Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Costumes

We're running really late to make our Halloween rounds so these few photos will have to do for now.

More later...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Eve

It's almost 9AM and Binny is still asleep upstairs and only a few minutes ago Mae made her way down the steps and asked if it was morning. Looking out the window, you wouldn't know. The fog is so thick that the neighbor's house is hidden. The wind continues to howl and the rain stops and starts. The girls didn't have school yesterday or today because of teacher conventions. We were hoping to spend some time outside but it looks like the weather will be nasty again today. I just hope the fog and rain clears out and warms up a bit for trick-or-treating tomorrow. The costumes are all ready to go and I can't wait for the girls to wear them.

This morning since the girls were sleeping anyway, I read through my blog reader and now I'm even more excited for Halloween. Halloween is all anyone seems to be talking about, except for Helen. I was thinking just yesterday that Helen hadn't posted in a while. Turns out her husband Harold is in the hospital, but she's says he's improving. If you don't read the blog Margaret and Helen then you probably have no idea who I'm talking about but that also means you may be living under a rock and need to catch up on her reading. She's a hip old gal with a firm grasp on current events and a firm word for all of the noisemakers newsmakers. She caught my attention last year in the weeks before the presidential election with her spot on commentary and great sense of humor.

Other than that, I'm planning on a quiet day. Hopefully this extra sleep means that my girls will be in a good mood today. Maybe we'll make these pumpkin streusel muffins.

Come back tomorrow for Halloween photos!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

Halloween 2007
Binny was a purse, more specifically a copy of the purse I was using at the time and Mae was a vacuum cleaner.

For last year's costumes click here and for more Wardrobe Wednesday click here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

RTT: Halloween

Tuesday already? Time to get all random with the UnMom.

First off, as much as our family loves the television show America's Funniest Home Videos, the new weeknight time slot of 9:30 pm is just too late to be busting a gut as Grandmas on roller skates bust themselves up. Seriously, I laugh so hard that after the first half hour I have to get out of bed to pee. No matter how many times I've seen it, a baseball bat to the groin or baby puking up all over an unsuspecting adult cracks me up every time.

Over the weekend we finally gave in to the girls constant begging and carved pumpkins for Halloween. For the first time we tried one of those pumpkin carving kits. Binny and Mae transferred the patterns onto the pumpkins and the Gardener and I did the sawing.
Also over the weekend I started working on Halloween costumes for the girls. They both decided several weeks ago what they were going to dress as but I needed to get myself motivated to actually assemble the costumes. Binny's only took one afternoon to cut, sew, and glue but Mae's was a bit more tricky. I finally started working on it last night but soon became frustrated and handed it all over to the Gardener who then went upstairs and worked his magic on the sewing machine (after I threaded it with the correct color). About 20 minutes later he came down with a start which hopefully I will be able to finish today as Mae's school Halloween party is tomorrow. Yikes! I'm not revealing quite yet what the girls costumes are mostly because my Mom called the other day and started hounding asking me and since I like to mess with her once in a while, I told her she had to wait until Halloween. So I promise I'll post photos on Saturday, but for now it's a secret.

That's it for today, I still have to shower and make a quick run to the grocery store before Binny gets home from school.

Oh, one more thing. Mae aced her very first spelling test! We went over the words again and again and I knew she would do well, but seeing that perfect paper with a Halloween sticker on top made my heart smile. The Gardener and I were both so proud of her. Go Mae!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pajamas, Lunch and Amoxicillin

I know what you're thinking. "What, no Wardrobe Wednesday? She always posts on Wardrobe Wednesday."

Well. I missed it this week. I was even given the perfect opportunity yesterday, being school pajama day and all but time was short yesterday morning, and every other morning for that matter. The normal hurry up and don't miss the bus routine was compounded even further by a thick blanket of fog that concealed the school bus until it was waiting at the end of our driveway.

My kids love pajama day. In fact as a special reward for good behavior last year, Mae's class chose pajama day over popcorn and a movie. That's how serious the kids (here anyhow) are about pajama day. I think the and a movie part of last year's pajama day was to lay down and simulate bed time. Those sneaky teachers, I bet they felt real sly fooling a bunch of 5 year- olds into rest time. Anyhow the girls were excited to be able to wear their slippers and robes at school but Mae did give me the stink eye when I reminded her that she would only be at school half of the day due to her doctor appointment in the afternoon. She really wanted to walk around the Library in her PJs but perked up when I said that she could wear her pajamas out to lunch.

We ate lunch at one of those semi-fast food places that serves only noodles. I'm not sure why the restaurant has a trendy adult feel and no kids menu when it serves the one thing that I would say 90% of kids live on for the first several years. Not that they asked Me for decorating or menu advice. Binny ordered buttered noodles which is basically 3 cents worth of wide egg noodles with a tablespoon of butter on top. Although she ate it, I did feel kind of ripped off having to pay the same price for my meal which was full of veggies as I did for Binny's nutritionally void bowl of blandness. Mae was a bit more adventurous opting for the cheesy macaroni noodles.

After our lunch, we stopped in to see my brother and since the girls were still wearing their pajamas, it was a great opportunity to change clothes before Mae's doctor appointment. I also took some photos with the beautiful backdrop that is fall.

Then it was off to Mae's appointment at Children's. We talked with the nurse practitioner and Immunologist extensively about Mae's test results with the exception of one the more in-depth immune complement tests which still hasn't come back. So far the information we have is that she has an immune complement disorder in the alternative pathway. Basically that's just a fancy way of saying that she doesn't fight off bacterial infections as well as she should. There was talk that if her situation becomes worse that she may end up going on chronic antibiotics but at this point both the doc and the nurse practitioner thought that was too drastic. And I completely agree. While we were there, I also wanted them to look in Mae's ears because when I picked Mae up from school, her teacher said that she was complaining of ear pain earlier in the day. Sure enough Mae's left ear was just starting an ear infection so they prescribed an oral antibiotic. I was just thankful that we could take care of it there. I even had the prescription filled at the hospital's pharmacy so we could get a dose in her right away and not have to make an extra stop on the way home. The immunologist wants to see her again in 6 months to follow up and check her progress. I was also given strict orders to call them if her health changes in any way. They also said that if she should need to be hospitalized, they want her down at Children's. She is free to see her primary doc but if a severe infection develops, they'll want to see her ASAP. I guess this news was about as good as I could hope for with of course the exception of the ear infection but at this point ear infections seem like small potatoes to us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RTT- High On Easy Off

Well it's Tuesday and the best way to get everything out there is to pull out the Un Mom's Random Tuesday Thoughts badge and get to it.

Shall we?

After three years of dealing with an oven door that doesn't completely seal, I decided to call sit on hold for 20 minutes with the extended warranty people and request that a service person come out and fixes it. After I scheduled the appointment I took one look at the oven and was overcome with a feeling of Holy shit, I can't let someone work on this filthy thing. So I rolled up my sleeves, put on a pair of kitchen gloves and huffed Easy Off for an hour and a half. I'm still not sure what bubbled over and was crusted on the bottom, but it was a real bitch to scrub off. This was a long time coming and I knew that a good cleaning was in order because every time I would heat the oven above 350, the smoke detector would alarm. My kids have mastered the art of waving a dish towel at the blaring thing though.

While still high on oven cleaner I decided to keep the cleaning going and vac'd and scrubbed the floors until Binny arrived home from school. I don't know about anyone else but a clean house makes me happy. Maybe if I did it a little more often... Or if the house could stay that way longer.

As Binny bounded off the school bus yesterday she told me of a surprise that was in her backpack. Not hand turkey time yet (a Thanksgiving thing) but it was even better. I took out the surprise, read 2 pages and put it away so that we could all enjoy it as a family after dinner. The children in Binny's Kindergarten class are learning their addresses and phone numbers and as a fun project, the teacher had the children draw a picture of their homes and explain how to get home from school. The teacher then typed out what the kids said and attached the directions to the drawings then bound it all together in a folder to take turns going home with each student. The Gardener and I could not make it through the entire book without laughing so hard that I thought we were going to lose consciousness. The adorableness of it all was too much. So much in fact that I immediately typed out all of the directions and because I'm sure I'm not the only one who will find this completely cute and hysterical, here they are:
"Go around the circle. Turn at the next turn. Go straight. Then there is another turn. Go straight. Turn onto Elm Court. Look for the tan-ish brown house at the end."

"Go straight. Take a sharp bend into the road. Go straight and turn again. Look for 266 Washington Lane."

"Turn, then turn again. Than go into the country. Turn by a blue house, then drive a little to the brown house."

"When there is a turn don’t turn, go straight. Turn at the stop sign and it is next to a stop sign."

"Go close by Jack’s house. Go straight and you’ll find a gray house, that’s mine. Oh yeah, make sure you see a dog.

Drive to Town. Look for a white house but DON’T go to that one, Go to the next white house."

"Go straight that way. It is a white house on a black road."

"You go straight then turn. Go to the gray house and turn again. Turn down another road and in the middle there is a gray house."

"You go into Town where you see the brown house with the pool, trampoline, and dogs Ginger & Drake, that’s my house. If you see Emma’s house mine is right across the street."

"Go straight. Turn, then turn again the other way. Go straight. Skip a little bit of houses. Look for a blue house with a gray car in the garage."

"Look for the Smith’s house, then look for the yellow house and pull in the driveway."

"I live in Town."
I changed all of the names for anonymity. Not mine, the children.

Tomorrow is Mae's follow-up appointment with the immunologist down at Children's hospital. I talked with the nurse practitioner last week about Mae's test results and the idea so far is that Mae has an immune complement disorder, meaning that a very specific part of her immune system is out of whack. She said that there isn't too much to be done about such a diagnosis other than keep an eye out for any infection that should arise. I guess we'll find out more tomorrow when we see the doc.

That's about all the randomness in me today. Have a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Balloon Boy Rant

I feel like I shouldn't even be bringing this up because it is complete nonsense, but I'm going to anyway. Ever since the news broke last week about a boy floating around Colorado in a helium party balloon I had doubts about the authenticity of the story but the news media didn't. All of the networks decided to drop REAL important stories like the war in Afghanistan and National health care reform to chase around a bright shiny object. Cable news loves a good distraction don't they?

Now lets break this all down using common (or not so common as it turns out) sense.
  • Richard and Mayumi Heene blow up and release a helium filled balloon in their backyard and have no idea where their three children are. Hmm? *scratches head*
  • A six year old boy is reported to be inside the overgrown mylar birthday balloon. I have not personally weighed young Falcon myself but I do have 2 children ages 5 and 7 and can guess that a 6 year old would weigh roughly 40-60 pounds. Of course helium is lighter than air, but we've all seen the video of the balloon floating around and from my untrained eye (I am no scientist, but neither is Richard Heene) I am almost certain that there is no way in hell that balloon could carry away a 6 year old. NO WAY!
  • The balloon lands and surprise surprise no Falcon.
  • Dad saves the day when he shows up in front of television cameras holding the boy with an explanation that the boy was hiding in the garage attic. The family then goes on to be interviewed by every news organization and tabloid TV show complete with young Falcon throwing up twice Friday morning on national TV while he should have been at home or better yet in SCHOOL.
All I can say is WHAT THE HELL? It's obvious that the parents, or at least the father, Richard is a fame-whore but why drag those innocent children into a life of chaos? The family appeared on the train wreck of a reality show Wife Swap not once but twice and were thrilled to act out in front of the camera in hopes of landing their own reality show and cashing in big. The whole thing makes my stomach turn. I can't help but wonder what those kids are thinking especially today if charges are filed against their parents. I'm sure those kids believe in their dad and think that he's cool for spending time with them doing these unorthodox science experiments, but what at what cost to them?

I think the parents should be punished for this ridiculous stunt but not at the expense of their children. I have no idea if these people are unfit to be caring for 3 young boys but I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt. I just hope that if in fact they are charged and convicted that the judge would order them to never be on television ever again or make money in any way off of this child exploiting experience.

*End rant*

Saturday, October 17, 2009

House Guest

Our good (do anything for) friends B&T ever so kindly asked us to watch their dog for the weekend. Of course we said "yes" if nothing else to pay them back for watching our two stinky dogs when we left for a week over the summer.

Besides being a breed match to our boxer Rocko, Max and our dogs (Rocko and Oliver- St, Bernard) have been fast friends from the start. Max and Rocko were born only days apart but are not related, although with the questions we get when the "boys" are together, you would think they are twins. Same as if any two Asian-American women approximately the same age and height would be twins, for example. So while some people may think that the two boxer dogs, one very thin with very gray facial hair and a noticeable limp and the other one overweight, balding, high energy with a thyroid disorder and a newly diagnosed heart condition that makes him faint involuntarily, are surely brothers I can attest that they are not in fact from the same bloodline.

Oliver turned 9 over the summer and both Rocko and Max are 8.5. Of the three, Oliver seems to be doing the best considering he doesn't faint and walks on all four legs reliably. Every day at our house seems to be a gift for these old dogs, but with three in the house I have an even higher level of anxiety. Rocko steals Max's bed. Max wanders around whining and twisting his overweight body into as much of a circle as an 80 pound boxer dog with a heart condition can. And Oliver just tries to catch a nap without being forced off of his brand new (XL) doggy bed.

Max sleeps in our bedroom only because he can't be trusted in the kitchen overnight with the other dogs. It's not that we fear the dogs getting into a fight, more so that we'll wake up without even one slice of bread left in the house. Believe it or not, Max would take a loaf of bread any day over a choice cut of meat. This morning as I toasted two pieces of bread for the girls, Max sat at my feet begging for a slice of week old white bread. I gave in and tossed him the butt of the loaf and watched him inhale it like it was a puff off a Marb light. This summer while we all went away for a weekend of world class hog wrestling, Grandma N watched both our girls and all 3 dogs and experienced first hand Max's carb craving. He ate two entire loaves of bread without any trace except for the paper wrapped metal twist ties that secure the end of the bread bags. Not sure where the bread bags themselves went but I'm they have since been mowed by the lawnmower.

As much I love having these geriatric sleepovers, I know that one day soon these get-togethers will all come to an end. Max could expire any day with his erratic heartbeat and Rocko barely gets around as it is. The Gardener and I have had many a conversation lately about Rocko's health and the reality that the ground could be frozen within 30 days, leaving us unable to dig a hole and forced to pay the cremation fee at the vet's office, an absolute travesty in my husband's opinion. For now we will live through the unpleasant noises and smells that emit from these old pooches... with love for them all.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

The Gardener spent the better part of the weekend landscaping an area of our yard in order to run power to one of our small buildings. Mae wanted to help but made sure that she bundled up first because it was quite cold. She helped all day and only needed to come in once for a snack and to warm up. Not sure what the pants tucked into the socks is about but I'm sure she had a reason.
For more Wardrobe Wednesday head on over to Heathen Family Revival.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RTT- can't. stop. canning.

Well it's Tuesday and the best way to get everything out there is to pull out the Un Mom's Random Tuesday Thoughts badge and get to it.


Shall we?

Well, my car broke down AGAIN. Last Thursday Binny and I made a quick egg run and found ourselves stranded at the Egg lady's house. The car was fine when I left home, started right up but when I went to start it to come back home, the gauges went nuts flopping all over the place and making terrifying clicking sounds. I called the Gardener and before he even arrived the egg lady's husband took a look and determined that the battery was not dead but broken and leaking acid all over the engine compartment. The Gardener and the other guy were able to rig it enough for me to drive the 3 miles back to our house, then the Gardener went and bought a new battery. Not as bad as it could have been, but still another 80 bucks.

My dad and younger brother came over for lunch Saturday to celebrate my Dad's b-day. I served Pork chops, green beans from the garden and my family's favorite... Popovers. I was promptly given the stink eye as I tried to season the pork chops with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of fresh sage. My dad likes his food very plain, and will send anything back in a restaurant that comes out with any type of sauce on it. Of course I only sprinkled salt and pepper on his and he loved it. My brother who is normally a vegetarian even ate a pork chop and practically licked the the serving tray after mentioned that it was local pork. What is it with men and a good piece of meat?

The garden is officially done. Over the weekend temperatures dipped well below freezing and killed off the what was left of my pepper plants and flowers. It will really hit me when I have to start buying produce from the grocery store again, especially tomatoes. Nothing beats a fresh homegrown tomato! The garden may be done but I'm still coming up with things to can. My father-in-law gave me a huge bucket full of grapes and a big bag full of apples. I spent all day yesterday cooking, straining, pressing and canning the grapes to make 6 quarts of grape juice and 3 big sheets of dried grape fruit leather. (Fruit leather is similar to a fruit roll-up but leather actually contains only REAL FRUIT and NO high fructose corn syrup) It was a lot of work but the juice and the leather are delicious. Today I will try to tackle all of the apples. Since I already have lots of applesauce, I think I'm going to make jars of apple pie filling or apple butter, I can't decide. Or spiced apple rings... Too many choices!

Finally, my blog friend Sheila from Ma Vie Folle (My Crazy Life) awarded me with the Over The Top blog award. How sweet is that? Sheila cracks me up on a daily basis. If you haven't already, go check out her blog, it's so worth it. Now for the award rules.

Answer the survey below…you can only use one word answers!

Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers!

Where is your cell phone? pocket

Your hair? wild

Your mother? Minnesota

Your father? no sage

Your favorite food? cheese

Your dream last night? no

Your favorite drink? grapefruitini

Your dream/goal? healthy kids

What room are you in? kitchen!!!

Your hobby? food

Your Fear? scary stuff

Where do you want to be in 6 years? here

Where were you last night? sofa

Something that you aren’t? tall

Muffins? pumpkin

Wish list item? food processor

Where did you grow up? North Dakota and Wisconsin

Last thing you did? eat

What are you wearing? sweats

Your TV? off

Your pets? clean!

Friends? love

Your life? full

Your mood? happy

Missing someone? always

Vehicle? don't ask

Something you’re not wearing? bra

Your favorite store? Costco

Your favorite color? green

When was the last time you laughed? yesterday

Last time you cried? May

Your best friend? loyal

One place that I go to over and over? supermarket

One person who emails me regularly? Grandma N

Favorite place to eat? Artcafe

Now to pass this award on to 6 other bloggers. Riot Kitty, Secret Mom Thoughts, Kelly, Sidhe, Joe, and Wild Child. Congrats all, because I really do think that all of your blogs are over the top!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Honest To Pete

Living in the Midwest, this saying is not out of the ordinary, especially with my family, Grandma Dee in particular. Now a good old Uff-da (pronounced oof-dah) or a well placed namon, still gets a funny look but everyone knows "honest to Pete" right? Not sure where that one started but that was the first thing that popped into my head when I was tagged for this "honest" Meme. The smart and funny Kelly from Heathen Family Revival tagged me and because she is one of my most favorite bloggers I decided to play along. I couldn't pass this one up.

Here's how it works: post 10 honest things about yourself and tag 7 people to do the same.

Ready or not.

1. I'm not so good with following through on things I say I will do. I have only the best intentions and am a self diagnosed "people pleaser" but I often pretend like I have forgotten to do something or don't have enough time if I have lost interest. Most recently this has been apparent in blogland. People tag me more often than I think I deserve for Memes and awards and I always get excited that someone picked me, then drop the ball in passing it along. Let this be my apology to all of the bloggers I have dissed. Sorry all.

2. Speaking of blogging. I sometimes wish that I hadn't given out my blog url (the thing) to my family. This doesn't apply to any one family member in particular, and I know that most of them can handle what I have to say, it's the fringe that scares me a little. The fringe being my parents and grandparents' *gasp* friends. Most of them are hip (hello, they actually found my blog and know what the Internet is) and know that I have no filter on my mouth (or typing fingers) but still, I feel bad using foul language or complaining about something trivial in front of people I know. Now Bloggers I've never met, I'd tell them my deepest, darkest. Funny how that works. If I had the time (or energy) to start a new anonymous blog, I would, but for now I'll keep this blow-horn.

3. I still hate my job. That's not new news but it's me being honest. Last night when I arrived at the farm, my boss and one of her other employees (a guy that is otherwise useless) were out in the field baling hay. She does this crap all of the time and it irritates the hell out of me. They start field work at 3:00 and of course aren't finished by the time we are supposed to start chores at 4:00. She finally walked into the barn at about 4:45 and started yelling and swearing at me because she was expecting me to walk all the way out there (40 acres away) to chase the cows away from the tractor and wagon. Since when? She has always told me to just get started if she's not around. How in the hell am I supposed to know what she's doing out there? And she had someone with her! I think she just wanted to take the blame off herself for being late and the way she chose to do that was to lash out. I finally walked away because instead of giving me something to do now that we were behind, she decided just to go off on me. I went outside and climbed the silo to start pitching corn silage. All of a sudden she yelled up the chute that I forgot to give water to the cow in the shed. Last time I was there, there were no animals in the shed. Instead of taking time to tell me that there was a cow in the shed, she bitched, which was my cue to leave the scene. I hate to wish harm or an illness on anyone but really I think that is the only thing that will get me out of this shitty job. I know she'll keep farming until she can't physically do it anymore. The money, although not much, has been nice since the Gardener's hours have been scaled back going on almost a year now.

4. I'm short (5'2") and skinny. The only time I was ever over 100 pounds was when I was pregnant. Now that I'm getting a little older, I have settled in at about the 100 pound mark. Works for me except that I often have a hard time finding clothes. Sure there are tons of size 1 and 0 clothing out there but most of it is geared toward teenage girls. There comes a point when sporting jeans with glitter and cute designs all over the ass and tiny T-shirts with questionable sayings on them are a bit too much for me to be wearing to parent-teacher conferences.

5. I had a minor cooking accident the other day. While cooking applesauce on the stove, the sauce started erupting like a volcano and all of a sudden I heard a big pop and instantly felt a burning sensation on my face, mostly around my left eye. 3 days later, it still looks like this...

6. I always wished that I had a sister. Growing up I was the only girl of the family. I have two brothers and only male cousins. When the Gardener and I got married, his sister became my sister in law. That was a classic lesson in be careful what you wish for.

7. I have no idea what I'm going to do with myself when my kids are finally in school full time. I have been at home for 7 years now. I have had part time jobs most of the time but we've never had to hire a sitter to watch our kids. I take great pride in being a stay at home mom and I know that I wouldn't have time to do many of the things that make this household functional if I worked full time. Still it doesn't seem practical for me to home by myself while my kids are at school and my husband is out working.

8. I have been watching the soap opera, Days Of Our Lives for 25 years. I know that may seem odd considering I'm only 29, but it's true. When I was young, we had a babysitter who watched the show, and ever since then I have been hooked. During High School I was only able to watch it during the summer or on sick days and still I only catch it once or twice a week but when I do, it's so worth it.

9. Speaking of TV watching, this year's lineup has me mostly disappointed. This year it has been harder to find something that we can all watch. The girls love sitcoms but most have them have gone down the too mature for kids path. So many of them are full of sexual content in both the dialog and the physical sense. So what if Survivor blurs out boobs, that doesn't keep Jeff Probst from ogling the young, busty, only wearing a bikini contestants. Also Dr. Oz freaks me out a little. He's a bit too intense for me and too I can't watch that while the kids are around. The promos alone are full of edited words in the form of censorship beeps that my children know are words that aren't allowed to be used on television. There is one new show that I like and am totally embarrassed to admit. Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady. While the new Price is Right hosted by Drew Carey is nothing like the old Price is Right with Bob Barker and in my opinion a waste of an hour, Let's Make a Deal is fresh and fun. It's just like the old Let's Make a Deal with Monty Hall complete with the contestants dressed up in goofy costumes trying to decide between a undisclosed amount of money (or whatever) and what's behind curtain #1. I love it!

I can't come up with 10. 9 will have to do.

So now for the fun of passing this along. I decided to tag the bloggers that commented on yesterday's Wardrobe Wednesday post. Since Kelly passed this to me and commented yesterday (see why I love her?) she is exempt but the rest of you unsuspecting bloggers are officially tagged.

Joey he's always up for a challenge.
Riot Kitty although she is on vacation this week and may not get to it.
Cherie who is always honest in her writing.
Heather a new to me blogger with a beautiful family!

Thanks for playing along!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

Last weekend after Mae's blood draw and lunch with my brother, the two of us went shopping. Mae was given a gift card for her Birthday and we agreed that she may pick out whatever she wants, within reason of course. While a quilted jacket with no sleeves would not be my first choice, Mae saw it and had to have it. However, I did draw the line at the earmuffs that match that squirrel tail fur around the hood of the vest.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Take That Back

Funny thing. Last night before the sun went down, all four of us went for a walk around the yard looking at all of the new trees the Gardener and the girls have planted recently. Basically I was the only one who hadn't seen all of the yard progress beyond the vegetable garden. We walked out to each of the 19 new trees, around the barn and sheds, through the orchard (which is way too fancy a name for the area where we grow our apple tress), across the driveway and into the vegetable garden.

Then I started to panic.

Me: Honey, what happened to the brussel sprouts?
Gardener: "What do you mean? I mowed them."

Holy Hannah! 6 stalks of brussel sprouts eaten by the lawnmower. Gone! Nothing left of 'em. Apparently there was a communication problem. Sunday, after I pillaged the garden one last time for the summer stuff, I told him to take everything out but the brussel sprouts, carrots and we decided to leave the pepper plants too. He claims that I said to pull everything including the brussel sprouts. I certainly don't remember that exchange but I guess that's what makes this whole thing so complicated.

I thought for sure he was joking when he said that he mowed them. Brussel sprout stalks are huge and woody, I had no idea the lawnmower was powerful enough to do such a thing. I looked around for any survivors, but they were gone, just a whole lot of shredded green plants and a few stumps sticking out of the ground. The pepper plants and carrots were spared, we still have those.

So I guess our brussel sprout harvest will be smaller than last year's.
last year's sprouts

I'm just glad that I pulled a few before this happened and tucked 2 bags away in the freezer.

The things that test a marriage, I tell you!

*I was only joking about the last part. We're fine. No need to email me the contact info for a marriage counselor. But if you know anyone that specializes in food hoarding, that may be helpful.

**again. joking.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Garden Club- Giveaway Winner!

Wow, it took about an hour to figure out how to save a portion of a web page and insert it into this post, but it was worth it. The winner of the preserved pint of peaches is (drum-roll please)

comment #3, my friend and sister blogger M (Out In Them Sticks). M, I'll email you later this morning to get your address and send out your jar of peaches. Thanks everyone for entering and more so for being faithful readers of my little blog. I have had fun blogging about my garden this year and loved seeing all of your gardens as well.

And with that I must admit that my garden is almost officially done. I picked the rest of the good (not squishy or split) tomatoes yesterday along with the winter squash and few remaining green beans. I gave up on the broccoli last week after picking, washing, cooking and serving what turned out to be wormy broccoli. Other than the sudden appearance of worms, the broccoli has been the best producer this year. The bugs didn't arrive until last week and I had a decent sized harvest every week since mid July from 6 plants.

The only thing that is left in the garden are the brussel sprouts. I have picked a few stalks but there are some smaller ones out there that could take advantage of the rainy weather we have been experiencing yet hardy enough to not be bothered by the cool temps. Oh and the carrots too. I dug up about half and left the other half right in the ground to be dug once I use all of the carrots in the fridge. That's it... I think.

After I harvested everything, the Gardener started taking it all apart. He cut down and pulled out all of the sunflowers. He even remembered to save a couple of heads for next year's seeds. He also took down all of the fencing and pulled out all of the big plants and other garden shrapnel. I still need to dig up the gladiolas and the dahlias but everything else will get plowed under as soon as the sprouts (and carrots) are out.
While the Gardener worked out in the cold yesterday, I cooked in the kitchen. I made 3 containers of tomato sauce (spaghetti sauce with tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, green peppers and mushrooms) to freeze. After I cleaned up the tomato mess, I canned 6 jars of applesauce made with (FREE!) apples from my neighbor. The gardener doesn't like his applesauce fancy at all so I hold back from putting any cinnamon in but I did add 2 tablespoons of honey for sweetness. I also pureed it all with my hand-held blender (best kitchen tool ever!) to a smooth creamy consistency. Delicious! I may cook another batch this afternoon...

Other than that I'm just trying to keep up with all of the produce and find freezer space for it all. I can't wait until I actually get to use some of it. Right now I feel like if someone would look at my basement shelves or in my freezer, they would assume that I have a food hoarding problem.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We're Not Jewish

Today was Mae's follow-up blood draw down at Children's Hospital. Last week the nurse practitioner from the Immunologist's office called to tell me that one of Mae's blood tests a month ago was abnormal. Something called the Alternative Pathway. She said that the doctor thought this could have been a lab error so he wanted to re-run the blood test today while we were there for the follow-up test anyway. She sent out the orders to us to give to the lab today. Then on Thursday she called back again and said that they wanted to make that sure some other associated immune levels were also not off although they were normal last time but could be testing as normal on a low day. Anyhow, off we went for our jaunt through the metro area, although not before successfully dropping off our stash of old IV antibiotics!

Every time we go down there I feel pretty emotional. The clinic and lab is right inside the hospital entrance so we walk through the same halls and doors that we did when Mae was a patient there back in May. Today there was a mom taking her daughter home from what I can guess was a lengthy hospital stay. She was pushing a big stroller, carrying her beautiful baby girl and also hefting a big duffel bag. The little girl had a feeding tube in her nose and the woman looked exhausted. As we walked past them, I took notice of how healthy and strong Mae is today. We aren't done yet and still have many unanswered questions like why in the heck does she get these serious infections, but I think we're in good hands with her immunologist and nurse practitioner. They really seem to be keeping her case on the fronts of their minds, which is very reassuring.

The lab techs seemed to be a little thrown off by all of the changes that had been made since the orders had been changed twice. Once they finally had all of the paperwork straightened out Mae was called back. She rolled up her sweater sleeves and plopped herself in the chair and swung the armrest around in front of her. The phlebotomist looked at me for approval of Mae's arrangement and I assured her that Mae could handle it. I stood next to Mae and put my right hand on her shoulder as she grabbed my left with her free hand. She closed her eyes for the poke but opened them up and let go of my hand as soon as the needle was in. No tears, no anxiety, no problem, and also no sticker or prize by the way. Usually those people have a stack of stickers to choose from and a drawer full of cheap toys and treats. Mae didn't notice and besides we had big plans for the rest of the day.

On the way out of the parking garage, I called my brother and we stopped to pick him up to go out for lunch. He was ready to go when we arrived so we didn't get a chance to visit his compartment but I'm sure it was just as well. He suggested a Thai restaurant in the area and off we went. Mae had mentioned that she wanted noodles for lunch so this was perfect. The restaurant didn't open till noon and we were a bit early so we browsed around the hippie boutique next door for a few minutes. The smell of incense was enough to induce a headache but Mae had fun trying on hats and looking at the cases full of glass figurines. By the time we walked out of the shop, the restaurant was open. Mae had stir fried egg noodles with vegetables and chicken and I had tofu vegetable curry. Delicious! My brother also had tofu and curry but his was much spicier than mine yet very delicious!

After we dropped off my brother back at his building Mae and I headed out to use some of her Birthday gift cards. She bought a whole outfit at Old Navy complete with a matching sparkly headband. Even though we didn't end up spending much money at all today, it seems that Binny and the Gardener made our purchases look mighty expensive. The gardener saw an ad in this week's Squeak for an auction today. Before we even left this morning he and Binny were off in the truck to go see if they could find a rototiller for the garden. He called me this afternoon to tell me that he and Binny bought an entire truckload worth of miscellaneous items for 50 cents. No rototiller but he did come home with 21 decks of playing cards, 7-1000 piece puzzles, a wooden Chinese checker board, a lint shaver for clothing, an old typewriter and everything else that was on the pile no one would bid on. Basically my husband bought all of the crap that nobody wanted, but it all went for 50 cents so I guess it was worth the trouble of going through everything and throwing out the junk. Among the few good items were piles and piles of stuff that we either threw on the burn pile or into the garbage can. Broken dishes, smelly old lady perfume (Avon, of course) that my husband foolishly dumped out right next to his shed. As soon as I opened the car door upon our arrival home, I could smell his purchase and it was ten times worse than the hippie boutique. "Um dear, are you sure the old lady smell isn't on all of this stuff?" Once he confessed that the smell was his fault, I agreed to let him bring some of his treasures into the house. For the last twenty minutes the gardener has been shaving all of our sweaters and turning our living room lamp on by remote. Who knew that remote outlet converters even existed?

In a box labeled "Holiday" there were ugly X-mas wreaths, Halloween decor and an assortment of bar giveaway St. Patrick's Day beaded necklaces. As I threw the beads into the trash Mae said, "that's okay, were not Jewish anyway." I'm pretty sure she meant Irish but either way it made me laugh.

One more day to enter my
Peachy Giveaway!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Medication Drop Off Tomorrow!

Almost 4 months to the day after writing this post, we will be getting rid of Mae's unused IV antibiotics tomorrow. After inquiring for what seems like forever to people who don't seem to give a shit about our groundwater, I came across a guy at the county's planning office who was planning an event to address this very important issue. Tomorrow, Saturday October 3 from 9-11 there will be drop off locations throughout the county where residents may drop off any unused medication to be disposed of properly.

Over the summer the county also introduced a medication drop off box at the police department. I went (wearing my bathing suit) to try and get rid of the meds then but there was a sign on the box saying that liquid medications would not be accepted (although the website had no information about exclusions), so back home with my big bag of IV meds once again. I was tempted to overlook the sign but the surveillance camera discouraged me from committing what I'm sure is a crime. I can see the news story now. "County woman wearing only a bathing suit and cover up shoves 15 bags of IV antibiotics into drop box at local police station."I just hope after waiting all this time that we will be able to get rid of it once and for all.