Saturday, November 24, 2007

Flat Cat

Flat, Cat Burglar, that is. When he first "broke" into our home, he was vibrant in color and full of stuffing. Now, he is just a dirty, flat, cat burglar. No wonder he has that look on his face! We've found him down the driveway, in the culvert, and in the yard. Muddy, cold and wet - sometimes just the rain, but most times, wet with slobber.

Today, he is taking a much needed rest on the floor in the dining room. Traveling always sounds like fun, but it's great to be home. (I know how you feel Mr. Burglar!)

Wonka-Doggish, has so many toys lying around this place. The black Kong toy, the chewed-to-smitherines yellow squeeky toy bone - well, it used to squeek. I don't think he ate it??? Wouldn't he squeek when he barks? Like in the cartoons? That would be funny to hear. As is, we joke about him learning to talk. The things he says. ARR-Arrr-arrr- r- rrr. Sounds a bit like whale-speak.

Then, there WAS the bright yellow WalMart smiley face volley ball. Frank, our contractor, got a really cute picture of Wonka holding it in his mouth - smiley face forward. Wonka was even in the newspaper ad for Frank's business venture - Pet Photography by Frank. Wonka had his 15 minutes of fame! Way to go boy!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

And they call him SANDY CLAWS.....

Gotta love the Disney Haunted Mansion this time of year. The mansion is great anytime, but this is my favorite season - the celebration of the Nightmare Before Christmas - complete with Jack and all his friends.

I love the theatrics, the music, the whole experience. I wish there was a Cirque de Soleil - type stage show of Nightmare. That would be a ticket worth buying - if done right, of course. I've seen a few Disney productions on stage and by far the best one, in my opinion, was Cinderella on ice. What a great production that was. The costumes, the music, the effects - it was wonderful. So enchanting. Now, Beauty and the Beast on ice - another favorite movie - was awful. It was set to the exact same soundtrack as the animated movie and Beauty was a Beast!
Then there was Lion King. Great beginning, great ending. A yawner in the middle.
DISCLAIMER: These comments are only my opinion. Please do not get mad at me for my way of thinking. If you do not agree, that is fine. I just know I like to be entertained and know what I like and if it puts me to sleep it must not be too entertaining to my brain!
Anyway, the Mansion was great. Pirates was great. Even the new Nemo submarine ride was cute. Much more entertaining to my brain than the original subs. Although, compared to the much shorter lines for Pirates or the Mansion, the enormous Nemo line wasn't worth the wait.

P.S. I think this is the only time I've gotten a "rebate" on going to Disneyland - This last photo is the $$$ I found whilst walking around the park. A whopping $ .49. Not too bad, huh? PLUS, the next morning I found a quarter in the parking lot outside the hotel!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Should've Had A V-8

I should've, but I didn't! Pictured here is tonight's dinner. It was a very long week and an even longer day at Disneyland today. I know, I know - call the WHAAAAMMMMbulance. Anyhow, these were the healthiest options in the hotel vending machine. One five dollar bill, change to spare, and it fills the belly till morning - Pop Tarts, Trail Mix, Gardettos. Then "frosted" donuts for dessert. Gross? Maybe, but it's late, I'm tired, and I'm not up to going out.

So, I guess the diet starts tomorrow. No, that won't work. I'll be on the road home all day. I can't start then. I'll start it on Monday. No, wait. That won't work either. This week is Thanksgiving. So after Thanksgiving would be best. How could I possibly diet through Thanksgiving? But then the Christmas "season" starts. Parties, lots of chocolates and dessert gifts. Looks like it'll have to wait till after New Years, cause our New Year's Eve plans with Kris and Jeff always includes a yummy Italian dinner. Then there's the chocolate dessert at the theatre. So it will have to be after New Years. Yeah. It'll be my New Year's resolution. Yeah, that'll be really, really good. I'll start on Jan 1, 2008. Yeah, RIGHT!!! Here's to all the women in the world who still eat!!! Even the ocassional fill-the-belly "meal-substitute".

Bon Appetit

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Always a scrapbooking moment ...but not always my idea!

So, in a house of all boys, there is always something to laugh about, to blog about and to scrapbook about. The guys are catching on quickly. It seems lately, they are saying, "Mom, take a picture of this", "Mom, do you have your camera?", "Mom, you need a picture of this to scrapbook."

The other night, Ty was sitting on one of the micro-fiber sofas in the living room using my laptop - which he seems to be doing a lot lately since I've gone wireless. He got up to go to the kitchen and when he came back into the room, he asked me where my camera was. He got it and came back in the room and began taking pictures of the sofa seat. I asked him, "What in the world are you taking a picture of?" He was laughing that he left his butt print in the cushion. I thought he was talking about an indentation of his weight. Little did I ever imagine that he meant it, literally! With so much detail - waist band, belt loop, pockets, seams! (obviously, he was slouching on the cushion!) But I'll tell you what, I will pay real close attention next time I sit on the sofa, it could be scary!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I "Heart" You

I recently saw an art piece on display at a local art gallery. It was a framed collection of
heart shaped rocks of various colors, sizes and textures. I voted for it for a "people's choice" award. I'm not sure if it won the award or not, but it reminded me of the various heart shaped items in nature that I have taken notice of.
This rock, I found on the beach in Oregon. I love collecting rocks at the beach. I always seem to lug a few pockets full home with me. I used to collect shells, but rocks just seem to have more meaning to me. What meaning? Who knows! I just bring them home and add them to the shelf. The shelf in the family room that houses all the little things of nature. The dead bug carcasses, the sticks, the piece of shedded snake skin, the hornets nest, the big beetle, the bee, the leaves. Weird? Maybe. But, someday, I'll use them in some sort of shadow box collage and it won't seem so creepy.
Then, there is the big oak tree in our sloped, front yard. When we moved in, it was hidden and dwarfed by the cedars and the pines. You could only see the tippy top of the oak. So we made the decision one day to hire the tree surgeon to cut down the surrounding trees so we would just have this one tree as a focal point. Little did we know, it would reveal such a beautiful tree.
After all the trees were cut down, my mother's husband asked, "Why would you cut down all those trees and leave just one old scrub oak?" Well, the answer to that is - we love our oak! Especially in the fall when the colors are this brilliant and it looks like a big yellow heart!
I think the oak is happier too!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Soup's On

Potato brocolli cheese soup. So fast and easy, even a caveman can make it. Under an hour and in one pot! Our pot is huge. It is 16 quarts! - all the better to feed the boys!
Begin by slicing 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. bacon into 1" pieces. Put into your soup pot and begin frying until it is a bit crispy. I prefer to use a large stainless steel pot cause the bacon burns a little as it sticks to the bottom. That is brown broth goodness once the water is added. While the bacon is frying, peel the potatoes. Six to eight should do fine. Rinse then chop them into medium bite sized pieces.

Chop 1 large stalk of celery and 2 large onions into bite sized pieces. Spoon drain the bacon grease, leaving a little in the pot for taste. Add the onions and celery. Add seasonings. I like to add Lawry's season salt, black pepper, Lawry's garlic salt and just a couple sprinkles of poultry seasoning - sage, thyme, marjoram, etc. My personal rule of thumb for seasoning is to sprinkle a light layer over whatever is in the pan. Stir fry until onions and celery are cooked and a little browned. Add the potatoes and cover to about 2-3 inches of water. Turn up heat until boiling. Boil until potatoes are fork tender, but not mushy. Turn down the heat and add 3 cans of evaporated milk (not condensed!), 3 cans of cheddar cheese soup. Make sure the heat is on low to medium at this stage so as not to scorch the dairy! Add 2 bags of frozen brocolli. Adding the brocolli at this stage serves two purposes - 1. it helps cool the soup so you can eat it 2. it keeps the brocolli from getting mushy.
Do a taste test and add more seasoning, if you so desire.

At this stage, if the soup is too soupy (watery), I add just a cup or two of mashed potato buds - instant mashed potatoes. Just beware, don't add too many, as the soup will thicken upon standing or as leftovers, but it really does taste better the next day. The flavors just meld together so nicely.

Ladle into a bowl and serve with fresh grated cheese garnish and crusty bread.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Toilet Training 101


This is totally NOT a joke.

There was no school on Friday for A.J. and so he was having a friend stay the night (I will not name names to protect the innocent!)The friend's mom brought over his motorcycle so he and A.J. could ride around the house. They were outside, down by the shop/garage building unloading his bike and the mom mentioned she needed to go pee. She said she could go pee in the woods. Keep in mind that it was already dark outside.I'm going to preface this by saying I was in the house while this was happening....After she mentioned this, Ty, who was working on his car, told her there was a bathroom in the building and showed her where it was. Now, keep in mind that in this bathroom - it's a shop bathroom - it has a toilet and a sink. But there is also another, new, but NOT still in the box, toilet that we intend on replacing the "old" toilet with. It is sitting on the floor right in front of the sink.She went into the bathroom, shut the door. Then came out a few minutes later and told Ty that she thinks she peed in the toilet that wouldn't flush!!!! She actually peed in the "new" toilet!!!

Much to her credit however, apparently the "flushing" toilet hadn't been used in a long while and wasn't too clean. I know, when given a choice, I always pick the cleanest potty too!
Lesson learned: I think it would be a good idea to do a test flush at any toilet that is not maintained by you in order to avoid an embarassing moment (or two) for everyone.
These are just a few of the comments I've received from friends so far:

"I need to see a picture to believe it.....LOL (just kidding, no pics please) Gees is she on drugs? was there a light in there?? no way! And who offers to go out in the woods to pee anyway?? Wow!"

"The addage here is "Who's on first, what's on second". Amazing you need to send that into "Reader's Digest" w/ no names. I bet the poor women wanted to crawl into the other toilet."

"Yuck!!! Are you going add this to your scrapbook page???People are strange. It was strange when she said she needed to go in the woods????!!!!!!Who has to clean it up???"

"Please tell me that SHE cleaned it up!!!"

"You have got to be kidding!!!!! Have fun putting in your new toilet!"

The picture with this post is of an old historic bathroom in Tahoe - it is NOT of my bathroom. Clearly! It does not have 2 toilets!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

54 Days Until Christmas

So where did the time go? These photos are from Christmas 1998. Phillip had been in California working on the Tokyo Crystal Cavern project for 2 months prior. It was very hectic. The boys and I flew from Seattle to Burbank the week before Christmas so we could go to Disneyland and Medieval Times then drive home to Washington. We packed up the temporary apartment that Phillip was staying in, loaded up the '56 Chevy truck on the trailer we were towing and headed home. Approximately half-way home, Phillip says "Shit! I forgot all of the presents in the closet of the master bedroom!" He had hidden them so the boys wouldn't see them. So, I immediately got on the phone and called the apartment manager and told him the situation.

Once we were home, we dropped off the truck, took the boys to Grandmas house in Westport, and drove back down to Valencia so we could pick up the work trailer and the presents! Christmas was saved!!! We got home around midnight on Dec 23rd - after driving straight through from California and back out to the coast to pickup the kids. On Christmas Eve morning, we went to the local nursery to look for a Christmas tree. Luckily, there was one left - the counter display. The nice clerk even threw in the little wooden ornaments. We've always referred to it as the Charlie Brown tree. The kids have fond memories of it. Every Christmas they bring it up.

It seems that just yesterday it was New Years 2007. Now, here we are past Halloween and into the month of Thanksgiving. Time to start making the Christmas card list and thinking about the gifts we'll be giving. I've decided to celebrate this year with homemade gifts. (hopefully, I'll be able to pull it off in time) I've always loved homemade and 2nd hand presents. Much more thoughtful than the mass produced goodies from the mall - except of course the new flannel jammies and slippers, but a homemade set might be funner!???

Some of my favorites over the years have been the little clay snowman family - complete with real twig arms - that Ty made me when he was in elementary school. And the Nightmare Before Christmas watercolor painting that Kyle made for me two years ago. It actually made me cry! Crying on Christmas morning - I was so moved. Then there is the 2nd hand little dictionary and heart shaped ring box A.J. shopped for and bought for me with his own money. I love them boys! They are by far the greatest gift ever! Thanks Phillip! I don't know how I would have survived if we had had girls.

I like being the only girl in the castle.....

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