Sunday, February 24, 2013

start at the beginning, it's a very fine place to start

Since we have been in this house for more than ten years, we decided we'd start the process of freshening up the paint in the inside of the house.  King and I sat down and did the math. Although we would much rather hire a professional painter and never have to climb on a ladder or get down on the floor to paint baseboards again, it just isn't smart, financially speaking.  One room can be painted with a $30 gallon of paint, plus share the trim and door gallons with other rooms.  So our whole house should be able to be updated with a tiny fraction of what we'd spend otherwise.

We had two days to kick off the project (since we are trying hard to rest on Sunday), and decided that the two rooms that needed updating the most were the kids' rooms.  On the long list: ceilings, walls, crown, baseboards, and windows.  There was no way we could get it all done, so we did what we could.

Starting with the boys' room, we finished the ceiling, walls, and the two doors.  The walls are painted in Valspar's Evening Eclipse, a blueish gray.  It looks so nice.  They did have a pale yellow in there, which I loved, but it got smeared by one too many toddler boogers.  The antique beds they have look amazing against the color.  They are very proud of how their room looks.  I hope that translates into "we keep our room clean now."

The girls' room.... well, let's just say everybody makes mistakes, shall we?  Upside: waking in the morning should be a bit easier.  King has decided that Valspar's Aqua Quartz should be renamed Aquatic Nightmare.  Oy!  Is it ever bright!  Normally I would include a handy dandy little linky-poo, but since I have gotten spooked with this new level of security, Imma letcha Google the colors if you want.  It doesn't look terrib... hell, who am I kidding, yes it does.  But King did do a spectacular job painting.  Very professional.  If you are really good at the Pretend Game, you could convince yourself that you are a diamond ring inside a Tiffany & Co box.  But then, if you aren't that good at pretending, you try to focus on other things, like what a good job King did applying the paint to the walls.  And what straight lines those are along the ceiling.  Our juries are all still out on the color.  Their black furniture and black and white comforters complement it well.  I'm trying to like it....

Another thing we are doing to update the look of the house is to paint all the doors black.  Not the trim around the doors, just the doors themselves (look up "black door" on Pinterest.  You're welcome.)  It's a long process, as each door needs two coats of paint.  We've finished two doors.  No 1 is taking all the glass & brass doorknobs and brass keyhole thingamajiggers and boiling them in vinegar to soften the 100 year old paint and grime.  She then polishes them up with steel wool.  They look amazing.  Especially up against the black doors.  I oughtta take a picture and put it up h'yuh some day. Maybe I'll do that.  But just in case I get busy doing other things, don't hold your breath.

So in this whole painting thing, I have found yet another way to classify folks. Y'know, Movers/Shakers, Haves/Have Nots, etc.  So now we have the Rollers and the Cutters.
Some folk2s like to jump straight to the wall rolling first, rather than being patient and doing the "cut in" work.  I mean, get the instant gratification thing, that's exactly why we have a coffee pot that lets you sneak a cup in the middle of brewing.  But really, there are some things you just have to be patient and wait out.  If you are up late and think about it a lot, you could almost come up with a book title for the philosophy of it all:  The Tau of Paint.

But Imma take my tired arse to bed now.  I decided that offering up time on the elliptical machine for Lent isn't enough, so I have started getting lots of souls free from Purgatory by doing 30 second planks.  Was I really born with muscles in all those places?  Wow.  Ermazing.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

giving my family and friends fair warning

Because of some rather upsetting news (as in Blogger tells me what news feeds sends people over here and one of them is a not-so-nice site... and I am a little freaked out that some freak might use photos of my children on one of their sicko websites) within a day or two I will make my blog a "By Invitation Only" site.
I certainly still want my family and friends to read about the ramblings that come from a brain run by an overworked and underpaid mouse on a wheel, but I don't want any freakazoids coming here by accident and helping themselves to pictures of my wee tots.
So, when you return next time, you will be prompted to ask for permission to be part of those who can read about the drool on my blue suede shoes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


1) Why is a Stargazer lily so beautiful, but smells so bad?
The Amaryllis, on the other hand, has a light, fresh smell that I love.

2) Leek and potato soup.  Yum.

Monday, February 18, 2013

a picture postcard


from the base of Mt. Washmore

Sunday, February 17, 2013


much ado aldi about nothing 
Our town recently got an ALDI store.  We ventured out today to see what the fuss was all about.  I think it's cute how they have their little "ALDI facts" spread throughout the store, on their website, and in their weekly specials paper.
Our findings:  meh.  It's just ok.  I came up with some "facts" they can add to their own.

  • ALDI fact # 78: got moo?  No 3 thought it was too cramped, "I felt claustrophobic in there."  I couldn't agree more.  We were cattle.   
  • ALDI fact # 46: Cash only  They take cash, debit cards, or food stamps. Only.  They do not take credit cards, and they really don't care to take a check, although I guess they made an exception when I was about to walk away from $80 worth of groceries. 
  • ALDI fact # 83: Meat n' two veg  They have carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions.  And that's about the extent of their veggie section.
  • ALDI fact # 13: BYOB  They do not provide bags free of charge, although they are available for purchase.
  • ALDI fact #96: You won't see the homeless guy downtown pushing one of our carts, nor will you see one knocked over like a dead deer on the side of the road.  I don't mind so much the "insert your quarter *here* to get a shopping cart" business, because it kept the kids' interest piqued for the end of our trip when we could get the quarter back.  However, the guy who was in charge of helping folks figure the process out was a tad+ weird.
  • ALDI fact # 66:  It's not ok to spoon people you don't know.  Some freak followed me through the store and then bumped into me from behind on the way out of the store.  Eeek!  Do not touch me, stranger!  Haven't you ever heard of personal space?!?  Creepy Creeperville!
They have some really good bargains, like $2.69 for a gallon of milk (at least .30 cheaper than anywhere else in town), but, frankly, and I can't believe that I, of all skin flints, am saying this:  it's not worth the hassle.

file under: remember this forever

King and I wave to a friend as we pass by his home.

No 5: "Why were you waving?"

King: "Because we knew that man."

No. 5: "Well, who was it?"

Me:  "It was Ivey's dad."

No. 5:  "Who is Ivey?"

Me:  "She is your sister's friend."

No. 5:  "Ivey Profin?"

Friday, February 15, 2013

cutest thing ever!

Sometimes when things are misspelled, it is annoying... other times, it is as sweet as sugar pie.  Sort of like in this, that I found on the dining room table this morning. 

No 5 says it is a picture of a lamp.  And all the faces are the light beams coming out of the lamp.  Mommy, Daddy and her four siblings are represented by smiley faces. 
Isn't it so sweet that we mack her happy?

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Last night at midnight I was in a deep sleep when I heard an awful banging noise, I even felt our bed and the floor under it vibrating from the racket.  Determined to pull myself  out from the deep slumber, I forced my mouth to form the words. "Somebody is in our house!" "Somebody is in our house!"  No noise came out.  My eyes wouldn't open.  I was paralyzed in my bed. 
Time was of the essence, there were people who had broken into our home by climbing in the window of our dining room!  They didn't even care how much noise they were making, the brazen thugs.  They would be upstairs in no time.  We were not safe.  I had to get the phone and dial the police. 
My eyes were glued shut.  I could tell my tongue and teeth were trying to make the words, but my mouth wouldn't open.  I knew I'd have to keep saying it over and over until I was fully awake.  "Somebody is in our house!"  "Somebody is in our house!" My breath had to be pushed out to finally get even a whisper of a noise out. 

Finally I was awake.  "Somebody is in our house!" I was at last able to say in an audible tone. 

King awoke.  "What?! Are you sure?  I didn't hear anything?"  He looked over at the keypad, "The alarm is still on."  But with my insistance that I felt the bed shake from all the noise, he grabbed his shotgun and headed downstairs.   

Nobody.  Everything was safe.  He looked out the windows and all was normal.  We heard traffic sounds from a couple of blocks away.  He climbed back into bed and I tried to settle myself down.  We listened to the nighttime noises for awhile and tried to explain away what it was I could have heard and felt. 

Such a weird feeling.  Such a very weird feeling. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

my first granny square

Lookie h'yeh what I done did, y'all! 
I am so excited! So, I suppose if I am going to make an afghan, I only have about a bazillion more to do.  Better get started.

my plan for today

After I go to Ash Wednesday Mass today, I am going to the CSS Thrift Shop with crossed fingers to try to find a crochet hook and some yarn that someone may have donated... because today is the day I will be learning to crochet.  Thanks to a cold, wet, drizzly weather forecast and a seriously awesome series of YouTube videos, I am planning to have at least one Granny Square finished by the end of the day. 

I am lucky to have had two grandmothers who made things with their hands.  My father's mother, whose treadle sewing machine is still oiled and ready to be used, has made a gazillion or so quilts (hand-made actually), among many garments.  My mother's mother was a master at Needle Arts (I'd bet if you were to ask my Mom, there's a joke in there somewhere!) - needlepointing, cross stitching, knitting, and crocheting.  She taught me how to needlepoint, cross stitch, and started teaching me how to knit - although the visit ended before I learned how to "tie off", but, I'm just gonna brag a little about the fact that I had one seriously cool, extremely long strip of an unfinished knitting project going as a teenager!

Never before now have I appreciated the beauty of Granny Square afghans.  Perhaps it is seeing them on so many Pinterest photos, but more than likely, I suspect it is the fact that it makes me nostalgic for the rare times I spent tapped into the creative mind of a previous generation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the next 40 days

What are you giving up/incorporating into your life this Lenten season?

My kids have sworn off:
  • fighting with each other
  • candy
  • gum (^? You'd think.... but no.  It apparently needs its own classification.)
  • cracking knuckles
  • TV
  • computer time
  • sweets ('cept the cake and ice cream on no 5's burffday)
King and I are also giving up sweets, offering up the torturous time on the elliptical for souls in purgatory (or where ever there are souls who need somebody offering something up for them), and, as special family time, reading/discussing the upcoming Sunday's Mass readings (y'know.. since we'll be all "Kumbaya", "the Lion shall lie down with the Lamb", etc.  from the lack of fighting siblings).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

your family will thank me

I made dinner ahead of time, as I had a meeting at 5:30.

Midway through my meeting, I noticed that King had sent a text.  It read:  Best sweet n' sour chicken I have ever had. Period.

I got the recipe from .... well, Pinterest...  but when I followed the links, I traced it back to an adorable wife and mother named Holly who has a food blog called Life as a Lofthouse where she shares simple and delicious recipes. 
(ps- Simple + Delicious = my two favorite words)

It is dead easy and King was right ~  Best. Ever.

*Note where I tweaked the recipe a bit.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
The chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts *I used a package of fresh chicken breast tenderloins because that was what no 1, who lovingly agreed to run by the store on her way home, picked out
salt + pepper *I was lazy and left this out
1 cup cornstarch *or 3/4 of a cereal bowl full
2 eggs, beaten *I used four eggs
1/4 cup canola oil *mm, that was prolly about right
The sweet and sour sauce:
*If you like things "saucy", I would double this.  I noticed when it was baking that the chicken was soaking it up, so I made a second batch and we had enough for the sauce to get mixed in with the rice.
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your chicken breasts *or not in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste *or don't. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. **If I had've had green onions, I would have sliced them and added them at this point.  Next time.  Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes *or once if you are lazy like me.
**Holly also includes a recipe for fried rice on her post.  Because I was rushed for time, I just made regular rice with some handfuls of the frozen pea/corn/carrot mix and added some soy sauce to the water when I first put it on to cook.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

forever in our hearts


Foreign exchange students arrived for the month a few days ago.  We didn't host anyone, because I know that no one can ever compare to our sweet girl.
Whenever any of us smell Coco Chanel's Mademoiselle perfume, we think of her.
Bright eyes, beautiful smile.
Though she belongs to a wonderful family all her own, she fit right into our family.  She even looked like one of our kids with her blonde hair and blue eyes.

I hope the families that host this year will fall in love with their exchange students just like we did five years ago.

Monday, February 4, 2013

bombycilla cedrorum en mass

Once per year, just before Spring bursts forth, the Cedar Waxwings stop by to say hello.
Today was that day.
King and I were having lunch and I noticed that there was some clambering just outside.  Through the open shutters I saw that our birdbath was covered in a throng of the sweet little cheery sprites.
I wish they would stick around, but alas, over the years I have learned that my birdbath must be some sort of landmark, a little rest stop along their migration route.

a day in the life: dinner conversation

"What part of the animal are we eating?" no. 5

"Beef."  no. 3

"What does beef come from?" no. 5

"A cow."  King

"Ugh! (completely disgusted) We're eating a cow!?!" no. 4

"What? (equally as disgusted) Are you going to become a vegan or something?" no. 3

"No!  Pfft. (in an exasperated tone) I don't want to be a veterinarian! Pfft." no. 4

here's my sign: work in progress

Lookie here what I done made.

But, as it usually is with me, there's a story behind it.  Y'see, it's like this:

Without sounding like a Holy Roller....
wait, who said, "too late!"? 
 .....our group has been looking at the Big Ten with a little bit stronger magnifying glass.  This week's chapter was regarding the Fourth - Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
Well, He has had me work on this one before.  I remember a couple of years ago hearing that I should not be doing work for which I earn money, so I have made some progress on this one.  But with seven people living in these 3000 sq ft, and what with Monday being the next day and all, well it's a little difficult not to take full advantage of the fact that everyone is home from work/school and I have many more hands to help do the chores.  So Sunday has typically been our catching-up-from-the-week-getting-prepared-for-the-next-week chore day.
When I looked through that magnifying lens....
I realized that it's not just the "work for pay" thing He means.   
And so, I realized I have some more time coming up soon in the Refiner's kiln.
My sassy, "*ugh* Why now, Lord?!" stream of consciousness moments included: 
  • Frankly speaking, it's a little inconvenient, seeing as the house has not had a decent spring cleaning for many springtimes now.
  • Grumble, grumble.
  • But, I have a list!
However, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, and I can't ignore His voice.
I shared what was going on with King.  We talked it over and then together came up with a goal, which he thought was brilliant.
("Aahhh, more time on the golf course for me", he no doubt realized.)
So, we sat down with the kids and told them what was going on.  "We've been getting it wrong for quite some time now.  And so because Daddy and I are still learning and growing in God's ways, we have come up with a goal...
not. doing. anything.on.Sundays.
There was much rejoicing.
I told them how hard it was going to be (for me especially), and to not expect (me) to get it right all the time, but that it was a goal to work toward.  "We are going to start the spring cleaning process (trust me, it'll be late summer before it's all done) on Saturday and bust. it. until time to get ready for Saturday night's Vigil Mass.  Then we are done until Monday.
It is so stupid, but I was petrified.  I even had to pray about it, "Lord, I don't know how to relax.  I'm gonna need help on this one."
What would I even do to relax?  It's too soon to think I could just sit around on a couch or laze around outside (besides it's much too cold for my self-diagnosed-Raynaud's-diseased self).  I thought about it for quite some time.
What will I do to relax?  What do I enjoy? 
King and no. 2 had no problem coming up with their relaxing activity:  golf!  Heck, even no. 5 signed up to accompany them.  "I wanna go, I love golfin'!"  She even picked out an outfit and had it sitting on the bed for the upcoming "holiday."
(Interesting to note: the origin of the word holiday
is actually from two words holy day)
Sunday morning.  I had decided what to do.  First of all I was going to put on my dressier clothes - the ones I wore to Mass the night before.  It would remind me that I couldn't do any cleaning, lest I bleach my favorite pants.  Second of all I would play games (Parcheesi with no. 4 and no. 1), and the thing I would do to relax would be to make the doll I have always wanted to make, but never took the time to.
And so there you have it.  But I think I may have still gotten it wrong....  because as I type this, I realize that I am still using the term 'do'... to try to define the concept of 'relax.'
I am going to be on the lookout for a stronger powered magnifier to see if I can find the answer on how to simply 'be.'  In the meantime, I guess I will stick to 'doing' things I simply enjoy.

ps-Jayne and I folded laundry this morning.  She agreed to be my visual reminder of the 'no work on Sunday' goal.

does this bother any of y'all...

...when people who 'aren't from around here' think that
Southerners are so damn stupid?
Slow burning coals of anger,
passed down through
Yankee, go home!

Friday, February 1, 2013


Ok, let me start by saying I can't stand it when the kids (or "whomever....") heat up something in the microwave and then walk away from the mess it may leave.  I have begged and pleaded, but... (I know, I don't really have to finish that sentence, do I?) 

So, I saw on a certain website a tip for cleaning microwaves. 

"Surely it can't be that easy," I thought.

But, yep.  It was that easy.

I put 2 cups of water and 1-ish cups of vinegar in my one quart capacity glass measuring cup.  Then I put it in the nasty microwave and turned it on for 6 minutes.  The water started boiling.  I got nervous, but plodded along with my experiment.  The microwave turned off, but I left the door closed.  Five minutes later, I opened the door, wiped the steamy microwave clean simply using a paper towel.  Amazing.