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


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


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 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.