Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hi-larry-us

video
We interrupt these bananas for...giggles. No one brings the giggles on like Papa. I give you proof.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

At the Drive-In


The Geek and I have a regular date night. Tuesdays. It's the perfect night, with no meetings, no church, no Friday night partaaaays (or get togethers to watch Sci-Fi with friends - yes, we do that. Let the Nerd comments ROLL!) or any of the other stuff that tends to fill up the week. Sometimes, our date night consists of the latest episode of 'The Seeker' (which at this point neither of us are exuberant about, but is an OK show, if not a bit predictable. It's something to do after we've gotten the baby bear to sleep that does not require a babysitter - ie, FREE!)

So after several thwarted attempts to do something a little more fun than watching a computer screen, we opted to watch...well, a bigger screen.

Now, I grew up on drive-in movies. It was the cheapest way to entertain a family of 9. Yes, I said 9 (nine!). Great children's night double features included some Disney flick like Benji followed by something for the grownups like The Incredible Shrinking Woman. After the first flick, Mama and Papa would have us all go to sleep on the mattress that was in the back of the Suburban (before seat belt laws, folks) while they watched the second feature. The never knew we could see it in reverse on the back window of the suburban!! We kids decided not to tell them. :)

In this fine tradition of taking ones kids to the movies, but making them sleep through the actual film, we took the baby to see Star Trek (which was awesome, by the way!) We drove out to the Stardust Drive-In, fed the baby and put her to sleep just in time for the dancing hot dog! (We totally stole this idea from other friends who post their goings on on Twitter) Great movie, great company, great Date!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thanks Uncle Sam!

Did I mention that the Geek got a job? I think I twittered it, but didn't write about it. So, yeah. He got a job and so far, it's awesome. I'm talking Wii in the conference room, allowed to go barefoot and wear shorts, nerf guns on the wall kind of awesome. Yeah. That kind of awesome! It was a long wait, but it was worth it for him to find this kind of work environment.

During the Geek's unemployed months, we went to the government for assistance. And as we wait for his first paycheck to arrive so we can begin to climb out from under the pile of late fees that have accumulated, I have been using up our food stamps. I wrote out a list of all our staples and just bought the heck out of it. I mean, we FILLED the cart to the top! And we only managed to spend half of what they'd given us. I used to think that to live on food stamps, you had to be REALLY frugal and only eat, well, food that wasn't very good for you. I was wrong! I just got back from a trip to the local grocery store and without coupons, I bought enough food to last us about 6 months. Not including perishables like milk, cheese, eggs, fresh veg and fruit etc. Seriously! And this was half of what they'd given us to live on.

So I have to ask myself this question...WHAT HAVE I BEEN SPENDING OUR GROCERY MONEY ON??????

OK, besides the obvious things that end up costing us a pretty penny (pet food, formula, toilet paper and other misc toiletries) We can really live on very little if I shop right, and plan. Planning is, of course, where I fall down since I get very overwhelmed when I think about going to the store. I can't just make a quick run! When I go for a few things I remember what we still need and end up making impulse purchases as well. So in light of how well we did when we had to use Uncle Sam's dough, I'll be sitting down to do some planning before the next trip and perhaps sending the Geek to the store for milk. It's not as if I'll need to go in the next few weeks for anything else anyway!!!

The point of this was to give thanks for the provision we have seen over the last 6 months, so to all who helped, prayed, bought me glasses, sent us money (even strangers did this!) and so much more, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Delicious day

I'm having a restful night, tonight. My blood-pressure has been up for several days and I am not feeling my best, so the Geek did exclusive daddy duty when he got home from his first day of work in nearly 6 months. (Isn't he wonderful?) I get very dizzy and have bad pressure headaches behind my right eye. The only cure? Bed and water. No medicine can touch the headache, so I've just got to wait it out, and sleep. But I've been sleeping for hours and need to get up or I won't sleep through the night, so I'll tell you about my delicious day.

Yesterday, in the golden hours before sunset, the baby bear and I took a blanket outside and stretched out under the canopy of our Silver Maple tree. She watched with absolute delight as the breeze shook the leaves above her, green-gold framed against a blue, blue sky. The birds swooped and sang overhead, gathering bugs for their nests full of baby birds and with each one that caught her eye, she let out a squeal and wiggled excitedly. I tatted, watching Freckles inspect every inch of the yard and pondering the space I've picked out for my first garden, to be prepared over the next year and planted next spring.

To watch delight in my baby's eyes, to capture a perfect early summer moment in my mind, to joy in nothing and everything. To see us, it was only mother and baby on a blanket under a tree on the front lawn, but to me it was a thousand seconds of an exquisite evening, each one dripping with summer sweetness and the beauty of Creation around us.

Finally! News I can get into...

Found this while reading about Auto-tune. Wouldn't be GREAT if all news was like this? Hee hee!



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tea Dying - A great use for Chamomile (other than drinking it!)

So this project I'm working on, (yes, I'm still being mysterious) needed some tweaking. I found the fabric I wanted, but not in the color I wanted. It was TOO white. So I experimented with changing the color.

I tried regular tea (Tetley tea from England), but the result was too brownish pinkish orange. So I read somewhere in all of the websites I browsed through that for making it off-white or creamy, use Chamomile. Interesting. Here are my test swatches.

From left to right - English tea swatch, chamomile swatch, original fabric. The difference is subtle, but when comparing the other fabric I had to the original white batiste I bought, the colors just did not look right.

Test swatches are key here. One thing to note is that a tiny little square is going to dye a LOT faster than a large amount of fabric. I learned this the hard way and had to re-dye the whole lot.

Bring your water to a boil, turn off the heat and add the tea bags. I used 2 tea bags of plain chamomile tea (check there's no other herb or flower in there - especially nothing with orange in it!) per 4 cups of water in a giant stock pot. I steeped the teabags for 20 minutes with occasional stirring.

Steeping tea
Yep, I'll say it. Steep until it looks like dark urine. Gross, but accurate! It got even darker than this photo.
Make sure ALL of the fabric is submerged.

Put the fabric in the pot and stir it around to make sure it is soaked through throughly. I used a smaller pot lid to keep the fabric from floating. This is from my first attempt, which was too light from 1. not dying it long enough and 2. not using enough tea bags. Make sure no bubbles get under whatever you are using to hold down the fabric. Stir occasionally (about once per hour)

Cotton takes the dye better, but this is a poly-cotton batiste so I had to experiment with things such as shrinkage and not dying at too hot a temperature. This batch ended up needing to sit in the dye bath for 6 hours to reach the light cream I was going for. Plain cotton can be boiled while dying, making the process faster. Not so for polyester! Booo. Although some dye recipes call for an overnight soak.

Once it has soaked long enough (check it for color. It will lighten a little after you rinse it) then take the fabric out and rinse it in a cold water bath until the water runs clear.

Wring out your fabric and hang dry.
Once it is dry, (remember that it will dry lighter!) iron and use. If you hate the way it came out, do a bleach load to remove the dye and start again.

The best part of dying with Chamomile? The sweet smell of the tea every time I iron the fabric!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gizmo and the Geek - a man and his cat

Now it could just be that I've never been a grown-up who owns a cat, but in all of my childhood and of all the cats we owned, never did I see a cat like ours.

In the hot summer of 2007, just after we bought our house, we had a rash of kittens in the alley that runs behind our house. I had heard them mewing and so had the Geek. His Spidey senses told him that trouble was on the horizon. Me being a sucker for cuteness, I could not resist when I saw a tiny little fuzzball cleaning himself in a sunspot. On my way to pick the Geek up from work, I picked him up and stuck him in my lap. Fleas and whatever else be danged! As soon as I reached the Geek's office I switched to the passenger side and put that little ball of fuzz in my purse.

The Geek protested at having to drive home, but I said I couldn't do it. When pressed, I let that cute fuzzy head poke out of my purse.

"No way! We are not keeping it!" He shouted, but already the cuteness had begun to work it's magic. He kept up the protests saying how it was going back in the alley as soon as we got home, or how we'd find it another home. Then when I commented how the kitten's ears were bigger than his head and he looked like Gizmo from the Gremlins, he protested again, shouting now I had named it and we'd never get rid of it. I could see that his defenses were weakening.

I borrowed a litter box from a friend and took him to the vet. Fleas, ear mites, the works! You name it, he had it. So much for the free kitten theory. A weird polyp started to grow in his ear later (which we had removed when he was neutered - $200 bucks, yipe!!) and he now has a permanent head tilt from that, giving him a crazed look.

But try as the Geek might, that cat was here to stay. In spite of his allergies (which disappeared with the owning of a cat) and protests. Now the cat is his cat. He follows him around with a 'prrwaw', just like a puppy whenever the Geek leaves the room. They snuggle in the morning and there is a (well used!) cat bed on the Geek's desk. I am the heavy and make him mind, but the Geek and his cat are the notorious pair. Here's some evidence:



(This is how they sleep - feel free to roll your eyes and say "Good Grief!" I know I do.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trying to capture a wiggly baby...

Back to front, front to back,
roll, roll roll.
Wiggly and snuggle and eat my toes,
roll, roll, roll.
Mama makes faces and funny noises
I giggle and roll, roll, roll.

(Notice how in each photo but one, some part of her is a blur. This is my wigglefest.)





Thursday, May 14, 2009

A new skill (or at least hobby. I'm not that skilled at it yet.)

Tatting. Here's what I've been attempting to learn...
Tatting is not so easy and as Beth said, not that much fun. I am only making enough for my project! (and no it won't be in green. This is a practice run)

The frustration lies in the fact that there are very few good FREE patterns out there for tatting. It's becoming a lost art form. So my patterns are made up out of my head or from looking at someone else's work. Since I'm not so great at this, it makes for a lot of ripped out (or cut off in this case) work. :( Does anyone do this?

Practice makes Perfect

I'm working on a project. It'll be done in a week or 2. I'll be posting some teasers. Here's a little bit of some work that will end up on the final item.

Practice...

Makes perfect.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

to be called Mama

The day is drawing to a close and I have had a great one. Time with hubby, a little bit of church (left early with baby bear and I feeling a bit feverish), yummy breakfast, a fancy dinner out last night and best of all, a baby bear of my own who calls me Mama (or will some day).

I turned to the Geek today and thanked him for making me a mama. I thanked God for this precious gift and gazed in wonder at this tiny girl, who is the reason I am celebrated today. It's a precious and scary thing to be called Mama. It's a lot to live up to! I know I can't do it on my own. I have to rely on Someone bigger than myself. That is my nightly prayer over sleeping babe. That I may lean on God and somehow, through all my faults, failings and flaws, teach her about His love. That I may live a life that points to Jesus. Not a perfect life, but one that can be used to lead this little one to Him.

Here's our Mother's Day photos taken at MOMS club. I'm so grateful to finally be IN a photo with the bug. I'm usually the photographer! (I swear this child will think her Papa is the only one who ever held her if she goes according to photos)


And finally a big kiss and hug across the miles to my own Mama. The most amazing woman I've ever known. I love you Mama!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Specs

And the blessings just keep coming. You'll remember that I broke my glasses last week, but in spite of my determination to go through my days with hot glue holding my glasses together, someone offered to get new ones for me. How awesome is that?! (This person didn't want to be on the blog, so I'm leaving them anonymous)

So here they are...my new specs and before anyone says so, because I know you will think it, I'll go ahead and say it, since I love this about them..."Jinkies!!"

Friday, May 08, 2009

Care

Caring is the thread that binds us, one to another. We have been so cared for, so blessed, so provided for, I can't help but to turn around and give that away again. It's being God's hands, feet, arms, and chef. (If God had a chef :) )

That being said, I found a great way to coordinate caring for others. CareCalendar.org is about filling the needs of others. Created to help coordinate care for their own large family it is now a wonderful (and FREE!) tool for others to turn and do the same. I signed up a fellow Mama from my MOMS club and church and am helping coordinate her meals when her new baby arrives.

It has great features, not just meals! A calendar that those with a code can log into to sign up for caring for the one in need, email reminders, the ability to update those who are caring with news, photos, etc. It's a fabulous tool! I can't wait to use it to care. Pass it on to your church, your MOPs group, your friends, your 12 step group, whatever! Just thought I'd share. 'Cause caring is sharing. :)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Quick and Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese-y

Still cooking on a budget around here! I wanted to make homemade mac and cheese for dinner the other night, but have you seen how long these recipes take?! And do I have cream just hanging around the house? Nope. So after flipping through lots of recipes, I did what I always do. I made one up. Here it is!
PS. I hardly ever measure when I am making stuff up, so the ingredients are an approximation of what I do which is more like a pinch here, a dash there, dump a little, taste, dump a little more. You know how it is.


Quick and Easy Mac and Cheese-y

Cook 16 oz of macaroni noodles as per package directions, drain and set aside. You can do this whilst (doncha love the world whilst?) you make the sauce.

2 tbs olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil)
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 tsp or 1 clove finely chopped or pressed garlic
2 tbs flour
1 tsp salt
1 12 oz can evaporated milk (NOT CONDENSED!!!)
5-6 oz grated extra sharp cheddar

Heat oil to medium heat in large sauce pan. Cook onions until a little soft. Add garlic. Cook until almost brown. Add flour and stir continually until it begins to barely brown (like making a gravy base) Don't burn the flour! (or garlic, it's not nice burnt)
Pour can of evaporated milk into pan, a bit at a time, stirring constantly. Add the salt.
Once milk is heated, slowly add the cheese, stirring until it is melted before adding more. Stir constantly as it will thicken fast and you don't want it to boil. If it gets too hot, turn down the heat!
Once all the cheese is added and melted, dump in the drained noodles. Stir it all together and serve hot! For extra fun, add ham or other meats that you think go great with cheddar!

Considering how much cheese and evaporated milk is in this recipe, I have to put the disclaimer that this is not for the faint of waistline. :)

Serves lots.
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