Monday, August 4, 2014

Our anti-wildlife project

A month or so ago I was checking on the chickens when I heard sounds coming from the storage shed that sounded like Michael Westen was tied up inside.  Thump, thump, thumpety, thump!  While I was wondering what on earth was going on, a little head popped out from the tiny space between the shed and the concrete block fence--a cute little squirrel.

Cute squirrel, but she brought along a number of her friends and relatives and while they didn't get into the shed, they dug around under it and hung around in the side yard all the time.

Bill bought a no-kill trap to take care of things.  This weekend four squirrels were relocated and about 6:30 this morning we caught a fifth.

Like two of the others, she was vigorously try to get out and you can see she was trying to figure out the trigger bar.  The third squirrel actually damaged the mechanical parts, he was so anxious to get out, and Bill had to take the trap apart and reassemble it.

This has been a very interesting experience!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

First day of school--Part 2

While I was taking Sophia to the bus, Bill was taking Caroline and Elizabeth to theirs.  Last year he drove them to school every day because for one reason or another we never figured out exactly what time the bus came through the neighborhood.  However, this year the information was easy to find and Bill and I decided they need to ride the bus both to and from school, which makes it easier for him to get to work early.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

First day of school--yes, it's still July

Our girls get out of school early (middle-end of May) and have several 1-2 week vacations which all lead to a very early start to the school year.

The girls had to be to the bus stops at almost the same time and going in opposite directions from the house, so Bill took the older girls and I took Sophia.  Doesn't she look cute in her pink, pink, pink outfit?  (She LOVES pink.)

And here is Sophia and her friendly bus driver:

It's her last year of elementary school as her school goes from Kindergarten to fifth grade.  Wow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A very nice "shop locally" promotion

We almost always get out of the house on Thursdays because my mother's house cleaners come that day and I need to get the girls out of their way.  Today I took them to 4th Avenue, which is a fun and funky street near the university.  I thought we would window shop up and down the street, which entails about 6 blocks, then go home.  Instead we found announcements for a "Where Is Waldo?" promotion.

The girls got a "passport" at one of the sponsoring stores, then set out to find a 6" cardboard cut out of Waldo in the stores listed.  We found 15 of them!  Some of the store clerks were helpful and some weren't.  I did notice about half the clerks' eyes darted to the approximate location when I told them we were looking for Waldo.  LOL.

Holding the passports in our hands kind of gave us permission to walk all over various stores and even restaurants while we looked for Waldo.  It was fun.  And of course it got us into more than a dozen stores we never would have gone into.

When it was all over we did not stop at one of the interesting restaurants that dotted the street because they were a little more than my budget would allow, but we did stop at a Dairy Queen in the district, which was actually a very rare event for my girls.  No inside seating, only outside.  Two Blizzards and a large sundae, please.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer party!

Our ward (church congregation) has parties . . . just because, and plenty of them.  This was the first time we've ever had a large water feature for a party and it was a huge hit with all the kids and some of the adults as well.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We love our zoo!

This trip certainly seemed to be for the birds . . . .

There were a couple of good looking girls in the same area and you can see one of them in the background above.

This was another peacock.  Such beautiful feathers!  The bird below let me get that close to it (no telephoto lens).  It does not have an aviary but flies free.  However, I've seen it there many times, so it knows the zoo is a good home.

This crane got spooked by something and gave a really loud squawk that startled us!

There were a number of duck with their teenagers.

The girls wore their swim suits in hopes of playing in the water area, but it was closed due to an infestation of bees.  Water + heat, of course the bees like it!

And of course we always take a picture by the sculpture.  It's almost as good for watching growth as the marks on the back of the kitchen door.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What my mechanic has been working on this morning

It's only about 7:30 in the morning and my mechanic has already been working on the Suburban.

The radiator needs some TLC before a trip and my mechanic is taking advantage of the cool, pleasant morning to remove it to take it to a radiator shop.  Lucky me--my mechanic is Bill.

Several years ago "someone" (not Bill or me) wrecked the front end of the Suburban.  The body parts were replaced and the vehicle looks fine, but the radiator and the air cooling unit in front of it both got pushed in and both are shaped like a saggy mattress on edge.  Both cooling units have continued to function until now.

We are hoping the old radiator can be repaired because a new one won't fit into the slot the old one came out of.  The front cooling unit impinges on the space for a new radiator.  Unless we can get the shop to put a nice curve into the flat unit so it matches the old one's curve . . . .

Barring that, Bill is going to have to do some frame work to straighten it to accept a new radiator.

If you give a mouse a cookie . . . .

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What if everyone thinks this is what apricots are supposed to be?

I picked up some apricots yesterday at Sprouts because I really like this fruit and the price is usually so high I can't justify buying them. The ones I chose have a very pretty color and are a nice size.

But!  I was really disappointed when I bit into the first one!  It was firm, sour, and almost tasteless.  This morning as I ate another one out of a feeling of obligation I realized lots of people think this is how apricots are supposed to taste.  If they've never picked some from a backyard tree and eaten them soft and warm, with the juice pooling in the hand cupped below the holding hand, they might think grocery store apricots are all there are.

Apricots are (supposed to be) soft with a thin skin, not exactly what can be easily transported to the grocery store.  When I was pregnant with my second son 23 years ago I was staying with my parents.  My dad knew an apricot orchard being torn out and replanted.  The reason?  The old orchard was planted in wonderful, delicious Blenheim apricots that simply couldn't make it to market out of the region so it was being replaced with a hearty variety with looks and little taste.

The farmer told my dad to help himself to all the apricots he could pick before the trees were pulled out.  He brought home a dozen or so lugs of perfect, aromatic fruit which we ate by the baleful, then I turned into jars and jars and jars of sweet jam.

I'm thinking I need to look into apricot varieties that grow in my area.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bon Voyage!

Today Caroline and Elizabeth are leaving on a trip they have been anticipating ALL SCHOOL YEAR!

They'll fly to Washington D.C. tonight and start touring just about as soon as they get there tomorrow morning.  They have had hours and hours of extra classes to learn about the history of Washington D.C., and by extension, about American history.  When they arrive for a tour of the White House or the Washington Monument or the Holocaust Museum, they will know why it's important to our history and to them personally.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What do you notice about this breakfast of mine?

Here it is:

Does it look SWEET? 

A couple of weeks ago I was watching Good Morning America and Katie Couric was on talking about her new documentary movie which talks about the evils of sugars, as I understand it.  I don't think sugar is evil, but I have been working to reduce it in my diet and that of my family.  Katie Couric invited viewers to join her in a ten day "sugar fast" starting the next Monday and I decided to do it.  No sugar, no artificial sweeteners.

This is what I found:  there is sugar in a lot of things I like to eat.  I didn't go hard-core and scrutinize every.single.label for sugars, but if something obviously had sugar in it, such as cold breakfast cereal or commercial yogurt, it was off my menu.  No desserts, no adding a sprinkle of sugar to my oatmeal, or jam to my peanut butter sandwich.  It was quite an adjustment.

This is what changed:  I ate more carbs and fat than I usually do.  I substituted a bowl of muesli (minus the chocolate chips I love) for a bowl of ice cream.  Instead of a drizzle of syrup on my waffle, I spread on some butter.  No sugar on hot five-grain cereal?  Who cares when you can pour a bit of cream over it instead?

What didn't change:  I still feel the same.  I can't say eliminating sugar magically made my back pain go away or made my hair thick and luxurious.  However, got some new ideas for expanding my diet and how to eat things with less sugar.

So for breakfast today I'm having a chocolate chocolate chunk cookie Sophia made last night, a donut hole she bought in a package two days ago and saved one for me, and a marshmallow crispy treat I made from a Pioneer Woman recipe and saved in the freezer, waiting for the ten day fast to be completed.

You'd do the same, right?