Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Mother's Protege

I had to show off my foyer because I finally have the wall space I needed to hang my mom's 1st Christmas gift to us as a married couple- her cross stich. My mom has been an avid craft nut my whole life- painting, sewing, cross stitching, designing, antiquing, refurbishing old furniture, you name it.... I remember being in 5th grade and watching her grow gourds in our backyard for the purpose of sanding them, painting them, and turning them into realistic Santa faces complete with beard and hat. They came out quite beautifully and my mom was the rave of the neighborhood. I need to dig out a photo and show you- those silly gourds grew on thick vines, and they wound their way up our three story brick house, onto the eaves, and once even grew over the screen door. No one could get out until mom went to collect her "Santa Veggies". She really got into embossing and framing for awhile too. When we lived in Germany for three years, my mom and I used to partake of a German cultural event, called "Junking". Junking is where you leave your junk outside, and at all hours of the night it is completely legal to take their junk, and even leave some of yours in its place. I know that is where I learned to take nothing and find it a purpose and a home. I was the star of the show in 3rd grade, when for a book report my mom helped me make a then life-size paper mache rabbit, which stood over 4 ft. tall. I think I was the kid the other kids loved to hate. As a teacher, I see a lot of that now! : ) My dad also made a lot of furniture when I was younger, and the two of them would be in our basement all hours of the night finishing up projects. (Oh my gosh! David and I have craft rooms in our basement! Are we turning into our parents??)My mom's sister is the exact same way! They used to make Christmas decor that would put Kirklands out of business. I guess what I am trying to say is that crafting, decorating, and creativity run in my family. I am so happy to be able to display her "McCash" cross stitch in my foyer. Every time I see it, it just says to me, Welcome Home!"

Monday, July 30, 2007

The "Man-Room"

David had a room made for himself in our walk-out basement- the place where men can be men, and the wives better not touch their power tools! I have made this mistake already when I innocently went looking for some nails among the rubble. I guess he does need one space in the house he can escape to that isn't a primary color and doesn't smell like Crabtree and Evelyn linen spray. He made sure it was heated and cooled to ensure round-year enjoyability. Do you remember my dinner fiasco? This is what I found the next morning while he was at work! It looks like my marinated ham gave him just the energy he needed to saw late into the night! : ) I'm glad he has a place to go to be creative. I'm not quite sure what he is up to in there, but I will keep checking back.

Home Sweet Home

The brick and rock crews have finished and left, the retaining wall held the mud up pretty well last night with the thunderstorm that came through, and David's shutters are now hung! He made them out of leftover wood the framers left behind, and stained them a shade similar to that of our brick. We wanted to be different than our neighbors, so instead of having a slender shutter on each side of the windows, David suggested making fat ones that would "cover" the window. At night, it looks great when our exterior house lights hit them. Great idea, Dave! We installed the lights that shine up, rather than the ones that shine down out of the eaves. Since our brick is randomly pulled out to create that "old world" look, the light hitting them makes the house look almost creepy. Especially with all the tree branches being lit up. That's right kids- mean ol' Mrs. McCash lives here. It's haunted. Stay away! : )
(Note: In the bottom two pictures, Bichon is crying for her mamma! Awwwwww!! Can you find her?) : )

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Rice-A-Roni Saved Me!

I'm actually quite embarrassed to blog about this, and I considered keeping it my little secret, but if my story can help someone else, I feel it my duty to bare my soul and share it. Basically, the rice-a-roni saved me. Not in a life and death sorta way, but like in a "cover my main dish in rice-a-roni and maybe he won't notice he is eating clumps of corn starch" way. It all started tonight when David said he was hungry for dinner, even though I cooked a fantastic homemade tortilla soup only a few hours before as a late lunch. Being the wife that I am, I told him I would "whip" something up, and that is far more true than the saying goes! Being that we are on a bit of a grocery budget with the pending new mortgage, I found some leftover ham in the'fridge and decided to make good use of it. It is about 9:17 p.m. by the way, and organizing ribbon, color coordinating my sock drawer, and breathing mold in the garage all day has taken its toll on my judgement. This ham is solid- like not pre sliced- and boneless. I remembered seeing Rachael Ray cook something up that was Hawaiian or Polynesian in nature once. It was a ham dish and looked so fast and easy. Though I had no recipe on hand, I knew I could do it. I started the rice-a-roni, green beans, and went about making the Hawaiian marinade. I opened two cans of pineapple tidbits and heated them in a skillet. It didn't look anything remotely like Rachael Ray's version, so I kept adding- brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon. Hmmmm... smells good, but so thin. What to do? Then it hit me! Add corn starch. Here's the problem- I have never used corn starch in my life. David has a stir fry he makes, and I have seen him use it to make a gravy of some sort, but I've never actually made it because it is his "claim to fame" and I wouldn't want to be on his turf like that. I opened the box and manually dumped in about a 1/2 cup right into the hot skillet full of pineapple goodies. Well, as you can imagine, it formed hard balls of white clumps, wouldn't mix, and started to boil into some sort of jelly- or jello, give or take! I tried my best to mash it, mix it, stir it up, but it just wouldn't have any of that. I added a whole can of chicken broth folks, and it still was thick enough to smear on dinner rolls. In my desperation I threw it off the stove and opened another can of pineapple (note to self: buy more pineapple; you used it all.) Everything else was done, so I thought I would make our plates and serve him restaurant style. I am the master of deceit when it comes to "presentation", so I dug the ham out of the slop, poured the new pineapple over it and packed the rice-a-roni around it tighter than white on rice. When David emerged from his "man room" downstairs, he asked what we were having and I said Rachael Ray's Hawaiian marinated ham. Well, needless to say, he ate it without saying a word, though I know he must have found the cornstarch balls a bit flavorless. He kissed me on the head, and retreated back into his room to drill and hammer, leaving me with another dilemma. Will the garbage disposal eat this? How am I going to get this pan clean? To make a long story short, I feel as if I should apologize to poor Miss. Ray. David doesn't think highly of her, and wonders how her cookbooks have sold over a million copies. Sorry, Rachael.

And they say....She's so lucky, she's a star.......

I am such a lucky girl! On Friday, I had six visitors, four of which were unexpected and a surprise! Brandy and her daughter Jordan, Amy and her son Zayde, and Alana and her husband Cory, a fellow teacher, all came to see us! We love having company, and seeing our friends makes for a perfect day. Brandy and Amy came bearing gifts: some new stamps, and a handmade picture frame! Too cute, girls! Thank you much! As words of the ever-wise Britney Spears go, "And they say, she's so lucky! She's a star....." Me that is, to have friends like you!

Friday, July 27, 2007

UCA Cheer Camp 2007- at the UofA

Rachel went to cheer camp all this week at the Uof A. It was hosted by UCA, and she had a lot of fun. Her squad, from Farmington, bunked in Yokum Hall on campus and practiced in the Hyper. Going to support her brought back a lot of good memories for me, being that UofA is my Alma Mater. I also remembered being on Pom Squad myself and all the jumping around I did (thus, the skinny thighs, I suppose!) Today was their last day, so I got up at 6:00 a.m. to be there at 7:00 to watch her dance and cheer. I rode with her dad, and we met her boyfriend there.They competed against schools from all over Arkansas- Forest City, Malvern, Joplin, etc... She is a senior this year, so I know it must have been a little sad for her. They wons some trophies, looked cute, and had the prettiest ponytails- that's all that matters anyway! : )

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mudslides Be Gone!

At 8:00 a.m. the brick and stone layers returned to finish out the steps, and begin the retaining wall. It is stair stepped, so that we can incorporate our landscaping with it. It is done in our exterior brick to make it appear as just an extension of our house. It will hopefully stop our precious dirt from running off the back of our mountain- as I like to call it. It was around 8:00 p.m. and they were still out there working! I felt so sorry for them. The main brick layer, whose name is Pepe, speaks fairly good English, so I asked him what his opinion was of lemonade. His face lit up, so I ran in, grabbed a pitcher, some cups, and some chocolate cookies, and fed the crew a little snack. My mom came by for a visit, and Bichon was beside herself with joy! Bichon plus GiGi equals treats for no reason! Lemonade anyone? : )