Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm done, I'm done, neener, neener, neener!

I went out and absolutely tortured myself (and my kids) today. I decided without a doubt that I was going to finish my grocery shopping and all the last minute crap-ola and a be done with it! So, as of this very minute, if it didn't get bought... TOO DAMN BAD! We will have to live without it until AFTER Christmas. Now it is time to embark on some housecleaning, luckily I did some pick-up over the weekend, so it isn't heinous in here, and start my baking. Tomorrow I will make the gingerbread dough so we can make cookies on XMAS Eve and XMAS Eve will have me making an apple/cranberry coffeecake for XMAS morn. We're not doing a "traditional" XMAS dinner this year. We'll have BBQ turkey, some green chile cornbread puddin' (if you're Southern, you'll know what I'm talkin' about and you'll be lickin' your lips, if you're a Yankee, then you'll probably cringing at the thought), green beans with almonds, and the Monkey Man has chosen a cauliflower snowball for his side of choice. We'll bake a fresh loaf of wheat or pumpernickel bread and have some pumpkin pie for dessert (Oh, pumpkin pie, THAT"S traditional, maybe I should re-think!). But I think I have everything under control and I am looking forward to a low-stress week, maybe I'll actually get to relax and enjoy a little this year! Hallelujah!

In case I decide not to blog again this week... Everyone have a wonderful holiday, be safe, enjoy your family and friends, and try not to eat yourself completely silly! Cheers!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's the little things...

Like making gingerbread houses with good friends and amazing kids! People tease me about the gingerbread houses and cookies, the hand-made costumes and spiderwebs at Halloween, or the crazy McDuff-cakes, and Harry Potter and pirate birthday parties, but that's OK. I know in my heart, even with all the mess and all the stress, these are the things of memories and I cherish each and every one! These kids just grow so fast. I feel like I blinked and my little boy went from pudgy toddler to long, lean almost 7 year-old and my tiny newborn became a toddler! So... I do all the stuff, I start traditions, I take pictures like crazy and I try to revel in every moment that they are small! For I know these times are fleeting and before I know it, they will be out of the house, with families of their own, starting their own traditions. I just hope they look back fondly on their childhood and know that they were loved beyond compare!

Here are the Monkey Man and the Piglet's most amazing gingerbread creations (the "Banana House" is the Monkey's, fitting right?)! The Piggle had just a little help from Mommy! ;-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

TP solution????

So, on Tuesday evening, Big Daddy and I had a discussion about the "Great TP Experiment of '08" and he flat out admits that he NEVER puts a new roll onto the roller! He says he doesn't know why, he just never does it, even at work! I am beginning to wonder if he had some sort of TP roller trauma as a child. Maybe he tried to put the TP on and the roller pinched his finger and subconsciously he has a fear of the roller! Or maybe he just doesn't like to do it. Either way, later that evening he went off to band practice and I went upstairs to bathe the children. To my surprise, this is what I found! Men are such turds. ;-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Great TP Experiment of 2008

Over the last month or so, I have been conducting an experiment, unbeknownst to my Big Daddy. Everytime I notice the toilet paper getting low, I grab a new roll and put it NEAR the toilet paper roller (in plain view). The experiment was to see if the roll would ever get replaced. In the last month, anytime he has used the last bit of TP, it has NOT been replaced by the new roll that is sitting less than 1-2 ft. away from the roller (in plain sight). So, based on this experiment, I have determined that Big Daddy either does not understand the complex workings of a TP roller OR he just chooses not to replace said TP. I am sure he would tell me that there was still some TP on the roll, but honestly, the hanging remnant of the last square just doesn't count! If the next person cannot get enough paper to accomplish at least a partial wipe, then that roll is toast and you should replace it with a new roll! And yes, I realize that as a female, I use more TP than he does, BUT usage should not determine who is the one to replace the roll! It is strictly the responsibility of the one who empties the roll to be kind and courteous and replace that roll so that the next person doesn't have to waddle across the bathroom in search of a new one!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I can hardly believe it!

I just filled up my car for $35! I'm slightly shocked and little dismayed! I'm not sure how to react to $1.55/ gallon! Honestly, I never thought I would ever see gas for less than $2/gal in my lifetime. This is super, yet scary at the same time. Now that gas is cheap again, what will be the motive for finding alternative fuel sources? I mean lets get real, finding alternative sources would take time, effort and money! We have cheap gas again, so who cares, right?!? I hope as Americans we aren't lulled into that false sense of security yet again. We still need to be working toward energy independence, if not for monetary reasons for environmental reasons, or for our children's generation so they don't end up having to pick up the ball that we dropped. After all, we had a gas crisis in the 70's, got everyone all fired up, then here came the cheap gas again and now 30 years later, we're picking up the ball our parents' generation dropped. Cheap gas or not, I'm still limiting myself to one tank of gas per 2 week period (unless I'm actually traveling). Either way, less driving helps keep the gas cheaper and the environment cleaner until we find something better. Just trying to do my little part!

Have a nice day!

Some people take stock in reading cards or tea leaves, personally, I take a look at my Thursday morning pancake! And today, I'm thinkin' it said to have a nice day! What do you think?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wow, gotta love that Texas weather!

Texas weather is so weird! Yesterday afternoon it was windy, but the temps were mild, in the mid-70's. It was getting a little more chilly and windy as I left for my White Elephant party, but nothing too bad. By the time I left the party, just before midnight, there was freezing rain and bone-chilling winds! Yuck! And not the kind of weather you want to be driving across town in after a party! Granted, I didn't have much to drink, but still, I was in Big Daddy's car and the weather really was terrible.

Funny thing about Texas, is Texans CANNOT drive in inclement weather! If it's not sunny, dry, and 100* they just don't know what to do! Now I'm not saying I'm great in the snow or sleet, but I am aware that this kind of weather makes driving difficult and dangerous and therefore I should decrease my rate of speed. Yeah, Texans don't seem to get that. It is perfectly acceptable to be driving 65 mph down Parmer Lane on slick roads because, by god, the speed limit sign says so! I flinched as multiple cars sped past me, only to slam on their brakes and skid through the intersections at stop lights! So although sleet and snow are dangerous, they are nothing compared to the crazy bastards trying to drive in it! Thankfully, I made it home safe and sound, but only due to my diligence, respect for the elements and SEVERE defensive driving! I think when the next storm hits, I'm just gonna stay home!

It makes me smile!

While I'm sitting here, reading and blogging and checking email, I have children playing nicely, which is a rarity! Monkey Man is running around in a tie-dye shirt and Thomas the Tank Engine jammy pants (quite the combo) shooting Nerf darts off the upstairs landing and encouraging the Piggle (who is SUPER CUTE in her brand new polar fleece piggy jammies) to count off and then run after the darts! Quite the little game! Sometimes it strikes me at the oddest moments, "These kids of mine are REALLY stinkin' cool!" How lucky am I that I get to stay home with them? I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm bored.

I have another White Elephant party to attend tonight. It's our homeschool group, Mommies Only party. I'm excited about that, mostly since I missed last year. Stinkin' flu! But still... it's over an hour until I leave and I'm sitting here, bored out of my mind, listening to the kids aggravate the crap out of each other in the living room. I actually did manage to get us out of the house today. I took the kids to feed the ducks, but even that was pretty boring. (Well, except for the Piggle deciding to pick up a gargantuan dog turd to show me! Yuck!) The ducks were all really lazy and sleepy, not really interested in being fed. And once we got home, I had to fight the urge to sleep the afternoon away! Maybe it's the weather. It's windy and overcast and it seems as though some sort of storm may be brewing, but I don't know. Either way, I'm freakin' bored as shit right now and feeling all sleepy and lethargic. I better get up and do something so I don't completely poop out BEFORE I get a chance to go have some fun!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The White Elephant

I was excited to get to go to the 5th Annual Martinez White Elephant Party this past weekend! A night out without the kids at a really fun party. This party is known for it's racy gifts with terribly bad taste and it's just a hoot! The first couple of years, the gifts were very "adult novelty" oriented, but it seems that people are now really beginning to tap into their creativity. I ended up with a Pig Pinata filled with candy, shot-sized bottles of liquor, condoms and a penis whistle. I was more excited about the pinata than anything, because I will be able to fill it with candy and let the Piggle whack it on her birthday! Cool. And it's about time, I always end up with the really crappy gift at the White Elephant, like the box of half-eaten candy canes or the broken garage light fixture! So it was about time I got a decent gift, and I shared the wealth. I'm not a big fan of hard liquor, so I doled alot of it out to friends and passed out the condoms to party guests that might need them!

So what was the gift I gave, you ask? Well, that was a hard one. About 3 hours before the party I had still not had any sort of White Elephant epiphany. So the hubby went on a search for a gift, as I was NOT about to buy anything. Then he suggested that maybe I use my photography skills to take a really artistic picture of something weird, and hence the idea of taking pictures of dog crap was born. So yes, there I was in the back yard trying to get the most amazing pics of my dog's shit. I'm sure any neighbors that might have seen me were thinking I was high! Anyway, we went through the photos (which have now been erased from my computer to protect the eyes of the innocent) and picked the best two which we printed. We placed the photos in a frame we had that held two photos and closed like a book and then I wrapped the frame with a note which read:

"I hope you are able to find a fitting spot for these in your home. It just seemed that no matter where we put them, they always looked like shit! Enjoy!"

And there you have, that's how we roll at the Martinez White Elephant Party!

Friday, December 05, 2008

At odds with Christmas

It's that time of year, when I feel pressured to spend more money than we have to make Christmas memorable. My kids have been lucky and have had amazing Christmas mornings with gifts from Santa and endless presents under the tree, but it's a hard to keep up that momentum! How do you top the year before? And then I have all of my hippy, granola ideologies of not wanting my children to think they can have everything, not wanting to be a family reveling in the excess that is so American, not wanting to put myself in the poorhouse in order to fill my kids' closets with Wal-Mart crap that will be played with twice and end up in the never-ending cycle of garage sales and Goodwill donations! I long for a simpler time!

But how is this possible with the endless barrage of Fisher-Price commercials on the Disney Channel and every store having aisle after aisle of junk falling off the shelves to tempt the hearts of the young? Do I never go to Target, do I ban television? Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind! We have become such a disposable world. We seem to be wired to consume and dispose constantly! More is better and I'm just tired of it. It absolutely wears me down. I haven't even started my XMAS shopping and I'm, for some reason, not looking forward to it this year. I don't know if it's the money thing, or just being overwhelmed with what is out there and what the kids want that I'M alright with them having, or if it's the raging, rampant greed that I'm seeing in the general population to acquire as much shit as possible before December 25th? When did XMAS become all about trampling a Wal-Mart employee so you could get 20% off that crappy ass flat screen TV? Seriously?

So here I sit, reminiscing about the stories my grandmother told me of her Christmases as a child. How lucky they felt when their father was able to buy them candy (5 lbs of orange slices, 5 lbs. of chocolate cream drops, and 5 lbs. of coconut bonds) and some baskets of fresh apples and oranges. It was all about family, loving one another and having a couple of special treats to celebrate the season. Things have certainly changed! I am trying to keep things mellower this year, I want to get things I KNOW the kids will play with, I am planning on making many of the gifts, especially for the Piggle as she is still little and hasn't began to demand the Bratz dolls or My Little Pony's yet. It's definitely a thin line to walk, to make their day special, yet to tread lightly on the Earth and not raise entitled little brats that think they deserve everything they ask for. I'll be glad when it's over. Christmas used to be one of my favorite holidays, but now it just stresses me out. I think my new favorite holiday is Halloween!

OK, NOW it's December!

Holy shit folks, it got cold! Remember my last post about warm, sunny breezes? Yeah, not so much anymore. How about frigid, bone-chilling wind and freezing temps?! It is times like these I absolutely abhor all of the big windows in my house! Normally I keep the blinds open to let in all that lovely natural light, but I have been keeping the blinds closed and living in a cave for 2 days! The cold that emanates from the windows is awful! I hereby declare that from now until spring I shall be baking at least one loaf of bread, or cookies or pies so I can either 1) keep the house warm from the heat coming off the stove, or 2) gain about 20 pounds of fat to insulate my skinny, little ass so I don't freeze to death! I suppose it's a good thing I don't live in Minnesota!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Haiku of the day

It's warm, a light breeze
Blue skies, yet leaves falling down?
It's NOT December!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Nearest Book Meme

The Rules:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next seven sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

Two of those ministers were Francis Hutcheson's grandfather and father. John Hutchenson was pastor of Armagh when his son Francis was born in 1694. Francis received his first education at his grandfather's house. It seemed only natural and proper that he follow in their footsteps as a minister.

By then the Ulster Scots community had been through much. In the decades before Hutcheson's birth they had endured massacre by dispossessed Irish Catholics, including the wholesale murder of men, women and children at Portadown in 1641, and paid them back in kind. Many had signed the National Covenant, and backed the Parliamentary forces against Charles I.

(Photo provided by Duluth Trading Company)

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's the Great Pickle!

I have had several folks ask me what the deal is with the pickle ornament on our Christmas tree. So here goes... as far as I can gather my great-grandparents had a set of ornaments, 1 carrot, 1 banana, 1 pickle and I believe 1 apple. According to my mom, these ornaments graced my great-grandparents' tree. When I was in 6th grade, many years after their deaths and when my great-aunt had moved into a nursing home, my mom and I moved into their house, which meant that we inherited their Christmas tree ornaments. We loved them all (except the apple, which was broken way before I came along). We always placed the banana, the carrot and the pickle high up in the tree, right up front as they were so cute and so completely un-Christmas-ey! They were so funny among all the balls and garland and icicles! Anyway, one year we had a tragedy, one of our cats decided to climb the tree, which of course ended with a crash and the beloved pickle was shattered into a million pieces along with several other not so prized ornaments. We were devastated. Many years later, when I was in college, my Mom came across a place that had vintage pickle ornaments and bought one for each household. Since that day, the pickle has been proudly displayed in a place of prominence on our tree! It is and always will be my favorite ornament. Now if I could only find a carrot and a banana!

My Eggscellent Contribution

We were so lucky to have been invited to spend Thanksgiving with friends! I was asked to bring a side of some sort and a dessert item. I opted to make my famous crumbly crust apple pie (yum!) and some deviled eggs. I know, most people probably think there is nothing special about deviled eggs, but you have obviously not had MY deviled eggs! I am the deviled egg Master! The secret is white wine vinegar and fresh herbs! They were immediately ravaged by the dinner guests and were gone long before the meal was served! Good thing I took a quick picture of them in all their glory before I left the house! Now tell me that isn't a lovely plate of eggs! It was the least I could do though considering what a lovely meal we were able to partake in! Good friends and good food, life is good!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

6 Random Things

My friend Sean tagged me with this meme. I am supposed to post 6 random things about myself.

1) I was the youngest person in my high school graduating class.
2) I was once hit on by Lemmy of Motorhead (lucky me!) at the Rainbow on Sunset Strip.
3) I have an extreme dislike for plastic baby dolls.
4) I love meatloaf sandwiches!
5) I dream of having an herb farm.
6) Before I had kids, I had 2 dogs, 2 cats, 3 ferrets, 2 rats, a snake and 2 tanks of fish all at the same time! No wonder I had a hard time studying in college!

Friday, November 28, 2008

10 Things I'm thankful for today...

1) My kids. They make me beyond crazy but I wouldn't trade a single minute of any day with them!
2) Big Daddy. 17 years together and we still kinda like each other!
3) My home. It may not be perfect, but it's mine.
4) My family. When it comes down to it, they're all you've got and I'm pretty lucky to have them!
5) My dog. He's a big, goofy, son of bitch, but I love him!
6) My friends, both near and far. Without them, life would be dull!
7) My little garden. It's not much, but it helps me feel connected to nature and keeps me grounded.
8) Fuzzy polar fleece sweatpants and woolly socks! It's chilly here and I'm oh so toasty!
9) My camera. Without which I wouldn't have 1000's of photos of beautiful children and awesome nature!
10) My blog. So I can remember all the silly, stupid things that will make me smile when I'm old!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Late Night Visitor

It was after dinner and we were all hanging out in the living room. Big Daddy and I were trying (notice I said trying) to watch Bones over the screams of obnoxious children. I thought I heard a noise, but immediately shrugged it off as something on the TV, then Monkey Man said, "Did you hear that Mom? It sounds like an owl!" We listened for a minute and we both heard it, so he and I went out back to investigate. Sure enough, there was a big, beautiful Great-Horned Owl on our chimney. We sat out on the trampoline and watched its silhouette and listened to its call. On occasion I heard another in the distance, so this may have been the same pair that landed on our chimney a couple of years ago. The owl continued to hang out, so I slowly walked across the yard and went inside to see if Big Daddy and the Piggle wanted to see it. She came with me and Big Daddy headed out to the garage to get a light. I was hoping for a mellow flashlight, but he came out with our 2 million candlepower spotlight! He shined it on the house first and slowly moved upward, trying not to flash the owl in its eyes. We were able to get a pretty good glimpse of it before it took flight. It was beautiful! It glided off the chimney almost effortlessly and soared over our neighbor's yard and off into the distance. Big Daddy kept the spotlight on it and we were able to see the gorgeous markings and the fuzzy feet! And the most amazing thing was how quiet it was when it flew! No wonder they are such effective predators! I always feel so privileged to witness an animal in the wild and I am especially fond of owls!

If you are interested in hearing what I heard last night, there is a good recording on this link. Look for Great Horned Owl (a little ways down the page) and click on "pair calling". This is a nice link for owl information in general.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New shoes!

I just had to show off the insanely cute new sneakers I bought the Piggle! She is stylin' fer sure! SWEET!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Why is it I always come up short of milk and eggs and bread and toilet paper during the holiday week? I HATE going to the grocery store before the holidays! I was hoping that today would be sort of mellow as there is still tomorrow for last minute shopping, but the HEB was PACKED OUT! Swerving in and out of aisle after aisle of folks who are undecided as to which stuffing to get or whether they want pull apart rolls or the whole wheat kind... holy crap, it's rolls, just pick one! It probably wouldn't be so frustrating if I didn't have kids tagging along, but trying to navigate through a sea of people while the toddler is ripping crap off the shelves or dropping things out of the basket or throwing her new shoes on the ground (thanks to Monkey Man for catching that, otherwise some little girl would have had a new pair of pink fuzzy crocs!) and then the 6 y.o. swinging on the cart, dashing out in front of people or just standing in the middle of the aisle making it impossible for other shoppers to pass, it makes we want to pull my freakin' hair out! And I don't know if anyone else has noticed this phenomenon, but people get UGLY around the holidays. I mean people in general are fairly rude and inconsiderate these days anyway, but get within a week of any major holiday and everyone gets a severe case of Asshole-itis! Nothing aggravates me more than to politely ask someone if I could scoot by only to have them stare me down and give me the eye roll with the sigh. I figured, "Please excuse me." was alot better than, "Move your fucking fat ass!!!" Maybe I was wrong? But the topper was while I was in the Kleenex aisle, I was looking for Puffs and a gentleman in one of those scooter things drove up and was waiting. Since I hadn't yet located the damn Puffs, I politely backed away so he could get by. After he pulled up, I found the Puffs, they were right behind where he parked, so I reached to get the box and he backed up, damn near ran over me, then proceeded to tell me I should have moved when I heard the "beep, beep" sound! He better be damn glad he was sitting down or he would have had a size 8 foot up his ass! Seriously, what ever happened to courteous and polite behavior?

Friday, November 21, 2008

I say, BRRRRR! It's cold in here!

A cold front moved in yesterday and boy did it come in fast! One minute it was a lovely, sunny day with a nice gentle breeze, the next minute the wind was whipping around and chilly to the bone! I HATE cold weather! I would much rather be traipsin' around in shorts, tank tops and flip-flops! Oh well, at least I'm getting some use out of those old sweaters that I've hung onto from the Oregon days. I had to take the kids out to buy some new shoes as all they had were sandals and Crocs. Time for the warmer, winter-type shoes. I found the Piggle the CUTEST little pair of pink and silver Nike's. She will be so stylin'! I also found her a pair of pink Crocs with fuzzy inserts, so she will now have warm, little tootsies!

The leaves on my maple are turning yellow (yeah, they don't turn all orange and red here like they do in OR). There are leaves all over my yard and I'm having to bring in all of my cacti. My house is too damn cold due to all the big windows that are NOT double paned! I guess it is time to start non-stop baking from now until spring. From this day forward, I will be longing for sunny days and warm weather. Someone needs to send me to Mexico already! Seriously.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God of the Interstate Billboard

I was heading out east of town to visit a friend in Coupland yesterday. I was on one of the major highways and immediately noticed some billboards. The first one I remember said this:

Is the road you're taking leading you to me?

Hmmmm. Well the road I was taking would have eventually led me to Houston and unless God currently resides in Houston or one of the towns on HWY 290 on the way to Houston, it obviously wouldn't have taken me to him! So shit, I always seem to take the wrong road! But then I got to thinking, Wow! Billboards are pretty pricey, who knew God had such a big advertising budget? And then I wondered who his agency was? Is he a local client or a national client? Either way, Big Daddy's marketing firm could sure use a high falootin' account like that! So if any of you have an "in" with God, could you please get his contact info? I think it's only fair that Big Daddy's agency has a chance to make a pitch! Thanks and have a great day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trina's pics of the week

These are some of my favorite photos from our trip to New Mexico.

Gray sky ahead, blue sky behind

Pronghorn antelope, one of North America's most beautiful animals!

Majestic silverback, he interacted with us for quite awhile, several times using what almost looked to be sign language. Gorillas are such magnificent beings, how can we look at them and not see ourselves?

Cuddly carnivore!

Zebra's got back! I just love this shot, not sure why.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Really nice day!

I just got home from taking the kids to park day. I have happy, tired and totally filthy children, henceforth life rocks! There is nothing better than filthy dirty kids that have spent hours playing with friends and loving life! Ah, to be 6 or 2 again! I called Big Daddy on the way home to check in and he suggested going out to dinner so I don't have to stress over cleaning rugrats AND cooking dinner. I really love the shit out of that guy! So off I go, rub-a-dub-dub, funky kids in the tub!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Better late than never...

I have been waiting around for the final results from the election, but it seems as though Missouri may never be called! So I just wanted to post the predictions that Big Daddy and the Monkey Man made and compare with the actual results. They really did pretty well, only one state off as far as I can tell (depending on what Missouri does). I tried to upload the map, but blogger isn't recognizing the format, so I'll just post the electoral votes they predicted vs. the actual.

Prediction was: 353-Obama, 185-McCain
Actual (at this time): 364-Obama, 162-McCain

The boys had given Indiana to John McCain and Missouri too. And I still think Missouri will eventually be called for McCain and if that's the case, the results will be: Obama-364, McCain-173, so they weren't too far off! I still just think it was cool as hell watching my son take in this process! Get him informed and excited while he's young so hopefully he'll fully understand and appreciate his right to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Have you ever seen something you just have to have?

Sitting here, watching Rachael Ray and BAM! there it is! The most beautiful blender I have ever seen in my life! It makes me feel all giddy and silly inside thinking of the crazy smoothies I could make with this bad boy! OH YEAH! And did I mention milkshakes? Strawberry for me and the Piggle, peanut butter for Big Daddy and Hot Fudge for the Monkey Man! Ooooo! And what about margaritas and pina coladas?? OK, here goes... banana strawberry smoothies for breakfast, milkshakes for lunch and margaritas for dinner! Who's with me?

Holy crap!

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Oh wait... holy crap, it's RAIN! Wow! I was beginning to think that rain was just a figment of my imagination! This is the first real rain we've had in months, my tomatoes are rejoicing! If they had feet they would be dancing with their heads upturned, reveling in the life-giving gift of Mother Nature!

If I'm lucky, there will be some puddles for the kids to splash in when it calms a bit. They seriously need some little rain boots! Maybe I'll wait to take my shower until later so I can splash too!

The thunder just woke up the Piggle, she's crying and scared, but I just explained to her where thunder comes from (well, at least how a sweet little fairy tale explains it). I feel a haiku coming on...

little clouds floating
you bang your heads and yell out
OW, OW, OW! that hurts!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The newest member of the family!

Yesterday we went to Petsmart to get some food for the Otie Potie. While there we passed all the bowls of sad little bettas and of course the Monkey Man thought we should adopt one. So, we looked at many, many little fish before he settled on one. While we were getting in the car, I told him he had to think of a decent name for this one as he was NOT going to be Rainbow Fish III. He was pretty quiet on the way home then said, "A-ha! I'll name him Albert!" So, welcome to Albert, the newest member of our family! He's a beaut, ain't he?

Friday, November 07, 2008

What do you do when your Play-Doh dries out?

You make it your damn self! The Monkey Man was really wanting to show his baby sister what Play-Doh was all about. Unfortunately, all of our Play-Doh was dried out and sad. Thank goodness for the internet! I got online, found a do-able recipe and poof, half an hour later we have home-made, non-toxic, non-smelling play dough! We made five different colors and the materials I used probably cost less than $1, what a deal! For any of you interested in trying this, here is the recipe:

Play Dough

2 c. flour
2 c. warm water
1 c. salt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. cream of tartar
food coloring

I heated the water in a pan until it was warm, not boiling, then I added the oil. I mixed all the dry ingredients then added them to the water. It immediately started thickening and I stirred and stirred until it got very doughy (past the point of looking liked mashed potatoes, where the dough was starting to peel off the edges and stick to itself). I turned the dough out on a cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes until I was able to handle it. I kneaded it until I got my desired consistency and separated it into 5 tennis ball sized balls. To add the color, I poked a hole in the middle and poured in the coloring and kneaded the dough until dispersed. If there is anything you learn from me, take the time to actually go get some gloves on or you'll have blue hands! Once the dye is incorporated into the dough, it no longer stains, it's just when it is still liquidy. After you have desired colors (granted, these are nowhere near as vibrant as commercial dough, but why do kids need neon colors to be happy?) then it's playtime! Enjoy and then store in airtight containers. If it starts to dry out, you can wrap the individual balls in a damp paper towel overnight to rehydrate, but at some point, they will get too hard and you will just start over! Luckily this is so stinkin' easy!

RATS! Literally.

The Monkey Man and I were out in the garden yesterday, harvesting tomatoes. I have been noticing recently that alot of my Golden Boys have had big, chewed-out sections. At first I thought it was another tomato worm, but there was no telltale poop and all of the tomatoes that were chewed were close to being ripe and close to the ground. Tomato worms usually attack green fruit closer to the top. Anyway, a minute or two into harvesting we heard this big rustling and I caught a glimpse of something racing out of my bed and through the hole in the fence! Eeeeek! I did not actually witness what it was but Monkey Man said it was some sort of rodent. He said it was pretty big, but then he's never really seen a rat and a mouse together to compare size. He is convinced it's a Harvest Mouse, since logically, it has been harvesting our tomatoes, but from the size description, I'm thinkin' it's a rat. When I looked through the fence, I didn't see it, but did notice that my neighbor has a shed that doesn't sit flush on the ground and there is a whole bunch of wood rot and straw under the shed (what a nice, warm little home for a family of ratties). We also had several folks at our BBQ awhile back state that they saw a portly rat cruising along the top of the fence. So there you have it. But what do I do about it, they seem to be living in my neighbors yard and they are renters that could give a hairy rat's ass (no pun intended) about maintenance and upkeep of the property. And I certainly don't want to lay any traps in my yard, for a couple of reasons. I don't want the dog to get caught up in it, don't want the kids to get snapped and as stupid as it may sound, I've had rats as pets and I just couldn't kill one to save my life! But at least now I know what gets the dog all worked up after dark! Time to patch the holes in the fence. I know that won't take care of the problem 100%, but maybe it would make it more difficult for said rat to raid my garden!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Toilet-side eulogy

Rainbow Fish II
You were so bright and blue
You were born in a cup,
but with us you moved up... to a bowl.

You ate little pellets
And made bubble nests
You were cool, you were sweet
You were the best of the best!

Oh Rainbow Fish II
We will really miss you
We hope that you find
That school in the sky... or a shoal.

The Monkey Man is mourning the loss of his 2nd betta, Rainbow Fish II. RB II had a good, long life, almost as long as his predecessor, Rainbow Fish I, who survived over 3 years! He will be greatly missed by a tender-hearted 6 y.o.

And so history is made...

On November 4, 2008 Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States. This was an historic moment in many ways, the most obvious being that he will be the first African-American President. I was sitting around yesterday thinking about what this means for our country and the world when it struck me that the first President my son (and other children his age) will remember will be Barack Obama. That barrier of color is now broken and seeing a black man in the highest office won't be anything new or strange, it won't be necessarily historic to his generation, it will just BE.

Somewhere around 136.6 million Americans voted in this election! That's pretty historic too! A 64.1% turnout, which would make it the highest voter turnout since 1908! Something about this election inspired people. Several women in my circle of friends were discussing the election yesterday and everyone of us agreed that this was the first election in our lifetimes that we really cared about. Everyone I have spoken to, whether Democrat, Republican or Independent all agree, this was a monumental election. I just think it's cool as shit that so many people got out there, stood in lines, voted early, sent in absentee ballots, whatever they needed to do to make their voices heard! Democracy at work, woo-hoo!

Although this event had historical significance for our country and our world, it also had significance for a skinny, little white girl in Central Texas! This honestly was the first election in my life that really meant something to me. The first time in my life that a candidate actually "spoke" to me. I wanted to be involved, I wanted to educate myself, I WANTED to vote! Many people may think I'm a sap, but watching Barack's victory speech gave me chills, made me cry and inspired me, not only to work harder in my own home with my own family, but to figure out a way to work harder for my community, my country and my world. Simply... it gave me hope. I'm not so naive to think that Barack Obama is going to solve all the world's ills, no President could, but I do believe that he will at least try to do his very best for our country. I don't envy him, the whole world is watching with baited breath to see if he will rise to the occasion or fall flat on his face. He has the hopes and dreams of many Americans riding on his shoulders, not a position I would want to be in! But he WILL be our next President and I, for one, am excited to see what the next four years will bring!

Still waiting...

I had promised that I would post Big Daddy and the Monkey Man's results from the election, but unfortunately as of this morning, we are still waiting to hear about North Carolina and Missouri. As soon as those results are posted, we'll be able to see how close the boys were.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Today is the day Americans are hitting their polling places to cast their votes! How exciting! I have to admit, this is the first election in my life that has really made an impact on me. Of course I've voted for years, but no race has ever been quite so exciting. I don't know if it's the candidates, the state of affairs, or the fact that I'm introducing all of this to my child, maybe it's just a combination of it all, who knows? Big Daddy has the whole evening planned with the Monkey Man. A few days ago, the two of them sat down with a map of the US and made predictions as to which state would vote for which candidate, they saved that map and this evening they will print a new map and fill it out according to what the actual tally is and then see how close they got! It's been a really great exercise in introducing the electoral college to the Monkey Man. It's nice to have Daddy pitching in with schooling on occasion, especially when it's something he is really interested in! With their permission, once all of the polls are closed and everything is tallied, I will reveal their predictions and the actual totals, so we can all see if they were on target or not so much. Should be fun to see! And, if you haven't been out to vote yet, get a move on!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Heaven forbid a Muslim in the White House!

This has been something that his tickled me for weeks now. I have had several people recently ask me, "Aren't you worried about the possibility of having a Muslim in the White House?" Usually my first response is, "Huh?", as I hadn't realized that John McCain was Muslim! Who knew? But seriously, I am always floored at this question for several reasons. One, it is completely unsubstantiated. Two, I thought our country had a separation of church and state within the government, so who gives a rat's ass about a candidate's spiritual beliefs? And third, I have yet to find anything in the Constitution that states ONLY white, Christian, Protestant males are allowed to be President. I mean I wasn't around yet, but I seem to remember people even having issue with JFK being Catholic, which is weird, cause isn't Catholicism still a form of Christianity?

I just find it odd that this country toots it's own horn, stating that it is the "melting pot" where people can come and pursue their dreams without fear of persecution! We send the message to our school children, which are from all different and diverse cultures and backgrounds, that they can aspire to be anything, even PRESIDENT! What a bunch of bogus crap! What we really mean is, "You can aspire to be anything, even PRESIDENT (IF you're male, white, Protestant, come from a background of wealth and prominence, have been in the armed forces and are 100% heterosexual)". All of you kids of Latin, Asian, Middle-Eastern, African-American, or NATIVE American background, we are totally just blowing smoke up your asses! And if you're Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Athiest, Agnostic or any other deviant form of religion, you're freakin' high! OK, it's sad, but it's true.

At some point we are going to have to realize that we are not a nation solely of white, Christians anymore. Thanks to our beautiful Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.", we have one of the most diverse populations on the planet! It's like we have a little bit of every part of the world in one country, isn't that so cool? But now we need to put our money where our mouth is. Are we really that giant melting pot? Are we truly the land of opportunity? Someday, a woman with Asian ancestry who practices Buddhism is going to throw her name in the hat, will we be able to see past her personal, spiritual choices and her ethnicity and be able to judge her strictly based on her policies and what she could offer our country? I certainly hope so.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

One woodland fairy, one screamin' cheetah weelie!

Well folks here they are, dressed up in all their glory! Finally, all that hard work comes to fruition! We had a great night, the Monkey Man is of course old hat at this trick-or-treating stuff, and he taught his baby sister well. After a few houses she was yelling "trick-or-treat" with the best of them! And now they have enough candy to last us until next Halloween!

My monkey becomes a cheetah!

Tail end of a cheetah

Fairy kisses for Mommy!

Mommy's little woodland fairy

Winged wonder!

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Halloween!

Finally the day has come to dress up my little goblins and take them out to beg for goodies from complete strangers then bring them home to stuff themselves silly with candy until they finally fall over into sugar comas and wake up puking from all the sweets in the middle of the night! OK, just kidding about the puking thing, I don't let them stuff themselves that bad. We will be heading down to the Hyde Park neighborhood with some friends. It is a wonderful old neighborhood with big, spooky houses and they decorate for Halloween like other neighborhoods decorate for XMAS! It's rad! It is supposed to be a beautiful night and I can't wait to see all the little ghouls and goblins dressed up!

I finally finished up everything for my little beasties. This morning I spent 2 hours spotting spats, adding more flowers to a tutu and onesie, decorating a woodland fairy's treat basket and putting the finishing touches on her shoes. I will dress them up early so I can take some pics before we actually head out to trick-or-treat, hopefully I'll get some good ones!

For the rest of you, have a fun and SPOOKY night and don't get all bloated on Snickers and candy corn! And just as a note, if you are the person handing out candy... NOBODY wants those damn mints you get with your meals at Sonic, you cheap bastard! If that's all you have to offer, just do us all a favor and keep your porch light off and don't answer the door!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Democracy, Politics, and my 6 year-old...

With the impending Presidential election, now seems to be a prime time to delve into the realm of democracy and political philosophy with my son. With all of the ads, the news headlines, the constant chatter of the adults in his life, it is becoming quite apparent to him that this is something important and possibly exciting. I have spent the last few weeks looking at the climate of politics in this country and racking my brain to figure out how to approach these concepts with him, mostly when my idea of democracy seems to be quite a bit different than what I’m seeing. So, I’ve decided to start with the basics. What exactly is democracy?

Democracy, from what I can see, means different things to different people but the New Oxford American Dictionary definition is as follows:

Democracy: (n.)

Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from Greek demokratia (demos-the people, kratia-power, rule, strength)

- a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
- a state governed in such a way
- control of an organization or group by the majority of its members
- the practice or principles of social equality

I’m sure we can all agree that these concepts may be a little beyond the comprehension of a 6 year-old. I mean he understands that the United States has a President and a Vice-President and that we have a government that is made up of elected officials. He is beginning to understand that those of us 18 and over have the right to vote for those officials (after all, he’s been to the voting center twice this year). And although I think it’s imperative that he understands the basic concepts of voting and governmental structure, there is so much more to it than that!

Obviously a citizen should utilize their right to vote, however, each person should take the time to actually do some research before casting that vote. Voting is a HUGE responsibility! And this is where I begin to see problems. In this country it has become so easy to just become affiliated with one party or another and vote along those lines no matter what, check that “straight ticket” box and be done, a one-size fits all plan. I firmly believe this is not how a true democracy is intended to work. A true democracy requires that each individual actually take responsibility to become educated on the issues and use one’s mind and voice and take appropriate actions. We have all but lost the ability to think for ourselves as we’re being spoon-fed our ideals by two distinct platforms. Whatever happened to voting for issues and policies? Do we not owe it to ourselves to be educated on a candidate’s policies? And I’m not talking about “educating” yourself on Fox News or MSNBC.

So what is it that I would want my 6 year-old to take from this? First and foremost, when the time comes for him to vote, I would want him to use his greatest gift… his mind. I would want him to go into each election with no pre-determined notions about either candidate. I would want him to actually LISTEN and pay attention to debates. I would want him to do independent research that wasn’t handed to him via the television or radio by sharp-tongued reporters and correspondents. I would want him to look at all sides of the issues objectively then use those wonderful skills that we have all been blessed with, critical reasoning and divergent thinking. Hopefully by looking at issues from every angle he would be able to make an informed and educated decision. And once he follows through and makes an informed, educated choice then he has something called integrity and no matter whether someone agrees or disagrees with his choice, he will be confident that he made the best decision he could based on all the information available.

Now would I want him to think that his decision is the only viable decision, or the “right” decision for everyone? Of course not, that would be ludicrous. We live in a country of over 300 million people, there is no possible way for one ideology to work for everyone and this is where things get messy! Democracy is not a “my way or the highway” kind of philosophy. If I could impart any wisdom about democracy and politics to my son it would be this… Practice tolerance and respect for others. As Americans we may not all agree how our country should be run, but that doesn’t mean anyone of us is less of an American than anyone else. If I walked out my door right now, I guarantee every person I met would say they wanted the best for our country, but I also guarantee that they would all have different ideas of how to accomplish things. We all have different lives, different ideals, and different backgrounds that affect how we see the issues and how we vote. I would hope that our democratic community is diverse enough and strong enough to accept these differences and embrace them. It’s what makes our country so amazing! It is also our responsibility to work together through our differences to find common ground without the use of intimidation and disrespect. We can all agree to disagree, but work hard TOGETHER to find common ground for the common good, something that I think we have lost sight of.

I also want my son to know that our government is supposed to work just as hard for me, a housewife who makes no money, as they would a CEO who makes $1,000,000 a year. According to the definition, democracy is practicing social equality. Therefore my vote is equal to Bill Gates’ vote, which is equal to my dentist’s vote and we each have the right to exercise that vote, pretty cool, right? My son’s vote WILL matter and he WILL have the power to make a difference! I never want him to underestimate himself. He has the power to make a difference in his own life, in his family, in his community, in his state, in his nation and in the world!

The last bit of wisdom I would like to pass on to my son is the ability to look to the future and hope for better. I would never ever tell him that he is naïve to dream and to hope! I have told him since the day he was born that the sky is the limit and anything is possible! And just as that holds true for every individual, it also holds true for our nation! The United States of America is not perfect and we should never be so conceited as to think so. It is a wonderful country, full of opportunity, but just like each individual, the nation could and should strive to be better! Our government and our nation are evolving, just like everything else on the planet. Change is inevitable. Change is wonderful! And this is where democracy shines! Each eligible citizen has the ability to make a difference and affect change. There is something incredibly empowering about that!

In 6 days our country will elect its next President. People will cast their votes, the votes will be counted, the electors will cast their votes representing their state and the course of history will forever be changed with either administration. Now whether the candidate of my choice wins or not, I will be comforted in the fact that I did my research, I listened to all the debates, I used my mind, I cast my ballot and I respected the rights of everyone else who did the same thing. And that is what I want my 6 year-old to learn from this election! We all have a vote, we all have a voice and we have no grounds to complain if we don’t actively participate in the democratic process.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

In line with our yearly tradition, we spent Saturday evening carving our jack-o-lanterns! Carving pumpkins, like trimming the Christmas tree, is one of my FAVORITE holiday activities. I always enjoy taking a plain 'ol pumpkin and making something great with it! And the kids LOVE it! Of course each family member gets a pumpkin and this year, I painted 3 little pumpkins white and then carved them, little ghostie pumpkins if you will! Too cute! I also attempted to roast pumpkin seeds this year, I mean jeesh, we only hollowed out 7 pumpkins, I felt guilty throwing it all away. Unfortunately they didn't turn out that great. Next year I'll go strictly with salted and not attempt spicy, unless I can figure out something better to spice them with! Anyway, here are our pumpkins!

Little ghostie pumpkins


I was sent the information months ago, I have been waiting patiently and it has finally arrived! Yes, I'm talking about my big,new and blue recycling cart! The city of Austin now offers curbside recycling for everyone. We no longer have to deal with sorting and upkeep of little blue bins, we can now just dump all of our recyclables into one cart and be done with it. They have expanded the items that they take, which now includes, 1-7 plastics, glass, tin, aluminum, steel, corrugated cardboard, newspaper, board boxes (such as cereal boxes and such) magazines and scrap paper! Hooray! And to top it off, they are only picking up every other week to conserve on gasoline! I am seriously loving this, just a new and better way for me to reduce, re-use and recycle!

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's a bitch getting older!

Recently I noticed an area on my face, up on my left cheek, that's red, kind of bumpy and has some discoloration around it. I didn't think anything of it at first really, but it's been around for about a month now. A friend of mine said her brother is a dermatologist and she suggested I make every effort to get it looked at soon. So I went in today to see my dermatologist. He said it could be one of two things. I could be dealing with an area of yeast, which is fairly common and curable with a creme or it was a spot of pre-cancer. He says since I came in early on that there is absolutely NO evidence of cancer, but possibly some abnormal cells. We are going to take the next month to treat it as if it's yeast and see how it goes, but if it is not resolved he will want to biopsy it to make certain. It's always a scary thing to even discuss cancer in any way, but I have high hopes that it is just the yeast and will be all cleared up in a month. And although the discoloration is definitely sun damage, it is more of an "age spot" and nothing to be too worried about. I guess we'll see where we're at in a month. I'm glad I went in, even if it is more serious, we'll be catching it very early on and that's always the best scenario. I told him I was surprised as for the last 10 years I have been good about sunscreen and such, but he just laughed and said it wasn't anything I've done in the last 10 years, it was the days on the beach when I was 18 that are catching up! Ain't that a bitch?!?

Friday, October 24, 2008

The making of a cheetah and a woodland fairy!

I have been working diligently for almost a month straight on the kids' costumes. It has been alot of work, but I think it has paid off, they are really turning out cute! Today is the big test, Halloween Party with our homeschool group. We get a chance to show them off and see where I need to do some work before the BIG night. Monkey Man's costume was pretty straight-forward, I used a pattern this year and it definitely has a more "finished" look to it. It was the damn spots that killed me. They don't make cheetah fabric, they make leopard and zebra and tiger and giraffe, but NOT cheetah. So I bought yellow polar fleece and ended up hand-painting probably 1000 spots on the damn thing! UGH! So worth it though, it's cute! The Piggle's woodland fairy costume has been a little more intense, dying onesies, sewing flowers on the onesie, finding wings and spray painting them (they were lime green to begin with), making and attaching flowers and ribbons to a tutu, decorating the wings with glitter and jewels then doing the back piece for the wings. I ended up having to re-do the harness system for the wings as well since she was a bit small for them. All in all, I think they will be stunning come Halloween night! So much work, but so worth it! Here are some pics!

Mama workin' hard!

Halfway done with spots!

Finished cheetah, yea!
Thanks to my mom-in-law, we had a great start to a flower fairy tutu for the Piggle!

Wings... Take One

I may add a few more flowers before Halloween but you get the idea.

Finished wings! And yes, you may stand in stunned silence of my SERIOUSLY mad skills! I so ROCK sometimes!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Voted!

Early voting started on Monday, so I packed up the kids yesterday, headed to my local Asian supermarket and waited for my turn to cast my ballot. I was really surprised at the number of people that were there! It was so cool standing in line with such a diverse subset of the population, no arguing, no disrespect, just a bunch of people exercising their right to vote! So, whether you vote early or wait until November 4th, just get out there and do it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Balloons, balloons, balloons!

The kids and I took our first trip in two years to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. We had a GREAT time! Sadly, we were only able to see one mass ascension. We went down to the launch field on Thursday morning to watch the special shapes. It was an absolutely perfect morning, traffic wasn't too bad, the temperature was comfortable and the skies were blue, not to mention the breakfast burritos were YUMMY and the cocoa was hot! There were a bunch of new special shapes this year which is always fun to see, but they aired up and flew off SOOO fast! I was left really wanting more and feeling a bit disappointed. Just as we were getting ready to pack up, we ran into friends and started chatting and next thing we knew, they were airing up the traditional balloons for a contest. They put a several sets of car keys atop tall poles and the balloonists tried to fly in and snatch the keys. Whoever grabbed a key won the car it started! So we got an extra 2 hours to watch these beautiful balloons come in close then float away and come back in again (they call it boxing). It was an amazing sight and the kids were intrigued! We ended up taking the Friday morning to go to the zoo instead and that ended up being the last day they flew as bad weather came in over the weekend and prevented them from flying. As you can see from the photos, it was an amazing event, and we're looking forward to next year!

Good vs. Evil

Me and the kiddos on the field

When pigs fly!

Brazilian bees and friends

Two of my faves... Gargoyle and Panda
Now as much as I enjoy the special shapes, there is nothing more beautiful than a sky full of these gorgeous, multi-colored orbs! I LOVE the traditional balloons!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Haiku of the day

Boo-hoo, woe is me
Nasty throat and loads of snot
Colds really suck ass!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A dream come true!

For a long time now, I have been dreaming of a designated space for the kids to do school. I have been struggling for 2 years doing school either in the floor or at the kitchen table. Granted, sometimes the floor is the perfect place to do work, but the kitchen table sucked! I would always have to clear off school stuff in order to feed these little twerpos! I have been trying to convince Big Daddy for some time now that we should turn our "formal living" room into a library / school room. He has been very resistant to this, not wanting the first room that you see when you walk into our house to look like a preschool. I can get that to a certain extent, but at this point, I am more interested in function than anything. This is a room that is rarely used, wasted space really. And I wasn't planning to have chalkboards and tiny little desks with plastic chairs, I wanted some nice bookshelves and a couple of desks and still keep our couch and end tables, more of a home office / library feel.

Anyway, my dreams came true last weekend, Big Daddy finally caved to my pestering and since the bookshelves I wanted were $30 off, it was time to move forward! He built 3 bookshelves and fastened them to the wall to keep the Piggle from pulling them down on her head. Then we went back a couple of days later and purchased two desks, one for each side of the bookshelf. Now the Monkey Man will have a workspace and the other desk will house the computer. It is looking great and we did school for the first time yesterday in our new room and it was AWESOME!! His school books are now stored right next to his desk, he has plenty of room to spread out and I didn't have to clear everything off for lunch! Woohoo!

I just figured since we are probably going to be in this house for at least the next 2-3 years (or maybe forever with this economy) that I better take advantage of any space we have available! And besides, it's not like we are entertaining diplomats here on a weekly basis, the only people that come in are family and friends and most of our friends are homeschoolers as well, so they totally get it. I am feeling such a sense of relief, this space feels warm and inviting, like I want to spend more time in here, it's so nice! The only downside is the Piggle deciding she wants to take every book off the shelf everyday! I am hoping that the newness wears off soon and she won't be so apt to do that! We'll see.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Those of you that have been following along know that this summer was my first bonafide attempt at a vegetable garden in Central Texas. It has been several months of hard work, great joy, and extreme frustration! I have learned that bell peppers don't do so well, yet jalapenos thrive. I have watched beautiful little seedling squash emerge only to see the whole crop wiped out by squash borers (evil little beasties!). I have had days where I got 3 tiny tomatoes and other days where I picked upward of 30. It has been a crazy ride! My main goal with this garden was to get a few tomatoes, some squash, some peppers, a few cantaloupes and now I am hoping for at least 2 pumpkins. I wanted to show my children how plants grow and where food comes from. I wanted them to see the different types of bugs, pests and beneficials. I wanted my son to feel a sense of accomplishment everytime he ate a fresh tomato. So, we may not have had the best harvest ever, after all, it's been 3 months since we've seen a drop of rain, so ANYTHING we got was a success, but this garden has been a wonderful learning experience for all of us. If hadn't been for this garden, we would never have found Ernie the Tomato Hornworm and we would have never had that amazing experience of raising a gorgeous moth!

The main downside of the garden was the damn squash! EVERY single time I planted squash, it got hit and destroyed by borers. But for some reason, one of the last bunch I planted has managed to keep it going. I'm pretty sure it has some borer infestation, but it keeps growing, the same thing has happened with the pumpkin vine. Anyway, long story short, I noticed last week that the zucchini was starting to put on and I was thrilled! So this morning when I went out, I was able to harvest my first squash!! I am so excited, it is a beautiful golden zucchini and I am sure it will be lovely in calabacitas for dinner tonight! So... as long as I end up with at least 2 pumpkins, I will call this garden a semi-success and hope for better harvests in my winter garden!

My pumpkin and squash vines, oh my!

Crazy, out of control tomato vine!

Baby pumpkin!

The first squash...

Harvested! Can't wait to eat it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bathroom etiquette

So I really didn't mean to have my mind in the toilet today, but it just seems like the topic won't go away! I took the Monkey Man over to my friend Amy's house for our weekly science co-op. As we were about to load up in the car to go home, I am informed by the Monkey Man that he needs to poop. Such impeccable timing! So we went back in and I helped Amy clean up a little more while the boy did his thing. He finishes, we say our good-byes and out the door we go. Well about 6 blocks after we left I thought to ask him if he had flushed. To which I was told, much to my great horror, that he had not! Seriously!?!?! I am at my wits end here! For months I have gently reminded him to flush, I have yelled at him to flush, I have threatened to take toys away if he doesn't flush, but NOTHING seems to make an impact! So, at this moment, his is in the kitchen writing, "I will flush when I poop." twenty-six times. Then I'm going to make him write an apology to Amy for dropping a deuce in her crapper and not flushing! I am wondering if this will have any impact whatsoever on his actions. I guess only time will tell. But I swear, if I open up the toilet one more time to find an unflushed present, I may have to give him a swirly!

Things that make you go hmmmmm....

So does this mean pink for the girls and blue for the boys?!? Yes! That would actually be so very cool because we girls DO NOT like sharing port-a-potties with boys! It is beyond disgusting! I think in general, if it involves boys and bathrooms it is just gross, I should know, I live with two boys and I'm the one that cleans the bathrooms! To give mine credit, they are nowhere near as nasty as most, but they are still messier than girls. I mean you know boys must be bad when my hubby REFUSES to take the Monkey Man into any public men's room unless he has no other choice! And if he does have to take him into one, the child is immediately slathered in Purell upon leaving! I have luckily never been inside a public men's room and I am thankful, but I HAVE been in co-ed port-a-potties. So... upon seeing these port-a-potties (they call them Honey-Buckets here, which is sick and wrong in its own special way), I am whole-heartedly in support of port-a-potty segregation!

More photos... critter edition!

Edmontosaurus (we went to the Dino Land exhibit this week... too cool!)


Zen with koi

Local egret

Ruffled pigeon