Saturday, December 19, 2009

Missing the Blizzard

So this probably seems silly, but even though I am quite happy to be here in Idaho spending Christmas vacation with my family, I am kinda bummed that we are missing the craziness back there in Virginia! I've never been in a blizzard, and tho I am sure it's a big pain in some ways, I wish it had waited until we were back home for New Years!

It's probably not going to be a White Christmas here... right now it's just gray, with a 'slight' chance of snow for next week. Oh, well, at least we can leave the house, huh?!

If I don't get back here before the big day....

Merry Christmas to you all!! Be safe if you are in Virginia or other areas affected by the "Blizzard of '09".... and remember -

Christ the Saviour is Born!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Two days and 300 loads of laundry to go before we leave on our Christmas journey....

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Woke up to this view this morning.....

And it's getting thicker......

and yes, I went out on the balcony in my barefeet.....

...'cause that's how I roll.

Friday, December 4, 2009's December

The stockings are hung... sort of...

The Nativities are set out... (well, the bookcase was empty anyway... the books are all still in storage) There was more greenery and a really nice Hurricane lamp on the top corner of this.... but I cleaned up the shards of that this morning about 6am... apparently the cat tried to investigate up there....

The cat is still getting in on the action....

How is it that Christmas can sneak up on me when it comes at exactly the same time every year?? Like...duh. We are leaving in one week to go to Idaho for Christmas, and of course I have more than a week's worth of work to do first.

The place is all decorated, and looks pretty nice despite having a cheesy fake Christmas tree. I swore I would never have a fake tree, but since we aren't actually going to be here for Christmas, and will be unable to water the thing, and wanted to put one up early and take it down late (I mean, I will be gone for 2 weeks, so I want to enjoy the thing I spend so much time decorating!!) well, having a bone-dry fire hazard in an empty apartment just didn't seem like a good plan. Of course we are financially strapped so we could only afford a cheap artificial tree - so, bonus good!! Yay us. It looks alright though. Actually, it looks pretty nice. Huh. Whooda thunk it.

It started out pretty awful.....

But it turned out looking presentable!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"I felt bad that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet"

Are you familiar with this saying? I know it's old; so old it probably seems cliche'.... and yet it really hit home with me this past weekend.

Yeah, I've been feeling a little sorry for myself, what with the holidays coming, and not being able to spend them the exact way we'd like.... not to mention how we're crammed in this tiny apartment with most of our "things" in storage because they won't fit here, and it seems like every time we go to someone else's home for a Bible study or something their homes are enormous!! I mean, seriously, not even 'normal big' but huge!! (Okay, what do all these people do for a living?? They are mostly one income, homeschooling families, just like us ... and yet.... I guess these women married better than me, lol!!)

So - last Saturday my little family took the dog for a quick stroll just before dark along this walking path they have here called the W&OD (that's for Washington and Old Dominion, I guess the path runs along the old train lines or something). Well, it's quite woodsy there, but since it's hardwood forest and the leaves have mostly fallen now, you can see pretty far in. In the very short distance we walked - since it was nearly dark - we saw at least a dozen tents in the woods, where it was very obvious that people we not just camping but living there. Yeah. So it got us all thinking that we are so very blessed, and we've been pretty ungrateful to have been thinking the way we have. How can I be thinking how horrible it is to have to eat at a restaurant for Thanksgiving when those folks may not eat at all that day??

So, tomorrow Kiwi and I will tidy up the apartment and shop for some groceries to make a special breakfast on Thursday. We bought some supplies to make crafts on Thursday while daddy is camped out on the couch watching football, and we bought a log so we can have a fire crackling while we play games together. And most of all, I plan on being THANKFUL for the wonderful life that I have.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Something Wicked this Way Comes

It's called - The Holiday Season!!

Okay, just kidding... I love the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas.... they make me happy. Usually. This year is a little tougher, being so far away from home and family. Kiwi is so upset about not being able to do all the "traditional" things that we usually do.

I'm trying to have a good attitude about it. There must be a million cool Christmas-y things we can do here. Then, we are flying to Idaho for Christmas, so at least we'll get to spend time with the ones we love.

Thanksgiving is going to be the wierd one. I'm used to the big get-togethers - lots of family, a handful of friends who didn't have anywhere else to go, ("strays" in my family's vernacular!) hanging out after the meal to make puzzles and play games.... that's what the day means to me. This year, well, we're 2,500 miles away and it's too darn expensive to fly two months in a row (heck, it's too expensive to fly once! We're only able to do it for Christmas because that is my MIL's gift to us this year). My husband has a cousin near us, and he and his wife invited us to go out to dinner with them on Thanksgiving. Now, going to a restaurant on Thanksgiving seems like so many shades of wrong!! It's not even a buffet - just a "plated meal".... now, how the heck do you do Thanksgiving without going back for 2nds??! I made my husband promise that we would find something different and interesting to do the rest of the day since the meal out is only going to take a couple hours... I refuse to do our 'regular' stuff the rest of the day (ie: sit in front of the tv and feel sorry for ourselves). Okay, a little tv for football, that's fine.... but that's all!

What do all of you have planned for the big Turkey day??

Speaking of turkeys, we saw a wild one hanging out on the side of the road a few days ago! It was so funny - and then, I saw a news article about that same guy on MSN news! Crazy bird.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Wanna Homeschool No More

Seriously. Can I be done? I want to get a job and put Kiwi in a full-time school.

So far, 12 is not my favorite age-of-my-child. She swings back and forth between being my sweet little girl to being.... well.... some snarly, nasty, angry little thing that is so not fun to be around.

I thought this year would be fun. Yeah. Call me crazy. Or, naive. I thought we'd go see all these amazing historical places and museums and just enjoy our time together...uh, yeah. Basically it's more just whining about how awful it is to live here and how much she misses her friends and she wants to go back home. Now. Today. With or without me and her dad. As if she'd last one day; but she thinks she's all big and grown up. Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that airfare is completely out of my reach, I'd send her off, if only to teach her a lesson. Or, she really would be happy and I wouldn't have to deal with her.... either way, it'd be win-win.

Okay, I probably wouldn't. That would be mean. Right? Bad mommy-ish? Ah, but for some peace and quiet!! The real problem, bottom line, is that I am an introvert and Kiwi is an extrovert. She craves being around people; I want to be left alone. For awhile. Being that she is stressed from the move, lonely without her friends, and suffering from the mood swings of tween-ager-angst, she is more clingy than ever before, and what I need, given those same circumstances (okay, yeah, my mood swings are more of the pre-menopausal sort, but still) I just would really, really like to have some time alone, for-the-love-of-all-that-which-does-not-suck!! This is how bad it is - when I go to the bathroom - which, you know, really ought to earn ya some alone time - she follows me into my room and flops down on my bed so she can talk to me. Cripes. The only reason I'm on here now without interruption is because she is 10 feet away from me on the laptop. sigh

Homeschooling. What was I thinking??!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deer and Cream Puffs

Today, Kiwi and I took the dog for a walk into town (For mochas, of course! What else could inspire me to walk so far?!) On the way there, we saw a groundhog ("cream puff" in Kiwi-eese - we didn't know what they were when we first moved here, so that's what she called them). On our way home, we passed two deer, right on the edge of the wood - like, maybe 30 feet from us! A mama and a young one... the little one just snacked, while the mama watched us closely, but didn't move - even tho I had the dog! Guess it didn't bother her. We stood there for about 5 minutes, until a large truck rumbled past and she trotted off into the trees. It was soooo cool! See, in Idaho, we have lots and lots of wilderness, so the wild animals don't hang out right in the midst of town.... we aren't used to seeing them if we aren't out camping somewhere.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rain rain rain.....!!

My gosh! It is very wet and pretty dang chilly today! We need to get some wood for the fireplace (yeah, our apt. has a woodburning fireplace! How suhweet is that?!!) The not-sweet deal is having to take the dog out on her leash her business. I swear I'm gonna make a doggy-litter-box out on our balcony for the winter! (Watch me!) Because it's only gonna get wetter and colder, I'd imagine...

Currently girlie-dog is laying on her mat intently watching out the patio door - squirrel patrol, you know. The one thing that makes her crazy, and this apt. complex is loaded with them! Because of walking her, I have tedonitis in both elbows! I'm so not kidding. She never learned to properly walk on a leash. I tried, honest... I think it's her puppy brain damage, the poor dear. It's just one of those things she doesn't "get". Good thing she's so dang sweet :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recipe!! Dinner in a Pumpkin

Alrighty, as promised, here it is! You know this has to be easy, because cooking is about my least-favorite-thing to do. (not baking, I like baking...)

First off, let me say you need to use a good "eating" pumpkin, like a pie pumpkin, or sugar pumpkin... don't use a huge ol' jack-o-lantern carving one!

Also, you can use 3 - 4 small pumpkins if you want - that's what I did this time, so we each had our own to eat, which was fun! It took just about as long to cook, tho.....

Takes 2 hours/1 hour prep

Serves 6 (or 3 little piggies, like us! Well, we did have leftovers for lunch the following day.)

1 medium pumpkin
1 onion, chopped
2 TBSP veg. oil
2 lbs. ground beef
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms
1 (15 oz) can cream of mushroom soup (NOTE! this is what the recipe calls for, but as far as I know soup doesn't even come in 15 oz cans... there are the little 'regular' cans, or the big 'family' cans, and 15 oz would be right in the middle. I used one 'regular' size can.)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I like brown basmati; nice flavor)
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts

  • cut off the top of the pumpkin and thoroughly clean out pulp and seeds. Butter and salt inside of pumpkin
  • preheat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet saute onions in vegetable oil until tender
  • add meat and brown
  • drain drippings from skillet
  • add soy sauce, mushrooms, brown sugar and soup
  • simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • add cooked rice and water chestnuts
  • spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin shell(s)
  • replace pumpkin top and place entire pumpkin, with filling, on a baking sheet
  • bake 1 hour or until inside meat of the pumpkin is tender
  • transfer pumpkin to serving plate
  • remove pumpkin lid and serve meat
  • for your vegetable, scoop our pumpkin and serve
That's all there is to it! Sorry I don't have any pics for you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Time for bed

So, I was going to post something interesting... or at least maybe my Dinner-in-a-Pumpkin recipe... but I just spent the last hour IM'ing with a friend from Idaho... so, instead of interesting, you get "good night".....sorry!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I think I'm better now

Alright, I think I'm over...well, whatever it was. I feel way better.

Maybe it was the memory of my late sister's birthday coming up earlier this week... or the changing weather affected me. Or it's just the stress of moving still getting to me... who knows.

The house (well, apt.) is tidier, supposedly the pest control co. is coming to spray the complex and I have to let them spray inside my home, so I had to clean a bit... one huge downside to renting - I hate the fact they are going to spray bug-icide indoors! We always just used the stuff all around the exterior perimeter, then the bugs never came inside. I don't really want it in here, but it's not my choice.

I made "Dinner-in-a-Pumpkin" last nite - yummmm. I love this as a fall meal. Okay, sure, it was after 8pm when we ate (I didn't plan so well) but it was good, anyhow. I even baked gingerbread for dessert.

See where the cat hangs out when I sit at the computer?

The squirrels are running on the roof, driving the cat a little loopy.... he can't figure out how to get up on the ceiling, and it bothers him! (He's not allowed on the table - don't tell Scooter!) Oh, and yeah, I said the apt. was tidied, not "done and decorated" you can see by my empty bookcase.

And here is the wonderhorse, all-time-fave stuffie of Kiwi, all dressed up to go "colonial". Too bad we don't have a trip to Williamsburg planned anytime soon.... hopefully in the near future, though....

All that worry and hanging around the house - do you know what that pest guy did?? He came in, put something under the sink, and left. That was it. OH, brother.
(the something was roach bait... and no, we haven't got roaches. guess it works)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Slogging thru

So I said I wasn't going to whine anymore. Fine. I will just be.....sad. Very sad. Today was a beautiful day, weather-wise, and hubby and daughter went for a walk at a historical farm site... I stayed home in bed. Sick, or depressed? I'm not sure.

I've got to pull myself together.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wow....'s October. Holey Cow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Today I am not going to whine

Actually, I was kinda thinking about running away from home. At least for a couple days. Maybe I would miss everyone and want to come back. Or they (I should say he) would realize I am good for something and beg me to return.... 'cause that'd kinda make me feel good, anyway.

I just need a break, ya know? From the clinging and the neediness (and that's just the dog!)...well, okay, and the girl. It's weird, because the more I need "me time" the more clingy she gets... it's just our own reactions to the emotions we're feeling.... but they aren't real compatible!

I'd give good money to once... just once!... sit down on the toilet without the dog putting her head on my lap and one or more human family members sitting on the bed to talk to me.... geez! I suppose I could just shut the door.... but I'm kinda weird and claustrophobic about that.

Well...... the weather has been nice.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm getting tired of being the family cheerleader

Why is it that I am the only one trying to "see the bright side" here??! I know, I know. It's hard to move 2,600 miles away from all you know and love. I feel it too! But, still. I am trying to have a good attitide, to look for the best in it, to find fun stuff to do. My daughter cries every other day that she wants "to go home". My husband hates his job here. (Now, that doesn't surprise me... given the company he works for. He's worked for them before. It was my only real hesitation about moving here, and sure enough, they've remained true to their colors. I don't know why he thought it would be different.) This morning when I dropped him off at work (yeah, I have to get up at 5:30am to take him to work since the company took away the managers' vehicles.... but have I complained? No. Well, not a lot!) Anyway, he tells me he just wants to move back, that it isn't going well here at all. I asked "Isn't it better though, now that Kiki and I are here?" (he moved here 6 months before she and I were able to come) and he was all "well, it's better, but still, like last night, you were on the computer while I watched tv alone.... what fun is that?" OH!! Let me explain something! I hate inane television, and my husband is the KING of coming home, plopping his butt on the couch and grabbing the remote. I have spent countless hours sitting next to him watching crap I couldn't care less about, trying to be "with him". Well, I am tired of it, so recently I've started getting on my computer when he camps out with the tv set. (and besides, the computer is about 20 feet from there - it's not like I'm upstairs, or in another room or something!) I have tried and tried to get us to play a game, or read, or do heaven knows what instead of tv..... but now he's not happy enough that Kiki and I finally joined him here because we aren't spending time together??!!!

If he doesn't pull his crap together, maybe I will just take Kiki and go back to Idaho.... at least I can make one of them happy that way!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The cat is one reason I'm crazy

Now that the weather is getting nice, I like sitting out on the balcony; especially in the mornings with a nice cuppa coffee. It starts out nicely, all of us just enjoying the cool autumn air...

But then the goober cat thinks it's time to quit being 'dog lazy' and do something....

Which generally involves jumping up on the railing...
Wondering if he can get on the roof.....
And what you need to understand is - A) we live on the 2nd floor and - B) this is the klutziest cat I've ever known.... he falls off stuff on a regular basis. At this point, I have to toss him indoors, and he spends the rest of my "quiet time" pawing the sliding doors in an attempt to claw through the glass and once again join us in "the great outdoors".

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A little funny to start the day - too bad it's true

I don't usually get political on here, but I rec'd this in an email, and loved it!

Let me get this straight - Obama's health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress who hasn't read it and whose members will be exempt from it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke.

What could possibly go wrong?!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh - back to the trip - Day Two, Mt. Rushmore

Oh, wait ~ first, I have to post a couple pics of the "amazing" Reptile Gardens (lol... it's waay over publicized in my opinion...but, I guess since it's out in the middle of South Dakota, it's the "biggest thing" next to Mt. Rushmore, heehee!) We visited this on the way to see Mt. Rushmore.

That's the main building where there are a lot of creepy crawly things. I'm not into them as pets (I prefer furry critters) but Kiwi is interested in them.... she was enjoying it until we found the giant blown-up photograph from some foreign country of an alligator (or crocodile?) that had eaten a local native, and the creature had been killed, but you could see....well....'parts'... of the native. Even in black and white, it was terribly gross. What were they thinking??!

The snack bar. Where they serve super-expensive, lukewarm, not-terribly delicious food. Because what self-respecting, money-making theme park would be without one?

Birds, tropical flowers, of course reptiles, and....

....eeeyyywwww. There were dozens of these, just laying all over each other. They didn't even look alive except for an occasional rolling of an eye. It totally gave me the heebies.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School is in session!

So, Kiwi and I started school today. We had what you might call a "soft start", lol! See, I haven't had any money to order her curriculum, so we just started with what we had... we did our devotions, we did some reading (thank goodness for the library!) we went to the apartment gym to exercise - this will be a daily part of school - I gave Kiwi another lesson in 'laundry', because part of school this year is definately going to be "life lessons"! Then, because we are going to journal every day, we made journals!

The idea is to take plain old composition books and make them pretty!

You just need two pieces of scrapbooking paper ~

Here Kiwi goes for a Christmas theme ~

Cut it, glue it, fold it to size....

Fold and glue the corners, then the sides...

and there ya go! Easy peesy....

Kiwi did this one in autumn hues....

Her Christmas one ~

I just chose patterns and colors that made me happy! Here they are, quick and easy... you can embellish with ribbons, buttons, stickers, whatever.... we may just leave 'em as is.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

So, it's September

Huh. Who knew. September already. Summer is over ~ it's time to start school.

I am so not ready. Spending most of the summer getting ready to move, then moving, then trying to get moved in; well, it takes it out of ya. And, like my little Kiwi observed, after all that it didn't really seem like a summer vacation. She got that right!

But, life doesn't care how you feel about it. It just moves on like a river, whether fast or slow, and you have to go with it. Fighting the current only makes you tired.

So, we'll have a little Sunday, and a Labor Day, then start our little homeschool venture on Tuesday. Of course, with the car breaking down and other nice little surprises, we haven't had the money to purchase one single textbook. But, we have a library, we have the internet, we have wonderful points of historic interest to visit, we have good brains and we know how to use them. Life, and school, will carry on. And it will all be fine.

If all else fails, we have the cat for entertainment.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day Trip to Mt. Vernon ~ home of George Washington!

So, here we are! It took about, oh, I think 45 minutes to an hour to get here.... I was in the backseat with Kiwi, we weren't really paying attention! It was a hot day, and a little humid - I thought it was actually pretty decent... of course, all the buildings, even his mansion, are air conditioned.

The Father of our Country. When watching the film inside the first building, it made me tear up a little - thinking of what our forebears fought for, and we seem to be letting slip away... sometimes I feel like some of todays citizens are ruining my Wonderful country..... but, back to Mt. Vernon ~

It was a gorgeous think, he had like 8,000 acres on his plantation!

The happy little family

A cool model of the house - walls raise and lower to show different sections and rooms

As seen from the far side of the "Bowling Green"
I love covered passageways! Do you see the Potomac in the distance?

View from the "front" side - that tree is in the film "National Treasure II"
The lovely patio - it was shady and cool(ish) here
The Potomac looks really lovely from here; but actually it's pretty cruddy - you wouldn't want to swim in there!
I don't think this needs any more explanation!

Hey!! My whole family could go at once!! Yay!

We didn't have nearly enough time here. Wait... I didn't mean here. In the neccessary... I meant, here at Mt. Vernon!! Lol. We didn't get to see the gardens, or the outbuildings, and we barely got to look around the gift shop (which seems to have some pretty great stuff!) The up-side is, we live here, so we can go back! Besides, we have to eat in the Mt. Vernon Inn, because they dress in Colonial garb plus they have Peanut and Chestnut soup! Yummmm....
Well, that was our Saturday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today (In "Real Time")

I am taking a quick break from my travel log to bring a 'current' event ~ today, we are taking my visiting MIL to visit Mt. Vernon. It will be our first visit, and I'm pretty excited! I'll return with pics and the scoop. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Big Move - South Dakota Tuesday (June 16th, 2009)

On this day we left Montana behind, crossed a corner of Wyoming, and entered South Dakota. We were now in territory I'd never visited before. Which, I need to talk to my parents about. Because, Mt. Rushmore is pretty dang close to Montana, yet we never, ever visted it. Seriously, mom and dad?? What were you thinking??!! My poor, deprived childhood.

Anyway, the hills are rolling, bare, and beautiful. Native Americans still live here (but I'm guessing not in the teepees we saw). Actually, we crossed the Reservation, and they are generally sad looking areas. I always feel bad about history when I see that.

We saw a cool old graveyard

The endless highway

On which we saw far too much of this sort of thing:

Somewhere in South Dakota ~

The whole reason for coming here!! (not
really.....) This was, shall we say, somewhat of a disappointment after all the advertising. Think,
JimBob decided he'd have hisself a nice little ol' theme park....

But, hey, isn't that what the Great American Experience is all about?

Tomorrow, Mt. Rushmore...... (altho it might not really be tomorrow... my M.I.L. is flying in from Seattle tonight, so who knows what I'll be doing the next couple days!)
Okay, I tried like 1000 times to get this post right - pictures and text in proper order - but noooooo!!! How DO you get the pictures to be where you want them???