colliemommie: (Default)

We have a mortgage.

More accurately, I got us a mortgage approved.

I would not relive these past three days for anything. The whole process seems designed to keep the customer completely confused and depending on whatever the agent says. Then they try to keep you from talking to anyone else with these dire warnings about the effects of "mortgage shopping", which is complete crap. Credit checks for mortgages don't negatively impact your credit score as long as they are all within 30 days

It's also interesting how not returning calls can magically cause your interest rate to improve. Don't answer the phones for 18 hours and miss I-cant-possibly-go-below-4.5 suddenly offers 4.25.

We should be getting the papers today, and then we are set.

So glad to be done with that shit.

colliemommie: (Default)

Had a very productive day yesterday. Dropped Katrina off at school. Did returns at Old Navy, found a gray fleece hat for Robs, shopped at Aldi and costco, picked Katrina up, went to the Y and lifted, dropped groceries at mom's, dropped groceries at dad's, and home by 2 for Robs' nap.

Put Robs down, and Kat and I brought the groceries in and put them all away. Then I taught Katrina to use the veggie peeler and we finished making the chicken soup. I sewed the shirt for her Astrid costume and made the beef stroganoff. My reading for liturgy this Sunday came in the mail, so i took sone time to mark that up. When Robs got up we went outside and Katrina and I took turns with the leaf blower. We got the upper level of the back yard done. Then inside for dinner (chicken soup) and baths and bed.

Bruce got home right after that so he and I had the stroganoff for supper, then he went to bed and I did some laundry, watched an episode of Bones, and took a magnesium bath. Everyone was in bed by ten.

Today mom is picking Katrina up from school and keeping her overnight, and Bruce is off from work (so far). My big things today are taking dad some food, chiropractor appt at 11, and I want to finish the leaf blowing because it's supposed to rain tomorrow. I'll have to do it again in a few weeks in any case, but I'd rather not have an extra layer of wet moldy leaves under there when I do.

Oh, and the halloween costumes. Might want to get those done soon.

colliemommie: (Default)

Yesterday after church the kids and I hit the kids' resale store. They both got dress shoes, Robs got some Christmas jammies, a fleece sweatsuit, snow boots, and a snowman onsie and red sweatpants. Katrina got a wool plaid jumper and a white blouse, a printed velour dress for school, and some leggings and fleece pants.

We didn't get home until three for poor Robs' nap. Then I cooked up a storm. I made Chinese lettuce wraps, taco casserole, a crustless quiche, started a pot of chicken soup, and put beef in to marinate for beef stroganoff.

Then after baby bedtime I cleaned up the kitchen and glued the spikes to Katrina's Astrid skirt. Her halloween costume is going to be epic. Robs is going to have to make do with a furry vest, Katrina's old boots, and some stuffed horns sewn to a fleece hat.

colliemommie: (Default)

Look at this dog:

This is Glencora. She's 11, has arthritis and a bad haircut, doesn't hear very well, and this morning fell over this hill.

You can only see about half of it in this picture. The vertical half. My Fitbit tells me the entire height of the ravine is equivalent to 15 storeys.

This is the ravine behind our house. All kinds of critters live down at the bottom, and they wander up the hill at night to see what's going on. So I can see why the dogs like to go check it out occasionally; I'm sure it smells wonderful. Cora wandered about 2 feet down from the top and couldn't figure out how to get back up. I figured I'd get a leash, walk down the game trail to her, and then help her get back up. Unfortunately, by the time I got back with the leash she had slid down about 8 feet further.

I managed to get the leash on her, but she either could not see the Gametrail I was walking on, or just couldn't get herself stabilized. And I may be dumb, but I'm not dumb enough to try to carry a 45 pound dog on the side of a ravine. So I basically had to wish her good luck and say I see her at the bottom. I figured that from that angle it would be much easier for me to climb up and then help her find a safe way down.

So I ran out of our neighborhood down the side of the hill and up the path that the Township uses for maintenance of the storm drains down there. By the time I did that she was already down there, looking around in circles trying to figure out where home was.

I have absolutely no idea how she managed to get down that 20 foot vertical drop in one piece. Absolutely no idea. I really thought that she was going to be either dead or have several broken limbs.

The little stinker even walked home with a decided prance and a very self-satisfied look on her face. I guess she's happy to have a story to tell.

So, thankfully, Cora came out of her adventure none the worse for wear. On the other hand, I don't think I will ever be the same.

colliemommie: (Default)
I have had a good day.

Tuesday night was not so good. I woke up about 2 am sick as a dog. Nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, aches, the whole deal. Thankfully Robbie slept until 5am, which saved me from having to nurse while actively being sick. I called Bruce at work around 330 to whine, but forgot to ask for Sprite and Lipton soup. So poor guy had to go out for drinks when he got home at 8am.

Anyway,spent the day being miserable, sweating, shivering, nursing, putting on Sesame Streets for Katrina, napping when they napped, and reading Georgette Heyer. I also watched Peggy Sue Got Married, because for some reason I always watch that when I get sick. Bruce, of course, got the option to pick up a shift and was gone again by 130pm.

I managed to sleep last night, and only had to nurse once overnight at 4am. Then at 7am I brought Robbie into bed to nurse and doze since Bruce had fallen asleep on the couch watching Netflix. Bruce, being wonderful, got Katrina up and dressed and etc. and I slept until 830! Then he took her to Wawa for special Daddy breakfast treat and I had more soup.

I was dithering about going to work out, and decided that since I actually felt fantastic it was stupid not to. I have no idea what the 24-hour magic flu was about, but it's gonzo. So I went to the Y and worked out outside today. We did 2.5 miles at the park with frequent stops for squats and pushups.

(I went back to the Y last Tuesday and managed to get in a free small-group training thing they run sometimes. My group is me and one other woman and Jason the trainer, who is kickass. We're meeting 3x a week: Tuesday in the pool, Thursday outside, and Saturday in the gym. So far I'm sore but uninjured, which with my joints is an achievement, and I'm down three pounds. Woo-hoo!)

Then I picked up the critters, nursed Robbie, and we were off. I hit Pier One and Target for Easter basket things for next year. Target has great stuff, all 70% off. I got bunny socks, seasonal chapsticks, stickers, egg dyeing kits, and other bits and bobs. Katrina also got a pair of little white gloves for 30 cents. She's been wearing socks on her hands pretending to be like CInderella, so this seemed like a cheap thrill. So she gets them on and I say something to the effect of "You have gloves like Cinderella now." And she says "No, mummy. Like Goblin King."

That's right. Ladies and gentlemen, my three year-old daughter wants to grow up to be David Bowie.

Then we came home, critters went down for nap, and I went into overdrive. Four loads of laundry, butter chicken for supper, put all the pewter Dad gave me on my trip home up in a display on the built-in shelves in the dining room, unpacked three bags of random stuff I found in the coat closet (no clue where it came from), took my shower, ran and unpacked the dishwasher, and cleaned the kitchen. Mom called at some point, and asked if I was on my pain meds, I sounded so hyped up.

Just when great day is going great, the doorbell rings. My mother-in-law has sent her yard guys to unearth the back yard!!! I am so excited! Bruce does his best, but his schedule is crazy and he really doesn't like yard work. So I have minions to do my bidding and get that mess cleaned up.

I actually had to wake both of the kids up from their naps, which is unusual, but par for the day. Then Kat and I had butter chicken and peas and rice fro supper, and strawberries for dessert, and she watched a Sesame Street and had a bath and went to bed. Then Bruce woke up, and I nursed Robbie down, and now Bruce and I are watching Top Gear and I am, wonder of wonders, updating my lj.

sigh. Very good day. I would like to order the same for tomorrow.
colliemommie: (Default)

Where do you all keep your cat boxes?

We used to have Hudson's box in a little storage room with a babygate with a cat hatch cut in it to keep out dogs and toddlers. However, the humans in the house selfishly decided to renovate the room and turn it into a playroom for those awful children we insist on bringing home to take attention away from Hudson. so we need to relocate.

We don't have a basement, and there's no way to have it in the garage without escapage. He refuses to use a covered box, which limits options a bit. I'd appreciate and suggestions people have.

colliemommie: (Default)

Today I declared a personal Anti-Procrastination Day and tackled a bunch of the little jobs that I've been putting off because I just don't want to do them. I cleaned out my pot and pan cupboard, stripped two loads of diapers (which took for fricking EVER), got the family room soft furnishings out of storage, wrote up Bruce's November schedule, made a menu plan for next week, started a huge pot of spaghetti sauce and hot sausage, took the vacuum apart and rinsed out the filters, and did some diaper repairs that have been sitting there taunting me.

Now all I have to do is finish replacing the elastic in one more diaper, and then I can be done for the day. Woo-hoo.

I did not get the glow of accomplishment I was hoping for, probably because I have a touch of some flu bug, but I am glad to not have these things hanging over my head, or laying around my house. So I am now seeking validation on the internet. Please, praise my industry in making an exceptional effort to do what I should be doing automatically every damn day.

Tomorrow should be the last day the contractor is here finishing the family room and the little front room we're going to use as a playroom. They painted all the trim today, so tomorrow should be mostly clean up. I'm hoping if Katrina and I are cute enough John will hang a few pictures for me; I can't hang things straight to save my life, and Bruce won't without a lot of nagging, and the angst isn't worth it. Then babycakes and I can have a fun, dorky evening putting up the Halloween village before Halloween is actually over.


Apr. 3rd, 2009 09:14 am
colliemommie: (Default)

My mother-in-law, who is great, offered to have her cleaning lady come by today and spend a few hours on the house. I've been doing reasonably well with keeping things neat, but you can't really clean while holding or wearing a baby, and I was getting tired of starting to mop the floor and then having to stop a third of the way through. So much happiness, and I accepted her offer.

Cleaning lady calls me last night to make sure 8am isn't too early. She needs to pick her daughter up at noon, and wants to have time to finish everything before then. I say 8 is fine.

So this morning I am up at 7. Baby is sleeping. It is now 920, no cleaning lady, and baby is still sleeping. I COULD HAVE GOTTEN AN EXTRA 2 HOURS OF SLEEP!!!!!!!!!
colliemommie: (Default)

I just canned a half-batch of pickled watermelon rind to see how I liked this particular recipe. I've had it before at the King's Arms in Williamsburg, and loved it. So excited to find a recipe that actually does get the spices right. (The secret is adding thin slices of lemon when you marinate.)

Need to be more picky about having all the pieces as close to the same size as possible...mine didn't all reach the translucent point at once when I was boiling. Also, it ended up very yellow instead of that pretty pale green color. Not that that's wrong or bad, but I like the green better.

The vinegar syrup is just perfect for pregnant tastebuds though!

I'm heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow, and will probably take one jar for Ma and one for Dad. She probably won't eat it, but at least I'll have made the effort.

Gods it's hot. Fricking southern Virginia.

colliemommie: (Default)
Does anyone have any experience canning with a pressure cooker? I've canned jams and spaghetti sauce (separately, of course) in a hot water bath, but now I want to try canning some homemade soup and other sauces. I have a nice old pressure cooker (it's autumn gold, which should date it pretty accurately, but it works and cost $3), but am not quite sure how one goes about it.

I have the old Readers' Digest Back to Basics book, which has some information on pressure canning, but it tends to assume that you have at least a bowing acquaintance with a pressure cooker. If anyone can share some basic procedures, or helpful hints, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Also, where in hell can you buy canning tongs?!? Mine are held together with a piece of wire and aren't as stable as I would like. But I can't find new ones anywhere (supermarkets, BJs, Kmart), and the garage sale gods haven't listened on this one yet. Maybe a mom and pop hardware store?
colliemommie: (art thou beguiled now?)

I hit ten sales this morning between eight and twelve, including two church sales, which are gold. Then I got all the junk off the front porch (Bruce cleaned the car by moving crap from one place to another), put a coat of primer on the sewing room walls (goodbye hideous orange faux-wood panelling), and am now sorting through todays take.

The list is mostly so I can remember what I purchased for whom, though there is an element of gloating involved. I so kicked ass!

King's Grant:
20 wooden spools mercerized cotton
10 wooden spools silk thread (oh, the decadence!)
3 big scented candles
set sea shell wine charms - for Michelle bday

Thalia Presby Church:
Baby monitor (for $3! Yay!)
Large oval mirror, antique gold frame
2 small oval mirrors, antique gold frames
1 rectangular mirror, carved wood frame
pair pointsetta earrings - for Mom
Ngaio Marsh When in Rome pbk
Alison Weir Elizabeth I pbk - for Jenn
12 new quart-sized Mason jars with lids and rings

Lynn Shores (2 family)
baby photo album with pewter frame cover
baby photo album with blue and white cover
fireplace poker
fireplace shovel
pair brown mules for me
32" multi. floral embroidered tablecloth
2 matching napkins
5x7 picture frame
Five Little Pumpkins book

Baptist Church:
tea-sized cutwork tablecloth, pearl gray on ivory - Mrs. K Xmas
3 Irish linen tea towels (I plan on hemming the stripes off and using them for embroidery...the fabric is gorgeous)
long Indian print skirt in navy, beige and green - for me
mustard gold maternity sweater
2 casserole-sized tupperwares
tall tupperware
25 pant/skirt hangers

Witchduck Landing (I almost didn't go to this, because the neighborhood is a little iffy and it was out of the way, but I got all this for $10)
Christmas tree pin - Grandma
2 zipper comforter storage bags
4 zipper garment bags
2 1/3 yards cotton with a winter woodland print (deer, racoons, bunnies, snow, pine trees)
2 5x7 picture frames (about 2" wide dark walnut, cleaned up great)
James Patterson - Mary, Mary hc - for Audrey or me
James Patterson - London Bridges hc - ditto
new cat collar with bell (Hudson didn't like his present much)
3 doses cat flea/tick medicine
3 doses dog flea/tick medicine
bag pine-scented potpourri
4 spools colored giftwrap twine
2 heavy plastic drop cloths
12 packages wrapping paper
30 gift bags, christmas and birthday
Tupperware storage tote thingy with handle
Canvas Christmas "Peace on Earth" decoration

Grosse Pointe Blank DVD - Jack/Dad
Identity DVD - Jack/Dad

Grand Total: $66

colliemommie: (art thou beguiled now?)
 Ladies and gentlemen -- I have discovered a ham recipe that is actually palatable!

I am pretty much anti-ham. Always have been. Once a year at Easter is good enough for me. However, thus does frugality make desperately venturesome bastards of us all.  Farm Fresh had Smithfield spiral cut, bone-in hams for 1.29/lb, instead of the normal 3.20. So I had to, especially since Bruce loves ham.

Did one dinner with the ham and the au gratin potatoes and the asparagus, and then I had to start experimenting. Made bean and potato soup with the ham bone...Bruce loved it, I had more asparagus. Did some cheesy ham bake thingy from an old Betty Crocker cookbook...thought I was going to die of sodium overdose.

But today we have success! I conconcted a casserole with boiled potatoes, fresh green beans, chopped ham, lots of black pepper, and white sauce. And it was yummy...I actually had seconds.

Don't Like Ham Casserole

Serves 6-8. Can freeze leftovers or divide amts. in half

8 red potatoes (4-6 gold or white would be about the same size)
2 cups chopped ham
3-4 cups fresh green beans (frozen would work too)
4 T. butter/amrgarine/spread (I used Smart Balance Light)
6 T. flour
3 cups milk
pepper to taste

Scrub and boil potatoes with skin on (vitamins you know). SHould be fully cooked but not mushy.

Meanwhile, make a white sauce. Melt the butter or spread (if you want, add diced onion to the butter for flavor), add flour. Let paste bubble slowly for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add milk, stir until smooth. Add pepper. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat, mix in ham.

Slice boiled potatoes into a casserole dish, mix with green beans. Pour sauce and ham over. Mix well. Add more pepper on top.

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until green beans are the consistency you like and everything is bubbly.

I am irrationally proud of myself for this one. I get such a thrill out of making cheap meals that are yummy, filling, and nutritionally complete. Super Hausfrau strikes again!
colliemommie: (Default)

Now, I never thought I'd feel compelled to share thoughts on soy flour (I never thought I'd have thoughts on soy flour), but there are some interesting things.

For one, you can use one heaping tablespoon of soy flour plus one tablespoon of water to replace one egg in baking. I ran out of eggs while making a double batch of pumpkin muffins the other day and had to try this. I couldn't even tell the difference. For anyone who is watching cholesterol this could be extremely useful. You don't even lose any protein in the swap!

I decided to do the math, and realized that this is also significantly cheaper as well. The cheapest I can get eggs in southeastern Virginia is 14.9 cents an egg. I can buy a 1.5 lb box of soy flour (containing 88T) for $3.14. That works out to 3.6 cents per tablespoon. I do about three batches of muffins a month, six batches of sandwich buns, and a weekly batch of cookies or brownies. All together that's 24 eggs for regular everyday baking.  $3.58 for eggs v. 86 cents for soy flour. It's not a ton of money, but there's other places I can use that $32.65 a year.

Secondly, one cup of soy flour, boiled for twenty minutes in six cups of water and then strained, makes a little over a quart of soy milk. Again, through the magic of word problems, that's 57 cents for a quart of soy milk. Call it 65 cents if you want to add vanilla and a little sweetner. Bruce drinks about a gallon per week, for a monthly total of $20 from the market, or 10.40 homemade, flavored and sweetened.

This lesson was brought to you by the letter 'S' and the number 5.


colliemommie: (Default)

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