Sunday, November 30, 2008


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

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


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

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

just a memory

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

Third time will be the charm

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

almost forgot

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

to do & schedule for tomorrow

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

Make more cocktail sauce
Cheese & Crackers & Roasted Peppers
Set out
Zucchini pickles
Set out
Slice and put out
Put out
Put out

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

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


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

Chain of Events

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


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

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

Time for math so I gotta go.

The button on the sidebar

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

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

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

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

So close

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

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

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 24, 2008


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

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner

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

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

Saturday, November 22, 2008


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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

still full of goo

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

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


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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Woot-Off today

It's a woot-off day today!


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

Friday, November 14, 2008

itchy - readdressed

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

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


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

I love this show

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


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

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Night Follow-up

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

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

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

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

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

reading is fun

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


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

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

coconut oil

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

Friday, November 07, 2008


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

Thursday, November 06, 2008


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

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

Gotta go teach school.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Natalie is...

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

Monday, November 03, 2008

big dinner

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

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

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


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

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall Back

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