Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Once Upon a Morning

This is what I found in Helen's room the other morning. A happy little smile peeking at me from under the crib bumper. I'm not sure if she found her way there on her own, or if she was aided by her brother.

Owen does love to explore her crib for treasures, namely the pacifiers that she has rejected. (The dear child will not take one, but Momma keeps trying.) Owen will trot around the house chomping on her pacifier, looking mightily pleased with himself. He has not had his own since he was 6 months old, and is enjoying acting the baby with it.

He also loves her mobile, and insists I start it nearly every time we are in her room. He snatched the music box when we moved at the end of January (the mobile was dismantled and left on the floor), and the whole day of the move, kept it in his hands and wound and rewound it. He became attached to it, his little corner of security in the middle of a huge uproar. (Like so attached, he couldn't drop off to sleep if it wasn't in his crib with him.) I still get a twitch when I hear "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." That's how much he played it.

Helen is scooting more and more in her crib. She pivots on that great big belly and leaves a slug-like slobber trail. The other day, she did a 360, circumferenced by drool. She has flipped twice now from her tummy to her back. Last Friday, Jason ran her into the doctor's office for a persistent cough and runny nose. She weighed 15 lbs, 4 oz. A week later on Monday I took her back because she seemed to be getting worse, and she weighed 16 lbs, 1 oz. And I was worried she was getting enough to eat... By the way, it was viral bronchitis, and she is not contagious anymore and is sounding better. Thank goodness. Yesterday morning after she ate, she got a choking cough while trying to burp, and yep you guessed it, she ralphed all over me. And then smiled. Her problem solved.

Mom and Dad are coming this weekend to see the azaleas and the kids. Hope yall have a great trip and can't wait till you get here! Now to clean that downstairs bathroom.....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Kitchen Disaster #26...hundred

Just a quick note here to tell you that pinto bean juice is nasty and it stains beautiful new Benjamin Moore mayonnaise paint on the front of your drawers. Kitchen drawers, not the kind that you wear. Since I worked on Monday at the hospital, by Monday night I was feeling all Becky Home-Ecky and decided to put up beans since we go through them so quickly. We love 'em and unless I think ahead (which I don't usually), I can't get them started early enough, so we crunch through our humble meal of beans and rice. I started out by soaking a huge bunch of them on Monday night, since my Ball Home Food Preservation Guide instructs me to do so, after which it states to boil them for a half hour. I was feeling pretty good on Tuesday morning around 8:00, thinking about all the work I was going to get done. I turned on the burners underneath two huge pots of beans, thinking, hmm those are a little full and will probably boil over so I'd better watch them. La dee dah, let me go attend to Owen in his room. Ooh his floor is gross. Jason must have worn his work boots in here, because this grit could grow something. Let me be industrious and vacuum. I will now think huswifery thoughts and decide which load of laundry to start. Since I now have the vacuum out, let me be efficient and vacuum the other bedrooms. *SNIFF* What is that I smell? Run to the kitchen and see the water running down the drawer fronts below my cooktop and forming a river across the floor. ACKK!!

At this point, I just laughed and got a bucket of water. Once I had wiped it all up, I decided to check INSIDE the drawers, and sure enough, the contents of the drawers had caught it. Every pot that was not already employed soaking beans was now wet with bean dew. My neatly folded towels were damp, the plastic wrap box was soggy. My stack of 10 miniature bread loaf pans had provided a cool little cascade for the bean juice river. And the fronts of the drawers were stained yellow by the hot bean liquid!

A few good things came out of this--19 quarts of beans canned, for one. For another, my cookware is all shiny again, since I recently found the miracle of Barkeeper's Friend, and when I saw all my sadly waterstained pots and pans waiting for their homes to be dried out, I went on a scouring field trip. Best of all, I relearned that my husband can be very compassionate, since all he did was laugh and say he'd touch up the paint.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Fiery Furnace

Bragging rights, right here. Check out this puppy! French bread gone wild. 8 minutes into cooking time, this bad boy caught on fire in my oven!

I like to think that I'm a good baker. Currently, this is just a thought. I haven't turned out much proof lately that I know what I'm doing in the kitchen. Can I blame it all on my new stove? Probably not, but it has thrown me a giant curveball. It's the original wall oven, and I really like the idea of it. Plus it's cute--Jason took the time to spray paint the door black so it would match my other appliances. I love having drawers under my cooktop--if you think about it, a standard oven/range takes up a lot of room. But my wall oven is really small. (Fortunately for Jay, my cookie sheets still fit into it.) I haven't given up on it yet, but I'm starting to think I'm too optimistic. Most of my food comes out burned, varying between burned tops with doughy bottoms and doughy tops with burned bottoms. So, since we're having company tonight, I suppose we'll eat stir-fry!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Grandparent's House part II

And the rest of our house...hall bath, master bedroom--painted a greyish blue, master bath--with the blue tub painted white, Helen's room which was Grandpa's study, and of course, the basement. The basement will probably stay original for a long while.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cheap Thrills

You know that feeling when you find an incredible deal on something you're looking for, maybe it's new, maybe used, but it's a screamin' deal, and you can't believe you found it, and you get this adrenaline rush and quickly snatch it up for yourself before anyone else can see what a good deal you are getting because they might want it too and that can't be because you saw it first, so tough crunchies? Then you haul it up to the cash register and smugly pay your little bit of money for your great deal, and crow all the way home. Yep, I've had that feeling. Like when I found a brand-new maternity top for 27 cents.

I had that feeling, however unholy it may have been, 2 years ago at a church yard sale. It was a misty Saturday morning, and I had Owen in a stroller. He was getting a lot of "Aw whatta cute baby," and "Momma teaching you young, huh?" I struck it big time there. I found a huge picture frame and mat for 50 cents, a nightstand for $1, two incredibly cool turquoise painted chairs for $5, a pie rack for an insignificant amount and an exersaucer for $3. I was driving the Jetta back then, and even with my 3-body trunk, it was quite a riot getting everything inside the car. My sister in law, my cousin in law and a man from the sale were all helping. I don't remember if we got it all in or if Jan had to follow me home with some of the loot. Fortunately the church was only about 2 miles from our house. I called it quits on garage saling that day, wanting to end in triumph, seeing as how I was heady with a bargain high. (Wouldn't I be a good gambler?) I then proceeded to explain the fine merits of each and every one of my purchases to my fine, understanding, proud husband who merely scrunched up his face and said something sniffy like, "What a load of junk--what are you going to do with THAT?" I'm sure my adrenaline rush instantly turned into righteous indignation, but I chose to pour my irritation into the scouring all the dirt off my fabulous treasures. I had to wash the mud daubers off the chairs; paint the night stand (the object that received the most scorn); paint the picture frame, ditch the picture and insert a scrap of cool fabric; spray paint the pie rack; and thoroughly scrub every inch of the exersaucer. This poor contraption had been left outside, and some of the toys had nasty teeth marks on them. Those got pitched. In my undying enthusiasm, I discovered online that you could order replacement parts for exersaucers, but Jay said NO, NO. The seat cover was mildewed, but at the time I just washed it. And Jay did finally admit that my purchases were great, save for the nightstand, which still fields small insults and contemptuous looks from him.

Not long ago I was fabric shopping with my mother in law without the kids and without my husband. Oh joy! (Bless their hearts.) You can't fully appreciate fabric shopping without Jason until you have tried to look for that perfect piece of fabric with him along. In fact, he hates shopping in general, unless it is for manly things like lawnmowers, tools, cars and ice cream. Ruth found the cutest striped material for recovering her exersaucer--she keeps lots of toys around for her grands. When I saw her finished product, I had to tell her she was wrong for that, because then I saw how shabby mine was. The generous woman then found some fabric at her house that she had forgotten about and gave it to me to redo mine.

So anyway, Helen got her exersaucer recovered, and she was so glad to get back into it after several days' hiatus. I am pleased with it and so is she. Onward toward more bargains! But let me not forget generosity and become stingy for the sake of saving a buck.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Revenge of the Ties

Here it is, half-finished. What a novel happening, that I have a half-finished project around the house. Snort.

So, what do we think? Potholders or framed wall art? The silk in the neckties may not stand up to intense heat--I would only use them to hold moderately warm dishes at the table, not to grab something out of the oven. I firmly dislike all my other potholders for the table. They have this annoying way of clashing with my other stuff. Also, since I received all my potholders as wedding gifts and it's been 6 1/2 years of wedded bliss, they are looking quite shabby. I like to pretend that I set a table neatly, but face it, I can get klutzy when I'm in a hurry. Or--I could sew a few more, get them framed, and hang them by the closet. Our walls are bare and need something cool on them, and (good) art is so cost prohibitive.

I have to decide soon so I can finish this half-done project and earn some respect from the man of the house. I have finished quite a few things, but he tends to remember the unfinished ones...we are so human, aren't we?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Grandparent's House Edition

Ta-da!! Finally I have some pictures showing what we did with Jay's grandparent's house this past summer/fall/winter. This has been the most interesting remodel project we have had yet, seeing as how we "scheduled" it for harvest season and a new baby. Actually, Grandpa decided it was time to build their new house, and when he decides, he acts promptly! They moved out in August, and we started renovations soon after, finally moving at the end of January.

All we did with the kitchen was paint, put in new hardware, countertops and a new fridge and over-the-range microwave. My fridge has a wonderful curved front that makes one's reflection look especially fabulous. (Another piece of pie, my dear?)

The living room, we also painted. We took down a cornice board/flourescent tube light over the window and installed a ceiling fan. But the biggest difference is the removal of the Half Wall, upon which stood spindles that stretched to the ceiling. Grandchildren and great grandchildren will remember the Half Wall as the home of the vitamin dispenser. Vitamin M&M.

The dining room got paint. The original light fixture is still here, but I have my eye on an antique crystal chandelier of my dad's that he is getting rid of.

The laundry room and cupboards were painted as well (plus new hardware). Are you starting to see why Jason vows to never pick up a brush again? The poor guy absolutely hates to paint. This room is AWESOME. It was designed as a sewing and laundry room, and it is very smart. I'm calling it my studio, and none of Jason's stuff is allowed in it. He gets the garage, the shop, and a corner of the basement.

Owen's room is pretty cool. We painted the stripes all by ourselves! It was time-consuming, but I'm so glad we did it.

Jason, my hero, installed the yellow pine flooring, starting with No. 2 lumber, which was fairly rough and had to be picked through. It was milled from dead pine that grew a fungus, thus creating artsy blue streaks. He nailed it down, sanded it at least 4 times, put down a white stain, and then 4-5 coats of polyurethane. (So I try to take off my shoes at the door!)

I have more pictures, but I'll post them later. I stuck a leg o' lamb in the oven, and it's about to be done. Baaaaaaa.