Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pictures From Iowa

Just look at the details on this Victorian house. The boys and I walked around my son's new hometown this weekend snapping photos of the wonderful houses they have there. The amazing thing is that the ones you will see over the next couple days are just a smidgen of the houses like this that are all over the little town. It is so amazing! I'm sure the residents are used to people snapping pictures of their homes, but if not, the police surely got a report of some lady taking pictures all over town. For the most part I snapped from across the street so as not to really freak the owners out. The next couple posts will be house related, then I'll move on to the downtown.

The house above is right across the street from my son, AND it is for sale for around $144,000. I took quite a few pictures of this house, but unfortunately my camera did not capture the paint colors or accents. It's really a pretty house! However, hubby quashed the 9 hour commute to work...Darn!

Another confection. I must have held the camera at a slight angle since most of my pictures look a little tilted. Trust me, they are not sitting at this odd angle...I was. But then everyone who knows me knows I am slightly off center.

I can understand why my son fell in love with this town! It is cute and the people are friendly. It is about 40 minutes to Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, or Muscatine. There are yarn shops in Muscatine and Cedar Rapids, but I didn't get to explore them this time. Instead, the boys and I did a massive book buying tour of the Half Price Books stores from Kansas to Iowa. I found some completely outrageous finds in both jewelry and knitting books. I will take a picture of some of the stash and post later after my 2 yr old nephew is laying down for his nap. We have him for a couple weeks, so I am learning to do what needs to be done when he is napping. It has been a while since the boys were babies. I don't have both my niece's babies, just the 2 year old. Having both the 2 yr old and the 5 month old was just too much for this old lady. And this way, Auralius gets individual attention.
Speaking of Auralius, he just disappeared up the stairs, so I'd better go chase him.
In the next post, I'll tell you about the adventure we had getting to Iowa and why we had to stay at a hotel 90 miles from my son's home because of fog...It was "interesting" to say the least!
Good coffee and Great Friends to you and yours!











Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Can you believe tomorrow is Christmas?

Me neither.

Did you get everything done on your TO DO list?

Me neither.

However, I'm alright with that. I didn't get all the baking done that I wanted, but I am waiting for a cheesecake to come out of the oven that is destined for Stillwater tomorrow after we pick up the rental car. We are planning to have Christmas breakfast here in Kansas, then head to Oklahoma in the evening. Friday morning bright and early I am driving oldest son back to Iowa. I rented from Dollar car rental this time. I did call the customer service to add days to the rental and got really good service. I was very happy with the professional attitude. I figure we'll have some wiggle room built in just in case the weather gets really bad and we have to stay a day longer.

I am planning to spend the weekend in his little town, so I'll get pictures of all the wonderful Victorian homes there. The town has hundreds of them and an absolutely adorable downtown. I intend to hit the quilt shop while I'm there. On the way to my son's little town, we are planning to stop in Des Moines and hit the Half-Price bookstore chain there. I go to this used bookstore chain in Kansas City every time I go. LOVE THEM! However, stopping in Des Moines depends on what the weather is doing.

At this point the kids and I are planning to leave at 6 a.m Friday. This way we avoid rush hour in Kansas City. I got to Kansas City last time right in the middle of rush hour. While I didn't have any trouble, it was a bit unnerving. I haven't seen anything like that before--let's just say I am motivated to work my arrival time not to coincide with rush hour.

Before we head off to Stillwater tomorrow, we are making a big batch of homemade instant hot cocoa mix for everyone.

Homemade Hot Cocoa

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa

3/4 cup powdered non-dairy creamer

1 dash salt

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and blend well. Store in a tightly covered container.

For a single serving:

Combine 1/4 cup cocoa mix and 3/4 cup boiling water in a cup or mug. Stir to blend. Add marshmallows to hot cocoa if desired. And we all desire marshmallows don't we?!

I add a little more mix to my cup, but that's just me...I hope you enjoy this easy recipe.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cinnamon Pecans Recipe

I make these for gifts every year so I thought I'd share with you:

1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 cups pecan halves
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients except pecans. Place over medium heat, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Add pecans and continue to cook-stirring until pecans are completely sugared with no syrup left in the saucepan. Spread on waxed paper and let cool.

These are really GOOD!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Note to the Thrifty Car rental story

I decided to blog about my experience that I had when I turned the car in today since I think it adds a positive angle to my last post. As mad as I was when I talked to customer service, I try to present positive points when they arise to anything I blast. I won't remove the first post since it is valid for that day, but there is another part to the story.

I was pretty darn mad about the experience I got after calling customer service for Thrifty the other night-if you couldn't tell. However, when I checked the car in a day early at 4:40 p.m, I had to let you know that I was really pleased and surprised with the agent at the counter. I really wish I had retained her name since she really made me think that I might consider Thrifty again at some point. I talked with her about the problems I had with not getting the GPS and the "customer service" issues. After she and I talked, I thought "That is a person who needs to do the customer service training for Thrifty". She completely walked through all the complaints I had and didn't interrupt at any point, or play down the issues I brought up. She explained why the GPS reservation did not transfer, laughed about the GPS story and basically delivered superior customer service. Since I turned the car in a day early, the discount I got for weekend rates would not apply. After we talked, I was OK with that since I understood why and that it was not a "penalty" as the customer service rep had barked at me when I called them Thursday. As I said, I entered the building with a not too positive background and left thinking "OK, I may just give them a second chance". I may have to hunt down her name--Thrifty needs this girl. They should give her kudos for turning things around.

As I said, I try to be fair when something changes. Since I blogged about the REALLY bad experience, I wanted to add the REALLY good experience.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crappy service from Thrifty Car Rental

I am preparing to go to Iowa tomorrow to pick my son up, so I thought I'd rent a car from Thrifty car rental. I rented a compact and decided that I needed the GPS system just to help me navigate.

When I got to the rental stall they told me the car I was renting did not have cruise control. I upgraded and ASSUMED the cost would include the GPS since I asked for it to be included in the first place. I realized on the way home that there was no GPS. Crap! I'm going to Iowa-I need a GPS. When I called Thrifty, guess what--the cost of the upgrade (to get something BASIC on a vehicle like CRUISE CONTROL) did not include the cost of the GPS..but of course for an additional reaming, I can drive BACK to the airport and pick one up FOR AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE.

Um...NO.

Oh, and if I return the car early, there is a $15 penalty. Well, let's just ream it in a little deeper. Yep. Got to LOVE this BAD experience.

Not only am I NOT renting from them again, their crappy customer service has definitely made me want to warn everyone I know not to rent from them to save them from this type of experience!

I never got this kind of service from Avis or Dollar. That is who I should have gone with. My fault for not going with a proven winner. After all, who did I think they were? Avis?!

One funny tidbit--the second woman that I talked to interrupted me while I was speaking to let me know that Thrifty does NOT use GPS--they use the Garmin system..Hmm--apparently there is not a translation for GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM in their neck of the globe. Can anyone guess what GPS stands for? Hint-it's not a brand name like Garmin, but don't tell her--she was pretty proud of herself.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snow...

I know it's DECEMBER...I know this is KANSAS...But that doesn't mean I was ready for it!
Neither was our contractor. The ladder that you see at the corner of the picture is his. It rests against the skeleton of our deck. Darn! I was hoping we'd get it completed before any snow hit. Mind you, a couple days ago it was 60+ degrees. I didn't even have a jacket on when I was at the yarn shop on Sunday....But it IS December and this IS Kansas...
I stayed in the house the whole day today except when I had to go pick one of the boys up after school. Let me tell you, there are people who can't drive ON A GOOD day that were out trying to drive in this junk. Surprisingly, the high school parking lot, which is usually just plain craziness, was moving very slowly and carefully. It was a pleasant surprise since I was a geared up to witness multiple accidents.
The accidents and idiots that I witnessed today were adult drivers that should have known better.
Hubby knows that I am not particularly confident in driving in these conditions and was an angel by picking the other son up from wrestling practice so I wouldn't have to venture out again. One little detail I had forgotten was to get gas on Sunday, or even Monday so I would not have to be standing out in the wind and pelting snow. But since I neglected to plan ahead, guess what I was doing in 20 degree weather? Yep! Getting gas. That won't happen again, I promise! I'll make sure to send hubby to gas the car up...only kidding.
I have been feeling pretty under the weather for the past couple weeks, so I actually spent most of the day sleeping. I put a brisket in the crockpot before I went to bed, so this evening when hubby and son walked in the door I was able to have a hot dinner waiting on them with very little effort on my part.
I LOVE my crockpot.
This weekend I am going to make a couple crockpot stews so that we can freeze portions for dinner and extras so cute man has something to take to work with him. Part of our economizing this season is that we are trying to cut down significantly on eating out and concentrate more on cooking at home. Apparently in this economy, a lot of people are doing exactly the same thing. A report on CNN last week said that as the economy continues to fall, people who normally have never seen the inside of their kitchens are opting to learn to cook meals at home. Sales of cookbooks are skyrocketing along with cooking sets that are being bought by people who don't usually cook and are having to stock their kitchen. I tend to be really bad about eating lunches out, so I have been making a little more of an effort to lower that. One day a week, I sit down with the grocery store ads for the week and make a menu based on what's on sale and what we have in the fridge. I am looking at buying a chest freezer in January so that I can start taking one day to do "once a month cooking". This will eliminate the "What's for dinner" brain freeze I sometimes get. Menu planning helps, but on days when what is on the menu doesn't sound good, having extra meals on hand would be great!
Have you tried any once a month cooking? How did it work out for you. I have done sessions at Simple Suppers and Super Suppers here in town and really enjoyed the fact you don't have to clean up, but the cost is what keeps me from doing it a lot. I bought a couple once a month cooking books and plan to work from them so we can save a little extra.

Goldfish Funeral

not that a kid dropping the F-bomb is funny, but I couldn't help laugh...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls--yum!

I am in the middle of a baking spree here at Casa Crazylife. Cute man and I signed up to take cookies to sell at our high school wrestling invitational tomorrow so I am making many dozens.


While waiting for the butter and eggs to come to room temperature, I was perusing some of my favorite blogs, checking out the links they provided, and I found a recipe for pumpkin cinnamon rolls from Amanda's Cookin'. We LOVE pumpkin here at Casa Crazylife (and cinnamon rolls) so this is a match made in Heaven! I was going to do a step by step tutorial, but forgot...so here is the stage I'm at right now. All the dough ingredients have been mixed together (I love my KitchenAid 6 qt mixing bowl and mixer--my mom in law spoils me!). I am waiting for the dough to rise. I will report back on how these turn out and provide the recipe link.






Once they are done, there is a caramel icing that gets drizzled on them. Good grief! They sound good just talking about them! A little later I am going to make a cherry eggnog quick bread that I have been eyeing for quite some time. It is an easy recipe and looks like it will freeze well. As you can tell, I am in a baking mood. I am trying a lot of different recipes out so I can decide on some new ones for Christmas morning brunch. I also found an awesome recipe for pudding pie surprise at The Beehive Cottage. I love this recipe. I've had it several times in the past, but this is the first time I've found a recipe for it so you know I HAD to print it out for later next week!





Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rain, Sleet and Snow

That's what today has looked like as far as weather. I hate to admit it, but as I get older, the cold weather is getting much harder for me to bear. I end up wanting to stay in the house and venture out only when I have to.



The cold didn't stop me from getting out and doing a little shopping though. I was on a conquest for card making supplies so that I can make Christmas cards tomorrow while the boys are in school. When they come home, I am going to have them help with some of cards. I'll do all the embossing and any messy work, then turn it over to them.





One thing that is clear to me is the fact that I need to get an organized area to keep all my craft supplies in one place. I know I have some really pretty Christmas stamps, but I can't find them at the moment. I do have a half a dozen that will get me through this season, but I really would have liked to have had the other ones too. I'll continue the hunt in the morning. I used to rubber stamp a lot but then stopped for some reason. I had forgotten how fun rubber stamping is. I definitely intend to rubber stamp and emboss cards for other occasions too.





We went to my mom and dad in law's house for Thanksgiving. The boys got to do some shooting with their Grandpa and I was able to see our adorable niece and nephew who were down with my sister in law from Texas. The kids get cuter every year!





The game plan tomorrow is to bake pumpkin bread, knit a bit and clean house. The cleaning house part definitely needs to happen above the other activities. With kids and the menagerie of animals that we have, I have to keep up or it gets out of control pretty darn fast! I can put a batch of pumpkin bread in the oven and get a little cleaning done at the same time. I might even get around to pulling out my "Artisian bread in 5 minutes" book and making a batch of dough to go in the fridge for the upcoming weeks. Homemade pizza is on the menu plan this week and it would be nice to have the dough sitting in the fridge and waiting for me. With the cold weather coming up, baking is one thing I do a lot of. Having the oven on warms the kitchen, plus something good gets made, so it is a win/win situation.

The blip above was written on Sunday and I waited to post since it sounded so blah to me. It still sounds BLAH, but I thought I'd post anyway and add a little for today (Monday)..so here it is:

I REALLY should stay off the holiday recipe sight for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I subscribe to their email feed and today they had a couple leftover turkey recipes that caught my attention. The recipe for turkey tortilla soup really sounds good. That got printed, but the turkey nachos sounded so good that I am abandoning the planned meal for tonight in favor of this one. Turkey, sour cream, salsa, nacho chips--what's not to like? Gotta LOVE this sight!!! However, once I finished there, I noticed a "food gifts" section. Slippery slope that it was-- I fell right in. My printer will never be the same. Let's see...easy chocolate shortbread, chocolate raisin and oatmeal cookie gift mix, soft honey nougat (YUM!!!), buttermilk pralines, hazelnut mocha sauce,honey and macadamia nut fudge, mocha truffle tartlets, cherry and golden raisin bread..and those are just the ones I printed. I might have to quiz everyone on my gift list to see whether their blood sugar can take a "12 days of sugar" blitz for the Epiphany!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No Rest for the weary!

This past week, I lost my mind and apparently forgot that it has been a while since we've had youngsters in the house.

So when I went to Stillwater to pick my 2 year old great nephew up to spend a week with us, I also accepted his Mom's request(begging) that I take my 5 month old great niece.

See where this is going?

Having Auralius is not that hard--but my niece didn't tell me that Anna was both teething and in the middle of being treated for an ear infection, so let me tell you---that was definitely interesting.

I had forgotten all the little things involved with kids, like ear splitting crying from a teething child, the stubbornness of a two year old and the fun of trying to get everyone in the car to pick my older kids up from school. Holy Smokes! Now I know why you should have kids when you are younger!


So here is a little of what I wanted to get accomplished this past week:
1. Do a once a month cooking session to stock the freezer.
2. Shop for a compact freezer unit to keep from overloading the refrigerator freezer.
3. Finish the shop hat for Twist and the shop scarf for The Newton Beadery.
4. Get Christmas card supplies in one spot and make Christmas cards.
5. Clean house.
This is what I got accomplished:
NOTHING
Yep, not a darn thing, except the priceless hands on experience that my sons had with the reality of having kids.
You know the experiment some schools do where they have the kids carry around a doll or an egg for a week and pretend to experience the reality of a baby?
I think that is a lame experience.
After listening to a teething kid scream at decibels that could shatter glass and knock pictures off the wall, my boys have firmly proclaimed they are serious about not having children. Actually in the middle of one of Anna's voice lessons, one of my boys declared he would remain celibate for life...LOL.
And that was even before she blew the back end out of her diaper with poo.
Did I mention the diaper was not manly enough to handle the job so some of it escaped?
Yep, I thought I was going to lose two teenagers right there!
Let me tell you, if the screaming didn't do it, the diaper sealed the deal.
Priceless.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kids...

Today I had a meeting at the high school to review one of the twins school progress. It went very well.

I was sitting in the high school office thinking "Wow, my last batch of babies are in high school". I have to admit, it did make me a little sad. Those who know me know that I totally love being a Mom. Sitting there, I started thinking about some "Mom memories", some of them funny, others were a little exasperating. But then, that's what raising kids is all about. Just when you think you have the answers, God decides to shake it up a bit. For example:

Before I had kids, I always said "MY kid will NEVER scream in the grocery store". God took note of that one obviously, because I got humbled BIG TIME. When my oldest son was about 3 years old, he decided to throw a REALLY big hissy in the grocery store, but he didn't stop there. We were standing in the middle of the personal hygiene aisle of the grocery store when a college boy(who obviously didn't want to be on THAT aisle) came walking by with his girlfriend. My son promptly and tightly attached himself to that poor guy's leg and started screaming DADDY to the top of his lungs. Yep, it was a golden moment.The look on the guys face was almost as priceless as his girlfriend's face--even after I:

A. told her that I honestly have never met her boyfriend....
and
B. Offered to send my son home with them-just in case they thought they MIGHT want kids..they declined. Go figure.

Before I had kids, I always thought that there was a perfectly good reason for any incident. So how did one of the twins end up with stitches in his head after playing croquet with his twin brother? Isn't the idea of that game to move the balls with the mallet still AT GROUND LEVEL ?

But having kids also gives you absolutely golden moments of humor. Like the time we were going through "What sound does this animal make" with the twins.

Me: Jeremy, what sound does a cow make?
Jeremy: Moo.

Me: What sound does a dog make?
J: Woof

and so on, until:

Me: What sound does a kitty cat make?
Jeremy : (sticks out his fingers like claws) HISSSSSSSSSSS!

Well alrighty then...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Yoga

OK, the last two pics in the Caleb yoga saga...

Right after this, he looked up and saw the crazy lady with the camera.
But just look at the concentration on that face!

Future Yoga Master alert

Shelly's son, Caleb, was feeling a little under the weather this morning, so she had him at Twist. It's always fun to have Caleb and Ainsley around, but today was particularly amusing. While playing his game, Caleb was completely engaged in the moment. As a result, he struck several very interesting yoga poses. I have to say, I had forgotten that the human body could contort in these positions. He definitely has a future as a yoga master....


...Or a chiropractor.

This would be the "T pose"--as in totally absorbed.


I know somewhere, there is a chiropractor going "WHOA"!

OK, this one just hurts to look at.




That one makes me go "WHOA!!"
Can you me imagine explaining that to the paramedics if I tried that? Actually, let's get real. I can't even START to get in that position. That would entail the whole "being able to grab the ankles from behind thing" which I can tell you for sure: I do not have it goin' on in that arena. I have a motto that I try to follow :
Never do anything that you can't clearly explain to a paramedic or police officer.
If I tried anything like the poses above, let's face it: There would be NO GOOD EXPLANATIONS.
There are a couple more that I'll post tonight. Blogger is being stingy with photo space.



Monday, October 27, 2008

Wilde Weekend !

Sorry for the blurry picture! I was having problems actually holding the camera still while she talked. Here she is talking about the book and the fact that all the models in the book are actually friends of hers, not professional models. She shared a wonderful story about one of the models who is a Harley riding ethnic drumming woman! Loved the stories! If you have a chance to hear Gina speak or take one of her workshops, DO IT! I drove 3 hours each way to see her and I have to say, I think it was worth every second!





On Friday night I drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma to see the owner of Alchemy yarns give a talk at Loops yarn shop. Warning: This is where I am going to sound like a fiber freak...suck it up and get ready:

Holy Smokes! It was flippin' fabulous!!


Both going to Loops and getting to meet Gina Wilde. I was afraid I wouldn't get to Loops in time for the presentation since I've never really timed how long it would take me to get there, so I left early. I won't admit to HOW EARLY, but I walked into Loops at 3:45 for the 5:30 presentation. You do the math...



It did give me plenty of time to talk to Shelly (the owner), her great staff and the other customers that were there knitting. I found several really great patterns (hint: the single copies of the patterns are in the room with the long table--I didn't realize this until Shelly showed me--they have a huge inventory of patterns!!!) and probably touched every single skein of yarn in that store! I did get the pattern for a really great looking 3 way wrap that Loops designed. I bought one ball of the suggested yarn and will have to go back later when I am actually ready to knit the pattern. It is a Karabella yarn, which I haven't seen anywhere else. It really provides a nice drape and sheen to the finished wrap, so I will pick up more when I actually cast on. I have a mohair shawl on the needles right now, along with a hat , so I really am trying to make myself get these done BEFORE I move on to the next project...I digress...Shelly has designers come to the shop and give presentations often. Get on her mailing list so you can be notified when she has one of these events. That's exactly how I found out about Gina. She has had several other designers such as Louisa Harding. When she sends out the emails it is first come- first serve, so you have to email immediately if you want a spot.


For those of you unfamiliar with Alchemy yarns, the designer and owner is Gina Wilde. The minute she came in the door, I knew every mile of the drive to and from Wichita was going to be worth it! She talked about how the company was started, about the yarns themselves and her dyeing process. Alchemy yarns is a higher price point yarn--I now realize the reason for this. Gina and her small staff hand paint and dye EVERY skein that is sent out. There are no machines.The yarns are steamed in large steamers outside to set the dyes. I was amazed at the amount of labor that goes into these yarns. So when you buy Alchemy yarns, you really are getting an original piece of art to work with. There were several shop models at Loops in the yarns and some shop samples from Gina's book Shibori Knits, which I highly recommend. Gina explained the process of felting and the accidental felting that brought about this book. I got to talk a bit to Gina and her husband--both of them are very warm and interesting people. Gina is a cancer survivor, so she does get my admiration on that point too. I know, I'm babbling--get the book and buy Alchemy yarns! For those of you in the Central Kansas area who are unable to get to Oklahoma to buy Alchemy, Julie at the Newton Beadery is going to be carrying the Alchemy yarns. Either way, it is fabulous yarn that is worth every cent. One of my favorite yarns looks like raffia in the skein. When I fisrt touched it, I thought "meh..". However once you work with it, the fibers soften up. Once it is washed and blocked, it is sinful!! I am going back to Loops to pick up some of this for a shawl next time I'm in Tulsa.


While in Tulsa, I got to stop by Whole Foods and do a little shopping. I would LOVE to have a Whole Foods in Wichita. I love their store brand (365 brand) and buy a ton of stuff when I am in Kansas City or Tulsa, where the only close Whole Food chains are.However, that said, it might not be the best thing for our Mom and Pop natural food stores, so I will be satisfied to make it a destination when I'm in KC or T town. Hubby and I lived in Tulsa for a while (the twins were born there) and I love going back to visit. There really is something magical about Tulsa. It is a very sophisticated and cosmopolitan town, but the people are very warm and friendly.
I had forgotten how narrow some portions of Lewis, Utica and Peoria street were though.
I used to run up and down Peoria when we lived there and the narrowness didn't phase me. It did catch me off guard this time. Mainly because the SUV in the other lane kept trying to migrate over into my lane.
Frequently.
If you have to take up 4 inches of the lane next to you in order to just drive a straight line, maybe you should try driving something smaller. I'm sure your insurance company would be thankful. I was thankful I was in the Neon. If I had been in my mini van, he would have run right into me. I was polite, I didn't give him any "visual suggestions" after the 4th time he almost hit me. If I hadn't been in a long line of traffic, I would have slowed down to get away from the side of him, or sped up to get in front of him. I must say, I had also forgotten how congested some of the areas can get in Tulsa. That said, it really is a magical place.


I probably should go. As I am typing this, two of my dogs disappeared upstairs. One just came to the landing and is watching me. Something tells me he is the lookout and I am NOT going to be amused at the delinquent canine activity going on upstairs as I sit here and type.


Click on both Loops links. One is to the blog and the other is the official store sight. Great info on both.


A little later I will post about the Central Kansas yarn shop hop, which I went on with Cindy on Sunday. Since I was originally supposed to be in Tulsa all weekend, I hadn't planned on going. We didn't hit all the shops, but I'll report on the ones that we did. The two we didn't visit are on my list to go to in the next month.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How To Discourage People from Asking for a RIDE

Excuse #1 : I'd love to give you a ride, but the last time someone sat in the back, they disappeared.
#2: Gosh--looks like I'm plumb full on my load capacity. Besides, the rats might get a little jealous.
#3. If I give you a ride, we'll have to cuddle up real close. AWW Heck, you can just sit on my lap...



I guess that's one way to get rid of the "new car" smell. Nothing beats "new car"smell like "old decay". Yummmmmm.


Holy Smokes people! This must be kin to the van person I posted a little while back.

This one was in Newton, and since it was parked right next to me, I had to get a shot. Obviously this is someone who doesn't just ride with the windows down. And what would happen if your car broke down and had to be worked on? It would take a week before you could get to the seats--if they haven't decayed.

I am at a loss to explain this phenomenon. I seem to finding these cars pretty frequently lately. Since all the stuff is trash like empty bags and containers, I'm pretty sure these are not people living in their cars.


What do you think?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boys and Mud

In the past couple days, we have received a pretty fair amount of rain in my little town. Enough to make any patch of ground into on soggy mud puddle. So this is the scene that met my eyes yesterday as I was pulling into the football practice field.

Boys+mud= bleach.

A LOT OF BLEACH. And that didn't even get it all out. So right now, I am basting the practice pants in Spray and Wash.

Notice in these pictures that the uniforms are supposed to be WHITE. The fact that some of the uniforms are completely BROWN is not because of a shadow, or any other light trick. Those boys are completely covered in MUD. Let me say it again:

MUD...COMPLETELY COVERED.



And did I mention they don't pop in the showers before they get in the car? They do change out of their top gear and usually their pants, but they are still caked in MUD. Luckily that is not my kid in the picture above. I was watching for my son's number and couldn't find it, which was making me pretty nervous since I couldn't see the numbers on the most mud encrusted players.

My poor car interior. Last week one of the kids had a bleeding knuckle after practice and yes, I now have some of that on my seat too. Hopefully I never have to have CSI comb my car....This weekend I am going to Sam's and buying another gallon of Spray and Wash!!

That said, they did have an awful lot of fun sliding around in the mud. All the boys came off the field muddy, sweaty, tired AND GRINNING FROM EAR TO EAR.

Boys....gotta love 'em.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Things to be done.....or not

Today has been misty and rainy.



Figures.



I had called the contractor about starting our deck remodel. I really think I should go to Atlanta for a weekend so they catch up on their rainfall deficit. I have the power to invoke a monsoon simply by planning a major outside renovation. ARGGG....



So instead, I spent most of the day being productive. Ok--that's not true at all. I was lazy and didn't get a darn thing done. However, once I pick up one of the boys from school, I am planning to come home and get caught up. I'll let you know how that goes...


Apparently not all of us were being lazy today.



I opened the patio door and almost ran (face first) into this web. I'm sure the spider constructed it last night after the last dog was let in since there were no screams from someone with a web on their face...I give the owner of this web credit for being resourceful. The web would have caught a large number of the bugs that fly into the patio door towards the light that is cast from inside. I REALLY don't like spiders, but I will have a truce if they are outside. I like the spiders OUTSIDE because they keep the bugs in check in my gardens and on my plants. I do not kill them if they are outside (except black widows and brown recluses--we do not want them breeding since they tend to try to come inside), but if they are inside--they are suddenly rendered one dimensional with the aid of a shoe or any other flat heavy object (no books please!!). So for now the web will stay.

It does have a certain kind of artistry to it...as long as the owner stays out of sight...

This weekend I got to try my hand at monoprinting. I take a drawing class at the Wichita Center for the Arts on Saturdays and I have really enjoyed the fact that the instructor tries to give us hands on experience with a variety of materials. I think we are trying pastels next weekend, which I am looking forward to. Monoprinting is something that I think I can actually find a space to do--it doesn't take a ton of materials and the space can be as big or as small as I want. It isn't a technique that allows for a huge amount of fine detail, but I am finding that I actually like the impressionistic style that is typical of monoprints. I tend to put a lot of detail in my drawings and this forces me to make decisions about how to render the image in a way that is going to convey the feeling I want with the minimum amount of detail...The prints we did in class were in black and white, but you can introduce colors as you see fit, which is what I am going to be doing. I'll post the picture of the print this week. Be nice, it is my first attempt at printing so it is not perfect....





Sunday, October 12, 2008

Natalie Grant - I Will Not Be Moved - Official Music Video

I really like this song, so I thought I'd share it with you.

End of Week Post

Is it SUNDAY already? Where did the week go?!

Every Sunday I start making lists for all the things that will be going on throughout the week--then I formulate a game plan. How well does that work?


I'll let you know when I get it to work...


Actually, we put a big calendar on the wall in the kitchen that everyone is supposed to write their "important dates" on. The boys are getting better about writing it in, but last week there were still several bumps. I had planned to go to Twist on Friday and actually sit and knit--but the boys informed me on Thursday night that they got out of school at 1:20. Since one of them had to march in the homecoming parade, I also had to be creative getting him to the proper place because the parade traffic was getting heavy. Parades are a big deal in our little town.


So much for a slow day to myself.



My goal for this week is to get my living room and our library in decent condition. I have a ton of books that need to be culled through, along with more junk from the garage. It would be great to have a week where everything got organized, wouldn't it? Actually I would be thrilled if half the house got organized. I have a brother in law that will be coming to spend a week with us in November, so I need to get going!!!


I am trying very hard to cultivate a love for doing chores. Actually, I'll be happy if I can at least cultivate a tolerance for chores!! I am going to actually work from the check sheet I downloaded off SimpleMom for this week. LOVE THIS BLOG!! This one and SmallNotebook are my favorite go-to sights. Check them out!


I have been working on getting a budget started, getting organized and decorating my house on the cheap. I'll post the before and after shots all at once. Mainly because I think you might be shocked if you see the before shot without the comfort of an AFTER shot. Right now the whole house is in the BEFORE stage. Scary. But how do you eat an elephant?


ONE BITE AT A TIME.


And that is what I am going after.


one..bite..at..a..time.....
How do you get motivated to finish chores-- big and small?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Robin Macy concert at Botanica

Thursday night, a friend and I went to Botanica to see Robin Macy perform songs from her new album. It was really fun and the evening weather was perfect. For those of you who have not heard of Robin, she was one of the founding members of the Dixie Chicks. She parted ways with them before they went mainstream.

Part of the show included Robin and 2 friends performing as "The Cherokee Maidens". They sang a lot of songs in the traditional style of Bob Will. Very interesting.

Other than that, not a lot of things happening around here except knitting. I am looking forward to the end of the week when cute man, a friend and I fly to the Brown Sheep wool factory for a tour and to do a little shopping at their store. It should be really fun. Except for the "wheels up by 5 a.m. part"...I intend to sleep on the way down there!


Saturday, October 04, 2008

American Carol--A hellacious sour note

I just got back from seeing "American Carol" at the theatre.

I'm not really sure which made me angrier: the fact that I paid money to see such a poorly made piece of junk or the fact that I sat through the whole movie hoping it would get better.

It only got worse.

It was basically a string of poorly written jabs at Michael Moore that ended up backfiring. While I think Michael Moore is a pretty big freak, I have to say, if given the choice between working for Michael Moore forever or watching this movie again, I'd send Michael my resume. And I REALLY dislike Michael Moore.

The movie is that bad.

Actually the movie is so bad, I don't think there is a scale...

Cute man is a staunch Republican and even he said that it was the worse movie he has seen. It was that bad!!

There was a poorly constructed plot that didn't even stay consistent. If you saw the trailer for the movie, you saw the only funny parts, and even they were not funny when put with the full scenes in the movie. Yes, it did have big name stars, but I'm sure this will count as their role they would like to forget. Obviously none of them read the whole script or they are just getting desperate. I was sad to see Dennis Hopper in this. I like him.

Do yourself a favor--do not waste your money.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thought for the Day

I'm reading "Simple Prosperity" by David Wann and found this funny quote by Sally Feldman:

"Currently, more money is being spent on breast implants and Viagra than on Alzheimer's research. So in the very near future there should be a large elderly population with impressive breasts and magnificent erections, but no recollection of what to do with them."

Hmmmm.

Nothing I can say could top that little ditty, so I'll just shut up....

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Look closely..OMG

A week ago, one of the boys was home sick. We needed to run to Wal-Mart to pick up some medicine and saw this van. Needless to say, we were stunned.

If you look really closely, you will see that the trash in the van is not just completely covering the dash area, it is totally filling the passengers side AND THE ENTIRE BACK UP TO THE CEILING!!!! My son was trying to get me to take the picture at a closer distance, but I figured with my luck the owner would walk out about the time I start taking pictures. And the owner would no doubt be someone who was in a bad mood.

We don't need any more doctor visits here at Casa Crazylife, so I snapped from one row over.


Exactly how does this person see out the windows? At first I thought maybe it was someone who lived out of their car, but the reality is that all the stuff in the van were papers, old buckets, paper cups (a lot of them!), food wrappers...I can ignore a little paper in my car, but whoa...

I had come across a small car in much the same condition when I was in Newton last week. I wonder if these people are related.

On a "lighter" note, this was a busy week.

Shelly was out of town on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so Jackie, Mimi and I kept the shop. I was soooooo thankful they were there! I really don't see how Shelly does it. There were several times when I was winding multiple skeins of yarn, Mimi was ringing someone up and Jackie was assisting a customer with a question and vice versa. Thank God (literally!) there were three of us. I am sure there are lots of times that happens to Shelly when she is the only one in the shop....

On the knitting front, I am just about finished with a really neat hat that is destined to be a shop model. I was going to have it finished this weekend, but I was pretty tired and didn't get much knitting done. It also didn't help that hubby kept trying to engage me in conversation while I was trying to do the stranded colorwork on the hat and I ended up losing track of the proper pattern repeats. I had to rip back 4 rows, which really made me cranky. I will work some more on the hat while everyone is at school and work tomorrow. I would really like to get this felted so we can block it. I'll post pictures once it is felted and blocked. I was also working on a second pair of basic mittens but I frogged them today. I really should not knit when I am tired. BAAAAAAAAD things happen. I think I am going to put them aside so I can finish my fiddleheads and cast on a pair of socks. I am really trying to only have a couple projects on the needles instead of a lot of projects and getting none of them completed. It really feels good to wear something you've created.

On the house front, I am going to take an hour tomorrow and do a purging of papers and other stuff that is sitting around not being used. I will start working the chore sheets that I downloaded off SimpleMom's blog. They are really good resources to keep you on track. I am trying to get a system in place before the winter sets in. I am using the picture of the van above to motivate me into getting the clutter under control.

And I am going to clean out my car....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday posting...

What a busy day!

I opened the yarn shop this morning and ran it for the day. Since we didn't have to call the police or fire department, and we ended the day with a functional computer/cash register, I am assuming I did it half right in the very least. There was a pretty good amount of people in the shop today, which was nice. This is the first time I have run the shop without Shelly being somewhere around the corner, so it was a bit intimidating, but it did turn out to be not a big deal. At least I hope...


Now I just have to learn to run the register at the Beadery so Julie can leave when she needs a break from the shop on Wednesdays. I am pretty darn blessed to be able to help out at Twist in Wichita and The Beadery in Newton. Both shops are run by really talented women. There is a lot of creativity flowing out of both shops. I love it! I always leave inspired to try new techniques and yarns/tools. I am going to have to take a couple classes on lace knitting though. That is an area I am weak and I have noticed more knitters are looking for answers in that area. I'd like to be able to give them information instead of a blank look....

This had been a very busy weekend and I didn't get much actually done around the house this weekend, as I had hoped. Hubby and I did just finish planting some shrubs that have been languishing in their pots since I bought them a couple weeks ago. They were at the "plant me or I am going to croak" stage. I did get them on sale, but it would have been a shame to waste the money. Plus one was a northern snowball bush, which I was thrilled to find. It is going on the side of the house that is a little out of the way. I want to have a "secret garden" on that side, complete with a little table and chairs to escape. It does have a weird slant to that part of the yard, but I intend to build it up a bit.

Saturday night, Hubby and I went to Best Buy and "just looked". I probably should not do that. Now I REALLY think we NEED a 40" LCD TV with surround sound...We do need a new TV --our current TV is 21 years old and is just starting to act like it is going to retire itself. I was shocked at the new TV's. Very nice! I do help the old set lasts until after Christmas since we really shouldn't make that big a purchase until after Christmas.

And how was your weekend?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Wichita

As some of you may know, we are experiencing quite a little deluge of water in areas right outside my little town, namely in the big city of Wichita (note: If you do not live here, it is pronounced wi-chit-ta, NOT wah-chee-tah like one of the national news shows kept saying when they finally caught BTK, but I digress). So here goes:

Dear Wichita,

Due to the recent floods and rains of epic proportions, I feel that an apology is in order.

After a full year of living in this house, we decided it was finally time to give it up and get the deck rebuilt. For some reason, the idea of taking the fast track to the downstairs via a hole no longer seemed be an attractive proposition. That tort law class I took in college just made me a total killjoy...

As some of you also know, it rains every time we change residences. Since this was only going to be a home improvement project and not an actual move, I thought that we were safe from anything falling from the sky, except for maybe volcanic ash, small planes and large birds...but that is another story altogether.

I was wrong.

So, from here on out, whenever we are going to do anything that involves a solid plan and beautification for the purpose of safety and liability laws, I will warn you. This will allow you, dear Wichita, ample time to stock up on the basics like inner tubes, oars, waist high wading pants, lumber and schematics for large boats...

And to have ample time to start assembling two of every animal on earth.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Crazylife

When Cats Pray



I found this on Mrs. Fussypants blog. It was just too funny not to share. You really should go check out her blog. Lots of funny and sarcastic little tidbits.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Project updates.....

Here are the fiddlehead mittens (a work in progress) that I have been raving about. The yellow isn't showing up true--it is a really nice shade that sets off the other colors around it. I have completed the first one, with the exception of the lining and thumb. I cast on the mate this weekend and will complete the thumbs and linings at the same time.

I love this pattern!!!!

It has not been all knitting at Casa Crazy Life. I love to make sterling jewelry--below is a little sampling of some of the earrings I made this summer. I did decide that I will be buying half hard sterling wire, not the full hard that I bought. Bending the shapes of the ear wires--especially on the blue and green dangling pair, was a little bit of a challenge. I did most of these at The Beadery in Newton on one of the Wednesdays that I hang out there. Julie, the owner, made a really neat set of the dangle ones...I love going there on Wednesdays. If there isn't nobody with yarn questions/issues, Julie and I create jewelry...You ought to come by and create something too. Newton is just 20 minutes from Wichita--it takes me a full 30 minutes from Haysville, which is not much of a drive at all. It takes me almost as long to get to the other side of Wichita. There are a ton of really neat shops in Newton, in addition to Julie's. Email me if you want the scoop!

Yes, the mate to the butterfly seems to have flown off. That means I will be searching under the nightstand for it's mate. I seem to have a cat the likes bling too. I have smacked a paw that was reaching toward these earrings more than once!
I find that I wear this pair the most. It is comprised of sterling silver wire, sterling beads and carnelian beads...it is a little modern, but not so modern that it looks out of place. Very clean and classic lines. The inspiration for these came from the book " Perfect Match". They aren't exactly like the pair in the book, but the one in the book was the springboard for the design. It's an awesome resource for handmade earrings.

This has been a really rough start to the week for me. I have had repeated dreams where I am missing buses--the only bus to a particular destination--trains, classes, picking people up, and any odd assortment of possible ways to miss something important. If it is a no show possibility, I did it in at least one of my dreams.

What's up? I am not really sure.

Our schedule has been pretty wild lately, which may have an awful lot to do with it. I really need to find a way to get some sort of organization to this parade because these dreams keep me off kilter all day and I wake up upset. I walk around with this nagging feeling I've missed something important, or forgot to pick someone up.

Not good....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Poll Reveals 430 New Demographics That Will Decide Election

From the Onion---too funny!!!

Completely AWESOME HOUSE alert!

I lurk on Judy Wise's blog often. It is the ultimate creativity blog that just gets me totally inspired. I am going to have to go to one of her workshops to just soak in the creativity mojo!

While looking (and looking...and looking) on her site today, I came across the MOST AWESOME HOUSE EVER on the July 12, 2008 post. GO...NOW..Does it take serious creative balls to paint your house purple, or what?! And it looks great! Hubby, being a little less adventurous than I, might disagree, but my hat is completely off to this homeowner!!

There is a purple house here in Wichita, near Lincoln and Broadway--however, I think it would benefit from the white picket fence, white trim and tons of flowers that the other house has. Isn't it funny how just a few detail can make such a huge difference?

Damn. I want a purple house...

Yeah!


I got an email from Loops yarn shop in Tulsa detailing a trunk show, presentation and meet n greet for Gina Wilde of Alchemy Yarns. She is going to talk about her new book "Shibori Knits" on October 24th. I zinged off a request and got one of the 30 available slots.
Yeah!
It looks like it is going to be a really interesting event. I love felting! And not coincidentally, the Friday before the presentation my friend Cindy, my hubby and I are flying to Mitchell, Nebraska to tour the factory and sale room of Brown Sheep yarns, which is my ultimate favorite felting yarn. Cindy and Cute Man are the pilot and co-pilot--I'm just along for the yarn. Just how much yarn can you shove into a Cessna 182? Well, if all else fails, they do ship...
YEAH BABY!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Post

Hi There!

And how was your week?

Did you get everything on your to-do list done? Hmmm. Me?

Ummm..Not so much.

My list this weekend consisted of planting a grouping of shrubs that I picked up for a song a couple weeks ago and actually putting landscape cloth around them so we don't have to deal with weeds. I have a couple rose bushes that are fighting a losing battle with weeds, they will get the landscape cloth treatment too. Has that happened?

Umm...Not so much.

So tomorrow I will get up early and get a jump on it before the heat of the day sets in. Since we are at the end of the summer season, the pots of shrubs must get planted this week in order to give them some time to establish roots. The end of the week is pay day, so I will be making a trip to the nursery for a dwarf pear tree (a request from one of my sons) and a dwarf peach tree. I really want to have the ability to just walk out back and get the fruit we like, in season and not irradiated. We don't have a huge yard, but we can easily accommodate dwarf fruit trees and still have room for a garden. When we moved in, we knew the deck would have to be rebuilt, so everything has been on hold until then. Work on the deck is supposed to start this month, so I am going to get some of the "bones" put in and then work the frou-frou after the construction. It will be so nice to have the deck completed and to have the backyard completed. The boys are volleying to have a hot tub next year and I am beginning to see that it would be nice to have a small one on the patio. Both boys are very active in sports, and it would be good to have a place to soak sore muscles...We'll do a little research this winter to see what will be required and the general logistics of it.

Can you believe it is September already? It seems like this year has just flown by! But I think that tends to be the rule as I get older. Even though I am no longer working outside the home, I have found that I have so many activities going, that I am rarely home. As a result, we have been in this new house for a full year and we are still in a state of disorganization.

I think it is time to start getting the focus back to the house. I get overwhelmed so easily though! That's why we have almost 2,000 square feet of decorating chaos....ARGGGGGG!!

Along with the backyard, I am looking to get the family room finished--or at least heading in the right direction. I know we are going to take down the wallpaper that is currently on the walls, but that may be too big of a project for right now, so we'll do everything but that and save the wallpaper removal for later, unless I get a wild hair... I did get really lucky and found some incredible pictures at thrift shops lately. I even found a picture that I REALLY liked and when I looked a little closer, I realized it is a low print number of a limited edition print that is even signed by the artist! And the frame is incredible! SCORE!!! I also found some other paintings that work really well, and some mass produced but well framed prints that will work wonderfully. In addition I am going to do some drawings and paintings myself. Can you say redecorate on a dime? That's what I'm looking for. When the weather gets cold and we are inside all the time, I want it to be a good thing.

On the knitting front, I am about to close the top of my first fiddlehead mitten. All that is left is the actual thumb. However, I am casting on the second mitten tonight. I may wait to get the thumb finished until I have the second one completed, I haven't decided. It might be better to just have a full mitten finished for motivation. I'm sure this one will go much faster since I am over the learning curve. I love this pattern so much I will be doing more. I do have enough of various shades of the Cascade 220 yarn that I like so much, so I will be doing a lot more.

I know, mind barf....Sorry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cluster, Cluster......

This weekend a friend and I went to Lee's Summit, Missouri (Kansas City for all practical purposes..) . All along Interstate 35, before our exit, there was construction that turned 4 lanes of traffic into one.

Not good.

Bumper to bumper on a weekend? I would absolutely hate to see it during rush hour on a weekday. On the way there, we were able to exit before becoming too entangled in the mess. Glad I didn't say something cheeky like " Later, Suckers!"


Oh wait, I think I did.

Damn!


On the way back, guess what? Yep! A clusterflip of massive proportions. I could have sworn I heard someone whisper "Who's the sucker now?" Probably Casper, the smartass ghost.

The picture above is from our vantage point on the ramp. What you are not seeing is that there is a second ramp next to ours, just as bottle necked, that merges into our lane before all of us have to merge into the single line traffic of I35.Luckily, Kansas City drivers are remarkably courteous, so the drivers on I35 were making room for the feed off lanes to enter a few cars at a time. Luckily Staci was driving for this neck of the adventure, so were were at least facing the right direction!

I'm not used to this kind of traffic but I think if I had to drive in it, Kansas City is where I would rather be. Their drivers were really patient and courteous, even when they were behind me and I was trying to figure out where the heck I was. I really don't have the greatest sense of direction, so let's just say I'm sure some of them were thinking I was drunk! Bless them for not flipping me off, honking, running up on my rear or any other assmblege of possible antics.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rob Thomas - Little Wonders

From an animated film, but the message of the song is good....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

GEE-ography lesson








My mother called me this morning with a story so hilarious, I had to share it.

My nephew runs around with this really large guy (think Hoss from the western show Bonanza --for those of you too young to remember Bonanza--Google it) who is just a few bricks short of being able to hold up his cognitive retaining wall...anyway, my nephew and the guys were hanging out, like we Okies are so fond of doing, and chewing the fat..This guy, David, says "Can you believe the Russians have invaded the U.S ?! " and the conversation gets lively between David and one of the other guys. My nephew is sitting there trying to figure out what the heck he is talking about when it suddenly hits him that this guy thinks the Russians have invaded the STATE OF GEORGIA.

I kid you not!

So John has to explain that the Russians are in the COUNTRY of Georgia--not the state. This guy is a little dumbfounded ( I added "founded" on the end of that last word to be nice). Then John had to explain where the COUNTRY of Georgia is.

Can you imagine this guy gittin' in his pickup truck (Rednecks don't "get" in their truck, they "git") to go fight the red threat in Atlanta? I absolutely rolled...

Then I made sure my kids knew where the heck Georgia (the COUNTRY) was..

I kid you not.
Disclaimer::: the "win 100.00 here sticker" on the European map is theirs, not mine. If I had an extra $100 to give out, I'd buy this guy a globe. One that talks...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Consumer Finance (Orlando, Florida)

Today I got not one, but 3 recorded messages from a telemarketing company. On the third one, I picked it up (since the previous messages do not leave a call back #) and got a trainee. I asked him to remove our number, since we are on the no call list, and he said he would try, but we probably would receive more calls since there are a lot of branches of the company he calls " Consumer Financial Services" out of Orlando, Florida..I asked to speak to a customer service supervisor who then told me that by having a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, I am giving them the right to telemarket me.

BULLSHIT!

Then Tim (not his real name I'm sure) hung up on me.

Say it with me folks "OH NO YOU DIDN'T!!!!"

Let me give you a hint, DO NOT HANG UP ON ME IF YOU ARE A SCUMBAG TELEMARKETER.

So I am doing a little research and am out to scorch some ass. Yep, I'm pissed. I can be nice, but if I get hung up on, the transformation to complete bitch occurs instantly. It's just one of my little quirks....

And how was your day?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I want one of these!

Click on this link--We need one of these in Wichita! Maybe right next to Twist..what do you think fellow Twisters?

Suzanne's blog (that I found by lurking on the comments of a fellow knitter's blog) also had this quiz. I came out 83% Dixie...Yep Y'all, I did!



I guess all that living in Georgia and Mississippi "done me some good" when I was a kid...

Funnel Cakes


Hopefully they aren't doing a cholesterol check tomorrow when I go for my CT scan!


One website that I love to lurk on is A Baker's Dozen. The owner of this blog has 13 (yes, 13!) kids and has the best ideas for doing things with kids and just general home life management in general. She posted a recipe for funnel cakes today and I just had to try them. They were EXCELLENT.
1. Heat three cups of vegetable oil over medium high heat until it reaches 350-375 degrees.
2. Whisk together 4 cups of flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a well, then add 2 1/2 cups milk 3 large eggs. Whisk until smooth.
3. Put batter in gallon sized bag. Remove excess air, and seal. Cut 1/4 inch wide hole in bag. Carefully squeeze 1 cup of batter back and forth into oil making a free form lacy web. Cook until golden on bottom, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn the cake over and cook until golden brown on other side, about 1 more minute. Transfer funnel cake to paper towels to drain.
4. Dust funnel cakes with powdered sugar and serve warm.
Tip: Cut the hole for the bag small--although it might be a bit thick, the batter rises in the pan and thin funnel cakes are really better. The batter makes a LOT of funnel cakes, so either half it (use 2 eggs in the batter instead of the three for the full batch) or wait until you have a group hanging out. Sprinkled with powdered sugar, they are wonderful hot!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jag Är En Gummibjörn - Full Swedish Version

If you aren't sick of this song by now, try it in Swedish!
One of my boys pointed out that he seems to like to grab himself a little--kinda like Michael Jackson. I guess that would explain the playground scenes...I know, boo hiss....

Mercy Me - Bring The Rain (Live)

Another song from one of my favorite bands. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The End Of Summer...

As of tomorrow, summer is officially over for my boys.

They start 9th grade--I now have high schoolers again. It feels weird that as of tomorrow I only have 4 years before these guys are off to college. It seems like yesterday I was having a hard time coping because Jeremy told me they were kindergartners now and he didn't want me to walk them to their class. I wonder if that still applies..

It just feels weird.

I am still up at 11:30 doing laundry that realistically should have been done earlier. Not that I haven't done anything today. I actually stayed home today to supervise the kids since a friend came in from out of state and was hanging out all day at the house. It's probably a good thing I stayed home since I had to break up a football toss (in the house) and a wrestling match (again, IN THE HOUSE!) . Boys....


I did manage to get some things cleaned through though, so it wasn't all "fun and games"...


I have made pretty good progress on the fiddlehead mittens, although I have hit a part where I don't understand the instructions. Considering everyone else has sailed through the pattern, I'm sure I am over thinking it. I will be hunting down Jen at some point this week for clarification so I can get the first mitten completed. Maybe HelloYarn should let me test knit some of her patterns so she can be completely sure it is DUMMY proof! Other than this, I am totally in love with this pattern. It is very relaxing to knit and pretty addictive. After I finish this pair, I am actually going to cast on another pair in similar colors.

I rented "Indian Summer" from the video store this weekend and finally got to watch it. I read some reviews people loved it. I just couldn't seem to get into it. It seemed like something was missing from the start and it never quite filled in the blanks. The concept was great and there was no absence of serious stars, but...I guess I should have known when the reviews were playing it up as being in the spirit of "The Big Chill".

We have seriously blown the budget this week. School fees and just general school stuff nickled and dimed us--but that should not have come as a surprise. If I'd been smart, we would have saved a little at a time into a school fund. I'll seriously have to think about that before next year rolls around.

I noticed an article on the website of Wichita channel 3 that was talking about a convenience store at 21st and Webb road having WATER in their gas. Apparently there have been several people that have had problems after filling up or getting gas there. One person took their car to a mechanic and they found the gas was 75% WATER!!!!! A little could be looked on as an accident of some sort--but 75%?! That's running a con! I'm sure they are going to get zapped by whoever polices this sort of stuff--they need to lose their ability to sell gas! Steer clear of this place! We're paying enough already-we don't need a harder screw!!

Goals this week:

1. Finish fiddlehead mitten #1 and cast on #2
2. Get all boxes out of library.

That's all the goals--believe me, if I do that, it will be good! I am working on getting my oldest son's room changed into a studio/guest room so I can have all my art/yarn/fabric in one place. It has just been sitting empty and is wasted space.

Well, the laundry seems to be almost done and it is now after midnight, so sweet dreams!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Rainy Day post...


Not the kind of weather we are having today, but the picture was pretty... I took this picture at Botanica earlier this summer.




I know, I'm not being very creative with the post titles lately.


Cute man and one son is sitting at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita as I type this. They go to the 52 hour round the clock baseball tournament each year, and this year is no different.....Except that is has been raining cats and dogs all day.
No, they haven't thrown in the towel, but I'm sure they would have liked an umbrella....
Cute man ended up with a nail in his tire somehow, so he has my car for this marathon. Meaning I have been hanging at home with the other son. Have I gotten anything cleaned/organized? Mmmm, not so much. Have I made significant progress on fiddlehead mitten #1? Yep. I will be at the part where I need to put the thumb gusset on waste yarn in preparation for knitting the rest of the mitten in just a little while. I'm not feeling too confident about that, so it may have to hold until Tuesday, when I get to the shop for some guidance. I am REALLY loving this pattern. Hello Yarn has a pattern in the book "Knit Alongs" and I am really thinking about doing that once I finish a couple more pairs of the fiddleheads for gifts. I am doing my mittens in worsted weight Cascade (love the colors!!) with an alpaca lining. I will have enough yarn left over and in my stash to complete several more pairs. These are going to be really warm mittens, which will be perfect for the cold winters in Iowa. I will be starting a couple pairs for oldest son and his girlfriend right after I complete this pair since the cold Iowa winters demand good toasty hand coverings.


As I type this I have the patio door open and am listening to the rain falling outside. While I am sure they are not appreciating it as much at the tournament, I am loving the sound of the falling rain. When they start working on the deck, I am going to have them fix an area where I can sit outside during the rain and not get wet--a little covered porch with screens to keep out the bugs.
My aunts in Lincolnton, Georgia had a screened in back porch that was used for sleeping in the summer since they did not have air conditioning. Isn't that a cool idea? It actually is pretty common in the old South, and they would have laughed that I thought it was anything special, but it was. There is a lot about the South that still pulls at my heart. Southern entertaining is magical. Southerners also tell the best stories. I think that is where I learned to weave stories into everything. Even in Oklahoma we had a lot of time as kids to sit around and entertain each other with stories. Stories are a southern thing. Just walk into any small town southern cafe and listen to the conversations. If you sit there long enough, you will be invited to be part of the audience...trust me.
Good coffee and great friends to you and yours!


Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday night fever....

Sounds like a movie title, huh?

It's been an interesting week.

Night before last, ex-sister in law calls after getting nephew all worked up and tries to pull me into the web. I think she was attempting--actually I know she was attempting-- to make us think twice about backing out of the kinship adoption process. After much consideration, hubby and I decided that it is better if Skylar stays with the foster parents and they adopt him. They have had him for 15 months, and it just didn't make sense to pull him from that even if he is "family". After the ICPC papers arrived from Kansas, we sat down and talked about the fact it would take a month more to get him here and by that time he would be almost 17 months old. Nephew and I talked about it and he agrees, but I get the feeling he is afraid of making his mother mad. So hubby and I will play the bad guys and back out, which will make the process smoother for the foster parents. We have been assured that they really do intend to go through with it if we step back and if anything changes about their intentions, we will start the papers again. We will be calling Kansas SRS to let them know we are not going to follow through.
I am in the process of compiling a complete medical history of the our side of the family so the new parents can have this for future reference since we have some genetic issues that run in the family like lupus. I am pretty sure my sister in law is going to refuse any information--which is childish and stupid--so unfortunately he will only know our side.

My twins start high school Wednesday. It seems impossible to even fathom! In 4 more years, they will be starting college! One of the boys has decided he want to spend at least one year in a foreign exchange program. He is the "adventurer" of the two. The other just wants to stay home. Literally. We went out to dinner tonight and I tried to tempt him into going to the bookstore afterwards, but he wanted to go home and hang out. He is so much like his Dad. Cute man loves to stay home and read--luckily he is open to being dragged all around the city by his "can't stay home to save her life" wife.

Both the boys are in football again this year so Monday nights I will be sitting in the bleachers with a knitting project, trying to understand why a bunch of guys hurl themselves at an object, risking bodily injury while trying to inflict the same, for a $15 ball you can buy at Wal-Mart....Hmmmmm. Bet testosterone is responsible for this...

We got both boys formally enrolled today and I forget each year how expensive public school is. The first time we got "school fee shock" was when we enrolled the oldest after we moved from Oklahoma, where the only thing you paid for was school supplies...It was over $200 today to get the boys enrolled, plus I have to take them for sports physicals Monday. Luckily we planned in advance an put money into the health savings plan. Hubby's employer has a health saving plan that rolls over, luckily, so we have a pretty good buffer. A couple people I know, and the old office I worked at, had a health saving plan that you lost at the end of the year if you didn't use it all. Needless to say, I avoided that one like the plague! It seems safer to put money into an emergency savings account than risk losing it. I know the advantage is that it is pre-tax, but that is not a good enough reason. Having the accumulation of a rollover saved our bacon when I ended up in the emergency room while in Atlanta! I have a biopsy on Tuesday and we will be using that to pay anything insurance doesn't. I am so thankful we have really good insurance! This has been an interesting year health wise at Casa Crazylife!

On the knitting front, I am really plugging right along on the Fiddlehead mittens. I LOVE this pattern!! I will take pictures tomorrow. My colors are not shy, mellow colors, of course!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Should be snoozing in bed but....

One of us didn't get the laundry done this afternoon or earlier this evening.

Seriously folks, I really need to work on some kind of organizational schedule so I can get my house in order. I am now home for several days out of the week, but it seems like I haven't gotten too much accomplished. I am going to give myself the goal of getting the master bedroom and bathroom in order by Friday.

This weekend is going to be devoted to getting the guest bedroom packed and cleared out. My oldest son moved to Iowa last year and the room is still full of his things, as though he were still living here. So it is time to pack it up and make it into the guest bedroom and my studio.

My shopping for the downstairs will entail finding a long curtain rod that will stretch the length of the double patio doors so I can make curtains. We've had long blinds on one side and the other side is broke. I have been waiting for hubby to buy and install another set, but today -- for some odd reason-- I realized that curtains would not only work as well, but be a little more decorative. I plan on shopping at Big Lots and trying to find the curtain rod, however I will also try Target and Wal-Mart if I don't find what I have in mind. I am trying to decide whether I am going to make curtains or just buy them pre-made. That will also depend on the price difference.

I am also looking for a small freezer. Hopefully I can find a small one that we can put downstairs so I can start doing some freezer cooking. I have several cookbooks where you make several entrees and freeze them, but I haven't done anything with these yet. One is the Super Suppers cookbook and several of the recipes look really good. Wouldn't it be great to spend a day cooking then have 30 days worth of entrees ready to just thaw and cook? When I go by Sam's Friday, I am going to pick up an industrial size box of freezer bags and aluminum foil to get myself ready. I am hoping to be able to get the kitchen in good shape and organized so I can do 15 days worth of recipes to try out some of the different recipes. If anyone in Wichita sees a great deal on a small freezer, email me and let me know. I'd definitely appreciate it! I don't think we need one of the really huge ones, but a small one would be great. Just something that would allow me to get a month's worth of entrees, plus other extra stuff (frozen pizzas, ice cream, etc.) in there so I can shop the sales more efficiently and buy in bulk when the good deals come along. Having meals in the freezer will also help out if I am ever down for the count like most of last week or gone from the house for whatever reason. Although hubby is an excellent cook, it would be great if all he had to do was pull an entree out of the fridge on days I am not able and he has worked all day or the boys could get dinner started in the oven before he gets home. It would just make things easier all around.

Big goals--now I just need to get some action behind them. Since it is getting cooler, I'd love to have the inside of the house in order so we can turn our attention to the outside of the house. There are several hedges that are not only severely overgrown, but in need of being removed. The previous owners planted them right up against the house and I noticed they were pushing up underneath the siding.

Not good.

So they are going to be either completely taken out or moved to the area between our house and the neighbor to the East. That would allow me to reuse and recycle, but I'm not sure all the bushes are the kind I want to reuse. One is really huge and will probably not make the transplanting, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

I know, much ado about nothing...