Friday, February 29, 2008

Bragging

Warning! I am about to brag about the cuteness of my kids!
Not everyone may think they are as cute as I do, but to me they are the most beautiful, cute, photogenic kids in the world. Judge for yourself....She loves me, no matter how greasy my hair is

1 step back, 2 steps forward

After getting so many compliments on my floor, I decided that I should get back to work on it. My focus in my renovating quests has been the dining room. I painted the new wall, moved furniture around, and today I would finish the floor. It really only needed 3 more rows. So I installed the first 2, picked out the boards for the 3rd row, and got them ready for Joe to cut lenghtwise to size.
Although the picture of my front hall makes the floor look fabulous, it had started to come apart, and large cracks have been forming over the last month. Let's just say that when I originally bought glue for this project I had no clue what I was doing. After the cracks started forming, and I grew more and more frustrated with using a brush to get the glue on, I consulted Joe's woodworking dad, and he gave me some good glue. The parts I have done since that point seem to be holding together much better.
So, the front hall was looking pretty bad, and I was in the working zone, so I decided to pull up the worst part of it. That really sucked for progress!! I spent several hours uninstalling and reinstalling, but now I am much happier with the final result.
My to do list for today is still very long, but I satisfyingly crossed "work on floor" off my list. Without a doubt it will be back on my list again tomorrow, but for now I am content.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mountains of clothes

Today I embarked on a project I should have done Months ago! I decided to tackle the task of organizing the mountain of clothes that's piled in our garage. (no wonder we need so much storage space these days)
When we moved, I kind of just piled non-fitting clothes into boxes, with no regard to size or gender. As some of you know who live close, I have not found the box with Ginger's clothes. So, she has been wearing a lot of Sterling's old clothes, and she got some new ones for Christmas. I mean,.. why buy new ones, when I KNOW there are clothes somewhere in the massive pile of boxes. So I rolled up my sleeves, mustered up the courage, and hauled all of the boxes with clothes (that I could find) inside.Yesterday I bought some nice storage containers at Target, but it seems I didn't buy enough. I decided to keep the boy and girl clothes together, and just sort them by size.
I even found some sweaters that Sterling actually still fits, that I didn't think we would need in Texas. AND, I found Ginger's box!! I am so excited to finally have some sweater, dresses, and even a couple pair of pants for her. Of course, now it's starting to get warmer, and soon she won't need these warm clothes anymore.
You'll have to wait for the after picture, since Joe is buying me 7 more!! containers... what a miscalculation on my part!Here's the after picture. I finally got everything put away on Saturday

Sunday, February 24, 2008

too much, yet too little

so the last couple of days there have been multiple small things going on in our lives that I thought about writing down. It seemed however that none really deserved their own blog entry. So as I think back, there are many things missing in my record keeping.

Winter was home from school ALL week, getting better and fighting with Sterling.
Yesterday we built a fence around our garden, but didn't finish burying it.
I painted our dining room wall in a nice yellow/mustard color.
We also had a fun bonfire with hot dogs and 's mores with family and friends.
Today we visited Joe's friend Tyson, and picked up some hay for our longhorns.
Winter and Sterling start T-ball practice this coming week.
Our to do list for our house seems endless, and I didn't get anything done to make it shorter since I was sick.

Lets hope this coming week will be more productive, peaceful, and interesting than last week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chills, shakes, and hot flashes

For the last couple of days I have been under the weather. Not mild weather, but severe thunderstorm weather. My kids were all sick while we were in New York, and as soon as I got back I got my own dose. Today I decided it was time to visit a doctor. Turns out I have strep throat.... don't come too close! They gave me a shot in my tush, and the craziest thing happened. A pain, so indescribable went down my leg, and then I almost fainted. I sat down, and threw the breakfast I had managed to eat. I know... too much information... the point is, the shot seems to have worked, because I am actually sitting at a desk, not shivering, and being able to write down a cohesive story. Then we had to go to Walmart for a prescription.. let me tell you... I will NEVER go there again (for prescriptions) We had to wait 1,5 hours, and we still only have half the prescription. I can't believe we have to go back there!

Yesterday I did something I probably shouldn't have, in lieu of being sick. My neighbor let us borrow her tractor, so when I was temporarily feeling a little better, I went out and plowed our garden. It was a lot of fun. I don't know if the area is big enough, and I know it's not broken up deep enough, but I felt like a real farmer. Sometime in the near future we plan to use a rototiller to break it up some more.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NY continued...

Today we were able to hang out with Mary and Ram all day.
First we went to Mary's lab. She does stem cell research on mice for Cornell University. They use the embryos from mice to do experiments on different gene mutations (at least that's what I understood from it). One of the colleagues did do her work on time, and some baby mice were actually born (that's not supposed to happen)
Then she put some mutated embryos in a dish for us to look at. They can put "markers" on certain genes, and see what part of the development they impact.After that we took the subway down to Chinatown. Chinatown is a lot busier and there are a lot of street vendors. Many of them sell scarves, hats, and accessories, and there are also many of them that try to sell fake designer handbags. We met Joe's other cousin Annie, and her husband Kah-Leong for Dim Sum. Mary has a good description of it on her blog. In short, it's a big banquet hall with lots of tables, where the waiters bring carts of food around, that you pick food from.

Chinatown has a really cool store "Pearl River" where they sell all kinds of cool Chinese things, from traditional clothes, to dishes, soaps, vases etc. I just wanted to buy all of it!! I restrained myself though, and just got a couple of cool handmade dishes.

After walking around a lot, we wanted a little brake, and went to a fun little bookstore. It's an independent bookstore, so not one of those big chains. Recently I have been wanting to make more Asian food, but haven't had good recipes. So my mission was to find a good Asian cookbook. I found a really cool on that has recipes from several different countries, and the ingredients don't seem too complicated. We also visited a used bookstore. In there, you just have to browse, and there is just too much!!!

Later at night we went to Annie and Kay-Leong's apartment (on the other side of Manhattan) The funnest part of the night was when we all made music together with instruments they had. There was a drum, flute, Australian super duper big horn (I don't know the name), rattles, and music sticks. Joe got a good recording of it, and I will try to post it here with my blog later.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Conan Sucks!

Well, I really don't know, because we didn't get in!!! That's what really sucks. When I was doing all my research, I understood that it didn't matter when you picked up your standby tickets in the morning, but that you had to be there extra early in the afternoon to make sure you got a seat. Well, apparently it was just the opposite. The standby tickets had numbers on them, and they just let people in, according to their number. Even after they told us they were only taking numbers 1-24, we hung around to see if they had spots after all. Only after checking 2 more times did we actually leave. I was crushed!! There were probably New Yorkers that could go any day that got in, and here I am, someone from Texas, who will probably never even be back to New York (or at least within the next 20 years) and I don't get in! The really sucky part is that we would have been willing to be there at 7:00 am, if that's what it takes to get in, but we just didn't know.
Enough of that whining. So after we were booted, we walked a couple of blocks to the library. They don't actually have any books you can check out, but it's more a research and display library. Then we walked around with all the other millions of New Yorkers, saw some street performers, went to a souvenir shop, shopped at the H&M (one of my favorite clothing stores), and then we met Mary and Ram for dinner at a cute little Swiss fondue restaurant. I love fondue (cheese and chocolate, what's not to like right?) We had a great time, but I have to say I now feel pretty guilty eating soooo much chocolate! (not so good for my healthy eating spree)

A day in the life of New York

This morning we set out to Rockefeller Plaza with the metro. It
reminded me a lot of Paris. Everybody walks everywhere, and if they're
not walking, they're on the "train". I thought it would be fun to
attend a taping of the Conan O'Brien show, since we frequently watch
his show. The way it works is that at 9.00 am you pick up standby
tickets (if you don't have regular tickets which you have to buy 6
weeks in advance). We got there 25 minutes before 9, and still we were
numbers 45 and 46. While we were standing in line, some ladies came by
to ask people if they want to attend the Montel show. Joe hates
Montel, but was willing to do anything to get out of the cold. So we
grabbed a taxi, New York style, and slugged over to the shadier part
of town where Montel's studio is located.
The producers needed volunteers to ask questions on the show, so I
thought that would be fun. After eating some of the donuts (that they
used to lure people to the show), they whiskes me away to hair and
make-up. It took a while before they actually did that, so I chatted
to the other ladies who were also asking questions. They were both
from Staten Island, complete with accent and all.
When we finally went into the studio they prepped the audience on how
to applause, sit up straight, smile, etc. The show was about germs,
so I asked how often we should wash our hands. The show is supposed to
air on a wednesday, so if you want to see your famous Jessica, make
sure to tune in!
We headed back to Rockefeller center on foot and past times square.
Huge billboards!! and ate a NY hotdog at Papaya dog.
There was also an Oscar display, so we got a fun picture with oscar
Right now we are just killing time, waiting to see if we can get in to
Conan (Joe is actually taking a nap), and it has taken me about 30
minutes to type this on Joe's cell phone. It's almost time to go back
upstairs, and I'm all nervous.... I really want to get in!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NY getaway

Joe and I had some airline vouchers, so I decided we should go to New York. I had never been, and always wanted to go. 2 of Joe's cousins live in Manhattan, so it is extra fun to go here, because we get to visit them. We are staying with his cousin Mary and just had some yummy parsnip soup.
My goal is to experience the New York lifestyle, and not necessarily do all the tourist things (although we will do plenty of that anyways).
The first major NY thing we did was take a yellow cab. There are SOOO many yellow cabs. Åll over the place. Mary and Ram live on the 5th floor, of a typical NY apartment, no elevator, and steep stairs. They also have one of those fire-escape ladder outside that you see in the movies.
Then we walked 12 blocks (short distance in NY walking distance) to the Metropolitan museum. They do the weirdest thing; they give a "suggestive" entry fee, but clearly state that you don't have to pay that. So, the cheapos we are, we didn't pay that high price.... but it's ok (says Mary). The "Met" is HUGE! We spent 2 hours, and only scratches the surface. They have a Egyptian exhibit right now, and have really cool mummies, tombs, tools, and model boats. Just too much to all type up.On the way back we walked through Central Park.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sprouts

It has been a week, and the miracle of nature has come to visit our home. Here you see the results of a week of sun, water, and loving anticipation. The sprouts that came up first were kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Of course I quickly realized that I totally crowded those seeds, so I have to thin them out. I have already taken some veggies out of the small seed cups, and transplanted them into separate/larger ones. The only seeds that have not sprouted are the bell peppers. I don't know if it's too hot in here, or if they just take longer. I also found out, after planting ALL my seeds, that some veggies need to be planted later than others. So I will keep my beans, zucchini, squash, and cucumbers inside for another month or so before taking them outside. Hopefully they won't get too big!!

In Loving Memory

Our beloved cat Pumpkin has gone to cat heaven today.
It makes me sad to think he won't be around anymore. He was the cat that acted like a dog. He followed me everywhere I went. He would fight off the mean neighbor cat. He was a playmate to our other cat Sunny, from the time they were kittens. He put up with all the abuse the kids put him through, from tail pulling, to choking, to skin grabbing, and leg pulling.
I am sad to say that his unique cat personality is what got him killed. This morning, as I was taking Winter to the bus, he ran into the driveway to greet me, but he ran under my car. I tried to stop, but it was too late.
Now I struggle to find words to tell my children, especially Sterling, that their cat will not be back. And, until Joe gets home, I need to veer them from the scene of the crime (I just can't make myself pick him up) It would have been so much easier if it had simply disappeared, or even got eaten by a coyote. And I don't even have a recent photo!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Faith is gone

No, not my religious faith! that is getting stronger, especially teaching Relief Society in church.
My sweet large horse has found a new home. Just in time for our trip to NY too! I think her new owners will ride her a lot more than I did, and give her plenty of love. They live here in Leonard, so if I ever wanted to see her I could drive by their house.

So Joe is on a business trip, and I'm home with a sick kid. Sterling has some kind of stomach flu, and has uncharacteristically been laying around all day. Of course with that comes the extra laundry...... not so fun. I was just at the end of my rope after dinner, so they all went to bed at an early hour (yes, before 7pm) .
When this (joe gone, me home with sick kids, and they are whining all day) happens I have to say: Coosfabraaaa

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tulip Mixup

Yesterday Joe's dad (Earl) came to plant some trees. When he got the little plants out of the pot, we noticed how strange it was that such little tree seeds had turned into these great big bulbs. I also found it interesting that a "tree" looked more like a flower bulb than any kind of tree I'd ever seen.
Turns out, Joe's mom had planted tulip bulbs in the same spot that Earl planted tree seeds. The tulips came up, and Earl mistook them for his trees, so he dug them up and planted them on our farm :)
So now we have wonderful tulips at the other side of the lake, that we might be able to see if we use our binoculars!! LOL So much for screening the view of the neighbors...
(just for the record; we'll probably dig the bulbs back up, and transplant them back to Plano where they belong)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Trees

Since we have such a long driveway (about 500 ft), I really wanted to line it with trees. At first I wanted to plant some flowering trees, so it would be extra pretty in the springtime, but then decided it would also be nice to have green trees all year-around. The perfect tree for that is the Live Oak. We went to the Bonham trade days today, and bought 9 Live Oaks. So we spent the majority of the afternoon planting them. I can tell it will look really good in 10 years!!! LOL. The trees are only about 5 feet tall, so they are practically invisible right now, but it's a good long-term investment. Joe's dad also came out to plant some bushes at the other side of the lake to shield us from the view of our neighbors junk. Ginger had a shovel that was the perfect size for her, and helped grandpa plant some little bulbs that will turn into trees. video

Friday, February 8, 2008

Mother Daughter Night

Tonight Joe took the two older weasels to a friends house, and Ginger and I stayed home. We didn't have a lot of time alone together, because she had to go to bed pretty soon, but we prepared and ate dinner together. She sat on the counter while the fish was cooking, and we munched on frozen corn.
I also found out that my rice cooker (for the microwave) doesn't do so good with just 1/2 cup of rice. It kind of came out as a rice cake..

Luxury of hot water

I have found that I don't realize and appreciate the luxuries I enjoy, until I have to go without.
2 days ago our water heater stopped working. It got over-heated, so the safety switch turned it off. Joe doesn't want to turn it back on, in fear of the tank exploding. I really wanted/needed some kind of bath today, so I decided the only way to get hot water was to boil it. So I boiled a big pot of water, poured it in my bathtub, and added enough cold water to make a nice temperature. Well, I had about an inch of water in the tub to bath myself with. This is where I decided that my hair would have to wait for a later time, and quickly took care of business. I sure miss stepping under a nice hot, steaming stream of water, and being able to stay there for 20 minutes or so. The technician is supposed to come either today or monday to fix the problem, so we'll live primitively until then.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Countryside

Teresa and I have started swapping play dates for our kids, and Sterling, Van, Ginger, and Parker have been having a great time. Today they went to their house, so I had 3 hours to myself.
What to do?? I wanted to make sure I did something I can't do when they are here, so I decided to finally listen to Catherine Morphis and went running in our beautiful countryside. I say running, but it was more like a stumbling jog alternated with a walk. There aren't really any good loops around here (they're all too large) so I decided to run up the road and back. The way out seemed hard, but not unmanageable,.. but when I turned around I realized I had been running downhill, with the wind in my back. Needless to say, I did a lot more walking on the way back. Still I was proud of myself for getting out there and giving it a try. And, it was longer than I had originally thought! (3.4 miles, instead of my estimated 2 miles)
The most disheartening thing about all of this was that when I went to enter my exercise into my online program, it didn't even recognize my overall speed as a jogging speed, but rather a walking speed!!! Yes, I'm THAT slow!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How to grow a vegetable garden

This year I decided to try to be more self-sufficient, and grow a garden. We have the land, the water, and the sun to do it, so why not?
I started by ordering a whole bunch of seeds online. Seriously any vegetable you can think of from carrots, peppers, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes, to squash, onion, cucumber, kale and endive. I also got some herbs; basil, thyme, parsley, and chives. I spent like $42, but figured that I'll easily save that much when I don't have buy under-ripened, tasteless veggies from the grocery store. Then I went to Lowes, and bought potting mix, and seed starter trays for a mere $20.
Sterling, Ginger and I went outside and started the planting process. At first they were very excited and helpful, but the excitement quickly wore off, when they realized it wouldn't be done in 5 minutes. Sterling did help me put the bigger seeds in like pumpkin, zucchini, squash and beans.
This is the point where doubt started to fill my mind. "Am I putting enough seeds in each planter?", "are any of these going to sprout?" "what if they all sprout, and start producing.. I would have enough to feed our whole ward" "Did I just over-water them?" "Did I put too much dirt on top of the seeds... after all, it says to put a thin layer of dirt on the top, but then the planters would be half empty" In short, I started d0ubting if an average woman such as me can magically turn a bunch of seeds in to plants, and then into vegetables we can actually eat.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Another day, another puppie

You think to yourself; do they ever stop?
Probably not.
Joe has wanted to get a good guard dog for our sheep and goats, and the other day the perfect puppies became available. And yes, they were free too.
Our newest addition to our farm is Justin, a 3/4 Anatolian Shepherd, and 1/4 Great Pyrenees.
He is named after the previous owner's son, who got killed in Iraq while on duty.
Justin is just a ball of fur now, but will be a ferocious protector in the near future.
It just so happens that Teresa has this exact same breed, so they might just have to get together if you know what I mean...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Trade Days

My friend Teresa and I went to the Canton Trade Days. Canton is about 2 hours from our house, so it's kind of a day long outing. The trade days are really cool. There are literally thousands of merchants that sell everything from plants, to home decor, to live animals. For the last several months I have wanted to get some chickens on our farm. Mostly because I have to pay $3 everytime I buy eggs at the store. That's just crazy to me. Teresa knows a lot about chickens, and she was able to help me pick out some good egg layers. I got 3 and she got 2. We would have liked to get some more, but most of them were sold out (chickens are kind of out of season right now)
We each also picked up a free puppy for ourselves, and she got another one for her grandpa. So here we were with 5 chickens, and 3 puppies..... Teresa bought a little cage, and we came to the conclusion that the only way we would be able to carry all of them to the car was to put her puppy in with the chickens in the cage. She led her other puppy on a leash, and I carried my puppy.
The reactions we got!!!! So funny. every 2 seconds someone would say something like: look at that! a puppy and chickens!!! Like it was the craziest thing they had seen in their entire life.
I named my puppy cinnamon (with the help of great grandma Benac). She is a mix between a blue heeler and some kind of shepherd dog.... a mut, hence the good price tag.
After I got home Joe and I spent several hours working on a chicken coop. We decided to turn part of our shed into a coop, and we got a good start, but we'll have to finish it on Monday. We even made some nesting boxes. Hopefully the chickens will start laying eggs soon!

updated animal count:
2 cats
1 horse
4 sheep
1 cow
4 goats
3 chickens
1 dog

Friday, February 1, 2008

Bug in a Rug

I'm not sure where this came from, but the kids love to be a bug in a rug. This really just means to be tightly wrapped in a blanket, but it's really exciting for them

Outdoor kids

When we first got here, I had to send them out, or they wouldn't go out. Now, Sterling is to the point where he'll go outside just because he feels like it. My friend Teresa has a son Sterling's age, Van, and he practically lives outside. He loves playing and exploring. When I go to visit her,My kids are learning to appreciate playing outside more. the kids have a blast. Of course they have a lot of fun things to play with outside: swingset, toy jeep, dogs, etc. I just hope that Sterling will learn from Van that it's fun to play outside. Maybe some day I'll have to beg him just to come back in.

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