Sunday, June 28, 2009

Spider bites suck. Well, bite really. Ah ha ha ha ha!

From the always available internet, I've deducted that I have two jumping spider bites. They're the most common biting spider in the state and my symptoms correspond with the diagnosis.

I remember getting super itchy on my upper stomach last night, but it went away soon enough. This morning while in the bath (yes, my wonderful husband drew me an unheard of Sunday morning bath - aahhh) I noticed two huge bite marks. They weren't itchy, so I ignored them, enjoyed my bath and later went to church.

But on the way home, I began to feel a little off. Kind of achy like when you're getting a fever. But I felt just fine. As soon as I got out of the car, a cool breeze blew right through me and I instantly felt freezing. Came in, changed out of my cute summer dress, put on jeans, a t-shirt, socks and a hoodie and was *still* cold!

When the chill didn't dissipate, I took my temp. Yup, a low grade fever. But I still felt fine. So weird.

I pulled the hammock into the sun in the back yard and got comfy with my book. Eventually I did warm up and in fact, got too warm, and came inside. Checked my temp again and it was higher still. I was hoping it was because I'd been sitting in the summer sun utilizing my winter wardrobe, but even after an hour inside and a sizable bowl of ice cream, it was slightly higher still -- currently about 101. The chills came back a bit ago and I snuggled under two blankets and fell asleep for a few minutes. I felt better when I woke up to watch the end of "Henry Poole Was Here" (weird movie, I tell ya) with Scott -- the shivers had shivered themselves out.

And that brings us so now. Still have that temp, but other than a small headache, I'm feel normal. But my online sources say to keep as still as possible until the symptoms fade so that the poison won't spread towards my heart.

Well, ok, then. Relaxing is fine, except when your husband is acting stressed and it's dinner time. Then relaxing is just no fun at all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I survived Crunch Time.

Not sure how, except for the constant movement of time and the grace of God.

I knew heading in that the past two weeks would be insane. There was little I could do ahead of time to ease the stress, so it was just a matter of jumping in with both feet and getting through it.

Buying a new car
Product launch at work (which we're still working on)
Landlords visiting/trying to keep the house clean
Creating my book proposal (again, still working on)
End of school: celebrations, half days, concerts, teacher gifts, etc.
Organizing the week away away Scott and I have planned for our anniversary in July
Girl Scouts: bridging, finishing up financial reports
Finding and hiring a contractor for the MI house

And the list goes on. And on.

Last night I had a little bit of a breakdown. Exhaustion, I guess, coupled with frustration over work, got the best of me. Giving myself permission to sleep in this morning, I went to sleep and didn't wake up till almost 11am!

I feel so. Much. Better! Human again. The girls are in great moods, the weather is nice and I'm not pressuring myself about work. Yes, I will be working this afternoon, but I'm not going to let it get the best of me.

And as an added bonus to the end of the week... it's the biggest Disney Channel night of the year!
(If you'd like, feel free to imagine my as an over-excited preteen. LOL) The Princess Protection Program premiers! Selena Gomez and Demi Lavato! **Insert high pitched scream here** LOL

The girls are so excited, so we're planning a family movie night. And then the weekend is fairly clear. Phew!

Hope all you Delicious Readers have a fantastic weekend as well!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nature vs. Nurture?

The past few days have found the D___ household knee deep in Legos. With Brandon and Matthew here, we had to pull out the one "boy" toy we had -- an extraordinarily large box of Legos.

Five days plus four kids plus ten zillion Legos equals hours and hours of playtime!

Yesterday, I looked up from the kitchen table (where I was working on my laptop). Brandon was running around with his Lego spaceship apparently shooting the enemy.

Emma, meanwhile, was sitting on the floor with a few flat pieces and several tiny plastic people. She had built a table and sat her people all around it.

"What are your people doing, Em?" I asked.

"They're sitting around the table having a discussion, Mom."

Hhhhmmmm.... Boy shooting. Girl discussing.

Nature vs. nurture... you decide. LOL!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hanging out with my bro...

This is the most fun I've had with my bro since I can remember. Quite possibly, ever! He's here for a week with his boys. Brandon will be 8 in July and Matthew is almost 5. Having very little "boy" experience in our household, they are cracking us up!

We've been off doing things here and there, but also hanging out at the house a lot. I still have to work, as does Scott, and Will is working on his Master's degree online, so he's got plenty of reading to do.

Yesterday, we let the kids play while Will and I worked. Then we hopped on our bikes (Will brought up his and the boys') and rode to a nearby park and Emma's school playground. We were gone a couple hours and had a blast. We were sooo proud of Matthew because it was a bit of a ride, yet he hung in there and did it! Granted, a ride that would normally take about 10 minutes took 40 on the way home, but still! Pretty huge for a little guy on training wheels.

Today we headed to downtown Portland to lunch at Old Town Pizzeria. It's in a 130 year old, supposedly haunted building. Pizza was pretty good, atmosphere a weird throwback into the 1880's and the 1970's. We didn't see Nina (Nine-a) the ghost, though.

Here's a funny story for you... I'd been talking this morning about going to this "haunted pizzeria". As we were on our way out the door, Emma asked where we were going. Matthew (remember, he's 4) was trying so hard to tell her where we were going. But instead of "haunted pizzeria" he said "haunted diarrhea"! We laughed soooo hard. It was the funniest thing I'd heard in a really long time.

And here's another super cool thing that happened today... After we had lunch and then drove around 45 minutes trying to find the flipping Aerial Tram (which we eventually did find, thank you very much), we stopped at Dairy Queen. We were all eating our ice cream and laughing
away, just having a great time. A lady comes up to us and says, "I have to say how nice it is to see a family having so much fun!"

Matthew replied with a mouth full of ice cream, "We're not family! We're cousins!" Of course, we all busted out laughing again. Ice cream flew from more than one mouth!

Here's a few photos of the past few

Will and Brandon at Old Town Pizzeria

Will, Hayley, Emma, Brandon and Matthew on the Aerial Tram

Brandon helping to make tacos

Matthew sacked out against Hayley

And pretend this post is from last Friday...

Please don't send the environmental police after me!

I made a new car decision based not on environmentally friendly factors, but on cost basis. After much calculation, we decided that a hybrid vehicle was not as bank account friendly as we thought it out to be. More expensive by several thousand dollars, even the gas savings over the life of the vehicle would not cancel out that extra cost.

I also didn't buy used, so now I need to buy bigger shoes for my carbon footprint.

But.... The manufacturing of a hybrid vehicle takes 20 pounds of nickel to make one battery. The emissions from the manufacture, mining and transportation of the nickel cancels out the benefit to the environment that the car delivers with its better mileage. So maybe I don't need to buy those bigger shoes after all??

So are you yelling at the computer yet, "Alright, already! So what did you buy?"

Ok, ok. I'll answer.

I bought a brand-spanking new (15 miles on the odometer new) Hyundai Santa Fe. See?

Third row, fold down seating, lots of leg room, but not all the bells and whistles. I'm a minimalist, remember? I just don't need heated seats, a sunroof, etc. and I sure as heck didn't want to pay for them!

Scott took over the numbers portion of the deal, so I only briefly had to hold onto my hyperventilation paper bag. We got a really good deal on it -- much better than any other dealer offered us.

(BTW, if you're local to the Portland metro area, DO NOT under any circumstances go to Beaverton Hyundai. The best way to describe it in one word? EEEEEEWWWWWW!!! I won't go into detail, but let's just say, there was something of questionable means stuck to the steering wheel of a car I test drove. Ugh. I get the heebie-geebies just thinking about it. Go instead to Vancouver Hyundai. They were phenomenal! I would definitely buy from them again.)

So we've been tootling around town enjoying the new ride. The lease was up on my mini-van as of July 2, plus I only had 120 miles left before my 24,000 mile allotment was fulfilled.

My bro and his boys are coming to visit tomorrow (Saturday). Since his truck nor Scott's itty-bitty car can hold all seven of us, it was time to come face-to-face with my panic attack demons and get a new car.

Now it's time to come up with a name for it. Look at the picture and send over some suggestions! The winner will win a thank you note signed by the car itself! Ok, that might be kind of messy so never mind. You will earn my undying thanks!

Pretend this post is from last Thursday...

No more teachers
No more books
No more teachers'
Dirty looks!

School's out and I officially have a fourth grader and a seventh grader!

Summer seems to be a mixed blessing for many parents. It's a welcome break from making lunch at 7am, frantic searches for library books and "Quick, Mom! Sign my planner! The bus is coming down the street!"

My relief is palpable. Now lunches can be made at lunchtime, library books need only be searched for once every three weeks and the bus is not coming!!! Woohoo!

But flip that summertime frisbee of relief over and you'll see... the kids are home full time for ten weeks; the arguing starts at 8am; the whining over instrument practice starts at 10am; and "Moooooooommmmm, I bored" starts just after lunch.

Last summer I started working part time from home and that was challenging, but we made it work. This summer, I'm working full time. Good luck to me and the girls!

I figure I'll start working by 6am, then work straight through to 2pm. That will give me my eight hours of work and then I'll be able to spend time with the girls. Sounds completely doable to me. Until 5:45am when the alarm goes off. Then the plan goes off with the alarm.

But with camps and travel, visits and VBS, play dates and bike rides, we'll have lots of time to work and play both. (And blog, I promise!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knock knock knocking on the monitor screen

I *know* you Delicious Readers are out there. I do have super-secret ways of knowing how many of you read Delicious as Pie on a daily basis, you know.

So comment already! I know some of you don't feel comfortable commenting for the world to see. I understand.

But for the rest of you... please, please, please comment!

In just about seven weeks, I have interviews with four different agents regarding my book. I need them to see that I have a readership base!

Thank you!!! You won't regret it when my book is published and you can say, "I knew her when..." LOL

Omelets in a Ziploc

My mom sent me an email recipe the other day for omelets cooked in a Ziploc bag. I'd heard the recipe before and it definitely did sound fun and quick, especially since everyone makes their own!

For lack of anything else to cook for dinner last night (since I once again did not make it to the grocery store), the girls and I made these omelets.

The result! Yum-O!!

1. Write the omelet eater's name with a Sharpie on the outside of the Ziploc. The email recipe said to use quart size, but I only had sandwich and gallon, so we used the gallon.

2. Crack two eggs into the bag. (Not more than two, the recipe warns!) For ease of use, I set our gallon bags in a crock-shaped container. (Yes, it is a Baskin Robbins container!)

3. Add whatever ingredients you like into your omelet bag (that you've prepped, of course). We had cheese and sausage.

4. Squeeze the air out, zip the bag shut, then mush it, shake it or, as Emma seemed to like best, toss it! You've got to break up those eggs and mix all the ingredient together.

5. Place your Ziplocs in rolling, boiling water for 13 minutes, then pull them out.
6. Cut off your Ziploc bag just above the cooked omelet. (I'd planned on skipping this step since I reuse my Ziplocs. That ended up not being such a great plan since the entire bags were not submerged. There was still some uncooked egg mixture near the top.

7. Roll the omelet out onto plate. But be careful! The bags will be hot!

8. Enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Additions to my Green Fund

It's been months and months since I've added to my Green Fund. It grew so quickly when I first started separately saving the money I save by going green. That huge growth curve continued over the holidays.

Then it slowed down considerably. One, I'd made so many changes and deposited money saved into my jar. I couldn't keep adding money that I had already saved. Does that make sense? What I mean to say is I'd already made the bigger changes that helped the fund increase (lowered the thermostat, turned down the water heater, etc.) and while most months I can still include a few dollars to the fund, it's not the $40-$60 it was in the beginning.

At any rate, I've been keeping a general list of green savings and now it's time to add them up and put that money into my recycled jar. Here's what I've got...

$13 - energy savings
$12 - didn't buy 409 four times (made my own)
$15 - didn't buy hand soap (made my own and used old soap pumps)
$20 - didn't buy random cleaners, but used natural home made recipes instead
$6 - haven't had to buy a ream of paper or envelopes
$3 - have actually been remembering my reusable grocery bags!
$10 - an arbitrary number since calculating how much gas, energy, emissions I save by doing errands only once during the week
$15 - an arbitrary number because 95% of the time I only use cold water for laundry
$2 - an arbitrary number for the one time I hung my laundry outside on the line to dry (it's only been dry/warm enough once to do so in the two months I've had the line up!)
$5 - an arbitrary number for the gifts I've given recently that I've made myself, thus I don't have to drive, search, etc. to find a gift (or use a plastic gift card)
$15 - didn't buy paper towels or paper napkins
$10 - recycled ink cartridges and bought reused/recycled replacements
$20 - reusing and not having to buy gallon Ziplocs all the time

Grand Total...... $141.00 Woohoo!!!

I'll go to the bank today for cash to deposit in my Green Fund!

Thumbs down to FaceBook

I'm so disgusted with it that I canceled my account. It kept sending emails to people with my name that I didn't send or approve. And when I first signed up for the account, I specified a few people that I wanted to "invite" and it invited my entire contact list!

You guys know that contacts lists remember everything, from the person you emailed once about a Craig's List ad to the Girl Scout Yahoo group. Plus, I seem to have most of our church congregation in my Contacts because I was VBS Director last year. People keep coming up to me at church and telling me, "I got your FB invite..." How embarrassing!!!

I did catch up with a couple old friends, but other than that, the only useful part of it was the long distance Scrabble that my mom and I could play.

So I wash my hands of FB completely.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Joy to Diet Raspberry Snapple!

Fred Meyer discontinued it.

WalMart doesn't even carry it.

I very rarely shop anywhere else.

And I was out of it. And was sad. And thirsty.

But hallelujah! I have it again!! (Imagine celestial light shining down on the graphic below. LOL!)

After a quick trip to the postal distribution center yesterday to pick up a certified letter, I decided to stop at Safeway, just to see if by chance they had any.

They did! They did! It was all I could do to contain my excitement. LOL I bought out the four packs on the shelf (which were on a very good sale, thank you very much) and now am happily drinking my favorite calorie-free beverage.

There's a sign outside a church on the way to the office that says, "Take time to enjoy the little things. There are so many of them."

They're right. There are so many little things... Diet Raspberry Snapple among them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The all-natural homemade dishwasher detergent was a bust.

It did an ok job, but when it comes to dishes, ok is not ok, even if the residue is all natural.

While the dishes smelled clean and the plates looked fine, the glasses had food particles stuck to them and the tupperware containers/lids had a filmy powder all over them. (I thought about taking a photo to upload into this post, but then decided that my Delicious Readers probably didn't care to see it. LOL)

As I said in my previous post, I didn't make an entire batch of the detergent. I basically combined enough of the ingredients to make the suggested amount (2 tablespoons) for a load.

Would it be different if I made the entire recipe and was sure that the amounts of my ingredients were precise? Maybe. I don't know if it's worth trying or not. Castile soap isn't terribly expensive, but it isn't cheap either. A little goes a long way, but when a recipe calls for 2 cups of it, I'm prone to hesitation.

Guess I'll have to give it some thought...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Going to try a new Green experiment today...

I've been reading recently about how horrible dishwasher detergent is for the environment (all that phosphorous), so I've decided to make my own. Why my own instead of using one of the "all natural" and "environmentally safe" brands?

Two reasons, actually. One, they tend to be overly pricey. Two, they don't always seem to work well. I honestly think the efficacy rate has a lot to do with water quality. (Our water here is Terrible - note that capital T - thanks to the Mt. St. Helen's eruption in the 80's.)

Multiple recipes abound on the web for homemade dw detergent but, again, efficacy is varied. All but one that I've seen are variations on the same theme -- 1:1 ratio of washing soda (or baking soda) and Borax.

So here's the recipe I'm trying:

2 cups Castile soap
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 vinegar

I don't plan to mix and entire batch because if it doesn't work, I don't want to have wasted two cups of my precious Castile soap. But if it does work, I'm mixing up the full batch and saying good-bye to the expensive (yet effective and convenient) Cascade tablets.

Hayley will be home in an hour. It's her job to help with dishes, so once they're loaded up, we'll be ready to play scientist! (I'll be Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Hayley can be Beaker!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Propeller Head

Yup, that's me. Propeller Head. Because my head is spinning so fast with everything that needs attention right now.

Here's what I'm up against:

1. The lease on my minivan is up in three weeks.
2. We're struggling to get someone to fix the issues in our MI house.
3. We have to rewrite the lease for the renters in the MI house. (Yes, they're staying, but at a greatly reduced rate.)
4. Working full-time and up against a huge deadline!
5. School is out in 15 short days.
6. I desperately need to make reservations for the trip to the OR coast Scott and I are taking this summer. If I don't do it soon, availability will be zip!
7. End of year teacher gifts. Enough said.
8. Girl Scouts Bridging ceremony is next Monday, here at my house. That means I have to clean, doesn't it?
9. Hayley and her best friend have apparently "broken up". She's devastated.
10. I really need to review our life insurance.

I'm sure there's more, but that's what's coming to mind right now. Oh, and of course, keeping up with Delicious as Pie! I often open it up to post, but then don't have the energy.

And gosh darn it, Scott just bought me the Scrabble iPhone app! Now all I want to do is play!!! (LOL, as Emma says... "He is just so good to you!" She's totally right. I'm a lucky lady!)

Today is yet another early day, but this time only the elementary grades have one. We'll see how much work I get done with Emma talk, talk, talking away!

So I will write more soon, I promise. Stick with me, Delicious Readers! I have so many great post ideas!