Monday, February 28, 2011

A Little Pastry Humor

The other day the older boy and I were making a chicken pot pie for dinner. He's all about helping me out around the house lately. Maybe he's softening me up for something really big, but in the mean time I'm rolling with it. 

So as we pinched the edges of our pie he added his own personal touch.
A pi pie!
A proud group of dorks are we!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Five Question Friday 02/25/2011

It's 5 Question Friday and on this post you get a chance to take a tour inside my mind guided my Mama M. over at Five Crocked Halos

1. Can you drive a stick shift?
Yep. That's how I learned to drive a car. My mom figured if I could learn on a manual shift that an automatic would be easy peasy for me. While I agree with her logic I think it took way longer for me to learn how to drive that way. But, yeah, she was correct. Nowadays I choose to drive an automatic, but I can drive a standard if needed. 

Me and the boy test driving a ride.
2. What are two foods you just can't eat?
Mushrooms and pork. It's a texture thing. I don't like slimy or stringy foods. I'm weird that way I guess. 

3. Do you buy Girl Scout Cookies? What is your favorite kind?
I like Thin Mints and Lemonades. Truth be told though, the quality of the Girl Scout cookie has gone way down in the past few years. The cookies I've bought tasted stale or as if they had been frozen and then thawed. They were not appetizing. 
This year we didn't buy any GS cookies at all. My mom brought the boys one box which we have yet to open, but we just weren't asked by any GS to buy. Oh sure we got a lot of "we have Girls Scout cookies" e-mail message and Facebook posts, but if the GS doesn't ask me directly I don't buy. I can certainly do without an expensive stale cookie donchaknow. 

4. How do you pamper yourself?
::tilts head curiously::
What is this "pamper" you speak of? Is that like when I get to go to the bathroom and no one is outside the door asking earth shattering questions like "mom, have you seen the remote control"?
Pampering myself usually consists of my weekly Chick Date. Sometimes it's coffee after kid drop off. Sometimes it's a trip to the fabric store or IKEA and then lunch. Once a year or so it's a pedicure. Now we are talking a wine tour. That would be pampering! 

5. What is your nickname and how did you get it?
My nickname is Lainey. It's short for my name, Elaine. It's the same number of syllables so I don't think it's "short" for Elaine. Of course my kids call me "Mom" or "Mama" right now. As they get older and I get stricter I'm sure that Mother will turn into something else. Tough noogies. 

Well that's all for this week. I hope a trip through my brain wasn't too scary even if it was a bit of bumpy ride. Go on over and tell Mama M that you played, you know, if you did.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

News From the Farm

I'm always asked about my pets. I don't know what makes my pets more interesting than any others, but okay I'll dish.

First my beautiful baby, Pikachu is gone. The last we saw him was February 11 and he hasn't been seen since. He is microchipped.  We asked neighbors and left flyers on doors, but he's simply vanished. Not even a little kitty corpse to let us know if he met an untimely demise. I wish I could say what happened to him. The not knowing is terrible. I wonder how long until I stop checking the door to see if he's come home?
Bye bye, Pikachu.
Of course the chicken is still here. Why the heck would she leave when she's got it so good? The other day the boys were jumping on the trampoline and Antonia decided she wanted to play too. She's very sneaky, that girl. She inches up and insinuates herself until she's all up in your grill. 
Hello, human.
 And then she's got your full attention. She demands to be entertained. J is crying "uncle" and would like the chicken to just move on and do chicken things. Good luck with that, dude.
Chicken Antonia FTW!
Then of course we have the cat, Lucky, who wants to hang in the chicken coop. Really? My animals are so mixed up! 
What? I'm not a chicken?
Unfortunately, Lucky's name belies him. This cat has the worst luck! Back in January he was shot in the back right leg with a pellet gun. It took surgery to remove the pellet and a round of antibiotics to ensure infection didn't set in. He recovered nicely even though he surely used up one or more of his nine lives.

Flash forward one month and son of gun is back at the vet with his left front paw a hot mess. Turns out all the little gifties, 2 field mice and one squirrel, he's been bringing me to make me feel better about missing Pikachu decided to fight back. Frellin' cat had an abscessed wound. So Dr. Corky patched him up. Again. And then we agreed that Lucky will once again be an indoor cat. I can't afford for him to sow his outside wild oats anymore.

The frog (or it's descendant) is still living under the rock on the front porch. I'm thinking after 30 years it's not the same frog, but it's clearly a family member so I don't complain.

We still have the dogs, but it's purely for the chicken's entertainment. Have I mentioned I'm not much of a dog person?

Free range everything
It's ridiculous on my homestead. I have a backyard farm. I swear the other day my son and I heard a cow mooing. Frightening. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Five Question Friday 02/18/2011

It's Friday that means it's time for Five Question Friday. Let Mama M. know if you play. 

1. Have you worn the same outfit more than one day in a row?

Sometimes, but not really. We have so many allergens in our area that one of the recommendations is to wash clothes after each wearing. It's not a practice that is a friend to the environment, but it does make a difference to those of us with allergies.

2. If you had to choose any LARGE city to live in, which would it be?

I'm not really one of those people that longs for a big city. I'm just fine in my medium-sized town and I would be okay if it were even smaller. The 3 of the top 10 largest cities are located in my great state of Texas so if I wanted to be Big City I could.

If I had to chose though I think I would go whole hog and say New York City. It's the largest city in the US and I have no desire to live abroad. NYC seems to me to be an adventurous enough place.

3. Fly or drive with the kids on vacation?

We have a max 4 hour drive rule. Anything over 4 hours we fly. It's the 4 of us so it can get expensive, but what price on sanity? We are considering a longer trip by car this summer, but we'll rent a vehicle for the trip and try make the stops part of the trip.
Our trip to North Carolina in September 2009.
4. What is your idea of "spring cleaning"?

Hiring someone to come in and do their idea of Spring Cleaning. I can maintain a house for awhile, but eventually it gets out of my hands and I have to call a professional. I'm a firm believer that any job is easy if you have the right tools and skills. Anything with the words "house" and  "cleaning" in it is not an area I have the know-how. Unless it's cleaning up your books/records, then I can handle it.

5. What is the best book you have ever read?

It's actually a book of novellas. "Different Seasons" by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman. I first read it in 1984 before the three movies came out of that book. The book I own, and still own though it's threadbare now, had a bright blue cover. I recently bought it for my eReader since it's one of those books I'll read forever.

The first movie, Stand by Me was based on "Fall From Innocence: The Body". I was the same age as the boys in the story when I read the book so it made a huge impression on me.  The other big movie, and perhaps the best known, is the Shawshank Rendemption, from the novella "Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Rendemption". That movie stayed pretty close to the book and I suspect that's why the movie has done so well. I thought "Fall from Innocence: Apt Pupil" was one of the better novellas, but the movie, Apt Pupil, went far off from the story and tanked. It was really one of the worst movies ever that started with so much to work with.

That's all for this week! I hope I've brought something to you today. Even if it was a chance to laugh or take you away for two minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Third Thursday Thrift Store Scores 02/17/2011

Hi, it's me again. I'm back to fill you in on all this month's thrifting. Some of my girlfriends and I have been thrifting en masse at this new place. Did you know Goodwill has a clearance center? Well they do here in Austin. It's awesome! You go in, grab a cart, put on your latex or similar gloves (believe me you don't want to skip this step) and shop for $1.39 a pound. That's right, you pay by the weight. A treasure trove of goodies await you if you can get past the fear of the scary GW workers (they yell) and unwashed clothing (underpants). 

Don't these sweaters look yummy? I have big plans for them, but not in their original state. Though to be clear this is the washed original state. I bag up my finds, throw them in the back of my van, then the bag goes directly to the laundry. I loving wash all the sweaters. Twice. 
I love this glass. I've not seen one of these with a handle on it. Usually they're in margarita glass or wine glass format. Beautiful.
Storage containers are so expensive new. I saw one like this at an office store for $30. At a thrift store this baby was mine for $7. I plan to use it for fabric organization. I like that I can see through the drawers so I don't have dig through everything to find one thing. 
Below you'll find a little sample of the amazing finds at this store. I mean who doesn't need a tiny blue toilet with a smiling poo that pops us when you lift the lid? And, of course, you'll see my gloved hand in the background.  
Until next time. Let me know if you've found some lovely items second hand. I know that it will be hard to beat my itty-bitty toilet, but you can try. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Question Friday 02/11/2011

Yay! Five Question Friday is back! Mama M. has been going through some tough times, but she's trying to get back in to a routine. What better way than with a 5QF. This week's slate of five is as random as ever, but that's the beauty of it. Makes you think!

1. Would you rather be on ABC's Extreme Home MakeOver or TLC's What not to Wear?

Extreme Home Makeover for sure! I'm developing my sense of style, but I don't know how to put it together. We don't have a bit that would qualify us for a nomination though. We're just an ordinary family, living an ordinary life, in an ordinary city. I love that EHM does something to give back to extraordinary families and involves the community. 

I have some friends that have been on TLC's "Trading Spaces" and I loved the sense that the designers took them where they couldn't take themselves. That's what I need. 

2. Do you have any tattoos?

No, but I want one. I kept saying when I'm 40. Well, 40 has come and gone and no ink. I know the place, both on my body and where I'll have it done, but I'm not sure what image I can commit to for The Rest of My Life. My friends find it odd that someone who's been married for nearly 20 years has a hard time with commitment. Go figure. 

3. Do you tell your kids about things you did growing up?

Yes. Selectively. I tell them stories about my childhood and experiences, but there are some things that I hold back until it's germane to the conversation. And we always include a little diddy on what we learned for the experience. We tell the boys it's okay to make mistakes, that's how you learn. Just go make new mistakes. 

My 3-year-old rebel self on my dad's motorcycle.
My 12-year-old is starting to ask more about when we were his age. I fancied myself quite the rebel, but my husband said not so much. Fortunately my older boy is just like me. A little reserved and happy with his own company. 

4. If the traffic signal turns yellow, do you stop or speed up?

Depends, but by and large I'll slow down. It's that overly cautious thing I've got going on. And I'm a rule follower. I can't help it.

5. What's your preference: chocolate or chips?

Both. There are just some things where you can't pick a team.

Now you play. Click the button below and let Mama M. know your answers. I know she could use a pick me up this week.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Carpool Pick-up

It's a little after 1 p.m. and I'm playing in the Mom Cave when the doorbell rings. I answer as grumpily as I can because I don't know who this person is and, dude, I was in the Mom Cave. He introduces himself as a local television reporter doing a story on single member districts in our city and wants to know if he can do an on camera interview with me. 


When I used to work in Public Information I expected to have to go on camera at a moment's notice, but that's not in the current job description. I even kept a blazer in my office for last minute media requests. It was part and parcel with the job. The At Home uniform is much different. Jeans and t-shirt, no make up, hair up in a clip - don't pretend like you don't know the look. And the house was messy so naturally they wanted shots with me working and all the unfinished projects in the background. 

It's freezing cold and he's been looking for someone to interview. A neighbor sent him over to me. Nice. I'll have my cat drop a little present at their door the next time Lucky, a.k.a. Jethro the Hillbilly Cat, decides to go squirrel hunting. Ah, as if he were a girl scout selling cookies door to door, I just couldn't say no. 
If you're interested in seeing the final product you can watch the story on KVUE. I haven't see it yet, but I hear it was just lovely. Mr. Reporter said it would be on at 6 p.m., but we have karate during that time. 

Oh, and for the record I'm not political. I could support Single Member Districts. I could also see the pros and cons of staying with at-large representation. Like The Mister says, I'm a butterfly and can't be tethered. To a job or an opinion.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Herbs Are Not My Thing

Ya think? What you see here is what is left of my oregano (??) plant. I might have done something wrong. 
I want to have a green thumb. Really I do. Planting and gardening is just not something I get the hang of despite attempts too numerous to count. I've a had container gardens, square foot gardens, throw-it-out-on-the-lawn-and-see-what-happens gardens and none of them have been worth the time or the effort. 

Well, it's really more of a personal cost-benefit analysis issue for me. I hate to be outdoors. I'm not a woodsy gal. I don't like bugs (mulch, compost and worms, oh my) or the feel of dirt on my hands. Gardening as a hobby is not a match for me. 

I'm okay with it. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Do You Do All Day Wednesday

I swear this is the craziest question I get asked about being a work at home mom. Both of my kids are in school during the day so I do have a respite from 8:30 a.m. until about 2:30 p.m. If you can call it a respite. 
So one day I decided to keep track. And now you have the answer to that elusive question,  "What Do You Do All Day?"

  • Forgot to put on coffee before bed. 
  • Got up. 
  • Got dressed. 
  • Made coffee.
  • Got ready for carpool. Carpool kids are sick today. We're on our own. 
  • Got the kids to get their school poop together. 
  • Got The Mister out the door. 
  • Dropped off the young 'un at his school. 
  • Dropped off the 12-year-old at his school. 
  • Went to the post office to mail games sold on
  • Went to the grocery store. 
  • Matched sales to coupons for "stockpile" and picked up "staples".
  • Unloaded the groceries. 
  • Browned ground beef that was on Reduced For Quick Sale. Froze it cooked for tacos, spaghetti or stroganoff later.  
  • Prepared other ground beef for meatballs for my Mom's potluck lunch. We call the gathering our "Nooner". 
  • Made pizza sauce in the crockpot. 
  • Made two medical appointments. 
  • Made a mamogram appointment. Go me.
  • Fed The Mister lunch.
  • Went through benefits open enrollment package. Due in few days. Nice.
  • Bookkeeping. The kind that makes me money. 
  • Picked up 6th grader from school early. 
  • Went to the bank to deposit a rebate check. Go me.  
  • Picked up 4th grader from school early for dentist appointment. It's next week. That figures.  
  • Took 6th grader to the dentist. All good. Go him.
  • After school snacks. They'll make, but want an idea. *sigh*
  • Gently reminded the boys to do homework. 
  • Drove Boy 2 to karate. Waited. 
  • Ate dinner out because none of the food from the grocery store was actually in meal form. 
  • Yelled at kids to do homework. 
  • Loaded the dishwasher. 
  • Laundry.  
  • Kids in bed. 
  • Put clothes away and noticed clothes that don't fit. Started another give away bag.
  • Put the chicken in her coop.
  • Logged on again because I forgot to pay a bill. 
  • Paid the bill.
  • The Mister is home late. Fed him (warmed over) dinner. 
  • I'm done.
  • Jammied.
  • Mindless T.V.
  • Lights out.
So now you tell me, "What Do You Do All Day?". Pick a day and keep track of it. Then on Wednesday blog about it. I may do a linky thing if I can figure it out or you can stop by and let me know that you've played. Just have fun with it. Who knows, it might be very eye opening.