Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas Mystery

 Update: Due to us putting this giveaway up during a holiday, and realizing how busy people have been, we will be extending this giveaway for another week to give all those busy people a chance to enter.
We're really enjoying hearing little bits of your Christmas and hope to hear some more :)

Our Christmas Mystery involved the combination of an odd green . . . and a chicken . . . . . needless to say we decided that your Christmas Mystery would be something far nicer.

  The time has come to cast your entries!
For a pretty Christmas Surprise!

Entries involve nothing more than telling us a little tidbit about 
your Christmas this year. 
Going along with the odd theme of our Christmas Mystery,
we would like your entries to involve something that was,
perhaps, not quite the norm, but rather amusing that happened this Christmas.
(If nothing odd turned up you can still enter by telling us anything about your Christmas:)

Would you like an Extra Entry to boost your chances of winning? Simply refer someone to our blog and then leave us a comment telling us you did so.
(We ask that you please not refer someone that already follows/reads our blog)
Entries will be accepted through January 2nd.
Have fun!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Because we didn't have the foresight to prepare a Christmas post this is going to be incredibly short.

To begin with; I hope you all had a wonderful day, surrounded by loved ones, and creating many wonderful memories that will be treasured through the years as we take this time to not only share with others, but to remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Secondly; The voting for our Christmas giveaway has closed.  Thank you for the input. We will try to get it open for entries by tomorrow evening. I am not sure how long we are going to run it, but we won't close it before the 1st, so you all will have about a full week to enter if you are interested.  (You're interested, right?)
Because of the votes the prize will remain a mystery, though we might be talked into offering some clues. And we might just throw in a New Years giveaway as well!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Poll!
Photo taken from Google Images

Hello everyone!
Because Christmas is coming, it is all snowy and beautiful outside, and we like to give people surprises, were are contemplating doing a Christmas Giveaway!
Would you like that?
Please refer to the poll in the sidebar and let us know what you think! The top two options are if we should keep the prize a secret or not. Do you want to know what you might win? Or do you like the feeling of suspense? We'd love to know!
The bottom two options are if you would like to enter the giveaway or not - this question is basically so we can see approximately how many people might be entering. If we get a lot we might just offer another little mystery as another prize:)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Just out of curiousity . . . .

      I'm afraid that the novelty of stalking our own blog has not worn off.  One of the things we look forward to when we drop into our corner of the virtual world is checking the stats page to see who has dropped by to see what up in our corner of the world.  And we were wondering . . . .


Don't get us wrong - we LOVE the company and we'd be oh-so-excited if you dropped by again to visit.  (Really - do come back.  We might even feed you.)  Every time we check our stats page, we are shocked.  We can explain the countries that contain dear, if very far away friends.  But we cannot for the life of us figure out how the seemingly random countries - with which we have no known connection - has found our insiginficant corner on The Web.  So help us out.  :)  We'd love to change that "no known connection" into a known connection.  We'd love to hear how you found us, if you think you'll drop in again, if there is something specific you'd like to see us write about . . . .

Leave us a comment.  :)  It will be good practice for the giveaway that is being planned (hint, hint.)

Irish Rose

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Grand Fall Adventure - Part 1

 Sharpi:   This adventure actually started earlier in the year when we received and invitation to the wedding of a good friend. As soon as we got the invitation I knew I wanted to go. Really, really, really badly! 
After talking about it off and on through the summer I was so excited when my dad said that it would be fine if we wanted to go.
Irish Rose:  We talked - briefly - about driving.  But we weren't sure we wanted to deal with the traffic that went with three particular states between Here and There.  We didn't really talk about flying because, lets face it, while a flight would be faster, it is also more expensive.  So we got as far as wanting to go and being given permission . . . and then we had to wait to see how it would all work out. 
Sharpi: Not being able to recall all the things that happened after that I can't explain exactly how it all came to be, but in the end the bride's family, who are good friends of ours, offered to let us ride with them if we would help out with preparing for the wedding and helping out in the kitchen so the family wouldn't have to worry about anything the day of the wedding. 
A few things occurred after that ended up having plans altered a little bit. Because of everything they had to pack and transport there wasn't going to be any room for me or Irish Rose on the trip down. However, if we could get there, there would be room on the way back.
Irish Rose:  We both were pretty excited when we figured out that this adventure was going to work after all.  

Sharpi: Thus, plane tickets were checked out and kept an eye on for a couple weeks until dates were firmed up, whereupon they were purchased and I began to go into fits of excitement!
Irish Rose: No really, she did!  We all love adventures, but Sharpie is the one who will pack weeks in advance if allowed.  :)

Sharpi: Being that space was going to be limited in the vehicles on the way home, we had to fit all of our clothing, and various bits and pieces, into standard sized backpacks . . . . . . yea, we had quite the tizzy of discussion about that:)
Irish Rose:  We both tend to be minimalists when it comes to packing, but honestly . . . clothing for ten days including a wedding crammed into a small bag seemed extreme even to us.  Packing alone was an adventure in and of itself.  :)  And I now feel like I have earned life-long bragging rights in the Packing For An Adventure department.
Sharpi: Would you like to know what all we managed to fit into them? It was a good exercise, actually, and really, really interesting to compare what each of us had managed to stuff into each of our backpacks!

 Total Number of Baggage: 2 Standard Size Backpacks, 1 Camera Case, 1 Purse
(basically, one carry-on and one personal item)

Front Pockets: Lipgloss, 2 bottles nail polish; Chapstick; Q-tips.
Front Compartment: 1 journal; 1 sketchbook; Hairbrush; Toothbrush; Assorted pencils; Makeup Bag
Main Compartment: (This is where it gets fun:)
2 skirts
1 pair socks
2 Long sleeve shirts
6 Short sleeve tops
1 Curling iron
1 Shrug
1 Good Top
1 Pair Pajamas
Several other small items
1 Hoodie (those things are bulky!)
2 pairs shoes

Irish Rose:
 Front Pockets: Bible, Journal; Gloves; Q-tips; Phone Charger; Splitter; Headphones; Silk Scarf
Main Compartment:
1 pair shoes
2 Skirts
1 Pair Pajamas
1 Hoodie
Makeup Bag
Bathroom/Medical Pouch
4 Short Sleeve Tops
4 Long sleeve tops
2 Tank tops
Misc. (what is misc????  Oh.  Right.  Unmentionables)

Challenging as it was it was it kind of turned into a competition to see who could stuff more things in!
From those items we were able to mix and match to create a lot of different outfits.

IrishRose: And just in case you hadn't notice . . . Sharpi is definately a better packer than me.  I think she must have a magic wand hidden somewhere.  :)

   Sharpi: Our flight . . . .yes, well, that was an interesting experience all around, especially when you consider the fact that we were at the airport at 4:30 am!
(Yea, this is me when I saw how early we would have to be at the airport)
Smiley Emoticons
Irish Rose: It was.  But she wanted to go more than she wanted to sleep, so . . . .
 Sharpi:  This is me the morning of: Crazy Emoticons
 I mean, come on, there is NO REASON ON EARTH why someone should be up that early!
Apparently, judging by everyone else standing in line at the airport, my theory is either drastically flawed; or my genius has not been realized. I'm sticking with option two.
Animated Emoticons

Irish Rose: An early morning flight is one of the few instances where I wish I hadn't shied away from a caffiene adiction.  Coffee might have helped, right??
Sharpi: Security was no problem and we were soon parked in seats at our gate . . . and then I realized that my theory is actually correct. Of the people at our gate everyone, every single one of them, looked incredibly tired and only half awake. A couple even nodded of while we waited.  (I didn't, I spent some of that time grouching about the fact that I could have slept another hour. The other time was spent in a half awake sort of daze, trying to wake myself up with happy music:)

Irish Rose: The weather was really nice that morning, so our first flight was very relaxed.  Unfortunately, I'm not the sort of person who can sleep on a plane.  I could tell it was going to be a long day . . .yes, coffee definately would have helped.

Sharpi: By the time we reached our layover we were awake, and starving. Airport's are extremely busy, which means fun people watching oportunities, and some good food. We both chose a croissant. At first I didn't think there was going to be much to it, just a flaky pastry with some almonds sprinkled on top. . . and then I hit the gooey filling . . . and I got really possessive.
Irish Rose: We didn't have an opportunity to eat our yummy late breakfasts until we'd made a mad dash across the terminal and waited in line for a shuttle to take us to our departing gate.  But once we did, it was worth the wait.
Sharpi: You know that you have watched WAY too many end of the world/destruction to the earth type of movies when you board your second plane, which is way smaller than the first one you were on, and realize you are situated in the seat right next to the propeller, and immediately begin listing all the ways planes have been blown up/crashed/etc in movies you've seen.
 As you watch the rain spit against the window, then watch it begin to freeze in a thin sheet over the propeller casing, your mind has a tendency to run over all the things that could happen.
Such as;
  1. Oh no! The eye of the storm!!! The lines are going to freeze up and we're going to go plummeting to our deaths!!!!  . . . No worries about that though, because we'll all be frozen by the time the plane crashes.
  2. The plane is going to break apart, and in doing so the propeller is going to slide right off and come tearing through the side of the plane!
  3. Irish Rose: you forgot the one about the tail breaking off and stranding us on a desserted island.(Sharpi: I knew I was forgetting at least one!)
Sharpi:  Granted, I am probably the only person that was rather amused and entertained by the idea.
Which is exactly why I didn't say it out loud. I have a feeling I'd have gotten some odd looks from the people in front, beside, and perhaps behind us as well.

Irish Rose:  And right next to her.  Although I would probably laughed, too.  :)  Our second flight was blessedly non-eventful and we arrived at our final airport right on time.  Without the bother of having to collect luggage from the baggage claim we were able to sit and rest on a bench until our hosts arrived.  Which sounds weird, because after two long flights, what else had we been doing??  :)  Believe it or not, a solid bench is much more relaxing than a plane.
  A car ride out of town, lunch, and a short jaunt down the road later, and the real adventure began.  :)

Sharpi: Upon arrival at the adorable little house that Groom and Bride are going to be living in, we had enough time to drop our things in our personal space, before the family said they were going back to a little town they'd spent the morning in, and would we like to go.
There was no way in the world we were going to refuse that offer.
Colors were absolutely AMAZING! I couldn't stop talking about them!
Stopping at a monument we went exploring a little bit, wandering into the tiny shop for postcards to send home. 

These were sitting on the porch of the little shop.
Locally grown apples!
(Irish Rose: I was so excited when we figured out I could actually eat them without having an allergic reaction!!)

Irish Rose: Being able to wander around was a great way to stretch out after being cramped in planes and airports all day.  The fresh air was wonderful, the temperature wasn't too cold . . . 
We were invited to the grooms house for supper and included just as if we were family.  Then back to the "home away from home" house to settle in and go to bed.  And hope that the mouse who had been making itself at home on our mattress didn't decide to argue its dibs.  :)

To be continued . . . . . . . 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Today's NaNo . . . in Smilies

Chores done, business taken care of -  time to write!

Here we begin, and it seems like it is going well. 

But of course, there is always Writer's Block to contend with.

Banging one's head against the keyboard doesn't work.  As "smart" as technology is, it has yet to progress to absorbing by osmosis.  (Probably a good thing.)  So we progress to frusteration.

I'm sure I looked that grumpy.  But it didn't help.  Could someone please intervene before we end up here??

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nano would be so much easier if . . . . .

We all had retained the ability to spew forth such magnificent flowery phrases and explanations such as these -
If you don't laugh at any point in this . . . . . I can't even imagine that:)

P.S. Mommies with small children, there is some imitative behavior, so you might want to check it out first.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pre-Nano Jitters and a Recipe

Greetings all you fine people!
I have not forgotten about the long, epic-ly wordy post about our trip that was promised, but since I don't have it put together yet I figured dropping in a random post would be fun!

Nano-ing season is soon upon us! 3 days, 3 hours, and 23 minutes, 12 seconds, to be exact, or, you know, as exact as I can be, seeing as how this information will be untrue by the time I post this:)
  I am very pleased to announce that my novel this year is to be written on my beautiful, shiny, brand new laptop! My old one kind of bit the dust after I . . . . sorta tried to wipe it . . . . . in my defense, I did get every single thing wiped off the computer! . . . . but I think I also managed to somehow fry the graphics card and a few other rather necessary bits and pieces.
So I'm not a technology genius, I'll admit it.
I console myself with the fact that, in today's terms the laptop was practically ancient, had previous problems, and was most likely going to crash pretty soon anyway. As well as the fact that it is still useable . . . within reason. . . as long as you don't want to us CDs or anything like that . . . . 

   Being that November is soon upon us, I have eagerly been keeping an eye on the little countdown widget, letting Irish Rose and Chickadee know that we have such-and-such days left to come up with the rest of our plot points and characters - or, you know, avoid it at all costs until the day of, if you are a pantser like me:)  What is a Pantser? Oh yes, I had no knowledge of what it was either, but when I found out I felt rather consoled that I was not the only one. A lot of people go the planning route - putting loads and loads of careful, discerning thought into their plot-line; carefully crafting character sheets for every person that shows up in their novel; writing summaries for every chapter and plot-twist that is going to come along; and planning every speck of the novel down to what kind of shampoo your character uses.
A Pantser is in a completely separate class all their own, a very special, wacky, caffeine induced class that deals with it like this - "Three months until Nano? Great! I'm going out for icecream, anyone want to come?". . . One and a half months; "I just discovered the neatest new series! I'm going to read them all!"  . . . . . Two weeks; "My goodness, what a filthy floor . . . oooo, look! Pumpkins!" . . . A day: "Hmm, maybe I should come up with a title . . . nah."
So, you see, we Pantser's studiously ignore the fact that a novel is going to be written in November, going about our daily business happily oblivious to the certain insanity that will erupt the second November 1st comes along.
    I think it is because, being a Pantser, I can't get too sidetracked by planning out a novel, because then I'll get bored and toss it out, and besides, if I plan it out exactly how I want it I'm going to miss some of the brilliance that sometimes comes out of crazed write-or-die sessions. (I am serious, there are writing dares entitled that, I may explain later:) I've never done one before because, well, they involve the possibility of losing every speck of what you have just written, and I'd freak out if that happened!  But brilliance does happen when you are so desperate all you want to do is smack your head against your ten-foot-thick wall of Writer's Block. I have an entire novel of it. It may not be genius, or compelling, or even polished, but I can tell you it is insanely amusing, especially at 11 o'clock at night with a sugar-and-adrenaline rush.
Thankfully I do actually have an idea for Nano this year - I had a couple, actually,  but after narrowing down my favorites I decided to do one that popped up earlier this summer. I toyed with the idea of trying to plan it out, but after the disaster of the last attempted planning (it got shelved, never to be heard from again) I decided I wouldn't try mess with my methods.
I'm a Pantser, and I'm proud of it!

And, since it is fall, . . . or, you know, almost past fall at this point:), and we're trying to come up with our Nano supplies (aka, snacks:) I thought I'd drop in a favorite recipe.
 Pumpkins are at the peak and, as my sisters can tell you, I LOVE pumpkins and all the things you can make with them.
  Pumpkin pie is a favorite of mine, but sometimes a person doesn't want to have to eat an entire slice (the occasion is rare, but I'm sure someone has them:)
If you remember my Pear Grumble post I mentioned a book of fairy tales that had accompanying recipes. Today we are going to explore another recipe that I use once or twice a year.
Alas, I am not quite as inspired for this post as I was for the Pear Grumble, so I'm afraid it won't be quite as entertaining:)

Pumpkin Tartlets
1 15-oz can of pumpkin*
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 cup ground walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cold butter

Now, before I go on to instructions - you may have noticed I did not mention crusts. This is because the recipe calls for pre-made; if you would like to use pre-made by all means go ahead, I have nothing against them but I am afraid I have been incredibly spoiled by the homemade crust my mother makes. For which I do not have a recipe handy. 
So, basically you can use any kind of pastry dough recipe or pre-made dough that you like.
Now, onto directions!

*First thing needed is to obtain beautiful, shiny orange pumpkins and render them into the cooked, smashed consistency needed for baking! Or you can use it from a can, wherein you will find the need for a can opener:)
(If you use freshly baked pumpkin you might want to drain some of the excess liquid off of it before using it, as extra moisture will affect cook time and consistency)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Measure all filling ingredients into a bowl and mix. Set aside.
Grind walnuts, add brown sugar, and butter that you have cut into small pieces. Grind until crumbly.

Taking a muffin tin butter the insides, or lightly sprayed with cooking spray if you prefer to use that.
Lay out your pie crust and cut into rounds by placing a cookie cutter or drinking glass upside down and pressing firmly. 
The recipe says you ought to get 10 tartlet shells from each pie shell, but the thickness of my pie crust when I roll it out varies, so I can't tell you if that is accurate or not. You may just end up with more or less.  (More isn't a bad thing, you can take all the extra strips, brush them with butter, sprinkle them with sugar, and toast them in the oven. Mmmm:)
Gently press your tartlet shells into the muffin tins.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into each shell.
Sprinkle with aprox. 1 teaspon of the topping.
Repeat until you run out of shells or filling, then bake for 10 minutes.
With tartlets still in the oven, lower the temperature to 350 and cook for 12-15 more minutes or until a toothpick or thin knife can be stuck in and comes out clean.
Cool for 5-10 minutes before removing the tins. (If you can resist the smell:)

These are SO YUMMY! And like I said they are smaller than a piece of pie. (Which means you can eat more of them and not feel guilty!:) They are perfect for a quick snack along with a glass of milk or a pretty little treat to serve along with coffee or tea for visitors.

Friday, October 12, 2012

No Siblings and SNOW!!!!!

There's a title for you, huh :)

This last Tuesday my sisters Irish Rose and Sharpi boarded a plane - at an unearthly hour I might add - and started their adventure.  While I, the ever loving sister, kissed them goodbye, and went back to sleep:)
This adventure of theirs was off to......shall we call it "The Wedding".
And to those of you who do not know, "The Wedding" was neither of theirs.  If it was I WOULD HAVE BEEN WITH THEM!  Trust me.

They flew to the Beautiful Country to be part of this wonderful event and I, along with Mommy and Daddy started home on our own adventure:)
Somewhere along the way we stopped for a much needed restroom break.

Okay, I should tell you that Daddy had been in the back trying to get a little nap in, but it wasn't working.  When Mommy and I had gotten back, the car alarm was going off because we'd locked him in and he'd tried to unlock the doors from the inside.  I've done that before so little tip: if you lock your vehicle with the remote, unlock it with the remote too.  Even if you're in the car waiting for someone- as I was that one time.  (Sheepish look)What can I say, live and learn(shrug).

So we get the car to be quiet again and get in while Daddy runs in for a second.  When he comes back he couldn't get his door open.  Doesn't really sound like a problem does it.  Oh man but it was, the stink'in thing wouldn't unlock for nothin'!  Tried unlocking it with the remote, tried pushing the little lock nob open, tried pushing in closed, tried just opening the door from the inside(which in normal circumstances would have unlocked the door) but nope, not this time.  We could get in through all the other doors but that one seemed to have a mind of its own and wouldn't budge for anything.  So Daddy manuvered his way into the drivers seat by using some climbing-over-maneuvers and we were on the road again.
We stopped at Applebee's for a light lunch and Mommy brought the car manual plus iPad with her to see if there was anything we could do to get that door open.  'Cause I will tell you right here and now it can bug the-mmmmm-out of you not being able to get something to work and being afraid nothing you do WILL get it to work.
Searched, looked and finally found it.
It had something to do with the theft safety thingy.  All Daddy had to do was go out, there hit the panic button, then press it again to get the alarm to turn off and the door opened just fine.  Like there was nothing wrong in the first place.
I tell you, I think we enjoyed that meal better with all that behind us than we would have if that hadn't worked:)

I tell ya the joy of being able to sleep in your own bed after being away never gets that a really silly thing for me to say, of course it wouldn't get old, why would it!  Sorry:)
It's amazing isn't it that when you're the only one upstairs all the little noises a house makes at night seems to magnify.  It gets kind of creepy to tell the truth.

Next day we were told from our two adventurers that they visited a battle field memorial and that out there was absolutely beautiful and that one of them-I will not name names- wants to move there.

Back at the home front Mommy finished the tomato's and we picked the beets.
Then it snowed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Absolutely beautiful and gorgeous:)
Snowed for two days and then now it's almost all gone and looks like spring.  But I really loved to see the snow and I just get excited, it makes me think of Christmas and I just love it:)
I guess this mean's I'll be able to get 'White Christmas' soon, I love that movie:)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where We Disappeared To -

So, we disappeared again, though I'm sure you probably already figured that out:)
Anyway, Irish Rose and I (Sharpi) went off on a week and a half adventure. I won't do a long, epic post at the moment, but I will post a couple pictures to give you a sneak peak at where we went:)
Be prepared for fall colors and lots and lots of crooning about how much I loved the trees, colors, and water when I do get around to the epic post!

Any guesses? :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Approach of Fall

The drive to work is pretty familiar at this point, and thus I spend more time trying to find a good radio station than noticing any nice scenery.  However, just last week I noticed there was a subtle change. A tiny, little hint of yellow beginning to edge the leaves of trees here and there. Since then I have enjoyed picking out more and more trees as they have slowly changed from green to a lovely, bright yellow, accompanied by the faintest smell of fall in the air.
In the past week it has become more and more obvious that fall is indeed here . . . .which means winter is also coming, but we won't dwell on that right now:)
  Work is going really well, we only have one week of deliveries left, and it is a pretty good thing because all the produce is beginning to taper off.
   We went from picking a couple ice cream buckets of cherry tomatoes, to several big totes at a time. The cherry tomatoes are starting to quit producing, but that does not necessarily mean we can relax, because now the large tomatoes need to be picked by the lugs:)  Beans are pretty much done. Broccoli is near the end, and we only have a handful of cabbage left. (They are monsters!)
    My favorite produce to pick right now?  Pumpkins! Strange as it may sound, and it may sound strange to those of you who do now know me:) But every time we drive the golf cart past the pumpkins we call out a bubbly hello and goodbye. (Yes, I am actually a five year old, but shhh, no one but my family knows it:)
There is just something so cheerful about those plump pumpkins as they sit about, scattered among each other in various stages of green to brilliant orange, sizes ranging from huge to the cutest little thing that will fit in the palm of my hand.

The coming of fall also means that we are beginning to preserve food in preparation for the coming winter months.
A couple weeks ago I took the time to freeze some basil. We love using basil, especially in a pesto sauce spread over a pizza crust. (Yum!)

First, I trimmed the basil. Apparently basil is one of those plants that, the more you trim it the more it produces, so hopefully I will be able to do it at least one or two more times before the weather gets too cold.
 This is purple basil, something I was really excited to grow this year, it is really pretty and has an unusual, almost licorice type smell to it.

 Once I trimmed the leaves off the stems I plunged it all in a sink full of cold water.

 And then spun it dry in our lettuce spinner.

Some sites online said they laid it out on a cookie sheet and froze it that way, I decided to pack it straight into bags and seal it with our vacuum sealer. It worked great!
We have not tried any yet, but it froze really nicely and one of the comments I read online said that freezing it in the vacuum sealed bags keep it from getting full of ice crystals.

I am really looking forward to using it this winter and finding out if it truly tastes fresh . . . or, you know, as fresh a something frozen can be:) 
If I do it again I might try another method. One of the others mentioned was throwing all the basil into a food processor and blending it all up, drizzling it lightly with olive oil until it is coated, then scooping it into ice cube trays and freezing it that way.
If you use the ice cube method you will pretty much end up with pre-measured amounts and you won't have to try figure out just how much you are using.

P.S. We have also frozen chives in the sealed bags. Simply pick it, rinse it off, snip into pieces with sharp shears, and seal the bag! Easy as that!

Monday, August 27, 2012

How did it get to be the end of August!??

       One minute I was slightly panicking because my 5 a.m. alarm failed to go off and I was worried about getting to the airport on time (traffic ended up being complicated by construction and I made it to my gate with two minutes to spare - I don't recommend cutting it that close); the next I'm trying to deal with the reality that I miss my nephews more than I can say while simultaneously coming to grips with the news that a very dear friends has inoperable brain tumors (a temporary, two week job involving a lot of physical labor helps . . . a little); the next I'm at music camp trying to rest/learn really hard music/work my way through the lessons about grace and confidence God is teaching me.

      Hmmm . . . June, July and August condensed in 131 words and three blinks.  Which brings us, more or less up to date.  The two week job turned into a semi-permanent job which will probably last through September: plans to begin teaching private music lessons are in as full a swing as I can manage with The Other Job still in play; I've started doing some free-lance writing for another blogger; I'm catching up on my reading-list; I'm woefully behind in my August NaNo Camp attempt.  Sharpi is working full time and juggling her own reading list and 365 Day Art challenge; Chickadee is extra busy helping mom - she's had to pick up the extra home and garden responsibilities that were untended once Sharpi and I started working.  (I'm wondering how much adjusting we all will have to do when the autumn season returns us all to our previous states of 'normal' - I think she rather likes having our parents to herself most of the day. )  Its been a whirlwind summer and I don't see any reason for the whirlwind to calm down now that the academic year is fast approaching.  There are a lot of things we could tell you - a lot of stories that could be shared - but at this point I'm just checking in on my way through to let you know we haven't forgotten you.  Though a twinge in the back of my brain hints that we maybe we forgot to celebrate our blog's first birthday . . . . .

I'll try think about that one on my way to The Next Thing . . . which, hopefully, will involve a cookie.

Irish Rose

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Is It Really June? . . . .Nope, it isn't . . . .

It was with some shock that I slowed down a couple days ago just long enough to realize it is June. . . . as in, six months into the year. . . . half a year? Already?
And here I promised we were going to try be more regular about posting, and our last entry was . . . . a month ago . . . . I do believe I'll have to remedy the situation by making no such promises. I could say we'd get back on schedule and be posting every week, but with our various schedules, and how busy we've been lately it is better not to promise anything and just surprise you now and again with a new post. (You don't mind having just one new post every three years, right?:) 

While house sitting was certainly an experience Chickadee and I are extremely happy to be home...

And. . . . yes, that was the extent of me starting a post practically a month ago (or . . . one and a half). Obviously it is no longer June!
So - since it has been so long I thought this would be a catch up post. Hopefully I will get it finished and posted before I have to change it again and say it is August:)

During Irish Rose's extended time away our cat gave birth to four darling kittens. Though we didn't end up actually naming them after the Three Musketeers I thought it was incredibly amusing that they fit the theme - Three similar tiger stripes, and one fuzzy black kitten.
 They were about a week when this picture was taken (I think, I thought they were two weeks old for the longest time:) 

May came and I was kept busy with a new job - I am still busy, in fact, and now have an even more incredible appreciation for all the work my dad has done, and still does, to keep us fed and clothed and all the other special things he does for us.

While it gets kind of long sometimes I do love my job.
Some of the things I like about it:
  1. It is outside, I love being outside!
  2. Making new friends!
  3. Practically being paid to get a tan! (Shh, don't tell my boss or she might start charging her workers for tanning . . . come to think of it, she's already threatened to do that:)
  4. Working out? Check - pulling weeds, hauling water, etc. has does wonders to keep me fit.
  5. Listening to music while I work. (My boss learned just how weird I really am when I went dancing down the potato row one day:)
6. Getting to see this little guy every morning.
7. And the income . . .I can't not mention the income!

  That is pretty much my summer in a nutshell. Incredibly busy, tanner than I've ever been (loving that fact:), and am getting closer to that goal of a much needed new computer.
Having meant for this post to be longer I realized what today was and decided it better be posted and the rest saved for later.  Hopefully sooner than later - but by now I know better than to promise another post within a certain time period:)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

HouseSitting 101

Vacuums and an instrument of some sort are a relatively effective way to block out the insistent sound of an alarm.

I was going to leave it there, but you're dying of curiosity now aren't you?
scuba diving in menorca
The day began normal enough for our two Subjects. They had successfully completed a week of house sitting and had managed to not only survive, but remain on speaking terms with each other.  Chickens were being fed; eggs gathered; boiler fed routinely with big hunks of wood; tender tomato plants watered regularly.  So, at the beginning of this week someone had the brilliant idea to do some laundry. . . . . which is where it all started. . . . . . .

The Machine was a bit more electronic than what our Subjects were used to. But, as they posses the capability of reading and the semi-intelligence to figure things out (some things that is, hence, the semi), they were able to correctly load, pour detergent, and begin the run cycle. . . . .Five minutes later is where it Really Began. . . . .

Kitchen was being cleaned up, as well as a bit of straightening, when the delicate eardrums of the Subjects were assaulted with a consistent, high pitched beeping. . . . coming from the general direction of the laundry room.
First Call to Traveling Homeowners was a pleasant, "Hello, how are you, how's the trip going? By the way. . ." type of thing.
The Second Call was also pretty low key. . . "We tried Such and Such, didn't work. . ."

Whereupon the Subjects were told that Mrs. Homeowner was going to try get a hold of Mr. Homeowner while Subjects checked the basement to see if anything was leaking down from under the Machine.

An hour went by and the Subjects began to try think of creative ways to mask the sound of the constant beeping (think a fire alarm gone bad:)
Vacuuming worked - but only for so long, for you either eventually run out of floors to clean, or the vacuum overheats. . . . . or both.
Playing the piano at full volume also worked. But there again, you can only play for so long before you're ready for a break or your fingers are about ready to declare mutiny.
The only option left to our Subjects!
A slow, maddening descent into . . . .well. . . madness.

Right about when it became apparent one of the Subjects was beginning to suffer from meltdown type tendencies (call #3 being rather frantic to HomeBase) they declared themselves beaten and took a temporary hiatus to rush home and take care of their own animals, whilst reveling in the superb quietness the car ride afforded.

HomeBase provided some much needed sanity and they headed back with optimistic levels elevated with the reassuring thought of: It might have stopped by now.
This optimism lasted longer than the Subjects thought; all the way up the garage steps to the door. . . .

Long story shortened considerably:  5 and a 1/2 very long, very nerve wracking hours after the first distinct beep the Subjects received a call from Mr. Homeowner.
The solution to our Subjects' 5 hour frustration? . . . . . . . . *sigh*
Phone gets held out so Mr. Homeowner can hear the alarm. Thirty seconds later he says, "Well, there is one thing it could be. Under the Machine is a Such-and-Such that will go off if there is any water leaking."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
One of the Subjects bravely ventured forth and checked, pulling out something foreign. Something beeping. Something green.
Something that instantly silenced when the film of water was wiped off the bottom.

It doesn't look like it could be annoying and sanity threatening does it?
Yea, Subject #2 thought so too.

When the Subjects realized that they had been listening to the Thing needlessly for hours and hours, practically tearing their hair out to try figure out what was wrong and if the house was going to explode at some point . . . .well, let's just say one of them went rather hysterical.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Priceless Mum

   I've been trying to remember if this is the first Mother's Day I've spent away from home.  I don't really think it is . . . seems to me there might have been a choir tour or two that extended over Mother's Day.  Either way, this one feels a little different.  I'm not a mom yet, but nanny-ing Achoo five days out of the week has given a whole new clarity to what motherhood is like - what motherhood means.  Being the confident firstborn I am, I've spent most of my life thinking I had a good idea of what mommy-hood was going to involve.  (Those of you who are moms, feel free to laugh any time.)  My first week with Achoo de-bunked most of them.  Needless I called my mum a lot - more often than not the subject of my call can be simply summed up in five simple words: "Mum, WHAT DO I DO?!"  I'm beginning to understand a lot of the why's behind what mum has spent her whole life training us for - that it really does take less time to keep a space clean if one just puts things away when they are done with them; that training early - from day one - makes a huge difference; that if a child wins one battle, the parents are going to have to fight extra hard to win the next five.
  I'm pretty sure that there have been more than one moment in the last four weeks when my mum could have said, "I told you so," but being her gracious, loving self she doesn't.  (Thanks mum.)  She has walked me through really tough days (read: two-baths-in-one-day-because-the-baby-threw-up-on-the-carpet), laughed with me on the good days (when Achoo 'discovered' the brilliant combination of a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon), and talked me through the long days (lethal combination of discouragement and no nap).  And no matter what is happening on this end of the world, she knows just what to say.
      In one of her e-mails she told me, ". . .  being a mom is all about flexibility!  The child is what know the part about putting YOUR life on hold for the next 20 years.  You are getting a little glimpse of that.  When babies are sick they need to be comforted.  They need training every single minute when they are this age so that as they get older your job is easier. . . .  When one is a mom, there is NO time for extra stuff unless it is during nap time and that can be short sometimes.  Why do you think I made everyone nap for so many years.  It was the ONLY time I had by myself.   Please understand that I am in no way complaining!  That is what I wanted for my life.......but being the selfish person that I am, I wanted MY time and it was hard at times not to get it.  Looking back, I am grateful we didn't have internet etc because I might have been more resentful.  In hindsight, I am not resentful at all.  The time I spend with all of you was worth more than any time I spent doing anything else.  That includes sleeping or eating.  :)"  (As well as a few other things . . .)

      Being away from home for such a long time has put into sharp focus just how blessed I am to be part of my family - and just how much I take it for granted.  Nanny-ing Achoo also clarifies how much my mum sacrificed to raise her children, and how I've taken that for granted as well.  To a fuller extent I am able to value her wisdom, because even though I'm still not a mom, I am temporarily walking the same path.  God has given her so much strength and grace, and I'm grateful she is still willing to share it with me.  I'm grateful she is still (sometimes stubbornly) intent on being my mom as well as my friend, even though I'm over 21.  We're both still learning - but with every Mother's Day we celebrate, I'm that much more grateful for my mum and the grace and encouragement she's given me.

Happy Mother's Day, mum.  Hugs - and maybe a cake - to follow.  :)

Irish Rose.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hot and Dry

      As of today I've been at The Blue House* for exactly a month.  In some ways it has gone by really quickly; in others . . . . it feels like forever.

  My first weekend saw my first dust storm (I've never seen the sky go that shade of brown before) and a lot of anxiety when The Soldier didn't call after he was due to get back from a mission: my second weekend involved a trip to a Rose Garden and a sunburn.
  My first Monday was all about trying to figure out baby Achoo's schedule: the second Monday  . . . . well, lets just not go there (I witnessed the full wrath of a 10 month old - it was not pretty).
  My first Tuesday saw the further christening of Auntie Irish when something upset Achoo's tummy - we ended up taking two baths and calling home for advice on how to clean carpet: my second Tuesday was comfortably calm and free from smelly laundry.
  My first Wednesday . . . more spit up: by my second Wednesday I was comfortable with the idea of establishing our own schedule instead of trying to stick to the one that had been tailored at day-care . . . . AND there was a lovely box for me in the mail.  (Sharpie and Chickadee sent me mail.  Yay!!!)
  My first Thursday brought an unexpected day out and a yummy lunch: today Sorelle's family adopted me for the afternoon.  Somehow the language barrier wasn't a big deal.    Okay - so communication wasn't as frequent as the cute smileys, but we made it work.  

After two weekends, I sort of lost track of time.  Most of the time I don't really remember what day of the week it is - unless its the weekend and everybody is home.

      There have been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of phone calls, e-mails and instant messaging between here and home.  While I am really glad I am at a point where I can help The Soldier and Sorelle like this, I still really miss home.  I bought plants - the basil is doing fine, but the ivy died: I've gotten mail from home and that always makes me happy.    And as much as I miss home I am realizing there are things about life here that I will miss when I leave.  I'll miss the way baby Achoo cuddles with me during our morning nap and the way he pats my face when he wakes up; the way he is absorbing and learning so many things; the funny, scrunchy nose face he makes when he thinks he's been especially clever.  I'll miss the way String Bean asks me, "Whas??" instead of 'why'; and how he asks, "Whachoo do-ing?" about everything.  Since the Big Brother is still busy with school and homework, we haven't gotten to know each other all that well yet, but we're working on it.

      This post isn't meant to be all that important - just to let you all know that we are still here even though we've been pretty quiet lately.  Life has a way of changing when we least expect it and we all are busy with busy (and unexpected) adventures lately.  In the meantime . . . . I miss you!

Irish Rose

* After living so long in a very obviously Pink House - four women and one daddy - this house with a mom and three boys is very Blue.  Very, very blue. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just to let everyone know........


The Adventurer

There once lived a little ducky with her parent's and two sister duckies.  Now it happened that this certain ducky went on a certain adventure.  She dressed thinking she needed to be three things: loving, patient but

Thus her attire:

So off went this this little adventuring ducky out into the world.  She hopped on a flying albatross (for her little wings couldn't get her as far as she wanted to go) and she was there in no time.

Back home her sister duckies at first had a fun time, staying up late and having treats :)
But as time went on they started to miss their other third.
And as she got into her adventure the little ducky also started to miss her sisters.
But fear not for this adventure will not last forever and soon this little ducky will be back with her family.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A drastic change and a lonely third

      Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was a third, even though she was the first and all alone.  Then there were two brothers and she felt like a third, unless they got tired of playing house and went to play army instead.  And then she just felt left out.  (She should have gone and played army nurse with them :)  But then two more little girls came along and she was another kind of third.  An older third; a different kind of example third; a pink third.
The three pink thirds had a lot of fun living under one roof trading books, plotting stories, trading recipes, tweaking fashion ideas, planning photo shoots, sharing giggles and hugs, and reality checks when necessary.  And then the phone rang, and the first third started to pack her bags for an adventure - an adventure that didn't include the other thirds.  Her heart was pretty sad as she stuffed two suitcases full of clothes and bits of home, and wished very much there was room for the other thirds.  She boarded a plane all by herself and flew to the land of Hot and Dry.  She arrived at a house in the middle of a HUGE city, parked her bags in a new room and when the first day of her adventure was over she wished very much there had been room in her bags for her pillow.  On the second day of her adventure, a very sweet note, tucked in between packed clothes when she wasn't looking, made her feel a little less lonely and she was very cheerful as she started to unpack her bits of home and settle in.  But when bedtime came, the lack of her soft squishy pillow was dwarfed by the lack of her fellow comrades in pink.  Bad dreams didn't help the situation.
The third day of her adventure was long, windy and loud.  And she can't help thinking that it would feel more like an adventure if she wasn't so lonely.

Don 't worry.    Good sleep - and a phone call or two home - will put things back into perspective.  This is a long-winded way of saying that posts are now being written on two ends of the country.  The Soldier called two weeks ago to ask if I would be willing to fly out and help Sorelle for a while.  It was something I'd been thinking about during the trip to see him when he was home on leave (on the trip that we sort of didn't mention in February - sorry!), but it got mentally shelved for multiple reasons when we got home.  When he called I felt like God was tapping my shoulder saying, "Hey!  This was important.  Keep up with Me."  We talked about it as a family and decided I should go.  Being self employed I was able to pretty much drop everything and leave - and I am so grateful my clients were so gracious when I told them I'd be leaving.  (Thank you!)
I have no idea how long I'll be here, so if all of a sudden small details don't add up and it sounds like posts are being written on opposite ends of the country . . . . they are.  :) 
Trying to see the nice side of this temporary move, I have to admit that the temperature outside is very nice and warm.  I've enjoyed seeing green grass and roses blooming on street corners - although I do feel a little like I've completely skipped spring.  (Which is one of my favorite seasons.)  And come Monday I'll be nanny-ing the 10 month old nephew while Sorelle works. msn smileys  Woohooo!! Trading music lessons, 400 page books that can be read at leisure and random cooking experiments for diapers, bottles and baby food 'art' (aka, smears down the front of the baby and anything he can reach) might not seem like a brilliant trade, but I'm pretty excited.  :)
  So you can see that this adventure is a broad mix of emotions right now.  I have a feeling that God is going to be teaching me a lot, if I remember to stand back and let Him work.  For now I need to remember to concentrate on Today . . . . which at the moment involves cleaning the half-unpacked mess off my bed so I can sleep.

Still a lonely pink third,
Irish Rose