Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're Baaack!

Did you miss me? Did you notice that I was gone? I'm guessing no since no one came over and cleaned the house while I was gone. Some friends y'all are!

Tonight is the night that the kids get to stay up as late as they want to / can make it to. I'm sure that once again I'll have to tell Giselle that her time is up around 2. Paul's REALLY wanting to make it past midnight but with the day that we've had I'm not sure if he'll make it past 10. I'm sure that if I let them drink more Champagne that they'd go to sleep sooner but I'm not willing to do that.

It'll be nice to sleep in our own beds tonight.

See you next year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dinner Calendar - September 2008

Only 3 months after this and the whole year will be done! Well, I can't post the December one until January. So here's what we had every night for dinner in September of 2008.

1 - Ate Out - Lunch - Chuy's Tex Mex, Dinner - Vietnamese chicken salad
2 - Tortellini w/ sauce
3 - Black beans & rice
4 - Black beans & rice
5 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ pesto, chicken fajita salad for Joe
6 - Ate Out - party - Pok-E-Joe's BBQ
7 - Fresh black-eyed peas and rice
8 - Big Dinner - Tamales, salmon, mixed veggies, stuffed crab
9 - Tortellini w/ pesto
10 - Ate Out - Church - baked ziti, salad, garlic bread, cookies
11 - Hot dogs & chili
12 - Veggie Lo Mien
13 - Ate Out - Claudia's house
14 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce
15 - Macaroni & cheese w/ mixed veggies & hot dogs
16 - Ate Out - Sonic
17 - Ate Out - Church - taco nachos
18 - Hot dogs w/ buns, mixed veggies (pickiest child in the world over for dinner - ate 3 bites)
19 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
20 - Ate Out - Claudia's house
21 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ sauce, sauteed okra w/ tomatoes
22 - Roasted chicken salad, banana/peanut butter/chocolate milk
23 - I forgot to write it down
24 - Ate Out - Church - fried chicken
25 - Hot dogs w/ chili
26 - Ravioli w/ sauce
27 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs, sauce & mozzarella sauce
28 - Macaroni & cheese w/ black beans and sausage (This was a REGULAR meal when I was single and poor)
29 - Butter-fried corn cakes (polenta) w/ cheese, sour cream & salsa on top (BIG hit)
30 - Ate Out - Nutty Brown Cafe - grilled cheese, Frito pie

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dinner Calendar - August 2008

We're coming down the home stretch - August 2008.

Dinner Menu for August 2008 - what the kids ate since Joe usually eats out and I usually scrounge the leftovers from the previous meals.
1 - Paul - cold tortellini w/ sauce, Giselle - quesadilla
2 - Tamales, melon
3 - Ravioli w/ sauce, tuna fish salad
4 - Spaghetti w/ sauce, strawberry tapioca pudding
5 - Italian seasoned roasted chicken from HEB, tortellini, mixed veggies
6 - Ate Out - Sonic - jr cheeseburgers
7 - Chili
8 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
9 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - tuna fish salad, guacamole, melon
10 - Didn't eat dinner
11 - Ate Out - Sam's Wholesale - pizza & pretzel
12 - Ate Out - McDonald's - I know, it killed me but it was on the way to the lake and the kids were starving and it would have been too late if we had waited until after the lake.
13 - Tortellini w/meatballs and sauce
14 - Tortellini w/ sauce
15 - Baloney & cheese sandwiches
16 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - lamb burgers, green beans, rice, fruit on almond-flour waffles
17 - Macaroni & cheese w/ mixed veggies
18 - Ravioli w/ sauce, chicken fajita salad for Joe
19 - Black Bean & cheese tostadas
20 - Big Dinner (Claudia & the boys) - Shrimp scampi, salad w/ veggies, rice pasta w/ sauce & meatballs, fruit salad
21 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ sauce and meatballs, mixed veggies
22 - Leftover cold tortellini w/ sauce, hot chocolate
23 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - chicken fajitas
24 - Nachos
25 - Ham & cheese sandwiches
26 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - beef stir fry, yogurt w/ fruit
27 - Big Dinner - Tamales, pork loin, mixed veggies, sliced bell peppers
28 - Fusilli pasta w/ pesto, ravioli w/ sauce & meatballs, chicken fajita salad, mixed veggies
29 - Ate Out - Karma's house - hot dogs
30 - Big Dinner - Tamales, mixed veggies, sliced bell peppers
31 - Ate Out - HUGE Lunch - Salt Lick BBQ, Dinner - snacked

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dinner Calendar - July 2008

I'm all tied up in post-Christmas craziness. But I do have all the wrapping paper all cleaned up - did that by noon yesterday. To keep you amused here's the dinner calendar for July 2008.

July 2008
1 - Hot dogs and chili
2 - Ravioli w/ the newly canned sauce, fresh blueberries & strawberries w/ fresh whipped cream
3 - Ate Out - Sonic - popcorn chicken and banana splits
4 - Mini lasagna noodle pasta w/ sauce & meatballs, blueberry grunt (cobbler, kind of)
5 - Potato salad from County Line, roasted chicken from The Farmers Market
6 - Oatmeal, fried eggs
7 - Homemade chicken noodle caldo (soup)
8 - Tortellini w/ sauce
9 - Big Dinner - Scallop scampi pasta, tamales, pork loin, Sonic shakes (Joe drove)
10 - Hot dogs and chili
11 - Macaroni & cheese w/ pasta sauce
12 - Ate Out - Taco Bell
13 - Pork shoulder steak, sauteed pipian squash, caramelized onions
14 - Ate Out - Burger King - to get the Pokemon toys
15 - Leftover macaroni & cheese, peas
16 - Tortellini w/ no sauce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, mixed veggies
17 - Ate Out - Maudie's - Tex Mex
18 - Pork shoulder steak, sauteed pipian squash, caramelized onions
19 - Ravioli w/ meat sauce
20 - Order Out/Eat In - Asian food
21 - forgot to write it down
22 - Eat Out - El Arroyo - Tex Mex
23 - Hot dogs & chili
24 - Eggs in a nest (courtesy of Ree at Pioneer Woman)
25 - Tortellini w/ sauce
26 - forgot to write it down
27 - Ate Out - Vietnamese buffet in Houston
28 - Houston
29 - Houston
30 - Houston
31 - Tortellini w/ sauce

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope that your day is as wonderful as mine is!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dinner Calendar - June 2008

I hope that I remember to put everything out tonight that I need to take care of. To clear my mind of clutter I give you the dinner menu from June. Summer was in full swing, so this is what we had every night for dinner in June of 2008.

1 - Ate Out - Angel's Icehouse (I first typed "Outhouse"!)
2 - Big Dinner - roasted pork loin, fresh green beans, skinny lasagna noodles with basil pesto, tomato wedges, chicken breasts.
3 - Skinny lasagna noodles w/ basil pesto
4 - Green beans, chicken breasts
5 - Hot Off Of The Grill - tamales, pork loin, marshmallows, from the stove - mixed veggies, from The Farm - sliced tomatoes
6 - Chili & hot dogs
7 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - beef vegetable soup made 100% with ingredients from Finca Pura Vida
8 - Butter beans & rice
9 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
10 - Chili w/ hot dogs
11 - Ate Out - Claudia's house - buffalo burgers and fresh veggies
12 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
13 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
14 - Tortellini w/ red sauce, ayote squash, gazpacho
15 - Sauteed - onions, tomatoes, squash & okra served over rice, w/ sour cream
16 - Tortellini w/ red sauce
17 - Fusilli pasta (remember the Fusilli Jerry that Kramer made on Seinfeld) w/ red sauce and mini mozzarella balls
18 - Vegetable patties (I got these at Costco months ago while shopping there with Marie and the kids), sliced tomatoes & cucumbers
19 - Chili & hot dogs, fresh berry shakes, tamales
20 - Ordered Out/Ate In - Subway - veggie patty (veggie max) sub on whole wheat
21 - Roasted chicken from The Farmer's Market, slices tomatoes & cucumbers
22 - Macaroni & cheese w/ ground beef & mixed veggies
23 - Cold soba noodle salad w/ cucumbers, peppers & chicken (recipe from Everyday Food)
24 - Big Dinner - scallop & shrimp scampi pasta (using those cool skinny lasagna noodles), tomato wedges, roasted pork loin, sliced fresh peppers w/ dip, homemade jello, some really good Incan Beer
25 - Hot dogs w/ buns, sliced tomatoes, homemade jello
26 - Ate Out - Chick-Fil-A
27 - ?
28 - Pizza
29 - ?
30 - Ate Out - Asian buffet

OK, back to the madness.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dinner Calendar - May 2008

I can't believe that I'm actually bothering to post in the middle of this chaos but I'm now feeling the need to finish this series of posts before the end of the year. So yes, now this is what we ate every night in the month of May 2008.

1 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
2 - Cheese tortellini w/ red sauce, mixed veggies
3 - Pot Chuck Roast w/ carrots and cauliflower and potatoes and onions
4 - Chicken Breasts, mixed veggies
5 - Ate Out - Chick-Fil-A
6 - Hot dogs w/ chili
7 - Tortellini w/ red sauce, mixed veggies
8 - Spaghetti & meatballs w/ red sauce
9 - Ate Out - Nacholicious (which was not so delicious!)
10 - Breakfast sausage & fried turkey eggs
11 - Big Dinner - tamales, mixed veggies, shrimp scampi
12 - Black beans & rice
13 - Tortellini w/ red sauce, cauliflower
14 - Vegetable patties, broccoli
15 - Ordered Out/Ate In - Domino's Pizza - black olives & mushrooms
16 - Tortellini w/ no sauce
17 - Ate Out - birthday party - hot dogs
18 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, homemade coleslaw
19 - Italian herb roasted chicken (from HEB)
20 - Big Dinner - tamales, talapia, mixed veggies, coleslaw, scallops, tapioca pudding
21 - Asian noodle soup
22 - Tortellini & ravioli mixed w/ no sauce, cheese, oatmeal
23 - Ordered Out/Ate In - Asian food
24 - Homemade tabbouleh
25 - Ate Out - condo
26 - Ate Out - Satellite Cafe (which is now closed!)
27 - Ravioli w/ sauce
28 - Spaghetti & meatballs w/ red sauce
29 - ? tortellini w/ red sauce?
30 - Ate Out - Asian buffet
31 - Ate Out - condo

That must have been the end of the spring crop of broccoli & cauliflower from The Market because we're eating the middle of the fall/winter crop now in December.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dinner Calendar - April 2008

And yes, the insanity continues around here so here's what we had every night in April of 2008. When the spinach is in season out at The Farm my kids can't seem to get enough of it; and it just came back in season 2 weeks ago!

April 2008
1 - Leftover pigeon peas & rice (Puerto Rican style - arroz con gandules), no joke!
2 - Big Dinner - Tamales, roasted pork loin, spinach, carrot cake, sherbet.
3 - Cheese tortellini (w/ sauce & meatballs for Giselle, w/out for Paul), spinach.
4 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce and meatballs, spinach.
5 - Hot dogs in buns, spinach.
6 - Fried eggs & bacon.
7 - Macaroni & cheese w/ mixed veggies & ground beef mixed in.
8 - Cheeseburgers, spinach, okra w/ tomatoes.
9 - Chili w/ hot dogs, okra w/ tomatoes.
10 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce & meatballs, spinach, okra w/ tomatoes.
11 - Order Out/Eat In - pork lo mien, chicken fried rice.
12 - Ate Out - dinner party at a friend's house.
13 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, edamame, beets.
14 - Homemade chicken noodle veggie soup.
15 - Big Dinner - Tamales, snow peas.
16 - Order Out/Eat In - Domino's Pizza - double black olives, double mushrooms. Holly and I went to the Juanes concert and lived off of music for the night.
17 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce, arroz con gandules.
18 - Turkey noodle soup all day long.
19 - Spaghetti w/ sauce, apple/prune tart.
20 - Cheese tortellini & mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, snow peas, broccoli, apple/prune tart.
21 - Black bean tamales, scallops, broccoli, snow peas, tapioca pudding, apple/prune tart.
22 - Order Out/Eat In - Sonic - grilled cheese, popcorn chicken. Tapioca pudding.
23 - Fried goose eggs.
24 - Ate Out - Marie's - bowtie pasta w/ parm cheese, broccoli, cauliflower, turkey.
25 - Paul - hot dog w/ bun, hot dog w/out bun, salad. Giselle - mushroom ravioli, salad.
26 - Cheese tortellini w/ no sauce, just butter, salt, pepper and parm cheese.
27 - Macaroni & cheese w/ pasta sauce.
28 - Mushroom ravioli w/ sauce, tapioca pudding.
29 - Big Dinner - Roasted pork loin, raw carrots, spinach, pizza bites, tamales.
30 - Tortellini & ravioli w/ sauce, mixed veggies.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dinner Calendar - March 2008

Today's going to be another busy day so here's what we had every night for dinner in March of 2008.
March 2008
1 - Big Dinner - Meat Fest - Grilled pork shoulder, grilled steak, grilled shrimp, mixed veggies (not grilled).
2 - Cheese tortellini w/ meatballs & sauce, spinach. Roasted pork loin for Joe.
3 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce, spinach, corn, buffalo/pork smoked sausage. Roasted pork loin for Joe.
4 - Ate out - At The Farm (Finca Pura Vida) - blackened salmon, shrimp scampi, sauteed Brussels sprouts, rice, sturgeon caviar, arroz con leche.
5 - Bacon & cheese omelets
6 - Big Dinner - Tamales, pizza bites, snow peas.
7 - Ate out - At Marie's - cheese tortellini w/ no sauce, salad.
8 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce.
9 - Ordered out/Ate in - Domino's pizza (double mushroom, double black olive).
10 - Mixed veggies, stuffed crabs, caviar w/ cream cheese.
11 - Didn't write it down!
12 - King Ranch casserole, green salad & fruit salad (both made by Giselle & Grace).
13 - leftover King Ranch casserole.
14 - Hot dogs in buns, snow peas.
15 - Tamales, snow peas.
16 - Pasta shaped like flowers w/ meatballs & sauce, snow peas.
17 - Shrimp, scallops, snow peas.
18 - Cheese tortellini w/ meatballs & sauce, snow peas.
19 - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & sauce.
20 - Ate Out - Paul & I at Jimmy John's Subs, Joe & Giselle at Buffet Palace.
21 - Chili w/ hot dogs & ayote squash. I had refried beans w/ cactus, salsa & sour cream.
22 - Black-eyed peas & rice (w/ sour cream). Joe had roasted chicken from The Farmers Market.
23 - Giselle had Asian noodle soup, Paul had cheese tortellini w/ meatballs (no sauce), both had snow peas. Joe had roasted pork loin.
24 - Leftover black-eyed peas & rice.
25 - Big Dinner - tamales.
26 - Shrimp, scallops, snow peas.
27 - Chili & hot dogs.
28 - Homemade pizza - pepperoni & black olive.
29 - Tamales.
30 - Pigeon peas & rice.
31 - Caviar & cream cheese, shrimp, scallops, crawfish, spinach.

And yes, both kids actually eat this stuff. They're usually the ones that specify what we're having each night so it's their pick, not mine. I can't wait until it's snow pea season again; it's green bean season right now but if the hard freezes keep up it won't last for much longer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dinner Calendar - February 2008

I've got too many things going on right now to think about something to post so for the next few days here are the rest of the dinner calendars for 2008.

February 2008 - the month in dinners
1 - Homemade pizza with mushrooms, black olives and pepperoni.
2 - Cheese tortellini & mushroom ravioli with meatballs and red sauce.
3 - Macaroni & cheese with ground beef and mixed veggies mixed in.
4 - Giselle had the mac & cheese leftovers and Paul had cheese tortellini w/ sauce.
5 - Ate out - Pancake dinner at church for Fat Tuesday.
6 - Hot dogs in buns, spinach.
7 - Homemade hamburgers.
8 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce.
9 - Ate out - Satellite Cafe (American food).
10 - Tamales.
11 - Ate out - Flores (TexMex food).
12 - Hot dogs w/ chili
13 - Long pasta w/ garbanzo beans.
14 - Ate out - Meat fondue at a friend's house.
15 - Hot dogs w/ chili
16 - Leftover pasta w/ garbanzo beans
17 - Cheese tortellini w/ sauce, broccoli.
18 - Bagel pizzas, edamame in pods.
19 - Hot dogs w/ chili.
20 - Cheese tortellini & mushroom ravioli w/ sauce.
21 - Ate out - Taco Bell (7-layer burritos all around and a side of cheesy fiesta potatoes for the kids).
22 - Ate out - Sonic (grilled cheese).
23 - Bagel pizzas, pizza bites, pickles.
24 - Mushroom ravioli w/ no sauce, spinach ,broccoli, snow peas.
25 - Tamales and asparagus, pork loin for Joe.
26 - Hot dogs w/ buns, mixed veggies.
27 - Frozen hot dogs for lunch. Spaghetti & spaghetti tubes w/ meatballs & sauce & sliced mozzarella. I had a ham/cheese/collard roll-up and stewed okra.
28 - Bacon and eggs (scrambled for Giselle and fried for Paul).
29 - Ate out - Dynasty Buffet (Asian food).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

not for the squeemish

Here's some of our snails that we caught the other day, out for some exercise.

forgot?

Did I actually miss posting yesterday? How did that happen?



I need to go to Radio Shack, TODAY! I think I'm going to drop the kids off at a friend's house, go to Radio Shack, pick up the dog from the vet, drop the dog off at home, then go back to the friend's house to play for a bit and then come home for dinner. Well, maybe we'll eat out; I don't know.



Oh, I gotta go take some pictures of the steps since I haven't taken any since the most recent ones were installed.

Here's a shot of them as a teaser for the post that I'll do when they are all the way done.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh My Darlin'

Oh my Darlin' Clementine!
Yes, it's that season again and we are so happy. Remember, the ones from California are NOT real Clementines they are Cuties and they reliably have seeds in them. Real Clementines ONLY come from Spain and they almost never have any seeds in them. Morocco exports supposed Clementines but they have about one seed per fruit so I don't believe that they are true Clementines. Although Morocco IS really close to Spain so I'm able to cut them a little slack.

I totally forgot to pick up a new bag of organic dried cranberries. Yes, I'm still buying them even though they cost a small fortune; I can't help it because they taste so good!

I didn't vacuum.

Monday, December 15, 2008

cold

It was a miserable cold day. That's all I'm saying.

And I'm getting the laundry all done today - one day late since I was too busy napping yesterday to get it done then. Still haven't vacuumed, I'll take care of that tomorrow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a nap

Today went smoothly - woke up on time, baths, oatmeal, at church by 9, home at 12:20, Giselle went to some Brownie thing, I napped on the sofa while Paul watched TV shows that Giselle never likes to watch, after we picked up Giselle we picked up dinner from Taco Bell, ate dinner, kids went to bed, worked on getting more Christmas gifts for the kids, and soon I'll be going to bed. I will be asleep before 12:30 tonight.

case closed

I cooked up the last of the case of tomatoes Saturday evening/tonight. This part of the case became 6 pints of seasoned stewed tomatoes. I didn't cook them down long enough to make it become a thicker sauce and I didn't puree it smooth either; that's what makes it stewed tomatoes instead of pasta sauce. I didn't feel like going through the 20 min hot water bath necessary for canning these up and I really liked the stewed flavor which would have changed if I had cooked them longer in the canning process. So I froze the pints up in 1-quart freezer bags; 1 pint per bag. Now I'll have fresh stewed tomatoes to add to my pasta sauce or for throwing on top of my seafood scampi pasta.
Truth be told, I had 8 tomatoes left that wouldn't fit into the 8-qt pot I was using to cook the tomatoes in so I quartered them up and put them in the fridge for snacking on over the next few days. I see some BLT's in our future!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Grumpy Mom

So the kids will be performing in our church's Christmas musical tomorrow morning. This year's play is The Grumpy Shepherd. This is a pleasant play but is it REALLY necessary to use the word "stupid" in a church play, especially one being put on by kids aged four to 11? At one point in the play, the grumpy shepherd refers to his sheep saying "But what about these stupid sheep?". I think that it's not right! It bothers me that this line is in the play. Had I known earlier in the process that this word was in the play I would have said something, but it wasn't until today's final dress rehearsal that I heard the full play with the line that I object to. I'm disappointed that I now I'll have to say something to the choir director about it. I would think that I shouldn't HAVE to say something because the choir director would have changed the word BEFORE it was given to the children. The word could have VERY easily been dropped or changed to something a LOT less cruel than the 'S' word.

Sorry if I you think I'm being prude about this but I feel that the way we talk to other people is a reflection of how we treat other people. If you are prone to CALLING people stupid then you're more likely to TREAT people as if they are stupid.
I really disagree with calling people (or things) disrespectful or degrading names to make yourself feel superior to them (or make them feel inferior to you). When those words are used without discretion it leads to a general lack of respect for yourself and those you come in contact with you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

full moon

No picture to go with this post but, wow that was an awesome rising full moon that we had this evening. We stared at it for as long as we could on our way home from The Park.

That's it, that's all I've got.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

dinner out

Joe and I had dinner out at a tiny fancy restaurant tonight. It was the Holiday Dinner of one of his clients and we were invited. Really delightful food - wine, mini crab cakes, mixed greens and other stuff salad, prime rib or mahi mahi or penne pasta (I had the fish, Joe had the beef), roasted root vegetables, chocolate torte (Joe) or creme brulee (me), and coffee. The conversations were delightful too - a wide range of philanthropic people. It was a wonderful night out. Thomas watched the kids and when we got home they were watching our favorite Christmas special - The Year Without a Santa Claus. You know, it's the one with the Heat Miser and the Cold Miser. Gosh we just love that one!

I'm off to watch ER on TiVo and then MAYBE go to bed before 2 am.

Home schooling, is it for you?

A friend of mine from BC days (Before Children) is considering homeschooling her daughter and she asked me two of the most common questions about homeschooling: How do you know what to teach and at what pace? Can I be too much of a bitch to homeschool?

While I didn't EXACTLY answer her questions, I did give her my usual 'homeschooling pep talk' which is as follows:

Oh is it EVER an exercise in patience!!!!! Like Steve taught us on Blues Clues "When you get frustrated, just count to ten and take a deep breath"

In the early years there's lots of repetition, you have to try to remember that they really don't know anything so they have to hear it over and over and over and over and over again. But since it's just one student instead of 25, it's a bit easier. And you can teach in 5 minute increments - letters at breakfast, letters at lunch, letters at dinner - so if either one of you gets too frustrated you can go outside for recess.

The biggest problem that I have with homeschooling is that I don't have any free time to take care of the shopping and errands and laundry and house cleaning and working out without including the kids. I don't have those 'free' 6 hours a day when the kids would be off in public school to do all that stuff. So a lot of times they get dragged along with me instead of being able to play with friends. Although if Giselle finishes school on time then she CAN go play at a friend's house while I'm running errands. And we do PE together so I do get some exercise in. Yesterday morning before school we walked the dog together, collected land snails on the way and then did a science lesson on them later in the day for school.

Your kid doesn't necessarily learn things in the same manner that you do - maybe she's a kinetic learner (has to be on the move, aka ADD) and you're a sit-on-your-bottom-and-concentrate learner. You have to be able to change your style of teaching to meet HER needs, not yours.

A good friend of mine just pulled her kids out of PS this summer - just before 3rd and 1st grade. She realized that she was spending about 2 hours every night 'homeschooling' her daughter to teach her what the teacher didn't/couldn't teach her during the school day. My friend is the one that taught her kid to read and to do math while they were at public school, not the 'real' teacher.

There's a group called Smoothing The Way which is a homeschooling group that helps you through that tough first year of homeschooling. They meet up weekly, send emails, and play together at the park. They can be a sanity saver for sure!

School takes 6 hours at public school because the teacher is having to teach something to 25 kids before she can move on to the next thing. At home, school takes barely 2 hours by 3rd grade. If your one student gets it then you can move on to the next level or lesson or subject; you don't have to wait around doing busy-work while waiting for the other 24 kids to 'get it'. If your one student DOESN'T get it then you can spend as many hours or days or weeks on that one thing until they do get it; no one is holding a TAKS test to your throat saying "You're behind schedule and your students aren't going to do well on the test." The days that your kid 'gets it' and does extra work/works ahead because they're proud of themselves buys you all the time that you need/want when they need to take some time to really 'get' a concept. People using the Classical Education model, Charlotte Mason, Well-Trained Mind teaching philosophy believe that preschoolers should only spend 15 min a day on school, kindergartners should only spend 30 minutes a day on school, 1st graders should spend 45 minutes, second graders should spend 1 hour, and so on, adding 15 minutes for each new subject. Not until Jr High should they need to spend more than 30 min per subject. Sometimes that's a reality at our house; other times our school day can stretch out to 5 hours long.

If she's having a bad day you CAN take a break. You CAN explore the local park for 4 hours and go home and Google all kinds of information about the things you found and consider it a school day well spent. You can turn a trip to the grocery store into a school event - you use reading, math and science in every grocery trip you just have to talk aloud about it and let her share in the experience. Teach her that you really DO use this knowledge every day.

It helps if you have access to other homeschooling moms, I can't say that enough! Just knowing that other moms are having a stressful day on the same day that you are REALLY helps. And watching a group of your kids working together (all ages from 4 to teen, boys and girls) to build forts out of branches, sticks and ball moss, without the assistance (physical or mental) of anyone over the age of 13, without a single piece of electronic equipment around is such a wonderful sight to see. Pure imagination at it's best.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

canning follow-up

I'm about to boiling-water bath the last 2 pints of the fall pasta sauce and then I'll be done. I didn't use up all of the tomatoes - I still have about 7 to 10 lbs left but I filled my crab pot to the top with the sauce so I couldn't use anymore. I did let it simmer down about 2 inches so I could have added more for a variance in texture but I did that last fall. This batch is a total of 18 1-pint jars, let's see that's 9 quarts, so 2.25 gallons of pasta sauce. I just tasted the last bit that remained in the big pot after I filled the last jar and OH BOY is that ever some good sauce; I outdid myself this time. Maybe I'll make a small batch with the remaining tomatoes and freeze that instead of canning it.

Another 3 am night but it was productive: I made and canned up a LOT of pasta sauce, I took care of Joe, and I played in the snow with the kids; although I didn't get any reading done of any kind. Maybe tomorrow. Nope, too many errands to tend to.

Snow!


Yeah, it's snowing at my house right now! The first time in 5 years and they are HUGE flakes! I even woke up the kids so that they could see it and throw some snowballs - hey, there's a good chance that it'll all be gone by the time that they get up in the morning.
Good thing that I was up late canning these tomatoes, otherwise we would have missed it!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

tomatoes

Edgar gave me a case of tomatoes on Saturday - about 60 to 75 pounds - that I'm now in the process of processing. I've been staying up WAY too late recently so it's not really a big deal that I didn't start cooking the tomatoes down into sauce until 6:30. I bought a new case of pint-sized jars instead of the quart-sized that I used last fall. I canned the spring crop in the pint-sized and I was really happy with the portioning of them so that's why I'm continuing the trend with the fall crop.
So far, all I've put into the sauce has been tomatoes, garlic and oregano. I'll add salt for sure but I'm not sure that I'll add anything else to them. I'm picking out the skins as they cook off of the flesh but I'm not going to be too uptight about it since I'll be using my immersion blender at the end to smooth it all out. By using the blender I don't have to de-seed the tomatoes before cooking them. I wouldn't want to de-seed them after I've cooked them because straining the sauce then would strain out all the seasonings also. In listening to other cooks, I've heard that it leads to a more flavorful sauce to leave in the seeds - something about those little bags of juice that surround the seeds kind of like the pericardium around your heart.
I need to go stir and add some more tomatoes since they've cooked down some. Hopefully I'll be done before dawn, and I don't mean Dawn who's painting our bathroom.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Laundry

I'm doing it AGAIN! And it's a day late, AGAIN! I guess that unless I stay up WAY too late tonight that it's going to be 2 days late. No, I have to finish the laundry tonight because Giselle's got ballet in the afternoon and I've got grocery shopping and errands to do before that but after we finish school.
Post Office
Vet for Rx
Thomlinson's for dog food
HEB
Bed, Bath & Beyond
Michael's
Ballet

Hmm, HEB may have to wait until after ballet.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

shopping - ugh!

I don't like shopping, I think that I've been pretty clear over the years about that. Today I had to go to Target or WalMart and I wasn't happy about it but the kids have been growing, as kids are prone to doing, and they both needed new underpants. Actually, this is pretty convenient since it's a tradition in my family (as it is in most big families) to get underwear and socks for Christmas. So now, not only have I met an actual need in my children's lives but I've also purchased 3 items from the Christmas shopping list - tights count as socks. It's also tradition to get a new toothbrush in your stocking so I'll need to just find some freebie ones under the sink from the dentist appointments.

I gotta go put Mr Bad Decision to bed, maybe he'll get coal in his stocking this year if he doesn't shape up.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

micro-climates

Well, even though we've been getting 'freezing' temperatures my basil in the front yard is still alive. This is odd since basil burns and dies in temps below 40 degrees. I guess that my front yard is a warm oasis? Tomorrow night's low is supposed to be back to normal low temps - 52 degrees.
Gotta go turn the light out on the kids - Giselle was out late at a Brownie event until 8 and I had to take Paul with me to go get her. They're finally ready.

Friday, December 05, 2008

stop laughing!

It is SO COLD! OK, so last night at our house it didn't even frost but it got really close - the thermometer attached to the back of our house showed a low of 34 degrees and the high for today was only in the 50's and it was breezy too. I wore my full-bore winter jacket to dinner with the kids and our friends, although I didn't wear a hat. Tonight it's supposed to be just as cold and tomorrow the same as today which will make for a miserable farmer's market; I'm thinking that the kids will sit this one out. I'm in my flannel pajamas already for the night. Although the 5 blankets and quilts that I had on the bed last night really did help a lot so we were quite comfortable until I opened the curtains in the morning. Wow, those windows sure do let a lot of cold in!

Now all you people that live north of here: stop laughing at me NOW! This IS cold for this part of the country! And just wait until I really start whining about the cold come the time that winter REALLY comes in January, for six weeks.
My sister in Maine has had 12 degree nights and days in the 30's for a while now. My nephew in Canada has got 21 degrees and 40 mph winds and snow flurries; isn't that called a blizzard? But see, I DON'T live there for THAT reason!

Gotta get back to watching the recent episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
See ya.
Stop laughing!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

just in time

I got the greenhouse put up early this afternoon, just in time for the 29 degree temperature predicted for tonight's low. All the plants that need to go in the greenhouse or come inside have been moved and I'm ready for the winter, although that isn't really happening for another month.
I just remembered one plant that needs to go into the corner outside, so I gotta go take care of that and get dinner going.

I can't get this out of my head

We listen to the most recent Biscuit Brothers CD pretty regularly and currently I can't get this song out of my head http://cdbaby.com/mp3lofi/bicuitbros7-03.m3u. I was singing it acapella this morning while making breakfast for Joe and he gave me a very strange look. Hey, I'm sorry but it's a fun song anyway and the way that the Biscuit Brothers arranged it is SO singable (very Beatle-esk).
Gosh I love this song! Go ahead and buy it here http://mp3.rhapsody.com/the-biscuit-brothers/musical-farm You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

not good news about wine consumption

Europe accounts for two-thirds of global wine production and consumption.

Over 19 pounds of pesticides are applied to the average acre of grapes grown in Europe.

Source: "Message in a Bottle: European wines systematically contaminated with pesticides," Pesticide Action Network-Europe, March 26, 2008.

yes you can!

Did anyone ever tell you that all twins and triplets HAVE to be born by Cesarean section? Well they were wrong.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E-wULAaD50

Don't worry, this is NOT graphic in any way, shape or form! It's the names of moms and their twins & triplets that were born naturally, with before and after pictures.

Sharing

I must say that the 4 of us sharing one VERY SMALL bathroom has gone pretty well so far these last 3 days while the bigger bathroom is being re-done. The 25-yr-old wallpaper and the ceiling popcorn is down and the toilet is up. The money-maker is still deciding on if there'll be a new toilet going in and if the vinyl will be upgraded to tile at this time. Anyone have any input on the newest dual-flush HET's?

new books

I got my six new books today from Amazon. The most important one is the new Vicki Courtney book, 5 Conversations you MUST have with your daughter. I'm probably going to stay up late tonight to start reading it.
The other 5 books that I got are:
  • Your Girl: raising a godly daughter in an ungodly world By Vicki Courtney
  • Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets every father should know By Meg Meeker, MD
  • Your Boy: raising a godly son in an ungodly world By Vicki Courtney
  • Raising Cain: protecting the emotional life of boys By Dan Kindlon, PHD and Michael Thompson, PHD
  • Boys should be boys: 7 secrets to raising healthy sons By Meg Meeker, MD

Because, it's not just our daughters that are being fed all the trash in the world today, it's our sons too. Who do you think is buying those "Girls Gone Wild" videos and thinking that they are an example of how a girl is 'supposed to be'? As much as I want my daughter to respect herself and others, I want my son to do the same. I expect that the parents of my future son-in-law and daughter-in-law are doing the same thing since that's what my kids will be looking for in a life-partner. Love, honor and respect.

You still have plenty of time to get your copy of 5 Conversations You MUST Have With Your Daughter and sign up to join in the online book club; do it now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

no blood

I didn't reach my 'required' amount of donated blood this year. I guess I could try to get in before the year-end to give one more time but December just seems like a crazy month. Maybe after I restock my personal iron levels I'll go in next week, since low iron is what kept me from donating back in June. I know that the blood bank usually runs pretty low this time of year so I really should make the extra effort to donate before the holiday season. For that matter, you too should make the extra effort to donate blood before the holiday season. You donation could mean the difference between life and death for someone hurt in an accident.
It truly is the gift of life!

Donate blood before the month is through, it's a gift that everyone can afford!

Watch out for the 'gators!

I finally picked up some treegators today, two, one for the front Burr Oak and one for the back Chinese Pistache. I know, you totally don't know what a treegator is; well I'll tell you. A treegator is a big plastic donut that goes around the base of your tree. You open a plug on it and fill it with water from your hose then you close the plug and the water slowly leaks out around the base of the tree over the next 5 to 8 hours. This particular one, treegator jr Pro, holds up to 15 gallons. No more remembering at 2 am that you forgot to turn off the soaker hose around your newly planted tree.
I've purchased ours for a 12 yr old tree that recently had some trenching done near the base of the tree and a 10 yr old tree that also has had some trenching and is overall a slow grower. We've had a drought for about 10 years now and these trees could use some extra water this winter since Mother Nature probably won't come through for them again. Hopefully, come springtime, these trees will be on the road to excellence. Of course I won't be fertilizing them this time of year - I don't want to promote topical growth during the winter.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

saved

The sweet Jewish girl down the street saved me - she's selling chocolate-filled advent calendars to raise money for her high school German Club.
We start them tomorrow.
I decided that I was NOT going to do the Playmobil advent calendars 2 years in a row!

My head is tired. I'm going to take my bottle of water, lay down on the sofa and watch some TiVo, after I delete off a week's worth of shows that we won't ever watch.

WHAT!?!?!?

What the mmph am I doing up at 2:35 in the morning? Listening to Joe in the other room working on a customer's network server for the second night in a row, that's what. He was up till 4 am Saturday morning and started working on it with a contractor Saturday evening before we went to our friends' house for a dinner thing.

I've got more to say but I'm going to go to bed. Market, Christmas Parade, Driskill Hotel, Manchaca, fish fry, stairs (oops, I forgot to take pictures this afternoon. I'll run outside now and take some).
Must go to bed!

Friday, November 28, 2008

just a memory

With the exception of a few pots and lids sitting out from air drying last night, all signs of Thanksgiving are gone.
It's very odd, but for the first time EVER I feel like decorating for Christmas TODAY. It's not that I'm just bubbling over with Christmas spirit, I mean really, the air conditioner just kicked on again. Today just seems like such a letdown day after all of the commotion of yesterday that I feel the need to fill it with something. I'm CERTAINLY NOT going shopping. There's a 40% chance of rain today so The Park may be out. Maybe after Test Day is over around lunchtime I'll feel more 'full' again.
Time to go put away those pans and lids and get on with the day.

Third time will be the charm

Today was my second attempt at cooking a heritage/wild turkey and while it went better than last year, I was still disappointed with the results. I think that next time it will be perfect now that I've accounted for all variables.
Thomas was carving the turkey for me while I was thickening the gravy when I decided to cook up the backup turkey which I had so wisely purchased at HEB this last shopping day. The 9 turkey cutlets turned out fabulous but in the process I allowed the bean, broccoli and carrots to sit on the stove for too long and they were all overcooked. Don't get me wrong, they were perfectly edible just not as good as my usual. The stuffing and dressing were a bit underdone for my liking and the potatoes needed more salt.
Oh man, in retrospect, the food was sub-par with the exception of the appetizers and dessert. None of the pies were finished off, which is actually good since this way we'll have something to bring to our friends' house for our group dinner on Saturday.
On a more positive note, EVERYBODY loved the Shiner Black that I served and this year's Beaujolais Nouveau is quite enjoyable.
Everyone food coma-ed in the living room for a while afterwards.
It was so warm today that the A/C kicked on - we had upper 70's and with the humidity being high and the oven on for 10 hours it raised the temps inside. Gotta love fall in Texas. But this A/C is making me cold so I might call it a night and go take a hot bath.
See ya!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

almost forgot

I almost forgot the cranberry pumpkin muffins that I was going to make for breakfast this morning! They'll be ready around 10 so I guess I could call them brunch muffins.
I'm using a recipe that I got out of the Co-Op sales flier - it's from Farmers Market brand Organic Pumpkin Puree.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

to do & schedule for tomorrow

Thanksgiving 2008
Appetizers ready at 3 pm, Dinner ready at 4 pm
DRINKS
Shiner Black
Chill
Beaujolais Neavoux
Chill

APPETIZERS
Shrimp
Make more cocktail sauce
Cheese & Crackers & Roasted Peppers
Set out
Zucchini pickles
Set out
Tomatoes
Slice and put out
Cucumbers
Put out
Peanuts
Put out

MAIN MEAL
Dressing/Stuffing
Finish making – add broth and combine
Stuff into turkey inside of cheese cloth
Put dressing in the oven at 3 pm
Turkey (poultry seasoning, salt & pepper)
Clean and prep and put in bag
Stuff and put in oven by noon
Mashed Potatoes (sour cream, butter)
Heat water at 3 pm
Mashed and ready by 3:45
Gravy
Heat broth and add flour starting at 3:40
Green Beans (lemon juice, Spike)
Heat water at 3:45
Boiled Carrots
Heat water at 3:45
Broccoli
Heat water at 3:45
Rolls
Wrap in foil and put in oven at 3:45
Cranberry Sauce
Put out at 3:45

DESSERT
Sweet Potato Pie
Take out of fridge at 2 pm
Put in oven at 4 pm
Other Pie

preppy

I washed and cut the broccoli, it's in a paper towel lined bag in the fridge.
The turkey broth for the stuffing is cooking right now.
I'm thawing the shrimp, peeling it, and cooking it shortly so that it's chilled and ready for 3 tomorrow.
I've diced the celery and mushrooms and torn the bread for the stuffing. I'll take care of dicing the onions after lunch.
The turkey is thawed and waiting in the fridge.
The extra turkey cutlets are thawing in the fridge.
The sweet potato pie is thawing in the fridge.
The dog's turkey necks are thawing in the fridge.
I need to make my awesome sour cream dip.
I need to make more cocktail sauce.
I made the marinated cucumbers.
I think that's about it for today.

Chain of Events

It all started with Paul wanting blueberries in his oatmeal this morning.
I knew that I didn't have any blueberries in the refrigerator freezer so I turned to the big chest freezer. According to the freezer inventory that's written on the dry-erase board that hangs on the peg-board over the freezer, I had 3 1-gallon bags of blueberries in the freezer. So I opened her up and started looking.
  • I found some diced celery from a few years ago so I put that aside to be used in upcoming soups this winter.
  • I found some LARGE chunks of ham steak that were originally frozen up for using in beans. Unfortunately since the ham was just a ham cut not cured or smoked ham, it did not put the flavor into the beans that I was looking for so they've just sat there in the freezer. These have been moved to the kitchen freezer to be thawed and fed to the dog.
  • I found a 1-gallon bag stuffed FULL of fresh green beans from last December. I already bought a bag of frozen organic long beans so I'm going to save the farm beans for another time.
  • There's a gallon of pureed strawberries and 2 more gallons of whole strawberries available for use when I want it. That would be great for fruit/milk; too bad that the cows have stopped giving milk since there's no more pasture for them to graze on due to the drought.
  • I found that instead of having just 1 1-gallon bag of Costa Rican melon, we have 4! This is very good since the melon season this year was a bit of a bust. Again, too bad there's no milk to use these with.
  • I still have two bags of Spud Puppies, this is good to know for the next time that Giselle begs for tater tot casserole.
  • I've still got 1.5 gallons of diced okra for stewing this winter.
  • Very useful - I found roasted turkey parts from last Christmas - 2 wings, 2 legs and 1 thigh - so I took those out and put them in a pot of water. Now I'll have fresh turkey broth for making the stuffing instead of using fresh or boxed chicken broth.
  • I found 2 and a half 1-gallon bags FULL of cucumbers! SCORE! Now we can eat all of those fresh ones for Thanksgiving, YEA!

After all of that, there weren't any blueberries to be found in the freezer; and I went through pretty much the whole thing. Paul had bananas in his oatmeal instead.

I think I'll need to concentrate on using up a lot of the backstock in that freezer this winter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

School

Paul's getting into the swing of school these days.
We start the school day with letters; he does his printing exercises while Giselle does her cursive exercises and they race to see who can finish first (with me regularly saying "slow down and pay attention to your own work"). Next, Giselle moves on to her spelling/language arts and Paul works on a Preschool workbook during that time. Then, Paul is released for a half hour of recess while Giselle works on her math. Paul is welcome to sit-in on school during geography but he's not required to, although he IS required to participate in all of our science and craft work that we do. Since we're using the activity book with Story Of The World this time, there's work for both Giselle and Paul to do while I'm reading aloud. I've taken to reading the chapter once through first while Giselle just listens and Paul colors, then I read it again while Giselle does her activities. Afterward I quiz her on the review questions and then we're pretty much done for the day. Sometimes there's additional reading or longer science projects but not always.
Depending on how long everything is taking, lunch is either in the middle of school or at the end. That's another great advantage of homeschooling - if they get the work done quickly then school is done quickly, but if they need more time on a subject we are at liberty to take however long is needed to learn it completely. There's nothing keeping us from working ahead if something is easy and there's nothing keeping us from going slow if something is hard. We've taken a long time on basic, 0-10 multiplication so that Giselle really knows what she's doing before we start doing double-digit multiplication. And I'm now slowly bringing in division too since she's gotten pretty solid on the basic multiplication.

This morning, Paul learned how to change the toner in the copier/printer while Giselle did recreational reading. This was after they went on a camping trip in the backyard. I think that Paul's going back to the campsite when he's done with school for the day! With cold weather coming along in another month we'll be doing PE daily inside - jumping jacks for 5 minutes between every subject - instead of just running wild outside for 5 min between each subject.

Time for math so I gotta go.

The button on the sidebar

I'm not sure if you've noticed the new button on the sidebar - it's for an online book club for Vicki Courtney's newest book "5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter". It starts on January 5 and, according to Vicki's introductory video regarding the book club, it promises to be super easy! Vicki is a wife, mother, and author that lives here in my wonderful city of Austin. It's not like I know her IRL or anything but Austin does still have that small town thing going on every so often (just ask my nephew Thomas) so maybe someday I'll run into her.
I think that I first learned of Vicki Courtney and her blog, www.virtuealert.blogspot.com, over a year ago about when the Moms For Modesty and Everyday Mommy blog started shifting gears and I started looking for something else to help guide me through the years to come with Giselle. Vicki was a voice of reason in the ever-growing tide of ambivalence towards the sexing-up of our children. My words can't do her proper justice but I really like her opinions.

Well, go to her blog and form your own opinion. If you like what you read on the blog then buy her book and join in the book club with me. It's that simple.

And if you think that your first grader is too young for you to need to worry about any of this stuff, ask her if she has a boyfriend in her class, not a friend that's a boy but a boyfriend. Once she can read she'll be noticing all the supermarket tabloids as much as you do and she'll have questions. Are you prepared to answer them? What do you hope her future is? Are you willing to be her guide or just her BFF? Because what she needs is for you to be her guide, she'll make plenty of BFF's at school, don't let her down.

Oh my, was I just up on a soapbox? I do believe so!

So close

OK, I'm not going to obsess about it but I'm sooooo close to having a one-post-per-day average that it's making me nuts. Next year I'll not care about it at all but like I said, I'm so close on this one this year that it's silly to NOT try to make it happen!

BUT, in my quest, I promise to not post just for the sake of making the post count go higher. Well, other than THIS post that I'm writing right now.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 24, 2008

cukes

I'm sitting here in front of the computer (actually squatting since it burns more calories than just sitting) eating my first 2 cucumbers of the fall harvest season. I've got a whole lot more in the fridge and I've had them since Saturday at The Market but these are the first ones that I've actually eaten. Lebanese Munchers is the name for them and WOW are they the greatest cucumbers in the world, let me tell you! Oh, those 2 are gone. Now I'm torn between eating more of them now or saving them for Thanksgiving or freezing them up to use in my green juice during the winter and spring. But they are soooo gooooood! OK, I'll have one more now, I'll share about 10 of them with Thanksgiving guests and the rest will go into the freezer.
See, the worry of mine is that the freeze that hit The Farm last Friday night took out the cucumbers - Gayla wasn't sure when we talked about it on Saturday. If the freeze got the cucumbers then this one bag full is my only bag of the fall so I need to treat it accordingly. If the plants survived then I'll have plenty more next Saturday.
I'll definitely have lots of tomatoes for canning; good thing since I'm running low on the sauce that I made from the spring tomatoes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner

We spent yesterday evening celebrating Thanksgiving early with some good friends and their Families. The 4 kids played almost accident-free the whole time and between 8 adults we only drank 3 bottles of wine. The food - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, cranberry sauce, ambrosia salad, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, & pecan pie - was excellent, the company - our friends and both sets of their parents - was engaging, the kids delighted in roasting marshmallows in the chiminea. Joe's decongestant worked wonderfully for the 4 hours we spent there so he felt pretty-much human for the entire time! An all-around enjoyable evening was had by all.

I hope that the Thanksgiving at our house on Thursday will be just as enjoyable.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

sleep

For the last 2 nights we've had the bed rails removed from the king-sized bed. No person has fallen off but both kids lost their pillows off the side and both stuffed animals fell off too. On the other hand, I've had them both glued to me most of the night. But, no one has fallen off!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

still full of goo

I started the day by taking 4 capsules of NESS Formula 419 while making Joe's bacon and eggs. Hopefully the effects of that will appear later today. I just drank about 3.5 cups of green juice. I made this batch with an entire medium onion and six good shakes of the cayenne pepper for extra 'get rid of goo' power - I don't normally use that much. I'm getting a nice warmth in my chest from it right now, but not in a heartburn kind of way. Still have a head full of goo.
At first I was just going to throw my trimmings away - the tomato and pepper cores, and the stems of the giant broccoli leaves. But once I cleaned out the produce drawer, removing the old red Russian kale and the old bok-choi and some spotty peppers, I decided to make a trip down the street to feed the chickens. Good thing I did, when getting the broccoli stems out of the trash I came upon my paring knife that I had thrown in there with them. Good thing I don't have to drive anywhere today - I can't believe that I actually put my knife in the trash!

I need to get dressed and go feed those chickens so I can then read 4 chapters of Story Of The World to the kids for school today - we need to make up for not doing school for the last 3 days!

goo

My head is full of goo and I'm having a hard time holding a thought for longer than 60 seconds. I really need to make some green juice and get this out of my body NOW!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Woot-Off today

It's a woot-off day today!
www.woot.com

hi!

We've been busy around here - finally did the grocery shopping on Monday for the first time in 2 weeks, shopped for fans at Home Depot yesterday, stayed out too late on Saturday night, skipped church to sleep in on Sunday, cooked a big dinner on Monday for 6, cooked another big dinner but for only 4 yesterday, did all the laundry (2 weeks worth) on Sunday, got everyone recovered from a 2-day cold/allergy thing, spent Sunday evening at a giant birthday party and paid for it on Monday morning. And today is our weekly play day and dinner at church.
I've spent a lot of time at night on facebook, finding old friends and old music, instead of blogging; I like the interaction instead of this one-sided thing.
Oops, gotta go take care of the bacon.
see ya!

Friday, November 14, 2008

itchy - readdressed

OK, the coconut oil on the itchy wasp sting was not a good idea. YEARS ago I had a suspicion that I was allergic to coconut oil so I stayed away from all things coconut for years. The allergy seemed to go away, either that or I avoided it so well that I never had reactions. Fast forward to the other night when I put the coconut oil on the wasp sting that I'd been rubbing for the last 15 minutes. The next morning when I got up it looked like I had poison ivy where the sting had happened. My scratching that I'd done, not with my fingernails, had opened the skin enough that by putting on the oil I had performed one of those allergy scratch tests that they do at the Allergist to see if you are allergic to something. Guess that I'm still allergic to coconut oil!

Funny thing, the itching did stop after I put the oil on and it hasn't itched since. Although I did use some homeopathics that night too: Rhus Tox and Cantharis, so maybe that's what worked.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Itchy

The wasp sting that I got on Sunday while laying in the backyard reading to the kids itches more now - two days later - than it did when it first happened. I really need to take some homeopathic Apis for this before I go to bed or else I'll be scratching it in my sleep. Maybe I'll try some of that miracle coconut oil on it first.

I love this show

Top Gear
It's on BBC America here in the states. WHAT A GREAT SHOW! Joe will even sit through repeats, it's that good!

Freedom

If you're glad that you live in a country in which you're free to vote for the presidential candidate of your choice, then thank a veteran today (and everyday). Regardless of if they volunteered or were drafted, they still fought to protect YOUR right to be life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Night Follow-up

Well, our hour outside turned into 2. We finished the book and started on the second one in the series - Surprise Island. While I read, Paul washed a tree, a couple of the fence poles, the golf cart and two of the jet skis. Quite the industrious young man, especially considering that he and Giselle together had washed the back of the house and the shop earlier in the afternoon - there was a bit of a mud and chalk issue that needed to be addressed. Giselle washed the tops of the fence posts - she's thinking of painting them and making bell wind chimes out of them since they look like bells.

The back yard looks different without the cross-fencing; it's been there since before we owned the house. The other fencing was removed 6 years ago when we took out the 25 x 45 garden but the shop went in there pretty quickly so the yard just seemed smaller not larger. With the top fencing removed it seems large again. When I feel like downloading the latest pictures I'll post some of the 'new' yard and of the progress on the stairs that Joe is building.

The dog immediately found the break in the fence to get out front but after her second attempt to explore the street unassisted I found a sheet of plywood about the right size in our scrap-wood pile (because doesn't everybody keep things like that around?) to cover the opening and now she can't sneak out. She's doing better since her bout with pancreatitis last month but I still need to closely monitor her in the backyard. There's no more throwing up now that she's back to her Innova Large Breed Senior dry food w/ Myers' venison/salmon mixed in. I'm giving her carrots at least twice a week and still giving her raw milk but no more cooked chicken skins (only raw) and no more bacon grease. I'll take her in for another blood test next week to see if her pancreas enzyme levels are back to normal or not.

That's about all for now, I've got TiVo to attend to.
Good Night!

Oh, I'm disgusted by the use of a BAD remake of the song "Saved By Zero" in the Toyota 0% financing commercial on TV. Just needed to add that.

reading is fun

We're going outside to read the last half of the first book of The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. To enjoy the last hour of the warm sunshine on this beautiful fall day.

Honey

Yep, that secret ingredient in the worst daiquiris in the world (obscure movie reference, there's a prize in it for you if you can identify the movie).
I had an "OH NO!" moment earlier this afternoon. See, we were supposed to go to a Bee Keeper friend's house to help/watch them extract honey from a honeycomb today. They harvested the comb yesterday. But I forgot to call yesterday to check about it and get directions and not only did I forget about it yesterday but I forgot about it today until 3 pm. Giselle called them to see if we were too late and, wonder of all wonders, they got busy today and didn't do it so they had rescheduled for Tuesday at 10 am. This is fantastic for us for since: 1 - we homeschool so Tuesday at 10 poses no conflict with school. And 2 - Giselle's participation as a Girl Scout in the Veteran's Day Parade on Tuesday at 9 am has been cancelled so we're free.

We're disappointed about the parade; It would have been Giselle's first one to actually participate in. Unfortunately, Veterans Day is not a 'real' holiday so government and public schools are still in session. Maybe if it was floating holiday instead of a specific date (November 11) it would get more respect. Well, the local parade is held on the actual Veterans Day so it's during school hours and evidently schools don't make attending the parade into a field trip. I CAN see the problems inherent in taking an entire school on a field trip to a parade, but it IS a nice thought! Since the parade is on a school day and most Scouts (Boy and Girl) are in public school, there are VERY FEW Scouts that would be able to participate in the parade. So even though both the Girl and the Boy Scouts were originally signed up to march in the parade, both groups have cancelled out due not having enough Scouts able to go. Oh well, I'm sure that they'll be other parades in the future.

coconut oil

I've been slow to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon - I'm just not that much into oil. But when a friend of mine told me a few months ago about its ability to 'cure' just about every ailment, I started trying it.
For the first few weeks Paul was happy to take it by the spoonful every night but then he reached his gross-out point and didn't want it any more. I don't blame him, I was grossed out the first time I tried it and wasn't going back for more, same with Giselle. A mouthful of oil is just about the grossest thing in the world.
So then I was stuck with the dilemma of how to get the oil into their diet without making our food taste greasy. Karma cooks her popcorn in it and her popcorn is fantastic, but we don't have a popper and I don't feel like having popcorn around all the time. I may have to go there though, eventually. The other week, Claudia suggested 'candy' balls. I said "Candy balls?" She said "Mix together 1 cup of nut butter, 1 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 cup of honey. Chill it, roll into balls, keep it cold and let the kids eat as much as they want (within reason)." So in the middle of last week I made some but I modified the recipe: I added uncooked oatmeal, about 1 cup, and half a bag of organic semi-sweet chocolate chips. The kids really like them, A LOT, and gladly eat 1 after every meal. I think that for the next batch I'll take Claudia's suggestion of adding cocoa powder to the mix, leaving out the chips.

Friday, November 07, 2008

nothing

I've got nothing to post. Not that nothing happened today, it's just that I don't feel like expounding on a normal Friday - breakfast, play, school, lunch, clean, park, dinner, Brownies, bed - nor do I feel like thinking about something else to write about. Honestly, I'm only posting this so that I'll hit my goal of 366 posts for the 2008 calendar year.
It's the simple pleasures in life that mean a lot.
Good night!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pokemon

The new decks came out yesterday and we DIDN'T get any!
School took FOREVER yesterday and when we FINALLY finished we rushed to our friends' house to play for 2 hours before dinner and choir practice at church. Dinner at church was great for me - baked potatoes - so I had two. Which was totally undone by the 6 fudge brownies that I ate for desert. Hey, my period started yesterday so I'm allowed!

Dawn got one coat of color done yesterday and the room looks FANTASTIC! Well, at least what I can see from the window. She's fully taped off the doorway from the inside since our interior doors and door frames are stained wood not painted; so she gets in and out through one of the bedroom windows and that's how we can see the room progress. It's going to be the perfect girl's room - light-bright pink 4-poster twin bed, light lilac walls, shimmery gossamer curtain for the closet, the window dressing will probably be pink sheers with a deep purple outer curtain (for better light blocking). We were going to paint big flowers on one wall but we'll wait on that until after we've decorated. We'll need to get her a dresser; it'll probably look like mine - tall and oak with 5 drawers - a bit more sturdy than an Ikea one. Or maybe an Ikea one - the kids and I have never made an excursion to the store so it will be an adventure. We'll make a day of it since it's almost an hour drive each way. It won't be up to Joe to pick out - boys know nothing about what a girl wants her room to look like! Sorry Joe but it's the truth. We still love you though!

Gotta go teach school.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Natalie is...

Natalie is...
ready for this 18-month election to be over.
drinking one of the 2 Harp Lagers that have been living in her fridge for the last 3 months.
taking a long time to sew Giselle's Brownie patches onto the vest.
ready for this 18-month election to be over.
thinking about making curtains for Giselle's room instead of buying ones.
enjoying the cool mornings and hot afternoons.
ready for this 18-month election to be over.
wishing that it wasn't so environmentally unfriendly to use paper plates.
still holding on to the overdue Pokemon book.
ready for this 18-month election to be over.
ignoring the fact that she hasn't put away Joe's laundry yet.
wondering when the new single-stream recycling is going to start since October is already past.
already drawing a blank on what she prepared for supper tonight.
probably going to bed early tonight.
ready for this 18-month election to be over.

Monday, November 03, 2008

big dinner

Big Dinner tonight - 2 pork loins, 4 tamales, spaghetti w/ red sauce, mixed veggies, and water. Chris didn't notice his text message about dinner until after he had finished his fast food dinner - next time I'll voice call. Thomas and Bobby were here though.
I'm tired - we drove to Seguin to visit one of my sisters for the afternoon - so I'm making this quick. I'm gonna watch some TiVo with The Man and head for bed.

Giselle's room is re-ceilinged, patched, and primered; all ready for color to be applied tomorrow! Dawn is awesome! And Joe is awesome for making us hire this job out instead of doing it ourselves - this way I'm not responsible for clean-up!

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why?!

I REALLY want to go to bed right now but I can't. "Why?" you ask. I'll tell you why: for the first time in well over a month I am getting ALL of the laundry washed and dried on Sunday! Now if I had started the laundry this morning this would not be an issue, but instead I started it this afternoon. The second-to-last load is in the washer now so I'm looking at about another 40 minutes before the last load goes into the dryer.
So I'm killing time by reading other people's blogs and putting a post for the day on mine.
All the sorting, folding and putting away WILL get done tomorrow before school since after school we've got a road trip down I-35 to make.
See ya later!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall Back

Not only are the kids already in bed and asleep, but they get an EXTRA hour of sleep tomorrow morning thanks to 'Spring - Forward; Fall - Back'!
Or they can wake up an hour early to give me time to get them bathed before Sunday School.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Perfect Night

Oh my goodness, you couldn't have asked for better weather for Trick-or-Treating! It was about 70 degrees and clear as a bell. It's down to 66 now but it's still wonderful outside. What I love the most about this temperature and Halloween is that the kids don't have to wear clothes either on top of or underneath their costumes in order to stay warm. I distinctly remember having to wear a coat over my costume several times as a kid and I also remember wearing clothes under my costume. I remember at least one case of snow flurries while Trick-or-Treating. That's no fun!
I got our usual Halloween pictures but I forgot to get any of the 4 kids in action (remember, we went over to our friends' house to Trick-or-Treat with them). Actually I didn't forget, Paul and Markham went ahead and started without the rest of us because they were so eager to get into action and Gabriel wasn't in his costume yet, so I didn't get a chance. But when we got back to the house the kids were allowed to watch a movie while eating some of their candy. The 2 boys had picked out Spy Kids 2 which was well liked by all. There were a few tense minutes near the end and that's when I got out my camera and got pictures of their faces. It was low light and of course I didn't use the flash so I'll be interested to see what the pictures look like when I look at them on the big screen.
I'm tired, I've been walking the dog several times a day lately (you DON'T want me to blog about the details on that!!) and then tonight we walked at least a mile while Trick-or-Treating; in addition to school, pumpkin carving, park, pictures, shrimp stirfry for dinner (excellent cooking by Claudia once again!), a movie, candy and 2 glasses of wine; well, it's been a full day. But overall, it was a very good day!
Good night and see you in November - time to start planning on who'll be here for Thanksgiving and what I'll be serving.

Final Ghost

Here is one of my favorite Halloween pictures, EVER!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

oh, today's Thursday!

I saw BooMama's post come up on my Blogger Dashboard about tonight's episode of The Office and that reminded me that today is Thursday and that means that there's a new episode of ER happening right now.

Seeing as how I have half of a closet to clean out before Dawn comes tomorrow and starts work on Giselle's new bedroom, I better get cracking on that and let TiVo take care of ER for me to watch later. It's not like I can leave the other half of the closet dirty, it's that I already cleaned out half of it and now I need to do the other half. We did stop by Sherwin Williams to get paint on the way to tonight's Biscuit Brothers show so that most important part is already taken care of.

Let's see if I can quickly find a copy of the paint chip to show y'all since you'll never see the room in person.
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Here we go http://www.sherwin-williams.com/search/inspired+lilac&section=homeowner
The color is inspired lilac. With the pink bed, it will bring out the purple in the color. Duration Home for the walls and Harmony for the ceiling and closet.

Gotta go clean!

Blue's Clues is The BEST!

Look, it's Steve!

too slow, he's gone

Another Ghost of Halloweens Past - 2005

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

no tea for me

Actually, I had a 16 oz cup full of water and I topped it off with a splash of that tea at church tonight. That one ounce of tea was enough to darken that whole cup of water to look like most people's regular iced tea. No wonder that stuff was keeping me wide awake past 2 am!
So compared to previous weeks I had no tea tonight. We'll not talk about the candy corn that I ate instead. Hey, it's fat free!

I'm thinking of going to bed in the next 30 min, provided I don't get sucked into the Facebook vortex.

More Ghosts from Halloweens Past

Same kid, same dog, same costumes, same front yard just 365 days later. Oh, different pumpkin!

And just like a ghost, the pictures have vanished.

congratulations and keep up the good work!

It took me 12 months to gain it and one month to lose it. I'm down 10 pounds from 5 weeks ago - back to where I was last November! Which is actually about 15 pounds more that I would like to end up, but hey 10 out of 25 is nothing to sneeze at!

Congratulations and keep up the good work!



The funny thing is that last November I started working on portion control and that's how I gained this last 10 - eating only 4 slices of cheese instead of 8 IS eating less but it's still EATING 4 SLICES OF CHEESE A DAY! Eating 1 slice of ham instead of 3 IS eating less but it's still EATING 1 SLICE OF HAM A DAY! I cut back but I didn't eliminate anything. Now that I've severely cut back my fat intake (a la the old Susan Powter diet) the weight is coming off! Once I've lost the other 15 I'll be back down to where I was when Paul was a year old, which is 5 less than I weighed when I got pregnant with him. Hmm, I started gaining all this weight when Joe started on Atkins for the first time.

Fabulous Resource for EVERYONE

This site has all the lyrics to every soundtrack, and I do mean EVERY soundtrack!

http://www.stlyrics.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ghost of Halloween Past

Here's a picture from Giselle's 2nd Halloween




And like a ghost, the picture is gone.

too cold!

Ahh Man! The dog has REALLY BAD gas but tonight is supposed to be as cold as last night (37) so it'll be too cold for her to stay out all night! She better stop this soon or grow a thicker coat of fur, I'm tired of the house smelling like dog farts all the time. Joe and the kids agree!
At least it's been 8 hours since she last threw up so maybe it'll be out of her system soon, we hope. Just in case she's got a vet appointment for Thursday morning. I hope she doesn't stink up the minivan.

I can't believe that tomorrow is Wednesday and Halloween will be in 2 more days! we don't have any vampire or witch makeup, We don't have any pumpkins, WE DON'T HAVE ANY CANDY!!! I think that I'm gonna be calling an emergency school vacation day for tomorrow in order to get everything taken care of that we need to do. Fortunately our Wednesday play friends are out of town so that gives us more time to get everything done before dinner and choir at church.

And we need to get Giselle's room cleaned out entirely so that the make-over can begin this week or next week. Oh, that means that we have to go pick out paint at Sherwin-Williams too!

Chicken

Yesterday during school I decided that for lunch the kids would have the roasted chicken from The Farmers Market so I took it out of the fridge and put it into the toaster oven for 30 min on 225. The kids were happy to have the juicy thigh and leg meat. That is until Giselle noticed a vein in her piece and then convinced Paul that they weren't going to eat any more of it. So, I sent them outside to play and I stripped the chicken and cubed it up for later use. The kids ended up having pepperoni, salami and cheese with ketchup for lunch. I had scrambled eggs with mustard.

I put the cleaned carcass into my 3 quart pot, covered it with water and set it on the stove on medium heat to become broth over the next several hours.

Come dinner time Giselle was over at a friend's house so it was up to Paul and me to figure out what to have for dinner. Paul said "enchiladas de fruita fresca". I told him that no, I was not going to make fruit enchiladas for dinner, nor was I going to make just fruit salad for dinner. So he said "How about chicken enchiladas? Do you know how to make them?" "Do I know how to make enchiladas?!! Oh do I EVER know how to make enchiladas!"

Paul and I went inside to start dinner.

Paul poured 1.5 cups of old chicken broth, .5 cups of water, and 1.5 cups of brown rice into a 2-quart pot. I dumped in some oregano and some salt and some crushed garlic, stirred it up, set the stove to 3 and let it cook for 45 minutes while we made the enchiladas.
I took the raw flour tortillas out of the fridge and heated up 5 of them, 4 for the enchiladas and one for Paul to snack on. On each tortilla I put one slice of colby/jack cheese, about 1/4 cup of diced chicken, a light sprinkle of garlic powder and a thin stripe of mild salsa. Then I rolled them up and put them in an 8x8 pyrex baking pan. On top of each enchilada I applied a thick stripe of Daisy full-fat sour cream and a thick stripe of mild salsa. Paul covered the whole enchilada (hee hee) with shredded colby/jack cheese, and I put it in the oven at 300 for 30 minutes.
I turned off heat under the rice, added in 8 oz of frozen corn, stirred and left it covered until the the enchiladas had cooled to eating temperature.

The kids loved the enchiladas, eating two each and asked if I could make them again soon.
Success again!

When the broth was cooled I strained it and put it in the fridge in a 4-cup container for future use.

Monday, October 27, 2008

not happy

I'm not happy at all about this cold front that arrived this morning. The high for the day is supposed to be 70 but it'll probably not get over 65. Well, in the sun without a wind I'm sure that it'll be well over 70 but it IS windy so it's going to feel like 65 degrees all day. And tonight it's supposed to get down into the 30's! This is NOT supposed to happen until the last week of November! I don't like this at all! Fortunately, we'll be back to the appropriate temps for this time of year by the end of the week - highs in the low 80's and lows in the mid to upper 50's.
These Arctic cold fronts always make me whine and, since the 2008 Farmers Almanac is calling for a colder winter than normal this year, I'm sure to be doing a lot of whining about the cold this winter.
Although, I'm sure that I'd be a whole lot more comfortable right now if I was wearing something warmer than shorts and a tee shirt with nothing on my feet. Giselle's in a long-sleeved dress and Paul's in shorts and a tee shirt like me.

Back to school - recess is over!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pokemon Sunday

Yep, as usual the kids and I are spending Sunday evening catching up on a week's worth of Pokemon episodes.

They both napped in the car on the way home from the dog show and when we arrived home, I napped through the first episode of Pokemon that we watched. Last night was a little too late! I've got a feeling that we may not be doing it at all next Saturday. But only because we're going trick-or-treating with them on Friday night!

I better not forget to buy candy this week when I go grocery shopping!

Another long Saturday

Giselle got to go to a Catholic Mass for the first time this evening. She and Gabriel left about halfway through and joined Paul and me out on the playground. Paul wanted to leave the church as soon as Markham and the rest of the kid choir was done singing their opening songs. Not one to enjoy hanging out in churches, I jumped at the chance to take him outside to the playground 5 minutes into the service. Is it even called a service or are they all masses?
As a reward for the four kids, Claudia and I took them to Marble Slab for ice cream and frozen yogurt. Well, it was a treat for us too as we got some too.

I'm beat - I started the day with an uncomfortable morning of sleep, the Farmers Market for 4 hours, playing at Claudia's, going to church, going out for ice cream, playing at Claudia's some more until 11:30 (Paul had fallen asleep on their bed while the kids had a rare treat of being allowed to watch the new version of the Muppet Show on the Disney Channel). I texted Joe that it was on and when we got home we found him lying on the sofa watching TV. Giselle says to him "Daaady, we were just watching that same show at our friends' house!"

Dog show tomorrow and since we were at church this evening we don't have to feel bad about missing Sunday School to go to the show.
I'm off to bed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

making my opinion known

So, I was asked the other day to go to yesterday's City Council meeting to voice my (and my neighbors') opinion regarding the future land use of some 50 or so acres that are currently undeveloped near our neighborhood. With kids in tow I went to the City Hall to give that opinion, because in America, the home of the free and the brave, we have the liberty to do that.
The portion of the meeting where we citizens are allowed to speak on the agenda items is supposed to start at 4 or 5:30 and we got there at 5. It was 8 pm by the time that they started on the public opinion part and that's when we actually went into the Council Chambers. The rest of the time we had to keep busy by exploring the building and eating.

FORTUNATELY they were opening an architectural exhibit of the proposed new central library where you could voice your opinion on which of the 3 designs you liked best. And along with the opening was an open buffet! So I didn't have to worry about the kids subsisting on Clif bars for the night. Fruit, cheese, veggies and Mexican mineral water. For us grown-ups they had beer and wine. Two nights before we had eaten dinner at a local gourmet pizza place that had an advertisement up for a new flavor of Shiner Beer. They used the AC/DC line "Back in Black" since the beer is Shiner Black (their main beer is Shiner Bock and when I moved to Texas in the 80's you couldn't get Shiner anywhere but in Texas). Well, Shiner Black was one of those free beers so I got to try it - great opportunity since I'm not about to go out and buy a six of beer that'll take up room in my fridge for a month. It was really good - very similar to Guinness Stout but without the bitter edge to it and a little less coffee taste. It certainly made the wait a lot less annoying! Since we were making a night of it and I wanted to treat the kids for so-far being incredibly well-behaved (and since I realized that we wouldn't get out of there early enough to go out to eat) I let the kids split a Blue Bell ice cream sandwich that I got out of the vending machine. Wow those things keep ice cream frozen SOLID! Normally ice cream is so soft out of those reach-in coolers that it's melted by the time you get it all unwrapped; not so with the vending machine. The kids ate their halves without a single drip of ice cream every occurring! One of the architects was really friendly towards the kids and on their display they were asking for public input on where to put the main entrance to the building. Before Giselle gave her first answer she asked him "Where is the parking lot? The entrance should be convenient to where people park." He really valued what she had to say regarding access from the street. It killed some time, that's for sure.


The kids did FABULOUS! That reminds me, I said that they'd get a larger sized Pokemon action figure for being so wonderful. I'm back - I just gave them each a 3-inch Entai.
For the first hour in the Council Chambers they were sitting and laying on the limestone tile floor in the back of the auditorium, coloring and working on sticker books. Then they got out some stuffed animal friends and silently ran around playing with those for the next hour, taking breaks to sit in the cushy chairs. At one point a gentleman came up to me and remarked about how well mannered and well behaved the kids were. I told him that "it's because my kids are homeschooled so they get to run around and play for a good part of the day and don't feel the need to act up when they're out and about; unlike other kids that are cooped up inside of a school for 6 to 8 hours who go nuts when they're released for the day." Paul found a young college girl to play peek-a-boo with and that kept him entertained for 15 min.


Back to the meeting itself. Goodness, the city manager spent almost an hour just reading the line items WHICH WERE WRITTEN DOWN ON THE AGENDA PAPERWORK THAT EVERYONE HAD A COPY OF SINCE THEY WERE HANDED OUT AT THE ENTRYWAY! Finally at 9 they started taking comments from the people who had signed up to speak (which I had done via a nifty computerized sign up system) - in the order that they signed up. At just before 10 pm they called my name, I very articulately presented my opinion to The Council, they nodded their heads in acknowledgement of my comments, the 3-minute buzzer buzzed, I finished my comments, ran up the aisle, assembled the kids and their stuff and we left. A 5 hour wait to speak for 3 minutes!
Of course we had to go down an extra flight of stairs to the 3rd floor of the parking garage so we could see the whole fountain/waterfall from the bottom - the kids thought that it's pretty neat.
Today, as part of school we're learning some interesting facts about the building that we spent 5 hours in yesterday. Gotta go do that now so we can spend the rest of the day at the park; it IS Friday after all!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

That's it!

OK, next week I'm not having any iced tea at all at church on Wednesday night. This is the 2nd week in a row that I've been up past 2 after having a cup or 2 of iced tea after dinner. I'm not going to have this happen again so from now on, there will be no iced tea drinking on Wednesday nights (unless I dilute it a whole bunch)!
Be sure to hold me to this next week, please, so you don't see any more posts from me with a time stamp of 2:15 AM.

The dog's outside for the night just in case she's in the mood to leave us a little present again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

morning

I awoke to dog poop on the living room floor. I really wish that she would stop digging through the laundry and eating washcloths!
That's all cleaned up now (and yes, I did wash my hands afterwards), the kids are putting together a dinosaur puzzle on the living room floor (far from the cleaned up spots), and I'm making Joe's bacon and eggs. It's a cereal day for the kids - organic frosted flakes with milk - and homemade yogurt for me.
Then school and saying goodbye to Joe's parents then over to some friends' house for the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

change

School has started for the day and the temperature has already risen to 67 degrees. In another 2 hours school will be over and the temperature will be up around 88 degrees. I love Texas!

morning

I'm cooking bacon and eggs for Joe, checking email, and trying to convince the kids that 56 degrees doesn't mean that you need to wear pants and long sleeves outside.

Paul listened and stayed in shorts with a short-sleeved shirt. Giselle is in capris with a short-sleeved shirt and a fleece cape. Off for their morning adventures outside before breakfast and school. Have a good voyage, kids!

gotta flip the bacon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

finally

I actually made it to the grocery store on a Monday, for the first time in what seems like months. Joe's parents were over for dinner tonight. I cooked a mesquite bbq marinated pork loin and served it with pesto-covered mixed veggies and flower pasta. I don't remember if I ever posted pictures of that pasta before so here it is.



Now the picture above is from the first time that I cooked this pasta and at that time I don't think that I put a sauce on it even after I took the picture. This time I over-cooked it a tiny bit so most of the flowers broke apart when I was mixing the pesto into it. That's why I didn't take a picture this time.

I'm sure that I've got more to say but I can hear the kids talking and playing in the other room and they are SUPPOSED to be going to sleep; so I've got to go fuss at them and then maybe watch some TV or read my 2nd-to-most-recent issue of ESPN the Mag.

School went really well today and we're almost done with both year 2 of First Language Lessons and volume 1 of A History of US. Hooray!

I think that I'm making a new batch of yogurt tomorrow, maybe even 2 batches just to use up some of the milk. Paul really liked it today when I prepared his for lunch using vanilla extract, honey, a touch of cinnamon and a touch of cane sugar.

Why are organic dried cranberries so expensive? And why do they taste so good that you have to eat the overpriced 8 oz bag super fast? And why do they put sweetener on every brand of dried cranberries? Why can't I find unsweetened ones?

Will someone come over tomorrow and pull apart a cold roasted chicken for me to make chicken salad with? The kids REALLY like to have it spread on a piece of oat bread with a slice and 1/2 of colby/jack cheese on top and then toasted in the toaster oven until the cheese is bubbling on the edges. Served open-faced and cut into 4 pieces. Do you want my recipe? Here it is:

Natalie's Rotisserie Chicken Salad

leftover rotisserie chicken cut into small chunks
mayonaisa
yellow mustard
whole-grain mustard
spike seasoning
garlic powder or fresh minced garlic
ground pepper
pickle relish
combine all ingredients in a reusable container, taste, adjust seasonings to your liking (maybe even add a dash or 3 of cayenne pepper), eat.

Don't forget to simmer the skin and bones in a pot of water for a few hours to make your own awesome chicken broth.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pokemon

It's Sunday afternoon and the kids are doing what they usually do on Sunday afternoons - sitting in front of the TV catching up on what TiVo recorded for them during the week. Friday is always an action-packed day and Saturday is even more packed, usually on into the night. Last night we got home after 10. So Sunday becomes a day of rest once we come home from church. In another 2 hours I'll kick them outside for the rest of the day but for now they'll get their brains sucked out by the monster that television is.
So their choice for this afternoon? The movie Pokemon 3: Mewtwo Strikes Back AGAIN. This is about the 5th time that I've sat through this movie. Why can't we watch episodes from season 2 on the computer instead? I want to see other ones, not this same movie again!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

no wonder

I've only made 14 posts so far this month and we're on day 18. No wonder I only have 1 public follower!

absent

Sorry to have been so absent lately - over the last 2 weeks, there's been a lot going on and even this has to be a rush post.

Joe's parents are in town so spare time is being spent with them. We've had ballet, a trip to the doctor because Paul's eye got poked, there was the park, 2.5 La Leche League meetings, a Brownie trip to the zoo, the farmers market, dinner and choir at church, playing at friends' houses (which I'm about to run off to as soon as I'm done with this), making yogurt, teaching school, getting more tapeworm medicine for the dog, going out to dinner, taking care of an on-line class reunion on Classmates, several birthdays, a leaky tire, decorating for Halloween, buying costumes for Halloween, not going grocery shopping, sleeping, marital relations, reconnecting with old friends on Facebook, returning books to the library, cleaning the house, laundry, dishes, feeding people.
Whew!!

Well, I'm off for some R and R at Claudia's house. The kids are already over there but Giselle just called me AGAIN to bring something else when I go over. First is was summer clothes, then it was Pokemon action figures, now it's crocs. I just better not forget the wine!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

surfacing

I'm afraid to check my blog stats since I've been so irregular in posting recently.

Paul did it again - had a close encounter with a foreign object. This time it was the rusty combination wrench that he found at the lake the other month. He and Giselle had finished school and were playing out back with the other homeschool kids in the neighborhood. Paul was 'repairing' the wooden fence with the wrench when it slipped/flew out of his hand and poked him in the eye. I checked his eye out (after giving him some Rescue Remedy and aconite so that he'd stop freaking out and let me look at it) and it looked to me like he had scratched his eye. Since we haven't covered that in science yet, I was calling it his lens that got scratched but it really is his cornea. Called the pediatrician and they said to call an opthamologist. Joe has one of the top practices in the state as a client so I called Joe and he made the call for us. An hour later we were waiting in the offices for our appointment. Another hour later we walked out with our prescription for antibiotic eye ointment. Diagnosis - a scratched cornea and swelling in the area due to the impact.
When we got home, Giselle got out Paul's pirate eye patch from last Halloween's costume and he's been wearing it since. True to the Dr's words, the scratch was all healed up by this morning when he woke up.

After school today we went to Party City (formerly Party Pig) and got the kids their costumes for this year - Giselle is a vampire and Paul is a clone trooper.

I still need to read them today's history lesson from A History of US so I need to run.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

some done, more to go

I got the dishes done, the sink and stove cleaned. I've washed one load out of 4 loads of laundry, I'm about to dry that and put another load in the wash; although I'm a full day and a half behind on it.
I've got to get up a little earlier in the morning (I was about to say 'tomorrow' but it's already tomorrow so I just changed it to 'in the morning') since Joe's got to be downtown at a client's office early and he'd like to eat before he goes. I've also got to get the latest batch of yogurt made so I want to start that early too. I guess I'll vacuum before school but after I go to the vet and pick up more tapeworm medicine. While there I'll go next door to the compounding pharmacy and get some herbal preventative. But we can discuss that in another post tomorrow evening.

See ya later.