My Thanksgiving was pretty nice. If blowing my nose eight billion times is a nice thing.
I regret that I never had the appropriate medicine. I took Dayquil thirty minutes before I went to bed. I stared out the window long enough that I began hallucinating. Then...then the coyotes started howling. Yes. Coyotes. So that was a fun night. When I went to Rechelle's house all she had was night time cold medicine. I found myself trying not to fall asleep in my mashed potatoes. Shouldn't a doctor's house have a built in pharmacy? You would think.
Thanksgiving dinner doesn't taste as good when your nose is all dupped up.
And that concludes my health update. Moving on.
Remember that time I told you about how I had a cold and took Dayquil right before bed? Remember that? Well, during those hours of darkness I had a lot of time to think. I started to wonder about my future.
What will happen when my kids bring home their spouses for the first holiday get together? How long will it take for us to 'break them in'? Who's gonna say something really stupid? Who's gonna make that person question their decision to marry my kid? Who's gonna start spoutin' politics? What if they don't know what a corn stove is? What if they don't like......laughing? And most importantly, who's gonna fart first?
It ain't gonna be pretty.
And I think it will be me. I will be the crazy-farting-corn stove-politicking-laughing woman that makes my children's spouses beg to celebrate the holiday's in Hawaii or Japan or anywhere that is far enough away from the crazy lady that farts, belches, cooks with corn heat and is digging an underground shelter so the entire family can come live with me and all my canned food when everything goes to pot.
Yes, I think it will be me.
Tonight I'm going to sleep with good memories of my crazy family and I'm looking forward to the future. Yes, I am.
Friday, November 28, 2008
My Thanksgiving was pretty nice. If blowing my nose eight billion times is a nice thing.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Hey guess what? Remember that envelope system I told you about? Well, it's on sale for $10.00!!!
I've noticed every holiday that rolls around Dave puts all his books and merchandise on sale. If you want to give a gift to help someone with their finances this would be the ticket.
So I would pull over and pick it up.
My day was full of chicken emergencies.
I am a chicken doctor.
I found a chicken on the side of the road yesterday.
I sat in a gym for 20 minutes holding a chicken wrapped in a beach towel.
I drove home with a chicken on my lap.
The chicken I found is not mine.
Also, I am a chicken doctor.
I found one of my hens dead in the coop.
I buried a chicken yesterday.
Apparently, I am not a very good chicken doctor.
The real question is.... how do you find the owner of the chicken that crossed the road?
I think I am the new owner.
Ramone calls coyotes, Timber Wolf, which sounds much scarier than coyote.
A timber wolf has eaten one of my hens and the dominate rooster.
Things are very creepy around the chicken world right now.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I have two sister-in-laws, but if you ask Clay, I only have one. Apparently, the woman that married Clay's brother is not technically my sister-in-law, she is only Clay's sister-in-law. Likewise, Clay insists that Rechelle's husband is not his brother-in-law.
Have I ever mentioned that my husband loves to frustrate the heckle-jo-jeckle out of me? He does, it's like a sport for him. A sport that sometimes leaves him bloody and bruised.
Clay's sister or, my sister-in-law, is an actress or at least she's been auditioning to be an actress for the last twenty or so years. She is very dramatic, so being an actress is the perfect vocation for her. She's also the best story teller I know and whenever she's around I laugh myself silly at the retelling of her crazy life. Being around her is like watching a musical comedy come to life and I get to be an extra on the stage. By the time she leaves I'm exhausted from all the curtain calls and back stage parties.
Before Clay's grandmother passed away her house was home base for Clay's siblings and father to meet for holidays. Mam-ma lived in a tiny two bedroom house with one bathroom. After we had Ellen we were upgraded from sleeping on the floor in the living room to the tiny back bedroom that had a little couch with a hideaway bed. The frame of that bed had a metal bar that hit across my shoulders and another one that went across my lower back. It was also not much bigger than a twin size bed. I have no idea how Clay, baby Ellen and I managed to fit on that bed. I do know that Clay and I were not the young happy new parents after a couple nights of rolling around on the metal pipes and attempting to sleep with a baby that insisted on putting her butt on my neck and her feet up her father's nose.
Unfortunately, my sister-in-law with her glitter and sparkle, sing and dance, giggle and glee personality was the whipping post for Clay's lack of sleep. I wish I could remember what he said to her but by the third day of being cooped up in that tiny house with each other, my husband was not tolerating his sister's over exuberant personality and had heard enough about LA and The Business. He also didn't want to learn anymore of the tips from her life coach or hear all the new methods that the west coast was boasting on rearing children. We had watched all of her audition tapes, witnessed the reenactment of her reaction to celebrity encounters and learned several new yoga moves. Clay was done playing. Like all little brother's, he found his best coping mechanism was to make-fun of his sister. After several ribbings, his sister turned to him in front of all of us and said with great dramatic flair, "Clay! You've hurt my feelings three times today!"
Oh, that moment was priceless. There were apologies and hugs and tissues and tears. But, the best thing was getting to use that phrase over and over and over again for the next 14 years, "Clay! You've hurt my feelings THREE TIMES TODAY!!!" The mileage that little outburst has received in our house, you can't grasp it. Every. Single. Time. One of us starts to make fun of the other that phrase comes out and we bust a gut. I'm telling you it was Oscar worthy.
A couple years ago we recounted the story to Clay's sister. Like a good sport, she laughed and made fun of herself. That's one of the best things about her, she can laugh at herself too. However, Clay is careful not to make fun of her more than two times.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I have to share some with you. I really must. As I do, please enjoy these two boys chatting it up at Rechelle's 40th birthday party. They are the only two boys in the world that could handle Rechelle and I or maybe I should say they are the only two boys that could tolerate us.
What I love about this one is that the girl who wrote this ended up marrying the boy she is wishing me luck with and she felt the need to say 'dearly not queerly'.
This is from 1985
Now onto 1986 and this is after C and I broke up, but we remained friends. I even set him up with the sister of the new guy I was dating. I know, how nice was I? When I read this I laughed a very uncomfortable laugh off and on for two days.
April, You really made my junior year fun. Remember when we were out at the farm on the three wheeler and I took off without you on the back? And remember all the times we got in trouble? I still am getting in trouble because of you. Remember writing in my year book about the vo-tech parking lot? I had to explain that to my mom.
April, You are my very favorite sister. I'm really happy that out of all the strange people I could have gotten for a sister, I got the strangest one of all, YOU! I don't think I could make it through the day without one of your "imitations" or one of your strange little characters, that seem to pop out of your mind. Especially the dude that says, "Lunch Tickets!" and your Swedish, "Stankers!" I know you also wouldn't survive without my daily hugs. Thanks for being around for me to borrow money from and beat up on you and crush your ribs and sometimes even talk too.
Love and Lots of Hugs,
the one and only,
Now let's jump to 1987 when my sister finally got herself a boyfriend. J was in my class. He had a big ego and was a giant pain in the butt. He teased me relentlessly about my hair, makeup, clothes and choice of boyfriends. Rechelle and J were two strange birds thrown together to torture each other. I never knew if they were getting along or in the middle of a heated debate. J wrote this just after he and Rechelle broke up. Rechelle had gone to college and J and I were trying to figure out how to get through our Senior year without her around to LORD over our lives. He was the closest thing to a brother that I ever had. When my homecoming date left with another girl, J held my hand and took me out on the dance floor. He was a terrible dancer, but he knew he could make me laugh by watching him try to move to a beat and I did, I laughed really hard at how bad of a dancer he was.
April, Hi April! I'm sitting in Broadcasting and all these people are telling me what to write in your yearbook. Since you wrote something nice I am going to try to write something nice too. This year I want us to get along better and be good friends. I know I tease you a lot and I give you a hard time, but I do like you. You are a super person to be around and I am going to miss going out to your house. Remember how Rechelle used to get mad at me when I would flirt with you? Well, sometimes I really was flirting with you. Keep up your wonderful smile and personality. Good luck in EVERYTHING. Love, J.
This last one was from the farmer boy I dated my Junior year. He was a really nice boy, but had the personality of a dried piece of corn. Poor guy, he never knew what to do with me when I started acting goofy. I think he was mostly embarrased by me. We were still dating when he wrote this. When I think back about the year we dated I can't remember anything we did except drive up and down Maine Street in his car. I don't remember having any meaningful conversations, fights or anything. I'm pretty sure we were the most boring couple ever. I think his entry will prove that.
April, Your totally awesome personality is always so nice to be around. You brighten my day whenever you smile and laugh at me or whatever. Keep up the cheerleading, dancing, puppeteering, and all your other great talents. Make the best of your last year with Shelly, you two are great sisters even if she is a 'sissy'. Don't let Jeff pick on you too much! This year is going to go by fast I can already tell. It seems like all I do is take tests and apply for scholarships and all other college junk. Well, it's such a joyous occasion to sign off on this, ha ha. You're the Greatest April!!! Love, P.
What the heck? Seriously, we had been dating for a while and that's all he could say?! I don't even remember how we broke up. As far as I know we're still dating.
And my brother in law? He's not too bad. And he's got great hair man, really great hair.
Now, good luck in your future and all you do. You are awesome and really great and thanks for being a good friend. Let's keep in touch and don't ever change.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
When I pick up my older kids from school I insist that they tell me at least one good story from their day. Sometimes they say, "Mom, nothing happened. I don't have anything to tell you."
Eventually one of them will start talking and of course that triggers the other one to tell an equally great story and then their talking at the same time and that makes me crazy! But, I love to hear their stories of handing in papers and lunch room disasters and, let's face it, eventually they will get married and have to answer the age old question, "Honey, how was your day?" See? I'm training them right. Right?
This is the conversation that happened in the car yesterday. I was taking Ellen and her friend to basketball practice.
Me- Ellen, how was your day?
Ellen- Good. I got a letter from my coach.
Me- Oh. What did it say?
Ellen- It's just a letter.
Me- Okay, but what does it say?
Ellen- It's just a gold letter.
Me- I don't understand. Why did she give you a gold letter? And what does it say?!
That's when Ellen's friend decided it was time for her to speak up and interpret the conversation, lest she throw herself out of the van into oncoming traffic because anything would be less painful than listening to a conversation that's stuck in a loop.
E's Friend- What Ellen means is, she LETTERED. She got a varsity letter.
Me- OOOOOOOh! You lettered! Wait a minute. How did you letter?
Ellen- I dunno.
Me- What did you do to get the letter?
Ellen- I dunno.
Me- I didn't know you could letter.
Ellen- Me neither.
Me- So do you know why you got it?
Me- What do we do with it?
Ellen- I dunno.
Me- You don't know how you got it?
And that's when E's friend threw herself out of the car.
No, no, no just kiddin'. But, I'm pretty sure she thought I was an old coot that didn't know nuthin' about nuthin' and my daughter was the least enthusiastic letterman ever to be lettered in the history of lettering.
Yet again the whole sports thing has taken over my life. Now I guess I need to shop for a letter jacket to put this gold letter on and I guess that's okay. My tiny baby girl lettered in volleyball! We have no idea how or why or when, but she's got a big gold letter with a shiny volleyball and a bar to prove it. If you ask Ellen if she wants a letter jacket her response will be, "I dunno".
I like to entertain. I do. But, I hate to be stressed out over complicated dishes to prepare. I also dislike too many ingredients in one dish, especially when I'm making several things for a large crowd. So, let's make an appetizer that you can whip together in less than 5 minutes! I'm serious! This pretty thing is what I will call.....um....how about Cranberry Island, no, no, um...Cranberry oooolala? I don't know, let's just call it The Cranberry Thing.
Like a snowball. Now slap that pretty white puppy on a small dish. I use this glass candy dish that was a wedding gift, then I put it in the middle of one of my grandma's glass platters where the crackers will be arranged in a perfect circular pattern. Ha ha ha haha. No seriously.
Now, place a guard or soldier or something near the cheese so people will know they WILL DIE A PAINFUL DEATH IF THEY EAT ANY OF THE WHITE CHEESE BALL!! And then stick it. I mean stick the cheese ball in the fridge.
Put about one and a half cups of berries in a bowl and add about 2-3 tablespoons of water.
Here's what you're looking for. You have the bursted berries and the not so bursted berries. It's thick you know, like cranberry sauce........uh it is cranberry sauce. While it's hot stir in sugar to your sweetness, like 3-4 tablespoons, I like it more tart. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of salt. Stir it in and stick in the fridge to cool.
When it's cool, ladle the cranberry sauce over the cheese and top with some almonds or walnuts or pecans or as my 4yo would say LEAVE IT LONE...LEAVE IT LONE!! Serve with your choice of crackers and make sure you put a cute spoon or delicate little knife along the edge. Watch as people ooooh and ahhhh over its beauty and then eat it all gone. The End. You're Welcome.
Yesterday was just one of a string of crazy days that I've had something to do besides yell at my boys for spraying pee all over the toilette seat. My name is April, I sit in urine every day.
This morning I got up, made breakfast for my two littles and sat down to type out a sweet little post about how to make fast, simple and delicious appetizers.
I opened my computer to find a HUGE crusty booger stuck to the screen and the letter D key missing. God only knows where the key is and now I have to press really hardddd every time I needdddd the letter D!
I don't know about you, but greeting my computer that way sure didn't make me want to write about food.
So, I will tell you all about this thing later. And, NO it is not an ice cream sundddddday.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
She's got the beat! And she shared it with all her friends.
And then Susan and Kramer got their groove on to My Sharona.
Can I just leave you with this little fact. One time... at church camp.... I met this girl and... for real, her name was.......Sharona. God, help me, I prayed so hard that week to keep from making fun of her.
This is the best photo of me, I think it says everything about who I am as a person and what I want to do in this life.
It took a private consultation in the bathroom with my 1987 yearbook, half a bottle of glitter hairspray with lots of blow drying and a suffocating amount of makeup to get me to look as good as I did in high school. All for the sake of my sister's 40th birthday party.
More photos to come.....
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I used a very scientific method for choosing the winner of Financial Peace Revisited. First I asked my son to pick a number between 1 and 64 and he chose 600, so then I cried for twenty minutes because, obviously I'm not teaching him anything. Then I decided to do what most army generals do, DIVIDE AND CONQUER. So I took the total number and divided by 4, because that's how many children I'm currently trying to screw up and send out into the world.
And the winner is Mrs. Chisholm from The Chisholm Family who is a new mommy and has a very cute little chunka lunka of a tater tot boy.
Please email me your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org
And now I share with you my sadness to see Maurice Greene leave the dancing arena. This dance made me very happy. Now I must go learn all the dance steps and perform it for you all, but first I need a very twirly skirt with lots of sparkles. For the top I will wear one of my two bras that have not disintegrated and I will paint it with puffy paints and attach some fringe, yes that's what I will do.
Okay, gotta go, lots of sequins to sew!!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This, my friends, is the envelope system. It's one of the tools you get when you take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class. It's also my new best friend. Here's where you can order one.
Before I had this handy-dandy thing I was using business envelopes held together with a fancy paper clip. It was very inconvenient and after two months I refused to use them anymore. I love the coin bag in this one and being clear makes it so much easier to fish out the two dimes and three pennies or 1 quarter, two dimes and four pennies or whatever, it makes using my change much easier.
The envelopes are labeled by our budget categories. Here's the one that irritates me the most. I think I might scribble out sports and write dancing or stardust sprinkles or rose petals, anything would sound better than SPORTS! Not that I'd be spending money on dancing, stardust sprinkles or rose petals, but those could be my code names for 'I have to pay two bucks a head for my two little kids to run around the side court and tell me they are starving to death every fifteen minutes while I endure sitting on a cold metal bench'.....oh, wait, sorry...that's a different post. Back to the envelope system.
We have one for dining. We can't go out to eat unless there is money is this envelope. Once the money is gone then, NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!
This is the envelope that is getting worn out. The category boxes on the front, side and back of the envelope are used to track any expense we don't receive a receipt for but have used some of the cash to purchase it. We've been using this envelope system for a few months and it really does work. You will become incredibly creative when you know there is only $2.34 left in your grocery budget and you don't get paid for another three days.
Here's where the cash goes. I also jam my receipts in there and later take them out and enter the expense in an accounting program.
And when you are done with this book you can pass it on to another friend that needs help getting motivated to make a financial plan.
To enter this give away leave a comment today. You can just say, "Hey, I want that book!" or you can tell me how wonderful I am, either way is fine. I'll choose the winner tomorrow. Okay, I'm off to wash some of the stardust and rose petals that need to be returned to the athletic director. Yeah.
*****Give Away CLOSED, I'll announce a winner soon*****
Monday, November 10, 2008
I just put my garden to rest for the winter, but it's never to early to start building your beds. I personally order my beds to be custom built by a local architect.
I make him go out to the pile of debris that was once a shed until a big wind done knocked that shed right on its keester. That world famous architect caresses each piece of lumber until he finds just the right one to salvage for our beds.
Here's the raised bed I built today and just for kicks I threw in some green lettuce. Hahahahahahhaaaa! Oh, slay me.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
This morning as I sat on the edge of my bed to steady myself before taking on the day I reached up to give my head a nice scratching. As I dug my nails down through my hair I came across one tender spot, then another and then another. Oh, my head is sore.
Someday, I'm going to realize how tall I am. Until that glorious day comes I will continue to whack my head on just about anything that's two inches shorter than me. Apparently, there's nothing too valuable above my eyeballs, because anyone WITH a brain would have learned by now that my basement is not getting any taller.
We have an old house. Our basement is very shallow, like less than six feet and last time I checked I am six feet tall. I have left large chunks of my scalp all over the pipes and floor beams that make up the ceiling of the basement. I hate toting stuff down there. Did I mention the laundry room is in the basement?
Head whacking occurrences in the basement this week= 1
My office is very tiny. There are shelves fitted around the walls which is great for books, pictures, piles of paper and one cat. I decided to tidy up my office this week which meant picking up all the books, pictures and piles of paper the cat shoved off the shelf and futilely put them back on the shelves, when I stood up I... THUNK. My head is now embedded with the wooden corner of a shelf.
Head whacking occurrences in the office this week= 1
And sadly, there was something I did in the barn, but I can't remember the circumstances. Maybe because I've hit my head one too many times?????
Head whacking occurrences in the barn this week= 1 or possibly more, hard to tell, since I must be suffering from short term memory loss.
I think I need to start wearing a helmet.
I write the best blog posts in the moments right before I fall asleep. Really, I do. I don't think anyone can succeed if their best work happens in their head, right?
Maybe I'll get back to the one I was thinking of last night, it had spoons and bread and bed partners... I know! Riveting.
Clay told me he likes my narrative posts much better than the photo journal blips. I think I whined a lot about how hard it is to write a good post because I get interrupted so many times, for I'm a very important person with lots of people wanting me to wipe their butts and feed them processed food. Geesh, the pressure.
We went out to eat last night, like on a date. It's been a long time since we've had a date, you know, because we are now the most frugal people on the planet. Which reminds me, I need to tell you how we're doing on the whole debt payment shindig and that means I'm going to start bullet pointing.
- We haven't used a credit card for over six months.
- The hardest thing I've found is to keep us fed. It's a huge temptation to go out to eat after sports and after church or go get a treat after school. It's a pain, but we save a lot of money not eating convenience foods.
-I'm personally challenging myself not to buy any new clothes until my birthday, which is in April, hence the name. Right after I made this decision the strap on my favorite bra disintegrated right off my shoulder. So, I'm down to two bras for the next five months. Not pretty.
-Other people bust my budget. It's something I'm struggling with. It's hard to plan for other people asking the kids to go do something or being asked to contribute to this gift and that gift. This month we're adding a category to our budget for this purpose and hopefully it will help.
-No. No. No. It's a little word, but I use it a lot.
-We're taking Dave Ramsey's class, Financial Peace University, it's very helpful and has kept us motivated. Especially Clay, I've never seen him so determined or excited about our financial well being.
-Levi can't say Dave. He calls is our Damn Ramsey class.
-There are days when I call it our Damn Ramsey class.
-I can say Dave just fine.
-Christmas is coming. We need a good plan. I've got everyone taken care of except my children.
-I can't write what I want to do for them because they read my blog.
-Damn Ramsey says, "Christmas is a craft". I'm going to be giving food gifts to teachers, like our jams, breads. pork and eggs. I just read how to make homemade vanilla here. How fun is that? I would love to get that as a gift. It's on my to do list.
Now, who's got a great money saving tip or idea to share? Post them in my comments or leave us a link to your blog and write us a post.
I love using our library for entertainment. We no longer use Blockbuster or Netflix. We love movies, so this has saved us a lot of money and forced us to watch some great classics.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
When I met Clay he was at the tail end of recovering from a terrible bicycle accident. He was riding along the street and was struck from behind by a car. The person driving the car sped off and left Clay, who was then 18, lying on the road unconscious.
Thankfully his injuries were not life threatening, but his face would be forever scarred.
The flesh was torn from his cheek, eye, lip and chin on the right side of his face. The doctor's stitched him back together and he went home to recover. He couldn't eat solid foods for a couple weeks due to his swollen face. Clay quickly lost twenty pounds, and as you can imagine, he really didn't have twenty pounds to sacrifice.
The young Clay I met in drawing class was painfully skinny. He had a deep purple scar on his right cheek bone that was hard not to stare at when I was talking to him.
When goatees and sideburns became popular in the early 90's, Clay was one of the first guys to jump onto the facial hair wagon. Unfortunately, the skin on his chin and lip that had been damaged from the bicycle wreck were too new to allow whiskers to grow. So he had a rather lopsided beard and strange gap in his moustache.
As the years passed Clay regained a few of those lost pounds, the scars faded and his skin had toughened up enough to allow whiskers to sprout thick and wiry through his scars. That's when he started getting a lot of comments like, 'Do you know who you look like?' As absurd as I thought it was that anyone could possibly resemble Clay, it was hard to deny that there was a striking look of familiarity between this one guy and Clay.
He also has boards and poles and odd scraps of metal and blocks of concrete and broken gates and a Volkswagen Van. All these things are crucial to his fence mending.
My neighbor, Ramone, has owned the property next to me since the early 60's. Ramone worked for the railroad and lived in town for many years, but he kept cattle out on his land and about twenty years ago he finally built a house out here. When he was in his 30's he built the fence around his pasture from trees he cut down along the river bank.
Over the years the fence has begun to sink and sag and fall and sway and break and crumble and, well, deteriorate.
But, no matter how much orange bailing twine Ramone ties on the bits of wire that he calls a fence....
his cows manage to get out everyday. At least four cows are in my yard all day. It used to startle me to walk out and see these beasts grazing on my lawn.
But, now I just look at them and they look at me. I try to move them to areas where I'd like a little grass trimming done.
But, they don't listen me. So, eventually Preacher, my dog, and I walk them back into the pasture, over the orange bailing twine and around the Volkswagen Van and through the bits of wire and poles and concrete blocks. The cows look at me and I look at them and we say, "Okay, same time tomorrow? Yep, see ya tomorrow."
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Happy Birthday Rechelle
You are my favorite sister
I love to make you laugh
and I'd help you pop a blister
And of course, here's me, butchering your song with a cuter childhood picture. Because, you know, I'm the younger sibling and I need more attention.
Happy Birthday Sis.