September 28, 2008

Debbie Hulk?

Don't you just love the great stuff you get to hear when you're driving in the car with little ones? You just might get to be part of some very interesting conversations if you're paying attention.........

Yesterday I was driving with 4yr. old Granddaughter and 3yr. old Grandson in the backseat. They were discussing the fact that grandson wants to be "The Hulk" for Halloween:

Granddaughter: "Mimi, is there a girl hulk?"
Me: "Well, I don't know! I don't think so, I've never heard of one."
Granddaughter: "Well, there SHOULD be one! And her name should be.......DEBBIE INCREDIBLE HULK!......and she should turn PINK instead of green!.....oh yeah, and she should have a bow in her hair."

I think we might have a budding screenwriter on our hands! Do you think I could sell Hollywood on the idea of DEBBIE HULK?

September 26, 2008

Where are my Ruby Slippers?

Last night was the 7th night we've spent at the Marriott, ("courtesy" of our insurance company) just 5 miles from home......

Under other, more pleasant, planned for circumstances, having a mini-suite at the Marriott all to myself (Son & family have one next door) that I'm not paying for would be fabulous!! But last night, after having been to the house and seeing what shape it's still in after 12 days, when the door to my suite closed behind me, I finally had a meltdown.....real tears and everything. And I am not a cryer, believe me! But I just want to go home! The tears only lasted a few minutes.....I got a grip, counted all my MANY blessings, and went out to dinner with my family....AGAIN! Yes, even going out to dinner is getting old!

WOW! Listen to me complain about hotel suites and dinner out!#@&*!!# Am I having a pity party or what? O.K. enough of that. (Just a minute while I re-read my previous post to myself....)

Trying to keep 3 and 4 yr.old busy and happy during all this hasn't been easy. D-I-L has enough of a challenge keeping up with these two busy kids in our own home with their own things! I think she just may lose her mind if this drags on much longer! Thank goodness for pre-school and friends and family nearby for long daily visits......hotel mini-suites and pre-schoolers are not made for each other!!!

The repairing and restoration part of all this should be completed today and this afternoon we meet with all those involved to pick out new carpet and flooring. The thing making this take so long was the discovery of mold in the wall between a bedroom and the garage, next to the water heater, apparently left there for us by the previous owners 4 years ago...... starts weekend number two in "exile". Daughter has kindly let me set up my sewing in a corner of her living room. I only brought the most basic of projects/supplies but have made quite a few of my favorite flannel blankets this week. This whole situation is causing me to have quite a creative crisis!! I feel like the people in the movie "Alien" where the little aliens come bursting out of their chests!! I have so many apron and sewing project ideas building up inside of me with no outlet right now, like they're just waiting to burst out of my chest! ....O.K.....I know that was kind of a weird and creepy analogy, but I NEED MY OWN SPACE BACK!!...I NEED TO COOK IN MY OWN KITCHEN! ....I need to get rid of all these "aliens" building up inside of me ASAP!!

If only I had a pair of Ruby Slippers so I could click my heels right now......There's no place like home!..........

Thanks for letting me vent. You're a good listener.........I feel much better now!!

September 19, 2008

EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER... whether you want it or not!

I had no idea how involved water damage repair and restoration can be. This has really turned out to be a nightmare!!

This is the culprit:

Yes, this little reverse osmosis unit that came with our house when we bought it 4 1/2 years ago, something WE HAVE NEVER USED! NOT ONCE!!

A little hose the size of a pencil came loose and we came home to find 3 inches of water covering our entire downstairs.....and WE WERE ONLY GONE 7 HOURS!! The contractor helping with all of this says that these units and the same size hose behind refrigerators that connect to the ice maker are the most common reason for household flooding. We removed the unit the very next day and capped off the spigot with a little thingy that cost $1.19.

Yep! 30 seconds of effort and $1.19 and we could have avoided all of this trauma. Please everyone! Take 5 minutes and check all your water filters and ice makers and make sure the hoses are firmly attached!

We had to move out of our house right away. All the water was extracted. Fans, heaters, and de-humidifiers were brought in.

The bottom 12 inches of drywall around the entire perimeter of our bottom floor was cut away.

Carpets and linoleum have been removed.

Insurance adjusters and contractors are trying to work things out to OUR benefit (HA!)

The estimate for the whole thing (not counting the old mold damage discovered during all of this that the insurance will NOT cover) ..........FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!....FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!!#*&!#%!!

We spent the first three nights at Daughters house. She has plenty of room for all 5 of us and all the cousins thought it was a great adventure. As of last night, our insurance has booked us into 2 suites at the new Marriott in town for the next week (" one week at a time"). The time estimate on this "project" is 3-4 weeks! (you do the math on that one!)

I am a creature of habit. I like my routine. I like my own room. I like my own bed. I like my own space. This is all such a HUGE inconvenience...... and yet I know that's all it is. An inconvenience.

When I think of all the Katrina victims who will never have their homes back, will never have their own beds, their own space back. Or the recent Hurricane just last week in Texas......those people have lost their homes and belongings forever. Believe me, I don't BEGIN to compare this situation with what those poor people are going through. I've been praying for all those affected every day since this happened. Nothing like your own little inconvenience to really realize there is always someone worse off than you....

Thank You Lord for the following things:

1. This flood was clean, fresh water.

2. None of our furniture or belongings were damaged.

3. It didn't happen UPSTAIRS. Just think how much worse both floors would have been.....

4. It didn't happen 3 weeks ago when were gone for a whole week on vacation.

5. Daughter lives 2 miles away in a big house with plenty of room for all of us.

6. We'll end up with all new carpet, flooring, and possibly kitchen cabinets (?)

7. Son is taking care of all of the details and dealing with all those concerned and I don't have to . (just one more reason to feel proud of one of my children!)

I have my sewing machine and several projects with me, I'm surrounded by family and in a few weeks I'll be back in my own bed in my own space, which should be even better than before, if all goes well.......

Just so you know, I'm really not complaining.....really I'm not! (see #1-#7 above...)

September 15, 2008

2008 Family Chili Cook-off

Dear Family:
For those of you who were not able to be with us for our First Annual (?) "Family Chili Cook-off", I wanted to share some photos with you. I'll plan the next one for a time when I know all you out-of-towners will be here so you can share in the fun, too.......

First of all...THE CHILI:

#1. CHIPOTLE CHICKEN CHILI (made by Shannon)

#2. CINCINATTI CHILI (made by Gram/Carm)

#3. BISON CHILI ( made by Ellen)

#4. TRI-TIP BLACK BEAN CHILI (made by Josh)

#5. BBQ TURKEY CHILI (made by ME)

served with an assortment of toppings.

Everyone tasted each one and then voted..............

And the coveted "Golden Ladle Award" goes to..........SHANNON, for her Chipotle Chicken Chili!!!

(Start planning your recipes now for next year and this spectacular award could be yours in 2009!)

We also had chips & guacamole (it's the tail end of the avo season...these were EXTRA good!)

Cornbread and Gram's Sourdough

Mexican Caesar Salad (ooops...forgot to take a photo)

and homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and assorted Cake Mix Cookies.

There was much conversation

picture taking

and sorting through Paula's famous GORP......

Ellen modeled her new apron (see here)

and a wonderful time was had by all........

........and when we arrived home at 8:30 p.m. we were greeted by the sight of 3 inches of water covering our entire downstairs.........

September 11, 2008


Look at this BEAUTY that came in the mail yesterday from Barbara in Amarillo, TX ! It's reversible, too! Just look at these beautiful fabrics!

I just love being part of the Sassy Apron Swap. This was the Fall swap and this time we gave some information about our likes and dislikes. I mentioned that I liked purple and this shade is my favorite. It must have been pretty obvious how pleased I was with it because 3 yr. old Grandson, who has seen me with many, many aprons said " Mimi, this is your FAVORITE apron!! And you love purple!"

The swap was to include a recipe for pie and a hotpad or potholder. I can't wait to try Barbara's Caramel Apple Pie, which just shouts cold weather time to me (I'm sick and tired of this hot weather!)

And look how good Barbara was to me! She sent me a whole box full of extra goodies....

1) A cookbook: "Christmas Gifts of Good Taste" (How did you know Barbara? One of my favorite things in the world is making food gifts for Christmas!)

2) a Nautical themed windchime

3) Cute teapot notecards

4) a wonderful new apron pattern (I'm already planning to use it this weekend...)

After catching up on Barbara's Blog and e-mailing each other I can see we have several things in common: our love of sewing projects and spending daily time with young grandchildren. This is a bonus I hadn't expected from these apron swaps....making new friends all over the country!

Barbara...I can't thank you enough for all the delightful treasures and my new "favorite" apron.....You've really made my week!

September 10, 2008

Soothing Therapy, part 2

Here is some of my "culinary therapy" from the last 5 days. Nothing fancy, just some new recipes I've been wanting to try......

#1 Potato Crescent Rolls: the dough was made in one of my FAVORITE things, my breadmaker.

These were a big hit! Took half the batch to Daughters house and we ate all the rest here. They were incredible hot from the oven with lots of butter, and still delicious the next day split and toasted. This recipe is going in the next edition of the family cookbook for sure....

#2 Cold-pressed Coffee: 1/3 cup of medium grind coffee and 1 1/2 cups water in a jar with a lid. Let steep 12 hours. Strain, then put through a coffee filter.

Keep concentrate in the refrigerator. Poured over ice, this makes really great iced coffee! No bitterness at all because no heat was used. I usually like mine black, but with some sugar-free syrup and non-fat milk it's even better than STARBUCKS! I'm going to keep some of this in the fridge from now on...

#3 Cucumber Pickles: a co-worker brought some of these one day (her Grandfathers recipe) and I've been anxious to make some myself. I used those crunchy baby cukes from COSTCO that don't need peeling. Rice vinegar, sugar, water, and red pepper flakes.

Sweet, tangy, and spicy.......Cold, crisp, and delicious!!! Some of these are going to work in my lunch tomorrow.....

#4 A Luncheon for two long-time friends, their daughters, and a few grandkids:
My friends have been wanting to see Daughters new house, so Daughter and I put together a simple lunch for everyone at her house.....
Raspberry-Chipotle Dip: If your Costco carries this BBQ sauce GO GET SOME RIGHT NOW!! Put a block of cream cheese on a plate, pour this sauce over it, and serve with Wheat Thins. What could be easier?

I'm not kidding, you'll hear angels singing, this stuff is that good!!!! Supposedly this sauce is great on chicken and there's a recipe on the bottle for pork roast, which I keep meaning to try, but I keep using it all up on this appetizer. So quick and easy and everyone loves it! Well, everyone who loves spicy. It does have a kick to it.

Chinese Chicken Salad, Croissants, Iced Tea, Lemonade

Citrus Bundt Cake

It has been a LONG time since all of us were together and it was a perfect way to spend a Wednesday afternoon........

Working on all these projects has been good therapy for me.......I feel so much better!!

September 9, 2008

Soothing Therapy

There's nothing like completing a project of some kind to give me immense personal satisfaction!

When I'm feeling down in the dumps or stressed out or even just hormonal, working on, (and completing!) a project or two (or ten!) is real therapy for me. It can be a sewing project, something crafty, or even culinary, it doesn't matter which one. It's the sense of accomplishment that feeds my soul.

I've had a busy week..........
PROJECT #1: Chalkboard initials for each grandchild to hang on their bedroom door.

I painted around the outside edge of each letter with leftover paint from each of their bedrooms.

Project #2: Hairclips, barrettes, and a headband for #3's 8th Birthday. 3 and 4yr.old helped make these.

Some with flowers:

Some with bugs (yes....BUGS!) She loves bugs and thought these were "really cool".

She couldn't wait to wear them to school and see who would be the first one to ask if she knew she had spiders in her hair!

Project #3: Matching horse vests for the "twin cousins"

Project #4: "Leather" vest with tiger "skin" lining for Grandson (he chose the fabrics)

PROJECT #5: An Apron for my sister, the proud mother of a Marine (my nephew) who was in Afganistan 3 weeks ago, but is now in a hospital in San Diego with his back broken in 5 places, 2 broken ankles, some broken toes, and much pain and recovery in his future. The key word here is recovery. He will recover, praise the Lord! Even with all the thoughts and prayers and e-mails and phone calls, I felt like I needed to do something tangible, so as silly as it might seem to make an apron, it was therapy for me to make something for my sister. (Ellen, if you're reading this, I'm bringing it to you on Sunday)

I also spent some time in the kitchen doing some culinary therapy.......I'll post those projects tomorrow.

After cramming all this "therapy" into the last 5 days, I should be the sanest, most well-balanced person around, don't you think???

September 6, 2008


Now I know why I'm filling up the hummingbird feeders so much more lately (see here) .....

My poor hummers can't get anywhere near their breakfast today!

I had to quit taking photos because within about 30 seconds the feeders were completely covered and they were starting to notice ME!!!