Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my house to yours. May you know the real reason for the season and keep Him in your heart.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Have you ever had "one of those days?"


You know those days. The ones when everything is weird, backwards, and just didn't come out anywhere near how you thought it would? I'm proud to say that I'm old enough to take life's punches.

It doesn't matter that when the wind blew, the power line that hooks to the house melted and caused power surges all over the house. (Yes, the Wii did survive-the kids are now dealing with their post traumatic stress syndrome over it all.) I was even able to handle waking up at 5am to the sound of the fish aquarium's pump starting up, ........over, and over, and over again because of the power surges. Yes, I did not bite my nails when I had to wait patiently in the dark for daybreak to finally come so I wouldn't be so scared if the house did catch on fire and we all had to run outside. Thankfully, that little scenario never came to life.

Thankfully, (and I vowed 6 years ago that I would never say this after being powerless for almost 2 weeks during a freak ice storm), our power company came to the rescue fairly quickly and solved the problem. The nice technician even disconnected the "juice" to the pole in the vacant lot next door. We had been worrying about that line falling down for a long time.... simple blessings...

Anyway, I guess we have a lot to be thankful for. Never mind that we didn't get the first thing done in school today- the kids didn't mind at all. I even had to run to the next town in the van (which, upon my late, and unfortunate discovery, was almost out of gas and the van didn't like the fact that it was almost out of gas.

Never mind that the roofers came unannounced to inspect the roof (Oh, please, oh please roofer man, don't ask to come in for some reason! After a day of hardly using power, nothing has gotten done and I'd be mighty embarrassed if someone seen the state of my house!)

I'm OK, really. I am. Like I said, I'm older, wiser, and I like to kid myself. I'll probably panic later. For now, I'm blogging (and still hoping the roofer guy doesn't need to come in). Afterall, I only get a free moment here and there. I'm taking advantage of the "there" right here and now.

Somebody else had a bad day too.....

I found this interesting photo on my camera today. Apparently, it's really a big deal when your army jeep crashes into the Lego sea and actually burns underwater.

You just gotta love those Lego games! You should see the time and thought put into creating scenes of mass destruction like the one above. Go Cart Boy puts most of these together. I don't think that kids can ever laugh as much as Go Cart Boy and his older sister do when they are creating Lego chaos....

Even though my day was weird and went totally haywire, at least I can say that my couch isn't covered in spider webs?? After all, I could be like this poor guy that lost his jeep and couch in the same day to unfortunate circumstances.

At least, I can smile and know that tomorrow is another day......

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Cheapest Halloween Ever , Spools, Cupcakes, and My Excuse

Yeah, I'm making excuses. I have neglected my poor blog for sometime. (Wow, the entire month of October in fact!) Anyway, my excuse is that I've had other things keeping me too busy to type, type, type. Mommy, wife, and responsible citizen issues. Actually, at this moment, I need to be getting ready to go to the grocery store but I wanted to visit the blog world at least for a few minutes today.


It takes time to resize photos so this is all I had done at this time-sorry. These spools are a collection that I have, that is actually for sale in my Etsy shop, Minnie Maes. There are 16 plastic spools for $1.00 plus shipping. Yes, people do buy empty spools. I have successfully sold all of the spools I have had in the past. There are people out there that make creative things out of spools. I don't. I'm just not that creative I guess. Anyway, the point is, I have these spools for sale so if you need them, grab them up while you can!

For this past Halloween I had to make my kids some costumes. I got all of my stuff out to get started and found that Roly Poly Girl had decorated my pin cushion.

Captain Jack and Link battle it out.....

I did a lot of thrift store shopping to find this and that for the kid's costumes and things turned out pretty good if you ask me.

This was the cheapest I've ever came out on Halloween costumes. Here is the breakdown of the two costumes pictured above:

Pirate Costume: Grand Total: $7.50
Pants- $1.00- actually a pair of men's extra large sweat pants that I sewed the waste up enough to fit my skinny son. It was on a clearance rack at Goodwill.
Shirt- $0.00- Old tee shirt we had on hand
Pirate Shirt- Goodwill find- $3.50
Bandanna- $0.00- Had on hand
Boots- $3.00 (I guess) Actually I found an old faux couch cover at Miracle Hill for $6.00- I made two pairs of boots between the two kids so if I divided the cost, it would be $3.00 each. I still have plenty of this material left for other things too!

Don't ask how I did the boots- it was hard and I will probably never be able to duplicate it again. There is a pair of sandals inside them in case you are wondering.

Link (you know, from The Legend of Zelda Video Game and Cartoon series): Grand Total: $7.50

Hat- $1.50 hospital smock from Miracle Hill- I simply cute two triangles and sewed them together.
Green Tunic- $1.00 hospital smock- was on the clearance rack at Miracle Hill- I just tucked the sleeves inside and tacked them so they wouldn't fall down.
White undershirt- $0.00 had on hand
Belt- $1.00 found at Miracle Hill
Pants- $1.00 on clearance rack at Miracle Hill
Boots- $3.00 (see above description on pirate costume)
Sword- $0.00- had on hand- (Thank you Go-Cart Boy)
Gloves- $2.00 fabric in remnant bin at Hobby Lobby

Not pictured was the makings for a fairy princess and an army guy. The fairy princess: $9.50
Army Guy: $3.00

That made the grand total for all 4 costumes: $27.50! Not too bad in my book... Now, if I could only come out that cheap next year.....

I made some cupcakes for the church festival. I got the idea for these out of a Family Fun magazine. You can find the recipe for these over at the Family Fun Website. Mine are certainly not as pretty as there's were, but I think they turned out cute anyway.

Sometimes I can turn my camera on and find strange photos that two of the kids "secretly" take when I'm not looking. Based on the feet in this photo, I think I know who the culprit is this time.... Roly Poly Girl.

And last, but not least, I've been sewing up some tapestry tote bags for my Etsy Shop. This is one of the cutest ones so far. It's reversible and has a totally different snowman on the inside. You can see all of these new totes at Minnie Maes.

Well, that's it for now- I promise I'll try not to wait so long before I post again- that's the plan anyway ;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mystery Squash Pie

Remember that squash that Uncle Bubba sent us the other day?

I had a plan.....

Roly Poly Girl helped me carry out my plan..... She scooped the "guts" out of the squash and we got it ready for the oven.

Here it is in the oven. I baked it at 350 degrees for an unknown amount of time- sorry, I didn't look at the clock- just went by smell to know when it was done.

We got all of these seeds out of the squash so while it was cooking, we laid these little guys out to dry. We are saving them for Uncle Bubba to plant next year. At this point I wasn't sure if having these squash in the garden was worthwhile but I soon found out that it was.

This particular squash tastes just like pumpkin when it's prepared in a pumpkin pie recipe. I didn't even put a crust in because I was that unsure if it would turn out a disaster or not. (After all, pie crusts make me nervous and I didn't want to waste the time and effort to create one from scratch if the pie might turn out "yucky")

The verdict- It turned out tasting and smelling just like a pumpkin pie. It is a strange color for one thing. The pumpkin, when done roasting in the oven, turned out a white color. I knew that the kids wouldn't eat a "white" pumpkin pie so I added brown sugar to the pie mixture for some color. It worked. One of the kids didn't even realize I had a "pumpkin" in the house to even make a pie from!

So, it turned out pretty yummy. I told the kids not to eat the last two pieces because we were saving those for Uncle Bubba- afterall, I'm sure he will want to know how his squash turned out.

Later that day, I made a jar of lacto-fermented sauerkraut. I used a combination of 2 recipes. One from the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon and the other that you can find here. I had some left over that wasn't going to fit into the jar so I just added some mayonnaise and, the three of us that like "slaw", had a treat.

....and last on the food agenda of the day, my in-laws blessed me with a bag of pears. I have no idea what to do with them but I'll have to do something with them soon.....Any ideas?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Corn Worms, Compost, and Curtains (Not necessarily in that order)...

I've felt kind of mischievous lately. It might come from the wonderful invention called, "vitamins" or something. Hey, I'm not complaining. I'm just glad to be feeling better lately.

I've even gotten the gardening bug. Well, uhm, I guess you could call it, the "next year" gardening bug. Remember that cold frame experiment from yesteryear? I figured one of those old, wooden frames might have another year or two of life in them- a new life so to speak. No one ever goes behind the playhouse in the backyard so, I figured starting a compost pile at the house would be a good venture. It would be out of the way. One of those old cold frames would make a good housing for some rotting good stuff.

Last time, I filled a 5 gallon bucket with scraps and about once a week or so, I took that bucket to Uncle Bubba's farm to join his compost. Now, I'll be able to make my own. My goal is to make enough good stuff to plant my seedlings in next year. With that being said, I'm planning to garden next year. Having not really "gardened" to any large scale this year, I realized that gardening makes me happy. Hey, you just gotta' go with what makes you happy sometimes. It took shucking some corn to make me realize that....but that story is to come....

Here is the beginning of my compost pile. It already has 2 spent heads of lettuce, several apple cores (and a few peelings), the watermelon that was cracked (and we didn't realize it until it was too late), some cucumber peelings, the leftover organic dirt from my cucumber plants, some leaves, and of course, all of the corn shuckings and cobs that you see in the photo.

Where did the corn come from? Uncle Bubba. He gardened pretty big this year even if he got started a little late.

Scott and Go-Cart Boy brought these ears home the other day. We had no idea what condition (or stage for that matter) that the ears were in since the crop had been ready for many days.

"Hey, what are you lookin' at?"

I guess you can figure that my insect loving daughter had a ball finding all of the corn worms. (This corn was totally organic- nothing was sprayed on it so it was bound to have some critters in it).

"This acorn smells like corn"

I've never liked the wiggly critters. Even when I was younger, I always passed the "wormy" corn to my Daddy. (Let me rephrase that- scream and throw the corn down on the ground). He would just reach down, and flick them off and break off the "eaten" pieces. It would gross me out a bit. Have you ever come across "wormy" corn? If you have, you understand how gross it can be. Well, with age comes wisdom. I can now "flick" corn worms and break off the "eaten" parts of a corn cob. Roly Poly girl had no problem with it at all from the start. She didn't get that from me!

This is what we ended up with. The two dark orange cobs were already dried out! In case you were wondering, this corn was an open pollinated variety (heirloom) called "Bloody Butcher". It's an all purpose corn good for roasting, animal feed, and grinding (think grits). Uncle Bubba is going to let a lot of it dry out so we might have a "grits" making post one of these days. I'll have to read up on that before we attempt it though....

Roly Poly Girl found one tiny, little ear. She squeeled, "BABY CORN!!!" and took off for the house to tell her "baby corn" eating brother about it. They actually washed it and halved it. I didn't ask them how it was.

Scott brought some other goodies home too. The yellow guys are some type of Asian melon that taste like cantaloupes. The big squash, we have yet to slice and cook. I hope it tastes like pumpkin. I love pumpkin....mmmmmm

Oh, what did we do with the corn? Since a lot of it was a various stages and it was actually showing it's, "Blood Butcher" hues, I creamed it. I had no idea what I was doing so you can figure that I made a complete mess of my kitchen. (Hence the absence of a creamed corn tutorial) The good news is that everything turned out alright and I ended up with enough for 3 quart freezer bags (and I didn't scorch any of it!!). I'm going to give Uncle Bubba some since he grew the corn in the first place.

The last item on my title says, "curtains" The curtains in question have nothing to do with corn or compost but it was a major event at my house this week. I had seen these curtains at a local home improvement store but shuddered at paying the price they had marked for them. Walking away from the curtain display was a simple thing to do since I'm somewhat frugal at heart. Speaking of being frugal, I went to a thrift store over the weekend and what to my surprise did I find (brand new and still in the original packages)? You guessed it, the very curtains I had sighed and walked away from at the home improvement store. They were more than 80% cheaper (did I mention, brand new and still in the package?!!) Needless to say, my girls have the "girly" curtains that I wanted and they love them. All it took was a quick run under the iron and they were ready to go. I love it when things work out like that... God is good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

This summer in Photos....

Summer around our house has been pretty busy. The bad thing is, I missed a lot of opportunities to take some funny pictures because I wasn't carrying around a camera with me. Oh well, that's alright. There will be other funny moments in time. In the mean time, I did take a few snaps of some things we've done over the past couple of months.

I grew these cuties. Yes, "grew"!! I had ordered these little guys from Baker Creek Seeds and planted them in pots out on the back porch. If you remember, it was part of my "gardening epiphany" project. I managed to keep enough little cucumbers coming in to make one small jar of lacto fermented cucumbers from my 6 or so plants that survived. I gave them to Uncle Bubba since lacto fermented cucumbers are good for the gout. He could use all the help he can get in the "gout" department. They actually tasted pretty good but were a little too salty. The recipe was from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

We went to a birthday party at a local lake. I took this little snapshot of the birdhouse not far from the dock. I have to admit that it made me a little nervous knowing that just some wood planks were the only thing between me and numerous mud turtles.

We threw a few birthday parties......

Go Cart Boy did some "ice" experiments..... quite pretty actually

Uncle Bubba brought some boxes of clay for us to play with. Go Cart Boy made this alien. I made an alligator (he turned out so hideous that I didn't want to share)...

....and last but now least (and probably one of the funniest things) Poppy was bit on the nose by an alligator.... or is that a crocodile?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SHARK ATTACK!!! (or, what's outside my windows)

It's been quite awhile since I saw something interesting outside my window. Well, this little doozy made up for the months of no excitement!

This is how it ended:

You might be saying, "dead shark". Yep, it met it's match. You see, that guy in the right corner calling 911? He's the cause of this predicament.

Now, this is how it all started.....

Balloon man (in the black shirt- inside the shark's mouth) was apparently trying to help this poor shark out by checking his teeth) The tall guy holding the shark's nose thought he would provide some extra insurance for Balloon Man's safety by holding the creatures snout firmly.

I knew instinctively at that moment that disaster was in the air.......

Notice the guy's arms are bending slowly as the shark is inching pressure down. Balloon man is frantically hurrying to finish his inspection as he knows the danger is rising......

Then it happened..... it was inevitable. The shark broke free of the guy's grasp and swallowed up Balloon Man, the guy holding the shark's nose, and the guy that had been watching from the side line. All that was left was the strong guy in front. He called for help immediately......

This guy, who happened to formerly be a zoologist, leaned over to examine the situation and give his scientific input. The strong guy on the left said, "I'm not waiting for your scientific mumbo jumbo" and he quickly punched the shark in the nose!

"Take that you evil creature!". He moved his position to scope out the situation and see if their were any survivors...

So that is how the situation unfolded (or should I say, "deflated"). The zoologist and the strong guy were the only survivors that sad day. What is the guy doing in the picture you ask? He's calling for help to remove the other three guys from the dead shark.

I have to say that this situation was the most exciting thing that I have ever seen "outside my windows".... Don't you think?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Halloween Goodies at Minnie Maes (sorry- not the eating kind)

I've been busy at the sewing machine lately. The result, you ask? A bunch of Halloween trick or treat bags were born. Last year, I made 3 of my kids a bag each. Do you want to know what I really think about these bags- they are wonderful- and I'm not biased because I made them. They really work, they are durable, they fold up to be stored out of the way, they can be washed, and they are just plain, cute!

Thanks to my fabric savvy sister in law, I was blessed with a bounty of Halloween fabric last year. I had forgotten about the fabric until last week when I came upon the bag of it- buried deep in my fabric "tub". It was actually kind of exciting to pull the bag open and see what she had bought me. I don't know why I didn't look into the bag last year. No matter though, it was nice to get a surprise. There were at least 2 yards of approximately 7 or 8 different patterns. Whoo Hoo!!

Here are just a few goodies that I sewed up from my gifted stash:

This brightly colored trick or treat bag is my favorite because of the bright colors and cute pictures. You can find out more about this bag here.

This is the second bag that I made from this bright orange fabric with owls. Do you want to know what happened to the first one? My owl crazy sister fell in love with it. She got an early Christmas present- even if it was Halloween related.

The bag in the photo is a double lined grocery bag that can be used for all sorts of things. You can find out more about it here.

This is one of my toddler treat bags. They are made especially for small hands to carry. After all, little kiddos like candy too you know! You can read more about this bag here.

Like I said before, these are just a few new goodies so be sure to check out my Etsy shop to find more handmade goodies!

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm Still Around...

Betch'a gave up on me didn't you? Well, I'm still around. I've just been super busy- in crazy spurts no less- if that makes sense. You know, things seem calm and slow and then, BAMMM, everything jumps into high speed. At this particular moment in time, I have a free moment and thought I'd let you all know what was going on....that is if things don't jump into high speed all of the sudden.

I was alerted that Uncle Bubba built a scare crow, so we took a trip over to take a look. I'm not sure how good it was working on his corn. With the looks of that scare crow's t-shirt, it looks like he has been doing some hard labor. Maybe that hard labor will pay off with some corn. Scott said that one day he is going to sneak over there and paste a ridiculous photo on the scarecrow's face and see how long it takes Uncle Bubba to notice. Hee, hee, can't wait for that one...

My little cucumber plants started blooming at last! I ordered an heirloom variety so it was extra important that the little buggies visited these little blooms. This photo was taken a few weeks ago and since then, we've harvested about 5 little cucumbers. They turned out being this tiny gherkin kind. (I had misplaced my seed catalog and couldn't remember if they were the tiny ones or the regular ones- now I know). 5 cucumbers is not enough to make pickles so maybe next year.

Look at that- nature ties a better knot that I can!

Our former neighbor built the kids a playhouse out of some old scrap wood. This is the frame of it on the first day he started. If you look really, really, closely, you will see that it was built over a stump. Yes, you read that right, a stump. We call the finished playhouse- The Stump House.

The kids were really excited about this new playhouse and so was their cousin Rachel. She made this housewarming gift the day it was finished. If you can believe it, that grass stayed alive for almost a week and a half! I thought it was sweet that the new Stump House was graced with live foliage (at least for a little while anyway.) Scott even installed a solar barn light inside (which the kids left on the other night and nearly made me jump out of my skin when I saw it glowing in the backyard!). For now, we haven't installed the shingles or siding but the kids don't care- it's just the most awesome Stump House ever. Good summertime fun is in store!

Hope summer is going great for everyone!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Cheap and Educational Day Trip...

Campbell's Covered Bridge

I don't have a lot of free time lately to blog because we've been busy hitting the school books. But, I have managed to squeeze in some time to share a recent day trip that three of the kids and I made. ( a little wading and splashing was involved by the way).

We visited the last covered bridge in the state of South Carolina. I was amazed at how open and friendly the area around the bridge was so we got out and rambled a bit. (did I mention their was wading and splashing involved? Oh yeah, I did that already)

....Kind of makes you think about all of the wagons and cars that travelled across this boarded floor....

You wouldn't want to meet an oncoming wagon or car back in those days when going through this tunnel....

This little guy was hiding in the "fake" well nearby. I wasn't sure what he was in the light but was delighted to check my camera after I snapped the photo to find out he was an amphibian and NOT a reptile. Thank goodness for small miracles!

Overall, it was a nice day trip and we got to actually see and "touch" a piece of fleeting history. That was nice (Oh, and did I mention, it was a cheap trip- and there was wading and splashing involved?)