Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bitten


Just wanted to share a quick and easy breakfast that we found on Mark Bittman's blog at http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com . I watch his blog thanks to my friend Liz turning me onto him and this came up the other day. Just so happens I had all this in the fridge (not much really and I used canadian bacon) but it is swell.

I've had it three mornings this week and it was easy to let cook while I was getting ready for the day. Grace wouldn't even try it but she'll warm up to it soon :0

Baked Egg with Prosciutto and Tomato

Yield 1 serving

Time 15 minutes

Mark Bittman
Evan Sung for The New York Times
Summary

The advantages of the baked egg are many: you can use one ramekin or 20; you can bake the eggs with oil or butter; and you can add whatever else you want -- for example, as I do here, butter, tomato and prosciutto.
Ingredients

* Butter or oil as needed
* 1 slice tomato
* 1 small slice prosciutto
* 1 egg
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method

* 1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Smear a bit of butter or oil in ramekin; line with tomato and prosciutto. Break egg into ramekin, then put on a baking sheet.
* 2. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until egg is set and white has solidified. Because the cup retains heat, egg will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven, so it is best to undercook it slightly. Precise time, in a good oven on a middle rack, is 12 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Variations

* You could put chopped cooked spinach or cooked asparagus in bottom of cup, with a little cream. Or place the egg on a bed of chopped ham, bacon or sausage. Sprinkle with Parmesan if you like.

I cooked mine for 20 minutes because I just don't like my egg whites runny AT ALL. I do like the yolk runny so you'll have to experiment with the time.

Try it! It's easy and yum!

Vacation Days

I'm thinking our cat Pansy will be glad when Christmas vacation is over. I found her in Grace's room this morning stuffed into a Barbie tote with Grace's stocking cap on her head and meowing. She was fine, but boy was she glad to get out of that tote! I can only imagine what was coming next, Grace had all her "doctor" tools out. Eeek!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Socks for Christmas Video

Here it is. It's a little long, 7 minutes but you'll get the point pretty quickly :) Fun pranks on the kiddo. What else are kids for right?

video

Christmas Past




We had a great Christmas this year. This was the second year we didn't exchange gifts with anyone including family with the Grace exemption of course. Grace was all over Christmas this year. She really knew what was going on and was into it. Of course she got A LOT OF SOCKS!

I'd mentioned earlier that I hoped Santa brought her some socks and she wasn't going to mention it to him because she didn't want to waste any Barbie gift giving potential on measly SOCKS.

Well, Dad, Susan, Mom, Bryon and I AND Santa...thought differently. We opened up gifts early Christmas Eve so Dad and Susan could get home before the imminent snow storm which turned out to be pretty dismal really. Still it was a white Christmas so you can't complain about that too much.

We secretly stacked the deck ahead of time and presented Grace with ALL the socks boxes (mostly wrapped separately) first. She was NOT impressed and actually started to get a little pissy about it. I thought Dad was going to pop a gasket laughing. She ended up with 42 pairs of socks! That was a LOT of socks! This included what Santa brought but he just hung them on the tree along with lots of other little "stocking stuffer" toys.





She got a little happier after the socks turned into more fun looking gifts. Of course Santa brought her four barbies the next morning so all was right with the world again. She even seemed a little happier about all the socks with the light of day.


Bryon made spaghetti carbonara Christmas Eve and it was scrumptious. It's pretty much his Christmas Eve specialty now since this makes two years in a row. It's the bomb.

Gary and Mom spent the night Christmas Eve and Mike came over Christmas morning for breakfast. Grace actually made it until 7:30 am before getting us all up so I thought that was pretty good really.

Christmas Day we pretty much spent eating and playing games, eating and playing games.

Grace and Bryon went out and she sledded behind the four wheeler until the snow turned to mud. Ruger pounced on and off of her and the sled and got a few good rides in too. It was his first snowfall and he was a nut. He really liked the snow.



Even though we didn't officially give or get gifts, Bryon ended up buying a new tv for the bedroom and I ordered my blog made into a book from Blog2Print.

Grace went home with Nana Friday night and comes home tomorrow and I spent the past two days undecorating the house. Christmas is like vacation...it's always fun to go, but it sure is good to be back home...and undecorated again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Send it to Dr. Good!


Grace LOVES candy so much! Of course she gets that sweet tooth from me. Luckily for me she could take or leave the chocolate and likes the sour stuff best so she keeps me in good supply of chocolate.

Every day after school, she gets to pick three pieces out of her ongoing stash of various holiday candy, so the other day when she said she wanted a healthy snack of bananas and carrots I was really excited and told her how healthy and good for her that was.

She insisted I take this picture of her and her healthy snack and send it to her doctor, Dr. Good.

I haven't send it yet, but probably should. He'd appreciate it I'm sure :)

A Good Egg?


You never know what wonders are going to come out of those hens. I found this egg the other day. It looks like an unformed egg was still attached. We didn't eat it. It was probably okay, but it was just too weird.

The hens have really slowed down this fall and winter. I went from getting five or six eggs a day to two, one and some days none as they finally all molted for the first time. Crazy enough, the 21st of course was the shortest day of the year and they lay more or less according to the amount of daylight from what I've read. Well on the 21st and the 22nd I got four eggs each day!

I guess I'll probably raise some more layers this spring so we can keep up the egg production. We've been selling enough each month to at least pay for their feed and keep us in all the eggs we could want. You gotta love that!

The past month we haven't sold any though because one or zero eggs a day don't add up very fast. I'm hopeful they are ready to get back into production :)

Rats!







Okay, so they aren't exactly RATS but it is sort of crazy considering how much I try to keep mice OUT of the house or on a glue trap.

I found this cage and accessories at my favorite humane society thrift store in Camdenton for $20. I was going to give it to Grace for her birthday but after the fish debacle (we couldn't keep them alive for anything) I figured we'd be better off donating it AND the fish aquarium to the Niangua Preschool where Grace attends.

The kids have LOVED them both. Mrs. D is awesome with them and has managed to keep the fish AND the gerbils alive. We volunteered to bring the gerbils home to care for them over the long Christmas vacation. Grace is THRILLED and wants to get them out and play with them about every five minutes. I finally let her get them out a few hours ago and put her in the bathtub with them. I figured that was the safest place to avoid escape! Pansy can't hunt worth a damn, but I don't think pet gerbils are very predator savvy. Preschooler savvy yes, predators, not so much. AND I didn't want to have to hunt over all four thousand square feet of the house for them!!

So far so good. After one day they are still alive and well.

I had a horrible sick headache last night and into this morning (actually it only went away a few hours ago) and at 5 am Grace was awake on our first day of Christmas vacation and came in to ask if she could turn her light on and check on the gerbils. I told her yes, but then she had to go BACK TO BED!

I don't think she ever went back to sleep but mercifully she was kind enough to close her door and play quietly until 9 am.

Yes, I know how lucky I am.

The gerbils names are Spunky and Sissy. Boy and girl. So that likely means babies at some point. I'm thinking if they reproduce and the babies survive, maybe we'll get a cage for Grace. She's so sweet with them and they don't seem to be too much trouble so far.

We'll just have to add GERBILS to the chicken, cat, dog sitting routine when we go away for the House Sitter. Are you reading this Austin? :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You Might Be a Redneck...

Lest you think nothing has been happening around the Medley household, fear not.

Tuesday night Bryon was helping me frantically clean the house for my work Christmas party coming up on Friday, when he ran across some old flares we had bought when we went to Alaska in 2002. You know, flares, to signal for help in case a giant grizzly bear appeared in our roadside camp and proceeded to eat one of us.

Well the flares had also EXPIRED in 2002. Being a MAN, he decided to shoot them off our back deck about 8:30 pm just to see what they would do.

He ripped the cord on the first one and it pulled all the way out the back of the flare. A dud. He started to bring it back into the house and I told him no way, he should leave it out there in case it had a delayed reaction. As he spun around the thing just broke in half and fell to the deck. No big boom. No problem.

Not satisfied with the results, he picked up the next flare. Did I mention there were four in the pack? He ripped the cord and shazam, the thing zoomed out and arced over the pond in a red blaze of glory. Okay, I'll admit it was pretty cool.

Then, feeling cocky, he got the third flare, ripped the cord and it zoomed straight up into the air and then landed smack in the middle of our trampoline and proceeded to burn a two foot hole in the middle of the jump mat and then set the leaves UNDER the trampoline on fire.

Yes. A two foot hole.






I just could not believe it.

He took the other flare into the garage I guess and I walked out with a flashlight to see the damage. The thing AND the grass was still on fire so I yelled at him to come put it out before it burned the whole dang house down.

So now, I'm trying to figure out if we can buy a new jump mat. I sent an email to the company minutes after the event and a totally humorless drone replied to order it from their website. Seriously, could you not even COMMENT on the fact someone burned a hole in the thing with a flare?


The search continues for a new trampoline mat because I just haven't had time to pursue it.

I'm pretty sure this secures his place in the Niangua Redneck Community...as if it wasn't already.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Books I've Read in 2009

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

The Shack by William P. Young

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin

Grace (Eventually)by Anne Lamott

A Year Without "Made in China"

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

The History of Love: A Novel by Nicole Krauss

Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

$64 Tomato by William Alexander

Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark

The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

The Eight by Katherine Neville

Fieldwork: A Novel by Mischa Berlinski

Sleeping Naked Is Green by Vanessa Farquharson

Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes by Mark Bittman

Sharing the Harvest by Elizabeth Henderson

The End of Food by Paul Roberts

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton

The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton

Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton

Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton

Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton

Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton, Cynthia Holloway

Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton, Cynthia Holloway

Incubus Dreams by Laurell K. Hamilton, Cynthia Holloway

1984 by George Orwell

You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore

Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton

Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton

A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris

Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb

Better Off : Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende

Resolutions Resolved for 2009



Another year nearly gone. I can't believe how fast time goes. Luckily, since I plan to live to be 100 years old, I'm not even halfway there yet. The balance of my life is still before me. It's a good thing too, cause baby I've got PLANS!

As I look over my resolutions and goals for this last year, I can say I've had some successes. Even though I didn't reach or complete all my goals, I've made progress towards them or just decided to change course.

Here's the recap:

Resolutions, Goals and Life Lists
1. Watch less television (really hard for me because I'm a total addict, there should be a 12 step program or a patch).

Check! I made it 40 days this summer without watching television. It was nice but I also realized I REALLY like watching my "Mama shows" as Grace calls them. Basically any show she isn't allowed to watch she calls a "Mama show". You can read the full report if you missed it at http://medley3.blogspot.com/2009/06/true-end-of-tv-drought.html

2. Read 52 books in a year (which would be a lot easier if I watched less television).

Check! as of today, I'm on book number 57! That does not count the dozens of library books I've also read to Grace and numerous magazines. I can't believe I read that many books and should be able to get in one or maybe two more before the end of the year.


3. Eat no fast food for a year (I'm not sure that's even possible).

Nope. Didn't even really try this one. I did manage long stretches between trips to McDonalds, but working out most days of the week made this feel like an impossible task to me. I consider fast food any restaurant with a drive-thru. Something to work on in the future.

4. Plan our family meals a week/month at a time and shop for them accordingly.

Nope, didn't get this accomplished either, however, I am carrying it over to next year and hope to get things organized for a full scale attempt over the Christmas break!

5. Lose 20 pounds...again.

Nope. This is goal number one for me AND Bryon in the coming year. Grace said we should all do pushups together in a line upstairs so we can all be skinny in the middle. Bryon told her that we didn't want to be too skinny or too fat that we should be in the middle. She's going to be a real Drill Sergeant I can already tell.

6. Cut my hair (childhood hair trauma has kept my hair long for the past 25 years, again, I probably need a patch or 12 step program for this one too).

I did get it cut. Nothing drastic. It basically looks the same only shorter but still I got about 4+ inches cut off the back. I like it.



I waited until the end of the year, but it is finally accomplished!

7. Learn some Italian.

Nope.

8. Go to Italy (obviously learning some Italian would help this cause and Dawn and I are going to try to save enough money to go together the summer of 2010)

Nope. We are not going to Italy this summer after all. The economy conspired against Dawn and I. We still hope to go sometime in the future. Hopefully before 2012 when my passport expires!

9. Learn to play my really spectacular Taylor Big Baby guitar (or at least a few recognizable campfire worthy songs).

Nope. I think Grace and I can start taking some lessons together in 2010 because now she knows her LETTERS so she can start learning to read music. I'm hoping we can take lessons together one night a week and plan to go the music store in Marshfield to set things up for us over Christmas break.

10. Raise all of our own meat on the farm.

We were successful in raising all our chicken, eating the pork we raised last year and butchering deer Bryon killed. We still don't have any fencing to raise beef, so I've been buying grass fed burger from The Rockin H Ranch in Norwood. I'm hopeful once again for 2010 and we'll definitely raise meat chickens again and a pig if Bryon doesn't go hog hunting soon!

11. Learn to make cheese and bread.

Check on both. I can make rolls, ricotta and mozzerella now. I don't make cheese very often because it's so time consuming but we eat my homemade rolls weekly. Loaf bread is next on list.

12. Finish the last 12 mile section of the Ozarks Highland Trail in Arkansas (I have already hiked 153 miles of it).

Nope. I keep wimping out. Turns out I'm in terrible shape, I don't like the rain or cold and I just can't find the motivation to get this done....maybe next year.

13. Print last year's photos so I can scrapbook them.

Check! I printed them all out and now they are in a nice pile upstairs and suddenly I'm a year behind again. Oh well.

14. Scrapbook them.

Nope. I haven't "scrapbooked" in months. It seems the blog has become my scrapbook. I do have a nice pdf file of all my blogs to date that I hope to make into a book at some point if I can figure out how to make all the photos download correctly. So I figure that's better than nothing.

For 2010 I already have some things on my list that I'd like to accomplish and a few will carry over from last year of course. I just can't help myself.

A girl's just got to have a plan.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

O' Organic!



I am an Organic adulterer. I want to be married to Organic, but it's just too big a commitment. Organic is an expensive date. He's hard to find sometimes and keep track of. He's not always what he seems. So when he's feeling easy and available, I'm all over him. The other times...not so much.

I've had affairs on him with McDonalds and several, okay, EVERY other restaurant I've ever eaten at. I want to do better, but I just don't have the will power.

I've been trying to buy more organic foods for our family and incorporate them into out diet. It's not easy. There aren't very many choices in our little town, although the local Summer Fresh grocery store IS trying with a small little dedicated section. I try to buy SOMETHING from that section every time I go in the store, but I feel sorry for them because several of their dairy items have already expired by the time I'm there to consider buying them. I know that is not encouraging to them and they are likely losing money.

Walmart makes me mad too. They do have some organic products and produce but they are interspersed around the store and not easy to find. AND when I do find something I like, for example Del Monte organic tomato sauce, then the next time I go to stock up, it's not on the shelf anymore.

I can't, or more, WON'T go to the only "natural foods" store in Springfield to buy my groceries on a regular basis. I know it would be at LEAST twice as much, not to mention a HUGE inconvenience. My friend Liz kindly picks up the things I order from the Mt. Vernon Coop and delivers them to me on a regular basis. This is WONDERFUL! Especially for dry goods, health and body products etc. but I'm hesitant to buy dairy, refrigerated or frozen goods with close expiration dates because I KNOW I won't and can't make that hour trip to pick them up in a timely manner.

One of my goals for this year was to raise all our own meat on the farm. That still hasn't happened and since it's only 28 days until 2010, it's not looking hopeful. We did, however, raise all our own chicken this year, and have eaten almost all of the pig we butchered last January. Our sausage has been gone for months. Next time, more sausage!

Since we weren't able to get our fencing in AGAIN this year, I bought grass fed burger from the Rocking H Ranch in Norwood all summer. I plan to keep doing that until we have our OWN beef.

We supplement with deer as well. Bryon got two this year and our friends bought one of them (paid for the processing). We had it made into breakfast sausage this time which has turned out suprisingly well. It could have been a bit spicier but we'll know next time. We were eating it in ziti the other night and Bryon pointed out that our deer was most likely NOT organic.

I hadn't even thought about that but he's right. The WILD deer he killed that has foraged off the land for the past two to five years has more than likely eaten a goodly quantity of Monsanto genetically modified and Roundup Ready corn and soybeans from our neighbors fields. In fact, our closest neighbor is BEGGING hunters to come and kill his deer. He figures they've eaten close to four entire rows from one field which accounts for several bushels of corn which to a small farmer translates into dollars lost.

I think that's just nuts. A WILD and NATURAL animal that could not even be stamped organic because it's diet has been corrupted by Monsanto.

What's next?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Goodbye Turkey, Hello Ham!



We had a great trip to Nebraska for Thanksgiving this year. Grace was the best traveler the whole trip and Gary and Norma Jean went along as well. Gary hadn't been back since he moved here last February and was glad to see the family again.

Grace got spoiled by Aunt Jan and Uncle Kelly and I did some shopping on Black Friday (AFTER the craziness calmed down) and the Huskers beat Colorado so all was right with the world.

We got home Sat. night about 6 pm and I'd been telling Grace we would put up our Christmas stuff when we got home. Of course by the time we actually GOT home, my ambition had waned. Hers, however, had not!

I dug out her little tree and ornaments and she decorated it up last night.



Today I got out EVERY DECORATION WE OWN and went to putting them all up and out and around the house. We skipped church, slept in, fixed breakfast and then just messed around all day. It was GREAT! I wish I had another week to keep doing it!

I got everything up except for some outside decorations around the porch. Grace has been asking for outside Christmas lights and Bryon decided he'd do some for her. He couldn't find what he wanted at Walmart today so he'll have to go on the great light hunt this week. He wants those old fashioned, fat colored bulbs.

I finally got him to put up icicle lights the first year we were in the house and had the big FAMILY Christmas gathering. He cussed and grumbled the whole time, finally got them up, plugged them in and then only half of them worked. He was NOT happy. Then to top it off, squirrels ate the plugs off the ends. Hopefully we'll have better luck this time. Of course now it will probably just be Ruger eating the lights.

I have SEVEN Christmas trees up in the house! Last year we got four topiary trees with lights on them the day after Christmas and we thought we could put out on the front porch instead of lights on the house. Good idea, but NOW we have Ruger who is a one dog destruction crew. He'd destroy those trees in no time I'm sure. So I put them up around the house instead. I decided anything that's NOT used this year, goes to the garage sale pile.







It pretty much looks like Christmas exploded at the Medley house right now, but I figure this will be one of Grace's best years for remembering Christmas.

I told her the other day, I sure hope Santa brings her some new socks for Christmas. She asked me why and I told her because she REALLY needs some. She said, "Well I'm not going to tell him!" I guess she didn't want to use up her gift luck on socks! Oh well, Santa already found a few. I think I'll have her open that box first!

Bruuuhaaahahahahahaha!

Deer Season 2009




I just realized I didn't get any mention in about Bryon's deer season this year. He and his Dad both got button bucks (which didn't even count as bucks because the only thing that proved they were boys were testicles!) opening morning, then on Sunday of the first weekend he got a nice 8 point.

His friend Chris got a huge 11 point that same weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vamped Out


First of all, sorry I've been delinquent in blogging. I spent a week in Rolla working and staying at the Hampton Inn, then that SATURDAY at an all day mandatory meeting for work as well. NOT FUN! Last week I pretty much spent catching up on everything.

Bryon and Grace did a great job keeping the house clean and all the animals alive, so I suppose they CAN live without me after all :) But I still don't like being gone. The next big college drive is February 2-5 so I've already got my reservation made.

I have to admit it WAS nice sleeping in a king sized bed, and having my evening snackage ready and waiting for me when I got back to the hotel. The staff at the Hampton is AWESOME and they had breakfast every morning which was GREAT and FREE! I certainly am NOT complaining about that.

I also got the rest of the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series read. Yeah, there were 17 books in the series. It was the longest series of books I've ever read. The next book is Flirt and it comes out in February (AFTER the blood drive unfortunately) and then another this summer. I'll read them because I'm in too deep now to quit, but I think I'm pretty vamped out for now.

I'm looking forward to getting through some of my tower of texts in the next few weeks that have been piling up while I gave my attention to the vampires.

So many books, so little time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

No Gift Christmas ... Too Much Stuff .. and Fun with Nature

The family is all in. No gifts are being exchanged again this year. I'm VERY happy about that! That means...NO SHOPPING! NO fighting the crowds in the brain sucking flourescent lights. No Made in China, lead based crap that's going to break and fall apart in ten minutes. No lame junk that people don't really want and NOT spending $1200 on all that STUFF.

Of course, there is the Grace exemption. Bryon and I and the rest of the family are allowed to buy gifts for Grace, but honestly, after her birthday and having SEVENTEEN guests who brought gifts... I just can't really think of much she needs.

I finally cleaned off her desk in her room last week and organized all her art supplies into a container and she has A LOT of stuff! Seriously. We are one box away from a Dateline episode on HOARDING.

I'm afraid she has some of that RICE HOARDING in her genes because she wants to keep every little piece of EVERYTHING. I have to hide things and wait until she forgets about them then throw them out. Same thing with artwork from school. She wants to keep everything including empty Kleenex boxes (with pretty designs) etc. No, I say, NO!

Do NOT however, look at my own little collection of scrapbooking and crafting paraphenallia upstairs. Mine of course is much more sophisticated. It is. Really.

She also collects TONS of rocks. And leaves. And sticks. And pine cones. And shells. And nuts. And berries. And EVERYTHING. I finally cleaned up all her little piles and stashes and put them into a bucket.



It was a LOT of stuff. Of course, it's hard to argue with collecting "stuff" from nature. It costs nothing and gives her lots of pleasure.

On vacation she picked up a TON of rocks and stuff. We stuffed them into the Pacifica under the tire and forgot all about them until I vacuumed out Bryon's car last weekend and found them again. She had a whole gallon ziplock full of things. She sat out on the back deck organizing them into a pencil box and came in asking for more containers. I had just bought two little containers for the art supplies reorganization so I gave those to her... here is what she came up with... all on her own.



I'm thinking she's a naturalist in the making.

Candy Negotiations

Grace turned 5 on Oct. 23 and of course immediately started collecting more candy. It is so the Candy Season. I'm afraid she totally has my sweet tooth. Fortunately for me she's EXTREMELY generous AND prefers the hard, sweet and sour candies to the gooey chocolate that I love.

She also knows I like the "YELLOW" candies (not banana though). She constantly scours through her birthday and Halloween stash to trick or treat me with chocolate. Is that a good deal or WHAT!

I've always told her she can have TWO pieces of candy a day and many mornings she'll go to her stash and pick out what she's going to have after school and lay it out on the counter. We Medley girls don't miss many meals OR snacks and like to plan ahead!

A few days after her birthday I was on the computer and she came in and said, "Mama, I have a good idea, how about now since I'm FIVE, I get THREE pieces of candy a day...since now I'M FIVE!?!"

How can you argue with that logic?

I said yes. Daddy says he would have said NO but I figure for one thing she's using good negotiation skills and for two, the candy will just be gone that much faster. It's the same logic that allows me to justify eating an entire box of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies in a day. I asked Bryon one time if it was bad if I just ate the entire row of cookies. He said, "You're going to eat them sometime right?".

Yes, Yes I am.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Naked Day

Grace has really been playing with all her birthday Barbies and accessories. We moved her Barbie Dream House upstairs to the playroom so she wouldn't have to pick it all up every night... you can probably see why...



Of course, like all Barbies, they are mostly naked. She has trouble getting their little clothes on and off still.

I went upstairs to check on her and she had almost ALL of them naked and I asked her why. She said Barbie was going to school naked... because it was Naked Day. I told her I hope we never have that at my work :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ABC Song Gets 10 Toes Up!

video

Grace wanted to show off her new official preschool skills the other night and regaled us with the ABC Song AND her new nursery rhymes she just learned.

video

We went to her first ever parent teacher night last week too and of course we were told she was wonderful :) As if it could be any other way! She got "G's" for Good on everything except for two for which she got "W's" for Working On. Well her W's were for a forward somersault and tying her shoes which of course she can TOTALLY do! Hello, two years of gymnastics already AND video proof of shoe tying!

We just let it slide...it is only preschool right!

Monday, October 26, 2009

53 Books!

I just counted the books I've read this year so far (you can see them all on my Shelfari book shelf on the right side of the page if you want. You'll have to flip through and keep hitting "next" to see them all)and I'm currently on book number

53!

Let me tell you, it was the two series of vampire books (Sookie Stackhouse and Anita Blake) that put me over the top! What can I say, I like books with bite I guess :)

I only have three more books in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series and I'm through until Laurell K. Hamilton publishes a new one! I gotta say I'm ready to read something else even though I've loved them.

Woo hoo!

Scooby Dooby Doo



The birthday party was a big hit Saturday. I worked on the cake for 4 1/2 hours on Friday and it turned out pretty good. I did have a few problems... mainly that you should definitely put ALL three ingredients into the cake. If you leave one out (namely oil) it will STILL be a cake but it will NOT be the same. Good thing I had THREE cake mixes on hand. The second time around turned out much better and I used the last mix to make cupcakes.

The other thing I learned is you should mix up twice as much icing in every color as you think you MIGHT need because you CAN NOT match BROWN again. I had enough of the first batch of brown to do the entire top of the cake but had to mix more for the sides and it was just not right.

This cake seemed much more difficult than the school bus or the cow cake. I'm hoping next year's theme is just chocolate sheet cake :)

I'll probably have euphoric recall by then though :)

We ended up with 17 kids plus one parent for each child and the grand parents. It was a gang of folks. We had a whole Scooby Doo mystery planned with clues and everything. The gist was that a sneak thief (Bryon in disguise) had stolen the presents



and the kids had to look for clues, play games and solve the mystery. We had six clues and 5 games which included pin the tail on the Scooby...





A Mummy Wrap...



Musical Chairs...



A Ghost Stomp...



And a pinata break...



The last clue led them into the cabin to catch the thief and find the presents!



When he let them pull off his disguise, he said, "And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids!"



At one point, Bryon was sneaking through the woods so the kids could catch glimpses of him and about half of them took off chasing him! He had to turn it on to outrun them! They loved it.



After the bulk of the kids had left, the rest of us had chili cheese dogs for supper and we were all in bed by 9 pm. We lucked out with absolutely PERFECT weather. I don't know HOW we could have done it all inside...

Life is good.

Cleaning up is hard work!

First Flowers



Friday was Grace's FIFTH Birthday and they were out of school for teacher work day. So Bryon had flowers delivered to her on Thursday before she left for the day. He sent her 5 yellow carnations with pink tinges. They were really pretty and she really liked them. She was a little confused though because one of her classmates mother's brought them over from the office so she thought they were from her.

Her teacher read the card to her that said Love Dad but she still had some confusion. She told Bryon that Kyla's Mom got them for her and Bryon was the person who paid for them.

Ouch!

Somethings are just hard to explain to a five year old.

She did like them though :)

She told her teacher her Mama hadn't gotten her ANYTHING yet.

Geeez!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Drama Queen



Grace is the Queen of Drama and Hypochondria at our house lately. It's hard to know when she's really sick or hurt because EVERY LITTLE THING requires a band aid or medicine of some sort. I've tried to use some placebos when I can and honey instead of cough syrup but most of the time she's too clever to let that slide.

She's pretty sure if it doesn't come out of a bottle it's NOT medicine. Every day she comes home with one or more band aids from school. I've already bought two boxes and sent them to her class the first month because I knew where we were headed.

I told her she was going to have to be a doctor when she grows up so she can tend to all her ailments. Seriously, I don't know where she gets this from. WE are not that way. At least I don't think we are. Are we?

She's defiantly got her own little mind.

Thursday night she said her back itched and I looked and didn't see anything. I tried to just put lotion on it and make her think that would solve the problem. She wouldn't let me and it didn't so I finally had to put a little bit of Cortaid on it. Honestly, I didn't see ANYTHING! Not even a red spot.

Another day last week she came home and said she had a fever and that she was sick. Well, Bryon had sent her to school in a sweater (mercifully he dresses her every morning for me so at least THAT drama is reduced). It had turned out to be a warm day. I was warm too. I took her temperature twice and told her she did NOT have a fever. She still said she was sick. So I told her at 5 pm that if she was so sick she should go put her jammies on and lay down. She did and laid down on out bed and watch Scooby Doo. Then later, after she harassed me until I took her temperature again, she was digging around the candy dish for candy corns. I told her if she was sick she couldn't eat candy.

Curiously, she suddenly became well enough to eat some candy.

When Daddy got home she played up her sad little condition to him and he basically told her the same things. A little later she wanted to wrestle with him and he told her if she was sick they couldn't wrestle. Well let's just say she had a miraculous recovery and wasn't "sick" any more. I think she's down at Nurse Cheryl's office several times a week for various ailments.

She did develop a cough last week and we finally broke down and gave her some cough drops and cough syrup. Then yesterday when Mom picked her up from school to stay with her for the weekend, she had some red bumps on her belly and back.

Chicken pox? Allergy? Who knows. Mom asked her if they itched and of course then they did. You have to be VERY careful not to ask leading questions because she knows what the answers SHOULD be if she's sick.

Mom didn't know if she had a fever or not but she felt warm and of course became more pathetic with the more sympathy she received. Mom gave her some Tylenol just in case before bed and she slept the entire night with no coughs or problems. Mom said she had about 17 little red "spots" on her but wasn't trying to itch them so I don't know what's going on.

Red spots are hard to fake though.

Her 5th birthday party is next Saturday, so hopefully all will be well by then either way.

It's hard to believe the sky is falling when it falls so frequently.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumkins!



Not much going on around here lately. Just the regular, work, school, home, work, school, home, work, school, home.

You get the idea. Bryon did get most of the garden cleaned out. Gary got the lawn mowed (maybe for the last time of the season) and yesterday we got more than FIVE inches of rain. Crazy. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if it had been cold enough for SNOW or ICE. Ugggg!

We sold our pellet stove and are on the lookout now for a larger one. I'm thinking we'd better hurry it up!

I bought three pumpkins at the Evil Empire (Wal-Mart) and we carved them up Monday night. I did the cat, Bryon and Grace did the ghost and Bryon did the bat. I thought they turned out GREAT!

I had to work late Tuesday night and when I got home they were all three out on the front porch glowing like crazy for me to see. It was cool :)

We've all been playing hide the orange rubber spider. So far I've found it in the zuchinni muffin container, on top of my soap in the shower and inside a pumpkin. Grace can barely contain herself and keep from telling us where it's lying in wait. I hid it on her toothpaste in her bathroom and she hid it in Daddy's underwear drawer.

As soon as Bryon get's home he usually goes and changes out of his scrubs, so the other night, immediately after he walked in the door Grace asked him if he was going to go change his panties. Bryon said boys don't WEAR panties, they wear undies. She wasn't detered and suggested AGAIN that he should change his panties. He did. He found the yellow spider and the whole hide and seek started over again.

It's been pretty fun. You never know where it might turn up next!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If You Give A Mom a Muffin

If you give a Mom a muffin,
She's going to need a cup of coffee to go with it.
As soon as she sits down to enjoy the snack,
her dryer buzzer is going to go off.
While she's taking clothes out of the dryer,
she's going to notice the cat box is getting sort of ripe.
When she cleans out the cat box,
She's going to remember she forgot to get the mail today.
As she's walking back from the mailbox, she'll remember
the chickens need to be fed and watered.
On the way back into the house after she feeds the chickens,
she'll observe the floors could really use a good vaccuum.
After she's done vaccuuming,
she'll put wet clothes back into the dryer.
While the clothes are drying,
She'll notice her coffee sitting by the couch getting cold.
She'll ask you to bring her more HOT coffee.
And if you bring her more hot coffee...
Chances are, she's going to want a muffin to go with it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Harvest



We butchered chickens Saturday. I think we are getting better at it because none of them died prematurely and they only went through 2 bags of feed instead of 3 1/2 this time. I didn't just free feed them this time. Instead, I fed them a coffee can of grain morning and night and moved them to fresh grass twice a day. Their gizzards were full of grass and rocks! They certainly took advantage of the forage, probably more than last time. Of course we didn't cut open any of the gizzards last time to see.

Grandpa wanted the livers, gizzards and hearts so Bryon fried them up for him Sunday night along with a whole chicken. We had mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, carrots and salad from our garden and it was swell. I had originally planned on that meal Saturday night but after 4 hours of butchering, cleaning, cutting and freezing chickens, my back hurt and The Rocking Chair in Conway started looking better and better.

Grace wanted to help so she carried the caught chickens by the feet to slaughter and she wanted to hold the heart. I let her. Once she got to do that she was bored with the whole process and went in search of neat rocks to clean on the cabin deck.



My friend Lynsey let us borrow her homemade plucker and it helped tremendously this time. We beat up the first bird pretty badly by leaving it in too long, but after that we got into a flow and things proceeded pretty smoothly.





All those little rubber "fingers" pluck off the feathers as the bird spins around in the tub. It has a washing machine motor on it. The pluckers are about $1100 new but Lynsey built hers for about $350. I bought a book that shows how to do it, but borrowing Lynsey's is a lot better!

We setup by the little shed this time and that worked better too. Eventually we'll be a fine running machine!



I was thinking I'd like to raise and kill all 25 birds at once next time so we wouldn't have to do this twice a year, but four hours of it was enough to convince me otherwise I think. Euphoric recall may change my mind, but I don't think so.

I may try the Buffs in the spring for comparison to see if they taste any different and how long they take to raise compared to the Cornish Crosses. None of the Crosses got lame or had any problems this time. I butchered them at 39 days which made them all about 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 pounds a piece. Last time I think they were 47 days old. Mom thought I should have butchered them last weekend but I still had a half bag of feed left and ended up with it perfectly on Saturday night.

Let me tell you. Chicken is good! Bryon Googled "southern fried chicken" and made the absolute PERFECT crust on the outside of it and fried it up. I didn't try the gizzards, livers and hearts, but Gary said they were good too and we sent the rest home with him to finish up.

We also had a HUGE harvest of ornamental pumpkins and gourds to share. Gary took a bunch of them to Freda's restaurant so she could use them for decoration, we kept several for ourselves and the rest I took to work to sell for 25 cents each. I didn't think Bryon had even planted them but he remembered throwing a bag of Wal-Mart gourd seeds on the ground in the old pig pen and they just went NUTS! Of course, not a squash bug to be found out there! We had hundreds and maybe even THOUSANDS in our garden.



Damn those squash bugs.

Bryon finally cleaned out all the detrius from the garden except the remaining lettuce, some late carrots that may or may not come to fruition and some lovely marigolds. He hung a HUGE bush of basil in the barn and I collected a few seeds from the lettuce and chocolate peppers. We'll see if anything comes of those in the spring.

He looked at an attached greenhouse on Craigslist, but it's not REALLY what we are looking for. We need to make a trip to the SW Treatment Plant for more compost to top off all the beds and my chicken litter from March seems to have composted nicely into dirt so we'll put that on them also. I do miss the bunnies for their great manure and I'm tired of caring for those dang quail. The layers got picked out to use for training Ruger so now I'm not even getting any eggs from them. I think Bryon is just going to have to have a hunt and we can be done with them AND have a tasty meal.

Grace was so funny on the way to her soccer game Saturday because she said, "Nana is coming up after my game and we are going to butcher chickens. Butcher means kill and eat!" I said, YES IT DOES.

She's such a good little farm girl.