Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life Happens...

I know I have been a bit lax in my blog posting lately.  I had one all planned for today, but a math-doer and  and a job-hunter beat me to the computer chair...And really, blog posting can't really override those things!  Then it was off to the doctor's office to get another prescription for Prince Go-for-it's rebounding sinus infection.                 

Of course, I should be better prepared than that, but it's a wild time around here, and it was a particularly busy weekend.  Saturday, a carload of us went to a big city mall in search of bridesmaid and other wedding wear.  It was a pretty productive trip, as Princess Sassy and Prince Steadfast also found and purchased his wedding band, as well as his full wedding ensemble.  But by the time we left, traffic was heavy, 
particularly since main roads to and from the highway were closed, due to construction.  We were also already late to our niece's graduation party.  The rest of the afternoon and into the evening was spent celebrating with her and others of Hubby's family.                                                                                                      
Sunday Hubby worked away at his parents' house on the remodel, while I nursed my cold at home.  He ran to the hardware store for longer screws to install drawer pulls when he unhappily discovered he was sans wallet.                                                                                                                                
Monday morning he searched around the house with no luck, reaching down into furniture cushions, turning couches upside down, etc.  He had a list of things he wanted to accomplish at his parents' home, and was frustrated to be without his driver's license.  We finally set out to retrace the steps of his weekend, since he last remembered using his wallet on Friday.  We drove to his office, to the auto parts store, and made the 45-minute drive to his brother's house, including the walk down the hill to the beach (then back up...pant-pant) to hunt through the cracks and crevices of boulders where he'd thrown his jacket on Saturday.   At that point I called home and offered $5 or a hamburger and fries 
The Wallet-hiding chair
meal at the local A&W for any kid who located the wallet at home.  We were halfway to his parents' to go through that house when Princess Eager called to report her finding.  The wallet was just under/behind the chair... In our bedroom!                                                                        
Ah, well.  We were just happy we didn't have to cancel credit cards and replace his license.  We continued to his parents' home where he installed a couple of pulls while I chose paint colors for the garage  and front doors.                                                                                                                        
Now back to my regular-scheduled blogging, or there won't be a Twosome Tuesday post for tomorrow!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Image thanks to www.freeflowerspictures.net
Bearded Iris and Memorial Day go together for me.  When I was very young, it was the day Grandma would come by our house to choose the best from our side flower garden to take to the cemetery.  That's all I knew of Memorial Day then.                                                                                                                         
On last night's news we heard that a young man of Prince Stoic's age, a graduate of our local high school were Hubby teaches, joined the many brave soldiers who have fought and died on behalf of our country and others who need our help.  May he rest in peace, and his family, friends, and all affected in our community have my sympathies and prayers.  For Adam, and others who have sacrificed their lives, we pause to remember...and especially honor them this holiday.                                                                                    

"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude; American will never forget their sacrifice." 
President Harry S. Truman

"They fought together as brothers-in-arms, they died together, and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation." 
Admiral Chester Nimitz

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Chives Live On!

You may remember that a few weeks ago, I pulled out, separated, and replanted my overgrown chives, leaving extras to dry and die.  (Shown in May 11th's  (Almost) Wordless Wednesday post)  It was time to run in and make dinner by the time I finished that day, and life's been busy, so the discarded plants have been lying on the old concrete slab ever since...with bare roots exposed to cold nights and at least a few sunny and dry days.  Not exactly the steps for Conscientious Plant Care 101.                                                          
So, when late this past week, I went to check on recently planted veggies, I was surprised to see scenes shown in the photos... prolific amounts of chive flowers, reaching for the sun.                                                                                         
Why is it that plants I don't want live on and thrive, while those I cultivate carefully and really want to produce wilt away?!   

I can only laugh...and think maybe I'd better try some of the chive blossom culinary ideas presented in Oddly beautiful... by Gena at A Bluebonnet in Beantown.   I have a feeling, though, if chive blossoms can be bitter, as she says, these would be.    


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Porch Bling

As the trees green and garden plants begin to bloom (finally), it motivates me to beautify our front porch.                                                                                                                                                             
The hanging pots the kids and Hubby got me for Mother's Day help a lot, but, in a subtler way, so does a decorative item we made a few years ago.                                                                                                    
While in the planning and framing stage of our build, we were motivated by our trips to tile stores to stretch our creative wings while waiting for the house to be finished.  It was Christmas time and we decided to make these as gifts...                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
With only a few dollars investment for each gift, we bought terracotta saucers from the garden section of our local hardware store, and bags of glass tiles in the kids' choice of colors.  We also needed craft glue and tile nippers, in addition to various color of left over grout we had on hand.                                                                                                                                                                        
Patterns were designed, some simple, some not, then tiles were arranged and cut, as necessary.  We glued them into place, allowed them to dry for a day or two, then grouted.  These were the result...Suitable for serving trays, or their original purpose, as drip trays under potted plants.  We enjoy ours on our front porch.                                                                                                                                                      

I'll be sharing these on Laxsupermom's Before Blogging Throwback Thursdays linkup party on Sugar & Spice in the Land of Balls & Sticks.  Join me there and see what other bloggers have to show.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

On one of our recent sunny days, Prince CuddleBunny asked me to go into our woods with him to locate a ball he thought was there.  I admit that in the 5 years we've lived here, I haven't explored that corner of the property.  I don't know why, since I love the woods.

Actually, I do know why.  This is the view of the 'entrance' to the woods, and I figured the whole path was like it... bushy, wet, and tangled with thorny blackberry vines and spider webs.  

I wasn't thinking, because I should've known that where the tree cover limited the sunshine, it would be different...  I've been missing out.  Such a beautiful and restful world in there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Twosome Tuesday: Wedding Invitations

Invitations are the first impression of the weddings to those attending...The first step in setting the tone with the style and the wording.

#1)  For this wedding, we not only need a lot of invitations for the 325-person guest list, but also 2 different invitations.  One will go to those invited to the small wedding, and one for those invited only to the much larger reception.                                                                                                                                             
Even though the wedding is in a park and the ceremony itself will be outside, it's intended to be elegant and formal.  We want the invitations to help communicate that.  I suggested having the more traditional raised printing, which eliminated home-printing, or stationery done by a copy/print business.                                                                                                                                                                       
Our first stop was Party City, which had several books of options.  The most affordable option was a one-piece type of invitation (Fold & Send), in which the invitation folded in 3's and didn't require an envelope.  A more casual invitation style, overall, but the font and design could retain the formal impression.                                                                                                 
The options for that style were quite limited.  Only 1 or 2 of the large invitation sample books had any at all.  So we went home to shop on the internet.                                                                                                                                                                                   
I was pleasantly surprised to find that our Costco membership allowed us to order from einvite.com with a significant discount.  Princess Sassy and Prince Steadfast chose the card style they preferred, and we worked on font styles and sizes until we got the configuration they loved.  The lettering would be dark blue and gray, and the inner envelope would be lined in silver.                                                                                                                                                 
The price was all very reasonable for the 125 reception invitations, but the smaller batch of 25 for the wedding was much less economical, per invitation, and added significantly to the cost.  Still, compared to the others we'd priced, the $351 total seemed like the best we could expect.  Thank goodness I didn't get in too big a hurry to order...

#2)  Princess Bossy had this situation well in hand, and planned from the beginning.  She visited Michael's craft store in Oklahoma, and quickly decided on an print-it-yourself orange invitation that, with the addition of ribbon trim, will coordinate with her wedding colors.  She was happy and satisfied, so I was, too, even though I was still disregarding the DIY route for Princess Sassy's wedding... Until, that is, we had some hard numbers in terms of dollars.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
A day or so after I'd figured the grand total on the evite order, Princess Bossy called me from Michael's and was discussing how many invitations she needed and mentioned a price around $20 - 40.  WHOA!  She needed only about 1/3 of the invitations that Princess Sassy needed, but that meant more savings to be found by investigating a similar plan.  The importance of raised printing faded in comparison to cutting the cost by a couple of hundred dollars.

Back to #1...
The next time I was in the neighborhood of our nearest Michael's, I stopped in to see what was available in printable stationery.  For a first try, I found some simple but elegant ivory cards that had a pearly raised border, and some white cards with glossy embossed floral decorations.  These were $1.99 for 10 cards and envelopes.  I was able to print out a couple of examples for the prince and princess.  Any concerns about lack of elegance or quality were soothed, and they were on board.                                                                                                                                        
Princess Sassy accompanied me to Michael's the next time, and chose a wedding invitation set that includes the invitation, direction cards, ribbon trim, and beautiful silver envelopes.  They won't use the RSVP cards, as such, but may be able to use them for thank-yous later.  We needed 4 boxes, and each was $40... But were on sale at 40% off, so all of their invitations cost less than $110.  The $200 in savings was moved to the budget for her dress and veil.

Printing Notes:  
It took a bit of fiddling with borders and fonts to get the invitation for Sassy and Steadfast 'just right.'  But the invitations are truly beautiful when printed.  The hard part for theirs is getting the driving instructions worked out...as there are 3 different directions from which guests will travel, and 3 completely different routes from each.  I'm still working on that, and am sure we'll figure out something, even if we have to print 3 different cards and pay close attention to which we put in whose invitation.  The great thing about printing our own invitations is that we can customize that way with no extra expense.  It won't cost more for the fewer wedding pieces than for the larger batch of reception invitations.  One downside to this particular style is that the square shape means higher postage.                                                                                                                                           
Princess Bossy is having a little more problem with her invitations.  They are long and narrow, so it took a little more margin adjustment to get them centered and printing out within the parameters.  Her RSVP cards printed out perfectly.  However, the invitation paper is a little glossy and the ink jet printer ink doesn't like it.  It's fuzzy and doesn't want to dry.  We're going to have to try a laser printer instead.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Make-It-After-the-Track-Meet Spinach Lasagna

Shivering my way through another junior high track meet, I dreamed of a nice, hot dinner to warm our bones.  Having not started anything ahead of time, I was faced with some sort of quick convenience meal, or a new idea.  I was craving lasagna, so in between events, came up with a fast-to-make version.  I would have about 40 minutes, between when I got home and the hungry athletes came in behind me, to make this happen.                                                                                                                              
Quick Spinach Lasagna

I began by heating a big pot of water to boiling in which to cook
14 oz of rotini pasta (I use Barilla Plus, which is multigrain with Omega 3s and more protein than standard pastas...Any shape you like would work, of course.)   
according to package directions.                                                                                                                                                                                             
I preheated the oven to 375 degrees, and stirred together
2 to 2 1/2 cups Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese (Cottage cheese works, too)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
then loaded it into a ZipLoc bag which had one corner snipped off, and set it aside.                                                                                                                                                  
I simplified the layering steps, first by mixing the cooked pasta with
5 - 6 cups Spaghetti Sauce -- our faves are homemade or Prego Traditional                                                                                                                                 
In a greased, glass baking pan (9 x 13), I layered the elements in this order:                                                                                  
1)  Half of the pasta and sauce mixture                                                                                
2)  2 - 3 cups Spinach leaves, uncooked                                                                                                       
3)  The reserved Ricotta cheese mixture, extruded through the corner of a plastic bag (like using a pastry bag).  This distributed the soft cheese more evenly and made it easier to spread over the loose leaves.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
4)  1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded                                                                                      
5)  Remaining half of the pasta mix                                                                 
6)  1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese                                                                                                            
To speed the heating process, I covered the dish with plastic wrap and microwaved on high for 10 minutes, then removed the plastic (beware of hot steam), and placed the pan in the oven to heat to bubbly and brown.                                                                                                                                                                              
The crew had to wait the 10 impatient minutes for the dinner to come out of the oven, but all were happy in the end.                                                                                                                         

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time for Another Menopause Journey Update

I realized it'd been quite some time since I'd discussed this.  I think the reason, besides other things taking my attention, is that this issue now demands less attention in my life... Yay!  I am so thankful this latest doctor was recommended to me, and so thankful I 'gave in' to trying hormone therapy.                                                                                                                            
I no longer dread bedtime, hungering so much for sleep, but knowing it will just be an oft-disturbed disappointment.  Instead, I awaken maybe once during the night, and otherwise, sleep at least until Hubby is rummaging around to get ready for work.  I no longer have days where it feels like too much work to walk up the stairs.  It's been a joy to host dinner guests, instead of something I avoid.                                                                                                                                                                   
I haven't had an anxiety/panic attack for quite some time.  I have occasional, short-lived episodes of lower level anxiety (more of an agitation/worry state), some minor heart rhythm irregularities or rapid heart beat (heart palpitations), and some hormonal headaches... But they always seem link to things, like starting a period within 24-48 hours of the problem.  Periods still come at strange times, at this point, more often than usual.  Most are very light.  I can take that as long as I feel more sane and feel, more consistently, like I can handle life.                                                                                                                                                
At this point, I am on a Vivelle Dot Estradiol patch (.075 mg) and oral, bio-identical progesterone (200 mg).  * I only share the type and dosage amounts for reference.  From reading reviews and info, and knowing how variable hormones and related symptoms are, these will not work the same for everyone. *  If I start any bleeding and also have one of the headaches, I am supposed to use a higher dosage patch (.1 mg) for a week, and increase my progesterone (to 300 mg per day) during that week.  The problem is that the symptoms aren't that clear, and not always simultaneous.                                                                                                                                         
In looking at a calendar of the last 2 months, I also noticed that, even though the doctor said HRT rarely affects menses, 2 days after returning to the lower dose patch, I would start some sort of bleeding, whether it be just spotting or a period.  So this past month, without period and headache happening simultaneously, I decided to try keeping the hormone doses level and see what happened.  I was doing well, with only a couple of anxious mornings and a couple of headaches, until this last week or so.  I had a period that was heavier than the scant ones I've had lately...More like a normal one from previous years.  I started it feeling pretty good, but at the end, which has seemed typical of recent periods, I felt more worried and aggravated... Just not myself, and really felt that my estrogen was low.  So I went ahead and increased the hormones.  But I think it's something like closing the barn door after the cows have started flowing out... It's hard to catch up with the situation.  Anyway, still not anything like my nasty experiences of the past, so I'm not going to complain too much.                                                                                                                                                                    
Reading back through my prior report, Menopause Journey Update, I found that I gave some inaccurate information.  I thought my doctor had indicated that I'd only be on hormones for a year or so.  But she has clarified with me that until age 60, she believes there are clear and major benefits to staying on HRT, such as bone health, and some decreased cancer risks. She says there are pluses and minuses concerning heart health, but overall, the evidence favors HRT during that time, unless there are specific contraindications for a particular patient.  The information out there in the news is so confusing, I feel confident in believing my doctor on this one.                                                                                                                                                                            
My other piece of misinformation was regarding low-dose birth control pills.  I thought those would give me hormones in lower dosages than I've been taking, but that was false.   Even though they are 'low dose' compared to other options or older versions, there is actually a constantly higher level of hormones so that my body would shut off its own production.  This would give me more constant levels without the rises and falls that cause the headaches and mood swings.  The downside would be a possible higher dose than I need most of the time, and I may lose the sleep help that I now receive from the nighttime dose of progesterone.  So, for now, I feel happy with the course I'm on.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Princely Scare and the Comfort Food Hug for After

I haven't had a chance to tell you about an adventure we had here earlier this week...
I was checking emails at the computer Monday morning when I heard a loud CRASH upstairs.  Princess Bossy was upstairs doing her own email correspondence, and gave the shout, "Is everyone OK?"  ...No answer.

By the time I hit the top of the stairs, she hollered that Prince Go-for-it had passed out.                                    
Sure enough, there he was, crumpled on the floor in front of the vanity in his bathroom...Unconscious.  I yelled his name a few times and he started to come to, but was ghostly pale and complaining of pain in his head and neck.  Of course, they were bent against the cabinet and knobs, and likely hit on the way down.  He slowly got himself up, but was not feeling very steady on his feet.                                                                                                                                    
After some help down the stairs from Prince Helium, who was leaving for the airport that morning (thankful he and Princess Bossy were still around to help), off to the ER we went.  I suspected he'd need a CT scan for possible head injury, and blood tests to check for the fainting cause, so didn't want to take him to the doctor, then the lab, then somewhere else for the scan... The ER would be 'one-stop-shopping,' and easier on a sick boy and his frazzled mother.                                                                                                                                                    
While we waited for the scan and blood test results, I told him he'd just grown so tall so fast (it's been his big growth year), the blood had trouble reaching that high!  It turned out he had a sinus infection we were unaware of, and the active weekend left him just dehydrated enough that the combination took him down, literally.                                                                    
A couple of liters of fluid and a prescription for antibiotics, and we were out of there by early afternoon, with the prince upright, feeling pretty good... and starving.  We stopped at Costco for a berry yogurt sundae, and picked up things for his choice of dinner later.  He chose on of our family favorites...a nice warm, "comfort" type of dinner:                                                                                                                                 
Mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and sausage, topped with sour cream.  We use Kielbasa, Polish sausage, or one of the all-natural, nitrite-free, chicken sausages we get at Costco.  This time it was a new go-to pick that works well for this, on pizza, or in a 'dog,' Sabatino's chicken sausage, in the Smoked Mozzarella with Artichokes and Garlic flavor.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Plant a Garden, Feed a Slug

The terrific sign that Princess Sassy's future father-in-law gave me says something a little different, but feeding slugs is probably most of what I do here.  At least the bunnies respect my fencing.                                                                                                                                          

My 'Insta-Garden' isn't quite thriving.   Some of the plants look like they'll make it, but there are also quite a few looking poorly.  Most are things I doubted would produce for me here in our mild climate, anyway, like watermelon and cantaloupe.   It was worth a shot...Just in case?

Since my pantry seems to have been the perfect place to sprout some good seed potatoes, I set out on this sunny day to augment my garden with yellow potatoes.                                                                                                                            

Garden books caution that only organic, disease-free, seed potatoes should be used.  Found in the produce section of our local grocery store, these definitely weren't marketed as seed potatoes, but my best and most prolific potato plants sprouted from accidental plantings via the compost pile that was spread in the garden before it was thoroughly composted.  These are at least organic...and pretty healthy looking.  I don't suppose the fact that they are #1's helps their productive qualities.  So rules-schmules, I put these in the ground.

I also just received some cute, little, baby basil starts, so planted them about the garden.  Hopefully, they'll enjoy this week's sun and get a good start.  I have made the mistake of not harvesting basil often enough in the past, so I aim to do better this year, and hope to be making a lot of pesto.

Previous related post:
Mother's Day in the Garden

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Growing family... A fun and sunny Sunday evening with future in-laws joining in.

A family whiffle ball game...
... with trees and a water hazard!

Princess Sassy's future father-in-law rips a shot

Pile o' sillies

Hubby with his 2 future princes-in-law
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...