Thursday, November 29, 2007

The baking bug

Now that the weather is cooler and the holidays have started, the baking bug has hit me again. I think I'm going to make some nice rye bread today or maybe pumpernickel. I should probably start with the rye as hubby isn't that used to really dark breads (I love them!) I didn't even bother getting caraway seeds as I find them too overpowering. I just want a nice, mellow, flavorful bread and of course I am looking forward to that wonderful aroma permeating through the house! We have a White Elephant Party to attend this weekend and I think I may bake some light little lemon cookies. I have this beautiful Holiday Cookbook that has all of those wonderful decadent cookies, cakes and candies. I've been wanting to try these for awhile, but have never gotten around to it. If they're good, I'll post a photo and the recipe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Holiday

Boy do I ever have a fun weekend planned! I hope you can tell I am being TOTALLY sarcastic! My hubby does have all 4 days off, and that's great! I always love when he's home and the kids love it too, especially my girly, she is SUCH a Daddy's girl. We took a bit of a break from home remodeling as we were both sick as shit of putting down floors. We had to take a breather! But now it is time to get back down to business before the holidays. Next week is our "bulk trash" collection, so we can put out all the crap we pulled out of the house, the old sink, toilet, etc... This is a beautiful thing so we can reclaim the garage. Our goal this weekend is to take EVERYTHING out of the garage and put it in the driveway. Then we can go through every box and decide what really needs to stay and what needs to be launched out to the curb for trash week. Unfortunately, we don't have the $400 for the cabinets yet, but we are saving up for them and hopefully will be able to get them in the next couple of months. At that point the garage will be a usable area. We have an old rug that we will throw out there, we'll buy some folding chairs and one of those long folding tables (everything has to fold up in case there is a hail storm coming through and we need to put cars in the garage). We already have our dart board up, so maybe we can actually play on occasion (I've missed that). I'm just looking forward to a nice organized space to store art supplies, mine and the kiddos', and scrapbooking supplies, etc... All of my stuff has just been crammed into cubbies and boxes and we seem to just rotate them from area to area, never being able to actually have it accessible for use! Anyway, that is the weekend plan. If by some sick reason we actually get finished with that in a timely manner, I highly doubt it, we will continue with interior paint! Yes, I started it last weekend, I painted the accent wall around the fireplace and now it is time to bring the new color to the rest of this house. This ugly ass yellow in the great room has its days numbered! It has officially worn out its welcome! I will probably do the painting myself in the den and kitchen, but will have to hire out for the great room. I don't have the capability to paint 20 ft. ceilings! But I can't wait, I tested the new color in some different areas and it is GORGEOUS! I am so slick in my design choices! :-) Anyway, if we can manage a turkey dinner in there somewhere, I suppose this weekend will be a success! My wishes that all the rest of you have a nice Turkey Day, if you celebrate it, otherwise, just have a nice week!

To keep it or not...

This blog is seriously neglected! I tried to use this one to explore my more artistic side, whether it be with photography or food, but it just seems to sit for weeks. I felt 30-something got a little heavy at times and wanted this one to have a lighter feel, which it does, but I find it a little dull at times. So, I may be archiving this site and just going to 30-something permanently. It would be a helluva lot easier to keep up with! Then again, I just went through looking at the archives and I suppose there is interesting stuff on occasion. I don't know, we'll see. I just think this blog gets more attention in the summer when I'm out taking photos and doing stuff. Lately I have just been around the house schooling, cleaning and generally be bored as shit!

Friday, November 9, 2007

On the Menu!

Tilapia with Mango Salsa served with Rice and Black Beans

4-6 tilapia fillets
olive oil orange juice
salt, pepper and crushed red pepper

In a shallow baking dish, mix about 2 tbsp of olive oil with about 1/4 c of OJ (or just squeeze a nice-sized whole orange), sprinkle with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Add the tilapia and coat on both sides, pop in a 400* oven for 10-12 min.

For salsa:
Mango, onion, avocado, tomatoes, lime, jalapeno, cilantro and salt.
Chop 1 small or 1/2 a large onion, dice 1 avocado, peel and dice 1 mango, dice one good sized or 2 roma sized tomatoes, chop 1 jalapeno and 1/4 cup or less (depending on taste) of cilantro. Put it all together and add the juice of 1 lime and add salt to taste.

For Black Beans:
I actually used canned the last time (just didn't have time to soak and blah, blah, blah). So one can of black beans, drained and rinsed. Before adding beans, saute a little onion and some fresh tomato. Add the beans to a pan and add some water, just enough for them to simmer and get hot. Add to taste, salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Reduce it a little so it thickens up a bit, then garnish with cilantro before serving.

Serve the fish over a bed of rice then spoon the salsa over the top. Black beans on the side. Yummy! This is a very quick and healthly little meal. If you're actually steaming rice and not using the quicky stuff, you'll want to get that going first. The fish takes only 10-12 minutes and the beans and salsa about that as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Piggy costume!

It's kind of pathetic that I spend hours on a costume for a 16 month-old that she wears long enough for me to snap a couple of photos! She did wear the outfit trick-or-treating, but actively refused to wear the ears, and she normally LOVES to wear those ears! Fickle girl! But tell me the costume was cute! There is a close up of the tail which I was extremely impressed with how well it turned out. The front was pretty non-descript, just pink, but the back had the spots and tail, too cute. I can't wait until next year when she's walking and able to go to the door!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The masterpiece progresses...

We are close to a finished product and this costume is becoming more and more outrageous every day! As if there weren't enough bells and whistles on this thing, the hubby thought it was prudent that there be lights. So off he went and discovered LED lights that he now has strung and poking through the box and it has a battery pack on the back that can be set to a constant "on" or "intermittent". So my son will blink and shine his way through the neighborhood. And if that wasn't enough, I'm sure he will have NO risk of being hit by a car as he has a giant push-light on the back of the costume, 2 reflectors and he'll most likely be wearing his light-up Spiderman sneakers! Hell, I don't think my XMAS tree has as many lights on it as he will!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Constructive Criticism???

My hubby looked at the blog and said I take horrible food pictures! He says they look disgusting! :-( I do admit, I can take a great picture of my kid or of wildlife or bugs, but I do kinda suck at food photos. Is it the flourescent light in my kitchen?? Or maybe the flash? Well, if any of you have been turned off by the food photos, just let it be known that they might look gross, but they really are tasty! I'll try to do better in the future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making a Masterpiece

It's that Halloween time again and I'm not one who goes out to Wal-Mart to purchase store bought costumes for my kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing those that do, making costumes isn't for everyone. In fact, my life would be a little less stressful if I would go get a storm-trooper costume for the boy, but Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and if I can't get dressed up and trick-or-treat anymore, I better make the best experience I can for the kids so I can live vicariously through them! So I am elbow deep in pink polar fleece, making a piggy costume for the baby and then there is the costume for the boy. This one is taking alot of creative thinking! He decided he wanted to be a robot, how cool, right? So the hubby and I have been brainstorming and we finally got the costume underway this past weekend and thought I'd post as we go along. So here is what we have accomplished so far, mostly the body, no legs or arms yet. And technically, the body still has alot of work, but I haven't pulled out the glue gun yet. I will post as we progress and of course I'll include a final photo of the finished product!

Friday, October 19, 2007

On the Menu!

Today's dish is a quick and easy chicken pasta. It took no time at all and was a big hit with both kids, VERY simple.

One large chicken breast, cubed or sliced thin, sauteed with 1/2 an onion and a clove of garlic, salt and pepper to taste. While sauteeing chicken boil water for noodles. Curly types of pasta work best. Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Add chicken mixture and 1-14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes (the italian seasoned ones would probably be good, I used plain because that's what I had). Mix in 1 cup of shredded mozzarella. Then put the mixture in a casserole pan that is lightly greased. Mix 1/4 cup parmesan and 1/4 cup bread crumbs and sprinkle the mixture over the top and dot with butter. Toss it in the oven until bread crumbs start to brown on 400 degrees. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Visitor update

After much research, I believe our moth to be a Gaudy Sphinx. It is actually still out on our porch, hanging on the eave. I hope my capturing it didn't stress it too badly. I am beginning to wonder if it is actually a female though as most of my research suggests that the females find a spot and emit pheromones hoping a male will catch the scent. I just wish I had more flowers with deep nectar! She could probably use a snack!

Our latest winged visitor.

I was out dealing with my recycling last night and as I was about to come in the front door I noticed this really big, really cool moth over the doorway. Well you know me, I had to try to catch it and take it in for my son to view. After a bit of quick thinking and a quick hand, I was able to net this behemoth moth and stuff him into my butterfly habitat. All I can say is this moth was PISSED!! He was buzzing around in that enclosure, fast and furious! But he eventually calmed down and we were all able to get a good look at him. I decided to try to get some shots as we were releasing him. They aren't the best, but it will give you an idea. He was brilliant green, I am thinking he is some sort of Sphynx moth, not sure of the exact species. A truly beautiful moth though and I was so glad I was able to nab him and observe him for a bit. My son just loved it!

Monday, October 1, 2007

It's raining, yea!

I have all my blinds closed. Feeling a bit like a hermit crab today! I just started hearing the pitter patter of raindrops! I love that sound. Mostly since I know my garden and my lawn are desperate for a drink! I hope it sprinkles for awhile. I would love to take a walk after dinner and enjoy a cool evening with the scent of rain!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Adventures in quinoa!

I have been able to round up a couple of ways to cook quinoa, so I will delve into this new grain or seed (I forget) and see what I come up with. It will be a culinary adventure of epic proportion! I will keep you posted with how it turns out and if it's good, I'll pass along the recipe so you all can have a crack at this!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The new love of my life!

Take a look at this little beauty! Isn't he gorgeous!?! He is a Dyson DC-17 Absolute Animal! This bad boy boasts Level 3 Root Cyclone action with constant suction (220 constant airwatts), clean air exhaust, lifetime HEPA filtration and quick draw telescope release for easy stair cleaning! Specifically designed for households with pets. He has an on/off switch for the main brush so you can vacuum hardwoods, tile and delicate rugs (like my sisel rugs!). He has it all! Lightweight, cool features, cool attachments and I can use and abuse him and he never complains! He works and works, picking up my messes, sucking up loads of pet hair and crumbs from under the table and once he is done with his duties, he is content to be shoved into a closet. He doesn't want praise or acceptance, no reciprocation needed, just a healthy electric supply! He even boasts a purple cannister top that shows he's not afraid to embrace his sensitive side! All I know is when I look at him my little heart flutters and skips a beat! He is rugged and strong and that clear cannister with Bactisafe screen traps that kill bacteria on contact make we weak in the knees. I think I may be in love, in fact I know that I am madly, passionately in love with my DC-17! Hubba Hubba!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hooray for me!

The picture of the beetle I posted a few days ago got published on! Yea! This is the 4th time I've submitted something to them and never had them print it. It is on "beetles 15". As it turns out, it is a Grant's Hercules Beetle. My son is thrilled to see his bug on the web!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You know-a Quinoa?

My aunt sent me a "care package" from Trader Joe's awhile back and it included a box of quinoa. Does anyone know how to cook this stuff, any links to cool recipes or any awesome recipes of your own? I hate for perfectly good food to go to waste!

Now if I could only sleep like that!

Here are a couple of photos of my lovely little cat, Miriam. Now seriously folks, don't you wish you could conk out like that? No care in the world, belly up in the sunlight, basking in all that is wonderful in the world! Ah, to be a cat.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Snakes ALIVE!

I took my son to Park Day today (our homeschooler group has a weekly get together at local parks) and we met up at Round Rock Memorial Park. Nice park with a creek that runs through it. Usually we take the kids down to the actual "Round Rock" that the city is named for. But since it has rained recenty, the creek was really full and none of us were too sure about the water quality, so unfortunately no frolicking in the creek this time. HOWEVER, when we arrived there was a big portion of our group over by the water so we ventured to see what all the hubbub was about. It was a medium-ish sized what I believe to be a water moccasin that had managed to either catch a fish or came across a dead fish. Either way, the fish was WAY too big for this snake! The snake was probably as big around as a good sized banana and the fish was the size of a pork tenderloin. Now I'm aware that snakes have jaws they can unhinge and devour prey much larger than they are, but this little snake was in one hell of a predicament for HOURS! He got the head down and was stretched to maximum capacity as he got to the area of the fish with fins. Ooooh, was it ever painful to watch! He stayed in the same spot forever. And for awhile it actually looked as though he were desperately trying to get free of it. But as you know, once a snake gets his teeth in something, it is awful damn hard for it to "spit" it out, especially when it had gotten the fish in that far. The adults all took turns monitoring the snake (and the horde of children that were mesmerized by it) to make sure no one got to close. I mean granted, that snake would have never been able to bite someone with that giganto fish in its mouth, but still. We were all pretty much of the opinion that this little snake was possibly doomed, but sure enough after at least 3 1/2 hours, he finally got past the fins and managed to swallow the whole thing! We were glad it was a happy ending as we all wanted to help it, but none of us were willing to risk our lives messing around with a venomous and notoriously bad-tempered snake! What an amazing thing to witness though! Wish I had taken my camera.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On the Menu!

Tonight's dinner featured grilled chops with buttermilk mashed potatoes, steamed green beans with butter and almonds and homemade Irish Soda Bread. It rocked! The chops were marinated in olive oil with Vegeta (a seasoning that some of our Bosnian friends use all the time, you can find it at international markets), paprika, lemon pepper and cayenne. The potatoes were mashed with buttermilk, butter, salt, pepper and dried parsley for color and flavor (skins on, of course).

Irish Soda Bread

3 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
8-10 oz buttermilk

Sift all dry ingredients. Add buttermilk until you achieve a raggy, very soft dough with lumps that looks dry and floury yet squishy (technical cooking term).
Blend quickly, turn out immediately on a floured board and knead.
Shape bread, slightly domed approx. 6-8" diameter on a lightly floured cookie sheet or pizza stone
Using a sharp knife cut a cross over the top
Bake 45 minutes, first 10 min. on 450*, then drop heat to 400* for remainder of time.
After 45 min. pick up loaf, with gloves obviously, and tap bottom, if it sounds hollow, it's done.


The Rescue of Rodan

While on vacation in Ruidoso, I did a very noble thing. I saved this poor guy from his imminent demise. As I walked out of the Lawrence Bros. grocery I noticed a small band of hoodlums poking something with a stick. So I strolled close to see what the excitement was all about. As it turns out, it was this beautiful Rhinoceros Beetle (at least I think that's what it is). I shooed all the little turds away and scooped him up in a plastic grocery bag to take him back to the cabin in order for my son to check him out and to release him in the woods by the house. He stayed with us a couple of days, I put him on a stick on the table out front to look at him and to take some photos, we named him Rodan as I'm sure he was big enough to take on Godzilla! I assumed he would be on his merry way after a couple of hours, but the next day I found him lurking underneath the table, then the next morning he had flipped over and had his "horn" stuck in the space between the wood slats on the deck. Gorgeous bug, but not too damn bright! So I picked him up and physically placed him next to a tree trunk in the woods. I hope he went about his business and has a successful life. As big as he was, it leads me to believe he'd been around for awhile. Long live Rodan! (And yes, that is a Hot Wheels car, isn't that amazing!)

More petroglyphs

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

While in NM we visited the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. I have been here many times and always enjoyed it! This site allows you VERY close access to the glyphs. You can walk up and touch them, really study them and get amazing pictures. Sadly this also means that stupid asses can scrape on them and scratch their own bullshit onto the rocks as well. Why are people such assholes? And although I find the desecration of these glyphs highly infuriating, we did notice one bit of "graffiti" that was left by someone dating 1903! Anyway, on the whole though, the site is amazing. The petroglyphs were made by the Jornada Mogollon peoples sometime between 900 and 1400 AD. This site was occupied for around 400 years, but by the time the Spanish entered NM in the 1500's these dwellings had been mysteriously abandoned, the people possibly retreating to pueblos farther north or taking up their ancestors nomadic, hunting and gathering lifestyle again. There are over 21,000 petroglyphs located at this site and it is truly an amazing thing to see. I am always fascinated that these things have been out in the open, in that harsh climate for over 600 years! And you can still see them and make out what many of them are! You would think they would have eroded over that period of time. Truly incredible! Not to mention the feeling you get at this place. Such an ancient place, a link to a civilization long gone. We were lucky to be there on a very slow day, so we were able to take in the sights, and hear very little but the wind wisping through the mesquites. Trying to decipher what these ancient people were commemorating, what stories they were telling, "reading" the legacies they left behind. I hope you enjoy these photos and if you are ever around the Lincoln National Forest area in NM, go a little out of your way to see this, you won't regret it! And please, click on the photos to get a better look! There are a few more to follow, see next entry!

We're baaaack!

We have triumphantly returned from the "land of enchantment" (I always called it the "land of entrapment", but I digress)! We had a wonderful time at the cabin, fresh air, mild weather, lots of critters to see! The hubby and I had almost 3 full days without children, so we ate nice dinners, hiked around the petroglyphs (photos to follow in a separate entry), went to the casino, saw some live music and had massages, WOO-HOO! The only thing bad about those 3 days without the kids was, like a freakin' idiot, I forgot my breastpump and by the time I got my baby girl back, I was on the verge of blowing up! If fake boobies are that uncomfortable, I'll pass on the boob jobs! The three days without kids were nice though, I had forgotten how much I enjoy my husband's company, or how nice it is to have a normal adult conversation without worrying about little ears!

We got the children back on the Mon. night and the rest of the vacation was spent as a family, which was equally enjoyable! We played Putt-Putt, went to parks, hung out on the deck feeding birds and blowing bubbles and for the grand finale, we took the kiddos to White Sands (pics to follow in a separate entry). They had a blast! My son spent the majority of the time zinging down the dunes in a sled-like thing and my baby girl just took off crawling! Since White Sands is just a wide open expanse, with loads of visibility and very few dangers, we just let her have at it! She was all over the place and I truly wonder how far she would have ventured if I hadn't gathered her up and brought her back a few times! She is a wild and brave little soul, no fear at all. She even sledded down the dunes with me a couple of times, yelling "WEEEEEE!" as we went cruising down. Mommy's little daredevil!

It was a great trip! We never saw our bear, but we witnessed the destruction that he left behind. At least 3 times we found hummingbird feeders torn down, slats of the deck ripped off, chairs overturned and the main confirmation of his existence was a local resident who pulled into our driveway as we surveyed and afternoon of destruction who stated, "Ya'll had one helluva big bear on your porch!" Wish we could have seen him, from a safe distance with children safe inside of course! We did see lots of beautiful birds, jays, hummers, woodpeckers, vireos, chickadees and the most impressive ravens I have ever seen! They were damn near the size of buzzards! Very skittish though and I was unable to get a photo. We had chipmunks and deer galore, the hubby witnessed skunks, raccoons, cottontail rabbits and such when he took our son out for late night critter runs in the canyon. They even witnessed a wild turkey parade down our street while I was out getting groceries. We saw a few elk on the way from White Sands and LOADS of antelope on our way home (nice to see their population increasing again). So bear with me while I sort through photos and I will try to have some wonderful pics up within the next day or so!

Had a wonderful time, but I'm SOOO glad to be home!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bear Report!

The cabin we are going to in Ruidoso is owned by my hubby's folks and his aunt and uncle. So there are many of us in the family that use it. It is a wonderful, relaxing, serene place and we can't wait to get there, just a few more days! Anyway, there is always a chance in the canyon that you might see a bear, usually late at night and usually with its head in a dumpster with its butt sticking out! Well our aunt and uncle informed us that the bears are out in droves this year. Don't know if their food supply is low or they are just flat out becoming accustomed to humans and losing that innate fear. Either way, bear sightings are definitely on the rise.

While at the cabin last week, our aunt and uncle reported hearing a great deal of noise out on the front deck. They looked out the window to see all what all the ruckus was and there were 2 juvenile bears on the deck, rolling around and eating the peanuts that had been set out for the birds. As they were rolling around, they discovered a hummingbird feeder hanging from the eave and decided they needed to get it down. After a bit, they succeeded in knocking it off, smashing it and licking up all the sugary contents! Now although it had to be a fascinating sight to see and as much as I would enjoy a similar show, it does give me a bit of an uneasy feeling about hanging around on the deck at dusk or after dark. And I will certainly keep a VERY close eye on my children! There was a possibility that we were going to have to take our dog, but I have pleaded with a friend to take him because I DID NOT want to risk an after-dark run-in with a black bear while taking the dog out for a late night pee! And I certainly wouldn't have been comfortable using his stake-out with bears lumbering around! So doggy will stay here with friends, safe and sound. I will be looking forward to seeing all the wildlife and smelling that wonderful pine-scented air and feeling the cool canyon breeze! I'm counting the days!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One Step Closer

We finished laying the tile in the kitchen this last weekend. Granted, we don't have the whole thing grouted yet, but we did manage to grout the area under the counter so we could install our new dishwasher. Now granted, we needed to purchase a new dishwasher like we needed holes in our heads, BUT, when you've gone to the effort to pull the old funky one out, and we've been wanting to get a new one so it will match the other appliances, it seemed to be the optimal time. But with all good things come the bad! Hubby installed it last night and I was able to run my first load of dishes in 4 DAYS! What a mess! I was so excited! But about halfway through the cycle I went in and found water all in front of the dishwasher and wet grout! GRRRRR! There was some little mechanism under one of the sprayers that was leaking, it had nothing to do with installation, possibly a defective part. Far be it for anything to be made properly these days! Anyway, I am in the process of running another load and checking it frequently to see if any more leakage is happening. Maybe it was one of those quirky things that happens on the first run and then resolves itself?!? Who knows? But after this weekend, we will have finished almost 1100 square feet of tile and hardwoods! WE are so TOTALLY cool!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ice collage

I have my son in a messy science and art co-op and the subject this week was water and its properties. Unfortunately it was cancelled, but my son and I decided to check out the little "ice collage" that he prepared for his class. I put water in a bowl, added a bit of food coloring, just for effect, and sent him out to gather items he wanted displayed in the ice. The final result was very cool and at this point we are watching it slowly melt and checking out the various stages. I think we will make these again as they are very cool and very beautiful! Anyway, here are some photos of his creation... aren't they lovely?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Getting there!

We spent the weekend tiling our kitchen, well half of our kitchen! We decided, since you have to wait 24 hours after laying the tile before you grout, to focus on the areas that generally house the appliances. I kind of NEED that range to be functional ASAP! So I figure one more weekend and we'll finally have our floors done, finito! YEA! I was really worried about how dark this tile would be, but in comparison to the dark stain that was on the concrete slab, it is 10 times lighter and brighter than it was. I'm thrilled! But as I've mentioned before, one thing leads to another. So yes, floors will be done, but countertops and cabinets will need to be next, along with re-upholstering kitchen chairs (that'll be easy) and slapping some new paint on the wall. When we're done, I'll post some "before and after" photos so you all can praise our skill and impeccable taste! I should be on freakin' HGTV! HaHa!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just finished.

I just finished the last Harry Potter book today! Yea! My friends have all been nagging me as they read it weeks ago and have been forced into silence by me until I finished reading it. They will be so happy! Personally I thought reading it in approximately a week was pretty dang good considering I am the sole caretaker of two small children! It was a great book, but if it is truly the last one, I'm a little sad. I've enjoyed these books immensely, whether they were meant for kids or not, it was a great outlet to dream of a world of magic! I can't wait until my kids are old enough to start them, I'm sure I will read along with them!

Well, I suppose since I have finished the book and have no more excuses to slack on my housework, I'll go do my dishes, blah! Wish I had a wand that could magically clean them and put them away! "Washio Dishius!"

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two days in the Garden of Trina.

Several things have happened in the Garden of Trina over the past two days. First of all, Squirt, the yellow garden spider has come up missing. He or she has not been spotted for the last 3 days. I am hoping it just decided to relocate and did not become a bird snack. The kiddo is bummed. While mowing the lawn and cleaning up some debris I came across 3 little toads. I caught them and put them in a bucket for the Monkey Man to check out. He determined that they have soft little bellies (which they do)! He also found out that toads will pee on you if they're scared! Something his mother neglected to tell him, oops! Anyway, after holding and petting and getting peed on, we decided to relocate them to the front bed, lots of mosquitos to eat and they are less apt to be shredded by the weed eater or the mower. Hope they stay. Yesterday evening, I was ripping out my butterfly bush, which was GORGEOUS earlier in the year, but has now drowned from all the rain and bad drainage in the backyard. Kind of pisses me off as that was the ONLY thing I had planted in the back and now it's dead! Anyway, while ripping it out, I discovered a perfect little nest. I believe it might be the nest that housed the whining little cardinal and his family. They are still staying close to our yard, he is bigger now and fully feathered, his tail is starting to turn red, but the folks are still sticking close. My son was very excited to see all three of themout the back window at breakfast yesterday! Cardinals are beautiful birds and I'm so happy they chose our yard! And last but not least, Fuzzy Wuzzy was liberated to the wild yesterday. I finally just got sick of picking leaves and scooping caterpillar frass everyday. It was worse than caring for a damn cat or guinea pig or something! So we went out back, found a nice patch of his favorite food (a vine that grows on my fence) and let him go. I think we may check from time to time to see if he is still around. Hopefully he'll live long and prosper! :-) And in all honesty, he is probably pretty damn happy to be out of that tupperware container!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Latest on that vine!

It has finally reached the roof and has also wrapped around the house and grabbed the sun I have hanging on that wall. I will be interested to see if it begins to weave its way through that! We are getting some pretty flowers, not alot yet. Seems like it has a bunch of little buds, but they only open a few at a time and they only last for about 2 days. I need to call and ask the nursery if I'm supposed to pluck off the spent blooms in order for it to re-bloom. Anyway, here are a couple of pics of "Cyrus". If you notice the orange flowers at the bottom of the full length photo, you can see the size this vine was when I planted it 3 weeks ago! Crazy!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pictures from the park.

I took the kidlets to the park today. I didn't expect it to be very eventful, but I took the camera along, just to get some cute pics of the kids playing or something. I went to the Pfluger Park, there is a creek with a paved trail next to it, so we walked for a bit to marvel at how quick the water in the creek was flowing after all the rain the past couple of days. Anyway, here are some of the more interesting things we saw. I don't know what kind of dragonfly that is, but it was HUGE and very cool! Time to hit again!

Please play along!

Here is a photo of a stain I found on my baby's exer-saucer. When I saw it, I had an immediate impression of what I thought it was, so I had to take a photo of it! I thought I would post it, give you a chance to check it out yourself and then you can go to the comment page to see what I thought it was and post what you thought it was. I'm just interested to see what everyone else's impressions are. Kind of like a Rorschach inkblot test! Have fun and I'm SOOOO looking forward to seeing your reactions!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why young kids are GREAT!

Here is a list of things that make little kids so awesome! And by little, I mean ages 4-6ish, just because that is what I know. I'm sure in a couple of years I'll have a post that describes the great things about 7-9 year-olds. Anyway, here goes:

1. Brutal honesty. My kid tells it like it is. If his baby sister has a full diaper, he is more than happy to point out that she stinks. He tells me that he wiped a booger on the carpet on the stairs. When I ask why he has his fingers jammed in his butt crack, he tells me it's because it itches. So with that kind of honesty happening, I know that when he says he loves me, he means it and when he says I look like a princess in a dress, I know that I must!

2. Natural curiosity. Everything is explored with all the senses and everything is open for discussion. Why are some caterpillars fuzzy and some are not? Why don't we have dinosaurs anymore? Does everything poop? Why is that person darker than me, or shorter than me? Why can't you drive across the Pacific Ocean? Why do cats lick themselves? How can life be boring when you spend your time answering some of the greatest questions of all time?

3. They have never met anyone they didn't like. This is so endearing, everyone is a potential friend. Granted, in this day and age, it's a little scary because of all the sick bastards out there, but it is still such a wonderful quality. And not only do they like everyone they meet, they think everyone they meet likes them!

4. Innocence. They have a general sense that the world is safe and wonderful (although I suppose every child doesn't have this luxury depending on the circumstance). They don't yet understand inequality and unfairness. And they think they are GREAT at everything (even if they're not!) My son tells the worst knock-knock jokes in the world, but he insists that he is a comic genius!

5. All they want is to love and be loved! Their whole world revolves around their love for things. My son tells me everyday how much he loves me, how much he loves his Daddy, his baby sister, his dog, his cat, his Buzz Lightyear, his Ottery Otter. And he is quick to let me know that I love him too.

6. Everything is an adventure. Just going to the grocery store or to the library or to the nursery to look at flowers is a treat!

7. Ice cream is considered a delicacy!

8. The thing they are most scared of is hiding under the bed or in the closet when they turn out the light. Many haven't been exposed to the real horrors that life has to offer.

I could probably go on, but these were what came to mind today. Little kids are great, they may push your buttons, test their limits and be general nuisances sometimes, but you just can't deny how sweet and wonderful they are. Well, at least mine is!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Vine update, AGAIN!

OK, the vine is now officially to the roof and I planted it just 2 weeks ago! It is going crazy there are trailers all over the place, reaching out from one string to another and up toward the roof and all over the place. I can see buds all over it, so it will probably be MAGNIFICENT in about 3 days. I will take a picture of my little beauty when it's in full bloom! I think it deserves a name, maybe Cyrus the Cypress Vine! HeHee!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

On the Menu!

Swiss Cheese Chicken Roulade over Rice with Popovers and a salad.

What you need:
Swiss cheese
4 chicken cutlets (or 4 breasts)
black pepper
butter or margarine
chicken broth
oregano and parsley

I started by pounding the chicken breasts flatter than me in a sports bra! (Hehee, but seriously folks....)
Dust a cutting board or wax paper with flour sprinkled with pepper.
Spread the breast or cutlet out on the flour, put some cheese on it and roll it up and around in the flour.
Stick through it with a toothpick or wrap with string, whichever you prefer.
Melt butter in the pan (about 1-2 tbsp), add the chicken, cook, turning frequently until golden brown.
Then add about 3/4 - 1 cup of chicken broth and sprinkle in some dried oregano.
Simmer covered about 12 minutes to cook the chicken all the way through.
At the end, remove the breasts and place over rice, top with some more Swiss cheese. Removing string or toothpicks a good idea too!
Add some flour to the juice in the pan and whisk for a gravy, pour over the chicken and rice, sprinkle with parsley.

For the popovers, pretty general recipe:
4 eggs
2 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt

Mix well, fill each greased muffin dish about 3/4 full, bake on 450* for about 30 minutes.
***Big rule here, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN UNTIL THEY ARE DONE!!!!*** Turn on the light and peek through the glass, but if you open the door they will end up as "Flopovers"!!!

I actually like to do mine in the mini muffin pans, they are little bite-size puffs of joy! It won't take the full 30 min. for them to cook, so I just check until they are popped and golden brown. But if you use the minis, this recipe is way too much, half it for the little guys unless you are entertaining a bunch of people!

Super yummy! A very high kid and hubby approval on this dish!

A hummingbird!

I was looking out the front window yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see a little hummingbird visiting one of my flowers! I so rarely see them in my neighborhood. I live in the burbs and although there is alot of shrubbery in the area, there's not alot of color. I was thrilled to have it visit my yard! Usually I only see hummers when we visit our cabin in Ruidoso. There is a nice variety of species, but most notably the feisty little rufous hummingbirds. They are quick and ornery! They even dive bomb the bluejays! Anyway, here is a picture of the flower my little hummer was visiting. I don't exactly know what it is, I planted it last year, it died off and must have re-seeded. But maybe I should plant more if hummingbirds like it!

Yet another vine update.

Yes, I'm aware that I obviously don't have alot going on in my life that's exciting or I wouldn't be so damn entertained by this stinkin' vine! That being said, HOLY CRAP that thing is cool! I planted it a little over a week ago and one runner is now about a foot from the roof and the other runners are catching up quick! My guess is it will reach the roofline by this weekend. Now if it will just start sprouting leaves and flowers! Once it gets a little more full, I'll take a photo to show it off!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a cat.

OK, I'm pretty sure I should just be turning this blog into an entomology field journal for my son! Ian the Cat Herder and I found a lovely specimen of Woolly Bear caterpillar while I was trying to tame some vine in my backyard. So needless to say, said cat was captured, brought into the house and positively identified. He now resides in a Glad container with some potting soil and some of the leaves of the vine we found him on. We kept him overnight and when I checked on him this morning I was amazed, and slightly appalled at the amount of frass (caterpillar poop) that was in there. I told Ian and he quite non-chalantly informed me that of course Fuzzy poops alot, he EATS alot! My kid's one smart cookie! :-) Anyway, Fuzzy is being kept in his enclosure while I figure out what he needs. From what I'm seeing, I think he will eat the rest of the summer and want to be someplace cold for the winter (they suggest putting him in the freezer!) and then he'll do his thing in the spring. I just don't know if I have the patience for this kind of commitment right now. After all, I told Ian he couldn't have a guinea pig, and honestly the care involved in rearing this caterpillar is damn near the same thing! Only a guinea pig would actually like to be handled. Fuzzy does NOT, he curls up in a ball and plays dead! In fact, that is exactly what he's doing in these photos. Silly caterpillar, he didn't fool us! If there's anyone with experience raising these little farts, please let me know. I may decide to liberate him to the wild in a week or so, we'll see.

Monday, July 16, 2007

An old classic becomes a new favorite!

I was raised on very traditional southern food, lots of fried chicken, roast beef, coleslaw, home-made pies and dinner rolls. You know, all that good comfort food. A couple of weeks ago I had a craving for an old classic, Egg Salad Sandwiches! I know, egg salad may not be some folks idea of a great sandwich, and I can respect that. However, for me, egg salad reminds me of having lunch with my grandparents and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! So, I made a batch of egg salad and HOPED my kids would enjoy it. Believe it or not, it was a big hit with both! And since my friend Ginny is buggin' for new recipes here goes! Oh just as an FYI, if you're looking for beautiful presentation, you'll have to look on someone else's page. Cause bottom line, it's the taste that counts! And in case you're wondering, I did NOT steal that glass from Pizza Hut!

Egg Salad on Toast (served with Sun Chips and a tall iced tea)

Hard boiled eggs (I use about 4 to feed me and two kids, hubby would rather eat his shoe than eat egg salad.)
A tbsp or so of finely chopped onions
One decent sized dill pickle finely chopped
About equal amounts of mayo and yellow mustard (add these in SMALL increments as you don't want to get it over dressed, you want the eggs to be the main flavor, not the condiments)
And my secret ingredients, (which also make my deviled eggs and potato salad better) a sprinkle of dried dill, some paprika and just a pinch of dried rosemary)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy on plain or toasted bread!

Death of a Great Texan.

I was saddened to hear of the death of Lady Bird Johnson. She is such an icon in the state of Texas! To be honest, I didn't know ALOT about her. I certainly don't know much about her husband's politics as I was only 2 years old when he died. Unfortunately, history of US government and presidents is not my forte. But she just had this amazing presence, people loved her. And because of her and her family's business ventures, my husband had a paycheck for 2 years (well until Emmis bought the radio stations from LBJS). I never had the opportunity to meet her, but from stories, I heard she was always approachable and always very interested and gracious. And she had a great love for nature and our environment. But the one thing that I found so amazing about her was her zest for life! In every picture I have ever seen of her, she had a smile! She loved her husband, and seemed to absolutely bask in the love of her family. I am sad to see her go, from what I know, she was a great lady that will be missed!


Wow! While sipping my tea I was bouncing around on some different blogs, just to see what was out there and man... am I ever outclassed! So many of these people are just full of wit, have beautiful photos, and seem to know exactly what they want their writing to accomplish! Me, I just seem to ramble or rant, if you read 30-something. I think I should be more focused sometimes, you know, have a point. But then again, my blogs are mostly therapeutic for ME. And besides, I'm still pretty new in the public realm. I suppose as time passes, I'll become more proficient at getting my thoughts organized and my points made. And if I can ever get my GOOD camera fixed, I can post some better photos!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tryin' to get it going!

Well, it's 10-ish in the a.m., I've been up for at least 2 hours, kids are fed, both of their rooms picked up so I can vacuum later, the Piglet is down for a nap and the dishwasher is emptied. Now I'm taking a break to have a cuppa tea and try to get a bit more motivated. I tried to get some of the vacuuming done before Piggletto went to bed, but she threw a huge, stinkin' fit! I was shocked because usually she LOVES to be chased around the room, I tell her I'm gonna vacuum her up, then her brother gets into it and before you know it, I'm chasing 2 kids around the living room! Great fun... usually. But NOT today. Hopefully it won't wake her up when I start it up again in a few.

I'm kind of in crunch-time here, the hubby will be home this evening and I have just not accomplished what I had hoped in his absence, so I at least want to have the house clean so we have a worry-free Sunday together before he heads back to work on Monday. I think we may go in tomorrow and order our back door. We are still getting enough rain that we don't want to risk laying tile in the kitchen before we replace that leaky door! We learned our lesson in the entryway! Water and fresh mortar don't make for good tiling, in fact, it makes more of an oatmeal! (Oh no! Having flashbacks! It's like I have PTSD because of that incident!)

We did get a little bit of light rain this morning and it is doing wonders for the temperature and my garden out front. The Monkey Man and I measured the cypress vine last night so we could see how much it grows in 24 hours. Not very scientific, we measured how many bricks tall it was (it was 12 bricks tall) and I did do a quick check this morning and it has grown 1 1/2 bricks since 10pm last night, what is that like 4 inches?! Crazy! Hope everyone has a nice weekend, I won't be back on until Monday. I plan on spending a relaxing day, playing with my kids and my hubby!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Keeping it in the family.

Last summer we had the most amazing Yellow Garden spider that lived in my front flower bed. She was HUGE and would weave the most awesome webs with kickass stabilimentums (or would that be stabilimenti?). Anyway, my son loved her and named her Nancy. Well a time came when webs were no longer made and Nancy was nowhere to be found. Gone the way of Charlotte I would assume. I looked all over for an egg sac but never found one. I had been wondering lately if her eggs had hatched and if so, did any of her offspring decide to settle in my garden? About 3 days ago my question was answered, toward the back of the bed attached to my germander bush and the guava bush was a small web with a major stabilimentum (so common for this type of spider), I didn't actually see the spider though. However, yesterday there she was (or he I suppose). This one is a little more shy than Mama was. Nancy spun huge webs and hung out on the front of them, just daring anything to mess with her, but Baby Nancy (Ian hasn't decided on a name for this one yet) is much smaller, the web is therefore smaller and it hangs out toward the backside of the web. So I have a pic of the web, but you can only kind of see its legs. I am posting a picture of Nancy herself, so you can see what an awesome diva she was and a photo of the little squirt!

Vine update...

OK, I know it's probably totally silly to update my blog because of a vine, but holy shit that Cypress Vine is cool! I planted it, what on Mon or Tues? It is now Friday and it has vined up that string over 2 feet! It is now chest level, it was below knee level when I planted it! It will be to the roof in 2 weeks I shit you not! Granted, it is mostly the vine, it hasn't sprouted many leaves yet, but man this thing is gonna be SOOOOO cool!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Garden of Trina

I have worked so hard on my front beds this year.

My neighbor complimented me and said this was the first time in 12 years that there has been any sort of color in this yard. All it needed was a little TLC (Trina's Love and Care). I wanted some sort of vine to creep up the front, next to the garage, and I was considering a clematis, they had a beautiful deep red one at the nursery. I went to go buy it and saw the most beautiful vine growing on one of their arbors. It was so light and airy and delicate, yet the flowers were bold and red, shaped like stars... absolutely GORGEOUS! I knew it was probably one of those difficult vines that needs full shade or well-draining soil, things this spot does not have, but was informed that despite the look, it was a very versatile and adaptable vine, originally found in Central America. Not only that it was half the price of the clematis. It is called a Cypress Vine. They did say I would need some support for it, as it will not just climb a wall. So I came home, dug in a stake and connected 3 lines of very thin nylon rope to the stake and then I nailed it to my house under the eave. I planted it two days ago and it has vined up the rope about 6 inches already! It is so stinkin' cool! Anyway, here are some photos(you can click on to get a better look) of the vine, my front bed and my beautiful hanging basket of purple wave petunias (you just can't get a prettier purple!). Finally, all my hard work is paying off!

Friday, July 6, 2007

What a racket!!!

While fixing lunch today I heard a most annoying, high-pitched racket out in the backyard. I went over and slowly opened the blinds in the breakfast area and there it was... a fledgling cardinal perched on my pencil cactus! It was making such a fuss and it reminded me very much of a whining child! It squeaked and complained, hopping from one little branch to the other. I read an article recently about how mothers, regardless of nationality, use the same kind of sing-song voice when addressing a baby and it made me think that with babies the language is almost universal regardless of species! Even though I'm human, I could understand without a doubt that the little cardinal wanted reassurance, maybe even a little help and most definitely a SNACK! Mommy and Daddy have been flying down, offering encouragement and an occasional treat, but as of yet, Baby Cardinal is still perched in my cactus, contemplating its next move! I couldn't resist sneaking out VERY quietly and snapping a couple of photos. And although it doesn't have all of it's feathers in, it has that telltale topknot that cardinals have. I am pleased that they chose our yard and I hope Baby gets its nerve up and learns to fly soon! I'll be keeping tabs on it though!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Worm identification, HELP!

OK, yesterday while grilling, the hubby asked me to come identify a creepy crawly on our patio. I was a little taken aback as it was really quite strange and little ooky! Wish I had taken a picture of it, but couldn't find the camera (what is up with losing cameras?). Anyway, this thing was about 1-2 inches long and about a 1/8 of an inch wide or so. It basically looked like someone had taken a sliver of a cow's liver and slung it on the floor. It was deep red like that and as far as I could tell, was not segmented. And when we poked it, it seemed to really stick down to the concrete, not that I tried very hard to pry it up! We thought maybe it was a leech, but I looked online and it really didn't look like any leeches I found pics of. So I am curious if anyone would know what this little dude might have been and if I should be worried. I feel like if there was one, I'm sure he has pals! All I need is for the kiddo or the dog to be running around in the yard and get a nasty parasitic infection, yuck!

I was bored...

I was bored of my other template and thought this one was a little more fitting since I seem to have a nature theme alot. Probably because I really LOVE critters and the outdoors and such. Now if I could just get this damn blogger site to let me post a photo! Is it because I run on a MAC??? Or does Blogger just hate me?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Too freakin' cute!

While in NM, a friend brought over a cupful of little toads. We observed them for awhile then released them in my mom-in-law's front yard (the backyard is overrun with voracious turtles!). They were so cute and I just can't resist posted a couple of photos!