Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a decent looking bathroom trashcan for under $20? I'll tell you - pretty close to impossible!!!!
AND they don't make them in pretty colors with matching sink accessories AT ALL!

So, in the sand colored bathroom with the maroon shower curtain I couldn't get a coral colored trash can because there were no matching accessories. I couldn't get the green one that looked like it that DID have matching accessories because green is not in the color scheme. On to the next, next store - Bed, Bath & way-Beyond-overpriced. There we found tons of matched sets except that they all were either really ugly, or made out of wood (Why would I want a toothbrush holder that's made out of wood?), or OMG overpriced (I am NOT going to buy a juice cup for rinsing out my mouth for $9.99!), or made out of stone (a 5-lb soap dispenser is a bit silly).
I found one set that Giselle and I both really liked, then I looked at the prices, coughed, took a deep breath and said "I am NOT going to pay $40 for a trashcan that nobody ever even sees!" Giselle said "$40 for a trashcan? That is a lot of money."
I spent another 10 minutes on another set - clear acrylic with metal bases. As I was about to walk off to make our purchase I said "Why am I going to get a clear trash can when I'm just going to put a plastic grocery bag in the thing? No, this is all wrong!" So I put it all back. Giselle saw some shiny metal ones that she liked, I told her that I wasn't willing to do the work required to keep them shiny. Finally, in my desperation to get a trashcan for that bathroom once and for all I looked through the entire section again and came across some hard plastic ones that were acceptable in appearance and price. After about 5 minutes I already didn't like them. But NEXT to them were some ones that I could be content with and I knew that Joe would love them - Dark Chocolate Brown Melamie. I got the set, well, I didn't get the soap dispenser or the Kleenex dispenser but I did get the trashcan, toothbrush holder, soap dish, and rinse cup. I also got 3 other rinse cups in the other colors - pale blue, white, pale olive green. The cups were only $3.99 each (what a sarcastic bargain, but they match the set!). I really wish that I'd been able to find a matched set in coral or maroon or something a bit brighter. Oh well, maybe someday I'll trip across some; maybe on Overstock.com or someplace.

As of my typing this, Joe still hasn't noticed them in the bathroom.


The dog is doing pretty well for a 14 year old dog. She's back on an all-raw diet like she used to be before I had kids. Every morning I shred 2 small-ish carrots into her bowl, add in some crushed egg shells, cut up a 1/3 lb bone-in chicken thigh, sprinkle on some Super Food powder, add in her Proin and a fish oil capsule, stir it up and watch her inhale it in about 45 seconds. At bedtime she's getting 1/4 lb of raw ground beef and her Proin again. These last 2 days I've given her a raw chicken liver in her breakfast and she's been farty in the late evening. I'm going to continue to give the livers to her for the rest of the week and keep a nose on the gas to see if it goes away. I figure that if her system hasn't gotten used to the liver in a week then I'll take it back out.
She TOTALLY loved the cow foot I gave her the other week and she's been enjoying the beef ribs that I've given her a few times a week. This evening I heard her out there crunching on the bones some more. Tomorrow's supposed to be a nice day; I think I'll thaw her out another foot for a snack.

I hope that Joe'll be around for dinner tomorrow night - I need to cook that pork roast that's sitting in the fridge. Or maybe I'll cook it anyway and turn it into pork sandwiches. Oh yeah, Paul can't bite. Well, I'll figure out something.


With a LOT of help from the kids and Joe, the 5-pound bag of gummy bears was finished off yesterday afternoon. And all that's left of those ones from Target is about 25 bears.

BUT, we were at Target today and I had NO desire to restock the pantry with new bags of the little bears. I am SO tired of there being candy around the house! Thankfully St Patricks day isn't a candy holiday and Easter is 40 days away so we'll have a break for a bit once I throw out the gingerbread houses Thursday morning. And after Easter there're no more candy holidays until Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There'll be a birthday party in there but I'm filling the pinata with just gum and toys, no candy!

Hard Tack

You would not believe how hard the gingerbread houses are! Paul's got some loose teeth and so I've been getting him to eat it to help loosen them more - THAT's how hard it is!! So today after they had some blackberry yogurt for lunch, I was wiggling Paul's bottom tooth that has the new tooth growing in behind it and we got it to break loose. The gum is still holding on to it but it's no longer attached down below. This being Paul's first tooth he was a little freaked out - he remembers how reluctant Giselle was to wiggle her own teeth out.
He eventually calmed down but he can't eat much of anything. Dinner tonight was at church for Shrove Tuesday and fortunately for Paul it was pancakes with tiny disks of sausage. When we got home he tried to eat a hard boiled egg but it hurt so much to bite into that I had to cut the rest of it up into pieces with a spoon for him to eat.
At Target the other day we bought a small blue silk covered jewelry box that we're going to use as a temporary tooth box - as soon as tomorrow night!
Goodness, the top 2 teeth are awfully wobbly too! Good thing the tooth toy box is fully stocked!!
I'll keep you posted!


I know that this would be better with pictures but I don't feel like downloading then editing then uploading right now.
Giselle went for her first motorcycle ride last week and on Sunday Paul went for his first ride and Giselle went again.
To say that they loved it would be an understatement - they both cried when Joe said that his hands were too cold to take them on another ride.
Now maybe they'll get motivated to become better bicycle riders so that they can ride the electric kid-motorcycle that's been sitting in the shed for 8 years, waiting for them to REALLY want to ride it.
BTW, all of Paul's tennis shoes have become too small since the fall so he borrowed a pair of Giselle's. My barefoot, Croc-wearing kids have feet that are too wide for 'normal' width shoes.

buying American

As I was eating directly from the bag of frozen shelled soybeans this evening I got to reading the label. Did you realize that fresh soybeans are about 20% fat? I found it especially irritating that the Born-and-still based-in-Texas HEB Grocery store organic edamame comes from China. Why can't they grow it here and if they do then why doesn't HEB Central Market buy AMERICAN?! Don't give me the crap line that the demand is too high for the American farmers to keep up with; the stuff is stockpiled and either sold overseas or given to the 'organic' cows and pig for feed. The pollutants used to get that organic product from China to Austin TOTALLY negates the 'purity' of the product. Not to mention the fact that you pretty much can't trust ANYTHING that comes from China these days.
I feel a letter writing campaign coming on. If you feel like joining me in my efforts to let HEB know that I prefer my organic products to be grown in AMERICA, here's the information:
Mailing Address
Attention: Customer Relations Department
P.O. Box 839999
San Antonio, TX 78283-3999

Telephone Numbers
San Antonio, Texas 210-938-8357
Toll-free number 1-800 432-3113
Customer Relations office hours: Mon. - Fri., 8am - 5pm

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just passing this on, I signed and so should you.

Help Send a Message to the USDA – 100,000 Americans for a Sustainable America
Next week we’re delivering your signatures and comments to Secretary Vilsack at his offices in Washington DC.
Please forward this message to 5 of your friends to help us reach our goal of over 100,000 Americans for a sustainable USDA.We want to thank you for helping us make this petition a success. To date over 84,659 Americans have signed the letter calling for sustainable change at the USDA.
Original signers to the letter include Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Marion Nestle, Francis Moore Lappé, Bill McKibben, Alice Waters, Dan Barber and Rick Bayless among many others.
So far we know that we’ve had success in changing the debate in how agriculture is being discussed in the 21st century. Since his confirmation, Secretary Vilsack has made a number of forward-thinking statements that prove he understands the urgent need for change in our nation’s food policies.
Let's make sure the administration understands how much support the idea of sustainable practices in U.S. food and farm policy we’re asking that you forward this message to 5 friends to have them sign the petition and help put us over the top.
Thanks again for all your help, we look forward to creating a sustainable food system for the 21st century.
Best,David MurphyPaul WillisLisa StokkeAaron Woolf
Food Democracy Now!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Come Fly With Me!

Not this Sunday but next Sunday it's the 81st annual Zilker Kite Festival!!!!!

Fun, Family and Free

Sunday March 1, 2009 from 10 am to 5 pm is Kite Day at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas
Presented by H-E-B, The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and The Exchange Club of Austin.
Free Shuttle Rides & Parking at two locations: Downtown at 1604 Colorado Street, State garage E and South at the Tony Burger Center at 3200 Jones Road Shuttles begin at 10am (last one leaves park at 5:30 pm)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Made pizza quesadillas for the kids' dinner, washed dishes in the dish washer, washed dishes by hand, portioned out and froze 5 lbs of ground beef for the dog's food, separated and froze turkey cutlets for Joe's food, deboned Saturday's roasted chicken for the kid's food, cleaned up the icing mess on the counter to get rid of any potential ant food, made room in the fridge for 6 pounds of apples and put them in, made room in the fridge for the chard so I could put the big cooler away, washed and dried the cover to the dog's bed, will possibly put away all of the clean dishes AND posted about it on the blog.
A well-spent evening.


In addition to Paul already having 2 of his 4 6-yr old molars, his first primary tooth has popped through today. It's on the bottom, coming in right behind his front tooth; just like Giselle's did. We REALLY need to get that tooth box!

warm-ish rainy day

How do we spend a 70 degree rainy day in February after we've finished school and gone to ballet? We decorate gingerbread houses, that's how! What kids would rather eat sugar than play with friends? Joe's kids.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Natalie is...

not posting regularly anymore. No reason other than I've gotten lazy about updating. My brain hasn't been focused enough in the evenings to post and I've been busy in the mornings and afternoons. I'll get back in the swing soon enough.
See ya!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dinner tonight

So this recipe came in the email today and the kids were open to me making it for dinner tonight so I put it together for them while Joe's 1.5 lb pork loin was cooking (seared on the stove first then baked in the toaster oven at 425 for 25 min). It came out looking exactly like the picture and they enjoyed it. I didn't use any nutmeg and I used fresh broccoli instead of frozen.

Cheesy Baked Shells and Broccoli


3/4 pound medium pasta shells (about 5 cups)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups coarsely grated Cheddar or Gruyýre (8 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed

Heat broiler. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper.

Add the pasta and broccoli and toss to combine. Transfer to a broilerproof 8-inch square or another 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄2 cup of cheese. Broil until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Sara Quessenberry
Real Simple, OCTOBER 2008

Monday, February 09, 2009


I'm finally going to go give blood again this month. It's been since April of last year since I last gave and I'm feeling a bit bad about that. Since I got declined by the blood drive bus in June for having low iron I've felt a bit leery of making an appointment to go in and donate but I'm feeling OK about my levels so I think I'm good to go this time.
And by giving around Valentine's Day I'll get double points to be used for buying treats from the donation store. We got a cool GIANT backpack last year (although there's a small problem with one of the small zippers) and I'm not sure what we'll go for next; maybe a hoodie sweatshirt or another backpack.
You should consider giving blood this month too! The pint you give could mean the difference between life and death for someone in need.

I just finished ordering my 1-gallon of donations commemorative mug. In another 2 years I'll be able to get the next one!


Even after all those gummy bears (no, we didn't eat them all...yet) we still needed to eat dinner so I made the kids some excellent chicken quesadillas using the roasted chicken from The Market, some salsa, shredded Mexican cheese, slices of mozzarella cheese and fresh uncooked tortillas. I had the leftover caldo de pollo from last night, the dog had some raw turkey and after the kids went to bed I cooked up some turkey cutlets for Joe. Paul's been asking for hard boiled eggs again lately so I boiled up a dozen of them while I cooked Joe's meat. This week I'm not putting them in the back of the meat & cheese drawer. That's where I put them last week and they got frozen. It was a bit odd to eat a hard boiled egg that had slivers of ice it. It changed the texture some but they still tasted ok and that's all that mattered to the kids. But still, I'm going to be more careful this time.

thanks friends!

In response to my plea for more gummy bears, a wonderful friend sent me a 5 lb bag of Haribo gummy bears!
Thank you!

Although after seeing this picture http://io9.com/photogallery/gummi/1001966280 I'm not as enthused about them as I used to be. I guess that's a good thing; maybe the bag will last longer than a week this way.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


We still have 10 boxes of Thin Mints available for sale! And 1 case of Carmel Delites and 2 cases of Peanut Butter Patties.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

spelling words

Here's our new batch of spelling words for the next 6 months; courtesy of www.time4learning.com. And yes, that means that we'll be schooling through the summer months; albeit on a lightened work load.

1 - above fifth praise across flock ranch account finger race addition flour range
2 - advice flower ready ahead foggy regular against flute recover alert follow remain
3 - among forget remark anger fraction remind amount forth remember angry frame remove
4 - annoy freeze repair another fried return annual freight report answer frown riddle
5 - apiece froze rifle argue furniture rough apple funeral roast arguing gallery royal
6 - arithmetic garbage scale author geese scowl arose gather scarce avenue general scrap
7 - avoid genius scrape aware ghost scream award gentle scratch badge giraffe seashore
8 - basic glacier season basketball governor shallow basket glory serve battle gravy shave
9 - beast grill shear beggar grove shrimp beetle grind sheet blame growl sidewalk
10 - blank guess sideways boast hatch skate board happensimple borrow height skill
11 - bottle helpless slain branch hollow slave brain hoist slate brave honey sleet
12 - breath hope sleeve bubble hopeless smoke bridge hoping slept bucket hydrant sorry
13 - burst icicle stage calm image statue cactus ignore station canal inches steam
14 - cannon include stockings cattle insist strange careless income stole caution invent stretch
15 - celery invite strong center issue stung cellar island stump central ivory sweat
16 - century jeans swim chase judge tenth charge journal target chimney juggle terrible
17 - chose juice themselves circus kitchen thrill chute kept thirsty close lace throat
18 - cloth lack throne coach lame time clothing laid ticket coast lamp timing
19 - collar laugh title coming lecture tomorrow come least toils continue ledge toothbrush
20 - cough lettuce torch court local trace couple little tough cousin loyal tried
21 - crane manage trouble crate market turtle crash marble turkey crawl match twist
22 - craze measles unable creation middle understood cream mention understand cried midnight underwear
23 - crowd monkey unhappy dainty narrate unkind crush month unfair daily narrow unknown
24 - daughter nation unlikely death newspaper unlock deaf naughty unload decorator nineteen unlucky
25 - destroy noise untie direction north unusual device noisy until doctor notion unwilling
26 - dollar ocean use double often usual donkey offer using drank order vacation
27 - drug palm value enough pebble visitor earthquake patch vegetable equal people vocal
28 - evening pillow voyage everyone playground weave everybody plane wander everything plight whenever
29 - excuse poise which explode porch width exercise poison whole fearless portion wonder

Sunday, February 01, 2009

good day / bad day

It was a good day for the Steelers but not a good day to be selling Girl Scout Cookies out front of Blockbuster Video. I need to remember that for next year.