Thursday, June 30, 2011

And She's Having.....

One baby Boy!  Everyone sounded very disappointed during the phone call.  My sister and my Nephew...I found it a little funny and a bit of a relief!  There is less of a "need" for items since she already has so much boy stuff.  It also means I have one less "project" that I need to complete in the next few months and all the cutesie girl stuff patterns can go back into the files to wait for another day...the other side of our little family is also discussing the possibility of adding to their family in the semi-near-ish future, so I won't go too far with them.

Today is the day!

Well, later today (after 2pm) my sister will be calling to tell my oldest nephew (her oldest son) what the baby(ies) is(are)!  He tried calling her last night after his Uncle scared the living daylights out of him, but she missed the call and didn't call back until after he'd gone to bed.  The mean Uncle snuk up behind him and yelled "boo!" after he'd caught him messing with his computer (after he'd told him not to touch it).  The poor boy went screaming into his bedroom (my office) and started crying that he wanted to go home because Uncle wouldn't be there to scare him, lol.  He did calm down after failed attempts at calling Grandma and Mom...apparently everyone there was too busy to call back, lol.  My mother did call back while he was still up, but we couldn't hear anything on our end, so we hung up hoping she'd go outside where she gets bars on her cell phone, but she never called back.  I do know she is calling this morning to discuss business stuff with me, so I plan on waking up Nephew #1 if he isn't already up when she calls.  Please vote for what you think/want it to be!

Well, last night's Slow Cooker Barbecue was a big hit!  The meat just fell off the bone, literally!  So moist and good!  I am definitely keeping this recipe handy!  My other half and I (but mostly him) have developed a taste for the "spicier" foods, to the point of my low-carb, homemade mac and cheese is made with the Mexican cheese with bits of Jalapeno (Kraft makes it, it's pre-shredded) as well as going back to what the original recipe called for, Cayenne Pepper!  I have, for years, used Chili Pepper instead to cut down on how spicy this dish was, now we are jacking the spicy way up!  But, back to the ribs...spicy, sweet, juicy....I may just have to have some of the leftovers for breakfast now!  Not bad for my first ever foray into cooking ribs!  Next time I may even slice them into ribs instead of leaving the pieces large, lol.  My nephew even ate 1/2 of one of these small "racks"!  There were 5 pieces in the package and all totaled they weighed 4 he ate quite a bit of meat!

I did share a few scraps with the girls last night as well.  They got one Broccoli piece, cut up into tiny bits, a few pieces of Red Pepper, that came in the Veggie mix, and I believe one piece of Yellow Carrot, but I may have eaten that instead of giving it to them, I forget...  They also got about 2 Tablespoons of the "meatier" pieces of scrap before they went to the "dog food additives" bowl.  They went bonkers over the pork!  I must have stirred their inner carnivore too...this morning they nearly caught a moth that had settled down to sleep off the day in the run, lol.  They disturbed it when I tossed a few BOSS to keep them busy while I filled the feeder (they were having a tizzy that I was messing with it).  It was quite comical to watch them chase it and each other!  The moth eventually made it up high enough to get out through the 2x4 fencing (it kept bouncing off the 1/2" hardware cloth at the bottom of the fence), and Henri is probably still out there digging through the leaf/straw pile that it originally was in looking for it!  I really wish I had had my camera this morning!  The girls are acting more and more like what I imagine chickens should act like every day...last night they were in the coop by the time I got out there, a little after 9pm, and were fighting over who got to sleep where on the roost!  Gerty really wanted the spot that Clyde was in, so, she climbed right up on top of her back!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer and Slow Cooker Dinner!

First off, I am so proud of my "girls"!  They put themselves to bed the night before last!  I was experimenting with leaving them out a little past sunset rather than trying to round them up a few minutes before hand (which hasn't been going that great).  The sun sets around 9pm here at the moment, so I waited until 9:20 or so before heading outside.  The photo to the left is what I found, all three of the girls cuddled up in the coop, mostly!  Henri, the lighter of my two SLWs had her rear end hanging out the coop door, lol.  So, they didn't get very far inside the coop...but they went in!  Gerty (the BR) has been going in without too much trouble for the last several days, so I suspect she talked the other two into joining her when the sun actually set.  The girls are 15 weeks old today too!  Time really does fly when you're having fun!  Still no I am extra hopeful that all of them are in deed pullets (yippy!), but Gerty's comb has really shot up in the past week or so!  All three of them have gotten quite a bit redder in the face as well, I suspect that this is just due to the hormones of getting closer to "hen" status though.  Last night I didn't wait quite as long after sunset to go outside, so all three were still in the run, but as soon as I walked over the pop door, all three went right up the ramp and inside!  They even all got up on the roost last night while I was moving the feed and water to inside the coop, but they didn't stay there...they like to cuddle up in the corner of the coop that has a wire mesh wall.  I guess they like the cool night air, lol.

As for my "slow cooker meal" today...I know, I's Summer, why did I even think I should break out the mid-winter cooking device?!?  Well, to tell you the truth, it's because I found a low-carb cookbook at the library that is "all" for the slow cooker!  There are many recipe that don't require the slow cooker, but those are all sauces, rubs, and such.  This is the same book I found the recipe for low-carb Kahlua!  Today, I am trying more recipes out of the book, since the Mockalua was so good! 
I combined everything in the sour cream container...
Waiting for the butter to melt!
I started my morning making the "Classic Rub", a dry spice rub with 13 ingredients in it!  That is a ton of ingredients, I usually stick to recipes with about half that many components, lol.  It does, however, smell really good and smelled even better on the spareribs while they were broiling in the oven!  Next up was "Dana's "Kansas-City" Barbecue Sauce"!  I cheated here, a little, with the ingredients.  I didn't have the counter space to chop up part of a fresh onion this morning (I really need to clean my dishes), so I threw in a small handful of dried chopped onion.  This works especially well as an onion replacement in my house, the tiny bits of onion are easier for my texture-phobic other half, who doesn't like the "feel" of fresh onion bits.  The sauce was super easy, toss everything in a saucepan, wait for the butter to melt, over low heat, then stir it up and simmer for 5 minutes!  Talk about simple!  I did add liquid smoke, like the author suggested, and it made the "perfect" barbeque sauce for us!  However, there are 6g net carbs per 2 Tablespoons, so it's a bit on the "carby" side still. 

The ribs are the third recipe we are trying today...I bought a package of nice looking Pork Spareribs at WinCo the other day for this recipe.  I don't expect them to be nearly as good as the ribs that my other half half grew up eating (his Dad makes the best ribs I've ever tasted...which is saying a lot since I never liked ribs before trying his), but they will hopefully be a "good enough" low-carb substitution!  I probably should have left them under the broiler longer to get a darker "browned", but since my AC is working overtime to get the house back down to 74 because of my running the broiler for more than 30 minutes (at 500 degrees), I decided to go ahead and pull them out after 7 minutes per side (the longest recommended cook time in the book).  In to my slow cooker they went!  I ended up with 4 pounds of ribs, instead of the 2.5 pounds called for, so I just added a little extra BBQ sauce to cover the last two racks with.
To keep my slow cooker semi-clean and definitely easier to get clean after cooking in it, I use Reynold's Slow Cooker bags, these things are awesome!  They keep all the icky-sticky mess off the porcelain of the crock and you just pull out the bag and throw it away when you're done!  I use these every time I use my slow cooker!  I have used them for soups, stews, everything!  "Flavor" does seep into the crock, so you do still need to wash it when you are done cooking, but the stuck on food is a thing of the past, no more need to soak it for weeks trying to get it clean!  I forget how much they cost, but the box comes with 3 bags in it...some weeks during the colder months, I got through more than a box in a week!  I know that with my doing the volunteer thing at the Humane Society, my slow cooker will be getting a workout this winter!  I made Dinner between 8 and 11 this morning!  I had to wait to start the meat until 11 or dinner would have been done at 3pm!

I'll wait to say for sure until I've tried a few more recipes, but I think I want to buy this cookbook!  Well, one just like it...I think the library over charges if you decide to keep their books, lol.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I want...

Borrowed from Fiber Doodle's Blog!
I really want to try my hand at these Pillow Pal Puppies!  If I can figure out what she's talking about in round 2, I can!  This is one of those "go big or go home" things for me...if I make one, I'm going to have to make 5 or 6 of them, one for each "child of a sibling".  The pattern is worked in 2 different shades of Blue, but I could do that in Blue, Green, Yellow, Red, Pink, Purple...the list goes on, I could even do these using one solid color and a variegated!  Heck, I could see one of these living in my Guest room too!

My issue is in the second round of the beginning structure..."Rnd 2: [Inc in nxt st] 6 times  (12 sts)"...I have no idea what a "Inc" stitch is!  I could guess from the number of stitches in this round that it means to "2 sc in each stitch"...but what if I'm wrong and my pillow pal ends up with some weird deformity?  For those "non-crocheters" out there..."sc" stands for "single crochet", you stick the hook into the top loops of the last row and then pull a loop through.  I know, it makes no sense if you don't crochet...sorry, I'm not a very good crochet instructor!  I've spent a good portion of my morning trying to figure this out and contact the blogger who created it, but I haven't been able to find any way to "comment" or otherwise contact her!  I'll keep trying though and keep you informed, even if you could care less, lol.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My New Trainer...

I got to go work with my mentor, a gal that actually lives fairly close to me, today!  It was/is a very nice day to be outside, I do believe I'll be taking a hat with me from now on though!  After she took Black Fawn out and showed me where to walk/how to get them out easily/pretty much went over everything from yesterday in greater detail, I took Baby Girl out for a walk, just the two of us.  Since they are out of the really nice leashes that the volunteers have to purchase, I had to use the little nylon kind (like they use at the Vet's office).  That really hurt my hands and wrists!  Not only does the nylon rope really cut into your skin, but the leashes are so short, that I was walking funny to avoid stepping on the poor dog!  She did pull a lot on the leash, but she was just so happy to be outside!  She also stopped and waited for me really well.  I took the path around the large field as my mentor had just took a dog through the smaller path inside.  Baby Girl had a great time sniffing and walking/pulling me along at a fast pace!  I even got kisses when I had to stop (in a rare shady spot) to tie my shoe!  I didn't even look at the dog breeds when I went wandering down the kennel looking for my "first dog", what I did go looking for was one that wasn't jumping and spazzing out just because there was a "people".  I knew the leash was going to hurt me no matter what, so I picked the pooch that was lazing in bed when I walked up.  She waited very patiently while I got the leash/collar combo on her and figured out the door system.  That was, of course, the end of the calmness until we exited the building!  As soon as the other dogs started barking at her, she ran for the exit!  She is a very timid little dog!  I started to mention breeds earlier...this little gal is a pit bull terrier mix.  I find the breed to have some of the most sweet dogs in it!  When I worked at BSNP, my favorite of all the dogs that came in (which was not very many since it's mainly a cat place), was the Pit Bull Terriers!  Little dogs are just plain mean when they wake up, all the PBTs I ever dealt with just wanted luvin's!

Hopefully more leashes will be in soon!  I'll be getting one as soon as they are available, that nylon rope really hurts!  Baby Girl took me for a 30 minute walk today, I hope she has found a home by the time I make it back (next Saturday, can't go during the week while Nephew #1 is visiting), but if she's still there, I'll go out with her again for sure!  Once inside with someone who had good treats (or any treats for that matter), she demonstrated that she knows how to "sit" and "shake" too!  She also knows "hold on a minute"...but that might have had more to do with me stopping at the same time while we were out on our walk, lol.

Nice Weekend!

We've had a busy week around here that also included a couple of days of staying in our pj's until 5pm too!  Yesterday however, was a sleep in day with the adults not getting up until 8am and our nephew staying asleep until 9:30!  Mornings are typically boring around here...get up, get dressed (most days), go let the chickens out (this one is still very new), and then go through a multitude of websites while I down 3/4 of a pot of coffee (really, it's 3 cups, but it's a big cup)!  Lather, rinse, and repeat, only with the nephew around, we have to add "make a bowl of cereal" to the list, lol.  We also planned an early lunch yesterday, which wasn't the brightest idea in hind sight with the boy getting up so late in the morning.  But, after a snack/lunch at Jack in the Box, we headed for the local library!  It has been 4 years since we moved here (August 1st will be 4 years anyway) and we haven't even been into the library before yesterday!  I had assumed I couldn't get a card because you need photo ID to get a card andf the ID has to match the address you give them...  Low and behold, I was able to get an "unverified" card!  All I need to do is bring in a piece of mail with the correct address next time!  Here's hoping they don't care that it's a collection notice, lol.  We made it a fairly quick trip in the library, the nephew picked out "Tiny the Snow Dog", which is a learning to read type book and a larger book titled "The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow"!  I believe he read the entire cow book in the car on the way back from the library, lol.  My other half found the "harder" Dr Seuss books (that have lots of words and only one picture per page) and picked out "Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories" for him as well.  Nephew #1 and I read the first story, oddly enough, about Yertle the Turtle, before we all went to bed last night.  My plan is to help him read one story in it a day until we get done (it only has 3 stories in it). 

While at the library, I attempted to find a decent baby crochet book, I'm a little obsessed at the moment, but didn't find anything.  I did, however, find a cookbook to try!  I picked up "200 Low-Carb Slow Cooker Recipes" by Dana Carpender.  I love my slow cooker!  During colder months, I cook at least two meals a week in it!  I really would love to find another crock that fits my cooker, but it is an odd size/shape and I'm cheap too...I may see if I can get away with buying another one this Fall (we got the one we have on sale 50% off and used an additional 15% off coupon at time of purchase, making it under $30), but I'll have to be equally lucky in finding another great deal.  I want one that is a little smaller...I have a 5- or 6-quart cooker, great for giant things, not so great for small items and side dishes.  We have even tried one of the recipes already!  While flipping through the book, I came across something called "Mockahlua".  "Hmm," I thought, "Mocha-lua...I wonder what that is!"  So, I started reading, expecting some sort of chocolate goodness!  Water...Splenda...Vanilla...Instant those!  And one other ingredient...Vodka!  Yeah, I was a little confused.  Turned out I had read the name wrong, lol.  It's Mock-Kahlua!  I have been jonesing for this, it doesn't help that we have made our own Kahlua in the past and still have a few bottles of the sugar filled coffee flavored booze up in the cupboard!  My personal favorite is the Kahlua we made with Brandy in it!  My least favorite was the one that called for Chocolate Syrup, we tried two different recipes and three different liqours when we bottled our own.  They were Christmas presents several years ago (we made gift baskets with multiple bottles, shot glasses, coffee cups, hot cocoa packets, teas, coffees, etc... they were a big hit).  So, for the first time in a really long time, we had a drink last night!  Mockahlua and cream on ice!  Of course, I was the one who went inside to get the Vodka (we didn't have any at home), and silly me forgot to pay attention to the proof...the recipe calls for 100-proof, I bought 80-proof.  Tastes awesome, but next time I'll get the right stuff!

Yesterday was also my training day for the K9 crew at the Spokane Humane Society!  Two hours of wandering around the facility...  Today I have a meeting with my mentor, who will give me the basics beyond the "you can walk the dogs over there, in there, and way out there".  I'm really excited about getting to walk some of the dogs today!  We met very cool dogs that really need homes.  Cocoa is an overweight Chocolate Lab looking dog (definitely a mix, but she looks like a brown version of my childhood Lab) that is a pretty old, but that just means she doesn't move to fast.  The gal running the class took her out for a short walk to show us where we could go, Cocoa decided she wanted to just chill in the grass for a little bit before we went back in.  After getting shown how to get Cocoa (and the rest of the dogs) in and out of the pens, we met with the dog trainer for a few minutes along with Mickey.  This is one chill dog!  Mickey made the rounds when the 7 of us piled into the room with him and then went to lay down in a corner of the room and fall asleep.  Rosie would never do that in a room full of strangers!  I saw Mickey in the kennels before the class, his icy blue eyes just drew me right in, against his pure black coat, they are really striking!  He's been at the shelter for a really long time...they said he doesn't show very well in the kennel, but I really thought he was gorgeous!  If I had the room, he would definitely go home with us!  I'm a sucker for pets though...if I had the room (and the funds) I would take each and every cat, dog, and bunny in there home!

The girls have had a nice week too, I think.  Even with Rosie trying very hard to get in the run with them, well really she just whines at them and watches, but she did try to paw the bottom of the door open this morning. They just look at her like she's nuts, and continue on with their day!  They've started sunbathing in the morning sunshine when they first come out in the morning...I haven't been able to capture it though, they move so fast!

They really like the added space too!  They get out of the coop every morning and go barreling around in circles, wings flapping, and yelling up a storm!  Until, that is, one of them finds something tasty...then they all go screaming around the run chasing whoever found it!  I'm putting the food and water in the coop at night with them, mostly because they think going to bed at 9pm is a waste of time and they get up way before I do at 8am!  Last night though, Gertrude was ready to get up on the roost and go to sleep at 10 to 9 when I went out to round  them up and into the coop, lol.  It was the first time I've seen any of them willingly get up on the roost!  Of course, Clyde didn't think she should have to go to I spent half an hour trying to coax her into the coop!  I was using the flashlight app on my cell phone to make it more inviting, but Henri and Gerty kept attacking my phone, so that didn't last long.  I did get a good photo of the cooped chickens though...  I finally got Clyde tricked out of under the coop with a handful of chick it hit the ground, she came running for it, lol!

This morning, all three girls left the coop through the pop door with no more coaxing than my opening the door for them, what a change from the first few days!  Gerty even put herself to bed last night, as soon as I entered the run, she ran up the makeshift ramp and into the coop, lol.  She was a little slow getting out this morning, the other two beat her out the door while she was deciding to go out with her left or right foot first!  I need to redo my ramp a bit...I think I want to make them a little platform to step out on, it seems to be too big of a drop for Gerty.

I even got a few photos of my garden last night!  I have a Dill bloom!  Just the one so far...but it is so pretty!  Everything is doing really well, even the Stevia plant that I was sure had been killed (twice now) is sprouting green!  My mystery plant that grew with my Sage seeds is blooming with little flowers too...I still have no clue what it is...  My Marigolds are gorgeous, with the darkened background of nightfall, I think the color really shines through and makes them even prettier!
In addition to all the outside plants, the top of the pepper plant that I broke when I planted it has been in a cup of water ever since in my kitchen window.  I noticed a few days ago that it has sprouted roots!  Yeah!  I think I'm going to be keeping it in the house though as it is still very small, compared to the one I bought as a replacement for it.  Also, my newly planted Avocados are doing great, the smaller sprout is still pretty small, it may not have really been ready for dirt yet.  But, the larger one has sprung up a good 3 inches now!  I love watching plants grow...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vacation Fun!

We went out this morning and saw Cars 2!  I enjoyed myself, and so did my almost 7 year old movie buddy!  He's a huge Cars fan, so this movie coming out while he's here on vacation was even better.

We spent the morning sleeping (it is vacation after all!) and then did a little shopping prior to the movie.  I had gotten us 12pm tickets (the first showing that wasn't in 3D).  So, we went and got more Atkins bars (including a box of the levels 2-4 Endulgence Chocolate Sandwich Cookies!), shorts that actually fit my movie buddy (he never tried on his Summer clothes before packing them), and picture frames!  I have a stash of photos awaiting frames...but I'm also very cheap.  Hence the pile in the first place!  However, with the recent addition of a new 8x10 that I special ordered from Nephew #1's Spring pictures, it was time to get some frames!  At $2.50 a piece (for the cheapest frames at WalMart), I picked up an 8x10, three 5x7's, and for an additional $0.50, I got a double frame that holds two 3.5x5's!  Nephew #1 got the big frame, and the 5x7's went to his school photo from the first of the year, a photo from last year of all three boys together (I believe it's actually a year and a half old), and a photo that is over two years old of myself and my other half (the only photo we have of us together, besides one we talked my other half's Dad into snapping at his brother's wedding in July of 2007).  The double frame is holding photos of Nephew "A" (from his side, lol), I also have a 5x7 that has no glass (long story) with a photo of him too.  I also got two sets (I thought it was one set) of Magnetic Photo Pockets that hold wallet sized photos!  I'm going to need at least two more sets of those too I think...

After the movie (2 hours), we came home to find the next Netflix disk in the mail!  It is nice living in the same town as the distribution center...we have a 2-day turn around of DVDs and Blu Rays!  So, we finished off our afternoon by watching Alpha & Omega...cute, but not all that great in my (not do humble) opinion.

Hamburgers for dinner tonight on the BBQ...tomorrow I want to try a new Shrimp recipe out, but need to get to Costco and buy the it may have to wait a few days.  Good thing this is the nephew that likes Shrimp (he used to eat them tail-first, yuck)!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

OMSI & the Airport!

What a long, long day yesterday was!  To get to my flight I had to get up at 3am!  Yep, up, showered, and out of the house as the sun rose in Alaska for another day...another interesting tidbit from our favorite weatherman...the sun sets in Alaska right now at 12am and rises again at 3am!  My morning coffee was a cup of liquid gold from the Starbucks booth in the terminal.  I did get there 2 hours early, and if I had been going to Seattle, could have left on the 5am flight, it was nearly empty!  But, for my coffee...I ordered myself a Cafe Latte with Sugar Free Caramel flavoring and asked for them to make it with Heavy Cream rather than milk.  They use the heavy cream to make the whipped topping at you can request this, yeah!  Where the "corporate store" charged me $0.60 for it a few days ago, this time they did not, woot, even better!  However, I think the quantity of cream caused a few issues in my digestive system, I couldn't make it through my Venti cup without feeling ill.  I think from now on, when I get that treat (I have a better flavor selection at home), I will stick to a smaller cup size!  It was a long few hours to wait, but it flew by while I chatted with a gal traveling back to North Carolina (who should have landed about the same time we did on the way home last night)...she was freezing in a thick sweater and sweat pants, I was warm in a light shirt and shorts!

Once on the airplane, I was pleased to see my seat partner was a nice looking man in business attire.  I have taken trips in the past where my seat buddy was some stinking teenager who was panicky and half in my seat the whole time!  Unfortunately, this business man's traveling companions were wearing some sort of perfume...and I do believe whichever one it was emptied half the bottle onto herself!  I couldn't breathe and it cause a mild allergic reaction, swelling around my eyes, runny was not fun!  Interestingly enough, these were investment bankers that happened to have dealings with the insurance company my other half works for!  Which I gently pointed out when they were discussing the all the "inside details" of the various insurances they were working with, I'm pretty sure they said things that shouldn't be shared with anyone having anything to do with those companies, but at 6am (or slightly before), it was too early for me to remember what they said, lol.  Due to the breathing issue caused by the perfume and the air novel not moving (and therefore blasting into the corner of my eye the whole trip), it was the world's longest 1 hour plane ride!

After wandering around and finally finding my way out of the airport (I managed to find my way to departures instead of arrivals after I walked to the wrong end of the terminal right  off the plane), my Mother and I went and had a nice breakfast at Denny's!  They have a "Build Your Own Grand Slam", which was awesome!  I got 2 eggs, 2 regular Bacon, 2 Turkey Bacon, and 2 Sausage links for $5.99!  My Mother got the same deal, but her breakfast consisted of an English Muffin, 2 Whole Wheat pancakes (that were gigantic), and 4 slices of Bacon.  I was barely able to finish my meat-fest, while my Mother only ate the Bacon, English muffin, and a few bites of pancake.  After breakfast, we went and got the kids up (who were still sleeping at the hotel) and ready for a day of play!  On a side note, for the price at Denny's, it's even a better deal than what we were getting at Perkins...and no hassle from the Manager/wait staff about not getting the darned carbs (we had issues last time and haven't been back since...)!

We arrived at OMSI just as they opened at 9:30 for a fun day of play!  The Narnia exhibit was pretty cool, it's lots of the props from the movies, including both the wardrobe and the huge wooden frame that is the Narnian side to the wardrobe!  They didn't allow any photography though, so I obeyed and left the cell phone in my pocket, lol.  It was really interesting, for the adults in the group, but it left a lot for the kids I think...the only thing even remotely interactive in this exhibit was an ice wall to make hand prints on.  I think it was Liquid was super cold to the touch!  After putting palm to wall, if you stepped back and watched, your hand print went from totally invisible to shining right out at you!

With trying to watch all three boys and make sure they didn't get injured by the hordes of teenagers in there (it appeared to be 2-3 school groups), I didn't get too many photos, and most of what I did get was blurry!  We did find our way into the "6 and under" play room though!  For the next few weeks, all three still fit that!  The youngest two had the most fun in there I think the oldest got bored quickly, but there was plenty to do in there, including dressing up as a Chipmunk and finding giant rubber acorns to hide in the tree cave for winter, dashing into the bear cave to search for all the animals that live in the dark, and the youngest two's favorite, the big wooden truck site, complete with enough different shaped wooden blocks to build a whole city with!
oldests attention the longest in this room.

The "toy" that got all three boys going was the volunteer sitting on the floor with a tub of dish soap bubbles!  They do not share well at all though...we had to decide quickly that it was time to go when they started fighting over the bubbles!

We eventually made it to the Turbine room!  An entire wing of the museum with things like water & air pressurized bottle rockets, steam engines, Tesla coils, and all sorts of other fun stuff to play with and experience!  Everyone (under 4 feet tall) tried out the Space Shuttle recovery cone, that's a hard way to sit!  There was a lot of space and Astronaut stuff to look at this trip!  I guess they are getting all the displays out now since the last US space shuttle is launching on July 8th this year and then there will be no more US space more NASA as we know it.

The whole family enjoyed the Earthquake simulator, but the boys liked it the most!  I couldn't walk a straight line for several minutes after the fact!  But, I did "ride" it for about 10 minutes with nephew #3, who is three and a half, lol.  #3 is in the Bright Hawaiian shirt and orange shorts...  They have two "modes" on this thing now, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake and one that simulates a 6.1 magnitude earthquake!  Guess which one the boys preferred, lol!  I remember when this exhibit was first introduced, besides the line to get on it, there was an OMSI volunteer that ran the control and the "walls" were decorated with all sorts of knick-knacks that one might find in an actual home.  Now, all that is left is the steel framing and a bench!  Also, the controls are a plaque with three buttons on it, 5.6, 6.1, and STOP.  It also doesn't shake as much anymore!  Even just a few years ago, this thing would shake you right off the bench if you weren't careful!  It used to also provide info on what to do in the event of an actual earthquake...get in door frames, under solid items like counters, etc...  But, the little bit of shaking and listening to the oldie about the earth moving under your feet was fun enough for the boys if not totally educational anymore.

We spent nearly 4 hours exploring OMSI this trip!  And, we ended our fun day there with a visit to the photo booth!  At $5 for two strips of photos, it was the cheapest souvenir I could find there and I looked!  This is probably the last year I can cram into a photo booth with the three boys!  Besides the fact that there will be more kid(s) come this fall, it was an extremely tight fit to get in there, the two younger boys were sitting on me to be able to fit in, lol.  Now to find a "photo booth picture frame"!  It is on my to-do list...  I can't decide which one of the photos is my favorite!

Waiting for me to rejoin him!
After a quick trip back to the hotel for nap time (and time to take nephew #1 with us to find a Wal-Mart where I could grab a box of Atkins bars, I was starving!), we took the boys to the playground up on Mt. Tabor (an active volcano in Portland), where they played on a good old-fashioned teeter totter, Merri-go-round (that has been there since my Mother was a kid), and some more modern play pieces. 
Trepidations on the swing still.
All three boys had a great time and the two youngest have started getting over their fears of swings!  Nephew #2 opted for the kid's seat that had a "buckle" on it (a piece of chain with a clasp) and did his own "pumping" so he didn't go very high at all, while #1 had my Mother push him (but not too high).  Meanwhile, Nephew #3 sat on my lap and did the "swing thing" with me!  I wish I had had someone take a photo!  We were going as high as Nephew #1 and #3 thought it was the greatest thing on earth!  He was completely terrified of it when we started!  He even said to me mid-swinging "Aunt M, You are the best!"  I can't disagree, lol!  I sat him on the swing we were on so I could take pictures, he wasn't all that thrilled with that but was okay to sit there until the other boys quit swinging after several near misses with him walking under them and his attempt to push me on the swing (he stepped forward after a push and I butt-bumped him off his feet)!

After a visit with my Aunt and Grandmother (and a cousin) over dinner (Wendy's because i was on the way back to the airport and we could get it to go if we had to), it was off to the airport the requisite 2 hours case we ran into issues with Nephew #1, not that we planned on any!  Our flight back to Spokane was delayed, first by a little and then by a lot (when you are traveling with a 6 year old)!  The plane we were supposed to be getting on arrived late from wherever it came from (most likely Spokane) so that made the first delay.  Then, there was a mechanical issue (which, of course they told us was just housekeeping taking their sweet time) that delayed us even farther.  Our flight was supposed to board at 8:25pm and leave at 8:55pm, we started boarding a little after 9pm and didn't leave until somewhere between 9:30 and 9:45pm!  We also had to trek around the airport after getting through the boarding doors all the way down to "plane slot" O!  If anyone isn't familiar with the "puddle jumper" side of PDX, you go through the boarding gate, out onto the tarmac and board the little planes (we were on a Q400).  The parking spots for these little planes are lettered, starting with A being the plane right by the doors...O is out and around the is the very last parking spot and is so far out, that you go through the gate at the end that says "Don't go past here" to get to it!  While the little park gates for all the other spots have a spot that says where the plane is headed, this one doesn''s probably the spot they use to park the planes that are grounded for the crew to rest over night, lol.  Needless to say, t was already several hours past Nephew #1's normal bedtime when we finally boarded the plane and he was not thrilled with my wanting to take another picture!  Post landing in Spokane though was another story!  We had to wait for his luggage at the ala cart station by the plane, so it gave me the opportunity to snap a few more quick photos!  Because we had to change planes prior to take-off, I was very glad that we opted for the carry-on way of travel...checked baggage was being added to a later flight!
Awaiting luggage plane-side!

My "today's" are off on this post!  I started this on Tuesday, but with having a child to entertain (and share my computer with), I didn't get a chance to finish this until now!  So, this is what we did on Monday, June 20th, lol.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Move Out Day!

Yep!  The chickens have left the laundry room!  Yeah!  They are now enjoying 12' by 10' of chicken-y fun-inspiring space!  That's 40 square feet per chicken!  Beats the heck out of the recommended 10 square feet, eh?

The wood running behind the red tub is the makings of their ramp...the first attempt didn't work so well, so that is going back to the drawing board!  A project to work on with my nephew...  The red tub is/was the looks pitifully small in the run they now have reign over!  I am so glad to have them outside finally!  Of course, the green to the left is "Mr Turtle", the sandbox.  It was empty here, but is now filled with 100 pounds of sand!  The extra bag (it said it held 150 lbs, I'm guessing they meant over-filled...) is in the black garbage can I bought for the pine shavings.  As for the took more than I expected to cover the floor of the coop!  I'm going to need another bag before I'll be able to changed it, it took more than half a bale!

We solved the doors not wanting to stay closed issue with a 2 by 4...or a piece of 2 by 4, a large drill bit, and a screw.  The block pivots so that we can open both doors, but the slightly angular cut at the "short end" of the pivot allows the larger door to be held in place and we can enter and exit from one side!

The girls all seem pretty happy to have room to move around and are happily picking up everything and anything on the ground!  In fact, while we were gone today, delivering a Father's Day gift (Marionberry Licorice) and getting the Play Sand, the girls unearthed an old wad of chewing gum!  We never spit gum in our yard, so who knows how long it had been there, but it was still a little pliable...I hope that doesn't mean a neighbor came over and spit it in there!  (it "felt" super old though...)  The girls didn't eat it, thankfully, but they did leave it right where I could see it when I walked in the run!

With sand now in the sandbox, Gerty "volunteered" to be the first in (she was the only one I could catch)!  I got stink eyed for getting too close with the camera, lol.  Everyone was very nice about letting me snap photos today too!  Of course, that could be because they were freaked out by all the space...

As a reminder...please vote on the poll!  I'm interested in seeing what everyone else thinks!  Also, welcome to yet another "official follower"!  This one I was my other half, lol.  He said he had to follow me so that he could vote...I have no idea, maybe you do, maybe you just have to be logged in to your Google account....who knows?  Any who, here she is again in all her "belly-goodness" little sister!  She's 18 weeks this would have been around 17.5 weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We're Finally Done!

As plans change on a nearly hourly basis around this house, ours did in deed change again!  After coming home from Urgent Care, my other half and I decided to brave the rainstorm (thank you weather man, Bill Kelly, who said it was only supposed to be spotty rain, not!) and work on the doors anyway.  And, we got them done!  We do need to clean out the construction materials and other "things" we've been storing under there while I worked, but the run is complete!

The hinged latch that will house our weatherproof padlock is an interesting one, but we made it work!  I do plan on painting it, but for now, it's "good enough"!  The rain finally chased us in around 2:30 this afternoon when it over powered the huge Maple that was acting as a rain guard while we worked.  I still have a couple more latches for the doors (a hook and eye at the bottom and a barrel bolt at the top), just to secure them a little better and hopefully help keep them closed!  Because of the slope of the earth, both doors had to swing out, not how I had planned them, but it works!  Top, bottom, and all sides are perfectly spaced even!

It is pretty much two sets of doors, with the wire mesh and fencing sandwiched in-between.  It really made a pretty solid door!  It isn't perfect, but then again, it fits in with this project, lol.  The door on the right of the photo with the doors open is slightly wider than the other door (by a whopping 1.25 inches") so the hardware cloth, at 24" wide, couldn't connect on all 4 edges at once.  So, we made a hardware cloth bottom piece and then put the 2x4 fencing at the top of that door.  The other door, which is the skinnier door, fit the width of the wire mesh perfectly so we just used it.
We used the measurements on the left!
Tomorrow morning we'll get the "junk" out from the run and we can finally get the girls into their permanent home!  I am so freaking excited!  And, I'm only about 2 months late in getting it done, lol!  I've included a shot from Google Sketch Up 8...this is what I used when making the doors.  I had actually planned out two different options for putting the doors together, but I decided to go with matching sides as the cuts were easier to make!  My original plan had been to make each frame so that the pieces all over lapped, but I decided it was much easier to cut everything the same...and we avoided having to cut at 4' 9 1/16" to boot!  5' 1" is so much easier!  Everything fit perfectly too...which is really odd for something I built!  The gaps were even where they belonged for once!  I really enjoy that sketching program, even better is that it is totally free to download!  They do have a paid version, that has even more bells and whistles, but the free version works great for me.

And back to Bill Kelly...this guy is our favorite weather man on the 11 pm NBC news!  He has some odd fascination with Fairbanks, Alaska we get lots of updates on how their weather is too.  He is really a crack up at 11:05 when he gets to do his weather...

Welcome #8!

I find it completely fascinating that anyone outside (and maybe even inside) my immediate family is interested in what I think I need to put on paper, or in this case, on the Internet!  But, I do thank you for even being interested! 

I still can't reply to comments or make any on anyone else's, first things replies to the last post's comments!

Juise - My girls are currently living in my Laundry room...but it does double-duty as the bathroom downstairs, at least that is where someone in the last 37 or so years decided to drop toilet #3 (the house was built in 1973, the bathroom/laundry was moved to it's current location sometime after that.  I wondered what everyone was talking about when I first got my girls as chicks...dust?  What dust?  I now know what dust!  Everything in that room is covered in a thick layer of yellowish grime!  The plan this morning had been to go outside and build the door (before the rain gets here this afternoon) and get the girls outside, but as fate seems to think they need to stay inside, my other half is currently sitting in urgent care waiting to see a doctor and I'm here talking to you!  (More on this in a bit.)

As soon as we get the door done and I know how much "leftover" wire mesh I have, I'll build the girls a tractor of sorts.  I have lots of leftover "culled lumber" from my rampage at Home Depot, including several pieces of 4' long pressure-treated 2x4's that I plan on building with...maybe while my nephew is here!  What a great project to tackle with a "boy"!  Any child would do...I loved that kind of stuff when I was his age...  What I want to build is basically a rectangular box with a hinged lid...or more likely, a rectangular triangle, lol...tepee style so I don't have  to make a level top.

Tikktok - So sorry your older girls are still picking!  From what I've read though, you really need to keep the injured bird out until she/he is fully healed, any sign of weakness will actually attract the others, kind of like a "kick me" sign in school!  One of these days I'm sure I'll need to get some Blue kote...glad to know there's someone "out there" that knows how to get it off!  I may have to email you!  As for temps, I'd almost trade you!  Our high temp today is supposed to be 64...2 weeks to the 4th of July and we haven't even seen an 80 degree day yet!  Fairbanks Alaska has had 5 days over 80!  How fair is that?!?

And musings for today...

Of course, as soon as I say "yeah, 7 of you!"  Someone else decides to follow me, lol.  So welcome #8!

While I may not be a really talented "crafty person", I do try...I followed a link from some page (I have about 15 blogs I follow now, lol) to ArtMind, they have a "how to" on making your own sidewalk chalk!  I then followed a link from there to this YouTube's an "artsy" piece, but really fascinating!  It's 15 minutes long, but what a good waste of 1/4 of an hour!  They are making porcelain sunflowers!  How cool would a small bowl of these look sitting on a side table in my living room?  (Not that I have any sort of decor up anywhere...)
My plans for finishing the coop this morning have fallen through (again).  Last night my other half was complaining about pain in his foot, this isn't really unusual, but this morning he said he had to get up because the weight of the blanket was making it hurt even more!  He also couldn't put his shoes on this morning because of the pain.  So, he went off to the Urgent Care (about a mile away) to have it looked at.  I haven't heard from him yet, but we expect it is a Uric Acid build up in the joint and should be remedied with a round of a prescription.  Needless to say, if he can't put his shoe on, he won't be working with power (or manual) tools today!  So, it appears the door to the run will have to wait at least one more day...I really want to get the girls outside!  Grr!  Yes, I know there are many tools I could use to help me cut a straight line...someone told me to use a sharpie, draw a line, and follow it...yeah, they obviously didn't read the whole forum post, lol.  I have marked lines...if I am lucky enough to get the top (where the line is) to cut on the line, the under side goes all catty whompus!  My other half made an exasperated "Didn't you take wood shop in school?" the other day.  Yep, sure did!  I really liked my teacher too....for the one week we had him...  He had demons he just couldn't face anymore (war vet and I'm assuming other things) and he took his life one week into the term.  His replacement was not a wood shop instructor and since he didn't know how to do anything, we didn't get to do anything either.  While everyone else got to make cutting boards, chairs, tables, all sorts of other "cool" class got to sit and stare longingly at the drill press, band saw, and all those other fun tools!  We had 9-week "core" classes and they found a better replacement after the first 9-weeks.  So, no...I guess I really didn't have wood shop....boy do I wish I had though!

the photos today have all been sent to me by family members!  I may want to tell them I have pasted them up here...

Nephew #1 (hmm, maybe I should call him Nephew "A", this is the other side of the family)...he's potty training at the moment and was enjoying a leisurely "sit" on the throne...mag in hand and loving life!  I did crop the photo down...but we got this one via text that said something to the effect of "Just like his Dad!"  as he was sitting there leafing through a magazine that may need hiding when he's old enough to realize what hes looking at!
Next up, my sister!  She should know I'd paste her up here eventually...I'm good at smearing her photos around, lol!  She sent me this head shot when I asked for "shoulders up" of everyone at their house.  Everyone else's "head shots" looked like dog poo...but this is what she sent of herself...
Of course...then there's the comparison "belly shot" that my Mother sent me...  There has been much talk about the "not so little family "secret" going on between the two of us, which I am almost certain has filtered back down to my sister (my Mom isn't good at keeping secrets, lol).  So, I am supposed to be able to tell from this photo that she is "huge" at 14 weeks pregnant from this...I don't know, maybe...we all find out in 11 days though!  I even googled photos of other women who knew they were "seeing double", but since typically it is the skinny women who plaster themselves all over the Internet, it was nearly impossible for me to find a true comparison shot!  What do you think?  I really should start a betting pool....lots of variables though!  I know I can post a poll feature...I may do that!  Poll is located on the right side of the oage, under my followers!  I'll leave this open until the evening of June 29th (her ultrasound appointment is in the morning on the 30th)!  I'll let you know the results as soon as she lets me!
In even more current events...our oldest nephew (the one I call #1) is coming for his visit!  I fly to Portland, OR Monday morning!  At 6 am...  The plan for the day is to go get breakfast (see what I can scarf on at the hotel...they get free breakfast!) and then when OMSI opens, go buy a family plus membership for my Mother and I to share! go to membership window and pick up our temporary cards, and spend the day, or part of it anyway, enjoying all that OMSI offers!  Then, late in the evening, Nephew #1 and I will head back to the airport for his first airplane ride!  He'll be staying with us for 3 weeks!  This is a highlight in both of our summers and we've been doing it since we moved to Spokane, the year he turned 3!   He'll be 7 in how time flies!  The photo if him was taken a while ago, when he lost his front teeth!  There will probably be lots of photos of him going up in the next month...I usually take lots of photos while he's here to share with the rest of the family.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Day So Far...

First of all...for whatever reason, every time I go to make a comment, either here or on anyone else's logs me out!  I can't even post "anonymously", not even on my own blog!  All I get is tossed back and forth from "post as Anonymous" and the log in screen! response to yesterday's post...

Tikktok -

Wowza, that's hot!  We've been hoping and wishing for days anywhere close to 80 here, been in the mid-60's to 70's here!

As for the basket, that's one I made in March in my basket weaving class.  The baskets I have tried at home since have not come out very nice at all!  I do keep trying though, lol.
I also wanted to thank my "followers", you 7 rock!  And so do the ones that I know read me but don't follow me, my other half, my Mother, Sister, the rest of you...  I get a kick from looking at my "stats page" and seeing how many countries I've been viewed in!  But, I really hope I'm not making a "bad American" presentation for the rest of us...

And on to what I really wanted to post today...

I took this video on June 8th...I know I'm a little behind on getting it posted, but I was trying to get some regular old photos to go with it!  The girls have all started getting their "big girl" voices!  Now, when I get chewed out for whatever chickeny insult I've made, I get "buck, buck, buck" instead of a twittery little song!  The insult here was that I don't let all three of them pile on me at once anymore...they weigh a lot when they are all trying to cram in somewhere (namely on my shoulder)!  As is usual in my house, Henrietta was perched in my left hand, Gerty was trying to figure out the best "attack" for making me let her up there too, and Clyde was "buck, buck, buck"ing me because she was not up on me too.  I cannot hold Gerty or Clyde without Henri demanding I hold her too...I have learned to just let her stay on my shoulder if I need to hold the others for some reason, it saves me getting a flying chicken in the face (as she aims to land on top of my head)!  The scratch mark running down my face (from forehead to chin, narrowly missing my eye) looked interesting for a day or so, but luckily it was a very light scratch (thanks to my lightening reaction of flinching) and was barely visible to anyone but me.  But, it was enough to make me stop for a minute and reevaluate how I go about holding them!

So, the squatting thing Gerty (my Barred Rock) was doing was her way of warning me she's about to jump on me...and almost as soon as I hit "stop" she did just that!  She landed on top of my head...yeah, that stuff about me learning my lesson....not so much!  But I did duck so she landed not in my face!  This was also taken when they were just starting to "buck" at me...Clyde was the only one doing it and not very often!
Yesterday I mentioned that I needed to move my Avocado downstairs...I actually did it last night!  I went down to add Netflix to the Wii (which for whatever reason refuses to accept that I already put in the activation code...) and took the tree down with me.  Don't mind the poor picture quality, the missing lamp shade (I need a whole new lamp), or, well, anything else, lol.  What matters here is the little tree between our hand-me-down couches!  If you noticed the large amount of dog hair on the little brown couch...that's the dog's couch.  We rarely sit on it, but we do try to remember to vacuum it when company comes over!  It generally keeps her off the larger couch if we let her sleep on the little one.  What I'd really like to put in this corner is a giant bean bag type chair thing....8 feet round and 3 feet tall!  I have seen patterns for homemade giant bean bag chairs, they look more like giant beach balls or Water weenies though.  Our cats have shredded both of these couches...pets are why we don't have nice things, lol!  Maybe if I can find some canvas on sale (for, like under $1 a yard) I can attempt to sew a giant chair/couch thing for us...but I'd kinda rather just spend the $400-ish and buy one that looks nice, lol.  I need to get the rolled up blankets put away for Summer...during the winter it's 10 degrees cooler downstairs, so I end up wrapping up in 2 or 3 while watching television down there!  We do have a gas fireplace on a thermostat (that I installed...okay, I took down an old one and put up a "new fangled" digital one...they are so not hard to do!), but we leave it off unless we're down there.

Also yesterday...we went to the Mall because I was in desperate need of new shoes (the soles are falling off my Air Walks)!  I came home with a pair of Champion "Active lite" "walk and tones"!  Okay, so this type of shoe was my next mini goal reward...and I'm only down around 30 pounds...but, they were $10 cheaper than my "normal" Air Walk "skater type shoes"!  So, I will just have to come up with a different "reward"...we have also been talking about getting a gym membership (and actually using it), but we shall see...we need something with a structured time schedule, but one that is "business friendly" a swim class in the evenings or something!  But, that isn't a reward, more like a means to the end.

Yesterday also affirmed that our dog (she'll be 10 on September 12th this year) has indeed learned a new trick!  I posted last week that she set the alarm to the house off...well, she's done it again!  Not setting off the, dummies that we are left for 2 hours without arming that...  Nope, she has figured out how to let herself into the house when she is done outside!  After the Mall yesterday, we drove downtown and had dinner, got home and the dog happily greeted us at the front door, as always, but then raised upstairs and ran straight for the backdoor.  We thought she had to go out until she zipped through the curtain that covers the slider and out she went!  She got out, turned around, and zipped right back in too!  Baby, our white ball of fluff, was sitting in the Dining room watching the dog (and drinking the water in the tray for the Avocado) and Frappy, our chocolate ball of fluff, was sound asleep in our bedroom.  So, the dog again was able to keep both cats in the house while we were away.  Or maybe, they really don't care for that big room with no ceiling...either way everyone was safe and sound!  We really need to remember to let the dog in before we leave though and remember to lock her out there so she can't push the slider open anymore!

Another "new discovery" in the world of my morning black gold (coffee)...I tried sugar free Mango in it and it is yummy!  I don't generally like Peach, but have been craving a Peach-Mango coffee for some reason lately.  I don't have Peach flavoring in the house (see; I don't like Peach), so I tried just Mango today and to my surprise, it was really good!  Dutch Bros used to (and may still do) make a frozen drink thing that I used to get when it was hot out that was Peach-Mango flavored...I loved it, and this reminded me of it!  It tasted exactly like I remembered it, but that could just be wishful thinking...since we've been low carbing life, coffee shops have been off my list of places to go.  I do however, have a $5 gift card to Starbucks that I will be using next Monday...I have to leave the house at 4am to get to my 6am flight!  I'll be good though and get a (most likely) plain coffee, maybe with a little sugar free Hazelnut or Vanilla (coffee shops are so uninventive in which flavors they offer in sugar free) flavor in it...and half and half, it's better than going whole hog - off diet and getting milk! 

If I had the culinary know-how and money to burn I would so open up a low-carb/sugar free restaurant!  I have wanted to since I was 10 years old...when I was diagnosed Diabetic!  In my dream restaurant, diet sodas fill the dispensers....with a single tap for regular "Coke".  I hated Diet Coke when I was a kid, having been banned from all things Root Beer, Sprite, Orange flavored...I drank cups and cups of water at McD's when I was a I prefer Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi, ah how strange our taste buds are...  In this mystical place, meals would have "carb options" and you would have to do a "special request" for things like toast, pancakes, waffles, buns!  Everything on the menu would have the carb count listed right next to it, no guessing!  I could go equally wild in the land of Sugar Free Coffee stands...just go into a Cash & Carry and gaze upon the many, many, many flavor options in Sugar free land!  Nearly every "sugared" flavor has a sugar free counterpart!  Yes, I know it isn't cost effective to have both...but come on!  A little variety, please!  There is/was a little drive-up coffee hut in Sunriver, Oregon, actually it is/was in the Business park.  But, many years ago (like 5 years ago), they used to stock sugar free flavors...not all the flavors, but a good assortment!  I used to get a "Sunrise" Cremosa there that was to die for!  Orange, Banana, and Coconut flavors, all in sugar free!  I actually stopped there at least once a day every day during the summer for one of those!  Not only that, but I told everyone I knew (and some I didn't) that they had all these amazing flavors in sugar free!  And now I've told all of you, lol.  However, I don't believe they actually carry them in sugar free took them "too long" to go through the bottles...I say advertise better!  I only knew they had them because one day I was so sick of plain old Vanilla or Hazelnut (Raspberry if you're super lucky), that I asked if they had any other flavors in sugar free!  They little price/drink chart had all their named drinks (like the Buckaroo; a coconut, chocolate, some other flavor) marked if they could make them in sugar free too!  It was awesome...

Monday, June 13, 2011

You MUST be a Dumb Girl if...

Yep, had to go to Home Depot this morning...  I needed 2x2's to build my run door from after all!  I went in, picked out a set of (matching) hinges to go with the set I already have at home (uh oh, watch put for the "matchy girl"!), found a hinged latch that would work with my "weatherproof" padlock I already bought, and headed to the lumber section....all by myself I must be stopped!  Then, I adeptly paid for my items, took them out of the store (no help there either), and loaded them, all by myself, into my truck. 
Then, and only then, did the "big helpful man" come up to tell me I had to tie down my load....  "Yep, I know" I said as I put my purse on the seat...that must have been my mistake, taking a purse with me!  And, before I could lean across said seat and grab the pile of bungees I had waiting for my purchase...this "guy" goes straight into a lecture about how I can't just drive around with wood flopping around in the back.  "Yep, I know" I say again as I waggle my bungees at him (no euphemism there, I have photographic proof!).  But, oh no, he couldn't stop there...he finished his lecture about how illegal it was as he huffed away.  Stupid man...  I should note that I did wait to take my photos until I was home though...and the bungees on the seat is where I tossed them after I took them off the wood, but still...they were on the whole 3/4 of a mile it is from Home Depot to my house!  I have a full set of Bungees as well as a pair of tie-down ropes in my truck, and we have a full set of bungees in the SUV too...  I could understand the rant if I had been hopping in the seat and starting the engine, but the only move I made that might have even been construed as me about to drive off was opening the door!  Apparently the "manly way" would have been to carry my Bungees into the store with me so that everyone who saw me might know that I do, in deed, plan on tying my load down...

In other news, it's raining today, not sure if I'll actually get out there to build this afternoon, but tomorrow for sure!  For now, the newly purchased lumber is under the porch, in the run and the hinge and latch are in my kitchen.

This weekend I also had a little "photo session" with my back deck, AKA "My Garden".  It started with finally getting my new patio set put together, mostly.  We are having issues getting one of the ottomans together, but the rest is done and has even been enjoyed recently!  The table is acting as a stand in plant stand until I figure out where the bigger table is going this year, still need to really get things in their places!   They are pretty darned comfy too!  The flowers are looking pretty darned good if I don't say so myself too.  But, I still need a better watering system, I'm still working on it though...which is why it is still watering half my deck every other morning!
My Marigolds are looking great, even if they are staying tiny...I like to call them "Dwarfed Marigolds", but I'm assuming they are small because I didn't start them properly or something...  They are still pretty and as it turned out, all of the seeds that grew were of the mixed color variety, my favorite!  The seed packet was supposed to hold solid orange, solid yellow, and the mixed.
I have been so focused on getting the chicken's run done, that I have seriously neglected the rest of the yard...not that I have "much" to do, we pay someone else to come mow it every other week ($15 each visit).  It is much less stressful on us and the grass looks great!  However, I am now playing "Find the Berries" on the hill!  My Blueberry planters and the Raspberries are planted up there...can you spot them?  Once the girls are outside, I plan on spending several days out there weeding just the hill...the edges around the yard can wait, lol.  It is a pretty shade of green though...

Last, but not "indoor" plants are doing pretty well.  My Pothos is loving the window at the landing and has started to spread beyond the planter!  I love climbing greenery like this, easy to control, but looks pretty!  My other "major" houseplant, is my Avocado Tree!  It has officially become too big for the Kitchen window sill!  I started this as a seed from a store bought Hass Avocado a little under 1 year ago!  It has been moved out of the window to a temporary home upstairs on an end table that was acting as a nightstand.  The matching end table has been in the downstairs Living room since we moved in, but this one used to be a nightstand in the Master until we found one (in our garage) with drawers that took it's place.  It's going back downstairs to rejoin it's mate now.  After, that is, the tree has had enough time to readjust and stand tall and straight again!  You have to turn these trees once a week or so or they lean toward the sunshine.  This one was mashed in a window sill so it's leaves are all leaning to one side!  Today it looks much better, I may take it downstairs this evening.  I do afterall, have to go install Netflix on the Wii down there...then we'll have it in every room of the house (save the dining/kitchen area)!

The last thing brightening up our living spaces is my heart shaped basket I made a few months ago.  It is hanging on a plant hook way above my head, and dangles at the top corner of the staircase out of the way of everyone under 20 feet tall!  Even my other halfdoesn't hit it!  I had to turn my Pothos because it was poking him every time he walked by...  On the left is a bunch of (fake) flowers that one of my Great-Aunts gave me over a decade ago!  They came in a pretty little basket that she sewed a cover for and in the basket was also a set of 4 placemats and napkins that matched the basket.  Sadly, all I have left of the entire set is one placemat and the flowers, the rest have been lost over many moves.  On the right is something else I've been doing to avoid real "work"...papercraft flowers!  Yep, printed out off the computer, cut out and glued together...these guys are really fun to do!  Also, they really brighten up the room with their vibrant colors!  I have mentioned the papercraft stuff before, around Mother's that time I hadn't put any together yet, but now I sugeest everyone make a few!  The first one was really hard to do, but they do get easier to do!  My favorite, of course, you can't  see in the photo, was a Lily, I made a White one, but also have the pattern for a pink one too!