July 29, 2008

The adventurer checks in

Our little adventurer checked in with us just a little bit ago. She is in Sedona, Arizona. I'm not sure what all they did yesterday...slow trip from New Mexico or sightseeing but today there are big plans. And can we say Mama is n-vee-us! ;-) Yes, I know how it is really spelled...envious. lol

The grandparents have arranged for a Grand Canyon tour that will be an all day affair. They will get a tour of the Grand Canyon, see a Grand Canyon sunset and then have dinner by the Grand Canyon. Woo!! Seriously...how cool is that?!?!

Ohmigosh I had better get to see some pictures soon. :-)

July 28, 2008

Green, Green, Green

Recently we made a switch from the local cable company to Dish Network. We have discovered a channel that we just love! Planet Green ... it is great. As most of you know we are trying to make our lives more green. We recycle, planted a garden, switched to CF lightbulbs, belong to a CSA to increase the amount of local food we eat, and have stopped using commercial dishwasher detergent, hand soap & laundry detergent & are making our own. We want to continue adding to all of this because we know there is more we can do. Planet Green is fabulous. They have shows on just about every green topic out there. One of our favorites has become one about Greensburg, KS. This small town was almost completely wiped out by a deadly tornado. 95% of the town was destroyed. They are rebuilding as green as they can...homes, businesses, parks,etc. Sooo cool!
You can check it out here http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/greensburg/

There is also a green renovation show called Renovation Nation. We are learning several things from that show. It is also making us think about what kinds of things we would like to do here at our house. We want to remove our carpet and replace it with a greener alternative. We are thinking cork or bamboo flooring. Any thoughts?

July 27, 2008

Morgan's Big Adventure

Morgan's big adventure has begun. She has been calling every night to check in with us. She sounds good, although last night she sounded a little sad and was telling us that she missed us. Well, guess what? We miss her too! Strange how quiet things are around our house without her.

The beginning of the trip was a little slower and included stops to take care of things. Wednesday they went from Orlando (checked out of the vacation house) to Ocala where my dad and stepmom have a house. Thursday they headed to Knoxville, Tennessee so that my dad could get his hearing aids checked and they could visit a couple friends and pick up I-40 for the drive out west. They did the visiting and check ups on Friday so the girls got to go shopping and then swim at the hotel pool. We did have to tease a little about Morgan taking longer to get back to Tennessee than we did. ;-) On Saturday they headed out I-40 and stopped for the night in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Today they were off to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Morgan is taking pictures and writing in her journal. Tomorrow they will go to Sedona, Arizona and spend Monday & Tuesday in Arizona visiting the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert before moving on to California.

I hope she is enjoying herself. I'm so glad that she got a chance to have this adventure. I remember when I was 6 1/2 I got my big adventure. My Uncle Ed and Aunt Ilene took me on a trip to Washington, DC with plenty of stops, sightseeing, history, visiting friends,etc. They did the same for my brother when he was 6...but took him on a train trip (he was more into trains and that was soooo my uncle's thing). Morgan getting an adventure with family members is continuing what my aunt & uncle started. Cool! :-) One of these days Alex will get to go on one.

I can't wait to hear more about the trip and everything she got to see and do. I'm dying to see pictures. She got her hair cut on Wednesday so I haven't even seen that!

July 24, 2008

Home again

Vacation was nice. We made the trip down to Orlando in 12 hours, as we figured. The kids handled the trip very well. Corey and I are so happy to have good travellers. There was a traffic tie-up just north of Atlanta that lasted quite a while, as we finally passed it was obvious why. An SUV and 18wheeler tangoed, both ended up facing north on the southbound lanes, a LOT of guardrail was ripped completely out, all lanes were closed except the far right emergency lane...and the 18wheeler was nothing but charred remains...a skeleton of what it was before the crash. We apologized for being impatient, sent out good thoughts and energies for everyone involved and felt blessed to have not been involved.

While at the vacation house we got to see almost all my siblings. Michael & Danny couldn't come for work reasons. We did get to see everyone else though. Yea!! At one point over the weekend we had 19 people there. Woo! The kids basically lived in the swimming pool and loved having so much time with their grandparents, aunts & uncles and cousins. We went to Downtown Disney one afternoon (OMG so hot!!) and then out to a movie one night...all 19 of us. LOL! 5 of us saw Mamma Mia! and the other 14 saw The Dark Knight. On Monday, 9 of us went bowling and had a blast.

Tuesday, Corey, Alex & I headed home. As we were passing through the north side of Atlanta I noticed a cop blocking one of the ramps, then another blocking an entrance ramp...on the southbound side of I-75. Hmm....then I noticed that there was NO oncoming traffic....none in all those lanes. Very weird!! We were discussing what we thought this could mean when we saw a caravan of black limos, suvs, an ambulance, cop cars,etc. Gee...someone important ya think. We wondered aloud if it was Dubya Dipsh*t or one of the presidential candidates. As we continued on we saw about 6-8 cop cars blocking all of the lanes of southbound I-75, tons of cars & trucks parked on the interstate with people standing around outside of their cars. Oooooh boy, so glad we weren't in that!! On the radio we heard it *was* Dubya Dipsh*t and his roaming roadblock. All of this was shortly before 4pm. We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner and when we got back in the car an hour later we heard they were now blocking more traffic on & off I-75 so that Dubya Dipsh*t could get back to Dobbins AFB so he could take off before a thunderstorm came through. Boy, bet the citizens on the road were loving that at 5pm!! Could the idiot not have SOME concern for the working class people of America and not create a traffic mess at 5pm on a week day, especially in an area like Atlanta?? Noooo.....he can't.

Anyway, the trip home was easy. Alex was fabulous for the entire ride. My mom brought Bella to our house a couple hours before we were due home so she was there to greet us. I think she was very happy to have her people home.

Morgan got to stay in Orlando with her grandparents (my dad & stepmom). She is going on a road trip with them and her 11yo cousin, Josie. Josie is my sister's youngest. The grandparents decided to take their 2 youngest granddaughters on an adventure. They are travelling out to CA & back, taking about 2 1/2 weeks to do it. They will be seeing the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert as well as many other sites. Morgan is very excited. Tonight she called to check in and they are in Knoxville...they are going out via I-40. We gave Morgan 2 assignments for her trip... take lots of pictures and to journal. My dad will be uploading the pictures to his laptop and sending them to us. We will share them.

July 16, 2008

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

O-M-G!! This is the most delicious salad. After 3 hours at the park and zipping by the library to return books, we went to Panera Bread for lunch. I had heard about this salad during a commercial on the radio (and was drooling afterwards) so was delighted to see it available. I got the pick two and had the half portion of the strawberry poppyseed salad and half of a chicken salad sandwich. Ohhh so yummy. The star of the meal was definitely the salad. Just picture it, taste it...crisp romaine lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin orange sections, pineapple chunks all drizzled in a wonderfully sweet & tart fat-free poppyseed dressing. After tasting it, Morgan told me that I just *had* to figure out how to make that dressing. LOL! Seriously, it was that good. Alex was even eating the pieces of fruit from the salad WITH dressing on them.

Ok, I was just about to sign off when Kali the Daring decided to scare the crap out of us. She likes to get on top of the cabinets in the kitchen (up on the plant shelf near the ceiling) which is normally no big deal. Just now she stepped off the cabinet onto the curtain rod over the french doors...all 4 feet!! It is a cylindrical rod! A wooden dowel...and it is made to roll in the holders. Egads!! Corey jumped up and retrieved her from her "high wire act". Man, if it isn't the kids it is the pets.


July 14, 2008

It has begun...

Corey is officially on vacation for the next 11 days. Woo Hoo! Tomorrow he gets to hang out with us as we go to the park to meet up with some friends and then to the library...the normal routine for me and the kids on Tuesdays. Then on Wednesday we will pick up our CSA share (share it among family & friends since we will be heading out of town), taking Bella & her stuff to my mom's house, picking up the rental car, taking the kids to their bowling league, packing & such. ACK!

Right now we are all just veggin' out. Corey is enjoying some sports bonding time with Morgan... they are watching the Home Run Derby. :-)

Early Thursday morning we are heading out for Orlando. Arriving the first day of the family get together will be the 4 of us, my dad & stepmother, and my half-sister & her 2 kids. I know on Friday my oldest stepbrother, his wife & 2 girls will be joining us...bringing us up to 13 people. At some point another stepbrother, his wife (and maybe son) will be joining us, possibly my uncle (my dad's younger brother) and maybe my half-brother. My dad was saying we might be up to 18 for the weekend. Woo! This is going to be fun! Here is the house that my dad rented for all of us http://www.tinkerbellslantern.com . Pool and spa...here I come!

Corey, Alex and I will be leaving on Tuesday to head home. Morgan is staying and will be going on an adventure with my dad, stepmother and her 11yo cousin. They are all taking a driving trip out to CA and back over 2 1/2 weeks. Morgan is *so* excited! She'll be keeping a journal and taking pictures to share.

July 3, 2008

pickles, peppers, pickled peppers?

Yesterday we did our first canning projects. I made bread & butter pickles (yum) and Corey made pickled hot peppers (yuck). We are very proud of ourselves. :-) We had decided to start canning and preserving so that we could make the most of our CSA shares. Some weeks we get a ton of one thing. Our options are to eat it all in one week (can make you sick of something), can or preserve it for later, share it with others, or let it go to waste. We have shared with others and really wanted to do some canning and preserving. Here are pictures of my bread & butter pickles at the start & then after canning.

I got 4 pints of bread & butter pickles and Corey got 2 pints of pickled peppers. We are happy with the results so far. Next we will buy a pressure canner so we can do low-acid foods. You can only do high-acid stuff in the hot water bath method.

If you have a favorite recipe for canning or preserving we'd love to hear it.