Monday, August 30

Bag lady

This morning I got down the box of Legos for the kids. They played with them nicely and quietly, particularly Holly, whom I suspected of making a dirty diaper.

Then she got up and walked across the room, jingling with Legos. I lifted the front of her little fake dress on her onesie, and Ryan and I both collapsed into hysterical laughter.

All those legos, jammed into her onesie.

I unsnapped it and ...

All of that inside her clothes! That was our big laugh for the day. :-)

Thursday, August 26

Praying mantis fun

Wow, it's already Thursday and no blog posts. I haven't even taken any pictures. My husband started school this week, and his schedule has been so nuts that my routine is all messed up.

It's also been at least 105 all week. Late August, how we hate thee and long for mid-September. This is what we do when it's hot out: legos and computer.

Anyway, I was cold one day from being under the air conditioning all day, so I took the kids outside in the afternoon to burn their feet on the sidewalk. Wisely they kept to the grass.

I sat in the sun and looked at my hollyhocks, which are lush and green, but never did manage to bloom again. And I noticed this guy. (Not my photo)

He was about two inches long, and just hanging out on a stem. I picked him up and let him run all over my hands for the benefit of the kids, who were dubious. We watched him turn his head around to stare at us, and fold up his little praying-arms in front of him.

I put him back on a leaf, and watched him while the kids played. The flies and gnats were busy, and they kept wanting to land on me and the hollyhocks. Whenever a gnat landed near the mantis, he whipped out his praying arms and tried to grab them. He missed twice, then actually snagged a gnat out of the air. He moved too fast for the eye to follow, but suddenly he was munching a gnat. The kids and I watched this in fascination.

He really watched the big houseflies, but none of them landed near him. I could tell that for a mantis his size, a housefly would be a real feast.

Monday, August 23

Happy Homemaker Monday

This little meme copied from my Mom, who copied it from this lady.

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Warm, not too hot. It's only supposed to be 95 today, but it'll hit 105 later this week. Hooray for August. Not.

Book I'm reading:
Return of the King by Tolkien, Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones (aloud)

What I'm enjoying on TV:
Eureka and tentatively dipping a toe into Warehouse 13. (In Eureka in this season, Stark comes back! Wooohoooo!)

On the menu for dinner:

On my To Do List:
Mop floors, bake bread.

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich, except I just used it to make chicken fingers. Not bad, but I suck at frying.

In the craft basket:
A couple unfinished stories and a bundle of unfinished commission work.

Looking forward to this week:
A hectic schedule.

Tips and Tricks:
Don't let your bread dough rise too long. It turns all sour and hard.

My favorite blog post this week:
Pioneer Woman's The Beauty of a Mason Jar

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
William's Cool Writing School

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Buckets of water: better than a swimming pool!

Annnnnd ... french fry feeding frenzy!

Lesson learned the past few days:
I can't make my husband do anything he doesn't want to do.

On my mind:
I want a nap. May just spot-mop the floor instead.

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:

From Blue Letter Bible on Facebook:
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, ...may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21)

"Breadth and length and height and depth" ... that's four dimensions! Yes, I've been listening to Beyond Time and Space by Chuck Missler. :-)

Saturday, August 21

I hate wasps

I let the kids outside for five minutes the other day, and here came this big stray pit bull. They got ushered inside post haste.

Then I let the kids outside for five minutes today, and Holly picked up a wasp.

Five minutes! I turned my back for five minutes!

The wasp was floundering around on the sidewalk, so either it was injured or it was poisoned. With the amount of pesticides on the grass, bushes and walls around here, probably the latter. Holly, knowing no fear of large insects, just reached down and picked him up. And got royally stung in the thumb.

I did what any loving mother would do. I picked her up, summoned Daddy to beat the wasp to death, and slathered her hand in aloe vera.

My sister in law had given us this little aloe vera plant, and so far all of its leaves have big chunks broken off of them. I use them to treat burns mostly, but I wanted to see what it would do for a wasp sting.

I didn't have anything else to put on it and no meds to give her. I was worried that she might run a fever and everything, because I was deathly allergic to insect stings when I was little.

So eventually she went to sleep. I put her down and watched her closely. She slept about half an hour then woke up, unaware that anything was wrong. The swelling from the sting had completely vanished. She has a red spot on her thumb and that's all.

God's remedies are so amazing.

Friday, August 20


After a whole week without internet! Kind of like a vacation in some ways, and kind of like exile in others. I'll get back to regular updates shortly.

Started reading this aloud to my husband while the internet was down. I hope he lets me finish it now that we have the web, because we're right to the exciting bits in the middle where the puzzle starts coming together. :-)

Also, don't let the cover fool you. It's more science-fiction than fantasy.

Thursday, August 12

Already gone

Warning! Offensive content! Talking about what I want in a church!

Monday, August 9

Remote control car

I let the munchkins out early, while it was cool, so Alex could drive his remote controlled car.

Evil grin.

Powered reverse.

Alex: *bemused*

Holly: *spectating*

Holly: WOO YEAH!

With a leaf stuck to one arm, too.

Saturday, August 7

Peach butter

I have successfully turned this ...

...into this.

Peach butter!

I'm so sick and tired of peaches. The rest of them can just sit in the freezer for a few weeks. Or months. But hey, they make a mean cobbler. :-)

My method:

I filled my slow cooker up nearly to the top with peach puree. This took about 12-16 cups of peaches, because they reduce a lot when you puree them. I added about 4 cups of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, because my last batch was too cinnamony.

Then I stuck it on low for 24 hours. That's right! I let it run all night. It's also important to keep the lid of the slow cooker cracked so the water can cook out. You want the fruit to reduce by at least half. They say you don't have to stir it, but I like to stir it every few hours and taste to see how it's coming along.

Then just glob it into sterilized jars with sterilized lids and turn them upside down, and they should seal without needing to waterbath them. I've read lots of blogs that rave about how if you don't waterbath your jars they won't be sterilized and they'll get mold and stuff, but my mom and I have always done ours this way, and never had any problems.

Friday, August 6

Piles of peaches - and fried rice

See this cookie sheet of chopped peaches? It's about to go into the freezer.

Now, picture 10 more of those.

And that's not even counting the piles of peaches I made into peach leather, peach butter, and peach jam. I've been processing peaches for two whole days.

All this off one dinky little peach tree at Mom's! I'm sick of peaches right now, but they'll be very tasty come mid-winter.

Last night I made stir-fry, and decided that I wanted to try making fried rice. I had all this leftover white rice, after all. I had only ever made it from a mix before, so I consulted a bunch of recipes and decided to improv.

Ryan pronounced it excellent, and we devoured every bit. (And even ate the leftovers off the kids' plates. It was that good.)

I need to put this recipe down so I can find it again later!

Fried rice ingredients:

2 Tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp chicken bouillon
2-3 cups cooked white rice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 egg
Various vegetables (I only had some small chili peppers)

Heat the oil, garlic, and chicken bouillon over medium heat. Once the garlic is starting to brown, add rice and soy sauce. Break up clumps of rice and mix it all together.

Push rice to the side and break egg into hot pan. Stir egg rapidly to scramble, and gradually stir it into the rice as it cooks.

Sprinkle in handful or two of chopped peppers. If you have peas, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, or anything else, you can add that now, too.

Cook until rice starts to stick a little, about 5 minutes.

It was all gone before I could take a picture. Imagine the fried rice you get from Panda Express, but without the aftertaste of cigarettes.

Thursday, August 5

Thursday cricket

The past couple of nights, we have had a cricket that came to sing under our bedroom window. It was a nice, summer sound, and I enjoyed getting to hear it. (And it must be really pesticide-resistant, because there's like five types of poison on the shrubs and ground around here.)

Anyway, last night I got up to use the restroom, and noticed that the cricket was awfully loud. I walked into the living room and discovered that the cricket was behind the armchair. He didn't even shut up until I leaned right over him.

So we waited until morning, pulled out the chair, and caught him in a jar.

Tough little guy.

The munchkins don't like bugs much. They kind of oogled the cricket and wandered off.

I released him later into a bunch of ivy an apartment block down.

Monday, August 2

The cruelest month

August is the cruelest month.

As my mom mentioned in her blog, February is supposedly the cruelest month. But February has holidays to break it up, and there's nothing in August.

Also, we woke up this morning to find that it was cool and breezy, about 70 degrees. My husband went for a walk and said that it was almost chilly.

August always does this. It cools off and gives one hope for fall, and a glimpse of the gloriousness of cooler weather. And then it slams you with 110 degrees and humidity and thunderstorms until mid-September.

February's got nothing on August.

Also, Alex isn't actually spraying Holly with the hose. It just looks that way because of the perspective. :-)

Sunday, August 1

Roasted veggies again

After visiting Mom's and receiving a huge amount of veggies, I made roasted vegetables again.

This time it was:

4-5 cups chopped tomatoes
1 small zucchini, skinned and diced (to fool the zucchini haters)
5 small bell peppers, chopped
4 jalapenos that turned out to not be hot
4 chilies that turned out not to be hot
handful of diced onion
1 clove diced garlic
Italian salad dressing

I marinated the whole shebang in a large bowl for several hours, because I didn't have any bags big enough. It was a TON of veggies. (I didn't seed or peel the tomatoes because I'm a rebel. And dousing the tomatoes in hot water and all that jazz is just so much work.)

When time came to start cooking, I dumped it all on a cookie sheet with raised rims and started baking at 350.

After 15 minutes I checked them, and found them floating in half an inch of liquid. I carefully poured this off. I wanted them roasted, not stewed.

Another 15 minutes produced delicious, crunchy, browned (and even slightly burned) veggies. About 2 cups worth. All those vegetables and they cooked down to nothing! (And remember those tomato skins? They crisped into little curls of delicious goodness.)

At the same time I cooked the last of my fettuccine and a bunch of spaghetti noodles. I didn't want to run out this time.

Toss it all together and oh my. It was so very, very good. I'm become a summer veggie convert really, really fast.


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