Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back To Work

This has been a nice week. Tom had his break from school and so I gave Andy the week off too. But it's back to the grind for everyone tomorrow. We didn't do much this week.

My Kombucha cultures are out of control. I have about six of them in a jar and a VERY large one growing in a current jar. I hate to destroy them, but how much alien spawn in a jar can one person handle?! That's what the boys call it - alien spawn in a jar. I thought about trying to sell the extras on eBay, where I had originally bought the first culture from, but somehow it didn't seem very fair since the lady who sold it to me sells them and other health items as part of their family business. I decided to write to her and ask how she felt about it. I told her I would price them higher than hers so as not to be in direct competition, but that I would understand if she would rather that I didn't list them. She wrote back and kind of in a round-about way said that it was their family business, and while she couldn't do anything about competition, she did suggest other places I might list them or give them away. I wrote her back and told her that although she didn't come right out and say yes or no, I got the distinct impression she would rather I peddle my cultures elsewhere! There's a message board for one of the transcription companies that I work for so we transcriptionists and can talk, vent, or ask questions of one another. I posted a message there offering the cultures for free if they paid the postage. I don't mind giving the cultures away, but I can't afford to give away the postage amount! Metal kills the cultures and the boys have threatened to "accidentally" drop a fork or something in the storage jar if I don't get rid of them soon!

I thought my griddle had died the other day and I was truly sad - but only for a little while. I had asked the boys to fix dinner and they decided on grilled cheese sandwiches. I have an electric griddle that I really love because I can cook lots of stuff at one time. Anyway, the boys had fixed dinner and then cleaned the kitchen, but then decided that they wanted to try to make some omelets for themselves. Some time later Tom informed me that the griddle had died. I went into the kitchen to investigate and the griddle wouldn't come on at all no matter what I did. I was sad, but I figured that it was several years old and had finally died. I left it on the counter intending to put it outside the next morning. A little later I went to heat up some hot chocolate in the microwave and the microwave wouldn't come on. That's when it occurred to me to check the breaker box! Sure enough, the kitchen breaker had tripped. We knew that there was a certain combination of things running that would trip it but it hadn't happened in such a long time that we didn't remember it.

Anyway, I think I'll go read for a while before bed. I am currently in 1 Kings in the Bible. Some very interesting things going on! More later if I get a chance.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Those Boys!

This is what the kitchen table looked like after the Easter bunny had been there. I went to bed at around 11:00 last night, leaving the boys up. I reminded them to leave their baskets on the table before they went to bed (actually we don't have Easter baskets - we use bowls, platters, whatever - serves the same purpose!) Anyway, what I found was that they had left two trash bags and a jar labeled "Tips". Wonder where they get their twisted sense of humor from?! I'm okay with their irreverence with the Easter bunny thing - they know the real reason for Easter, and that's what counts. Still haven't had our egg hunt yet but will post pics if we have it today. Between tree tossing and now this on Easter, we are definitely not your normal family but oh, do we have a good time!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Real Reason

As we are getting ready to dye eggs here at our house, I wanted to take a minute to write. Tomorrow as you contemplate biting the ears off of your child's chocolate bunny, or digging around in the Easter basket grass to gather those jelly beans, please take the time to remember the real reason for the day. In fact, that should be your first thought tomorrow. If it weren't for Easter, none of us would have any hope. Death would be just that - death. The end. Forever. But because He rose from the dead, death is just a pathway to life - a glorious, wonderful life. So before you roll out of bed in the morning, take a moment to thank Him not only for your blessings, but for dying for you and for me so that we might have eternal life with Him.

The angel spoke to the women, "You must not be afraid," he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has been raised, just as he said. Come here and see the place where he was lying." - Matthew 28:5-6

Now - on to these hard boiled eggs. We will be having extreme Easter egg hunts tomorrow like we do every year. Thankfully, this year we no longer have the plastic baseball bat that Jerry used last year to, er, persuade us to get away from any eggs we may have spotted! Hmm - maybe that's a bad thing - we may not have the plastic bat anymore, but we do have an aluminum one.........

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Same Old Stuff

Today has been a "stinky mood " day for me. I'm not sure why. It probably has to do with the fact that Jerry and I spent most of the day out and about yesterday and it was so good just to get out. First we went to the farmer's market in St. Mary's County. It was raining off and on but that didn't matter. Jerry had to get some ceramic tips for his sandblaster at a tool place there. Watching and listening to the people was so interesting. What a myriad of people there were! There were Amish buggies and Amish people, yuppie-looking people (who I must admit I laughed at when I saw the prissy-acting women trying to navigate mud puddles and sodden dirt tracks in their high heels!), and the average joes just out for the day (like us!). Really, who wears high heels to a farmer's market?! And in the rain, no less!? Jerry got his ceramic tips and I got - drumroll please - a 50-pound bag of red potatoes! YES! Betcha can't guess what our vegetable du jour will be for the next, oh, six weeks or so! I paid $3.99 for a 5-pound bag at the grocery store the last time I bought them. This 50-pound bag was $15.00. Even a math midget like myself can do the math on that one and figure out it was a good deal. Well, provided you like potatoes!

Anyhoo, then we went to Sam's Club. We went last week to stock up again (it had been a month since we had been) but we went on a Friday night and they were out of lots of stuff, so we didn't get everything we needed. When we went yesterday we still didn't get the huge bag of mozzarella cheese because they were still out of that, so we won't be having pizza night until I get more. One thing I did get was - drumroll again please - a 50-pound bag of popcorn! Have you ever!? We did the math on that one too, and we couldn't beat it. For me it's a low calorie, fiber-laden snack when I have the munchies, and for the rest of the family it's a snack that they love and eat a lot of. Also, after having seen an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown made his own microwave popcorn in a brown bag, we were inspired. We actually tried it last night and it does work. Compared to the prices of the prepackaged stuff, at $12.00 for the 50-pound bag of Act II popcorn plus brown bags to pop it in, it still doesn't even come close. A plus in making your own in the bags is that you can flavor it however you want. I like chili powder on mine sometimes.

Then as we were driving home Jerry decided to just ride for a while. We took back roads around here that we hadn't been on in a long time. It was just Jerry and I; the boys didn't want to go. We gave them the option of going with us or staying home and cleaning the house for me and they actually chose the latter! Yeah, I was shocked too. As we were finally heading home, Andy called Jerry and asked where we were. We had no idea that we were under a severe thunderstorm warning. We knew that the wind had really started blowing, but were unaware that there were storms in the area. Anyway we assured him we were not far away and would be home shortly. We never did get any storms here, just an awful lot of wind. I walked outside and watched the trees swaying and the clouds rushing by in the sky. It reminded me of when the hurricane was nearing a couple of years ago and we went outside to watch the sky and the trees. Yes, not the smartest thing to do in an approaching hurricane, but fascinating nonetheless! The best part was that when we got home the house actually was clean. The boys had done a good job.

Okay, so now getting to my stinky mood. I guess it was just so nice being out and seeing things yesterday that somehow today just felt like more of the same. Let me state right here that I love my family and my home and my life, but sometimes I just feel restless; like I just want to go - somewhere - anywhere! As I was doing my weekly bread baking, cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, for some reason reality just seemed to smack me hard today. Maybe I'm just tired. Or maybe I just want land and freedom and no neighbors and grass and mountains and....and....and....... This must be how Laura felt in one of the books in the Little House on the Prairie series of books. I love reading through that set. In one of the books she just gets fed up with the sameness of every day, and she just startles everybody by slamming her schoolbook closed and announcing that she wants to go west again.

Okay, I'm over my tantrum now. Writing is truly therapeutic. Now I believe I'll get a good night's sleep so I can start tomorrow's routine with a good outlook.

But I still want to go west.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Farm Dreams - The Sequel

Not much going on around here lately. We are still watching our pennies and still making everything from scratch, but that's not a bad thing. I did the math (yeah, I know - I was surprised too, considering that math is NOT one of my strengths!) and I determined that a loaf of bread costs me 34 cents to make. Considering I make four loaves at a time and that has been lasting us a week, that's not bad. I certainly can't buy a loaf for that in the store. On Friday or Saturday evenings we have been having pizza night in which I make three large pizzas for us. I did the math for those, too (yeah, I know - the whole math thing!) and these cost $1.34 each to make. Well, except for when I got the bright idea to make stuffed crust pizza and put mozzarella sticks in the crust, which then brought the cost to $4.53 per pizza. Won't be doing that again. We put pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms, or various combinations of said items, on the pizzas depending on what everyone is in the mood for.

We are also watching our pennies because we have been farm-dreaming again. It has now been about four years since we first decided we wanted to buy land and have a farm. Isn't it funny how you can get sidetracked? I guess God didn't have that in our plans just yet. We are hoping He is seeing things differently now because we really would like that farm! We want a HUGE garden, we want to raise our own beef and pork, we want chickens for meat and eggs, and I want a small milk cow. Jerry's kind of on the fence about that one (haha - no pun intended). If you're going to have a farm, ya GOTTA have a milk cow, right? Nothing major, just a small Jersey or Guernsey would be fine. And Andy's gotta have a dog. You can't have acres of land without a dog to run and roll around with, right? He plays with our neighbor's dog who is a Chesapeake retriever and is the biggest baby! He (the dog - not Andy!) has decided that it's his duty to greet anyone who comes into our driveway and to bark at voices he hears in our yard after dark. All we have to do is say his name and he stops when he recognizes our voices. This dog carries wood pieces around in his mouth and then takes them into his yard. Their front yard looks like a lumbar yard! One evening Tom and Andy were in the garage skateboarding and they had put a small piece of a 2 x 4 on the ground to jump the skateboard over. The garage door was up because it was warm and the dog heard them and decided to come visit. After a few minutes of playing with the boys, he snatched the piece of 2 x 4 and then ran into his own yard with it. The boys decided to call it a night skateboarding as it was after dark and they didn't want to be hunting for the piece of wood in the neighbor's yard.

In looking back over some of my posts, I realized that my "New Skills" post was just kind of stuck in there! There was supposed to be more to it than that but I didn't finish the post that went with it. Sometimes I will load pictures onto the blog and not publish it until I've finished the print that goes with it and sometimes I'll just hold onto a draft until I'm finished writing a piece, but somehow this got published with any accompanying story. One of these days I'll write it. In the meantime, just know that I realize the pictures really make no sense stuck in the middle of things as they are. I'll watch the "draft" and "publish" buttons a little more closely from now on.

Anyway, just wanted to update a little. I've been really trying to get 8 hours of sleep a night and so for me that means going to bed at 9 PM. While I've been managing to do that, it has left little time for anything else, like blogging!


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