Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wacky Weather!

This has been quite a year for odd weather. It's almost December 1, and it has been in the 70s for several days this past week. We're supposed to be in for a storm tomorrow though. Temperatures are supposed to drop 40 degrees or more, and there is also a significant amount of ice expected.

My sister lives west of us, and she's already experiencing it. She said that the temps in her area dropped 20 degrees in less than an hour.

As with most storms, the grocery stores will be packed tomorrow. I normally do my shopping on Thursdays, but with the party tomorrow night, I did it a day early. No crowds today either. I suppose people aren't planning to go into panic mode until tomorrow when the storm's arrival is upon us. Not that I'm complaining though. I prefer to shop without loads of people milling about trying to decide which flavor of Pop Tarts would be best while surviving in the frozen wasteland. (She scoffs.)

As for now, it's still stinking hot. Poor Brownie is miserable in his beautiful thick coat. He keeps moving from place to place on the marble floor trying to find a cool spot. Lucy isn't faring quite so badly since her coat isn't as thick as Brownie's. She's in her usual spot behind the rocker.

It isn't just the doggies that are hot though. The people are too! We've had to turn on all of the ceiling fans. Poor Spyder couldn't settle down to go to sleep because it was hot in his room, and I just had to put Sass back in bed because she woke up and was too hot.

I think I'll almost be glad for the cold weather!

Living the life!

Documented proof why I should put the sorted clothing into the washer immediately.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Today was slightly better

I was able to actually finish a few tasks today, unlike yesterday when it seemed I was being thwarted from finishing anything.

I did get the Christmas boxes put back into the attic (YAY!) but there are still loads to do before the spa party on Thursday night. I'm about to panic just thinking about all I have to do before then.

I'm going to be watching Olivia (as usual) on Thursday, and she and Sass always make a bit of a mess. Luckily, it's mostly in Sass's room, so at worst, I can just close her door.

However, I'm also going to watch Michael Ann's son Jack from 8 to noon-ish. EEK! Not that he's bad at all. He's just a toddler -- and a very active toddler! So not only am I trying to clean for the party, but I'm also trying to toddler-proof at the same time. To anyone else, I'd have said that I couldn't do it, but there's no way I would have said no to Michael Ann. I just moved up the time schedule a bit.

So, for tomorrow, here are the major points:

  • Dust china cabinet
  • Clean ceiling fans in kitchen and living room
  • Dust bookshelves
  • Put away the two stacks of books on the end table
  • Clean kitchen cabinets
  • Sweep, mop kitchen and dining room
  • Clean bathroom
  • Mop bathroom

I cleaned the kitchen today, so it's mostly done. I'll just need to do the mopping and such. I cleaned the bathroom too, but that was before Sass decided to paint in the bathtub. The bathroom will definitely have to be done again.

Well, since everyone else is in bed and I have a few moments, I suppose I'd better get started on that list.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bah humbug!

Well, I don't really mean that. Not really. But today was . . . a completely unproductive day.

We put up the Christmas trees this weekend. This year we have two. One is for the breakable ornaments. That tree is out of the way, so that the dogs and the urchins don't get ideas on breaking our nicer ornaments. The other is for the wooden, plastic, and homemade ornaments that shouldn't break if they happen to fall on the marble floor.

Skeeter and I got both trees up, but we ran out of time before we got the ornaments on. The children and I are by ourselves until Wednesday night, and I wasn't thrilled about going into the attic for the ornaments, but I did promise. Thankfully, Skeeter had pulled all of the Christmas boxes to the edge of the steps, so I didn't actually have to go into the attic, just to the edge.

We still have boxes sitting around from the trees and the few decorations that we put up on Sunday afternoon. *sigh* And I brought even more stuff down because the children begged and begged.

Frozen Salad?

When I was about 10 or so, my mom started making a dessert she called "Frozen Salad." What a horrible name for a dessert! It sounds like it should be broccoli and mushrooms and whatnot -- all stirred up and thrown in the freezer. Yuck!

It's actually pretty good, despite the wretched name. Michael Ann, Michael, and I immediately renamed it "Sugar Coated Pink Marshmallow Fluff," a much more descriptive and accurate name.

My mom has abandoned it for several years in lieu of making newer recipes. She made Sugar Coated Pink Marshmallow Fluff for this Thanksgiving though. My children have decided that they like it, so it looks like I'll be making it now too. Ahhh, traditions!

For those who would like to try this oh-so-Southern fare, I've included the recipe.


Judy's Sugar Coated Pink Marshmallow Fluff

1 can crushed pineapple
1 cup mini marshmallows
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1 can condensed milk
8 oz cool whip
1 can cherry pie filling

Mix everything together, adding the pie filling last. Freeze until set, then allow to thaw slightly before serving.


It's good stuff, y'all! Be warned though -- don't get a large serving. It's rich!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

History, just for fun

At the beginning of the school year, I picked up a copy of The Wicked History of the World at my friend Brittney's house. And the subtitle was even more intriguing -- history with the nasty bits left in.

I like history anyway, but who can resist a title like that!?! I picked up a copy for us the next time we were at the bookstore. We absolutely love it! The text is written in a fun manner, and the cartoons are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny.

Even more recently, I realized that The Wicked History of the World is something of an overview of the author's Horrible Histories series. Being the bookaholic that I am, I had to see what those were about.

I ordered the two that were available in my library system. The first one that came was The Measly Middle Ages. We were actually on our way out to dinner when we got it. I read a few bits in the car, and we all liked it so much that we took turns reading during dinner!

These books aren't "the last word" in history, but they're FUN. They give you enough information to get you interested, but not enough to get bogged down like most do. History can be so dry and dull, and I think most children get turned off of history simply because of the presentation. I know that I never liked it until my freshman year of college, when my Western Civilization professor completely disregarded the "usual" way of teaching. She threw the lecture-only, memorizing-names-and-dates format out the window and let us discuss, compare and contrast, and experience -- as much as possible -- past times.

So far, all of these books are ones that Spyder will choose to read during his before-bed reading time. Just last night, he read part of The Wicked History of the World to Sass. History books that a very active 8-year-old boy chooses to read? YEP! They get my seal of approval on that alone!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Fact

Something about me that you probably don't know:

I cook for my dogs. Really cook, particularly in the colder weather when I think they appreciate it more. I figure that I'd be bored if I ate the same thing every day, so I try to vary it a bit for them too.

Today's specialty meal was stew made from the turkey carcass and fat. No spices though. Just grease, broth, and some tidbits of meat.

Thanksgiving Day Feast

We ended up having more people than originally planned. My Uncle Richard and Uncle Kurt came. I shouldn't have been surprised to see Uncle Richard, but I figured Uncle Kurt would spend the whole day in a deer stand. Then later in the day my Aunt Liz and three of her children came by. I haven't seen my cousins since Easter, at least, so that was nice.

As always, there were more food choices than any reasonable person could fit on one plate. Uncle Richard made a fried turkey, and it was pretty good. I'm not a fan of roasted turkey normally, and most of my choices are vegetarian anyway, but this was surprisingly good. Moist, with lots of flavor. The dressing is always my favorite though, so most of my eating was devoted to that. LOL!

Skeeter ate sweet potato pie -- and liked it! -- without realizing what he was eating. We were even talking about pumpkin pie vs. sweet potato pie on the drive there. I love pumpkin pie, but I'm not all that crazy about sweet potato pie. Skeeter swore that sweet potato pie was (using my friend John's term) ubdadebil. (Of the devil, for those not fluent in Johnese.) I saw Skeeter eating it and didn't say a word. After he was finished, I told him what it was. The look on his face . . . .!!! He's no longer a sweet potato pie hater though!

Memaw put peanut butter chips in the pumpkin pie this year. I had to pick them out, so my pumpkin pie experience was slightly soiled. What WAS she thinking? She's making up for it today though. We're congregating at her house for dumplings. YUM!

We all got into a discussion about how most of our significant others are from small families. My family is NOT small. It can't be, with Memaw having seven children. We're loud and boisterous and it's normal for us. Skeeter says we're intimidating. I guess I can see that.

They picked on me yesterday, for something that happened 30 years ago. (Long memories, those people.) When I was about 8, I gave Memaw's phone number to a friend's grandfather. He asked, and I WAS EIGHT, so I had no idea what that was all about. Well, he asked Memaw out. I knew all of that. But the news to me was that she went! She drove; he took her to the Sonic; he hinted for her to pay. First, I'm beyond shocked that my Memaw would eat anything that came from a fast food place. Second, we found out that she went out with him a second time, and he asked her if he could move in with her! She told him no, and he started stalking her. AAAAHHH!! My cousin Curtis turned red and covered his face. LOL! I don't know if we were laughing more at Memaw and her revelations or at Curtis and his red face.

After we had eaten, and the dishes were clean, Spyder and I took over the stove and made playdoh. Easy, easy, and it doesn't stink like store-bought playdoh. Everyone had a blast making sculptures, but we ended up not keeping any of them. They all got squshed into the big playdoh blob to be used again.

We spent the evening looking at the sale flyers for today -- twice the size of the paper itself -- and finally left at around 6:30. All in all, it was quite an excellent day!

Michael's Thanksgiving Day wrap-up

  • Oh, there's Mary Francis trying to trip Mamaw, and Mary Francis had a horrid, horrid butchered hair cut.
  • Bethany, "BB" is pretty as always, and seems somewhat normal.
  • Mary also told Mamaw, "Let's ditch these folks and go have some fun."
  • Then there was everyone trying to ridicule Noodle for, at the age of 8, setting Mamaw up on a blind date with an old man down the street. Only during the telling of the story, after 30 years, Mamaw finally admitted she went on a second date with the man.
  • Uncle Kurt said he weighs 125 and can't gain weight.
  • Uncle Richard snores, probably more loudly than me.
  • Moma's tea was good as ever, but I didn't drink any out of the beige plastic glasses, of which I am so fond. That's sort of a ritual for me. But I let it go since it was a SOLO cup holiday.
  • That's all I can think of. It was a good day out there.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

To build a better flashlight

One board
One wire
One bulb
Two batteries
Seven nails


One precocious 8-year-old boy

So much for that

Skeeter is out of town this week, working on a biodiesel plant about three hours south of us. Because of the holiday, we don't have many outside commitments this week. I had intended it to be a stay-at-home, enjoy-being-together kind of week.

That was completely shot out of the water before 10 am today. My parents called just before 10 to say that they were in town, and they wanted me to join them at the mall for Christmas shopping. Considering that they don't come to our town very often, I couldn't really say no. Plus, I had told my mom just this weekend that she needed to start working on her shopping since the crowds seem worse than usual already. My beloved Target was absolutely mobbed on Sunday night. Normally Sunday night after church is a great time to go. It's practically empty! Not this week.

We had a productive shopping time though, so it was worth it. We shopped with them from about noon to 3:45, then ran back home to play with the doggies before heading out again.

Monday is my only work day, and since Skeeter is out of town, the children stayed with a friend about 20 minutes away while I was working. Unfortunately, that added an extra 45 minutes to my "work day." I dropped them off at 4:45, and I didn't pick them up until 11:20. Whew!

Perhaps tomorrow will work out better as a stay-at-home day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The simple life

My children absolutely love to play outside. (And I must say, I'm grateful for that sometimes.) We have a swingset and a huge privet hedge, both which get tremendous amounts of play time.

The swingset is not only "the swingset" but it also serves as Spyder's "spy training course." The privet hedge is commonly known as The Enchanted Forest, complete with a little cottage (made by Spyder and Sass).

They haven't had any new "outside toys" in about three years though, so I've been trying to think of something new and fun to add to their play that wouldn't cost a lot.

The solution? A teeter totter. My dad built one for me when I was little, and I figured he could come up with something. He sure did! One sawhorse, one board, and four nuts and bolts later, and we have a new source of fun.

It doesn't look beautiful, but it serves its purpose, and the urchins think it's the best thing ever. Sass was a little bit unsure of it at first, since it does go pretty high, but now that we've had it a few days she's almost as confident on it as Spyder!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A bit about me, quiz edition

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8:30
2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the movies? Stranger than Fiction. (Much better than I expected.)
4. What is your favorite TV show? Digging for the Truth
5. What did you have for breakfast? coffee
6. What is your middle name(s)? Ann
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Mexican
8. What foods do you dislike? cooked cabbage, brussels sprouts, beets, ketchup
9. What is your favorite chip flavor? regular tortilla, I suppose.
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Dan Zanes
11. What type of car do you drive? Nissan Altima
13. What characteristics do you despise in people? lack of integrity
14. Favorite item of clothing? my grey fleece pullover
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? England
16. Favorite brand of clothing? Liz Claiborne
17. Where would you like to retire to? Don't know.
18. Favorite time of the day? Early morning, assuming that I wake up rested.
19. What was your most memorable birthday? age 6
20. Where were you born? Arkansas
21. Favorite sport to watch? Razorback basketball
22. Who do you least expect to send this back to you? n/a
23. Who do you expect to send it back first? n/a
24. What fabric detergent do you use? Gain
25. Coke or Pepsi? depends on whether I'm buying bottles or cans
26. Are you a morning person or night owl? night owl usually
27. What is your shoe size? 9
28. Do you have any pets? two doggies
29. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with your family and friends? absolutely nothing new and exciting going on here.
30. What did you want to be when you were little? archaeologist
31. Shampoo? Philosophy
32. Day/Night? Night, usually.
33. Summer/Winter? Winter
34. Favorite commercial? LOVED the RNC commercial blasting Harold Ford, just because it was funny.
35. Wearing? blue shirt, tan pants
36. Eating? No
37. Drinking? No
38. Thinking about? Going to bed
39. Listening to? rain -- loving it!

*********THE LAST 24 HOURS*********
Cried? No
Made a new friend? No
Cleaned your room? No, but I cleaned Sass's room. That should count.
Drove a car? Yes
How many hours slept? 5

********DO YOU BELIEVE IN***********
God? Yes
Yourself? Yes
Your friends? Yes
Santa Claus? No
Destiny/Fate? Undecided. The whole free will/predestined debate is always a catch 22 for me.
Ghosts? Spirits? Yes

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dave Meurer

Who is Dave Meurer?

He's a Christian humor writer that, truthfully, was probably the person who convinced Skeeter that being a Christian isn't necessarily boring. If you haven't read his books before, I highly recommend them. Some of his earlier books are out of print, but they're still available pretty cheaply through Amazon.

I gave Skeeter the latest book, Mistake It Like A Man, for his birthday, and we've both been reading it off and on. One particularly bit seems to have been written just for us:

While men enjoy normal movies involving submaries and explosions and daring
rescues, women prefer movies that involve British actors and shrubbery and
agonizingly slow plots. And they want you to watch these movies with
them. The only benefit to these movies is that your spouse will be all
weepy and emotional and want to be hugged. This can lead to a romantic
interlude, as long as you can avoid slipping into a shrubbery-induced coma
before the movie's over.

Oh yes, we are one of those couples. I bought Pride and Prejudice recently, and the first thing that Skeeter said was, "You don't have to wait for me to watch that." Oh really. How surprising.

We have, however, embraced these differences, along with the new terminology -- Shrubbery Movies. We watched The Constant Gardener this weekend, and about 20 minutes into it, Skeeter said, "I thought this was supposed to be a spy movie. As far as I'm concerned this is just another Shrubbery one."

Friday, November 10, 2006


Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker finally hit our movie theatre today, and I took Spyder as a surprise. He had no idea until I bought the tickets, and it was such fun to see the joy on his face when he realized what we were seeing.

Anthony Horowitz (the author of the book series) also penned the screenplay, so I wasn't surprised that he brought in a few elements from the later books into the film.

I believe that the boy who plays Alex Rider is a newcomer, but he was just what I had pictured Alex to be. Bill Nighy was absolutely perfect in his role as Alan Blunt, the director of the spy agency that Alex joins.

Overall, it was excellent larger-than-life fun for anyone who likes action movies!

My choice for a sequel: Eagle Strike.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Anger and forgiveness

I've been avoiding my blog. Most of the time when I avoid it, it's because I have something better going on. This time, however, it's because I have a need to record something unpleasant, and I hadn't really worked it all out until today. This post is personal and probably boring, so casual readers are excused from reading. :o)

On Sunday night at Bible study, a woman in the group made an incredibly rude comment about me to my friend Carla. I overheard, sort of, and I thought that she was making a comment to me rather than about me. Since I didn't quite catch what she said, I asked her to repeat it. She did. Loud enough for everyone on our side of the room to hear.

At first I was simply stunned. Then I was angry. At best, this person was a casual aquaintence, and truthfully, that's stretching it. And yet, she made a stinging comment about my life to my friend, then to at least a part of the class.

This happened just before our opening prayer, and I spent the few minutes in prayer trying to catch hold of my anger and focus. It simply wasn't enough time for me, and just after prayer, I excused myself and left. I spent class time in prayer instead. I'm glad that I did. It was much better for me to have spent the time in prayer, rather than in class where I would have been seething and not listening.

Afterward, I was waiting for Skeeter and the children, and Carla passed by. She knew that I was angry about the comment, and she knew that was why I had left. We are actually between studies at the moment, and none of us knew the topic for the evening. I found out from Carla that the study for the evening had ended up being an "extra" study that the leader had decided to do -- about hurting others with thoughtless words and/or actions.

How timely.

The woman found me and apologized afterward, whether it was at Carla's urging or due to the class topic. I will admit, I wasn't nice. I was polite, and while "polite" and "nice" are not mutually exclusive, they are most definitely not the same thing. To her, "I'm sorry. I didn't know you were upset," I replied, "Your comment was rude, judgemental, and distasteful, and it hurt my feelings. But thank you for your apology." I was dismissive, and I shouldn't have been. But at the time, I was still angry and hurt.

Considering her expression when she walked away, I think that she was expecting me to say, "It's okay. I forgive you." It wasn't okay though, and at the time, I hadn't truly forgiven her. I would have been lying if I had said that. I already had "anger" on my list of sins. I didn't want to add "lying though my teeth."

Since then, I've spent lots of time praying about it, and I have forgiven her, but that still doesn't make it "okay." Saying it was "okay" would have validated her comment. How can I, as a Christian, say "I have forgiven you" while also explaining that she should consider curbing her tongue? She is absolutely entitled to her opinion, but she does not give it in the spirit of love. That's what I want to express to her, and I haven't figured out a way to do it without seeming spiteful of being on the receiving end of her barbs.

I found out just today that this woman has a habit of making scathing comments.

To a woman who had recently given birth: "Have you gained weight? Those jeans make your butt look fat."

To my friend Brenda: "Not to be rude, but your daughter needs a lesson on sharing."

To a child at a birthday party (who was asking for a piece of cake): "You need to get back. You don't look like you need those extra calories anyway."

Obviously, the comment to me was not an isolated incident. Lately my prayers have been about how to talk to her about her need to insult others. She is a relatively new Christian, and I do think that she needs to be Scripturally reprimanded for her behavior. I'm just not sure that I'm the one to do it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Post Halloween Math

Spyder got his candy loot out today and started counting the pieces. The homeschool mom in me immediately suggested that he count the different types of candy as well so he could figure percentages and ratios.

He looked up at me and said, "COOL!" then took the candy into the computer room. About 30 minutes into his activity, he came to me with a piece of paper which not only showed amounts of the different types of candy, but which also showed graphs detailing which candies were most frequently given.

He is so completely, utterly his father's son.