Monday, October 31, 2011

It's The Great Pumpkin!


Last night was Jack o'Lantern carving time in our home.

Each kid (the Princess, the Little Man, and the Nieces) gets a pumpkin.  This process is interesting enough to watch on its own.  Will the pumpkin be picked for its roundness?  Having a unique shape?  Flawless flesh?  Because of the size?  Each child has his or her own criteria for the perfect jack o'lantern pumpkin.

The next step of course involves choosing just the right design for each jack o'lantern.  Silly or Scary?  This might be determined quickly.  Or it might involve great amounts of time pouring over jack o'lantern templates online to find just what fits the mood one is seeking for this year's creation. 

Then the fun really begins... 
The scoring of the design into the pumpkin flesh. 
Opening it up, and diving elbow deep into the heart of the pumpkin. 
Scooping out the strong smelling, stringy, slimy guts. 
And separating out all the seeds for roasting. 
Carefully cutting out the design.

And then finally... Finally... the moment of truth.  Carrying the finished product outside into the dark night and lighting the candle to reveal your finished Jack o'Lantern.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Purr-fect Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

"This Moment" is a ritual I found through  Just My Thoughts  By way of Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Reese's Halloween

If you know me personally, you know I am a big admirer of the Reese's peanut butter cup.  OK... to be honest - saying I'm a "big admirer" may be more than a little bit of an understatement.  

But even better than the original Reese's cup are a few of its off-spring.  There is that tasty treat which I believe is the resulting love child of a mating between the Reese's Cup and a Snickers bar - the Nutrageous.  Chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, peanuts.  A sweet little taste of complete deliciousness.  Mmmmmm

And then there is that Reese's miracle that only shows up at this time of year... 

The Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkin!

Oh sweet Halloween!!!  Of all the candies weighing down the shelves at the stores - this has to be the best.  It has that perfect ratio of chocolate to that Reese's peanut butter.  It's cleverly available for a limited time, meaning I must get my fix while I can.  They are irresistible to me.

Or, it was.  This year there is "The Rash"  And along with that rash comes the suspicion that peanuts may be the culprit behind its appearance.  The last time I had a major outbreak I had eaten a peanut butter sandwich earlier in the day.  And the last time I allowed myself a few bites of that tempting little confection shown above - I got a small patch of the rash around my eye.

This likely means the end of my relationship with the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  And all it's delightful little spin off treats as well. 

Si i i i i i igh....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Grandkid's First Halloween Costume

Happy Halloween!!

Musical Interlude

As I sat folding the newest basket of seemingly endless laundry this afternoon, my world was filled with music. 

Softly it drifted down the hallway from where The Little Man was in his room practicing on his guitar. 

At times it was slow and tentative.  Single notes.  Awkwardly moving from chord to chord.  Practicing new skills

At others it was confident.  His fingers moving swiftly and surely.  Strong notes as entire lines of music filled the air.

As I paused to listen, I was impressed by how far his skills have come in just about 2 months of lessons.

Taking time from my busy day to enjoy the gift of music he didn't even realize he was sharing. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Colorful Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

"This Moment" came to me via Just My Thoughts .  Check out her blog, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Cold Day

It's a cold day. 

One of those first cold days of autumn to remind me that winter isn't far behind. 

The kind of day when gray clouds drift across the blue background of the sky.  The wind whistles past the windows, and sends the autumn leaves dancing through the air. 

A good day to have a mug of soup for lunch.

Or curl up with a cup of hot tea and a good book.   

Or maybe some coffee and something on the Netflix. 

Or some warm mulled cider and a crochet project.

The type of day that leaves me looking forward to the cold evening to come.  Some warm pj's, my favorite fluffy robe, and snuggling up to The Man of the House.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One of Those Days

It's been one of those days.  And that's not a bad thing.  Today I feel pretty good about what I have accomplished.  Which isn't always the case.

It started this morning when I got up after only hitting the snooze button one time.  Not the usual 2 or 3 (or more) times I usually go through before finally dragging out of bed.  I got the boy off to school, started a beef stew in the crock pot, got ready for work, stopped on the way for gas, and managed to get to in on time. 

At work, for the first time in a long time I am pleased with the things I managed to complete today.  There is always still plenty to be done, as usual.  But I was able to mark several things off the constant "To Do" list today.  And it felt pretty great to see the list actually shrink today!

When I arrived home, the delicious smell of that stew filled the house.  It feels really good to know there is a nice, hearty meal ready for my family and I don't have to worry about it now; but can actually relax!  And relax I will, once I fold this basket of laundry I just took out of the dryer to make room for a new load. 

Was it a busy, stressful day?  Nope!  But it was fruitful.  And I don't feel exhausted and tense for once.  Yep.. today was a good day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sweet Surprise

While cleaning the bedroom today and straightening up my nightstand,  I decided to store the power cord for my Nook in the center storage compartment when not in use.  As I opened the small doors, I was greeted with a sweet surprise.  There - tucked toward the back was a clear plastic baggie, with several pieces of saltwater taffy inside!  Forgotten leftovers from our family vacation to the Outer Banks this past summer.

My mind was immediately transported back to relaxing, warm days on the beach, the sound of the waves in my ears, the sun soaking into my skin.  The taste of fresh seafood dinners.  The family fun exploring lighthouses, searching for the remnants of shipwrecks, and standing on the replica Queen Elizabeth II at Roanoke Island Festival Park.  And of course - the joy of the moment when finding Orangesicle salt water taffy at Forbes. 

It was a true moment of serendipity.  A pleasant reminder of those happy memories. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Change of Perspective

It's so simple to focus on the negativity around you.  To get frustrated by the little stuff that drives you crazy.  To be annoyed by the things other people do.  But finding something to focus on other than that negative trigger, can turn it into a different story.

Today I found myself sitting in traffic.  I don't know why it should surprise me.  It's leaf season around here.  And that particular area of town is a tourist hot spot.  As I sat through the red light for the second time, it would be very easy to get frustrated and impatient. 

Instead I found myself admiring the way the sunlight reflected off the yellow and red leaves of the trees by the road.  And watching the ladybugs fluttering about.  (yes, I know they are Japanese beetles, but to me they are still "ladybugs")  And something amazing happened.

I wasn't tense, or frustrated, or annoyed.  I would even go so far as to say I was actually enjoying my time sitting there waiting for the light.  In fact, I was a bit disappointed when we started moving again.

It's all a matter of perspective.  Enjoy the view.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Making A List... Checking It Twice

It's that time of week again.  Time to make the grocery list for the week.  Seems easy enough, right?  Figure out what you want to eat for the week.  Make a list of what you need.  But leave it me to make it a little more of a challenge than that!

It starts out with deciding what to prepare for the upcoming week.  This portion of the process alone can take quite a while. There are many things to consider.   What do I already have in the freezer, pantry, and cabinets that can be used?  What do I have coupons for?  What am I in the mood to make that the rest of the household will eat?  That is easy, delicious, and nutritious?  What is not going to take long to fix on nights after I work?  Nights there are softball games, classes, and lessons scheduled. 

Sometimes this is more of a challenge than others.  Some weeks I'm bored with the recipes I usually create.  Some weeks nothing sounds good when I am making the list.  Some weeks I just draw a complete blank!

Then of course, it's time to consider breakfasts.  And lunches.  Especially for those of us spending the mornings rushing to get off to work and school.  It has to be easy, filling, and portable.  The portable part refers to lunches, but now that I think about it - I often have breakfast in one hand as I head out the door for work.

And there are the other needed items.  Toiletries, personal care items, paper goods, etc.  I have to go through the entire family and ask "What do you need from the store?"  Sometimes more than once because often the first response is "oh, I don't know".

Through all of this, I'm still looking through my collection of coupons and looking for where I can save a little off the total.  I go to the coupon websites I frequent to check what I can print for the week.  I dig through my coupon stash. 

Finally I get everything organized and ready to go.  Of course once I get to the store I'll realize I forgot to check if I needed something.  Sometimes I don't realize I forgot until later in the week when I actually need it.  Or sometimes while at the store I'll find a great deal on something that I can't pass up.  Especially if it's something nonperishable or something I can freeze.  But in the end it all comes together and my family has it's needs met for another week.

Mmmm hmm.. suddenly not as easy as it sounds - is it?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Big 4-0

This past weekend The Man of the House arrived in a new decade of life.  The world has experienced 40 years of kindness, generosity, and joy. 

I made the butterscotch cupcakes with butterscotch-maple frosting he requested.  I took him out to dinner Saturday night.  And arranged for some family and friends to join him for pizza and watching the football games on Sunday.  And just generally tried to let him know how much I love and appreciate him.

Happy Birthday to my handsome hero!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Which Came First, The Chicken or the Egg

In our house, the chickens came first. 

But now we have an egg! Our very first one!!  I'm pretty sure our pioneer layer is Medusa as she was still standing on the edge of the nesting box when I went out to check on the Girls.  I am so excited, I could just pop!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Saga of the Rash Continues

It's back.  That dang rash!  It started back up yesterday afternoon.  And is in all its red and itchy glory today.  As far as rashes go, it's lovely.  The stuff dermatologists and allergists probably love to see coming through the exam room door.  As for the affect it has on me and my appearance...  not so lovely.

This is the main body of the rash currently.  Although there are also patches below my other eye, on my neck, and my upper chest. 

It's frustrating.  I'm trying to narrow down what could possibly be causing it.  I think we can rule out poison ivy or any of her cousins, as I have not been near anything like that recently.  And this started before the Girls (chickens) came to live with us, so I can't blame it on them.  I'm starting to seriously consider a food allergy.  Yesterday I had a peanut butter sandwich.  Could it be celiac rash?  My mother has a gluten intolerance.  And that could explain why it comes and goes if it's based on my wheat intake.  Could it be a peanut allergy?  Maybe?  Who the heck knows anymore?!?!

All I know for sure is that it itches like CRAZY.  It's embarrassing.  And annoying.  And I am sick and tired of it!

Now, if you'll excuse me - it's time to take my next dose of Benedryl.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NOT Woman's Best Friend

I was heading out into the yard to hang a few things on the clothesline and rinse out the litterboxes.  There sat the dog at the top of the stairs, whining and giving me those big brown puppy dog eyes.  How could I resist?  I agreed to take him out with me and put on his leash.  What could go wrong? 

Well, I could have a diabolical canine with plans of his own on the other end of that leash.

Within moments of getting out the back door, he manages to slip out of his collar and run off.  Requiring me to hop in the car and chase him all over the neighborhood, trying to coax him into the backseat.

While he runs around peeing on every stationary object he finds and blantantly ignoring me.

And it is such a lovely day - I just know the neighbor's windows are open and they are hearing my pointless and increasingly desperate and frustrated cries of "here boy... wanna go for a ride?... please get in the car!... c'mon boy, let's go for a ride!... want a treat?.... c'mon, get in the car. how about a cookie?... GET. IN. THE. CAR!!"

Finally, I manage to get his collar back on and get him into the car and back to the house. Thanks to the help of a few neighborhood kids. Who are probably still laughing at the crazy lady with the disobedient dog.

And the dog now naps on the back deck, basking in the sun.  Probably dreaming of his grand adventure.

That Kind of Day

I expected it to be cold when I stepped outside.  It was cold yesterday morning.  It was cold earlier this morning.  I was pleasently surprised. 

It is a perfect day outside.  Crystal clear blue sky, comfortable temperatures in the 60's, a slight breeze stirring the tree tops.  The kind of autumn day I dream about.  The kind of day that calls to you to get out of the house.  Or at the very least to open all the windows and let the fresh fall breeze air out the house.

The type of day that makes you want to head into the woods for a long hike. The kind of day that calls for a long drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway where you take dozens of pictures of the leaves changing colors. The kind of day to go pick apples or pumpkins. The kind of day to grab a book and sit out on the deck soaking up the sunlight.

It's just that kind of day.

Using the Spell Chick

There are some things the Spell Check just isn't ever going to catch.  Like when the word you wanted to type is mis-spelled, but is still technically a correct word.  For example..

when you type "milk" instead of "mild"

Or "her" instead of  "here"

Or "fund" rather than "find"

Or "word" when you meant "world"

Your "error" is actually recognized by Spell Check as a legitimate word and will not be corrected.  Until minutes, hours, days, or weeks later you look over what you wrote more carefully and realize what happened.  Thanks Spell Check, for skipping over these errors and letting the entire world know that sometimes my fingers type faster than my brain can work.  This is what I get for allowing technology to do my proof-reading for me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

That's What They Say

I got my flu shot this past Friday.  Yeah.  Bravo.  Big pat on the Back for the Queen B.

I haven't gotten a flu shot in years.  Not since they convinced me to get one, despite my fears and misgivings.  And wouldn't you just know it.. that February a case of influenza knocked me right out.  Which infuriated me.  I got the shot and still had a raging case of the flu?  Well, that won't happen again!  And I've been boycotting the shot ever since.

But this year, the Man of the House and I made the decision that we and the Little Man will get the shots.  Seems like a good preventative move, with the Princess's Tadpole due in the middle of flu season.  Got to do what we can to help keep him healthy.  So, when they made the yearly offering at work - I filled out the paper work and got into line.  I gritted my teeth, fought down the mild panic attack that occurs each time I think about a needle piercing my skin, bared my arm and offered it up to the nurse administering the vaccine.

I know what they say.  You can't get sick from the flu.  It's made with dead virus.  And the logical part of my brain believes it.  But there's still that other part of my brain.  The part that boycotted the shot after managing to get the flu despite having the vaccine.  The irrational part of my brain.  Or maybe it's not my brain.  Maybe it's the stuffiness in my head making me think otherwise.  Or my sore throat.  Or lack of oxygen to the brain from the coughing.  Maybe...

And it's most likely a coincidence that almost everyone in the office that received the vaccine last Friday is complaining of the same symptoms.  The more likely scenario is that someone else in our staff meeting that same day was either sick or getting sick and shared the germies with the rest of us. 

Because you can't get sick from the flu vaccine.  That's what they say...


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