Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Not a lot going on...

which means I'm frustrated!

DH & I can both agree on one thing for sure... we NEED to redo the kitchen!  The kitchen sink faucet was leaking when we bought the house in 2001 and of course it hasn't gotten any better on it's own.  And if you're going to replace the faucet...you might as well replace the sink.  And if you're going to replace the sink with an undermount to make me happy, well you might as well replace the counter tops.  btw: now 12 years later the countertops also need to be replaced because...
1) they're formica and just damaged from 17 years of abuse & use
2) they're white (what genius thought that white formica countertops were ever a good idea?!?!)
3) for some odd reason the dishwasher vents steam not only from it's proper vent but also from the other corner which makes the chip board under the formica chip apart (although DH has quick fixed that by sealing it.)

So we're agreed that the kitchen sink, faucet and counter tops need to be replaced.

the cabinets while still in great shape could use some updating...and since you're doing the countertops, you might as well do that too.

and then the kitchen floor needs to be replaced because the dishwasher leaked under it on one end of the kitchen...then the refrigerator leaked under it on the other end...and then there's also damage by the back door.  Sorry, but who thought that hardwood was a good idea under water leaking areas?

I'm all about practicality.  surfaces in the kitchen should not only look good, but be completely functional.

So to that end I want "bullet proof" surfaces here!

But I don't like tile or granite.  I butted heads with DH forever on this.  I wanted solid surface counter tops.  To me having the completely sealed surface that holds up to most anything seemed like the way to go.  I don't care that realtors are pushing everyone to have granite (we couldn't sell MIL's house because it didn't have granite counter tops...even when we included an allowance so the new owner could redo the kitchen any way they wanted...the house wouldn't sell until WE put in the granite.  And then we got $20K more for it!!!  *eyeroll*)

I do not like granite.  It is cold (I don't know why, but my kitchen is already too cold to get dough to rise...rock isn't going to help)  It isn't as durable as they first told us...drop something on it and you have a real mess.  If you don't get the good stuff, it pitts making for a real bacterial breeding ground!  And I just don't like the look of it.

I also like the option of having the under mount sink that is fused with the solid surface counter top.  To me this seemed like a much better solution for cleaning.  Our current sink with it's lovely lip is a bugger to keep clean...of course the white counter tops that catch every stain don't help at all.

So I wanted... Corian counter tops & sink.  Vinyl laminate flooring.  Reface the cabinets and add some new trim.

Nothing was happening because hubby didn't like my plan.  I still can not convince him that this is MY kitchen.  *eyeroll*

So the other day in an effort to get the darned kitchen finally done...I gave in.  A total concession on my part.  I told him he could have the stupid granite counter tops...if we can find one that looks close to wood.  He argued that if I went with something that looked like wood, it would be too dark in the kitchen. ?!?!?!?

I don't know what granite he thinks we should get, but I'm really mad now.  As I don't want the stupid rock to begin with!  ARGH

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

5 Acres & A Dream is now a book!

My friend (I think I can call her a friend...we've never met in person!) has written a book about her experiences in starting her homestead... working off the grid and becoming self-sufficient.

Here's the info http://goo.gl/5qOFUa

I've been following Leigh for years now and been very jealous of her 5 acres.  So much so that I've been known to look into finding my own spot of land nearby.  I also recommend her blog to everyone.

If you're at all interested in farm life, check this book out.

Note: I'm not being paid to write this.  Look baby goats!  :D

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hey! Long time no see. ;)

Is anyone still out there?  I don't blame you if you've moved on.  I haven't been around much, so why should you.
Seems that every time I have something that I might want to blog about that I remember all the folks who could see what I have to say and decide that it really isn't all that important.

And of course since I'm on Facebook so much, I really haven't spent much time anywhere else.  I do check to see if any of you that I'm following have posted anything new.  And with the exception of a few, I'm not the only one to have moved on...so I don't feel too bad.

In an attempt to update you...

Back in July I put myself on a diet and managed to lose 20lbs.  Which now that it's the holidays, I seem to be trying to gain all back.  LOL  actually I've been trying to counter all the calories by also consuming large amounts of fiber...so far so good.  Hopefully by January I won't have much to resolve.

I've also started a new adventure.  After over 17 years of not working, I took a part time job.  It's less than 20 hours per week, but it's money.  Which reminds me that I need to turn in my time sheet.

This year's Thanksgiving was a very small quiet affair.  Just Dh, Darly, Lilly & me.  Here's what we had...

1/2 a Turkey.  The last time I made a turkey, I decided to take half of it and put it back in the freezer.  So I pulled that out, it was already brined and ready to go.  We're going into day 3 and still have plenty for dinner.  Eaten by: everyone

Mashed Potatoes - I think that I made too many as we still have a lot left-over.  Made with butter & milk.  So partially fatty.  ;)  Eaten by: everyone

Gravy - oh boy did this give me fits this year.  First the turkey didn't want to give me any drippings (probably due to being just half and the way I cooked it.)  So I pulled out some turkey broth.  Then I got the pan too hot, so I had lumps and had to strain those out.  I did manage to get a decent gravy...it just took a lot more work.  Eaten by: DH & me

Corn - Darly made this...just dump frozen corn in dish and microwave it.  Eaten by: everyone

Green Beans - These were from fresh and Darly was NOT pleased to have to wash and snap all the beans, but so worth it.  We just steamed these in the microwave with salt & seasonings...Dh won't eat the casserole, and I don't need the calories.  Eaten by: Dh & me

Squash - Butternut squash.  I learned a tip online for getting these buggers cut...microwave them for 3 minutes.  This helped a lot with cutting through the seedy part, but the stem was still as hard as ever to cut...oh well, at least I got help with half of it.  Speaking of half, since I'm the only squash eater...I put half of the squash right into the freezer for later.  Eaten by: just me

Rutabaga - speaking of hard to cut...whoo!  I took my meat mallet to slam the knife through the rutabagas, which since DH was in the kitchen caused a lot more fuss than it should have.  He didn't appreciate the extra noise.  I pressure cooked them with some brown sugar...oh so yummy!  Eaten by: just me

Yams - Darly fixed these.  We got the canned yams, she added brown sugar and butter...then baked them.  I hear they were wonderful.  I wouldn't know as I don't like them.  Eaten by: Dh & Darly

Mushrooms - This is my stuffing replacement.  The pickies won't eat stuffing, and I don't need the extra calories, so I just steam the mushrooms with seasonings.  Gives me the stuffing feel w/o all the extras.  Eaten by: just me

Cranberry sauce - just the jellied stuff from a can.  Eaten by: Darly & me.

Rolls - from frozen dough.  A bit burned on the bottoms...bad oven.  Eaten by: everyone

Pumpkin Dessert - yummy dessert from DH's family.  It's like an upside down pumpkin pie with more seasonings than your traditional pie.  This year I made the recipe which should go into one 9x13 pan in two 8x8s so that we could take one to Church for Thanksgiving Eve service.  Small turn out so we had more than half left over... we still haven't started the second pan yet and I'm looking for someone to donate it to.  Eaten by: everyone

DH complained that I made too much food.  He doesn't like (for some odd reason) seeing so many dishes.  Yet I argued that half of the dishes were foods I made for just me that he won't touch.  His parents drilled in his head this silly "clean your plate" thing and his mom always insisted that they finish all the left-overs.  Hard to break the habits even though I've had him longer than his parents did.  sigh!

We forgot to take Thanksgiving pictures...so last night I set up the camera and took our picture.  It came out blurry...I had space issues.  Sorry.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Changes and such

Lots of stuff going on...

First it's not even 6:30 and I'm up.  #stupidbladderalarm!

We're dog sitting this week, but he's going home today.  Which means that Lilly will go back to her regular diet that doesn't include breakfast with left-overs in it.  See border dog is free fed all day, but Lilly would eat all his food.  So both dogs are getting breakfast & dinner with something extra to make sure they eat it.  Lilly doesn't need the extra, but it makes sure she doesn't spit out her pills.  Border dog spits out his kibble.

This week is tech/show week for Darly.  We'll be at the Theater pretty much all week.  Changes there mean that DH will have to find his own meals.  He's a big boy so this shouldn't be too much trouble for him.  Darly & I will have to figure out how to eat at the theater today & tomorrow as there is no scheduled meal break.

Darly is also busy getting ready for the next audition.  She really wants to get a part in this next show...but then so do all of her friends.  There are a few parts that she doesn't want, but I'm hoping that if she's lucky enough to get one of them that she accepts the challenge gracefully.

The weather is turning fallish now.  We've already had two snow storms.  Our first frost was nearly a month ago now...it took out my garden for good.  :(  Although the onions and carrots are still doing well.  Our trees actually have color this year...thanks to that flooding rain we got a while back.  For some odd reason our aspens always turn last, must be the watering situation.  But we finally have yellow.

I finally found Pumpkin Spice seasoning this year.  I've been adding it to my coffee.  Yum

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Washington DC Vaction

I'm really torn about how to post this...

On the one hand I would like to really write a scathing letter to both our president and to the GOP dude yelling at them for a totally ruined vacation.
On the other I could post about how we were able to make the best of a terrible situation and get something good out of our trip.

I'm really ticked that GOP waited until the very last minute to finally pass the debt increase without getting ANYTHING in exchange for it.  I'm also really ticked at the president for all the crappy things he did, like not signing the executive order to pay military families of fallen soldiers and for keeping the congress gym and golf courses open while keeping closed the monuments that really don't require any security when open...yet spending a lot of money to keep them closed.
I'm also ticked that while some furloughed employees got time off with pay, my husband was deemed essential so he got to work with no guarantee of pay.

So let's back the train up a bit here.  We bought our non-refundable tickets to DC back in August...long before there was any hint of the government closing.  In fact we had to schedule for the week of Columbus day due to all the meetings that hubby had to spend more government money!  (awarding contracts for use or lose monies).  So we had our flights and hotel already booked and paid for.

And then Oct 1st hits and there isn't any deal.  Hubby should have been sent home, but that didn't happen because he was needed to oversee the projects that had already been paid for.  Later congress agrees that the military should be paid, but after the debt gets raised (note: I'm avoiding using the term debt ceiling here because really there hasn't been any ceiling to this debt for decades!)

So we take off for DC with the hopes that congress will get their poop together and open up at least the monuments...we had some hope seeing as they let the vets into the War memorial. 

Okay, lesson #1... NEVER fly east after 4pm Mountain time.  EVERYTHING WILL BE CLOSED WHEN YOU LAND!!!!  We actually got into DC a bit early, but the food shops on our terminal were all closed.  There was no food to be found.  I called up our hotel to find that there was NO airport shuttle to pick us up as it ended at 10pm when we landed.  :p
So we decided to take the metro as close as we could get to our hotel to save some of the money for the taxi fare.  Once we got to our station we had a lot of "fun" (read with dripping sarcasm) finding our way OUT of the metro.  We first ended up in the mall that is over the metro station.  and of course it was completely closed, yet not locked up?!?!  We wondered around the mall for quite a bit trying to find our way out and also still in search of food.

Once out of the mall/metro we needed to get to our hotel...but we were right in front of a Ritz Carlton.  LOL!  They were very nice about it and called us a cab (tip the bellman!)  Drive to the hotel who drops us off at wrong end of the hotel (tip the cabbie) and walk to the hotel.

We ended up having sandwich crackers, peanuts and Doritos for dinner!  Luckily there was a free breakfast in the morning.

Day 1 of our vacation we take the metro into town and go to the National Geographic Museum (a bit overpriced I thought).  Once we find it, we enjoy the exhibits and then start walking south toward the White House.  Note there are a LOT of folks with mental illnesses living in our nation's capital.  We saw someone who might not have been dressed in Lafayette's Square.  We also witnessed several guards with heavy armor and weaponry guarding the White House.  In fact when taking our picture, hubby had to wait a bit for a guard to pass so he wasn't an unintentional photo bomb.  We also witnessed a motorcade bringing someone "important" to the White House, but judging from the amount of vehicles and the lack of ambulance it was not the president.  However, folks were herded out of the park before the arrival.
We continued walking south toward the National Mall and went to the WWII Memorial.  It was supposed to be closed, but this was the one memorial that the vets crossed the barriers on the first day of the shutdown and those barricades while still there are all pushed open.  We took pictures of just me standing defiant behind them.  bwahaha!
Next we headed over to the Lincoln Memorial.  The "barricades" for the reflecting pool consist of rebar with ropes tied between them.  As we approached the Lincoln we could see folks up in the memorial, but soon security arrived and drove them out.  Bummer!  We were able to get some pretty good pictures of the memorial, but were not able to go up into it.  :(
We now had a very tired of walking Darly on our hands so we headed past the Washington Monument and to the metro station with her whining the entire way.
The mall I mentioned earlier proved to be very handy as it had a food court where we ended up eating our dinner every night.  The only problem with this is that all the school groups that were visiting DC were also eating their dinner here, so we had to share our dinners with a lot of tween/teen kids.  For the most part they were respectful, just loud. 

Day 2 we went to the Spy Museum which was pretty good but very expensive.  Hubby got a discount though. Darly thought that the museum was set up in the wrong order.  She would have rather have seen the historical spy gadgets first.  We all felt that they were letting far too many people into the museum at a time as it was VERY congested with loads of pushy kids and adults.  We had decided earlier that since we couldn't get into the museums that we would take a trolley tour.  This tour drives you by each of the museums and monuments and stops to let you out if you like, and you can just catch the next trolley coming in 30 minutes to continue your tour.  It was very nice and filled with historical and funny stories about everything that we saw.  Did you know that in Georgetown (named for King George, NOT Geo Washington!) that they had to pay their taxes based on how wide their home was on the street...so most of the homes there are very thin yet very deep to keep their square footage.  There is actually the skinniest home that is only 9 feet across on the street.  I forget how deep it is.  I don't know how you fit a bed in your house that way.  The Spite House in Alexandria is actually only 7 feet wide and is the skinniest house in the US.

Day 3 (our last day) we went down to Alexandria to see a really cool Apothecary shop.   
     The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum was a family business founded in 1792 and operated in this location from 1796 until 1933.  It represents one of Alexandria's oldest continuously run businesses that combined retailing, wholesaling, and manufacturing.  The museum boasts a remarkable collection of herbal botanicals, handblown glass, and medical equipment, much still in its original location.  It also has a spectacular collection of archival materials, including journals, letters and diaries, prescription and formula books, ledgers, orders and invoices. The names of famous customers appear in these documents, including Martha Washington, Nelly Custis and Robert E. Lee.
Since 2006 when the museum was donated to the City of Alexandria, the museum continues to evolve as new research is uncovered and the museum expands its understanding and interpretation of the medical and business history captured by this site.

We all really enjoyed this tour.  I learned that the "fictional names" of some of the medicines in the museum were REAL!  Dragon's Blood is from the sap of a tree and that Unicorn is from a flowering plant.  Wow!  We also learned that Mandrake Roots are not just from Harry Potter fame and they do resemble human legs (no screaming heads though!)

We also went to the Gadsby's Tavern Museum  which was very nice, but we felt REALLY rushed through.  The one lady at the Gadsby mentioned a "Spite house" in town, but we never did find that.  Darly was tired and hungry by then.  And from this article it doesn't appear that we missed much.  ;)  Although she told us that the house was built to keep one particular resident from parking his carriage on the land, this article states that it was to keep everyone out.  I just googled the location and I don't see why anyone was trying to get back there...perhaps it really was just the neighbor parking there.

After lunch we jumped back on the Metro to try to make it to Arlington Cemetery on our Trolley tour, but that never panned out due to me needing to make a pit stop at Union Station...we would have made it if hubby hadn't decided AFTER Darly & I went to go himself.  :p  By the time we got to the transfer stop it was too late to catch the trolley back to the cemetery.  bummer

Now the fun of getting back home...  Our flight out of DC was at 6:20 in the morning.  We knew that we did NOT need to be at the airport 2 hours early, but still getting there one hour was tricky.  I had planned on us taking a taxi to the metro (our hotel shuttle didn't start until 6am)...I had NOT planned on the metro not even being open until 5am.  oops!  I figured that our taxi driver was lying to try to get more of a fare from us, but he wasn't.  So we called for another cab because I didn't trust that catching the metro that may or may not show up at 5am would get us to the airport on time.  So we were waiting for our cab and there were other folks waiting for a cab...they snagged our cab!!!  So I called again (the operator at the cab company was annoyed with me!)  But I was annoyed also.  The cabbie who picked up the other folks told us (as I was on the phone with the cab company) that he would send for another cab.  Soon a totally unmarked car showed up, and asked if we needed a cab.  At first I was very skeptical about taking this car, but then we realized that this was the same driver who had been driving the shuttle from our hotel to the metro every day!  :D  We learned that when he wasn't driving the shuttle, he was a cabbie.  He was able to drop us off right at our terminal (the metro, if it had been on time would have dropped us off at the station near the center terminal and we would have needed to take a shuttle back to our terminal).
We made it quickly through check in as at this hour the airport was empty...at least at ticketing.  We almost made it through security smoothly except I was "randomly" selected for a TSA "screening" (aka groping).  So they explained what would happen and offered to do this in private.  I decided that I would rather do this in the open (the more viability, the quicker and safer for me I felt.  I'm also hoping for more public outcry in the totally inappropriate and unnecessary groping of innocent people.  While I totally agree that we need to keep safe on our aircraft, I do not believe that these screenings help at all.)

The rest of our trip was totally uneventful, except that we now have found our new favorite carrier.  Oh and I must say that flying on Frontier is no longer worth it.  They have totally turned into a charge for everything airline!  :p  They charge for your checked luggage, if you book your ticket through anyone but them, they also charge for carry on bags and for drinks & snacks!  note: when booking through a 3rd party company it isn't mentioned that you'll get charged extra.
Jetblue on the other hand did not charge us anything extra for anything.  We also had more leg room and could have as many snacks as we wanted.  :D  YAY Jetblue!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Menu Planning

after living and learning for several years, I've learned that in order to get meals on the table that my family will eat AND to get groceries at the store that actually go into those meals that it is best for me to sit down, look at our week's schedule and plan out a menu.

I've also learned that for us it is helpful for me to make "plan-overs" where instead of cooking a meal each day, I make a double batch on my cook day and then we eat what's left-over on the next day.  Now that our life is back into theater mode I TRY to plan it so that the left-over day is on a day where we are busy so that I don't have to figure out dinner and rely on "PizzaGuy Pizza"* too much.

Recently when trying to figure out what meals to plan out a friend told me how she has a rotating menu of the same 17 meals that she uses.  That idea seemed good to me.  And it was helpful that I already had from many years ago come up with a similar list only I hadn't put it into a rotation.  I had just wrote out all the meals from each protein that we typically eat.  Which got me thinking about this video, but of course my pickies aren't going to eat items from a Chinese take out menu.  lol

So after my friend made the suggestion, I took all of our list and started putting it into a rotation.  I tried to organize it so that we weren't having silly mix ups like barbeque chicken and barbeque pork in the same week because certain family members would get upset.  Here's my list...

Pork Roast
Chicken tortillia soup
Beef Stew
Ham & Cheesy Potatoes
Chicken "stir-fry"
Beef Stroganoff
bbq pork
Creamy Chicken w rice
Sloppy Joes
Steak & Potatoes
Ham & Mac
Chicken Fingers
beef soup
kaluah pig
Salsa Chicken
Beef Kabobs
Pulled Pork Roast
Chicken Alfredo
Barbecue Ribs
Pork Chops
Breaded Chicken
meatball soup
Italian roast
salsa pork
Barbecue Chicken
Pot Roast
Italian Chicken
Ham & Potatoe Soup

Chicken Salad
Chicken w/ rice soup
For now I don't intend on forcing myself to stick ridgidly to the list.  I'll just take 5 or so meals to plan out my week and put them in where they fit best.  I also don't plan to be making hot soups and stews over the summer months...those might get converted to salads or grilling.

I only started this recently (as in this week's grocery shopping).  I only needed to purchase one meat item to make it work as I had already stocked up on the rest of what I needed before.  YAY!  Nice to go to the store and only need milk.  lol

I'm hoping this makes things much easier.  We'll see.

*many years ago Darly got a Barbie doll house that had a sound chip in it.  Two of the phrases on the chip refer to the Barbie family ordering from PizzaGuy Pizza.  So now our family's running joke is to call up dad at work and request PizzaGuy Pizza.  Which means he stops by Little Cesars' Pizza on the way home from work.

Monday, September 16, 2013


While it looks very lovely against my blue walls, I'll be moving this upstairs.  It isn't rare, but it appears to work and it's over 100 years old.  The table is in very good shape although the key is missing.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Look-it what I did! :D

This is my first ever attempt at canning anything and TA DAH!!!  Success!

So I started by taking the 4 gallon sized bags of tomatoes in my freezer and washing them (as I didn't wash them before freezing).  Then I cut them in half and roasted them in the oven for an hour.

After that I ran them through my food mill, that removed the skins and some of the seeds.  If you look closely at my jars, you might notice there are some seeds in my sauce...but I'm not worried about that.

Then I slow cooked the sauce overnight so it could reduce...there is a LOT of water in tomatoes.

This morning I heated my jars and got ready.  I put the sauce in the heated jars, added lemon juice and the lids and put them in my pressure canner (yes you can just water bath tomatoes, but I needed to try out the pressure canner and I've heard that you can get an off taste with water bath.  I wouldn't know as I've never canned anything.)

So then I followed the directions for pressure canning that came with my canner, and also checked out my county extension office since we're at altitude.  That meant don't bother trying the lower pressure...go full force for 15 lbs.

I went ahead and added 5 min to the processing time as it's better to overprocess than under.  When it was done, I shut off the stove and just let it sit all day to cool.  In fact I didn't even check the seals until we got home at 9pm and I was done with the heat at around noon!  I was a bit worried that if one didn't seal then I would end up with lost sauce, so I'm so glad it worked.

As you can see for my 4 bags of tomatoes, I only got 3 quarts...but that isn't quite right.  I actually got another 3/4 of a jar of sauce (and I had some sauce for my lunch while I was making it).  So I have some more tomatoes that I'll add to the other jar and I may water bath process it, just so I can learn it and then see if I can tell any difference.

Day book


Outside my window...It’s still raining.  Something was banging against the house which is why I’m up so early.  Probably a good thing as the clouds have eaten the sun.

I am thinking... Well I woke up thinking about costumes and as I write this I’m still thinking about them.

I am thankful... That we live so high up that flooding won’t be an issue for us but worried about others affected by it.

In the kitchen...  There’s a crockpot of tomato sauce waiting for me to attempt to can it.

I am wearing... pajamas

I am creating... ideas and lists

I am going... to rehearsal later to fit the kids into costumes

I am wondering... when I’ll get the emailed list I was promised last night for more characters in the show

I am reading... I just finished Prairie Rose…might have to look for Prairie Fire

I am hoping... to take pictures of the kids in costumes so the director can approve of them sooner than Oct 19

I am looking forward to... what God has in store with all this rain

I am learning… I’m sure there’s something.  Brain not fully engaged yet.

Around the house...something smells bad

I am pondering... hopefully the smell is an easy fix

A favorite quote for today... it’s too early for quotes

One of my favorite things... this bathrobe.  Oh and coffee

A few plans for the rest of the week:  costumes, more costumes, the observatory (probably a rainy night tour) and then more costumes.

A peek into my day... Once I get done with my morning chores, I’ll start canning that tomato sauce and then head to the basement to work on the costumes.

diet update: down 15 lbs since the beginning of my saga.  I still think 5 more might be good, although they're tougher to move now.  I'm adding carbs back in small amounts, but tacos with rice can't be resisted.  the rice was thai black rice which really does NOT go with tacos, but it tastes good.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Let sleeping dogs lie

recently 2 different people I know posted online requests looking for homes for very hard to place animals. 

 In both cases the animals in question are rescued feral animals.  In both cases the animals are going to need some extensive foster care in order for them to even attempt to be pets.  In both cases the rescuer can not take on keeping the animals themselves.  And while I love animals, I question why.

I do know in both situations that the lives of the animals were at the least going to be considerably shortened since the animals had to fend for themselves (something they were used to doing)...and at the most the animals could loose their lives rather quickly due to humans.  In both cases the animals were being abused and in cultures where animals as pets isn't the same as what we are used to here.

I know that had I been in the same situation I would have been equally heartbroken about how these poor animals were living.  However, I would like to think that I would be more realistic about the chances for these animals.

Yet, the animals were brought here.  Where there are an over abundance of animals for adoption who have way fewer issues.  Animals who are used to humans, are housebroken and who need good homes as well.

I guess the best I can hope for in both cases is that the animals go to good patient foster care.  sigh

Perhaps I feel this way because in the past I did rescue wild rabbits.  They were never completely tame.  Left in the wild these rabbits would have died quickly (silly momma rabbit had her babies in my dog's back yard!)  In my care the rabbits lived a long time for wild rabbits, but alas they considered us stoopid humans nothing more than care takers. 

And that perhaps is what I should take away from this... we are merely stoopid humans.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Tail of two cats named Buddy

yeah, I know that's for the animal tail, not a tale.

The house behind mine is a rental.  Folks usually live there for at least a year, so we kind of get to know them over the fence.  A few months ago we noticed a new cat roaming our neighborhood.  She is a very pretty calico, very smart but pretty timid.  I assumed that she belonged to my next door neighbor as she hangs out there...but there is more to her story.
See Buddy (as she is known now because my neighbor didn't know that calicos are all female) used to live in the rental house behind us.  But when the renters moved out they left her and a bunch of their stuff behind for a month.  Leaving poor Buddy to fend for herself.  When they finally returned to get their things my neighbor asked if she belonged to them.  They "graciously" said that my neighbor could keep her.  My neighbor told them that he wouldn't give her back to someone who would abandon a pet.  She's a happy girl now and waits on the front porch to greet my neighbors when they come home.  She likes to hunt so we don't have any rabbits in our flowers this summer.  That's okay.

The second Buddy I just met today.  He is a very friendly boy.  And like Buddy the girl, he too was left behind.  Buddy is the resident cat at the new groomer that I took Lilly to today.  He doesn't quite get it that he is a cat, so he gets along with the dogs just fine.  Even Lilly who normally chases cats got along well with him (she ignored him!)  Buddy's story is that his former owners asked the groomer to cat sit for them while they were gone.  It was supposed to be just a month.  Buddy has been at the groomer's for 4 years now...and it is his home.

For every Buddy who has found a new forever home out there, there are too many others who aren't so lucky.  Pets give unconditional love to anyone who treats them well.  Don't abandon your Buddy!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

thoughts and ponderings on losing weight

After quite a long time of being a sloth and mindlessly eating and being up to the most weight I had ever weighed in my lifetime (including being pregnant)... I decided to make a change in my lifestyle.

When hubby and Darly were away for nearly 2 weeks each, I did some "radical" changes to my diet.

I cut out carbs as much as I could.  I had noticed that I am very addicted to carbs.  I could sit and eat half a box of crackers without giving it a second thought.  That was bad!

So I did things like no bread, no pasta, no rice, no potatoes.  :'(  Instead of pasta, I would have zucchini.  Instead of rice or potatoes, I would have cauliflower.  and instead of bread...well I just wouldn't have any bread.  I haven't really figured out how to do a sub for bread yet.

I also added a supplement to my diet.  I really have no idea if the supplement is working or not.  Online articles claim it doesn't work at all.  What I noticed is that when I take it, the scale moves.  When I don't, the scale doesn't move.  So for now, I'll take it.  It doesn't cost too much, isn't harmful and doesn't taste bad.  Raspberry Ketones in case you're wondering.

For lunch I have a really big salad.  It is full of veggies and instead of bottled dressing, I pour the vinegar from my banana peppers on it.  Sometimes I have some cottage cheese with it too.  It fills me up nicely and I don't really get any cravings for anything else.

For dinner I have what the rest of the family is having...only instead of their starch, I have more veggies.

Sorry start of rant here!

I don't know why exactly, but this seems to bother hubby... A LOT!  This man has some really weird and conflicting views on weight.  For him, he can eat pretty much whatever he wants and not gain an ounce and he thinks that if everyone would just eat normal portions they would have the same results.  He doesn't understand that hormones make weight fluxuate.  (he also doesn't seem to get that women are built differently and have different requirements for other things either!...but that's another rant!)  I know that some of hubby's issues stem from his parents who didn't get it either.  At one point he'll say that you should eat small portions but on the other hand he'll say you should clean your plate and it isn't right to throw out food!  I can't tell you how frustrating it can be.

We had a servant auction at our Church and one of the items for bid was lessons on how to make cinnamon rolls.  I already know how to make cinnamon rolls, but I don't because trying to get bread to rise in my kitchen is a royal pain and I'm not a fan of baking anyway.  Hubby LOVES cinnamon rolls!  So he bid and won the lessons.  He took the class and came home with not just the two 9X13 inch pans of rolls, but also some left-over chocolate cake that the gal wanted to get rid of.  Hubby expects Darly & me to help him eat all these rolls and is bothered that these rolls are not part of my diet.  grumble!

Okay rant over if you wanted to skip it!

So after a month, I've lost 10 pounds.  I'm feeling great and except for a few times when I would CRAVE potatoes, I'm doing really well.  I did "cheat" back when we had chili and tortilla soup, but I only had a tiny bit of carbs with them (corn bread and tortilla chips) and held steady on those days.

I'm really sure how much more weight I would like to lose.  At this weight, I am where I was back when I was working out regularly and wanting to lose 11 pounds.  But I'm not so sure I still want to lose 11 pounds now.  There's a lot that factors into that though.  One being that finding clothes that fit me at the smaller weight is really hard.  I can just alter my clothes though, but it seems a pain to pay for something that I know I'll have to fix.  Another is some areas tend to be really floppy without the extra weight.  So for now, I'm just going to try for another 5 and see how that looks on me.  If that helps the body areas that I don't like still, I'll stop there.  Course it will be interesting to figure out what it takes to maintain that weight also.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mid-Summer's garden report.

I've been waiting to post my garden report in a fit of superstition.  It seems that every time I post a garden report we get hit with hail and all my lovely almost veggies get beat up and I have to go and buy my produce for the year.  :'(

Well this year my garden has been extremely slow going thanks to the very late start we got from the late freezes and then all the rain we were getting.  Perhaps I'm just not allowed to have a garden?  I don't know.

Here's the old location of my garden. 
old garden with volunteer plants.
I picked this location when we first bought the house as it was a nice sunny place that got everything my plants need.  As you can see, some plants still do well here.  But as you can also see, it doesn't get the sun it used to.  Thanks to these...

Apple tree, came with house.

Pine tree was 4 ft 10 years ago!
But even with all the shade, some of my plants continue to thrive in the old location.

Looks like I get spinach for lunch today! :D
These are all volunteer plants (seeds from previous years).  Sorry about the weeds, I've been neglecting it for a while.

Of course over the years the trees grew and started shading the garden space. So I had to move the garden. I still haven't done anything that is permanent yet as I'm trying to figure out where the plants like to live the best. So I picked this location due to it being good for plants and I wanted to prevent Lilly from jumping off the retaining wall and hurting her leg anymore.

peppers with tomatoes in the back.

Zucchini appears to be all male flowers.

Hey!  I finally have two green beans!
the green bean planter, zucchini in the back there.
Lettuce is coming in.  Herbs in the green planter.

cherry tomatoes.

We also suffered quite a setback with my tomatoes.  I bought these planter boxes not really realizing that they were a grow system.  I just wanted the boxes because they were portable and they have this water reservoir in the bottom.  I didn't realize that they came with fertilizer also.  Which is great, the plants exploded!

Unfortunately due to the fertilizer ratios, while I got huge plants loaded with fruit...I also ended up with this...

This is blossom end rot.  :'(  It causes the fruit to ripen early, but be totally unusable and rotten inside.  So I've had to go pick as much as I can find and then go back to the garden center and get some Lime to add to the plants to give them enough calcium to grow. 
The good news is that some of the later tomatoes show no signs of rot and hopefully we'll get some more flowers before our season is over. 
I'm also hoping that I can (with help) move the pots to my back porch when the temperatures start dropping and extend my growing season.  I might even fashion some "green houses" over the pots if I can keep them healthy enough to continue to produce.

Fingers crossed!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A great way to drive hubby nuts!

So I've been drooling over this set of furniture from Oakwood Interiors forever.  I probably even mentioned it here before.  So I had pretty much given up on ever getting this bedroom set because the company went out of business.

However, when I was at a friend's house she mentioned that I look on Craigslist.  So since then I've been doing that...and guess what?  I found the set.

But of course that set sold.  bummer

Then I found the set again...and it sold.  bummer!

Now I've found the set a 3rd time.  Only one small problem...they have the sleigh bed instead of the panel bed that I wanted.

But all is not lost...yet.

I figure I can get this set, put the sleigh bed in our guest room and then order the panel bed that bought out all of Oakwood Interior's inventory.

Oh and since this set doesn't have the armoire, I thought we should get a flat screen tv and put a two way mirror over the tv.  Then it looks like a mirror most of the time but when hubby wants to watch the ball game, it's a tv!


UPDATE:  The listing for the furniture is no longer there.  I hope it means they pulled to repost this weekend, but I fear that someone else snagged that great deal.  sigh!  

UPDATE #2 - Hubby strikes back!:  He says "Why didn't you go get it?"  grumble, grumble, grumble...it's a very good thing he isn't in town right now.  But I just thought... I could turn this into a green light to get the next set that comes along.  w00t!

Monday, July 08, 2013

all of it with some TMI thrown in for fun

So Darly is off to Girl Scout camp this week.  She was a bit nervous to go... in fact she was saying that she did not want to go right up to when we left for camp.  I think she was a bit worried about me being here without her and she likes to fret about the unknown as well.  I teased her that she was sounding like someone else we know (no, not me!) that gets really annoying when she doesn't know what is going to go on.  (NO SERIOUSLY!  I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT ME!!!)

I just threw that in to be funny.  Yes I do tend to get a bit annoying when I don't know what's coming up, but this other person is like me on crack or something.

We drove through some rain to get to camp (and I had to drive back through the rain to get home again).  Let me tell you that there isn't anything more fun than flying down a mountain road that curves back and forth with the road covered in water and cars all on the one side and a drop off on the other.  Fun times!  And the really sad part is that even though you try to take it slowly, the other cars get annoyed and think you're being a sissy.  Well to that I have to say that I wasn't the one pulled over by the cops!  I learned that they have gotten MUCH better at disguising unmarked cars now.  I was totally shocked when that black suv suddenly turned into a "christmas tree" with lights flashing and all.

So since I won't be catering to miss picky eater this week, I've decided to try out some new ideas on the culinary front.  Last night was my first foray into this adventure.  I tried out making "pasta" out of zucchini.  I pulled out my mandolin slicer and the julienne attachment and sliced the zucchini lengthwise to get long strips.  That was fun as after about half-way the zucchini didn't want cut evenly anymore.  I had to keep adjusting the finger guard to keep the pressure even on the veggie.  Otherwise I had "noodles" that were thick on one end and super thin on the other.  I cooked the zucchini in the microwave with my favorite seasonings and then grilled some shrimp with lemon juice & garlic salt.  It turned out really yummy although it took me a while to get over the fact that there were only two things on my plate.  So used to having that starch there also.  I think that tonight though (I usually do plan overs) I'll chop up the shrimp because it was difficult to have both zucchini and shrimp on the fork with whole shrimps.

Or maybe I'll make one of the other dishes.  I will also be trying out making cauliflower "rice."  In fact that's probably a good idea to make that this evening.  I was going to make chicken & "rice" for this meal.  I already have some chicken stock in the frig that I need to use up.  So that will be good.  I can throw some mushrooms into that also.  yum

In case you haven't noticed, I'm also trying to drop some pounds.  I know that part of my weight gain is my being a sloth.  But I also think that it could be my age and fluctuations in my hormones.  I can't be sure but I believe that I've finally experienced some hot flashes... I can't be sure because they haven't really bothered me like other women have reported.  I suppose that I could go see my doctor and have my hormones checked, but I REALLY want to do this w/o pharmaceutical hormones...and I have yet to find a doctor who agrees with me.  Who can blame them really when they get kick backs from the drug companies...right?  I'm betting that finding a doctor who not only would agree with me on not taking anything AND actually knows how this process is supposed to go naturally would be a small miracle.  So for now I'm holding out.  sorry, I am so disenchanted with doctors that I have to be pretty much dying before I go in.   I get enough out of them when Darly has to go in for her physical to go to camp.  I think I posted about how our doc who is supposed to be more holistic tried to push us into getting a vaccine that I am totally against.

Another thing on my agenda for while Darly is at camp is spending more time at the gym and also cleaning out my frig & freezer.  I guess that means I should really get off this computer though.  LOL!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm a Girl Scout Leader again

So when Darly & I went up to Tomahawk Ranch June 1st we met up with some very friendly scouts who live pretty close to us and have a very small troop of girls (just 3 scouts) a bit older than Darly.  Darly loves scouting and was missing it since we disbanded the troop I used to lead.

I asked "Tink" the troop leader about Darly joining them and after several chats we decided to go ahead.

Well when Tink called up the GS office she learned that her co-leader wanted to take over their old troop (kick Tink and her daughter out) but still keep the troop going. 

To have a troop you need at least 3 registered scouts and 2 registered leaders. So to start a new troop for Tink's daughter "Boo Bear" we needed another leader and hey guess who is a former leader? ah Renee! no one asked me!  They needed a leader, and just signed me up... I found out from GS, not from Tink.

I got the first email, letting me know that our new troop had been set up with the Leaders being Tink & myself.  Second email said "welcome back!"  

Actually Tink and I have been in communication a lot about this, but it is all after I get an email from GS. They aren't sending Tink the emails which is ODD because Tink paid my membership. :-/   Tink still doesn't even know how much they are charging her for the memberships...but I'll pay her back as soon as we find out how much...in fact I may just pay her the old rate and then the difference when we find out for sure if they charged the old or new rate.

It is sad funny what a mess GS is in due to lack of funds. They just laid off another 17 people from the office and no one there knows what is going on.

Darly will be heading to GS camp in about a week.  Boo Bear is working at the camp this summer.  Hopefully if things work out Boo Bear will be up there as well (it is kinda iffy because Boo can only work the first week of this two week camp.  Normally they want the counselors to work the entire camp, but we're hoping they make an exception.)  

In other news... We found out yesterday what theater classes we have to choose from and we found out two weeks ago what shows will be put on in the fall.  We're still waiting to hear who will direct the shows before we choose our show.  I might not be doing costumes...we'll see.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How did they know?

That this is exactly what I need...

AMC> is On-The-Go

Whether you’re sitting on the couch, pumping iron at the gym, or daydreaming at work, you can plan your next trip to AMC.
Check out the new features!
  • Plan potty breaks with RunPee. Click the ‘RunPee’ button on any movie page and find the best times to go, so you don’t miss any crucial plot twists or action sequences. We’ll let you know what you missed, and if there’s anything after the credits.
When we went to go see Les Mis I was happy to find that our theater has a bathroom under the risers of each movie theater.  So while I couldn't see the movie while I was in there, I could still hear everything that was going on and I didn't have to trek half way across the theater to get there so I didn't miss out on much.

This new app sounds wonderful though...

Too bad I don't have a smart phone.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I was about to tell you that I've been up to a whole lot of nuthin but apparently that hasn't been the case.

after Darly's show was over we had to hurry up and get her physical so that she can go to Girl Scout camp this summer.  The doc says she's totally weird, but that shouldn't keep her out of camp.  Sometimes our doc is cool, but I was a bit floored when she recommended that I get the HPV vaccine for Darly because it prevents cancer.  She knows I don't vaccinate and I told her that the HPV vaccine was one of the main reasons I chose not to.  She asked why that was and I told her how the manufacturer fought to have the HPV vaccine mandatory for all girls entering the 6th grade!!!!!!!!!!!  She had forgotten about that.  The reason I was shocked that she was recommending it is that she told my husband to not get the pneumonia vaccine (even though his other doc recommended it) because like the flu vaccine, it is made from last year's strand so it's worthless.  @@

Then I had fun scanning and uploading all the documents onto the GS Camp registration website...only to get NO confirmation that they had all the info.  So I emailed them and yes we're all set, she was supposed to send me a email by last Friday...didn't get it though.  hummm

Next we had to get ready for Darly's very late birthday party.  That was the one with the murder mystery.  Everything went off very well.  Hubby & I were the detectives and interrogated all the suspects.  Then the kids voted on who they thought might have "dun it."  It turned out that we had a tie vote...which meant they did it together.  So I had to figure out HOW.  LOL!
One of the guys had come here from London.  He was a detective there but was unable to bring his gun with him...he said the gun was at home.  The other guy was a mercenary (his character was based on a video game).  So we surmised that Mr London tried to come here to murder our victim, but his gun was confiscated by TSA agents, so he hired Mr Mercenary to finish the job.

The very next day we had another birthday party for a friend of ours to go to.  Her husband had won a Irish step dancing show and gave that to her for a present with the party.

The following weekend Darly, her youth group & I went to Lutheran Valley Retreat to help them with chores to prepare for their summer camping season.  Darly & I helped strip and re-wax a floor (note we NEVER want to see another wax floor in our lives!)  We also helped make dinner and cleaned more floors and bathrooms.  so much fun, so much muscle pain!

We get to do this again here soon for the Girl Scout camp, but I'm sure they won't have us stripping another floor...normally we get tent set up duty.  That should be a walk in the park compared to the mopping bonanza.  lol

Praying for Oklahoma!  Heard from OK Chick, she and her family are good.  Just got a call this am from hubby's employer making sure that we're all okay...including family.  I have a feeling that they'll be going down to help out.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Facebook is censoring

Yesterday my friend posted the following article on her status http://keithhennessey.com/2013/04/24/smarter/

The timeline that she copied it from and hers both had the article deleted.  Apparently Facebook found the article not in keeping with their TOS.  We're still trying to figure out why as there isn't anything we can see that is against the TOS.

So if you're on FB share this like crazy!  Let's drive them nuts!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Costume Closures pros & cons

Okay, I need to figure out how I want to hold these costumes closed for our current play.

Well I can easily rule out buttons as 1) they don't go with the look we want and 2) are a pain to do.

options are:

pros: makes changing go quickly
cons: difficult to put in the costume, hooks tend to grab onto and mess up fabric, noisy, and gives out or comes out over time.

pros: easy to install, lasts a long time
cons: frustrating to young actors and can be expensive.  Also tend to be tricky (grab fabric, etc)

Hook & Eye:
pros: easy to install, lasts a long time
cons: frustrating to young actors and easily ripped out (especially by young actors in a hurry)

pros: lasts a long time, easy for young actors to fasten
cons: time consuming to install

Honestly, I would like to just safety pin these!  But I have to choose one of the options above.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pieces of Me - Review

My friend Eisley Jacobs had just released her latest book "Pieces of Me".  
This Young Adult SciFi Thriller is very intriguing.  The story is full of adventure, twists and turns that keep you interested ... so much that you might just read the entire book in one day like I did!

Here's a bit of the teaser on the book...
Imagine having amnesia. . . imagine having recurring amnesia. . .  you have no recollection at all of your name, your family, the day before. . . imagine pieces of your life written on sticky notes in various locations ~ sticky notes to guide you through your day. . . because tomorrow you'll forget.

Pieces of Me, Chapter One -- http://eisleyjacobs.com/novels/pieces-of-me-chapter-one/ #YA #Thriller #ScienceFiction #Fantasy "Fast paced thriller with tons of heart!"

My disclaimer:  I did not receive anything in exchange for this review.  I bought the book, read it and gave you my honest review of it.  However, I am trying to win a contest to get an autographed copy of the book because Darly refuses to read my epub version. ;o)  I'm also trying to spread the word so my friend's book gets into more hands.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dogs don't like to go to the store!

Today I saw again a car with an extra "alarm" of two poor hot dogs waiting while their owner went into the grocery store. 

I would like to take this opportunity to remind folks that your car gets baking like an oven out there in the parking lot...all that heat can cook your poor puppy's brain. 

Your dog is not happy to go shopping with you, they are stressed because they've been left alone in the car and all these strange people keep trying to come and steal your stuff.

Have you ever had to wait in the car while some other person said "I'll be right back"?  No matter how fast they do come back it seems like FOREVER!  This is what it is like for your dog and why they are so happy when you finally do come back.

While the car is in motion your poor dog is trying so hard to not fall over.  An unrestrained animal in the car can become a projectile if you need to stop suddenly or are in a crash.  I saw today a poor husky get his head stuck in the cracked window...if the driver had stopped quickly the dog could have been strangled, had his neck broke or worse.

Sure your dog acts like they love to go for rides in the car, they want to be with you.  Even my Lilly runs for the car and jumps in, but as soon as we get going (with her secured in her crate) she starts whining because she does not like riding in the car.

Unless your dog suffers from separation anxiety they are much happier at home, doing their job of protecting your house from vicious mail carriers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Birthday Plans

Darly's birthday is next month and she wanted to come up with something "epic" for her party.  Surprisingly she wasn't at all interested in doing any of the go somewhere else type parties.  Being highly sensitive to noise I can see how having her friends at home would be more appealing.

So after googling many versions of Fabulous Birthday Party Ideas we came across ...

Murder Mystery Party!  She liked that right off the bat.

But she also wanted her friends to be able to dress up as any character they wanted to...not just the characters in the mystery.  So we have...

Comic-Con Murder Mystery Party!  and now her friends can be anything...  but how to tie this in to the storyline?

Well we had to write our own story.  Hummm that seems hard.  So we did some more research trying to find a murder mystery kit that would fit in with our theme... um not so much.

And then we found where someone had their guests come up with their own character for the mystery.  Ah HA!

So now the guests will come up with their own character, and name (so for the party they'll be 3 people... who they really are, their costume character, AND their mystery character)  bwahaha!  They will each write a brief bio of themselves with how they know the victim and then an alibi. 

At the party each guest will read or act out their part and then we'll vote on who we think "dun-it"  The person with the most votes is our killer! 

DH asks: "What if there's a tie?"  - they did it together!
"What if it's a 3 way tie?" - they hired a hitman!
"What if it's a 15 way tie?" - we'll have to provide more evidence and vote again.

The invites went out today and the guests are excited...most are involved in theater, so this should be really fun with all the drama!

Due to scheduling the party isn't until May... but I'll try to have pictures.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Okay, I really wanted to stop being so negative on my blog, but I guess that just isn't going to happen.

Unfortunately I am exposed to a lot of people who are flakers.  (yeah, my spell check doesn't like that word)

A flaker is someone who says that they will do something and then later either totally forgets about doing the thing they said they were going to do or just before they were supposed to do it, says they now can't (and the reason isn't very good).

I wonder if this is just a homeschooling phenomena or if this happens with other folks too?

It seems that we either get a lot of folks who will sign up for our homeschooling classes and either forget that they've signed up or they schedule to do something else and are no longer available to come.  It gets really frustrating because as homeschoolers we struggle to be seen in the community as legitimate educators for our kids and when we get someone to give of their time it is easier to get them to do that if we have a sizable group, but if we say we are bringing a group of 20 kids + their parents and then the day comes and only 10 kids and parents actually show up it looks bad.  Also frequently you need to have a large group to get the discounted price.

I know that many of my homeschooling friends feel my pain.  I think that I get irritated by this so much because to me flaking is like lying.  Or maybe it seems as if something better came along.

I understand having to cancel if your kid gets sick...trust me, if your kid is sick I want you to stay home because there is nothing I hate worse that someone who shares cold germs.
I understand other emergencies.

What I don't understand is setting up an appointment when you've already said you would do my class.

Google reader

I visit most of my friends' blogs via google reader.  But this week I was notified that reader is going away.  :'(

apparently I was just barely accessing all the power of google reader.  I learned that I could have been using it to do much more than just blogging.  but alas, seeing as they're doing away with it...no point in figuring that out now.

However, never fear, I figured out how to continue to access everyone's blog updates.  blogger let me subscribe to all of my reader feeds.

now to see how long blogger stays around.  I guess if they do away with blogger then I'll have no blog.  That will be a bummer.