking that she and Katie would make good friends, maybe we should start them as pen pals. What do you think, Donna?

picture deleted

funny stories

Go check out the contest and entries over on Kelly Jean's blog Laughing Always Helps. The contest is for an awesome organizer that she bought at Barnes & Noble this past weekend and to enter you have to give your most embarrassing/funny story.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Where are all my free calendars?!
By this time each year I usually have way too many calendars and am sharing the extras with friends. Not this year. We have exactly 2 wall calendars for 2008. One of them is Giselle's Highlights calendar and the other is a Georgia O'Keeffe one that I got as a present from one of my sisters. Where is my USAA calendar, my Kraft Family & Food calendar, my Dr Richard Schulze calendar, my National Wildlife Federation calendar? Where are they? 2008 starts in only 2 days! What am I going to do? I need more calendars!!! I knew I should have bought them when Woot! had them on sale last week!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Olympus Cameras - opinion

I have an Olympus 720SW (SW stands for Shock and Water resistant). This is my second Olympus - my other is an Olympus film camera, point-and-shoot. We have a Nikon CoolPix900 that we bought in 2001 and my previous film camera was a Pentax.
Olympus has a good warranty program (for one year, if you break it they will replace it and you can buy an additional 2 year warranty for only $50) and good email newsletters with tips on how to improve your picture taking.
I would LOVE to have one of the really nice digital SLRs but since I also love to carry the camera wherever I go we went with the Olympus. It fits inside of a zipable wallet. A good friend of ours who used to be a professional photographer bought one of the 720SWs when they first came out to take on a cross-country motorcycle trip. He loved it and recommended it to us when we asked his opinion on what we should get to replace the 2nd hand HP that I was carrying around in my purse. I've had it a year and my only complaint is that they should have made this one squash-proof like the 770SW(?) is. There is a lot of user tweaking that you can do if you don't want the camera do do it all for you and there are 25 different preprogrammed functions that you can use or tweak to your liking (candle light, available light, behind glass, museum, nighttime, self portrait, landscape, movie, etc). I've seen comparable cameras out there but none of them were waterproof like this one is - you can take pictures and movies with it under water up to 10 feet deep - or shockproof. Too bad my phone isn't as durable.
If you want to take REALLY nice pictures, for sale quality, then any one of those high end cameras would do you good. I would check for compatibility on add-on lenses (I think that I've read that Cannon holds the gold standard on lenses). For the stuff that I do - turning them into 8x10's for the living room wall - the tweakable point-and-shoots work just fine.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I used the last of our Finc Pura Vida eggs this morning making breakfast for some of the family. Joe had 3 of them with his 3 pieces of bacon, Giselle and Paul each had 2 of them with a patty of sausage, Thomas had a bowl of cereal (I think that it was the Hill Country Fair Brown Sugar Frosted Mini-Wheats), the dog had 2 eggs too - she gets the ones that have broken yolks. I had something but I don't remember what it was.
I'm supposed go get some from the store today so that we have some for tomorrow's breakfast but I haven't managed to get there yet.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I got the list all done.
Paul was too scared to stay up at the alter with all the other kids dressed up as Marys, Shepperds, prophets, wise men and the 1 Joseph so he came running back down the aisle to me. He was dressed as a Shepperd, complete with his stuffed lamb and his walking stick and his head scarf that Giselle did up for him. Giselle was Mary again with her Bitty Baby Sarah sitting in for baby Jesus.
The craziness should start about 7 and Paul will have eaten all the candy in his stocking by 8. The Baked Blueberry French Toast should be done cooking by 8:30 and be all eaten by 8:45 so present unwrapping should start by 9. By 10 I'll have all the paper and boxes and bags put away or in the trash and I'll be ready to start thinking about working on the turkey.
Oh, I didn't tell you about the turkey, did I?
It's a 17 pound Heirloom turkey that Edgar and Gayla killed and cleaned for me last Thursday. The turkey was hatched and raised on the farm this past year. It's a beauty and you wouldn't believe the amount of fat on that bird! The skin is really thick so that should roast up wonderfully tasty. BUT I'm not going to stuff it; I don't want to loose any stuffing inside of the bird so we'll be having dressing instead. And as an extra treat, the feet were inside of the body cavity with the neck and gizzards. The kids really got a kick (haha) out of seeing the feet no longer attached to the body. Paul wanted to know where the head was, Giselle wanted to know why they had cut off the toe nails.

I'll leave you with a quote that I read in a Land's End Christmas email that I got earlier today.
"A hug. A kind word. A hand to hold. The greatest gifts of all. May you give them freely and receive them abundantly. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year"

today's list

Still to do
Get turkey defrosted
Make the french toast for tomorrow
Wrap the rest of the presents
Make meatballs (we at the last of my frozen stash last night for dinner with ravioli)
Clean the playroom
Cut the dog's nails
Go to the 5 pm church service
Make the pizza for dinner
Put the rest of the gifts under the tree
Fill the stockings

Finish Laundry
Clean the back yard
Clean the front yard
Feed the neighbor's chickens

Sunday, December 23, 2007

too busy to post

I've got too much going on to post.
- still have presents to wrap (I think I finished the shopping last night when I went grocery shopping last night after the kids went to bed).
- was going to make pralines right now but the link on Jamie's blog doesn't work anymore!
- need to do laundry.
- need to finish cleaning the laundry room.
- need to re-organize the playroom to make room for the incoming mess.
- need to finish cleaning up the bedroom.
- need to vacuum the house.
- need to make sure that I have EVERYTHING that I need to make Christmas dinner.
- Joe thinks I need to help him clean up the back yard and redo the areas that I sodded the other day. I think THE KIDS need to help him as I already have enough to do.

Gotta run!
Do YOU have it all done? Shouldn't you be taking care of that instead of reading my blog?

Friday, December 21, 2007

my head is full of goo

What with this head cold, my monthly visitor and trying to get presents wrapped every night after the kids go to bed, I haven't had time to blog.
I cancelled school yesterday since it was sunny and 72 degrees. All we did today was finish Volume 1 of Story Of The World and once we are all ready we'll be heading out to Park Day for the day - it'll be 74 today! We'll be flying kites, playing with stomp rockets, and running around enjoying our normal Christmas weather.
Not gloating, just thankful that this is where I live.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I was so astounded by the fact that I had MORE THAN 400 visitors to this blog on Monday that I had to lay low for 2 days.
Yesterday, after we finished school at 1 pm, we went ice skating (indoors) for about 3 hours. Then we went looking for food, then we shopped for 10 minutes, then we actually ate food, then we went to go look at Christmas lights on 37th street. Then we drove around Central Austin looking for/at lights. Then we drove home and looked at more lights on the way. We stopped at Derick and Cyndi's house to look at their train. Then we finished driving home and I put the kids to bed. Then Paul woke up at 10 with a very horse cough so I went to bed.
Sorry about the boring post but my head is not 100% either - I think we caught this at the party on Saturday night.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Boo Mama's Christmas Tour of Homes

Christmas Tour of Homes Welcome to Casa De Galletti. This is our first year participating in BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes and I hope that you will enjoy your visit to our house and the view of our decorations. It's nothing fancy since last year we took down the front gutter and this year we got the house re-roofed and the fascia replaced so I can't hang any lights on half of the front of the house. And one of the two large glowing balls of lights (the red one) is shorted out from the rain earlier this week. But it's better than most of our neighbors (in real life) who have NOTHING up, not even a candle or tree in the front window.

A proper hostess has refreshments for her guests so here's your snack - a cold glass of eggnog and some gingerbread men. Be sure to bite the heads off of the gingerbread men first so that you don't hear them screaming! And try not to spill any eggnog on the carpet (keyboard) - it's so hard to get those sticky messes cleaned up.

Enjoy your visit!

These are the kid's advent calendars for this year. They are made by Playmobil and each day they get to open one of the attached little boxes. By the end they have completed an entire scene.

This is a side view of the advent calendars, our countdown-to-Christmas Santa nutcracker, the cute little momma snowman ornament that I won from Rechelle (she's too cute to get lost on the tree), and one of the two seasonal stick arrangements that are in the living room.

This is what Paul's Advent scene looked like last week, his is a king, prince and knight scene.

And this is Giselle's. Hers is a queen, princess and maiden scene.

This is the gingerbread house that we built - those little gingerbread men need to live somewhere!

This is a view of Paul's sides of the house. Notice Giselle's cute snowmen flannel pajamas?

And here are Giselle's sides of the house.

Here is this year's tree and stocking set up, and that IS an IMac Snowball there in the foreground (notice the sleek profile - it's almost invisible). The decorations are in different places on the tree and there are some some different stockings hanging up on the entertainment center because there are different people here this year...

but otherwise it looks just like last year's setup. We don't put out the gifts until Christmas eve since Mr Paul has very little self-control (he's getting it slowly) and I enjoy climbing up and down the ladder to the attic every night.

Woooo, every thing's all spinney! Look at all the pretty colors!
It appears as if you've had too much eggnog so I'm going to have to ask you to leave now.

Here's the front door. It was nice of you to drop by. Please come again next year!

Hey, you're going the wrong way, your car is up the street!

See, I told you that you've had too much to drink! Be careful not to drink and blog surf!

Ah, now that's much better!

Happy Holidays and all that good stuff! Thanks for dropping by! Please leave a comment (or a check for the damages) so that others can come by and egg your house, I mean drink all your liquor, I really mean so that I can get a boost to my blog self-esteem (you read me, you really do!).

No, really, please leave a comment and a link to YOUR Christmas Tour of Homes post (if you have one).

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Now, I'm not going to whine about it going down to 22 here in Austin tonight since several hundred miles north of here got slammed with that ice storm and are dealing with much worse than our measly 2 nights of freezing weather. Nope, I'm going to show the varied weather that my family nation-wide is having tonight and tomorrow.

See if you can guess where they live!

1 - Overnight: Clear, with a low around 33. Breezy, with a west wind between 24 and 29 mph. Monday: Sunny, with a high near 43. Northwest wind between 13 and 20 mph. Monday Night: Clear, with a low around 28. Northwest wind between 5 and 8 mph.

2 - Overnight: A chance of freezing rain before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. Breezy, with a west wind between 17 and 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. Breezy, with a west wind between 18 and 22 mph. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 5. Wind chill values as low as -10. Breezy, with a west wind between 13 and 21 mph.

3 - Overnight: Clear, with a low around 28. West wind between 13 and 17 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Monday: Sunny, with a high near 44. West wind between 11 and 14 mph. Monday Night: Clear, with a low around 23. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

4 - Overnight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 22. Breezy, with a west wind around 24 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Monday: Sunny, with a high near 38. Breezy, with a west wind between 14 and 21 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 22. West wind between 3 and 10 mph.

5 - Tonight: Clear, with a low around 31. Calm wind. Monday: Increasing clouds, with a high near 60. East wind between 5 and 10 mph. Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. East wind between 5 and 10 mph.

6 - Overnight: Mostly clear, with a low around 35. North wind between 10 and 14 mph. Monday: Sunny, with a high near 54. Wind chill values as low as 27 early. North wind between 9 and 13 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Monday Night: Areas of frost after 1am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 33. North wind between 3 and 6 mph.

7 - Overnight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. Breezy, with a west wind between 17 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 39. Breezy, with a west wind between 15 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 23. West wind between 5 and 11 mph.

8 - Overnight: Mostly clear, with a low around 25. West wind 14 to 17 mph decreasing to between 6 and 9 mph. Winds could gust as high as 37 mph. Monday: Sunny, with a high near 43. West wind between 11 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 22. West wind around 6 mph becoming calm.

9 - Tonight: Patchy fog after 10pm. Otherwise, partly cloudy during the early evening, then becoming cloudy, with a low around 46. West northwest wind at 6 mph becoming southeast. Monday: Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 61. Southeast wind 6 to 14 mph becoming west. Monday Night: A 30 percent chance of rain after 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. West southwest wind 8 to 14 mph becoming east.

This is us here in Austin:
Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 22. Calm wind. Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 60. Calm wind becoming south southeast between 5 and 10 mph. Monday Night: Patchy fog after 3am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. South wind around 5 mph.

All weather is courtesy of NOAA /National Weather Service.

Friday, December 14, 2007

We feel GROSS!

So, every once in a while we eat like the supposed average American. Tonight was one of those nights. Joe went to a client's Christmas party with Thomas * while the kids and I stayed inside where it's warm and dry. Since Joe was out having 'fancy food' at the party I decided to 'treat' the kids to junk so I ordered from Domino's Pizza. We got a large hand-tossed pizza with triple black olives and double mushrooms (we had a coupon, #331) and I felt greedy due to the post on Pioneer Woman Cooks so I ordered Cinna Stix. The guy on the phone said that for just $1 more I could get a 2-liter bottle of soda so in a fit of stupidity I added on a bottle of Orange Fanta. So for dinner the kids had 2 pieces of pizza, 2 cups of orange soda (diluted w/30% water), and 1 piece of dough covered with cinnamon sugar and fake butter. I had 1 piece of pizza, 1 cup of orange soda mixed with one Zima, and 6 pieces of dough covered with cinnamon sugar and fake butter. And now all 3 of us feel so gross that it's just disgusting. I don't see how people can eat like this on a regular basis.

Tomorrow night we're all going to a Christmas party together (in separate cars) in the freezing cold (and this time I'm not exaggerating - the low tomorrow night is supposed to be 31 degrees).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monty Python

So on Saturday, while at the party after the birthday party, the kids watched the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the second time in 1 month. So now my 6 yr old and 4 yr old are every once in a while trotting around the house yelling "ni!" or randomly saying to each other "What is your favorite color?" and then shouting "wrong!" and making a blow-up sound.
Good thing they watch Charlie & Lola, otherwise they might not have been able to understand the accents.
Silly kids!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Alzheimers moment

Darn! While I was doing the dishes an hour ago I came up with the greatest name for this post and now, for the life of me, I can't remember it. AT ALL. It was something snappy about what I made for dinner. Oh now I remember it!

Quicker Than Take-out Homemade Lo Mien

Ok, I actually wrote this post after the other one but in order for it to read properly on the blog I had to re-do the time of the post to be 10 min earlier than the first post.

Last night was the rescheduled seafood night here at Casa De Galletti which this week meant that the kids, Thomas and I were going to share 1 pound of bay scallops and Thomas was going to have not quite a 1/2 pound sockeye salmon fillet. We would be sharing some fresh broccoli too. Giselle remarked that she was in the mood for Asian food.

***Well, not so much remarked more like demanded. See we were at her friend Grace's house and we had to leave at 5 so that Marie could go get her hair cut. As we were leaving, Giselle informs me that she wants to spend the night there that night. I said no but that Marie and I would try to come up with a night before Christmas for them to do another sleep-over. As we pulled into our driveway (a mere 2 minutes later) Giselle tells me that since she couldn't eat dinner at Grace's and since she couldn't spend the night there either that she wants to go out to eat Asian food either at Dynasty Buffet or at Buffet Palace or some new place that she hasn't ever been to before. I said no, that we were eating at home. She said to me "How come Daddy gets to eat out tonight but WE don't?!" and I responded "Because Daddy works hard for his money and he can eat where ever he wants to. I've already bought the food for our dinner this evening and that's what we will be eating." She then said "Fine, but I don't want Asian noodle soup, I want something else like we get at the restaurants!"***

So the wheels start turning in my head and I realize that I have all the makings for Lo Mien. I cleared the menu item with the girl and set about making dinner. The scallops were rinsed and drained, then doused with Old Bay Seasoning and sauteed with butter over med-high heat for 3 minutes, flipped then cooked for 1 additional minute. They were removed from the pan, leaving the juice in there for poaching the salmon (7 minutes on med-high heat, covered). The broccoli was cooked in a big pot with a bit of water and loads of salt on it but it was a bust - too tough/old - none of us liked it so I pitched it into the trash.

The Lo Mien - everyone had seconds!
I put about 4 cups of water into a 3 quart sauce pan over high heat.
I poured in about 1/4 cup of Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce (BTW, the kids tried tinned smoked oysters for the first time last week and they liked them - Giselle ate 4 of them and Paul stopped after 1.5).
When this came to a boil I added a 6 oz package of Caravelle Chuka Soba (wheat soba/ramen noodles).
After 3 minutes, I skimmed the noodles out of the pan and put them aside in a medium bowl.
I then added a 16 oz package of Central Market frozen mixed vegetables to the boiling broth/water.
After 5 minutes I drained out the broth/water and dumped the veggies into the bowl with the noodles.
I returned the empty pan to the stove, lowered the heat to medium-high and poured in several tablespoons of Spectrum Naturals Organic High Heat Sunflower Oil.
While the oil heated I poured about a quarter cup of San-J Organic Whole Soybean Shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce) over the noodles & veggies in the bowl.
When the oil was fry-hot I dumped the bowl of veggies, noodles & soy sauce into the pan and stir-fried it long enough to evenly coat all the veggies and noodles with the soy sauce and warm it all back up.
When everything is coated, take it off the stove, dump it back into the bowl used before, set it on the table and watch it disappear.
15 minutes from start to finish if you include the 5 min that it took for the water to come to a boil (I use the double filtered water from the refrigerator so it takes a little longer to come to a boil).

wow, no post yesterday!

How did that slip by me?
We schooled in the morning, the kids played around the house for an hour after lunch, then we headed over to Marie's house until 5. After dinner there was more playing, then one chapter of Charlotte's Web and then lights out for the kids. I'm not sure how I filled the night hours but it wasn't doing blog stuff or wrapping gifts or watching TV. Oh, I was helping Joe with an Excel spreadsheet for a while and doing some eBay searching.
Back to school and I've got to help Paul find his missing Playmobil prince from his Advent Calendar. Oh, I need to upload those pictures!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Attic Space

Since the attic got cleaned out some (most of the contents are still stacked up in the laundry room) and re-floored there is currently loads of room up there. Absolutely perfect for storing unwrapped and wrapped Christmas gifts. I just have to be sure to remember to get it all down on Christmas Eve to stick it under the tree.

Speaking of the tree, did I mention that, thanks to Paul asking for it, we have a train going around the base of the tree this year. It's either James or Percy going around on a Thomas track with a generic second engine and two box cars in tow but it works for all of us. Fortunately we have plenty of AA batteries to keep him running.

I just need to remember to unplug the outside lights before bed each night. I can't put them on a timer since the extension cord that plugs into the inside socket is a 3-prong plug and non of the timers that we have in stock are 3-prong timers. I guess I could go buy one since I'm sure that I'd use it for many years to come. I'll add it to my list.

rain delay

It was too cold and wet for me to get motivated to finish the outside lights today! But I did win 2 Jane West and 1 Josie West dolls for Giselle and me to play with. Now to keep trying to get a horse for a reasonable price.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Half Done

The tree is up and decorated. I got most of the lights up on the outside of the house. The kids' advent calendars finally came in the mail on Friday so this morning before, during and after Sunday School I was putting all the little Play Mobil toys together that go into the little boxes that I had to make. They are now hanging on the living room wall. I plan on getting the rest of the decorations and lights done tomorrow so that I'll be ready to post pictures for Boo Mama's Tour of Homes - see the button in the sidebar.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I don't want to post, I want to go to bed.
Up at 8, at The Market at 9, back home at 1:30, at the birthday party at 1:40, home from the birthday party at 10:00, helped pull a tooth at 10:15, checked email at 10:30, checked ebay at 10:40, checked blogs at 11, logging off at 11:21. Good night.

Friday, December 07, 2007

GI Joe

Thanks to EBay Paul'll be getting 4 GI Joe's for his birthday in January!

It's Soup Day

It's A Soup-Tacular!

Even though it'll be in the 80's here today, here is a recipe for a hearty winter soup -

Vegan Split Pea Soup
makes 9 2-cup servings

4 C Vegetable Broth
12 C water
1 C lentils
4 C split peas
1/2 lb diced carrots
1/2 C chopped green onions
2 tsp Spike seasoning
fresh ground pepper - 1/2 on fine and 1/2 on medium
4 - 5 medium/large cloves of garlic - pressed
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger minced

Bring broth to boil. Add all other ingredients. Bring to 2nd boil stirring almost constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 4 hours - until the soup is the texture that you like. Pour 2-cup portions into containers that will fit into your smallest sauce pan (square ones aren't good nor are the tall skinny sour cream containers). Flash freeze overnight then pop them out of the containers and tfer into a big freezer bag. When reheating, add 1 C water for each 2-cup portion as the soup really thickens up after the first cooking.

Since I'm no longer vegan, I now add bacon ends at the beginning and some diced ham. I make it a little differently every time, sometimes adding more carrots nearer the end, sometimes adding potatoes if I'm not going to freeze it, sometimes throwing in some basil or cilantro.


wow, it's a bit windy tonight!

shh, I'm going to bed RIGHT NOW!

Park Day today - I hope we get there before 2!
Market tomorrow - Giselle is staying home!
Birthday Party tomorrow afternoon - I better get those presents wrapped!
Church in 2 days - I get to wear my new shoes again!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Best Of The West

OK, so my next door neighbors and I had these action dolls when we were kids. They were the Best Of The West dolls. In doing research on whether or not I can still get them I found out that they were based on the TV show Best Of The West. I never knew that!
I wish that I still had my Princess Wildflower and my horses from this. I'm looking for them now for the kids (and me too). Wish me luck!

It's A Soup-Tacular

It's A Soup-Tacular!

Boomama's got this going tomorrow
Join in!

Freezing green beans

In response to a question of mine, Garden Gnome @ posted instructions on canning beans. Unfortunately I don't have a pressure canner so instead I'm freezing the 7 or so pounds of fresh green beans that I got at the market this last week. Per my friend Gayla's instructions I blanched them for 1 minute in boiling salted water and then put them in a cold water bath. Once they had cooled I put them out on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the freezer to flash freeze. Once they are frozen I will transfer them into gallon freezer bags and stuff them into the big freezer. And we'll have fresh green beans for Christmas dinner. Oh, I've got to remember to make a turkey sign for Gayla for The Market.

Still up

Still got some shopping to do so I'm doing some of it now. Actually, I'm taking a break right now. The kids are getting restless in the bedroom so I better wind things up soon.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


We were finally going to get to play with Marie and the kids today but she woke up this morning with a mild case of what her family has had for the last week.

Last night I built the grill finally - it rode around in the car with us for several weeks and it's been sitting in the box on the back porch for the last month. Tonight I built a fire in it, using the charcoal that I've been carrying around in the back of the car since the day that I bought the grill. And after our dinner of mac & cheese with mixed veggies stirred in we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores. Then I roasted two hot dogs. After they finished off the dogs they went to bed and I washed dishes. After the dishes were done I headed out to Target for their sale. I was there from 9 to 10:30 and got the rest of the shopping done for the kids. Got some for me and Joe.
I'm going to Google for them but does anyone know where I can find some GI Joes? My Joe says that they are too politically incorrect and that I won't find them anywhere. I said "There's a war going on, how can GI Joe be politically incorrect?" He said "This war is politically incorrect." I said "Vietnam was a politically incorrect war and that's when we all had OUR GI Joes." So what gives? Why no GI Joe at Target?


Our latest favorite song is Schnitzelbank, courtesy of The Biscuit Brothers. Listen to a clip here and then buy it at their next live show or buy it on CDBaby. This version is great, firstly because it's by The Biscuit Brothers and secondly because it's in English so it's easy for the kids to learn it and make up their own lyrics.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I won!

I actually won in a blog contest! No, my blog didn't win anything, I won a contest on someone else's blog.
I'm going to keep the prize for myself since the kids won't be willing to share. Maybe we need to make our annual trip to Garden Ridge for them to pick out their own new ornaments soon.

Target is having a sale on their Our Generation dolls AND HORSES! Their horses are said to be superior to the American Girl horses according to While the dolls are not AG quality, they are great if your daughter likes to take her dolls outdoors to actually play with them. And you can't beat the sale price - $20 for the horses and most of the dolls. I need to get a sitter so that I can shop without the kids!

no more canning for this winter

at least no more tomatoes. Just before we left for ballet this afternoon I finished canning the full case of tomatoes that I got on Saturday. 18 1-pint wide-mouth jars. I bought 2 cases of jars while the kids were in Sunday School yesterday since I had already used up (by canning pasta sauce) the 24 jars that I had previously bought. My cabinet will be full and I have enough to last until next year.

Yesterday, after church, we spent the whole day working on the yard over at the new house. All the scratches that I got on my hands while trimming the lantana were screaming from the tomato juice this morning. Then we rushed home at 5, made meatballs, then ate fresh meatballs and homemade pasta sauce over mushroom ravioli, then headed off to see the live Nativity presentation at our neighbor's church. It was the 20th year they've been doing it - the church not my neighbors.

I don't remember posting on Saturday but the big news of that day is/was ...... I finally got my shoes!!!!!! On Thomas' recommendation I went to DSW. He had been dragged (drug?) there a few weeks ago by his girlfriend and afterwards he told me that they had some shoes that meet my specifications. He was correct! The kids did great, they were trying on more shoes than I was. We went to PayLess afterwards to look for new church shoes for Giselle but we found none so we went next door to WalMart where we found not just 2 pair of church shoes but also a pair of great dress-up shoes - pink jellies that look like princess slippers (no heels!).

Gotta go, Joe's already started watching part 2 of "Tin Man" and he won't pause it for me to go pee if I don't promise to watch it on the sofa with him.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm going to bed

It's 10:30 and I'm going to bed NOW!
Tomorrow we've got the market and then I might go shopping at DSW since it's right next to the market and my feet will be sufficiently enlarged from standing on them non-stop for the previous 5 hours. I might go to Academy to get a new fleece jacket since the zipper broke on my old one last week.
Or I might rush home so that I can shave my legs so that we can go to the pool.

July Dinner Calendar - a chronilogical listing of what I served for dinner in the month of July 2007

1 - Hot dogs w/ buns, homemade cheese cornbread, peas
2 - Chicken breast, cornbread, raw veggies, squash
3 - Shrimp, summer sausage, mixed veggies
4 - Neighborhood cookout party - I brought hot dogs, marinated cucumbers and raw baby carrots
5 - Hot dogs
6 - Hot dogs
7 - Cheese tortellini
8 - Black bean tamales, mixed veggies, raw veggies
9 - Lunch - Freshly made meatballs
Dinner - Ate out at Trudy's Restaurant - had crab enchiladas and bean & cheese nachos
10 - Left over Taco Bell
11 - Left over Taco Bell
12 - Cheese tortellini w/ meatballs, pizza
13 - Hot dogs w/ buns
14 - Ratatouille, Asian noodle soup
15 - Cheese tortellini w/ meatballs
16 - Roasted chicken (from Sam's), mixed veggies
17 - Mushroom ravioli w/ meatballs
18 - Cheese tortellini, mixed veggies
19 - Asian noodle soup w/ bay scallops
20 - Canned mushroom barley soup (Sorry Cheryl, it was a Friday night and we'd been at the park all day...)
21 - Korv Stroganoff
22 - Leftover korv stroganoff
23 - Tuna steaks, mixed veggies, homemade ice cream
24 - Fried eggs, bacon, pipian squash
25 - Cereal maybe, I couldn't remember at the time
26 - Ratatouille, cheese tortellini w/ meatballs w/ no sauce, mushroom ravioli w/ meatballs w/ sauce
27 - Hot dogs, ratatouille
28 - Aduki beans, rice, mixed veggies
29 - Cheese tortellini w/ no sauce, scrambled eggs
30 - Beans, rice, raw veggies
31 - Broiled golden trout, mixed veggies

Good bye ELO

I'm taking off ELO "Hold On Tight To Your Dreams".
I don't have a replacement in mind yet.


Out of the house by 9:30
Closed on the house by 11
Trench for water pipe done by 1
New water pipe installed by 2
School finished by 3:15
Toilet fixed by 3:30
Golf cart ride done by 3:45
At the park by 4
Probably home by 5:30
no idea on what or when for dinner
Charlotte's Web by 7:30
Lights off by 8

Thursday, November 29, 2007

closing tomorrow

As usual, the mortgage dance is going until the last seconds. I've never known one to not close on time so I'm not sweating it but it IS frustrating to sit on the sidelines knowing what is going to happen but being powerless to do anything about it. It's like watching a car crash in slow motion except that you know that the cars are actually going to miss each other and no one will get hurt but it doesn't make it any easier to watch.
And the kids are not making it any easier. Giselle has been getting school completely done every day but the effort that it's been taking has been a little higher than I like. And then there's that little boy...

Monday, November 26, 2007

2007 Beaujolais Nouveau

Wow, I actually spelled that correctly on the FIRST try!
So I opened a bottle of the 2007 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau for Thanksgiving and I have to say that I'm not happy with it this year. It didn't taste good with the turkey, it didn't taste good with the dressing, it didn't taste good with the cranberry sauce. It didn't taste good after dinner with nothing else.
I actually dumped the last third of the bottle down the drain. Yes, it was that bad!
I did buy 2 bottles - one for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas - so maybe it'll taste better with ham (I'm thinking of having ham for Christmas dinner this year).

less meat please

Last night at dinner the two kids both commented that they are really tired of all the meat that we've been eating lately and they requested that I stop cooking meat so often, please, effective immediately. Well, as soon as they were done eating the pork roast that I just served them. Although this afternoon Paul asked for deli-sliced chicken (meaning turkey) on his quesadilla, he only ate half of it. Giselle wanted cheese only.
So today at HEB I only bought salmon for Joe & Thomas, no shrimp or mahi mahi for the kids. I even double checked with Paul and he said "No more meat!" Tonight for dinner I cooked the salmon for Thomas while I heated up leftover dressing, leftover mashed potatoes and new mixed veggies with the leftover green beans added in. I called the kids for dinner and they whined "But we didn't want leftovers! Except for the stuffing, oh, and the green beans, oh and the peas-carrots-corn that we asked for." Paul didn't want his stuffing and Giselle didn't want her potatoes. The dog wanted it all; she got all the the plate leftovers and the skin from the salmon so she was happy. Joe didn't want any of it so he went out to eat with one of his friends. Thomas was full from the lunch he didn't want so he could only eat his salmon. That meant that I had to finish off the last of the dressing - too bad!
Tomorrow the dog gets the gravy and leftover turkey for breakfast.
I need to give her her pee pill, actually it's her no-pee pill, and go to bed.
See ya!

busy updating

We got school done today.
Marie left town this morning for 5 days - I only got to see her once in the past 2 weeks - wah!
I spent my blog time this evening updating my sidebar list of all the blogs that I read daily.
I got ANOTHER lame checkout clerk at HEB this afternoon! I need to conduct a training class for them and show them how to do their job CORRECTLY! Maybe that's what I'll do in my spare time.
Closing on Friday is on schedule.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

cold and wet, wet and cold

It was so cold and wet at The Market! It was miserable weather but the company was good so we actually enjoyed ourselves. We've been home for 2 hours and my toes are still thawing out. I might be making turkey soup tonight for dinner to warm us to our toes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sunday Seven Thankful Thursday Thirteen

I'm thankful for:
1 - My husband, Joe.
2 - My kids, Giselle and Paul.
3 - My Mom & Dad and 6 sisters and 3 brothers, Suzanne, Angie, Cea, Joan, Carol and Mary, JJ, Dan and Vlad, and their spouses and kids.
4 - My BFsF, Marie and Gayla.
5 - My friends from grade school that I'm still friends with, Betsy and others.
6 - My health.
7 - My friends from LLL, Paige, Cathy, Bridget, Kelly and others.
8 - My friends from CHEACT park day, Susan, Teresa, Kathleen, Ruth, Leslee and others
9 - My neighbors.
10 - My other friends from other places, Mary, Rhonda and others.
11 - My ability to stay at home and take care of my kids and husband and household.
12 - My husband's kind family.
13 - My wonderful life!
I guess I could have just listed number 13 as number 1 and been done with it all.

Sunday Seven - the Thanksgiving Edition

I'll be posting my Thanksgiving edition of Sunday Seven later today. Maybe it should be called Thursday Thirteen - the Thanksgiving Edition instead. Or maybe just Things I'm Thankful For This Year.
Whatever, it'll be up later today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Give the gift of blood

Your local blood bank always runs low on holidays, especially between Thanksgiving and New Years. I'll be giving blood on Friday, what about you?
Blood is a resource that your body makes so you can donate as often as every 8 weeks. Every pint that you donate could make the difference between life and death for someone in need. I never donated expressed milk (I was too lazy) but by donating blood I can help even more people.
Donating blood is easy and it's a gift that will cost you nothing give.

Growing Up

Tanya posted the most wonderful post today that I had to pass it on so that you are sure to read it in case you aren't already reading her blog daily like I am.

I had to add to her list of things to be treasured forever regarding our growing children.
And the touch of their sweet little un-calloused hand on your cheek. And the way that their little hand squeezes yours when you hold it. And the sound of their giggles when you nuzzle their neck with kisses. And how they hug your neck so tightly that they choke you.
Their enthusiasm for EVERYTHING (almost) is truly a wonder to behold and I will cherish every moment of their innocent childhood for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

wasted my time

It's time for me to go to bed but I used up all of my blog-writing time reading other people's blogs. I was looking for inspiration and affirmation and I pretty much got what I was looking for. Over the past few days I've found some new blogs to read and I'm still looking for more.

The day started miserably and it wasn't until dinnertime (7 pm) that it fully recovered. I dropped by Sonic on the way home from HEB and the kids ate grilled cheese and chicken strips while I steamed up the clams that I had bought at the store. They liked how they pop open when they are done cooking but didn't like how they tasted. They are TOTALLY enjoying playing with the now empty and cleaned clam shells! See, Paul has been going around for the last week playing with an old oyster shell that he has named Clammy. He found the shell on the beach this spring when we were in Jacksonville. So Clammy inspired me to buy some real clams and give Clammy a friend.
We joined Costco today.
That's about all I want to say about today. Joe will have to get an update some other way - oh, that's right, he was here to hear it all this morning so he doesn't need an update.
School is double tomorrow since we did close to none today and won't be doing any on Thanksgiving.

That Martha, she ought to write a book or have a show!

Check THIS out for an EXCELLENT idea!!!!!! Who would have ever thought of a SHELF OVER THE BATHROOM DOOR?! What a great use of wasted/forgotten/unknown space! Joe's comment was "Not everyone has bathrooms as small as ours so who else would care about that?" Gosh, half of NY City lives in an apartment smaller than our house and half of old Austin is in houses smaller than ours so I think that actually a LOT of people will be as excited about this as I am. I'm going out and buying the supplies for that as soon as Thanksgiving is over.

Hmm, what color should I paint it? The bathroom is the faintest light blue, it's from the 'Touch Of Color' series that Glidden? did about 12 years ago. Should it be a bright blue, or the same blue, or hot pink?

Go to bed Natalie!!!

funny joke

This is once again going around the homeschool email lists. It's funny but also pretty true and the author is unknown.

"How does a homeschooler change a light bulb?"
First, Mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life.
Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles.
Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill.
On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill.
Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged in from the woods, the light bulb is installed, and there is light.

sorry and recipe for Asian Noodle Soup

no chance to post on Saturday day or night - We spent all morning and early afternoon at the Farmers Market and then we spent the rest of the afternoon over at my friend Ruth's place. She just had baby #4 and her husband & other kids were gone for the weekend so we went over to bring her some fresh produce from the market and to keep her company. Saturday night Paul woke up at 10:30 to throw-up all over himself and the bed. 3 hours and 2 more throw-ups later the three of us were back in bed asleep. Paul broke his fever during the night.

We skipped church on Sunday - I have a 'no throw-ups for 24 hours before you can go anywhere' rule - and Sunday afternoon Giselle threw-up. Paul was feeling fine so it was a struggle to get him to relax on the sofa. We didn't eat dinner but Giselle threw-up for the second time at 7:30 so that ruled out ballet lessons for her (and grocery shopping for me) on Monday. Since they hadn't really done anything all day that would tire them out, I read The Long Winter to them for an hour until 8:45 and then made them go to sleep. Her fever broke at about 3 or 4 am on Monday.

So today we had the spelling test that we didn't do yesterday, we completed 4 pages from Connect With Words (we usually do only 3 a day but there's that holiday on Thursday to contend with), wrote a sentence each for this week's spelling words, read 2 chapters from Story Of The World (17 & 18) and completed 5 pages from Total Math.

And I got another 1/2 case of tomatoes sauced up and canned today. The kids said that it tasted as good as the Prego Organic sauce that I buy and that's quite a compliment coming from Giselle since she WAY prefers the store-bought sauce over the homemade sauce that I canned up last year. But in my defense, those 2 batches were the very first time that I had ever tried canning anything and I hadn't ever made sauce entirely from scratch (using fresh tomatoes instead of canned) either. Once again, Paul was angry at me for using up all of the big tomatoes but he was a little happier when I reminded him about the 8 lb bowl of grape tomatoes sitting on the table. And I got the 2 lbs of fajita chicken breasts frozen individually for future use. I've got a ton (not literally) of pipian and ayote squash to take care of. I'll turn some into a side dish for Thanksgiving and the rest will have to go into the freezer. I've got something like 8 gallons of it in the freezer already so it's a good thing that I throw it into almost every meal that I cook.
For instance, I diced-large/chopped-small half of an ayote squash and put it into our Asian noodle soup for dinner tonight.
Kyoto brand organic soba noodles & soup mix prepared with 4 to 6 cups of water with a cup of mixed frozen veggies, some Wakami seaweed, the ayote squash and some oyster sauce all cooked together for a quick and nutritious dinner. I usually add more mixed veggies and sometimes some more soba noodles but since the kids' stomachs might have still been tender I wanted this soup to be more broth than solids.

Tomorrow we've got to get that pre-Thanksgiving grocery shopping done AND join Costco AND get school done AND take some fresh produce over to Marie AND clean the house some more (I vacuumed the living room this afternoon during a commercial/bathroom break). I better get off of here and get to bed. After I bookmark some items that I want to buy on Amazon.

BTW, I never got a chance to use ANY of my B&N coupons!!

Friday, November 16, 2007


Can't blog - we're watching Scrubs and My Name Is Earl from last night on TiVo.

stats and a test

We all seem to be in the mood to increase our site's stats so I thought that I'd help out some other bloggers by directing my 13 daily readers to their sites. I'm going to do this the complicated way so that everyone in the chain gets a hit on their site.

Country Doctor's Wife (go to her site through the link on my sidebar) has written a post (titled Private Parts or Tats on My Stats) about how much her stats have changed since she placed an ad on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman (go to her site through the link on my sidebar). In the comments for Country Doctor's Wife's post Kelly Jean tells about a neat site that will tell you what reading & comprehension level your blog is written on. You have to go to KellyJean's site (Laughing Always Helps) and read her post titled "I's juss not that smart..." to get to the link of her friend's blog that has the link to The Blog Readability Test on it. There, you enter the url of a blog or myspace page and it will tell you the readability level of that blog. It's fun. Go try it out for yourself!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

They are the Biscuit Brothers, welcome to their show

We went to Central Market Central this evening to see the Biscuit Brothers play two sets and buy their two new CDs - Family Favorites and Have a Merry Musical Christmas. As usual, we had a great time, the kids and I both sang along to all the songs that we knew and Giselle danced so much that her feet hurt. She took off her boots once we finally got to the car. If you have kids aged 8 and under you really need to own these guys' CDs and if your local PBS station doesn't carry their show then start sending letters until they do. If your PBS station DOES Carry their show then start watching it! This is American Music Appreciation at it's best!

After the show we played on the playground for about 20 minutes then we headed inside to see if they had any turkey parts worthy of buying. They didn't but we got some snacks for the drive home and headed to the car.
We didn't make it to the shoe store today and tomorrow we've got 1 - school, 2 - grocery shopping for a friend who just had baby #4 and needs a helping hand, 3 - a meeting with a leader applicant and then 4 - the monthly nighttime La Leche League meeting.

We got a lot of school done today but I forgot to read today's Story Of The World chapter. For that matter, I haven't used any of my B&N coupons yet either! Could someone else please lead tomorrow night's meeting for me?

I wore a different pair of earrings tonight - big silver butterflies that I've owned for over 25 years. I took them out when I got home but I didn't put any others in to fill the holes. PLEASE don't let me forget to put some in before I leave the house tomorrow. Leaving home without earrings in is just as bad a leaving the house with no makeup on, something else that I never do if I can help it. Ugh, naked ears!

I'm going to watch some TV, drink a few liters of water and then go to bed. Hopefully all before 11 pm.

I'm really going to bed now!

I stayed up too late looking at shoes on . Yes, I still haven't bought any BUT Thomas was at DSW with his girlfriend this weekend and said that they have some shoes that looked like what I'm interested in. So I might drag the kids there tomorrow after we are done with school. Or I may be super nice and leave them at Marie's house while I go shop ALONE! Mmmm, no. Paul is still my little pee-boy. (Sorry Joe, I'm just telling the truth or as PW would say "Just Keepin' It Real". BTW, is there anyone out there NOT reading Pioneer Woman?) Oh, but since Paul isn't consistent in his continence I'm not leaving him at anybody's house without me staying with him, so I guess that he'll go shopping with me. He seems to enjoy it for now so I don't mind it too much either.

I'm drinking a liter of water and then I'm done for the night.
See you in the daylight!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Slacking Off - June dinner calendar

So I'm supposed to be researching prices on replacement toner for our HP Color LaserJet 2840. Well, the answer is EXPENSIVE!

So, now that my work is done (on hold for 20 minutes) I'm going to post our dinner calendar for the month of June instead of doing the dishes.

1 - Broiled whiting fish w/ ranch dressing, mixed veggies
2 - Veggie patties on tortillas, tomatoes
3 - Ate out at The Village Inn - Joe's parents were in town
4 - Pork tacos with all the trimmings
5 - Black bean tamales, mixed veggies
6 - Baked chicken, mixed veggies
7 - Ate out at Sonic with Joe's parents
8 - Hot dogs
9 - Pork dumplings, Asian noodle soup
10 - Stewed black-eyed peas w/ okra & tomatoes & bacon & onions & garlic & sour cream
11 - Ate out at Dynasty Buffet
12 - Shrimp linguine
13 - Mixed Veggies w/ rice
14 - Ate out at Satellite Cafe with Marie, Roland and their kids
15 - Forgot to write it down and when I did I had forgotten what I made
16 - Cheese tortellini & mushroom ravioli with a chuck-steak-strips meat sauce
17 - Tortellini leftovers for Joe and black bean tamales for the kids, mixed veggies for everyone
18 - Ate dinner at Marie's - pork tacos with all the trimmings
19 - Cheese tortellini, shrimp
20 - Beef quesadillas
21 - Paul & I ate out at Taco Bell, Joe & Giselle ate out at Satellite Cafe
22 - Cheese tortellini w/ meat sauce
23 - Black bean, pork and chicken tamales
24 - Ate raw veggies at Marie's, ate corn on the cob at home
25 - Ate dinner at Marie's - ratatouille for the adults, cheese tortellini for the kids, raw veggies for all
26 - Asian noodle soup
27 - Cheese tortellini, raw veggies
28 - Black beans w/ rice
29 - Turkey sandwiches, raw veggies, apple sauce, yogurt
30 - Asian noodle soup


Good bye Dee-Lite "Groove Is In The Heart"
Hello Electric Light Orchestra "Hold On Tight To Your Dreams"


A bottle of Zima mixed with a bottle of sangria flavored soda!

Due to mortgage dancing, we just finished the Indians of Texas book today. But tonight at bedtime, due to finishing dinner early, we read 3 whole chapters of The Long Winter. Giselle and I really wanted to keep reading - since we never get snow it's very exciting to read about them enduring those South Dakota winters. That took so much determination to survive those winters. I would have told DH to move us the Heck out of there and take us to somewhere WARM! For that matter, I wouldn't have let us move there in the first place. That first move from the Big Woods would have been down to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana or Texas if it had been our family!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Tonight for dinner I made Seafood Fettuccine from Mom's Cafe. The family loved it even though I used spaghetti noodles instead of fettuccine noodles.
That means that I actually got to go grocery shopping this week! The thing I find the most exciting about that is the fact that I have enough food in my fridge, freezer and pantry to keep us fed for a minimum of 2 weeks. Had the big boys not needed any store-bought milk for their cereal and had I not used up all of our sliced cheese the first week, I really wouldn't have had to go today either. Now that's not to say that those are the only things I bought at the grocery. Oh, I bought a whole lot more than that!
Our 'new' HEB didn't have the uncooked flour tortillas that we love. They had them the last 10 times that I've bought them, where did they go? I didn't remember the brand name so I couldn't ask anyone there what happened to them. Also I was doing my 'I gotta rush so that I'm not late to pick up Giselle' shopping so I didn't have time to ask anyone either.

Sorry for such a lame post, I don't really feel up to it tonight.

But camping went well - and I was the one too uncomfortable to stay out the whole night. Our cover blanket was 6 inches too short for me so I couldn't stretch out straight (we should have used the sleeping bags) so at 4:30 the kids and the dog and I all moved back inside and slept soundly until 8 am when we got woken up by Thomas shouting from his room about getting bit by a fire ant in his bed. And no, he wasn't really screaming like a little girl. If he was I would have said that in the first place. And so my day began...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

camping WEATHER

I admire my friend Suzanne and her family's ability to camp anywhere, I really do. I wish we camped a lot more than we do. As it is, the only camping I've done in the past 7 years has been in my backyard. But, it's close to all the comforts of home when the kids and I get uncomfortable at 5 am and I can stay up watching TV while they start the night without me. I love camping in this time of year because we don't get too hot in the tent and, since it gets dark early, the kids go to sleep at the usual time instead of staying up until 10 pm.

So that's what we are doing tonight, camping out in the backyard. I got the tent up and mattress inflated before dark and right after dinner they went on out and started playing with their glowing sticks and settled down to sleep after about 20 minutes. It probably doesn't help that we were out at our group dinner friend's house until 11pm last night. It was one of their son's 10th birthday party last night. A good time was had by all but the kids were tired all day so they needed an early night tonight. For that matter, so do I. I really am going to join them out there as soon as I'm done with this post.

I canned up another batch of tomatoes today, only 5 jars this time - it wasn't many tomatoes and I didn't add any from my frozen stash. The chickens down the street really liked the cores and seeds and skins that were leftover.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Special offer until Nov 18

Barnes & Noble has a coupon valid through November 18 that gives you an additional 25% off the purchase of any one item. So buy some books using your 20% Educator Discount Card (if you are a homeschooler or a public or private school teacher you can get one of these at your local B&N) and you will receive (using the coupon) an extra 25% off of the most expensive book! You can also use the coupon on-line. Here is the link to the coupon.

The best thing to do if there is a store near to you is to use the coupon once on-line and then use 1 a day at the store for the next week. Realistically, you can get a 45% discount on 10 books between now next Sunday when the coupons expire.

Hmm, I'll get the other volumes of Story Of The World (3 more), the new book by DK publishing on ALL the sports in the world, What Your 2nd Grader Needs To Know, and I'm not sure what else. Darn, I just compared Amazon's prices to B&N prices and Amazon beats B&N prices even when using the Educator Discount. I'd HAVE to use the 25% coupon to make it cheaper!

What will you buy with your coupon?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

self control

I've lost 4 pounds since Halloween but I so badly want to dive into the back-stock bag hidden in the pantry. I'm going to stay away though, I'm not even going to finish off my once-giant bag of dried cranberries. Maybe I'll have some baby carrots, oh but that might freak out the dog. Then again maybe not, she did go for a run around the block this evening with Thomas, Paul and me so maybe she'll be a bit calmer than she has been lately.

In writing that last sentence I noticed a 'Frequently Misused Word' that was NOT listed in Giselle's school work for this week - the words THAN and THEN (this week in our schoolbook we learned the proper usage for many misused words).
Here's a mini lesson for y'all right off the top of my head.

Use THAN when you are comparing items.
Examples: I would rather read blogs THAN fold the laundry. Park Day is more important to me THAN going out to dinner.

Use THEN when you are talking about what comes next.
Examples: I'm going to read some blogs THEN I'm going to watch this week's episode of ER. Giselle ate dinner THEN she went to play at Jessie's house.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I cursed it

Remember on Sunday when I made up the lesson plans for the next 3 weeks? Well, with all of this mortgage dancing we are now 1.75 days behind.
Yep, I cursed it and now I'll have a mess of colored arrows drawn all over my lesson book for the reassignments.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's almost DECEMBER!!!

So I was looking at my blog tracker a few minutes ago and I saw that someone came to visit my blog because it came up in their Google search for the Trail Of Lights 5K 2007. Then I realized that the 2007 Trail of Lights 5K is in ONE MONTH!!!!!!!!!
Joe mentioned earlier in the year (January) that he wanted to go to the Trail Of Lights with us this year but I have a strong suspicion that he wasn't referring to the 5K. SO, do I do both the 5K and the regular Trail or just the regular Trail? If we don't do the 5K then we won't have a commemorative shirt for 2007!

Here's the info for anyone else looking to find out about the 5K

For the 14th consecutive year, a nighttime fun run will feature a premiere viewing of the Trail of Lights.
The Trail of Lights 5K will be held on Saturday, December 8th, at 6:30pm.
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.
This event is co-sponsored by the local running outfitter RunTex and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. The 3.2 mile run will start under the Zilker Tree, wind through the south side of Zilker Park, go through the Trail of Lights and finish back at the Zilker Tree.
Only registered participants will be allowed access to the Trail for this event.
Parking for the race is available in Zilker Park by entering the park from MoPac.
Register at RunTex on Riverside Drive on Friday, December 7th (11am-6pm) and Saturday, December 8th (11am-2pm).
Online registration information will be available soon.
Entry Fee Entry fee will be $22 if received on or before Wednesday, December 5th, $25 if received on or after Thursday, December 6th. $17 for children 11 & under.
Packet Pick-Up and Late Registration will be at RunTex Riverside
The hours for packet pick-up will be:
Friday, December 7th (11 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Saturday, December 8th (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.)
Additional Packet pickup will be available on site in Zilker Park at Moonlight Tower starting Saturday at 3pm

If you register on-line there is an additional fee of some high amount - $3 or $5 per person!


Don't tell anyone but I'm still up reading other people's blogs. I SWEAR that I'm gonna go to bed any second! Shhhh! You'll wake the dog!
I think I'll make banana milk for the kids tomorrow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

another whew

Got up at 7:15 because Paul got busted for drawing on the playroom door frame. Helped him clean that up.
7:30 Swept all the sawdust off of the back porch and cleaned up all the plywood pieces - Joe spent the last several days making and installing a floor in the attic, Thomas helped.
8:00 Got breakfast for the kids, they took it outside to eat while I watered some VERY parched potted plants.
8:45 Came inside and worked on some mortgage stuff.
9:30 Moderated a fight between the kids.
10:00 Gave Giselle her spelling test, she got a 100%.
10:05 Giselle worked on some simple math while Paul stayed in the bedroom while I worked on more mortgage stuff.
12:30 Fed the kids lunch - yogurt for Paul and quesadilla for Giselle and half a loaf of Whole Wheat Walnut & Raisin bread for Joe and leftover soup for me.
1 pm The kids played while I worked on more mortgage stuff.
2:45 Giselle got ready for ballet while Paul cleaned the playroom and Joe broke a toe.
3:15 Joe took Giselle to ballet while I worked on more mortgage stuff.
4:15 I picked Giselle up from ballet and took care of mortgage stuff at the same time.
5:15 I dropped Giselle off to play at Jessie's house while I worked on more mortgage stuff and Paul watched Bindi the Jungle Girl.
6 pm I started on dinner while Thomas washed the dishes and Paul watched more Bindi.
6:20 I picked up Giselle (good thing I brought the flashlight cause it was really dark!) and came home to finish making dinner.
6:39 We ate dinner.
7:10 The kids and I went to Marie's to celebrate Luke's birthday for 2 hours until 9.
9:10 I put the kids to bed and went back to work on mortgage stuff.
9:30 Took a break to watch Rules of Engagement on TiVo with Joe.
9:50 Went back to work on mortgage stuff.
10:30 Finally stopped working on mortgage stuff and started reading blogs.
11:30 About to go to bed.
11:34 Grossed myself out on leftover chocolate icing from Luke's cupcakes.

Tomorrow is another day!
I'll empty all the trash cans if the garbage men haven't come yet, water the plants on the back porch, moderate a fight, work on mortgage stuff off and on all day, conduct some school, feed some people 3 meals, maybe do the grocery shopping, finish the laundry from Sunday and today, vacuum the house, clean the bathrooms, maybe take a break over at Marie's in the late afternoon, get the kids to bed by 7 pm (with daylight savings they're getting up at 7 am again and they need at least 11.5 hours of sleep a night), oh, and I really need to take care of my mending pile!

11:45 REALLY going to bed now! Well, after spellcheck and publishing.
Good Night!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I just finished most of the lesson plan for the next 3 weeks. Now because I did it this far in advance most surely something will go amiss and half of it will be scratched out and moved to subsequent days, I'm sure of it.

We are going to take a one week break from Story Of The World so that we can read Indians Who Lived in Texas by Betsy Warren for the next 5 days. Since we went to the State Pow Wow yesterday it seemed fitting to read that book at this time. In SOTW (as people tend to call it) we just read about King Tut tonight - we are on Volume 1: Ancient Times. Both the kids and I are really enjoying these books and we look forward to our daily chapter. I've yet to pick up the other volumes but that's only because our local B&N only had Volume 1 in stock. I really like getting the Educator Discount on all of our purchases.

Our spelling words for this week will be Brought, Carry, Check, Could and Covered. Giselle now has fewer words each week but instead of just writing each word 2 or 3 times each day, she now has to write a sentence for each word every day. She has to come up with the sentence herself and if she doesn't know how to spell a word she figures out the first part and uses the Children's Dictionary to find out the rest. The first day she gets the words, we look them up in the dictionary to read their definitions and we underline the word, as we do with any word that we look up to see what it means. Any words that she looks up for spelling purposes are highlighted with a yellow highlighter.

Two months into the school year we are now in a pretty good rhythm and both of our attitudes are doing well. The house isn't as clean as it was before, the laundry takes a few days to get put away and the dishes now get washed during my free time at night instead of during the day but what's more important?

I'm tired, I'm going to bed. Tomorrow I've got laundry in the early morning, school in the mid morning until lunch, ballet and shopping at 3 until 5. Somewhere in there we're supposed to go see Luke for his birthday. I think that we'll have the rest of the spaghetti & meatballs and fresh green beans for dinner instead of the usual fish. The fish can wait until Tuesday.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I have a rare-for-me headache right now. It's not from eating candy - I haven't had any today. It's not from needing dinner - I had homemade Asian Noodle Soup and some sliced bell peppers w/ dip. It's not from needing water - I drank a liter 40 min ago and it's still here. I took some homeopathic drops for it and it helped for about 15 min but it's back full force now. Oh well, I'll drink some more water and tough on through it - I've had it since about 5 this evening.

As soon as I put Giselle to bed at 8:04 I turned all the clocks in the house back an hour so it would REALLY feel like the kids went to bed at 7 PM. Paul actually chose to go to bed rather than finish his supper a half hour earlier so he was already asleep when Giselle went in. He was beat. In addition to our usual hard-work-at-the-market Saturday, we also went to the annual Indian Pow Wow immediately afterwards for 2 hours. Lots of walking after lots of working makes for tired kids. They'll need that extra hour tonight and, once again, thank goodness for blackout curtains on the bedroom windows!

I've got a bag of okra that needs to be cut up and frozen as well as 25 pounds of Ayote squash - both before I go to bed. No extra tomatoes for me this week but I've been assured that there will be plenty next week. So no canning this week.

I still haven't watched ER on TiVo yet.

Friday, November 02, 2007


here are the pictures

And yes, they are inside of the pumpkins. It's a silly tradition that I started at Giselle's first Halloween and I have every intention of keeping it up until they are too big to fit inside and then I'll put the pumpkins over their heads, a la Ichabod Crane.

Like ghosts, these two pictures have disappeared.

The eyes have it!

There is something so cool about eyes.

Last night I was up until 2:30 working on mortgages and tonight I'm up until 11 working on pictures. Go To Bed!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I got the tomatoes canned up today. I decided that I would can into the 1 pint jars instead of the 1 quart jars that I used last year. I usually mix my homemade sauce with storebought sauce so using the pint size makes it a little easier to do. Silly me forgot to sample the sauce before I canned it but judging by the smell, I think that I am pretty close. I may be short on salt but that can be added when I actually use the sauce - I've found that it's better to be under on a seasoning rather than over. I cooked the sauce down pretty far so the half case of tomatoes (plus a gallon bag of whole heirloom tomatoes that I had frozen up last year) only yeilded 9 pints of sauce. I'm hoping to get more seconds at the market next week so that I can can some more. I'd love to give a recipe but I didn't use one. Here's what I used though:

1/2 case of hybrid tomatoes skinned and seeded
aprox 5 lbs of heriloom tomatoes skinned and seeded
several tablespoons of minced garlic
6 bay leaves
aprox 2 tablespoons of mixed oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil and marjoram
about 1 tablespoon of sea salt
and I cooked it down for 3, maybe 4, hours.

I haven't taken the pesto out of the freezer yet but since I covered the ice cube trays with Glad Wrap there is no pesto smell permeating the refrigerator (hooray!)

I'm planning on carving the pumpkins in the am and doing the caramel apples in the early afternoon.

Oh, I didn't use a recipe for the pesto either. Again, here's a list of what I put into it:

6 large bunches of sweet italian basil
1/4 cup arugula
12 medium to large cloves of garlic
at least 8 oz of Parmesan cheese, probably more
1/2 to 3/4 cup of EVOO
1/2 to 1 cup of cold water
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of some other seed that wasn't pine nuts
1/2 cup of fresh oregano
all wizzed together in the food processor until it was smooth and almost pourable.

Monday, October 29, 2007

not done yet

I got all the pesto made - it's now freezing in ice cube trays in the kitchen freezer - 42 cubes in all.
I got the tomatoes all cored and halved but didn't have enough time to cook and can them - I'll do that tomorrow morning/afternoon.
We still have to do the caramel apples tomorrow.
We won't carve the pumpkins until Wednesday morning but I did get the outdoor decorations up this evening while Giselle was at a friend's house. I put out the spooky ghost candy dish that Joe can't stand. It's got a light sensor in it that makes it make an electronic sound whenever you walk by and it drives Joe nuts! He'll be happier with it when it's filled with candy corn and m&m's on Wednesday.

I wonder if he ever found the mini boxes of Dots and Junior Mints that I put in his pocket a few hours ago?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday event

We went to the Zilker Halloween festival this afternoon where the kids got some candy, we all got some Jim-Jim's (large pina colada for me, medium sour apple for Giselle and a small mango for Paul) and we all got to see Joe McDermott and The Biscuit Brothers perform. It was the second time in 3 days that we got to see Joe McDermott - we really like him and we missed not seeing him more often this past summer.

Farmers Market Booty II

6 quarts of raw milk for us to drink this week.

1/2 case of tomatoes for canning on Monday or Tuesday.

35 paletas for us to eat over the next several months - kept in the LOCKED freezer.

The decorated pumpkin made by Giselle.

The decorated then un-decorated pumpkin made by Paul.

We were disappointed this week as far as cucumbers were concerned - at 9 am the first customer of the day bought EVERY SINGLE cucumber that Edgar & Gayla had brought to The Market! I forgot to get eggplants even though this week might have been the end of them due to the unseasonably cold nighttime temps that we've been having. It's definitely the end of basil due to the cold but the greens are soon to come in.

Farmers Market Booty

Here are some fresh green beans, orange and red bell peppers, and okra to be used for meals this week.

Two packages of beef short ribs that I got for the lucky dog to eat this week.

6 bunches of basil and 1/4 lb of arugula for making pesto on Monday or Tuesday to freeze up for the next year and a HUGE bunch of baby bok choi for Green Juice this week.

2 ayote squash in summer form and 2 pipian squash to be chopped and frozen for winter/spring use.

A xl bag of cameo apples to make caramel apples with on Monday or Tuesday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

this time I mean it

I'm going to bed now! Really!
I'll be getting basil and arugula at the market tomorrow so that I can replenish my stash of frozen pesto. With nighttime lows like they've been lately I better get the basil while it's still alive. But with the approaching end of basil season, this means that it will soon be cilantro season.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


With the windows open at night I can hear our neighborhood owl whoo whoo whooing all evening. I really like that!


Donna from Quiet Life asked in reference to my post on October 11 about the dinner party menu:
What an amazing menu! It sounds wonderful. Do you always prepare that much food for a party? How is the soda with Splenda? I know nutrasweet is not good for me.

and my response is:
I am a believer in "you can't really have too much food at a gathering" so I like to keep lots of stuff on hand to quickly fill out an otherwise adequate spread. And when we go to friends' houses for food I'm always sure to bring extra food along to round things out there too - some chips & dip or some hot dogs or some vegetable side dish or dessert. Like the meal that I brought to my friend with the new baby - a bit overkill but better that than not enough food!

I don't drink any of the sodas - DH started on them back when he did Adkins - and he prefers the Splenda over any of the other sweeteners.

The bull that got Edgar

I don't remember how much detail I gave here but 2 months ago my friend Edgar got attacked by his Jersey bull. He survived with a cracked pelvis, a broken collar bone, a shoulder blade broken into 4 pieces, 2 broken ribs and a punctured lung (from the broken ribs). The bull had no horns otherwise he would have been dead. A rooster saved Edgar's life - Edgar had collapsed on the ground from the attack and just as the bull was going in for the kill a Phoenix rooster jumped on the bull's back and started attacking HIM! This distracted the bull enough for Edgar to crawl to safety. The bull has since been turned into ground meat - the meat I used for the tortellini the other night - but this is a picture of him from back in January. He was so mean even then that we dared not get any closer than 20 feet to the fence.
Edgar is almost completely healed now with the exception of his collar bone - that's healing slowly.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just a picture

This is a shot from inside of the Texas State Capitol. It's pointing straight up from almost the center of the building. Click on it and zoom in - this is a clear shot and you can even see the shadow that the letters cast in the word TEXAS. I'm rather pleased with this shot. I took it on a cloudy day, I wonder how the light would have been different if it had been a sunny day.

ditching more emails

I WAS going to go to bed shortly after putting Giselle down at 8. OBVIOUSLY that didn't happen! I'm going soon I promise! But I did get a lot more emails read and deleted so at least I was productive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

no time

Sorry, busy getting rid of the back-log of emails while watching "Transformers", which by the way is a really good movie! No blood, no sex but lots of action!

Monday, October 22, 2007

blog, blog, blog

I thought that I had nothing to say but I just saw a commercial for the new HEB Chase Visa Rewards card. We'll have to think seriously about getting one of those - you get double rewards when you use it at HEB.
School went well today - we started the 3rd grade spelling words and instead of writing 10 words 2 or 3 times daily each week she is now writing a sentence a day for each of 5 words weekly.
Well, that's it for me. Go click on all my favorites for better reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

sunday but no seven ... yet

We slept until 8. I showered and got dressed right away so that as soon as one of the men woke up I could leave BOTH KIDS in their care (previously an unheard of event) while I went to the thing at B&N. Unfortunately both men slept in until 9 so by the time I got to B&N at 9:10 the event was over. I still shopped SOLO for an hour and got plenty of books with the discount - I saved over 25 dollars! Then I came home to find that the menfolk had gotten the kids fed, washed and dressed. The kids were ready a half hour before we needed to leave for church - it's amazing what they will do for the opportunity to watch TV before lunchtime.
After church we went to HEB to pick up the meat and a few of the veggies that I was missing for my friend's dinner. Then I cooked and prepped all afternoon. The roast was done at 5, we were pulling out of the driveway by 5:11 and pulled up at their house at 5:34. We hung out for a half hour and I got to hold the baby for a tiny bit - she had just woken up and was hungry so she didn't like me for long. When we got home I made cheese tortellini with ground beef sauce. The ground beef had been thawing in the fridge waiting for inspiration on my part. It's from the Jersey Bull that had attacked Edgar 2 months ago - they turned him into ground meat and are selling him for $10 for 3 1 lb packages. He tasted good! The meat is some of the reddest ground meat that I have ever seen - it truly is a deep blood-red color - and not a bit of fat in it at all!

We finished dinner early enough for me to finish reading White Fang to the kids tonight. Tomorrow we will pick back up with the Little House series, I think that our next one is The Long Winter. After that we'll read Charlotte's Web and then go back to Little House. Have any of y'all read the Boxcar Kids books? I saw them today at B&N and they looked interesting in a Bobbsy Twins kind of way.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I love to cook!

A friend of mine gave birth to child number 6 at the beginning of the month and tomorrow is my day to bring the family food. By the way, if you know of anyone about to need some food tending then check out this neat site . It's an online calendar that you can use to meal plan for someone.
But back to tomorrow. My friend loves collards but this baby, while still inside her, refused to let collards pass her momma's lips. So I'm doing a big batch of collards (fresh frozen from back in the early summer) with a smoked turkey leg for seasoning (they don't do pork so no bacon ends or ham will be used for seasoning). The rest of the meal entails rolls of some kind (I'm not sure if I'll buy some King Hawaiian rolls or make some biscuits), Pot Roast with carrots, potatoes, onions & garlic (I was going to do chicken but they are a bit 'done' on chicken), some fruit - either grapes or apples, and some raw veggies with dip (red bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower & celery). I'm going to bring a whole young ayote squash, uncooked, for them to have with some lasagna later in the week. Is that enough? Should I make extra pot roast so that they have leftovers? Yea, I'd rather they have too much food than not enough.

I love cooking for other people! And I love cooking at other people's houses, but I have to bring my own seasonings since I can't depend on other folks keeping on hand my seasoning staples. Spike Seasoning, cumin, oregano, ginger, garlic, onions, Old Bay Seasoning, fresh ground pepper, pesto.

Now to plan tomorrow so that the roast is done at the right time. I think that I'll use one of those Reynolds Brown-in-Bags. Tomorrow is the Homeschool Educator Reception at Barnes & Noble at 8 AM - 25% discount for those with a educator discount card - and then there's church - Giselle wants to go to both Sunday School classes - and grocery shopping and cooking and the 30 min drive to my friend's house.

Friday, October 19, 2007

All moms HAVE to listen to this song!

Oh my! I just listened to this video/song written and sung by Rechelle at Country Doctor's Wife and it made me cry. Go listen and tell her how much you love it!!


Thanks Marie for sharing your cake with me - I ate most of it for dinner. The kids enjoyed the brownies. They each ate one before dinner, then ate a bowl of mac & cheese, then they ate the rest of the cake that I couldn't finish and Giselle ate her 2nd brownie. Paul couldn't even finish his piece of cake because he was as grossed out by all the chocolate and sugar as I was. Good boy! Our thanks to you for giving them to us and our thanks to Fran for making them. Our thanks to Costco for making the cake that grossed us all out for the rest of the night. Joe can have Paul's second brownie if he didn't already gross out on desserts when going out to lunch and dinner with his friends today.


Is there anything that just totally freaks out your dog? Tell me about it please!!!!!

Our dog is afraid of fireworks which is a fairly common fear. She is also afraid of guns being discharged which is similar in sound to fireworks. She is also afraid of the sound of those bubble wrap bubbles being popped since they sound like fireworks. She is made a bit uneasy by thunder because it sounds like fireworks (notice a pattern here?) but that fear is 'cured' by giving her some Rescue Remedy. In the last year she has become afraid of people chewing gum because they blow bubbles that pop and that (say it with me) sounds like fireworks.
So the latest is that she runs and hides in the other room whenever I eat carrots. "Carrots?" you say "Why would a dog be afraid of carrots?". Think about it, if you don't have your lips closed when you bite a baby carrot in half it makes a loud popping noise that (yes, you know the routine now) SOUNDS LIKE FIREWORKS! I can't believe it!
She was never this bad before and I've been eating baby carrots for the entire 12 years that we've owned her. I've ALWAYS popped my gum and she didn't freak out before. I blame it entirely on Joe and his habit of letting her into his room when it storms - he's feeding her fears by telling her it's OK. He needs to stop mocking Cesar Milan and start watching The Dog Whisperer more!
Chicken Dog!