Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - with really long captions...O.K. almost wordless? How about not so wordless???

What to do with a 20 year old Aloe house plant that is no longer wanted in the house???..... if you are my husband, you hang it from a tree in the back yard!!!!

Maybe we can do that with the 20 year old pit group that is finally in our basement. The lovely shade of brown would fit in with our back yard motif!

Not sure how the neighbors would feel about seeing furniture hanging from our trees.....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Faithful Friday / Count Your Blessings - Week 4

This week I'm running a bit late and decided to break from my usual theme and give thanks for some of the smaller blessings this week.

Sunday we got to meet our new nephew from Seattle for the first time. He is now almost 10 months and just adorable. My middle son Alex told me that his cousin was even cuter than he imagined.
"If he was any cuter, Mom, I'd think he was an alien sent from outer-space to take over the Earth!"

We had a beautiful day at my sister-in-law's pool followed by a barbeque in our backyard. My boys had a chance to see their four girl cousins who live on the other side of town. We also got to see my husband's parents and visit with my Seattle sister-in-law and her partner ( parents of the cutest baby in the world!)

My oldest son was given a trumpet that his cousin Annie, who is his age, didn't need anymore.
As I listen to him attempt to play it, I'm not sure who this is a blessing for.... I think my sister-in-law mentioned something about a no-return policy!

My middle and youngest son continue their weekly piano lessons and are giving mini-concerts on demand for our visitors. They even taught me how to play "Ode to Joy". Speaking of joy,... we have been getting much joy out of our piano, which is turning out to be a good investment.

My older two boys had a chance to swim in the Finals for their swim team and took home some medals.

Last night we had some friends from Colorado visit us with their four children. Another back yard cookout. And fortunately great weather.

Finally, I read the post from Terri's daughter, that she made it through her surgery just fine!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Garden Pest

I found out what's been munching on my flowers and plants in the front yard. On my way to my car this morning, I saw this guy in my Lavender. I had to get a quick photo. At times like this, I wish I had a better camera; one with a macro lens!

If I was not so squeamish, I'd pick him off and stomp him. Instead as I left for work, I put my oldest and baddest boy on that task.

Some things you just have to delegate.......

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday in the Garden of Bad Momma

Tomatoes are progressing.

Bee at work

Taking A Break


The Ever Illusive Yellow Squash

Hanging Out

Glad my Gladiolas are finally showing up!

Sometimes a plant shows up that you don't quite remember. I don't recall planting this gem. Anyone know what varietal this Lily is?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cukes in a Pickle!

I picked a bunch of pickling cucumbers tonight. The giant one is about 5 1/2 inches long and 2 1/4 in diameter. I found that one hiding near the bottom of the vines. There are several that are oval shaped or have started to curl up at the ends. My Straight Eights have yet to take off.

This is due to the heat! It has been in the 90's for several days. I have heard from several bloggers that they are having problems with their crop this year. I spoke with a friend who is quite knowledgeable about gardening. He told me when it is hot, the plants are concerned with putting out seed in a hurry and that's why the fruit tends to ball up. My friend suggested watering the garden for several hours to get the ground fully saturated down deep. Then don't water for a few days. This will encourage the roots to burrow down deeper into the earth for water. This should make for stronger, healthier plants.

I will give it a try! I also hope to try my hand at a sample batch of Kosher Deli Style Dill Pickles. I'll post the recipe I use if I do!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Faithful Friday - Week 3

This week I am celebrating the Choices That Are Made For You .

Sometimes the best decisions you make are ones that are made for you by forces out of your control. About 3 1/2 years ago, my husband and I both had some of the best decisions of our lives, made for us.

For several years before that time, we had been preparing for the eventual job-loss of my husband. His company had been continually down-sizing and off-shoring American workers as a way of cost-cutting. We had no idea how long we had but the "writing was on the wall".

Suze Orman Would Be Proud

We saved our money and became debt-free. We never built the new house on the land we purchased. Instead we continue to live in my husband's starter home, the one he bought as a bachelor a few years out of college. For 4 or 5 years we prepared for an uncertain future.

Finally the day came. The round of cuts that severed my husband's career with a company he had been with over 20 years! It was almost a relief. My weekly ritual of asking "Do you still have your job?" was over. Thankfully we were financially prepared.

The Ax Falls Again!

The next decision made for us, took me by surprise. Within a week of my husband's "choice", I had an unexpected announcement from my landlord of the building that housed my business. He had an offer for an 18 year lease and much higher rent from a realtor who had a client that wanted my space. After 9 years on a prime corner in a trendy neighborhood, I was either going to have to move or ante up more than I was prepared to offer.

I came home in tears. My husband hugged me and said "You've been laid off, too!"

The Best Decisions We Never Made

After much research and soul searching, we came up with our plan. The local job market for my husband was sparse and would have required taking a considerable pay-cut for less than desirable work. Relocation would prove costly and most likely another unstable situation. I would have to sell or dump my business.

We decided to change my business model and moved my work to a more cost-effective and efficient set-up. We cut out the retail portion and concentrated on the internet and corporate clients. My husband decided to take a few years and stay home. He had projects he wanted to work on and wanted to spend time with our boys while they are young.

Less is More

I am working a few less hours a week. Greater efficiency in my operation has increased profitability and lowered my stress. I am so much happier at work. The boys are now in public school. They are no longer in an After Care program. Dad is waiting for them at home with a snack. Homework is done earlier to allow for more free-time after dinner.The boys are now meeting kids that live nearby and have friends in the neighborhood. (Their old school was not near our home). We are not only surviving, but thriving! Our lives are so much better.

I like to refer to this period as "The Best Decisions We Never Made!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Absolutely Un-Fabulous

Recently I've been getting these invitations in my in-box:

"Please come join me at Beautiful Fabulous. I know you are thinking another social network, but trust me you will enjoy yourself!"

Not sure I would fit in. Nor enjoy myself! Nor am I in the habit of trusting total strangers.

I also am not sure why anyone would think that I would be interested in:
"The social network that celebrates everything Beautiful & Fabulous! Join our celebration for free!"
Don't think you could pay me to join. As a self-proclaimed Bad Momma, I tend to celebrate the un-glamorous side of life.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

First Meal with Yellow Squash from the Garden

I almost waited to post these pictures on Wordless Wednesday but I am so excited, I couldn't wait. My summer garden is like Christmas during July and August. Everyday Mother Nature has a new surprise for me! Yellow squash is a new crop for us this year. It has only been a week or two since these big, yellow blossoms appeared.

Within a week of the blossoms, I have my first squash. I googled some info on the web. Did you know that the squash flowers are edible? They can be dipped in batter & fried. I also found out that there are male and female blossoms. Not all the blossoms will have a vegetable attached. So far I have a crop of one!
Yellow squash is best when it is still young and tender. The later you wait, they will be larger, tougher and seedier (more seeds). They are best at 6 to 8 inches long and up to 2 inches in diameter. This one is 6 inches long and I couldn't wait!

In my haste to harvest my "dinner", I did not notice this baby squash that was attached. Although I'm not sure I could have avoided taking it early, I wish I had tried to be more careful.
I also picked some lettuce, green onions and basil.

I sliced the plant into disks, and sauteed it in olive oil with garlic, basil, sea salt and lemon pepper. I served it on a bed of Angel Hair Pasta and garnished with a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese. I also had a salad of fresh garden greens, grapes, croutons, fresh parmesan and raspberry vinaigrette.
There is nothing like harvesting and cooking a dinner that you grew!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Faithful Friday / Count Your Blessings - Week 2

This week the blessing I want to acknowledge is that of Family.

I was single until I was 36 and had my first child at 37. I remember a time where I did not think I would get married, let alone have children. Now I can not imagine a life without my husband and 3 boys. Having faced the possibility of being a life-long "singleton", makes me much more appreciative of what I have.

I am grateful that my boys are happy, healthy, smart and relatively good boys. They help make me a better person. My life is full.

We had a cookout last weekend with some friends and their two beautiful and brilliant girls. This couple also centers their life around their children. We were discussing the importance of a good education and the importance of parental involvement.

The mom of this family emigrated from China with her family when she was young. They had to leave much of their possessions behind to come to this country. She pointed out that with Wealth, it is possible to lose everything. Education can't be taken away. Her family was able to quickly rebuild their lives due to her parent's knowledge and skills. ( medical and engineering)

She has a friend who owns a business with her husband. The couple work very hard and are never home. They have babysitters watch their children. Mom and Dad are gone from early morning until 9:00 at night. The children are staying up late to see their parents and are doing poorly in school.

The sad part is that the couple is working longer and harder than they need to. They want to provide their children with money and the finer things in life. These mis-guided parents equate money with love. The children need their parents and their presence, not presents. This family may have money but they are poor.

The last few years, we have started to simplify our lives. My husband is taking time out of his career to stay home with the boys. We have adjusted our lifestyle so we can afford to do this. We have discovered that less can be more. Sometimes we need to slow down and enjoy life. Savoring every moment. We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy this time with our boys while they are young. Can't put a price on that!

This post is part of the 6 week Count Your Blessings

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday in Bad Momma's Garden - The Promise of Things to Come

Corner View of Vegetable Garden

First Cucumber

First Tomato

Squash Blossom

Friday, July 4, 2008

Faithful Friday / Count Your Blessings - Week 1

Wornoutwoman is starting a "contest" of sorts. More like a challenge to take note of life's blessings.
Every Friday for 6 weeks, I will be posting blessings that I am thankful for.
In honor of the July 4th Holiday, I'm keeping the 1st week simple.

Today the blessing I want to count is that of Freedom. The freedoms that we take for granted. The freedoms of free speech, free choice, and in freedom of how we live ( as long as we are not endangering ourselves or others). It is also a time to be grateful to those who gave their lives to protect these freedoms.

We just came back from seeing our local fireworks. Lee Greenwood's God Bless The USA is a staple in the background music. This verse pretty much sums up how I feel today.

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

My 10 year old son, also decided to participate. This is what he is thankful for.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Comparison Shopping for Fire Power

Which would you choose and Why? ( note: I am making my son use his own money )

If I was buying, I would totally get the cheap one at Meijer. My boys have to use their allowance if they want more water-power. Half the guns from last year are not in good working order.

I came home today to find my oldest using my dry erase board for Decision Tree Analysis. All the boys in the neighborhood are having nightly water battles. Good weaponry is key!

My 7 year old has his eye on the Aquashock Arctic Blast where you can add ice for a cold shock of water. I find that quite disturbing!


Too bad Dry Erase Boards Don't Come With Spell Check

The Cheapest:

The Better Quality ( and pricier ) Weapons found at Target

From Sam's Club ( Jenny's Recommendation )

Blast a colorful water steam up to 30 ft. (914cm) with these pressurized pump-action blasters! Fill the tank with water, choose your color, load a Color Jet Cartridge, and infuse the water with vivid color with state of the art Color Infusion Technology. With or without color, this powerful blaster will soak your opponents!

The color formula is non-toxic and easily washes out of clothes. Bring color to battle! Color Stream…Color rules! Includes 4 Color Jet Cartridges – infuse up to 80 tanks!

  • Blast a colorful water steam up to 30 ft. (914cm) with these pressurized pump-action blasters!
  • Fill the tank with water, choose your color, load a Color Jet Cartridge, and infuse the water with vivid color with state of the art Color Infusion Technology
  • With or without color, this powerful blaster will soak your opponents
  • The color formula is non-toxic and easily washes out of clothes
  • Includes 4 Color Jet Cartridges – infuse up to 80 tanks