Monday, May 31, 2010

Family Fun Day!

Yesterday we all went up to Uncle Craig & Aunt Sonya's for a family dinner. The kids had the best time & didn't want to leave.

Jared has some better pics of Sis & he's promised to blog them. They're hilarious so keep an eye out for them. Just click the Not Greener pic in the upper right corner of my blog.









I love Sonya in her boots. Sonya, you are the cutest cow girl God ever created! Thank you so much for having us all over! I know it was a lot of work and we had so much fun!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mary Did You Know?

My Dad has one sister Susan, and one brother Jim. I haven't ever met my uncle and I met my aunt once. I received an email from Aunt Sue today. She found me on facebook and requested my "friendship." She sent an email and said in my profile picture I resemble my Dad's mom, Mary.

This is my facebook profile pic from this last December:

This is Mary:
My mom has always told me I looked more like Dad's side than hers. It is fascinating to see what she looked like. I can't help but wonder about who she was, what she loved, who she loved. What was her life like?

Did she have any idea she had a grand daughter that resembled her so?

Turkey, It's What's For Dinner

I would consider my first smoking experience a success.
There are a few things I would like to do differently next time. The wood I used for the smoker was Maple that we trimmed off our trees over the last year. I headed out to the burn pile and salvaged enough wood for the turkey. Next time I would really like to have this done ahead of time or even buy the smoking wood chips at the store. It worked fine but I was checking and rechecking each piece of wood to make sure I had the right kind and I had to cut each piece. I didn't know how much I would need so I went back to the pile 3 times.

I used apple juice in the water to soak the wood and I probably won't do that again. It added an odd sweetness to the meat. The turkey is fantastic, this is a minor tweak.

I was super concerned that the turkey would dry out over the 4 1/2 hour baking time. To prevent this I had 5 Diet Mt Dew cans full of water and broth in the smoker. I basted the turkey about every 30-45 mins with chicken broth. It was super juicy!

Richard and Dustin "happened" by just as dinner was ready :) They each enjoyed a smoked turkey sandwich on hot wheat bread fresh from the oven.

The kids all loved the meat and ate and ate and ate :)

It's A Beautiful Thing

Here is my new refurbished smoker all ready to go! I brined the turkey over night and this morning fired up the smoker.

I started the turkey at about 10:30 this morning and this is it at 12:30.

I've been basting it about every 30 mins and am keeping the cavity full of chicken broth. I can tell you it smells heavenly. I seriously contemplated putting "smelly chair" outside near the smoker for the day :) This is my first attempt and I'll let you know how it tastes!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's A ....


Gall Bladder!

I had my sonogram this morning. I took the brood with me due to scheduling conflicts with the hubs. I insisted the older three take their Nintendo Ds' and figured they'd stay in the waiting room. I took the younger two but I forgot a very important thing.

Anneliese had to be woke up in order to go to the appointment. I dressed her, changed her, and gave her a sippy cup. I did not, however, feed her anything. We waited for a good 30 minutes before they called me back. Everyone was doing great and I felt like an awesome mom with awesome kids.

Anneliese was in her stroller and Graham was in toe. Graham was super coy and quiet. Anneliese decided she was hungry about 2 minutes into the sonogram. She began to scream and kept it up for the full 10-15 minutes it took for the tech to tell me to take a deep breath and hold it 20 times.

She didn't give me any information and turned the screen so I couldn't see it. At one point she yelled over the girl that possibly they were scared due to the dark room and sono equipment. I gently told her we have 5 children and they are as familiar with her equipment as they are with their favorite toy :) They love the "baby camera." She teased this time wouldn't be as fun as those sono's, to which I replied,"Lets hope not! That would be a shocker!" :)

When it was finally over she smiled at Graham and told him, "you did really good. You are a good boy." Then she looked at Anneliese and said, "You did not do good, you were a bad girl." Wow...

I'm eager to find out what she did or didn't see but I'm becoming more convinced it's just the ulcers. I have a bladder infection and they started me on antibiotics yesterday and my stomach has hurt ever since. Apparently ulcers don't appreciate Cipro.

I'm just plugging away but am desperate to feel "good" again. This bladder infection was a bit of a step backwards. Thankfully the antibiotics are helping and that pain is lessening.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Alberta's Bath





"Alberta" is in reference to Albert Einstein. It has been brought to my attention that several of my attempts at wit are causing confusion...

1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi

-We are SO close to 50,000 hits! I feel the urge to blog about anything and everything to get to that mile marker. That's huge and I'm so excited to be so close!

-Ms. Jess is on her way over. That poor girl has been through the ringer over the last month and I haven't seen her since Mother's Day. She's FINALLY feeling better and I can't wait to squeeze her and give her a big ol' smooch on the cheek.

-We just received notice from our mortgage company that due to a shortage in our escrow account our house payment is going up $102 a month. Yay us...

-I'm sporting a "tan." Okay, stop giggling. I am running early in the mornings with a tank and shorts and my skin has this weird color. It's not red, pink, or white. I can only figure that this is my body's attempt at a tan. If you look between the freckles you can see it...right there...see it...oh forget it :)

-I'll come up with something else to write about, or maybe you'll just get a cute pic of the girl. Either way keep checking back! We're almost to 50,000!

This Morning's Run

This morning I decided to switch it up a bit and go exploring. I enjoyed some beautiful scenery. It's funny because another runner on facebook mentioned the honey suckle being so fragrant like it was a good thing. I actually thought about putting just the opposite in my status. As I was finishing up I came across a large bush of honey suckle and the sickly sweet smell was nauseating. I did however enjoy the gorgeous weather and God's amazing creation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random Updates


-Anneliese seems to be getting over her lactose issue. She loves cheese sticks and I've slowly let her have one here and there and she's done great. Two days ago I tempted fate and gave her a small cup of milk. She's fine! I'm so thankful that the lactose intolerance seems to have passed.

-I've let the kids have the last 3 weeks off other than a random day of school here and there when it's raining. I know they have enjoyed it but now that the "end" of the school year is upon us I feel stress that there are lessons undone. I have every intention of spreading them out over the summer to keep things fresh in their minds. There will be plenty of hot miserable days that they'll appreciate being indoors. The issue is: I don't handle leaving things incomplete very well.

-The Prilosec seems to be helping. I've been pain free since yesterday morning. I pray that it continues! My ultrasound of the gall bladder is Thursday morning at 9:15. Jared also has a doctor's appointment Thursday morning at 10. Hmmm, that may pose a problem.

-Smelly Chair, Smelly Chair what are they feeding you? The chair is improving. The kids actually sat in it today. That may seem odd to some but they too were repelled by it's odor. The turn around happened when Tina S. offered eucalyptus oil. She said they use it for basic deodorizing and offered up a few ounces. We mixed it with water and misted the chair 3 times so far. The chair is remarkably better and will be a permanent addition to our living room. I promise it is the cleanest chair in Wyandotte County, possibly the state of Kansas. It has been washed, polished, and deodorized to the point I'm shocked it still has color to it. Isn't it pretty?
-Apparently all I need to get my smoker smoking is some charcoal, wood, and a turkey. Anyone have any of those they'd like to unload :) I've been reading, researching, and getting ready to try it out. Is it the 1st yet?

Coker's Chairs

This is not the actual before but it is their other chair that is just like the after. The only difference is the actual chair did not have the back attached. This chair has received a full makeover.

After some reinforcing, sanding, paint and poly:

I'd put it in my house, how about you?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Smokin'

The smoker is finished!

I spent several hours on it but I do believe it was worth it. What do you think?

Before


After


Picked: $0
($15 spent on repair)

Valued: $379

I can't wait to try it out. As soon as payday hits I'll get the wood and meats and we'll be in business. I can't wait! Gary S. told me turkeys are the best thing to start with. Good news for us because we LOVE turkey!

Gobble Gobble

Slow Death Update

I'm super thankful that the doctor was able to get me in at 10:15 this morning.

Last night I had another "episode" and woke up this morning tired and ill. I decided to go ahead and try to run since I typically do on Mondays. I've been going 6-7 miles and, while it's difficult, I am able to succeed. This morning I went 3 miles and wanted to cry. It was hot, humid, and I was tired and in pain. I'm hoping to try again tomorrow and actually finish the workout.

The doctor is pretty sure I'm dealing with ulcers. She said my symptoms are in line with "peptic" or bleeding ulcers. They won't know if my gall bladder is also involved until I have a sonogram. They are supposed to call and schedule it soon.

She started me on Prilosec OTC this morning and thinks it should bring relief regardless. I've had a dull ache since midnight last night and, as the day has progressed, that's faded. I'm not sure if it's due to the time that's past or due to the meds. Either way I'm so very thankful.

I told Jared today that it's telling how excited and relieved I feel that we are working towards a solution. To be giddy at the idea of a solution shows how terrible the pain is. It reminds me of finally getting that epidural in labor and offering to name the child after the doctor administering it.

So the moral of the story is: I'm over-stressed and over-caffeinated. The problem is if I let up on the caffeine the stress will only increase :) I'll keep you updated on the gall bladder issue.

Thanks so much for all the sweet words of concern. I feel loved!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dying A Slow Death

I assume I'm having gall bladder issues. It started a year or so ago and I would have this bizarre pain that would double me over after eating certain foods. It only happened two or three times in the course of a year. When it doesn't hurt I don't even think about it.

My age, having 5 kids, my weight gain then loss, then gain, then loss, then gain, then..wait for it...loss all put me at high risk.

This morning I was enjoying Kim and Chase's shower and a piece of cake when the pain started to creep in. As soon as it begins I recognize it and start getting anxious in fear of what's coming. This morning's attack lasted about three hours and then came back after eating a chicken breast for dinner. I bloat up and get a piercing pain in my upper belly and it radiates through to my shoulder blades.

Crying I begged Jared to force me to call the doctor first thing Monday morning. I don't want to get past the attack and just put it off only to have it happen again.

It went from a few times a year to a few times a month and this is my first time of having two in one day.

Calgon take me away!

Smoker Step One, Sanding...and sanding...and sanding

I started on the smoker yesterday. I have made an amazing discovery! There is metal under there!!! After doing a lot of research and talking with a few buddies I've decided to brush on a primer before I paint it. It seems that even the high temp spray paint doesn't help whole lot unless you brush a metal primer into all those little grooves and pits.

I have removed all the loose and flaking rust/metal and it is now soaking in a bath of Orange grease cleaner. Once it's all clean I'll have to run to the store for some stop rust primer. I've decided after all this hard work I will store the smoker in my garage when it's not in use. I'd like to keep it out of the weather and looking pretty :)

Check back in for a primer update! I know you're on the edge of your seat.

***Apparently the paint I bought for the grill does NOT "recommend" the use of a primer. Hmmm skip a step? Don't mind if I do.***

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Went To Bed With a Cold In His Head and Didn't Get Up til Morning

-I got my hair cut today and it's perfect. The best part is I paid with a cake. Megan (my stylist) mentioned that she LOVES wedding cake. Well, just so happens so do I. It's by far my favorite cake so I thought I throw one together for her tip and she then refused to let me pay! I don't know how much she typically charges for a wash, cut and style but I'm guessing that's one pricey cake! Thanks Megan! I hope you enjoyed it :)
-I bought Jared a new chair on Cragslist. It looks a lot like his old one just a slightly different color and years newer. It's a Lazyboy and it's beautiful. The problem is it stunk...bad. In my defense the guy's house didn't smell that offensive. He's a single older guy living in an apartment with a cat. It seemed appropriately gross for the situation. I didn't figure it was anything I couldn't handle. I brought it home and washed it down with hot soapy water...twice. I removed the stuffing in the back and washed it on "hand wash." I've Febreze'd it, Pledged it, and Swiffer Dust and Shined it. I then used the Guardian leather cleaner and conditioner. Due to the humidity in the air I can still smell it. It sure looks pretty though! After much Google-ing and research the only other option I have before re-listing it on Craigslist is this:
I read about an individual who used to work in a dry cleaners and they had a funky
leather jacket that after 3 attempts at dry cleaning it still smelled. They sprayed it liberally with Lysol and stuck it in a trash bag for 3 days. Once removed from the bag it was funk free. So I liberally sprayed the chair and covered it with a plastic mattress pad protector. Right now it looks a bit ridiculous but in the end I hope to have a great chair that smells like roses, well at least like Lysol. If there's any other deodorizing tips out there please comment away! I'm game for anything obviously :)

-Anneliese has been a snuggle bug today. She's kissed, hugged, loved, and slobbered all over me all day. I have to say it's made my day!
-Richard came by to check out my new smoker! He was quite impressed and seemed to think it's in pretty good shape. I hope to start working on it tomorrow. I need some nice weather to pull it out of the garage.

-I've taken on a new project for the Coker's. They have some super cute kitchen chairs that need some TLC so I'm working them over. I've got the first one reinforced and put back together. It's going to get a good sanding, fresh black paint, a little shabby chic affect and some poly. Well, that's the plan anyways as soon as I get some sunshine.

-My washer of 14 months was leaking...again. Fortunately for me I bought the extended warranty so I called the repair man. This is the 3rd time they've come out for the same issue. I was warned today, "Ms. If you call again for the same issue they are going to consider it abuse and you'll have to pay for it yourself and it's $180." Umm, first of all I don't "abuse" my washer. I use it...a lot. Second of all if I've had the same issue 3 times in 14 months why is that automatically a user error. Sounds to me like a faulty design. Regardless I paid for the extended warranty and I'm so thankful to have it up and running again!

-I turned on the heat today. It's a bit of a shock to me that I'm using the furnace in late May but my house was so damp I needed to close up the house and dry it out a bit. Have I mentioned I'm ready for some sunshine?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Zach Attack

I received this yesterday from my brother. This is my nephew Zach at 6 months. He's a cool dude in a loose mood. LOVE HIM!

Wyandotte County Pickers

Jared and I have recently been introduced to American Pickers on the History channel.

I absolutely love this show. The travel around the back roads of America and search through peoples "junk" to find amazing treasures.

I have been inspired :) I love to restore and re-purpose things. It's not so much about the environment for me but more about being a good steward with what God has granted. I want to spend our money wisely and make it stretch so second hand is a must for us.

Today when heading out for my run my neighbors sat a smoker out for the trash. Jared and I have talked a lot about purchasing a smoker "someday." Our neighbors to the East are professional BBQ-ers and due to my love of cooking and creating I have thought, "Hey, I'd like to try that!"

I pulled out my phone and called the Hubs who seemed mortified by the prospect of salvaging from our neighbors trash. Poor guy didn't know what he was getting into by coaxing me to watch the History channel. He suggested we wait and ask their permission when they arrived home this evening. That's perfectly rational but I'm not one for waiting :)

After my run and a quick shower I noticed family of our neighbors out and about and decided to ask them what they thought of my dragging the big ol' smoker into my garage. They looked at me like I was perfectly sane. They called the owner to insure that it was for the trash and she said, "Take it."

Consider this the "before" picture:
I googled it and this is a Brinkmann Smoke N' Pit Master Deluxe. New it is $379 before shipping. This one is rusted and needs a couple parts replaced but I'm sure after a wire brush, special paint and some serious elbow grease it will be up and running in no time.

Yay! I'm now a smoker...oh...wait...you know what I mean :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Necessity

"Necessity, who is the mother of invention"
-
Plato


We are broke. So when it came to figuring out lunch I got creative and back to the basics and oh my goodness did it turn out awesome!

Last night I made a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls and a batch of regular rolls. The boys ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then for lunch I used what I had and came up with fried chicken sandwiches.

For the batter I used Krusteaz pancake mix. I just dumped a bunch into a gallon sized zip lock baggie and added salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Jared cut up some chicken breast into small chunks and he shook them up in the zippie making sure to cover all sides. I put a couple tabs of butter on the griddle and cooked the chicken until it was cooked through.

I pulled out the home made rolls and viola. The kids thought it was "the best lunch ever!" I have to say it's been a long time since chicken has been fried in my house. It smells heavenly.
Have no fear Jared and I are not partaking in the fabulous fried food. We have mock hot wings baking in the oven. It wasn't torture at all :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

65

Today would have been my Dad's 65th birthday.

This July will be 4 years since his accident and passing.

I'm feeling melancholy and I'm missing my siblings.

Jason, Heather and Matt are all I have left of Dad. When days like this come I really want to draw them near. They understand, they miss him, they went through the tragedy of his accident.

These are some of my favorite pictures of him:
This is my very favorite because Brennan resembles him so much.
I love this one because this is how I picture him. My fondest memories are of camping with him. I shot my first chipmunk (and skinned it) with him. I caught my first fish (a rainbow trout at Brush Creek) and even though there was only one fish he cleaned it and shared it with me. It was delicious.
I get teased often about bringing home creatures (our current count is 3 cats, 1 dog). Truth is it all stems from him. He always encouraged our goofy pet desires. While visiting dad I played with rabbits, ducks, dogs, snakes, ferrets, hedgehogs, rats, mice, turtles, a mule, horses and more all while living in a subdivision. As a mom I love that he indulged us and this is a big part of why I desire the same for my kids.

I miss him desperately.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I've Been Featured!!! HAPPY DANCE

I have been featured over at Remodelaholics

I've been gone all day at World's of Fun and didn't see it until now! I'm so flattered and so stinking excited.

It's nice when you work really super duper hard to have it noticed. Thank you Cassity! Click on the link and check out my Barn Remodel! The best part is the whole make over cost us a whopping $200! That's amazing :)

WOF











WOF











Worlds of Fun

This is the first time I've been in 12 years



Friday, May 14, 2010

One Last Bike Related Post...Maybe

-Homemade pizza dough is currently rising in my kitchen. I really can't wait to eat it :)
-Tomorrow is Matt and Natasha's 10 year wedding anniversary. I made them a Hershey cake for the celebration per request (try to ignore the Ajax, it was a bit of a camera hog). Happy Anniversary Guys! We love you!
-Brennan and Tanner are happy little men thanks to Matt and Natasha. The phone they gifted sold for enough to buy all three of the older boys bikes. Eli's top pick wasn't there so we're waiting for Wal-Mart to restock. To all would be thieves out there we now have these under lock and key so don't get any ideas. Tanner picked green, his favorite. He was presented with his bike yesterday and must have hugged me 20 times telling me how much he loves it. He even asked to call Natasha in order to tell her he loved her. He's such a tender heart.
Brennan picked an all graphite colored bike. Daddy and I agree that it's super cool. They really seemed to appreciate being able to pick them out themselves.
-I just have to take a bullet point and brag on the younger two. Their bikes weren't in stock and even though the older boys received their bikes regardless Graham and Eli didn't say a word. No, "where is mine, I want one" etc. They told the older boys their bikes are "wayy cool" and went on. I pulled Brennan's old 12" bike (probably 6 years old and was used when we got it) out of the garage, dusted off the cobwebs and Graham smiled huge and said, "I wuv it mom!" He thought it was his new bike and was just giddy. He's been peddling like mad ever since. I really love these kids.

-The kids and I left Sophie in the backyard and ran an errand. When we arrived home Sophie did what she does best and used her piercing beagle bay to announce we had arrived. I pulled Anneliese from the van and she waddled over to the fence, stuck her belly forward and yelled, "UP! Poe-Pee, UP!" Since the only thing she's communicated to us in her 14 months is Daddy I was shocked! It's official, her first sentence is telling Sophie to shut up. Nice...