Sunday, September 28, 2008

A post in which I ramble on about our weekend...

We hosted the first Teen Thing(a tailgate party) for the homeschool group we're in. There were 4 girls and 4 boys, including 2 sets of siblings. The kids had a blast but the movie ended up being too slow for them to stay with so the boys went out front to play football in the road with Mark. Of course the girls had to follow and turned into complete giggleboxes running in and out of the house. It was good times for sure! Next month's Teen Thing to be a trip to the Yamboree, a local festival, where they can run around riding rides and acting cool. I've never been even though I have lived just down the road from this town most of my life. Can't wait to see what I've been missing! There is even a STREET DANCE!! Woot!

Saturday morning Mark and I got up and moved old fencing and deck boards over to his parents land. His dad will use some of the decking to make a bridge over a creek bed. All that heavy lifting tired me out so to I had to find neat things to photograph while Mark huffed the remaining 90% of the pile to the back of the Suburban.

Ryan and his (homeschooled) buddies pulled some stupid teenage tricks Saturday morning that resulted in a squad car bringing them home from down the street where they'd egged a house. It darn near landed one of them in jail(not Ryan) because of an illegal knife. This has resulted in his loss of communication with the offender probably permanently. We've had issues with this particular boy off and on for a few years so this isn't a rash decision.

Then, just hours later, we learned that the brother of one of Ryan's other(public schooled) friends had been in possession of illegal drugs while Ryan was there. So, he's basically lost ALL of his friends in one fell swoop. It was well past time to nip that one in the bud for a number of reasons. We had actually already decided last week to keep Ryan away from that household due to ongoing(and worsening) "domestic problems" with the mom and her babydaddy. Lovely huh? Now we've had to ban him from his church youth group because these kids are a part of it. I'd like to talk to the youth pastor sometime about this. For now its better to cut it off cold turkey than to have to plan some intricate dance for every single interaction. Sigh.

We took Ryan's spend-the-night friends home later in the afternoon, then Sarah and I took Amy to stay with a new friend.

This morning we(minus Amy) went to my favorite walking trail for some exercise, then to BAM for coffee and free magazines. I found many cool decorating and cooking mags and will be going back later in the week for more ideas! Amy came home after church with her friend. We ate turkey and swiss cheese on foccacia sandwiches for lunch, very yummy. Mark took Ryan and Sarah to the mall for shoelaces(for his dress shoes or something). I messed around with glitter while Amy took a bath.

(I'm not finished my Autumn decorating by any means. None of these folks are relations)

(If you look closely at the ghost you can see that he's made from a Club cracker box. The only white paint I had was a metallic and it didn't cover well. Luckily it doesn't show unless hit with the right light)

We had a great dinner, Sausage, Kale and White Bean Pasta, and everyone is now resting their tummies. This is another of my "what's in the pantry" dinners.

1 pound lean turkey breakfast sausage(or Italian if you want)
2 cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 bunch kale, coursely chopped, large stems removed
garlic and onions to taste(powder or actual veggies)
dash of cayenne pepper(this makes it, in my opinion)
1 teaspoon savory spice
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 box rotini pasta
handfuls of cheddar cheese, grated

Brown sausage well. Add tomato stuff, spices, and kale. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then. Add beans to sausage and kale, continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes or so. Start pasta cooking. When the pasta is almost done, drain it well and add to sausage mixture. Stir well, cover and cook about 10 more minutes til pasta is tender. Serve in bowls with cheese. Yum!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is this not the cutest?

Jasper was sleeping on Amy's bed this afternoon so Sarah put Tallulah next to him. He started grooming her! Isn't it sweet!

*~*~*~I got the other pics from the girls' computer! Here's Jasper with Tallulah on him and Gypsy beside and one of Gypsy with Tallulah from last night.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Hubby Meme...

(Mark with a new baby Buttercup)

Blatantly stolen from Jeanne's(Backyard Neighbor) blog. In light of the fact that I've known my hubby for over 19 years now and because I don't mention him often in my blogging, I thought I'd do this for him.

1. He's sitting in front of the TV; what is on the screen?
Probably any kind of football or a drama of some kind(Sarah Connor Chronicles and Fringe are current faves) or America's Funniest Videos.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
Ranch baby, he loves it(as do the girls). And we eat this at HOME, not "out to eat" because he loves my cooking best(smart man).

3. What's one food he doesn't like?
He's not a big fan of yellow squash, no matter what I do to it.

4. You go out to the bar. What does he order?
A dark beer.

5. Where did he go to high school?
Longview High School

6. What size shoe does he wear?
size 9

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be?
He used to collect sports junk.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?
Italian sub or hot turkey and swiss with honey mustard and olives.

9. What would this person eat every day if he could?

10. What is his favorite cereal?
Honey Nut Cheerios are what he most often eats but I don't think he loves them. He'd rather eat Count Chocula or something like that.

11. What would he never wear?
A dress.

12. What is his favorite sports team?
Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns

13. Who will he vote for?
I'm not sure he knows yet.

14. Who is his best friend?
Yours truly.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?
Leave messes, he is a neat freak.

16. How many states has he lived in?
Two, Texas and Oklahoma(for 7 months)

17. What is his heritage?
He is adopted and we have no idea. We want to find out someday though.

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake?

19. Did he play sports in high school?
Nope. Now he plays city league softball and runs.

20. What could he spend hours doing?
Fishing, listening to his favorite music, watching sports, detailing his car...

Monday, September 22, 2008

18 Years Ago...

I married this man! And I love him more than ever. I'm not a sappy person so this is as far as it goes.

When he gets home from work we plan to eat chicken fajitas(cooked on the grill), drink some hard apple cider, and watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Its our idea of the perfect evening!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Smitten with Kitten...

Isn't she cute??

She even has a tiny stuffed animal to sleep with, a teeny beanie leopard. This is her favorite place to sleep. An upside down pet bed with super soft covers on top of the girl guinea pig cage, so she can keep an eye on them.

We are 99% sure that she has Manx Syndrome. Last night she had two accidents while on the bed(there is another super soft cover down so she's not on our sheets) so it looks like she can't feel when she needs to go every time(sometimes she does know and will use the litter box). We're going to start with canned pumpkin for fiber and a low residue food that's easier to digest. It may or may not help, it will depend on how much sensation the extra fiber can give her.

Meanwhile, we're loving on her as much as possible and enjoying her adorableness.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Guess who is in LOVE!!

(Tally and Mark)

Actually, we all are! Amy was asking about who might "adopt" her and Mark said someone already had. He has claimed her as HIS cat!

She slept between my shoulder blades ALL night the first night. Last night she slept in the crook of my arm and under my chin, ALL night long. She plays herself to exhaustion and then just crashes! This morning she played in the curtains with Gypsy and Jasper. They don't really know what she is but they'll chase her and she'll jump on their tails, it is SO cute! She still looks like a chupacabra but her personality more than makes up for it, she is a MESS! The guinea pigs fascinate her, they're just her size, but slightly fatter(ok, a whole lot fatter). Even Rosie plays with her. Ruby and Muffin are the hold-outs but they're more indifferent than anything.

We still don't know if she suffers from Manx Syndrome or not. She is so very young that her symptoms might be related to not having a mom to clean her hiney. After lunch yesterday she has had no problems with leaky booty. She did poop on the bed twice though. It might be that she can't feel the urge sometimes but we've seen her go in the litterbox several times. I'm hoping its just her body adjusting to different foods, different place, the vaccinations and worm meds she got, etc. but only time will tell. You can read about the breed, including the syndrome, HERE.

In other news...

We are working in the garage today since we got hurricaned last weekend. Our plan is to get rid of 75% of the furniture and junk out there(and put out rat poison). Hopefully I'll find some materials to make a headboard from.
****update to say we are NOT working in the garage today. Mark's neck and upper back are hurting him today, probably from all the driving to hither and yon that he's been doing. So, now I don't know what we'll do other than go get my medicine from Walmart pharmacy. Wow we are so exciting!!

I've got two roasts in the crockpot for dinner tonight. I'll fix mashed potatoes, field peas and a big cucumber salad to go with. Can't wait!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Chupacabra of my very own!!

We are "fostering" her until a forever home can be found.

Her name is Tallulah, meaning "leaping water". She is a Manx cat, around 5-6 weeks old. Her hair is the weirdest color I've ever seen on a cat. Part of what makes it look so strange is that there are dark grey guard hairs over blondish under hairs. It makes her look bald but she isn't at all. Her belly is distended because she had worms but the rescuer had her treated for all worms so that should be gone by the end of the weekend, I hope. We are watching for Manx Syndrome and I hope, hope, hope, she doesn't have this and is just having worm or kitten issues.

Anyway, that's that. Ryan managed to find the loose snake tonight, thank God! I didn't post about his escape but did write some of my commenters about it. We will be releasing it at the park tomorrow or Saturday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Snakes alive!

(bitty baby rat snake -link)

We won't be keeping this beauty for long, they grow to nearly 7 feet long and have nasty tempers. I've already been bitten. Besides, I don't let the kids keep wild animals for more than a week or so. They live better in the wild. We let the frog go today and the baby mouse went Sunday afternoon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A new, um, pet!

His name is Joe and he lives in our living room. Ryan found him on a downed limb at Mark's parents place yesterday. We looked up care for him and have everything he needs except crickets. It might be sow bugs if Ryan can't find any soon. This is his habitat.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Surviving Ike...

Be sure and click each image to enlarge it, I uploaded them smaller than usual.

(fire on powerline behind our house, 3pm-ish)

(two hours later)

First, please say a prayer or three for the folks in southeast Texas and south Louisiana. Those who stayed by choice(or not) and those who evacuated will need our prayers and good thoughts directed toward them for a good long while, as well as the people who are providing them aid. I can only imagine what hell they are all enduring. All of my relatives in the Houston area and Galveston are alive(and uninjured as far as I know). None of them left but they are now stuck there with no power, and I'm pretty sure, no way out.

Ike hit us with 45mph winds for much of Saturday. Late in the afternoon they started picking up even more. No national channels were showing it but they actually increased to around 70mph according to the National Weather Service. It was pretty rough here til well after dark.

We were so, so fortunate. Our power was only off for 6 hours so it wasn't the "real deal", but I consider this to be a great learning experience since I've never been through anything like this in my life(that I can remember). We know what we needed and didn't have(paper plates and cups, C batteries for the radio) and what we had but didn't need(get-away bags with clothing and shoes). Our biggest issue was that many of our things for cooking(camping gear in other words) were still in the attic.

In east Texas we are usually dodging tornadoes which are sudden disasters. However, in the event a tornado destroys power lines, we'd be in the same shape even if it didn't come near our house. Definitely eye-opening!

(backyard during the first part of the storm, it did get worse)

(limbs from our tree, not really limbs though, more like twigs)

(girls helping with the clean-up)

There are dozens of trees down in our neighborhood and a house one street over lost half its shingles. Mark had to deliver some beds to a temporary shelter(for over 500 of our town's own residents!) this evening(Sunday) and there are powerlines down behind their building. He and the other driver decided to park outside when they brought the trucks back, in front of the store, instead of trying to navigate around them in the dark.

Damage around Longview was extensive, obviously not like what it south of us but I bet there is at least one tree down in every neighborhood. You can go to the Longview News-Journal's photo gallery for pictures from after the storm or their Seeya page(look for ChrisG's pics). At one point there were 170,000 people in our area without power. I have friends less than 3 miles from me who will be without it for 3 more days.

(Mark helping clear limbs at his parents house)

(gorgeous velvety mushroom)

(tree that fell across the back of Mark's parents home)

(same tree, diffent shot)

(more natural beauty)

(fallen tree branch)

Mark's uncle and his wife are staying with Mark's parents until it is safe to go home. They heard today that they have as much as 3 feet of water in their home. We are having all of them over for dinner tomorrow and to watch football.

(more limbs, different pile)

(monkey grass off the front porch)

(Amy in front of limb pile)

(the dangerous thing, dead copperhead)

(another of the beautiful things)

(tree across the path to the back pasture, held up by a tree on the other side)

Friday, September 12, 2008

In Solidarity(breastfeeding mentioned)...

Please read this unbelievable story(and the follow-up). I don't understand why folks still have such problems with this!

I nursed my last "baby" til 3 months before her 5th birthday. Yeah, she's just fine. In fact, she's my most precocious child by far. She potty trained herself(need help? no thank you, do it myself) at around 20 months. She didn't, wouldn't take a bottle or sippy cup, it had to be me. I nursed her in cars, I nursed her in stores, at barbecues, at other social occasions, at church, in front of friends, and in front of strangers. Basically whenever she asked. No one ever said anything to me, thank God, but there were times when I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable. Still, I rarely covered up(who the heck carries a blanket around with their third child??).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Isn't this just the cutest thing?

(we are feeding it birdseed)

(the rock is about the size of a racquet ball or chicken egg)

(we'll turn it loose after all the hurricane rains have gone)


(image from google, modified by me)

I have friends, family, and friends with family all along the northern half of the Texas Gulf Coast. Ike is gaining intensity and headed right for them. It will probably strike in the dead of night Friday. We have some air mattresses and an extra queen bed if anyone needs a place to crash. The hotels are all booked.

We'll be getting rain for the weekend and early next week. I'm going grocery shopping today for bread and non-perishables.

In other news...

We had a freaking BOMB SCARE yesterday!

Some maroon(aka James Earl Faye, I mean if you're gonna be making deadly weapons you need a good strong Texas name don't you?) in our neighborhood apparently had a PIPE BOMB in his apartment! The kids and I were on the driveway waiting for Mark to pick us up to go out for some dinner. Our neighbor across from our driveway came out and was yelling something. There were too many cars passing between us so finally I had to run across to see what she was saying. It had sounded like "bob cat" or something. She told me there was a bomb somewhere at the end of our street and the ATF was on their way to detonate it and we might not want to be standing on our driveway. Soooo, we went back inside and got Mark to pull up to the front of the house. The story was not on the news we watched last night but we did find it in the paper today.

I seriously doubt I'll get any crafting done before the hurricane. Too much to see to, but didn't we just do this? We have park day tomorrow for our homeschool group, that will be a nice distraction.

Oh, remember when I had my little heart attack scare that turned out to be Costochondritis? Well, I had it again last night and have figured out the trigger! My first episode happened while I was cleaning off the entertainment center and watching a show about a very sick baby in a NICU. After reading that Costochondritis can be triggered by emotional events as well as physical, I kinda had a hunch that was part of it. So last night, after the bomb scare, we were watching a show about a lesbian couple who had fertilized eggs implanted and both were pregnant with twins. One of the baby boys was having breathing problems and had to be intubated and ended up with a brain bleed, etc, etc. Anyway, about 10 minutes before the end of the show, I got shortness of breath, flush feeling, heart palpitations and weak feeling. I had to lay down and just could not get it to go away. It was a panic attack!!! Now I truly believe that these attacks are the direct result of me subconciously reliving the time when Ryan was born with lung issues and had to be flown on a helicopter to the NICU at Willis-Knighton in Shreveport. He was there for 5 days and has suffered no lasting effects from his difficulties but apparently I have. Definitely no more NICU shows for me, thanks! Maybe I should swing by the healthfood store for some Rescue Remedy too. hmmm.

Oh yeah, one more thing. We rescued a baby mouse from the pool yesterday. No pictures as it is TINY. This baby could sit on a nickel and wouldn't cover it. We have it in the snake habitat(no snake) and plan to release it after all the rains are gone. It is getting bird seed for meals and a wash cloth to hide under. The kitties are completely enchanted.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Inspired by...

These felted leaves. I was googling for something to do with some of my smaller scraps of felted wool and came across this fun project from one of my favorite unschooly, crafty persons. They are just the inspiration I was looking for!

Alas, Jasper had other plans for my felt which did not include me touching it.

Gypsy, however, was all about the crafting today. She helped Sarah, Amy and I make jeans for Pink Panther!(click for the detailed versions)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

And now for some WAY cuter rodents(and some fabric)!

(Echo and Basil)

(Echo's other side)

(Moonshine and his daddy Basil)

(Meadow, Echo's sister)

(Meadow showing off how gorgeous she is)

And, here is the fabric I bought to cover the computer chair I got from Goodwill a few weeks ago. It will end up being a bit more complicated than I'd hoped. There are tabs with grommets and a plastic piece that goes across part of it. I've got to examine it closer and see what I need to do.

(this shows the pattern best)

(this shows the color best, sort of, the lights aren't quite as light as here and the dark is a rich dark chocolate. between Muffin's hind end and the date stamp are the most true colors-at least on my monitor)