Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Sherlocky Capelet




I have been toying with the idea of clothing for adults, being that the new rules and regulations of manufacturing and selling childrens products basically cost too much for me to legally follow the law. This requires me to find a new creative outlet. I have been making my own clothing for years and I finally decided I should make things for other adults to wear. Here we go.

I was inspired yesterday afternoon and spent the rest of the day drafting patterns and sewing in my dungeon...er, I mean sewing room. After many failed attempts I think I finally came up with a pattern I feel portrays my vision, and then after literally hundreds of photos, I finally got a few I like.


I present the Sherlocky Capelet.
I think I will toy with this pattern some more, try it with a big floppy collar, and a sturdy straight up "Dracula" collar as well. I will also play with the length a bit more but for the most part I think my little cropped capelet rocks. Making things for grown ups is kinda fun too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bartering: it's the new old way of making purchases.

Our finances are a bit skim at the moment, but we happen to have an excess of a few household and yard items. So we decided to participate in the age old tradition or bartering. The items of which we had the most excess of all things was an excess of trucks. We have one car, mine, Mr. T's giant diesel, and then my old '79 pick up, Lou, that I loved and was my first car, as well as a junky 4x4 pick up that we bought for $500 in September for a quick turn over, yet we still have... We realized that no one has money to purchase the two extra trucks so we put it out there that we would barter for them.

Last week we got an email from a gentleman who really needed a truck and had a 32inch flat panel and a new very nice laptop to trade for Lou. I was very apprehensive. He was my baby and I love that truck. However, he has not been driven since we bought the diesel, and he wasn't really the one to keep, being that he was rear wheel drive AND did not have 4 wheel drive, and we live in the snow capitol of the state. After some thought I decided it was a really good deal. We do not need the tv, we already have 3 working sets, I know eventually I would give in and buy one anyway. And the laptop we didn't really need either, we have a desk top that works just dandy. But with me going back to school it was really a good idea. The swap was for two things we didn't need but COULD use in exchange for a sentimental item we didn't need nor did we use.

So I said good by to Lou, dropped, him off, and brought home our new tv and laptop last week. I miss Lou, but our new computer and tv are very nice, and we use them both. So it was really the best move for us.
Plus we kept his bed topper and are going to use it as a shelter for the ducks in the summer after our pasture fence is finished. This way we can use the barn stall and night pen for the turkeys and chickens we are going to get. Ha!
Godzilla and the girls are checking out the new digs above.


And today Mr. T is off to Michigan to barter the other tuck for 3 cords of firewood (this is alot of wood mind you) and a wood burner for the barn.
Next week our wood bed frame for our king size bed, that we love but doesn't fit well or at all in our new bedroom, is going to go to a nice family in South Bend for a new wood chipper/shredder. The bed is just taking up space in the basement and we have a whole lot of apple wood to chip from our fall pruning, so this is another practical and good for us deal. Now if we can just barter something else in exchange for a smokehouse and some lumber and plywood things would be just great. If you have alot of junk, or stuff that isn't junk, that you don't really need, chances are someone else does. Put it out there that you are willing to barter, you never know what you might get in return.


Thank Heaven for good neighbor's



We have been battling the cold to keep our ducks in fresh unfrozen water. We carry 4, 5 gallon buckets to the duck pen daily. No so bad, but having the spigot on the house be frozen shut means we have to fill them in the bathtub. Again not so bad. But we DO have a spigot in the barn, it just doesn't work. Somewhere in the 50 yards from the house to the barn there is a break in the line. Could be right by the house or it could be from the roots of the giant silver maple that sits, conveniently, right between the barn and the house, intersecting the waterline. We would like some water in the barn so we have thought about digging the entire line up. That is a whole lot of deep digging so we have been putting it off. Here comes the thank heaven for good neighbor's part.




Our neighbor is a diesel mechanic, this bodes well for us having a diesel truck AND for the fact he often works on large diesel equipment. He will have a firetruck to work on and invite the kids over for a ride, or a giant dump truck, which the little ones just think it spectacular. Also on the plus side he works on excavators, loaders, and skid steers. He also likes to be sure they work before he sends them back, so he often needs a place to try them out. This also works to our favor a we have lots of things we would like to have dug up.




Recently he had a mini excavator and helped us out with our waterline problem. He dug and dug and found the line, then dug up the the end that goes into the barn. We now know where the line is broken, Yay! So now we just have to fix it and fill it in and voila we will have water in the barn. This will have to wait a bit, but at least we know what we need to do.




He also gave us the promise that next time he has a full size excavator in his shop he will bring it over and expand our pond. He is just the best. We are so lucky to have found our dream home with such wonderful neighbor's included in the deal.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fun with scissors, palm aid, and camera.

So I got a haircut two weeks ago, loved it, and then a few days later decided to go a bit shorter on my own, and then I went a bit shorter still last night. Apparently I will not be happy till I have a total shorty short pixie cut. But anyway, here is the end result with some variations. Weeeeee! I love fun, silly, short hair.


Work style.










Flippy do.


















Sex kitten. "prrrrrr". Ha!





I think I might go darker next week and say "good bye" to the blond...but I am as of yet undecided. I really like being blond, but I might look super awesome as a dark brunet or w/ black hair too. Decisions, decisions.

A little Christmas craftiness


Last year I made the boys their very own felt stockings, they go quite nicely with our cross stitched stockings that Mr. T's maternal Grandmother made for he and I. As I was hanging all 4 on the mantle it looked a bit lopsided. My stocking faces left and all the men-folk's face right. I pondered a bit and then decided that the girls were not all represented.



So I hopped to it and made a stocking each for Morgan and Watermelon, they are family after all. So I spent Thursday working on their stockings and I think they turned out just adorable.


I think the balance of the mantle is just right now. (Notice the lack of fire in the fireplace, yeah we ran out of wood, someone, not me, seriously underestimated the amount of wood one actually needs to heat a WHOLE house for and extended period of time,when it is 12 degrees outside. But we will be prepared next season. Maybe.)


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whew, done...no wait..

So my classes and clinicals are all done. They were sooooo much fun and my teachers were exceptional. I really think I am going to love working as a CNA, I loved "pretend" working as one. I received a GLOWING recommendation from my teachers and I am now looking for a job as a CNA. I take my state exam next week, so be thinking of me, unless it is mean thoughts ,then don't think of me. SO my new adventure in the medical field is off to a running start.

Next week I meet with my college counselor to talk about getting the rest of my pre-requisites out of the way this spring and summer semesters, so I can start nursing classes in the fall. Accelerated Anatomy and Physiology, Concepts of Math, Biology, and Microbiology HERE I COME! I already have all my English, Psychology, and electives knocked out due to my extensive stay in college the first time around. I am a bit nervous about the work load, but I am up for it. We will see how super medical and science classes balance with children, working, and home life in general. It will be an adventure, and what would life be without adventures?

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's official

I am going to be a CNA. I start classes on Monday, I have my grant in hand and everything ready for the class. It has been a busy month of paperwork, tests, and busy work, but totally worth it for free money. 4 weeks of classes, and then an exam and then I will rejoin the workforce. Yay for a ridiculous amount of hoops that I can easily jump through! Now if I can make it through the 8 solid hours a day 5 days a week for 4 weeks without falling behind and it will be great. So I will probably not be around much for the next month or so, what with not being near a computer, just remember it's not you it's me. Weee! Off on a new adventure!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Boooo!"

This Boo is not to be taken as a spooky ghost boo. It is to be taken as a " BOOO! *fist shaking* Get of the field Ump you SUCK! BOOOO!" Got it? Good.

So it is Halloween, the favorite holiday of my husband and I, and a very close second favorite holiday of MAT's. RAT likes it too, but doesn't know why. Unfortunately we, like many others I know, are going to have an unholiday thanks to the yucky fever puke stuff that everyone has. Luckily the pukey stuff has passed us over for the moment. MAT came home with a fever yesterday, cried and felt junky all night. This morning he is putting on a very brave front, though he still has a fever and clearly does not feel his best. He keeps saying, "but I am all better, I can go trick or treating." *cough, cough, hack, hack.* " Really Momma, I feel find." Poor guy, he is all stuffy and coughy and generally felling like junk. And today baby brother is getting in on the action. RAT is also running a small fever today. Yay.

So trick or treating is out of the question as is visiting family today. Boo. But there is a silver lining, even though they are sick they are sill in the holiday spirit. Both boys dressed up, for a little while anyway and let me take pictures for a bit.
Here they are "the Brother Kings of Hated Vegetables!"

















The King of Peas! (a.k.a. RAT)


















The King of Brussel Sprouts (a.k.a. MAT)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conversation with MAT over coffee this morning.

MAT, "Mommy?"
Me, "yes MAT".
MAT, "Can we have a girl baby?"
Me, "Well MAT we aren't going to have any new babies for a while yet, and even when we do I can't promise it will be a girl. We will get what we get. It could be a boy or a girl."
...long pause...
MAT, "Well...if we get rid of RAT, will it be a girl baby? Cause I'm kinda leaning that way."
...long pause as if I am considering it...
Me, "Hmmm, nope we keep RAT, and we take whatever baby we get when we get one, those are the rules."
...
MAT, " Well then I think I wanna play a new game."

He is so set on us having a new baby right now, and especially that it be a girl. I think when we do have another one and it is a boy, lets face it I will only have boys, he will be absolutely crushed and sullen. Hopefully we can work on this more before we decide to have another. Poor guy is just set on having a sister.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brrrr-eautiful!


Everything is frosty frozen. The duck pools have 3 inches of ice in them, the dog bowl is almost frozen solid, there is a sheen to everything with its frosty blanket. I hope I picked and chose the right plants to cover and save.

Now if we can just figure out the fresh unfrozen water for the ducks problem it will be a successful day. Our barn spigot doesn't work, something we intended on fixing before the winter this year, but with the lay offs who can afford to rent a trencher. So we have been running a hose from the house spigot to the duck pen. Now this wont work in the winter, freezing temperatures make hoses and pipes explode you know, so I am slowly coming to the realization that I will be toting 5 gallon buckets or 2 gallon bottles to the duck yard several times a day to keep the ducks in wet unfrozen water. Hmm...We shall see if I truly have the gusto to be self sufficient after a winter of carrying water through 4 feet or so of snow everyday at least twice a day.

As least Mr. T bartered work for a snow blower, so I MIGHT not be walking through 4 feet of snow. He is a bartering genius. The pay was not going to be great for the job he got it from but he asked the guy if there was anything to trade.

He replied "well...I have an newer 2 phase snow blower. It worked two years ago but wouldn't start last year." Mr. T said "I'll take it!". It literally took him maybe two hours to figure out what was wrong and get it running again. We are in the Lake Michigan snow belt. Right where we live is where the most snow falls and accumulates in our state. Good thing I don't mind being snow bound too much and good thing we are slowly preparing for the many long winters ahead.

After we find a snow shovel, we will be set for winter, I think, aside from the water issue. We have a generator, and a snow blower, a working wood stove and chainsaw, Mr. T is working for a huge amount of seasoned fire wood next week and, for once, we all have winter coats that fit, before the snow falls. I think we are in pretty good shape, provided the propane tank will make it through the winter without being filled. I guess I will just have to watch my baking and use of the dryer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Clang!

Crash! Thump, thump, thump, skreeeee, bing!"

This is the sound I hear ringing through out the house radiating from the kitchen. Then a few seconds later it repeats and then relative quiet, just the incomprehensible murmurs of children in another room.

I get up from the couch, my coffee, and my morning NPR and run into the kitchen. Where I find my oldest child high fiveing my youngest child and telling him "great job baby!". Apparently the noise I heard was my oldest putting his oatmeal bowl, spoon, and empty juice cup in the sink, a very proud moment as a mom for me on a daily basis. If I could just get him to put his dirty laundry in the basket instead of strewn about the floor of his room, but I digress.

The second repeat ruckus I heard was my youngest child imitating his older brother. At 19 months old, RAT put his own oatmeal dish, spoon and juice cup in the sink after breakfast. I didn't even have to coerce him, I am sure MAT did that for me. He can barely reach the counter but apparently he can slide things over the ledge and into the sink. What a big boy task. What a couple of great kids. This totally makes up for the before 6 am wake up calls of this week. I could not be prouder of my boys today. Big stuff.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall is here, and so is the flue.

The leaves are turning and, as of the crazy wind over the last few days, falling off the trees. There is a slight nip in the air and all around it feels like fall. It's about time. Many cups of chai tea and, today, a warm fire in the fireplace, can I just tell you HOW much I LOVE this, is just a fantastic way to spend the day. The smell of wood burning permeates the house. This is just blissful.

MAT stayed home from school today. Yesterday he brought home a new lunch menu, and a fever, and then later last evening puking...all over the floor. Yay. Thankfully today he is fever less and even more thankfully he is vomit-less. I hope it was a noncontagious and simple yuck and that it is all done in this house, as we are to have company this weekend and have a very important 90th Birthday Party to attend. I really do not want to miss either and I really don't want to be ill, again.

So MAT stayed home and we all snuggled, Mr. T is included in that, unfortunately he is laid off again. Boo, but whatcha gonna do? We are making the best of it. We are rearranging the house, Ok ok, I am rearranging and Mr. T is keeping his mouth shut. I am loving the new arrangement and feeling renewed, which I need knowing that Mr. will be around all the time. I am finding little projects for him to do that don't cost anything but need to be done just the same. So even though it is a bit scary, it is not so scary with simple things like homemade butter on corn bread muffins, snuggling on the couch under a homemade blanket with your kiddo's, in front of the fire, in a room arranged to your specifications, while sipping on some chai tea. So till my next check in I say, things are good all around.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New duckies!

And they were free! My local 4-H poultry lady called me last week, I called her 2 months ago to ask some questions about butchering and to let her know I would happily take any unwanted birds that she heard about.

She ask, when she called last weeks, if I might be interested in some free birds. I said "sure what kinds? How many? Where are they?" She said, "well...there are 30 or so chickens, about a dozed turkeys, 20 or so Muscovy ducks, and some geese too." Taken aback I said "well I can only take 4 or so birds, I just don't have the room."

"Anything will help, the owners are being evicted and cant take any with them." She gave me the address and I went. I brought home only 4 Muscovy's, some adorable ducks, and they fly.

I WISH I had a place for those turkeys, and the rest of the Muscovy's, but sadly we do not. Next year maybe we will get lucky and get some more free birds when we have a place to put them. But for now we have a drake and 3 hens.

They did fly when I brought them home, and after a not so fun trip around the yard to get them back in their pen on the 3rd day, their flight feathers have now been clipped. Maybe next year we will let them grow in so they can fly around the property, once they know where home is. This year they need to be flightless so they stay home, though I am sad they can roost anymore, they are so cute up on the dividing boards in the pen.
So we welcome Hammy the drake, Nancy the brown and white adult hen (they are in the first picture), Franny the white and brown juvenile hen, and Maude the chocolate hen (in the second).

Update on the cat/dog relationship

They are working on it. An ongoing process. Intense negotiations are happening.

Watermelon accepts that the dog is not going anywhere, she is still not happy about it, but she is being far more cordial than she was 3 weeks ago. And Morgan, she is such a GOOD dog, is really trying to be very goo and to keep her prey drive in check. She has accepted that she is not allowed to eat the cat, though she still sometimes gives into her prey drive and stalks her a bit but is quick to snap out of it when notified by a human. Both pets are behaving far more nicely than I expected after the fireworks of the first week.

Now I don't see them snuggling, EVER, but I think they will eventually not have to be watched every second they are on the same floor of the house. So things are great. Morgan has not shown a single sign of aggression towards people, not even a tiny growl, at even the most unexpected or intolerable intrusion of space by the kids. They can pull on her nostrils and poke her eyes and the worst she has done is gotten up and walked away. They have put their hands in her food bowl and she doesn't mind at all. She is just wonderful, we are very lucky to have found her.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Our new addition.



We are announcing a new member of the family!!! We adopted!! That's right folks a new family member and IT'S A GIRL!



This is Morgan.

She is almost 4 years old, an American Stafford shire Terrier mix, and a total sweet heart.

She is a rescue dog from the Humain Society and she was half off because September is adopt a pet month!


This was a surprise because when we went and picked her, last Sunday, there was no hint of a discount. We were gonna take her home anyway, but half off the fee and free obedience training and a really great well behaved and housebroken dog, hey what a deal!


We picked her out last weekend, yes we picked her out when the kids were sick, I know terrible parents. And then Mr. T went and picker up our new girl yesterday, the day he and I both took a sick day because we were both sooooooo ill yesterday. But we had planned to get her before we were ill so he went and picked her up. She is so well behaved, so far is totally behaving by and following the rules, and listens when told to do something. If only the children were as well behaved. Ha!


We have only had one hiccup so far, Watermelon. Watermelon does NOT care for Morgan, at all. And she shouts it from the roof tops . She has not been un-puffy since Morgan entered the house yesterday. And there was even a swatting incident that made Morgan bleed and bark. Her nose is fine and the cats nails have been sufficiently trimmed, sorry Morgan I should have done that earlier, but other than the cats supreme dislike of Morgan she has been a peach. Morgan's opinion of the cat...I am not sure she has one. Until the swatting she seemed rather uninterested. Watermelon refuses to be nice even though Morgan is trying her hardest to be gentle, give her her space and not fight. Watermelon is determined to make something of it. So we are currently on a rotating schedule.


The cat can be out of the bathroom when the dog is on the deck or in the yard. I am not even sure if having the baby gate will give Watermelon and escape route if something would go awry. She seems to want to stand her ground and refuses to head for the hills, and rightfully so she was here first. So that's where we are. One more girl in the house, I have decided I am bound to have boy children so I might as well have girl pets.


Welcome Morgan, we have a place for you right over here, next to the couch, but never on it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A bit late

But we did butcher some ducks last weekend. I cant believe I forgot to post about this.

I did the first all by myself, with instructions in hand of course, from start to finish. Gotta say it was not my favorite task ever, but it was by far not the worst at all. I wont go into detail about the butchering, there are other sites that cover that. I did the first all by my onesie and then Mr., who is squeamish about this sorta thing, stepped up and stated, "well I suppose I should do one too, you know, so I know how." Gotta admit I was a little proud of him, taking on a new uncomfortable task such as this. I explained what to do and walked away. He stopped me and said "Oh, um, could you say it again, I wasn't really listening to what you just said." Ha!

So I did the first one, Mr. T butchered the second, and I did the last two. We butchered 4 in total. MAT, who watched and seemed rather unaffected, was very currious about the whole thing. Once he saw how "easy" it was, he wanted to help. I told him when he was 8 he could help but till then he could only watch. He then stated that we should get pigs and a cow and eat them too. I said I draw the line at poultry for butchering. Maybe some herritage turkeys and maybe some geese next year. But I think mammals I will get too attached to, I think I know my limits are.

We ate one of the ducks last Monday and it was pretty good. Roast duck is quite good, of course I already knew this it was the menfolk who needed convincing. I personally think it is very nice to know that the food you are eating was healthfully raised and humanely dispatched.

My ego was a bit bruised though. Mr.T's duck was more cleanly plucked than my 3 were, however I am stating his duck was out of molt entirely whereas my ducks weren't quite finished, and he has bigger hands. I don't know if the latter matters but I am saying it does. So our flock is down from 20 to 16.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yup, my kid is around other children.

And apparently ALL of them are sickly little snot faces! And their parents send them ALL to school no matter what fluids are spewing out of them or what temperature they are.

Ok. Not all of them, but someone did defiantly send their child to pre-school this week or last week with a cold-flu-like snotty something. So MAT, one week in, had to stay home yesterday because he was snotty and had a fever, and now so does RAT. So much for those Birthday party attending plans for this weekend, looks like we will be staying in. I just hope I don't get it, of course I will, but I hate being sick and I am a terrible patient, mostly because mom's don't get to be sick and lay around. Moms have to work while being sick, which I dont do well at all.

Anyway, here's to a new milestone! We have reached the age and place of constant exposure to communicable diseases, woohoo.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just for some cute

Hope you think think this is as cute as I do.

RAT likes to help with the ducks. This ususally entails sitting in something gross and then chasing the ducks for a minute and then trying to get in their pools, then we leave the pen.

Enough with the SQUASH already!

37 POUNDS! That is what I pulled out of the garden yesterday, and there will be much more by the end of this week. I think I will start pulling blossoms for eating and not let them fruit anymore for a while.

Needless to say we had thinly sliced breaded squash with dinner, my neighbore's will all be finding squash gifts on their front stoops tomorrow, I am sending some on the bus with MAT tomorrow for his teacher and Amos, the bus driver, and I am going to spend a long long time tomorrow shredding and freezing squash for baked goods. My zucchini plants all succumbed to the powdery mildew, but the squash are thriving, so my 101 uses for zucchini has become squash. I wonder if the ducks will like squash...

Bless you Craigslist

Last night after a long day at the Union picnic we got home and did the usual. Put the kids to bed, check email and Craiglist. Low and behold a FREE swing set! In our TOWN!!!! It was listed at noon and it was 8 ish when I checked, sure it would be gone but I had to check I called the listers. And MIRACLE! They still had it and said we could get it at our earliest convenience. Of course Mr. T went right then and there and took it apart, in the dark.






This morning I woke to this.














Then after a few minutes of very intense work, we had this!


















Then a little bit later we had THIS!!!
Thanks so much to those of you who give things away for free. It isn't perfect, it is old, but it works and will work long enough for us to get a wooden one in a few years, hopefully secondhand as well. And to those of you who don't know the wonder that is Craigslist, look it up, it is fantastic.
The children LOVE it and MAT spent most of the day out there on the "car pumper" as he calls it, the thing next to the white slide. We got wonderful deals on our appliances and a free dishwasher on Craigslist, but by far this is my favorite Craigslist find.

The dreaded EggDrought

The ducks are coming out of molt, sort of. They are fully feathered, but no eggs yet. I hope they kick back up before winter, otherwise I will have to start a lighting program and I don't really want to do that. Anyway, I actually had to buy eggs at the store last week, frozen eggs work very well for baking but not for just eating eggs. We are now into 5 weeks of no eggs. This is a bummer.

MAT's first day of school

Pre-school that is. And it was actually last Thursday, but I am just getting around to telling you about it today. Imagine that.



So the day got off to a rocky start, as they sometimes do, but by the time we left for the bus stop all seemed bright and wonderful. And to answer the question, yes we take him to a bus stop, and it isn't close either, but we do what we need to do. Once we got to the bus stop, we waited, and waited, we talked to the bus driver via a cell phone, and waited a little more. I know the first day can be a little confusing and always runs late, but the bus was an HOUR late. Now one child who is ready to go to school and has to wait is bad enough in the car waiting for an hour. BUT one child ready to go to school and one child who DESPERATELY wants out of his car seat and cant understand why this stop light is taking so dang long, together are practically unbearable. I did manage to bear it and sent my first baby boy off to his first day of pre-school.



And by the ways this pre-school is basically kindergarten time wise. He goes 5 half days a week. So really for me it is like he went to kindergarten. It is weird how I have extra time but Thursday and Friday got away from me and I feel like the days were shorted several hours. Though I guess Thursday was being in the car waiting two hours. You are saying,"no you said you only waited 1 hour to drop off, surly picking up was closer to schedule". Nope. It sure wasn't.


I got much done during school. RAT actually took a 2 and a half hour nap, apparently fighting a car seat for an hour is exhausting. And before I knew it, it was time to go pick up the pre-schooler. We got to the bus stop right when we were supposed to, and then the waiting started. I suppose we didn't wait a full hour, we waited 56 minutes. But this time I brought snacks, books, and toys for RAT and we was appeased, not happy, but not upset either. Then the big boy arrived!

Off the bus he came, I greeted him at the bottom and together we went back to the car. I probed him for all kinds of info. Did he learn anyone's name? Make any friends? learn anything about numbers, letters, colors, shapes, anything? Did he have fun? Was his lunch good? Questions questions.



We get in the car all buckled up and I ask the first question. "Did you have loads of fun today?"
He answered, "The kids were not pretty nice, the food was not pretty good, and I did NOT get to play outside today. I not wanna talk about it anymore."
Sad, I tried to find a silver lining, "well did you learn anything new and exciting today."
His response, " NO I didn't learn anything, I don't KNOW anything!"
Boo. So I dropped it till we got home.



Then when we got home I got the down low: The graham crackers and orange juice at snack time were great, the lunch was NOT, some boys in the class would not let him play with them and they tried to pick a fight, they got in trouble and he didn't, he didn't like the boys, but the girls were really nice so he played in the kitchen with them, they have cabinets and food and an oven the kitchen is really cool, he really likes his teacher, hers is the only name he knows, he also really likes the bus, but he wasn't going back because the food and mean boys need to be fixed.

So it in fact was all not terrible, whew, I don't know that I could have handled all that mom guilt.
But then on Friday he got in the car all chipped and blathering about how much fun bad robots are to kill and how yummy lunch was. The bad robots were the other boys, and the lunch was hot dogs, baked beans, jello, a salad and milk. So day two was super fun. They will average out and all will be fine. He will have good days and bad. I have no idea what he is learning or what they are leaching but for now I am just glad that he is having a good time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What..

Where did July go? Its August already? Wha...



Ok so I suppose I have been busy the past...well 5 months, but especially where did July go?



Last week we had many important events. MAT went to his first dentist appointment ever. He was an angel, mostly, the last 5 minutes got very intense as he was done and saw no need for the hygienist to clean his last two teeth. A small bribe of a balloon was all that was needed. He got a clean bill of health and I received some reassurance that he has plenty of room in his mouth and maybe his tween and early teen years wont be spent in the orthodontists office getting straightening work like I had. I hope.



Then on Friday Mr. T had a big night. He is officially a Journeyman and a college graduate! Woot! I am very proud of him. It was a very fun night but a very long one. There are 29 people in his class, and I knew 24 of them previously, and the remaining 5 I knew of, just had not met. Now that's brotherhood in my opinion, and sisterhood because there are women in the class. 2 didn't attend graduation, one because he is a professional disk golfer and he had a tournament and the other went into labor earlier in the afternoon. Sad to not see them but it was a very good night anyway. 14 students maintained an above 94% average, MY husband being one of them, throughout the entire 5 year apprenticeship. I think that is pretty impressive. I am very proud, if you couldn't tell.

Other than that the boys and I took my Mom to the train station this week. I had no idea it was SO very close. I need to explore my surroundings a bit better I think. In general we have just been trudging along.

MAT starts preschool in a few weeks, I am still unsure about how I feel. It is so structured and is totally going to control my schedule for about 4 hours a day 5 days a week. I do know how I feel about that, and I am not pleased. Also they, the runners of the program, seem to take it SUPER seriously. I, on the other hand, do not. It is preschool, I honestly wouldn't even take kindergarten too seriously, and he is supposed to ride the bus and get the "whole experience". I mean if the bus actually came to my house, I think I might be a bit more serious, but it doesn't I have to drop off and pick up at a bus stop bout 12 miles from my house. So I have some issues, clearly. But it will be worked out soon. If MAT hates it, he simply wont go, and if he loves it and I hate it, I will just suck it up and take him. He is only 4 and I think 5 days a week is too much, but we will see.

We are battling powdery mildew. I am trying a 50%/50% milk/water solution to keep it in check. My zucchini have been under attack for about 2 weeks, but now it is spreading to my squash and pumpkins. That is too far. My pumpkins are for my children and me. I love to eat them and Halloween is my very favorite holiday, has been for...EVER. So attacking in essence my favorite holiday is too much. Pumpkins are where I draw the line. Squash bugs or blight, I will defeat you. Watch out you vile fungus, I will find an organic way to kick your butt!!!

That's it. We are waiting for melon to start ripening, as well as the massive amounts of tomatoes in the garden. I planted a new crop of lettuce and spinach this week and I am hoping to make some chocolate squash brownies today. I hope all who read are enjoying the weather and having a great week.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ode to the Thrift Store

Thrift store, how I love thee.
Your shelves and items of plenty never disappoint me.
I might not find what I was looking for,
But you never seem to mind.
You always present me with many items
I wasn't expecting to find.

That is enough of my ode. Seriously though I adore the thrift store. I went in yesterday to find a dress, either to wear or to change into something I would wear, or for some fabric. No on all counts. However I did manage to find an Angel food cake pan (that I desperately need), a Clifford the Big Red Dog video, a Talespin Video, the Little Giants video(sidebar my brother once told me he cries at the end, I always think of him when it is over), Babar book in perfect condition, a science experiments for kids book, and a pair of jeans that fit perfectly. None of these things were what I was intending to get but for $12, I think it is sensational! And all the videos WORK! So great.

Yesterday was a good day, aside from the 7 hours of pouring rain and a clogged rain gutter so we ended up with water in the basement, boo. It wasn't all floods though, I put on an outfit that was purchased right after I met Mr. T. So it is 7 years old or so. I haven't worn it for at least 5, probably more like 6 years.

Now said outfit did NOT fit mind you, but I did get it on and zipped and nothing popped or busted on the garment. This is Stupendous! It is a 13/14, and two months ago, I couldn't get it anywhere near on and zipped. But yesterday, I succeeded. Of course 7 years ago I didn't have these silly things on my chest so even though my bum and waist are fitting into old garments, my chest is still far to unruly to be a 13/14. I have a whole closet of clothing I hope to wear someday, soon maybe. Hopefully my chest recedes with the rest of my measurements, I hope, otherwise I will look very silly. Anyway, happy dance!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The tire swing



So in my cheapness I was scouring the Internet for a good deal on a swing for the kids. You know the kind that you just tie up on a tree limb so they can bounce off the tree's trunk every 4th or 5th time they swing. So I was looking and looking and I brought the search up to my mom. Who, in her infinite wisdom, looked at me and said "why don't you just make a tire swing?"

I mean we do have old tires ALL over our property. We have 5 leaned up against our barn right now. Huh. Tire swing... recycling and free, why didn't I think of that?

So now after I salvaged an old broken tow rope out of the truck and drilled some hole in the best tire, we have a tire swing. MAT loves it, asks to swing all the time and has already learned some tricks. And RAT also loves it though needs MUCH more assistance than MAT. All in all it was a very simple, fast, and worthwhile project. It will not last forever but it is for now and that is all that matters.

Mr. T has some plans for a different tire swing, after all we have ample tires to use. He is going to mount it horizontally with 3 ropes, or chains, suspending it. like the ones at the playground. I think this is also a great idea, though I am estimating it to be finished in 2012. Ha!
Tire swings are a very fond memory from my childhood and now I ma happy to pass that memory on to my children. Warm and fuzzy memories.

Confession of a cat guy.






So Mr. T approached me last night, Watermelon in arms laying on his chest. He asked, " so are we in fact going to put her outside? I mean she has been inside a long time and she is a member of the family. If we wait too long she might get lost or hurt, or lose her instincts"






I sighed and said, "No... I suppose not. She is rather fond of the indoors. I think she will stay in as long as she lives by the rules."






He lit up, and said, " GREAT!... Um, you know I kind of always wanted her to be an inside kitty. I have liked her from the moment I saw her running in the rain. I was hoping you would let her be an inside cat...but I wanted to let you make the decision."






Very interesting...I just hope he remembers this when a GIANT dog shows up here in the rain and never leaves. Ha!






She is incredibly cute and loving, I cant imagine the house without her anymore. She has a totally clean bill of health and gained a pound and an ounce in 3 weeks. She is definitely one of our kids and I love her, as long as she follows the rules.

That time of year

Two words: Zucchini season



It is that time of year for massive amounts, and in my lack of noticing case, SIZES of zucchini. Yes friends it is summer in the Midwest, and that means it is time to find 101 ways of eating zucchini, and then when you have eaten zucchini for at least 2 meals a day, EVERYDAY, for a month, you stoop to other methods of using it and the list becomes 101 USES for zucchini. I will try my best to keep up this list and make it to 101 by the end of September. We are already off to a great start.



Every cookbook and rule out there says that zucchini is best for cooking when about 6 to 8 inches long and no more than 4 inches around. This worked out great when I pulled the first off the vine on Tuesday. I sliced it thin and lightly pan fried the slices in a skillet after a rub with garlic, we had them with crock pot chicken (thanks for introducing that to me Kara!) apple sauce, and french bread.



Today, I found a HUGE zucchini. It was literally the size around of one of those giant over sized whiffle ball bats, but only about half the length. This thing was ginormous. How I missed this thing, apparently for at least a week, is absolutely ridiculous. Anyway I had to hatch a plot to use it, but quick, and I did. I found a solution that used the zucchini, most of it anyway, AND used our food processor for the first time. I used the processors grater and grated the entire thing, it actually took quite a while and I had to empty it twice, and this is a FULL size processor. I then made zucchini bread, of course, two loaves. It only took a small amount out of the total and I doubled the recipe allotted amount. After I put them in the oven I began pondering how to use the rest of the grated goodness. I think a chocolate zucchini cake tomorrow... Anyway I used some for dinner tonight.



Zucchini Fritters. Need I say more. They were freaking fantastic, AND I used our fry daddy that has only been used maybe 3 times in 3 years. I am a zucchini and appliance using master! Anyway the fritters were freaking fantastic! SO here is the recipe, MY recipe. I looked at loads of recipes and thought I could do it much better, and I think I did.



Zucchini Fritters

3 C. grated zucchini

2 eggs ( I prefer duck eggs)

1/2 C. all purpose flour

1 Tbsp Kosher salt

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder or garlic salt depending on you salt taste

1-2 C. crushed Ritz crackers, I used two hand fulls

1/2 C. grated Parmesan

Oil



If you have a big screen strainer this is perfect, I use a splatter guard over the sink. Put zucchini in strainer or in another drain-able device, and sprinkle Tbsp of Kosher salt over it. You want it to sweat out the water. I let mine set for about an hour, then pressed the water out with my hand and a potato ricer. You want it as dry as you can get it.



Heat oil. You want it at least an inch deep, and around 350 degrees.



Mix all the dry ingredients, and feel free to play with other spices and amounts. Then add cheese, egg, and zucchini. Mix well and use immediately. Drop tablespoon full size dollops into batter. If they are not entirely covered cook 4 minutes and flip and cook other side 4 minutes also. If they are totally submerged cook 6 minutes.



Raise basket and let drain or remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Let oil return to proper temperature before dropping in next batch. Made 16 fritters.



Serve hot with sour cream, unflavored plain yogurt, or salsa. We used sour cream and salsa, because we had them, and they were delicious!



I still have 4 cups of grates zucchini left, tomorrow I will make some more masterpieces, but today I am all zucchini'd out.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Movies

Last night, on a whim, the Mr. and I decided that we should have a date night. We haven't had one out of the house for a year and a half that didn't involve a wedding or family event. So last night we called in a Grandma and went to check out our new town and see what it had to offer.

We went to go see "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen". And I am a fan of the franchise, the lead actor and robots in general, so my revue might be a bit bias, but I loved it. I am a fan more and more of Shia Labeouf, and there was an "Even Stevens" moment with a girly scream that was very funny. I could have delt with much less of Megan Fox's bum and chest but sex sells and running scantily clad women have been popular in film for years, Baywatch anyone. There was much more questionable language and more fighting in this film, which are both a plus in my book. But the best part of the whole evening was the price.

We went to the 6:15pm showing, and for Mr. and I it cost $3, total. Yeah. Now the theater wasn't super high tech with digital surround or fancy seats with cup holders. Nope not here. It was a humble theater with maybe 80 or 100 seats, the old squishy smelly auditorium seats that one person can barely rest their arm on never mind sharing an armrest. Very low tech, but the sound was good and the picture was perfect. The floor was clean and not sticky, a rarity in any big movie theater these days. The food was overpriced, but not as bad as your giant theaters. And you cant beat the ticket price. We can actually take the kids to a movie here! If they are being unruly I wouldn't mind leaving if we were only out $12. I mean in our old city it was that much PER person, even if one of the persons was 1 year old. It was really a fantastic time. I am so glad we opted to try out the local theater instead of going to the bigger fancy one in the bigger town near us.

Then we decided to check out the local nightlife, which was VERY tame, and exactly what we expected. We checked out a couple local hangouts, all of which were filled with people much older than us and frankly far too different ideally for us to be able to get into a conversation with, without causing an argument. So we didn't last long out after the film. A quick trip to Taco Bell for some burritos and off to home we were. We were in by 11pm, which was perfect and the best end to a pretty darn good evening. I got to have a date night with my husband, sleep last night, and I got to sleep in this morning, life is very good.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Poof!



And I am a bleach blond beach babe...ok maybe not a beach babe but totally bleach blond, at least for a few days till my orange arrives. I love having the ability to have funny hair cuts and funny hair colors. Yay!
Mr. T's "graduation" celebration, just a dinner the Union throws them but I get to dress up, is in a few weeks and this means I get to get a hair cut and dress pretty. Also a Yay moment. I think I will be dawning my signature caution orange hair for all to see. None of his brothers have seen me with crazy hair, unless they thought the dreadlocks were crazy, I have been rather mellow with my hair for many years. But I think it is time to have some fun again, for a while.
Also I am dieing for a new tattoo. It has been almost 3 years since I have had any work done and I think I have forgotten enough of the experience to want more. Since my husband bought a new truck yesterday, I fear it will be a while till I feel comfortable frivolously spending money on ink. Not to mention it will be A LOT of ink. I think I want to start on my sleeve, which I am sure some of you out there will not approve of, but maybe after we get much debt paid off I can get some time in without guilt. And it is totally weird to have turned the corner. To feel guilty at the thought of spending money on a tattoo when we have debt. A few years ago this would have been unheard of in our house but hey guess I am out of the loop and a grown up now. Go figure.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I think we are a bit duck crazy round here.

""Quack, quack, quack...Come on Charlie. One, two, three, triple-deke."

That's right folks a new generation in our household has fallen in love with "The Mighty Ducks". MAT and I caught the beginning of it while RAT was napping before his stitch removal appointment. MAT was entranced. Apparently hockey is very cool to a 4 year old and KIDS playing hockey is even better. Since we only watched about a quarter of it before we had to leave, when we got back I pulled out the old VHS copy, that belonged to MR. T while growing up, and we quietly sat, yes that's right, and watched the rest. It was fantastic.

When it was all over MAT stood up and proclaimed, "I is a hockey player. My gonna go skate tomorrow!"

I politely corrected his errors and reminded him it is the middle of summer so there are no frozen ponds on which to skate and that he doesn't know HOW to skate, and he often runs into walls while walking, so it might be a little too early for ice skates.

He said, "Already knows how to skate, he was watching and paying attention, and we can go to a rink, like where they have their matches."

I think he payed way too much attention to this movie, though it is nice to see that he CAN pay attention to anything.

So now on the list of super fun activities he wants to learn we have Piano Lessons, Gymnastics, Go Cart Racing, and Hockey. I am fine with 3 of the four, the go cart racing is a giant NO. MAT runs over and into everything on his gater, no way he is getting more horsepower. So Hockey, we will see how long it lasts, the Piano lessons have been around a whole year. If they are still around in 6 months or so we will look into it, he should be old enough to absorb some of it by then.

And the other part of the DUCK MANIA and proof that MAT is in fact his fathers and my child is, he asked for "Duck Tales" from netflix this week. Awesome. He had hundreds of choices to pick from, of which he picked a favorite show from my childhood. This kid has great taste. No only does he like old Pink Panther, Popeye, Loony Toons(only the old ones mind you), and Tom and Jerry, he also LOVES Duck Tales. So great.

On a totally unrelated note, I am wearing a pair of unstretchy jeans today. Seems like all jeans you buy these days have a little stretch. They are size 16 and from my pre-baby days, even my pre-pregnant pre-baby days. In fact these used to me my overly baggy comfy pair. They are not overly baggy, BUT I am sitting in them and comfortable. Yay! It is good to have little triumphs, even if I am the only one who truly appreciates them. I figure about the time I get truly happy with the shape of my body again I will already be pregnant and it will immediately begin changing. Such is life.

I really should be doing laundry...and looking up the best whole house water filtration system. Now that Mr. is back to work, we can get a filtration system without guilt. We could have afforded one, but we didn't NEED one. However with the state of the white loads as of late I think we now need one. Rust on clothing makes Mom MAD!

Anyway, the dirty clothes are calling, no seriously some of them have been dirty so long I am surprised they haven't sprouted legs and ran away. Have a marvelous day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What a nice day.

Today was such a nice day. The kids actually slept in till 6 am, which is a rarity around here. Then they happily watched PBS in the bed with me and let me lay for an hour. Yes folks We finally found the sweet spot for both sets of rabbit ears in the house so our digital converter boxes actually get PBS! This is one of the highlights of the summer. We have satellite on our main tv in the house, but the play room tv and our master bedroom tv just have over air converter boxes. Neither of them got any channels to speak of, just three channels of CBS, which is great in the evening, but the ONLY channel I wanted to get was PBS. And now after many placements and the addition of a new set of rabbit ears, BOTH tvs now get PBS, except on rainy and very overcast days. This has been a blessing, truly.

My day started with a whisper and was pretty mellow all day. I cleaned, sewed (I have a custom order from a repeat customer, I have had the fabric for weeks now and just haven't had the time to get to it, till today!), cooked and then had a lovely dinner with a cousin who lives near by. It was very nice. The kids went a bit wacky after dinner, but when don't they, and it was a very nice visit. Then Mr. T, myself and my cousin all sat out on the deck, watched the deer and ducks, and talked till the bugs got to bad to take any more. It was very relaxing and mellow. I hope tomorrow is just as pleasant.

The ducks are going into a molt. RATS! Feathers EVERYWHERE! I missed my window for culling, this kind of stinks. I should have butchered last week, but I was a bit over scheduled last week and it just didn't happen. So they all get a lease on life for another month or so, but then we will have tender delicious roast duckling, and I am super excited. The only down side is the adult duck are also in a molt and their egg production is way down. I maybe get one egg a day...which really isn't a down side, we still have 3 dozen in the fridge, so about the time we are through those they should be producing again.

RAT got his stitches out yesterday and had his post OP check. His incision is all healed and honestly I can hardly even see where it is, it is amazing! And our family practice doctor, who I am loving more and more every time we see her, is just fantastic. It literally only took 45 seconds for her to remove the stitches. RAT barely even noticed she was touching him. MAT was more bothered by the whole thing I think, he was very nervous, but in the end was in awe of how easy and fast and painless the removal was, as was I.

The only real downer of the day is our canopy has died. I woke up this morning to a crumpled mass of twisted wreckage and fabric in the back yard. It was a gift from my parents at our wedding reception, and it has been well used over the last 4 years. It was already in less than perfect shape before today, but sadly this time it is unrepairable. I am not sure of what exactly happened to bend it into the heap it is in, but it is beyond help. Too bad. We will move on and we will recycle what we can. All in all it probably outlived its life, the way we used it, a couple years ago. I think we can build something out of wood and reuse the canopy fabric, and the idea of this is actually exciting...Though I think Mr. is slightly less excited about it, since he will be doing the building.

On a super fun note Mr.T has found a big newish diesel truck, that we can afford! It seats six very comfortably, has four doors and will be great in the snow, since we live in the snow capitol of the state now, snow mobility is very important. His work is going well, we very much hope this company will be a home for him. He will officially be a journeyman in two weeks. It seems like he has been an apprentice FOREVER, and really he has, five years is a long time in our lives. All is good.

Things are looking up, no one has been to the hospital this week, we are getting strawberries, which incidentally MAT thinks are too sour and wont eat and RAT who is the anti-fruit kid eats like there is no tomorrow, so really no complaints from me this week. The squash will be ready by the weekend and we have wee little tomatoes on half the plants. I cannot wait for more fresh homegrown veggies. There is nothing like growing your own produce, it is bliss.

Oh I have a really delicious Swiss chard Ricotta cheese pie recipe I will put up tomorrow. It is great for breakfast or a light lunch/dinner.

Life is very good here, I hope it is there for all of you too!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I have been away...and busy.

Sorry about the absence. Mr. T went back to work a few weeks ago, crazy hours mind you, so my hours have been crazy as well. All good stuff but no time to type, so I have been absent. Also we had the holiday and the kids and I spent a few days with my Mom and Dad at the "Turkey Palace", their little wooded hide away where lots of wild turkeys reside.
And then we had this week which included a day trip to the surgeon last Monday to Fix an internal problem with RAT. Something that was supposed to descend on its own, decided not to, so they had to surgically go in and find, and unfortunately, remove it. The doctors assure me that he will be able to be a daddy, provided the one he has remaining functions properly. I never knew having one testicle was really all that common, turns out it is fairly common. Also turns out I know several one testicled fathers, I just never knew it, but knowing that my child is now a "one shot" as Mr. T likes to call him, seems one testicaled fathers are EVERYWHERE. It is kind of nice...in a very strange way.
Surgery went very well, RAT has no problems with anaesthesia and was climbing furniture and running about by bedtime. The hardest part of it all, aside from my rampantly running freak out of a mind, was the not eating or drinking. I mean how does one explain to a 17 month old that they aren't allowed to eat or drink. So Mr. and I decided we shouldn't eat or drink either. GREAT! Provided surgery is on time, which RAT's wasn't. It was nearly two hours late, it was far worse for Mr. and I than it was for RAT, he didn't seem to mind. He did get quite bored and annoyed about the lack of toys though. But all in all it was a success.






Then on Wednesday there was a dancing too close to the field stone fireplace incident that wound us up in the hospital for three and a half hours...oh and 4 more suchers in the 17 month old. Yeah. As if I wasn't feeling guilty enough for having made the kid wrong, I know it wasn't my fault but I cant help feel guilty.
I was cleaning the bathroom, and my wonderful sister has since reasoned this is a prime reason for me NOT to clean the bathroom and I am inclined to agree with her, with the door shut because of fumes and what not and I heard a thud and a screaming. And then MAT ran to the door meeting me as I ripped it open and dashed out. I scooped up RAT, I was worried about surgery suchers not a NEW injury. I snuggled him to me chest while MAT explained what had happened, he fell. I lifted RAT's chin to check his teeth and mouth, putting my hands on either side of his face. My hand was wet. I looked at my hand and is was drenched! I let out a very brief scream, and looked at the side of his head. His ear was GUSHING blood. So much in fact it took me a few seconds to clean it up enough to notice part of it was ripped clean through.
I ran and put on real pants, I was still wearing pajama pants and who could have taken me seriously in flame covered pj bottoms. I yelled to MAT to put his shoes on and grabbed my phone and purse to call Mr. He was on his way home but still more than a half hour away, I told him to meet me at the hospital. I don't think he even knew why we were going from the first call. We got to the hospital and were quickly whisked away into an exam room. Where we sat, for 2 hours before ANYONE came to check on the BABY bleeding profusely from the head. But whatever.
Once we were seen a lovely nurse cleaned the wound. It was deep, about 3/4 of an inch long and clean through in places. She said the doctor would be in shortly, 40 minutes and the doctor came in, asked if it had been debreeded, I said I have no idea, he huffed and left for 10 minutes. then came back with a sucher kit. He and his nurse suchered his ear, 4 suchers even though he actually put in 6 suchers but he screwed up two and had to do them again. Oh did I mention the nurse and I held him down. One of the worst experiences of my life, will NEVER happen again. And 20 minutes last he was finished. And then we got to go home shortly there after. Nearly bedtime, no dinner yet, and bored and tired to boot. It was not a good night. RAT has not slept much this week. And Mr. is working crazy hours, so he is sleeping all he can when he can and I...well I will sleep when I am dead I suppose. I actually got 5 hours last night, it was a blessing, but I desperately miss the laid off deal. He slept in till 9 one day I slept in till 9 the next, that way we each might get enough sleep at least every other night.
Oh well I have ridden this crazy sleep train before, I will adjust and function, I cant say whether the resentment will subside as of yet...we shall see, maybe if I am given the opportunity and actually get to sleep one of these days I will not be resentful about someone sleeping 9 hours during the DAY Saturday and me getting 3 hours of sleep the night before. We will see how this plays out...hopefully in a calm discussion, not the flames of fury that are stoking within me.



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So thats how it is.







I fear that I will be overruled. Watermelon is still in the house, not in the garage as was agreed, and will be indoors at least for the next 2 months or so. She is soo small and young, I fear that if we put her out, even in the garage, she will still get hurt or lost. I have resigned myself to having a cat in the house for the next two months or so, even if she continually climbs our very tall field stone fireplace and knocks things off the mantle. Fine, I can deal with that.




But I am getting little hints and hearing whispers to the kitty from Mr. T, he is a cat lover mind you, that even after the 2 months she might still not be exiting the house.




Things like, napping together. Very cute, indeed, but I think they enjoy each others company a bit too much. Mr. T has also started calling Watermelon, "My Cat", instead of her name.




It is very cute, I like seeing this side of him and we will see what happens. I am all for Watermelon staying indoors, if someone else cleans out and changes the litter box. She can stay indoors forever if she finds a willing caregiver. In two months, this lady will no longer be a pooper scooper. I will do it for the time being because I wanted to bring her in, but I did not sign up for 15 years or so of daily litter box duty.




Watermelon is officially a member of the family. Funny how fast that happened. She now plays kitten games of attack and run away with MAT, she is surprisingly gentle and sweet with RAT and very snuggly with Mr. T. We have a vet appointment on Monday to get her checked out. We want to be sure she isn't micro chipped, though I am sure she is not, then get her micro chipped, vaccinated, find out how old she actually is, and talk about when we need to have her fixed and maybe dewclaws removed. She is quite a little riot.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The beauty of clarity.

I finally have organized our basement. This ended up being the catch all room when we moved in so our upstairs wouldn't be a hazard for the kids. It was a great idea, but the plan was to quickly go through all the boxes, of which there were at least a hundred of various sizes and shapes. Sadly they ended up being out of sight out of mind and I just recently got so annoyed that I hadn't found a favorite toy of MAT's and a toy I wanted RAT to play with before he outgrew it, that I knew something had to be done, NOW.

So with the junky weather today, seems like it isn't ever going to stop raining, and the start yesterday, I started going through sewing and crafting boxes and arranging them for my workspace, it seemed like a perfect place to start. It was.

Hours later and many many items lighter, I am finished, well all but one box of Mr.T's things that HE has to go through for me, so it will be there FOREVER. But happy to be lighter none-the less. Mr. T is on his way to the Goodwill with a computer box, another very large box, three paper boxes, and two contractor garbage bags of goodies. Mostly baby clothes, my old clothes I am finally ready to part with, and things from my childhood that we have no where to put and really have just been in a box for the last 15 years or so. I did go through EVERYTHING and I paused before I put each item in the give away pile. Anything I had a question about I kept, but put in the "think on it" box.

We now have a simple corner of storage by the furnace. Everything is well labeled and useful. One side is Holiday decorations, and funnily enough we have as many boxes marked "Skulls" as we do "Christmas tree Ornaments", Halloween is big around here. And the other side is keepsakes, baby toys and gadgets, and clothing storage. They are all tucked away and out of sight. Now we have and empty bedroom and all this space in the basement, what am I going to do to occupy myself. My mind is spinning with all the ways I can use the spaces. Sadly I have no funds to make any improvements, boo.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The unthinkable...

has happened. We have a cat. I am decidedly NOT a cat person. They have a purpose and some people like them a lot, good for them. I don't really like cats, and I for sure thought I would never have a cat in the house. But last night after we put the children to bed Mr. T was on the phone and called me over to the window.



"Hey! Come look at this cat! It just ran across the field and now is climbing the tree."

So over I went expecting a cat, big and full grown, not what I saw. It was a kitten, tiny fluffy and so scared. It was pouring down rain and I was heartbroken. It was climbing the tree off our deck and was sopping wet. I gave him a look, he said "we do NOT want a cat, you don't like cats, REMEMBER..." Then a pause as I looked sadly out at the poor little thing. He rolled his eyes and said, "fine, if you want to feed it and let it live in the barn we can keep it. If you can catch it."

So out the door I dashed in the rain to the tree it had climbed. I looked and looked and sweetly called and...nothing. I looked all over the place, under the cars, in the burn pile, in the barn, under the decks, in the window wells. Nothing. My heart sank, poor little soaking freezing kitten. I felt terrible. I accepted that it, hopefully, had moved on to a dry and warm place or its mommy had found it.

Then this morning, as I was moving things about making a work corner in the basement, I finally decided a 6 month hiatus from the clothing business was enough. So I was moving boxes, and totes all over and MAT was playing with various nick-knacks and when I heard something. I looked to the window and saw the same little tiny kitten pawing at the window.





As if to say "please you look like a nice family can I be a part of it?"





So I went upstairs and ran out the door. I followed the kitty yowls till I found the little yellow and white striped ball of sweetness. I brought him up on the deck as Mr. T looked out a bit disapprovingly. He opened the door and said "same rules, we can feed it, and it can live in the barn." MAT ran out of the house totally enamored with the little ball of fluff. And as he ran out the kitten covertly ran in.

I put a towel in a big box and a water dish and then MAT and I ran to the store for litter, kitten food, and maybe a toy or two. On the way I called my sister, who has had a kitten much more recently than I, for advice, it was very good advice. While we were at the store and talking about the kitten, MAT decided it should be named Watermelon Wild Jumping Cat T. I suppose you have to be 4 to totally understand the name. I think Watermelon is a great name, very creative, so we are agreed.


When we got go home RAT was awake from his nap and also totally enamored with the kitten. He is surprisingly gentle for a 16 month old. And Mr. T, though he pretends to be indifferent, I know is also sort of tickled that we have a cat. He, of the two of us, IS a cat person. Watermelon is awfully small, I cant believe she is very old. Maybe a bit over a month, not quite two, her eyes are still sort of blue and she fits in one hand. She is living in the bathroom, since the ducks have vacated. She has a litter box, kitten food, water, and a warm soft place to sleep. These are much better digs than a big tree and pouring rain. I think the company is much better too.



Eventually the plan is to send her out to the barn with a warm bed, plenty of food, and a litter box too. But we shall see, Mr. T thinks I will keep her indoors, and I suppose that is a possibility, but I don't think it will happen. Who knows, until today I never thought I would have a cat, imagine what tomorrow will prove.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free time?

Mr. T has been out and about for a few days, an all day bachelor party(paintball, food and drinks)a little work here and there, taking care of the forest of grass at the rental house, going to Union meetings, and generally puttering about, so it has just been the kids and I for the last three days and nights. I know I was, in effect, a single mom 5 days a week for 10 months, so it should be old hat for me at this point. But with Mr. T being home for the last 3 months, due to the lay off, I am totally out of practice at being alone with the kids for extended period of time. By 1:30pm yesterday I was TOTALLY frazzled and nearly at my whits end.

How is that possible? I have been a stay at home mom for YEARS, how am I not totally in the grove with this.? Well the rain didn't help and neither did the frustration of the children that Daddy wasn't home, they hadn't seen him, and didn't know when he would be back. So at 2pm We decided a trip to the grocery was in order.

Goodies in tow we returned home and the rest of the day and evening was much more pleasant. We made our first attempt at Kim Chee, I over planted my Bok Choi and didn't spread the plantings out. I ended up with 35 heads all ready at the same time. This cabbage doesn't freeze well and I am sure not going to can it. So something had to be done. I am not a fan of Kraut, or cabbage for that matter, but I couldn't let it go to waste. I also had several very large nearly pithy radishes that I couldn't waste so they went into it too. I do love radishes but I don't think I can keep eating 7 or 8 a day for much longer. The verdict is still out on this mind you, I will keep you posted. I figure if it is edible and I happen to like spicy fermented/pickled cabbage, happy days, but if I don't my fermented cabbage loving friends will just have a special treat to take home with them in July.

The remaining heads, all 5 of them, will and have been made into delicious shrimp stir fry. There were bags of frozen shrimp on sale, 2 lbs for $3, so we bought two bags. Today we had a delicious mix of broccoli, onions, carrots, bok choi and shrimp over rice. I had brown rice so did RAT, but Mr. T and MAT opted for white, which I didn't mind because the veggies were so healthy a little white rice won't hurt.

I looked for a cinnamon raisin bread recipe, and I found a killer one, but it yields 3 loaves and I only have 2 pans so I will have to acquire one to try it. I also found a delicious chocolate chip scone recipe I intend to try in the morning, yum!

With Mr. T home we accomplished many things today, not one of them was letting the little ducks out of the barn. Sadly they still cant tolerate the rain, so they must be indoors when the rain pours all day. I think they will have to stay indoors till next weekend if the weather does what is predicted. They must be terribly bored, as are the children.

We washed laundry, sadly had to use the dryer for a few things, there was no way to dry them in the drizzle and occasional downpour of the day. So we have to add some more uses to the tally. But all the laundry is put away and clean, a death defying feat in our home.

Mr. T, in his handy way, puttered about indoors fixing things as he came across them. We have light in all of our basement now, instead of just the laundry corner, and all of our doors now close without sticking or noise. Yay! I can now use the restroom at night, with a closed door, and not wake he entire house. Hooray for little luxuries. He also ran new wiring from our super efficient central air unit to the fuse box, in preparation for the change of service he will be preforming later this week. Not that we will be using it this year, but it will make me feel better to know we can if need be and that it is done properly. I cannot tell you how happy I will be when we have a new fuse box and wiring, the one we have hums and crackles, make me very nervous, but the electrician in the house says it is fine.

A bit of cleaning, sorting and puttering on my end happened today as well. The boys got a new, to us, dresser for their room so now we can pass on the crumbling old one we had. After three drawer fronts fell off in a week we knew something had to be done. We put the word out and Grandpa T found one for us and Mr. T brought it home last evening when he returned to us. A few pictures were hung and a new shower curtain was also.

This afternoon we sat watched a family movie. We watched Alvin and the Chipmunks, it was a bit annoying at times but fun was had by all. Popcorn, snuggling, and a fun movie on a rainy afternoon just cant be beat. Even when we have time to rest it seems we just cant sit still. There is always something to be done and though it will take forever, I think we are making big dents, little tiny chips at a time. This house is shaping up to be a very comfortable and fantastic home, even with all the quirks and needs.