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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meet Me On Monday link up

1. Have you ever been on a cruise?
A: No. We considered a cruise to Alaska for our honeymoon, but during the discussions The Husband (then To-Be) and I went sailing with friends on Lake Erie. Well, let's just say we both ended up "feeding the fish". That sealed the deal: Airplane to Hawaii.
The youngin's have taken to nagging about doing a cruise sometime. I don't know if I should reconsider. I'm afraid I'll feel like a caged rat on that big ol' boat.

2. What is your favorite way to eat eggs?
A: Omelet, with mushrooms and Asiago cheese. Then diced tomatoes on top. Yum!

3. What is your favorite reading material?
A: I like biographies. Real life is always more interesting than fiction.

4. Name all the pets that you have ever had?
A: Dog (a hound dog), Skidmore (Doberman), Flash (beagle), Daisy (cat), Katie (stray cat that adopted us and had 12 kittens in one year!!!), Blackie (cat), Barnie (cat), Butter (yellow Lab). (We seem to be revolving door for cats that hang in our barn.)

5. Were you ever a girl/boy scout?
A: Boy Scout, no. Girl Scout, yes. Still am. I have a troop of 6 wild, wild girls and 1 nice, quiet one (she's watching me type right now!). They give me an excuse to act like a kid every so often. (Then they remind me I'm sooo old!)

National Blog Posting Month
Found a new link up/blogging challenge. I think I'm going to try it.
The National Blog Posting Month challenge is to post something every single day for 30 days.
We'll see.
Might be total crap...
Though some could debate that's what happens already...
If you want to join the fun go here.


Monday, October 25, 2010

This Week's Questions:

1. Do you sleep with a night light on?
A: No. Sometimes the TV... especially if I'm in a hotel. Drowns out the noise.

2. What do you drink with dinner?
A: Milk or water with nearly all meals. Rarely anything else.

3. Do you play the lottery? If so, how often?
A: Nope. Voluntary tax is what I always say!

4. How often do you go to the grocery store?
A: Way too often anymore. Seems like we're always out of something.

5. Would you rather travel back in time 500 years or travel forward 500 years?
A: I don't know the answer to this one. Am I coming back? If so, I think I'd go back in time. I'd appreciate my pampered hot-running-water-and-electricity life so much more. If I went forward, I'd probably freak out at the state of society and come back to move into a cave.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sssshhhh! Don't tell my husband...

I've been sneaking around lately.
And I'm blaming it on bloggy pal Joni over at Writings on the Wall.

See, I've been hating my kitchen for years (since July 1995, to be specific). It's pretty bland.

Typical construction-grade oak cabinets and an awful, awful (words cannot do it justice!) butcher block laminate counter. Complete with--who couldn't hate this?--the original mid-1980's powder blue ceramic tile back splash. ICK!

I can't totally complain about it, because two years ago, after much shopping and giving up on my dreams of gutting the joint to get cherry wood cabinets, I did get rid of the awful soft-wood plank floors. (I say soft wood, because they were not HARD. They were so dinged-up from dropping cans and the dog's toe nails, I could never get the floor totally clean. They were made from the wood siding from the house that originally stood here. Yeah, nice legacy, but that didn't overcome the ugly!) Check it out:

That counter top is awful--not enough contrast to the cabinets. I just hate it.

So a couple weeks ago, Joni blogged about her big kitchen paint job.
And that's got me thinkin'.

And sneakin' around for inspiration at the home centers and the library and some web sites.

I'm thinkin' I just might have to repaint my cabinets over Christmas break.

Honestly, until I saw how great Joni's came out, I hadn't even thought about painting.

I've been wanting to rip out that hideous counter top and the back splash, but The Husband is opposed to any home improvement projects that require more than a couple hours of work. Home improvement just seems to freak him out. I'm not sure if it's the work or the expense that gets him.

So, I'm getting my plan together. I have to pick a color (The Husband has no ability to visualize something, so I need all decisions done before he finds out. Otherwise, he may derail my plans with his manly input... and that's generally not good.)

I'm thinking the real way to sell this is: If I can change out the cabinet color, that heinous counter top will be slightly more tolerable. And--here's the clincher to this sale job--painting is way-cheaper than ripping out the counter and the tile. (Because if one goes, they both are going!) Plus, he won't have to lift a finger!

I know this won't totally fix my issues with this kitchen, but it will make me feel like I'm making progress.

Joni's black distressed cabinets look great. But I'm thinking dark green. Tell me what you think?

What I really need to do it wait until The Husband goes out of town and just do it without telling him. He probably wouldn't notice for months. (Picture him sorting the mail at the kitchen counter, saying "Did you replace the light bulbs in here or something?")

I'm not kidding. He recently came home and told me how his office manager (the only female in the entire office!) dyed her hair auburn red (from blonde). She did it three weeks before!!!
Yeah, he's real observant.
I just might get away with this one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Purse: A Train Wreck with a Strap

So today's Working Mommy Wednesday's topic is "What's in Your Purse?"

First, I have to say the purse I carry now is the biggest I've ever had.
(I'm goofing on my lunch hour, so I'll have to post a pic later, if I get a chance.)

I hate big purses because they tend to be catch-alls for all sorts of junk--particularly stuff belonging to my kids!
I reject the "Mommy, can you carry this for me?" now with "You have a purse of your own. Why didn't you bring it? I'm not your pack mule."

I don't carry it around much either. Most days (and nights) it just rides around in my car, waiting to be used at the grocery store. I have a work bag (which is primarily my lunch transport and a place for my wallet and home cell) and I really hate the idea of hauling around TWO pieces of personal luggage.

So, after a trip to the car, here's my inventory:
  • Cootie killer (aka purell)
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • tooth picker/brush
  • Advil, tylenol and Sudafed (since I'm the walking family pharmacy)
  • 2 sad, sad-looking wrinkled kleenexes
  • 4 pens (3black, 1 red) and 1 highlighter
  • Softlips lip balm, vanilla flavor
  • 2 watches with dead batteries
  • return receipts from Target and Meijer
  • pad of sticky notes
  • Capstar pill for the dog (took her to the vet on Saturday; she has fleas--ick!)
  • Eucerin hand lotion sample
  • a Kitkat bar I won at my Girl Scout leader meeting Monday night--Don't tell my kids!
  • nametag from the National FFA Convention luncheon yesterday
  • wallet

My camera and two phones are usually in there, too.

It only looks this good because I purged last weekend--good thing this wasn't last week's question!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes!

Had a funny Mom Moment last week that made me SO appreciate my girls' youth.

When I look at my two daughters, every day they seem closer to young women than the babies I brought home from the hospital 12 and 10 years ago. I have to smile and treasure those moments when they still seem little... and blissfully naive about the world.

That was last week when LittleD, BabyD and I were running around town, doing our weekend stuff. We topped to get something to eat and the girls were acting royally silly and goofing off. While we were laughing, I declared to the lady at the counter, "These aren't my kids--they belong to my husband."

To which BabyD says, "How can we NOT be your kids? You're married to Daddy. If he didn't have a wife, how could he have kids?"

I said (trying really, really hard not to laugh), "Hmmm... I suppose you're right."

"Duh, Mom," she said, shaking her head.

I had to quickly shush LittleD, who was about to set her sister straight. Why ruin the innocence? BabyD's in fifth grade, and just a couple months from That Health Class Topic that will change everything.

I like watching them grow, but it makes me sad to see those days of innocence pass away. Until then, I'll enjoy what I can!

I was also blessed with a blogging award last week:

Thanks to Shannon over at Augmented Gem for the honor.

These are the rules attached to The Versatile Blogger:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass it along to 15 blogs you've recently discovered.
4. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
Here are 7 things about me (wow! this is harder than it looks!):
1. Clutter drives me nuts... especially in my kitchen. (I'm nearing insanity right now!)
2. I am a Girl Scout leader. It's such a great organization. I'm thankful I can have an impact on my troop of girls and--hopefully--teach them leadership skills that will be life-long. I also get to have all sorts of adventures, like skiing, snow tubing, and rock climbing. If you need cookies, I can hook you up!
3. I could easily be a hypocondriac, but I'm too logical to allow that to happen. So, it translates as being a germ-o-phobe.
4. I almost majored in architecture in college. I opted out, because I didn't want to spend my career remodeling kitchens. I had a "go big or go home" attitude back then.
5. My favorite pass time is junkin' at flea markets and rummage sales. I'm not too proud to buy other people's junk, er, treasures. It's all about the bargain.
6. I can't stand a weak handshake. Especially the "dead fish."
7. One of these days I'm going to take fiddle lessons, so I can play Under the Double Eagle like a pro.

Blogs I'm passing this award on to:
Wanna Buy a Duck

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Fun: Getting Lost in a Corn Maze--Twice!!

So, LittleD was supposed to do this post, but she's gotten consumed by her Computer Class project, and it could be spring if I wait on her to finish this...

Saturday was a beautiful fall day--maybe even a record high temp.
So, I decided to get everybody's hind ends out of bed and do something. This family has been acting like a bunch of slugs lately. Sleeping late, getting off schedule, accomplishing next to nothing on Saturday.

Thanks to Amy over at Two Maids A Milking, I had the perfect thing to do: Go to the corn maze!

Before we got that far, we piddled around town, running errands and shopping for boots, killing time until The Husband could go with us. Only, his project at work wasn't going so well, so he backed out. Too bad for him!

The girls and I arrived at Kelsay Farms late in the afternoon, to a very toasty 85-degree day.
Our first mission: Conquer the corn maze.

We didn't have a map (we overlooked them as we came in), so we were at great risk of getting lost in five acres of corn stalks. But, not to fear, BabyD had a plan:

Drop kernels of corn Hansel-and-Gretel-style to make a trail...

One problem...

There was a LOT of corn already on the ground!

So, we wandered aimlessly for a while, exploring the maze, sometimes running into the same family going the other way. After a while, I came to the conclusion we were going in circles.

After we passed this spider for the third time!

It was lots of fun!

The best part: The girls decided to get along and leave the bickering behind for while!

We made it out of the maze alive, and went on to explore the other fun Kelsay Farm activities:

A tour of the milking parlor:

(I don't think poor Joe gets a day off!)

LittleD declared herself Queen of Straw Bale Mountain.

This was particularly popular in our family. The heap of straw bales featured hidden tunnels and a slide or two that ran through the center.
LittleD buried her sister in the corn pile. Can you find her little face sticking out?

Good times--until some kid stepped on her!

We took the hay ride and also petted some baby calves. Unfortunately, they were in the pen and not available for cuddling (see previous post here).
We played a few rounds of corn hole, ate grilled cheese and bought some squash. Then, as I'm thinking it was time to leave, it was 8:30 PM after all, we ran into our Kelsay Farms Hostess herself, Amy. She asked if we found all the clues in the corn maze scavenger hunt.
Truth was, no we didn't. We failed to pick up the card (which featured a map on the back side, so you could avoid seeing the same spider again and again). Now, my girls felt like they'd missed the whole point. So, at 8:45 PM back into the maze we went.
I have to note here that I suddenly found out I hadn't checked the batteries in the Mag Lite I keep in the car for probably two years. (What kind of Girl Scout am I?) So, in the dark of the night, we did the maze--and located all five, count them!, five scavenger hunt stops--to the light of my Mighty Palm Trio. (Yeah, it's old technology, but that battery will hang on to the end!)

We finally left the farm, tired but laughing, at 5 til 10. After a quick stop at White Castle on the way home to refuel (since The Husband wasn't there to object), we finally got to bed about 11:30. BabyD was so tired, she fell asleep on the floor in her room before I could get her in the shower. Which explains why she woke up the next morning with a kernel of corn in her ear!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm Cooking Again!!!

All you working moms of school-age children know the drill:

  • Get up, shower, get dressed
  • Pack the car (cooler of Powerade, apples, crackers, granola bars, etc.) [This is my vain attempt to insert some amount of nutrition in my girls' lives.]
  • Go to work
  • Slave all day for Da Man
  • Hurry to pick up the kids after school, feeding them whatever is in the cooler
  • Drop them at (insert activity). For us that's been tennis lately and--fortunately!--both girls are on the same team (pause for a moment as I count my blessings...)
  • Breathe a sigh of relief and plop into a lawn chair with a pile of papers from your inbox to watch an hour-and-a-half of practice
  • Drive home, grilling the kids about what homework is left to do, signing notes and permission slips at the stop lights
  • Feed them something more substantial (like PB&J or grilled cheese!) when you get home; that is, unless they proclaim the WILL DIE if I don't get them a taco or hamburger at a drive-up
  • Hurry the kids through the shower, homework and into bed
  • Fall into bed
  • Rinse and repeat...
That's been our life four days a week since school started in August. Needless to say, the only "real" meals we've had have been on the weekends. (Heck, the weather's been so dry this fall, I haven't even had the rain-day reprieve!)
Side note: The real bummer is we rarely have left-overs lately. So, I've been relegated to eating canned soup most days for lunch.

Anyway, we had a day off of practice today, and--BONUS!--I got home early.
So, I decided it was time for a real meal in our house!!!

I got a little exotic (at least for this family) and made Tuscan Baked Chicken and Beans from this month's issue of Cooking Light magazine (recipe online here). Check it out:

Note from the Cook: I substituted chicken thighs, because those were on sale for lots cheaper.

I don't know if that's why it needed an extra 10 minutes in the oven to get it to the safe cooking temperature of 170 degrees (as verified by my trusty meat thermometer).

This recipe was good timing, because The Husband was recently told by his doctor that he needs to getting more potassium in his diet. Beans, spinach and tomatoes are all good sources of good ole' K.

I have to give a Blogger High Five to Amanda over at The Nutritionist Reviews. Since I was running out of food inspiration beyond bananas and potaotoes, I emailed her for some ideas. Based on her response blog, I knew this recipe would be a potassium power house.

So, what you really want to know is: Did the kids eat it?

Well, sort of. One ate the beans and the other just ate the chicken (but she won't eat any veg beyond carrots and green beans). I (not being much of a bean eater) actually liked it. Must have been the bacon. The Husband is working late, so his share is still in the oven.

Now I'm on the look out for other, real meals I can make. I think I might dust off the Crock Pot and fire it up next week!

1. What do you listen to while driving?
Usually National Public Radio. Or (especially if my kids' friends are riding with us) flipping between the XM 80s, 70s and XM Willie's Place stations to do my Car Karaoke. Drives the youngin's nuts.

2. What is your least favorite thing about Fall?
Trees turning colors. I'm really missing it this year, with the dry weather. But I really appreciate the ones that are turning.

3. What does your dream house look like, inside and out?
Amazing. I don't know how to even begin. I always wanted an Italianate-style fixer-upper that I could gut. It wouldn't have a single white wall, anywhere.

4. Would you ever own a minivan?
Do we really need to talk about this???
I'm embarassed to say, yes, I did own one. But I'm reformed now.
I bought it because the Cheapskate in me won out. We stood there on the lot, looking back and forth between the Montana and the Suburban. And The Husband kept asking, "Is it worth the extra $8000?"
Like I said, the Cheapskate in me usually wins. And it did.
But, those days are gone!
Besides, my driving the minivan wasn't nearly as painful as The Husband trading in his Corvette for it!!!!

5. Do you wash new clothes before wearing them?
Usually not, unless it's a thrift store find. Then it always gets a Cootie Bath.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Learning to Fly

The girls were off school for fall break this past week.
Yeah, I know it's early. But it always lands whenever the teacher convention is for Christian school teachers in this area. Sometimes it's earlier than others.

So, we opted to go visit the 'rents (The Husband's parents, that is) for the four-day weekend.

Among our adventures was witnessing a car accident (which prompted a short post on Friday). That has BabyD a little shaken up. We weren't involved, but could've been if The Husband hadn't stopped soon enough. Grandma took the girls shopping and sprung for a new dress for each of them. (Note to self: Time to go get annual pictures taken, now that they have something to wear.) And the girls got an OVERLOAD on the Disney Channel--hours and hours and hours of it. (For those who don't know, among my qualifications for World's Meanest Mom is my ongoing refusal to get cable--or in our case, satellite--because I'm too cheap to pay for it.) My feeling about pay-TV was only reinforced as my kids demonstrated that in the very presence of access to 150 channels they become drooling idiots, wrapped in blankets and glued to a chair. (And I can't stand that Zac and Cody!! But I digress...)

The real highlight of our weekend was another lesson in the girls leaning to fly.
Only in this family, that means FLY FISHING.
I always thought fishing was the most boring past-time, until I married into a family of fly fishermen (and women).

This version of the sport is way-more stimulating than sittin' around watching the bobber float. (I'm yawning just thinking about it...) And--wait there's more!--the REAL bonus is: You don't have to touch any worms!!!! (There is NOTHING GROSSER on this planet than worms!!! I digress, once again...)

Isn't this how time with your grandparents should be?
Grandpa is working with LittleD on her casting.
Grandma is supervising BabyD's technique.

Anyway, except for a stiff breeze that will throw your line off, God blessed us with a GORGEOUS fall day for nabbing some rainbow trout. That is, for everybody but me!
I tried everything...
I tried dry flies...

I tried bright-colored flies...

I even tried the notorious SpongeBob fly...

And those stupid, stupid fish just ignored me! In 20 years, I have never caught a fish!

But, I still enjoy the challenge. And that's exactly what it is. The beauty of fishing for trout is you can see those fish-- literally! Look at them:

And they taunted me. Circling the lure, over and over. And nary a nibble.

This was only the second time the girls have really fly-fished. They did great! Each of them snagged four trout. We did catch-and-release. While I like trout, the 'rents hate to eat it and The Husband is allergic. I, however, true to my history, didn't have to worry about it... because I caught NONE!!!

But it was still a great day!

If I get motivated this week, I may have to blog about the aspects of our visit.

Meet Me On Monday Questions:
1. What is the best dish you can make?
A: Grilled pork chops--so good, they need nothing on them!
2. How often do you change your sheets?
A: Every Saturday.
3. What is the longest car trip you have ever taken?
A: Without stopping for more than a potty break? 3 days in a car to Maine when I was a kid. My dad wouldn't spring for a hotel!
4. What is your favorite fruit?
A: Watermelon! Or whatever is in season!
5. Would you rather have breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast?
A: Dinner for breakfast. Always.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who Doesn't Wear a Seat Belt???

In this day and age, who in the world doesn't wear a seat belt?!?
Heck, my car chimes "buckle up, you idiot" until you strap in.
Today, we were right behind a one-car accident. The woman was cut-off by the guy in front when he changed lanes, then slammed on the breaks. I doubt he noticed the results.

Any way, we pulled over to see if we can help, called 911, and stayed with the woman until EMTs arrived. Pretty obvious she wasn't wearing her seat belt!!! She ended up being thrown into the front passenger seat!

The good news is: In addition to wearing a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, she had a bloody forehead and mouth, but was not seriously hurt.
What was she thinking?
A good reminder for us all!!!