Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eek! A Mouse!

My husband is a sales rep for Bathfitters, and his post is located inside the mall. That means, when the mall had extended holiday shopping hours, Hubby and his co-workers also had extended work hours. That means he had to work at 6 am one morning. That means he had to get up at 4:30 so he could leave the house at 5 to get to work by 6. That means I have to get up early with the kids and let the dog out and feed the cats.

So, one of those early mornings when I was walking around like a zombie in the dark, BC the cat pounced into the kitchen with a mouse! Eeek! A mouse! He let the mouse go and proceeded to play cat-and-mouse with the poor little thing.

Now I know it's what cats do, they play with their victims until it's dead and then either leave it and walk away, or if they are hungry, eat it. But I don't want to see the poor mouse suffer.

With Maisie the puppy getting curious, BC grabbed the mouse and ran off into the other room. I followed to keep an eye on the whereabouts of the mouse, but BC didn't like the audience and took the mouse and went into the living room. I decided to give him his space and busy myself in the kitchen.

Well, about 5 minutes later, here comes BC looking all frustrated. He is looking around and sniffing under the fridge, then the oven, the cabinets and behind the trash can. Oh dear. He lost the mouse! Just then, the girls woke up and I had hoped the mouse business would have been over with before they got out of bed. Now I had to tell them a mouse was on the loose in the house and to keep an eye out for it.

The girls took it as a challenge and grabbed flashlights and went on a mouse hunt! They searched everywhere-- under the couch, under the TV stand, behind the furniture, under, over and every place in between. That mouse was seriously gone. ugh!

I spent the rest of the day with my eyes on the floor, constantly searching for a brown body, hoping that I'd be the one to find it and not the girls.

Maisie found it! I have no idea where she found it, but later in the afternoon, she was seen with a mouse in her mouth! I chased her down and disposed of the mouse. That's the end of that!

Or so I thought.

Yesterday, walking by the fridge, I smelled something that you don't ever want to smell in your home. It smelled pretty strong and I knew, just knew, something was dead around there. Hubby was at work last night, so I waited until morning. If what I'm smelling is indeed a dead body, it's not going anywhere.

Hubby smelled it and agreed, something died. we pulled out the fridge and other than lots of dust bunnies and few fridge magnets and some papers, nothing. He took off the back, nothing. It had to be under the fridge. We emptied the fridge and he tilted it, and sure enough, I peek under and see the dead body of a mouse. Talk about stinky! We disposed of the body, cleaned up under there, vacuumed the coils and washed the floor. All before breakfast!

Now that better be the end of that!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Hand Made Christmas: A Success!

We had a nice Christmas at Hubby's parent's house. His sister and her family were there, his two aunts, us, and a couple of friends. It was a fun day and I was anxious to see how our nephews would like the monsters I made them.

Everything I gave was hand made this year. The adults all received a box filled with goodies: A fudge sampler that included Rocky Road fudge, peanut butter fudge, and chocolate mint fudge; spicy gingersnap cookies; chocolate muddy buddies made from cereal nick-named "Puppy Chow" from Maisie the puppy; 2 kinds of jam: crazyberry and peach; and a sewn bird ornament. It looks like everything was well-received and I hope the goodies I made are being enjoyed.

The 5-year old got a new pooh bear earlier in the morning and after getting the monster, both stayed in his arms for the rest of the afternoon.

The 7-year old absolutely went bonkers over his monster and named him Bob. Bob! He made Bob bounce all over every one's head, give everyone hugs and kisses and Bob really got into every one's faces. Over and over, my nephew came up to me thanking me for his new monster and how much he loved Bob the Monster.
I'm so tickled!

I made my first dolly and gave her to my Niece, who refused to hold it for a picture. I got my lovely assistant, Youngest, to hold it for me. My niece is almost 3 and she was more interested in ripping wrapping paper off of presents than what was inside the boxes. When she opened the box I had wrapped the dolly in, she picked it up and tossed it aside, then went for the next present. I hope after the excitement of Christmas settles down, she will play with the dolly. I gave her red hair because my niece has red hair. I love the red striped stockinged legs I gave her.

We still have my mom and my aunt and uncle coming over this week and I have to whip up 2 more bird ornaments to add to their box of goodies. They'll get here on Wed and stay until Friday and I am looking forward to their stay here. I'll be making my turkey pot pie of my own creation and will share the recipe with you on my next post. Bring your appetite, it's tasty!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Maisie Update

Poor Maisie...

I spent the day following her around with paper towels and cleaner, wiping up diarrhea. We all went to my husband's parents' house for Christmas and Maisie got into the turkey carcass. Whoops! So when she got diarrhea, I assumed it was from the turkey. Then I saw something wiggle. Upon closer inspection-- worms! Ugh!

I called the vet, hoping I could get an appointment for Maisie, like NOW, TODAY, PRONTO!! Luckily, they had an opening and we got an appointment for 4:30. In the meantime, I had to collect a stool sample-- ewww! It's not my idea of fun, grabbing wormy diarrhea and scooping it into a zippy bag.

Maisie has become a well-loved member of the family! It's already hard to imagine life without her! Maisie has claimed this kiddie chair for her own, and seeing Baby in it has not deterred her from sitting in it, she just plops herself on top of Baby! Good thing Baby thinks it's funny!

The girls have much fun pretending Maisie is a doll-baby. They make little beds for her and dress her in doll clothes. When I found out Maisie had worms and a friend of mine told me to not let Maisie lick our faces, I quickly had to put a stop to the playtime and warn the girls that Maisie was sick.
Turns out, poor Maisie has BOTH roundworms and tapeworms. She got 3 shots today, plus 3 oral doses of different medicines and a topical dose of flea medicine. Poor girl is all sore and konked out on the couch. We got rid of all her chew toys (thankfully it was only a couple of rawhide sticks and 2 squeaky toys) and I am in the process of washing all the doggy bedding. Hopefully we can kick some wormy butt and she'll be back in all her puppy glory in no time!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ollie Meets the Ladies

This place is rockin' Lips! Where'd you hear about this place?
Oh, a friend of a friend told me. She said it was monster friendly and they make a mean monster mash, too!
They sure do! These drinks are yummilicious! Too bad we couldn't get dates tonight.
Oh Flower, who needs dates?! I'm having fun with you girl!

Huwwo baybees!! Mind if I join you ladies?

The name is Ollie, what's yours?
I'm Lips and she's Flower. What's your sign?

(too many monster mashes later...)

9 days later (monsters reproduce fast!)...

Ollie, it's yours! Can't you see the resemblance?


This monster making stuff is fun! :o) All the kids in the family are getting one for Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Meet Ollie

Hmmm... looks like the coast is clear.

You there! Take me to your leader!


I'm just a friendly monster named Olvigerizajaspehdrizzlebughoopadoo, but you can call me Ollie for short.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!

I saw this on SewMamaSew and just fell in love with it! I didn't download the pattern. I just did it freehand and modified it to suit my fancy. The girls are in love with him, but I made him for Baby. I may have to make more for monster fights!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Puppy Days

This is the view we see every time we head out to town. It was particularly nice this day, as we love seeing the fog rise from the trees. We live right in the middle of the mountains and we are surrounded by other mountains, near and far.

Today makes one week since puppy has become part of the family. We named her Maisie.

If that mutt sticks her nose up my butt one more time, she's gonna get it!
The cats have taken to Maisie really well, considering. I think it helps that she is smaller than them and doesn't bark too much, but she has been getting braver and has actually tackled them.

We had an unseasonably warm day a couple days ago, and I shooed the kids and puppy outside to play. They wore each other out!

Maisie is all pooped out and naps on the couch. We don't mind her napping on the couch, we are of the mind that a dog becomes part of the family and we don't crate her. Our biggest challenge with her right now is the potty training-- it's 50/50. The girls also complain she bites and we explain that puppies like to play and their idea of playing is biting. The girls are asking Santa to bring chew toys for Maisie this Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008


I love snow peas! I love them so much I made some!

Aren't they hilarious?! I used Fimo Clay to make these, and they're really simple to make: 3 round "snowballs", a long green strip molded into a pea pod, then bits of orange and black for their eyes and carrot noses. Use a toothpick to poke a hole in the top and it's an ornament!

Looks great in the tree!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We drove long and far yesterday.

It was a long and winding drive, through snow-covered mountains, icy cliffs and lonely, deserted towns. The kids were amazingly good during the trip, because they knew where we were going and they didn't want to risk making Mom and Dad mad, or we'd turn around and go back home.

We ended up in a tiny town over 130 miles away, in the middle of the mountains. We came away with...

...this. A puppy!

After a near daily search on petfinder.com, we found a shelter that had this beauty and her 6 brothers and sisters. A cocker spaniel/boxer mix. You can see the boxer in her, and the spaniel, too, but mostly boxer. By the time we got there, 4 of her siblings were already adopted and we had to choose from 3. Such a hard decision, but we zeroed in on this one and we love her already!


She's still so little, she can't get up on the furniture without a little boost from us. She's around 7 weeks old. We gave her a bath and then let her explore her new digs.

She fascinates everyone! Even the husband is in love with her! She can't even eat without an audience! Good thing she isn't a shy eater.

I'm tired, can I sleep now? No more pictures, please.

We're glad we got her. She is fun and the girls just love her. She's smaller than the cats are and the cats don't seem threatened by her. Oh sure, the cats puff up their tails and one even swatted her on the head, but she hasn't barked at them or chased them down, so I am hoping they will accept her soon.

No name yet... we are still getting to know her and the right name will come to us eventually.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Where has the time gone? Do you realize there is less than 2 weeks left to Christmas?!? Ack!

I have so much left to do, I haven't even scratched the surface yet! I still have cookies to bake, fudge to make, gifts to sew, ornaments to create... We are doing all hand made this year, cuz our budget is tight and Hubby only works part time. It's enough to support us with food and gas to live on, but doesn't leave much for gifts.

I've started sewing a few things, but it seems like the kids are constantly vying for my attention and I find myself getting interrupted more often and I can't sew that way. Just today, when I was working on a quick little ornament on the sewing machine, Oldest was hovering right at my elbow. When I needed to move, her body blocked my elbow and I had to nudge her out of the way. Then she moved to the other side of me and brought her face way too close to the sewing machine and I couldn't concentrate. Then she started to fiddle with my scissors, the pin cushions, the fabric, the pattern, the thread-- "Stop!" I said. "I can't do this with you breathing down my neck!" I stopped what I was doing and put everything away.

That's another thing-- I have to put everything away. If I could just leave it out, I might get a lot more done, but I don't have a set sewing room. I keep my sewing machine on a little cabinet in the dining room and when I want to sew, I move it to the dining table and set everything up. It takes me an extra 10 minutes to get ready and I usually only have 20 minutes here and there. I'm thinking some rearranging might be in order after the craziness of the holidays is over. (hear that Hubby? *hint hint!*)

How about you? What are you making for gifts this year?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I find myself gravitating toward things that I grew up with, having a preference for stuff that my Mom or Dad had. I don't know if it is a comfort thing, but I certainly do enjoy using these old items, and when I find them, I practically squeal with delight!

Mom had a set of melamine splatterware mixing bowls. I clearly remember breaking one and not really understanding why she got so upset. I knew she had 2 more, so what was the big deal? As an adult, I look back on that day and wince, shaking my head at my own naivete. I know now that certain items have sentimental value to them, and that particular set of mixing bowls was given to my mom by her own mother and at the time I broke it, their relationship was strained, to say the least.

I have, over the years, found my own set of melamine splatterware bowls, though they don't match, and I use these every time I bake. Cookies, cake, bread... it's my favorite set of bowls and as much as I love my Pyrex bowls, the melamine bowls are the first ones I reach for. I would be devasted if one of my kids broke one, but there is no sentimental value attached to them, I just like using them.

I found this green sewing basket at the flea market last week. I gasped when I saw it. My mom had one just like it, only hers was pink and round. After a quick price check (oh please please please), I was delighted to see I could afford it! I snapped it up and if I had found nothing else that day, that would have been just fine with me.

I remember going through my mom's sewing basket when I was a kid. She still has it, I think, but I haven't seen it in so long-- 20 years at least. I would finger the loose buttons on the bottom and admire the pretty spools of thread, carefully open the cardboard packet of sharp needles and stare in awe at the row of pointy, shiny tips. I loved her tomato pin cushion with the strawberry and I'd take the pins out and make designs with them all around the tomato.

This must have been around the time I started to fall in love with sewing. My sister was the crafty one, teaching herself to crochet and do counted cross stitch, but I was the sewing one. When I was 16, my mom gave me her old sewing machine (above). Her mom gave it to her when she was 16. It's a beautiful machine, heavy, gray and pink. I loved it. Still do, but it is not working now, and I've had to replace it with a newer one. The new one doesn't compare, though, and after a few years, it is already in need of repair. I'd like to fix my old one and use it again. It has a musty smell that I've never been able to get rid of, and every time I open the case, the smell takes me back to when I was 16. It also has that old electrical smell and as weird as it sounds, I love that smell.

I found this old one at the dump a few years ago and it is made by the same company as my lovely pink and gray one. I thought I might be able to use it for parts, though it is an older model. I need to find a sewing machine repair man that would be familiar with an older machine. Might get lucky in these parts, living here, where people hold on to things past.

My mom asked me once why I liked old things, and thinking about it now, it's because I grew up with them. They are intwined with my memories, and when I see it, feel it, touch it, smell it, it takes me back again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Make Your Own: Baby Food!

Has anyone priced baby food lately?

Good grief! That stuff's expensive! The last time I bought jarred baby food for my Youngest was nearly 2 years ago and it didn't cost as much as it does now. So, as any mother would do on a tight budget, I make my own baby food.

It's not hard, I did it with the first 3, but the jarred baby food was a convenience factor, when I was too lazy to make some or we were eating pop tarts for dinner. What? Don't tell me you don't have pop-tarts for dinner, too!

You could use a blender or food processor, but I happen to have one of these human-powered food mills. I had a hard time finding mine 6 years ago when I popped out my first baby, but they might be easier to find now with the whole organic/grow your own/ green movement.

Anyway, whatever I make for dinner that night, I'll cook extra and grind it up in the handy-dandy food mill. Tonight was pot pie, so I had both peas and carrots to grind. Grind it up then freeze in little portions in an ice cube tray.

After freezing for a couple of hours, pop the veggie cubes out and then put in separate zippy bags and keep it in the freezer until needed.

I take a couple of cubes at a time, and I use these vintage glass custard cups. You could use whatever is handy, but I like vintage stuff. Reheat in the microwave (30 seconds for mine) then I also add a little bit of rice cereal and water to make it a little more filling.

Baby is smacking his lips and saying, "more more!"

I can't get it in his mouth fast enough! Oh, like the bib? I made it. It's pink, I know. It's from when Oldest was a baby and why should I get rid of it just because my latest baby is a boy? A bib is a bib!

"Hellooooo! I'm waiting!"

Oh, sorry, Baby. Here ya go! Yum-yum-mum-mum-mmmmm!

See? Good food makes a happy Baby!
Aren't you a happy Baby. Yes you are! Yes you are! Such a happy baby boy! Aren't you a Hap--
Sorry. I'll go now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stocking Up

If certain people saw this post, I would be accused of being a hoarder. I certainly do hoard, but only items that my family can use-- like food and soap and shampoo. I don't hoard clothing, or books or newspapers, I routinely go through rooms and discard, donate or sell items that are no longer being used or broken, or if it can be recycled and reused, it goes out to the garage or basement.

I was once accused of hoarding cats. I was 'sick' for having so many cats. We had 7 at the time. I admit, kittens are a weakness of mine, my kryptonite, and I found it hard to say no while looking at a kitten. I've gotten stronger now, and have been able to "just say no" when someone offers a free kitten. Unlike cat hoarders you read about in the news, our cats are all fixed and in good health and have plenty of food and water. We have 4 left from the original 7, plus 1 from my aunt and uncle that we took in when they had to spend lots of time in the hospital following an accident.

Anyway, I was reading an article recently about how people save money when it comes to food. It listed many ways to save, such as more home cooked meals and less eating out; more cooking from scratch and less heat-and-eat meals; using coupons; waiting for sales; and making menu plans that turn leftovers into a whole 'nother meal. It listed nothing new for me to learn, I already use a lot of those ideas and have been for years.

For example, I get coupons from my MIL who gets coupons from an aunt and her daughter. By the time they get to me, I will have several duplicates of the same coupon. The local food store is having a 2-day special on tomato soup-- 3 for $1. Limit 6. Limits don't stop me, I'll just go back in after I buy 6 and get 6 more. I also happened to have coupons, multiple coupons. With the sale price and the coupon, I've picked up 6 cans for 26 cents each. That's a good deal.

Is that hoarding to you? Buying 24 cans of tomato soup for 26 cents a can? We use a lot of tomato soup, in several kinds of dishes such as stews, shepard's pie, and sloppy joes and then also as, well, soup.

I will also do price comparison. Which store charges less for similar items. I'll try the store brand, which is often cheaper than name brands. Sometimes, though, the name brand really does taste better. Those big warehouse places? They don't always have the best bang for your buck. A couple weeks ago, I saw a sale on canned corn. My corn in the garden did poorly this year, so we have to buy instead and we also have a preference for this particular brand. One store had them on sale; 2 for $1 (they have been cheaper in past years, but with inflation... this is the best I have seen). I happened to be at the warehouse store where they had a pack of 8 cans for $6 (or something like that). Do the math. I sent Hubby to buy me 24 cans of corn on his way to work one day.

Sometimes, in the coupons, there will be a 'free' coupon. I might not use that particular item, but if it's free, I'll get it. Then I'll take that item and donate it to the food banks or to an organization that helps people. We don't have a dog (yet), but I frequently see coupons for free bags of treats, a can of food or a bag of dry food. I'll use them, then take the dog food to the animal shelter. They are always in need of food and other items, and it didn't cost me anything, except a little detour to the shelter.

I don't consider what I do as hoarding. I consider it being a smart shopper, saving money that we don't have a lot of, and making sure my family has what it needs to be healthy. We practice FIFO- First In, First Out- and rotate the pantry items accordingly. We freeze what we cannot eat fast enough, like when the local produce store had green peppers on sale for cheap and I bought 10 on the spot (another garden item that didn't do well this past summer). And I will also keep my eye out for 'day old' items, such as bread or meat. Prices get slashed half off sometimes, and I can modify my meal plan to accommodate purchases like these.

Any other "hoarders" like me out there?

Bad Dog!

We went thrift store shopping yesterday and this was spotted. Too funny!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bibs & Burpcloth Sets For Sale

I have been making these Bib and Burpcloth Sets for a few years and sell them at the children's consignment shop that I work at. I thought I'd see if any one would be interested in buying some from here. They are hand made and durable, most of them made with thick decorating fabric in cotton and backed with chenille (other materials used will be listed underneath the photo). I use snaps for fastening, because I don't like the way velcro will grab and pick up bits and pieces in the wash and later, lose their effectiveness. All Bibs have two snaps for adjusting to neck sizes and grow with your child. They wash and dry with normal wash cycles.

I have a Paypal account and if anyone is interested in any of these, leave a comment stating which one you want and your email and I will send you an invoice. Once payment is received, they will be shipped out the next day. They are $12 for each set.

* Edited to add: Shipping will be exact cost to your address. After I contact you via email for your address, I will have the package weighed at the post office and let you know what the cost would be.

These make lovely gifts, too!

Blue Hawaiian- 1 available

Handbags on yellow, backed with cotton terrycloth- 1 available

Blue Geometric- 2 available

Fruit backed with wavy chenille- 1 available

Satin Koi Fish- 1 available (the Satin washes well and does very good as a bib. I still use a satin bib from when Oldest was a baby 6 years ago!)

Green Race cars- 3 available

Green Satin backed with wavy chenille - 1 available

Black Flower Power- 1 available

Polka Dots- 3 available

Sparkly Purple Flowers- 2 available