Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

Halloween was a bit more difficult this year than last. It was much harder with Greeneyes. He was just not into trick-or-treating at all. He is at the stage where he doesn't like to be constrained to a stroller and wants to wander free. Unfortunately, that just doesn't work well at dusk in the middle of the street. Last year he stayed snug in a sling while Ladybug did all the treating.

Truthfully, Ladybug didn't do as well as last year either. For instance, Nick would ask, "Now, Ladybug, what do you say?" Ladybug would reply, "Give me some candy!"... Yeah, I've been working on those please and thank-you's but she seems to have lost them in her threes.

We found Ladybug's outfit on 75% clearance at Target last year (her cowboy shirt was a hand me down and the pink hat I found at the dollar store) and recycled the dog outfit from last year for Greeneyes. I will do this as long as I can get away with. Cowboy 2010 sounds about right to me!

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It was unseasonably warm and we felt comfortable walking around in t-shirts so Greeneyes did not appreciate his cozy warm outfit one bit!

Below is the mailbox decorating we did for our neighborhood. Hope they don't mind!

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Below is the carved pumpkin.


This is pretty much how it all played out! Hope you all had an awesome Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Zazzle Recipe Binder Contest

I like to enter in small contests every once in while because I get to practice my Photoshop skills while I watch kiddos. Maybe, someday I'll be ready to head back into the work force.

While I'm not likely to win this contest, if you get a chance, I'd like to request that you click on the link below and rate my binder (positively, I hope!). By doing so, it makes my design a little more visible in the Zazzle community and a little more likely to win and sell.


I haven't made a lot of money on Zazzle but it has been a nice little distraction. My most popular item is the "I survived the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009." I have sold about 10 of those. I'm scratching my head though. People like that shirt but don't care for my "Pubix" shirt? Really? OK, I admit, it is tasteless but it's still pretty funny.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Progress!

We've made some progress on the cabinetry and shelving!


Above: Office cabinets without the doors on it.
Below: Beginnings of the entertainment center.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Glorious Fall Days

On our way back from church (we have yet to settle on a church and have been shopping for a while now) we took the long route home to enjoy some of the foliage. It is insanely gorgeous right now. It's too bad this season doesn't just stretch out a little bit longer.

When we got home, we put the kids to bed and decided to enjoy the fall air with a little more yard work. We finished staking out the proposed driveway as I mentioned yesterday. Below is a picture of the results.

The orange flags are where the center line of the drive will be and the orange tape is to demarcate the limits of work.

GARDEN UPDATE:
It's been in the lower 70's to upper 60's of late and we have yet to get a killing freeze. This coming week is supposed to continue to be mild so I uncovered the plants so they could enjoy the warmth. I'm still crossing my fingers the cauliflower will hold out and we can squeeze a harvest.

Mache is on the left and cauliflower to your right.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Have we reached redneck status yet?

Today we accomplished a significant amount of yard work in order to make way for our new realigned driveway. I've had the project priced out by several excavators and found a decent price with one recommended by a neighbor. The excavators were supposed to come two weeks ago but they were delayed with the rain. It ended up being a good thing as we weren't quite finished with the work required on our end. They should be here this week so we really had to get moving this weekend.

Nick finished off burning a large brush pile left by the previous owner this morning. The previous owner had placed a large pile smack dab in the middle of the forest, i.e. right where we are putting the proposed driveway. We will have to replace it with one somewhere else on the property because they are good for wildlife habitat.

Admittedly, the pile above looks lame as it had already burned down to embers when I took the picture.

After Nick finished that, he worked on cutting down a big ole dead pine tree that could pose a problem to our proposed driveway later. He cut it down with his birthday present (a 16" Chain Saw) and it still didn't budge. So then he beat at it with a sledge hammer (we didn't have an axe.) As you'll note in the video, it simply plopped down but didn't fall. Note: If you play the video below, I may have a bit of a potty mouth (the S word) with this one so don't play this when the kids are around. My apologies! No kids were around during the first several phases of work.

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Nick had to tug it with a tow rope to get the thing down. It finally fell. Below is a video of the tow job.

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Nick cut down some lesser dead trees as well. The video below has some good chainsaw action.

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Tomorrow, I need to get out there and mark the limits of work with stakes and survey tape so there is little room for miscommunication between myself and the excavators. My hope is to minimize impact to the existing trees as much as possible.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting Passed by Grammy

I thought today I'd do a little running update. On October 4th, we ran the Army 10-miler. We spent the weekend in DC and did the run on Sunday. It was a lot of fun. We had great weather but there were way too many people and not enough portapotties. Kind of a problem for me!

Anyway, despite that issue, the veterans that were out there pushing through the pain were amazing, not mention inspiring. I was also humbled as I watched a couple of 60+ year old grandmas pass. Of course, as they passed Nick looked at me like, "You aren't going to let that happen are you? Come on, speed it up!" Yeah, I let them pass. Hey, they were some fast grannies!

Above is one of the pics from the race photographers. I hate race photos (this one included.. and yet I post it). Pretty much every time I am sent these photos I look with dread. What will it be this time? Will my boobs be pasted to my chest? Will I have jiggle ripples or some horrible grimace on my face? The one above is the best I've had in quite some time and it's still not that great.

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Anyway, the race was exhilarating. After the race, I thought this fall would be a great time to really ramp up our running. Not so. Nick injured his ankle a couple weeks ago while running with buddies at work. That meant I didn't have my buddy to do my long runs with this month and it has been rough. Nick is finally feeling better this week but now I'm sick with some sort of flu (since Monday). I hope to get back on the running bandwagon this weekend.

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Below is Ladybug playing in a helicopter at the Army 10 Miler packet pick-up event.


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Pizza Obsession

We finally polished off the 18 tombstones we bought in early June before we left GA. Just when I was getting nervous and thinking I might have to pay too much for the frozen pizza Nick loves... Nick found a coupon in the beer section of Food Lion for $2 off ANY frozen or fresh pizza. Tombstones are on sale for $3 this week so that means I was able to get them for just $1 ea with the coupon.

BUT, it gets better. There is a separate rebate out there for $10 when you buy 4 pizzas.

Here's the breakdown.
$4.00 for 4 tombstone pizzas ($1 a piece AC)
-$10.00 rebate
= $6 MONEY MAKER on 4 pizzas... that's right. I get paid $6 bucks to pick up pizza.

We are limited to only one rebate per family, but that didn't stop us from picking up 20 (should last until summer). With the rebate, that makes the pizzas just 50 cents ea. Mind you, I thought $1.16 was a good price last time!

I need a larger freezer.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family Weekend in GA... ACC Tanks

Nick had this last week off from work (he goes back Tuesday). Nick used his comp time and some vacation to get a long list of things done around the house including:

-treating the deck
-fixing an aesthetic issue with the roof
-putting a hole trough the brick wall so we could get a dryer vent in
-moved an air vent to make way for some shelving units
-painted a section of the porch
-blah, blah, blah, list goes on

Below is Nick drilling a hole in the wall.

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I was hoping to get a nice long run this weekend but Nick screwed up his ankle last week while running with some work buddies and he's been laid up. Hopefully, that will heal quickly. I miss our long runs. My body is showing it.

Anyway, after a long week of hard work, we headed to Atlanta to meet up with friends and enjoy some football, i.e. the VA Tech/GA Tech game. For those who aren't aware Nick is a GT grad, while i am a VT grad. So, either way, one of us was going to go home happy. We argued for a bit over what colors the children would wear and to be fair we decided that we each got to dress one child as we pleased.

Below are some pics of Bobby Dodd Stadium or as I affectionately call it, "Fancy Pants Stadium." I admit I haven't been to VT since Lane Stadium 2005 expansion, but Lane Stadium is not nearly as nice as Bobby Dodd.

Though most people would never attempt to take two children 3 and under, we did. It did have a few tough moments, but for the most part the kids were great. We had a blast. We made it through the 3rd quarter and then left to avoid the crowds. We watched the last quarter of the game from the comfort of the hotel just two blocks away. When watching from the hotel TV with the game just two blocks away, my stomach cringed every time the crowd roared. With the standard 30 second delay you knew when a big play was about to occur.

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The end score was 23/28 GT so hubs went home happy and I went home annoyed. VT dropped 10 places in the BCS Poll from #4 to #14 and GT gained 7 places from #19 to #12. Hardly a win for our division if you ask me. Not only did VT lose, so did the entire ACC. The ACC will not likely be represented in the top 5 at all this year. Though VT crushed Miami 31 to 7 and Miami kicked GT butt 33 to 17, both now rank above VT because of its NARROW loss against a decent team. This is BS if you ask me... but that's college football for you. Only a playoff system will fix the lack of fairness but like that's ever going to change.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Extending the Harvest

We are coming close to the dreaded first frost. So today after pumpkin picking I went out and put some protection on our cauliflower. The cauliflower is a bit of an experiment. It has a 55 seed to maturity date and we thought we'd give it a try as it will hypothetically reach maturity around early November. We should be able to keep it alive until then with protection, I THINK. I hear when doing late crops you have to add a couple extra weeks for cold weather crops and that may be a bit of a stretch. We figured what the heck do we have to lose, you never know unless you try?!


In the above pic, the mache Marie-France got us is the uncovered crop in between the covered crops. The cauliflower is the long covered row. The short covered row is roquette but it doesn't seem to be doing as well this go round as it did in early spring. We also have some spinach in the right of the pic but it is too small to notice. It's growing the speed of molasses! We planted the same crops 3 weeks later to attempt to stagger the crop a bit and are planning to do the same again. Their still a little too small to notice just yet.

It is our understanding that mache can last through winter given it is a mild one. According to the farmer's almanac (or so I hear) that will not be the case for us. It's supposed to be the coldest winter in 34 years! Yuck. Nonetheless, what do we have to lose?

As of this moment in time, our tomatoes are still alive. Below is a pic of our grape tomato plant that continues to thrive and the tomatoes I picked just TODAY!!

Our Old German heirloom has plenty of fruits but we are going to have to pick these soon if they don't turn themselves in lieu of the coming frosts.


We still have quite a few peppers too. Hurry little peppers!! Don't you know the frost is coming?!!!


Last but not least, here is a little bean that just popped up. Poor guy, it's just not the right time!

Obligatory Fall Pics

Today we went to the pumpkin patch (it was 75 and sunny!) and got ourselves a good ole pumpkin. They had some bouncers, slides and tubes for the kids to climb up, down and around. I was hoping we'd get them tired enough we could enjoy a long nap, but alas, GreenEyes was up after only a one hour nap (his usual). I almost wonder if he doesn't do that just so he gets his one-on-one mommy time!

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My girl has no fear.

Adventures in Savings Coming to an END???

I think there won't be a lot of Redskins talk on this blog in the next coming months. I don't think we could get much worse this year. Check out this article on Yahoo. Despite the "soft" schedule, they've been playing some kind of terrible. At least I have my Hokies. Their first game against #3 Alabama just about ripped my heart to shreds, but they are building my hope back up. Tech is currently ranked #4. Hopefully, they'll knock some GA Tech #15 butt come Saturday.

Well, today I bought a dozen eggs for 39 cents and a gallon of milk for 9 cents. Pretty cool... but I'm no longer impressed by my money saving skills and I'm considering making some changes. Why???

Having just read the "Omnivore's Dilemma" By Michael Pollan I feel like maybe I could be making better choices even if it's going to cost me money. Charlottesville has an awesome network of local farmers that I need to tap into more (specifically for meats as we grown our own produce). In fact, one of them, Polyface farm, is featured in the book Ominvore's Dilemma. You can check out Polyface Farm HERE.

I found the book to be a great critique on "organic" foods. The author is quick to point out that certified organic foods aren't always that environmentally friendly. Like, how environmentally friendly is an organic avocado flown in from Equador when in consumes so much fuel to get it here? He also analyzes those farms that haven't earned the "organic" label (like Polyface) who are indeed environmentally friendly but refuse to qualify as "organic" because doing so would compromise his high environmentally friendly standards. There's a thought!

I highly recommend this read. It's very insightful regarding the food production industry. The first several chapters reminded me of the documentary "King Corn." It's really got me thinking about what I'm ingesting. Though I like the idea of eating less meat less often to compensate for the higher cost of grass fed meat, my husband is less willing to budge. For us, I think the best thing we can do right now is start to really look at our options. Maybe we will continue to buy *some* meat at the traditional market, but maybe we can also make some of our meat purchases from local, sustainable grass farms in bulk once or twice a year and store it.... maybe even Polyface.

Well, enough of my soap box. I hope you guys are having a wonderful fall.