Saturday, May 31, 2008

Backyard Wildlife

Yesterday while eating my lunch on the back patio of the new house, I enjoyed watching the birds flitting through the trees and saw this handsome guy...

I love all the different woodpeckers we have here in Louisiana, but Mr. Red-Head is my favorite. I brought my camera with me today in hopes of catching a shot of him. I was not disappointed.

We also hung a squirrel feeder today. (Steve even brought out a level to make sure it was installed on the tree properly. I think that was a bit excessive.) It's called a Squirrel Snacker. I can't wait to get some shots of the silly squirrels getting into the thing.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Birthday Fan

Steve and my nephew put up my Birthday Fan today. I was SO excited! Even more excited to see it running! Which was weird, because we don't have electricity in the house.

How'd that work? Hmm...Steve had a little fan running with an extension cord and pointing up to the ceiling fan. He really psyched me out there for a second.

We put it up with two blades, although it came with four and has four shorter blade arms if we decide to change it to four. The original belt-and-pulley ceiling fans had two blades. I like it. I think it's kind of quirky. We'll see how it cools before deciding if we want to switch to four.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Up on the Roof

Today, Steve's project is to finish the chimney. (Or at least his part of it. He has someone else making the part that goes on top - the cap, I think he called it.)

Do you know Steve doesn't like heights? Well, he doesn't.

When he's on the roof, he likes someone there in case he falls. Someone who can be a help in a crisis. Like Morgan.

He made it down safely for lunch, then finished up the chimney later and it looks great!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Subway Update

This letter from Scholastic:

"Regarding your concerns about the Subway contest that excludes homeschools from contest eligibility, Scholastic and Subway apologize to all individuals who have taken offense at this.

Our intention wasnever to make independent schooled children feel discriminatedagainst or excluded from this specific promotion. Throughout the course of the year Scholastic runs a number ofcontests and sweepstakes that are open to all teachers and students.

The eligibility of this contest in particular was solely put in place to award a large group of children with the grand prize of $5,000 worth of athletic equipment. We do, however, understand how home-schooled children could benefit from this type of prizing and will make sure eligibility is open to everyone in future promotions.

We appreciate your feedback and will make sure a similar situation does not happen in the future."

Thanks, Subway and Scholastic!

Where's That Fairy Godmother?

My next "new home" job has been to clean and seal the concrete floors. So I've been on my hands and knees scrubbing floors for the past few WEEKS.

Brooke went shopping with her aunt and picked up this t-shirt. I told her she needs to give it to me.

She said no.

Finally, the section of the house with the girls' and guest bedrooms and bathrooms were ready to be sealed. I did the first coat on Sunday, the second coat Monday.

This picture was taken between coats. I'm loving my floors!

In other news, I was cutting up raw chicken for curried chicken. Every time I bring out a knife and a cutting board, I get the Poodles' undivided attention. If I'm cutting something that they can eat, I will occasionally share a morsel. But definitely not raw chicken! I told them all to go in the other room. Delilah and Abrial turned around and went into the other room to lie down. Cosette was persistent. Not bothersome, but just standing behind me, breathing hot dog breath on the back of my legs. I tell her again that she wasn't getting ANY raw chicken and to GO IN THE OTHER ROOM. After a few minutes, I get that "someone is watching me" feeling. I turn around. This is what I see....

She was in the other room, technically, but was just watching in case I dropped something. Which, later, I did. New cutting board, new knife, and dropped a piece of carrot. Cosette was there in a flash - and was sorely disappointed in the offering.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008 - A Tribute

My precious Granddaddy, serving in the Army, on Normandy Beach in France. My Daddy, in the Navy, during WWII in the Pacific. My heroic father-in-law, in the Marine Corp, serving in Korea. To all the men and women who have served our country in the past and present. To those who will join to serve in the future. The words "Thank You" seem insignificant in relaying my heart-felt gratitude for your service to our country. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dr. Doolittle?

Brooke has quite a following here. It looks like they are all listening with rapt attention to whatever she is saying.

She must be talking to the animals. Let's listen in. What IS she saying?


So what's the attraction?

CHICKEN! Oh, that explains it!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Girls' Night Out

A few weeks ago, my SIL called to tell me her hubby was given six tickets to Girls' Night: The Musical and asked if I wanted to go. Sure, I tell her. All the members of The Birthday Club but two were able to come.

We got all dressed up for the matinee. So much fun.

The musical was cute. A few bawdy parts. My MIL certainly would not have enjoyed it. But it was still fun.

Even better, however, was dinner afterwards. E's husband made a delicious crawfish dish. I'm hoping he will be a sweetie and share the recipe. There was an enormous salad and tomatoes caprese. I brought dessert - Pioneer Woman's Pots de Creme and cookies.

I found the recipe for the cookies in a magazine at the library. There was an article on Giada De Laurentiis and she mentioned her favorite chocolate chip hazelnut toffee cookies. Thankfully, the recipe was included in the article, because it's rude to mention something with chocolate chips and toffee candy and hazelnuts and not give a recipe. That would be cruel. So because the magazine lived at the library, I wrote the recipe on the back of a Crate and Barrel catalog I brought with me to the library. And now I'll share it with you. Because it's just cruel to mention....never mind.

Giada's Favorite Cookie

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz Skor bar, finely chopped (they didn't have these at the store, but did have Heath Bar Toffee Brickle chips - they worked well as a substitute)
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Chop oats finely in a food processor. Mix with flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla.

Add oat flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Stir in toffee, nuts, and chocolate chips.

That already looks yummy!

Bake 15 minutes. It makes a LOT of cookies. Really!

Do you have one of these handy dandy kitchen scoops? Mine is from Pampered Chef and this is the smallest one.

It is perfect for cookies.

Never, ever eat raw cookie dough. It contains raw eggs and you might die.

Me? I like to live dangerously.

Where are the pictures of the baked cookies? Hmmm.....good question! They went too fast for a picture!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are You Eating Fresh?

I received an email today about a contest that Subway is running for kids. It was noted on their Fresh Buzz webpage.

Basically the contest runs like this. They give you a "story starter" such as The Mysterious Meatball. "When the invitation to the Meatball came in the mail..." and the child finishes the story in 500 words or less. Sounds cute.

What can the kids win? The Grand Prize Winner gets:
  • $5000 in athletic equipment for the child's school
  • A Scholastic gift bastket (the misspelling is theirs)
  • $100 Subway gift card
  • Seeing your story published on the website and in Scholastic's Parent and Child magazine

The kicker? Homeschoolers can't participate. Really. It says that.

"Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied [sic] States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted."

No home schools accepted. Wow. I do understand not wanting to give $5000 worth of playground equipment to one person, so what about saying the winner receives $5000 worth of playground equipment "to donate to the school or park of his/her choice?"

Many homeschooled kids across the nation participate in physical education programs that are run by volunteer parents and are held at public parks. Donating the equipment to a public park would benefit the whole community. It is just SO offensive to me that homeschoolers are just excluded from the contest. Period.

Scholastic Books is a corporate sponsor of this contest. I have written them as well as to Subway. If you'd like to contact Subway and Scholastic as well, just click here for a link to Scholastic's Customer Service page and click here for a link to Subway's Customer Service page.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cosette's Turn

I heard some handsome doggy was inquiring about me. Here I am, in all my curly red glory!

Mommy has been telling about all the things happening at The New House, but she didn't show any pictures. *I* have pictures.

Daddy has almost finished all the vinyl siding. He did a very good job. Although, I'm no expert on vinyl siding. But it looks good to me!

Aunt Susie has been helping, too. She hung ceiling fans - this one is in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom and she did one just like it in the school room.

She has also been wiring electrical outlets. That Aunt Susie is something else! Her one downfall is the fact that she doesn't carry doggy treats with her nearly often enough. Or liver. She really should keep freeze-dried liver in her pockets. It'll make her smell even better!

Brooke has taken down that awful scratchy barbed wire fence and cut back all the pesky brush. Now we Poodles can run freely into new territory and...

What, Mommy? We can't go back there? Really? Not ever? And we're getting a new fence? Okay, bloggie people. Scratch that "run freely" part. :::sigh::: A Poodle can dream, right?

And we had a surprise for Mommy today...

The Granite Man brought the kitchen counters! Mommy was SO excited. I was excited thinking about all the yummy things she will be cooking there, like chicken and pork and beef and chicken and fish and chicken... But enough of that. Mommy says to mention that the granite for the kitchen is Absolute Black with a riverwash finish. Whatever that means, Mommy.

Hey, Mommy! I'm suddenly hungry! Let's drive to Sonic! I'll buy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Construction and Update

Sorry to leave everyone hanging after the post about the storm. My computer died in an unrelated event. Actually, it didn't die - it just needed a power source transplant after a dust-inhalation-overload attack. Thankfully it is back up and running with no symptoms of rejection.

The horses and poodles and cats all fared well with the storms. I'm sure the horses were nervous in the barn, but at least they were out of the weather. The barn was without power for two days, so no fans for the poor horsies. However, some people just north of us finally had their power restored this morning - almost seven full days after the storm.

The poodles and cats were fine. They don't mind weather. In fact, they think rain is great for sleeping. Actually, they think sun is great for sleeping, too. Any weather, in fact. But I'll try to get some pictures of Cosette tomorrow - Remy asked about her in my comments and she was very flattered.

New things at the house: The painting is DONE! Whew! Steve is almost all finished with the siding. That's a lot of siding and it takes a while when you are a crew of one. I have been cleaning the floors in preparation for sealing them - you are supposed to wash/scrub them until the water is clear. Hmm....not quite so clear. I guess I should start saving the water to compare. But it's definitely not clear.

Brooke has been Garden Girl. She has been clearing the back fence line of brush. And the broken down old barbed wire fence with the rotting fence posts. She's done a super job. Let's hope she isn't allergic to poison ivy. I'm spraying it with weed killer, but that doesn't mean you can't get a rash from it even if it's dead. I'm sure I'll get it just because I got close enough to spray it.

Morgan has been the All-Purpose-Cleaner-Upper-Step-And-Fetch-It Girl. She's hauled bricks, picked up nails, raked leaves, burned brush, and other assorted tasks.

But my favorite thing to tell - we have our granite in the bathrooms! I'm so excited! Tomorrow they come to bring the granite for the kitchen.

Morgan and Brooke's bathrooms have Giallo Ornamental.
The girls decided if they wanted their facets to be mounted at 12 o'clock or off-set - Brooke wanted hers off-set and Morgan wanted hers right in the middle. Of course.

The guest bathroom picture is dark and very yellow looking. So sorry. It's like a dark little hole in there. I need to bring the light into the bathroom and try again.

This stone is mumble-mumble-mumble Bordeaux. I THINK it may be Typhoon Bordeaux, (looks like this may be it) but I cannot remember. Shame on me.

My absolute favorite is the granite for my bathroom. It has lots of movement and I love it. It's called Pompei.

They actually couldn't even drill the holes for my side - they will have to do it when they return to do the kitchen, as the bit broke.

Tomorrow - electrical outlets!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Severe Weather Damage

Today about 3 p.m., my father-in-law told Steve we were expecting one of the worst storm systems we'd ever seen in this area. So Steve and I quickly went to the new house to put away anything that could go flying.

Winds started picking up and the sky darkened like night. It started sprinkling and we decided to go ahead and go to the barn early. We stopped at the house to pick up the girls and as we got back into the truck, "the bottom fell out" as the old folks say.

Back yard after the rain started "slacking up"

We tried to get to the barn, but had to turn back. It was raining so hard we couldn't see the front of the truck and we were continually pelted with large flying limbs.

Front yard - otherwise known as the "new front pond"

We turned around and went to check our new house. All seemed okay, but the road was covered with water - something we've never seen before.

The new house across the street, however, had it's front doors banging. Steve ran to try to secure them, but was unable.

This photo was OBVIOUSLY not taken today

He said the house was flooded with water. We tried calling the owner, but couldn't reach him. His porta-potty was about 30 feet from where it usually stands as well. (Ours was tipped over, but had obviously not gone flying as did his.)

When we arrived back at home, we discovered that two enormous trees had fallen on my mother-in-law's carport.
Thankfully the damage was minimal and no one was hurt.
But, boy, it left a mess.

One of the limbs landed right where Joshua usually parks his car. Thankfully he was not home at the time.

We lost power right after the storm began and it was not restored until about 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Much of the parish is still without power and there is no power at the barn.

We are expecting more storms to move through later this afternoon, so Steve and the girls have gone to pick up feed and take care of the horses before it starts raining again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Steve was working for Mother's Day - as per usual. The girls and I went to church, then came home to make Creme Brulee' for the Mother's Day dinner tonight at my mother-in-law's. The Creme Brulee' was very yummy, especially topped with fresh berries. Sorry. No photo. I did bring the camera, but it was too dark by the time dessert came around. (We ate outside.)

My big Mother's Day gift came in the other day - it was the ceiling fan I wanted for the living room and, yes, I asked for this gift.
My other gift was a surprise - a Joshua Groban Awake Live DVD/CD set! And Joshua gave me a sweet card and CHOCOLATE! I am so blessed by my wonderful family.

Friday, May 9, 2008

May Hostess Club

Tonight was our May hostess club. I reached WAY back for these photos - Joshua's second birthday. Oh - and in case anyone tries to tell you otherwise, yes, magnetic photo albums are HORRIBLE for your photos.

Page Recipe: Stamps: Big Deal Alphabet, Birthday Whimsy. Cardstock: Ballet Blue, Green Galore, Summer Sun, Whisper White. Inks: Ballet Blue, Green Galore, Summer Sun, Pixie Pink. Accessories: Stampin' Up! Jumbo Wheel All About Birthdays, Ballet Blue Jumbo Ink Cartridge, On Board chipboard alphabet, string, white and green grosgrain ribbon.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Red Door

I wanted my front door to be red. Today, the painters made it so.

My children are mortified. I am thrilled. Steve is noncommittal.

When looking up any meaning to red front doors, I found this. Yes, I know we are not a church, but I thought it was interesting anyway.

"Many Anglican churches boast red doors for theological reasons. This goes back to the Middle Ages, when the north, south and east doors were painted red, symbolizing the Blood of Christ, to indicate that churches were designated Sanctuary, where anyone was safe from danger. Some other mainline Protestant churches, such as Lutheran churches, have red doors as Wittenberg Cathedral, where Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses, had red doors, and by tradition, this marks such churches as Reformed churches."

This one is more concise:

"The red doors symbolize the blood of Christ, which is our entry into salvation."

Yes, I like my red door.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cabinets. Water. Horse Tails.

What in the world do these three subjects have in common?

Absolutely nothing. They are just the three things I'm blogging about today. :^D Because it's my blog and I can.

First, cabinets. They are DONE as of this past Friday. I wasn't able to see them until today. Okay, not really completely done. They are stained and lacquered. The cabinet guy will come out in a few days to put in the seedy glass. Then they'll be done and we'll be ready for countertops.

Water! We have water! Of course, not INSIDE the house because we have no faucets or sinks installed at this moment. But we do have water and won't have to run a hose from the neighbor's. Although I certainly appreciate her allowing us to do so!

Because of the painters, he wasn't able to install the vinyl under the carport, so he focused on the water lines. He installed them all and even put a most convenient little water spout in the back yard near the rear fenceline. So I won't have to run a long hose all around the world to get water back there! What a great husband! Then he covered all the trenches.

Today when we went to the barn, Honeybee received a new hairdo - or a "tail-do" in this instance. Brooke loves playing with Honeybee's mane and tail and Honeybee is happy to stand still and let her do whatever she wants.

Aren't I pretty?