Friday, March 29, 2013

Negative Nelly Be Gone

That's right, kick that girl to the curb because I'm on Spring Break right now. Well, I've been on Spring Break. It's almost over. 

Before spring break, Karma kicked me in the butt and nailed me with the creeping crud that the girls and Peanut Head had. I was getting too cocky and boy did she show me.

That's okay, I'm passive aggressive and I'll exact my revenge. Never mind that she's a concept and not a person.

In spite of starting spring break still reeling from the creeping crud, I've had a fabulous, relaxing week, and I'm ready to face the last eight weeks of school leading up to summer vacation. I'd like to tell you that I've been super productive this week and cleaned my house from top to bottom, all the while decrapifying as I went. But I did not. In fact, I did zero spring cleaning and I'm okay with it.

I spent some much needed time in my kitchen cooking, and I finally learned how to make real chicken noodle soup, starting with making my own chicken stock.

I should be ashamed to admit that I always throw my turkey carcass away after Thanksgiving dinner, and this last Thanksgiving the Renaissance Woman gave me the hairy eyeball as she inquired "You're not going to throw away those bones are you? That will make a fine soup stock."

I told her that yes, I was going to throw it away but she was welcome to haul the gnarly carcass home herself if she would like. And she did. But not until she gave me a thorough tongue lashing for throwing away all the internal organs previously. My bad.

Check it out. Noodles. I made them. I know, so cool. First time making my own noodles without Peanut Head and the Pasta Maker.

Okay, weird association, but why does that make me think of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?

Well, maybe because Peanut Head is amazing. He has mad skillz in the kitchen when he applies himself. I would have enlisted his help this time, but alas, he is not on spring break this week. 

I did attempt to learn how to use the Pasta Maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer, and I even sat down with my Granny glasses to read the instructions thoroughly. Nevertheless, it was a train wreck. I finally resorted to the old fashioned method of rolling the dough out with a rolling pin and cutting my noodles old school.

Except that I had a brilliant idea and pulled out the pizza cutter to cut my noodles. It worked great, let me tell you. It was super fast. Way better than trying to keep up with the pasta extruder attachment, having to untangle noodles in love as they extruded.

I have nightmares.

I cut all my noodles long, and then when it was time to add them to the soup, I dangled five or six over the pot at a time and snipped off two-inch lengths with my kitchen shears. Best. Idea. Ever.

So now I know how to make real chicken noodle soup, no cream of chicken condensed soup necessary, and it really doesn't take that long. Well, hands on time anyway. There's lots of sitting and reading my book time while the carcass simmers and all that. That was super unpleasant, relaxing with my book. 

Besides cooking, I spent a lot of time with my sister-in-law, Marcia, who is visiting this week, and the girls. Today we dyed our Easter eggs.

This is our first Easter with egg producing chickens, and I couldn't bring myself to buy store bought eggs to dye when we have a me-e-e-ellion pretty tan eggs coming out our ears. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tan eggs colored beautifully. This was like a double experiment for me because we didn't have our standard Paas egg coloring kit so we just used vinegar, liquid food coloring, and boiling water.

I love that they came out in these earthy jewel tones. The brown is my favorite because it reminds me of chocolate. 

Really, I think they look like Geologist's Easter eggs.

Which is why I couldn't resist posing them among some of Peanut Head's rocks.

This is Marcia. She hates us all now because we got her sick. 

I don't blame her. Peanut Head finally went to the doctor yesterday and his version of the germy gift has morphed into a sinus infection. Lucky guy he is.

Since sugar weakens the immune system, we thought this would be a fitting time to make Easter cookies.

Yay mess.

I mean Yay! Mess.

We'd deliver them to the neighbors except they'd probably throw away cookies made by Lepers.

Ah, the last bit of quality time spent with the offspring today. Mento bomb. Peanut Head and Stinkerbell were just a little too excited to set this baby off.

In the end it was a little anticlimactic because the soda had lost some of its fizz. That Stinkerbell, she lacks self control. Just like her Mama.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I like this picture of Gunny Man because it shows his serious, introspective side. He's not a many layered individual, and pretty much what you see is what you get, but in this picture he looks like he has deep thoughts.

In a black hole, vacuous sort of way.

Seriously though, I'm posting this picture because it represents where my head has been lately. I haven't posted because I've been deep inside my own head, creating a feeling of hopelessness and despair within my psyche. It's all related to the state of education in Idaho and the climate of blame. Needless to say, I've been asking myself if I want to continue teaching. The bottom line for me is that I just want to be happy, and right now my job consumes me and leaves no time for a life.

I'm not making any decisions right now, except to decide that I want out of this hopeless feeling I've been swimming in. For me, that means I need to tackle something that will make me feel better and inspire me to go on putting one foot in front of the other until things get better.

Enter my living room. For a long time I've wanted and needed to go over the entire room, decluttering and cleaning as I go. I picked this room because it's the least cluttered room in my house and, therefore, the easiest to tackle when I need some project tackling relief.

I want you to know that I didn't pick anything up before I took these pictures. What you see here is real life, and this isn't even as bad as it gets. Come into my house on say a Thursday evening, and these pictures look downright tidy.

Already I'm feeling better, just talking about my plans for decrapifying and cleaning this room. 

The first thing I'm going to tackle is the books. I have a lot of books on three bookcases in this room that I never look at, and books are meant to be enjoyed, so I'm going to offload some of them at the used book store and the library.

This is our entryway and it is in need of some updating. The memo board with the magnetic schedule for the girls has been an awesome tool for us over the past several years, but we haven't used it much this year, and I think that's just because we've outgrown it. The girls are old enough to keep their own ducks in a row, and they no longer need me to remind them when they have to wear sneakers for P.E. or when to take their library books back to school.

What we really need now are more hooks to hang our coats on. That, and the lower hooks aren't really working for us anymore because the girls' coats are too long now to be hanging that low. That means we're going to have to extend the hooks behind the door, where the memo board is now.

I have a vision for this area that is still evolving.  Peanut Head is usually pretty good at figuring out how to interpret my vision and more importantly, make it into something that can actually work. I'm the part of the team that says "I want the blah blah blah and it has to blah blah blah." Peanut Head is the voice of reason and cost projection spreadsheets.

At first I told Peanut Head that I wanted a big thick gnarly looking board that I was going to beat the crap out of with a hammer to get a really cool distressed look. I don't think that has anything to do with the aforementioned feelings of despair and hopelessness I spoke of.

Anyway, after beating the crap out of the gnarly board for the coat hooks, I was thinking I would cover it in layer upon layer of verithane to pretty it up. 

And then, out of nowhere came this new vision that I had to get out of my brain and onto a piece of paper. Unfortunately we were in Lowe's at the time so I had to scrounge around in my purse to find something to purge my vision onto. Besides Peanut Head, that is.

This is it in a nutshell. I know it's super clear and all that, but I'll explain it anyway. The not square rectangle on the right is the door to our coat closet. It actually does have a knob.

To the left of the closet, I'm thinking we need some type of bench storage for sitting and taking shoes off. The vertical lines represent bead board and it will go up almost as high as the door. And before I go any further, and because I am a math teacher, I feel the need to interject right here, NOT TO SCALE! NOT TO SCALE! so that no one is tempted to sue me for false visions. Anyway, right above the NOT TO SCALE! beadboard, and flush with the top of the door, although my picture doesn't show it because it's NOT TO SCALE! will be a lovely little crown moulding type shelf that Peanut Head may or may not have to create himself because I did not see the crown moulding of my vision at either Lowe's or Home Depot. It's a good thing he has magical powers, isn't it?

Going all the way across the top of the bead board and to the front door will be a row of lovely hooks for which to hang our coats upon. And perhaps the occasional errant child. Note to self: make sure at least half of the hooks go into studs and that those hooks are clearly marked as load bearing. Just in case.

I think this calls for a trip to the nearest city containing a Restoration Hardware store. 

In the meantime, let the decrapification begin.

Next weekend though. Not today.

I'm tired and my whole family is sick with the creeping crud. I'm terrified that I'm going to get it. Crossing fingers that I won't and that they will get well soon.

Since everyone is sick, Gunny Man has no one to play with. He doesn't count me because my idea of playing is wrapping his head in a dish towel and calling him Red Riding Hood.

And sometimes chasing him with the heater vent. Not very often though, because he has trust issues.

The only reason he's not fighting me here is because I'm waving a hamburger around behind the camera. It makes for very alert poses.

Which I love because he's Mr. Shifty with the eyes when I want him to look at me. He's not really looking at me here, it's the hamburger. If you look closely you can see it reflected in his retinas.

Burned into his retinas with desire.

Smouldering like Twilight vampire love.

Mr. Doggy-Dita looks like a roach here, doesn't he? Little roach antennae eyebrow hairs and all that.

Poor guy. I think I'll go play fetch with him. I'm feeling kinda bad about the heater vent right now.

Grunts in Love #683

At least Gunny can nap with his man when Peanut Head is sick.