Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 321: Just horsin' around in the back yard.

What.  A.  Day.

What I didn't mention yesterday is that somewhere in the last couple of days, one of the kids--probably Adam--turned the controls to the fridge OFF.  And yes, I discovered just before I had to leave last evening that everything in the fridge and freezer had gone bad.  Lovely.  And I was supposed to make some biscuits for a breakfast over at at the church this morning.  But by the time I got home, it was too late to get more milk and eggs to make something, so we had to stop at the grocer on the way to church to purchase some muffins.  Which they really didn't need, there being TONS there.  So I guess the missionaries are getting my muffins, since while at the church, Adam threw up for the first time in his life.  EVERYWHERE.  So I brought him home, wondering how I was going to get to the store to get milk and eggs for the weekend with a sick kid at home. 

Bishop to the rescue!  He and his wife brought over a few staples,

And I spent a good portion of the afternoon emptying the fridge and freezer, which were both fairly full, seeing as how I had just gone grocery shopping a few days ago.  It made me feel almost sick--throwing out good lunch meat, cheese, fruit...

But to the photos.  While I brought Adam home, Julia stayed at the church and played some games, which she taught Adam this afternoon, when he was feeling better.  Their biggest fun was stick pulling, and Julia was laughing because Adam kept beating her!  And he's three year's younger!  I think we're going to have a bruiser on our hands.

If anyone has any hints on getting kids to stop sucking on their hair, I'd appreciate the tip.  As it stands, she has until school starts to improve or completely stop it, or she's getting her hair cut to her chin, which she's not happy about, seeing as how she loves her hair long.  But oh--it is such a mess right now.

Apparently, the following are examples of a "slaw."  Hmn...

Day 320: July 31

Not sure what this is, in the mulch beside a rock at the front of the house, and it's probably not something you REALLY want around, but doesn't it look cool?

In other news:  Concert until late.  Went well, by the way, by the time I got home and got the kiddos to bed--mucho later than usual, WAY later!--there wasn't time to post this photo.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 319: Bean update

The beans have gone from this to this, taken from the ground under 9 foot poles.

Whee!  We have a bean teepee!  It's so fun under those big, saucer-sized leaves. 

*yawn* Here are a couple more from the garden after the downpour and thunderstorm. 

In other news:

Drove by a house in the neighbourhood (Meryl, it's that beautiful white house on Luzerne that has the sloping roof over the front porch) that was on fire.  Smoke billowing out of the upper floor windows.  We didn't stop to gawk, so I'm not sure the outcome, since the first fire engine arrived just minutes before we got there.  Hope all was contained.  *shiver*  I so hate the thought of someone's house on fire.

Practice this afternoon for concert tomorrow evening.  Over three hour rehearsal.  It was nuts.  We were both so tired we couldn't even think by the end, and my fingers felt like jell-o.  Wow--hard pieces.  Wish I had another week, but come what may, we're live tomorrow at 7:30 at The Bottleworks.  Tickets are $12 at the door--if you're in the area, stop by!  A bit of opera, Broadway, rock 'n roll, and more.  Max, at 16 years old, has an amazing voice.

Flea combed the cats last night.  Just keeping it real, folks!  It's that time of year in kitty land.  They're both feeling much better today, after a comb and Frontline dose.

Alrighty then.  Off I go to bed!  Nighters!


Day 318: July 28

Quick shot of a fresh pineapple before I cut into it and it was devoured.

Oh, what a golden, juicy, bit of heaven.

And now it's off to practice for the concert on Friday.  Wish me luck--these pieces are insane!

Photo for today (07/29) will be posted later.  I took it after the thunderstorm this morning.  But I might have something else, too--who knows what the afternoon will bring!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 317:

Watching baseball practice at Roxbury Park this evening.  A player gave Adam an old baseball, which he was thrilled about.

Dirty summertime feet:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 316: ACK! More ANTS!

Like we needed more of THESE, after the invasion at the beginning of the summer.  But Adam wanted an ant cake, and it was either a cake shaped like an ant (and the last thing I needed to see was an ant of ENORMOUS proportions*shiver*) or this idea, of ants invading a picnic.

The uninvited picnic ants won.

Grainy photo.  Didn't want the flash.  Set the ISO too high, and the aperture was set too fast, so the depth of field is freaky.  But I didn't have time to fiddle, so once again, Adam's birthday photos are less than stellar.  I think it might become a running gag!  LOL

OK.  How to make this cake.

The cake itself is a Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with fresh strawberry filling.  If I say so myself, it was really yummy.  I'll definitely do this one again.  Yes, definitely, since Julia wants the same cake flavour for her birthday in less than two weeks.  OK.  Here's the recipe:

2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
2 C. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/3 C. buttermilk or sour milk (or half buttermilk and half skim for lighter recipe, but who wants to do THAT for a birthday cake, I mean, really!)
1/2 C. butter (Yeah, the recipe says use shortening, margarine, or butter. 
But what's a cake without butter?)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3-oz. pkg. strawberry-flavored gelatin powder
4 egg whites
1/4 C. water
3/4 C. mashed strawberries


Beat together sugar, gelatin and butter until creamy.  Add egg whites and vanilla and beat until smooth.   Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add to egg and sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in strawberries and water.  Pour into 2 9-inch round greased and floured cake pans.  I use parchment paper when I do cakes to lesson the frustration of getting them out of the pan.  Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Fresh strawberry filling:  This made loads more than needed.  Next time I'll only half the recipe, or maybe I'll just use the remainder that I put in the freezer for Julia's cake.  Here you go.

2 pints strawberries, hulled and washed
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processore, process half the strawberries, honey, syrup, juice, and vanilla until a smooth liquid.
Add the rest of the strawberries and pulse until chunky.

That's it!

How to make the cake.  Freeze the cake after baking to make it easier to decorate.  Fill.  The frosting recipe can be found here.  I put a fairly good layer of white frosting over the whole shebang to seal in the filling.  Looking at the cake makes it fairly self explanatory as far as the tablecloth and grass.  The buns are made from vanilla wafers.  The hot dogs are Starburst candies warmed up in the microwave until soft-ish, and then formed to make the hotdogs.  Same with the mustard, using a yellow Starburst.  It was either that or colour a miniscule bit of frosting, which made me want to cry!  HA!  The burger is a Snickers mini.  The ants are made by using the biggest plain tip (I don't know the number off-hand) and then the teeniest tip for the legs and antennae.

And there you have it!  And then you'll take all that time to make it, and end up with this:

Day 315: Sunday July 25

Computer wouldn't start again yesterday.  SEriously needing a machine that's reliable.  But I won't go on again ad nauseum about that!

Photo is a bit lame, but it's all I have!  The kids have been making a gallery on the front door.  I really need to take them down, but the kids ptorest vehemently at the thought.  In preparation for the day when they come down, I took a photo of the pictures on Sunday, the idea being that I would take everything down today before company came.

The company came.  The pics were still up. 

Our decorating sense is...uh...unique!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 314: Plentiful Posies

It has been so hot hot hot and muggy muggy muggy.  I'm perpetually sticking to everything I touch.  The kids look like they have no one to care for them, but it's just all the dirt within miles of their little selves deciding that kids' sweat is the bee's knees and taking a vacation on the faces, hands, knees, hair, and under the nails of the girl and boyo.  Bleh.  We spend the days moving about as little as possible.  I have to bake a birthday cake today.  A birthday cake?  Which requires the oven?  Oh the horror.  So I have put it off until now, almost 9 pm, hoping that it will cool down a bit.  I might wait a bit longer.  Sitting here by the open window and feeling the cool breeze--yes, cool!--is heavenly!

Along with a body that doesn't move very well in heat comes a mind that feels like a fluffy pillow.  Fluffy, I tell you.  No imagination.  Photo of the day?  Of what?  Expend mental and physical energy?  Horrors.

So here are some daisies.  Unedited, because editing means I have to think.  Bother on that!  And yes, I'm getting tired of flower photos, too.  I'm just running out of ideas!  I might need to browse through flickr for inspiration, something I have yet to do. 

Enjoy the flowers.  Think cooooool thoughts.  Send those cool thoughts this way.

Thanks.  It's appreciated.  Muchly.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 313: Night of Music

Had a lovely evening at an open house this evening.  The music featured Max and others that he knows that are musically talented.  When I see this young man on stage, I can't believe he's only 16.  He has such presence, maturity, and talent.

I brought my camera, but the light inside the house was too dim for photos without a flash, and I didn't want to be distracting to everyone, since it was an intimate group.  But here's a photo that I took outside of their house.  The building originated in 1914 as a one room schoolhouse, but has been added on to very convincingly and now is being used not only as their family residence but as a bed and breakfast. 

Was so very pleased with the kids tonight.  They were so polite and considerate of what was going on, sitting nicely during the music bits and going outside to happily play when they got tired of it.

Speaking of tired, my nose is hitting the keyboard, here.  Picure below.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 312: The Queen of Preen

Adam woke up at 3:00 in the morning to go to the bathroom, and someone else was using the facilities.  Maybe she was getting ready to go on a date, or maybe a fancy dress ball?  Who knows.  Either way, she was primping prettily in (or should that be on?) the mirror. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 311: Corner View: Me.

I just haven't been in the mood for picking up the camera lately.  With just two months to go of the challenge, I'm starting to lose my oomph!  Good things in the works, though.  I've been asked to take photos of a string quartet, and have some fun ideas for those.  And a young woman from church asked me to take her senior photos up at a farm, which should be a hoot.  Hopefully those will help get my photo-mojo back!

But the Corner View today was titled "me."  It was rainy much of the day, and when I COULD have gone outside, it just seemed too much work to drag out the tripod and hook up the remote and...well, I just didn't have the, well, oomph!  Soooo, I gave the camera to Julia and said, "GO!  Take some photos."  This was the best one.

And here's one I took of the kids, so I'd have a photo today.

Pop on over to Jane's for more Corner Views.

Day 310: Tuesday July 20

Forgot to bring my camera to the recital, not that I could take photos anyway, since I was at the piano, but the church was beautiful.  Anyhoo, it was raining all morning, but the afternoon dried up enough, and although I had pretty much forgotten to take a photo on Tuesday, I remembered in time to run out and take this quickly before it was too dark.  Kind of a lame photo, but at least it's something.

Part of Julia's flower bed.  Somewhere back a month or so ago, I took a photo of her planting these.

They've grown a bit since then!

Day 309: Monday July 19

Thought the computer was bug free, but there have been such issues the last couple of days that I've done nothing on the computer at all, until I could take the time to spend with the tech.  It now (finally) is clean!  Yay!  No more naughty icons.  No more redirected searches.  No more random shut-downs.  No more weird security warnings.  And on it was.  Everything now appears good.  For now.

So here's Monday's offering:

Day 308: Sunday July 18

Here's that plant I was telling you about on Sunday, when I took this but had a buggy computer and it was too late to post by the time it was sorted out.  More on that later.  Anyway, does anybody know what it is, exactly?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cough cough sniffle

My computer was infected with a nasty virus causing no end of grief today.  After hours with a virus tech dude, it's now feeling much better.  I'm going to put it to bed with some chicken soup, though, and tell it to get some rest to make sure it's in tip-top shape in the morning.

But it's too late to edit the photo of the day, a cool plant that I found in the garden that I didn't plant, but I'm glad is there.  I THINK it's what I've seen called Chinese Lanterns, but I'm not sure.  It was kind of a pleasant surprise.  But someone will tell me it's a weed and I should get rid of the thing.  Will post tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's an already edited and ready to go photo of a cactus from the campsite.  Not sure why I didn't put this with the rest of the trip photos, but it got missed.  It's not that great a shot, but it's something.  And now I can put Bessie here to bed.  Maybe it'll die in it's sleep and I can put it to a peaceful rest instead of this long, drawn out, constant, computer drama.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 307

On Thursday, and again today, Julia wanted to go over to the church parking lot to practice riding her bike.  Our home is on slight hills, which makes it hard to learn.  I think she's probably the only kid her age that never really rode a trike.  Sigh.  So she has a bicycle now, with training wheels of all things, and she was too scared to ride the thing.  On Thurday it got to the point of, "If you don't just pedal, already, we'll find someone else who WILL ride this bike."  Sounds kind of callous, I suppose, but good golly.  Anyway, motivation happened when her brother got on the tricycle and started racing around.  Amazing how quickly she got on and started to pedal.  Within 15 minutes she was racing around the parking lot, too.  We were there for two hours.  Yesterday, we rode from a friend of hers home.  Today before a baptism at the church we rode around some more.  She says she's ready to move the training wheels up.  We'll see how it goes next week!  Hopefully she won't have too many tumbles.  But she is so very proud of herself, even with the trainers, being able to zip up and down the parking lot, that ll I can do now is hold my breath.

Anyway, here are a couple shots. 

And none of Julia's face.  She has her tongue sticking out, trying to get the hair out of her mouth, in every single shot!  Beter luck another day. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 306: Simple things for Christina

Christina, over at Soul Aperture, is celebrating a birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Christina!

Soul Aperture is one of the most beautiful blogs in the universe.  Beautiful photos, peaceful words, and an absolute oasis from the world.  Christina gives us a moment to sit and breathe cool, fresh air.  To celebrate, we're sending her lists of our favorite simple things.

Dear Christina, lover of roses and all things gentle and pretty--my offering!

The smell of toast in the morning.
The feeling of freshly lotioned feet (it's true!)
Cuddling with the kids after their bath.
A purring cat in your lap.
Finding that the birthday cake tastes just as good--or better--than the frosting!
Homemade bread, warm from the oven, with butter slathered all over it.
A honeybee deep inside a flower.
Garden dirt in your fingernails.
A letter from a friend.
A smile.
My favorite pair of flannelette jammies.
A child's giggle.
Fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden.
A cardinal splashing aroubd in the neighbour's birdbath.
Popsicles dripping on your chin.
Playing in the sprinkler
Bare feet in dewy grass.

The lovely Se' Lah is hostessing this surprise party, so drop on by her place. 
You can't miss it--the balloons and streamers are a dead giveaway!

A song *ahem*

Happy Happy Birthday Christina dear
Happy days will come to you all year
If I had one wish then it would be
A happy-happy birday to you from me!

OK.  Now go have a slice of that amazing cake that you posted today.  It looks divine!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 305

During which
I remind Julia that
She does not need to use
the whole roll
in one sitting.

Day 304: How does your garden grow? 11/14/2010

The birds planted the sunflowers.  But we planted these:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 303: Grease and dust

Love the thought of using this chili infused oil, but it's so pretty that I haven't.  So it has been instead gathering grease and dust and I should have cleaned it off before I took the photo but figured, meh--might as well keep it real!

And with this, I am CAUGHT UP!  YES!  I don't think I mentioned that sometime mid week, I went to turn my computer one one evening at camp when the kids were in bed, and there was no power to the computer.  None.  Zip.  Cord plugged in, hadn't charged the battery either.  So off it went to the nearest computer repair place, since I didn't have the heart to deal with Dell customer service yet AGAIN.  Anyway, it's back. Needs a new battery, apparently.  Not quite sure why, but since the technician got it working as long as the battery is removed and it's plugged in,  I'm not complaining too much.  So please forgive the late catch up.  Besides it being pitch black in the tent and having long, exhausting days, I didn't have a computer!  Of course. 

Day 302: 07/12/2010

 I wanted to take these out in the sand box, to at least mimic the beach, since I wasn't with it enough to actually do it at the real thing!  But nah, it was dark by the time I thought of it, so this is the best I could do  Still, aren't seashells pretty?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 301: 07/11/2010

Detail from my sunhat. 

Arrived back home at about 1:00.  Still emptying half of Assateague beach out of the car.

Back to normal--whatever summertime normal is!