Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Sample of Thanksgiving Cooking

Maybe it's a brag, maybe it's just me wanting to share what a slow day of Thanksgiving Feast Cooking is like. (For a Baking Day, imagine roasting, then peeling, then pureeing, then turning 20 lbs of sweet potatoes into 14 pies and a catering tray of candied sweet potatoes.)

From Facebook posts today:

First post, "Grocery store run has been done. First cup of coffee and breakfast, almost done. Now I've got to get off my bum to make and bake the vanilla cake for the last chocolate mousse cake. Then it's time to bring out the giant stock pot, chop a ton of vegetables, & start making the chicken stock.

Next, "Mr. Gooble Wobble-Me-Up is in the oven and the giant pot of chicken stock is cooking on the stove top. Vanilla chocolate mousse cake was made and delivered to the theatre's freezer. Turkey #2 got transferred from the freezer to the fridge for defrosting. Hope to get 4-6 batches of Kiran's Crazy Cookies dough made tonight & put in fridge to chill.

Even with the air conditioners running full blast, the house is hot as hell. Damn oven, turkeys that take hours to roast, and stock that takes hours of simmering on the stove top. :-(

A friend asks, "Do you have time in between all that to take a deep breath???? LOL"

I reply, "
T., considering I'm answering your reply 44 minutes after you wrote it...'no.' LOL! 3 batches of cookie dough have been colored (orange, red, blue, green, yellow, purple, & original/dough,) the 25 lb bag of sugar taken out of car and poured into the *finally arrived* food grade bucket, discovered that I'm going to need to pick up another 25 lbs. pounds after the cookies LOL!, this week's shopping lists made, turkey's been basted, yelled at Faberware timer for yet again not working, husband came home & has been shown what's to eat & what needs doing tonight (very basic husband-only things,) put a bottle of hard cider in the fridge to chill for me, stock has been stirred, and more water filtered for said stock. And the night's not over yet."

Until next time, I remain the overheated,


Busy couple of weeks

This will be brief...maybe. Unfortunately, there won't be pictures. Husband bought us a new camera, but he hasn't downloaded the pictures from it yet. (Currently we only have a cable for it, not a memory card.) I'm too busy to learn how.

Our last couple of weeks in brief:

Halloween: Went pumpkin picking at a local farm, visited Daddy's 2nd work and only a couple of houses including the amazing "Halloween House" down the street. They expect us every year and always have a special treat for Kiran. He didn't mind not trick-or-treating much because the costume is so hard to breathe and see in and he's not in it for the candy. He just likes showing off. :-P

Had AWESOME AWESOME time at Ubercon. Made lots of new friends, the staff absolutely adored Kiran, and his costume was a huge successes. Kiran described the con as Heaven. :-) I got to play the only video game I really loved, Qix, thanks to one of the staff who had built an arcade like set up and had a ton of old games, including Frogger. Very cool!

Homeschool Bake/Craft Sale went very well. We were swamped the minute we started setting up. LOL! Nearly all the bread was sold and folks asked us to bring more next week. Other big sellers for us: Kiran's Crazy Cookies, cupcake-sized pumpkin, apple, apple crumb, sweet potato pies, and whole pies of the same.

Local homeschool friends: We'll be bringing more Kiran's Crazy Cookies ($0.25 each) and both Herb and Multi-Grain bread ($2.00 each) this Thursday. Perfect for Thanksgiving and meals leading up to it!

Thanksgiving Feast 2010: nearly all the shopping is done except for last minute salad ingredients. The desserts are baked and happily sitting in a freezer. Two chickens have been roasted for the stuffing and their bones are sitting in a huge pot turning into stock as I type. The first of two 20 lb. turkeys is currently roasting. It's bones will be turned into stock tomorrow. Three cups of margarine are softening up in the massive mixing bowl waiting to be turned into delicious cookies.

Laundry is somehow being kept up to date despite 1-2 loads of dishes being run every day on top of handwashing others. The living room is a mess, but that's to be expected this time of year. It was cleaned shortly before Halloween, but can't truly be gotten to till after Thanksgiving.

Kiran is happily schooling himself despite this being our "summer break," coming up with more ways to save the world. He's going to be cleaning out the living room wardrobe tonight looking for coats to give the homeless children in NYC that he'd heard about on the news. We both continue to watch a lot of educational programming as is our wont, actively schooling or not. One of Kiran's "save the world" plans includes his theories on the Irish Potato Famine he'd seen a special about the other day. (I swear to you, I taught him this last year, but I guess it took a "repeat" for it to truly sink in.)

And that's it for now. Will try and post pictures and updates when I can.

~CoffeeHeidi, making bread by hand, never machine, and slaving over a 1950's stove 20 hours a day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I realized today while making up 4 enormous batches of pumpkin pie filling that saying I'm cooking & baking for 110+ and listing all the dishes doesn't mean much until you see the numbers. Most folks, according to my husband, bring only 1 pie to a gathering. To me, that's just not fair. Eight slices for 40-80 people?! How does that add up? So of course, I bring more. Here are the numbers in a, knowing me, rambling order that still won't make complete sense in the end.

...pausing because the oven timer dinged....

I'm back. Here are the numbers with a few explanations. I'm not complaining, just complaining, and feeling very exhausted though the day is still young.

* Apple of Your Eye Tangy Pie: 6 whole, 12 pocket (these alone took 15 lbs of apples to make)
* Sweet as My Mum Apple Crumb Pie: 1 whole, 21 pocket (this few because that's all 5 lbs of apples would make)
* Sweet Potato Doesn't Taste Like Tomato Pie: 14 whole, 24 pocket (they took around 18 lbs of sweet potatoes that had to be roasted, peeled, & pureed to make)
* Perfect as Me Squeal with Glee Pumpkin Pie: 7-10 whole, 12-24 pocket (depends on how many the current batches of batter make. Ideally, I only need 7 whole and 12 pocket)
* Tiny Treacle Tarts: 12+ pocket (however many 1 batch makes)
* Spruce Chocolate Mousse Cakes, all flavors: 5 whole
* Kiran's Super Happy Chocolate Cake: 1 whole which made 8 giant-sized slices
* Sugar-Free to Be Me Diabetic Cake: 1 whole, however many cupcakes 1 batch makes
* Lick Me Up! Pops: 1 batch each of orange & lemon

I Dream in Bed of Homemade Bread
* Aromatic Herb: 2 batches = 8 loaves, will probably add on another 4 loaves
* Macho Multi-grain: 2 batches = 8 loaves
* Wholesome White: 4 batches = 12 loaves + 1 batch's worth of rolls

Main and Side Dishes
* Terrific Turkeys, 18-20 lbs each: 4-5
* Happy Stuffing: 3 batches which will take 2 chickens, homemade stock from those chickens, 6 tubes of sausage meat, turkey drippings, and 2-3 multi-packs of stuffing mix to make
* Mucho Mashed Potatoes: 2 batches using up 2 gallon-sized containers of potato flakes and 2-3 quarts of homemade stock
* Vegan Pink Beans & Rice: 1 very large batch
* Kiran's Confetti Salad: 1 very large batch which is 2nd to only the stuffing in how much time it takes to prepare
* Candied Sweet Potatoes: 1 very large batch
* Crave-able Cranberry Sauce: 2 batches

Pies dinged again and so I must run. The "Sample Ladies" at Sam's Club (Hi, Lisa, Judy, and Lisa's-friend-that-I'm-totally-blanking-for-your-name-on!) are expecting us today. :-D

Till the next time I get a free moment, I remain the burned, bruised, cut, and flour covered,

~CoffeeHeidi, the "C" stands for "crazy" :-P

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast 2010 & Homeschool Bake Sale

It's begun. Thanksgiving Feast cooking and baking is in full swing. And being over achievers, Kiran and I are baking and cooking for the small bake & craft sale that will take place during homeschool soccer Thursday after next.

Only, Kiran and I never do anything small. It was his idea six years ago that we should cook Thanksgiving Dinner for the movie theatre staff where Daddy is a manager. That ranges from 60- 80+ people. Then Daddy (my husband of course) loves having "30 Days of Thanksgiving Dinner" lunches so that his coworkers at his first job can wonder what those delicious smells are in the middle of December. That, and I could cheat on him as long as I keep making my stuffing. LOL! Friends get food too, so tack on another 4-10 people. (Husband swears I'm a compulsive feader. :-D )

And this year, there's that small bake & craft fair at soccer. Like last time we participated, Kiran and I can't just bring one or two things. Oh no, we have to go overboard! It's part of our crazy nature. Why do one thing when you can do 20 or 30? What's 4 more sweet potato pies when you're already making 10? What's one more 20 lb. turkey when you're roasting 3 and last year you made 7?

So firstly, let me tell you, and my homeschool friends, what Kiran and I will be over bringing to the bake sale. And please note that we're not making money on this. What we're charging isn't near what it cost to make our goods. We do this because we love to share our love of food, the timing just happened to coincide with Thanksgiving Feast cooking & baking, and as always, because we're crazy. LOL!

Happy Kiran & Crazy Mommy's Delicious Delights

Perfect Pocket Pies: $0.50
Apple of Your Eye Tangy Pie
Sweet as My Mum Apple Crumb Pie
Perfect as Me Squeal with Glee Pumpkin Pie
Sweet Potato Doesn't Taste Like Tomato Pie

Oh My, That's Good Pie!, Whole: $6.00
Apple of Your Eye Tangy Pie
Sweet as My Mum Apple Crumb Pie
Perfect as Me Squeal with Glee Pumpkin Pie
Sweet Potato Doesn't Taste Like Tomato Pie

Tiny Treacle Tarts: $0.50

Silly Happy Slices: $1.25
Kiran's Super Happy Chocolate Cake

Let Me Have More! Pops: $0.25
Lick Your Lips Lemon Pops
Nothing Rhymes with Orange Pops

Sugar-Free To Be Me Cupcakes: $0.50

I Dream in Bed of Homemade Bread: $2.00
Aromatic Herb
Macho Multigrain
Wholesome White

Be Thanksgivingfull Plate: $5.00
Plans for this plate are to include: turkey, stuffing, Swedish meatballs, homemade roll

Veg Out Vegetarian Plate: $5.00
Plans for this plate are to include: vegan pink beans & rice, vegetarian stuffing, candied sweet potatoes without marshmallows, homemade roll.

Right now, because of the enormous amount of desserts and bread that I have to make and the fact that I'll be missing 3 days of baking time due to a gaming convention (Kiran's first,) I can't guarantee that we'll be bringing the Thanksgivingfull and Vegetarian Plates nor the Treacle Tarts. However, they should be available the week following the bake & craft sale.

Now onto the Thanksgiving Feast 2010 that the theatre staff, and my husband, will be getting!

* Terrific Turkey (two 20 pounders roasted & seasoned to juicy perfection)
* Happy Stuffing (it takes 3 days, 1 chicken, homemade stock, and ground sausage to make)
* Mucho Mashed Potatoes (flavored with homemade stock & turkey drippings)
* Vegan Pink Beans & Rice (a Puerto Rican favorite that's surprisingly meat-free)
* Kiran's Confetti Salad (a blend of greens, herbs, and any other aromatic that catches his fancy)
* Swedish Meatballs (simple to make, hard to stop eating)
* Candied Sweet Potatoes (better than your grandmother's)
* Wholesome & Hearty White Homemade Bread
* Chocolate Mousse Cakes: Chocolate Cake w/Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mousse and Vanilla Cake w/White Chocolate Mousse
* Sugar-Free To Be Me Diabetic Cake
* Apple of Your Eye Tangy Pie
* Perfect as Me Squeal with Glee Pumpkin Pie
* Sweet Potato Doesn't Taste Like Tomato Pie
* Crave-able Cranberry Sauce
* Condiments: gravy, whipped cream, butter
* Also supplied: napkins, tablecloths, plates, cutlery, serving wear, decorations, and us bringing the feast in festive homemade fall clothing.

And this is why Kiran and I are over-achievers, insane, and why I never get anything close to decent sleep during the month of November. In fact, I'm a bit behind. Normally I have 90% of my grocery shopping done by now. Kiran's Halloween costume ate into that time.

I'm off to slice up & wrap the Happy Cake and then maybe get some sleep.

Till next time,

~CoffeeHeidi, baker and cook of all things wonderful and delicious at Thanksgiving :-D

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ratchet & Clank Costume Pics

Here are a few pictures of Kiran's completed Ratchet costume and his favorite stuffed animal's (a puppy) Clank costume.

One of these days I'll get around to making a slide show of the making of the costume including details that you can't see in the full body, or even half body, shots.

Ratchet's weapon is being made. There's a lot of painting and gluing involved, so it's taking a while.

The costume took 3 months to make if you include me taking about a month's worth of breaks and delays off. After the first month of intense pattern making and sewing, I got really burned out. This month has been a mad dash hell run to the finish.

The costume was a lot more complicated than I'd originally thought. Or rather, I wanted to add the details that most wouldn't and so it was more complicated. The main body of the jumpsuit has all the layers as the character does. The side detailing is a combination of ribbon and layers of fabric that were attached to the jumpsuit. One is opened just enough to contain the battery pack of the suit's el wires. The leg detail was another separate piece made from layers of fabric and ribbon.

The head. OMGosh, the head! That took a TON of work. My intent was to do a full head mask rather than the "I can see your face" mask of past years. I wanted people to see Ratchet, not "look, it's a kid in a Ratchet mask." Of course, not everything turned out well despite 2 different noses. Despite my best efforts, the mouth did not align well, but once the boning that holds the 4 sets of cut & glued fake teeth in place, it was too late to change it. Plus, the quilting done in order to create the full cheekbones couldn't be cut into in order to center the mouth properly. The head Velcro's closed in the back with additional strips of Velcro around the neck in order to attach it to the jumpsuit, to keep it from coming out and achieving a smoother, more natural neck appearance.

The helmet was another multi-day construction with hours of hand sewing involved in order to attach the silver details and el wires. The battery pack is tucked away in the back and accessed by a silver, with Velcro attached, piece of fabric which resembles the detailing on the character's helmet. The front sides of the helmet are attached to the face with snaps.

Clank's costume. Yes, I know the hands and main body are too big, the joints and back detailing too small. However, I tried to make my best "essence of Clank" given that the stuffed animal's dimensions aren't those of an animated robot. I wasn't making a stuffed Clank. I was making a Clank costume for a stuffed dog with big paws and normal thickness limbs. There is Velcro attached to his back in order to attach him to the back of the Ratchet costume. However, spray painting Velcro silver makes it not want to stick so much. So for now, he'll have to be pinned on or simply held. I did try my best though!

That's it for tonight. I'll post pictures of Ratchet's weapon once it's done. And then it's off to entertain you with tales of Thanksgiving Feast 2010 cooking. There's a reason we school during the summer - we need the months of October and November (and often Sept.) for holiday cooking and sewing.

Till next time, I remain the exhausted,


Saturday, October 23, 2010

A "Learn from Heidi's Mistakes" Lesson

For those who have friended me on Facebook and have read my Wall posts recently, you can go ahead and skip this blog post. For all others, please read on and learn from my mistakes. There is nothing that I can't break or frell up in some manner. And so, I impart this new found wisdom upon you. :-)

Lessons Learned from Trying to Use Spray Foam in the Construction of a Costume Weapon

Spray foam will get everywhere

2. For this reason, believe the directions when they tell you to use it outside. Otherwise it'll end up all over your coffee table, where you eat your meals.

3. It keeps expanding long after you spray it down plumbing tubing

4. It's sticky as hell and impossible to wipe off with a damp paper towel.

Yet it's not sticky enough to hold a smaller pipe into place inside a larger one.

It will remove the spray paint it took you 3 days to carefully apply. :-(

7. Hours after the "Spray Foam Incident" you'll discover that you forgot to add a part to the handle and can't now that the foam has done it's disastrous work. You make plans to ditch the whole thing and start over tomorrow with another $30 spent ($100 already on the weapon) on replacement parts and foam-ish shelf liner to bridge the gap between the pipes & stuffed animal fiber filling to fill the space inside...none of which are as horridly messy as spray foam

Want to diet? Use spray foam indoors and even though you wore latex gloves and washed your hands each time you had to clean up the expanding crap, you'll "southernly exile in a violent manner" everything you ate that day. :-O

And that's it for now. I'll post on how the rest of the costume and remake of the weapon handle is going later. I'm off to the hardware store!

"God won't let me live a normal life." ~Heidi, a lesson learned in her early 20's

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Week Has Gone By

Can't believe it's been a week since I posted. Then again, maybe that's a good thing. LOL!

Not a lot has gone on, but we're making progress. K. had another great day at homeschool soccer. His new best friend, S. is adorable, funny, intelligent, loves video and card games, and is a delight to talk to. Loved chatting with her dad today too. Finally, K. has a friend in our general area (as opposed to many states away) that loves the same things he does.

Plus, and this is a HUGE plus, her family shares many of the same...values and beliefs are both the wrong words...basically, I don't have to pussy foot around being a Democrat, "liberal" non-church going Christian, who teaches evolution and thinks Harry Potter is awesome rather than the work of the devil. For those that don't homeschool, you have no idea what a huge relief that is!

Also on the homeschooling front, the latest Scribblenaughts video game came out this week and K's already beaten it. These games are a nice break from our regular spelling curriculum, though I did tire quickly of the 20,000 "Mom, how do you spell....?" Whipped out the dictionary eventually before it lead to "special coffee time." :-P

Finally, got back to work on his Ratchet costume. Presently, I'm working on the helmet which will light up the same as his costume. The shoulder armor is done though I still can't find the other tap light that needs attaching. His mask is completely done, Velcro attachments and all. Daddy Puppy's Clank costume needs back detailing work and a way to attach himself to the back of the Ratchet costume. Oh, and there's a dreaded weapon! Two weeks until Halloween and it's going to take till the last second to get that blasted thing done. I haven't even made a trip to the hardware and craft stores for parts yet. :-( Two and a half months I've been working and then procrastinating on this costume.

And for those of you wondering just what the heck is a Ratchet and Clank, I'll post a picture. Later on I'll add a sideshow of the making of the costumes. Ratchet and Clank are the lead characters in a series of video games by the same name. K. LOVES them! Ratchet has holographic armor, hence the need for K's costume to light up. Above, since apparently you can't post them below, are pictures of the characters.

That's all for tonight. Since I can't sleep, I'm off to sew.

My life is crazy, but it's fun that way!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday was Excellent!

For all of my incoherent, misspelled, wrong word-filled, sleep deprived ramblings of yesterday morning the day ended up being excellent!

Yes, I often, far too often, went on similar sleep deprived, caffeine-hyped ramblings each time I was asked even the simplest of questions. (I'm bad enough when I'm "normal" - this was FAR worse. LOL!) I was completely oblivious to the polite not-so-subtle clues the lovely receptionist at therapy was giving me such as rep
eatedly saying that I should wait in the waiting room and so kept sticking around rambling. I apologized later when I found out that law prevented her from mentioning the full names of patients in front of others - the ones standing near that needed her attention. OOPS! :-O As my husband has said of others, "someone seriously needed to hit him/her (me) with a clue-by-four." LOL!

Despite these few minor things, Kiran and I couldn't have had a better day. Okay, I'm sure he will swear up and down that he could have completely done without the flu shot. He's fine with blood draws and IVs, but immunization shots are torture to the poor kid. He can't, understandably, relax his muscles in order to make the shots less painful. His whole body and soul tenses up. Oh, the poor kid! But, they keep him out of the hospital, so he gets them. (He's had asthma since infancy & is very familiar with hospitals, doctors, nurses, techs, etc. And I'll stop this tangent here. LOL!)

Back to the excellent day. :-) We'd stopped doing soccer a couple of years ago for a few reasons. One, it kept interfering with bowling. Two, some, not all, of the parents were kind of cliquish to me. I wasn't in their co-op fully & so wasn't "one of them." Three, one mom that I used to think was nice, couldn't even muster a simple, "Sorry," when I explained that we had missed soccer one week because we had to visit my dad (5 states away) who was having brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. (It was either that, or it was when dad inevitably died from the cancer.) Instead, the mom snubbed with, "Yeah, you mentioned that already." Seriously?? Not even with my most dreaded enemies would I not give a brief condolence. It's not like dad had the flu or a mild melanoma. This was 100% terminal brain cancer, a disease that literally robbed him of his senses and personality. Four, there were a couple of bullies. Yes, even homeschoolers can be bullies. And my kid - half the time he'll sit there and wonder why I (who had no idea anything was happening because I couldn't hear it) wouldn't rush over to him. The other half, he'd...not fight like you see in movies or on the news...just perform his own acts of "you can't do that to other people" kind of justice. It's how he ended up getting hit in the back with a stick. According to him, some kids weren't letting other kids play with them. To Kiran, this was completely unjust and some things happened like he threw a rock and ...honestly, I don't remember everything and was never clear on the details except that he got hurt and wasn't without fault either. It was years ago and water under the bridge. All forgive, forget, & move on, nothing more to say. (Hope that came out right.)

So today, he, on his own, had decided to start up soccer again with the same group. WOW! Completely different! We were welcomed with open arms by moms who remembered us and moms (and dads) who had never met us before. Kiran was remembered as "the boy who got hit in the back with a stick" and "the kid who brought the great Playdough cookies" and I was "the mom who made that wonderful bread." Kiran made a new friend who loves all the video games, card games, and Bakugan that he does. She'd even made sure he was okay when he'd stopped for a rest in the middle of the soccer field. (Apparently moving off to side would be have been too much work...sigh...) How incredibly cool and kind is that? :-D Our day was absolutely made because of those interactions and we can't wait till next week. ((Hugs to any of the moms there that actually found their way here to read my crazy blog.))

Another thing that happened at soccer: At the end of play/lesson/session the coaches brought the kids together to tell them what a wonderful job they had done. My son loudly pipes up, "Except for me because I SUCK!" ROTFLMAO!!! He can't play soccer well and he honestly doesn't care. He's out to have fun and be with friends. That's all that matters. What a wonderful attitude to have. :-D

Wait, the one minor bad thing that happened at soccer: My face and neck got terribly sunburned. Apparently, even in October, when one dares to venture outside of their tree-shaded home, the sun shines full strength. Who knew? I know, I was just as shocked and flummoxed as you all are feeling right now. :/

Then we went to Sam's Club, rambled at the lovely, patient nurse who gave Kiran his shot. Despite his hatred of the whole processes, he still gave her a hug. We bought a 12 pack of double roll paper towels (the kind that donates money to breast cancer,) got pizza, gave up trying to find the car fluid that we needed, and headed home.

Then it was a rush to pack up the goodies for the incredible therapist and rush back, only to discover that I'd gotten the time wrong by 1/2 hr. There was no need for me to hurry quite so much. Not a biggy though. :-)

And then it was to the theatre to drop the cell phone off to husband and get cheap theatre food dinner (love the perks of a manager :-D), head home, and crash on the couch.

I'm up now because I slept sooooooo long and Kiran is a complete lump on the couch. I swear he doubled in weight for I doubt an elephant could move him. But all is good. It's not insomnia I have now. It's "I've slept well, I'm awake, so let me take care of computer stuff."

Oh, and if our therapist actually does find the time or medication in order to read this, the website that will allow you to watch "Castle" and other shows (such as the oh-so-wrong-in-all-the-good-ways "Raising Hope") is Don't forget to check out the episodes of "Firefly" as well. Even if you don't like science fiction, you'll get plenty of droolable Nathan Fillion. :-D

And so until next time where hopefully I'll post pictures and tales of Kiran Visits Game Stop in His Empoleon Costume and The Best Bacon Mayonnaise You Need to Stock Pile for the Zombie Apocalypse, I remain...

That crazy, rambling, insomniac, homeschool mom with the equally crazy son/most incredible child in the universe,


"I've got a strange life's different, but it is my own." ~John Crichton, Farscape

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's a Packed Day Today, but Do You Think I've Slept? Frell no!

>Edited to add Nouns. Get yours today!

This is how my week has been going:

Step 1. Try to fall asleep on the couch/my bed away from kicks-in-sleep-&-used-to-snore-like-a-freight-train husband, around 10-12 pm. (I even fell asleep during "Castle." Sob!!!) Often, Kiran falls asleep on the couch with me. Husband wanders to his room from the computer room between 1-3 a.m. In some fashion, he will manage to make enough noise (I'm a light sleeper) to wake me up. I try to fall back asleep, but eventually give up and stay awake till 6 or 8 a.m. At the least, I try to be productive in some way or another such as doing dishes, folding laundry, internet research, charging the cell phone, feeding the fish that have lived twice as long as normal, and/or winning that 835th game of Spider Solitaire. (I need to get my average higher than 33%! I just have to!)

Last night, "night" to those of you who slept, son needed me & I swore that I was going to get x, y, z, q, e, and 5 done. So I had General Foods International Coffee. That didn't work and I started falling asleep. But no, I wasn't allowed to quite get there. You know how kids can be? Yeah, well that's how mine was. Plus, I did have those Victory Scotch Eggs to make, laundry to put in the dryer, and the kid's hair to wash for literally, the 6th time in two days. (Who ever put word around that baby oil removes cradle cap should've also put around that the stuff is impossible to wash out and your kid will end up looking like Professor Snape's love child. For all you parents: Dawn dish detergent ended up working where 2 "deep cleaning" shampoos didn't.)

So anyway, half-asleep, I made COFFEE. That stuff I rarely have full strength anymore. That woke me up. I got the laundry done, finally nagged son to enough that he got off his bum to pack the knapsack, made the Scotch Eggs, wrapped up the Scotch Eggs, kept swearing that I needed to work on Kiran's Halloween costume but only did 5 minutes' worth, did some needed things with Cafe' World (anyone want to be my neighbor? I need just one more to get my coffee machine working,) and spent a ton of time fruitlessing searching for NJ preppers that didn't sound like complete nut-jobs. (Apparently "preppers" is the term used for folks who believe in storing supplies for emergencies,) I did find a couple of fairly useful blogs, but gave up trying to find a site that would tell me if water-cooler bottles leak less than gallon jugs of water which always do. A 55 gallon water barrel would hold most of our 2 week supply of water, but I fear our home's 85+ year old cement basement floor would crumble under 450+ pounds of concentrated weight.

I know, I said I wouldn't talk about emergency preparedness anymore, but 2 months from now last year was the beginning of 7 months of one emergency after another. So yeah, I'm taking stock of what we have, what we need, and finally getting enough of some very essential items like water, lamp oil, D batteries, and canned heat cells (more stable than sterno) along with stuff we were running low on anyway - laundry supplies namely. I swear, our family of 3 goes through more clothes than larger families.)

But back to the point. Here I have horrible coffee-induced insomnia and today/Thursday, is the busiest day of the week with the following happening:

1. Homeschool Soccer - We have to be there by 11:15 a.m., which means I have to start getting ready at 9 a.m. and we have to leave by 10:30 a.m., which will probably be delayed by breakfast at McDonald's drive thru. You know how kids are. "I'm not hungry" when getting ready means 5 minutes buckled into the car and suddenly they're starving and any snacks they packed aren't good enough. And when every day you have to make sure your kid takes in enough calories or else he'll stop growing again, you're going to stop for his 3 hashbrowns and 2 cartons of milk.

2. Flu Shot at Sam's Club - You tried going on Wednesday and were all prepared for it. Absolutely-terrified-of shots kid has his favorite stuffed animal, his new video game, his stress ball, and had taken pain killers. We get there. They're out of the children's shot, but more should be coming in on Thursday - your soccer day. So now he gets his shot after being worn out from soccer (and his own bout of insomnia because I forgot to tell him to take his melatonin) and will also be hungry, but of course, hungry for Sam's Club's pizza, not the bag of beef jerky and bottles of water and apple juice we packed.)

3. Therapy - This too was to happen on Wednesday, but got moved to Thursday. We LOVE the therapist. She works for a jr. high and got held up at work. Anyone who can put up with jr. high kids, raise 2 teenagers of her own, and still do private practice sessions in the evenings and weekends without going postal and who doesn't berate us for homeschooling (that's another long rant/story for another day about the psychologist at the children's eating disorder clinic) is a rare find indeed. It's not her fault she had to reschedule. (She did have a later appointment that day/night, but Kiran preferred Thursday instead.) Anyway, we always bring her homemade food (dinner or baked goods) or her favorite candy. Anyone who can put up with all that she does AND us, deserves a treat! LOL! Today she'll be getting a plate of cappuccino brownies and a Victory Scotch Egg. (Dinner, dessert, and caffeine - a complete and nutritious meal if ever there was one. :-D)

And that is why I'm currently ranting about this bout of insomnia. Seriously, did it have to be THIS night? The night before I've got a zillion things to do? I'm not like my husband. I can't go to sleep for an hour and wake up semi-refreshed. Either I'm out till I'm done or forced into wakefulness (doers beware of the wrath of a sleep deprived mommy.) Or I have no choice, like tonight, to stay awake for 20+ hours straight, jugging Java Monsters and repeatedly telling my kid, "Mommy's not mad at you, she's just tired. Can you please just stop talking about video games for a minute and go make me another cup of coffee? Oh, we're in the car? Right. Better concentrate on that driving then. Keep the radio on, I need it to keep my mind functioning." :-P

Other homeschool stuff? Uh....he's almost done reading Harry Potter #3, did spelling a couple of times, was nagged to do math multiple times yet never did, learned that only Dawn will wash out Baby Oil, socialized with the staff at Game Stop (remind me to post about that trip lol!,) as well as the staff at Sam's Club 3 days in a row. Oh yeah, and he also learned that the 6 12-packs of Angel Soft double-roll toilet paper we bought on sale at Target should last us 1/2 a year and we're hoping to store it under Daddy's bed (wasted space where he's always condemning MY innocent slippers to a horrid death of loss and loneliness.)

And now husband's awake, so I've got to read him what I'm typing. Much quicker than trying to explain why I didn't sleep last night. :-O

Till next time, I remain that Crazy Homeschool Mom,


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another Night of Insomnia, but with Cool Links :-D

Yep, it's another night of insomnia, or rather, I got my second wind while perusing one of my favorite FB pages (they also have a website) and some folks had posted interesting links that I just had to go to. So, next thing you know, I'm wide awake and figure, what the hezmana, I might as well be productive and stay awake all night in order to make sure my husband wakes up for work on time. (His 2nd job is as a manager at a movie theatre. If he's not there to open on the Sundays he's schedule to, we're all SOL.)

So, I paused from on online pursuits, unloaded the dishwasher - which husband was supposed to do. For some reason I HATE HATE HATE to unload the thing, but will willingly stick my hands into a disgusting pile of dirty dishes. Actually, that part I get. Only I can load it right! LOL! I also, after washing my hands of course, made myself a cup of General Foods International Coffee. Sidetrack Time: I got sick for two months this summer, somehow lost my taste for my beloved instant coffee (no flames please, the Brits love it!,) and decided that since coffee is bad for my high blood pressure (frell, just remembered I forgot to take my meds, again :( ) started drinking the GFIC, which once used to be a treat because those little cans are expensive. (Tried making my own and it's just not as good.)

Back On Track Time: I also picked up some crap in the living room, namely the dishes I forgot to load in the dishwasher. (We're a proper modern family that eats either while on the computer in the library or at the coffee table in front of the TV. The kitchen table is where the sewing machine and other odds and ends are.) And I put away some leftovers, threw out others, and wrote up my shopping lists. (I'm out of olive oil and my son's out of bacon. We're both in a panic and so plan on making an emergency run to Sam's Club tomorrow. LOL!)

Then I went back to the computer, perused (Hal, I don't understand that input. Had to use spell checker a 2nd time for that word) some more and a little while later thought, "Hey, why I don't I share some awesome links with my whopping 5 followers and anyone else insane enough to read this blog?" Besides, there's that whole insomnia & wanting to stay awake for my husband and continued putting off cleaning the bathroom thing.

So, those cool links:
1. Still Tasty: Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide -
You can look up a ton of foods either by Search or Catagory, plus read some short Q & A's to common queries or facts they decide to throw your way. I discovered that many things I didn't have to throw out after their Expiration &/or Best Buy Date as long as they didn't smell or look funny. You know the whole "if the can is bloated or the food has become a colony of sentient life forms, toss if or die" type of common sense. I also learned that instant white rice can be stored indefinitely. Yes, I know it's nutritionally inferior to brown rice, but that's what we like when we actually eat rice that doesn't come in a Chinese take-out container. (I do own a rice steamer & use it occasionally for the "better stuff.")

I also learned the my annual purchase of multiple big cans of Hershey's baking cocoa will last indefinitely. (Okay, this has got to stop. Seriously! Words should be spelled like they sound and when I finally go crazy enough to live permanently in my alternate universe they frelling will! Speaking of which, I really need to add frell, frelling, hezmana, and dren to my computer's dictionary.)

2. Food Storage Made Easy -
Two lovely women (sisters-in-law) who make preparing for emergencies easy and fun. They have a wealth of information, a blog, and a Facebook page which anyone is welcome to post on (as long as you're nice of course :-) Though their faith advocates a 1 year storage of supplies, they have guides for preparing your Go Bag/Emergency Bag/BOB (that thing we've already had to use twice this year,) and a 3 month supply (which is what we do, plus a little more.)

Yeah, I know, some will think these women, and my own family, are nutters. But, then you look at all the real life emergencies that happen all the time - fires, floods, gas leaks, power outages, storms that knock down trees, etc. The latter happened on our block earlier this year and we were without power for 3 days. Aside from realizing we needed more D batteries and a better hand crank radio, we were perfectly fine. Someone else we know though was in hell, even though both our families could easily drive to the next town and get supplies such as a freshly baked pizza.

Then there was the past Christmas which we call "The Christmas of Poo." Days before Christmas, our area experienced an "unofficial-but-it-sure-as-hell-felt-like-it" blizzard. Roads were closed, businesses shut down, the whole deal. And that's when our poorly-capped sewer line in the basement bathroom decided to become clogged with tree roots and back up into the basement. And of course, how did we find this out? Husband went downstairs to shave (goodness forbid our main bathroom have an outlet,) and went to turn on the light located some 2-3 feet inside the bathroom. Husband wondered why his feet were wet, turned on light, and there it was - many, many, many inches of water and floating "poo presents." You couldn't turn on a faucet or flush the toilet or rush the washing machine unless you wanted it all to pour out into the basement.

So, until we could actually get our plumber (who shakes his head every time at the crap-work that was done on our 85+ year old home) out, we had no water, no way to flush, a ton of literal shit and ruined stuff to clean up, and did I mention that husband got dysentery from the poo flood? Oh, you can't imagine how the main bathroom was smelling after a few days. :-(

Which all leads to the fact that had we had an alternate means of bodily waste disposal and kept up with our water storage, we would've been much better off. (We've since remedied that with the purchase of a Luggable Loo, an excellent product! that can be found on a link listed below.)

3. Emergency Essentials -
A great place to buy many of your emergency supplies. Sign up for the their paper/mailed-to-you catalog. It's much easier to read. Still, their website also has a number of articles and good information on shelf lifes, storage, etc. They also have a blog, but I don't follow it. I do get their emails & "liked" them on FB so I can be notified of specials.

4. The Luggable Loo - This is the generic one we have from Emergency Essentials:

This is the brand name one from Amazon:

In essence, what you get is a delightful, useful, bucket with a toilet seat, and lid, that easily holds 2 boxes worth of Double Doodie Bags (if you take them out of the box and put them into gallon-sized Ziploc bags,) extra packets of Enzymes (EE carries them for 60 cents a bag,) handi-wipes, a container of kitty litter, and many rolls of toilet paper. I tried it out while camping and even after an "eventful meal release" you couldn't smell a thing.

EE and Amazon also now carry Double Doodie Bags that fit over a toilet seat. So at the very least, it's worth buying a box of these. Like I said before, we learned the hard way why these types of products are necessary. (For those thinking why we couldn't just bury it in the back yard, you don't know that our small back yard is covered in asphalt. See my other blog for details & pictures of The Asphalt Garden.)

5. Another product you technically could live without, but it'd be a shame to do so - BACON!!! Yes indeed, canned bacon. This stuff is AWESOME, real, honest-to-goodness, cooked, and delicious BACON!! The brand is Yoders, which makes a variety of canned meats. (Just look on the web.) EE sells their bacon here:

6. Boomd1791 -
This guy is fun to watch as he talks about his food storage and other emergency preparedness. Check out his video on how to dehydrate water. :-D

7. MRE Info -
First off, let me tell you that the one MRE entree I tried, during our small tongue-in-cheek It's the End of the World as We Know It Taste Testing Party, SUCKED. As John Crichton once remarked to Rygel, "Salmonella! Was it getting delicate in your butt?" (or something very similar.) However, their peanut butter, wheat bread, jelly, and dessert cakes weren't bad at all. They have a great shelf life and can easily be stored in your Go Bag.

So if you want some info on MRE's and where to buy whole cases of suck, then MRE Info is a great place for...obviously...information about MREs. They tell you how to avoid the knockoffs such as the one company that actually includes short-lived little packets of saltine crackers that one gets in a diner with their bowl of soup, rather than the real MRE deal.

EE is the least expensive place I've found to buy the good stuff like the peanut butter, bread, etc. MRE Info though does list other sites for such things (places where you can buy whole boxes of them) along with cases of MRES. (EE also sells cases and individual complete meal kits.)

8. Backpacking Food Suppliers - multiple links below
We're not big on storing #10 cans seeing as how we're a family of 3, and 1 of those 3 has an eating disorder that limits his food choices (extreme picky eating - yes, it's a real medical condition.) However, we do store some backpacking meals as they offer variety and are actually pretty good. (IMO, Alpine Aire sucks, while Mountain House is the best, but your tastes may vary.)

9. Emergency Essentials: Freeze-Dried Mountain House food in Pouches for 1-2 people

10. Enertia Trail Foods - Good food, dehydrated so it does have a shorter shelf life, lots of vegetarian options, meals you won't find with other brands. They're also the makers of Coleman Foods

11. Wilderness Dinning - lots of products for your backpacking and camping needs which also work well as emergency supplies and for the "Oh, frell, the camping trip with our friends is tomorrow?! I thought it was next week! Glad I had these meals on hand!"

12. Note: Walmart and many online & brick & mortar sporting good stores also carry Mountain House foods. The later often carry multiple brands.

13. Lastly, because of all the Farspeak I was using, I give you an awesome site for Farscape, Firefly, and other sci-fi favorite shows' avatars:

Till next time where I promise not to talk about emergency preparedness, but can't guarantee nixing the topic of insomnia. I remain, the crazy-in-a-good-way,


"My life is different, but it is my own." ~John Crichton, Farscape

Friday, October 1, 2010

Today is my 40th Birthday

Like the title says, today is my 40th birthday. Thing is, I don't feel depressed, half-dead, like my life is over, or that I'm "old" - the things American society says we should feel at this age.

I actually feel the complete opposite. I love my life! I have the best husband in the world, an amazing son that I am truly blessed to be raising, a house (old, small, messy, & always in need in of repairs, but it's mine/ours,) a car (old, but a dear friend gave him to me, it runs, & it's the first car I've ever had in my name,) the time for hobbies, and of course, there's homeschooling - the toughest, yet incredibly rewarding, job I've ever had. (And I've had a ton of jobs!)

Are there things I try to forget about my past and that I wish hadn't happened? Absolutely. But most aren't big things. They're of the "gods, I can't believe I was that naive," "I can't believe I acted like an idiot," "I can't believe I dated that jerk," "I could've done x, y, z, q better." I've conveniently sealed them off in the back of mind, bringing them out only when it benefits my writing. :-P

The one thing I do regret is not being able to fulfill my life-long dream of being published by the time I turned 40. I have tried with my childrens' picture book and a few poems, but not as consistently as I should have, and I haven't tried for a few years. There's also that novel (2 actually, but the computer ate the 1rst one,) I still haven't finished. Homeschooling and trying to keep the house in survivable order have to come first, so writing always takes a back seat.

However, I know I will be published some day. My writing doesn't suck and I won't be homeschooling my son for the rest of his life. (And to be clear, I mean "published published" by one of those publishers that just love to send out "your work doesn't meat our needs at this time" rejection slips, not "self published" which I easily could've done ages ago.)

And so ends this post. Wait, forgot one thing. I don't look 40! Ha ha! So take that all you cosmetic companies trying to sell me anti-aging creams and foundations to hide wrinkles & dye to hide the gray hairs. One, I don't even wear make-up except on special occasions, two, who cares about a few wrinkles (they're laugh lines!,) and third, I don't have a single gray hair and even if I did, who cares?

And so now ends this post. I'm technically 40, but my mind and appearance say otherwise. I am not half dead and depressed. I'm full of life and living the best life I've ever had.

Till next time I remain,


"I have a strange life here. It's different, but it is my own." ~John Crichton, Farscape

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today's Home Economics Project

Today Kiran decided to make an Owl Post Bag. The bag was to be used for purchases at Game Stop with a strap long enough that should he drop the bag it would be less than an inch from the floor, thus saving any games from harm.

The attached slide show is of him making the bag. :-)

European Immersion

A little less than 2 weeks ago Kiran finally started reading the Harry Potter books. (I've loved them for years.) Technically, it started when he was sick and I read him #6 and 7 within a week. Then he started on #1 and read #2 within a day.

While I was looking up to see you one could still buy Chocolate Frogs (with trading cards of course) on Amazon, I happened upon the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and happened to get it at our local Barnes & Noble a day or two before it technically went on sale. :-D

And don't you know that the Harry Potter books and the cookbook just happened to coincide with us starting a social studies/geography study of Europe. We also just happened to own a Lonely Planet guide on British English and both the Travel Channel and Create TV were having a ton of programmes on Europe.

So for more than a week we were speaking British English (driving my husband bonkers of course :-D,) eating British, reading about the British, "touring" all over Europe, and even smelling like the British thanks to Yardley of London English Lavender Soap!

Our studies are don't yet. We've had to pause because Kiran's Halloween costume MUST get finished in time. (That's a whole other blog post!) But for now, enjoy some pictures of the excellent food we made using recipes from the excellent Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and the Victory Cookbook.

The picture up top shows some of the books we're using to study the United Kingdom. They are: How People Live, Material World, Time Magazine special issue - The Royals, Evan-Moor's Europe workbook, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, and The Victory Cookbook.

Great, I'm Awake & Can't Sleep

I'm semi-awake, want to sleep, but can't. Frelling mind won't shut off. Then again, I'm used to it as my son and I are uber nightowls. Uber, you question? Yes, uber. How else would one describe going to sleep between 2-6 a.m., sometimes later, a lot later. Though to be fair, my son has jumped back to a normal-to-the-rest-of-humanity sleep cycle yet I can't get on it.

Anyway, yes, I use that word a lot, I figured for those who don't know me, I'd describe our home a bit. It is decorated in Sci-Fi Geek Meets Homeschooling Family. It's the latest rage you know, soon to be seen in prestigious style magazines and on various decorating shows on HGTV.

On our living room walls are Math Monsters, small posters in the shape of cute monsters each giving the multiplication facts for the numbers 7, 8, & 9; 2 black & white maps of Europe that I copied from Evan-Moor's geography workbook on Europe; a cut-away poster of the USS Avenger, a ship/local chapter of Starfleet: the International Star Trek Fan Association that we used to be very active in; a Farscape poster (let's all pause for a moment to drool over John Crichton/actor Ben Browder in tight black leather pants;) photographs of my son including 4 when he was an adorable blur in my tummy; sketches that my dear friend drew of characters in the sci-fi novel that I've been writing for the past 10-15 years (I hope to be done by the time I'm 80;) a painting I made called "Ancient Ancestor" - a portrait of an elderly rabbit in dark purple coat & hat that is essentially my dear departed Grandma Edna; sketches that another friend made of the fictional characters of myself & my husband from our Avenger days; a shadow box containing decorations from our wedding; a marker-on-wipe-off-board drawing called "Math Monster" that my son made one day to express his loathing of math; and finally, a black & white photograph that my dad took of my older sister and I went we were little.

Then there are the books and DVDs. Tons of them and that's only in the living room. Our library is literally overflowing with them, more so than the single bookcase (half books, half DVDs) and 4-5 DVD crates, 2 "foot stool storage bins" and a crate full of currently active homeschool books in the living room.

Other decorations in our Sci-Fi Geek Meets Homeschool Family home include a model of the trimaran with Mariner action figure from "Waterworld" (yes, I loved that movie,) a model of "Serenity," photo stills from various movies and shows, Harry Potter posters (let's all take a second to cheer that Daniel Radcliff is of legal age and it's no longer creepy for me to say that he's attractive,) a "Serenity" poster, various Star Trek gadgets & ship models, and a model of an AT-AT. If my husband ever finally fulfills my birthday and/or Christmas wishes, I'll soon have "Firefly"/"Serenity" travel posters that can easily be purchased here:
Hint...hint...hint...dear husband or anyone else reading this. :-D

And if you're in the mood to buy me pressies, there's also:
Which seems to be available only in XL or XXXL, and of course, an XXL fits best, not because I love my Taco Bell, but because cotton shrinks, you know? :-P

Okay, enough rambling for tonight. Or at least I think so. I'm going to finish my game of Spider Solitaire (800+ wins so far,) reboot, and maybe get some writing/edits on my novel done.

Give Me a Few While I Sort Things Out

This is my first blog on this particular blog site, but not to the blogging world in general. For those that know, or have known, me on various homeschooling boards, I used to have a blog (technically I still do) here:

However, I stopped it after some very nasty hate mail from a few nutjobs on a homeschool forum that I won't name. Long story that I don't feel like rehashing as I've found other homeschool forums to call home. (I do miss the friends that I had made there though.)

Anyway, it's 3:43 a.m. and my brains aren't all here. I was sleeping till husband woke me up and I had to go ding my dishes in Cafe' World. What I really meant to type was "Give me a few to figure this site out please."

Eventually, I want to start posting all the things I've been posting on Facebook about our crazy life, homeschooling and otherwise. Then again when you're homeschooling it is your life and you really can't separate the two.

And I'm going to stop typing now. It's better for everyone that way. LOL!

Till next time,