Sunday, July 31, 2005

I Want That!

Ever watch that TV show on HGTV. It can be a lot of trouble. They have really neat things on there. And one of them I really want. It's an Easy Clean Toilet Seat. Kohler also sells one. My brother-in-law works for Kohler. I should see how much he can get them for.

Tree Selection

So, Andy & I were talking about planting a tree in the front yard (we disagree what the front yard is, so let's just say the big open grass area when you walk straight off the porch toward the road - not Main St.).

It is such an open area that gets so much sun. So we were thinking of planting something so that the houses can get some shade, although it will be a bitch to mow around. So, I'm thinking a fast grower, probably some hybrid that can thrive here in our Zone 4.

Here are some options:
Tuliptree (Yellow Poplar) It grows fast (about 6 ft. 1st year), has pretty flowers, nice oval shape, like full sun, maybe a little too tall
Hybrid Poplar Grows very fast(up to 8 ft. 1st year), nice oval shape, like full sun, good height for what we need
Ameri-Willow Grows very fast (8+ ft. in 1st year), likes full sun, likes a lot of water, might get a little too tall

I think we are leaning towards the Hybrid Poplar. The height will probably be perfect and the shape is nice. I read on different message boards that all willow varities have a tendecy of stealing all the water in the ground (which will dry out the grass more) because they have a shallow root system, and the roots can grow to invade sewer pipes and septic systems if they are not getting enough water. Sounds like they could become quite a problem if not planted in the perfeect location. We'll probably wait until next spring to plant, rather than planting this fall.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Making Pasta

So, I bought a Pasta Machine quite a while ago, but never used it. I had also bought the Pasta Drying Rack to go with it. I think the 2 items have been taking up space for 2 years. I even bought Semonlina flour (about 6 months ago) so that I could finlly make the pasta.

And Today........I finally got to it. I made the pasta (actually use the dough hook for my Kitchenaid, never used that hook before - worked nicely) and now it is drying. I plan to make it tonight. So, I'll see if all that waiting and work was work it. It was pretty easy to do once i figures it out and put the drying rack together.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Animal Update

Took all the animals to the vet today to get all their shots (every other year - like this year - gets to be expensive with Rabies shots due.)

Bad news:
Larry gained MORE weight. He gained another 1.5 pounds (See last year's post). Now he has 6.5 pounds to lose. He's just plain obese now. We have an 18 pound cat.

Good News:
Molly stayed the same, which is good. She's right where she needs to be at 60 pounds. And her heartworm test was negative.

More Good News:
Lucy gained weight. Last year we were told she was bordering on being underweight. She gained 1.5 pounds too, but she needed it. Now she weighs 9 pounds (was 7.5 pounds). Mixed breed cats should weigh between 8-12 pounds. Wow! Now Larry really is twice the size of Lucy.

Next Blog

Did you ever hit the Next Blog button at the top of this blog (& pretty much every blog in blogger)? It randomly brings you to another blog. Sometimes you find cool blogs to look, but 2 out of 3 times it is some listing of things to buy - basically they have used it as free advertisements. I hate getting those.

Brat Camp

So, I am watching the show "Brat Camp"(which I TiVo'ed). Andy watched a bit of it and did not like it. The kids drove him nuts.

But honestly, I have had kids that are like that all of the time. Those kids that are like them all of the time, don't last long in the school system or in the home and do end up going to a place like Brat Camp, or by us one of the places they go is to the Sheriff's Youth Program. And I have many or almost all of my kids have acted like this at one time or another.

The thing a person has to remember about a TV program like this is that they are only going to show the things that will get a reaction out of it's viewers. They show the extremes; they show when they act out (which scares people) and they show the moments when they cry or make their parents cry (tugging at the viewers heart strings).

I am glad that they showed how sweet the kids can be. That sweetness is inside there somewhere in all of these kids. But what is also frustrating is the manipulation that the kids do with the parents, and what is even more frustrating is that some of the parents buy into it and then try to continue to enable their kids, which is never helpful because they will never get better.

I don't think that the show is an exaggeration at all, they just aren't showing all the parts. They aren't showing the parts where people are getting along and are doing well (not yelling, crying, or complaining).

Yesterday, we had a summer program day with our kids and we first had them plan out a shopping list with which to buy lunch for 7 people on a $20 budget and then watched a video on distracted driving, then we went mini-golfing, to the driving range, then grocery shopping, then had a picnic, then went to a zoo with animals that are in MN (i.e. cougars, Buffalo, various hawks, raccoons, prairie dogs, etc.) and then finally a stop at DQ. It was a fun time, but not without the inappropriate conversations, not following directions, fighting between students, attention-seeking behaviors, threats to each other, etc. But in between those times the kids would tell us about other things they have done this summer or what is going on in their families.

It may sound like all we did was go out and do fun things, but really - these kids rarely get to do these types of things. And in the reality of their lives they will not need to know a lot of history facts, but they will need to know how to handle themselves when they are participating in an activity that they are not doing well in, they will have to know how to shop on a budget, they will need to know how to work with others even when they don't like them or can't agree, and they will need to know that there are people there that care and want to know about their lives and want to see them do well.

When working with these kids you have to have the right attitude and point-of-view. If you don't you will get burned out and the kids will see this. Even though they try to wear a rough exterior, they are very sensitive. So senstive that they try to protect themselves from rejection with that rough exterior and rejecting others first. You need to look for the small successes and you will not be disappointed. If you expect that someone will have huge changes, both you and the person will be disappointed. And everyone wants to succeeed. If you make it too toughto succeed they will just become frustrated and see it as another time they have not lived up to someone else's (or their own) expectations.

It is a challenging job, but I really love doing it.

Pictures of Kendra

Here are a few pictures of Kendra that Tim took and sent us. The first one is her in my hat. I just loves thee pitcures of her. She is so photogenic and so beautiful!

Apprarently today is a day for posting pictures of my friends.

Jessi in Sri Lanka

Here is a picture of Jessi & Alex that she sent. She has about a week left of her month-long volunteering trip to Sri Lanka. It sounds like she is having a great time, even tough she was sick while she was there and had screaming kids bouncing off the wall.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Finally a cool day. Actually it's almost a little too cool here @ 9am. Not at all like the last month or so. Supposed to only have a high of 72. It's actually quite gray looking outside. Planning on going to see "Wedding Crashers" today, and hopefully will get the lawn mowed and maybe pick some more weeds.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Weekend Run Down

Hmmmmm......I think my weekend can be summed up in a few words: inside, movies, reading, decorating.

They were all sounding good until that last one which means work......

It was too hot to be outside, so we pretty much remained indoors. Friday we went out to go to eat pizza (Andy apparently didn't like the place as he complained a lot) and go to the natural foods store, then came home and watched a movie. Saturday we finished (well, at least finished a part of the upstairs hallway - I made/put up all the decorations while Andy cut all the wood laminate to size to fit around doors and walls), then we watched some movies. Sunday, Andy went to help his brother Chris out on one of his project vehicles, I stayed home and went & did grocery shopping and went and bought an area rug for that hallway (it's such a big space that we echo, need soemthing to dampen the sound), then came home and watched a movie I picked up from the library ("Big Fish"), made dinner, and stayed inside.

That's it - not overly productive or exciting.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

HP Continues

Ok - After reading Alison's Blog about her reading of Harry. I had a few questions:

* When does the next movie come out?
Answer: November 2005, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire Looks like Harry, Hermione, & Ron are still the same charcters. There was speculation that they may outgrow their characters.

* How many more books are there going to be?
Answer: Well, there will at least be a 7th book. (Go to the Publishers Website, Check out News, then Interviews, then Edinburgh Festival August 2004) It comments on people wanting to know if there will be an 8th, but she won't say.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Could Harry Potter be Spiderman?

Ok - so Spiderman is supposed to be Peter Parker. But I must say that HP & PP have much in common. I only make this analogy after finishing reading this latest book. I will not give anything away, except one tiny detail. Harry gives up being with the woman (or in their case, girl) he loves because he doesn't want her to get hurt because his arch enemy will not stop at anything to kill Harry, including harming those he cares for. So, does that sound familiar (Think Spider-Man 2). Plus they both have these powers, both have arch enemies, both are orphans and raised by an aunt & uncle, and now both have these women/girls they love that they are giving up so that they are not hurt. If I were more of a Spider-man enthusiast I could probably make more comparisions. Just think about it. I will not say any more in case, you are still waiting to read the book, which is all I really did today.

End of Philly Trip.

We returned on Wednesday and I didn't have time to update my blog about what we were doing.

Monday we slept in, then Kendra & Tim picked us up and took us the Society Hill area of Philly to a restaurant called Bridget Foy's. Then they took us out to the burbs where Andy's Aunt & Uncle live. Dee cooked us a nice dinner and we were joined by both his cousins Shannon (who was visiting for the week) and Jaclyn (who lives in the area) and Jaclyn's boyfriend, Jim. That evening, we went with Shannon to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was a good movie but strange and it is NOT a movie that you go to see because Johnny Depp might look hot. Actually his character is pretty creepy. Then after that we met a bunch of Shannon's friends at a local bar, Baggataway.

While we were at that bar, this guy named "Chase" came up an start talking to our group (he thought one of the guys was on Fear Factor). He ended up telling us all about his house with a tennis court, and that he is married and has a 1 year old and 4 year old and a 15-year old who is on Ritalin, but that is his step-son, but he's on Ritalin too, so they have that in common. It's his wife's 3rd marriage and his first and his wife thinks it will last forever, but he's not so sure he's cut out for marriage. Then he starts talking about partying with pot and coke, then says he doesn't do coke but has pot and proceeds to grab a pill bottle from his shirt pocket, open it and dumps out a bunch of pot in the middle of the bar. And then tells us, "Now you know that I don't lie." Very interesting.

Tuesday we slept in, Dee made us breakfast, then Shannon & Jaclyn too us to Stone Harbor in New Jersey. We went there to go to the beach. We had never been to an East Coast Beach. It is how it looks in the movies. That evening we went to dinner @ Henny's for a seafood dinner.

Wednesday we woke at a normal time and Shannon took us to the airport. We had a small delay out of PHL, and then again out of MKE. But I do have to toot the horn for Midwest Airlines
a little bit. This is the 2nd time I took this airline (actually, both times to Philly). They have oversized leather seats with 2 in a row, NOT 3, so no strangers sitting right next too you. Now more about the seats, the head rest actually raises (which is a plus to the tall ones, like my 6'4 Andy) and there is nice leg room, and the headrest sides can be moved in so that it basically hugs your head, which helps keep your head sturdy and give you some place to rest you head when you sleep. Very cool. Plus they also have foot rests too. They do a beverage cart and snacks like all other airlines, but in the afternoons & evenings you get warm Chocolate Cookies. Mmmmm.....Yummy. They also sell meals if you want, which most airlines do not give a meal anymore, but here you can buy one if you want. We just bought bagels sandwiches before we got on the plain and they gave us a beverage and pretzels and 2 cookies, so it worked out very well for us. I also should note for Tim, that they sell Leine's on board as well.

It is always nice to be home and sleep in your own bed.

216 Down!

I started reading the 6th Harry Potter book last night. I read 216 pages of the 652 pages that comprise the book. I think I will be donw reading the book in a by the end of the weekend, as long as I give myself time to read it. Maybe my MIL will borrow this one when I am done. She borrowed my 5th book. It's nice to get several reads out of it when you buy a book.

It's a pretty good book so far.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Day 2 in Philly

We took the "Phlash" Bus to a few blocks from Kendra & Tim's condo and went there for brunch and to watch them open presents. Then we started to hike it back towards the hotel (Club Quarters). We stopped in Chinatown and ate at the Empress Garden. I had the Shanghai Stir-Fried Noodles (a thick homemade noodle) which was awesome. We stopped in a bunch of stores and bought a few things (jeans for Andy, a couple tops for me). Then we headed back to the hotel and just as Andy was about to fall asleep the alarms went off and we had to go out in the rain. We were going to head over to a couple of stores, but at 5:30 on a Sunday a lot of things are either closed for the day or closing at 6pm. So we walked a few blocks and came across Tony Jr's restaurant. We had some Philly Cheesesteaks and they were tasty.

Then we decided to walk around a bit more to see if there were any places we could hit later for dessert or some drinks.

After relaxing for a bit & Andy got in a successful nap, then we headed out for snacks and beverages. We went to Scoop Deville and bought ice cream there. It was vited Best Ice Cream in Philly and I must agree, although I have not have ice cream any other place in Philly. We also went to Elephant & Castle Restaurant & Pub. There we had some English Pub Chips (aka thick homecut french fries) and some local brews. Andy had a Yuengling and I had a Yard's. Both nice complments to our snack. Now we are back at the hotel and are going to relax some more until bedtime.

Tomorrow on the schedule is lunch with Kendra & Tim (they'll surprise us with a place) and out to visit & stay with Andy's Uncle Rory & Aunt Dee for a couple of days. Dee is making us a big family dinner, as Shannon (Andy's cousin) is staying there for a few days and Jaclyn (his other cousin) will be there too, as she lives very close to her parents.

Tuesday, I believe the girls are taking us out to the beach. So, that should be fun. And then Wednesday our flight leaves late morning.

Pics from Philly

The first picture is of Kendra & Tim kissing after the shoved cake in each other's faces. You can tell who got a little more cake shoved in their faces. This was a beautiful party. The vow renewal part was neat; they did a time capsule with letters to each other, wine glasses and wine to open either in time of hardship or on their 25th wedding anniversary (what a great idea!). Tim had to tell Kendra that being out of wine did not qualify as a hardship.

I actually cried during their presentation. It was just so heartfelt and beautiful. I never cry at weddings. What the hell!?!! Although I do have to admit that I had quite a bit to drink before it all started, so that might have had a little bit to do with it.

The 2nd picture if of our room at the Club Quarters. Somehow we got the Executive Suite. I am not sure why that happened. But it really is our room. I swear! It's a nice room. I like it. Well, off to brunch at Kendra & Tim's house.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Larry's Rough Life

The poor kitty. His life is so rough. When I left for class at noon today he was lying in the door to our bedroom. When I returned at near 6pm, he was lying in the door to our bedroom. Now and for about the last half hour, he has been sitting in front of the AC in the formal sitting room. He's got this thing about sitting a foot in front of the AC. I just imagine him looking into it and humming. Funny. I'll have to take a picture of him.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I Will Be Glad When.....

I will be glad when......

* My summer class ends on Friday!
* I have working AC in my car.
* The weather is less humid.
* I get the new Harry Potter book I ordered in the mail.
* I win the lottery (guess I need to buy a ticket some time for that to happen.)
* My garden gets magically weeded (I really don't know when I will get to it.)

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Here are just some thoughts from this week:
* The French Silk Blizzard from DQ is awesome
* Typing with fake nails is hard
* I hate when people ruin the surprises I have planned
* Cats really hate you giving them eye medicine
* My car is weird and I should just accept it (as long as it never strands me)
* People won't be in unless they are already dead, and even then it is limited
* My children will be even more mutts than me (considering Andy & I each have 4-5 different heritages and only 1 is the same)
* Owning a DVR is awesome. I watch 2 soaps a day in about 20 minutes. It's fantastic.
* Summer is almost half over :(
* I am very close to going over our monthly minutes and we have a week left yet
* My garden is starting to resemble a jungle.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Working Weekend

Well, this weekend we were quite busy. So much for a holiday weekend break. We are working on our upstairs hallway (7x20 - approximately - so a big space). We never really did like the peachy pink walls that were here when we moved in, but this house is so big you have to take your time getting to paint everything. So, we painted all the trim, built-in bookcase, and linen cabinet white (looks nice). Installed some new shears (old lace be gone!). And painted the walls a shade of blue. It's actually the same color we used on the stairwell going to the bar room on the 3rd floor that we had extra of. We had bought a couple gallons of a different color (supposed to be a light blueish green). Anyways, wse started putting that up on the walls and it was the color of a 50's kitchen. Nope! Not for us.

We also tore out the carpet to the stairs. We will keep the carpet on the stairs because it provides a sound damper. There are the nice thin-slat hardwood floors underneath, but they are all glued up. So, we are installing wood-look laminate. All I gotta say about installing that is - FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!

We also put in a new ceiling fan/light fixture and another light fixture. It already looks 100 times better. We are taking pictures and I think Andy will put them on his website later.

We also had to install a new mailbox, as the city has hit it with the snow plow several times during the last couple winters and it is just dangling there.

I start my new class "Counseling Through the Family Life Cycle" today. So, I guess I better go read. I still have a lot more to read before class this afternoon.