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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Sorry for the implied bad language here, but I'm pretty sure that's what my cats were thinking about me the last couple days.

It all started with a printer.

Our cheapo printer died - because it was cheap.  My really nice printer/scanner/copier/fax was obsolete.  So as a combined Mother's Day/Father's Day gift, my mom got us a new printer/scanner/copier/fax.

Which meant I could FINALLY get around to doing a project I've wanted to do since I wrote this post last summer.  (A collection of the pictures my sister took on her honeymoon in Paris.)

I love how it turned out:

I hadn't fully decided where I was going to hang it, but I needed to get it hung somewhere.  My new kitty (have I mentioned the new kitty yet?  I need to do that) is really good at jumping up on counters and knocking things over.  I didn't want the glass to get broken.  So I hung it up over the lovely 80's plaid wallpaper in the dining room.  

The wallpaper the landlady told me I was more than welcome to take down.

The wallpaper that had a little torn spot.

Right by where I was hanging the picture.

The spot that I started picking at last night.

And didn't stop until I'd pulled all the wallpaper off the walls!

The before picture.  Don't mind the bare bulb hanging from the fan there.  It had a weird wicker basket looking shade that drove me crazy.  I'm going to be replacing it eventually.  But there is the lovely plaid wallpaper.

All I was peeling off was the front half of the wallpaper - the decorative part.  But it came off really easy!  What was left was the glue side of the paper that made the room look the walls had once been white, but 30 years of heavy smoking had yellowed it.


I probably should have taken a mid-project picture at that point, but I didn't.

I was telling my mom about the remaining paper and my plans to remove it.  She said "No, no.  All you need is hot water in a squirt bottle and a plastic scraper."  So while the kids were outside playing, I went to work.

I worked one strip at a time, spraying hot water on the whole thing, then gave it a few minutes to soak in.  Then I started scraping and peeling.  It worked like magic!

The entire project from the time I worked on it last night plus today's work was only about an hour and a half!

And now it looks...

...worse than it did with even the yellowed paper.

Double blech.

But that's okay.  Some paint will fix that.  But I can't do that until I get my garden planted.  So we have to live with the weird multi-colored walls for a week or so.  We'll live.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go start digging my garden!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Homemade Mayonnaise

 We currently only have one reliable vehicle.  My beloved old Blazer has issues and sits in the driveway most of the time.  Unless I have a lot of errands to run, I'm pretty much home all the time because Surfer Pirate needs the pickup to get back and forth to work.

Which has kind of forced me to be creative when I run out of things.

One day when I wanted to make sandwiches, I realized we were out of mayonnaise   Luckily, a few years ago, my mother had put together a cookbook with her favorite recipes in it, and I was pretty sure there was a recipe in there for homemade mayonnaise.  I had made it once years ago, just for the novelty of it, but I never really had a NEED for it.

Mom learned how to make it at a church function back when she and my dad were still married.  He loved it so much that as far as I know, it's STILL the only mayonnaise he uses.

It's seriously easy and inexpensive, so I thought I would share the recipe:

Blender Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Mustard
1 Egg
1 Cup Oil

 Get all your ingredients together because this goes REALLY fast.

Put the vinegar, salt, mustard, egg and about 1/4 cup of the oil in the blender.

Start blending on your highest speed.

Slowly pour in the rest of the oil while the blender is running.  It will get very thick as the oil is added.

Pour it all into a jar, and you're done!  It will thicken a little as it cools in the refrigerator.
This recipe makes about a 1 1/2 cups of mayo. 

Just make sure you always keep it in the fridge as soon as you're done using it.  With no preservatives, it will will spoil very quickly!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Country Girl?

I always believed I would thrive living in a small town.  I get claustrophobic in traffic and don't like crowds.

But even more than small towns, I always wanted to live in the country.  My ultimate dream was to be so far away from my nearest neighbors that I could stand on the roof and not see them.

I have that now.

And I love it.

But let's face it.  After 30+ years of living in cities, living in the country for a few months isn't going to make a lot of difference.

Case in point:

I made a quick run into town to get snacks for my hard working man.  As I was headed down our dirt road, I saw an animal on the side of the road.  It looked like it was eating something.  I had seen a badger about a mile and a half from our place last fall and wondered if that's what this was.

Whatever it was, it was pretty brave.  A truck driving right past it didn't even deter it from its meal.

I really wanted to see what it was, so I slowed down, checked to make sure no one was behind me, and started backing slowly up the road.

When I got there, it hadn't moved.  I turned the truck so the headlights were shining on the animal, and then opened the door and stood out the door to look at it.  (I wasn't taking any chances on being attacked by an angry badger!)

Dead raccoon.

But was it really dead?  Was it just injured?  Was it going to lunge at me?

So I grabbed a couple of rocks from the road to throw at it.


It was dead.

So... um... yeah...

That's me.

The brave "Country Girl" throwing rocks at a dead raccoon.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lots of Love

That's my Mommy when she first became a mommy.  That's her holding my sister way back in the very groovy and funky early 70's.  I would use a picture of her holding me as a baby, but I don't have one on this computer right now.

And yes, I'm 37 years old and call my mother "Mommy."  Why?  Because she is The Best Mom Ever.  You can try to argue that and say your mom is The Best, but you would be wrong.  And considering how many of my friends are trying to get my mom to adopt them, I'm not the only one who shares that opinion.

Considering that I have ZERO concept of time these days (what year is it now?) I totally forgot that Mother's Day was coming up this soon and didn't leave money in my budget to get anything for my sweet mom.  Normally, I would buy her a corsage.  It's a traditional thing.  On Mother's Day, my mom wears a fresh, pretty corsage to church.  And I feel bad that I can't afford to do that for her this year.  She deserves something special.

Although, she did buy us a new printer as a combined Mother's Day/Father's Day gift this year.  Maybe I could print some paper flowers and make a corsage?  What do you think, Mom?

It wouldn't get there on time for church this Sunday, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Instead, I will give her my words.

My mom had grand plans for her future when she was younger.  She wanted 12 kids, and she wanted to be home with them all day.  But that's not what happened.  She married my dad and had two kids.  And then they divorced.  She found herself as a single parent, trying to raise two kids and pay the bills all on her own.  No chance to be home all day with us, baking cookies and reading stories to us.

And even though things didn't go the way she planned, I think she did an amazing job.  My sister was a National Merit Scholar and went on to follow Mom's footsteps choosing teaching as her chosen profession.  I was an honor roll student and provided my mom with the two cutest grandkids there ever was!  (Don't argue.  I already proved my point about my mom being The Best.  I know what I'm talking about.)  I also have followed my mom's footsteps in being able to live the dream she always wanted.  I'm home all day with my kids, baking cookies and reading stories to them.

Through the years, my mom always did great things for my sister and me.

Like making Apricot Tapioca Pudding for us.  Which is definitely a genetic thing because Surfer Pirate and Pirate Munchkin don't like it, but Pirate Baby and I can't get enough!  It's amazing and delicious and now that I'm thinking about it, I might have to make some today.

She took us to Jackson Hole, Wyoming every summer to visit our grandparents.  As an adult, I know she did that because she couldn't afford to take us other places, and she needed the support and love of her wonderful parents.  But to us, that was the greatest adventure!  We got to drive through Yellowstone Park, with all of its magnificence.  We got to go swimming in the lakes in Teton Park.  We went to the Shoot-Outs in Downtown Jackson.  We made forts with the neighbor kids out of the bushes near the houses.  Grandpa would get us tickets to ride the Alpine Slide.  We stood on the deck with our cousins watching the fireworks every 4th of July.  I can't even imagine a better place for kids to spend their summers.

She always listened and always had good advice.  Some of my very favorite memories were of the times the three of us would pile on to Mom's bed and just talk for hours.

My mom taught me the love of reading.  She read to me when I was growing up, and I read to my children.  She could often be found sitting quietly in her room, with a book in her hands.  I too can often be found off by myself with a book in my hands.

She taught me that my Heavenly Father loves me.  She taught me the importance of being faithful to your beliefs even when life gives you challenges.  She taught me how to serve others.

My mother taught me how to love.  She taught me how to cherish my children.  She showed me through her own wonderful example what a mother is.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to send you to church with gardenias or orchids this year, Mom.  But I wanted you to know just how much I love and appreciate you.  Your love and support have gotten me through so many tough times, and I am PROUD to call you My Mother.  My Sweet Mommy.  My Best Friend.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I love you!