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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On a Chilly Wednesday




There's just something about a chilly day in Florida that makes me want to bake.   It's in the 40s here, with high humidity, so it's a 'wet cold', with wind chills below freezing that cut right through your sweater, (Floridians don't own coats!), and chills you right to the bone.

Despite the cold, the sky is bright and blue and sunny.  I can hear my wind chimes tinkling in the breeze, and the train whistle in the distance.  I brewed a fresh pot of coffee, let the dogs out for their morning romp, and drive my eldest daughter to her job at a mom and pop store that ships packages.  She's been there over a year, and loves her job and the family who own the store.

My younger daughter is working on a Home Helper badge, so she's gathering laundry from all over the house, dividing light colored clothing from dark, and getting the washer loaded.   I'm standing, staring into my narrow, deep pantry with a flashlight, trying to locate the elusive can of French onion soup for a rice dish I want to make for dinner.  

By lunch time, I've fried pork chops in my big cast iron dutch oven on top of the stove, and in the oven I've got apple-balsamic carrots and French Onion Rice Casserole.  I found some leftover baked potatoes in the fridge, and decide to fry them in the pan drippings after the pork chops are finished.   No, no one needs to eat rice AND potatoes, but by frying them I can easily pop them into the toaster over and top with sour cream and scallions and salt and pepper for an easy side for tomorrows dinner.   Assuming no one wolfs them down before then. :)  With this hot food, I make hubby a covered plate to take to work with him.. he eats it later for his dinner break.   I make another plate and cover it for my eldest daughter's supper for when she gets home tonight.  Maybe it sounds a little weird, preparing a dinner so early every day.  But given the schedules, this is what works best for all of us.  My youngest and I have some of what I've prepared for our lunch while it's still hot, and then put away any leftovers.  Later that evening at the 'proper' dinner hour, we generally just have a bit of leftovers, or some eggs, or a quick soup.  Easy peasy.   

My daughter is moving right along with her laundry, and has moved on to a load of towels.  I am really enjoying her earning this badge. :)  She has become rather skilled at laundry in the past week, and I'm feeling rather spoiled to not have to do it! :)   Tomorrow is her last day though, so I am enjoying it while I can.  

Since I've finished "meal" cooking and kitchen clean up for the day, I'm eyeing those bananas and thinking I should whip up a nice banana bread.   It's good for dessert, breakfast, or just a yummy treat with a mug of hot tea.    What's a few more dishes to wash?  Popping banana bread into the oven, and my youngest reminding me that I'd promised to let her do some baking too.   Very well.   Let's bake another one for a neighbor.  (another badge requirement)    Both of us enjoy her earning her badges. :)

The house is warm from the oven, and full of good smells.  Later I'll take out something for tomorrows dinner.  Perhaps I'll bake again, or make it an easy day and use my crockpot.  We'll decide later.

It's too chilly to go outside.  Perhaps we'll play Bananagrams and Rory's Story like we did yesterday.   Right now she's pouring over her badge requirement book, reading aloud possibilities, and telling me the badges she'd like to earn next.   Asking me questions, making me think. :)

I love our days.  Quiet, and peaceful.  Sometimes we read, or watch a program.  Sometimes we play games or have friends over.   Craft making is fun..  she likes 'hands on' activities.  She's a good girl.  Lovable, easy to please, curious, cerebral.  

Some days are busy, with homeschool meetings, play dates, AHG meetings, Special Olympics sport practices, competitions, and events.  But on the quiet days where we've got nothing planned, this is pretty well it.  And we love it.  We get on projects, work on things, have discussions.. and the list goes on.  Our lives are rather simple,  but if you'd ever like to come by for a friendly afternoon visit, we're always happy to have friends over.   Please excuse our dogs shamelessly begging belly rubs.  Sorry about the glue.. we were doing art projects. We've got a spot in here at the table, waiting for you, with a cut of banana bread and a mug of hot tea.....  you've come to the right place. :)   Make yourself at home. ♥      


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ten Things

Challenged by my lovely friend Sue Elvis to come up with ten things most folks don't know about me... after I challenged her.  :)  Psst hey Sue where's YOUR list?!    Let's see if I can do this, and come up with some things I've not already mentioned at some point.



1) I've been at the top of mountains, explored underground caves, swam with alligators, and panned for gold and gemstones in a mountain stream.  I've fished from the river and the creek.  I've hand caught grass shrimp and minnows to use as bait.  I've caught tad poles and polywogs to take home and put into my fish tank until they were ready to be released.  I've dug in the sand for clams, and went out and caught wild blue crabs with my parents for our supper.  I've picked blackberries, wild onions and mint in the woods.

2)  I've never been on an airplane, helicopter, or a train.   Never been on a boat aside from the river ferry and the river taxi, or a friend's motor boat.  I've never been out West, never have traveled outside of the United States, and have not even left the South since 1985.

3)  I've not seen snow since 1989.  I've never built a snowman in my life.  But I am well acquainted with hurricanes!

4)  We've had a lot of pets.  Some were childhood pets, and some as an adult.  I've had (I think) six dogs, a few cats, several guinea pigs, a hamster, parakeets, a cockatiel, several turtles, loads of fish, chickens, ducks, and a pet goat, and probably two dozen rabbits.  We had pigs too, but my parents raised them for meat and had them butchered.  I would dearly love another bird, and a hedgehog.  I love pets!

5)  I come from a family of girls.  My great-grandmother had eleven girls and THEN had two boys.  One of her daughters, my granny, had two girls.  My mom had us three girls.  Her sister, my aunt, had four girls, one of those girls had a girl, and I have two girls.  My younger sister has three children.. two girls, and finally a boy!  Our running joke is that boys in this family don't stand a chance.  LOL!!

6)   I am terrified of snakes, (ophidiophobia), spiders, (arachnophobia), wild monkeys, and big bugs in general.  I'm mildly claustrophobic, a little gephyrophobia, (fear of bridges) plus my fear of heights (acrophobia) so a really high bridge is NOT cool with me at all!  Also a bit of agoraphobia.. (I hate shopping malls!)  Looking at this list, I have to laugh.  I actually could go on, but I'd hate for anyone to think I was totally nuts. ;)  LOL!!

7)   I suffer from depression and anxiety.  Sometimes I'm fine.  Sometimes, not so much.  It's a day to day thing.  I've lost friends because of it.  I've gotten treated like a freak because of it.  But I can't let that bother me.  It's not something you sign up for.  It's not being 'high drama'.  It's not something you 'get over', like a cold.  I can't just "get a grip" and it will magically disappear.  

8)  I like to collect certain things.   Perhaps some of them are a little odd, but I like them.   My collection is not so that I will end up on an episode of Hoarders.  :)   I like Catholic statues... well, I like Catholic items in general.  I have rosaries, at least one crucifix, and at least one small statue in every room.  I have several holy water fonts. (I've run out of places for those actually).   I even have statues outside, in my front and back yards.  I also collect wind chimes.  I only have six so far.  I'd like to get several more.  I also collect incense and incense burners, candles and holders, rocks, and shells.  I love beaded things.. long bead necklaces, beaded bracelets, beads on my skirts, beaded curtains...  LOL  I just love beads.  Not the tacky plastic ones.  I like the glass and stone beads.  Earth stones are my favorite, such as jasper, onyx, amber, and so forth and so on.  I also like the hand made beads, carved, or made from paper or flower petals.   There is just no 'love' in a plastic bead.    Most of all, I love books.  Yes, we have a Kindle.  But there is nothing in this world like holding a book in your hands, turning the pages, the feel of it.. the smell..  I love books!!

9)  I dislike modern things, with the exception of appliances, central heat and air, windows and pipes. :)   I love pretty, old-fashioned things.  Blue canning jars, aprons, lace doilies, embroidered handkerchiefs, and tea kettles with cups and saucers. Cast iron.  Chenille bedspreads.  Cedar chests, depression glass, good crystal, good linens, and monogrammed everything. :)  Rocking chairs, checkers, and old metal washtubs.   I love opening the windows on nice days when it's not too hot, and enjoying the breezes and hearing the tinkle of my wind chimes outside.  Men being true gentlemen, and women who act like well brought-up ladies, with dignity, tact, and grace.

10)  I had to think of what I could put down for my 10th thing you may not know about me.  So I decided I'd admit my pride.  Yes, it's true.  I am a very prideful person.  Pride for myself?  Please.  Every bit of my "pride" is family and home.  Period. My kids.. well, they are awesome.  :)   I am fiercely proud of them.   I could go on, and be a bragging, gloating mom, which would be very easy. :)   But every mother thinks her child is the prettiest, the smartest, and the most amazing.  I am no different.  I can, and have, shamelessly bragged on them more times than I can count.   There's no scale that can measure it.   I love them more than anything.  Other source of my pride?  I am proud of our little cookie-cutter house.  It's not a big fancy house in the country, or on a golf course.  It's not posh, modern, fancy, or new.  It's not in a well-to-do neighborhood.   Our house is in an 'older' neighborhood, where the homes are around 40 years old.   I was 29 when we bought this house.  No one 'gave' it to us.. we bought it ourselves... with termites, a leaking roof, with all the original appliances, pipes, wiring, and God help us, the original air conditioner which didn't work At. All.  (AC is VERY important in Florida!)   But we bought this ourselves.  We slowly got things fixed and replaced and repaired.  Seventeen years later, we are still trying to get things fixed.  Repaired.  Replaced.  But you know, I love our home.  My children have grown up in this home.  We've made memories here.   We never want to move..  hubby and I say that we'll stay here in this house until they carry us out.  It's home.  Our home is not a mansion or a trophy, yet I am proud of it.. not for its monetary value, but for the love inside of it.  The four of us.. hubby, our kids, and me..  I would not trade for anything in this world.  But if it were not for our kids, our house would not be the "homey" home that it is.

So these are my ten things.  I challenge you all.. what are YOUR ten things?   I'd love to read them! :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Playing Catch-Up



It just dawned on me, how, when I blog I tend to have a subject in mind, or have something that's just flat-out on my mind, that I need to get off my chest.   Having a blog is a little like therapy in that respect. :)

However, I've decided for this entry I'm just going to basically do a re-into, since so much has changed in the last few years.

I'm still over 40, (LOL), married, Catholic, and a mother of two.  Not homeschoolers anymore though.  We're UNschoolers. ;)  Eldest is an adult now, and youngest is a teen.   We're going through life now scheduled around hubby's job and my eldest daughters job, and my younger daughter being in Special Olympics and American Heritage Girls.   The youngest daughter is also in CCD, which is a two year catechism class before Confirmation.   My eldest might even be a CCD teacher next year.  We'll see.   Yes, I am proud. :)

We lost our doggie Daisy Mae last May.  She was 16 years old.   We still miss her very much.  We've gotten another dog since then, Lucy, which brings us up to two dogs.  Abby will be 3 years old in June.  Lucy is one year old this month.  Aside from the doggies, we're down to one guinea pig, Pooh Bear, and one beta fish, Matthieu.  

I'm also not all that 'barefoot' anymore.. I've been in Birkenstocks for about 2 and a half years now.  Comfiest things I ever put on my tootsies.  And my back and hips don't scream like they used to.  Apparently, once you get to a certain age, it's all about arch support. LOL

I'm at a loss at this point.. nothing else has really changed.   I've had to tighten up my 'bubble' a little more, and "pull a few weeds" from my life.   Emotional vampires I just don't have the time or the energy to entertain them anymore.   My life is focused on God and family..and my few friends who may be few but are so precious to me!!

I am grateful for all I've been blessed with.  Faith, our church home/church family, family, friends, and our humble home.  God has been so good to me!!

I didn't make any New Years Resolutions this year.. I didn't see the point since I never keep them. :)   I want to try (again) some container gardening this year.   I'm going to try again for the bazillionth time to try and lose some of my chub.   I want to grow more in my faith.  But more than anything else, I want to enjoy every precious moment with my kids.   Time is flying by so fast.. I can't stop the clock.  I want to hold them while I can, even though they're both taller than me now.  

Am I all caught up now?  I don't know.   This was not terribly exciting, to be sure.  But how exciting do you expect an old Momma like me to be?  :)    This is as good as it gets.  And that is perfectly fine for me. :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fuzzy Socks on in my Frozen Bubble


I am NOT "Barefoot" in my bubble right now.  :)  Too darn cold.   It should not be this cold in Florida, but it is.  It was 19F when we woke up this morning, with a wind chill in the single digits.   Too cold for my sweet iced tea.  Too cold to rock on the porch.  No warm breezes.   No bloomy yard.  Not even any bugs.  Boy, that's weird.   I'm sure the creepy crawlies all found spots to hide in to get out of this cold too.  (And as long as that spot to hide isn't in my house, I'm fine with that.)

I get tired of some folks saying we are wimps, need to suck it up, etc, for being cold.   I'll remember that when they're crying about the heat this summer.   (Sorry, but until you've been in 117 F heat with 100% humidity, and the powers' out from a hurricane.. I don't want to hear it.)  LOL     I KNOW it gets hot in other places.  But please, this is Florida.  We don't even get the 'dry' heat.  We get the 'steamed broccoli' heat.  Except you're the broccoli, and you are thoroughly steamed before you can even reach your car from the front door.  Which is why most Southern women skip the makeup in the summer.  Why bother when it's just going to melt off anyway?

I understand the temperatures are lower, with temps well below zero in Northern places.   I'm certainly not comparing our cold to theirs.   That would be dumb.   I have no doubt their blizzard is a heck of a LOT colder than our lousy little cold snap.   I'm not even comparing.  But dang it, throw me a bone!  This is cold to US!  People need to bear in mind a couple of things.  We have high humidity.  So our cold is wetter, making it 'feel' colder than it really is.   High humidity makes cold feel colder and heat feel hotter.  This is one of the joys of living in a subtropical climate.   That, and I'm tellin' ya, we've got thin blood.  Hahaa!

People here, for the most part, do not have coats or cold weather gear/clothes.   We have little need for them.  Many of us own maybe a sweater or two, and that's it.   Personally, I own a single pair of sweat pants I can wear under my skirt when it's too cold... and I have a warm cape, and a wind breaker, (unlined).  That's it.  My girls each own a jacket.  Hubby has a jacket.

When it snowed here in '89, people laughed when they shut down the city.  Really?  Why?   We don't have anything to clear roads with.  We don't have chains on our tires.   C'mon, if we don't even own coats, why would we own anything to cope with snow and ice?   Not to mention, most of us have never seen it in our lives unless we're from another area (I'm a Florida Native, and have only seen it once.  My kids have never seen snow)    We have no clue how to drive in it.   How could we?  We don't get that here.   It's what you're used to.   
Folks up North are unimpressed by blizzards, yawn at snowfall and freakishly low temperatures that I am telling you would kill me.  :)   On the other hand, we can deal with weather hot enough to cook hoecakes and eggs on the sidewalk, and are completely unimpressed with hurricanes.   We yawn through tropical storms, and laugh ourselves silly at the panicked out-of-towners as they rush to buy staples and nail plywood up for a lousy tropical storm..  bwaahahahaaa!!   I maintain.  It's what you're used to.


Our houses are not built the same as homes in the more Northern regions.   This is not my silly opinion.. it's a fact.  Our homes are not built to endure freezing temps and snow.  It's generally hot here, and our homes are built for our 'normal' hot weather.   Our insulation (in most cases) is ridiculous when compared to homes built up North.  We have like, one-tenth of the insulation.

Heated floors do not exist here.  Our floors are generally tile, hard wood, carpet on top of concrete, etc.   It blows my mind to know that some people have heated floors.   I honestly have never seen that in my life.  

Windows.  We don't have storm windows.   Or double panes.  Or anything cool like that.  In our home we have six giant picture windows around our house.  With a single sheet of VERY thin glass.   Actually, my hubby and I detest our thin windows... we want to get them replaced and have storm windows put in.  I cannot imagine the heating and cooling we are losing through these ridiculously thin windows. 

Looking out my window, I can see that my azaleas are frozen, dead on the bushes.  I am concerned about my fig tree, which is wrapped up in the front yard.  I hope it survived.  Some of my smaller plants were moved inside.  

Fuzzy colorful socks covering our feet, then sliding them into bedroom shoes to keep warm feet.  Sipping hot tea, and wearing a couple of layers to try and keep warm.  

The hilarious part is that within a couple of months time, I'll be whining about how hot it is.  LOL!!   

I look out the window, and the world looks like it's sleeping.  No green... Just a beautiful bright sun shining down on leafless trees, shriveled shrubbery.  Like the the entire world is in hibernation, but the sun is so pretty and bright... a reminder that within weeks we'll be blooming again, and everything will come back to life, rich, green and lush as Florida should be.