Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Handy Tool For Pumpkin Carving

Okay, hubby came up with this great idea for getting the innards out of the pumpkin for carving. He uses a dog brush, the metal kind you scrap over your dogs coat after bathing. Get out most of the seeds by hand and then use the brush to scrap out the rest. I should have taken a picture of the inside of the pumpkin because it is clean as a whistle and no risk of catching those little silky fibers on fire when you put the candle inside.

I thought this was a nifty idea...yes gals, he's sexy and smart!

Head on over to Rocks In My Dryer for more great tips:)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I know you all are just dying to know if Ralph was found. I am happy to report he was caught last night. Hubby just happened to see him sneak into the utility room before bed and moved a live trap by that door. Sure enough little Ralph was in the box this morning. After taking the kids to school I loaded the trap inside a bigger box (the thought of a possible escapee in my car nearly did me in) and drove down to the park. With heart pounding I opened the lid and let him go. He ran promptly into the high grass, thank goodness in the opposite direction of where I was standing. I ignored the fact that he seemed to be heading back in the direction of my house.

I called hubby to let him know I handled the Ralph situation (it's all about facing those fears). He asked if I disposed of him, as in Ralph no more, and I told him no I let him go. Did he really think I could whack a cute little mouse:)

Anyway, I am sure Ralph is running down by the creek right now enjoying the breeze that is ruffling his little brown coat. And I am happy to have my house critter free (well, at least I think so)!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

Last night as I was putting Little One to bed I for some reason got to thinking about all the critters that like to call our house their home. I'm not talking about the wildlife outside, but inside. The creatures that keep passing through our defense systems. I was thinking that mice aren't as bad as snakes or bigger rodents, yes that was what I was thinking early in the evening. But in the middle of the night when Little One woke up crying I ran into the nursery to console her just as a little mouse went running out, I wasn't so sure about my earlier musing. Perched on the recliner with the baby I stared at the doorway just waiting. And a few minutes later the invader darted back into the room. At my alarmed gasp it came to a screeching halt and quickly left again. Great, now it's probably in Em or Soph's room or my own bedroom.

Urghh, our live traps that had given me a false sense of security since our mouse invasion last spring must not be working. Or it is possible that this mouse just hadn't found them yet. Our dear pest man said that they wouldn't stay upstairs for long because there is no food for them. I tried comforting myself with this knowledge as I stood slowly and made a mad dart to my bedroom, Little One clinging to me as she was still nursing. Running on tiptoes I prayed I would not encounter our visitor and let out a screech that would wake the household. As I made a leap into bed that even the most accomplished long jumper would admire I happened to glance at my husband. Laying perfectly still, head turned, eyes wide as saucers he stared at me unmoving as I landed in bed beside him.
"Mouse" I quickly whispered.
"Where?" was his groggy response.
"In the nursery" I tried to ignore the cold sweat enveloping my body.
"Oh" he mumbled as he fell back to sleep.

I stared a hole into our hallway as I waited for the mouse to appear. I knew it would. It was almost as if it was stalking me. A few minutes later the whiskered prowler made an entrance into my bedroom. I couldn't help but gasp, which sent it scurrying out of my room. Groaning my husband sat up.
"It was just here." Nonchalantly, I leaned back against the bed and shrugged, "It's just a little one." Nervous chuckle.
My hubby is not fooled. Reluctantly he gets up and goes downstairs to retrieve a live trap and brings it up to our room. Placing it against one wall he then climbs into bed and is quickly asleep.

Needless to say the mouse makes another appearance, bypassing the trap by joyfully leaping down the other side of the hallway. Again I scare it with my indrawn breath and this time my husband wakes with a few choice words.
"The other side of the wall." Pause. "I think the trap would be better outside of our door in the main hallway."

Hubby gets out of bed mumbling something about just trying to sleep and how we need to put this into prospective because it is just a little mouse. I notice he turns on all the lights and tentatively looks behind our door as he goes to move the trap. I've learned lights don't scare the mice away it just makes them easier to see. But I didn't share this tidbit with him.

I make myself close my eyes so if the trespasser returns I won't see him. I tell myself that he is more afraid of me than I am of him. I also remember how cute little mice are when I see them outside or at the pet store. I remind myself how ridiculous it is to be frightened of such a tiny creature. I sleep, I dream of mice...

This morning no sign of Ralph (my trick, always name your fear and who could be scared of a Ralph!). The dogs were invited in to sniff around for awhile (I'm ignoring the fact that the mouse probably gained entry into the house by parading past my two senile dogs).

I've got to run and call the pest man and see about some more live traps, but if you have a memorable moment please share it!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's Feeding Time at Cotton-Top Hills!

Just a few of the critters that need feeding around here...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday

Flies, flies everywhere around here. When the weather starts to get cooler the flies go into a frenzy mode gathering wherever it is warm, especially my kitchen!! We have been known to kill some fifty flies in mere minutes ( okay, maybe not that quickly but close!). My hubby has a terrific way to catch these pesky insects inside. He gets out the shop vac and sucks them up with the hose. It works great and no fly guts to clean off the walls and counters! The method is simple, just slowly sneak up on fly with hose and the closer you get the vacuum causes the little rascals to hold on for dear life making it easy to suck them up. Just take vacuum far away from house to dump just in case any have survived:) Also, for outside around doors these little traps work wonders. I got ours at our local feed store.

For more WFMW go to Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

Our First Annual Great Pumpkin Patch Party!

We had a fantastic time this Saturday at our first pumpkin patch party! It was truly a joy to see 30+ kiddos running around having fun. They did an awesome job decorating their pumpkins, what creativity. Hubby had a blast with the hay ride, that tractor is earning its keep every day:) Thanks to some great friends we had a huge pinata the kids enjoyed whacking. And look who we found in the great pumpkin! Little One enjoyed chomping on this big veggie.
We feel very blessed to be able to host such an event and to be surrounded by family and friends. It really fills my heart with happiness! And thank you to all who came, some traveling over an hour with vans full of kids! Can't wait until next year!!!
Feel free to join in with your memorable moment, just add a comment and link to your post:)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

This memorable moment happened this weekend at our church's fall carnival. Em just recently lost two more teeth! That's a grand total of four baby teeth gone now:)

And of course Soph is a beautiful butterfly as well!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One for the Team

I am happy to report that my Alma Mater won a very important football game yesterday against a certain maroon team. Little One is posing with the pumpkin I won at the silent auction at our church's fall carnival.

Now, I don't want to give anyone the impression that my team is better than yours and I certainly won't be unsportsmanlike and throw words by a certain running back in your face. Nor, will I discuss the play that took our quarterback to the ground and got my team fired up. Because this is football and it is what it is. But......

I have to mention the two hilarious men that had to carry my silent auction items out to the car this morning. Neither one of them wanted to touch the pumpkin, yes you guessed it they are Aggies. I really thought it was funny and laughingly told them they better watch out because I had a camera in the car and I might just snap a picture of them with it. I swear I saw a tear in the poor man's eye that got stuck carrying it. Then I noticed he was carrying it upside down! Really, now. Then he covered up the logo and put the backside of the pumpkin out first. The other man commented "yeah, put the good side out". Okay, if my children hadn't have been with me and I wasn't at my church, and I was a few years younger I guarantee I would have had some choice words for these men. But, I am happy to report I just smiled and when we got to my car and I reached for my camera I had a very, hearty laugh as I watched the two men run away from my car as if they were about to be bitten.

Really, it's just a game right? :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


At my house chore time can be extremely painful, but every once in awhile things click and it actually goes smoothly, sometimes it is even fun! Recently we bought a dry erase board and put Em and Soph's name at the top. They are now collecting tally marks for chores done in a joyful and I mean joyful manner. They understand there are certain responsibilities that come with living here and they aren't necessarily going to get a tally mark for every thing they do. But when they go about their tasks with a smile on their face and what I am sure is joy in their heart, they get to put a tally mark by their name. My five year old loves to now say "Yes, ma'am" enthusiastically when asked to do something. They also have a choice, because of courseI believe in choices around here, to get a tally mark for doing an extra chore or two. These are chores that are going above and beyond the call of normal duty. They don't want to do it fine, but no tally mark.

This weekend we went to a museum they were wanting to go see and get the latest Barbie DVD. This was for a weekend marathon of cleaning and tally marks. Now when they get to ten they'll get to pick a coupon from the coupon drawer. Coupons say things like, spend an hour with Mommy or Daddy alone, or play a board game with family, etc. For twenty tallies we'll go somewhere like the museum. I've found that gently reminding them of what they are working towards keeps them on track.

Also, you can get tallies for things like getting dressed for school quickly and happily (this has been a great motivation for Soph, and it cuts down on the time spent in front of the mirror for my seven year old!)

So for now this is our system. It will hopefully give me a few months before I have to think up an even newer and more exciting system!

For more great ideas head over to Rocks in my Dryer!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Soaring Overhead

Twice this week I have looked toward the sky to find quite a magnificent surprise. Yesterday while driving in our neighborhood I looked out over the canyon to see two giant birds soaring and dipping down close to the road. One of them looked as if he had found something for dinner so I, instead of taking the turn to head towards our house, took the road down into the canyon to get a better look. With giant wings flapping he took off and rapidly gained altitude. I told the girls I thought it must have been a golden eagle. We watched them flying way overhead as we made our way towards the house. As I was getting Little One out of the car I heard Em yelling "Quick Mom, over here!" several times. Hurrying as fast as I could, with baby attached to hip, I ran around the side of the house to find the bird agilely landing on top of a mesquite tree just on the other side of our property. I was wrong it wasn't a golden eagle at all, it was a bald eagle! I was so excited I ran for my camera, but by the time I juggled it open and a now squirming Little One it took flight. I sat outside for awhile hoping it would reappear but it never did. But how exciting it was to be so close to such a spectacular bird!

Tonight as I listened to Em read I glanced out the window to find this gliding past.

We ran outside waving and this time I was able to juggle both baby and camera and get some pictures. As I was frantically taking tons of pictures of this balloon I kept hearing "Helllllloooo" bouncing off the canyon walls and I could hear my girls on the other side of the house calling back. Then I heard a loud "whooosssshhh" and I looked straight up to see this!

The two men on board had been the ones waving and saying hello, silly me. They were probably watching me taking all sorts of pictures of the first balloon and thinking why doesn't she just turn around and see us hovering right over her shoulder!!

Anyway, we were thrilled to see such a wonderful sight two afternoons in a row.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Memorable Moments Monday

Here is my second edition of Memorable Moment Monday(I changed the name from meaningful to memorable, but I think it's one in the same!). Anyone feel free to join in!

We are preparing for our first annual Great Pumpkin Patch Party. So last week we went out and bought ourselves a huge 20.00 pumpkin. This pumpkin easily weighs more than myself and with my husband on crutches it was up to me to get it out of the car. I used a wheelbarrow and hauled it over by our front walk. Carefully, I tipped it and was able to roll the pumpkin out. Sounds easy right? Well, we decided we should take it to the pumpkin patch to take a picture of it with the girls for our party invite. So I had to get the pumpkin from where I took this picture to way over there on the other side of that mesquite tree where the ray of sunlight is hitting.
There was no way I could pick the pumpkin up to put back in the wheelbarrow, so Em and I decided to roll it. After a couple rolls we realized the pumpkin was picking up prickly burrs from the yard. These are nasty little things that we discovered are all over out here and they stick to anything. From here our pumpkin move pretty much went down hill, literally. On the next roll Em got a burr stuck in her hand and let go. It was teetering on the slope of our lawn. The slope that drops down about 30 yards to the street. I'm not sure if any of you have seen a 200 + pound pumpkin roll down a hill, but I'm here to tell you it picks up momentum. I knew at that moment the only way to save the day (or pumpkin) was to sacrifice myself. With an audible groan I threw myself in front of the racing orange vegetable. As it struck my shins I fell forward with both hands and grimaced as I felt a thousand (maybe just a couple dozen) stingy needles pierce my palms. The runaway pumpkin ground to a halt as I glanced up the hill at the faces of my daughters. Their horror turned to cheers until they caught a glimpse of my hands and legs. "Owwwww", they both whispered. I was covered in burrs. They gingerly tried to help me remove the stinging thorns as I laughed through my tears.

And finally, this time with gloves, we got the great pumpkin to the patch. Here's the picture:

You will notice Little One is absent from photo. This is because she got stuck sitting inside with Dad, who could not move, until we came and rescued them! She was not in the mood for a picture.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Holiday Recipes

I found my way to Overwhelmed's neat blog. She is hosting a holdiay recipe exchange and I figure it is never to early to start testing and planning some new holiday recipes! So today I'm going to post my husband's very yummy mashed potato recipe. Around here calories don't count on the holidays! For more recipes head over to Overwelmed's site:)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1 head of garlic (~10 cloves)1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds potatoes (Yukon gold works well; red potatoes also work good)
1 stick butter, cubed
1 package cream cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper

Cut potatoes into cubes about 1” on a side. I like to leave the skin on but it may be removed if preferred. Place in pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the potatoes until fork tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Chop garlic fine and saute’ in olive oil. Remove the pot with the potatoes from the heat and drain. Place the potatoes back in the pot and return to the heat. Stir the potatoes, constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes to dehydrate the potatoes. Remove the potatoes from the heat. Add the garlic and butter. Using a hand-held masher, mash the butter and garlic into the potatoes. Mash in cream cheese . The potatoes should still be sort of lumpy. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday

This works for me Wednesday is a little different this week. We get to ask a question and have others help us find a solution for fun!

Okay, here it is....How can I get my five year old daughter to brush her hair thoroughly? Her hair is shoulder length and she is growing out her bangs to be like her older sister. The problem is she doesn't want me to brush it and she has a hard time getting the underneath part of her hair brushed good, causing lots of little tangles. I'm trying to teach her some independence in getting ready in the morning, but this seems to be our one problem area:) Any suggestions would be great!

For more head over to Rocks in my Dryer.