May 31

When I was 9, my Grams lived with us for a few years after she was divorced from my grandpa.

Church mice had more money than she did, but she loved to spoil the sister and I. She would buy us the cheapest cookies, and cheese puffs she could find, and we ate them with great abandon.

We would eat them in the living room, outside, on the hood of her car watching fire works on the Fourth of July, and even crouched in a corner of the basement waiting for a tornado to pass. Somehow this woman, would always manage to have a little something for her girls.

Yesterday, the girl and I were out doing our bi-weekly shopping, and I came across these. I hadn’t seen them in a grocery store since the Civil War, but here they were, a ginormous bin filled to the brim.

I picked up a package and sniffed deeply, memories flooding my soul.

I put the package down and longed for this wonderful woman who loved unconditionally, who hugged constantly, and who knew how to spoil a girl.

To this day, I prefer a package of .89 chocolate chip cookies and a bag of cheesey puffed air than any other snack in the world.

May 30

It is Friday, and I am nosy.

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you enjoy getting dressed up for a special occasion.

For me it depends. Do I have the right outfit? Do I have shoes to match? Am I being forced to attend this occasion, or will it be something fun for me?

If I have something proper to wear and I want to go, I’d say an 8. If not, then I’d say a 1.

May 29

I took your suggestions, but I must say I don’t like the results.

It isn’t your suggestions that were bad, it is my photography, or my bad lens, or maybe I am just standing way to far away, or all of the above.

I love the fact that in photography you are constantly learning.

Here is the picture of the boy and the luscious car. When I was a teen, I dreamed of owning cars like this.

Here I have cropped in tighter, and I ran it through my noisewear too. It isn’t bad, but like y’all said, it isn’t focusing on his face.

Here I have zoomed in 100%, and cropped, run it through the noiseware, and it still isn’t sharp.

Here is one that I just photoshopped. I love the bridge.

We should have pulled that weed.

This one is much better cropped close.

Unfortunately the sun was casting way to much shadow on his face. There was no other way to position ourselves in this picture to not get that shadow. Maybe on the opposite side of the bridge. But then I would have had to stand in the weeds, and this girl just. does. not. do. weeds. Or bugs. Or dirt. Like a friend of mine said Thursday “I’m a sissy.”

We are going to go back on Sunday to get more pictures.

I am just totally dissatisfied with these.

Not to be left out is the girl.  Taken with the very same lens.

I must learn faster.

May 28

Sunday, the boy and I went to Lake Park and shot some Senior pictures. Let me just say before hand, I desperately need a good lens. I have an ok lens that came with the camera, and I purchased a great lens, but it isn’t one you use for anything further than about 10 feet. I am really bummed at how these turned out. I wanted something that was really tack sharp. Something that we both could really be proud of.

The pictures are good, but not great. sigh…

Anyway, here is a sampling of them using my Nikon 18-135mm lens.

He wanted a really cool background. Kind of an urban/funky feel. This is as good as it gets here in Pothole, Ohio.

I black and whited this one, leaving him in color. He really likes this one.

I love this one.

An opportunity presented itself, so I just HAD to take this one.

This is one of my favorites.

This one was just fun, but I felt like he was getting lost in the background.

So, I did this. He doesn’t like it. I do. I think it is really cool. It looks like he is jumping off that bridge, but he wasn’t.

May 27

Yesterday was Party Central around here.

There were parties to the left of us.

There were parties to the right of us.

But our party. Our party was the party to rival all others.

We are total party animals around here.

Party on!

May 26

Yesterday in Sunday School as I was getting up from the table, a lady came up beside me and began talking to the woman sitting across from me.

I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. She said that “I’m still bottle feeding the kittens, so I can’t bring them to you yet. When they are old enough, I will though.” I asked a few questions and found that she had found them walking along the road, and took them in, and that they were still very tiny.

Before I even knew what was happening, my mouth opened and words began to erupt. It sounded something very similar to “I have a mama kitten who is still producing milk, she might surrogate for them.”

So, let me and my big mouth introduce you to Winkin’.

Blinkin’.

And Nod.

What I think is the greatest thing is this.

They have a mama.

May 25

They are gone.

Life without them isn’t near as furry,

cute,

or entertaining.

Now I just need to get the adult cats to act like adults and get along.

Any ideas on how to get them happy?

May 24

It is Saturday morning. 6:55am to be exact and I am already bored. How can a person who has so much house to clean, so much laundry to do, and a huge graduation party ‘to do’ list be bored? Maybe it could be a little something called…procrastination??? I have my father to thank for that. Thanks dad.  I love you.

I have even procrastinated making this blog post. It is now 7:07am, and all I have done is sit here and fiddled with the junk on my desk. Moving it about to try and make it look neater. It didn’t work.

So, in the spirit of procrastination, I am going to put in a few pictures that I took last week, and have just now gotten around to photoshopping.

The clouds were so lovely that day.

When I was little, I used to think that the sunbeams coming through the clouds was God pointing his rays of light at all the bad people. Maybe he was pointing at all the procrastinators instead. If that is the case, I would have a pretty nasty sunburn.

Bring on the sunscreen.

May 22

First I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone.   Your ideas are fabulous, and I can not wait to get started.   The boy will be choosing what I make.

Speaking of the boy…

This is what happens when there is only one computer in the house with internet access.

And the mother refuses to download iTunes to that computer.

May 21

When I began home schooling, almost everyone said ‘are you going to do that through high school?’ with the most shocked expression on their faces when I told them ‘that was the plan’.

After getting that reaction for several years, I began to doubt myself. Could I really teach the chips through high school? Could I really prepare them for college? Could I really do a good job at this thing called home schooling?

It was almost at the time of the worst of self doubt, that I found myself at the most wonderful home schooling forum…ever! The women that I met at Donna Young’s home school forum were my encouragement when I had none from anyone/anywhere else, they were my cheerleaders when I was down, they were wisdom when I was floundering, they were my mentors, they were my friends.

The forum has now since closed, and the women that I met there are still my encouragement, still my cheerleaders, still dishing out wisdom, still my mentors, and still my friends.

It is to them that I owe so much gratitude for helping me to get to where I am today. Graduating my son from high school. I couldn’t have done it without you ladies. Especially Tressa who, without many long distance conversations, the boy and I would never have made it through Algebra without killing each other. Seriously.

In a couple weeks, I will be giving a graduation party for the boy. I am going to need to have food for approximately 30-50 people, and I need your help.

Can you give me suggestions on finger food (meaning, can be eaten without the help of a fork or spoon) recipes that are both inexpensive and easy.

May 20

So, yesterday I got up, wrote my blog post, ate breakfast, got a shower, threw some laundry in the machine, sent the girl upstairs to get her shower.

The girl came down and said ‘mom, why isn’t there any water coming out of the faucet?’ hhmm no water.

No good. (I have just finished a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, sorry)

Went to look at the machine which hadn’t begun to make that wonderful swishing sound that lets me know it is working.

The machine was only half full of water, and the water was an icky brown.

Not good when the material inside the machine is/was white. Not good when you have 3 other loads waiting to be done, not good when the girl hasn’t gotten her shower yet.

No good, no good, no good. (hard to starboard)

Ever notice that when you don’t have something, you immediately want/need it. Yep…I instantly became thirsty. (why is the rum always gone)

The water came back on around 3. The girl got her shower, I got my drink, and the whites, well….I don’t think they will recover.

Any suggestions on how to get icky brown spots out of whites?

(break off pursuit, run her light and douse canvas) (sorry, really I am)

Last week, the boy wanted to make something special for breakfast. I am all for that, so I said “bake away”. So he did.

He made Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid…only not.

In your mixing bowl, mix water, yeast, sugar and flour.

This is going to make a ‘starter’ of sorts.

Cover it and set it aside till bubbly and active. About 10-15 minutes.

Make sure your egg is at room temperature. If it isn’t, then stick it in your microwave for about 10 seconds.

Add the rest of your ingredients and knead till soft and pliable, but not sticky.

This is the secret to a soft, tender dough.

This sweet dough is great for just about anything you want. Monkey bread, sweet glazed braids, hot cross buns, etc.

Put your dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and raise till doubled.

Mix up the filling while you are waiting for the dough to rise.

Ever wonder what the girl does while the boy and I are in the kitchen? why we have little Cinderella sweeping the mud room, and vacuuming the living room, of course.

When she is finished with that, and IF she has something to wear, she can go to the ball.

Roll out your dough in a rectanglish shape.

Put your filling down the center, and cut strips along the side.

Lay the end pieces over the filling, then begin to criss cross the strips over the filling till you are finished.

Raise, then bake for 32-36 minutes at 350º. Let it cool for 15 minutes before glazing and slicing and eating.

If you can wait that long.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Braid…only not

Dough

  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • ¼ c. warm water
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 3 c. unbleached pastry flour
  • 6 tbsp. sour cream or yogurt
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp. lemon oil (we used orange oil)

In your mixing bowl, combine yeast, water 1 tsp. of the sugar and ½ c. of the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside till bubbly and very active.

Stir in remaining dough ingredients and knead till soft. Put dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let raise till doubled. About 45 minutes.

To make filling, take ½ c. butter, 1 c. brown sugar and 1 c. chopped pecans. Mix with spoon till paste forms.

Gently deflate the dough and divide in half. Roll each half into a 15×10-inch rectangle and place each onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread half the filing down the center of each and cut 2½ inch cuts every 3/4 inch down both sides of the filling. Fold ends over filling, then pull pull the cut strips up and over, alternating sides.

Cover and let them rise for 30-45 minutes, until they are puffy looking. Bake braids for 32-36 minutes, until they are golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

We added a glaze. I like adding a glaze.  I’m a glazie kind of gal.

May 18

First I just have to say that “Prince Caspian” is a 2 thumbs up. It was great!

The chips were rather miffed that they added a scene that wasn’t in the book, but the boy said within the first 5 minutes of the movie…”yep…I’m gonna have to buy this one too.”

In other news…

One of these little guys is already in his new home. My mother and father-in-law took Lightening. They will eventually give him to my FIL’s daughter, but she lives in Virginia, so the next time they see her, she will get the cat. My FIL lit up like Christmas when we took Lightening in, so I know that he is going to be happy.

The other 2 are going to a farm up in Holmes county.

This little guy doesn’t have a home yet.

Anyone want a sweet little guy? Please? I don’t want to have to take him to the pound.

He has until the kitten food runs out, then he will have to go.

May 17

So, Thursday it was finally sunny here in Pothole. After a week and a half of gloom and rain, I had almost lost hope that the sun would ever shine again.

In celebration, the chips and I went to The Coffee Company in Roscoe Village. I took my camera. (and the wrong lens) I wanted to get a couple of practice shots of the boy for his Senior pictures. I am just a bit late…I know. His classmates won’t care though. The boy absolutely hates to have his picture taken, so I made the girl get in the pictures.   It helped him to relax and have fun with it.

Please ignore the metal step ladder in the background. I didn’t even notice it till I uploaded the pictures.

In this one he is trying to hide the fact that he has been doing ‘bunny ears’ for the last 3 shots.

And her reaction to the ‘bunny ears’.

They were beginning to not want to smile so I threatened to sing to them. Please note that I am not above singing off key, in the middle of a busy tourist area to get my children to laugh.

They didn’t believe I would, so I did. Don’t ya just love the reaction?

This one is just totally cute. This is such symbolism to me. They have always played ‘hide and seek’. They are always hiding in some dark quiet spot in the house, and then jump out to scare someone. Generally, that someone is me….sigh.

The last 4 were snapped all in about 5 seconds time, I just have cropped them differently.

Other than the fact that I totally used the wrong lens, and that I didn’t check to make sure that there weren’t any stupid things in the background, which one is your favorite? and why? I really need to know why?

Remember…I am nosy!

May 16

It is Friday and I am nosy.

Every morning, without fail, I get up, rub my eyes, run my hands through my hair, and turn around and make my bed. Every. morning.

If I didn’t make my bed every day, well…it would…would just…just be bad. I might stub my toe, break my favorite vase, get a flat tire, or my hair wouldn’t turn out. It would totally be because I didn’t make my bed. I just know it.

At the end of the day, I love climbing into a made bed. The sheets are crisp and pulled tightly. The pillows are already plumped and ready to be slept on. There is just nothing like it. If I had to crawl into a rumpled bed, I do not think I could sleep.   And this girl…she needs her sleep!

So tell me, what is one chore you do daily… without fail… that if you didn’t do it would totally mess up your entire day?

May 15

I have been working at getting Grace acquainted with Whiskey. (It isn’t going so well.)

This means that I have brought Whiskey downstairs, leaving the kittens upstairs. They would get totally lost behind all my furniture, and chew and claw on everything, so bringing them down  to stay is totally not going to happen.

I bring them down 2-3 times a day for a feeding.

As I sit and watch Whiskey allow 4 ravenous kittens to suck her dry, I marvel at the care she takes with them.

How she is constantly aware and is always on the alert to protect them from the ‘evil, hissing, snarling’ cat, Grace. (who seems to always be in the corner, cowering from the ‘evil, hissing, snarling’ cat, Whiskey)

I have just been informed that today is National Chocolate Chip day. How shall I celebrate?

May 14

The first and last time I ever had curry was in high school, and my best friend Beverly invited me over for supper. Her mom had made Chicken Curry. It sounded fancy and foreign and almost naughty, so I couldn’t wait to try it. I think Bev’s mom put at least 2 cups of curry on my piece of chicken alone, because my mouth was on fire for the next 3 weeks. I kid, oh how I kid, but Curry was dead to me till 3 weeks ago when I was at a cooking demonstration, and my friend made a curry dish that she insisted I try. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I filled up my drink, swallowed hard and tried an ensie-weensie bite.

Curry has come back to me in a wonderful and powerful way.

Let me show you how to make Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries. It is a little bit fancy and foreign and naughty, and I can’t wait for you to try it.

Simple ingredients, and I was surprised that even couscous can be purchased in Pothole, Ohio. If you have never tried/used couscous before, don’t go looking for it on the pasta isle. It won’t be there. Meander over to the Mexican/Oriental isle, and you should find it next to the rationed rice.

First you are going to want to chop your walnuts and toast them. I didn’t toast mine because, well, have I mentioned that I am lazy?

And your green onion.

And your parsley.

Set this all aside.

In a heat proof bowl, put your couscous, cranberries, curry, salt…oh, and sugar, I forgot to mention sugar. My brain is on the fast track to retirement.

Give it a stir.

Pour boiling water over it all.

You know what else I forgot? The orange.

Cut your orange in half.

Holding your camera in one hand, and half an orange in the other, squeeze the juice of the orange into the bowl. Realize that pulp will land in the bowl if you don’t do something soon, place the camera on your counter and take the orange half in both of your hands and squeeze the orange with as much force as you have. Wash your disgustingly sticky hands.

Give it a quick stir.

Cover.

Take the other half of the orange and eat it while you are waiting.

After 5 minutes, of waiting and orange eating, give it another stir.

Now we are going to add in the walnuts, green onion, parsley,**olive oil and lemon juice.

Another stir, and eat. This can be eaten warm, room temperature or cold. I prefer coolish roomtemperatureish.

Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries

  • 1 5.8 oz. box couscous
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¾ c. dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ an orange, juiced
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil **
  • 3-4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ¾ c. chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Stir the couscous, cranberries, curry powder, salt and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Bring water (amount listed on the box) to a boil and pour it over the couscous. Add the orange juice. Give it a big stir and cover tightly letting it stand until water is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir. Add oil, green onion, parsley, lemon juice and walnuts. Stir again. Take to your next picnic, reunion, or family get-together.

**I didn’t add oil for several reasons. The oil is there to keep the couscous from sticking to each other, and while this makes a lovely presentation, the oil does not agree with my stomach. If you don’t have stomach/oil issues, please use the oil.

May 13

I come from a family of farmers on my dad’s side. Y’all have seen pictures of my dad at his grandpa’s farm. I have so many happy memories of that place. Drinking water from an old hand pump well, playing in old barns, picking rows and rows and rows of strawberries and eating them warm, running through the apple orchard, playing on an antique wood stove, watching my great-grandmother cook, walking in the cow pasture with my dad. To this day, one of my favorite smells is an old barn. The musty hay/rotting manure/animal smell delights me to this very day.

That is why, what I have to show you is so sad.

You see, my great-grandfather had a 118 acre farm. My grandmother had a huge garden, my dad has always had a garden,

and I have been reduced to this.

And this.

And this.

I told you it was so very sad.

You might wonder why the last photo is blurry. That is because I had to stand on my tippy-toes to snap that shot. I wasn’t about to step out in the rain for it, not even for the blog. My hair might have been compromised, and that wouldn’t do.

May 12

Mothering in these last 6 months has been difficult at best, and many times downright hopeless. I was rather unsure whether or not one of the chips would even decide to celebrate Mother’s Day. (they did)

I have wanted to just give up on so many different occasions, but I am just stubborn enough not to. Oh, but I am here to say that there have been days, days that I have wanted to just crawl in my bed, pull the covers over and not come out….ever. Clearly, I am made of stiffer stuff and have slogged through.

I hate slogging. The whole putting one foot in front of the other. Forcing yourself to move in the direction that you really care not to go. Slogging forces you to dig deep within yourself, and the longer you slog, the deeper you have to go. It is depressing, it is mind numbing, and it is not a place that I ever thought that I’d be.

Here I am, armpit deep in it all, everyday wishing that God would just pluck me out, set me in a happy place and I can be done with it all. That isn’t reality. The reality is, is that he is right beside me, covered in the mire, just like I am. Holding my hand, letting me know that He is with me. every. step. of. the. way.