Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I forgot to take 'before' pictures so an 'after' one wouldn't do much good. Oh, I could draw them back in to make my own 'before' picture!
Monday, September 29, 2008
We went grocery shopping today for the first time in about 11 days or so. I managed to purchase ANOTHER 10 pounds of grapes in addition to the 8 that I bought on Saturday!
But let me explain my actions. See, for most of the year, and actually year-round for the past several years, organic grapes are a bit pricey. Certainly priced higher than I'm willing to pay. For the last month, organic grapes have been on sale for $2.49 a pound and I'm unable to resist the pull of those sweet, juicy, bite-sized pieces of heaven. And they're on my diet!
Although the frozen raw almonds that I'm eating right now aren't.
Thanks, I just switched to eating a jar of salsa.
I love grapes! So do the kids, and since I buy so many I don't have a problem sharing them.
In finding the 'Stop The Insanity' link I read the 'update' on Susan Powter. Ummm, the diet works for me but that lady is a bit 'off' in my book. I just wanted to put that out there.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Watered some plants.
Fed the kids dinner.
Fed Joe dinner.
Vacuumed the entire house.
Processed all the grapes and peppers.
Boiled down the chicken carcass for broth.
Washed 5 and dried 4 of the 6 loads of laundry (I miscounted before).
Still to do:
Wash the final load of laundry and dry the last 2 loads - working on that right now.
Eat the okra - that'll be lunch tomorrow.
It's time to make lunch for the kids - roasted chicken and pb&j.
It's time to take care of the mending pile.
It's time to wash all of the grapes (all 10 lbs that I bought yesterday).
It's time to cut and freeze all the peppers since I don't want to can any more of them.
It's time to eat some more okra for lunch.
It's time to vacuum the living room.
It's time to water the plants outside.
Time is on my side, yes it is! That's why this'll all be done today.
Friday, September 26, 2008
CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING PERSONAL COMMENTS MAY ANGER SOME PEOPLE. THEY ARE MY OPINIONS ONLY AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF EVERYONE IN CASA DE GALLETTI.
Thanks to all the irresponsible people living beyond their means and purchasing WAY more house than they can actually afford.
Thanks to the house-flippers that don't know what they are doing and didn't account for the fact that the house may not resell for up to 6 months.
Thanks to so many people defaulting on their mortgages because they didn't pay attention to their actual bills and finances before they purchased a house that cost WAY too much.
Thanks to all those people who didn't realize that your mortgage payment is NOT just principle and interest but it includes a payment into an account that the bank has for you (called an escrow account) that is used to pay the taxes and insurance on your house.
Thanks to all those people who didn't factor in the cost of utilities for that 3,000 square foot house when they were working on their budget.
Thanks to all those people who took horrible care of their brand new cars so that once they were finished paying it off they HAD to turn around a buy another NEW one instead of using that money to save for retirement or pay extra on their mortgage.
Thanks to people not planning ahead for a 'rainy day'.
Sorry, but Charles got me fired up about this the other day so I had to finally vent.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Field trip to the library to learn the Dewey Decimal system
Shopping at the co-op
Dinner at church
Choir practice/playing/Coffee & Conversation
And I totally cursed closing by talking about it to y'all before it actually happened (usually I wait until afterwards for this exact reason). The 'assistant' at the broker's office has been dropping more balls than a juggler in training and consequently our close that was in the bag is being delayed by 2 to 3 days! If I had only kept my fingers still and not crowed about the paperwork being all complete 5 days in advance, I really should have known better. You would think that these folks would know how to do their job; they do it every day and get well paid for it. Unfortunately, it seems as if I know more about their job and what needs to get done than they do; and this is only the 9th time that I've done the mortgage dance. I think I see what my future part-time job will be once the kids are in public school.
Speaking of school, I've got other things to take care of before we start for the day so I'm ending this now.
PS, At least we avoided that stupid PMI this time around!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
It's an Imperial Moth. Their larva feed on every kind of tree that grows in the surrounding hundreds of miles. The identification was courtesy of http://www.whatsthatbug.com/ .
Last night when we came home from Claudia's house there were these two 'hanging out' on the wall beneath the front porch light.
I'd like to think that the plural for Praying Mantis is Praying Manti. I hope that he made a good meal for her afterwards.
1 - The heat broke a bit this last month so our utility bill dropped $100, down to $250!
2 - We completed financing on the newest house a full 5 days (including the weekend) before the closing date!
3 - We upped the dosage on the dog's pee pills (Proin) and the leaking seems to have stopped!
4 - Austin is back to daily temperatures in the 90's! I really don't like the cold but I also don't like the A/C running all night.
5 - We're one step closer to finding a Brownie troop for Giselle.
6 - Joe got the two 1,000 lb steel support beams for the stairs to the second story deck up - ALL BY HIMSELF! No he's not superman, he built a crane just for the purpose of lifting the ends of the beams 14 feet into the air to attach them to the edge of the deck. After moving them out of the shop and 15 feet up a 45 degree slope. I'll post pictures some day of OUR deck project!
7 - Joe didn't give himself a hernia while moving the above mentioned 1,000 lb steel beams!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The kids played the whole day except when they were eating - 9 hours of nonstop action. Giselle worked hard on clearing one of the gardens of all weeds so that we all can plant a winter vegetable garden in it next week. Don't tell anyone but after they were done I weeded the other half without them knowing. We adults ate, we played, we had 2 drinks, we played, we ate again, we drank a bottle of wine and at 10 pm we (my kids and I) left. Claudia's mom is visiting so I was challenged to work on my Espanol all afternoon.
I've invented a new drink and we are calling it a Natalie. 1 oz Mexican Tequila, 6 oz Central Market Organic's Prickly Pear Italian Soda, served over ice. It was REALLY GOOD!
I've eaten more rotisserie chicken in the last week than I've previously eaten in the past year.
Buenos Noches, Amigos!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Organic grapes were on sale so I bought close to 10 lbs of them; green, red and black.
I really dislike having to make a special trip to Randall's to get the Oscar Mayer Natural Hot Dogs so I'm happy to report that another brand is making natural hot dogs and HEB is carrying them. In these 2 cases, natural has no bearing on how the cows/pigs were raised; it just means that the hot dogs contain no added nitrites or nitrates. This brand I'm now buying, John Morrell Bistro Naturals, has no MSG, they're gluten free, they are fully cooked but uncured, no nitrites or nitrates were added except for natural occurring nitrates in sea salt and celery juice. Although they do have a whopping 15 grams of fat in each dog! That's 23% of the total maximum amount of fat a grown adult should eat in one day all in just one plain hot dog!
Gotta get back to work so we can make it to the park before 3 today!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Here is the ingredient list of this can of supposedly 100% vegetable juice : Tomato juice from concentrate (water, tomato paste), reconstituted vegetable juice blend (water and concentrated juices of carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach), salt, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), flavoring, citric acid.
- First off, they obviously rounded up since if it truly was 100% juice then how could they add in the salt, vitamin C, FLAVORING (whatever THAT is), and citric acid.
- Secondly, shouldn't there be some bell pepper juice or jalapeno pepper juice or the juice of SOME KIND of pepper in the thing if you are going to call it Spicy Hot Vegetable Juice?
- Third, what is this FLAVORING? Quite often that's just a code word for MSG. If it's the pepper flavoring, why not just call it that so I know what I'm really drinking?
- Forth, the main ingredient is WATER since all the juices are actually concentrates.
- Fifth, let's face it, the main vegetable is tomatoes followed by carrots. Real celery is too strong of a flavor for most so there's probably not much of that in it. Based on the order of the ingredients, there are even less beets than celery, less parsley than beets, less lettuce than parsley, less watercress than lettuce and that leaves just the tiniest pinch of spinach. The percentage of any vegetable other than the tomatoes and carrots is pretty much negligible.
Now that I've totally ragged on V8, let's check out the ingredient list on the Knudsen Organic Very Veggie Juice. Supposedly 100% juice also: Filtered water (sufficient to reconstitute), organic tomato paste, organic vegetable juice blend (organic carrot, celery, beet, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach), organic grain vinegar, organic lemon juice concentrate, sea salt, dehydrated organic green bell peppers.
These two labels weren't really that different but I feel that the Knudsen one was more honest in that there were no mystery ingredients. I'm guessing that the certain mix of juices has been shown to be the perfect blend since it's in the same proportions in both brands.
I'm sticking with the Knudsens!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I make my pesto - basil, oregano, olive oil, GARLIC, nuts, salt & pepper, Parm cheese (or other similar hard, aged cheese from Italy) - then I pour it into the openings in an ice cube tray. I don't EVER use them for anything other than freezing pesto. I cover each tray with either some regular plastic wrap or some of that Press'nSeal kind, stack them, then stick them into the freezer. In about a day I pop all the cubes of pesto out of the trays and put them in a gallon-sized freezer bag and stick that into the big freezer. Each cube makes a serving's worth of pesto. And pesto isn't just for serving on top of pasta - I pop a few of them into the broth whenever I make Minestrone Soup in the wintertime.
Paul got a tiny Chicorita and a tiny Treecko .
Gotta run, Marie and the kids are calling on Skype so that we can talk some more. Well, the girls talk but Sam and Paul just make silly faces and noises at each other.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The funny thing is that I had talked to her earlier in the day at 1 pm my time and 8 pm her time. Now, here I was talking to her again after she had gotten up the next day and had sent the kids off to school (3 am my time and 10 am her time), yet I was still up since the previous call.
I'll post pictures later.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Go here for a sample of what you've been missing:
sorry but the embedding didn't work this time - it took forever to NOT load.
Karma brought 2 big bowls of popcorn this week because she knows that we all LOVE her popcorn - her secret is that she uses coconut oil. The combination of the salty popcorn and the sweet watermelon was fantastic!
I wonder what we'll come home with from the market today. Oh, our chance of rain is down to 30%; so much for counting on Ike to water our lawn.
Friday, September 12, 2008
A bunch of the clouds from Hurricane Ike helped shade the park this afternoon but at 11 pm we've yet to see any rain. Evidently, Ike is heading north since it made landfall so we're in the clear, although we could do with the rain.
Going to bed now.
Paul's entries could be titled 'Ceiling Fan #1',
'Ceiling Fan #2',
and 'Ceiling Fan #3'
Giselle's could be titled 'Picture of a Picture #1',
'Picture of a Picture #2',
and 'Picture of a Picture #3'
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Two days ago they were calling for 100% chance of rain for us with winds up to 60 mph. Yesterday it was down to 80% and 45 mph winds. Now it's down to 70% with 25-30 mph winds. I hope that he's less of a threat to everyone by the weekend but it looks like Houston will get hit with Tropical Storm conditions for tomorrow and Saturday, and even the farm out in Fayetteville is going to get a lot of wind and rain on Saturday.
Keep dry and stay out of low-water crossings!
Who would have thought that a 4.5 year old boy would have such trouble with 5 letters of the alphabet, L M N O P.
We ate dinner at church last night and afterwards Giselle tried out for the Christmas play. No parents were present but the choir leader told me that she was impressed with Giselle's reading level. No comments were given about her singing ability; although Giselle said that she was the only one trying out that wasn't already in the choir so she didn't know the song too well that they asked her to sing.
Paul and I heard some coyotes while we walked the labyrinth at the church at dusk.
Dinoland is on tap for today after we are done at our La Leche League Meeting. Our topic for today's meeting is fitting for a blog-friend, Nutrition and Weaning.
Why can't the kids throw their used Kleenex in the trash instead of leaving them on the side table next to the Kleenex box?
I was mowing the lawn with a manual push mower in a dream that I was having this morning during my extra 20 minutes in bed after the kids got up. Note to Joe: We are NOT going that green and ditching our gas-powered mower! I LOVE to mow the lawn but not THAT much! I'd be melted into a puddle of sweat halfway through the front yard.
Gotta go round up stuff for the meeting, brush my teeth and get some makeup on. See ya!
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I recall a summer that we either didn't have cable yet or it was 'out' where the only thing that Joe and I had to watch was the ENTIRE catalogue of Star Trek: The Next Generation on VHS. Not only that but the only VCR we had at the time was an old-style one that my sister in Houston had given to us - it had a CORDED remote that could fast forward while the tape was playing but the audio track was still engaged so the intro to every episode sounded like it was spoken by The Chipmunks instead of Patrick Stewart (I don't remember if Mike H had edited out all of the commercials or not). Patrick Stewart certainly was the hottest old bald guy around in those days! And speaking of Mike H brings us full circle back to the 80's videos since he is the guy who introduced Joe to 'butt-twitcher music' while they were roommates in college which is the ONLY way that Joe is familiar with one of my favorite types of music.
BUT, I didn't see many videos in the mid to late 80's so while the songs are old favorites, the videos are new to me. I don't remember the video for Belouis Some "Imagination" being so nude but I'm glad that I didn't play it in front of the kids. They only watched The Untouchables "Free Yourself", The Jam "That's Entertainment", Big Country "In a Big Country", Altered Images "I Could Be Happy" and Hazy Fantazy "Shiny, Shiny" (a single from an album that I've owned for 27 years and had never seen a video for EVER!)
Billy Idol's "Hot in the City" brings back so many memories of my summer in LA! Yeah, I know that he yells "New York" in the middle but I just ignore that part.
I can't believe that I'm seeing GUYS wear those tight black jeans again and with Converse high tops no less. Don't they realize that those pants make their calves look really skinny which is not at all flattering if they have anything but a negative-sized rear. Tight white pants on baseball players is a good look but THEY have normal-sized calves. (That whole tangent was for Holly!)
While scanning the list of videos I noticed the one for Pebbles "Girlfriend" and I remembered how there were "issues" among us at the record store regarding my hair and how every time that I changed it there would be some new album out where the singer on the cover would have that exact same hair style. Pebbles' curly look was my twin at that time.
My final comment on this era (for now) is that I LOVE how the nicely-dressed men knew how to use product on their hair.
I downloaded all of the study material that accompanies the Dinoland exhibit so we'll be sure to cover all of that in school tomorrow before we go.
I love field trips!
Monday, September 08, 2008
Joe ate there for lunch today and brought me home a pint of it. Thank you Sir and I'll be sure to share some of it with the kids!
The potato salad that the food distributor Sysco sells is pretty excellent too even though there is a bit of red bell pepper in it. They get the rest of the ingredients correct, including the egg, so I'll cut them a bit of slack. I get that one at our local BBQ joint, Donn's Texas BBQ. I'm assuming that theirs is from Sysco since I see the truck delivering product to them and I see them scooping the potato salad out of a big plastic tub.
While the kids ate breakfast outside on the deck and played in the rocks on the 2nd driveway, I got all the schoolbooks pulled off the back stock shelves and stacked them on the table. I got the table cleaned and the extension pulled out for Giselle's place at the table (it gives her more work space). I got out the pencils for Giselle and the crayons for Paul and put those on the table. At 5 min before school was to begin the kids were inside, dressed and cleaning up from playing earlier. I had just finished writing Giselle's 8 spelling words (Hang, Hare, Hot, Huge, Hunt, Hurry, Hurt, If) on her page and was in the middle of looking them all up in the dictionary to be read out loud, when the phone rang - it was Marie calling from Sweden! While talking on the phone the school bell went off and with out prompting Giselle started in on her words and sentences and Paul started on his coloring book while I talked on the phone. Usually I cut people off quickly when they call during school but since this was a special call I chatted away.
20 minutes later, after Paul talked to Luke and Giselle talked to Grace, we got off the phone and got back to school.
In just 3 short hours we got A LOT accomplished, especially considering that today was day 1:
# Paul worked on coloring within the lines while I read aloud all the definitions of the spelling words.
# While I was teaching Paul in the playroom Giselle wrote 1 sentence for each of her 8 spelling words using correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
# I was still teaching Paul in the playroom when she finished her sentences (she has 30 min to complete the sentences but she did it in only 17 min) so she moved on to practicing her cursive handwriting.
# I finished with Paul in the playroom at the same time that Giselle finished her cursive practice so we moved on to First Language Lessons, lesson 156 was the one for today, while Paul practiced writing his letters.
# Next we all moved on to geography: memorizing what each of the 50 states looks like, where they are and how to spell them.
# Paul was dismissed from school then while Giselle started on her 3rd grade math book. Since today was the first day she only had to do one page.
# While Giselle worked on her math I made quesadillas for lunch since it was noon:15.
# After lunch I quizzed Giselle on 10 pages out of the math section of What Your 1st Grader Needs To Know. Note to self: Hurry up and get the 2nd grade book.
# To finish out the school day we did 3 experiments out of the 365 Simple Science Experiments book. Done by 1:30
We didn't get to US History today but maybe I'll read that chapter aloud tonight at bedtime.
I gotta get off of here and get our grocery shopping done so that we'll be back for the kids to play with their PS friends when they get off the bus at 3:15.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
He did a great job at the market today trying to sell the aloe plants. I think that he actually sold 3 of them but he was disappointed that he didn't sell more. He kept trying to sell the okra but Giselle kept running him off - she was selling the okra and peppers.
Speaking of peppers, I roasted and canned up two bag-fulls on Tuesday (I already wrote about that didn't I?) and I took pictures for part of it. I got two more bags today to do the same again with them. This time I'll take pictures of the second half of the process which is what I forgot the first time around. They end up being giant-sized pimentos and WOW are they good. My favorite way to eat them is chilled with some of Full Quiver Farms' jalapeno cheese spread on them and rolled up. Mm, mm good!
The dog seems to be feeling better, maybe.
There's a mosquito flying around the kitchen. It better stay away from me unless it wants to die.
Giselle got bored at the party since she was the only girl between the ages of 3 and 35 but consequently she did an incredible job of clearing all the tables and organizing the presents and throwing away the trash - all on her own. She takes great pride in helping others (except when it's her brother and he's abused her generosity) as well as not liking to sit around doing nothing when she's bored. What a wonderful little girl!
Paul actually got OUT of the pool at the end of the bouncy water slide to go pee! That deserves a trophy!
Friday, September 05, 2008
I got all of the laundry done today and I mowed the lawn again.
Edgar fussed at me last week about giving him one dirty jar for milk so I've got to give them all a second washing tonight before I turn them in tomorrow.
I made the kids tortellini & ravioli w/ homemade pesto (frozen cubes from 2 years ago); they both had seconds and Giselle wanted thirds. A home run on dinner again!
School starts on Monday.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
- After Cartoon Network's Pokemon marathon that was on Monday we had a TiVo full of episodes. The last one is being watched right now - the 3rd Movie. Cartoon Network isn't running it daily in the fall like they did all summer so this is THE LAST episode for a while.
- Vacation from school ends in 4 days.
- I've watched all the episodes of Doctor Who that TiVo had for me.
I'm going to bed early tonight.
You know that your kids REALLY enjoy black beans & rice when they finish their bowls before you do!
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I got the kids in bed with the lights out at a normal time of 7:30 and, after watching last week's episode of The Dog Whisperer, I followed them to bed at 8:30. We slept until 7:30. The kids got up to play and I WAS going to sleep some more but I was informed that the dog had thrown up on the playroom floor - the leftover Mexican food that I had given her for dinner. So I got up to take care of that and I've been up for the day since then.
Joe recharged my car a/c in the early hours of the morning - driving to ballet yesterday it never cooled down the car - and is now trying to recharge himself after the last few days of intense family interaction.
Gotta get going to take on the day - laundry, vacuuming, shopping, mowing and tending to the condo - so that we'll be ready to play when Claudia and the boys come over at 3:30.
We're going to stay on school break until next Monday - I decided that yesterday.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Joe thinks that Chuy's on Barton Springs has the best tres leches cake in town. I had it there for the first time today and, while the piece was HUGE, it was not the best that I've ever had. I think it needed more flavor - more cinnamon, more vanilla. It just tasted like a dense angelfood cake soaked with sweetened condensed milk. I still think that Sol Y La Luna has the best followed closely by Whole Foods. I haven't tried HEB's yet; that's next on my list.
I think that we're starting school on Wednesday. Thursday I'll be wanting to leave.
Gotta go, they've all arrived for the day's events!