Thursday, July 31, 2008


I'm not even sure what to say about this photo of my husband's twin. Except that it will definitely never be in any of my scrapbooks!

For more fun photos and such, check out We Are THAT Family.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Tonight, my domestic adventure continues with the canning of the zucchini relish.

The zucchini/onion/salt mixture rested overnight in the refrigerator. The next step was to rinse the salt off of the zucchini and drain any excess fluid. Grammy took care of that ...

... while I mixed together a concoction of spices, sugar, vinegar, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers.

Then, we combined the concoction with the zucchini/onion mixture and heated it slowly on the stove, stirring non-stop to keep it from sticking. Love that deformed, claw-like hand position? Nothing disturbing about that ... Note that I am also multi-tasking with my freshly-bathed Cakes on my arm. She was a little grumpy tonight, and didn't want anyone but Mommy.

Why does my elbow look so pointy in that picture?

The rest of the canning process was a collaberative effort by Grampy and Grammy. I am notorious for burning the daylights out of myself (just ask my nubby kitchen aloe), so I left all the hot stuff to them.

Grammy removed the jars that were warming in the oven. She quickly ladled the hot zucchini relish into the hot jars.

Then, Grampy used tongs to take the hot lids out of a pan of boiling water and screw them onto the hot jars filled with the hot relish. They're moving quickly because, well, have I mentioned that everything is hot?

Grampy placed the hot jars in a huge pot of boiling water with a special canning rack inside. They sat in the covered pot for 15 minutes. I was in charge of lifting and replacing the lid on the big pot of boiling water.

I had to go put the kids to bed at this point, so I'm not sure who did what or how. I do know, however, that when I emerged from the bedroom, all the jars were out of the boiling water and cooling on a towel on the kitchen counter. Apparently, as the jars cooled, each one made a popping sound as the cooling process suctioned the canning lid in.

And here they are!

And now, I'm hoping that someone else will clean the disaster that is my kitchen while I'm upstairs blogging ...


Aah, Saturday morning cartoons with Aunt Tracy ...

For more Wordless Wednesday, go here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Now that I live out in the sticks, I thought I'd try my hand at canning (Jessie, over at Muthering Heights, just finished canning a bunch of strawberry jam; check it out). Based on our abundance of abnormally large zucchini, we are canning my grandmother's zucchini relish.

As a bit of background, Jesse the Great (my grandmother) is a farmer's wife. Almost every memory I have of her is in the kitchen, wearing a dress (Jesse the Great only wore pants on the few occasions that she went deer hunting), and cooking food that was either hunted by one of my relatives or grown by my grandfather (Irwin the Great). My other grandparents (GG Pop and GG Betty) are suburbanites like I am. Or used to be. Or still am, except in a different environment. But, I digress. Zucchini relish ...

It's a two-day process. Today, Grammy and I started by grinding up ten cups of zucchini (note the annoyed look on my face and the screaming cherub in the background; apparently, Bean had dropped one of her "kissing bears" on the floor and was physically and/or emotionally unable to retrieve it on her own).

And here is what ten cups of seeded and ground zucchini looks like:

Then, Grammy and I ground up four cups of onions. My eyes were watering so much that I could barely see!

Note Cakes in the background, "taking pictures" with a pair of swimming goggles.

We mixed the ground veggies with five tablespoons of salt, covered it, and stuck it in the fridge. Now, we wait 24 hours.

To be continued ...

Monday, July 28, 2008


So, with Grammy here, we thought it would be fun to take the cherubs to the Super Target. It was not fun. Have I mentioned the 20-minute car ride tolerance a few times? There was much screaming, during which Grammy sang all the toddler songs she could possibly think of, complete with hand motions. I wish I'd had a video camera with me so I could show all of you Grammy thrashing her limbs around the front seat like she had a medical condition. Unfortunately, it did very little to quell the screaming cherubs.

After about 20 minutes, I had the brilliant idea of breaking out the juice boxes. Now, juice boxes require some delicate handling. Hindsight tells me that hysterical toddlers are not prone to delicacy. Motts for Tots was sprayed throughout the back seat of the car, and the screaming reached record volume as the cherubs became drenched in fruit punch.

But, we made it home without any vomiting this time, and the girls are happily munching on the stalks of prematurely harvested yellow onions. And spitting out the chewed up stalks. On my kitchen floor. See?

Friday, July 25, 2008


It's our very first Kid Pics Carnival! Find out how to participate here.

Here are Bean's photos this week. There seemed to be a Croc theme going on.

And Cakes went for a creative shot of one of her favorite rooms in the house.

I'm thinking I should've mopped the floor ...


I love to encourage creativity in my children. They have a Fisher Price camera, and they manage to take some very interesting and creative photographs.

The purpose of this carnival is to showcase your children's creativity and artistry. The carnival is easy. Post photos that your child has taken, and link back to this website. You can add a description, or let the photos speak for themselves.

Thanks for participating!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I was in several weddings when I was in college. So, I've been through the requisite wedding photos: all the bridesmaids together, the bridesmaids and the bride together, the bridesmaids and the groom together, the whole wedding party together.

This particular wedding, the photographer happened to allow members of the wedding party to give suggestions for photos. This was my suggestion:

Yes, that's me betwixt the bride and the groom. It's not in any scrapbooks at my house, but I believe it is in their wedding album.

For more memories, check out We are THAT Family.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We harvest more vegetables every day. The girls love picking them. Check out the size of this zucchini!

And they love eating them. This corn is raw and unwashed, freshly shucked by the hands of Big Daddy and neighbor Doug. The girls couldn't be bothered with waiting for them to be cleaned and cooked.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


After witnessing the spontaneous parade, you would think that I would remember to take my camera whenever I venture into town. But, alas, I didn't. And I wish I had.

This weekend was the big, annual tractor pull and monster truck rally. I, personally, have never seen the point of tractor pulls and monster truck rallies; but, apparently, I am in the minority out in the country. Our little town of 933 people swelled to over 25,000. I could hear the trucks and tractors in the distance every time I stepped out of my house.

Last night, Bean and Cakes were craving ice cream. It was hot, so I accomodated them. We hopped in the car and headed to town. I was surprised to see more than five cars on my drive there, especially on the winding, one-lane back roads. As I neared Main Street and the houses started getting closer together, I noticed that many of them had their yards partitioned off with police tape and rebar. Colorful, construction paper signs fluttered in the breeze. These signs read, "Parking $5." And people were actually parking on the townspeople's lawns! ("Where else are they going to park?" said Tanya matter-of-factly, when I told her about it later.)

When I got to the stoplight at Main Street, I noticed that all five cops on the town's police force were out, directing traffic and maintaining crowd control. And the people! I felt like I was in a foreign country. And it was so crowded!

As I continued down Main Street to get to the grocery store, the line of traffic headed toward the center of town stretched to the horizon. I began to wonder how I was going to get the ice cream home before it melted. I've never encountered traffic here. There were big, monster trucks, winnebagos, clusters of Harleys, pick-ups, little sports cars. A lot of them were from out of state.

Fortunately, by the time I was done shopping, the tractor pull and monster truck rally had begun. The roads were empty, making my drive home effortless. Every square inch of parking in our entire town, plus many lawns, were filled with vehicles. The high school sports field was overflowing with the sounds thousands of screaming people and big engines revving.

I just don't get it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Toddler Photographers are back. Today, we have photos by Bean and Cakes. First, Bean's photos. The first picture is of her doll, Babka (Bean named her herself). The second picture is a close-up of Cakes, and the third is a shot of Big Daddy and his twin sister, Aunt Tracy.

Next, photos by Cakes. As you can see, her favorite subject that day was her big sister.

There was a good response to last week's Toddler Photographers, sooooo ... Next week, I'm going to start a Toddler Photographer Carnival. Put cameras in the hands of your kids, and see what they come up with! I'll have a Mr. Linky on the blog next Friday night.

Friday, July 18, 2008


One of the things I love about the country is all the room for the girls to play. I can knit on the porch while I watch the cherubs romp around in the fields. This morning, I released the girls into the great outdoors while I quickly donned my flip-flops so I could follow them out.

The door was barely closed behind them when I heard neighbor Sandy frantically calling in through my front door. She had both my cherubs by the hand.

I went outside to see neighbor Sandy, neighbor Wanda, and this:

Now, I don't know if you can tell from the photos, but these guys aren't ... er ... fixed. Apparently, that makes them pretty mean. And, of course, as soon as the cherubs saw the billies, they made a beeline straight for them. Sandy corraled the girls to keep them from being bitten or butted.

I brought Bean and Cakes inside, making sure they were safely behind the storm door. Then, as neighbor Wanda tried to call Animal Control, the police, the fire department, anyone that would come herd some goats and take them away, I ran inside to get my camera. My first thought after my children's safety was, "Ooo! Great blog post!" After taking some pics, with the zoom, I ran at them, yelling, "Ya, goats!" to get them out of our workshop.

They wandered over to our gardens, but Uncle Matt shooed them away. Then, they headed to neighbor Doug's house, where Doug's dog sent them scrambling for cover. They eventually ended up back in neighbor Sandy's yard, where they will probably remain until her dog, Dodge, comes home from the groomer's. At that point, Dodge will make certain that those goats are far away from our homes and our veggies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


How many people who work in an office 40 hours per week would only accept 30 hours' worth of pay? So, why is it that people expect someone who is self-employed (particularly in the area of construction, like we are) to work for free?

For instance, Big Daddy completed a job for a client. We'll call her Madame X. Madame X promptly found another item that needed attention that was adjacent to the area that Big Daddy just repaired. When Big Daddy calmly explained to her that said repair was not in the original contract and would be at an additional charge, she actually responded, "Do you think I'm made of money?! I have to work for a living!" Um ... what did she think Big Daddy had been doing at her house for the past two days?

I like blogging, because it forces me to find the humor in my daily life. Humor has been a little hard to come by this past week. Clients, subcontractors - sheesh!

But, Big Daddy got a good laugh last night in the midst of this neverending week of misery. I like to cook. It's a nice, creative outlet, and I love food - the perfect combination. I am, however, one of those people that relies exclusively on cookbooks. I don't have that intuition, like Big Daddy, to just know what tastes good together. Anyway, I was feeling pretty adventurous this week, cuisine-wise, and needed to reduce some stress. So, I took some recipes that I was pretty comfortable with and tried to, you know, "make them my own." Apparently, my family has been suffering in silence through my cooking creations. Last night, Big Daddy finally broke down and, amidst tears of laughter, proceeded to explain why I need to keep using cookbooks. Here is the rundown:

1. Zucchini, squash, white, vegetarian lasagna: Okay, so there was about a cup of liquid that had to be drained from the serving dish. And I forgot to add the garlic. Or any other spices. Which basically left us with noodles, cheese, and vegetables. And liquid.

2. Chocolate zucchini cake: I know. Sounds doomed from the start. But, I've thoroughly studied both The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious; their recipes are wonderful! I thought I could successfully disguise zucchini in a chocolate cake. I was wrong. Even Pioneer Woman's extremely unhealthy and delightfully delicious chocolate frosting didn't help.

3. Big Daddy's bag lunch: Aunt Tracy made chicken parmesan the night before. I didn't eat any of it, so I had no idea that it was about as tasty as my aforementioned dishes. So, I thought it would be a great idea to make Big Daddy lunch out of the chicken. I didn't want the sandwich to get soggy, so I didn't put any of the sauce on it. Apparently, I also left out the cheese, which is a vital component of chicken parmesan. So, I guess the sandwich was a little dry, being composed of healthy, whole grain bread, and dry chicken tenderloins. And, I thought a large container of sliced cucumbers soaked in balsamic vinegar would be a wonderful accompaniment to the sandwich, but Big Daddy begged to differ.

I'm glad he was able to have a good laugh, even if it was at my expense.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Bean has one of those Fisher Price cameras. Her grandparents got it for her for Christmas last year. Before she got her camera, she pretended that everything she could get her hands on was a camera. She would pick up, say, a toy car, hold it to her eye, yell "cheese", and then make a clicking sound.

Anyway, I've been thinking for some time that I should start a blog segment that features her photography. She's got a pretty good eye for a 3-year-old. So, I will attempt to make Saturdays "Toddler Photographer" days. If any of you out there also have kiddie photographers, let me know. If there are enough of you, maybe this could turn into a blog carnival.

But, I digress. Here are some of Bean's more artistic shots:

Friday, July 11, 2008


Sometimes the hours are horrible. Big Daddy won't be home for supper tonight. So, do the cherubs and I scrounge around for nutritious scraps and leftovers, or do I actually make a meal?

Hmmm ...

Maybe I can do some baked chicken for them. And I'll look on the internet and in my many cookbooks for zucchini recipes.

I usually don't think about food when I'm not hungry or pregnant. Today is a rare exception.

Boy, I remember being pregnant with Bean, and I would be driving to work in tears, thinking of all the Northeastern food that can't be obtained here in the South. I would've given my left arm for a taste of home. Pregnancy does those kinds of crazy things to you.

Have I ever told you that Big Daddy got his first gray hair during my first pregnancy? I'm not a very pleasant pregnant lady. I am very in touch with my body, and I spent every evening giving Big Daddy a recitation of every strange sensation I'd had that day, along with my interpretation of the meaning of these sensations.

I remember I was in a meeting with my boss (a partner in a law firm) when I was pregnant with Bean, and she was doing the Can-Can in there or something. My stomach was bouncing all over the place like I had swallowed dolphins in a tuna net. I had to hold my notebook in front of my uterus to try to hide the distraction.

Here's a question - Did anyone else ever feel like a pod person or a host body when they were pregnant?

But, the main point of all these bunny trails is that I don't know what to do about dinner.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I never really did Halloween as a kid. It was my birthday, so I usually had people bring the candy to me - no need to dress up and go begging for it. So, when I went to college, I used to dress up and do the whole campus Halloween roller-skating party. This was the year I decided to be a roller-skating Goth. I'm not sure what my friend Tina was supposed to be, but she was really shiny.

For more fun memories (and a really embarrassing photo), check out We Are That Family.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Ah, gardens. They are both amazing and terrifying, home to tasty veggies and fearsome beasts.

So, I mosied out to the garden today with the cherubs to pick a green pepper (we're making homemade, turkey-burger sloppy joes tonight). As I was out there, I surveyed my mostly weed-free garden and checked up on the status of my many veggies. It was raining, so I didn't want to pick anything other than the requisite green pepper (even though there were quite a few zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers that were ready to harvest).

I wandered over to our thriving tomato plants and, to my dismay, noticed that there were bites taken out of several green, German Queen tomatoes. Now, I've heard from neighbor Doug and Tanya that possums and/or racoons like to sample tomatoes when they're getting close to ripe, so I leaned forward to pluck the sampled tomatoes off (thinking all the while that I would try neighbor Doug's trick of hanging metal pans from the twine on which our tomatoes were ... uh, vining ... in an attempt to scare away the little thieves). I recoiled in horror when I saw this ...

Thanks, by the way, to one of the most helpful websites ever, What's That Bug, for the photo. As you may have noticed from previous posts like this and this, I'm not a big fan of critters. I wasn't about to get close enough to this thing to take a picture. The monstrosity was, like, 3 1/2 inches long and thicker than my thumb!!!!

Anyway, I ran to the shed for our organic pesticide, and emptied the entire container on our five tomato plants. It was then that I noticed that there was not one, but two of the hideous creatures lurking on my poor German Queen plant. Well, they should be gone tomorrow, because I pesticided the heck out of 'em!


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Tuesday, July 8, 2008


The cherubs and I were busy running Aunt Tracy all over creation, trying to get her settled into her new house. That meant five hours in the car (interrupted by stops at a pizza place, Aunt Tracy's electric, water, and gas-free house, and several utilities offices to get the aforementioned electric, water, and gas turned on). Have I mentioned that my kids have a 20-minute car-ride tolerance? I have? Well, that hasn't changed.

I would say that, of the five hours we spent in the car today, four of them were spent with one or both of them screaming. We had about 30 minutes of calm in the beginning and 30 minutes of calm at the end, but chaos reigned supreme throughout the central part of our journey. How do you console two toddlers who are hysterically trying to free themselves from the confines of their carseats?

There are people in my life (friends, relatives) who haven't seen me since Bean was 4 months old. Big Daddy has never been to Disney World. I would love to go back to Chicago. All of this will have to wait until my youngest is in her teens. I can't remember a more misery-packed four hours since I was a child, screaming hysterically in the car as we drove to any destination further than 20 minutes away. Wait ... why does that sound familiar?

Monday, July 7, 2008


It's quite a production, what with our lawn being 7.02 acres. Usually, Big Daddy mows in sections, and it takes him about three days. This last time, however, Big Daddy enlisted the help of his twin sister's husband, Uncle Matt.

Since it was a Saturday, and Saturday is family day, we turned the mowing into a family activity. I manned the camera (and weeded the garden, of course - no spiders this time). Big Daddy hitched up the manure cart to the back of the mower.

The girls and Aunt Tracy were carted about behind him.

Uncle Matt raced around behind them on the small mower.

After the mowing, neighbor Sandy took everyone for a ride on her cart.

Then, we had a barbecue by the pool to close out the day.

And, no barbecue can be complete without Aunt Tracy pointing at the meat like a mental patient.

Early bedtime, anyone? No? Of course not.