Sunday, July 31, 2011


On our trip to Leavenworth from Wenatchee, we stopped into one of the shops for a free wine tasting. It ended with us buying a couple bottles because we wanted more.

While enjoying the wine last night seemed like a good idea, surrounded by family and having a good time talking and catching up with each other and yelling at the kids to stop doing whatever it was that they weren’t supposed to be doing, this morning I feel slightly dehydrated. Perhaps I should’ve been drinking more water in this dry climate. I certainly wasn’t thinking that while drinking that last glass of huckleberry Riesling. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be needing a couple extra cups of coffee this morning to get me out of this funk.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Old Family Recipes

Sometimes going through old recipes is a great thing to do to preserve a little bit of history. Other times, hilarity ensues.

My cousin Leslie decided she wanted to make a family cookbook from our grandmother’s old recipe cards, however she forgot her laptop. Enter me, who brought his. For five hours yesterday afternoon we transcribed recipe cards with her reading them while I typed them up. While some were, well, pretty easy to decipher, some required a special decoder ring or something to figure out what she meant.

Without the decoder, we relented to the fact that we’d just have to use our best judgment until grandma got back from the store, which sometimes was fine and other times started laughing fits that wouldn’t end. Take her recipe for doughnuts for instance. Everything is meticulously measured out until you get to the flour which just says ‘flour’. Nothing else. Now, to me, I interpreted this to mean keep adding flour until a soft dough forms, which is the end result for the dough according to the slight instructions. Upon asking her, the assumption was correct, but still we thought it funny that no measurements were there. Same thing for German Pigs in a Blanket that simply called for hamburger, onion, rice, salt and pepper and to wrap them in cabbage leaves, secure with a toothpick, and cook in boiling sauerkraut with water. No measurements required whatsoever.

Sometimes the words wouldn’t look like they were supposed to, as in a stuffing recipe that called for half a sausage roll and in parentheses has what we all thought was half eh? It turned out to be half pound. And every time ham would be mentioned as a substitute for sausage or bacon in a recipe, a side note was added to add some cooking oil to keep it from being dry.

I still have no clue what half-inch ‘pads’ of chicken are supposed to be, or what a ‘Slav’ oven (grandma says it’s slow and she just guessed at a temperature because she didn’t know what a slow oven meant either) but I do know it was a great way to preserve a little bit of family history through food we all know and love. Might I suggest you all take the time to preserve some of your family’s recipes? Assuming, of course, they will let you have them!

Side note – Sorry, people, you will NEVER have my chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Driving... With Children

My nightmares about taking the kids with us for a car trip to see my family were apparently just that. Turns out they ride quite well.

The night before we were about to drive to see my family in Wenatchee, I had some serious qualms about how well they would do on a long car ride. I had printed out quite a bit of stuff for them to color and finished up the activity binders I had made. As it turned out they didn’t even touch them. They each had a book and some free window clings from the gas station and the rest of the time seemed content to simply look out the window and watch the world pass by. Tunnels, bridges, waterfalls, rivers, trees, cows and cars.

So all in all, it looks like any fears I had about taking them on trips were quelled. Well, except for the Great Poop Incident. Apparently the thing about kids is that sometimes, even after they just pooped, by the time it takes to walk back to the car from the restroom they may just have to poop again.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kids Activity Binders

When going on a long car trip with children and without the aid of a portable video player, it’s a good idea to have other activities. I decided to make the kiddos activity binders.

The boys are addicted to the television as it is, which is why we limit their viewing. However, I must admit the temptation to simply put on a movie or two during a car trip has its appeal. We almost talked ourselves into packing it just in case, but decided against the matter. Instead we’ll rely on car games, activities and the binders I put together last night for the boys.

A couple nights ago I sewed together covers with pockets and a chalkboard fabric surface on one side and last night filled it with printed out coloring pages from the PBS Kids website (, plain paper for drawing and lined paper for writing. In the pockets I put a pack of crayons on one side and a pack of colored chalk on the other, along with the ear of a puppet I never actually put onto a puppet to be used as an eraser. It works perfectly.

While I’m not completely satisfied with how everything turned out, these are just prototypes and I will either add onto them or make new ones based off of what I learned making them. But I know one thing is for certain, and that is that I wish I had one of these growing up instead of lugging around reams of paper and coloring books and markers and crayons into a crammed car!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


It’s time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea. Good Idea: testing chicken for doneness; Bad Idea: testing chicken for doneness while asking a child not to drink pond water and having said chicken jump out of the pot of hot, boiling curry and burn your wrist.

Burns are simply a part of the cooking life. I get them all the time. However, I will admit that I rarely get them on my wrist, which seems like the most painful place to get burned. Currently there is a quarter sized blister over a half-dollar sized red burn mark on my left wrist. Curse you curried coconut milk covered chicken!

After icing it while finishing up dinner, and after having a cold pack on it while eating, I slathered aloe gel all over the area to help cool it off because it hurt like hell. The effects took a while to kick in. That or my insistence on finishing up the kids’s activity binders I started yesterday morning helped hide the pain. I promise pictures tomorrow when they are finished! For now I’m going to try and not pop my blistered wrist all over patient charts at work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two More Blocks

This weekend I was able to do a little more quilting while the kiddos were either napping or sleeping. Literally just a little, mind you.

My Batik Sampler Quilt is on its way thanks to Jane over at Want it, Need it, Quilt! ( who is hosting The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt on her blog. So far I’ve learned a lot, mostly that I’m not so great at accurate piecing. However, I will say that focusing on making quilt blocks a little at a time is helping to feed my creative side and also energizing me to try to do more, like the blocks from guest bloggers.

Making these blocks has also got me wanting to work on my Fall Quilt too. I’ve got a feeling that once I get back to working on the feature panels I’m appliquéing the rest will simply fall into place. I mean, I already have all my fabric picked out and the design I want to use, so it is only a matter of cutting and piecing.

However I will say I’ve been wanting to make the kids some activity bags to hold their coloring books, crayons, paper and also make part of the surface from chalkboard fabric. I’m thinking of having them pick out their fabric for the bags and I’ll try to figure out a simple design that will be perfect for long car rides. Especially one we will be taking very soon with the munchkins. Now if only I could make my creative side want to start decorating cakes again, too?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Charlotte's Zucchini Cookies

Few memories are as ingrained in my childhood as strongly as my neighbor, Charlotte. Or perhaps more appropriately her famous zucchini cookies.

Right after my parents split up we moved in with the man who would eventually become my stepdad. It wasn’t long before we got to know all of the neighbors in the cul-de-sac. Well, all but one, but that’s because they were, well, crotchety stuck up snobs who thought they were better than everyone else. They also lived right next door to Charlotte, who was anything but and also our first sitter from the neighborhood.

Charlotte was one of those people who always had an ear to lend, a hug to give, and a knack for teaching people how to play Parcheesi. And it seemed like summer and fall would bring what I thought was an endless supply of her zucchini cookies. I distinctly remember initially being put off by the thought of zucchini in cookies, but the word cookie took greater priority as a kid and so I tried them anyway. Soft, chewy and muffin-like, they were delicious.

While I’m sure Charlotte is no longer with us, and I’m sure her recipe for zucchini cookies may be as well, I still think you should try to make a batch yourself. Especially with all that zucchini growing in the garden this time of year!

Cory’s Zucchini Cookies (Inspired by Charlotte)

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 small or 1 medium zucchini, grated
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, mix in the egg followed by the zucchini (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups.) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. If using salted butter, you can either omit or leave the salt in. Personally, I leave it in. Stir in the flour mixture once the zucchini is incorporated into the butter mixture. Cover bowl and refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a two tablespoon ice cream scoop or two spoons, drop cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. It may be a minute or two longer or shorter on either side depending on your oven. Basically bake until you see the edges of the cookies start to brown. The tops may not look done, but they will continue to cook. Let rest on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool, which fortunately only takes about ten minutes.

You can add all sorts of things to these cookies, from raisins and walnuts to chocolate chips, but personally I like them without. However, like all recipes, experiment, have fun, and make it your own!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Outdoor Movies

The weather last night was perfect for watching an outdoor movie. That is just what we did.

Our church has an annual outdoor movie night in the summer as a way to do something fun and not church-related with the members. While these do not tend to be well attended, they are still fun nonetheless. In any event, it was thrilling that the weather cooperated and we could actually be out on the church’s labyrinth again. Of course, the bugs were out too.

This year we also decided to do hot dogs and chips and lemonade before the movie, which fortunately with the donations for the food covered our personal costs since we were the ones who purchased it. Actually it covered our costs with a dollar to spare. Whew!

I’m not sure what we are going to show next year or if we will even decide if the event is worth the effort, but I do know that it was great to be able to take the kids with us. Even though the movie didn’t start until after their bedtime! I’m not looking forward to finding out just how cranky they’ll be this morning for church.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Watch Your Words

Kids pick up new words like they will readily eat candy for dinner instead of whatever you actually made. The same can be said of words.

While trying to teach our kids the proper way to say words, they easily get frustrated and shutdown. However, if an inappropriate word slips out of my mouth (as it is almost always me in this regards, not my husband) they repeat it faster than Clark Kent turns into Superman. This was quite apparent when they were playing dress up with all of the dollar store costumes I acquired last year that I planned to use for puppet outfits that never came to fruition. I noticed that two furry hats, one bright orange and the other bright magenta, were still in the bag and instinctively said, “Hey, what about the pimp hats?” and before I could correct myself, the three year old responded with, “Yeah, I need a pimp hat,” putting extra emphasis on the word PIMP, naturally. I haven’t heard him say it since, so hopefully it’s just another thing that goes in one ear and out the other.

All of this got me wondering, what is it about certain words that we don’t want our kids to repeat? This actually happens a lot, and I’ve discussed it on this blog a few times. I mean I personally feel like words are expressions of how we feel or to describe our surroundings, so why are so-called ‘bad words’ just that? Perhaps the question is much more philosophical than I am ready to engage in at only a few sips into my coffee this morning, but never-the-less I want to try and tackle it. I guess the biggest problem with some words is what other people may think if we use them. Just because I don’t get offended by using derogatory words doesn’t mean somebody else will not feel diminished or angry at those same words.

However, even with words that have lost their derogatory value over the years, we as parents and parental figures still feel like we need to protect our little ones’s ears from such words by not using them ourselves in their presence and censoring what they watch and read. Personally I think that, since they will undoubtedly use these same words themselves when they grow up, it would make much more sense to learn by our actions when it is appropriate and not appropriate to use such language. Home: okay; school: not okay. However, I am probably in the minority, something I’ve become quite accustomed to.

So I suppose society will win this round again. Perhaps, just perhaps, I’ll find a way to explain why certain words are not appropriate, especially the word HATE, which is the only bad word in my book, and which ones are okay to use. Or perhaps I will simply need to bite my tongue a little harder.

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Down, Ninety-Nine To Go

I set aside yesterday for one thing and one thing only, quilting. I barely did any.

I had no other plans for the day but to catch up on The Desperate Housewife’s Quilt Jane is hosting on her blog (, however, a call from the boys’s mother quickly changed that. Medical emergencies are no fun, so I hope everything is okay and it was just a scare.

And so with the munchkins in hand we went home and played. After lunch and putting the younger one in for a nap, I asked the older one if he wanted to help me pick colors out for the quilt blocks I was intending on making. The boy gobbled up the chance. We decided to use black and white and batiks in various colors. I’ve been wanting to do something with my stash of batiks for years and so I may have steered him towards that pile. Once the colors were picked we went to the table and began the arduous task of cutting what seemed like a million little one-and-a-half inch squares with a few two inch squares for good measure. Of course by the time we were done cutting, and since we spent a good hour on our color choices, it was time to wake the younger kiddo up and get them ready for their soccer game and pictures.

It wasn’t until after tucking the boys in to bed for the night I was finally able to start piecing the block. I made sure to do so carefully since, again, lots of small squares and half square triangles, I didn’t want to be ripping seems all night. With that I finished my first of fifty blocks from Jane herself and fifty from guest bloggers. Yes, one of ninety-nine. But once completed I will have one hundred different blocks with so many different patterns and techniques under my belt that I will have a better understanding of quilting… in theory. I mean, I’ve only been doing this since I was a kid. And also I’ll have enough blocks for a good sized sampler quilt or two.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another Baby Quilt Finished

Yesterday after getting home from work I decided to finally finish the baby blanket I started for my brother’s newest addition to his family. But I must admit, it’ll be hard to mail out.

All of my nieces and nephews have a quilt made by me. It’s part of what I do, and a big part of what is expected of me. My sister informed me she was pregnant not by stating such but by saying I needed to start another baby blanket. So when my brother told me that he had another boy on the way, I immediately went into planning mode on what to make. It wasn’t long before, much like my sister, he told me what colors. Personally I’m not a big fan of having people tell me what to do, but alas, it helps to focus my fabric hunt down a bit too… mostly.

I picked out the fabrics, appliquéd the figure to the top, pieced and sewed it all together, folded it up and waited for them to tell me a name so I could embroider the back. Well, then we moved and so it was packed away and practically forgotten until a few weeks ago. By this point the baby was born and a name picked out, so I embroidered the back with it along with an Odd Bug character (all of my baby blankets have cartoonish bug characters I create specifically for that quilt) that will only be featured on this blanket and put it away yet again. This time because I realized our pastor and his wife’s baby shower was coming up and I had to figure out what I was going to do for them.

And so I finally finished yesterday. All sewed up, tied, washed and dried. Now that it is ready to ship I’m finding it difficult to do so. Not just because the quilt is so dang cute, but because it is going to a nephew I probably won’t see for quite some time due to a lack of finances and distance.

p.s. – Pictures to come soon… after I know that they have received it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


My original plan for this blog was to include all sorts of homemaking tips and tricks I employ or learn. The last few months have been a little lacking.

In case you haven’t noticed, my blog hasn’t been so much about homemaking lately. I suppose moving into a house under less than ideal circumstances has, well, pretty much left a rather large sty in that area. I know a big part of it is that I don’t want to put too much work into a house that isn’t ours. At the same time, however, maybe the lack of any personal pictures on the walls is preventing me from calling this house a home. Or the fact that any day we could decide to pack up and move again.

Why should any of these things prevent me from developing new recipes or figuring out better ways to clean something or cheap ways to fix an issue? The real answer is that they shouldn’t. In fact I should be in full developmental mode just to keep my mind off of the fact that due to circumstances I cannot change, we are no longer homeowners (well, technically until they auction off the damn house we are) but renters. Yes, dealing with a landlord who doesn’t really know how to be one can get annoying, but at the same time he did rent the house to us in full faith that we’d take care of it while living here. I guess it is time to live up to our end of the bargain… and to finally mop the floors.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sleeping In

This morning I slept in. Oh, I have missed this simple luxury.

While there are plenty of things to talk about when one sleeps in (on purpose, mind you) the thing nobody talks about is when you have stuff to do and now less time to accomplish it. Today I’m forgetting about that. My goals today are to get the kiddos to soccer practice and go to a church meeting this evening. Oh, and go to work for a couple hours to cover the lunch break. If I get anything else done that’ll be a bonus.

However, now that I’m awake mind you, I’m thinking of all the things I could’ve done with my morning if I hadn’t gotten up so late. Quilting, cleaning, laundry. Hmmm… so maybe those last two really were more like passing thoughts on needs and not wants. Alas, I suppose if I really wanted to do anything I’d just do it. For now I’m happy relaxing for a couple hours.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I’m not a terribly big fan of Mondays. At the same time, I’m also not a big fan of mornings, so when the two are combined, it sucks.

I couldn’t tell you when or how it is that I became a non-morning person as I’ve nearly always had a job that started in the morning. Unless, of course, that is the culprit. I think a big part of it is that I don’t feel like my body even starts to function until around noon. However, on the flip side, I’m also not a night person either. I can’t stay up all night or party. So I suppose that puts me in the realm of afternoon person, something quite overlooked by society.

Alas, it is Monday morning, and though I may find the work week has come too soon as usual, it is time to get on with it. I just hope my yawning subsides and my coffee kicks in before I get to work.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rain and Ice Cream

In theory, and according to the weather people, today is supposed to be dry and warm. Naturally it is still raining heavily.

My husband, last night of course, decided to make ice cream to bring to family day this afternoon. For those of you unfamiliar, it is when our extended family, or those of us who still keep in contact anyway, get together once a week for swimming, visiting, eating and relaxing. Normally it is on Saturdays, but July’s Saturdays were quite booked by the hosts, my aunt and uncle, so we’re having them on Sundays to accommodate. Anyway, everybody brings something to eat.

So after the boys went to bed, he started mixing up the base and heating the egg yolks with the cream so it could cool overnight. This morning he chopped up strawberries and added a little sugar and let them macerate while mixing the cooled base in the Kitchen-Aid ice cream maker attachment. The boys watched… in between episodes of Curious George. Once the ice cream is soft-serve consistency he added the strawberries and put the mixture into the freezer to freeze. If you have the means to make your own ice cream, I highly recommend it.

I can’t wait until this afternoon for fresh strawberry ice cream. Nothing screams summer like strawberries. Now if only they could scream at the weather gods to remind them it is the middle of July.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rain and Cupcakes

It’s Saturday, in July, in the Pacific Northwest. Naturally it is raining.

Rain isn’t that unusual of a thing for us Northwesterners, but seriously by this time of year the rain has limited itself to passing showers, not full days of non-stop onslaughts. At least it is only going to be in the seventies temperature-wise so it won’t be the hot and sticky rain some areas of the country experience.

To top things off I’ve got a large order of cupcakes to fulfill at the church for a baby shower tomorrow. That means that today after work I will be making them. I know I told a few of the people in charge of decorating that I would be coming after work to bake at the church instead of trying to keep a three and four year old out of the cupcakes and then try to transport one-hundred-and-twenty-plus of said cupcakes with the three and four year olds in the car, but I don’t know if they’ll remember. Eeek! I probably should’ve called to remind them, huh?

I did, however, manage to make all the cupcake batter and frosting last night before bed and after putting the kids to sleep, so at least I won’t have to bring along all the ingredients and the mixer and all that. I will, however, need to remember to pack it all with me before going in to work this morning. In the rain. Ugh.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Yesterday’s soccer game with our kids was, well, interesting. It might have been more fun had more than three people from the opposing team been there.

While our team gathered in rather quickly, the other team they were scheduled to play didn’t so much. For the longest time there was only one player, which eventually became three… to our eight. At first I thought that maybe the coaches would decide on a three to three strategy, however he grabbed our two boys and one of the girls and had them go over to the yellow team to play with them. So we got up and moved to the other side. Honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest which team they were on, but that they got to play. Once it was time for the game to start, the real trouble began.

It was a sea of blue out on the field, as our team of three and four year olds was basically playing each other. Why? All three of the yellow team members were in full breakdown mode. One of the kids was asked why he didn’t want to go play on his team, to which he responded between sobs, “I don’t have a team!” One didn’t want to leave her mother’s side. And the third was probably too shy to be the only yellow member out there. So the game starts and within two seconds our Logan has the ball, heads straight for the goal and kicks it in. Score!

Eventually all three of the yellow team made their way onto the field, after a little liquid courage in the form of juice packets. One was only out for a few moments but was so distraught after losing the ball she didn’t make it back in for the rest of the game. The other two seemed to require extra liquid courage after each goal was scored. All in all, between the drama and excitement, it was exactly like a grown-up soccer game. Except that Logan and Josh were in it. And they were awesome.

While there are still a few little quirks we need to work on, like not tackling your team members to take the ball away from them but instead work toward getting the ball to the goal together, I think they are really getting the hang of the game. I’m not expecting them to be really into soccer or anything, but I hope they both realize that it isn’t that important who wins or loses in a competition, but rather that they work together as a team and follow through with their commitments.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quilting Again

Ah, to finally quilt again. How I love all of the joy and frustration it brings.

After work, and after grocery shopping, and after eating lunch, I decided I really needed to finish the quilt I planned on giving to our pastor and his wife for their upcoming baby shower. Another look into my stash revealed there was just no way that I would be able to utilize any of my browns or pinks so I instead opted for one of my muslins that I typically only use as backing. I love the look of natural cotton muslin a lot, and I really like how soft it feels after washing, so a majority of the quilts I make are backed in it. Actually, all of the baby quilts I make are.

Anyway, I grabbed a pile of larger-than-scrap-sized pieces, cut them into wide strips (much wider than I originally intended, but the quilt itself was smaller than intended, so, yeah, just go with it) and began sewing the border on. Once the border was on, I cut out the backing and embroidered my name and date as a way of signing the piece. Now it was time to sandwich the quilt and start quilting it.

My original plan was to do like I do with every other baby blanket I’ve made, which is sew three sides right sides in, pull it right side out, sew the fourth side and hand tie with embroider floss. However, I was feeling rebellious. I wanted to try something new. I wanted to do something adventurous. I was going to do some free motion quilting. I set my machine to the correct settings to do so (in theory, that is… it’s an OLD machine) and using a scrap sandwich tried to maneuver the piece into a free flowing dapple. Let’s just say that between my machine not wanting to cooperate and me feeling completely inept, this just wasn’t going to happen, at least for this quilt.

Perhaps I need to recheck Mary’s blog ( for her tutorial on Free Motion Quilting again. Or perhaps my 1963 Singer Touch-N-Sew Deluxe Zig Zag Model 600 Sewing Machine is just not up to the challenge. Then again, it could very well be operator error. Either way, I will be practicing this technique as often as I can. So I instead opted to do straight line stitching on the diagonal on every other square, folded over the backing and used that for the binding. Now that I’ve got this big blank space around the quilt, I’m thinking some decorative stitching might be in order or even some hand quilting. We’ll see just how much time I have between work, a soccer game, more work, cupcake prep, more work, making cupcakes, a family event, church and then the baby shower. Huh. Perhaps I won’t have much time to finish this after all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Brown is one of those colors that I find most difficult to match while quilting. Please tell me I’m not alone?

Yesterday while searching through my stash I realized I have quite a few shades of brown and none that really look good with the baby quilt I am trying to finish. I mean, they are close, but also on the verge of clashing. I don’t think I’ve ever had this level of difficulty with any other color. Of course, it could be simply a matter of fact that brown has a very broad spectrum that stem from all three primary color sources, yellow, red and blue, which make the matter that much more complicated.

It also doesn’t help that I need to find a complimentary shade from my existing stash since we ain’t got no money to find the right shade at the quilt shop or even the craft store if need be. So perhaps I need to look at this as a challenge. Perhaps I need to think outside the color wheel, so to speak. Perhaps I need to break into that yardage of Moda Sandy Gervais Solids Walnut I was saving for my Fall Quilt, even though the yellowish tinge might not work out so well with the pink colorway of Bunny Hill Designs’s Lily & Will. Okay, so maybe I need to do a little more soul searching on this matter.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Household Chores

I can’t believe I’m actually going to admit this, but I miss doing the dishes and vacuuming on a regular basis. Sad, isn’t it?

This morning I was staring at a pile of dishes in the sink and counter, a full dishwasher that required unloading and a floor that, while I know was just vacuumed, needs to be done again and thought, “I miss this.” I don’t know if it was because while I was unemployed my life pretty much consisted of maintaining the house or if I truly enjoyed the tasks, but I can tell you without a doubt that I tried to focus my time at home on getting the chores done. It could be because once the chores were done and the applications filled out and all records put into a log I was finally able to craft or cake. Maybe that is the part I miss? I’m not so certain.

Now that I have a job and my free time is relegated to making dinner after I get home from work (I love to cook, so this isn’t a complaint!) before checking my email and heading off to bed, crafts and cakes seem like the chores I’d put off into the realm of toilet cleaning and mopping. You know, the dreaded stuff. So as it is I haven’t made a cake in quite some time and the idea of doing so is like a dagger in my side that yet another venture I tried failed. Okay, so technically it hasn’t failed. I still take cake orders, but with my work schedule and living situation it is much more difficult to do anywhere near as many as I used to. It has also made me realize just how much time I’ve spent making cakes and how little money I’d make from them, if any. Same thing is true with my Etsy Shop, with the exception of the patterns I sell. Somehow by not having the same amount of time to devote to these hobbies as I used to has made them unenjoyable, and that’s sad.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Summer is supposed to be laid back. Then why does it seem like I’m so busy?

There once was a time when it felt like summer would never end. I was twelve. I couldn’t tell you how many trips or places we went or what all we did because it seemed like the never-ending summer vacation. Add to it that the summer of 1989 was one of the biggest box-office success stories theaters had seen in a while and you can see why there was never a dull moment for us kids. However, even with all we did, we never felt busy. We were, after all, having fun… and lots of it.

This summer I feel like I haven’t had a chance to relax much at all. Yesterday after church was a nice getaway from the daily hustle and bustle, spending time with family at my aunt and uncle’s house on the Columbia River and sitting by the pool. I don’t swim, so a couple feet away was about as close as I got to the water. However, once home it was back to grindstone figuring out a layout for a postcard mailing on one of the committees I serve on at church and preparing for another long day.

Fortunately I will have to do some quilting in my very near future, since I have a baby shower next Sunday. I’ve already finished the top (months ago, I might add), so it will just be a matter of foraging through my stash for a border or binding. Of course, I also have one-hundred-twenty cupcakes to make for the shower and we’ve got the kids this coming weekend and I’m working all day Friday and half of Saturday and have another event my family wants us all to go to Saturday evening.

Alas, the busyness never ends. Sometimes I wonder if I will look back and compare the summer of 2011 to the summer of 1989. Then again, I don’t think anything can compare to the freedom I felt at that young age. I can only hope that our kids will be able to experience even just a fraction of that exhilarating summer.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Virtues of Unfair

Just when it seems that life is done throwing you punches, it sneaks in another blow. Honestly I think the game should’ve been over by now.

2010 was a crappy year. Just saying. I mean, my husband and I probably dealt with some of the most difficult aspects of life during the year between all of our savings, retirement plans and unemployment benefits being completely drained to the bank deciding that, after making all of our trial payments for a home loan modification (nine months worth for what was supposed to be a three month trial) to go ahead and foreclose on the house… without even telling us until after we called them to find out what was going on. In the meantime it was just reported that the same bank has been quietly modifying loans on homeowners who have not been seeking the service.

So when it was New Year’s Day, we all thought that 2011 was going to be better. Were we ever wrong. Yes, I did finally manage to find a job right before Christmas, but unfortunately since we were under the assumption that the bank was going to auction off our house in April, we actively started packing and house searching. Surprisingly we found a house in our price range with all the requirements we were looking for. Well, mostly. I’d still prefer a laundry room inside, but the garage space is bigger and cleaner than the old house so it, along with the eat-in kitchen, has been growing on me. Of course, with the laundry room in the garage, the pile of laundry out there has been growing too! Anyway, my husband calls to find out who now owns the house after the auction was supposed to take place and they informed him that it was postponed. It has since been postponed two more times and we are expecting another postponement in the next week. Basically it means that the bank still won’t take the house back and we could’ve been living rent-free. Although, in all fairness, I really like the neighborhood we did move to, and the water heater at the old house finally sprung a bigger leak than we could fix without replacing it, so alas, all things happen for a reason, right?

I was also supposed to be in school, but this also keeps getting postponed in what seems the same crap we dealt with during our bank and the home loan modification process; missing paperwork. The last time I was assured I had everything in that I could possibly need because, well, there simply was not any other paperwork they had that I hadn’t already filled out at least two times. Of course, I wasn’t informed that my financial aid required me to turn in the same paperwork yet again because something was missing (for the record, I made copies and nothing was) until the last day to apply for financial aid for Summer quarter, which of course I didn’t get the email until after I got home from work and the office was closed. By this point so many other things were going on I just decided that the universe was obviously trying to tell me something, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

Here we are, a couple months after most of these debacles have taken place, and I seem to finally be ready to accept what life has thrown at me and move on. I could dwell on the unfairness of it all, but really, how unfair is it? We have supportive family and friends, a roof over our heads, and one of us has a job to get us by until Fall when hopefully a full-time teaching position will be made available for my husband. And if not, we’ll just keep on taking life’s punches. It may not be fair, but really, when has life ever been?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dexter and the Mini Blinds

Our cat, Dexter, loves to get tangled in the mini blinds. No, really, he does.

We haven’t had mini blinds in the house since, well, never… by choice, anyway. I mean, I grew up with them at my dad and stepmom’s house, and we had them in the apartments my husband and I lived in before moving into our last house fourteen years ago. I guess I’ve just never been a fan of them. Now that we have a quite dexterous cat named Dexter, it only reinforces my dislike of them.

Here’s the thing, Dexter loves to window watch. He will go from the living room window to the sliding glass door in the back to the office to the kitchen sink window and back again over and over all day long. Seriously, the cat cannot stay still for more than a minute. Of course, this probably has to do with the fact that he is probably not even two years old yet, so still has all that feisty kitten energy, something our other cat, Tuesday, hasn’t had in years. She doesn’t seem to be so interested in getting caught up with his fascination with mini blinds, either. So, say, we have the blinds down. This seems like an open invitation to jump head first into the middle of a section and try to fandangle his way to the other side. This doesn’t always work, and usually leaves the blinds looking like crap and covered in his undeniable evidence; his fur.

So to prevent further issues I’ve decided to simply leave the blinds open enough for him to window watch without causing me too much of a headache trying to fix them over and over. I thought he would be fine out in the living room watching because that is where all the action is, along with the backdoor for any wildlife that happens to be in the yard, but alas, he apparently also likes to stare at the neighbor’s siding and the fence between us. Must be exciting.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Gas or Family

Currently we are faced with a dilemma; go to a family reunion and let our checking account go negative on buying the gas to get there or stay home and hope we’ll be able to go next year. I hate making these choices.

After asking a coworker to swap a couple days at work to be able to go to the reunion, we decided to become a little more serious about an upcoming family reunion. However, as luck would have it, we simply won’t have the money to drive there and back. At least, not from our current funds in our bank account. That sucks. Especially since we also will have the boys that weekend and they’ll get to meet more of the family.

I suppose that we could always hope that my husband makes enough money at the garage sale today to possibly fund the part of the gas portion of the trip, as it would be doubtful to make the whole amount. But then again, that would be if we sold practically everything, and let’s be honest, how many do that during a garage sale?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Old Fabrics and Crafts

Some people hoard stuff. I hoard crafts.

Yesterday while going through stuff at the old house after work and tagging it for tomorrow’s garage sale, I came across a bag of old fabric I’d never even touched. More than likely it was a gift from someone. At first I thought I’d use it, but years later as we were packing up stuff to move I left it behind to sell. Now I’m torn. Curiously, I’m wondering if I should go ahead and try to sell the bag or take it home and place them on the bookcase with the rest of my fabric.

Then I looked at a bolt of cotton suede I bought for ten bucks while I worked at Crap-Mart and wondered if selling it was the right thing to do. After all, it is quality twill-backed fabric in a cream and sage checkered pattern (large two inch squares) and could probably be used to make something, I just don’t know what. Should I keep it because I might use it?

Boxes of beads, pipe cleaners, yarn and the likes are all still awaiting prices too. Hundreds of dollars worth of stuff, most of which unused. I think growing up poor has messed with my psyche in matters of getting rid of crap, probably because I know how much this stuff cost and I know how guilty I feel for not using it. But then again, it was money I spent when I had money, mainly in high school and college while I was still living at home. That means I should just get over it, break out of this funk, and sell it since it’s been fifteen years or longer. Easier said than done.

So here is the plan; put it all out for sale and whatever doesn’t sell donate to our church. That way if it sells, I’ll get some money back from my “investment” and if it doesn’t, I’ll still feel okay about donating it. Except for the cotton suede checkered fabric bolt… I’m keeping that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Old House

Yesterday on my lunch break I went to the old house with plans to start tagging stuff for a garage sale. A leaky water heater decided otherwise.

The water heater had been slowly leaking for the past year, pretty much since before I fixed it when it needed a new thermostat and element. However, the leak was more like water buildup around the base and easily remedied by a quick toweling every now and then. Seeing a stream of water come out of the garage when I pulled up to the driveway made me assume the worst, but fortunately it looked like it had just started to leak out.

So I moved the stuff aside to get it all out of the water’s path and called my husband to tell him the news. He was not amused. I also noticed that our lawn chairs, some of which we were planning on keeping had been taken as well as the old umbrella. A quick peek over the fence to the neighbors behind us found them in their lawn. While it doesn’t bother me that they had them, it was still bothersome they took them, but oh well. More junk we don’t need. Besides, I had a goal to drain the water heater and needed to locate the hose in the jungle formerly known as our backyard.

As I was pulling and yanking the hose I wanted to use, it became quite obvious it wasn’t coming out without assistance, mainly of the weed and grass removal type, so I abandoned both of the non-kinking hoses in favor of the one I could actually get to. By the time I attached it to the water heater to drain it, I decided I wanted nothing to do with pricing crap to sell. I was far too pissed. Pissed at the fact that the water heater started leaking. Pissed that someone took our stuff, even though it was stuff we’d probably end up selling anyways. Pissed that we were in the situation we are in. I’m ready to move on, and the more I go over there the more I find myself both wishing we never had to move in the first place while at the same time I never want to go back there again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh Coffee, My Coffee

Oh Coffee, my coffee
How there are days
I need you more than ever.
Today is one of those days.

Alas, I fear even
The elixir of life
Will not wake me
From my sleep deprived slumber.

But try you must,
For work beckons
Closer and closer still
Like a cat stalking her prey.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence and Incontinence

Ah, the joys of fireworks and pets. And the fact that neglectful owners forgot to let their dog out to go potty last night meant presents in the morning.

Okay, so I’ll freely admit that this morning’s little (well, not little) accident Lucy, our Great Dane, left us this morning was completely our fault. Without thinking of it, we both went to bed without letting her out to go potty last night. Part of it may have been because we were all on our back deck enjoying the fireworks from our neighbors party and we may have both assumed that at some point she went, but obviously that wasn’t the case. While I thought it was originally just poop, and rather nicely formed and solid turds at that, I stepped in wetness on my way to pick them up. Ugh, I really, really, REALLY HATE CARPET!!!

So I grabbed a couple old towels from the garage to sop up the mess and got out the carpet cleaner spray bottle stuff that I have to unscrew the nozzle off and hold the bottle at an angle just to get the damned stuff to come out and sprayed profusely all over the sites. Normally I would’ve just used a little vinegar after soaking up the liquid, but alas, hardwood floors are not the same as carpet. At least the carpets already look like crap so a little more won’t make any difference.

Well, I will admit that while the neighbors across the street were setting off fireworks last night, it was rather enjoyable to watch. Although dodging shells as the dropped back down wasn’t so fun, at least none of us were hit. Next year I’ll make sure she goes potty before we go to bed. Hopefully.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Independence Day. I mean, it is, after all, the only time of year (most) parents allow their three year old to handle a lighted sparkling metal stick burning at twelve-hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I can understand people wanting to shoot off fireworks for the Fourth of July. But I don’t understand why people insist on bursting their bombs into the wee hours of the night on the days leading up to it as well.

Fireworks have their place, which is to mark celebrations on a grand scale. In my opinion, they do not belong in the hands of minors and drunks, but alas, that is usually where they end up. I suppose I’d feel different if we didn’t have cats freaking out the last few nights or kids trying to sleep. Then again, probably not. I’ve never really been a big fireworks fan, other than as an observer. At least our dog doesn’t mind them at all.

Although, I suppose I do have to thank our landlord for telling us that Independence Day in this neighborhood is pretty crazy before we moved in. However, I wasn’t expecting the sheer amount of fireworks going off. I mean, we moved from an area where there were quite a few white trash people across the street in various forms of mobile dwellings ranging from manufactured homes, travel trailers and old school buses that fortunately were out of view from the street thanks to a thick line of pine trees. But their blatant pyromaniacy was quite prominent. It makes me wonder why people can’t afford to buy their kids decent clothes, but have the money to spend hundreds of dollars on a few minutes worth of crappy entertainment. Okay, so now I’m just being mean, but seriously, the cost isn’t worth the end results. I can think of many other things to spend that money on.

I guess I just don’t understand the whole fascination with lighting them off myself when I can watch them at various places for free with better displays than anything sold on the market. While large crowds aren’t really my thing either, I’d still rather watch them at Fort Vancouver here in town or drive up to Longview, Washington for the display around Lake Sacajawea than watch our neighbors light off their inferior rockets. I know many people will disagree with me on this issue, but I’m just saying I can think of far more important things to spend my money on. However, I suppose I also must take into account that these displays are partially funded by sales of fireworks from official stands, so to that end, I also must thank those same people for funding these shows.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I love to read. Our kiddos seem to be in the same boat.

Every night it is the same situation, one of the kids gets to choose a book for me to read to them. To make it fair, we alternate between the two. However, sometimes there is fighting involved over choosing a bedtime story, in which case either myself or my husband choose the book, and usually that book is super short. Why? Because by that point we are both exhausted from the seemingly unlimited amount of energy the munchkins have!

Lately I’ve noticed the older boy likes to simply sit in the room and read to himself. I don’t think he can actually read yet, but he seems to remember many of the words associated with the pictures, which makes me think it might be time to try more word recognition so he can start to read on his own. Of course, with our weather being so sunny it’ll be difficult to keep them indoors to work on this. I’m sure we’ll find the time.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Ah, to finally start to feel like the craft room/office is becoming such. Ah, now if only I didn’t have to work so I could finally enjoy the room.

Yesterday, after getting home from being called in to work on my day off, I finished folding and stacking my quilting fabric not in my current project folder. Funnily a majority of this is leftover from other projects throughout the years. I’m sure that many of you who have received quilts from me will recognize the fabrics. I suppose it would also be wise to bring in my finished quilt tops from the garage and put them on a shelf too, if only to make it look more quiltier.

While I know this isn’t anywhere near as organized as it should be, it’s a start. Hell, the fact that my fabric isn’t contained within plastic bags anymore is more than a start. Okay, so except for the scraps. I’m thinking I need to empty out a basket or something to put all those in. And all of my fleece and foam for puppet making is still in the garage in a box. And all the batting I hoarded with fifty-percent off coupons and cake order money. Okay, so perhaps in trying to prevent this room from becoming another cluttered chaotic conundrum, I’ll attempt to keep my craft contents in the house to a minimum. Although a cutting table might be nice. Hmmm… I wonder what it would take to turn my old wall cabinet into a table? Other than legs, of course, this might be quite doable. I’ll have to do some measuring to see if this will work.

However, I will say that I finally did the embroidery work on my nephew’s quilt and plan to finish it tonight after the boys go to bed. While it takes hours to do, I find it quite comforting and relaxing, which makes me think I might finally be ready to tackle a hand quilted piece. Might be is the key, so I think I’ll start small.