Sunday, November 27, 2005

Domestic Ponderings

How hard would it be, really, to make flannel sheets myself? I really would love to have some, since our room is up in the attic and gets quite chilly at times. But flannel sheets for a king-size bed are around $60 which is completely out of my budget. I've been looking at flannels over at JoAnn Fabrics and they are running some sales at $2.79 a yard. You can make a mess of sheets for $60 worth of that! The only thing is, most fabric comes at 44 or 58 inches wide, so I would have to seam them. Would it be so awful to have a seam running up the middle of the bed? It would make it much easer to say "Hey, you're taking MY half of the sheet!!!", now wouldn't it?

The renovations are at a standstill. You know, when it comes to these things, you either have the time or the money but rarely both at the same time. Hubby is only scheduled for 3 days this week, perhaps we'll get more done on the basement. He's waiting for a master electrician friend from church to come and show him how to run electricity down the wall he's built. Hubby thinks he knows how to do it, but I'm much more comfortable with having Brian come look at it, lol! Some things you just shouldn't "wing". Other than that, things have come along pretty smoothly. I started a post with pictures, but keep getting sidetracked getting all the pictures loaded.

Well, when I started this post I had a couple of other domestic ponderings, but they've floated away. Guess it's time to toddle off to bed. G'night!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Pictures

Sweet bread cloverleaf rolls from the 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook that belonged to Hubby's grandmother. The girls had so much fun making the little doughballs.

Do you notice anything missing? Yeah, I left the cranberry sauce in the cupboard! It was yummy today with leftovers, though!

That's hubby, doing his best Vanna impression

Oh, the bird turned out so good! I was pretty proud of myself. I usually use a turkey bag to cook it in, so I was afraid it would be dry. It was kind of a pain to keep basting it, but since I didn't leave the kitchen all morning, it wasn't that big of a deal.

I didn't get pictures of the Waldorf salad or the pumpkin pies. The pies were delicious! We had them hot, like the recipe suggests, and it was just delicious. They are just as good cold, we had some like that last night too!

Of course I took pictures of the food, but none of us, lol!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Prayers for the Holidays

There are a lot of people in my area who are going through Thanksgiving, wondering how they're going to manage Christmas. With GM closing 9 plants, 4 of those in Michigan, we are going to get hit hard. It's not just the plant closings, but I'd estimate at least half of all industry in this area is auto-related, probably more. It's going to be a tough holiday season here in the Metro Detroit area, and across Michigan. Sadly, as we all know, most Americans live way beyond their means and these closings will devastate families. Thank God it won't affect my husband's job -- there's always news to broadcast -- but we have a lot of other family who work in the auto supplier industry. Please pray for all those affected.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanksgiving Shopping Done

Yes, I am a SHE. It's two days before Thanksgiving and I just went shopping. I can't believe I spent around $55 for ONE MEAL! Of course a few things will go longer than one meal, but still! And that's just for the five of us. Hubby's family is mostly in Texas, although his sister just lives an hour or so away. I think they're spending the holiday with her in-laws. My mom and one sister live in Kansas, my other sister recently moved to Maryland. She and mom were here for Thanksgiving last year and mom was here the year before, here to visit her brand-new grandson. So it seems a little of a let-down to "just" be us. I think it will actually be nice, very relaxed and no pressure. Here's the menu:

Turkey Breast
Stuffing Muffins
Mashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy
Jellied Cranberry Sauce (for me, no one else will touch it)
Green Bean Casserole
Waldorf Salad
Pumpkin Pie

I think that's about it. I LOVE cranberry relish, and Hubby's grandfather taught me to make his recipe when we were living with him and taking care of him. But it's way too much work for me to eat it alone, lol! I love the canned jellied sauce, must be my white trash rural upbringing. I'd make instant potatoes, too, if Hubby would let me get away with it. Nah, not for Thanksgiving. I linked to some of the recipes I'm using. I'll probably wing it on the Waldorf, I've been making that or helping make it since I was a kid, every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ditto on the green bean casserole. Oh, by the way, if you find green bean casserole in a can for cheap at Big Lots -- do not buy it!!! Run, do not walk, away! Do not buy 6 cans because you love the stuff and think it would be good and then get stuck with nasty green beans in goo on your shelf until you get desperate and eat them anyway. Not that it happened to me, I'm just saying hypothetically . . .

Anyway, that's about it for tonight. In case I don't post until after Thanksgiving, everyone have a great Thanksgiving Day! Andrea and Ron, you guys just have a great ordinary day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sleeping Angel

For the first night in 3 nights, sleep! She's been coughing all night Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. I finally got her to the doctor today -- pneumonia! She'll be fine, she's on antibiotics and expectorant. I gave her a little Benadryl tonight, since they want her to cough to get the gunk out and didn't prescribe a cough suppressant so she could sleep. I figure even if she coughs, she should sleep through it. Looks like it's working!

No Brothers Allowed

This is the current sign on the Dds' door. Dd5 made it, she was finally fed up with Ds2 coming in her room and cranking the CD player (yes, he's just 2). I guess the AKA's are unneccessary since their names are on the sign. But it was too cute not to post.

Oh, and this is the "Don't you DARE put this on your blog, Mom!!" picture. I'm so bad!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Another Christmas/Birthday Hint

OK, so my birthday isn't for another six months, you can start saving! Mom, Hubby,, these are so cool! I just love Mary Engelbreit. If someone came up with an ME blog template, I'd buy it in a FLASH! For now, I'll settle for a Crock Pot.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tea Blogging

Portsmouth Tea Company was offering a free cannister of tea for anyone who linked to them. The offer is over, but I thought I'd link anyway for friends and family (hint hint hint mom, hubby, and in-laws) who might still have Christmas shopping to do. I do love me a nice cuppa in the morning, and anytime I'm feeling under the weather. I used to have a tea pot collection, but as we were re-assessing the storage room in the basement and deciding what would come upstairs when we turn the living room into the dining room, I discovered that in one of our moves ALL MY TEAPOTS HAVE GONE MISSING!!! I have one that was Hubby's grandmother's and one that was a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. Oh, and one that is a broken hand-me-down from my MIL. So, any family out there, there is a really easy gift to find for the Gemster.

/shameless dunning

"Well, I may not be God's gift to women, but I am God's gift to you!"

After a rather, um, satisfying evening of Alone Time. Yeah, complete with rakish grin and cocky strut. Boy, am I one lucky gal!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


(Warning: Long post with LOTS of pictures, may take a while to load)

Oh, we've been hit by the bug! Two and a half years in the house and we're finally getting rolling on improvements. Hubby is building a family room in the basement, we've torn out all the wallpaper in the bathroom and I -- well, I decide we need just one more project.

When hubby left for work around 2:30 Friday afternoon, the living room carpet looked like this, as it had for the last two and a half years. Note the variegated pattern of the myriad spills and stains (click on pictures to get the full effect) . . .

and the hallway to the kids' rooms looked like this . . .

Around 4:00 I had decided that I had cleaned up the last spill on that dingy, 25-year-old carpet. When the Kirby saleswoman came, right after we moved in, most of what she showed me in the filters was not dirt. It was the orange disintegrated remains of the carpet pad. I bought a Kirby. Anyway, by 4:30, the hallway looked like this:

That carpet pad was just nasty. I didn't pull any of it up in the hallway -- just swept it up.

I got all that mess cleaned up, finished up to the bathroom and upstairs doorways and we took a break for dinner. After bedtime, I went back to work.

When hubby got home at midnight, imagine his surprise when he drove into the garage, turned around to go into the house and saw a giant pile of carpet. When he got inside, I wasn't quite as far done as I would have liked. I had all of the tack strips pulled up and a 3-foot strip of carpet pulled up all around the room. I forgot to take a picture of that stage, but he helped me get the center pulled up, and this is what was left:

I swept that up and went to bed around 1:30.

Did you know that if you spill liquids on a carpet with disintegrated carpet pad beneath, it basically turns into clumping kitty litter? We had whole patches of stuck-on padding gunk all over the floor. So, Saturday as the kids played around me -- and praise God it was a nice day outside and I could send them out -- I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. Oh, and pulled up staples. Because, you know, if you want to put carpet over a beautiful hardwood floor what you want to do is everything you can to ruin said floor in case anyone ever wants to pull up said carpet. Argh!

After a full day of scrubbing with a brush and not too much progress, I thought maybe I should use some kind of cleaning solution to dissolve the clumps. I was very wary about getting the floor too wet, but tried a weak vinegar/water solution and a plastic scrubby pad and wiped with a dry cloth after every couple of scrubs. It worked like a dream! It was better, but still dried-out and dull looking. I didn't have any hardwood floor cleaning supplies, but did have some lemon oil for my wood furniture. So I took two Swiffer WetJet pads, squirted some oil on them, and skated around the living room, followed by a dry cloth-diaper skate to soak up any excess.

And the final product . . .

Drumroll please . . .

Again, click pictures to get the full effect.

There's still some black staining in the center of the room, but other than that, it is a beautiful floor. I can't believe anyone would cover it up with ugly beige carpet. I'm not sure what we'll do about the stains, a professional refinish is out of the question. I've heard that sanding and refinishing is a lot harder than it would seem, so I hesitate to tackle it myself. We may just get an area rug for the center unless some wise readers out there have any suggestions. Right now, we're calling it character. Lots of character.

Next post, the basement . . .

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Making Cookies

This post is a week or so late, we made tried to make cookies for Halloween treat bags for our friends. They were supposed to be soft sugar cookies, but cookie novice that I am, they were terrible! When I tried to scoop them up off the counter they just wadded up and stuck to the spatula. I think I've narrowed the problem down to not keeping the dough chilled and trying to roll too much out at a time. Anyway, the girls still had a blast and Hubby took some cute pictures.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My Beautiful Sister

Sis recently got a makeover at a posh salon in her new hometown, courtesy of a GREAT boss! She is so happy with this family (she's a professional nanny), she has finally found a family who treats her with the respect and professional courtesy she deserves with 15 years experience. Anyway, wanted to share her picture (sorry Sis, couldn't resist!). She looks SO happy!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I promise, I won't announce each and every haircut. But he went from Buster Brown to GI Joe, and it's so stinkin' cute!!!