Sunday, September 30, 2007

While the Cat's Away, the Mice Will Play?

Mark left at 6am today for a weeklong stay in Orlando for Medtrade. Tonight he's going to stay overnight with his childhood friend who now lives in Montgomery, Alabama. At the show he will meet up with several sales reps from this area who are also going and I think some other DME owners/managers and maybe someone from a Hospice(????). Anyway, folks that he knows and they have plans to do some running around together. If we'd had an extra $2500 or so, the kids and I would have gone with him. Oh well, maybe next time.

On his way home, he has to come through Houston to pick up some oxygen tanks or somesuch from a patient they have there. His plan is to drive there Friday night, get the equipment Saturday morning and be home in time for OU-Texas Weekend in which *my* team is gonna kick *his* team square in the keester!!

Meanwhile, I have a TON of chores to finish up. Started with laundry at 6:45, still going at 10:21. The kitchen floor needs mopped in a bad way. Regular chores plus the special things I have planned will help me keep my mind occupied. I will be painting, rearranging, and decluttering several key areas that haven't been touched in a few years(some of them anyway). Ryan had church this morning. His youth group has a camp coming up soon so they're earning money today by serving a spaghetti and salad luncheon to the adults. He gets to be a waiter or buser or something. The girls want to "go somewhere fun" so I may take them all to Jackson Park after we collect Ryan. Or maybe I'll just turn them into slave labor.... sounds like a better idea.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Goodbye Gingerbread Faye(Ginger to her good friends)...

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We'll miss your silly head tilt and the way you waddled around the mammoth tooth during floor time. You shared your life with us a short time but touched our hearts immensely. We figured out soon after we got you that you were a very special piggie. At first we thought you were deaf, then that you were blind, then came to assume you had a neurological something probably caused by an untreated ear infection. Not knowing your age or what diseases had ravaged you in your early life, we knew our time together might be short. Godspeed to the Rainbow Bridge Sweetiepie.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Tortuga Man Strikes Again!

Within 2 minutes of our arrival at a local park for our homeschool park day, Ryan pulled this out of the creek. It probably weighs between 12 and 15 pounds and is about the diameter of a dinner plate. The front claws were almost an inch long. Ryan looks small in these pictures but he's 5'8" and of average teenage lanky build. Thanks Patricia for taking the pictures! I should know by now to keep my batteries charged and camera on hand!
Go HERE to see the first turtle he pulled from this same creek, earlier this summer.

****edit 9/30/07**** We have since learned that maybe neither of them are Alligator Snapping Turtles but most likely Common Snapping Turtles. If anyone knows for sure, please comment!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

PIZZA, PIZZA, PIZZA!!(and house update)....

We LOVE homemade pizza here at Casa Sonier, especially Ryan. In the past we've used store-bought pre-baked crusts or english muffins, a homemade sauce, veggies, olives, cheese and turkey pepperoni. This time, I had the muffins but wasn't keen on having to top 2 dozen of them so I looked for a quick crust recipe. I found one in an old vegetarian cookbook procured on our vacation a few weeks ago at a thrift shop. The title of the book is The Quick and Easy Vegetarian Cookbook by Ruth Ann and William Manners. The recipe is thus: my increases in (~~).


2(3) cups whole wheat flour(I use a mix of regular and whole wheat)
1(1.5) tablespoons dry active yeast
3/4(1) teaspoon salt

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir in:

1(1.5 + 1 tablespoon) cup very warm tap water
1(1) tablespoons olive oil
1(2) teaspoons honey

Mix vigorously by hand for a few minutes, until well blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes in a warm place. I heat the oven while I'm mixing the dough, then put the bowl in and turn oven off. Take out halfway through rising so you can preheat the oven to 425F.

Punch down the dough and spread onto cookie sheet(use rolling pin and extra flour if you want), about 1/4-1/3 inch thick. I divided my recipe into 2 equal sections, giving 1 half for one bunch of toppings(for the guys) and then dividing the other half again for two smaller pizzas(one for the girls and one for me). Top with tomato sauce, veggies, cheese, whatever you like. I cook the mushrooms to get most of the water out of them beforehand, and did onions too for mine. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.

It was an excellent crust! And so, so easy! I've been avoiding making my own crusts because I thought it was so labor intensive to let the dough rise, etc. My sauce is easy too, a can of no-salt-added tomato sauce, can of NSA diced tomatoes, shakes of Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic and onion powder, a drip of honey and a drip of olive oil, this doesn't even have to be heated. Yuuuummm!

Today, the day after our 17th wedding anniversary, was spent in leisure... to a point. We moved furniture around in the living room for part of the day and here's what we have now(you can scroll down to the icky pictures of its former self). There's still a lot to do but we've got a good bit behind us by getting things moved.

We moved the entertainment center to the smaller wall. You can see a tiny slice of the dining room to the left.
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Here is my glider chair where I plan to work on many yarny and quilty projects. You can see the beautiful needlework owls that my grandmother did ever so long ago. I remember admiring them in her house when I was just a toddler so they are "antique", as is the craft stasher to the right of the chair.
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Here is a shot of the wide wall. I haven't got all my art(quilts) up yet. If you look down in front you can see Moonshine, our little white boar piggie running across the room. Yes that is a terrier dog and a cat on the couch-they totally ignore the pigs! The pigs had a blast running in the big room finally. We have been making a corral for them for the past several months but now that we don't have cords hanging they can have the run of the room.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Out of Pocket...

For a few days, I think. Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary!!! Happy 17 years Pit! I love you!!!!

For once we don't have plans to do dinner with a half-dozen other people. It will be weird since that's what we've done for the past several years. We actually don't have any plans at all, except to move some furniture(which will include taking the computer off the desk and moving it to who-knows-where), clean house, replace the glass in the back window(the dogs broke it AGAIN!) and put up some kind of wooden barrier so it won't happen a 4th time, and go get Ryan's paperwork for the homeschool flag football season he's signed up for. Part of our day will be devoted to playing with my anniversary present....

Princessnella Stella!! Isn't she a DOLL? Amy is holding her for the photo shoot.

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Will hopefully have pics of the newly arranged living room by the middle of next week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

And Now For Something Educational!

After this edit. It is Pirate Day and guess what I found? Yep, last one, I swear!
My pirate name is:

Calico Mary Rackham

Often indecisive, you can't even choose a favorite color. You're apt to follow wherever the wind blows you, just like Calico Jack Rackham, your namesake. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Now, go to Africam and check out the wildlife. This is a camera attached to a dead tree near a water hole in South Africa(it is near a lodge on a reserve). Someone posted the link to our homeschool group last winter and we've been hooked ever since. On Christmas Eve we witnessed a large group of Cape Buffaloes drinking at the pond. All of the sudden they bolted, whirling and jumping away. The next day there were lions everywhere, laying all around the pond as if they were near death. Some were still eating on the carcass of one of the buffalo. Several days went by and they had it picked clean, having to protect it from hyenas. We have seen 28 different kinds of animals from giant millipedes to hippos, elephants, a cheetah, baboons, giraffes, a snake, civet cats, impalas, kudus, wildebeasts, you name it we've seen it. The birds are pretty cool too, especially the large saddle billed storks. Several months ago we saw a fight between two male rhinos and we've seen lions chasing hyenas, baboons playing with impalas, and a herd of over 100 Cape Buffalo came and filled the pond up one evening. Lately there has been a mama rhino with a baby come down to drink(seen at 5pm and 10:30pm CST). The baby makes the CUTEST noises and it has nursed both times we've seen them!! It is too sweet! We turn our screen saver off, put Africam in full screen mode and watch it all day long as we go about our daily stuff. It is fascinating!

These pics are from our local Caldwell Zoo in Tyler.
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Monday, September 17, 2007

These are so fun!....

As you might have noticed, I'm trying to avoid working on the clutter issue and the many towels that need folded. We had a major flood in the kitchen today, long story. This is much more fun.
******edited 9/18/07 due to cookies issues******
I am taking off the graphics and links that came with these little tests because my blog was totally screwy this morning(9/18). I left the answers though, because I didn't want to totally redo the blog today(as I see I'm doing anyway). You won't be seeing those kinds of test thingies on my blog any longer. Memes are fun, good for getting to know someone, but these little personality tests do something that doesn't work with my computer. Sorry!!

According to the test, I am Dark Chocolate, living my life with intensity, always going full force. An extreme person, I challenge and inspire the world.

And isn't this scary?

According to another test, I am not scary at all. Everyone loves me, isn't that sweet?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Working and Playing...

I did some of both this weekend. First, I spent all day Saturday working to declutter the hutch and big desk. Now we have the hutches in the garage awaiting their next step. There are two of these units and they used to have a desk that bolted between them. We looked when we were at my parents' because that's the last place I saw the desk, but didn't see it there. It might be in our attic but if not, our plan is to build a desk to go between them, and get rid of the big banker's desk. Most of the clutter has been dealt with but not all. There are no "after" pics because we aren't finished with the space.

This is soooo shameful, I had NO IDEA it looked this bad. In person it is warmer, not so stark. The contrast makes it seem so much more cluttered than natural light does(I guess you could say it shows the true nature of the mess). Anyway, it won't be lookin' like that any more so there! The hutch is gone and everything in that "corner" has been sorted, thinned out and re-stationed.

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Our entertainment center will go where the desk is now, loveseat where the ent. center is with the hutch unit beside it on the same wall(we think). The kids' desk will also go somewhere else, maybe in the dining room for now. Our couch will go where the loveseat is now, in front of the window. Not sure about the piggies's cages yet, and aren't 100% about the other stuff yet. But, this is what it used to look like.

Here is something Ryan suprised me with! A leopard spider!! Isn't it cute? As long as it is outside it is.
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And here's what I played with last night and throughout today. It needs layered, quilted and bound but that won't take long. The "Hoot" is in yellow thread(close to the color of the owl's wings) and the branch is a saddle tan, the pic doesn't show their true colors at all. The wings and eyes of the owl are felt. I think she turned out pretty cute! Hopefully by mid-week I'll have made more progress on both my work and play.
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mark's First Extreme 10K Trail Race...

He had a GREAT time with this! Fell in love with the challenge and experience. Pretty much as soon as he crossed the finish line he said we are coming back next year.

Almost makes me wish I was a runner.... Almost.

Here is a webshots album of the race taken by another racer. And here are a few that I took put in a slide show(hope it doesn't freak anyone's computer out).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another One!...

I don't have much else to write about today. I'm in the process of cleaning off the hutches and desks so we can get that part of our redecorating/downsizing underway. Big changes are coming! I will have before and after pics next week sometime. Meanwhile, try this....

from Monica at The Happy Zombie

The Name Game

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car),
Snoopy Suburban

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie),
Dutch Chocolate Sandie

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),
Green Feline

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born),
Sue Ridgecrest

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),
The Purple Iced Tea

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),
Edgar Stanley

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy),
Vanilla Dove Dark Chocolate

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),
Leona Roy

And a few more…

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),
Bufkin Beaumont(this is my favorite, I may start using it!)

12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).
Winter Daffodil(this is second fave)

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Strawberry Culottie(or this one)

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),
Bagel Oak

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),
The Crochet Sunshine Tour

16. YOUR WRITING PERSONA NAME: (The name your parents "almost" gave you + your Grandmothers maiden name)
Rush Barry or Rush Wheat(depends on the grandmother)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some days you're the kitteh, some days you're the tail....


I'm feeling a bit tail-like today.

It seems that yesterday I worked and worked and worked, got a lot done, but the difference is hardly noticeable. Sigh. I have a stack of stuff for the yard sale/goodwill, filled a garbage can, and sorted out a ton of fabrics, yarns, socks and assorted crap. But, the top of my dresser is still filled and I haven't even started cleaning out from under it yet! The only part of my room I *did* work on was between the dresser and the bookshelf I use as a nightstand. I mean, the floor. There were times I was thinking of just hauling it all out to somewhere else in big buckets and just bringing in what I wanted. That means I'd still have to find places for the stuff I didn't bring back.

One of the problems is that I don't have adequate space for my fabrics, yarn, and other craft stuff. It isn't that I have too much, I really don't by comparison. I just don't have a dedicated craft room, or even dedicated craft areas with shelving or storage. What I do have is small boxes, baskets, vintage suitcases, corners, and piles of stuff in our bedroom, my closet, the dining room and living room. It is not at all organized. What I want is a section of shelving where I can see what I have, see my fabrics. To be able to sort them into groups by color and/or projects. It would also be nice to have clarity, to be able to see a piece of crap for what it is and get rid of it. And strength to not run out of steam, and the ability to focus and not get sidetracked a zillion times.... HALP!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2007


We have started the cleaning. Ugh. Sigh. I worked in our bedroom yesterday, dragging crap out from corners and from under the dresser. It amazes me how things that should be THROWN AWAY, never are! We're talking things that are broken, empty containers, puzzle pieces, q-tips, mateless socks, and, and, and... It makes me crazy. I've got tons of books in there, fabric scraps, yarns for various projects, magazines, and lots of other junk that needs relocated.

Today we cleaned the living room, dining room and kitchen. Mark will mop late tonight, after the day's activities slow down. We've got laundry going now. I am still sorting through the kids' books. I started this last week and hope to be done by Sunday afteroon so my homeschooling group members can buy them!

What we reeeeelly need to do is clean out the desks and dismantle the big one. Right now we are unsure what we'll do with the computer tower but Mark wants to get a wireless card so it will be easier to put it where we need to.

Last night when we went to get cat food, we saw the flat screen tvs at Wallyworld. They are much cheaper than last year so we may get one for our Christmas or (hopefully) for our anniversary later this month! That would be SWWEEEEET! It means we'll not be using our large entertainment center any longer. What we'll probably do is find an old dresser, paint it, and put the tv on it. A friend of mine did this and took the top two drawers out to use as shelving for the dvd player and satellite receiver. She used a flat black paint, scuffed up the edges to antique it and it looked fantabulous!! Not sure we'll be there anytime soon but we're working on it.

I'm off to work again. Kitchen table is piled high with stuff. I did come across a picture of my early years as a Bluebird, our group was in the paper decorating a Christmas tree in an office somewhere. I SO don't remember that, but I do remember every girl in our group and wonder where they are now.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More trip stuff(exciting post title huh?).....

(K, I didn't know you had a blog either, so we're even)

And I have to get this out of the way real quick. I found it on mizsmoochielips blog(linked in my side thingie over there). If you wanna play, just leave her a note and post on your blog. You use the first letter of your name to answer all these questions.

Famous Singer - Michael Jackson
Four letter word - Mope
Street - Main Street
Colour - Maroon
Gifts/presents - Meals out!
Vehicle - Moped
Things in a souvenir shop - Maps
Boys name - Micah
Girls name - Minerva
Movie title - Moonstruck
Drink - Malt beer
Occupation - Mother
Celebrity - Michelin Man
Magazine - McCall's
US City - Miami, Florida
Pro Sports - Major League Baseball
Fruit - Mandarin Orange
Reason for being late to work - More Sleep!
Something you throw away - Mushrooms(if they hide too long in the fridge)
Things you shout - MOVE!(usually to the cat on my legs)
Cartoon character - Mogli from The Jungle Book

And, I'm doing this one too(geez this is getting to be a looooong post today):
Here are the rules for those that choose to follow them:Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name game facts. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.... from Inspire Me Please

E-every once in a while

Ok, now for the trip update part:

We are finally getting more settled, back in a sort of routine, from our trip. Lemme tell yall, it started off with a BANG!!.... then total darkness... then smoke from an electrical outlet... then the fire department... then an after-hours electrician... then the power company. It was all over shortly after midnight and $120 for the services. It seems our trees had been wreaking havoc with the neutral line that comes into the house, it finally snapped in half and caused a mega power surge. Thankfully we lost nothing but our computer modem($70 to replace) and several precious hours we could have been readying for the trip.

We wanted to get on the road by 6:30 at the latest but some goob(he knows he is one) had Mark sign a contract on the wrong lines the day before we left. He had to meet us at Mark's office to get it re-signed at 8am so we didn't leave til about 8:30. For some reason, it takes us longer to get to North Carolina than to get home. I think we misjudge how long our breaks last. Anyway, the trip was mostly uneventful except for a rain downpour starting north of Atlanta and lasting most of the rest of the way in. Those are always fun to drive in.... in the mountains.... with 18-wheelers. We pulled into the driveway at 4am Friday. Then the fun started!

4:30, Puppy-girl came with us and was to be tethered outside the porch area. She didn't think that was a good idea and started yipping as soon as we got settled in bed. 4:45, We brought her in and I slept holding her leash with her on our bed. 5:00, What the Heck? A ROOSTER!!!! Yep, the neighbors have one and boy is he LOUD!! And persistant! I never was able to sleep through his crowing. My dad told us the next day that P-girl would have to sleep inside anyway, their county is having a big problem with rabid animals, especially raccoons and coyotes. Good to know.

Here are a few of the other things we saw and did in North Carolina. I did not take my camera to the many thrift shops we visited and haven't taken pics of the booty we found there(but I will). Anyway... enjoy.

Sarah trying to pinch Mark with her crawdad at the nearby creek we hiked to.
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Ben, Aaron, Barbara, and Tammy enjoying Sarah's retelling of every episode of Spongebob she's ever seen. Barbara is Aaron's girlfriend, Ben and Tammy are her kids. Can't you tell they are enthralled?
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The creek we hiked to, I think this is White Oak Creek. I ended up chest deep in ice-cold water so that I wouldn't litter. My water bottle got loose from me in a deep pool and I had to retrieve it.
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The kids hunting crawdads and salamanders under the boulders along the creek.
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Horses stabled down the road from my parents place. Aren't they gorgeous? P-girl had a run-in with their neighbor's horse, she decided to charge it! They were nose to nose until I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and yanked her to safety. Dumb girl thinks she's as big as a wolf hound.
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I swear he caught this within 10 seconds of being in the creek(at my parents house).
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Daytime pictures of the firepit pad.
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A *critter*. A Spotted Newt in Red Eft stage, also colloquially called an Elf Newt.
(newt link)

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Old Barn on the way to the creek.
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And, in the vein of Larry the Cable Guy, "Lord, I apologize for thinkin' this here sign is funny"(but it is, not just for the image but for the location, on a sparsely populated country road, just down from that beautiful barn and around the corner from the horses)
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Monday, September 3, 2007

Back home, but not because we want to be...

We could have stayed here for a looooong time. However, my parents are itching to move into their new master suite and Mark has a J-O-B that needed his presence so it wasn't to be. Remember the depression picture from my last post? Well, this is what filled that void...(Ninety percent of the work here was done by my dad).

(back wall of the new master suite- the shrubs are on top of a low rock wall)
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(the back wall of master suite)
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(window walls)
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My parents set up a queen box springs and mattress, blow-up queen matress and twin mattress and box springs for us. All of the quilts in the photos were handmade by my grandmother(dad's mom). Aren't they gorgeous?

(bed wall)
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(view from dressing area)
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(Where their bed will most likely go)
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(dressing area, closet door, and propane stove)
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(dressing area, bathroom door)
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(shower and toilet area-not visible to the left of the mirrors)
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(deep tub)
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