Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Hectic September Reaps October Benefits

Just a quick update, coming to you from what is now known as the kid's computer.

We still don't have protection for the new PC so all 4 of us were tickled to finally be able to get the old PC hooked up again. I'm also anxious to get the new one protected, as well as getting it some speakers, and a printer (our old printer isn't compatable) so it is fully functional. In the meantime, the kids are thrilled to have a PC they can call their own, even if they have to let Ma and Pa borrow it on occasion.

It's been a busy week, actually, it's been a busy month! Honestly, I can't remember a time when I have felt so busy, even when I was working outside the home. In addition to trying to get things done around the house, reorganizing, finding places for things so everything can be "in it's place", trying to figure out priorities for remodeling.... I've been rushing to get as much laundry done as I could while the weather held. Thanks to the new washer I was able to get an amazing amount done, and my wardrobe has increased by an amazing amount. Pa's wardrobe has increased as well. Between the two of us we're finding that we now need to add yet another dresser to our bedroom. I'm hoping we might find a good one at the thrift store.

A huge thank you goes out to Marcia, who sent me some books, as well as a few treats for the kids, which they really appreciated. She did the lollipops up so cute as flower centers and she included a post-it pack she had covered. All adorable, and so clever!. Thank you very much, Marcia! Oh! And the books are great too! Pa was amazed when I actually managed to clear enough space on the bookshelves for them, before he even had time to grumble about it! LOL

More great news at our house. The part we needed came in. Pa was able to pick it up today, so hopefully I'll be happily cooking on my range once more by supper time tomorrow. I'm beyond excited about that! I can't remember the last time I was so eager to be able to use an oven!

Speaking of supper...Pa is fixing what promises to be our last meal prepared on the propane stove, and it's almost finished, so I'm outta here. Tomorrow I get to cook in my kitchen again! What a great way to start a new month!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Cyber Transition

It's raining here today, so we're spending time cleaning house, rearranging, sorting and resorting...

Fortunately, yesterday was a very nice day so I was able to get some laundry done, and the kids were able to enjoy some time outside. In addition to that, Pa and the kids managed to get some wood cut up, split, and stacked, so we're able to stay warm during the cool evenings, and early in the morning.

I'm not spending much time online right now, but am hoping all that will change by Friday, or Saturday. We're in a period of cyber transition, waiting for our AV to arrive,so we'll feel safer meandering around the internet. We're also holding out 'til tomorrow or Friday (doin' our best to limit out trips into town to once a week) to pick up the other things we need to get everything hooked up(such as the all important printer)to the new system. Really looking forward to being able to take full advantage of my new toy.

So...my apologies for my lack of updates. Just a couple more days and I should be posting regularly again, both here, and at my friends' blogs.

Hope you're all having a fun week!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Everything Is New Again

There's a reason today's update is so late.

Yesterday, we got our new PC all hooked up and lookin' purty on the desk. The monitor is beautiful! I just love it! I can actually see whole pages now, without one side or another getting cut off. I don't have to scroll back and forth to read entire sentences or to see a whole picture, one fraction at a time. Excellent! Not sure what it is, but somehow the keyboard seems more user friendly as well. I just seem to be able to type faster, and my hands seem to rest more naturally when using it. The hardrive is amazingly quiet. It just quietly purrs along. The new UPS is great as well. Very happy with our purchase!

There were a couple intial problems. First of all, we couldn't figure out where and how to hook up the printer. Secondly, we couldn't seem to go online. No matter what we tried, when we hooked the phone line into the new PC the line went dead. Obviously that wasn't going to work out!

This morning Pa called DELL, and the very helpful folks there explained where to hook the phone line in (he had it hooked into the broadband rather than the dial-up), and they were able to tell him what we needed to get our printer hooked up.

Now we're just waiting on a disc from our ISP so we'll have AV protection,so I can use my email again. Oh! And Pa needs to take another look to see where he went wrong in hooking our speakers up. It'll be nice to have some sound to go with all the really cool graphics I'm now being treated to. ;-)

This afternoon, the kids and I are heading out to the shop to get our other desk cleared off, and cleaned out so we can bring it inside. Then we'll be able to have both PC's running. While the kids are both enjoying the new games that came with our new OS, they're also anxious to have a computer they can call their own. I can't say that I blame them!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Busy Weekend

Since we had such a busy Thursday and Friday, we ended up needing to go to town yesterday. It wasn't near as busy as I expected it to be. Perhaps that was because we unknowingly managed to time our trip in about an hour after a parade had ended. One thing about living out here, we are often unaware of the celebrations going on in town.

We went to two stores yesterday, the first being the Grocery Outlet where we realized the largest savings yet. We spent just over $80, and saved over $100. Our Grocery Outlet has a drawing every two weeks. After checking out you have the option of tearing off the bottom of your reciept, which shows your savings, printing your name, and dropping it into the bin for the next drawing. If your name is drawn, you win the amount you saved for instore purchases. You bet we did it this time!

After leaving that store, we headed to Safeway where, among several other things, we purchased some split peas. Pa and I are both looking forward to split pea soup for dinner tomorrow evening. The kids are a bit pessimistic about the idea, but they'll eat it, and hopefully, they'll like it. It's been quite a while since we had split pea soup, so they don't remember whether they liked it or not last time around. Even if they did remember it wouldn't really matter as, when it comes to soup, beans, casseroles, or most anything I make, each time is a bit different, depending on what ingredients we may have on hand, as well as my whims.

Saturday Night At The Movies

Last night we had chicken for dinner, after which we all enjoyed the kids movie of the week. Beethoven was a fun film, which had the kids laughing thoughout. Ma and Pa were chuckling as well. The only negative comment about it was from Nathan, who verbalized something I've wondered at as well. Why is it, whenever a movie features a dog in some sort of defensive role, there always seems to be a scene where the dog goes for the groin? Yeah, sure, it always elicits the same, desired response, but it does seem to be a bit overdone. I'm thinking a different defensive move might be refreshing for a change.. Anyway, it was a fine flick, enjoyed by our 9 and 11 yr. olds, and I would recommend it for families with children in that age group.

After the kids went to bed, Pa was enjoying a rather substantial news night on the internet, so I chose to watch a film he didn't think he'd be all that interested in, The Man Without A Face, starring Mel Gibson.At first I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it either. It seemed an odd beginning, which I thought ran on a bit long, but as the movie progressed I found it contained good background for setting everything up. Just the same, I did think it went on a bit long. Once it got into the main portion of the story I really enjoyed it, and will give it 4 out of 5. It was touching, and I felt it contained some good lessons. It spoke of family relationships, judging others, and prejudices, as well as fear of the unknown. It was also a story of hope in the face of personal adversity.

Today, the weather is cooperating just enough that I can manage a load of laundry, which is just finishing up so I can get it all hung out to dry. Once that's done, I'll get my dishes done then we get my new PC set up! I also want to do some work in the garden, as well as some more organizing chores inside the house. I'm anxious to get all these things done so I can sit down and work on my knitting without feeling guilty about all those things calling my name.

Hope you all are having a fun Sunday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wow! Great White Shark!

Pa was listening to the scanner, a normal way to keep up on local news in this area. He heard what sounded like it might turn into an interesting tidbit.

Someone had called the State Police, saying he'd been fishing in Coos Bay, and had hooked what he thought might be a juvenile Great White Shark, and he'd like someone to stop by his house for a positive ID.

A bit later the Game Officer was heard over the scanner. He was letting the dispatcher know the outcome of the call. He verified that it was, indeed a Great White shark, and that it was sporting a foot and a half bite from another Great White Shark.

I'm guessing I know what the Headline in tomorrow's local paper will be.

One Step At A Time

We got a late start with out trip to town yesterday. We didn't leave the house 'til nearly 4, which meant we were not able to get everything done. The reason for our late departure had to do with my range. Pa decided to make a phone call, to make sure the part we needed would be available. More phone tag, which took up a good hour, and resulted in a negative response. It wasn't all bad though. It just wasn't immediately available. My range is still sitting in it's appointed place, happily enjoying it's extended vacation.

Once we managed to depart for town, Pa dropped the kids and me off at the library. He then headed off to the Post Office, as usual, then buzzed down to the shop where he could order the part for my range. The needed part will be here in a week to 10 days, at which time I hope my range will be happy to be of use once again. I'm looking forward to baking up a storm, including trying out some experiments that have been bouncing around in my head for months now. That poor oven won't know what hit it!

Once Pa joined us at the Library, we were off to Staples, where we acquired the new UPS for our new PC. The fellow there was extremely helpful, as they always are. We've always been impressed, and appreciative of the folks at Staples. Our new UPS is sitting beside me now, still in it's box. Since we'll be busy finishing our shopping chores today, setting up the new PC, along with it's partner, the new UPS will probably have to wait 'til tomorrow. Although I am beyond anxious to get it all set up, I figure I can wait one more day. If nothing else it gives me something to look forward to. The same applies to the situation with my range. I figure I've waited this long, what's another week or two. At least I'll have an oven to cook our Thanksgiving meal in, not to mention all the other goodies that go along with Autumn's cooler temperatures.

So, although we have a couple setbacks, they're temporary, and I'm happy knowing progress is being made. Slowly but surely, we're reaching our goals. So much to look forward to!

There's Excitement In The Air!

Pa managed to get the stove portion of my range working yesterday. He also made some calls, and figured out what we need to get the oven working! Hopefully, today we'll be able to get the part we need, an electrical gizmo, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by Sunday I'll be happily baking again.

We also have a new addition to our household. My PC has been showing it's age. It's slowing down, getting cranky and becoming a bit of a pain. Thanks to Nick, Kimmi's man of the house, we now have a new PC. Without Nick's expertise, and his willingness to share his talents, we wouldn't have had a clue as to what to purchase. He went to DELL, and while staying within our budget put together a system for us. I'm so anxious to get our new baby all hooked up and give it a test run! First though, we need to pick up a new UPS for it. Around here we don't dare count on electrical current without a bit of insurance. Again, hopefully before the weekend has ended, I'll be happily pounding away on my new keyboard, and being able to see everything on my monitor, rather than having it clipped off on one side or another. The kids have something to look forward to as well! Once we've got our new PC up and running, we'll be able to get this one set up for them.

New appliances, renewed use of my range,old clothing that feels like new all over again has me feeling a bit extravagent! It's all stuff we need, but still, it seems like so much in such a short period of time. Makes me feel almost guilty. Where's the frugality in all of it?

Actually, I can think of a couple frugal aspects. The range for instance will allow me to prepare more frugal meals. The washer is amazingly energy efficient! Not only does it use less power to run than the old one, but it uses much less water while cleaning more and cleaning it better! It also extracts so much of the water that it reduces drying time. Okay, that last point may not have much to do with dollar savings, but as they say, time is money ;-) The new PC may be the most difficult of all to find a frugal aspect. It will save me a lot of frustration though, and perhaps that will reduce the risk of health problems? Yeah, I know, that's a stretch. But we did hold on to this one for quite a long time by normal standards. That's gotta count for something! The clothes, well, I did purchase a few new items, but they were all on sale for a very good price, and most of my "new" clothing is actually not new at all! All costs were borne many years ago. I'm just giving them new life, which seems only fair as it feels like they're giving me new life as well :)

Due to Pa's work on the range, and the phone tag he needed to play in relation to that, we ended up putting off our weekly trip to town til today. The kids are anxious to get to the library and replace last weeks books with new ones to read this week. You already know what I'm looking forward to! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Here Kitty Kitty...Or Is It Pepe LePew?

Yesterday's entry was another classic morphing post. It started out as just another boring post about my daily chores, then something (in this case, the dresser) triggered sme memories. Like many other folks out there, I have many memories of my Grandparents, and naturally, yesterday's memories triggered even more.

On one of my many overnight visits to Grandma's house, the following morning was laundry day. Like me, Grandma enjoyed hanging her laundry out on the line to dry. She had a really cool clothesline. It was two large T poles, with several lines strung across, between them. Behind the clothesline was a beautiful little area that I always thought would make the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding. The backdrop for this small area was tall pines, and a hedge of natural vegetation, which seperated it from the equally wonderful, but much less manicured indigenous area beyond.

This particular morning, early, as Grandma and I set out to hang the laundry, I spotted a critter off to the side a bit. It was the size of a small cat. It had a rather pointed nose, and a long bushy tail. It's sleek fur was all black, except for one rather prominent long white stripe going down the length of it's body, on it's back. I knew immediately what it was, and excitedly pointed it out to Grandma, who I expect had to reach way down within herself for the strength to remain calm in her response.

It was too late to simply turn about and head back up the steps to the house. We were all but under the clothesline when the critter made it's appearance. Grandma told me not to worry, it was just a cat. I looked at her in wonder. Was she serious? Was it possible Grandma didn't recognize this creature for what it was? It didn't take me long to realize she was trying to calm me. She didn't want me to be afraid of the skunk, and possibly react in a way which might spook the little fellow into doing something we'd both regret.

Once I had determined Grandma's intentions, I decided to play along. Okay, It's a cat, so we can just go about our business. I wonder what she would've said if I had pushed it, and headed over to pet the harmless "cat"? Hehe. Of course, she had no way of peering into my mind to know I wasn't the least bit afraid. Rather, I thought it was kinda neat, seeing one of these wild creatures so up close and personal. I suppose I'd have reacted a bit differently had it raised it's beautiful tail and emitted it's self defense mechanism.

I don't remember for sure, but I expect Grandma found some excuse for us to return to the house for a bit, giving the "cat" time to finish his snooping and head on his merry way before we headed back out to hang the laundry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Journey Back Via The Laundry Basket

The last couple weeks I've been busy trying to catch up with laundry before the seasonal weather change. While I did have some catching up to do with our normal daily laundry, due to being without a washer for a bit, I also was working on bedding, so we'd have plenty of clean, fresh, aromatic sheets, blankets, etc. to snuggle in this winter, when I won't be able to use the outside line so much. I've also been going through clothing I've had in storage, some of it for years, that I am finally able to slink into again after so many years.

In the process of getting all those extras clean, I've managed to become a bit overwhelmed with my new abundance of clothing. My closet is crammed full. All my hangers, including the two bundles I recently purchased at the thrift store are being utilized, and I have more clothing that needs a home. What to do?

Cooler, damper weather has arrived, so I'm not doing any laundry for at least a couple days. That frees me up to accomplish some other goals. At the top of my chore list for today is heading out to the shop where I'll head directly to a dresser I've been meaning to get to for some time now. I will then set to going through the drawers, removing all those non-clothing related items we currently have stored in the drawers. Then I'll get it all cleaned up and enlist the help of Pa to bring it in. I'm guessing it will take all of 15 minutes to fill it up again, only this time it will be with items you would normally expect to find in such a piece of furniture.

I'm looking forward to bringing the old dresser in for a couple reasons. The first reason would be the most obvious, I need somewhere to store all my clothing, and free up some closet space (not to mention regaining the use of some hangers). Secondly, I have many fond memories of this particular dresser.

As a child, I was blessed to be able to enjoy many special times at my Grandparent's house. There were Saturday afternoons, Sundays after church, weekday afternoons after school, and of course many fun filled summer days. There were also sleepovers. I remember the comforting tick-tock sounds the clock made, as well as the hourly cuckoo as the figure emerged from it's hiding place to announce the hour. I remember Grandma being concerned the hourly "cuckoo" would keep us awake. It didn't bother me any though. I rather liked it.

There were the sights, sounds, and smells from the kitchen. Grandma loved to cook and bake. Her macaroni and cheese was the best! I've never managed to duplicate it. I've decided it must've been the cheese she got, delivered from the man in the big white truck, into the white box on her front porch. Her shrimp salad was also the best, and, again, although I assisted her many times, I just can't seem to duplicate it today. Grandma's cookie jar was always full, and it always contained a slice of bread to keep the cookies soft, just the way we liked them.

I also remember spending time in my Grandma's bedroom, and wondering at everything about it, from the bed, to the closet, to the furniture. I loved to sit on the cushioned stool in front of the dressing table with it's huge beautiful mirror. There was something about Grandma's house, and her bedroom in particular that seemed almost magical. My imagination could take flight there. I was a princess, a heroine, a beautiful maiden with flowing blonde hair, on a handsome white horse.....Or, I was just me, in a safe, comfortable place, just one room away from my Grandma's smiles and hugs.

After Grandma passed away, my sister and I were offered our pick of several items. One thing that was destined for Goodwill if not chosen was Grandma's bedroom set. I couldn't bear to think of all those memories just going away, always wondering what may have become of them, so I jumped at the chance.

After so many years, and multiple moves, the bedroom set is still with me, and after today, I will once again be able to gaze upon one piece, the dresser, every morning, every evening, and every time thoughout the day I happen to venture through the bedroom. I'm looking forward to revisiting the memories. I'm also looking forward to the day I will be able to bring the dressing table in, and gaze into the mirror once again. Perhaps, if I close my eyes, and think hard enough, I will be able to remember the image I saw staring back at me so long ago, and the feelings that went with sitting on that stool, in Grandma's magical bedroom.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We Cannot Tell A Lie

Early yesterday afternoon, Nathan surprised us by announcing it was time to do away with the big cherry tree. We've been considering cutting that thing down for several years. Although we all enjoy cherries, the most we've been able to enjoy from this particular tree was maybe 6 in one season. Even if we were able to find a way to reach those branches, high in the sky in order to harvest the fruit, the crows and the blue jays would beat us to them, even before they reached a level of ripeness which we would find pleasurable, so there really wasn't much point. All that tree was doing was blocking our view, and shading a portion of my garden areas.

Once it was determined the tree was going to go away, the kids and I set to work.It was hard work for sure! We huffed, and we puffed, and we did our best to push that old tree down! Finally, after pushing with all our combined might on one side, resituating ourselves and pushing from another side...

We heard a "CRACK!" we pushed some more, and with a mighty "WOOSH!" Our tree came tumbling down, as we shouted a merry, "TIMBER!!"we were able to celebrate our success. We had managed to topple the giant tree! The three of us were really quite proud of our accomplishment!

Pa let us enjoy our little celebration for a bit, then he reminded us of another picture which had somehow managed to sneak it's way into the camera lens.

The rest of the story:

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Satisfying Weekend

Alrighty then! Looking back a bit, it seems I've been slacking off a bit in regards to keeping my blog updated! Sorry 'bout that. I guess my beat the season chores have pretty much taken over. It's been a busy time for sure, but somehow, almost strangely satisfying, even enjoyable.

I forgot to mention on our trip to town on Friday, we found, and grabbed a small appliance I've been needing for quite some time at the Grocery Outlet. As much as I appreciated it, my old faithful blender was really starting to show it's age. The thing that bothered me most was the aroma of burning rubber it emitted most every time I used it. I was just tickled when I spotted the Black and Decker's with the glass containers for less than $40, Just about $20 less than normal retail. Saturday, we used the new blender for the first time. I used 2 of the 4 ripe bananas left over from the previous week, popped them in the blender, along with a bag (12 to 16 oz.) of frozen mixed berries, 2 cups of cold water, along with the powdered milk needed for 2 cups reconstituted, about 1/2 cup of sugar and gave it all a good whirl. The result was a wonderfully thick, refreshing afternoon pick me up that would give any restaraunt milkshake a run for it's money, at a fraction of the cost, not to mention the savings in gas to pick one up! As soon as the kids are finished with school, we'll be repeating the process today, only using a bag of frozen strawberries rather than the mixed this time around.

As far as my old faithful blender goes, well, I really can't bring myself to just toss it off to the side to be forgotten. It has served me well for many years after all, and somehow seems deserving of a better destiny than that. Rather we will be utilizing our old,rather tired blender for nonfood purposes, such as processing egg shells for gardening purposes, as well as other gardening needs. Nathan's thrilled about that. I figure we may be able to use it for school experiments as well. Perhaps we can finally get around to making homemade paper from recycled materials! I've been wanting to do that for a long time!

Yesterday was another busy laundry day. Still rushing to beat the autumn turn in weather. Today, more laundry. I'm now well into the clothing I had stored, those I couldn't bear to give up when I "grew" out of them so many years ago. It's so much fun running into old clothing, from so long ago, and all the memories they contain.

Last night Pa was in charge of dinner. He roasted a ham, and fixed Augratin potatoes which we had with a salad on the side. It was a wonderfully satisfying supper, with just the right comfort level for this time of year, when supper time coincides with rapidly dropping temperatures. I was also happy to note it was a bone-in ham, which I look forward to utilizing in a bean, or perhaps split pea soup later on.

My second load of laundry is just finishing up. Need to pop another load in and get this load outside to join the first load already enjoying the sunshine!

Hope you're all having a fantastic Monday!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September Chores And a Bit 'O Relaxin'

Sorry I've been MIA for a couple days. Just been busy. Lots o' laundry, reorganizing (and decluttering) the kitchen, working in the dining room, the living room, outside, tending the garden, planting garlic..... and, of course, all the while I've got plans bouncing around my head for future projects, It just never ends! Fortunately, most of it is enjoyable in one way or another.

Friday, we went to town, a day late. What a difference a day makes! We found Friday, most everywhere we went was much busier than Thursdays tend to be. We also found it a bit entertaining to note the comments from folks at the Library, and the retail shops we frequent. "Today's not Thursday!" "Where were you yesterday?" Most understood when we explained it was just too nice on Thursday to spend the day driving to town and spending most of our time inside their fine establishments.

Last week, "Clan Of The Cave Bear" drew me in so completely that I could barely wait to continue the saga. Friday, while at the library, I picked up the second book in the series, "Valley Of Horses", and began reading it that night. I'm really enjoying following Ayla's journey. The kids each filled their book bags to capacity for their weeks reading. Lindsay has been focusing on dog related books for quite some time. She must've finally realized we probably aren't going to be getting a dog any time soon. This week, she chose books related to hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits. We weren't surprised to note most of the books Nathan came home with were related to gardening.

Saturday Night At The Movies

This weeks feature event was brought to us by Netflix. "No Deposit, No Return", an "oldie", was an entertaining diversion for all four of us. The kids were laughing throughout the film, and Pa and I had our share of chuckles as well. Pa and I also enjoyed seeing some familiar faces from our youth, including Don Knotts, Barbara Feldon, and several others. Another thing I enjoy about the older films, we don't have to worry so much about content. Those were the days when family films were truly child friendly, while being entertaining enough for all. I have to wonder at what point it was decided that comedy relied on crude language, sexual undertones, and/or cruel jabs in order to be considered funny enough to be successful. Ah well. At least the classics are still available for viewing, and there are a few new releases that fit the bill.

Last night's bean night wasn't a complete success, but it tasted good. I was pleased to find my whole family enjoyed the flavor of my newest baked beans experiment. However, we have discovered it pays to be picky about the beans we purchase. Beans are one item we will not be scrimping on, purchasing from the grocery outlet. In the future, we will willingly pay the wee bit more it costs to purchase fresher from the regular groceries. Seems no matter how long we soak and cook them, the cheaper, older beans just don't soften up. I made a double batch, as usual, and despite their extra firm consistency, we did manage to consume half of them. The other half is now in the freezer, awaiting my hopefully magic transformation into something more satisfying the second time around.

The stovetop cornbread we had on the side was equally semi successful. Last time I made it, a good portion of the bottom was burned, so I decided to try experimenting to see if I could negate that aspect. Rather than pouring the batter directly into the dutch oven, I oiled another pan, which I then placed inside the dutch oven for baking. I also placed the pan off center from the flame, and turned it a quarter turn every 10 minutes or so. Proceeding in this manner resulted in a slightly slower cooking process, which was fine and , rather than being burned, the bottom was a lovely, slightly crunchy golden brown. Perfect! Only problem was, we weren't able to enjoy the whole bottom layer. It stuck! Next time, I think I'll try greasing the "inner" pan with shortening (or bacon grease) and dusting it with a bit of cornmeal before pouring the batter in. I'll get this figured out yet! At least I seem to be on the right track :)

My second load of laundry is about finished washing. Time to grab my basket and get it all out on the line so I can get my morning dishes done, and on to the next chore!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Vegemite Sandwich

After our entertaining laundry day on Monday, I only managed 2 loads of laundry yesterday. I was tempted to do a third load, and probably could've gotten away with it, had I made a load of lighter weight fabrics. but the first two loads were pretty much nothing but jeans so I chose to play it safe and keep it at 2 loads. Since we're doing our weekly trip to town today, I'll keep it at one load, but plan to make up for lost time tomorrow.

For some reason the last couple weeks have been quite busy for us. Just seems like we're constantly on the move, although most of the "moving" takes place on our property, if not in the house. I guess it's just that time of year, when we feel the need to get things done before the cooler, damper weather settles in for the season.

There's laundry of course, especially those items which are a bit larger and bulkier, taking up precious space when we attempt to dry them inside, so we try to get it all done when we're still able to take advantage of the suns rays. Since we tend to spend more time inside during the late fall and winter moths, we also like to start things out with a tidier interior. There are windows to be washed so we have a nice outside view, and should the sun choose to grace us with it's cheery rays we can more fully appreciate that as well. I'm also trying to get my kitchen and dining room areas reorganized, as well as my bookshelves, so I can bring in more of the books I want to be able to choose from for reading during the more stormy time of year.

All this activity tends to make one a bit more sleepy come late evening. At times, the extra level of tiredness tends to make me feel a bit goofy. I guess last night was one of those times. I headed to bed, and lay there, thinking of sleep as Pa joined me. We had watched a film earlier that struck us as humorous and that seemed to add to the silliness factor. Both of us were so tired, and we were attempting to shush each other, all the while keeping the jabber going. Finally, Pa simply said "goodnight". As I responded in kind, I thought that would be the end of it. But, no. Pa said it sounded like I said, "Mamite". He then asked if I had mites. The silliness continued.

For some reason "Mamite" brought up a memory for me that I simply couldn't shake. It reminded me of a song, which mentioned some sort of a spread which I understood was popular in Australia. For the life of me, I could not remember the name of this spread, or who sang it! I came up with all kinds of variations on this word, repeating them outloud to Pa, who was practically begging me to allow him to sleep.He asked me what it was. "Some sort of gooey black stuff you spread on toast" He suggested mollasses. I knew that wasn't it, but told him I figured it was a similar color and texture. "Marmalade?" he asked. "No. It's in Australia, not here, and it's black.

"Oh" Can we go to sleep now?"

Sleep? What an odd thing to consider at a time like this! I realize the clock is inching near midnight, but there's simply no way I'll be able to sleep until I solve this mystery!

I was quick to inform him that this was all his fault, for mentioning "Mamite". What was that foods name? Was it Marmite? No, that didn't seem right. "Mennonite" came to mind, but I knew that wasn't right.Perhaps Mamorite? No. That wasn't it. What song was it? Who sang it? "Men At Work"? I wasn't sure. I could just almost hear the tune in my head. Was it Phil Collins? "Da da de-dah da-ah" Hmmm. I think it was Phil Collins! Wait. I think I remember some words. Yes! I think it was "Who could it be now" Yes. I think that's it. I began singing the words to the tune as best as I could recall. Poor Pa. He did not recall the words. He did not remember the band, "Men At Work". He did recognize Phil Collins name. He wasn't really sure what this song had to do with "Marmomite". All he wanted to do was sleep. I finally told him I would leave him alone, but I may wake him if the name occured to me.Naturally he was relieved to hear this announcement!

The various possibilities of the name of this food prduct continued to tumble through my mind, as well as the lyrics, of which I could only remember the one line. At least I had a portion of the tune in my head now. Then it came to me, Something about a sandwich. Yes, a sandwich. A marmomite sandwich? No. mite though. Hmmm. Wait! That's it! Vegemite! It was a vegemite sandwich! I was so excited! Fortunately Pa was still awake when I remembered. He didn't seem quite so excited about my revelation as I was though. "It was a Vegemite sandwich!" Hmmm. "I'd really like to try some vegemite sometime. I should've had Kimmi get me some when she was there!"


Hehe. Poor Pa, By this time he didn't have a clue what I was going on about. "Vegemite! Australia! Kimmi could've gotten me some! I don't think it's to be found in The States. I wonder if it'd be good with peanut butter?"

"Oh. Goodnight"

"Goodnight", I cheerfully responded.

I fell asleep thinking about vegemite sandwiches.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Better Than TV!

It was a busy day at our Boondock home yesterday! It all started late Sunday afternoon, when Pa declared the new clothes washer was ready for it's initial test spin.

We all gathered in the bathroom, where we had set our new family member up. I measured a small amount of my homemade detergent into the proper receptacle, closed the drawer, pushed the power button, determined how to set the dial, then hesitated before pushing "start". I was nervous! The fellow who had helped us load the machine into the pickup had warned us if we didn't have everything unhooked, hooked up and leveled correctly our new machine could become quite violent! After taking a deep breath I pushed the button, and we all watched and listed as the water began trickling in, finally reaching the level where we could actually see it.

The glass door on our front loading machine is a smokey color, so in order to see inside we need to use a flashlight. Our flashlight got a lot of use on Sunday! We took turns positioning ourselves in front of the machine, squatting down, facing the beam of the flashlight in just the right direction so we could see what was going on. We were amazed at how little water the machine used. That made us a bit nervous, but we continued to watch for the 54 minutes it took for the machine to finish it's course. There were multiple oohs and aahs, and "look at it spin!" comments from each of us in turn, until it finally finished.

We left the room feeling quite impressed. Within a couple minutes time I decided I really couldn't wait until the next day. My family followed me in and watched as I loaded an incredible amount of laundry into the machine, once again measured detergent into the little drawer and pushed all the right buttons.

As the machine began doing it's job, which on Monday seemed to be the all important job of providing entertainment to the four of us, Lindsay plopped herself down in front of it, crossed her legs and shined the flashlight inside. I think she remained in that position for 20 minutes before I couldn't stand it any longer. She relinquished her position to me. I chose not to sit on the floor, opting to watch from a semi standing position (known at our house as "Sit-standing")

I was fascinated at the way this machine worked. It uses so little water, which it seems to manage to disperse through the clothing utilizing gravity. Then it began spinning. Wow! That thing can really spin! Even Pa was impressed! Once it was finished, and the light informed me my clothes were clean, I began pulling the massive load out. More amazement. As I pulled each item out, I was shocked, not only by the cleanliness, but by the lack of moisture in them. That thing had extracted so much water from the clothing that it was like they were halfway dry already!

Yesterday, I got an early start on laundry. It was a sunny day, but just the same, I was amazed at how much I was able to wash and dry out on my line. This is a king sized washer, and we filled it to capacity each time. At the end of the day I had managed to wash, hang, remove when dry and replace with more, 4 full loads of clothing! All but 3 of those items were completely dry. Those 3 items included one flannel sheet, one heavy comforter, and a pair of Pa's jeans. Even those items were close though, and considering they didn't find their way out on the line until after 5 PM I sure couldn't complain about that! At one point yesterday, I wandered into the bathroom in search of Pa. I thought I'd seen him go in there, but he was gone such a long time! I found him, fully clothed, sitting on the toilet, facing the washer, peering inside, just enjoying the show.

Today brought cloudy skies to our area, so we're taking a break from laundry. Last we heard the sun will be returning again tomorrow. You'll never guess what I have planned for tomorrow!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Merging Of The Greens

We just love our little bit of paradise in the boondocks, and tend to stay home and just enjoy all it has to offer, rarely venturing out other than for necessary trips to town, and the occasional visit to family.

With fuel prices, and the resulting rising retail prices of most everything else, it seems a lot of folks are doing pretty much the same thing these days. There are some obvious disadvantages in this situation for some local economies, while it may actually be a boon for other areas that don't normally benefit from the tourist traffic.

Another area that may benefit would be the online retailers. While we have, and will continue to utilize the web based retailers, partially due to lack of product availability in our small community, we are also conscious of the need to support our local merchants. It is with pleasure that we support those businesses at every personally viable opportunity. We also think globally when shopping. Our idea of thinking globally includes, and is dominated by ecological concerns.

However, we, as well as rather large portion of Americans these days, have another concern when it comes to our shopping habits. That concern would be personal economics. It bothers me when I want to support a local merchant, or when I desire to do the ecologically responsible thing, but am hindered by artificially inflated prices for these items. Yes, I realize that in many cases the items we are in search of will have higher base prices, but in many cases it would seem they are multiplied many times over before they reach the consuming public.

Someone on a board I often visit once asked how one might encourage others to make more green choices. As with any other product, I believe the answer lies in some pretty basic concepts.

Availability! This does not just mean it's out there, waiting to be purchased in sufficient quantities. It also means it needs to be financially available to an economic base of folks beyond those in the top 10%. If someone wants to purchase a quality shopping bag that will be usable for the long term without breaking down, in order to reduce the amount of paper or plastic bags they use (provided for free in most places) then it needs to be available for a reasonable price. Same goes for "green" cleansers, food storage containers, and most anything else you can think of. Then there's the most basic of our needs, food. I can see where it may be a bit more expensive to produce organic edible products, but, again, I'm not wholly convinced those extra expenditures warrant as high a price as I'm seeing at the retail level.

I'm not saying these products should be artificially lowered. I do realize the providers of these products need to see a profit, but neither do I think they should be overpriced as a specialty item, making them available only to those in a higher income bracket. If those who are manufacturing these products, and those providing access to them are truly ecologically concerned, as they would have us believe, then I would think they would want to provide these products to the largest customer base possible, and common sense would seem to dictate that would be those in the lower 90%. I'm also thinking this may be one of those times when selling more for a lower, more affordable price may ultimately provide a higher income than fewer at a higher price.

Quality! While the products do need to be financially viable, they also need to be of good quality. A durable shopping bag, cleaning products that actually work, well constructed, strong storage containers, with the features that make them useful.

Aesthetics! While green alone is fast becoming the "hip" thing, we gotta face facts. "Cool" will always be a factor, especially if we want to encourage our younger population to get involved. I'm not seeing any reason why organic, reusable, and ecologically sustainable needs to be ugly, or "blah".

To keep up with the theme, my usual weekly feature is brought to to you by our Public Library, a local economical and ecologically sound resource ;-)

Saturday Night At The Movies

Last night, we watched a film Pa had been wanting to see for some time. Bee Movie, an animated tale featuring the voice of Jerry Seinfeld, as well as many other recognizable names, was an entertaining film for all four of us. The kids enjoyed it on one level, while Pa and I were able to appreciate the little morsels directed more to the "grown-up" viewers. This film is rated PG, and due mostly to a couple brief scenes which may be disturbing to younger audiences, I would have to say it is a good rating. If your children are a bit older, (mine are 9 and 11) then I'd say it's fine family fare, with something entertaining for the whole clan.

Today, Pa is going to perform the final steps required to get my washer up and running. I am beyond excited about it! I'm also pleased to note the weather guessers are predicting some great laundry drying weather for the next few days. My clothes line is going to get a workout this week! I'm looking forward to breathing in that wonderful aroma that only line drying can give. Aaaah. I can almost smell it now!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Another Great Award!

Thank you very much, Marcia, at HDMacs Crafty Blog And More, for this wonderful, and fun award!

I love the story behind this award, and am honored, as a recipient, to be included in the blogroll associated with it!

I am equally honored to be able to pass this award on to 3 blogs, and their authors that I find to be exceptional. I do have to say it was difficult to choose just three, as there are many that I enjoy, but choose I must, so here goes..

First I would like to bestow this award on Alexandra, at Happy Hearts at Home. Alexandra's Blog is one you just have to see for yourself to appreciate. Hints, tips, freebies, and some great old-fashioned printables are all generously shared, as well as some fantastic resources for Homeschoolers! I have to be careful when I visit her site, as I could easily lose myself in it for hours!

Connie, at Play Wit Me Nana, is another I would like to pass this award on to. Connie does a wonderful job of sharing her life experiences with her delightful and quite talented Granddaughter. Even my children enjoy peeking at her blog on occasion, seeing some of the masterpieces Kenzie has created. I'm also looking forward to the arrival of her next Grandchild. The adventure continues!

I'm rounding off my list with Dorothy, at Grammology. She describes her Blog with the words, "Hip Wisdom", and I can't think of a better description. She is an incredibly inspiring lady, who has passed through, and conquered the challenges and trials life has thrown at her with such strength and grace that I am left in awe. She shares her trials, and her human weaknesses, as well as the lessons learned from it all. I am truly grateful to her for sharing so freely, and for the imparting of her "hip wisdom"

There are some rules that go along with this award, that I need to post:
1) If you receive the "Rock on Sistah Friend" award, you must post the button on your blog (in sidebar or in a post), and link back to Color Me Untypical.
2) Let me know if you receive the award from someone, so I can add you to our Sistah's Who Rock Blogroll, and give them my personal "Rock On Sistah Friend!"
3) In the post on your blog, you must give the award away to 3 other Sistah's who you think rock. Post links to their blogs, why they rock, and post the rules to the award. Also, let them know you've given them the award so they too can celebrate themselves and pass on the love.

These three blogs, as well as Marcia's, where you can find some great crafts, recipes, organization tips, and heartwarming family stories, are all well worth a visit. I hope you do drop by, and be sure to take a moment to say hello while you're there!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine

Yesterday, our weekly Library and shopping day, took a different turn. The kids and I started out at the Library, as usual, while Pa made his run across the street to the Post Office. I was tickled to learn the History books I had ordered for school had arrived. After leaving the Library, we veered from our normal routine. Rather than grocery shopping, Pa and Nathan dropped Lindsay and me off at the mall, while they headed off in another direction. It seems the male half of our family really isn't nearly so interested in mall happenings as Lindsay and I are.

For some reason, this last week has been a difficult one for me. I just haven't been feeling quite so happy go lucky as usual. Yesterday's trip to the mall, accompanied by my youngest daughter was just the thing to shake me from my doldrums. We started out at the restroom which it turned out was a very good thing! Our next stop was at Macy's, a store we seldom even bother glancing at. We tend to be of a more frugal mind than that shop allows. This time though, we were in a mood to try something a bit different, maybe get a taste of how the other half lives. Once inside we headed to the women's undergarment section. I'd been curious about the shapewear that seems to be all the rage, and there was quite the selection to choose from. I grabbed a few different styles and Lindsay and I headed to the fitting room. Fortunately, we were the only customers in that area.

The first piece a tried on, a cami was entertaining. I slipped it over my head, and attempted to pull it down. It wasn't cooperating. Finally, I figured out a hook had grabbed on in the back, where I couldn't reach it. Fortunately, Lindsay was with me and, doing her best to control her giggling, reached up and unhooked it, leaving me able to pull the garment down and into place. It fit okay, except for the top portion, which was too small. I managed to remove the garment with minimal difficulty, and we headed out to grab a couple more sizes to try. That's when the fun began!

I tried the next garment on, another cami. This one went on a bit easier.Naturally, the top portion of this one was too big. I decided to go ahead and hook the crotch anyway, just to see what I thought of the general fit. As leaned over, my glasses slipped off. Lindsay began giggling again. After repeated attempts at hooking, and keeping my glasses in place, I began chuckling. Lindsay's giggles had become laughter. Then came the removal. I gently began to pull it over my head.Then something odd happened. It stopped. It only made it part way over my head. The rest of the garment was stuck just below my shoulders. There I was, bent over at the waist, with this large, very strong rubber band stuck at my shoulders, dangling over my head, with my arms stuck hanging out beyond the dangling portion. Lindsay was laughing again. I said "Uh-Oh!". Her laughter became louder. As I attempted to wriggle out of this odd position, I gasped, as quietly as possible, "Oh No! I'm stuck!" My laughter joined Lindsay's, and soon, with me still in this rather strange, contorted position we were both laughing uncontrollably. She was standing against the door, as it didn't have a working lock. She tried to help me out of my impossible situation, pulling at one end with all her 9 year old might, to no avail. That made us laugh even harder! She was laughing so hard she could barely remain in a standing position. Fortunately, the bench was directly behind me, as I too was laughing so hard I could no longer stand. I fell back onto the bench. Somehow, while laughing so hard tears were welling up, and Lindsay holding her stomach from the pain of it all, I managed to wriggle out of my self imposed elastic torture chamber.

It was then we heard a voice from the other side of the door. The woman's voice sounded rather confused as she asked, "Is everything alright in there?" I somehow managed to choke back the laughter long enough to answer in the affirmative, before Lindsay and I both broke out laughing again.

As we exited the fitting rooms, and I replaced the garments in their original, undisturbed positions on the racks, the woman looked at us. She smiled as she commented that she had never heard anyone have so much fun in a fitting room before. Lindsay started laughing again as I responded, thanking her, and telling her it was fun. We walked through the doors of Macy's with no bags in our hands.We had spent nothing. What we left with was worth far more than money could buy. The smiles never left our faces the rest of the day, and we were still sharing some giggles over the whole ordeal this morning. I think I'll accept my 9 year olds words of wisdom. She says I'm already skinny, so I really don't need that sort of thing.

Of course, upon returning home I remembered reading somewhere that the way you don this sort of apparel, is to step into it, pulling it up, rather than attempting to pull it down over your head. Ah well. That wouldn't have been nearly as much fun!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This That And The Other Thing

For some reason I wasn't feeling inspired yesterday. There was actually plenty to talk about, but I couldn't seem to put it down in words.

Monday, Labor Day was a good day for us. We just hung around the house and relaxed for the most part. Of course the kids idea of relaxing was a bit more energetic. The neighbor girl came down for a bit, and they had a fine time running around, spending some of the excess energy they always seem to have.

Naturally, being Labor Day, we had to have a BBQ for supper. Pa cooked up some chicken, which turned out wonderfully as usual. We had scalloped potatoes and Deviled eggs with it. For some reason deviled eggs are a prerequisite for any holiday meal, fancy or casual, and according to Lindsay, they are never complete until I sprinkle them with "the red stuff", otherwise known as paprika.

The kids enjoyed having the extra day off from school on Monday, but yesterday it was back to school. Pa and I have noticed the kids seem to get along better on school days. They normally get along pretty good, but after a weekend off from school, they seem to need the focus that school brings to start their days.

Night before last I finally managed to finish "Undaunted Courage". What a great book! Once I finished that, I headed over to the bookase and scanned it for my next selection. I finally chose "The Clan Of The Cave Bear", by Jean Auel. I figured Nathan had read it, and enjoyed it so much that perhaps I should give it a try. I finished the first chapter and started on the second. While I understand why my then 10 year old son enjoyed it, I am also awed at his ability to read, and comprehend it.

Fall is on it's way. The evening, and early morning temperatures are dropping, and the day time highs don't seem to last quite so long. I'm rather looking forward to evenings spent curled up on the couch, watching a favorite show, or reading a good book as I feel the warmth, and hear the crackling from the woodstove.

As Fall approaches, and we anticipate the cooler crisp air, the rich colors the season brings, we also wonder at what this winter will bring. At the same time we are planning ahead to next Spring. Nathan has been immersing himself in various gardening books. In addition to his greenhouse plans, he is learning about, and planning to utilize his new knowledge in Fall and Winter soil preparations, including Fall cover crop plantings, meant for enriching the soil, and if I understand him correctly, we may even realize some edible winter treats from some of it! That boy knows as much as I do about gardening now, and more! He's already teaching me new things. It makes me wonder anew at what he may grow up to do. Whatever it is, I've no doubt he will do it with enthusiasm.

The kids have finished with school for the day, and are now requesting lunch, and so I will wish you all a happy midweek, with hopes that I will be able to come up with a more focused update for tomorrow!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Wonderful Award

Thank you so much, Alexandra from Happy Hearts At Home for this wonderful award, which means so much to me!

With gratitude I am pleased to pass this award on to some fantastic ladies who have been so generous in leaving great comments on my blog!

Marcia, at HDMacs Crafty Blog And More

Connie, at Play Wit Me Nana

Dorothy, at Grammology

My sister Carol, at Too Many Hats

And last, but certainly not least, my daughter Kimmi, at Musings Of A Pastry Case

Thank you all so much for your support through your comments. You've made me smile, and you've made me laugh. I am truly grateful to each of you!

Weekend Catch-Up

Happy Labor Day!

So far our Labor Day weekend has been quiet, calm, and uneventful, as expected. As with other holidays, we stayed home, preferring the quiet our property affords us to the hustle and bustle of the tourist traffic.

Yesterday, for whatever reason Lewis and Clark, and the history of our State name was on my mind, so I neglected to give my usual movie review. So, a day late but, since it is a long weekend for most, hopefully not too late, I'll do it now!

Saturday Night At The Movies

This week's featured event was Nanny McPhee,starring Emma Thompson and Colin Firth, and featuring another favorite actress, Angela Lansbury. This was a movie we had seen in the racks at the Library many times, but for some reason had passed over. Not sure why, but it seems those are the ones that end up being the most entertaining for us. This film was no exception. At first I was a bit put off by the comparison made on the container, "The new Mary Poppins". Certainly nothing could ever replace that classic from my youth! By the end of the movie, my opinion hadn't changed, but I did have to admit, it came close.

The children portrayed in this film were more unruly than the two in Mary Poppins, and there were more of them. Perhaps the ones in Mary Poppins would've been more rambunctious as well if their numbers had been larger? Both films portrayed some magical moments, but while the older film incorporated the magic into fun and frolic, for the most part the newer version's magic was utilized as a tool to keep the kids in line. There were definitely some laughs to be had from it's use in the second though, and lessons to be learned. Both Nathan and Lindsay enjoyed the film, although Nathan thought the ending a bit mushy. At 11 years of age, "Almost a teenager!" romance is considered a bit "yucky". That's fine with me. I'm rather hoping he'll hold on to that notion for awhile! ;-)

Pa and I weren't so taken with our choice of movies for the evening. We really couldn't find any complaint abut it though, it just wasn't quite what we had in mind. Since I can find neither fault nor praise for it, I'll review a movie we watched earlier in the week instead. Martian Child, starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Bobby Coleman, and costarring an actor I enjoy, and you may recognize from "West Wing", Richard Schiff, was enjoyed by both of us. It is a story about a boy who had been abandoned by his parents, withdrawn and spending his days in a box, and the widower who took him in, resulting in multiple rather unique challenges for all involved. It is a story of love and acceptance, perhaps even honoring differences. It was at once humorous and touching, and provided a valuable lesson no matter your age. Due to subject matter which may be confusing, or even troubling for younger children, I would not recommend this film for family viewing, but I do not recall any of the usual things that would normally warrant a PG13 or R rating.

Dining In

Saturday night is rapidly becoming bean night at our house. This week was no exception. As previously mentioned, I chose to experiment with a version of Bean and Bacon Soup this week. It turned out quite good, but not quite perfect. I'll be making a few changes next time I make it, and hopefully will find it good enough to post the recipe at that time. Last night Pa fixed dinner. He prepared pork chops, marinated then grilled outside with the addition of some fresh alder twigs. The result was a wonderful smoky flavored sensation that I am still relishing. This evening Pa is playing chef again. This time he plans to do chicken on the grill. I need to put my thinking cap on and come up with a yummy side or two to go with it. This will be a holiday meal after all!

A happy Labor Day to all, and Prayers for the safety of all those in Gustav's path!