Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Num Yummy!! And other things

I'll get to the yummy stuff in a minute. At our house we have started to get on the band wagon of being green, although we are using a cane and walker to get on the band wagon. Even if our progress is slow it is still progress. I listened to a story the other day on the radio about San Francisco's Green Composting. It's a brave idea and ultimately where we're headed folks. I'm hoping if I start now then it won't be a big deal down the road. I also received an email with this link to Path To Freedom. It's about urban homesteading in Pasadena, California. Californians are always trying these weirdo ideas. But if you have your ears open, then you have heard about the world food supply crisis. Right? Google will give you articles starting in 2007/2008. Moving on because I'm not an investigative journalist. The pic with the 2 bins is where I have started placing food scraps that are either "livestock" (cats, dog) or "compost" (organic). The contents of the "livestock" bin is given to a couple of very grateful and now roly poly animals. The contents of the "compost" bin is emptied into a spot now called "Ye Olde Compost Pile."

This pic is one of today's latest tiptoeing steps to being less wasteful. I bought a reusable 5 gallon water bottle and learned that 5 gallons of water costs $1.75. Is this a good deal? I think so. We can't even see through our tap water here. The water reports all say it's safe to drink...uh huh. No thanks. My other green project started today is CFL lightbulbs. I should say restarting. I tried CFL bulbs before but the light color was all wrong and I couldn't stand them. I will say they have definitely improved and there is no difference in light color from the old style bulbs.

Now on to the fun stuff. A few posts ago I talked about doing some fall things. So here's Jace and Rowan making caramel apples.

She is a surprisingly good cook. Very meticulous and that apple was absolutely perfect.

This is my favorite pic of the event because she is also 4.

This is a pic of a present that a very sweet friend gave me to give to Rowan. Rowan loved it so much that she even snuck it to school one day. I think she also wore them in the bathtub once. You know if you can't wear pearls in the tub then you might as well not even have them.

This is tonight's long-awaited-well-worth-it-been-in-the-family-for-years Pumpkin Pie.

We love this pie. When I make it, it becomes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, it's that good. I would say the big secret is that it's less sweet than any store bought or restaurant pie. I'm posting the recipe because I'm absolutely certain you'll love it. This is my Granny's recipe. She came from a big family and was in charge of desserts.
2 eggs
1 lb. can pumpkin
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

Mix all together and pour in 2, 9 in. unbaked pie crusts. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then 350 for 45 minutes.

Num Yummy!

And like this pic, I am at the end and there is no more...Until the next post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Progress we've made...

I can say with full honesty that nothing like this is going on at my house. So this is good news. In case you were wondering.

So far everything is running along smoothly and boring. Or rather, all according to plan. We did the final inspection on his new place this morning. The movers called like clockwork and gave him the final price for holding his things hostage. And they will call again tomorrow when they are 45 minutes away so we have plenty of time to meet them. I also expect that all his boxes will be in perfect order and labelled. The movers will be more efficient than an atomic clock. Why? Because this is my dad's life. Completely precise and on time.

I have been making a mental notelist of quirky observations...hehehe

1. My dad is the slowest driver on the planet. Any little bump in the road makes him nervous as if he's about to lose complete control of the truck and careen off-road. His truck is only a 2-wheel drive and that would do terrible things to his gas mileage.<--this is what he is thinking. I thought a few drivers behind us were going to have strokes since we were usually driving 5 miles under the speed limit, except on that one curve where we slowed down to 25.

2. My dad thinks everyone is really interested in his life in Florida. I have seen more than one glazed over look from people today. Oddly enough no one seems to grasp the importance of how most of the old ladies at his old place loved to ride the bigger elevator to go to the dining room as opposed to riding the smaller elevator.

3. It doesn't matter how much you try to help him find a business in town you're wasting your breath. He's going to do it his way.

4. Lastly, his stories of me when I was little are somewhat strange. Apparently they often put me in the car when I cried too much. I guess there was no CPS back then? I'm wondering if I have some repressed memories.

And this is just the first step in a long journey we're taking. I'm just thinking that I'd better be on time tomorrow or that will really ruin his perfectly timed day.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tomorrow's the day...

My dad is coming here tomorrow. Let that sink in for a minute. He is on his way here as I speak. This is a big deal.

I think the last time I saw my dad was about 15 years ago, give or take a few years. We are a strange family. Even Jace doesn't understand it. I will try to explain it, and you reader will still not understand it. But here goes...

Growing up around my dad was...o.k. He wasn't the warm fuzzy dad that Jace is for Rowan. He wasn't an abusive dad either. He just...was. He worked, came home and watched football or hid behind a newspaper. He had a quick temper so it was just easier to ask mom for whatever.

The whole family got together a few times a year and it was...swell. Very picturesque 1950s. Kids played and grown ups never said anything controversial or offensive. There was no throwing beer cans, cussing, punches thrown. Like I said...swell.

When I was 13 my mother died and all this "swell" died with her. She was the glue that kept the family together. She had organized all these visits. After she died there was never another family get together with all the family.

So with my dad there was never any closeness as one might think of for father and daughter. And definitely no heart to heart talks. But now he is moving here. And he needed a place to stay for a week while his place is getting ready. So of course I said, "sure Pa, come on down, no problem."

Another weird thing is that I have kept in touch with letters. We have probably talked once per year on the phone. Why talk when you can write. And we don't say anything controversial in the letters either. Why would you ever want to actually visit someone when you can just write a letter? Keep it short and to the point and don't waste gas.

Why don't you just email? Funny you should ask that. My dad is against all forms of technology. Sort of. He's against learning new forms of technology. He wouldn't even consider using a fax machine, let alone computer. We've approached the subject of a cell phone very carefully. Frankly, I don't think he'll touch it unless it has a cord connected to it.

If you haven't guessed by now and you can do some decent math, you will have discovered that my dad hasn't actually ever met Jace or Rowan in person. Let that sink in. They haven't even spoken to each other on the once per year phone call. And now he'll be here with us for a whole week. A.N.X.I.E.T.Y.

One of the positives I can find in all this is dad does not like technology. This means I can blog about him and he'll never read it. I can write about all his quirks and how he might think automatic doors have evil spirits in them. Or how great it was to finally meet his granddaughter until she hounded him to death to buy her a present.

So reader, if I'm a little cranky or look otherwise "shifty" in character, this is why. And hopefully I'll have some funny blog material in the future.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Studio Kitchen

The Studio Kitchen is a place I hope to visit very soon. This is another bright idea by one of my friends, that after the last bright idea I swore to myself, "no more bright ideas." But here I am dying to get over there and try it. I even kept her busy texting so I could blog this big idea first. evil knows no bounds.

From reading the website I am to show up and put together about a month's worth of dinners. All in about an hour and a half. Hmm. We'll see. They have a great menu. I'm hoping to save some money and time on cooking. I will get back to you after I have gone and give a really big biased one sided review.

The other thing that will make this outing fun is I GET TO GO TO IKEA!! My friend and I are wondering if our other friend has been there before and we're all giggly about going. And if the other friend hasn't been there, then we'll be there for hours. I need to go for research purposes. And my friend needs to go because she likes to "drool on the fabrics and small accessories." She really said this. I just want to look at furniture and compare the pics from their catalogue. But I will wear my bib just in case.

Now I'm going to text my friend and tell her I just posted this. Then I will turn off my phone and go to bed so she can't text me back.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just Blog It Already....

I thought I better put this post up because I already have another post working its' way into my head and I'd really like to get thinking about that one. Here's the pics of activities that I promised. Sorry this is such a long post with 18 pics. These pics are of me learning how to group photos together on this blog by accident. They also show Rowan making a cake from scratch (with a little help). It was a sour cream cake and we had some blueberry jam left that I wanted to use up. Made the batter and poured half in the pan and then covered with the rest of the batter. It came out really good and I gave half to the lady who gave me the jam in the first place.

This is a mountain of heaven. The second pic shows what it really is, tumbled glass for decorative touches to gardens. And this place has it cheap. It's shiny and sparkly and I can't wait to come up with some sort of design so I can go buy this stuff. Instead we bought 3/4 gravel, which is bigger than pea gravel but smaller than golf ball size. Since it rained for many many many days we have lots of muddy spots which make us tell Rowan "no you can't play outside." She's like a pig drawn to mud. Hence, the gravel is supposed to solve this problem.

Also on that day, yes this is all stuff happening in one day, I made this delicious vegetable and stuffing bake. Then it was time to do the yard. That's Jace way off mowing part of the yard. I'm on the porch supervising (taking a break). And that's my assistant supervisor in charge of mud.

I forgot to mention that earlier in the day I had to get some blood drawn for my doctor to see if my thyroid is temporarily high due to having the flu and I was still feeling run down...blah blah blah...the whole getting put on a course of steroids post. Anyway, this is where they stabbed me in the arm and gave me a boo boo. They don't even give pretty band-aids. Afterwards I went to a special place to forget all my pain and sadness. Who needs a bar when you have a row of riding mowers just waiting for you when you pull up? A place where you can reach out and touch your dreams, if only for a moment.

Feeling inspired I went home and worked on mulch island. It's pretty much done now and I have very muscular arms. Then came prezzie time! We call pressents prezzies here. Don't know why, we just do. Jace brought me home a netbook. Isn't it cute? It's like a baby puter. I took a pic next to the regular laptop so you can see. It takes a little getting used to typing. If you have big fingers it's not really going to work for you. Now Jace says it's for my couponing, tweeting, blogging, ebaying, etc. But let me tell you what it's really for. It's so he can go slay dragons or other IMAGINARY villains on the regular laptop. This way I'm not making him wait to plunder and pillage and rake in the loot. But I love him and if it means that I have to make this serious sacrifice, then I will.

My other prezzie he brought me was a new living room floor. We really need this. A few weeks ago I mentioned the carpet in such a favorable light that Jace felt equally compelled to get rid of it. Some words are very powerful. Apparently the words "flea-bag rag" are very powerful words. There's no animals running around, it's just cheap carpet that only looks good for maybe a year and it came with the house. It's really windy out here some days and we have lots of pollen allergies. I know that carpet was just retaining every plague known to man. The pics show the flea-bag rag in all its' glory, the removal down to the subfloor (where we swept up over a cup of dirt/sand/fuzz), laying of the vapor barrier, and lastly a quick pic of the finished floor as we started moving furniture back in.

Jace asked me what I thought about the new floor. I said, "if I had a profile on a dating site, instead of saying I liked to take long walks on the beach, it would say I like to take long walks on my living room floor." We have plans to put on socks and just a long sleeve shirt and underwear and pretend we're Tom Cruise in Risky Business. It's also so slippery we're betting on who will fall and break their hip first.

Whew! Finally got this post out and can now start fully developing the next one. It will be about my Dad. I think it will be a funny one...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Short update

In my last post I said I would be documenting all these steroid-induced activities and you would be amazed. But of course I was too busy doing said activities to actually sit down and load pics and write complete words.

So a quick summary: Finished mulching around the tree in the front yard, helped mow the front yard, made mulch island around 5 trees on side of house, planted tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, got a truckload of 3/4 gravel and helped put it out, helped friend load truckload of mulch, drank 8 bottles of water, made a cake from scratch, cleaned my entire house in 1 hour, went to work for 2 days, got a netbook for blogging (thank you Jace!), aaannnddd....tomorrow we are putting down a new living room floor.

Can you believe it? I know I left some stuff out. But I'll add to the list. Oh and my Dad is moving down here next week and I have to clean/create a guest room for him to stay in for a week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A view of parts of my day

My day started out very nice. I got up early since I had a doctor appointment (getting to that) and drank coffee and read email. Lo and Behold! Can it be? Austin Celtic Festival tickets are on sale! I promptly buy 2 (kids under 12 are free) and will impatiently wait till November 7th. I will probably be beyond annoying because I loved going last year. I might even participate in one of the workshops. Look out Riverdance!

Then I was off to the House of Horror Ear, Nose, Throat doctor. They use items like these to test your hearing, and look up your nose. It was interesting but I don't know exactly what they were doing. The results came back that my hearing was in the "normal" range and they didn't need to do anything at this time. I'll let you know what I think of that in a moment. But I also got put on a course of steroids because my nose freaks out when I get sick.

I have a love/hate relationship with steroids that is very easily solved and my doctor knows how to do this. The fabulousness/problem with steroids is they make me a very happy busy lunatic. I want to clean the entire house, mow my yard, mow my neighbor's yard, mow the whole block. Finish every project and start a hundred more. All 24/7. But life will not let you stay up 24 hours a day for a week. Jace & Rowan would want to sleep and me being up all night doesn't go over well. I started the steroids this afternoon and I know by morning I will spring out of bed like Wonder Woman with a cat on her head! I do have some mulch work that needs to be done... Where is that flood light? I have time right now! Luckily my doctor has supplied me with a "balancing" agent, otherwise known as a knock-you-on-the-head-with-a-hammer sleep solution. This is a catch 22 because I will sleep but in the morning I will be well-rested with plenty of energy. I will update you on my accomplishments.

After my wonderful doctor visit I came here. One I was very hungry, and two I was going to get my hair cut. I call this place Taco Cablamo. Nothing wrong with the food, I just like to give places my own name. They probably wouldn't see the humor in it...

So now with a happy tummy I went to get a hair cut. Just a trim and shape please. The girl stands right next to me and says, "how are you spending your day today?" I say, "I'm fine thanks." sigh Did I not just get a hearing test and it was "normal"? So I can't understand her question when she's standing right next to me. Now I'm depressed.

I came home and got the finances all caught up and the coupon train. Very busy things. I have a magazine to get started and a million other relaxing things because it's evening and INEEDTORELAX!!! Jace comes home and gives me these...beautiful gold earrings designed by someone somewhere. I'm wearing them right now. I love them. ( Jace reads this blog) I was very surprised because I can't remember the last time I got real jewelry. I'm very picky and don't wear a lot of jewelry anyway. It was a moment of "Awww." Then he made dinner. Very good. Double Awww. I married him for reasons like these. He knows how to make my day great!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Coming Back from the Dead

I'm going to start by saying "I'm sorry" it has taken so long to get back to this blog. My extended flu and then working have kept me uninterested and in a fog. Something I discovered while being an "invalid Grandma"(no offense to invalid Grandmas) is that I really like reading the paper. This picture is my paper and hot chocolate. It's such a peaceful activity on a rainy Sunday. Probably more valuable when you think about all the newspapers that are no longer printed and the list seems to grow everyday. One day this little past time will no longer be a possibility. Sure it's good for the environment, but reading off the computer isn't the same. The same goes for books. I don't think I could "curl up" with a Kindle. Trees, shmees. I want paper!

This picture is what I will call "False Hope." Why it just looks like leaves on paper on you say. But this was an experiment. I planned a lesson on Fall Things to see if Rowan could follow along. She did quite well. She gave me false hope that we could do home schooling in the future. Kids are crafty like that. Make you think you could be the absolute sculptor of their world, and then refuse to follow directions. We do know she has one very important skill...glueing objects to paper.

This was another part of the lesson. After we glued fake leaves to paper and talked about fall colors we marched around our yard and picked up leaves. Since we don't really have trees with leaves that change color we had to settle for whatever weeds she picked up. And more glueing to paper.

The next part of the assignment was Googling and looking at various pictures of fall scenery, fall clothes (a very important part), hayrides, and fall food. This week I'm hoping to continue our talk about fall and make: roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, and caramel apples. And afterwards I'll slip into my fall fantasy of thinking we'll be able to homeschool, drink some hot chocolate and read the paper.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Review of Disney Princess Sing Along Boombox

Originally submitted at Toys R Us

Top load CD player. CD control buttons and LED display. Sing along function, rotary volume control for MIC, Master and Echo.


By Rowan's Mom from San Marcos, TX on 10/10/2009


4out of 5

Pros: Attractive Design, Easy to Use, Fun, Portable, Engaging

Best Uses: Learning, Entertainment, Young Children

Describe Yourself: Parent Of Two Or More Children

Daughter LOVES it! Great for a 4 yr old and her dad. Not only does it play CD's but we plugged in the Itouch and can play our whole library of songs and internet radio. The long mic cord is handy. Very pleased.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Round 2 and smellin the roses

So I am gradually feeling better since my relapse because I overdid it at work. Today I went out and played! I got a new book at the library. I went to the eye doctor and got some new eyeballs that should be here on Thursday. Then it was off to that glorious crafters haven...Hobby Lobby. Also stopped by Walmart and here's the best of what I got. Stuff to make Rowan a dress she doesn't deserve. A game of Scrabble. This is hard to find. I think because kids don't know how to spell anymore. Maybe they should have Scrabble, the text version. A clear container. A cherry pie, because healthy eating made me sick. Decorative grasses and a black and cream stationary box.

I used the decorative grasses in the vase on my entry table. So far this is what I've got. I'm a slow decorator.

The black and cream stationary box went on the t.v. table. If you want to see the full table it's in the 2010 IKEA catalogue on page 83. I lurve that store. The table is just over 6 ft long with adjustable shelves. Perfect for different size baskets or objects.

And this is what I did with the Scrabble letters. It's a great element since I'm loving the black and cream right now. If you decide to do this it is not as simple as throwing the letters in a jar. No matter how hard you try they will always end up facing blank tile up so you will have to put them in one at a time with letters up. This is before Rowan got home from school. This is the best it will ever look. Really.

Hopefully I will keep getting better and will have something interesting to blog about soon.