Monday, June 30, 2008
So the kids and I headed off to the store and got my new Krups blender, a Farberware 2-qt stainless steel covered sauce pan with a double boiler, a Farberware 3-qt stainless steel covered sauce pan with a steamer insert, a vegetable holder for the grill, and a package of 2 pretty large squirt guns. (As I ALWAYS tell the kids "You can never have too many squirt guns!") The one thing that we didn't leave with was some appliance covers. According to the sales guy "Oh, those are only available online, we don't carry them in the stores." What the ? I've been looking for these things EVERYWHERE for the last year - ever since I bought my new mixer in Feb of 2007 - and NOBODY has them locally. I may be a little too 'normal' for the average person that these stores are targeting but if I was selling small appliances I would certainly sell covers for those small appliances. And I would place them in the SAME AISLE as those small appliances. And people would buy them because they would say "Wow, I would like to keep my new - blender, toaster oven, mixer, coffee maker - clean when I'm not using it so I'll buy one of these now!" It's that easy, just stock them in black and white and put them in the small appliance aisle and I guarantee that they will sell. But NOOOOOOOO! I have to go online and order some and pay shipping AND I have to shop! Have I mentioned recently that I don't really like to shop, even online? But I digress.
We ate out - Asian buffet - and when we got home I set the kids up with the squirt guns to soak themselves before bed. I then unwrapped MY new toys. And low and behold, in my kitchen of gleaming white appliances, the brand new brushed-stainless steel and black Krups blender EXACTLY matches the Oster Convection Toaster Oven that I got in Dec 2006. AND they sit right next to each other on the counter. I took pictures of the happy couple immediately (yes, it doesn't take much to make me giddy) but the battery in the camera was running low so instead of uploading the pictures I'm charging the battery. Once I do the dishes tomorrow I'll take pictures of the whole kitchen since I don't think I've taken any since we got the new dish washer (which, by the way, doesn't do such a great job on the milk jars).
Now to go read the instruction manual tonight before using the blender for the first time tomorrow, 'cause that's the kind of girl I am. Oh, and check out other people's opinions on Amazon of my new pots before I use them.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The shopping cart needs to go next. Then it'll be 2 crib mattress covers, a changing table pad and maybe some more toys. Given away, not Craigslisted, will be books and shoes and some nursing shirts. Then I'll need to to get rid of A LOT of old records on eBay.
That's all I've got a brain for tonight. After school was over today we went and spent 2 hours at Michaels stocking up on craft supplies for the next 2 years. Then after we came home and sold off the crib, we went to our nearest Chick-Fil-A to support some friends of Giselle's who were raising money for their gymnastics team. We ended up staying there for over 2 hours - the kids were having a blast playing in the play scape - and I had WAY too much food AND a caramel coffee shake. I at least had the sense to not finish the thing.
Tomorrow's park and pool day!!!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
No backyard is complete without a John Deere tractor!
What happens when you go slippin' n slidin' on ground that hasn't been rained on in over a month.
He got his Momma's curls!
Paul's favorite word for the last week has been 'Awesome!" and he has said it about FIVE THOUSAND times today.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
With the summer that we've had here so far, EVERY Texan would love to do what these guys did last weekend during a rain delay at Shea Stadium! The fans even booed when security kicked them off the field.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Here's our tentative menu:
tamales from Tamaleo - pork, chicken & black bean
fresh shrimp from the Gulf (boiled or scampi, not sure yet)
bay scallops w/ pasta (recipe from the latest issue of Everyday Food)
roasted salsa marinated pork loin
leftover chicken noodle salad (recipe from the latest issue of Everyday Food)
leftover macaroni & cheese w/ ground beef & mixed veggies
I'm not planning on getting a fire going in the grill since Thomas didn't say that he was bringing some of the pork medallions on sticks like last time.
Oh, I guess I should either put away the tent and air mattress from our backyard camp out or else toss them into Giselle's vacant room! I'm gonna go do that now!
See you at dinner tomorrow night!
My kids don't know who he was by name although if I told them that he was the actor who did the voice of Fillmore in the movie Cars, then they would know.
School starts back up today after our 2 week break. We were supposed to go grocery shopping before school but I don't see that actually happening since school starts in 15 min and we're still in our pajamas.
Lots of reading on my part, lots of spelling on Giselle's part, lots of letters on Paul's part. Hopefully no tears on anyones part!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
"Doing one is not so bad but can you imagine having to put together a house-full of this stuff?" Giselle is assisting and doing the running commentating.
I think we're going to take a walk with the dog before bed - Paul is a bit too wound up for bed.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Gotta run, it's the last day of VBS and the kids are doing a musical performance at 11:30.
I already watered all the potted plants and took care of the neighbor's dog. Their dog refuses to eat the entire time that they're gone except for the treats that we bring over to her - Taco Bell leftovers, pieces of cheese, lunch meat, dog biscuits, etc. Maybe it's just that she really hates her dog food - that's what I used to think but she doesn't even eat the dog food that we bring over from our house.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
It's not like she's never been on a sleepover - this is her 3 one - just the other 2 times were at Grace's house and Giselle is very close to Grace's mom so she felt very comfortable there. I'll keep the phone close by just in case.
Paul and I watched Cars again and had Berry Milkshakes with dinner. He was not happy about going to bed alone so I helped him out and sang him to sleep. The song that I've used as a lullaby since Giselle was first born is Deep In The Heart Of Texas. If you sing it slowly in an alto without the hand claps it makes an excellent lullaby. Then after singing it a few times through I switch to humming it. I used to hum it to Giselle while she napped in my arms as an infant. I really need to record it for them to keep.
1 quart of milk, partially frozen
3/4 cup of frozen blueberries
3/4 cup of frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen peaches
4 Costa Rican baby bananas
1/4 cup of honey
Blend until smooth with an immersion blender - mine is a Braun Multiquick Professional 400 watt Model 4191.
Pour into pilsner glasses with straws and drink.
Too bad the Mt Tiki-Soki hasn't arrived yet, otherwise they could play outside in that. They have no idea that I bought it and they are going to be so surprised when it gets here!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
In other news, VBS went well and we went to the pool in the late afternoon. Other than my mistake, the day was fairly uneventful. I didn't even water any grass or plants today.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I've got other work to do so I'm gonna run. I just wanted to drop by and post for the day.
Oh, last night's sleepover ended at about 10:15 pm - VBS, pool and a sleepover in one day was just a little too much for both of the girls - they both wanted to be in their own room in their own houses with their familiar things around them. I don't think that the proposed sleepover on Thursday night is going to work either for the same reason.
Monday, June 16, 2008
weed eating this morning
watering potted plants this morning
picked up the kids
fed the kids
avoided taking care of putting away the laundry
went to the pool with an extra kid (gosh we sure did see a lot of people we know!)
came home after 2 and a half hours
made dinner and ate
extra kid came over to spend the night
now watching 2 episodes of Pee Wee's Playhouse and then it's bedtime for the kids.
Then I have to take care of that laundry
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Don't you just love that? When little kids are about 3 to 5 years old and can't remember their friends' names and just call them ALL "Friend", it's just the cutest thing in the world!
This morning at home, Giselle made a pop-up Father's Day card for Joe. She told me that she learned how to make pop-up cards in Sunday School. I'm glad to know that she's learning SOMETHING there each week 'cause she sure doesn't seem to be learning (remembering) much 'Church' stuff.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
No cinnamon & raisin bread for Joe - the baker that makes it was on vacation. Basil is not full on yet but I got one bunch for the week's green juice. I got 2 more bunches of the Texas Sweet onions.
I'm tired and the kids miss me so I've got to go sit on the sofa and be with them.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Here's the first scam:
When purchasing the house for $200,000; if the house is appraised by the mortgage company for, oh say $275,000 then THAT'S the amount that the mortgage company will force you to insure the house for. This can result in an increase in your annual insurance payment of up to $1,000 which increases your escrow payment by $100 a month. I know that equals $1,200 but mortgage companies like to have an escrow 'cushion' of at least 2 month's payments at the lowest balance. So here, the mortgage company is earning interest on your escrow payments (which are based on the inflated amount that your home is insured for) for the whole year.
And here's the second scam - the part that really makes me mad:
When the mortgage company determines your loan-to-value ratio (LTV), which has to be at 80% or below before you don't have to pay PMI anymore, they divide the current principal balance by the appraised value of the property at the time the loan was closed or by the contract sales price, WHICHEVER IS LOWER. So even though they make you insure the house for appraised value of $275,000 instead of the purchase price of $200,000 , they TOTALLY ignore that appraised value when it comes to figuring the home owner's equity in the house to get rid of the PMI.
So, not only are they earning interest on an extra $100 a month that you have to pay for the home owner's insurance, they are making another $80 a month for PMI. Because, of course, the PMI is being purchased, on your behalf, from one of their subsidiaries. And you have to pay the PMI for 7 to 10 years or possibly longer. So that's an extra $2,000 a year that you are paying the mortgage company for 10 years. The PMI costs you almost $10,000 , and that's money you'll never see again. But most people look at from the monthly standpoint and $80 a month isn't so bad - it's a date night, or one concert ticket.
Reminder: DO NOT look at that piece of paper in your closing paperwork that states how much interest you are going to pay over the life of the loan! Yes, you could buy a whole other house with that money that you pay to borrow the money.
Think about that same $200,000 house with 10% down, a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage at 6.5%: you're monthly payment will consist of Principal + Interest of $1200.93 (those first 2 years of payments have less than $200 going towards principal and over $1,000 going to interest) PLUS your escrow payment of about $500 a month for insurance and property tax PLUS the PMI for 10 years so each month you are paying the mortgage company about $1,800 each month. For the other 20 years you'll probably pay the same or more, allowing for increases in your insurance rates and property taxes. So at the end of 30 years you'll have paid about $650,000 for your house. Now granted, $216,000 of that was for taxes and home owner's insurance; but the P&I total is $432,334! Yep, over 30 years you'll pay $242,334 IN INTEREST for that house.
The moral of all of this?
Buy as affordable of a house as possible (could you afford the monthly payment on just one income?). Put as much down on your house as you possibly can. When you have extra money, make extra PRINCIPAL payments instead of buying a new car or vacation or TV or bicycle or purse or boots!
On one hand, it was bad of me to keep them out so late on a camp night. But on the other hand, it was their last chance to play with the boys for 6 weeks and they were having SO much fun. Playing Pokemon cards, digging in the garden, playing on the playscape, running around, dressing up and playing Power Rangers. Mind you, none of the 4 of them have ever seen the Power Rangers show but they had on the costumes and were making the noises - all because other kids they know have told them about it. Just 2 days ago Paul and Jaden were playing Ninja/Spider Man/Power Rangers in full costume outside in 96 degree heat - crazy kids. At least tonight the kids were inside in the air conditioning and it was 9:30 pm.
It's 1 am and I'm beat. I'm going to bed as soon as I drink some more water.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
wake up 7 am
take Giselle to camp 7:30 to 8:25
mow lawn 8:30 to 9 am
la leche league meeting 9:30 to 12 noon
lunch at Donn's Depot (BBQ) 12:15 to 1:45
leave to pick up Giselle 2:30
get to Claudia's house 3:25 pm
leave Claudia's house 10:35 pm
make lunch for Giselle for tomorrow 11:15
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We Taco Belled it on the way home since it was moving on to dinner time and the cucumbers with garlic salt were all eaten up. Guess who's not using ANY tomato products due to the recall? Yep, Taco Bell. That means no toms in the guac, no salsa in the burritos, and NO HOT SAUCE since it's made out of tomatoes! Fortunately we have lots of safe tomatoes at home that I cut up and added into our 7-Layer Burritos and I've got several jars of different salsas in the fridge.
Totally off-topic: I sure wish that my IT guy could get my wireless signal issues worked out.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Afterwards she joined Paul and I over at a friend's house where we had been playing since noon and later in the day we went swimming at their neighborhood pool - the second time swimming that day for her. Unfortunately, she decided that she was hungry and tried to take a bite out of the side of the pool and chipped her front tooth. Fortunately I had my nail file with me in my mini first aid kit and I took care of the pointy edge. We've bumped our annual dental appointment up one month and they'll look at it next week when we go in for a cleaning. We stayed at our friend's house until dinner time when we flew home to eat and get to bed. Well, I stayed up and watched Doctor Who reruns after they went to bed.
That 7 am alarm clock was a little too early for Paul.
Today after we dropped her off we went and did our shopping and then Paul went to play at a different friend's house for an hour. I went to get him at noon but ended up staying over for another 45 min, until Paul's ears stopped working.
I made us a big communal smoothie for lunch - 1.5 cups of vanilla yogurt, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 large, very ripe banana, and 1 cup of milk. When we first got home from HEB we made a batch of Jell-o. Calm down, don't worry, I didn't have a brain replacement! Claudia taught me to make it with 100% fruit juice and unflavored gelatin - that's it, only 2 ingredients! I used Kundsen's Organic Blueberry Cranberry juice this time. We're going to eat it when Giselle gets home. I guess I could make it with Agar Agar next time since that's plant based gelatin instead of animal based.
I think that Paul and I are going to go swimming before we pick up Giselle today. Gotta run.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
I'm sure to step on toes here but this is the way I feel : I'm hoping that the older girls are all Scouts and not just 'regular public school' girls. I don't trust 'regular' pre-teens to not be snarky and rude and bossy and mean and catty and shallow and disrespectful of themselves (and others) and all those other things that I am doing my best to protect my INNOCENT daughter from.
Yes, I can't shelter her forever but I damn well will try my hardest to keep the sh*tty people away from her for as long as possible. She's a child for Heaven's sake and it's my job as her mother to help her to SLOWLY grow up to be a loving and caring and respectful and calm and thoughtful and balanced young woman.
I will NOT hesitate to pull her out if I feel that the atmosphere is harming her in any way. If she is uneasy about going back I will encourage her and help her to remember to use her tools and help her find her inner strength and continue to take her. But if she comes home sobbing...
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Maybe the time will pass quickly.
Not quick enough for Paul - he's going through the stage that Giselle did at this age - he cries his little heart out every time we leave a friend's house. He has so much fun and likes them so much that he doesn't want to leave. Just like I said to Giselle, I tell him that it's a good thing that he had so much fun that he doesn't want to rather than him having such a miserable time that he's begging me to hurry up and take him home. Which, by the way, HAS happened at least once for each kid. I sure hope that it doesn't happen again during camp next week.
Friday, June 06, 2008
For our tamale and pork dinner Thomas was bringing over some bacon-wrapped loin medallions on skewers so I had to get the (charcoal) grill fired up ON THE WINDIEST DAY OF THE CENTURY. I started working on the fire at about 5:10 using Central Market 100% Mesquite Charcoal and some wadded up newsprint, some lighter fluid and a 12 oz can of old bacon grease. By 6:15 I was confident that it wasn't going to go out again so I got to putting food on.
I put the six tamales on the top rack right away since those were frozen solid (2 black bean, 3 chicken and 1 pork). At 6:30, when the coals were good and HOT and the grill thermometer read 400 degrees I put the 1.25 pound pork loin on the grill, 1 inch above the coals, and seared it 4 min on each of the 4 sides. Then I put it on a piece of foil and set it to the side to roast for 20 min. With the loin out of the way, I put the skewers on for 5 min a side after I lowered the coals another inch. BTW, I was closing the lid between each turning (with tongs 'cause you don't want to pierce the meat and loose all the juices) to keep the heat in - the wind blew away all the heat as soon as I opened the lid.
At quarter 'till i put the breaded pork cutlets in the toaster oven and set a pan of frozen mixed veggies on the stove to saute in butter and Spike seasoning. I sliced up several raw tomatoes too. And I was in NO WAY afraid of the safety of the tomatoes since these came from Finca Pura Vida, a 50 acre organic farm (only 8 of which are grown on, the rest is for the cows and chickens) that goes beyond the USDA Organic standards and grows a large variety of produce. The tomatoes that I serve ARE NOT from some giant mono-cropping farm that distributes to several states. Edgar personally grows every single thing that he sells at the market and I trust him without question.
When the medallions were done, I took everything off the grill and set the meat aside to rest while the juices redistributed. I sliced the pork loin while everyone prepared their tamales and ate their medallions; that loin was INCREDIBLE! Now I'm going to have to grill it every time. The tamales tasted great too! Having them heated/smoked over the coals added the most interesting flavor to them. I totally suggest cooking some tamales on the grill the next time you are cooking out. Just be sure to wrap them in one layer of foil before putting them on the grill if they aren't already wrapped.
Gotta get back to school.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Big dinner at the house tonight - tamales and pork of some kind.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Go check it out, you've got nothing to loose except some ignorance about Dystonia or Spasmodic Dysphonia.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
They also love it when I bring the California Wonder bell peppers with the Daisy/Good Seasons dip. But they'll have to wait a bit on those - the peppers just started being harvested and they are all still green, not yet the beautiful (and flavorful) red, orange and yellow.
back to work on the prop tax, or I'll go to bed.
vacuumed the house
swept the kitchen
washed and dried all the dirty clothes
took down the tent
dispensed Pokemon cards at bedtime
made dinner for 7 - roasted pork loin, fresh green beans, tomato wedges, mini lasagna noodles with pesto
did cash report
pulled the poison ivy in the backyard
working on the property taxes
Still To Do:
put away the tent
pull up the rest of the poison ivy
wash the dog
fertilize the lawn
teach school again
keep working on the property taxes
put Protectant 303 on the seats of the see-saw
update the TFM database
do the LLL annual reports
fertilize the lawn
mow the lawn
mop the floors
put away ALL the laundry
Out of all of the pictures I like this one the best even though it still didn't pick up the pinks that were visible to the naked eye.
I'm sure that Ree or Donna could help me make it look 'right' with Photoshop but I really try my best to get it to look real straight out of the camera. Maybe another day I'll play with this picture and see what I come up with. If I do I'll post my results here.
And this picture, while it's blurry/fuzzy, I really like. I think it's the feel of motion that I get from looking at it. Also it's probably because I know that within 10 years this stretch of highway, a mile from my house, will NOT look like this. It will be overbuilt and look like Houston.
They look good when you look at them bigger so click on them and enjoy.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
I didn't do any laundry, although I did get the laundry basket out of the bedroom before I put the kids to bed.
I did get myself and the kids showered and off to church on time for the 11 am service.
I did get Giselle to do a wonderful card for our departing pastor and I included a picture of the 2 kids in it.
I did bid on and win some more Pokemon cards on eBay.
I did eat my weight in tomatoes today. Not really, but I did eat at least 5 pounds.
I did serve my kids birthday cake for breakfast today.
I did get everyone rounded up for dinner at Angel's Icehouse in a timely manner.
I did carry a sleeping Paul backwards out of the Big Blue Van.
I did get the plants out back watered (didn't get the ones in the front though).
Oh, and I did do the dishes (by hand) this afternoon.
I just feel like I got nothing done today, even after typing up this list!
To do tomorrow:
pull up the poison ivy
put Protectant 303 on the seats of the see-saw
update the TFM database
do the LLL annual reports
work on the property tax disputes
do the laundry
vacuum the house
wash the dog
produce a current cash report
fertilize the lawn
cook dinner for 6 (that's the easiest one of them all since the pork loin is already thawed out)