Thursday, August 30, 2012

salsa anyone???

Wow, do we have tomatoes.  That was the plan back when I planted the garden this spring, I wanted lots of tomatoes, and boy, did I get them.  I was going to make them all into salsa, but I've run out of pint sized mason jars and my jalapeno peppers don't ripen at the same time as the tomatoes, so I'm all out of peppers, though I'll have a glut of them about when my tomatoes run out.  I'll just freeze them up so they're ready for next years salsa binge.  I've been making salsa all day today. It's 9:50 pm and I've still got one last load of jars waiting to get stuck in the canner.  I probably got about 25-30 pints of salsa made and about a dozen jars of juice - I drain the juice from the tomatoes before making them into salsa to make thicker salsa with the added benefit of getting jars of tomato juice out of the deal.  I've still got about a bushel basket of tomatoes out in the garden that I didn't get around to picking today, I'll do those tomorrow.

Angel #4 had open house for school today, so now she's got her locker assignment, class schedule etc.  We're one step closer to getting those guys on the bus on Tuesday!

Hubs has been working his butt off on our house.  It started Monday, the 20th, when we was going to replace the window in our entryway.  The window we had in there was really old and was the first of many windows we're planning on replacing. So anyway, last Monday he took off the siding around the window to see what needed to be done to replace it. Well, 160 year old houses are full of surprises (and rotten boards), so the simple window replacement led to ripping the walls out of the enclosed porch and rebuilding them all, AFTER the foundation was re-cemented and some of the support beams under the floor were replaced.  There was no insulation on the north side of our house at all, so now that all got insulated, all the siding on half the northern side of the house is ripped off as well as everything on the west side of the house.  Things were insulated and caulked, boards were replaced and finally, today, the new window was put in.  YAY!!  Hubs also replaced the 2 windows in Angel #2's bedroom on the west wall.  He also wrapped the house in Tyvak which should do wonders in blocking some of the wind that we get blasted with.

In addition to helping hubs with the house, WE's been keeping himself busy as well.  He's got cross-country practice every morning, which is really causing his appetite to go through the roof.  That kid is constantly eating.  Tonight, the cross-country team got together to have a pasta party.  The night before a CC meet, the kids try to get together and cram themselves full of carbs to keep them going for the big run.  Remember what it was like to be young and you purposely fill yourself full of calories?  WE also impressed me today with his unknown mechanical skills.  The starter has been going out on my mini-van for the last couple months and it finally got to the point this week where it was getting real difficult to start it.  I was afraid I was going to get stranded somewhere.  So hubs ordered the starter, ran off the instructions he found online to replace it and handed it all over to WE.  It took him a couple hours, but my van starts like a dream now.  Pretty good for a kid that had never done anything more difficult than change the oil before.

So now I've got a new starter, new windows and dozens of jars of salsa piled up in my basement.  Life doesn't get any better.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

done at last!

Today was the last of the round of doctor, dentist, optometrist appointments for the kids before school starts.  WE has to go back in about 3 weeks to pick up his new glasses and to see how his eyes are dealing with his brand new contacts, but for the most part, everyone's healthy, cavity free and can see beyond their noses.  Yay us!  I figured since I was taking the kids in for their eyes, I should get my own checked out since I haven't had it done for probably 10 years - since I got Lasik surgery around when Angel #4 was 2 or 3 years old.  I've got a slight myopic prescription, but not enough to warrant glasses or anything since it's not affecting my life in any way, BUT (notice the big letters) I'm also becoming far-sighted and the doctor said I may want to pick up some cheap cheaters from Walmart.  Yeah, it looks like I'm going to have to start doing the reading glasses thing in the near future.  That just seems so grandma-ish to me and I want to put that off as long as possible.  I can still read without having to do the long arm thing with my book, so I think I'll just hobble along until it can't be avoided anymore.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I was SO noble

So, we spent the entire afternoon at the fair yesterday and nary a crumb of deep-fried food crossed my lips. I had a bottle of lemonade and that was it, no matter how tempting the deep-fried everything booth was.  It helps that food is so stinking expensive there.  We paid $10 each to get into the fair and that includes all the carnival rides, so the kids had a blast on the Freak Out, Zero Gravity, Scrambler etc.  We hit all the animal barns and each got a small snack at the 4-H cafe and otherwise had a great time.  My sister and her 3 kids came along and I think they had a fun time going on rides with my kids as well.  By the time we got home around 8pm, we were exhausted.  I skipped all the rides, my stomach just doesn't handle that stuff anymore, but I had a good time just watching the kids, and of course, people-watching at the fair is always an interesting activity - it's like people of Walmart on steroids.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

football and 'squitos

Last night was the first night for (non-conference) high school football.  The weather was gorgeous and I was looking forward to getting out in the stands.  Our team didn't disappoint and it was a massacre 52-0.  The mosquitoes were out in as big a force as the football fans.  The were bad in the stands, but not unbearable, I don't think the opposing team could say the same.  The  home team and the stands are on one side of the field, the opposing team makes camp opposite, the strip of field that borders the woods.  Though this isn't normally a problem during football season since we usually get a good frost fairly early in the year, but since it's only August, the mosquitoes haven't been froze out yet.  Those poor kids were slapping away and waving  towels over their heads trying to get away from the swarm.  Either someone forgot to pack the mosquito spray or the spray was no match for the mosquitoes.

I also had a new experience - a new one for me at least, for most people it wouldn't be such a  novelty.  We were sitting next to one of the football players family and his little sister has the same name as me.  I've never in my life, sat next to someone with the same name as me.  I kept looking when they'd say something to her, thinking they were talking to me.  Not that unusual for you Mikes, Cathys and Jenny's out there, but when your name is Dulcie, it's kind of cool.

Today, my sister is coming over with her kids and we're heading out to the fair.  There's a wad of deep fried cookie dough calling my name and I plan to answer.  I love going through the animals barns at the fair and the craft and gardening sheds and all the fun stuff that the fair entails.  I'm sure we're going to have a great time.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

We were off to see the Wizard

Last night, the whole family went out to the high school to see The Wizard of Oz.  It was an all school event, with the elementary school kids playing the Munchkins and flying monkeys and high school kids playing the main characters.  They all did a wonderful job, Angel #4's friend (Super Mom's kid) played the Wicked Witch and gave a super performance.  Dorothy, the Lion and the Tin Girl (apparently only a limited number of boys tried out) all had wonderful singing voices.  Some of the costumes looked a bit familiar - the Mayor of Munchkinland was wearing a baton twirler uniform and the flying monkey's and the Winkies were both wearing what looked to be various parts of the marching band uniforms.  I think our favorite part was the tornado scene.  To give the illusion that things were flying past Dorothy's window, kids went cruising by on roller blades and rolling office chairs, it was hilarious.  There were a few of the opening night flub-ups, but the kids improvised well - especially in the case of the cowardly lion, whose costume made him particularly clumsy, he fell once and dropped his 'courage' medal twice, but he was doing such a great job as the lion that it almost looked like it was all planned.

The girl that Angel #2 nannies for is spending the weekend with us.  She's 17 years old and autistic.  She's usually a very nice girl when she isn't having a melt-down - but #2 can usually anticipate them and gets her meds into her before it gets too bad.  The girl likes to not only watch tv, but to have it on as a constant background noise, so #2 brought a tv along with them since we don't have one.  My house is noisy and chaotic, but none of us are used to the constant blat of a tv going on in the background and it didn't take long for us to all start going nuts, especially since it was the same episodes of Full House over and over again.  I shut it off about an hour ago for my sanity' s sake and we're trying to keep her occupied in ways that doesn't include DJ and Uncle Jessie.

My tomatoes are ripening in the garden and I made 9 pints to salsa today.  We'd just finished the last jar of homemade salsa I made last year, so it was just in time.  I've got tons of green tomatoes, so I'm seeing a whole lot of salsa making in my near future.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

And the school craziness is starting already

WE started Cross Country practice on Monday.  He was still using the $25 Walmart cheapo tennis shoes I bought him for track last spring and they were looking pretty worn, so yesterday we headed to town to do some shopping.  I'm also trying to get all the doctor appointments done before school, so I took him to the dentist as well.  After we got his no cavity report, we headed to the sporting goods store to get him a new pair of trainers, I decided since he does so much running, we could splurge and spend a little more than $25 this time.  I also got him a new pair of daily use tennies since the ones he's been wearing are too small for him and he's had them for almost 2 years already.  His brother gave them to him because they were too small for him otherwise, he never would have got a pair that expensive, I usually always lean toward the cheapo shoes.  But since they lasted for so long without literally falling apart, I figured it made sense to buy the same brand for him again.  All in all, we got out of the store with $120 worth of shoes in the shopping bag.  I drew the line at getting him a pair of light racing sprinters, we'd just spent $60 on a pair of those for him for track last year and my generosity in the shoe department has its limits.  He's hoping his track sprinters will double as cross country sprinters, it may be just a matter of screwing the spikes into the soles, and he'll be the speediest guy on the CC trail.  He said that a whole bunch of the kids got new shoes for the beginning of the season and when they walked into the gym today for practice the whole place was filled with the sound of new, squeaky tennis shoes.

He's got a new coach for cross country this year, the kids like him, but he works them pretty hard.  Since practice started on Monday, WE's taken a nap every afternoon after eating everything he can get his hands on.  I hope he adjusts to the practices before school starts or he's going to be sleeping in calculus class.  The first CC meet is on Thursday - it's the hardest, most grueling trail of the season, so he's really got his work cut out for him.

Angel #4 is spending the week with Angel #2 at #2's house/workplace.  I think #2 is glad of the company and it's nice for #4 to get a little time in with her sister before school starts.  #4 starts volleyball practice on Monday, so her free time is soon going to be a bit limited, then when school rolls around on Sept 4, the daily grind begins.  Wow, the summer sure went by fast.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

You've got to pay the piper

The first full week of August is one of my favorite weeks of the year.  Hubs, myself and the two girl angels spent the week at Keller's Lake, the day camp for the mentally handicapped we help at.  Since it's a long drive from our home, we spent the week at Rent-a-Grandma's house, except for Angel #2, who lives somewhat near camp and can ride the bus back and forth there everyday.  She was the only staff riding with the campers, which she said made for an interesting ride.  The girl she  looks after went to camp for the first time and just loved being there.  Every year, my wheelchair/toilet transfer skills get better, which is nice.  That's always one of the biggest challenges of the week.  We had beautiful weather, except for one entire day when it was cold and rained on and off the entire day.   When we had clear spells, we grabbed the campers and went for quick walks before the rain would start again and we would wander back to the shelter where we worked on arts and crafts, sang camp songs and played games.  We were getting a little stir crazy, but that area needed rain so bad we were hardly going to complain.

After camp was over on Friday afternoon, we headed straight home.  My cousin's husband succumbed to brain cancer and his funeral was Friday night.  That was pretty sucky - he was only 37 years old, a loving father and husband as well as a policeman in the town less than 10 miles from our house.

Then came Saturday, and I paid the price for not being in the garden for an entire week.  On Saturday morning, I picked, snipped and canned 12 quarts of green beans.  The girls picked and shucked 12 dozen ears of corn and the we boiled, cut off the cob, bagged and froze it all.  I also pulled some of the more aggressive weeds, picked the giant cucumbers and zuchinni that had been neglected all week and brought them into the barn to dole out to the chickens in the next week.  We had a zuchinni that was about 3 feet long, I'd never seen one that big before.  The kids call it the bommyknocker - WE's favorite book when he was little was about a giant who carried around a club he called his bommyknocker, the giant zuchinni looks just like the giant's bommyknocker.  Hubs was running errands all day, so wasn't home to see the corn canning assembly line the girls and I had rigged up.  He got home around 7:30 at night and we were all sprawled out on the sofas in the living room, having just finished cleaning up the corn mess less than half an hour before after boiling and cutting all day.  He told me to get my tennis shoes on so we could go on our nightly walk...I told him to bite my butt, I wasn't going anywhere - and I didn't.

Friday, August 3, 2012

NOW it's a bird-free house

Angel #4 took the baby swallows out for "perching practice" this morning and while one was perched on her finger, it took off and flew into the wild blue yonder.  Bird #2 was a little more cautious and #4 had to give it a bit of encouragement.  It flew off, then sat perched on a telephone pole for about 20 minutes before it got the guts to fly off.  The Angel is afraid they won't be able to take care of themselves, but I'm not particularly worried.  I'm sure they'll do fine, and if they don't?  We'll never know.

Angel #2 gave the dog Poprocks today.  He seemed to enjoy them and came back for seconds.  It was pretty funny seeing the expressions on his face as he was trying to figure out why his food was exploding in his mouth.  It's the little things that are entertaining.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Well, it's kind of like a ship in a bottle

My household hit new 'what the heck???" heights this morning.  Every morning before breakfast, I do my chicken chores.  I feed the big chickens and let them outside for the day, feed and water the 51 broiler chicks and Wonky Leg Chicken and feed and water the layer chicks...and that's when things got interesting.  The chick feeders are a plastic base with holes in it that you screw into the top of a 1 regular mouth canning jar full of feed.  You flip it upside down and taa-daa  food for chicks.  But, the layer chicks had emptied their jar during the night, knocked it over and managed to get the bottom of the plastic base off (I've been having problems keeping it on lately).  There must have been some feed still in the bottom of the jar and one of the chicks crawled in there to eat it and got stuck.  So, I look in the pen and see a chicken in the jar.  I didn't know if I should try to get it out or stick it on my fireplace mantel.  But, since I don't actually have a fireplace, I figured I should get it out.  I tried luring it out, but it would get as far as sticking its head out, then it couldn't get any traction on the glass jar with its feet and couldn't get any further.  I tried just shaking it out of the jar, but it braced its legs against the mouth of the jar because it was afraid of falling.  Finally, I had to wrap the jar in a towel and break it with a hammer.  The chicken was just fine - if a bit traumatized and was more than happy to get back in the pen with its buddies.  And this was before I'd even had breakfast this morning.

After my chicken adventure, it was time to deal with the half bushel of peaches I got Friday.  I canned up 12 quarts of peach pie filling.  YAY for peach pie!

Yesterday was Angel #1's 20th birthday.  I was pretty happy that we got to have him home for his birthday.  We had some friends and family over for supper to celebrate and made sure everyone went home with bags full of my excess garden produce since I'm currently being swamped by kohlrabi.  #1 turning 20 isn't making just me feel old.  Angel #2 managed to get off work and she was here last night and commented on how much older she felt having a brother who was in his 20's.  It's like a whole new level.  After the company left, the boys headed out to a friend's cabin for the night and the girls, hubs and I played a bunch of rounds of MadGab.  Angel #2 pretty much kicks butt in that game.  Sunday night, the had one of our infamous family games of Pit.  I don't know how many people play Pit anymore, but it's still really popular with my family.  We get a particular laugh out of WE, who's got to be the world's worst Pit player.  He prefers to believe that the winner is the one with the lowest score, instead of the highest, despite the rules of the game.  So we started calling him the Tiger Woods of Pit, though I don't think Tiger can manage a negative 150 points in golf, so WE's got him beat.  Angel #1 really had his Pit groove on and won the game with 790 points - hubs came in second with 240 points, just to show you how bad #1 kicked our butts.  It's nice having my family all together, even it its just for a little while.  I take #1 to the airport tomorrow and he'll be back marching around Camp Pendleton before you know it.