Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

-We had a family trip to the dentist yesterday. Usually we all have different dates and times but this time we just scheduled them all together and got in and out quickly. This was Greta's first trip to the dentist and she did awesome! I think it helps to have a big bro that explains the whole procedure to her. He even demonstrated how to lie in the chair with his mouth wide open. I was more than a little worried about what the dentist would say about her under bite. Her jaw sticks out so that her bottom teeth completely cover her top teeth when she smiles. Apparently it has a tendency to correct itself by the time the kid is 7 or 8 years old. If it doesn't then she gets to wear a retainer to help fix the under bite. At least we don't have to worry about it right now.

-I got the opportunity to take our black lab Cody to the veterinarian this morning. He's been walking around with his head bent to the side for a day now. I went to investigate last night only to find his ear swollen, oozing stinky stuff and the color of ground beef. Yuck! The vet says his ear canal looks fine which would indicate an infection on his actual ear. So he's on antibiotics and I get the pleasure of spraying his ear three times a day with betadine which stings like crazy. He already runs when he sees me coming. Poor dog. That dog seems to go to the vet more than all of the other animals combined.  

-It's been a week since Thanksgiving and my fingers still smell like garlic. I've never chopped so much garlic in my life. I hope the smell eventually will wash off.

-I think I can consider myself a tea junkie. My love of coffee was short lived, the caffeine just didn't work well with me (jitters!). Once I stopped my habit I got these headaches every day at 11. That lasted two weeks and I found was common among people who stopped drinking coffee (something about the blood vessels constricting). So anyways, I switched to tea.  I absolutely love chai green tea. I drink about three cups a day and I've decided to venture out into the world of loose leaf tea. I just ordered a nice little variety of loose leaf green teas from Teavana. I'm really excited to try the Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom tea, heard good things about it. Yum!

-We been experiencing our first real cold snap of the season this week. When I take Wesley to school in the mornings it's in the mid 20's and the car is not liking it one bit. The Volt will start up in electric mode and we'll get about a mile from the house then the gas engine takes over and a little alert on the dash tells me "Gasoline engine in use due to cold temperatures." So for about half the trip to school and back it runs in gas mode to provide enough heat for the battery when the temps are well below freezing. Bummer. There goes my sensational mpg's. I'm thinking this car in northern climates might not be a great idea.

-I got the blog all decorated for Christmas if you didn't notice. Now the only thing to do is to somehow get rid of the flying birds at the top right side of the screen. Why are there flying birds up there?! Grrr.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing Thanksgiving. This year we were fortunate enough to have family gather at our house. Usually we do the traveling and meet at the in-laws house in New Mexico but this year our animal sitter (my friend Jessica) was due to have a baby right near Thanksgiving (which she did! Baby girl..more on that later). When you have as many animals as we do you have to plan vacations carefully so that there is someone to watch them. So, unfortunately, we were staying home this year. Then we all decided to just have it at our house. Sean's parent's showed up Monday and Sean's brother Nate and family showed up Tuesday. Their little girl Berkley is just a few months older than Greta so those two played wonderfully. It was great seeing the cousin's together. They flew in from Washington and brought some crab with them on the plane. It was so surprising seeing them lug in a giant styrofoam cooler full of fresh seafood. In the midwest we don't get to enjoy fresh seafood so this was a treat. Thank you so much Nate and Stacy, that was sure memorable.





It was freakishly warm last week with temperatures in the low 70's. We took advantage of it and lugged the kids to the park to soak up some sun. Boy did they have fun! Granny Randi was a trooper letting them crawl all over her.




We got the Christmas tree up and Thanksgiving morning all the kids decorated it while Sean made waffles. That might have to be a new tradition around here. Have I mentioned how much I like it when Sean cooks? Boy it's a treat.





I got to make all the food for Thanksgiving which was harder than I thought it would be. Maybe not "harder" just more stressful. I think it turned out well. I tried a brined turkey this year and it turned out juicy and yummy. I'm not a huge fan of turkey but it was pretty good. It was lovely having almost everyone around the table (you were missed this year Jeremy, Becca and Sasha).





Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chicken Fried

I think my love of country music is starting to wear off on my little girl. After dinner most nights she dances around to this fun song called "Chicken Fried" by the Zac Brown Band. It's cute so I thought I'd share.

video

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Scissors

This little girl is a handful. To say it mildly. She keeps me on my toes. There is no down time when it comes to Greta. Her new passion? Taking Wesley's school scissors and hiding behind the curtains while cutting paper into tiny little pieces. She's cut herself on several occasions so she's back to the plastic beginner scissors which make her mad (because they don't cut well). When she gets mad she scrunches up her little face and screams like the Hulk while stomping her feet. Believe me, you wouldn't like her when she's mad. This little one seems to have inherited my temper and my patience level. Poor thing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Road Trip

This weekend we got to get together with the family to celebrate my nephew Emery's birthday. Initially we were to travel there as a family but at the last moment a decision was made to leave Sean at home so he could finish up the siding project before it rained on Sunday. Therefore I got to take the kids on a road trip to KC all by my lonesome. I'm happy to report it was smooth sailing due to the dual DVD players and several Disney movies. Sean even managed to hook up the DVD players into the main sound system of the Volt so we all got to listen to the movie broadcast (loudly) over the radio. Oh and the Volt did pretty good on the highway getting 44.5 mpg.

Emery turned three years old last week and was excited to celebrate it "Thomas the Train" style. There were several little kids that he hangs around with there along with Wesley and Greta. They all enjoyed themselves and love going to Aunt Betsy's house.

 On a funny note, Wesley kept going up to my dad (Papa John) and would call him Papa Rich (his other grandpa). My dad kept correcting him and Wesley kept calling him the wrong name. Finally my dad just started calling Wesley "Fred". Wesley looked at my dad all weird and said "Papa, my name is NOT Fred" and my dad looked at him and said "Well my name isn't Papa Rich!". They got a good chuckle. And of course Wesley kept calling him Papa Rich and dad kept calling him Fred all weekend. It was great.






Thursday, November 8, 2012

VOLT Report

I thought I'd take a moment and write a little post about the electric car out in the garage. As of this weekend I'll have put 2,000 miles on the Volt. I've got to say it's completely changed the way I think about driving. Even though it has a back-up gasoline engine I'd say I get obsessed about NOT using it. I ask myself "Can I get there and back only using the battery?" If the answer is "No," then I ask myself "How can I get there and back without using gas?" This has turned me into the typical little old lady driver. I take back roads, I don't take highways, I coast up to stop signs and stop lights, and if nobody is behind me I go well under the speed limit. All these things combined can get me up to 47 miles to a charge (my personal best).

The car likes to tell me I'm getting 250+ miles per gallon. It's a mind boggling number.
Like I said, the car is not 100% electric. It does have a back up gasoline engine that acts as a generator to run the electric engine. The gas engine gets 37 mpg if you use it solely without the battery. But there is a little loop hole that Volt owners use to get better mpg's if they are traveling past their battery range. The car has several modes in which you can drive. One of the modes is called "Mountain Mode" and this particular mode causes the gas engine to run at such a high rpm that it charges the battery while you are driving. Cool eh? So if you have a long drive ahead of you all you do is deplete the battery (not all the way), put it in Mountain Mode, charge the battery while driving, switch it back into battery mode, deplete the battery and repeat. I've "heard" this method can get you up to 50 mpg. We will be finding out if this is true this weekend. I'm anxious to see if this works.

I was worried about the size of the car when we got it. It's not a big car. I'm used to driving bigger vehicles. The last car I drove was a SUV of sorts and I carried all sorts of things in it including feed bags, straw bales and my personal favorite, baby goats. I knew there would have to be some changes made to what I could and could not carry in this car. Probably no more baby goats. But I'm happy to say I've already loaded the car full of 50# feed bags and a weeks worth of groceries (horse feed in the front seat and goat feed and groceries under the back hatch with Greta in between).

It's a great car and I'm having fun with it.

Plugged in and charging.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Wednesday Write-Up

-I've been trying to decide if it's wrong to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I just love the house all decorated and the kids absolutely get excited at the thought. Greta already is pointing out each and every decorated Christmas tree in the stores. I figure anything that puts me in a good mood is worth doing. I guess I just decided.

-So I'm standing at the post office window on Monday, shipping out a sculpture, when my oldest child starts screaming. It started out low and got louder and louder. I look down to find Greta biting Wesley's arm, causing him to scream. Seriously, I don't know what goes through her three year old brain sometimes.

-I've really been enjoying my morning ritual. I rush around getting the kids fed, lunches made and Wesley to school and then when I get home I reward myself with a soak in the tub. It's such a relaxing end to a hectic morning. I've been reading a ton and am enjoying my latest book "Concrete Blonde" by Michael Connelly. At this rate I'll have read all his books by the end of the year. I just eat up murder mysteries.

-We got Amazon Prime for the year to try it out and I have to admit we love it! We order quite a bit from Amazon and it's paid for itself already. The two day shipping has completely spoiled me. We must not forget about the Prime Instant Videos. I've been watching all sorts of shows that aren't on NetFlix. It's just great. One of the best $70 spent.

-I was sitting on the couch last weekend looking at our coffee table which has become worn over the past year. Let's just say the kids haven't been kind to it. The varnish is starting to chip and it needs to be refinished. But I don't feel like refinishing it (again) so I'm thinking of painting it with my new found chalk paint.  I've heard it holds up wonderfully once waxed, so I'm dragging the coffee table outside to the driveway and painting it today. I have a quart of black, we'll see how it looks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Work work work, all day long.

We have been busy little beavers lately. Apparently having company coming pushes us into high gear. All the projects that are half done are getting completed in the next two weeks. I have to admit I like having people visit, the house never gets cleaner than right before a visit. Sean has been using some of his vacation time to finish up the siding on the south side of the house. Last weekend he and Rich worked hard to pull off the siding which was nailed and glued up there with industrial strength something. It just wouldn't come off easily. But it's off now and Hubby is out there, as I write, cutting siding. I'm sure he's as excited as I am to cross this project off the list. The siding had to be replaced before the deck can go up, so now there is nothing stopping us from building a deck....except a long, cold winter. I'm really looking forward to a deck in the spring.

We are all excited to host Thanksgiving this year. It will be a first to have everyone here, usually we travel to see the family. Greta is probably the most excited. Every day we talk about who is coming and she gets downright giddy when we mention her cousin Berkley will be here. Her cousin who is the same age as she is. Oh to have another little girl to play with for several days. The funny part is she can't remember how to say Berkley's name so she calls her "Broccoli". Hehe.

I suppose it's time to get back to work. I have to paint siding, go pick up new tires for the car, vote and paint a coffee table today. Hope everyone is having a great week!

My cute boys.

Thanks Papa Rich, appreciate your help!

Time out for a bike ride....and a work out! Try pulling 85 pounds on dirt roads. Whew.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Counting

I don't know why I look at Pinterest. I just get hungry. I want to make every recipe on there but if I did I'd weigh 300 pounds. Just this morning I found this homemade recipe for Butterfinger bars. As if having two candy buckets brimmed full of Halloween candy wasn't enough. Ugh. I've been doing so good too. You see I've started calorie counting as of two weeks ago and it's going a lot smoother than I thought it would. I felt I needed to do something since Fall and Winter are the months I tend to put on a little weight. I just don't have it in me to run this winter. In fact I don't know where the motivation came from last year....I suppose the half marathon in the spring had something to do with it. I've been focusing on weights three days a week, doing the BowFlex in the basement but cardio is just not happening.

I started using an awesome website called MyFitnessPal.com. It's free and it tracks what you eat, calorie intake and exercise. The food database is great, I've yet to find a food that isn't in there (even the Red Lobster menu the other evening). When I logged in the first time it asks your height, weight and goal weight and then creates a calorie goal to get you to your goal weight. I'm not trying to loose many pounds...just a few, really just trying to maintain over the winter until I get back to running in the spring. So far so good, four pounds down in two weeks. Give it a try!