Morgan and I love this song - and Daniel Kirkley's voice.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The mortar is still wet (and dark), but is getting lighter. I think I'll like it. :^D The brick layers are very nice guys and are really doing a super job.
Here's the scaffolding down the right side of the house. I used an automatic depth of field setting on the camera, so it makes the side of the house look even longer.
And by bathroom window is FINALLY installed. I am now paranoid that a brick will hit it. This is the fifth window - the first one was cracked when the carpenters opened the box, second one was the wrong one, third one was broken when they opened the box at the window company before delivering it, the fourth one was also the wrong window.
...and here's the view from outside.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Working at the new house cleaning up lumber, I've been startled by a great number of little toads and frogs. And some no-so-little ones as well. :^D But I'm getting used to them. After one small, started, "Eeekkk!!!" I'm okay.
This weekend, I was startled by something new....
No, I didn't take this picture. I screamed and he "ran!" I would definitely have not had time to get the camera focused! He was quite small. Then on the other side of the house, I saw his cousin. But they were more afraid of me than I was of them, I think.
Not the case on Monday. The girls were doing school and I was picking up in the area. I picked up a scrapbook tote bag that I did NOT bring with me on Friday. It had some dust on it, so I was brushing it off and out jumped something that looked like this.....
Yipes!!! A gecko! It was a wee bit bigger than this one, but not much. I screamed, jumped into a chair, and was hollering "CATCH IT!!! GET IT OUT OF HERE!!! CALL YOUR FATHER!!!" Brooke was laughing so hard that she chased it under the china cabinet. Then she'd move stuff, it'd skitter out, I'd scream, she'd laugh, it'd run back. Actually, she didn't want to touch it either!
Steve comes in and catches it FINALLY (I'm still on chairs - moving from one to the other around the room to get further away). As he goes to take it out, I admonish him to not simply toss it out the back door, where it can easily came back in the house, but to take it far into the woods. As he reaches the door, I call out, "WAIT!!! Let Brooke take a picture of it!" I was thinking of you, Blog Reader. But Steve simply rolled his eyes and walked out with the gecko, leaving me to rely on a stock photo.
Then today while sweeping the kitchen, I come across ANOTHER GECKO!!! This one was already dead, but it leads me to fear that where there are two, there are more. Anyone up for an overnight guest? I'll only stay until the new house is built and found to be free of attacking geckos.
Monday, August 27, 2007
These love bugs. If you don't live in the coastal south, you are probably wondering what in the world this thing is. It's a love bug. Wikipedia says this about love bugs....
"Love bug larvae grow up in grassy areas and feed on dead vegetation. The adult love bug does not eat, but subsists solely on the food taken in during its larval stage. Upon reaching maturity the love bug spends the entirety of its life "making new baby love bugs" with its mate, hence its numerous romantic nicknames. The male and female attach themselves at the rear of the abdomen and remain that way at all times, even in flight. In fact, after mating, the male dies and is dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs. Females lay up to 350 eggs in debris, and about 20 days later the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae may live for months before passing into adulthood."
Lovebugs love white houses. Right now, my house is covered with white Tyvek. Lovebugs are loving my house. So far, the season hasn't hit full swing. I've seen white houses swarmed with so many love bugs, it looks like a black house. I have a friend who used to live in an old house and they would actually crawl in through the old windows and were covering the INTERIOR of her house. Yuck. I really hate love bugs. And they play havoc with the paint job on your vehicle. Their guts will actually pit the paint! Double yuck!
But they are a sure sign that September is almost here. Either that or May. :^D
The carpenters will be building the deck and installing my whirlpool bathtub this week, so they uncovered the bit of the floor where it will be installed. It's not clean and it's definitely not shiny, but I think I'm gonna like it!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
We ordered from a very popular local restaurant across the street (that, on a Friday night, can have a 1.5 hour wait for a table). Our take-out was much faster.
Here's a layout I completed after carrying it around, unfinished, for approximately 4 years. Or was it 6? Not a fancy layout, but at least it's done. I made my own "pearl" brads to attach the vellum journaling with - I dipped regular silver brads in a Very Vanilla Craft Ink Pad, then used pearly Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel and embossed them. I did three layers of UTEE and they truly look like little pearl halves.
Here's another project I've been working on for almost a year. I went to a class at a local scrapbook store (that is no longer in business) for this little Christmas Memory book. The book is made from large envelopes for the pages and chipboard for the covers of the book. It has a little ribbon and magnet closure and it's all tied up with a bunch of different ribbons.
I decided to do picture of ME for this memory book. I have very few Christmas pictures from when I was a child. Here are the first two pages. The top picture on the right-hand page opens to reveal more pictures....
And there are pages that slip into the envelopes and can be pulled out by their ribbon tags. On the backs of most of the pages, I have journaling and on the fronts, pictures.
I didn't take pictures of every page. That would have been boring. I just wanted to give you an idea. Anyhow, I started the book at the class last year and did the journaling a couple of weeks later. The journaling really doesn't have anything to do with my pictures, since I really have no recollection of most of these Christmases. So I did one journaling page about holiday food, another about Christmas parties, still another about presents, one about trees, one about decorations, and on the final page I included a few of Mama's special holiday recipes that she would ALWAYS make. I just needed to put everything together with the pictures and finally finished that tonight.
Here's another Christmas layout I finished. I finally put the last pictures on the fourth copy of this layout that was for Morgan's book. I had to print out more pictures. This was from Christmas 2005. (Sorry about the flash glare.)
About this time, we were sagging a little bit and so at quarter 'til eleven, three of us made a CC's Coffeehouse run! Mmmmm....That kept us going until almost 2 a.m.! For the rest of the night, I stamped and embossed and cut out letters for another layout. Actually, for two other layouts that I'm duplicating for my girls' albums. :^D And I'm still not finished cutting out the letters.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Spinach is one of those vegetables most people either love or hate. I love it. I love it raw in salads or freshly steamed or added to just about anything. I'm not a fan of it cooked to a slimy, quivering mass, however.
So today I will pay homage to the lowly spinach leaf. (Cynthia, this one's for you!)
This is NOT one of those recipes with precise measurements. Just wing it. It'll be great! I promise!
You need either three 10-oz boxes or two large bags of chopped, frozen spinach. Thaw it out (yes, you can put it in the microwave, but let it cool for a while), then SQUEEZE all the liquid out of it. Really. Wring it as dry as you can. Then pull it apart and lay it in the bottom of a casserole dish. I used my Pampered Chef rectangle stoneware pan.
If you can find it in your supermarket, sprinkle your wrung-out spinach with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.
If you can't find it, you are doomed because there is just no substitute. Move to Louisiana, quick! JUST KIDDING. I guess you could use any seasoning salt. It wouldn't be nearly as good, but it just might be tolerable. :^D You can also order some from ol' Tony himself. They sell it in the convenient 7 pound gallon size! I kid you not!
I used to work with Tony Chachere's grandson, John, many years ago. He said he was the only one who didn't work for the company. He knew he'd end up there eventually, so he wanted a few years "out in the world." But I digress. Buy some Tony's. Put it on everything. Use it like salt. It's that good.
Sprinkle the spinach with some garlic powder or a few minced cloves of garlic.
Chop a half of an onion really fine. Put that over the top of your seasoned, garlicky, wrung-out spinach. If you don't want to chop half an onion, use a whole one. Or leave it out. It'll be okay. I promise.
Then top with about 3 or 4 cups of deboned chicken. I picked up a rotisserie one from Wal-Mart, but this is a great recipe for leftover chicken - or even turkey from Thanksgiving. But not last Thanksgiving. That'd be gross!
Sprinkle the chicken with more Tony's. Yes, it's that good!
Pour some cream or half and half (whatever's in your fridge) over the casserole. I used about two cups. You want to be able to see the cream around the edges. But you don't want to flood it, either. Just have the cream covering the bottom of the dish. You could probably also use fat-free evaporated milk. I've never tried it like that, though. What fun would fat-free be? And it won't matter in the end - you'll see!
Add some Parmesan cheese over the top while we're adding stuff. I've used the shredded kind, but you can use whatever kind you like.
Now pop it in a 350° oven for 30-45 minutes or until the cream is really bubbling around the edges and the cheese is nice and melty.
Now add some more cheese - my favorite is Colby and Monterrey jack, but you can use cheddar or mozzarella or whatever. This is NOT a precise dish. But it'll be delicious anyway because it's covered in cheese and cream!
Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so - this is just to melt the cheese. Then eat it. You can see my family tucked into it before I could get a picture! There was BARELY enough for me to save for my lunch tomorrow. And this was a big pan! My family always loves this dish!
And school was MUCH better today! The timer definitely helped! We got EVERYTHING done! Hurray!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
I have a friend who teaches public school. Last year she taught in an inner city junior high school. She absolutely hated every single day. But she always answered the question, "How was your day?" in an upbeat manner. Mondays were always marvelous, Tuesdays were terrific, Wednesdays were wonderful, etc. So today was "marvelous."
It was our first day of school. Sleepy, uncooperative daughters. I woke up with a headache. We did math, spelling, some of history, reading, Bible, and some language. No science. No Latin. I have already warned them - tomorrow will be different!
Brooke stepped on a roofing nail yesterday at the new house. I cannot tell you how many times Steve and I have tried to stress to both girls the importance of wearing proper footwear. And yet Brooke was over there BAREFOOT!!! She is unable to walk normally with the injury and has been bearing weight just on the toes of that foot. Her injured foot is sore and the other knee is now hurting. So I'm sure this contributed to her ill humor today.
And today they started to roof our new house! Hurray!
I also got some shots of the "poodle" shower (that will be in the utility room)
and the girls' bathtub. Brand new and it already needs to be scrubbed!
Those were installed this weekend. The carpenters will be building the deck for my whirlpool tub later this week. We'll also need stairs to put the tub for the scrapbook bathroom upstairs. Right now it is residing in the kitchen. :^D
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Oh, okay. Honestly I didn't just stay home in the air conditioning today and scrapbook. Brooke had a horse show in the heat more than an hour away. Thankfully, it didn't last all day. Brooke got second place in pole bending. Hurray, Brooke! Great job!
I started this layout last night and finished it when we returned from the horse show. More pictures from last November's Birthday Club. The journaling reads: "Quick and Easy Directions. 1) Gather friends on or around date of birth for fun and festivities. 2) Mix in great food, loads of laughter, scrapbooking, and, of course, CHOCOLATE! 3) Simmer for at least 12 hours or until partied out. 4) Repeat as often as birthdays arise. Yield: 1 Birthday Club." The journaling was inspired by my SIL's invitation to this event.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Delilah is such a love. I really adore her. She was my first Standard Poodle and won my heart in an instant. There's never been a better buddy than my 'Lila. I always tell her she's my heart.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
That meant Brooke was delegated to the back. She wasn't quite happy about it, but made the best of a bad situation.
I was going to spend the day cleaning my house and finalizing my layout for my scrapbooking class tomorrow night. Then my MIL called to tell me about this fantastic close-out place about 45 minutes away. I dropped everything, got the girls in the car, and away we went.
They had a huge shipment of Macy's close-outs that arrived. Our tally: two full size European goose down comforters for the girls' rooms (we have duvet covers for their new rooms, but no duvets), three goose down pillows, two Calvin Klein fiber fill pillows that are firm for shams, two contour pillows, a 7-piece bed set for our guest bedroom, and a throw pillow. Total price: $200.82. Full price on all the items would have come to over $1500! WOW!!! And we definitely needed pillows! I actually still need more and will definitely go back to this place. One of the goose down pillows was marked original price $200. For a pillow?!?!?! We got it for $8! I just love bargains!
Then it was off to the grocery store for essentials like bread, milk, and eggs. Next to the barn to clean stalls.
Punkin is doing much better. Right before we left, she also had a corneal ulcer, necessitating another vet visit, shots, eye staining, multiple eye ointments. And while we were GONE, my horse, Lady, was stung by a wasp and her neck swelled up! Ka-ching! Another vet visit, steroids, anti-inflammatory medicines. I'm going to have to put up one of those jars with the sad picture on it at local stores to pay for our horsie medical bills. Gee whiz!
Then to the groomer's to pick up the "girls." They looked so nice, all with bright pink bows that match their summery collars. :^D No pictures, though. When I got home, I hurried to mow at least a little bit before the sun went down. When I came in, it was too dark to get good inside shots of dark poodles. Perhaps tomorrow. But I'm sure bows will get lost before then.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
We arrived home a 3:30 a.m. this morning, slept about 5 hours, and had a million and one things to do. First was laundry. Second was actually more pressing - WE NEED TO PICK OUT BRICK FOR OUR HOUSE!!! We thought we had decided on one until we saw it actually on a house. Deciding on a brick is a difficult thing. You can look at the samples in the showroom, but it looks completely different on a whole house. And the same brick can look different from one house to the next, depending on the mortar color or brick lot or even the way the bricklayer lays the brick.
Once you decide you like one brick from one company, you go to another company that has totally different brick. You see different samples on the wall, go to different subdivisions to see it on different houses, think you like one, but then you can't remember if you like it better than the first brick in the first subdivision from the first company.
Finally I just said THAT ONE!!! JUST GET THAT ONE!!! So much for decisions. Now to decide on the mortar color.....
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I got quite a few shots of the city skyline. This was just one photo, but I got a close up series to do along the bottom of a 2-page scrapbook spread. Am I the only one who takes pictures to fit the layout in her brain? :^D
After parking (and paying $20 just to park - I think I've discovered the key to Chicago's city funding - Friday's parking cost $25 for 3 hours!!!), we walked down to the water. Morgan was a bit nervous, as there was no rail. She didn't want to fall into that cold water!
Here's a great shot of Steve looking like a tourist with the camera bag (but he's being a good sport and holding it for ME) and Joshua looking quite "kewl" in his new Oakleys.
The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana - it's the most endangered iguana in the world. They are really quite interesting looking.
We ate at the restaurant in the aquarium, Soundings. The view was lovely. The food...not so much. Everyone's order was wrong. Or either tasted bad. But Joshua received applause and thanks for serving our country by the wait staff. It was a very humbling moment for him. We were very proud.
After our bad lunch, we watched the dolphin show. I love dolphins! They are such intelligent creatures! And so cute, too!
Morgan took this shot of a puffer fish. I find puffers amusing. They look like they are holding their breath - which is even funnier to me. A fish holding its breath! LOL!
This was a picture Steve was attempting to take outside the aquarium. Only Joshua seems to be cooperating.
I know Joshua was probably getting tired of pictures. But that was just too bad. :^D
After this, we left the city to bring Joshua back to the base. He had to be back earlier today. Everyone was saying goodbye to their sailors and it was kind of sad. I teared up (of course), but tried not to cry. At least until we drove off.
As my son walked off, never looking back, I was reminded of the moment when he was dedicated to the Lord at 10 weeks old. The elderly gentleman who did the dedication, Brother D. Stroud, Royal Ranger District Commander whom Steve had known almost all his life, held him high above his head and prayed, "Oh, God. This baby is all You have to make a man out of." It seems only yesterday he was that baby. And today, my baby is a man.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Here's Wrigley Field, right around the corner from the restaurant.
Then we went to Navy Pier. Steve, Joshua, and I rode the huge ferris wheel. I love ferris wheels. Steve - not so much. He doesn't like heights. But he was a trooper. He even smiled. :^D
Morgan and Aunt Susie rode the swings. *I* don't like "'round and 'round" rides. They mess with my equilibrium. Can you find Morgan waving for the camera?
How about if I zoom in?
The day had started a little overcast, but cleared up. The skyline still was a little foggy and hazy, though.
Here we are inside the Crystal Gardens. It was lovely in here.
Morgan just couldn't let her brother go. It was so sweet. I kind of felt the same way. I kept touching him like he was going to disappear any minute - or like it was a dream.
After we had seen all we wanted at Navy Pier, we went over to Millennium Park to walk around a bit. Because we hadn't walked enough at Navy Pier. :^D My legs were still stiff from Starved Rock.
Here's the Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park, commonly known as "The Bean." Very interesting! I loved that you could see the whole skyline in it!
Here's a picture of us being reflected in The Bean. Kind of neat!
And here's the Crown Fountain. It was neat to watch! As well as all the kids (of all sizes and ages) playing in the water!
Joshua, however, wasn't about to get in that water!
We had a very long day. But it was loads of fun and great to be with Josh again. He requested McDonald's for supper before we dropped him back off at the base.