Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat?

How About A Trick?

For the past week my husband and I have been planning for today to be a family fun day. We both have the day off from work and the kids didn't have school, so I thought we would use up some passes we had for the local indoor water park. But we weren't about to tell the children that. They knew that Daddy wasn't going to work but that usually means a noisy project with a possibility that the power may be turned off for a short time. So this morning when Mae showed up in our room she began asking "So what's the plan?" She was shocked and a little sorry she asked when I told her that she and Binny were both going to be getting flu shots today. I know, I'm a mean mom but I couldn't resist.

By the time we got in the car they were both pleading with us, saying they would promise to be better hand-washers and not get sick this winter. My response- "Fat chance, flu shots for everyone!" When we got to the water park we both shouted Happy Halloween and all had a good laugh. Did they really think that Daddy would take the day off to help Mommy hold down two screaming kids to get flu shots? The joke's on me next month when we go through this for real.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All Things Halloween

We've had a week full of Halloween fun. Saturday we went to the pumpkin farm and bought 3 huge pumpkins. Binny picked the biggest weighing in at 28 pounds. I told her she had to carry it, and her response was "I can get a gourd instead." We didn't do that either, so I hauled all 3 monster Pumpkins to the car and made my husband unload them when we got home. He's got to be good for something after refusing to go Pumpkin shopping to stay home and put shelves in his new work van. Not that I'm complaining or anything. Oh Yeah, now that he has a new project, I haven't seen much of him. Could be worse I could still be listening to him complain about his old piece of shit work van. At least we've moved on a little.

So back to Halloween. Sunday we did Trick-or-Treat preview in Grandma's neighborhood. It was a little cold and damn windy and Binny fell once but thank goodness to her costume, she was not injured. It was probably her costume's fault to begin with, but what do you expect when you wear a lampshade around your waist. The girls got way too much candy. We only went to 3 houses and their little bags were full. Remember when getting the big candy bars was like hitting the Halloween jackpot? And the rest of the year when you drive past that person's house you comment on how rich they must be to afford to give everyone the big bars. Well, as a parent I hate the houses with the big bars. Yes I do. Or even the people who say take as many as you want, which is very dangerous with small children. "But mom he said I could have as many as I want" as my daughter digs through the bowl to get every last Kit Kat.

Friday is the big Trick-or-Treat here which should be a lot of fun. Hopefully no big bars, and I'm pretty sure of that, the people around here are pretty tight. I remember last year, the kids got a whole pile of those awful orange and black peanut butter taffy things. Talk about cheap candy. At least they won't eat those.
Today are the Halloween parties at school. More candy I'm sure. I am going this morning to help with Mae's class. How fun for me? I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the great costumes, and the not so great of course. When I was young I always thought those plasitic dress-cape costumes with the cheesy plastic mask were the ultimate Hallween sin. How hard is it to find a good costume? And really is Hannah Montana Halloween worthy, when you dress like her everyday? Come on.

Oh, and It snowed here on Monday.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why Does My House Smell Like A Fart?

Oh, that's why.

We pillaged the garden one last time before the frost destroys even the hardiest vegetables. Now the big question is, What the hell am I going to do with 24 stalks of Brussel Sprouts? I pawned a few off on some unsuspecting family members yesterday, but that still leaves me with a pile in a laundry basket stinking up the back porch. I may pickle some, but we don't make mixed drinks and I already canned way too much relish type stuff over the summer, and really are pickled brussel sprouts any good? I don't know. Maybe I'll just do the standard Blanch and freeze and we'll eat them all winter. My kids actually like them. Well, that's not entirely true, they'll eat pretty much anything if it's covered in cheese.

The real question should be, Why do I have an over abundance of the stinky, stalky vegetable? Well, I bought 2- 6 packs of starter plants from the garden center this spring, because last year just 6 wasn't quite enough. Each plant was actually 2 plants stuck together and I pulled them apart so that I would only have 12 plants not 24. That would have been a somewhat reasonable amount for us, but that was not to be. My Mom happened to be here the weekend of planting and couldn't let me throw perfectly good plants on to the compost pile, so she gathered the discards and planted them alongside the 12 I planted. So now I have all these extra sprouts and not a clue what to do with them.

How hated would I be if I gave them out for trick-or-treat? Guaranteed egging?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Couldn't Resist

I found this ad in the local newspaper that we call the Squeak.
Almost every week I find something amusing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover

Since everyone has been asking, I thought I would post some photos of our house. With the help of my husband's parents, we spent the entire summer scraping, caulking, priming, and eventually painting our old farmhouse. It definitely needed a siding treatment equivalent to a chemical peel. The paint was chipped, falling off and screaming "Paint Meeeee!" Can you believe this house has only been painted (from what we can gather) 3 times?

So instead of going with the same old white and black color scheme this old house has known for well over 100 years we decided to change it up a bit.

Hello Yellow and green.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We moved to this old farmhouse 2 years ago, and in those 2 years we have seen a big change in this farming neighborhood. We do not farm but are surrounded by fields of corn and soy beans. Many of the dairy farmers have retired, some still cash crop, but the majority of the farmhouses have been sold or left empty.

Shortly after we moved in, the house across the road was bought by a couple about our age who were moving out of the city. They are a nice couple who we have come to know quite well in the months since their move to the country and subsequent remodel and discovery of everything that is wrong with their house, barn, etc. Recently, we were over and they showed us their barn that is in desperate need of some structural rehab. The previous owners had raised goats and used the barn for keeping animals and for storing all of the farm essentials- hay, straw, chopped corn in the silos. After many years of inactivity the barn has started to deteriorate and many of the beams have either rotten away or broken from what we can only assume was poor construction from the start. In an effort to save their barn, they have employed the services of the local "barn-fixer" to come and replace the old broken beams and re-engineer the structure so hopefully this won't happen again. The only catch- they must remove the decade old hay and straw that fills the entire top floor of the barn, so the the areas of concern may be accessed. My husband volunteered to help remove and discard the old dusty, musty mess, and by discard I mean give away what anyone will take for their own farms and burn the rest in the field behind the house. It always amazes to me to see exactly how many bales can be stacked into one barn. After countless wagon loads had been pulled away, the discard pile was just waiting for a match. That's where it gets complicated.

We have experienced our own share of rather large fires over the years, so we warned them that a call to the local volunteer fire department might be a good idea, just so they aren't alarmed when someone calls it in (and there's always some pain in the ass do-gooder who does.) So when we heard the sirens, we figured it was just a false alarm. Turns out our neighbor himself called the fire department because the fire had jumped piles and spread too fast for just one man to contain. The fire department responded right away and were able to get it under control with pitchforks and the pump truck. The thing is, we live in a small rural community where the folks around here loves them a good hay fire. The volunteer boys were stacked 4 deep itching to get a hand on their hoses. So really it wasn't that bad, just caused a little welcomed chaos for about an hour, plus I stood on the stump in our front yard and took pictures- Lucky you, Internet.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Man Cave?... More Like Toy Box

Eventhough he won't easily admit it, my husband has two sheds that could be considered a man's paradise. Now don't expect to see a football game on Sunday afternoons or a fridge stocked with his favorite beer (He tracks mud through my house for that) but he has managed to collect quite a few "essentials" and believe it or not actually uses them. In no particular order- we are the owners of a motrcycle that doesn't currently run, a super-speedy commercial lawn mower, a scary pull behind lawn mowing nightmare, an ATV (to pull the scary lawn mowing nightmare of course) too many saws, drills, wrenches, etc., and what shop would be complete without a welder that scares my young children. Now don't get me wrong I love the fact that he's never asked me to mow the lawn or weld anything but at the same time he spends a lot of time building, fixing and maintaining lots of old junk.

Sometimes I think that it would be cheaper, easier and faster to hire someone, but no no we can't do that. "Why would we pay someone when I can do it, and honey you can help me?" Ummm, that's why. Maybe I don't want to re-roof our house 6 months pregnant or have my kitchen torn apart while he builds new cabinets from old wood he harvested from our barn.

All in all I approve of his man cave and most of it's contents, at least the stuff I can see from the door because usually I'm not wearing the most appropriate footwear for that mess.

I blame Parent bloggers Network and Bill Me Later for this all too personal look into my Man's Cave

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Bitch Cut

SO, it was time. I had put it off long enough and decided to go and get my hair cut yesterday. It wasn't that I hadn't had my hair cut in a long time but I was definitely due for a refresh. I treat haircuts and their appointments like I do the dentist or OBGYN. You'd think that getting my haircut would be more enjoyable than a filling or a good old pap smear and breast exam but really it's not. Now the last haircut I had was probably only 2-3 months ago which for me isn't bad at all, it was that my last haircut was awful, I mean really bad. The stylist (if you can call CostCutters employees stylists) cut it with the part down the middle instead of off center like I asked and the front was completely uneven, plus I told her to put in some more layers to puff up my wimpy hair but guess what? All I got was an uneven, lifeless crappy haircut. $17.95 please.

Instead of going back to the offending stylist I decided to go to an actual salon in town. When I got there the woman who was to cut my hair probably would rather have put her feet up instead of cut my hair because she was about 6-7 months pregnant and looked quite uncomfortable and certainly not ready for my I-don't-give-a-shit attitude towards my hair. I have to say she took her job very seriously and seemed to think that I have a serious hair problem. I know I have very fine hair, but to tell me I have very little hair left, just isn't fair. She probably hasn't been told yet that she's going to lose a lot of her hair too after her baby is born (among other shit you wish you would have been told prior to having children.) She quizzed me about the shampoo, conditioner and other junk I put in my hair and Scolded my choices of all of my products- told me to throw them out. Really...that isn't helping? I'm sure she was just looking out for the best interests of my hair, but it came off a bit bitchy. She ended up giving me a great haircut and I didn't dare ask her to put any gel, mousse in my now uncontrollable, windy-day nightmare. When it came time pay she of course did her salon manager proud and convinced me to buy the Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner (that's just right for my hair type) at ten bucks each-Ouch! But then just to twist the knife she says "well this should last you quite a while because you'll only need a tiny amount for your hair.

At least the cut was good. I could have gotten one of those awful mom, backward haircuts. The long in the front and short in the back. What a bad idea. A very popular haircut around here at least with the moms at my girls' school. I can picture these women 15 years from now looking at photos of themselves with the ridiculously bad haircut saying "What was I thinking? Really, Short in the back?"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Learning to read

I was about 3 maybe 4 when I started to have some interest in letters and how to make words. The Montessori preschool my brother and I attended had this giant felt board that I loved to fill with three letter words, you know CAT, PAT, HAT, RAT. It seemed so huge back then to put letters together, sound them out and like magic, words were formed, like I invented spelling.

I was sure that Mae shared the same drive for reading that I had at her age when she began to write her name and asked me to spell words so she could write the letters- some backward, all smashed together, and of course separated by exclamation points (I guess I've been doing it wrong all these years.) So, last week her teacher sent home a list of "star words" that they have been learning in class. These are not the three letter, all sound the same words that I thought she had mastered. Oh no, they had to go and teach the children real everyday words like A, AN, IS, HERE, and THE. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to teach a child to read and spell the word THE. It doesn't sound how it looks so that's out of the question, and really have you ever thought about what THE means. Webster's dictionary says it's a function word. I'm convinced it's function is to confuse my daughter because she is having an awful time with that word. The word HERE she figured out right away. My husband taught here to do it in three parts HE, HER, then HERE. That she understood, confused the hell out of me, but made perfect sense to her. With that in mind we've been trying other ways to pound these words in her head because like it or not these words can't be avoided. So now when these words appear in print we ask her to read them to us and that seems to be helping, but the flash cards still bring a blank look to her face.

Today her class will review (test on) these words and then send a new batch home for us to lose sleep over. Yippee, can't wait til 4-o-clock.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Doin' the Nasty

A few days ago my husband and I asked the all important question to our children. What would you like to dress up as for Halloween? Last year was the first year that they were old enough to be involved in the costume making process, and it was a total success. We only have 2 rules- the costumes must be an original thought (no Disney characters) and we will make them as a family. So last year Mae was a vacuum cleaner and Binny was a purse, more specifically my purse. It was a great family project that lasted an entire weekend and we received great compliments while out trick or treating. Only a few people needed to ask "What are they supposed to be" which truly made my skin crawl because they are children, not a goofy miniature breed of dog.

So this year when we asked Binny, said she would love to be a cupcake- a cupcake (I feel like Joe Biden saying it twice but that's how I had to process it in my brain- over and over again.) How in the world can I turn a four-year old into a cupcake that can walk at least 2 blocks before falling over and skinning both knees? Well, Thank goodness for the Internet. So I went to 3 different craft stores to collect supplies and still didn't have the most important part of the outfit- the cheap, cheesy, never put on my end table pleated lampshade that I will spray paint silver. The only one I could find at any of the craft stores was $40- yikes! SO, yes I had to do the nasty as we call it in our family. I sucked it up and went to Wal-Mart. I have nothing against discount stores like Target and Kmart but Wal-Mart is just plain bad. Only on rare occasion will I shop at Wal-Mart and as soon as I return home I feel the need to take a shower and burn my clothes. I found what I needed, and for future reference Wal-Mart has an entire aisle devoted to tacky table lamps and crappy pleated shades. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Spiced Apple Rings

Last weekend we picked 2 big bags of apples from my in-laws' overflowing apple trees. Monday I made applesauce which was really simple- apples, water, cinnamon sticks, couple grates of nutmeg and just let it go on the stove for half an hour. Yesterday I made spiced apple rings, super easy and a total jumpstart to fall-winter spices.

Recipe for Apple Rings:

1/2 cup red hot candies
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
5-6 apples peeled, cored and sliced in rings

Put everything but the apples in a large skillet. Cook and stir until all of the candy and sugar is disolved, then add apples and cook just until soft. I canned mine, but they last quite a while in the fridge too.

I use this to peel, core and slice my apples. You gotta be nuts to do it by hand!

Fall is Here

So, the days are getting shorter, the air is cool and my garden has started to fade. That can only mean one thing- FALL. I know a lot of people who think that Fall is the top season but not for me. Summer is my season- playing outside with the kids, windows open at night, abundant gardens. I know all good things must end, but this year I feel kind of ripped-off. Mother nature gave us a cheapie summer. I think their was only one 90 degree day and that happened last week (End of September WTF?) So, what am I going to do about? Pick apples, carve pumpkins and enjoy the few lingering nice days before I hole up in my house for the hell that is winter.