Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Something must be in the air...

I can't believe it's the last day of September already. It got cold in a hurry. Remember, I'm chilly any temperature under 70, and 56 is the morning is a far cry from 70. I do like sleeping with windows open once it cools down, but the getting out of the blankets is a bit harder...

Anyway, I'm not sure what has happened to my brain, but if you see it, please send it my way. I'm sure Mess is to blame (though I blame Delores*) because I've read that clutter short circuits your brain and causes stress. I'm living that, then, I guess!

I have:

- boxes that need mailed

- books that need dropped off to be resold at our second hand book shop

- clothes and shoes that need to make it to either church or Goodwill

- cookbooks strewn from Hither to Yon because Dada is now doing low/no-carb meals (and anyone who knows me at all can conclude three things from that: I would starve, cookies are my love language, and I am Queen of Carbs)

- kids who try to clean but do it less than half-heartedly (quarter- heartedly? One eighth-heartedly? A dash? A SMIDGEN! I have smidgen-hearted cleaners!) so anytime I return one item to the room in which it belongs, I find two or three or twelve items in that room which don't belong there so I head elsewhere to return them and find the same in the next spot, and so on... long story short, nothing ever feels finished. Welcome to Motherhood, right? Moving on.

- fundraising papers for school (side rant- skip this is you're tired of me complaining. Who is going to pay $16 for a pumpkin roll when you can get two-and-a-half pumpkin rolls for that price at the grocery store!?)

- fundraising papers for Boy Scouts. Anyone want popcorn? Seriously. Let me know. We're selling.

- Kindergarten papers. Holy cow, WHEN is Kindergarten going paperless? Every day, entire trees go home in these folders! I realize it's because these little guys are doing lots of cutting and pasting and tracing and drawing and writing and my heavens, the paper, the trees, make it stop!

- mail that needs sorted, because, come on, we might need one of the millions of pizza coupons or actually use one of the weekly Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons for... I don't know, something...

- use your imagination. Some of you, look around your house. You'll figure it out. The rest of you, go back to the imagination part. Better yet, don't. Just come over and drop a match.

*Delores. Since my brain is shot, I don't remember if I've talked about Delores before. At camp, we got telephone calls for Delores. There's never been a Delores at camp the same time I've been there. It got to the point where we'd laugh and complain about Delores not showing up for work, for slacking off, for breaking something, whatever went wrong had to have been her fault. 

Delores is now my imaginary housekeeper for much the same reason. If I get up and there are dishes in the sink from the previous day, Delores slacked off again. If the laundry isn't put away, Delores didn't show up for work. Sometimes I fire Delores because her work ethic is apparently terrible...

Delores has a friend named Bindhu. But that's a post for another day. They'd last been seen vacationing in Cleveland...

That's just there because this is a totally different train of thoughts. Random ones. Things I've been thinking about.

When you use tweezers, are you tweezing or tweezering? Why do we simply stick "plucking" in there? What's with that?

What kind of fruit tempted Eve enough that she'd doom all of us? I've never been that tempted by a fruit. It must have been chocolate covered, right? Did I already talk about this? I know Dada and I have discussed it...

Robert Fulghum mentioned his wish that crayon bombs would be invented many years ago. It was probably in All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, but I have several of his books, so they've kind of blended together in my mind. It got me thinking about how the human race seems so set on harming each other. Wouldn't it be interesting if someone would figure out software that would sense the target and not let the weapon fire if the target registered as a human being? Like for hunters, deer, elk, turkeys, birds, whatever, would all register as acceptable targets, but another hunter wouldn't be accidentally shot because the weapon would register it as something to not be harmed? I guess I'm thinking of Baymax from Big Hero 6 and how his software kept him focused on helping and caring. And for those of you who are already protesting, "but we have the Bible and that IS our software to keep us from harming others!" I get it. I went there, too. I guess I'm just wishing the weapon would say something snarky in a Captain Jack Sparrow voice when a human was targeted, "oy, onion-head, that be a fellow matey. Choose an acceptable target, savvy?" and "what arrrrrrrrrrr you thinkin'? Go work it out. Use your worrrrrds!" Dreams, dreams. Anyway. Somebody get on it. 

Since I obviously can't do crayon bombs, I was pretty delighted to find this idea on Facebook. You start with your pile o' crayons:

Cull through them and find the broken and/or naked ones. Get them all naked, and break them however they'll fit best:

Now bake those little suckers at 275 for about 10 minutes. Dada figured out how to pop them out as I didn't grease the muffin cups or anything. It's a great way to use up busted crayons that the kids don't use. The post said they are also great goody bag stuffers. I was thinking it'd be fun to donate them to a preschool or a kindergarten for one of their centers or stations... it also gives your fingers something to do other than snack while you're watching TV. Peeling crayons takes fine motor skills and dexterity, so it'd also be a good activity for small kids (as long as they don't eat crayons) or Alzheimer's patients (as long as their arthritis isn't too bad) and you end up with fun, not-quite-lid-size crayons that are a blend of colors or solid colors. It's up to you! Get creative!

Why do people wear the same handful of pairs of underwear when there's a whole drawer full of the stuff? Even Carrie commented on this, saying, and I quote, "it's alarming."

What is it about fall that makes me want to dye my hair? Did I already talk about this, too? I know Jessie and I discussed this...

I AM NOT READY FOR COLD! I do not want to say goodbye to my sandals, sundresses, and shorts yet! I do not want to see boots and scarves and jackets yet! I WAS NOT MADE FOR WINTER! Or fall. Pbbbbbbbbbbt.

I'm also not ready for the windows to be shut. It makes me even more conscious of how much the dog smells. Eww.

And can I just say, since I'm so totally random anyway, that "Bailando" by Enrique Iglesias is my very favorite song these days? I could loop it and listen to it repeat for hours. It's so bouncy and fun! In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, click right here.  I love the Spanish guitar, the female dancer's hair, the gowns and fans, the soccer balls, and Carrie and I think the green-hatted dancer is just the cutest thing! So fun. Play it again, Sam!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Moon, moon, pretty moon, with two eyes, a nose, and a smile... (and other stuff)

Did anyone get to see the fancy schmancy moon last night? We got to see it at about half and then a tiny sliver and then the clouds took over and we haven't seen it since. I've seen photos by friends of friends that are terrific, but we just weren't in a good spot, apparently. 

Anyhoo, it was another whirlwind weekend. Friday afternoon our poor Pepe the Pilot was scheduled to have a tire checked out as it had been losing air. On my way to our Honda dealer, two separate Good Samaritans pulled alongside me to let me know it was flat. Once I got there, I was sadly informed that there was a hole in the sidewall and it was irreparable. We knew we were in the market for tires anyway, so it came as no surprise, really. 

Once Pepe was all fixed up and road-tested and reset, I headed home, a bit too late to get the Thingz to karate. We went to the park to meet the rest of our home group and the kids had a great evening running around into dark. 

Saturday morning meant we had to get up and make up the karate class we missed on Friday, so up we got and did class. Then we raced home to finish packing for Boy Scout camping down the road at the historical museum. I made several trips back to our house to feed the dog, put the dog away for the night, let the dog out first thing Sunday morning, etc. I got back in time for tear-down and breakfast:

That was the line for pancakes, sausage, hot chocolate, juice, milk, and coffee. 

I forgot to mention there was some of this the night before:

This is the hot dog, the uncooked hot dog, that this child snatched from the table and began to eat, along with his bread.

Whose children are these anyway?

Said hot dog was snatched back, stuck on the above grill, and cooked as it was supposed to be, then returned to above child. What a nut.

Speaking of nuts, and seeds, this child found these:

And learned that they're way easier to cast if they're dry and fluffy instead of matted together straight out of the pod. It didn't stop her from spreading them with glee, it just slowed her down. I suppose she is her mother's child.

Oh, no, she can't be, because check out what she found in the creek behind the house once we got home:

Yes, that would be a bin full of snails. I ask you...

And look at the mess on the porch from that girl and those boots! Good thing PaPa wasn't here. He'd have had canaries. 

I can't believe there's an entire post about Boy Scout camp with no pictures of the Boy Scout. Shameful. He was there, I swear, drinking cups of hot cocoa, throwing footballs, hollering to gazillions of other boys, and generally having a good time. 

They all want to go back.

They can go back with their father. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Is it naptime now?

Whew, I don't know where this month year has gone, but today is Monday already, again. This weekend was busy. 

We took the kids to karate on Friday night and then they stayed for Nerf Night while Dada and I had a date. Grandmama has been here for the weekend, so we had extra hands and eyes to help corral kids, get early homework out of the way, hang out clothes, etc. She's headed home today and will visit Nana en route.

Saturday was the homework, put away laundry, run around with the toads and frogs after the rain, resweep the deck because the rain brought down tons of leaves, kind of day. 

                            We're still doing this:

I remembered to take the camera with me to the bus stop since I wanted a mid-month picture of the kids each month to see changes over time. These were Friday morning:

And Friday after school looked like this:

However, Monday morning looks like this:

Well, as I mentioned, it is Monday. I guess I should cut them some slack.

At least there's this:

Anyway, Sunday we did church and I snuggled babies in the nursery and then we tried to find somewhere to buy tires for Pepe (because it's about that time) and all the tire shops were closed because it was Sunday. Oh well. So we got out the tractor, watched mice in the shed, mowed and picked up apples and sticks and walnuts and buckeyes, ate leftovers and got school clothes out and read books and enjoyed Grandmama being here...

Now our sheets are blowing in the breeze on the clotheslines, the poor dog has been brushed and de-matted half to death, and the kids are all at school. 

It's time for important stuff. Like, where are the bon bons?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why I don't have time to exercise #879135

Otherwise known as "when life hands you lemons apples," you make stuff!

Our apple trees are coming into production in a big way. Guess the times Dada spent pruning and spraying haven't been in vain! Now, naturally, the "oh-no-what-are-we-going-to-do-with-all-these-apples" and "why-can't-chocolate-grow-on-trees-cuz-I-could-really-get-behind-that-kinda-processing" dilemmas are in full swing.

So. One hangs out one's laundry and returns to the house with a laundry basket of apples (not full, mind you; one only has two hands) and finds a colander and bowls and peelers and a fun contraption from our friend Theresa that will peel and core and spiral slice said apples and perhaps lemon juice and...

fruit flies.

Holy cow, fruit flies.

Anyway, with all the apple processing to make dehydrated apple chips:

And apple crisp:
And apple bars:
You need a lot of these:
for inspiration (and for cursing what you forgot to buy the last time you were at the grocery store, never mind that it was on the list), and then you'll end up with a ton of this:
because all those apple peels and cores and eggshells have to go somewhere. So you'll think, "well, we've always wanted to start to compost. Now is as good as time as any since I have all this mess..."
Which leads to a day over a weekend when Dada drills holes in an 18 gallon tub with a lid and we add dried leaves, coffee grounds, banana peels, melon pulp, lots and lots more dried leaves, apparently every fruit fly in the tri-state area, and "oh my, this isn't all going to fit in there so let's just start a pile back there by the creek, why don't we?"
And apple peels. And apple cores. And apple pulp and more coffee grounds and shredded paper and more eggshells and the coffee filters themselves and now you officially have a:
Mess For Grownups.
And fruit flies.
Oh well.
Next year our garden will be happy.
I guess I do get exercise after all!
The end.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Erie Orchard 2015

One of our favorite fall traditions is to head north to Erie Orchard. I checked their website and saw that they were open for Labor Day weekend and would be serving ribs, etc, and that the end-of-season peaches were ready along with some earlier apple varieties. Dada has started a low-carb diet (fool, just kidding honey!) and wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of getting fruits high in natural sugars, but he gamely drove our crew up there anyway. When he tested one of the plump, juicy peaches, he brightened up considerably and figured he could always freeze them until he's allowed to weave them back into his diet. Three-fourths of a bushel of peaches later, we also had some apples and three pumpkins and a dozen donuts (half apple, half blueberry, all with sugar and cinnamon dustings) and a gallon of cider to take home!

Erie Orchard also has blueberries to pick, but we haven't made it up there to do that the last few summers. They also host hay rides, a corn maze, and a million crafters especially on their busier weekends. I prefer going at the very beginning of the season when there's a million apples to pick and way fewer people. I'm just not into crowds. 
It was pretty empty on Saturday, just a handful of families doing their own apple picking, and the lady who checked us out was astounded that we'd found that many peaches. She told us we were the only family she'd even seen pick any! We had had a tip from the guy who checked us in and told us which apple varieties were ready. He told us the peaches that were still on the trees were just perfect right now. I think Dada was pretty skeptical, but as I mentioned, he quickly became a believer. Damon was harder to convince:

For whatever reason, he just wasn't digging the fresh-off-the-tree peaches. I guess he takes after his mother.
The kids love picking and love that they can ride around in the back of Pepe the Pilot with the door up and no seat belts. We have a lot of favorites at Erie Orchard. Carrie loves the goats, again, for whatever reason. Liam loves all things apple. Damon just loves to run around like a nut, but I expect donuts and cider rank right up there with his favorites.

Haha, that one was a little tart! (The apple, not Carrie.)
Have I mentioned our dehydrator has been working overtime? We have already given a big baggie of apple chips to our favorite Richards crew, and we have a bag and a half here. I'M TALKING APPLES FROM OUR OWN TREES! We haven't dried any of the ones from Erie Orchard, knowing ours are on the tart side and that we wanted eating apples. I've even made a batch of applesauce that has the Pap seal of approval:
We are going to have apple-flavored everythings coming out of ears. I'd bake more, but my oven runs hot:
Weeping. That's the sound you hear. Burnt pretzel crust. Weeping. Weeping, raging, fury.
So what does one do when one is desperate for strawberry jello pretzel salad and the stupid oven crisps it?
One simply chisels out the middle and proceeds:

Where was I? Oh, apples.

"Is this a kissing book?" ~The Princess Bride
No, sorry. Just got carried away. Speaking of Carrie:

We have been hunting for Hinrew corn, but because of the flooding in early summer, the corn is all sizes this year and nobody is standing out like a Hinrew. This whole field was about TwoCarriesHigh, or probably Hinrew sized!
Then there's the processing once you get home:
We haven't done anything peach-related since living in The Last Resort, which was pre-Liam, so we had to Google how to blanch peaches and peel and process and all that jazz. Now we have 5 ziplock bags of frozen peach slices and chunks, peach pits to scrub clean, dry, freeze, and attempt to plant just for the heck of it, and a brand new compost bin full of apple and peach discards and dried, crunchy leaves, eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, etc. We're giving it the old college try...
Grandma Barb got to listen to Liam do some of his 400 oral reading minutes for the month:
Yes, you read that right. All our kids devour books, but Liam's teacher is of the belief that if they read out loud then they're really reading. Soooooo, we listen to a lot of books with a lot of inflection around here. Four hundred minutes a month. She has three children of her own- what was she thinking?!
Now that it's fall-ish, we're seeing tons of pretty bugs and sneaky bugs, and lots of bugs in general:

And we're having plenty of silly conversations and living life. I'll close with this original comic strip by Carrie (remember to click on it to see it larger):