Thursday, January 29, 2009

Storm

Yesterday we got an ice/snow/freezing rain/rain storm. Really, only about 4 inches of snow or so, but enough to shut down schools. People around here don't do snow or ice, even in small quantities. Jeff went to work but the kids and I declared a 'snow day' and just hung around the house. While Katie napped, James and I went out in the by-then freezing rain and played in the snow. Here are a few pictures from our day:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Winter Thoughts on Gardening/Canning/Freezing

***Note to self: if you don't hit the publish button, your post will not show up. Duh.***

I'm know I'm just pretending you all are interested in the subject, but here goes: I am quite tickled to say that I still have a handful of roasted green chiles in my freezer, as well as some bell peppers. I still have some dried herbs and a ton of dried cayenne peppers. I still have applesauce, jam, pear honey, jalapenos, and a couple other random things. And some sun dried tomatoes. And we have been eating the stuff like crazy! What I am trying to say is that I am impressed that despite the fact that I didn't decide to can anything til August, and I planned my garden in approximately 12 seconds, I still have produce and its January! Imagine what I could do if I actually planned ahead! This morning I was pouring over my super cool seed catalog and drawing diagrams of my future garden. I plan on having a nice, well producing garden. I am not sure, however, how much preserving I'll be able to do when Numero Tres arrives. I'm hoping to get at least some stuff done. Rachel is betting I'll just birth the baby right in the middle of my garden then go on pulling weeds. I'm not that crazy, Rachel! I'd at least stop to get the baby a blanket or something! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

DIY Weekend

This weekend Jeff decided to build an new antenna for our TV. We have an 'old school' TV and just got a digital converter box. He read that these antennas significantly increased the number of channels received versus the standard bunny ears. And who wouldn't think of building their own TV antenna? Apparently a lot of people do, since there are actual videos on the internet for these things. After digging through the masses of odds and ends he keeps in the garage, and getting a few parts from Dad, James and Jeff were ready to begin Operation Get More Channels 2009. Those of you who know how much TV we watch will see a bit of irony in this. We hardly ever watch TV. What do we need more channels for?! Because its possible, that's why. Anyway, the boys had a fun morning building their strange and dare I say, unattractive, contraption. When it was finally completed, they put it to the test. The verdict? It works exactly like the bunny ears, except it did pick up one more channel. So, the strange contraption will be relegated back to the garage, because seriously? Who knows when it might come in handy someday.


Saturday night we headed over to the 'rents to see everyone for the first time since before Christmas. I didn't bring my camera, but Rachel took some hilarious pictures you can see here. Sunday I decided to make Zweiback, which are German buns...loosely translated means piggy-back buns, or so I've heard. My grandma made them when my mom was a kid. My mom made them when I was a kid, and now...



Both kids crawled up to the table when I was making them, and so I gave them each a piece of dough to make their own. They had a blast! And, they turned out great. I only had to fish one suspicious piece of ??? out of the dough.

And here is an extra shot Jeff took on Saturday. I try to take a shower and this is what I get...little hands reaching under the door trying to get my attention! 'Hey, Mom!!! I know you're in there! Don't try to ignore me! You left me out here with the guys and what am I supposed to do?!?'


Friday, January 23, 2009

A Warm Day = Fun Outside!

Today the temperature got all the way up to 56! Way better than the low thirties and even twenties we've been having. Tomorrow is back to the usual, so we had to make the most of it. As soon as James learned it was warm enough to go outside for a while, he wanted to ride his bike. He was a maniac! He flew back and forth on the patio, narrowly missing the tree and our neighbor's fence. Katie and I followed James on his bike as he rode down the sidewalk. Katie held onto only one of my hands, and walked the entire time without falling or sitting down!! We walked two houses down from our house and back! How exciting is that!?!? To top off James' afternoon o' fun, when Jeff got home they got out our bin of 'Yincoln Yogs' and built an elaborate house. James was thrilled!

video








Thursday, January 22, 2009

Words You Never Want to Hear

This morning I was so happy to be able to take 1) Take a shower 2) By myself. Katie was taking a much needed nap and James told me he wanted to paint at the table. Right now I have him hoodwinked into being content painting with water on construction paper. Much less messy! I explained to him that he was not to climb up to the sink. He said 'Oh-tay, Mommy.' I hoped, unrealistically, that he'd keep himself entertained while I took a quick shower. Huh? I came out of the shower and heard a little voice saying 'I'm mopping, Mommy.' Huh!?!? I quickly headed for the kitchen to find that the little bugger had indeed crawled up on the counter, procured himself some mop water and had retrieved the mop from the garage. He had poured the water onto the floor and was pushing it around with the mop. Fortunately, I got it up before it had a chance to reach the edges of the floor. (We have laminate flooring and it can warp if water gets underneath it.) One of these days, soon, we had better get a warm-ish day or a snowstorm so he can go outside and run all his energy off!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Little Sister is Watching

James made the mistake this morning of turning his back on his food. He clearly underestimated the powers of his little sister. While he turned around to look out the window, Katie climbed up on the chair next to him, reached over and ate nearly all of the waffle strips he had left. When he turned around, he found that all he had left was one measly strip of waffle and a little sister with traces of raspberry waffles gracing her chubby little cheeks. Watch your back, James...Little sister is watching!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hey, Snow Die!

James spent a good five minutes yesterday yelling out the window 'Hey, snow die! Bring bat da snow!,' and asking me why 'dat die' was taking all the snow. Translation: 'Hey, snow guy (plow truck) bring back the snow!' James was disturbed that they were removing what little snow we had from the road. He seriously thought that the guy would hear him and bring back the snow. So cute. And speaking of cuteness, behold, the long awaited ponytail:

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Wild and Crazy Weekend

Oi. This weekend was nuts. Saturday was a long day involving getting lost in Wilmington, Delaware with one of Jeff's coworkers and his wife, getting caught up in all the security around Wilmington due to Ob@ma being directly across the street giving a speech, going to an actual Mexican restaurant, then getting home later than expected to pick up the kiddlets and go home and sleep. Yesterday, we had church and small group. Today, I am tired. Hmmm, I wonder why.

Katie has been taking more and more steps, which is so fun to watch! She is also trying to say a lot. She says 'moo' now when she sees any animal even remotely resembling a cow. And....drumroll please....she almost has enough hair to put in a wee little pony tail. I realize all this is random, but there are relatives who care about this stuff. And I care about the pony tail! She is almost a year and a half old for cryin' out loud!!!

James is back in the 'towboy' phase. He has been carrying around his 'yasso' and wearing his boots and hat, even with his footie pajamas. He also wants to 'dit a farm,' which I would be all over...but Jeff? We'll have to work on him. Seriously, working full time, going to school and running a farm wouldn't be too much, now would it? :) This morning, he reminded Jeff yet again, not to get into any trouble at work. I seriously don't know where he gets this stuff. He tells me all the time that I am 'hi-yaaaaarious.' If only he knew how funny he is.

That's about all the random drivel for today. See you!

PS. Uncle Phil....James needs a Phil-fix. And this morning, he was pointing out squirrels in the yard and said 'That one is Jumpy, and that one is Un-tul Phil's stwirrel, Tweatis!'

Hello...who are you?

Middletown, Delaware...who are you? Where have you come from?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Very interested, as Grandma Heppner would say...


Jeff came home the other day and informed me that he was visited by two men in red, white and plaid suits. The way he described them, it sounded like they got loose from the funny farm. After determining that he was serious, I asked him if they were dressed like that as a joke. He said no. After a little research, here is what we determined. These gentlemen were sales representatives for Scot Forge and apparently as part of their corporate culture, they all don various forms of tartan on a regular basis. Here is a quote from their website:

Wearing of Tartan
In 1977, the company's name was changed from Atlas Forgings to Scot Forge and a Scottish highlander became part of the corporate logo. Not only did the new name reflect then-owner Pete Georgeson's cultural roots, it brought a friendlier, more personal image to mind. Along with the new name came a unique sales promotional tool - the wearing of tartan jackets, ties, kilts, etc. by the personnel. Today, Scot Forge people are easily spotted in a crowd with their bright plaids and it has brought a unifying effect and a certain pride to the employee-owners to be recognized as a member of the "Scot Forge Clan".

Here are a few pictures of these lads and lassies in their work uniforms. All I have so say is I am glad that Jeff does not have a work uniform like this.




'Cheepa'

'Cheepa,' as James refers to the up-and-coming Groves' bean, is officially 14 weeks old and weighing in at a whopping 2.5 ounces. And, 4" long from head to butt, complete with finger prints. And already a rocket scientist, of course. :) So far, time is flying by.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I am only so crafty....

Yesterday, in a burst of creative energy, I started and completed a fun Christmas ornament to put away for next year. I had so much fun doing it, I might make a bunch more and save them for Christmas presents. So, forget before next year, will ya? Here is a picture of what I made:



My craftiness, however, only extends so far. Last month our neighbor brought over a large bag of venison. I have had venison in the past and never had a problem with it. However, I cannot stand the stuff now! I think it is my official 'Eeeeeewww....I am pregnant and I cannot stand this stuff for the next six months' sort of food. I made chili last night, and thought I was going to lose it just smelling it cook. I have decided no matter how craftily I try to spice it up or mask the gamy flavor, I am just not going to be able to eat it. So, now Jeff has the sole responsibility of eating 23 metric tons of venison chili, as well as the venison roasts, steaks, etc. that we have in our freezer. That is, if I can stand to cook it.

And in other totally random but exciting news, at least if you are James, we had another dusting of snow today. Chappy took James out to play for a loooong time and they both looked like they were having great fun. Three cheers for Chappy!! You've saved James from going stir-crazy for another day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You can call me Sparkles

No, I am not becoming a clown or a stripper by naming myself Sparkles. Rather, somehow my children found, and distributed generously, two large tubs of glitter. All right under my nose. They were playing at their toy kitchen, the lovely toy kitchen Mom saved from the trash, and apparently while they were there they discovered my box of paint and glitter hidden behind it. Katie found some silver glitter and I think James 'helped' her find more in the form of green foil glitter. They quickly made work of it and now we have sparkles from here to there and everywhere, and I will no doubt be finding it for the next seven years. I don't think Jeff is going to appreciate finding silvery glitter stuck to his shirt or his eyelids or shoes when at work. If he complains, I will just remind him of the time he found a nursing pad stuck inside his pant leg. Hey, it could be worse. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Picture Day



Katie modeling another one of her Christmas dresses



Enjoying what little snow we got on Saturday; James was thrilled with the shovel print in the snow!



James taking on his alter ego: Bob the Builder



I'm rough and I'm tough and I wear my diapers low!

And Katie has been taking more steps here and there. On Saturday, she took five in a row! Thanks everyone for being excited with us!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

NEWS FLASH (can you hear me squealing with joy?!)

Katie took four steps yesterday....the first steps I have seen her make. Four steps!!! FOUR STEPS!!!! Right in front of me...it was glorious! After all the hip dysplasia issues, I have been really yearning to see her finally walk...I need to see her walk. Now, we are 'stepping' in the right direction. Ha. And...when Jeff got home, I told him about it and she did an encore performance. Wahooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Childhood Entertainment: Franch Style

From what I can piece together from those of you who have grown up in suburbia, my childhood was vastly different. While many of you were riding your bikes on a nice sidewalk, or hanging out in the arcade at the mall, I was off in a field making mud pies and forts and searching for leprechauns in the alfalfa. Here are some of my favorite memories of growing up in the country:
  • Swimming in the cowpond, catching tadpoles and keeping them in our irrigation boots, stepping on barbed wire on the way home, sometimes riding horses home.
  • Swimming in the cow tank was also great fun! Our friends had one right off their porch, so we could jump in. It cooled us off, and provided a drink for whatever stray beast roamed past it.
  • Riding our bikes along the road, searching for pop cans and, in the spring, asparagus. We never ate the stuff, but we picked a lot of it! Now I only wish I had it growing in my yard.
  • Riding sheep, horses, dogs, whatever animal that would stand still enough to jump on for a ride.
  • Playing hide and seek in cornfields.
  • Opening our very own 'fudge factory.' We had perfected our mud recipe and made loads of 'fudge' creations to sell to any interested customers.
  • Hunting for geodes and dinosaur bones.
  • Exploring our friends' barn and tack shed.
  • Playing with chicken feet...if you pull the tendons they move...great fun!
  • Creating a pirate ship, complete with plank, then a tree house, then an airplane, and more, all out of a huge stump of weeping willow tree out back.
  • Riding our friends' horses around and around the corrals, and as we were older, out into the fields.
  • Building a tee pee, tree house, and many other contraptions out of pine poles we cut down and stripped ourselves. Seriously. We were good little Boy Scouts.
  • Frying eggs on the sidewalk.
  • Trying to make our own ant farm by filling our fishbowl with a shovel full o' red ants.
  • Chasing hot air balloons to see where they land, then trying to catch the cork to get a free ride. (never happened)
Anyone have some fun or unusual childhood memories to share? Leave a comment if you want.

Seriously!?

Reading this article will cause you to shake your head, roll your eyes, and wonder what the world is coming to. In a nutshell, some whack-job is demanding his kidney back as part of a divorce settlement. Apparently, after two failed transplants, he donated his own kidney to save his ailing wife. Now that they are heading their own ways, he wants his kidney back, or $1.5 million bucks, which is what he believes his kidney to be worth.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dr. Haffly's 'Magic' Brownies

No, its not what you think. These aren't magic in the traditional, uh, sense. They are magic because they were quite possibly the sole reason I passed 7th grade algebra. You see, math is not one of my gifts. I had the most awesome teacher in seventh grade, Dr. Haffly, who was very patient with my math antics. He spent long hours trying to teach me fractions and percentages. He tried to so hard to teach me his methods. Much to his dismay, I never really got the percentage bit. To this day, and you can laugh at me Math Nerds (Merry Jo!), I divide the number by 100, then multiply by the percentage number I want to figure. I actually do know how to do it the right way, but its a habit now. To sort of 'smooth the way,' I made my teacher some brownies to help earn myself some...he, he...brownie points. Really, the brownies had nothing to do with my passing or failing, but they have since become legend. I have even shipped them cross country. Dr. Haffly has sadly passed away, but the brownies continue to have a life of their own. I have made them so many times I have the recipe memorized. And just in case you need a little help passing your math class, or just want to eat some darn good brownies, here is the recipe:

Dr. Haffly's Magic Brownies

1 C. flour
2 C. sugar
1 C. crisco
4 eggs
3/4 C. cocoa
1 C. chocolate chips
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

(...and chocolate chips and peanut butter for topping)

Mix all ingredients together. Yes, there is only one cup of flour. (No one said these are good for you, they are just plain good.) Bake in greased 9 by 13 pan for 25 minutes or so, till done. These are fudgy brownies, by the way. Then...and here is the magic part...when they get out of the oven, sprinkle the top with a couple handfuls of chocolate chips. Then, drop spoonfuls of peanut butter about every two inches apart, more or less. Note: I actually buy a special jar of the extra-creamy, partially hydrogenated type peanut butter for these....the natural peanut butter is not as good for this purpose. After you add the dollops of peanut butter, sprinkle on some more chocolate chips. Let sit for 5 or 10 minutes. The chocolate chips and peanut butter will start to melt. Spread and swirl it around with a butter knife till top is evenly covered. These are really good warm, and really good cooled. Just make sure to share!

Weather, weather....

Yesterday it was a balmy 48. Nice enough to go for a walk, which was glorious. We even headed down to the green belt to search for walnuts, per James' request. As I expected, they were all gone, stashed away by the squirrels. Instead, we saw a bike in the creek along with other assorted flotsam and jetsam. It always gets on my nerves how much junk people dispose of in the creeks around here. Seriously, there is very little green space around here. Why is it OK to dump your trash there?! Anyway, its one of my PA pet peeves. But I digress. It really was nice to be outside and collect sticks and pine cones and such. Today, however, we are due for ice and freezing rain. Some weather forecasts say up to an inch accumulation today, and another inch over night. I don't mind winter, although I am itching for spring gardening. However, give us some snow already!

Monday, January 05, 2009

My house is clean....

...really clean. And it won't stay that way for long. We were cleaning up for small group last night, and Jeff decided to rearrange the furniture. Give the man five minutes of sitting still and he goes nuts. Whilst totally restructuring the arrangement of our living room, he managed to break one of our lamps...the ones with the glass shades. He was moving it out of the living room when BANG! The shade fell off and shattered into a zillion pieces, all over the living room, hallway, and even under the baseboard and couches. So, out came all the furniture and everything got swept multiple times. Now that it looks so good, I have come up with a strategy to keep it clean. I am packing up the kids and taking them to my parents. We will stay there till bedtime, when we will come home and put them directly to bed. (Repeat process the next day) What do you think, Mom and Dad? :)

In other news, we've done spent some cash on two very exciting purchases. Those of you who know us well know that it is not very often, OK, maybe once every 6 years, that we get all crazy like this. For our anniversary, or maybe because he was tired of hearing me talk about wanting a food processor, Jeff bought me a Kitchen@id food processor!!!! I now feel equipped to conquer the world; with that and the food mill/strainer/all-purpose tool 'o handy-ness I got for Christmas, I will be canning everything in sight come this spring. At least until I get so large and cumbersome that I can't reach the stove to stir. And our other purchase....a bike fit for the Jolly Green Giant himself. Jeff has been threatening for some time to get a bike. I always tease him because I do not believe he will actually ride a bike consistently. Well, now that he has plunked down some cold, hard cash via Christmas money and other, I think he will ride it often. The guy at the store practically begged Jeff to buy the bike. Being an extra large frame, he had had it there for over two years. He ended up selling it to Jeff for less than half the price. The pictures do not do the bike justice. The handlebars come nearly up to my armpits. The thing is huge! I'll have to get a picture with me or the kids in front of it so you'll get the idea. I didn't know that made bikes that big. So if you see what appears to be a bike on steroids cruising around your neighborhood with a tall guy in a beanie, it just might be Jeff.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Franch Memory #545.43

Just before Christmas, our neighbor brought us a big bag full of venison. I was perusing the most awesome book ever, looking for recipes when I found one for 'Stuffed Porcupine.' Now that's not something you see every day. It got me reminiscing about the different types of meat I've had. I remember my dad used to go hunting on occasion and I have vague memories of brown paper stretched across the table, and birds being plucked. Pheasant or chicken, maybe. I distinctly remember the smell. I have another fun memory of the time my dad spent all day fishing with some guys from church. They caught bucketfuls of fish and took them back to Farley's house. I remember seeing a kitchen full of fish, in all stages of gutted-ness, and a big ol' pile of fish eggs. Dad dissected a fish for us so we could see the guts. Maybe that's where I developed my curiosity with dissection in Biology class. It was fun times, I tell ya. One dinner I remember with particular amusement was when Dad served up dove. He had been hunting and got a few doves, which he fried up in a pan. Since doves aren't very big, they are not very meaty. Dad told us to be very careful as we chewed, since someone would almost certainly get a pellet. What a novelty for a little kid! Now eat carefully, kiddies, I don't want any dental bills as a result of this meal. Whoever gets the pellet wins! That's how we felt. I don't remember if we found any, but it was quite exciting anyway. I don't think my kids will be experiencing that type of meal anytime soon, unless we stoop to shooting disease-carrying tree rats (AKA Squirrels....a treat according to some) from our backyard. And that just ain't gonna happen.

Random Thoughts

James is ridiculously rambunctious today. I wish it was warm enough to go for a walk, or early enough for bedtime.

Today marks the end of my first trimester. Yipee!! I got to hear the baby's heartbeat today, which is always so nice and reassuring. James wants to see the baby. 'But where is she? Tan I see her? Is she in your tummy? Tan I see????' (He always refers to the baby as 'she')

My food processor is on its way already. Jeff bought me a food processor for our anniversary and I can't wait to get it!! Hummus, anyone?

Despite the fact that I am due to bear a child in the peak of summer, I am determined to have a garden. Yes, my name is Megan and I am crazy. But, here's the deal. First, I have been planning since before my last one was finished producing, so it already exists if only in my head. Second of all, dang it. I want a garden. Third of all, I figure if I can get it in and mulch the heck out of it, I can mostly just water it. It is easier to go into my backyard and pick some veggies than it will be to pack up three little ones and head to the store. And besides, did I mention I neeeeeeeed a garden? Dirt. I runs in my veins. So, come May you will see me hunched over like a bloated mushroom lady planting my little seedlings. Either that, or you will hear wails of 'help me, I've fallen and I can't get up.'' Should be interesting.

Christmas decorations are coming down. I am partly sad, because Christmas was so much fun this year with the kids. I am mostly relieved that I won't be fishing ornament parts out of Katie's mouth and picking ornaments up off the floor twelve times a day.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Do I win the prize for most imaginative post title on January 1st?! Its hard to believe how much stuff we packed into 2008. House hunting, droves of creepy potential tenants swarming our house, finding a house, waiting till the eleventh hour to find a tenant, settling on our new house and getting the old one ready for renting, Jeff being in school with two of the hardest classes he's ever had, vacation to Colorado, finding out Katie has hip dysplasia, the SPICA cast, brace, etc., and the list goes on. I am soooo glad its over. Here's to an uneventful new year! I want a healthy baby, and no drama, thank you very much. I would also like to see Katie walk....I am getting a bit antsy. But! Little turkey...she took her first steps today while I was grocery shopping, so Jeff got to see them and I didn't!!! What gives? At least Katie smiled at me first. :) Hopefully full-on walking is not far behind. And here is what happens when you leave Daddy home with the kids: lots of funny pictures, and a costume made out of a cereal box!







These are just a few from this week. James has decided he despises the camera and runs away from it most times, thus the dearth in James photos.


Happy New Year, Everyone!!!