Friday, August 31, 2012

aftermath ramble....

The last several days have been WILD. Whoever knew that a little cat 1 storm could wreak such havoc?
Hurricane Isaac was just too big....too wide...and brought too much wind and too much water. This entire area is flooded with more on the way due to a dam up north getting ready to give way unless they can relieve pressure some how.

Our neighborhood was one of the lucky ones.
We had street flooding but no homes flooded to my knowledge...yet when you go through the neighborhood every 5th or 6th house had some sort of damage to their home, property, or both...including ours and both of our neighbors. We three live on the highest lots in the neighborhood and the winds beat our poor houses up.

The biggest thing was the just would NOT stop...for HOURS. Isaac stalled and with the wind came the rain....crazy sideways ripping the roof off your house wind and rain. Now I love a good storm. I love the sound of storms, I love thunder and lightning...I love hard wind and rain...but this was crazy!
We had one squall that lasted from 10:30 to 4:10! How do I know? With the power out, you notice everything...especially in the pitch dark! didn't let up even for one minute. It would be like blowing out your breath for 6 hours straight. The fact that it was the night and I was sure we would not have a house by morning made me scared for the first time. I got down on my knees and said a prayer and felt better. I still couldn't sleep because of the noise but I was fine and thought "Now I know why some people chase these things." They are so powerful and confusing and interesting....too bad they are so destructive.

Most people lost power Monday or Tuesday. We didn't lose power until Wednesday and were without it a mere 28 hours...most people are not that lucky and are expected to be out of power through Sunday.

Now, in case you don't know....if you live in the south, you DON'T stock your freezer during Hurricane season which is May to November.
That being said, in case you DID, you don't want anything to go to waste so if you had meat in your freezer, it came out. There were a lot of folks grilling once the backlash blew through Thursday. People were running food to the neighbors and checking on each other,sizing up damage, etc. From above, we must have looked like ants coming out of an anthill after a simple rain shower. By late afternoon, people had switched their radio channels from weather to sports in anticipation of the Saints game.

Dean and I cleaned up a bit and put the yard back together (sort of)....we can't repair the roof yet, it is (of course) on the highest eave and even his 24 foot ladder can't reach it. We'll have to get an inspector out here as it was leaking into one of the bathrooms.

I heard the birds this morning, for the first time since Sunday. They don't come around during storms and they left once Isaac was in the area. The bees and hummingbirds were the first to leave. They can't tolerate the high winds.
Yesterday I knew things were looking up because about 2 pm a lone hummingbird came looking for food. I ran out and set up the feeders and by nightfall, they were all back....and so were the bees! If you ever wonder about weather, just check out the animals. Our dogs and cats never once got nervous. Animals are great predictors of what is coming....

The schools are closed due to all the flooding and damage so the kids are off through Labor Day. I hope I have a job next week....the school where I work is in the evacuation zone and that entire area was flooded.

I want to thank everyone for sending prayers and good thoughts our way. Please keep Louisiana in your continued thoughts and prayers...there will be a long recovery for this area.

"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them? "
-Rose Kennedy

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

this just in.......

4 am Wednesday...been up since 1:30 due to noise from storm....stuff just flying around and windows rattling, etc.

Isaac is moving agonizingly slow but so far we have not lost power or water. The powers that be stated water would be turned off to keep from getting contaminated by flood waters. Even though we have a ton of debris in our yard,
I can't complain as some poor guy has 9 feet of water in his home south of us.

On another note, Poor Leo is so unhappy inside. He goes to the door to be let outside. When I open it, he looks at me with this WTH look on his face and then stalks off...only to lay down nearby.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane Isaac.....

I've had so many phone calls that I thought it best to do a little post...especially since the phones are bound to go out later. (and the electricity....yuck.)

Dean is a first responder for media so he is on the phone working while I'm prepping for Isaac (and blogging...gotta get your priorities straight, right?)

With two dogs and two cats, we are not evacuating. Just the thought of that little exercise into insanity is enough to drive me to drink.

We are expected to start getting hit about 1 pm which gives us a few more hours to finish the yard and patio stuff.
Matt just got home from a sleepover and will be thrilled to lend me a hand in moving/tumping over those 200 pound missiles I have the audacity to call "bird baths." (200 pounds? Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little bit but at least 150 pounds...when you mosaic anything you add a ton of weight to it.) The bottom becomes a missile and the top, a flying saucer!)

Personally, I am hoping it will be more bluster than not and that I can craft guilt free for two whole days before returning to work on Thursday.

Only time will tell, you never really know which direction these storms will take or what damage they will do....throw in a tornado or two (since they always travel in pairs) and you get the idea.

fun fun fun.....

Friday, August 24, 2012

birdie art!

Last year, Kaela dropped from gifted art because she was also in Art II and was doing more progressive work in it. That was fine until the last half of the year when her teacher took maternity leave.

The sub let the class fall apart and students who were not serious ran amok. The last few projects did not stretch serious students creativity.

Then, this summer, Kaela didn't even pick up a pencil or sketchpad....not once and I was worried she had lost interest.

Now that she is in high school, gifted art is a class by itself instead of a pull out and Kaela LOVES her teacher which I am very thankful for.

She played around on the web and found some bird pictures she liked and copied them for practice.


She liked the sketches so much that she did them both again for a class ...she used the cardinal for cool composition

I'm thrilled she is enjoying art again.
She has been sketching every day since school started.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

sleep tight...

Last night at dusk, Dean was taking photos of flowers in our garden when he found this little guy snuggled in for the night....


Monday, August 20, 2012


I love shark week. I will sit in front of the tv and watch

Okay, I don't but I would if I didn't have to work and do a hundred other things!

I have always been fascinated by sharks. I think it started years ago when we moved back to the states. My dad was stationed at Eglin so we moved to Fort Walton Beach Florida.
One day, I climbed on a raft and my older sister took me way, way out into the deep water.
Over my head, over her head, the whole NOT A GOOD IDEA TO BE OUT THIS FAR over our heads thing.

We were out there, enjoying the water when a shark cut the water about 5 feet from the raft. It wasn't this guy. (he resides at the Aquarium of Americas in NOLA.)

But it was a shark nonetheless and we both freaked out. My sister promptly DUMPED my a** into the drink while she climbed up onto the raft to save herself.
The rest was just a blur of intense terror while I froze in the water before my sister slowly pulled me up onto the raft by her. Basically I think we were just too big, like I said the shark was small...about 4-5 feet long. Still scary as all get out though.

Each year I watch shark week and each year I remember that day....we tease my sister and we all laugh how she fed me to "Jaws" to save herself. Each year she says how awful she feels to have done that....all the while we are laughing so hard we are crying!

In 1975 JAWS came out and I was 15.....oh my gosh, I love that movie.
In my mind, it is still the best scary shark movie of all time. Just the music gives me the chills!

Cue music....

When they filmed JAWS 2, they posted for extras at our high school. All my friends wanted me to try out because I had long super curly hair like one of the actresses. There was NO WAY I would do that, just the thought of it gave me the creeps....but my sister a lot of my friends went and were in scenes from the movie.

Then in the mid 80's we had a school of hammerheads stay just off the beach for over 2 weeks. It was really unusual and was all over the news. All the beaches were closed.....but the piers were jam packed with people watching them. They are small fish eaters...but it was still really creepy watching hundreds of them school just a few feet below you.

In honor of this amazing animal, I made this cute little shark bag (filled with fish) for this month's toy drop:

see the fish? I used the same pattern I used for my fish garland on this post. I just used a larger hook.

And here is a terrific crocheted shark pouch you could do by moogly.

shark week pouch time free crochet pattern markers pencils child adult school

Have a great SHARK WEEK!

Friday, August 17, 2012

lions and lambs ornaments

Years ago I made Christmas ornaments from salt dough. They lasted for about 10 years before the shellac broke down enough for weevils to get them. I decided to make some more for my YOE tree. The process is easy enough for children and a great project to do together.

*Salt dough

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Mix salt and flour together. Add water a little at a time, you may not need the whole cup. You don't want it sticky so go slowly. Mix all ingredients together until a ball forms, then knead the ball of dough about 10 minutes until it is nice and smooth.

*I cut the recipe in half and still made 14 ornaments!

To make these ornaments, you'll need toothpicks, a flat edge, a skewer, a garlic press and a parchment lined cookie sheet. You will also need skinny ribbon, shellac, newspaper to catch drips, wire to hang the ornaments to dry, or possibly a paint brush.

Here is how to get started:

First pinch off a small amount of dough and roll into a ball. Mine is the size of a large marble.

Then flatten the dough into a squarish oval shape

For the head, make a smaller squarish oval shape and use a teeny ball for the ear.

To shape the nose, take the flat edge and carefully flatten the front of the face down at an angle. Sheep have little roman noses and this will help create that shape.
Flatten the ear leaving the bottom thin while making the top a bit wider.

Then use a toothpick and make a small poke for the eye and a small dash for the nostril.

The legs are oblong balls carefully tamped down between your index fingers and thumbs so that one end is slightly flat while the other is slightly pointy, like a hoof. If you look closely, you can see that the pointy end is thicker.

Position them at the bottom of the body. I make some walk, some run, etc.

Now start to add fleece:
Using the garlic press, put a ball of dough and slowly squeeze it out. (If your dough is too soft, it won't hold the shape.)
Using the toothpick as a tool, shave off bits of the dough at a time. Hold the toothpick close to the sheep's body to do this. You can put it on the body randomly.

For the fleece over the face, make shorter fleece and pull it off the press with a toothpick at an angle, sort of dragging it along the top of the face.
It should be about this length:

Once done, take your skewer and make a hole in the body of the sheep. ***This hole will SHRINK when baked so make sure it goes all the way through the dough.

If you make lions, the process is basically the same EXCEPT for the mane. You want the blunt (cut) edge of the mane against the face so you have to work the mane off the toothpick more carefully than with the fleece. Its a bit more fiddly but once you get the hang of it, it goes quickly. Don't forget the little tuft on his tail!

Bake at 200 degrees until hard as a rock. I usually check every 20 minutes. I cook mine at night and when going to bed, turn off the oven but leave them in it overnight. To check , flip over and press, if the back gives AT ALL, they are not done.

Once baked, make little wires for them. Dunk each ornament into your shellac (polyurethane) and let dry overnight.
Repeat at least once. I do it this way because I'm lazy. You can always use a sponge or paint brush.

***if your hole shrinks, carefully use a nail to break through the dough. Don't try and force a large hole, it will crack. The hole will be teensy so you will need to use a beading needle to get your ribbon to go through.

Once fully dry, run a ribbon through them and hang on the tree!

"Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb..."
-Martin Amis

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Patrick cake

I was browsing through some archived photos when I stumbled across this one.

I created a "Patrick Star" cake for Matt back in 2007 before we moved here. It turned out pretty cute....................if you like putrid pink cakes .

and after cutting? It looked even BETTER....

Sooooo horrible! I must have had WAY too much wine while baking it!
I think I'll submit it to cake wrecks!

Funny how a little time changes your perspective!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Years ago I made "smashed sandwiches" in the oven. I'd put stuff on a bun and then put the whole thing between parchment and cookie sheets weighed down with oven pans.
They were delicious but it was a pain to do so I didn't make them often.

Then came the "panini" which is a fancy smashed sandwich. I didn't have a panini maker and I scoffed at the prices. BUT I did have a George Foreman grill I never used. (sorry, George.)

The thing is that when you want your fake panini smashed, you have to REALLY lay on that lid. George finally cracked under pressure after about 6 years. (sorry, George.)

Then Dean got me a panini maker for Christmas this past year.
He found one on sale and then used a coupon, so what's a girl to do? I used right away.
And now I use it ALL the time, especially when we have company. Its sort of like a crock pot for sandwiches. You can put just about anything between two slices of bread and it will taste great......

these paninis are made with Dean's smoked chicken, tomatoes, chipotle jack cheese, salt, pepper and a little oil and vinegar.

And by the way, I'm really NOT sorry George's lid cracked...and neither is anyone else!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

a bowl of thunder

Last night Dean went to the New Orleans arena to the Arena Bowl Championships. He took several clients but managed to keep a few for Matt to invite some friends.

They were in a suite but he allowed the boys to wander around occasionally to take in the sights. None of them had been to an arena bowl game before and getting to go to the championship was a terrific experience. From the looks on their faces, they must have had a great time.

They didn't get home until 2 am and we had just gone to bed when a HUGE storm hit our area. If the rest of the country had as much rain as we have been getting there would be no drought!

The storm sat over our area for a couple of hours and it was really loud. Lightning strikes everywhere, thunder clapping and grumbling.

The dogs were upset, the cats were upset and I was running from window to window watching the water rise. I love storms and always get excited when big ones come through. My only concern was the water being forced under our doors...good thing we have tile floors!

Everyone else? Sound asleep!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Time for Tea

Dean made scones on Saturday morning so I felt compelled to have some hot tea to go along with them. I love Celestial Seasonings Red Hibiscus tea. It has a subtle peachy flavor that is so good. (In fact, when I make iced tea, I use 1 of the red hibiscus tea bags in place of 1 of the regular ones....yummy.)

Dean got the recipe for the scones out of a local paper so I thought I'd share it with you. They were REALLY good that everyone had seconds..and thirds. The lemon is very subtle, not overwhelming at all.

Lemon Scones

2 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbls fresh lemon zest
1 stick unsalted butter (cold)
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk

1 egg white
additional sugar in a shallow dish

Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a dish. Add lemon zest and toss to mix. Cut butter (using a pastry blender or fork) into the flour mixture until it forms fine granules. Add sugar and mix. Add milk and stir until a soft dough forms.
Place on a floured surface a knead 10-12 times and then roll out to a 1" thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter or into triangles.

Brush scones with the egg white and then dip tops into the extra sugar. Place scones on a cookie sheet covered with parchment and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a golden brown on top.

"Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea." ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

back to school

The kids went back to school today. It was hard watching them go out the door. I can't believe Kaela entered high school and that Matt only has 2 years left before college.

The bus picks up at the end of our driveway so there are alway kids in our yard...which is fine with me.
Last year, Kaela said the guys felt like I was stalking them (she was the only girl amongst 7 boys last year.) so I quit looking out the window. Today, I just said goodbye and shut the door and walked away...but I did peek.

It is hard to make kids understand that while safety is paramount, sometimes we look out the windows because we know that our children are slowly slipping away from us. Today was very bittersweet for me. I am so very proud of my kids but each time they grow,
they go
and one day, they will be gone.

I go back to work "for real" on Monday but spent most of last week prepping my room and getting organized.

This year, I have a new room and was asked to decorate my door:

Here is a close up of the fish...I got the pattern here.

I also made these little jellyfish for something different...

Since I had a ton of yarn out, I crocheted a pretty cover for a large can and made a new pencil holder

I can't believe how fast the summer went by. It seems to go by faster and faster as the years go by. I hope my kids have a great first day today....the house is so quiet right now. I miss them already...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Goofy Golf

We spent several days in Florida this summer because my mother has been ill. We didn't do much for the kids but once she was well enough to go home, we all went to Goofy Golf for a much needed tension reliever.

Goofy Golf is a miniature golf course and EVERYONE who grew up there spent many hours playing the cheesy course. It was the place to meet up with friends when you were too young to drive...and didn't lose it's appeal when the mall opened. It was pretty much everyone's first date place during the summer.

The girls cut up...we laughed...and cheated...our way through the course. No margaritas needed!

Early on, we were so far behind the guys (who took it WAY too seriously) that we had to split up and move on. Kaela was the best on our team...she got 3 hole in ones.

Phil is a scratch golfer so it wasn't fair that his team won.

Kaela and Matt look so serious here...

Dean and Matt gave me the "don't bother us" look while they were trying to play. This photo cracks me up. They look like they could do bodily harm to me if I interrupted their concentration!

The famous dinosaur....with the ultra short arms...see the octopus in the background? And the shark?

here is the giraffe with the freaky eyeballs!

How about this "Like us on Facebook" sticker above the frog's butt.....too funny.

And yes, the golf ball comes out his butt. This is the sort of cheesy thing you see at Goofy funny.

Acting like a monkey...

The best part is that over the years, they have kept it just the same. It seriously looks just like it did when we moved there in 1969.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Halloween Swap!

It is time for my annual Halloween swap. Click over to my swap blog for more information!

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