Friday, October 16, 2009

Giving an atagirl and an update.

First, I'd like to thank my friend, Nora, for scoring such cool loot for me to give to K-. She went to some massive sale at the American Girl outlet in Osh Kosh, WI. Just look what she found for me: The Midnight Holly Dress set. It is a gorgeous dress that can be bustled up front, the fur collar, the little heels (the photo does not do them justice) and the book. It would have been $29.95, but Nora picked it up for me for $7.00 for the whole set. Then there is Coconut. The dog, collar with leash, toy and journal would have been $22.00. Nora found it for me for $9.00. Since we have a birthday party coming up at the American Girl Store in Chicago, I've decided to give this to K- as opposed to buying something insanely expensive in store. I'll probably give it to her on the 7 hour drive up. Goodness knows that we'll have the time.

So yes, Nora found me $52.00 worth of American Girl stuff for $16.00. Her mom just dropped it off this morning and oh. my. goodness. How I'm glad that she called me to see if I wanted her to bargain hunt for me. :)

So, Miss K- seems to be hopping around the house in underpants and a witches hat. She is laughing, hasn't napped at all today, is still belting out a cough, I'm keeping her on "comfort med's" per the nurses directions, she still has a little bit of a fever, but she seems to be doing fine.

Sadly, we did have to call and cancel out on the 1st birthday party we were to attend just south of Columbus tomorrow. We had the day planned with going to the art museum, Bass Pro Shops and then on to the party. In Ohio (I seriously think that it is a non-existent holiday everywhere else), it is Sweetest Day. (Basically another Valentine's Day.) We term it as a 5 buck holiday, but we won't be 5 buckin'. That's okay.

Smiles in my day:
- K- not having H1N1. She has recovered far too quickly, though Dr. AK brings up several good points. So does Melissa. Thanks for your medical input. A panicky, germaphobe and slightly hypochondriac mommy definitely appreciates public input.
- Watching Goonies. We missed Where the Wild Things Are, but we'll go when K- feels better. And yes, I cried at having to break our Loose Feet Date. It broke my heart to have to tell her that.
- Hubs panicking this AM with me. I know it sounds bizarre to have that be a smile, but at the end of the day, I look back and know that he was right in the trenches with me, helped me to get her on the way back down from 103.7 F and he even worked a partial day because of it. I'm glad that he is such an involved dad. It truly is quite a blessing. So many parents out there do it without the support of their partner. I couldn't imagine.
- K- having today off so that she didn't miss a day of school because of her illness.
- My brother. He has called more times than I can count today. When K- gets really sick, my brother just worries about her. "But it's K-!" is what he tells me. He told me this morning that he would sit in the hospital waiting room with us and he promised "not to freak out!" Bless his heart! Of course, we never made the trip to the hospital, but it's good to know that he has our backs in case we need to.
- My sister has called all day. So has my mom. And my friend, Kim. My aunt sent her home aide over with some soda and popsicles for K- and the dear got the wrong house and left it on my neighbor's porch. (I had to run and grab it before they found it.) Though it wasn't a necessary thing, she just felt so bad that K- was sick and wanted to do something for her. The love. It brings me to tears.

It's kind of a tired end to my day. I have 7 little necklaces to make for American Girl Doll favors and one child sized necklace for the Chicago party. I'm going to hop off here and try to get some crafting done before I sack out for bed. Something tells me that tonight is still going to be a little long of an evening with Miss Cough and Hack.

Thanks for the love. Thanks for putting up with my multiple postings for the day. Have a great weekend!

Loose Feet

For those of you who might be even vaguely familiar with Junie B. Jones, you'll know that in the book (Almost) a Flowergirl, Junie B's parents don't want her to have a boyfriend at such a tender age because they want her to be "foot loose and fancy free." Junie B. remembers that as "loose feet."

K- and I have decided that today will be Loose Feet Day. Because of NEOEA Day (I don't know what it stands for other than the kids get the day off), we decided that we are going to spend some nice time together, have fun and go see a movie. What are we going to see?

She's excited. It opens today and we're planning on going to the first show. We'll spring for movie popcorn and lots of Purell. It is an hour and a half, so we'll do that, head on over to celebrate my aunt's birthday with her, then on to the library. It should be a fun day!

Smiles in my day:
- Getting all of my chores done while K- was at school so that we can do something fun together tonight. I'm writing this on Thursday afternoon and have the beds made, laundry hanging to dry, the bathroom cleaned, living room tidied, the carpets swept, floors, steps and play area floor mopped, clothing is folded and put away, K-'s drawers have been purged of smaller sizes and a chicken is roasting in the oven. All this without the use of caffeine! My evening bonus? Every single bit of laundry is laundered and my dirty clothes bucket is COMPLETELY EMPTY! Since I laundered the balance of things after baths/showers, there will be no dirty laundry entering the bucket for 12 entire hours! :)! Hubs cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, so that was a huge help! :)!!
- I have weaned myself completely from caffeine and will not get into a habit of drinking/consuming quite as much of it anymore.

The evening update:
Perhaps we will be having loose feet at home since K- is running a bit of a fever this evening, though the Advil reduce it from 101.9 F - 99.0 F. Argh. Hopefully, it won't return and she will be okay. She had a flu shot 9/11, but we haven't scored an H1N1 vaccine yet. All of the children in her class are coughing and several have been out for several days at a time. We're hoping that it is just a blip on the radar. A friend reported that her son had a fever last night, but was just fine today. Who knows?

The Friday AM update:
Sadly, K-'s fever shot up to 103.7 F. Her cheeks were so rosey this AM that I could see them in the little light of dawn. The nurse at the doctor's office diagnosed BY PHONE ONLY as her having H1N1. She has been holding her own just fine, the fever did break and we have it down to 101 F, she is functioning, so it has left me to wonder if the diagnosis is actually correct. I was so mad at the doctor's office. Tamiflu is being reserved for people who have a surpressed immune system and everyone else is left to fight it off, but "If she has problems breathing, take her to the ER." After telling her something about how they are leaving me stranded on a ship and that they will only help me if my child is potentially dying, I hung up on her. (Not a grown-up reaction, but I didn't swear.) Regardless, Hubs got freaked out and worried, so he took the day off work. Right now, he is running around Super Wal with a list o' needs. (New vaporizer, he felt the need to replace the not dead batteries in the ear scan thermometer . . . ) Right now she is eating toast with butter. She is lying on the cot in the middle of my living room and watching far too much TV. That's okay. It's the part of the fun of being ill, right? :S

Because what's life without another update?
It is 12:20 PM and K-'s fever is 99.3 F. That's not actually even considered a fever. If she had H1N1, we wouldn't be able to break the fever that quick. Through this, I have gotten even more education about H1N1 (I was on the CDC last night, but have a friend that works in public health), so I feel myself more educated than what I was before. Actually, I can say that as a "we." Hubs did decide that he would go to work, as they had another school group coming in and he knew that they needed help. K- is eating. She is awake and has been since about 6:30 AM. She is playing. She is watching Goonies right now. She does have a cough, but we have a vaporizer running and children's decongestant on hand.

And Melissa, I agree with you wholeheartedly. The first day that symptoms truly hit is when the Tamiflu needs to be administered. However, the nurse didn't rank K- as a risk enough to be seen. I'm sure that I'm probably panicked mom #1000 that she has had to speak to about the same thing and my thought is that I'm not the only one who has hung up on them.

For what it's worth, this has again confirmed and allowed me to verbalize what I know about H1N1. It is considered a seasonal virus. Unfortunately, the virus is in a form that we haven't seen, thus making our immune systems kick into high gear. However, it is a virus. Some get hit harder than others. In discussing this with Kim, my public health friend, I even told her that every 5 years or so, I get hit so hard with a cold that it knocks me to my knees. This is one of those. There has been a public panic about it, and in cases certainly rightly so. The first 10 minutes of each news broadcast is dedicated to the H1N1 outbreak. I didn't sleep last night, listening to K- toss, turn and cough in worrying for her, my husband, my parents, my in-law's, my 5 month old nephew and anyone else that she is in contact with.

The fact of the matter is that K- goes to public school. There are approximately 550 kids in K-'s elementary school building. Germs go around. Funk and gunk are passed. All we can do is to teach our kids to wash their hands thoroughly, keep nails trimmed to a very short length, cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough, don't share utensils . . . , take vitamins, eat good foods, get exercise and plenty of sleep. In fact after things that I've learned today, I've been left questioning whether I will be getting the H1N1 vaccination for K-. Previously, I was all for it.

Stay well, my friends. May the hazmat tent not fall on any of your homes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuning into just the right weather music

It is rainy, generally damp as a result and a cool 41 F here in NE Ohio. I know you don't care. I just figured I'd let you know. (I feel like an over achiever and thought that you might be okay with a second post for the day.) They say that we are to have a "mix" today which to those of you who aren't so blessed, means snow and rain. I'm good with it. I'm cleaning the house (except for now, of course), I've got my pot o' good smelling stuff burbling on the stove (cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg and some cloves) and I felt the need to get some good music going.

Music? It is something that I enjoy. I'm not generally a big fan of re-mixes or anything like that. My husband? Oh, he'll buy anything with a band's name on it that he loves. I listen to a lot of different music, except for country. Oh, just can't do it.

So, it brings me to the musical bit. Last night, I was laughing as I was reading a review of the newest Metallica album. (What do you call them nowadays?) St. Anger, their last, didn't even rate purchasable for us. Load and Reload was enough to make Metallica dead to us forever. Then St. Anger? Double barf. In the early to mid 90's, we saw Metallica several times. Oh, they were great! Now, they are just a bunch of greedy old guys. Hubs reminded me that he had me listen to the new stuff. It was so memorable that I forgot about it. Ick.

I love Rusted Root, the old stuff. Then they switched what they were doing and now it is dreadful.

Then there is Ben Folds. One day I will see him. We all love Ben! It is hilarious to see K- dance and sing to Ben in the back seat.

The Cure! :)!!!! (There are more, but I need to eat lunch and clean the house a bit more before picking K- up.)

So today's weather has me snuggled into our home, avoiding cleaning at the moment and wanting something musical. I tried Por*no for Pyros. (I hate that I have to * their name, but God only knows what might come up.) My disk is so scratched that the CD players (yes, plural) said no thank you. Then I tried the Bosstones. It didn't feel like the right fit. I looked into my studio that is in great need of a huge purge and there was Cake! I love CAKE! Fashion Nugget! Sounds great, but then the disk wasn't in there. Tracy Chapman was. Works for me. I love Tracy Chapman.

So, how is music working for you these days? Anything you completely love? (I won't hold anything against you if it happens to be Metallica.) Anything that you are disappointed in?

Demoting Pluto, Columbus and the school lunch

I don't know about you, but I sort of feel cheated. Poor Pluto. It was a really great planet for me for so many years. Apparently, it didn't measure up. So sad. Now I have to explain to K- that her School House Rocks songs aren't quite right. Yes, I realize that it was demoted a few years ago, but I'm going with a theme here.

Then there is Columbus. In 1492 he sailed the ocean blue, yes? Well, apparently some folks have hard feelings about Chris. I hear that he wasn't too great of a guy. He didn't do nice things. In fact, they are certain that he's not the first person to discover the new world. Since there were already folks here, I'm not surprised by that. I just always figured that he documented it first, thus the credit went to him. Right? So now, there are school districts that don't recognize Columbus Day, but it continues to be a bank holiday. Apparently, they aren't too chaffed by his dishonesty.

Then there is the school lunch. It is officially dead to me. My child decided that today was the day to give a school lunch a try again. I was fine with packing, but okay. Then I got a call from the school nurse. K- got sick at lunch. "She says that this happens 'all the time' and that she 'feels fine' so we are just going to change her clothes and send her back to class," was the message on the answering machine. Well, she ended up calling me on my cell, we talked about it, discussed that though she doesn't do this all the time, the doctor thinks that when she eats too fast, she does have a bit of a gag reflex, but also we don't eat the same foods that school lunches serve. That's when the nurse said, "And the pizza is the worst." So, yes, K- did go back to class and she did make it through the day. (Though I do have to tell Marlene that she was irritated at me for completely nixing school lunches. She wanted to do her AB pattern of lunch schedule that she worked out yesterday! Surprisingly, she wasn't mad about not getting her out of school.)

Smiles in my day:
- The school nurse telling me that though she knew that K- was going to be a bit upset when she found out that she was staying at school, she said that in a few minutes, it would all be well.
- Doing the hoof and haul to school this AM. Wow. It was a hair chilly. But! The neighbors met us in our driveway. They were ready before us today!
- Still burning candles to get rid of the broccoli soup smell that seems to have permeated every surface in my home. It is gradually getting better, but it is stinking cold out and I will not open the windows.
- The crabbies are happily decreasing by the day. Oh folks, I have to tell you that to say that I had the major crabbies is just putting it lightly. Yes, I apologized to Hubs and K-.
- My people decorated for Halloween tonight. Halloween is just not my kind of holiday. Apparently Hubs scored "movie quality" spider web for the outdoors, so he has now decided that he needs to stock up. Apparently there is a big difference between "movie quality" and dollar store quality. It's stringy stuff. I never knew.
- Earning free gift cards for Christmas gifts! I turned in $45.00 of cashback bonus money from our Discover to get a $50.00 gift certificate to Maggiano's for my sister-in-law and her family. I was able to cash in enough points from My Points to get a $50.00 gift certificate to Target to use towards Christmas gifts for K-. HOORAY!
- Hey, Marlene! It was good to see you today. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Zipper Tips

A million years ago, or at least 14, I was the assistant manager at a wedding boutique. While I can share all sorts of stories, I can pass on a few tips that I still use.

1. Stiff zipper not running smoothly?- Run a pink eraser over it. Problem solved.
2. Zipper catching on fabric and constantly jamming?- After unjamming the jam, when you zip-up, make sure that you place your middle finger (of the hand you are zipping with, believe me, it isn't as hard as it sounds) on top of the zipper carriage. (What is that thing called, anyhow?) That way, your finger will be to the fabric before the teeth of the zipper are, and it will force the fabric out of the way.

Smiles in my day:
- K- has a day off on Friday and we are planning a trip to the movies. She is excited about sitting in the "foldy chairs with big drinks and lots of popcorn." Should I admit that we'll be smuggling microwave popcorn and small juice boxes in?
- My crabbies seem to be subsiding. I was having oneofthoseweeks, mmm-hmmm, and I skipped posting a few days so as not to share the joy that was NOT oozing from me. I'm smiling now. That's a good thing.
- I skunked the house out so bad with the crock pot broccoli soup I made that I had to burn candles for hours just to try to get rid of the smell. Since it was for Hubs' volunteer shin-dig, he skunked work out so bad that they thought a mouse had died in the building! :s Isn't it funny how bad some foods smell, but how great they taste?

Have a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A little recipe tweaking and other tales of our weekend.

I'm happy to say that I've tried my very first NEW! crock pot recipe. What took me so long? Life.

At any rate, my first recipe was the Slow and Easy Macaroni and Cheese by my friend, Natalie. Now, I know what her directions said, but I had to alter. I had been to the store after giving the recipe a quick glance, but did not have quite enough cheese. Besides, I admit that I generally tweak a recipe one way or another. Unless baking, I'm not a precise cooker of anything. I learned to cook by seeing my mom, grandmother and grandfather toss and taste. Grandpa was a cook in the Army, so amounts of what I make tend to be far too much and we eat it for days. That's okay. Leftovers are good with me.

My tweaked recipe is as follows:

Amy's version of Natalie's Homemade Macaroni & Cheese, One Pot Dinner Style

1 lb macaroni noodles cooked Al Dente
1/2 cup butter, cut into pats
1 - 10 oz can of cheddar cheese soup (didn't know that the stuff existed before this)
1 - 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup large curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 1/2 pounds ham, cut in thick julianne slices and sauteed in butter with onion
1/2 cup frozen peas
cracked pepper

Use a larger crock pot. I had to transfer mine mid-way. While you are prepping the other items, preheat your crock pot on low.

When your noodles are cooked, drain and transfer (while still hot) to crock pot. Stir in pats of butter until melted. Stir milks, soup, eggs and cheeses into a bowl and pour onto noodle mixture, making certain to stir all the way to get everything coated. Stir in sauteed ham with onions and frozen peas. Sprinkle with a generous amount of cracked pepper.

Cook covered on low for 4 hours.

Natalie's plan was to serve it with cod. We don't do cod here and frankly, I'm a fan of doing prep all at one time and making a one pot meal out of it. Her recipe also called for an additional cup of cheese to be put on top right before serving, but we were good without it. We were in a household cheese deficit. We were scrapping by to pull together the cheese we had. Laziness on my part. Just didn't want to run to the store-- again.

Hope you like it! K- and I did! In fact, we decided that it was the best macaroni and cheese that we've ever had. With that being said, we're sticking to our altered recipe. (Hubs is lactose intolerant, so he couldn't enjoy it.) Delicious!

Onward to weekendly things. Saturday was Lowe's in the AM, then back home to start fall cleaning. I put the living room furniture in the "winter arrangement," which really is to move the couch away from the front windows, back to the long side wall and to flop the other stuff accordingly. I worked on things in the kitchen, laundry, continually running K- out of the middle of the just cleaned living room floor . . . The usual.

Sunday began at 7:00 AM with K- wanting to watch TV. That's fine. Thomas was on and he's all good. I got up, read the paper, clipped my coupons, read the ads, laughed at the funnies, then went off to church. We got home at 11:30 AM in time for our date with Grandma L (my MIL) to go to the Pioneers in the Park event that Hubs was working at his park. We had a really great time. K- made a buckeye necklace, a little top, churned butter, "walked" on stilts, made a candle, panned for "gold" and won a log cabin making kit (they kept saying how Daddy will have to help her, but do they realize that I take her to Lowe's for her building clinic every other Saturday?!), ate a hot dog (very pioneer of her, but I had a walking taco* and Hubs' mom had a pulled pork sandwich), played on the playground, checked out the pioneer tents, watched the guy make kettle corn and ate a bag, looked inside of a tee pee and the BEST! OF! ALL!, we took a horse drawn carriage ride for a dollar a piece! That was way cool! We had a wonderful time together, even though it was a hair chilly. I had to go back to the car to retrieve K-'s coat, and I decided to borrow my MIL's extra coat, because I was chilly, too! Hubs misread the weather forecast today, under dressed, froze today and even put our iguana outside. He said that when he brought Spike in tonight, the poor guy was like an icicle. ARGH! Somehow, Hubs thought it was to be 68 F. It was 53 F. In fact, tonight there is a freeze warning since it is to be 32 F.

We did return in time for my Festival Choir practice at 4:30 PM. Thankfully, K- fell asleep in the car when I was a little displaced. (GPS at home in the closet, of course. I really need to just put it back into the RAV.) K- was happy, because she got to play with her friends. Practice was good and though we only worked on one song, we made a lot of progress with it. I also learned a bit more about reading music, which is always helpful when you are trying to sing! :)

The week starts with Hubs stealing the RAV one last day so that he can haul out with our little boat to do some end of the year bass fishing. Since we are to have snow on Friday and Saturday, this is his last opportunity to fish and he had really great luck last week. (No, I don't mind snow. I live in Ohio. It happens. The people who live here, are surprised by the return of snow and have a hatred for it, just need to get over it or move to a warmer climate.)

Poor Hubs, he ended up breaking two things of mine in less than 12 hours. Before he came home yesterday, I had set a couple of crock pot bases on the floor, kind of off to the side, so that I could take them downstairs on my next run. Hubs came in, bumped into my new crock pot and snapped the knob off. He was able to glue it and it is all fine.

This morning, he was fumbling around with something that he shoved off to the side last night, it grabbed hold of one of the handcrafted pots I had on the microwave cart shelf and it fell to the floor, shattering into pieces.

I told him that if I had broken the button off of his new VCR/DVD writable combo thing, my name would have been more than mud. If I broke a CD he liked, my name would have been more like mudslide. It's just stuff. We talked about it and have discussed that accidents happen, but no more shoving stuff where it doesn't belong.

Have I mentioned the beautiful cold sore that I grew on my lip this weekend? No? Well, I'm pleased to say that it is getting much better. I didn't put anything at all on this one and it has done better than the times I medicate them. I normally get a few big ones a year, so I knew that I was due. I hate cold sores.

10 PM is here and I'm officially tuckered. My smiles of the weekend? I'd like to think that they are all above.

Have a great start to your week!

*A walking taco is a snack bag of Fritos opened at the top, filled with chili, cheese and sour cream. I like to stir it all up. You eat it out of the bag. My first encounter with the walking taco was in Elkhart Lake, WI. I supported a fire department with my walking taco purchase and I'm happy to say that it was way better than last year. Last year, I think that they put too much liquid smoke or something like that in their chili. I almost didn't get it, but I'm glad that I did. Deliciousness! I'm also happy to say that the intense heartburn that I've been experiencing since this afternoon has been well worth it.