Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Dream Come True...

Mark has dreamed of owning boat for as long as I've known him, coming up on 19 years this summer, but we didn't think we could ever afford one so he never really looked. A few years ago he got Ryan hooked on fishing too(Mark's been hooked from a young age as well). They try to go at least once a month but usually they just have to stand on the shore or a pier. Occasionally they take the old aluminum canoe my parents left behind but it is extremely hard to handle and is too unstable for fishing. Plus, the boys have to paddle to the good spots and there isn't room for our whole family to fit so we can't all enjoy it.

Enter *free money from the guvment*. No matter what your opinion is regarding this so-called economic shot in the arm, it has helped a lot more families than it will hurt. Ours is due to arrive in a few weeks but in the mean time, Mark happened across a steal of a boat deal(about 1/3 the cost of similar boats!). So, after working a little loan that will be paid in full when we get our money, we are now proudly pushing the redneckedness thing just a little bit more than before. We own a BOAT!!!!

(checking it all out)

(getting ready to put in for the first time)

It came with a trailer and the former owner threw in a trailer hitch, new trolling motor, nice depth finder, and a few old life jackets but we bought new anyway just to be safe. This is an OLD boat, almost as old as me, but is in excellent condition though and the motor was well taken care of. Mark has had no problems backing it up the driveway or down the boat ramp.

(kids enjoying the ride)

(the second reason for the boat, the first being family togetherness- haven't you all seen the commercials?)

(there is a heron in there, I need a new camera)

(you can see why I like to boat, the scenery is just awesome!)

To get a better understanding, you must watch THIS VIDEO.

(ps, Susan at BBCreek, I tried to email you but it came back undeliverable. Thank you for keeping your eye out for a mug! Thats so sweet of you!!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How I do Mornings!...

Sadira has this cool little How Do You Do Good Morning... thing going on at her blog today. I'm answering here so I can show off my favorite coffee mugs!! Answer and leave a comment for her on her blog!

Mark is up at 6:20ish, showering, dressing, then eating and running out the door by 7:15. Sometimes I get up with him and sometimes I don't. Most days I hobble down the hall, in my pjs, to start a pot of Community New Orleans Style with Chicory(decaf). I mix in a spoonful of splenda or stevia and about 1/4 cup whole raw milk. Mmmmmm. The girls got hooked on coffee several months ago so I have to make enough for at least 3 of us. They each have a favorite cat mug but mine are these...

(brown polka dot mug found at thrift store in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, brown checkerboard mug is family heirloom)

I look for these every time I go in a thrift store, so far none have turned up but I keep searching. The checkerboard is my all-time favorite, very dear to me. The butterfly ones are just FUN and make me smile to drink from them.

(vintage mugs found at Salvation Army, Longview, Texas)

My breakfasts are varied but I hardly ever eat sweets. Mostly I have a snack of leftovers, bagel with real cream cheese, a baked potato, grits, nachos, eggs in corn tortillas with red pepper jelly and sour cream(this is probably my favorite of what I have to cook), or cheese and crackers. Very occasionally I'll make biscuits or pancakes and sometimes with ham. We all make our own morning meals. Mark has toast with butter(promise light) and honey or jelly, Amy has plain buttered toast, sometimes with honey. Sarah usually eats Malt-o-meal with syrup or brown sugar and butter(I cook this) or toast, or cheese and crackers or tuna and crackers, and Ryan fixes his own fried eggs or baked potatoes. Everyone pretty much eats when they wake up or within 20 minutes of getting out of bed so we're done by 8am except for Ryan who sleeps til 10 or so most days.

Sorry Sadira, no afternoon tea here. I drink mine green and iced, not sweet and have it with me all day long. My favorite glass for that beverage is one I found at Goodwill last year(actually I have two of them, shown in the picture below). They look SO vintage but have a .com on the bottom!!! Oh well, at 50 cents each I can live with that. They are heavy but not bulky, balanced and just the right size.

(goodwill treasures)

After breakfast, which I eat while checking emails, bloggy friends, my yahoogroups, and reading news online, I typically start a load of laundry or pick a chore from my neverending list and get after it. Or, many times, I simply stay on the computer for waaay, waaay too long. There ya have it! Now, please tell Sadira how YOU do good morning!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Belated Happy Earth Day!!

I wasn't able to post this til now but better late than not at all.

"Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)" Neil Young

Oh, Mother Earth,
With your fields of green
Once more laid down
by the hungry hand
How long can you
give and not receive
And feed this world
ruled by greed
And feed this world
ruled by greed.

Oh, ball of fire
In the summer sky
Your healing light,
your parade of days
Are they betrayed
by the men of power
Who hold this world
in their changing hands
They hold the world
in their changing hands.

Oh, freedom land
Can you let this go
Down to the streets
where the numbers grow
Respect Mother Earth
and her giving ways
Or trade away
our children's days
Or trade away
our children's days.

Respect Mother Earth
and her giving ways
Or trade away
our children's days.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Did Y'all Miss Me???...

We went to Oklahoma to visit my dad's sister and her family. It was a WOOOONDERFUL trip, thank you guys SO much for having us, we had a great time!!! Actually, Mark had a business thing to attend in OKC on Tuesday so we went up to my aunt's on Sunday. Southcentral Oklahoma is oh so beautiful but VERY rugged, not everyone's cup of tea, but I love this land. We encountered the usual wildlife there, lots of birds, bugs, and reptiles, not so much mammals as we have seen in the past though. Ryan caught a mountain boomer lizard(I think), a scorpion, and many fish. Be sure to click the pictures for bigger versions. It does look like my camera is not long for this world, the darkness of these pictures is unexplained, I wish they were better so you could see the beauty.

(Ryan with a crappie- that's pronounced croppy for the non-fisherpeople)

They woke up, headed for the ponds, and stayed gone most of the day. I lost track of how many loads of laundry we did and how often they had to hose down.

(kids fishing)

(Sarah fishing)

Of course, trips like these are sometimes dangerous. We had threatening weather...

(bad storm that produced BIG nasty hail)

Irrational, irritated, charging Camelids...

(guard llama hard at work keeping the kids off the dams and he was all business)

Snake infested waters...

(none in these pictures, but trust me, they were there)

(there are also bobcats, coyotes, otters, and beavers, among other things that live in the canyons around these ponds)

It was not without its fun too...

(Rose and Amy on the 4 wheeler)

(Rose and Sarah on the 4 wheeler)

(I couldn't get close because the dogs were with me and kept chasing him away, isn't he adorable?)

(we spent some time out here roasting hot dogs and hanging out watching the kids fish)

(spectacular sunset)

Good food, good visiting, and a trip to a thrift store(for another post since my dead camera batteries prohibit my uploading photos at the moment). At the last minute Mark found out he had another business thing in Irving on Wednesday so we had to cut our Oklahoma visit short by a day. The kids and I got to spend the day with our homeschooling friends who moved back to that area last year. We did a homeschool p.e. class, pizza at the park and two thrift stores among other things. It was a great trip all around, one I'm thankful we were able to make.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekend News....

I hope yall enjoy this as much as I have! These guys are so fun to watch...

Today was a bit tiresome. We woke up before 3 to a heavy lightning and thunderstorm. Not all that much rain but it was one of the most dramatic storms I've experienced as far as the lights and sounds! Once when we were in Austin we had a bad storm, lightning seemed to be forming just above the houses, just like last night's show. Anyway, it was a good while before I got back to sleep and then we were up before 6 to start our day.

We are getting ready for a trip next week to Oklahoma and then back to Texas to visit some homeschool friends. Mark has an oxygen seminar in OKC so the kids and I are going to spend a couple of days with my aunt and uncle near there. They have some gorgeous ponds, full of fish, so Ryan is geeked and the girls have a cousin near their age to visit with. We'll leave there and head to the Dallas area for Mark to attend another seminar, I think this one's about medicare somesuch. Our friends we met through our local homeschool group moved up there a while back and we'll spend the day with them before heading home. I hope to get some good pictures to share, if my camera will behave. Don't know if I'll blog while we're gone or not. I think I may take a little internet vacation. That sounds kinda nice actually...

Tomorrow we have to shore up the fence to make sure the doggies can't escape while we're gone and do a ton of other chores(clean the garage, mow, put up some shelves, take junk to Goodwill, etc). They usually sleep in a kennel in our garage but they'll be outside this time for a few nights. I hope they don't drive the neighbors nuts. One of Ryan's friends will come feed them and some of our homeschooling friends in the neighborhood will take care of the cats and guinea pigs.

Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it.

***edited to correct some spelling mistakes. I've typed himalayan(himi) once to many times lately and it screwed me up for seminar. geez.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday Happenings....

(this one is odd)

(hahaha, this one is too)

I felted several sweaters today but I didn't take pictures yet. Maybe I'll do that tonight. Can't wait to let them tell me what to make of them. I've got at least a dozen different ones now, in a wide range of colors.

And, in the "its about time" category(mom don't faint): I took down some clothes that were destined for something, I know not what, that have been hanging on the back of the laundry room door for YEARS, and I do mean at least 5 years! They are now in the Goodwill bag. I also fixed it so that we can close the door easier. We always have to shut it when the dogs come in to keep them out of the kitty candy boxes. The hanger thingie made that difficult so I TOOK IT DOWN TODAY!!!! WOOOOOHOOOO!!!

We finally heard back from the pool person today after almost 3 weeks of NOT RETURNING MY CALLS! Sheesh!! Now I have to fax the bid to the insurance company and hope we'll have a pool liner by June. We better.

The cats are healing well from having been spayed and neutered yesterday. Jasper is more alert and mobile than Gypsy since his was less invasive. Now we are down to Buttercup!

No clues as to what will be for dinner. Mark came home early so maybe I can get to the grocery store and pick something up that's mostly made.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bake a Cake....

Susan over at Blackberry Creek asked me to share the brown rice pudding recipe that I mentioned in my last post. I had been inspired by Alicia Paulson's Rice Pudding recipe but didn't have some of the ingredients. Because I only had brown rice, I went in search of a pudding recipe that used it(there are lots out there). It was mediocre at best, next time I'm definitely going to try Alicia's. I will make the brown rice version again though, but as a savory dish with some chopped veggies in with it because the texture wasn't bad. It just wasn't a creamy-dreamy desserty pudding. So I'm ditching it for something WAY better, trust me on this Susan!

Pumpkin Bundt Cake:

1 box yellow cake mix(or white, or spice, or even orange if you'd like)
1 15-oz can pumpkin(not pie mix)
dashes and dots of ground ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg(about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of most, maybe a whole teaspoon of the cinnamon and ginger)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds(optional)
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/2-2/3 cup olive oil(I didn't measure)
1/3 cup water(or more if it looks too dry)
1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract

Mix dry stuff, mix wet stuff, mix all together and beat with an electic mixer til light. Spoon into a greased and sugared bundt pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes at 350(watch time because I am NOT sure how much I did this for because "someone" came along and screwed with the microwave timer when they baked a potato).

Let cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes, turn out onto platter and let cool completely(this is the hardest part for me)

I frosted this with a cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar frosting but a drizzly icing would be good too, as would nuts in the cake batter. It is soooo velvety good!

Oh Yum. Oh Yum Yum.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Our Weeeekend!

Saturday started off with Amy and I visiting a neighbor's garage sale. Didn't come up with anything, hers are usually pretty lame. We came home and played with the piggies and then I got serious about this:
(Don't forget to click for bigger images, I don't know why some are as dark as they are)

(this is what the "corner garden" used to look like, overgrown but green)

(for perspective, those boxes on the pole are over 5 feet up)

(these used to be several juniper bushes)

(this is what it looked like after the Great Thanksgiving Fire of 07)

(and this is what it looked like Saturday evening, still some work left but not now)

As you can see, we had our work cut out for us. Several weeks ago I hurriedly relocated about 45 daffodil bulbs from this bed because we thought they were going to tear up our yard to repair an oil line. I moved them to a smaller grouping in front of our dining room window. Saturday I dug up and replanted about 30 more that weren't up at the earlier transplanting. I also removed about 15 40-50 pound iron ore rocks from the bed and dug out huge clumps of monkey grass and some sunflowers(and replanted all of them elsewhere). Mark chopped out the roots and trunks of the burned up juniper and Ryan transported the rocks to the pool area. To say that we were tired would be an understatement. I actually felt sick after working 8+ hours non-stop!

(Daisy, the border collie mix)

The girls had a friend over for the afternoon and got to witness Daisy and Buddy catch a squirrel(and kill it of course). Lovely. Daisy managed to fall awkwardly on her tail. We think it could be broken or at least sprained. She can wag but can't raise it up over her back at all and she yelps when we touch it. Hopefully it is just some tender muscles and will heal up soon.

Today we tore into this:

We had to replace the fencing at the side of the house because it is 30 years old now and had withstood as long as it was going to. On Easter Sunday, the dogs managed to knock it loose from the house and escape down the road so we had to rig up a temporary fence until we could set new posts and put up new boards. Luckily Ryan's friend came back home from church with him so we had extra hands. Puppy-girl got to come out and help too. She managed to sneak away into our neighbor's backyard where she scared up a skunk!! I think he lives under their storage shed behind their shop. Thankfully it was after most of the work was done.

(Ryan and his friend Chris were HUGE helps)

(They and Mark worked on it for over 4 hours)

(although I don't know how Ryan could see to do much)

(the home stretch)

(apparently we opened a vortex, lookee at all the orbs!)

(oak from the yard where the fence was being fixed)

The tree removal man said to get the ivy off the tree or it would kill it. I am so on it!

I still managed to cook a nice dinner, parmesan skillet chicken and brown rice pudding. Yum!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The BAbiEs aRe hERe!!!

Born sometime before 5:45, probably around 3am. I think the white one is a sow and the dark one is a boar(but that could change, it usually does). We're so happy that she's finally delivered, they are HUGE babies!!! I know she must feel better for it! The girls are working on baby names right now. Possibly Sugar(or Sweetie) and Toffee.***updated to include video!***

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

This is the only thing on my mind...

She is SOOOO huge and soooo miserable! As of 9pmCST she is still very pregnant. Poor baby!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Gonna be a GRAMMA!!

Mark came in from work asking if I was a gramma yet. Haha, very clever. All systems are go. I'm thinking she'll deliver late, late tonight or tomorrow morning. My bet: 2 boars, 2 sows.