Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Soap That Changed My Life! Or At Least My Dishes!

Y'all have I got something to share with you! Ooooh, this is goooood! If you read my blog much AT ALL, then you know I am on a mission to rid our house and yard of chemicals. That means I am on the lookout for products that will not only be safe for my family, but that will actually work, too.

In this post I told you about a book I have been reading, "Clean Home, Green Home", and it mentioned Castile soap. Evidently, it is a purely vegetable based soap that bonds to dirt on a molecular level and actually dissolves it. Dr. Bronner started making this soap in the late 1800's. It has 50 gazillion uses so I decided to find it and give it a try. I found it at Meijer in the aisle where the bar soap and body washes are located. I thought the price was a little steep at $10.00 for a 16 ounce bottle. But, once I got it home and read the bottle I realized that it is concentrated. You dilute 1 1/2 teaspoons to a gallon of water. So, now I'm thinking, "Wow! What a value!"

I had read that you can make it into dish soap. So, I just put a squirt of it into my dishwater. No other cleaners - just Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap. It didn't suds - at all. This was little weird for me. I grew up thinking that I had to see suds to know something was working. I'm learning that the suds don't do the cleaning. So, I just kept going. Keep in mind that I have been a Dawn fan every since I have lived on my own. I also grew up using it. Nothing cuts grease like Dawn, right? That's what I thought, too. But, I was amazed at how this stuff was cleaning my dishes. My plates were actually squeaking! SQUEAKING, I SAY! I have NEVER had plates squeak from being clean. Even tough stuff that I usually have to work at to get clean was just coming right off. I even had a jar that I had just emptied of pizza sauce and it came right off.

Another thing I noticed was that my water was staying clean and the dirty gunk was clinging to the sides of my sink and my rag. See what I mean?

Believe it or not, my sink was clean before I started the dishes. And that rag? It was perfectly white. Well, except for the red stripe on the sides. But let's not get hung up on the details, OK?

After I took the nasty pictures so you could take a look-see, I cleaned my sink...again. Then I realized something. My hands were actually softer. Could it be that it was because they had just experienced a spa-like dip in a mix of natural oils and lavender essential oil? Hmm....I wonder.

I am going to look for the actual recipe to make dish soap with the proper proportions. I am also looking forward to seeing what other small miracles this stuff can perform. I think it has actually changed my life. Yes, I know. How pathetic. But I am a homemaker.

If a soap product has ever changed your might be a homemaker.

If you can't remember the last time you used the toilet by might be a homemaker.

If you have to sneak off and lock yourself in a closet for "me" might be a homemaker.

If you've ever been peed on by a potty training two-year-old and considered it an occupational might be a homemaker.

We could probably go on with those for days. But, I'll be nice and spare you. But seriously, you need to give this stuff a try. I have been, once again, amazed by a natural cleaner. If you know of any other great uses for Castile soap - drop me a comment and let me know what they are.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hot Marinated Beef Salad

As the weather is getting nicer, my wardrobe is getting lighter. So are my food cravings. Instead of the multitude of soups that we eat during the winter months - we begin to incorporate more main dish salads for supper. Evidently, my family isn't alone in this because Allyson at A Heart for Home is trying to wrangle up "A Slew of Summer Salads". If you are needing some Romaine inspiration or have a fabulous favorite salad recipe yourself, head on over to A Heart for Home and join the carnival.

Here's my contribution. It comes from the Prism Cookbook.

Hot Marinated Beef Salad:

Mixed greens (spinach, romaine, Boston, yada, yada, yada.)
1/2 lb. round steak
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bean sprouts (I just use mine from a can and rinse them well.)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. olive oil
Dash of pepper

Slice meat paper thin; marinate for 1 hour in garlic and soy sauce. Saute in hot oil (few slices at a time), turning to brown evenly. Toss green onions and sprouts with oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Arrange meat strips on top.

Makes 4 servings at 255 calories and 22 grams of fat each.

I promise that you won't be disappointed with this dish. As some of my friends down in the Sunshine State used to say, "It's sooo good it'll make you want to slap your Grandma!"


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Confession is Good for the Soul

I have this little confession to make. I like Bill Engvall. He cracks me up. Have you ever seen his show where he talks about being 15 degrees off cool? I so relate to that. It seems like no matter how hard I try to be non-dorkish (that's a new word from Pam's Thesaurus) - I somehow seem to miss the mark. I'm choosing to look at it as one of my most endearing qualities. This is on my mind because I had a super not-cool moment Friday evening. But, before I tell you about that - would you like to be embarrassed with me? They say confession is good for the soul, right? Who are "they", anyhow?

Go with me back in time...the year is 2000. I am pregnant with Little Britches. I work at MidFlorida Federal Credit Union. I was told I was having a girl. SURPRISE! Anyhow, from the time I was a little girl myself I was picking out baby names. Easy, right? Up until there was going to be a real person attached to that name - for ever, that is. We were hitting a brick wall with boy names. Thank God we were having a "girl". We knew we wanted to use a Biblical name. That made narrowing down the 48 bazillion names out there a little easier. We finally settled on 'Chloe'. So, one day I am at work with my very pregnant self when Sister Wine comes up to me. Sister Wine was a very nice woman who raised her children with her husband in Nicaragua for about 2 and a half decades. Brother Wine was responsible for establishing churches all over that country. A couple of years earlier we had taken our youth group on a mission trip with him there. It had been a while since I had seen them and we were catching up on all the the customary pregnancy chit chat. Of course, Sister Wine wanted to know the sex of the baby and if we had picked out a name.


"That's a Bible name, isn't it?"

"Yes! It is!" And that's where I should have stopped talking. But did I? Nooooo. I continued, "We knew we wanted a name from the Bible, but didn't want something so common like, Mary, or something that sounded really old and ugly like, Esther."

"Well, good luck. Blah, blah, blah. Or something like that."

I finished her transaction and she left to go wait with her husband and a pretty young woman over in customer service. A little while later she comes back over with this lovely lady and says, "Pam, I don't think you've ever met my daughter. This is Esther."

I immediately had a donkey's head on my shoulders and was braying as loudly as I could. Heehaw! Heehaw! I was totally eating my big, fat, swollen, pregnant foot.

Jezebel. Why couldn't I have used the name Jezebel? Why did I have to use a name at all?

Brain cells don't seem to work like they're supposed to when you're pregnant, right? So, could I possibly blame that horrid moment on the pregnancy? Maybe. But, I was not pregnant during my next shining moment.

Fast forward about two and a half years. We have just started attending Word of Life Christian Center. The sweet people there decided to have a little pitch-in at one of their houses after church on a Sunday night and invite us so we can get to know some people. I still miss (and keep in contact with) many of the friends we made while we were there. Enter - Bo and Debbie. Debbie is the church secretary. Bo is the praise and worship leader. Bo is short. Really, really short. I am 5 foot 3 and 3/4 inches and am quite a bit taller than he is. So, he was probably only 5'1" or 5'2" on a good day - and maybe weighed 125 pounds. I'm guessing there, but he wasn't a large fellow at all. Momentary bunny trail...the pastor was as big as Bo was small. He was 6'4" and of a large frame. It was so funny when Bo was leading from the behind the pulpit and Pastor Dave came up in front of him to say something or do announcements or whatever. Bo would completely disappear! I'm not kidding. It was like, "POOF. Where did he go?" Back to my story. So, we are at these people's house and are in the kitchen getting our food. Bo is right in front of me and mentioned that his wife had made the Shrimp Gumbo because it was his favorite and named after him. A little confused? I was. So, I should have smiled politely and something like, "Oh, how nice." But did I? Nooooo. I looked at him all stupid like and said, "Shrimp?" The look on his face is permanently seared into my conscience. Then he says, "No. Bo." Heehaw! Heehaw! I once again managed to make a donkey of myself.

Sometimes the filter on my mouth just doesn't work in time. I will say, though, this IS something I have really worked on since those ridiculously incommodious days. Now I try to think before I speak. What a novel idea!

Friday night's offense wasn't of a verbal nature. It was harebrained, none-the-less. Chris had bought some lumber after work and brought it home in one of his work vans. We were going to his boss' house for dinner, so we decided that he would take the van back to work on the way and I would follow him in the Explorer. Simple enough, right? Unless you're me. He is behind me in the driveway, so he backs out first. I watch him back out. I don't, however, watch him stop. I'm too busy trying to make sure I don't plow into the tree. I plow into my husband instead. Yes. It's official. I am a certifiable D.O.R.K.

Thank God, it didn't really do any damage. We were needing to get the Explorer repainted anyway. NO! I'm just joking. We weren't planning on getting the Explorer repainted. For real, though. The Explorer doesn't need repainted. Not from me plowing into my baby's work van, anyway. The factory paint job peeling off the roof is another story. Crappy warranty.

So, there you go. My secret is out. I like Bill Engvall and I am a dork.

I hope your mouth filter works much better than mine.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Challenge

I have this tendency to like old things. I love old houses. I lived in one for the first twelve years of my life and cried like a baby when we moved into a newer ranch model. That home has imprinted my heart for life. Oh, how I miss the formal dining room with the big, bay window, the claw foot tub, the arched doorways...sigh. Good memories. Gooood memories. I like old furniture. Old, beat up, banged up, beautifully flawed furniture. I think it has character - it tells a story of a life fully lived. I like old people. My parents and mother-in-law are all old, after all. Just kidding moms! Example: My parents just don't have character - they are characters. Remind me to tell you about the year my sister got foot notes (the ginormous keyboard that lays on the floor and you play with your feet) for Christmas sometime. Good memories. Gooood memories. Funny thing about age, though - it seems like the older I get, the younger my parents seem.

Older houses and furniture, vintage jewelry and cars. Are they perfect? Pristine? Hardly ever. But I find something very comforting in them. I don't inspect each flaw they have. I tend to stand back and take the piece in as a whole. If I fixated on it's flaws then I wouldn't appreciate it's beauty.

Actually, it seems that new and perfect things tend to give me stress. I feel like I have to keep them that way and therefore can't enjoy them. Let me give you an example. Three years ago, when we moved from Florida to Indiana we decided to buy a new kitchen/dining room table. Remember, I haven't had a formal dining room since my day in that glorious childhood home. So, I found a great deal on this beautiful cherry wood table that had a self-storing leaf in it. Perfect! I swear, we hadn't had that thing no time at all before someone left a glass sitting on it and marred it for life. It now has this water ring towards the edge where it absolutely can not be covered up by a runner or place mats. I have tried every remedy on it I come across. I have even tried those furniture markers on it. Nothing works. My "perfect and pristine" table didn't stay that way long. It could have - as long as we never used it. That kind of defeats the purpose of having a table, though, doesn't it? Now I DO fixate on that flaw - to the point that I've thought about banging it up so the one flaw would blend into obscurity with all the others. A bit neurotic? Maybe. I'm a character, too. Anyway, I'm just trying to say that it is unrealistic expectations to think that things will always be perfect. And that's OK. Like I said before - I find comfort in "lived in" objects.

With all of this in mind, I am learning to apply these same principles to myself. I am my own worst critic. I am terribly flawed. Honestly, I think we all are. BUT, I tend to fixate on my flaws. I don't like the little lines that seem to be appearing on my face even though I read in one of my magazines recently where they took pictures of young, unwrinkled people and put their picture next to one of the same pictures that they had digitally added crows feet. They then did a poll asking people which person looked happier. Guess which one won? Yes! The one with the crows feet. My, you are a sharpie today! Evidently, people associate crows feet with laughter and therefore happiness. So, really, crows feet make you more beautiful, right? That's my theory anyway.

I don't like the gray hairs that keep appearing on my head. Actually, I try not to see them at all. That's why Revlon Medium Golden Brown is my new BFF. When it goes on sale at CVS, I stock up and hoard it for the future. Seriously. I have 2 boxes waiting on me in my cabinet right now. Hmmm...could that be another flaw?

Then there is the amount of weight I've gained. Good Lord, we won't even GO there!

And my boobs. I remember when I was a teenager my slightly off-center family and I (the women anyway) were having this discussion about how you know if your boobs are sagging. Does anyone else have these discussions? The verdict was if you could hold a pencil underneath your breast without dropping it, your boobs were starting to head south. I couldn't have held a straight pin underneath my ta ta's in those days. Now on the other hand - I could probably safely store a small jar of mayonnaise under them. That would probably make the mayonnaise spoil, though. So, maybe we ought not try that. Hey! Have you heard the one about the old lady who had been widowed and had no children? She was lonely so she wanted to commit suicide so she could be with her husband again. She asked someone how to do it and they told her to shoot herself behind her left breast. The newspaper headline the next day read, "70 year old woman enters ER with self-inflicted gunshot wound to the knee." Sometimes I see those breasts in my future.

Let's continue to talk about boobs for a while, shall we? When I lived in Florida before my child-birthin' days I worked with this really beautiful 30-something lady. I'll call her Hot Momma 'cause it's my blog and I can call her whatever I want. Hot Momma had a couple of boys and a live-in boyfriend that she had been with for years. She was crazy about him. The thing was, though, she was never secure in their relationship. She was always fixating on trying to look prettier and younger so he wouldn't find some younger/prettier model and trade her in. I'm guessing she probably had been burned pretty badly in the past. She ended up getting a breast augmentation thinking that this would be the act that sealed the deal with her man never leaving her. She must have thought that if she could just have the largest darn boobies any man had ever laid eyes on, she'd be set for life 'cause, let me tell ya, those suckers were HUGE. I mean the kind of huge that makes you look all deformed and think, "Awe, that poor woman" type of thing when you looked at her. I don't know what ever happened to them. I hope they are still together and happy. But what I do know is that no amount of silicone is going to keep those things where they were when we were 18 for very long.

I guess what I'm learning, and I believe that the Good Lord is the one helping me with this, is to start relaxing and cutting myself a break. Time happens. Outward beauty fades and no amount of surgery or silicone can fix it. Oh, we can try, but then we risk looking like Joan Rivers or Kenny Rogers. You know what I'm talking about - shiny, plastic, people. Just like old, flawed furniture is full of beauty - so are humans. Even me. I have GOT to stop fixating on my flaws or else one day you'll read a headline about me that says, "70 year old woman enters ER with gunshot wound to left knee."

Really, wouldn't we enjoy life more if we stopped focusing on what was wrong with us, our husband, our kids, our economy, our home, or any of the other 50 thousand things that want to frustrate us in a day and began to focus on the things we love about them? I've been trying to work on this in my life and it makes a huge difference. I'm much more relaxed, joyful, and at peace than ever before.

I still am not thrilled with the lines I see on my face. I just try to put them into perspective. They are mapping a story of my life - every tear I've shed, every time I've laughed until my stomach hurt - it's all right there. Truthfully, I love my life and I don't want to forget the details. Even if it means that I'm storing them on my face like some new-fangled hard drive. Hmmm...just a thought here. Could it be that because it is a memory storage system the life is remembered on the face 'cause the brain doesn't too great of a job after a while? Something to think about (while you still can)!

I still don't like the stretch marks on my stomach. I just try to remember that those are battle scars - every one a tribute to the life it carried.

Do I often wish that I didn't have to fold my boobs to get them into my bra? Certainly. But I try to keep in mind that these are the same breasts that nursed a husband. I mean baby. Yeah, these are the same breasts that nursed a baby.

So, I leave you with a challenge today - the same one I'm giving myself. Determine to cut yourself (and those around you) a break. You don't have to be perfect. Actually, I love the header on Nester's blog: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. Boy, that's the truth. Let's work on appreciating what's before us and living life to the fullest each and every day - crows feet and all.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Update In Honor Of Earth Day

Back in the beginning of March I wrote a post about the homemade laundry soap I made. You can click here. if you want to read it and get the recipe. It's been a couple of months. I've truly gotten a feel for how I like it. I'm on my third batch 'cause I have shared it with my mother-in-law so she can see if she likes it. Yes! It is a miracle! I actually love my MIL - and she loves me! At least that's what she tells me. Anyway, this stuff is truly AMAZING!

Some things I've noticed since using it:

a) Our clothes are REALLY soft. I have even quit using fabric softener because they are so soft. Now I just place about 1/4 cup of vinegar in the rinse water. I'll comment on that more in a minute.

b) Our clothes rarely have static cling when I take them out of the dryer.

c) This one is a little revealing. How many of you that have been married for a while actually buy new bath towels? I have recently begun to replace ours because the ones that we were using are shameful. You know the look - ripped edges and thread-bare middles. Then there's that nasty grayish cast that they take on over the years. Weeelll...that nasty little grayish cast on our towels is vanishing. Yes, people, it's VANISHING. It's like some magical mystery potion has enveloped our bath towels.

d) Our clothes look BETTER, CLEANER.

e) Our whites are WHITER.

f) We have very hard water and had begun to see rust marks in the area that holds detergent and what not. The rust marks are now gone.

g) We have this awesome, thick, fuzzy blanket that is red, white and blue. It got washed with something else red that bled all over it about a year ago and has been red, pink and blue ever since. Do you know that since I've been using the homemade laundry soap it has pulled all of the pink out of that blanket and it's red, white and blue once again? I kid you not!

I am still amazed and astounded that something so cheap, so safe, so simple to make is having such a huge impact on my laundry. I feel like it's new advocate. My mom just made a batch and split it with my sister. Good reports, so far.

If you read my blog much you'll know that I am on a mission to rid our home and yard of chemicals and pesticides. I checked out this great book from our library recently, "Clean Home, Green Home" by Kimberly Delany. It is full of great information and easy recipes if you are on this journey, too. I highly recommend it.

I just wanted to share a couple of things Kimberly mentioned in this book. Keep in mind that the homemade laundry soap consists of 3 ingredients, plus water: Fels Naptha soap, washing soda and Borax. Also, keep in mind that I am only using white vinegar in my rinse cycle.

This is some information concerning vinegar. It disinfects, loosens dirt, deodorizes, removes mineral deposits, stains, and tarnish, and eliminates static cling when added to the rinse cycle. Go figure. Also, studies show that distilled white vinegar kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs. I now by this stuff by the gallon. I use it everywhere.

Now, allow me to share some information about soda. Not the kind you drink, silly! It's abrasive enough to make a great scrubber that won't damage most surfaces, it eats odor and works as a deodorizer and (get this) you can add it to the wash cycle to soften fabric!

Lastly, here are some things that Borax does. It can be used as an abrasive to scrub stubborn stains off of counters or bathtubs, cleans toilets, cleans ovens, whitens clothing when added to the wash cycle, and it fights mold, bacteria and neutralizes odors.

All right. Now you have another update on my homemade laundry detergent and one more (actually many more) reason to try it for yourself. And really, if you're interested in finding out more money saving, healthy cleaning options you need to see if your local library has "Clean Home, Green Home" by Kimberly Delaney. You can also get it online. It won't disappoint.

OK. I'm outta here folks! Have a great "Hump Day"!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Not Bacteria. It's A Virus.

Today I am doing my blogging from the library computer. I will be for about a week. My computer is sick. It has a virus. Bummer. I'm thinking that the onset of it must have been the reason all of your suggestions for my blogging and picture woes didn't help.

Here is the irony. We bought the computer right at three years ago from Best Buy. It's a laptop and we paid $800.00 for it. Not that you care, but I'm going somewhere with this. Just hold on. We paid another $300.00 for the extended service protection plan. Well, if you ever read my blog you'll remember that it has been acting up on me and won't even let me upload pictures properly. I have to create any blog post that have pictures with them from Picasa then load it to Blogger. A couple of nights ago we started getting a warning saying that it had been infected with a Trojan-dropping virus. (Infected? Was that right? Do computers get infected? Or do they get affected? Maybe that was effected. No, that's effective - which it is definitely NOT at the moment.) Ok. I'm going to focus now. Last night we took the laptop to the Geek Squad and pulled up our plan. It expired - get this - March 31. Yesterday was April 17. Seventeen days after our protection plan expired, so did the computer. Seventeen days. SEVEN.TEEN. DAYS! Go figure.

Now, it's going to cost $199.99 (Why don't they just say $200.00?) to do a diagnostic blah, blah, blah and fix the thing. On top of that, every picture I have ever taken with my digital camera has been loaded onto it. Did I ever back it up? Do I even know how? NOOOOOO. Note the sarcasm in my voice, please. So, we need to pay another $99.99 to have the files all backed up before they do blah, blah, blah to it. Otherwise we'll lose everything on it. That's $300.00. Top that with the $300.00 we spent on the extended service plan that we never, not one time used. Now we're up to $600.00. For an $800.00 computer. We could have saved the cash and bought a whole new computer for just about the same price. I'm feeling slightly jipped at the moment.

I do have to hand it to the Geeks, though. The girl working with us at the counter felt really bad that our plan had expired just seventeen days earlier and went to talk to her manager about it. They are going to refund the $70.00 for the diagnostic blah, blah, blah that we WOULD have saved under the plan since we are going to have them back it up. I thought that was very nice of them. So, that takes us down to $230.00. Did you notice anything with that statement, though?They are going to refund the $70.00 that we would have saved with the service protection plan. I'm thinking that paying $300.00 for something that only saves you $70.00 is NOT a very good deal. I think the next time we invest in electronics we'll probably forgo the extended warranty that seems more and more like a scam at this moment. Unless, that is, any of you can leave me a comment letting me know how an extended warranty completely rocked for you. Then I might reconsider.

When we bought our Explorer we also purchased the extended warranty. We needed to use it once and found out that the one that we purchased was not the one that they sold us. So, we still had to shell out some fundage. I made that word up for you. Like it?

Anyway, this whole ordeal has me seriously looking into ways to get computer educated. I need to learn how to back the stinker up and load my pictures onto DVDs. But first, I need to find out which ones my computer takes. I bought some once and they didn't work. Evidently there is more than one kind of DVD. I would know this if I wasn't such a computer geek. Actually, if I WAS a computer geek I could work on computers and make lots of dough. Not the kind like I make as a homemaker. The green kind. No, not play dough. Bacon. No, not pork. I fry that up in a pan. I'm singing in my head at the library right now... "I can bring home the bacon...Duh, Duh, Duh, Duh. Fry it up in a pan...Duh, Duh, Duh, Duh. And never let you forget..." Cash. I could make a lot of cash. Whew! I have signed up to take a couple of computer classes at the library next week. I hope they have useful information for me. There is also a sign I'm going to check on that has a number to contact the county for computer classes. I need to explore all of my options. I need to learn to use the computer! If anyone has suggestions - I'm open.

I'll be signing out on that note.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, April 17, 2009

That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It!

Yesterday was a little more exciting than I hoped it would have been. We always pre-program the coffee pot to grind the beans and brew the coffee before we get up of a morning so we have a fresh pot waiting on us when we get out of bed. Very typical - I know. Anyway, yesterday morning there was hot coffee all over the counter when MW made it to the kitchen to get us a cup of Joe. We just figured that it had not flipped the bean holder part where the ground beans go. (Yes. That is a completely made up name for the bean thingy.) Not a big deal. So, we cleaned it up and went on with our merry day.

Well, after breakfast I decided to grind up the Serrano peppers that have been drying out since we plucked them from our garden last summer. Little did I know that the dust from those little flamers would get all up my nose and in my lungs. I had to end up wearing a bandanna over my nose and mouth just to get through it. Even with that perty blue bandanna on (I was a lovely sight - still in my bathrobe.) my nose was running and I was coughing so hard I thought I was going to throw up.

So, after I was done with those dried out little hotties I hit the shower. I fixed my hair. I went outside to sprinkle my newly ground powdered fire on my tulip and iris bulbs to keep the adorable neighborhood squirrels and rabbits from eating my precious glints of colored glory from being eaten. Then...the wind caught the pepper dust and blew it right up into my eye. Don't try that at home, by the way. Because it hurts. REALLY. REALLY. REALLY. badly. I ran to the sink with my arms flailing like a wild woman and began to rinse my swollen, blood red, burning eye with cold water. It didn't help. It hurt worse to open my eye. But I did - long enough to take my contact out. Yes, that was also my last pair of contacts. Then I rinsed it some more. NOT HELPING!

I decided to do the next reasonable thing. I called my husband at work. Like, really, any rational woman would realize that: A)He is AT WORK! What is he going to be able to do for me from 45 minutes away?, B)Did I REALLY think he would know what to do for Serrano pepper dust in the eyeball? and finally, C)For all of his thousands of wonderful qualities he truly is useless to me in these types of crises situations.

Shall I explain? Yes, thank you, I shall.

Example #1 - The Lowery Park Zoo, Tampa, FL
We took a family trip to the Lowery Park Zoo one time and was having a wonderful time. Me and MW, anyway. Little Britches was completely unimpressed even though this zoo was rated the #1 children's zoo in the nation. This was typical for my little homebody at the time. Sea World, Disney, blah, blah, blah - same story. He'd have just rather been at home. Anyway, we went into the aviary where you could interact with gajillions of beautiful, exotic birds (I made that really big number up. Perhaps you've heard of it?). They even had little cups of nectar that you could hold and some of the birds would come eat out of your hand. How cool! Unless you're me. Thousands upon thousands of people have come through that little piece of paradise with nothing but fabulous memories and pictures of docile little winged creatures sipping liquid love from their hands. I, on the other hand, try to block out that experience altogether. Except right now because I'm trying to make a point. A really lengthy point. But, it's my blog and I can ramble if I want to. Read the title of my blog, people! OK. Sorry, I just needed to get that out. Back to the bird place, thing. Well, Little Britches and MW each have their cups of nectar. They are giggling while watching sweet little birdies eat out of their hands. I want to have fun, too! I pick up a little cup and fill it with nectar. As I hold out my hand, I watch a bird approach and land on me. I must have been holding my hand wrong. Maybe I smelled funny. I don't know. Maybe the bird was hormonal. Maybe he was really Satan. That sucker started attacking me! Peck. Peck. Peck.... Have you ever been attacked by a bird? Well, I'm telling ya, it's NOT fun! I was screaming. It wouldn't get off of me. It just kept attacking me. This is where MW comes in. I started yelling for my beloved to rescue his bride. "Please...Help. Me!" "Heeeeelllllllppppp Meeeee!" But he couldn't 'cause he was too busy...laughing. I'm talking about the I can hardly breathe, I've fallen to my knees and am getting ready to wet myself kind of laughter. He never did make it to my side. I had to wait until that demonic little creature had gotten his fill of unleashing his hellish wrath on me. I was utterly traumatized. I promise that if my future ever holds another trip to the Lowery Park Zoo in Tampa, FL - I will NOT, I repeat, will NOT be venturing into the aviary. Nope. Not me.

Example #2 - My driveway in the Midwest Summertime
It was the middle of summer and very hot. Our little family decided that popsicles sounded really good. After all, who doesn't like a frozen treat on a hot summer day, right? So, the three of us open up our popsicles and when I went to lick stuck to my lips. Both of them. Have you ever seen "A Christmas Story"? Remember the scene where the kid sticks his tongue to the pole and gets stuck there? It happened in "Dumb and Dumber", too. That's the movie MW took me to on our first date. He finds great humor in these things. I provide plenty of enjoyment for him. Well, picture something similar to those movies except instead of winter, poles, and tongues - think summer, popsicle and lips. I kept trying to lick my lips to get them wet enough to release the popsicle, but that didn't work. So I tried to ask MW for help the best way I could. It was slightly difficult to speak properly seeing how my lips were glued to my popsicle and all. He couldn't help me, though. He was too busy. Laughing 'till he was bowed over holding his stomach. Little Britches went and got a cup of warm water for me. MW finally pulled himself together enough to pour warm water over my lips (still laughing). It took a while to free my lips. Most of the skin inside them decided to stay with the popsicle. I don't care much for popsicles anymore.

Now, back to my eye situation. First of all, MW didn't answer his phone. He always answers his phone. Remember, I'm not completely rational at this moment, because I bothered to call my hubby in the first place. Hmmmm...who should I call next? POISON CONTROL! Right answer. They knew exactly what to do. I must say I felt slightly stupid when Joanne, the nice lady from Poison Control who helped me, asked me how old I was. My reply? This time I was the one laughing. "Thirty-four. Old enough to not do this." She said I needed to go get into the shower, wash my hair to get any pepper residue out of it, and stand there with very warm water hitting my forehead. It would run down into my eyes and fix the problem. I had JUST gotten out of the shower. I was very clean yesterday. I said heck with fixing my hair a second time, though.

When MW got my message he called me and, once again, got a good laugh. He did tell me though that the reason that stuff is so funny to him is because when he (or most other people) get hurt it's usually because of something they've done - like the time he dropped a 400 pound board on his big toe. That was nasty. But when I get hurt it's like freak of nature things that only happen to me.

I never finished putting that pepper stuff on my tulips. I'm not even going to attempt it until my dear hubby brings me a respirator with eye guards. Something like that would only happen twice to me.

After that whole ordeal I was completely wiped out and needed a cup of java. I had forgotten about the incident that morning. Once the coffee started brewing I realized it wasn't a glitch with the machine that morning, though. Our $300.00 coffee maker had decided to try something new and start brewing coffee out it's back side. (We didn't pay $300.00 for the machine. No way. It actually didn't cost us anything.'s still a $300.00 coffee maker and there is no way we would go out and replace it.) It was a mess. I was sad. I reeeeeaaaaaly like that coffee maker.

But...the story ends well. My eye got better. I ruined my last pair of contacts. At least I'm not blind. I just need to make an appointment and go get some more vision enhancers. MW, while not being able to help me for laughing at my woes, DOES happen to be very handy. He fiddled with the coffee maker last night after work - got his tools out and everything. He got that bad daddy working! Yay!

I woke up to a nice steaming cup of coffee this morning. I knew it was coffee because I had my glasses on.

The end.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Couple Completed Projects

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter like I did! Actually, my whole weekend was wonderful - and well needed. Friday night, MW took me to dinner and then whisked me away to a hotel with a jacuzzi suite to celebrate our anniversary. Hubba, hubba! It was a lot of fun and he promised me that it wouldn't be 14 years before we do it again! I plan on holding him to that promise!

On another note - I STILL don't have my sofa pillows done yet. But, I am going to show you a few things I've managed to accomplish.

On my trip to Goodwill a few weeks ago I picked up a $.99 plain wooden tray with plans to gussie it up a bit. Sorry, no before shots. I spray painted it black, added a couple of $.29 sheets of scrapbook paper with Mod Podge, then cut out a monogram I printed off the computer and Mod Podged it on top. I now have a cute tray that coordinates with my toile Roman shades in the kitchen.

While I was at Hobby Lobby (Man, I love that store!) looking for toile scrapbook paper, I happened upon some toile tissue paper. It's amazing what you can find in that print. I'm still looking for it in wrapping paper, but haven't been successful, yet. Anyhoo, I couldn't resist breaking out the spray paint and Mod Podge once more to make a matching paper towel holder with the tissue paper. The pattern isn't as obvious in tissue paper as it is in the scrap book paper. So, you can't really tell that it's toile. But, that's OK. I like anyway.

On the same Goodwill trip that scored me the wooden tray, I also found a pair of lamps for my living room. I like the shape much better than my old ones. When I got them home, one of them didn't work. But a $2.50 light socket insert (along with a helping hand from MW) was a quick and cheap fix. Thanks, honey! Notice the gingham pillow in the chair. Yep. I made that. And there is one that matches it on the other side of the room.

This is a little better shot. I have had 3 sewing lessons now with "Grandma Ginger". This time she taught me how to make my own binding and piping for the pillows. This stuff can be used everywhere, though. My home made projects aren't perfect, but I get great satisfaction out of the fact that I am learning new skills and making things myself. I know that with every project I attempt, my skills will only improve.

I feel like I am trying to eat an elephant with the amount of projects yet to be done. I am trying not to get overwhelmed by it, but rather take it one bite at a time and enjoy the progression of transformation that our house is taking on.

Tomorrow is our Homeschool Library Day and the kids are learning about Arbor Day. Maybe they'll even get to bring home little trees to plant. That would be fun. One more project to add to the list! Well, that's about it for now. I need to read a couple more chapter in "The Twenty-One Balloons". It's a really good book, by the way - for the kiddies anyhow!

Have a wonderful Tuesday.
XO, Pam
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Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Good Friday, Y'all!

Happy Good Friday, Y'all! I don't have any earth shattering information today. As a matter of fact, it seems like my writing well has been a little dry lately. So, I'll just share a few goings on with you.

I have been working on trying to get better at time management and keeping my day organized. Any tips would be appreciated. But, I have been staying on top of laundry a little better as of late. I'm absolutely astounded how much laundry 3 people can accumulate. It's not normal, I tell ya.

I'm also making an effort to be more regimented with home school. I tend to be more of a "fly by the seat of my pants" personality. I need to work on that. We did order our curriculum for next year, though. It came yesterday. It's always exciting when those boxes show up on the doorstep. It's almost like Christmas. I feel all tingly inside with the hopes of a fresh year, a fresh start and the hopes of finally staying on our schedule. Just let me dream, OK?

I have been able to work on a couple of small projects this week. I'll show pictures soon. But, I will say that I'm really digging Mod Podge right now. I'm accessorizing my kitchen with it. I managed to get both of my pillows made for the living room chairs. I have extra fabric left over from that. Now the little wheels in my head are churning about where I can use it next. Table runner, maybe? Hmm...can you see the smoke coming out of my ears? I STILL need to get those couch pillows done, though, dang it!

I'm really stoked about tonight. Next week is our 14 year anniversary and MW is whisking me away to a hotel for the night. YAY ME! It has a hot tub in the room, so I'm thinking we'll be spending a lot of time in there. And that's all I have to say about that!

Well, I have a big day of learnin', shoppin', and primpin' planned, so I need to be going. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Easter!

XO, Pam
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The End of Our Museum Tour

Today I am seriously feeling like I don't want to drag out our trip to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis any longer. I had another sewing lesson last week and have been making the rest of the throw pillows for my living room and want to get to that soon. So, let me just tell you that there is way too much to do and see at the museum to post about it all. I do want to share with you a little about my favorite exhibit, The Dinosphere, though. Please excuse the quality of the pictures.

There are a lot of real fossilized dinosaur skeletons on exhibit and they have them set up in a habitat. They explain about each dino and have diagrams that show which bones are fossils and which ones they had to cast. There are also programs that talk about the dinosaurs and what we can learn about them from their bones.

This is a dinosaur femur that they have on display and you can actually touch it. Very cool.

Real, live, paleontologists work there as well. You can watch them working on fossils that have been more recently found and can speak with them as well. This is a triceratops skull that they have been working on after hours for 5 years now. Sorry about the glare. It's behind a locked door and I couldn't get a shot without a glare on it.

You can look at eggs that have been found, put a cast skeleton together like a puzzle, let the littler ones play in the play area with outfits and nests that make them look like little dinos themselves, or go upstairs into the art lab and sketch what you have seen. I'm probably missing something else, but it's really cool.

You just also may be able to capture a shot of a cute little boy while you're there!

Well, this wraps up my tour of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. It's well worth the trip. Thanks for coming along!

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Monday, April 6, 2009

More from the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

There was so much to see and do at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis that it will take another day or two to give you a glimpse of all they have to offer. And that is what today's post is - a brief glimpse into the fun we had that day.

The first thing we did upon arriving at the museum was to head up to the 4th floor and play a little. There is a fun house of mirrors, giant board games, video games, many different play houses and forts including the house that Eli Lily had made for his daughter once upon a time, and a giant carousel. This carousel is over 90 years old and happily accommodates everyone from the smallest of kiddies to Mamaw!

Nothing like a good game of checkers.

I think the Daddy Men enjoyed getting a fish-eye view of life in a pond more than the children did. They saw a big bass and dreamed of fishing poles and worms.

Next, I will share some more experiences from our trip that include the Egyptian exhibit. Then the last post will be from my most favorite part of the museum - the Dinosphere. Stay tuned.
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Last Friday MW took the day off work and we headed to Indianapolis with Mamaw and some friends to visit the Children's Museum. It is 400,000 sq. ft. and 19 acres of pure family delight. Click on this link if you'd like to check out their website. If I'm not mistaken, it is the largest children's museum in the world. If you're ever in central Indiana, this is a must stop place to visit.

This sculpture of an adult and 2 young dinosaurs (you can only see the tail of the 2nd one off to the right of the picture) is actually coming right out of the side of the building. This is one of the first things you see when you are driving up.

This three story clock was made by someone with waaay too much time on his hands. It's really cool, though. It somehow uses vacuums and liquids and blah, blah, change the minutes and hours. There are large numbers on either side of the sculpture. The left hand side tells the hours while the right side tells the minutes.

Little Britches with his ticket waiting to get inside.

The museum is 4 stories high. The center of it is open with a ramp that spirals all the way from the bottom level to the top. In the center of the ramp you will find this Fireworks of Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. You can't even see the top of it in this picture. If you don't know who Dale Chihuly is you can click here . Anyway, every piece of glass is hand blown. It's absolutely amazing.

OK. Now you have a small taste of what the entrance to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis is like. I'll try to be more diligent to post more pictures and info. about some of the exhibits. There is some REALLY. COOL. STUFF.

I need to be scooting now. Have a happy Friday! Pam

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