Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amnesia again

Here it is 3:30 in the afternoon. I finally had a cup of tea and some toast. Mostly, I have slept.. and may go back to bed soon.

The ulcers are gone. I am off Carafate, but will be on Nexium for a year.

The doc discovered other things while he was in there: Gastritus, Diverticulosis, and a Hiatus Hernia.

Fun, Huh?


We had an adventure yesterday. Dan and I left plenty early for his 8:30 appointment. Unfortunately, the Doc was already running behind. It was close to 10 before we got out of there. With a prescription requiring a stop at the pharmacy. So I got lunch meat while we were in WalMart, and the kids made quick sandwiches while I got some chili on to cook in the slow cooker.

Then we headed to Berryville, to visit Laurie and Andrew and their family. We made it through Rogers... and the van began acting very strange... a transmission problem. We got off the road into a parking lot of a building that was for sale- well out of harm's way. There was transmission fluid all over the van- so much, in such a short time, I diagnosed we had probably blown a hose. Stephen and I soon found where the upper hose to the transmission cooler had come off at the hose clamp.

We called Tom, but meanwhile, Stephen and Tommy went to work with their handy-dandy pocket tools... Think Swiss army knife. They had to work THROUGH the grill- about a 1.25" gap. But the hose was reconnected before Tom arrived with transmission fluid and a funnel. Stephen and I had decided that the repair shop that fixed the deer damage had not secured the transmission fluid cooler properly when the van was repaired. It was dangling from the hose that had blown off. We had Tom pick up some zip ties, and secured the cooler to the grill.

It was a very late start, but we made it on over to Berryville. Our visit was fun, but necessarily cut short with the falling dusk. Ty'ger consented to sit right beside of me while we girls visited. Once he was tired of girl talk, he went to visit with his Daddy, and the guys.

Sam challenged a full grown turkey, who didn't like Sam's aggressive challenge. He threatened to whip Sam proper... which most of us found pretty funny. Laurie and Andrew's new house is really shaping up... for pictures, visit their blog by linking through "Laurie's place" on my sidebar.

We got home well after dark, and had some of the delicious venison chili for supper.

Ok, I'm headed back off to rest some more!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sometimes, you just listen

Sunday mornings are usually quiet at Oreilly Auto Parts. Yesterday, I had barely clocked in when the phone rang. I answered... an elderly lady was asking about several parts for her truck. She said she really needed to get it fixed, as her husband had wanted her to use it as a farm truck. Maybe I remembered her husband?

While I didn't remember her husband specifically, her son (or grandson?) had been in last weekend. Oreilly tracks customer warranties by phone number. When this young man gave me the phone number, two names came up. I asked which he was Doug, or Dan? His eyes filled with tears and he told me Dan had passed away a few days before. I did remember the name from that encounter.

The lady went on to tell me all about how her husband had passed away- very suddenly. She was sobbing softly as she spoke. It had only been two weeks yesterday since he died, and she just needed to talk. Sometimes it is easier to talk to strangers- and she told me the whole story.

I'm glad we were not busy, and I had time just to hear her out.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Blowing a Gasket

The turkey and dumplings was sooo good. I made it early, and we had it for lunch. I added more dumplings at supper, and it was even better the second time.

Mostly yesterday, we cleaned and I did laundry. LOTS of laundry. Seems all of the sheets and blankets I was finding for Becky's visit, were covered in dog hair. I washed load after load of blankets, sheets, and pillows. (For some reason, the boys have an aversion to pillow cases... which means the pillows themselves had to be washed. Grr.)

I must have washed eight or nine loads of blankets and pillows and comforters. As they came out of the dryer, the boys were commanded to put them away WHERE THE DOGS COULD NOT GET ON THEM. This morning, I went to borrow Ben's computer to check my email. Piled on the bottom bunk in Ben's room was all the laundered bedding. Covered in dog fur... a dog nested in the middle of them.

I had a meltdown. As Hank the Cowdog describes Sally Mae- A Thermonuclear Moment.

So, Becky, I TRIED to have things clean and dog-fur- free for you. I have to go to work now and won't be able to re-do it all again today.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Quiet Morning

Mr C was noisy this morning. For once, he slept soundly until the alarm went off. I was the one with the restless night. He got up... and I tried to go back to sleep. After the fourth... or fifth... time he came back into the bedroom, turned on the overhead light, and rummaged through the desk, I should have given up and got up. But I didn't. I tried to go back to sleep. The harder I tried, the more awake I became. I got up... woke Dan to take his every-8-hour antibiotic, and visited the blogs I read. Dan went back to bed, after telling me he got cold during the night last night.

I had asked the Doctor that saw his staph infection, whether dogs can spread it. We have cleaned, and cleaned and cleaned. I have heard that fleas can spread it... and despite frequent washings and all manner of chemicals, Drover and Jaffa both tend to cart around a flea or three. So Drover, who usually sleeps with Daniel, was banished from the bed. Doggies are warm critters!
We cooked a delicious meal last night: Turkey breast (hey, they really DO cook fast!) in the PC roaster, skillet stuffing (saute celery and onions in olive oil, add pan juices from the turkey plus a bit of canned chicken broth, a handful of dried craisins, and a box of Stovetop stuffing. Stick it in the oven the last 15- 20 minutes before supper), Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and gravy.) Ben got off at 6:00 pm, when Wal Mart closed for the Christmas holiday, so he got to eat with us.

Ben said he wasn't really busy over in produce, but the store was packed all day. People were actually parking in the grass! I know the Dollar General store was packed. I made a town run to find french fried onions for the green bean casserole, plus pick up a few more little birthday items for Tom. (A couple more pair of reading glasses... the two pair I got him at Thanksgiving have BOTH already fallen apart, another sudoku book...)

I have seen five or six cars at a time in the Dollar General parking lot .... but there were probably 30 or more there yesterday. I really try to stay away from town between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, it just seems I have had to go to town way too much.

On today's agenda... Ben's room getting cleaned. The 'guest bed' inflatable mattress being located, and sufficient bedding being located for it. Air beds are NOT warm, so I will need extra padding between the mattress and sheets.

Maybe we will tackle re-doing the laundry/ storage room. All of the junk we have no room for is stacked in there. All the boxes still packed from the last time we were "just about to move". The kitty "box". We have partly solved Al's litter box problem. She was going in laundry baskets, and when we began putting those up out of range, I saw that the way she used her kitty box was faulty. One those front paws hit the litter... she "went". Except her business end was still out of the box. So we brought in a huge tub that cattle feed is sold in. It is a "half barrel" in size, a good 20" deep. She has to get inside of it, and nothing can hang over the sides. It has helped a lot, though is people leave baskets down, or dirty clothes on the floor... she still has accidents. The poor senile kitty is 17 years old.

I have been trying to think of what to make for supper tonight. I am leaning hard to turkey and dumplings. At some point in the next couple of days, I will either have to bake the Mississippi Mud cake for Tom's birthday, or assign one of the kids to do it. If I bake it early, he will be into it early. I simply won't have time to do it on his birthday Saturday. (Working 8-5).
Have a blessed day today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mom radar...

I went to bed last night with Daniel's full assurance that he would take his last doses of antibiotics for the day before he went to bed.

At a few minutes before 2 am, I was having some interesting, complicated dream about who knows what... when I was brought instantly awake by a small call of "mom?".

I was completely awakened by the call. He had called softly, just once, from the hallway outside my bedroom door.

How many years has it been since I have had to have the "mom radar" on alert for calls in the night?

The twins were three or four when they began sleeping through the night consistently... in their own beds. They are 12 now.

Daniel had fallen asleep and forgotten to take his antibiotics. When he awoke at nearly 2, he wasn't sure what he should do. Strangely, he woke up at exactly the time that the 3X a day medication SHOULD have been taken, if I had been adhering to a strict every 8 hours schedule.

Not wanting to set an alarm and waken him during the night, I had just said for him to take both antibiotics when the 2X a day was due up, which was just about the time he normally heads for bed on a weekend. (During the week, Dan is usually in bed early, as I am. So I didn't think 10:30 was too late for him to be counted on to take his drugs without a reminder.)

His arm looks significantly better today.

The bathroom has been disassembled down to the fixtures and tile... scrubbed... and all the contents sprayed with Lysol before being returned.

In other rooms, the couches were sprayed, the doorknobs, light switches, video game controls, Mouses... (Why isn't the plural of a computer mouse "mice"?), keyboards, Dan's mattress. His bedding was washed again. (We have been washing it almost daily since this outbreak.)

This morning, Ben was already dressed for work when I came out. His hours as The Banana King were changed today... working 9 am to 6:00pm. Ben was looking for his toothbrush. I told him where the one tray of bathroom items was that had missed being replaced yesterday. His toothbrush wasn't there. Why wasn't it with the rest of the toothbrushes? Because Ben keeps his in the SHOWER on the hanging shampoo caddy. I had thought the toothbrush I found there was a scrubbing toothbrush... and had doused it with Lysol.

EEEEW! WHY would he keep his toothbrush in the shower?

(Fortunately, I keep a supply of new toothbrushes on hand)

Today we will repeat the cleaning of the twins' bedroom. Only with MOM's idea of 'finished' instead of Dad's. The shelves will be wiped down, their Lego creations and other collections sprayed with Lysol. I intend to conquer this stinking staph germ!

Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And the doctor said...

No more monkeys jumping on the bed!

Oh wait, this wasn't about the monkeys jumping on the bed. It was about Daniel. He has, as we suspected, a severe staph infection. He is now on TWO antibiotics for 15 days each. Next week we go back, and he may then be prescribed a soap that kills the bacteria. Apparently, this soap is so strong, it is not recommended for people under 14, and downright forbidden for ages below 10. The doctor says he will research its age constraints before next week.

I got another spray can of Lysol, and more disinfecting cleaners. We will be back to spraying down every surface after a thorough scrubbing. Early spring cleaning?

Alright, best get on with our lessons. They have fallen by the wayside the last week.

To the Doc

Dan has had another flare up of the skin infection we battled all summer. This time he has had it about a week- and it is worse. He said his arm was hurting yesterday, above the infection. This morning when I woke up, Tom said Dan's arm looked swollen last night. So I will be calling the doctors office as soon as it opens.

Dr. Benjamin's office has a group of doctors... they try to accomodate everyone who calls at some point on the same day. So this shouldn't be postponed until Friday or something. I know they had a sign on the door when I was there last week, about hours and closings this week... but I really didn't pay a lot of attention to it. Who knew I would need them this week?
The ice and freezing rain that was predicted for yesterday didn't happen. In fact, it is warmer today than it has been since Saturday afternoon when the front blew in. Temperatures actually rose overnight. (From 10* to 30*!) So I don't have to fret about driving on ice.
I ordered a boxed movie set for Mr C's birthday. I hope it arrives in time, since I was so last minute in my ordering. I won't say what it is here, since he has read by blog once or twice... I know he always reads Tommy's and Becky's blogs. He often sees pictures of Ty'ger before I do!
All righty then. Guess I better go get showered and such while the boys are still sleeping.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Their Secret is Safe With Me!

Saturday, two of my young male co-workers and two young male customers were examining a replacement part for a vehicle. The part was somewhat different than the old part, and our computer system simply said that the old style part was obsolete and unavailable.

These four guys are poring over this part, trying to figure out how it attached to the vehicle. They had been at it for 15 minutes or so.

I inquired, "Don't the instructions tell you how to connect it?" The instructions had been laying there the whole time, I assumed they had looked at them.

One guy remarked he didn't read very well. Another snapped "Real Men don't read instructions, they figure it out the hard way."

The one who said he didn't read well at least opened the instruction flyer... and it was illustrated! He can read illustrations!
The "Oh- I see!" "Yeah that's how it works!" "Simple!" were immediate.

I walked off shaking my head.
One of the guys yelled after me, "You can't let this get out! We have reputations to uphold!".


Friday, December 19, 2008


I realized last night that both batches of peanut brittle I made yesterday I used TWO cups of sugar- not one. It still turned out just fine.

I was planning to take some to work today anyway, so made up a batch with ONE cup of sugar, as the recipe calls for. But this time I used Demarara sugar instead of white sugar. It gave the peanut brittle a much nicer color. Yummy!
If I don't watch out, I will be gaining back the weight I have lost in the last couple of months!

I meant to mention about the trees on our way to Russellville Wednesday. While the roads were clear of ice, the trees on the mountains were covered in ice. It looked so pretty. The "ice line" came down 2/3 of the way to the highway. Thankfully, the ice was not affecting my drive! Dan and I were going to get pictures of the fog shrouded, ice covered trees... but wouldn't you know... on the first attempt, the camera beeped and informed us that its batteries were exhausted.

I have to be at work in an hour. Friday just seems like the LONGEST day. Mr C let me sleep in this morning. When I finally opened an eye and saw the fuzzy numbers on the alarm clock... it said it was 6:58. But it was way too light for 6:56. I have to get much closer to the clock to see that I slept until almost 9:00 am! The digital readout said 8:58. I get off this evening at 7:00pm, then work 8-5 Saturdays and Sundays.

I suppose I better be getting some household chores accomplished this morning before I have to leave. May you all have a wonderful day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday,Thursday happy days

On Wednesday, Daniel and I travelled down to Russellville to visit with my Mom for a little while. She has been working at her cousin Ruth's cake shop during the Christmas cookie rush. They had had worse ice than we had here, and had missed working the day before, so were a full day behind on their cookie making.

Dan and I got to help. Dan bagged large individual sugar cookies, and cut lengths of ribbon while I used the ribbon to tie the bags closed. Mom and I enjoyed getting to visit, even though our hands were busy while we talked.

(Sam and Ben stayed home.)

Ruth gave us a lot of cookie cutters, and some candy flavorings that we had planned to buy.

On our way home, we stopped in at A-Z Gifts. I really didn't find a lot that I couldn't live without, but did get a few things. I was close to buying myself yet another cast iron skillet... this one was a good 6 " deep. But I resisted. After all, I do have a good 50 lbs of cast iron cookware already.
It was dark-thirty when we got home... Mr C arriving almost half an hour before we did. Benny had made some of his favorite stir-fry, and "very-yucky" (Teriyaki) noodles. (One of the kids misunderstood "teriyaki" noodles when they were younger, and their term stuck). I sure miss Ben being here to cook, LOL.

This morning, I was up at a quarter to light, and out the door for the fasting blood work at the doctors office. My appointment for Friday was rescheduled to today at 11:15. So I just hung around in town, killing some time at WalMart, Dollar Tree, and Atwoods.
I got ingredients to put everyone I know into sugar comas.
I found some home school helper charts at Dollar Tree. (The twins were thrilled. THRILLED I tell you!)

The Doc said that my liver enzymes are still elevated, but not as high as they were. I have lost another lb. ! He gave me the option of a referral to a liver specialist, or keeping an eye on the enzymes by going back in 3 month. (I chose the latter). He said if my endoscopy on the 30th goes well, he won't need to see me until after I have the liver enzyme tests repeated.

So once I got home, I started in on the sugar boiling frenzy. I have made two batches of microwave peanut brittle. I have a start on the chocolate cream cheese cookie balls. I want to get some pralines done, maybe another attempt at divinity. Or maybe not. (Ruth did give me a candy thermometer!)

Here are the easy-peasy recipes for Microwave peanut brittle (the kind that doesn't stick to your teeth!) and the waaaay to rich for every-day cookie balls.

Microwave Peanut Brittle
1 cup sugar
1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients in a microwave safe glass bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir initially to due to consistency and stickiness.
Remove from microwave, stir thoroughly, and cook another 3 minutes.
ADD: 1 tablespoon butter (or margarine) and microwave another 2 minutes.
Remove and add 1 tsp of vanilla and1 tsp of baking soda.
Whip quickly into a light and airy mixture and pour immediately onto a greased pan. Spread out into a thin layer. Allow to cool. Break into pieces.
Place the glass bowl immediately into hot water, and allow to sit, and the clean-up will be a breeze.
Rich Cookie Balls
2/3 regular sized package of Oreo Cookies
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz) package of dark chocolate chips
1/2" square of (gulf wax) paraffin
Put the Oreo cookies and softened cream cheese into the food processor and combine into a sticky glop. Form into approx. 1" balls. Place on a freezer safe plate or pan. Place the formed balls into the freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm.
Melt the paraffin and the dark chocolate chips together. Using a toothpick, dip the firmed balls into the melted chocolate .
Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
These are VERY rich, and excellent party fare!
Try them with the mint Oreos and melted Andes chips!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


For lunch today, I was looking for something warm. About 11, I decided to cook some red lentils. I sauteed some bacon and onions, and added them to the lentils. Tom came in at 11:25 as I was getting cornbread into the oven. The lentils were almost done! The red ones seem to cook really fast! (I seasoned them with onion, a bay leaf, garlic, salt and pepper). There were no leftovers! (Except cornbread, but I did just cook a small pan of it).

For supper tonight, I have to use up some half and half... so I will be making some alfredo sauce to serve over Amish style noodles. I will "oven fry" some of the breaded chicken breasts that mom brought us from Russellville last time she was here. I'm thinking I will steam some "broccoli normandy" as the vegetable... unless we still have salad to use up. I better go check on that!

Daniel and Sam and I are watching an old movie "Gremlins". I had never seen it before, and was surprised it was listed as a comedy instead of the 'horror' film I had always supposed it to be. We have been practically rolling in the floor laughing.

Happy Birthday....

Friday was my eldest son's birthday. Chris turned 29. This is the link to his birth story. http://cowmomba.blogspot.com/2008/03/firstborn-of-many-bretheren.html I had such a busy weekend, I never got around to making him his very own birthday post.

Today is Becky's birthday. She is 23. For the last several years, Becky has adopted the most annoying endearing tradition of saying "on my birthday" following everything she says on her birthday. "How are you today?...on my birthday". "Stephen and Tommy got a deer yesterday... on my birthday. Well, they didn't get the deer on my birthday, they got the deer the day before my birthday.... on my birthday".

Just try carrying on a conversation with her on her birthday.

Here is the link to Becky's birth story: http://cowmomba.blogspot.com/2008/03/little-grill.html

Happy Birthday Becky!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Monday, Y'all

It is cold! the front hit yesterday evening just moments after I got off work. The roads are frozen with an ice/snow mix... but the yards are mostly just naked.

With the blizzard across most of the western plains pushing its way east, towns everywhere breaking records for cold and snow... it is hard to believe in global warming, isn't it? The twins said that we no longer have global warming, because Barack Obama was elected. He isn't even in office yet... and already global warming is a thing of the past.

Matt's Mom asked me if he could stay until 7 or so tonight, and then she is taking off the rest of the week. She doesn't drive on this stuff. Ben will get his first experience this afternoon... but I am more worried about his drive home tonight.

At work, it is Oreilly's annual inventory count at my store. We have been "pre-counting" and setting things in order. I have been dreaming I was counting things all night long... for two nights now! Nothing like dreaming you are working to make you wake up tired.

We made breakfast burritos this morning... using up the rest of a stick of Blue and Gold sausage, and a dozen eggs. The remaining filling is made into burritos and put into the freezer, ready for a quick breakfast later on. Daniel has made Banana Bread twice this week, using up soft bananas. We will need to bake something today to help keep the house warm. Since I planned to make soup from leftovers of roasted veggies, maybe we will make some of Grandma Ruby's dinner rolls. We halved the recipe last time, and it was the perfect amount.

Guess I ought to get dressed and get things rolling here.
Keep warm!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Food and Frugality

Last night, I roasted a chicken for supper. I used the Pampered Chef stoneware roaster. I rinsed the chicken, and put it into the roaster. I added 1 cup of orange juice, and sprinkled the inside of the bird's cavity with some dried orange zest that Daniel and I have been saving when we eat an orange. I sprinkled some Bell's Salt Free tomato-Basil seasoning over the bird,sprayed it all over lightly with some olive oil spray. The lid went on and into the oven it went. When it came out, it was golden brown, juicy, and very flavorful. We had salad, mashed potatoes, and garlic bread from the leftover hoagie rolls from the day before.

There was a small bit of breast leftover, and a wing. So for lunch today, I took the leftover garlic bread (I know... amazing I had leftover garlic bread!) and put pizza sauce on it. (Pizza sauce made from 1 can of tomato sauce, with 1 tsp each of basil and italian seasoning stirred in). I put mozzarella cheese over the sauce, and tore the leftover chicken into bits, and topped the cheese with these. On a few, I put more of the sliced portabello mushrooms. I spritzed the portabellos with olive oil spray. These warmed up in no time to a hearty lunch, with leftover salad on the side.

Tonight, I am trying something a bit different for us. I mixed up some dried cornbread stuffing/dressing left from Ben and Tommy's Thanksgiving dinner. I added sauteed onions, celery, and a handful of dried cranberry craisins. I put the mixture into an oven pan, and topped it with pork chops. The pork chops are sprinkled with a bit of "soul" seasoning.

We are making roasted veggies in the PC roaster to accompany this. (chunked potatoes, onions, and carrots tossed in olive oil... portabello mushrooms to be added the last 20 minutes of cooking. Sprinkled with garlic granules and sea salt.)

I haven't ever tried baking naked pork chops over stuffing before, so we will see how this turns out. Since I bought salad makings at Sam's- we are having a garden salad as well. (Yeah, the portabello's were a Sam's buy... so we want to eat them up instead of wasting them.)
I know that Becky and Nola have been making their own laundry soap for awhile now. I have been apalled at the cost of the liquid laundry soaps I have been purchasing lately... and looking everywhere for the washing soda so that I can try my hand at making some laundry soap for myself. Today, I went ahead and purchased a "kit" that has the essential ingredients in it. I will be able to make 2 1/2 gallons of liquid laundry soap for $4.50 (plus shipping... but to make shipping worthwhile, I bought two kits and two extra bars of the laundry soap itself, in anticipation of finding the washing soda.)
While I was at the site, I also ordered some wonderful hand made goats milk soap for ME. I had ordered some of this soap in the past, as part of mother's day gift baskets for my moms and MIL. It smelled so good- I wanted some for ME! I love giving unique gifts to others. Today I treated myself.
Here is the site I ordered the soaps from: http://crystalscountrystore.com/

Since I have purchased from this place before, I will add that I was just the tiniest bit disappointed in the size of the bars of goats milk soap. But that was my only disappointment. They shipped quickly, and the product is GREAT!
I have been trying to be more frugal... not letting things go to waste. Or making the best use of our finances in small stuff like laundry detergent, and stretching the dishsoap. It seems some days I am a dismal failure at not wasting things. Food gets tossed, my 'saved' items are tossed away by someone who thought it was garbage left out. (Orange zest drying in a dish). I look forward to having our own place, with a garden.
I want to plant lavender, roses, and herbs. Grow blueberries and blackberries and plums. Make my very OWN soap and not just buy the 'kits'. Have chickens and critters everywhere. (mr C isn't too big on critters everywhere, but didn't seem to mind the chickens). Go back to canning and freezing stuff we grow ourselves, and just TRY to buy as little as possible.

God knows my heart!

Less than Divine

Yesterday's attempt at divinity wasn't completely successful. It had a good flavor, but was refusing to lose its gloss and set up, despite over an hour of beating. We eventually poured it into a greased casserole dish and called it spoon divinity. THEN it set up somewhat.

Oh well. Guess I better re-invest in a candy thermometer. I don't know if my old one is packed in a box that hasn't been opened in almost five years, or if it got broken.
In our attempts to rearrange our storage of stock-up items yesterday I did open some of the long packed boxes. Now in 'every day' service as a fruit bowl is the fancy glass bowl I bought shortly after we moved to Oklahoma. I have kept it packed away, using it at Thanksgiving and other special occasions for nearly 20 years. It has been so long since this beautiful bowl has been out of its box, the twins didn't remember ever seeing it before.

We did make some major inroads into re-arranging the foodstuffs. Daniel has beautifully organised the lower cupboard where most of the canned goods reside. Sam was assigned to clean up and re-organise one of the bookcases in the living room, where some of my cookie jars will be moved to. He almost got one shelf done yesterday. I had to keep dragging him back to task from playing video games in Ben's room. Guess who will have double-duty today?

When we get our own place, I will get my grandmother's china that my mom has passed on to me. It has a forestly green pattern of pine or fir branches on it. I'd like to have a dining room that I could 'theme' around the china. Mom has a corner unit china hutch that my grandfather built, which she has been waiting to give to me when we get our own place. I will also inherit my great grandmother's 'pie safe'/ china cupboard someday from my Dad. I try to imagine where these items would be placed whenever we do look at houses.

Notice how positively I said when?

On today's agenda: More cleaning and re-arranging. I intend to tackle my bedroom- refolding my clothes that were once-upon-a-time all neatly arranged on various shelves that served as my dresser. They are currently heaped haphazardly all on the top shelf. Clear out the dust bunny collection, try to stay with making the bed every day.

I hope your day is blessed today, Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something to look forward to

On the schedule: the repeat of the endoscopy is scheduled for Tuesday the 30th of December. I am hoping Becky will be able to be here for that... otherwise Mr C is going to have to take the morning off. Or maybe my Mom can come up.

Becky and Stephen already had plans to come up towards the end of the month- which I thought I had mentioned to Mr C. He was really excited to find it out last night. He is hoping Tommy is planning to come as well.
I was getting ready for my main errand yesterday- going to the post office to mail Chris' birthday card... (and an O'Reilly's calendar!) when Ben volunteered to go do it for me. I also had a package going overseas, to an internet friend in Athens, Greece. Ben did the errand, along with one of his own. (Have I mentioned lately how great it is to have older kids with driver's licenses? Thanks, Benny!)
Once Matthew went home, the boys and I made the trek over to Sam's in Rogers. I seldom seem to make it to Sam's. I think I did pretty well, sticking to basic necessities.

I get Dawn dishwashing liquid there, then pour a small amount into the Dawn Direct Foam bottle. I dilute it down tremendously- and the Sam's size bottle lasts about a year. Tom says that the diluted dish soap is not as effective as the actual Direct Foam refill... but since everyone would still use the same number of squirts, regardless of effect- this works just fine for us. I have been using the same Direct Foam bottle for over a year. The boys all believe that the Electrasol Powerball Dishwasher detergent tablets work the best of all the brands of dishwasher detergents we have tried... so we got a big carton of those.

We got out of Sam's at 5:30. That is a VERY BAD time to be in the Bentonville/ Rogers area. Even on a clear evening... which yesterday was NOT... there is literally bumper to bumper traffic. We walked out of Sam's to find a freezing mist falling. The trunk of the car was frozen shut. By the time we had the groceries loaded, we were icicles. Then into the fray. The first two miles took more than fifteen minutes. The next two miles took slightly longer, as the five lane road funneled to two lanes. The closer we got to home, the more the mist was turning to snow... and not a gentle snow, but one borne on 30 mph winds. It blew right on through without sticking, so we have no accumulation at all.

Once we got the groceries situated... we made roast beast 'french dip' sammiches. Just as the onions were almost perfectly caramelized, we added sliced portabello mushrooms and sauteed them until they were tender. MM MMM MM! (Take deli sliced roast beef, put it on to heat in some onion soup broth {We use cheap powdered onion soup mix and water}. In a heavy skillet, caramelize sliced onions in a small amount of olive oil. You can add the portabello mushrooms, or not!. Grill some split hoagie rolls in another skillet {or under your broiler, or toaster them}. Top the toasted bread with the roast beef, onions, and some sliced swiss cheese. Serve with the onion soup for dipping.)

Today's chore will be trying to re-arrange the cupboards and freezer so that we can store all of our groceries more effectively. Mr C is tired of having to rummage through everything to find what he is looking for. I also hope to get my "round tuits" on making some divinity and some pecan pralines.

Time to get on with the day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Scratch that one off the list...

I mentioned I was sick over the weekend. I called in sick to work, and wouldn't of gone to see the house, had we not been two miles away and the lady was already on her way. I pretty much came home and went to bed. I didn't check emails all weekend.

So when I did check the email yesterday, I saw one from the real estate agent dated Friday. She said the homeowners had received an offer on the doublewide... did we also wish to make an offer?

Except that it should have been made Friday or Saturday. By the time we saw the email, it was a done deal. Unless the deal falls through... and it shouldn't, with making the buyers get pre-qualified, the house we saw Friday is off the list. Yeah, so it was the only one we have actually SEEN lately... if it were meant to be, then things would have fallen into place.
A storm raged through here last night. Thunder, lightening, wind... the whole house was shaking. I don't think we had any damages, but it isn't light enough to go out and see yet. Looking at the radar, it was huge and fast... and is now pounding St. Louis.
Duh, me. I have been planning to get Chris' birthday card in the mail, but didn't want to mail it too soon. I was thinking his birthday fell on Sunday. I actually looked at the calendar at work yesterday... and it falls on FRIDAY! Yikes! Better get that card out TODAY!
Next year, Chris will be 30.... I remember when my friends and I thought 30 was so OLD.

I never did run my errands yesterday- some days I just can't seem to make myself get out of the house. So I have to do those today... one of the errands being going to the post office with oversized letters to mail.
I really do like internet shopping, vs. going out to the stores, when I actually have to buy a gift for someone. I sometimes get stressed out in big crowds, and start feeling panicky and closed in. Not often, but sometimes.
Once I get out of the house and on the road, I am fine with running errands. Just something about getting started that is hard for me.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Good Morning

The house we looked at Friday is still on the list- actually, it IS the list. Tom did some more drive-by looking at other places while I was at work Sunday. Some of those, we really want to see. The main drawback of the doublewide we saw Friday is how much the bank wants down in order to finance. We did learn, it has 38 acres available- not just the one acre.

So we have expanded our search, looking at a few 'conventional' homes, before we make any decision. Yeah- pretty much what you figured, right?

I was really sick on Friday- my stomach was stabbing holes in me. I called in sick to work, and spent most of the day in bed. (Didn't even feel like looking at that house, but since it was a bit too late to cancel the appointment, we went). I was somewhat relieved when one of the twinks came down with stomach cramps later in the day.... not that I would wish that on anyone- but at least I could figure it wasn't the ulcers perforating my stomach. It seemed to be a 24-36 hour bug. I felt better Saturday, and back to normal on Sunday.

I have errands to run this morning, then have to work this evening from 3 to close (7pm). We got the van back on Friday. I took it to work yesterday. I swear, it is a deer magnet. Last time I drove it- on the way to have it estimated for repair from the deer accident- a herd of deer jumped the fence ahead of me. I stopped and waited until they moved on. So yesterday, I topped one of the hills on the way to work... and a deer scurried out of the road ahead of me. When I see ONE deer- I look closely. They almost never travel alone. Sure enough, a second deer is bunched to leap the fence. I stopped. The deer didn't jump. She ran back the way she had come.... looked confused, and headed to the fence again. She bunched again... turned again, and ran far into the woods the way she came. So no deer accidents for me.

Oh, I got a phone call from Bill Joe. The eye specialist diagnosed him with "Keratoconus", a progressive disease of the eyes. It is in its earliest stages. There are treatments to slow the progress, but no cure. (I may not have spelled it correctly.)

We are expecting "weather" by tomorrow. Not sure how bad.

Guess that is all for now!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First hoop jumped through

We are now prequalified for the house we are supposed to go see tomorrow. There were some surprises along the way, including the amount the bank requires for a downpayment. So this may end up being a hinderance to us. Or it may direct us to buying a "real" house... less than half the amount on down payment, plus we would qualify for VA as well as "First Time Homebuyers".

We shall see what we shall see!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Word of the Day

"Dramastically"... Daniel used this word to refer to the tax rate drop in his Sim City town. "I dropped the tax rate dramastically!"
It seems to combine drastically with dramatically and/or fantastically.

I love the new words these guys come up with.

And Becky's birthday gift has already arrived at the Site to Store pick-up! Whoo hoo. That is FAST!

Since she now already knows what it is, I can tell you... I still got her a sewing machine, just not the el-cheapest one.

Jade also called to report the arrival of her birthday gift- drawing materials; including pads, pencils and a 'how to' book. She was pleased.

Guess I better get my other items mailed off to Chris and to Uncle Buck. I found UB (and myself) some salt free lemon pepper seasoning, as well as some tomato basil SF seasoning. Last night, I made some veggie dip with fat free sour cream, a dab of miracle whip, and some of the tomato basil seasoning (Bell's). It was great! Tonight, I have lemon pepper chicken in the crock-pot. Owing to a slow start, I am cooking the rice on the stove top, and will add it to the chicken once it is done.

Have a great evening!

Get Ready for another ride on the rollercoaster...

We have an actual appointment to see a house on Friday morning. At the moment, Mr C seems ready to take the place, even though we have not seen the innards. Unless the inside is totally trashed- we may be homeowners again within the next couple of months.

We did look very seriously for a house back about 18 months ago. I had a notebook full of places we had seen, with the plus and minuses of each noted. The last place we looked at was a few days before Tyrel was born. He is 16 months now.

I would like to be in a place where we can garden this spring.

The place we will be seeing is close enough to where we now live, I will be able to keep watching Matthew. So nothing much would change for us except the address- and probably the phone company. (Hey Becky and/or Seneca... there is another place on the same road, another 4/2 on an acre- if you want to consider moving back up here!)

Stay tuned for further developments....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


One thing I like about colder weather is getting to bake. We try not to turn the oven on in the warm weather to avoid heating the house. In cold weather, I'm not sure which is better... the warm from the oven or the goodies that come out of it.

Yesterday, I made a stew. It was in the cast iron dutch oven, and boiled so furiously on the stove top on the lowest heat, I thought it was cooking too fast. I put it into the oven at 200*. It had beef from a small steak I found on markdown. I cubed that up, rolled the cubes in seasoned flour, and browned them in olive oil. Then added beef broth, celery, onions, carrots, potatoes, and barley. I had to add some water and beef soup base, as I didn't have much broth.

Dan asked to make banana bread. It was excellent! (Used Chris's recipe from my Food For Fellowship cookbook). Then I had Sam do the math and divide the recipe for Grandma Ruby's Hot Rolls in half. He did great making those, and we baked them in the new Pampered Chef stoneware muffin pan. During the baking of the breads, I took the stew from the oven and let it just sit on the stovetop... cast iron is great at retaining heat! I put it back in between times, and for the last 20 minutes before supper when the rolls baked.

It was soooo good! Hard to quit after just one bowl of soup and one roll.

Maybe Becky should think of doing some baking Wednesday... the high where she lives is supposed to drop from the upper 70*'s into the mid 30*'s. Mr C frets and worries about whether she has the heat hooked up for the winter yet. (I think Dad's may fret more than Mom's do about some things).

I need to go to the library... but I don't know if I can muster up the energy to do it this morning. With three of us working and two cars, we have small windows of opportunity to get errands done. The van is SUPPOSED to be done today. I don't have a lot of confidence in it actually being ready. Mr C will have to inspect it. The same repair shop did the car last year, and after it was 'ready', took another week to fix the things Tom pointed out they missed. Maybe I will make the library, and maybe I will procrastinate!

I checked the cell phone minutes yesterday to be sure we weren't running over time. I have 35 minutes left for the 'month', with the 3rd being the last day of the month. So we cut it pretty close. (feel free to call on Thursday or after, LOL).

I'm thinking I ought to do a "family newsletter"... as I missed doing one last year. I don't have a way to add pictures this year. The last two color ink cartridges I have bought... from totally different sources, have printed three color pages each before running 'empty'. So I think it is the printer. I can't afford to print pictures at that cost! (And I need new grandkid pictures anyway... *hint hint*). Perhaps writing a short family newsletter 'article' would be a good assignment for school today!

Speaking of writing... I know it has been awhile since Daniel has written on his blog. He did write a blog yesterday... and my exciting news from that is: He asked me, "Do you spell (a word) like _______?" and he spelled the word to me correctly! He did that several times!
This is big news because Dan has had so much trouble catching on to spelling. (dyslexia). I did see he had some 'spaces' in words (in stead and to day)... but that is rather minor when I consider the big leap he has made.


Have a great day!

Monday, December 1, 2008


and things I forgot to mention....

Tommy made it all the way home to Snanjlo this morning.

It has been snowing since yesterday... with less accumulation than it takes to cover the ground. I ran my errands... in the snow... and it began to sleet on me on the way home. Then it went back to snow, but added enough moisture that the 'dry' snow is now good for making miniature snowmen. (Which Dan and Sam are out trying to do during their lunch break.)

We DID stop at the Runestone State Park in Heavener, Oklahoma on our way to Dad's last week. It was pretty cool. The runes have been translated... discovered to be a property marker. (Glom's Valley.... or something like that.) The paths down to the rune stone are beautiful... native stone. They even used the stone to make walls with "railings" of stone along the paths. We didn't go inside the gift shop... but hey, I finally got to stop along the way for a scenic detour!

Once back from errands, I did order Becky a birthday presnt... but not the one I mentioned to her yesterday. I had my eye on a cute little sewing machine. Like the doggy nail trimmer, I decided to read some customer reviews about it on Amazon. Of 40 reviews, there were only two positive reviews, and four mediocre reviews. The rest were all bad reviews... and I suspect that if the reviewers could have given it less than a 1/2 star rating, it would have been in negative stars. So I chose something else. (Guess one should not expect much from a $35 machine). (Sorry Becky!)

In the Swing

December already. I was talking to my MIL a couple of days ago, and she was saying how time just seems to pass so quickly these days. I agreed... it is reeling by like the toilet paper at the end of the roll.

I am "at 'em" a bit earlier than usual this morning, as I wanted to visit with Tommy a few minutes before Mr C took him to the airport. (Though the flight filled up to the 'red zone' since we checked last night. Mr C is freaking out that Tommy may not get out of here today... like that would be a BAD thing!) (I just checked- he has a seat assigned, so he is on his way!)

December is a "Birthday Month" for us. I have a card ready to mail for Tom's youngest sister . I have ordered a present for Jade, my granddaughter. I took care of Christopher's gift a week or so ago. I have two birthday cards ready for folks having birthday's on the 8th... oops- missed my Uncle on the 7th. The next birthday I have to actually "do something" about is Becky's, on the 16th. And even though I have all month to decide what to do, I best be thinking about Mr C's birthday, instead of letting it sneak up on me.

We have school work to do today. And errands, which I have to be back from before noon, since Ben needs the car to go to work. Matt is back from his 'time off'. I DON'T have to go in to OReilly's after all, at least not the extra days this week.

Mr C has been busy looking at houses again. More seriously than he has looked in awhile... with all of the estimated budgeting and calculating that goes with it. He seems to enjoy 'number crunching'. He showed me one place online yesterday- I loved it! Then he dashed my hopes and said it was too far to even consider. (So why show it to me? Just to see me get excited enough to yank out the rug?)
Right now, the place at the top of the consideration list is local- probably 2 miles as the crow flies, from this house. It is about 5 miles by gravel road... and since Mr C doesn't do dirt/gravel roads, the distance expands in order to stay on pavement. If we moved there, I would still be able to keep Matt. It would be closer, or about the same for Mr C getting to work, but slightly longer for me to get to Oreilly's- travelling on paved roads. It is a double wide. We'll see. You know how things can change on a dime around here.

I suppose I ought to get to checking on the Cyber-Monday deals. Maybe I will find something cool for Becky, instead of the item I mentioned to her yesterday.