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.
Here we go
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!

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!


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


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


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!


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


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
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


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!


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.

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


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.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's another full week

I've got another full week ahead of me. Fortunately I already got Joe's birthday present purchased - he wanted a new mop. Yes, that's correct, a new mop for the workshop. That's what he asked for last month and that's what he's getting. Or rather, that's what he got since I already laid it out on the kitchen table for him; it's kind of hard to wrap a full-sized commercial mop. A man who knows what he wants and knows how to get it, my husband Joe.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I have no response to that

The other day while over at our friends' house, while the kids were playing in the Mt Tiki-Soki, my friend and I were discussing movies and due to the volcano erupting water in front of us we started talking about "Joe Versus the Volcano" which we decided was Terry Gilliam-lite. If you've never seen it, please do so at your earliest convenience. You will not understand the humor in the title of this post until you've seen the movie.

I'm going to bed - long day at the market topped off with a late night at Claudia's house with the kids.

Friday, October 10, 2008

no worries!

The car and house are for a bi-annual family reunion in the spring. The house that everyone usually stays in is above and beyond capacity and Joe has to have his own room so we're renting another house and we need a rental car to drive around in since we'll be flying there.

Back to school now.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

in the meantime

While the yogurt was culturing the kids and I spent 3 hours clearing the new property. Scratches all around for all of us. Joe made me wear his gloves since I was too lazy to go back to the house and get my own so my hands, at least, were scratchless. We learned the difference between carrying many items one at a time and using a pallet to transport many items at one time.
At 3 we made it over to a friend's house where the 4 kids played in the Mt Tiki-Soki. All of us being homeschoolers, we turned it into a science experiment - analyzing water pressure and velocity and it's ability to propel various objects into the air, or not.
There's always something to be learned when you homeschool.

Work by Anonymous
"Work while you work,
Play while you play.
This is the way
To be happy each day.

All that you do
do with your might.
Things done by halves
are never done right."

Yogurt AGAIN

Wow, making yogurt is so easy!
I made another batch yesterday. While talking with a friend that came over, I heated up the milk and let it cool and added the culture and stuck the 2 quart jars into the cooler and put it outside in the sun on an 88 degree day. By night I had another 2 quarts of fresh plain yogurt. I didn't heat it as long as last time and I strained out the surface skim as I poured it into the jars.
The kids and I had some for breakfast - mine was with honey and ginger, Paul's was with honey and cinnamon, Giselle's was with blackberry jelly.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

it really is 1 am!

Hmm, let's see what we did today.
We got up at 7:30, well actually, I got up at 7:30 and the kids got up at 7:35.
The kids played for 2 hours while I made Joe breakfast and took care of some household paperwork.
The kids started school early so we could get a lot done before going on our field trip to the landfill.
The kids finished school early and started playing again so leaving for the field trip was delayed.
We finally left the house around 12:30.
We stopped by the condo to turn on the AC and the fans and flush all the toilets.
We got to the landfill at 1 and jumped on the tour bus pronto. Wow, it was a WHOLE LOT OF FUN! I was more excited about the whole thing than the kids were but I'm sure that next year they'll be a bit more psyched.
We got out of there about 2:45 and headed across town to ballet with a quick pit stop by HEB for some blueberry goat's milk yogurt for the kids for an afternoon snack.
While Giselle was at ballet, Paul and I went to get the car inspected. It passed just fine.
After ballet we dropped Giselle off at a friend's house to play for a few hours and Paul and I went home to play Chutes and Ladders and Uno until it was time to pick up Giselle.
We stuck around at her friend's house playing for another hour - her friend's mom is one of my friends and Paul is friends with their rat terrier.
I picked up some BBQ from Donn's for the kids' dinner and once they finished it was off to bed for them since it was an hour past their usual bedtime.
Then I went online and searched for cars and houses for the last 4 hours. I got some leads but nothing is finalized.
I still didn't do the dishes!
And technically, since I didn't do the sheets yet, I haven't finished the laundry from yesterday yet either.
I need to get the dog's prescription refilled too in addition to doing the grocery shopping.
good night!

Monday, October 06, 2008

new post

We stayed at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo from 10 am to 4:45 pm yesterday and still didn't see everything. By the weight of the bags we were carrying you would have thought that we saw it all but no. We did very few of the actual 'events' due to the LONG lines but we learned a lot - like that only one out of every 20 people actually catch a fish in those stocked pools. Yeah, we stood in a 20 min long line for that one. Catfish in a pool. 2 other kids caught one but no one did in the prior 2 tries. I guess it's a good warmup for actual fishing - float & fish all day and don't catch much of anything. I got TONS of literature to use for Texas state education this school year.

Tomorrow we're going on a field trip with all the other hundreds of homeschoolers in town - we're going to the dump! Texas Disposal Systems doesn't usually open up to the public but they're making an exception for us and we're all jumping on it. They also have an exotic game ranch next door to the recycling/trash area that we get to tour also. They have a rhinoceros!!!

I stocked up on school books at B&N yesterday evening so we're set for the next 12 months. Thank you book stores, for recognizing that we homeschoolers deserve a 20% educator's discount also and we are happy to give our business to you.

Friday, October 03, 2008

more yogurt

The yogurt tasted better today. I guess I shouldn't have made full-fat, whole-milk yogurt while I'm on a fat-free diet.

quick recipe for the yogurt I made:
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk, preferably raw but definitely not homogenized
  • 1 to 2 Tbs plain yogurt depending on the freshness, only use the kind that has no thickeners like pectin - just milk & LIVE cultures

Heat the milk for one hour at just below simmering, stirring every 5 min or so. Remove from heat and let cool until it reaches body temperature (about 15 min). Put the yogurt in a cup and pour some of the milk into the cup; stir together gently. Pour the warm milk into your glass jar and then give it a good strong stir to get it spinning. Take the spoon out and while the milk is still spinning, gently pour the yogurt/milk mixture into the milk. Don't stir any more. Wrap your jar in towels and keep warm (between 85 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 to 12 hours using either a heating pad, a dehydrator, a gas oven, a hot kitchen or an insulated cooler. When it's thick it's ready to refrigerate. Add whatever you want to it when you eat it or just eat it plain. For the kids I added a touch of vanilla and some honey, maybe some cinnamon. I ate mine plain and with some granola.

Did you know that Fahrenheit and Celsius are both named after scientists, that's why they're capitalized.

Brownies - day one

The first meeting was a success! Giselle had a whole lot of fun, so much that she was wishing that she could go to the campout tomorrow night with these 'strangers' instead of the slumber birthday party at her friend's house. While I'm VERY glad that she had fun, I'm glad that she had a prior commitment and couldn't go on the campout - they're showing a PG movie that deals with issues that have not been discussed with Giselle previously. I promised her that she'd make it to the next one.

Joe's found a new show to get sucked into - Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Giselle wasn't happy about having to leave the park early (at 6:10 pm) to get to Brownies on time at 6:30; she's really enjoying her new (best) friend and didn't want to leave her. But in Brownies is one of her friends from Sunday School so now she's got so many friends that they're coming out of her ears! Not really.

If you're family or a friend that lives nearby, prepare to be hit up by her for buying nuts or a calendar for the fall fundraiser. If you're family that doesn't live nearby, prepare to get a Girl Scout calendar for Christmas.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

yogurt followup

The yogurt did great outside in the cooler and was still quite warm when I finally brought it inside at 8:30 pm. Yep, it sat out too long but it's yogurt so all it did was get more yogurty. See, I put it outside at what, noon? I figured that I'd bring it inside when we got back from playing at our friend's house, but I forgot that Wednesday night is church night. We went straight from our friend's to dinner at the church and then the kids had playtime and choir so we got home at about 8:15 and once the kids were getting ready for bed is when I remembered the yogurt out in the cooler. I had put a gallon-sized pitcher of hot water in the cooler with the warm yogurt for extra warmth. It tasted a little cheesy when I tried it last night while it was warm but this morning, when fully chilled, it tastes pretty good - like whole milk yogurt. Once I put the honey it I couldn't tell that it was my first try at yogurt making. But next time I may not heat the milk for quite as long as I did this time.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Making yogurt

I'm making yogurt for the first time right now and since I don't have a heating pad to wrap around the jar to keep it warm I've put the jar into my plastic cooler that I use for The Farmers Market. I'm considering putting the heater/cooler out on the back porch in the sun to help it stay warm since the high for the day will be in the low 90's. Yep, that's what I'm going to do!

Back to yogurt making and teaching school.