Saturday, January 30, 2010


So, with seven kids, I've always got a birthday coming, going, or just passed... almost every month we have at least one... January is no exception, with three in my family... my son Jonathan, is 22 today, January 31. My parents birthday was January 28th. 

Can't you tell he loves the camera...

Of course, sometimes he volunteers...

Other times he's just plain scary!

His dog loves him...

I love him... betcha didn't guess that one!

aaaannddd... I kinda think the camera loves him too....

but that's just me, and I'm only his mom...

A poem I found...

You Are A Gift

Some people give the gift
of peace and tranquility
to every life they touch.
They are always who they really are.
They are blessedly reliable,
dependably good,
predictably pleasant,
loved and treasured
by all who know them.
You are one of those people.
You are a gift
of peace and tranquility
in my life.

Happy Birthday!

By Joanna Fuchs

Happy 22nd birthday to my wonderful, loving, son -- Jonathan! I hope your day is great! 

An Epic Battle...

Tucker... I talked about him just a little here, mostly just to state that up to that point, in the three years we've owned him, he'd never had his picture taken. 
The other night I was working on a new chicken recipe, and photographing as I went and Tucker slipped into the kitchen. Immediately the chicken packaging in the trash can attracted his attention - and he went for it... what ensued went something like this: 

NO! Give that back -- it is mine... all mine!

I mean it... seriously, I'm not kidding... it's MINE!

It is MINE I'm telling you -- I found it, fair and square!
Notice, that in the above photo, Tucker has only one small piece of this massive chicken package in his mouth... My daughter is attempting to assist in taking it away from him... he's not having it. There was much growling...
You people kill me... I will be back!

I've noticed something about this cat. He is elusive until there is food involved. Not cat food, by any means, because that's always available... but people food -- cakes, meats, frozen goods, bread... it's all fair game. Another reason why I need to reclaim my kitchen to a more functional and efficient space... and to cut down on catastrophes...

Friday, January 29, 2010

The mess that is...

my bedroom... I noticed it in the last post, the picture of the sweet female munchking with her tongue out. I noticed... beside her foot... is a pile. of. stuff. with shoes on top. this stuff must go -- it is part of the clutter that is making my bedroom a claustrophobic nightmare. I want to reclaim this space, and make it my own... to create a 'sanctuary' in which me, and the SO can relax and unwind from a busy day of... whatever it is that keeps us busy. Usually kids. Mostly kids. Pretty much always kids. it's ok, they're OUR munchkings... and we love them. 

I'm watching...






tiger woods pga 2005... on my tv -- all tiger, all the time!

Being a mom...

So, this blog is by a mom... for other moms... and I guess it would be remiss of me if I didn't introduce my children. Without further ado, the much acclaimed munchkings in my life: 

Kyla - 26 - Clearwater, FL
Kyla was born just two short weeks before my 17th birthday... I learned the hard way about being a parent with her -- an experience I would not choose to have again, but one I would never, ever give up! 

Jonathan (aka 'Sticky') - 22 - At Home, GA

Jonathan is my only natural son, and has been my crutch, my rock, and my savior over the last ten years... I could not live without this young man in my life... He is getting ready to go train to be a smoke jumper... seriously, how impressive is that?!?

Jacalyn (aka 'the baby') - 19 - Tampa, FL

I can say that I was glad to know she waited until she was 18 to get pregnant... I cannot say I think the timing was good, or that she was ready, or that her husband is wonderful and perfect... it is what it is -- and we make the very best of everything. She and her husband (shown below in my favorite wedding picture) Josh have given me the very best gift a person could get... and that is the gift of my marvelous, incredible, handsome, and perfect grandson, JJ. He is the light of my life these days... and I do miss him terribly. Soon a trip to FL is inevitable... donations accepted, comment for paypal info. 

Are they not the sweetest little family... Oh I could just hug them until they cried... or I cried -- something... 

PJ - 16 - At Home, GA

I think this is a most breathtaking picture... my little girl looks so amazing. This is my darling step-daughter, and she is my baby girl. I've been her mom for seven wonderful years... and it gets better every day!

Seth - 15 - At Home, GA

All boy... all motion... all the time. Sweet, gentle, and loving, Seth is my middle son. He's pretty much a straight A student, hates doing chores, and believes fully that the computer is actually a body part. 

Daniel - 14 - At Home, GA

My little man. *sigh* what can I say about the baby of the family... Daniel has a severe emotional disability. In effect, he came to us as 'damaged goods'. He suffered eight years of abuse at the hands of his incompetent drug-addicted mother... who stayed three steps ahead of the law, child services, and his father for those years... and only by the grace of God, and a hurricane named Charley does he live with us today. Daniel's journey is a long one... with a few forks and bends in the road now and then... check out his story here.

I also have an older step-son and daughter-in-law in North Florida... they have a lovely little girl named Elizabeth, she will be one in May... she's precious as are all babies -- however due to some things we have no control over, they are not currently part of our lives, and won't be in the foreseeable future. Maybe there will be more on that later... maybe there won't -- touchy subject. 
So now you've met a cat... and my munchkings... yet -- believe it or not, you have not met the entire family... You still have to meet Bosco, Lilly, Gracie, Kittie, Shakespeare, and Tucker the wonder cat (as in I wonder why I haven't killed him yet). I'll save the other children for another day and another post... they're beautiful and funny, and make life here at home a whole lot more interesting... and frustrating - all at the same time. 

I have a cat...

who stinks... nothing in this world can take the funk out of this cat... 
She's beautiful...

she is also old... 11 years old... and might I mention, that she stinks...

Now this cat is truly amazing... at the ripe old age of 10 she taught herself how to use the toilet... mostly because the other cats use the litter box and she's too good for the other cats... and partly because at her age, going to the bathroom can sometimes take a while, and after all, the humans do it -- 'anyone got a good book about dog torture'? 

But, I cannot imagine for the life of me how my beautiful old angel got to smelling so bad... maybe it's her obsession with the woods behind our barn... maybe it's the fact that she has no bottom teeth anymore and so she drools incessantly... maybe the fact that she has no teeth prevents her from cleaning herself appropriately anymore... 

That's all beside the point.... 
the point is... I. love. this. cat. seriously!

so for now I will be content in the knowledge that at 11 she's still pretty, still sweet, still marching to the tune of a different drum... and I can put up with the odor to get some of that sweet old lady love... Dear magi -- I'm buying you some wet naps for your birthday!

Of blanket washing and such

Several years ago I was possessed of the notion that I wanted one of those fancy shmancy comforters for my bed... I looked high and low for one that suited my taste, and finally -- against all odds I found the one I wanted... at of all places, Walmart. Yes, I know, it's funny the things you find there, such as the well hidden supply of 300 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets for $60 a set (Queen). I love my Walmart, really I do -- except it's about the only place in town aside from my tiny little grocery store down the road, that's been here forever, and forever will remain -- the little farmers would have it no other way. 
Anyway -- back to the topic of this post, my comforter. Now, when I bought it some four or five odd years ago, it was winter, and we didn't have "central" heat, we had space heaters, and kerosene. 
So I come home from Walmart with a big fancy $100 comforter (yes, cheap, but then... it's Walmart, ok)?... this thing was beautiful! It was deep reds and coppery browns and it was all tapestry like with a lovely chocolate brown stripe of velvety goodness around the sides and bottom... it was truly a beautiful thing, complete with bed skirt, pillow shams, and sheets -- Egyptian Cotton thank you very much -- only the 150 thread count ones that are kind of scratchy... oh well, you get what you pay for, and I did buy a wonderful set of the 300 count too... but again, I digress -- this is about my big, beautiful comforter... that weighed approximately 50 pounds... seriously! I don't know for sure what those things are filled with, in my case I know it's not down... those weigh closer to 100 pounds for a good one... but this baby is heavy I'm telling you! It's also something that is typically not allowed at all in this house for obvious reasons... and I have 8 of those reasons in and out of my bedroom all day, every day. Introductions are for another post... you'll meet all the 'kids'... and maybe the children too... lol 
oops... digression again -- *sigh* back to the topic, my comforter, and what it is that's not allowed... DRY CLEAN ONLY... yep, I said it -- me... mother of 7 children and 8 pets... bought a dry clean only comforter... willingly -- without deception. 
I seriously thought *well, it can't get too dirty in my room, can it?" I was deluded by the pretty lights and stuff, I swear! So anyway, I brought this thing home, and put it on my bed... and oo'd and awwe'd about it for weeks, how comfy it was, how warm it was, how wonderful it was to snuggle under at night... until

it started to smell... funny. I don't mean funny in a make you laugh till you wet your pants kind of way... I mean funny in the someone laughed to hard and peed on my blanket kind of way... NO it wasn't really pee -- but it was the combination of three cats, two dogs, and various children... plus my SO and I... for three weeks of cold weather in a room with a space heater... it doesn't get much funnier than that... 

It was then that the decision to purchase the $100 beautiful beyond words luxury comforter came into question -- just how was I going to afford the $30 dry-cleaning bill on this sucker? Did I mention that I am the mother of seven children? I can't afford to dry-clean anything, including a comforter as beautiful as mine... that's three meals in my house, nothing doing... 

So I began to look for alternatives to dry-cleaning, and I tried several over the next few weeks -- dryer sheets, vinegar soaked washcloths... Dryel... and none of them save one have worked... 

One day I came home from work and my comforter was gone... vanished -- I had no idea where it was... it was not on my bed, or in the corner... So, innocently I asked the SO, "where's the blanket"? (I try not to get too formal with him, you never know). "Oh, you mean the comforter?"... ok so much for simple terms... "Yes, love -- the $100 dry-clean only, better not be on the floor within reach of ANY animal, four or two-legged, comforter... umm... where is it?"
By this point I must explain that after several years with my wonderful SO we have determined one thing *I* and I alone am in charge of the laundry. He is not allowed to touch it -- ever. So I just knew that he had not done anything with my comforter, I just didn't see it. 
and then I heard the four little words that forever changed my life...

"It's in the washer"...

"Excuse me, I think I heard you wrong, did you just say that my $100 beautiful beyond compare, dry-clean only, heaviest blanket on EARTH, is... in... the... WASHER?" 

"Yes, baby, relax... it's on the gentle cycle". 

by this time of course, I am bordering on hysteria... then wondering to myself how bad can it be? Really, I mean it's sturdy -- and strong, and HEAVY... I hope my washer survives! So, off to the laundry room I race, to find the spin cycle just finishing up and it didn't sound like my washer was dead... yet.

I opened the lid, and found my poor baby all huddled around the agitator looking limp, wet, and purely pathetic... some find fancy shmancy comforter it was! 
Now, what do you do with a comforter that weighs 50 pounds when dry... that is now soaking wet -- and is really really heavy? I considered a LOT of options... now had it been summer -- there would have been one option only -- to the clothesline. But since it was just heading into January, and the temperatures were in the thirties most of the day it was not an option for me... 
I thought about the fluff cycle, running it through with no heat, and that made about as much sense as putting it out on the clothesline... and would take forever, and if I had not mentioned yet -- it was cold, and my blanket was WET... 
So... after much upset and trying not to -- I decided against all better judgement to put it in the dryer, and apply heat to my beloved blanket... I was saddened... and I knew that the poor baby wouldn't survive the dryer... but I had to get it dry. 

So through the dryer it went, on low heat and stuff for a couple of hours... and viola'... it survived! 

So, after 5+ years of regular use (except maybe a month or two in the spring) and many, many trips through the washer and dryer - -a lot of cat naps, dog naps,  kid naps and me naps... it still looks pretty good -- not so bad for being old, as a blanket goes. I think now, it's a comfort thing -- its not as fluffy as it once was (or would be if not washed and dried), but it's just as heavy, and it gives me that warm weighty feeling when I go to sleep. 

Don't get me wrong -- dry clean only really does mean, dry clean only, but in this case, an accidental discovery of a fabric that SHOULD go all to pieces didn't... AND has stood the test of time is just too good for words! This blanket will grace my sleeping hours for as long as it decides to keep it together!

For now that is all -- I've got to go get my flannel sheets and blanket out of the dryer! 


Life in the Fishbowl

or if you prefer -- I'm drowning in a sea of domestic duties that I don't want to complete! 

As you know from Hopelessly in Love with Food that I love to cook... I like to clean less than I like to cook, but I am good at it. After all, I've had close to 30 years of practice. I am even better at "deep" or detail cleaning. This is because I have a very 'rulesy' personality and I believe in doing the job in it's entirety, including crawling on the floor and scrubbing. However, with this penchant comes a lot of incomplete projects -- things I just haven't gotten done yet. Things I don't know if I'll ever get done... things I really want done, but don't have a lot of motivation to do them. 

My dear SO and I are starting a non-profit organization, and in doing so, we must claim a portion of the house for office space, and have the ability to work, and converse on the telephone uninterrupted or disturbed. This means the previously areas of the house dedicated to laundry and storage and such are going to have to be cleared out and repurposed. My office and the SO's office are nearly there -- he claiming a portion of the dining area, and me an unused corner with a window! While not organized the way I want it yet -- it's getting there, and I'm ok with that. 

Then there is my kitchen, 2 years in the making of organization. In the two  years I've yet to figure out how I want things to be organized in my cabinets or how I want my two pantry cabinets set. This is another thing that really needs to be done, because I am hoping to step up Hopeless to 4 nights a week, and I need the  ability to have a clean and safe area in which to prepare, photograph and  serve food. A place that is organized and doesn't make me cringe every time I enter. Things like my dishwasher that's attached to the cabinets on 1 side only... yeah - this  needs some work!

Another project is the reclamation of my bedroom to useable, enjoyable, relaxing space. Someplace I would be happy to curl up in at the end of the day, with good book and some cocoa! Something comfortable, warm, and inviting... Another project to tackle!

Then there is the living room, the 'hub' of our home, containing a community computer, television, and xbox -- it's where the kiddos go to hang out and where we have family meetings and we never ever allow guests in there! 
I want a space that I can be proud to show off and say - -this is our living room, regardless of the out of place dining table, and the falling apart fireplace. Those things can be cute, and quaint in their own way when the room itself doesn't look so horrible. 

so there you have it -- a list of things on my To Do roster... seems like a lot, and I think it really is... So - this is spring cleaning a little early and done my way. 

I plan to do 'before' and 'after' shots of everything as I go, in hopes that I'm actually improving things, and to show the insurance company if that ladder doesn't hold. 

So you may ask "Why do I care about any of this?" You know, I don't know - and I don't care if you care -- I plan to do it anyway... because I have knowledge to share, if only with my children -- and who knows, this may wind up being the next great "household" how-to! Move over Heloise, here comes Magimom's Mom Stuff!