Wednesday, 23 June 2010

needs work

So pretend I'm a good writer and this actually comes out funny or interesting, 'k?

We've been talking about getting a goat when we move back to The States, as they require less room and money than cows. Bob suggested we try goat milk before we make up our minds.

So last time I ordered from Tesco, I got a carton of goat milk. I made a blind taste test with the children - 2% cow's milk, 2% goat milk, and skim cow's milk. All but one liked the goat milk, though most could identify it. Taryn, who really doesn't like skim milk, got the 2% and skim mixed up and actually liked the skim better. So, emboldened by their comments, I tried the goat milk. EWWWWWW. It was very floral in flavor (I said it tasted like dandelion, though afterward I realized I've never actually eaten one), and left a strong, lingering aftertaste. Bob thought it was no different from cow milk.

Monday, 21 June 2010

note to self

want to blog about: goat milk, um, and... those other two things I just thought of. Cause every list has to have at least three items. Oh well, never mind. Just go to bed already!

this and that

Well, I’ve been wanting to blog for a while; ever since I finished my last post, actually, when I realized I’d forgotten some important details. I’ve been sleep deprived all week, and the children are excited, and Bob is working nights. So not exactly a good atmosphere in which to sit and think at the computer for an hour or better.
But I’ve got to get it out. Forgive the hodge-podge nature of this post.
Last weekend Elijah got his 3rd tooth, and took his first step. Yes, he’s 7 months old.
Bob had off this Friday, which is actually Thursday night… Wednesday night he played basketball with some guys at work and someone bumped him just wrong and pulled his shoulder. The shoulder that he’s already been to the doctor for; the one that gives him headaches every day and keeps him awake at night. So most of his weekend was spent sitting still or getting massages.
I’d been wanting homemade ice cream for at least 2 weeks, and we finally had a plan. Taryn and I wanted to invite people over, but Bob didn’t, and I guess it’s just as well, what with his shoulder (and what follows). Friday was the big day; grilled cheddarworsts and hot dogs, homemade ice cream… Of course it turned cold and rainy Friday morning. As the cream and the meat were both dated Friday, we decided to go ahead with it. We bought ice and salt; I got the cream mixed up and into the maker. It started up a little slow, and smelled a little, but it was going. Until it quit. There was a little pop, and smoke came trickling out of the top of the motor. Sigh. I scooped it into a bowl and placed in the freezer, going by to stir every 30 minutes or so. Bob did grill the meat, and it was just perfect.
I’m wondering if I should change my blog description from “misadventures” to “great successes” – do you think it’d make any difference?
We’d all but decided to buy the place in Arkansas (double wide on 7 acres, cheap enough to be fixed up pretty nice), and were waiting for my MIL to get back from vacation to make the offer for us, when someone else bought it. Frustrating that realtors will work with other people, but not us. Accepted as God’s will.
We spotted another possibility on the other side of Springdale, MIL drove out and said it was really pretty and landscaped and she would keep the realtor’s phone hot until she got inside. Two hours later the realtor called her back and said it was under offer.
I dug up a couple of places in Oklahoma that my folks will try to get info on. They have called about a couple of places already, but their calls have not been returned. Anybody feel like driving to Missouri? There’s a 3000 sq foot house on 5 acres (more or less; can’t remember) in the middle of nowhere, that needs some work, for $35K.
Yesterday was Father’s Day. I made a two layer pie – chocolate pie with peanut butter pie on top of it. Except, when I got the cream cheese and sugar beaten nice and smooth, and was ready to add the peanut butter I realized we were out. So I packed up the children (in mismatched flip flops) and ran up to the store for peanut butter. Crises averted. Got that made and chilling while Bob slept. For dinner I’d planned his favorite (well, one of them) – Chinese Chicken. The thing about Chinese Chicken is, it goes really well with rice. The thing about rice is, last time we made some Taryn noticed there wasn’t any in the cabinet, but we didn’t write it down. We did have some rice noodles, so we decided to use that rather than go back to the store.
I’m thinking I really should sleep more. And maybe start back up with the vitamins.
I think I mentioned this on Facebook, but haven’t blogged it. I lost ANOTHER power cord to my laptop recently, and Bob nearly bought me a desktop instead. We talked it over, and decided I could keep my laptop if I’d use it on a desk. Lo and behold, the next day I saw a cute computer armoire for sale online. Now all that remained was a chair. We went to the furniture store, and after trying every desk chair they had, we went to purchase the chosen vessel. Except they were out. But we went back two weeks later and they had some, so now I’m at a desk. The children’s computer is also here, and half the time I go to type I start on their keyboard and wonder why it doesn’t work.
Less than 6 weeks to our big vacation. I found a beautiful walk we want to go on; recommended time allowed – 4 hours. Not sure Elijah can walk that far yet. Seriously, I’m not sure if we’ll attempt it, but it sure looks nice. I’m going to make lists for all 3 places, so when we are there we can just pick something off the list. This worked well on our last trip to the Cotswolds, as it satisfies my need to plan AND Bob’s need to go with the flow. So far, the hardest decision is whether or not to go into York. There is so much to see there, but it is sure to be incredibly crowded, and when herding 7 youngsters through a crowd it is hard to see the sights. We did pretty well in Lincoln last time, as most of our sightseeing was done after business hours, but then I didn’t make into all the used book stores…
Re: Father’s Day, I would have bought Bob a new lens, but we are calling the Mini his present. I only remembered to call my own father at 10:30, after I’d brushed my teeth for bed. He was quite perky and talkative, as it was only 4:30 there, but I could barely stand up straight.
After going to bed at 11, waking up once to feed the baby, and getting up at 5:30, I still can barely stand up straight. I’m ready for Bob to come home from his physical therapy so I can put him to bed and maybe take a nap with him. After that I want to go for a walk, as it looks to be sunny again today.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The weekend

It is late to start writing, but I'd better do it before I forget more. My apologies for any typos or unclarities.

Bob had off Friday, so we had another adventure. This one is titled "All Roads Lead to Bury." We were trying to go to the garden center we'd been to once before (with the Lumpy Bumpy Pie), to get a wind chime. Traffic was bumper to bumper all the way from the base to Brandon. Then we turned off the main road to hit the A11, and moved for a few minutes before going bumper to bumper (stopped) again. When we finally got to the A11 (over an hour later), it was blocked off. So our option was to turn back toward Mildenhall or to go on toward Bury. We went on.
When we lived in Cheveley, we kind of appreciated the fact that any back road would end up taking us to Bury. We got adventurous and even tried to get lost, but we'd always end up in Bury St Edmunds. But we hadn't been down this particular road before. We stopped in Fornham St Martin at a playground to run off some of the steam we'd built up in traffic that long time. Then we went on into Bury and got some burgers at McDonald's and played at the Abbey gardens a while.

Saturday we finally did it; we got away. :-) We'd been wanting to go to the beach, but the weather hasn't been very nice. It looked like it might be clearing off, so we went for it. Stepped out the door and decided to bring jackets (Yes, in June!). We headed north towards King's Lynn. Halfway there I saw a sign for Norfolk Lavender, which I remembered had free admission, so we stopped in there for a break. The free admission part is not entirely true, as you can get into the shop for free, but have to pay to see the pretty gardens and the rare breed animals. Anyway, the lavender wasn't really blooming yet (though it is on base). We checked out the shops, the toilets, and the playground.
Leaving there, we went to the nearest beach, paid to park, and had lunch in the bus as it was so windy. Then we went out onto the sand. We did plan ahead and brought sandals for everyone (thank you, Bob! Brilliant idea.) so no sandy shoes. The children built a sand castle and collected shells while I held a fussy Elijah and Bob took pictures. We only stayed there a short while, as it was part of "The Wash" and not the actual ocean. (Tide was way out, beach nearly deserted.)
Farther north, we stopped at Hunstanton, but it was a loud flashy place with carnival rides and such, which we weren't in the mood for, so went on a bit more. Bob needed a toilet, and I saw on the map a nature reserve thingy (RSBP?). There is one near here; free entry, guest facilities... So we made for it. 4GBP to park, but there were toilets, a friendly park ranger kinda girl, and a paved path past the fresh water marshes to the ocean. Sounded good.
The path was over 1000 yards, but with the stroller it wasn't hard going. We hurried down, as the guide mentioned some ruins on the beach visible at low tide. Sure enough, there was a WW2 bunker of some sort, and some tree trunks out there on the beach. We played for awhile, watched the tide come in, and all but William and Elijah waded out into the North Sea. It was warmer than I expected.

When we were done there, we drove a little farther and started looking for food. Bob had been warned to avoid pubs that night, as it was the USA vs England at the World Cup, but it was still early so we figured we were safe. We went down to another beach, thinking there was a restaurant there (it was a golf club), and the parking lot attendant recommended a pub on up the road a mile or so. It was nice enough; big table; children's menu; no tv. The food came really quickly, but no one was impressed with it. A couple of the children had grilled cheese sandwiches, but they were covered in some tomato/onion chutney. But we got fed, and then headed home.

Bob;s supposed to have off this Friday, too, but we are planning to stay home and do some sorting.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

One of THOSE days

Today was one of ‘em. You all know I like to complain, so there’s no point in beating around the bush here.
Last night I kept waking up with itchy feet. Finally I sat up and put on my foot lotion, which killed the itch instantly. But when I lay back down my sinuses clogged up. And I didn’t get back to sleep for at least an hour and a half. (For the record, I never did get an appointment with the allergist, but I did get some Claritin over the counter. Took it for a week, but it made no noticeable difference.) So when I woke up this morning I was tired, grumpy, groggy, and had a sinus headache.
It wasn’t long before Elijah woke up (right when I was about to fix my breakfast, actually), and I didn’t hear him until he’d woke Bob. So Bob was up early and also had a headache. After breakfast Bob checked the housing market and discovered the house in Arkansas that we’d been considering our own for over a week now, was under contract to someone else. Frustrating, but we tried to trust it was God leading us out of a bad deal.
My brother had his gallbladder removed today. The last I heard, that all went well. Also my friend’s son, who has been in ICU for over a week after nearly drowning, is doing better today. So that’s good.
Elijah was standing by a large box when he fell, hitting his mouth on the box. It busted his upper lip and he cried and bled on my shirt.
Taryn dropped dinner again – spaghetti sauce, this time. No one got hurt, but it sure made a mess. Sandwiches for dinner. I’m glad we had Tesco delivery the night before so there is bread.
It was cold and rainy all day, which I actually don’t mind, but I’d probably be in a better mood if it was bright outside.
Ella ruined one of William’s puzzles. Not technically his, I guess, but when a 2 year old can do a puzzle better than an 8 year old, you let him “own” the puzzles.
I know there’s more, but I’m getting tired again and can’t remember. Oh, yeah. FarmVille wouldn’t load all day. Yes, the silly game on Facebook. Finally I tried it on Internet Explorer and it worked.

So, better news. Bob had off work yesterday and will again tomorrow. Yesterday we went to a sort of farmers market to see what it was like. It was mostly an auction. They had all kinds of chickens, and a few ducks, pigeons, etc. We walked around and looked at the critters and then left. Then we went driving, and ended up out at Cheveley for a fond farewell to our old neighborhood. It is so pretty out there it makes my heart ache. I took a picture of Bob next to a stud farm sign, that I’ve wanted to do since we lived out there. Everywhere we went I heard the birds. I don’t know what all I heard or saw, but I really enjoyed it. So this year for Christmas I want bird stuff. Feeders, houses, food… We went by the BXtra for supper and then walked around a bit. They had some new windchimes in, and I found one that I liked the sound of. But of course, they didn’t have any of those in the boxes. We really should have bought one when we were out at that garden center “the other day.”
Am trying to think of what to do for the weekend. Depends on the weather, I suppose.
Oh well, time to wind down for bed.

Monday, 7 June 2010

we keep trying

Ever the optimist, I just can't keep myself from trying to do something fun and exciting.

Bob, Taryn, and I went to Colchester once when we were here on vacation in 2000. We enjoyed the castle museum, but our memories of the town involved great difficulty in getting around, and we've never been back even though we're so close. But last month we went to the Snailwell Medieval Fayre, and one of the vendors there had fliers out for the Colchester Medieval thingy and Oyster Fayre. I looked it up online and it sounded pretty impressive. And the weather kept getting more and more clear and bright as the week wore on.

So Saturday morning we loaded up and headed out in search of Medieval fun. Except I forgot that the case of water I'd bought the week previous was in the van, not the bus. And then we didn't stop and get money anywhere. And, while I did look up parking, I didn't pick any out because the closer you get to the castle the more exclusive the parking lots are. (The "Castle Car Park" doesn't even list rates; you have to call and inquire.)

We stopped at the commissary and bought 2 bottles of water, some chips, and Rice Krispy Treats from the bake sale outside. We made it down to Colchester with no trouble. But then! We decided to follow the signs down toward the castle and try to find parking. The first 2 parking places were "multi-storey car parks" (parking garages), which we can't use in the high-top bus. We were hot and tired of driving. We found one lot that was full, but a family was leaving. While we waited for them to get buckled up I checked the meter - 2 hour limit. So back out on the street, and after going around in circles a few times we found a long term parking lot, level, with no height barrier. But we didn't have enough change for the meter.
The sign kindly informed us that we could pay by phone, if we first registered online (no web address given). Yeah. It also said there were toilets at the location, but it was lying. Bob went next door to the Blockbuster and bought a bag of crisps to get change, and we were good.

We had a picnic on the grass at the edge of the lot (there were shade trees, and funny as this sounds, we were hot). Then back to the lying sign to check out the town map. It said that we were somewhere (we weren't), and that nearby was a river with a path that would lead to the castle grounds, where the Fayre was. Through great skill and cunning we all decided to go right, then right again, then left, then right, and there WAS a river with a path. And it did lead to the castle grounds. So the sign was right about that.

Entrance fees were quite high, but the kindly man let us in on a family ticket, so we still had a few pounds when we got in. First things first; the toilets. Then we wandered around. The boys got to shoot a cross bow, and the girls bought a recorder. It was HOT. We discovered trees on one end of the field, and kept going to sit down in the shade. We got hungry, but had no money. I did buy a dress at one tent that took credit cards. We were hot, and thirsty. And hungry. So we finally gave up and left before we got sick.

My map showed A134 going into town, but not coming out, so we figured if we found any A134 it would be the right one. We saw a sign that said A134, and some towns we'd never heard of, so we went that way. After a few turns that were marked, the road split - one lane turned and the other went straight. Neither way was labeled at all. We chose wrong. And silly me,being optimistic again, told Bob just head for any highway and I'll find it on the map and bring us back around toward home. So we found the A133, which led us to the A120, which was a divided, limited access highway that went straight across the A134 without any way to get onto it. Needless to say, the trip home took twice as long as the trip down, and we didn't go past the McDonald's that we were longing for, being nearly sick with hunger, thirst, and fatigue when we left the fayre over an hour ago.

We did stop in Bury, as parking is free after 5 on Saturdays, and had dinner at McDonald's there. And then we came home and went to bed, after a few glasses of water. So yeah; Colchester: twice in 10 years is once too many.

Sunday we went to church (yea!) and on the way home we saw a Mini for sale. Stopped to look; it is over 25 years old, looks good, and was cheap. We called the guy, looked it over, and came home to sleep on it. Today we bought it. It would fit inside our bus if we took the seats out. Anyway, we haven't taken pictures yet. It's the Mayfair edition - not sure if that is an Austin or a Cooper or what. Not quite the Jaguar I was hoping to take home with us, but I guess it's time for me to admit we just aren't classy. We'll settle for odd. :-)
The deal with it being over 25 years old is that we can take it back to the US without having to modify it, because it's considered a collector's item. If we decide not to keep it forever, we can probably sell it at profit once we get back home.

Not used to long posts anymore, my fingers are getting sore.

Friday, 4 June 2010

getting older

Just when did I become the older woman??
Don't get me wrong, I like being a know-it-all. But when people start coming to me for advice, that means I've arrived somewhere, and I'm afraid to name the place. Sure, my hair is coming back in grey. Yes, I have 7 children. That's my husband retiring as of Jan 1.
But! Sputter, cough. I'm only 32! I *can't* be the older woman teaching the younger ones.

Hi, Misty! Hi, Marline! Love you guys. I'm glad to help, really. I'm just gonna have to get over not being the young one in the group anymore.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

what do you do?

What do you do when someone says "Praise God" for helping them do something He explicitly forbids in His Word? As a hyperbole example: "Praise God for helping me pick the right bank to rob! No one got hurt and I escaped with $10,000 in small bills. It's so amazing how He provides!"

Do you confront them? Roll your eyes and walk away? Post about it on an obscure blog?

I'm not very good at confrontation, so I tend toward the other two. :-D

worth reading

My dear friend wrote this post on marriage, thinking to educate on "special needs," but there is something here for everyone. Please go take a look.