Monday, June 30, 2008

kitchen harmony

Well, the Oster blender that I've had for a few years now (which is kind of a record in and of itself) died at the end of making a batch of green juice on Saturday morning - I had to finish it off using my Braun immersion blender). I drank the last of that batch this morning for breakfast so I knew that I'd need a new blender for tomorrow. I knew that I had 3 20% off coupons for Bed, Bath & Beyond burning a hole in my coupon folder so I looked online to see what they had to offer me. I found a Krups KB720 1000-Watt 5-Speed Stainless Steel Blender that looked good in both it's stats and in it's reviews on Amazon. Yes, I see that it's cheaper if I got it on Amazon but: 1 - I needed it by tomorrow am and the free shipping would take until Friday, 2 - It's got a large GLASS mixing jar that could easily get broken in shipping, 3 - If I didn't like it I'd have to deal with shipping it back, and 4 - If I had paid for overnight shipping I would have ended up paying more money than buying it locally with a coupon.

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


As of the 18th of June I am eligible to give blood again since it's been 8 weeks since the last time. Well, today as we drove into the church parking lot there was the big ole bloodmobile sitting there. I thought "Excellent, this will save me from having to drive to Central Austin to give at the main donation center!" So I dropped the kids off at Sunday School and headed out to the bus/bloodmobile. I answered all the questions correctly but I failed the blood test. You have to have an iron count of at least 35 and I had a 34. Bummer. I guess I need to get back in the habit of popping an iron pill every day while it's 'that time of the month' to help get my count back up to the 43 that it was a year ago. That's what happens when I go off of the green juice for an extended time.

Friday, June 27, 2008


School, park, pool; we did it all today.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


The pretty-much-never-used crib was sold today. Giselle asked me after it left "Where are you going to put the clean laundry now when we don't get it put away?" and I said "Ah HA! That's why you'll HAVE to put it away right away now!" But please ignore the pile of Paul's clean clothes on top of the dresser that haven't been folded or put away yet.
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

slip n slide pictures

Here are a few of the shots I got this afternoon. There were some really good ones but they're not allowed on here. I did get two great eyeball shots that I'll post tomorrow.

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!

slip n slide

Well, my own Texas Rangers were playing on our slip n slide this afternoon - right now actually. The Mt Tiki-Soki came today and they played in that for an hour then at about 2 I set up the slip n slide since Paul has been relentless in asking me to set it up for the past 3 days. I could put him off no longer. I took pictures and I'll post them later.

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

Fun in the rain

These Texas Rangers know how to have fun!

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

big dinner

Giselle wanted another big dinner tomorrow night so that's what we're doing. Please, feel free to show up if you want to 'cause there'll be plenty of 'main' food, just bring a side dish of some kind. I know that the kids would love to have some other kids here and I'll be the only girl (aside from Giselle) and I'd love the female company. Hmm, maybe I'll call up Dawn down the street and invite her over.

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
sliced cucumbers
wedged tomatoes
leftover chicken noodle salad (recipe from the latest issue of Everyday Food)
leftover macaroni & cheese w/ ground beef & mixed veggies
?Cajun catfish?
?chicken fajitas?
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!

George Carlin

George was sometimes a bit too ... much for me but Joe is a big fan. Unfortunately George Carlin died of heart failure yesterday evening.
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 bells ring, are ya listenin'?

School bells ring, are ya listenin'? On your face, sweat is glistenin'. What a beautiful sight, we're happy tonight... oh I can't think of any more.

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


Joe likes the look but he doesn't like the assembly much.
"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

we got the call

The call DID come at 1:28 AM. Good try, she almost made it the whole night. It felt odd driving the car 500 yards at 1:30 in the morning but I wasn't going to make her walk home - that wouldn't have been very nice.
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 9:30...

It's 9:30 and still no phone call, that's a good sign.
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.

Berry Milkshakes
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.

We're going to try!

Giselle has said that she still wants to try to sleep over at her friend's house tonight. I've let her know that if she needs to call to just talk or to ask to come home that it's OK, any time is OK. So there'll be no pool today to wear her out.
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

Uh Oh!

I don't know if I can talk about it but boy howdy, did I ever make a big mistake today.

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 want them to look at my teeth too!" I must have heard that about 15 times on the 45 minute drive to the dentist's office. Then he fell asleep 10 min before we got there. I'm kicked back in the chair and 3/4 of the way through my cleaning Paul comes in the room "Hi Momma! What's she doing to your teeth? I want you to look at my teeth too!" He asked some more questions with his face in my mouth and then said "I'm going to go see Giselle" and walked two rooms down to see her. From my chair I hear him ask "What are you doing to her? I want you to look at my teeth too!" The hygienist and I giggled. He came back into our room and I got out of the chair so they could look at his teeth for him. He played with the chair controls a bit and then laid back and had his 20 teeth counted. Then it was the rest of my turn. All 3 of us got new toothbrushes, toothpaste and the kids got some floss too; guess I didn't need any. And of course, since we were on the other side of the planet we had to drop by the Krispy Kreme up there. Once again it was cleaning time when we dropped by that one - it was last year too - so we didn't stick around for long. And once again we didn't eat all of our donuts.

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

Monday - woosh!

VBS this morning
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

Passing On

One of the founding Mothers of La Leche League, Edwina Froehlich, died this past week and the New York Times did a nice writeup on her.


VBS starts tomorrow morning. It'll be Paul's first time away with strangers for more than just the 2 hours of Sunday School. Hopefully his friend Ben will be in his class or one of his other friends (named "Friend" of course!).

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.

Happy Father's Day

Dads DO make a difference, just ask anyone that lost theirs or never had one and they will tell you how important it is to have a father around.
Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

kid-less market day

Joe wasn't going anywhere this morning so the kids opted to stay at home instead of going to the oven known as The Farmers Market. I honestly drank 1 gallon of water between 9:30 to 1:30. It's full blown cucumber season so I've got tons! And I've got 1/2 of a case of the Russian black plum tomatoes. Yum, I love summer!
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

Mortgage Scam

I will NOT name lenders here (since they all do this) but I am sooooo ticked about the latest mortgage scam that we have discovered: PMI. Yeah, it's that silly extra insurance that you have to pay each month if you put down less than 20% of the home's cost at closing. For the most part, that makes sense to me and it's a simple math problem to figure out. Say for instance that you are buying a house for $200,000; 20% of that is $40,000 so at closing you would need to shell out about $48,000 ($40K down plus $8K closing costs) to avoid paying PMI. If you only put down 10% at close ($20,000) PMI would be about $80 a month until your principal amount is down to 80% of the cost of the house.

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!

7 am

Giselle said to me yesterday morning "I don't mind getting up at 7 am every other day but EVERY day is just too much!"
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

gone so long

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


So, the NOAA weather report on the internet for the next several days is highs in the upper 90's - no biggy, that's just summer in Texas. I had to let out a giggle though when I saw that for Thursday, Friday & Sunday the highs are supposed to be 99, 98, & 99 and the picture for those days is a giant glowing orange sun in an orange hazy sky with the word "Hot" written underneath it. Now on Saturday the high is only going to be 96 so the picture is of a regular sun in a blue sky with a few clouds since there is a "slight" chance of thunderstorms (20%). No "Hot" under the picture. That's what I love about NOAA weather - no hype about the weather, just an honest "Hot" for those days close to and over 100 but no big deal when it's only 96. I'll see if I can copy the pictures and post them here, maybe you'll giggle too. Got it, here you go:

And here's our forecast for the next week. Notice that wind/breeze that I'm always talking about? It really makes the temperature seem lower than it is on the thermometer. Although Joe would die if I called it the wind chill since it's the middle of summer but that's what it IS!

Overnight: Increasing clouds, with a low around 75. South southeast wind between 10 and 15 mph.
Thursday: Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99. Heat index values as high as 106. South wind between 10 and 15 mph.
Thursday Night: Increasing clouds, with a low around 75. South southeast wind between 5 and 15 mph.
Friday: Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 98. Heat index values as high as 105. South southeast wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 75. South southeast wind between 5 and 15 mph.
Saturday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 96. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 75. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Sunday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 99. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. South wind between 5 and 10 mph.
Monday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 98.
Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74.
Tuesday: Partly sunny and hot, with a high near 98.
Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74.
Wednesday: Partly sunny and hot, with a high near 97.

no title

Yesterday we ended up at Dick Nichols after camp with a promise to go to Barton Springs after camp today. There was much more swimming done at Dick Nichols and there was equal amounts of stuff floating in the water at both pools. Paul really enjoyed watching people go off of the diving board. One college-age guy did a back flip and Paul turned to me and said "That was AWESOME!" I had forgotten how stinky the shallow end is - yuck! - we moved out of there quickly.

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

The day went swimingly

Giselle had a blast at camp!

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

Butterflies in our stomachs

Giselle and I are almost sick with excitement and trepidation: Monday morning is the first day of Girl Scout Day Camp and she'll be there for 7 hours a day all week long. And, as I'm sure that all y'all know, we home school so this will be the longest that she's ever been away from me in a 'strangers only' situation. Not only that but she'll be in a mixed-age group of girls ranging from 1st grade to 7th grade. We're hoping that she'll make some new friends to help replace the ones that have moved on and that she'll have a blast learning and playing all week. It definitely help her learn to step outside of her normal comfort zone.
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

Once again

Once again, we hook up with some friends and finally play at their house. The kids have a great time - played together for almost 11 hours - their mom and I can't seem to stop talking. And they are leaving on Friday for 6 weeks! Argh!!
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

followup on Thursday and dinner

We didn't go bowling but I did nap under the shady tree in the front yard for a half of an hour while the kids played. I kept waking up to see if the tree was going to blow over on me (it's 2/3 dead) or if the wind chimes hanging over my head were about to come crashing down. Neither thing happened.

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

Everyone knows it's windy!

It's been really windy here for a few days, weeks, months and yesteday and today have been no exception. We flew Giselle's new kite yesterday. It was almost to the end of its 300 ft string! I think that it's too gusty to fly any today so we're going bowling instead.
Big dinner at the house tonight - tamales and pork of some kind.
see ya!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Nationa Dystonia Awareness Week contest

In honor of National Dystonia Awareness Week, Coffee Bean is having a little contest on her blog! A $20 Starbucks card (for you international people, if you don't have a Starbucks she will figure something else out).
Go check it out, you've got nothing to loose except some ignorance about Dystonia or Spasmodic Dysphonia.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

no time

school and property tax protest paperwork all day - no time to blog.
Got another 500 Pokemon cards delivered today. Joe says that's enough! I think that I agree.

Monday, June 02, 2008

pepino - cucumbers

I had my first Finca Pura Vida Lebanese cucumber of the season a few minutes ago. It was SOOO good. I dipped it in the Garlic Saltburst sea salt from Spiceburst Gourmet Spices. I buy the salt in bulk every summer because I LOVE it on my cucumbers! Tonight I just poured a bit of the salt into a tiny shallow bowl and dipped my cucumber into it and ate it. When it's full-blown cucumber season I cut up 8 cups worth of the cucumbers, generously sprinkle the salt over them, snap the lid onto the 8-cup container and twist and turn it all around until every slice has some salt on it. I do this early in the morning on Fridays so that they're ready for snacking and sharing later on at Park Day. The garlic salt is roasted so it's a nice chocolate brown color and after the cucumbers have been soaking in it for a few hours it looks like they've been soaking in balsamic vinegar. The cucumbers are so crunchy and salty and garlicky; everybody at the park really looks forward to me bringing them to The Park each week.

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.

To Done

To Done:
vacuumed the house
swept the kitchen
washed and dried all the dirty clothes
dusted things
took down the tent
taught school
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
grocery shopping
mow the lawn
mop the floors
put away ALL the laundry


The other week, I was driving home from a La Leche League Meeting at sunset and the views from Capitol of Texas Highway were amazing. I grabbed my camera and blindly shot away while paying attention to driving. When I uploaded the pictures later I saw that many were obscured by blurry trees or the only thing in the frame was sky not sun - thank goodness for digital cameras! I've always enjoyed trying to capture sunsets on film but the financial cost of taking not-great shots can add up.

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 get the tent taken down, although I did get everything taken out of it.
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
teach school
cook dinner for 6 (that's the easiest one of them all since the pork loin is already thawed out)