Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat



Football Player


I took the kids to a few houses on our street. Afterwards, DH took them over to Molly's house. I stayed home to watch the ND game hand out candy to trick or treaters.

I'm not good at trick or treat.

First of all, I was handing out all the bad, old candy that was in the pantry. Most of it isn't that old, just leftovers from the school carnival 2 weeks ago. But it was the candy that I know if I didn't give it away, it would still be in the bag in the pantry next Halloween.

I was anxious to get rid of the stuff so I gave out big handfuls (or hands-ful?) to each kid. Not many people had come by so I was doing okay. After 8:15 we had a big rush. By the time the last wave of kids came through around 9:15, I had to give out one piece of candy per kid. I felt bad and apologized to all the kids that I was running out. Well, almost all. There was a group of teenagers who came by, not in costume, who made comments. I almost gave them a piece of my mind. Instead I said "Happy Halloween" and closed the door.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm a pumpkin digger

We carved pumpkins tonight and that's what Brian told me. In fact, he told me I'm a great pumpkin digger. I found a great new tool for cleaning pumpkin guts, an avocado slicer. It did a decent job.

Here are the masterpieces. Both boys wanted mean faces. A did her all on her own.



The first picture I took had a ghost of DH in it. The kids thought this one was cool.


I think the kids had fun but they are a little glum. One year ago, the cousins were here. A, especially, was missing her cousin today. She is going trick or treating with her friend Molly tomorrow night. They are both wearing Felicity dresses and they should have a grand time, even if E isn't here to trick or treat with them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We made the web!

Here's an article about the girl scout trip to the garden.

Garden outing

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Halloween Parade

The Annual Halloween Parade is a neighborhood tradition. Everyone gathers and walks two blocks down Snow White. At the end of the parade, there are pinatas, popcorn and apple cider. A very simple celebration and the kids really enjoy it.

Here are my participants.

Hermione, Ninja & Football player.


The weekend

I had a super long weekend.

Here is my synopsis I just sent to my friend:

Friday 5:30 - 12:00 Ursuline reunion
Saturday 12:00 - 2:00 Jesuit
Saturday 10:15 - Wake up. Oops. I was suppose to be up at 9am. Shopping for luncheon
Saturday 11:30 - 12:30 - Ursuline Luncheon
Saturday 4:30 - 11:30 Ursuline/Jesuit reunion
Saturday 12:00 - 2:00 Party at Eric's hotel room, constant pleading with my eyes to go home now!
Sunday 10:15 - Wake up. Oops. Kids are coming home in 15 minutes.
Sunday 10:45 - 2:30 Girl Scout trip to the community garden (it rocked!)
Sunday 3:00 - 4:00 J's flag football game
Sunday 4:00 - 5:00 Neighborhood halloween parade
Sunday 5:30 - 8:00 family dinner for Sister #5's birthday
Sunday 8:00 - 9:30 struggle with A to finish her animal report due on Monday
Sunday 10:00 - collapse with exhaustion!!!!!

I'm still tired. And I have a mountain of laundry to do.

The girl scout trip to the garden was fabulous. The worm lady did a vermicomposting demonstration with the girls. Next, she led us through the donation garden. One section of the garden is set aside for donation. Everyone helps with that section and the produce is given to a group who distributes it to food banks & other agencies. She then led us though the rest of the garden. She showed us her own plot and compared the growth in her garden in which she used the vermicompost & "worm wine" to that of other plots that hadn't used it. The girls got to see the benefits of the worms. After that the bee lady did a demonstration. It was very interesting. Several of the girls, including A, were apprehensive about being around the bees but most of them came around. She mentioned that she is going to order child size bee keeping suits so she can take children closer to the bees. A actually said she wanted to go back and try it with the suit on. That is an amazing step forward for a child who jumped out of the shower last night because a teeny, tiny spider was on its way down the drain.

The best part of the trip:

Our own worms!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scientist of the Week

Last Tuesday, J was Scientist of the Week. His experiment was about germs and washing hands. They used a special "germ" powder that glowed under the blue light. They practiced their good hand washing techniques to clean it all off.






I started another scarf. It is a complicated (for me) 32-row lace pattern that is going slowly. But I'm liking it.



And for color reference (the others are too blue)





We had honeycomb from the bees in our kitchen for a couple of weeks now. Even though the honey is tasty, eating it straight from the comb is not. You can break off a piece, chew the honey out and spit out the wax. You can squish the comb and squeeze the honey out into your mouth. Neither method was great.

I googled and decided to try the pantyhose method. I found a pair of unused white hose from a wedding 15 years ago. I decided, after sitting in my sock drawer for that long, I really wasn't going to wear them. I smashed the honeycomb with a meat mallet and managed to get the mess into the cut off pantyhose leg. It is hanging from one of my kitchen cabinets and slowly dripping into the ziploc container.

Now I have to search for recipes using honey!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Football conversation

J (picking up DH's A&M football helmet): Daddy, did you play football at A&M?
DH: No, I bought the helmet from Texas A&M.
J: When I grow up I'm going to play football at Texas A&M.
DH: Really?
j: Why didn't you play football at A&M?
DH: Because I wasn't good enough. You have to be a really good football player to play at A&M.
J: So you do you have be good, like Tony Romo good?
DH: Yeah, like Tony Romo good.
J: So you have to be good enough to throw 3 interceptions in a game???

Oh, that was a funny conversation. Poor Cowboys. Even the 6 year has lost his enthusiasm.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Family Travelling

Last weekend I went with my mother and Sister #5 to meet the others in Palm Springs, CA. The trip was sort of planned because we have been in a book club. We just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kinsolver. We were suppose to try to eat local while on the trip.

Here are the highlights with the pictures I have. My sisters have the other pictures.

Dinner at Hamburger Mary's. We went because Sister#5 said they were suppose to have a bean burger and good local meat. Instead it was a burger place that caters to the gay and lesbian community with exotic meat burgers from all over. It was very funny when we figured it out.

The next day we went to the quilt store & the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway, went shopping at Trader Joe's & made dinner at the condo. That night we made cheese from the book

The sisters and mom at the top of the tram

Mom & Sister#4 & #5 next to a big rock

Sister #2 smelling the butterscotch tree

Saturday we went to a market that was a big dud, shopping in downtown, snacked on the cheese, worked on the puzzle, ordered in some good pizza & salads, went to the hottub and then finished the puzzle.

The masterpiece jigsaw of Chicago

Sunday morning we went to mass, had a big breakfast of leftovers, cleaned up and left.

It was a lovely, lazy weekend. We should try and do it again next year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

bee gone

The bee people came yesterday to remove the bees. It was such an interesting process. We got to see bees being "born". The bee guy help the comb up and we could see the new bees breaking out of the comb. He left us with some of the comb so we could have the fresh honey. I'm not a such honey fan, but it tasted good. He attached several of the combs to frames and put them in a box over the meter box. It will stay for a few days to give the bees a chance to reorient.

the first comb

the lid

looking for the queen


the bee box

Sunday, October 4, 2009

to bee or not to bee

A couple of weeks ago we noticed bees flying around our bushes. On closer inspection, we realized that they were flying in and out of a cement box that we think houses water shutoff valves.


I called a bee removal company and they said to give it 3-4 days to see if it was just a moving swarm. If there were still there after the wait, then call back.

We went to A&M and A got sick so I didn't bother to look again until Wednesday and sure enough the bees were still there. I started calling to find out what to do with the bees.

The first place I called charged $250.00 for bee removal. Ouch. I tried the next one on the list. They charged $200.00 for bee extermination. It was cheaper but they were coming to kill the bees. I asked if they did bee removal instead of killing them. She said it was an extra $100 to move the bees. If I wanted to set up a hive in our backyard it was an extra $200 with no guarantee that the bees would live or stay. I called the first people back and found out that it was $250.00 to kill the bees, and an extra $100.00 to move the hive.

This is ridiculous. Bees are dying all over the country and these people want to charge me $200-$250 to voluntarily kill them. I wasn't going to do it.

Luckily I thought to call the County Agriculture Extension Office. They gave me the phone number of bee people who remove wild bees. The first guy I talked to would remove the bees for $175, if nothing had been sprayed on the bees. I guess that makes them angry and he won't deal with that. At least it was cheaper than killing them. The next two numbers were no longer in service. The last one said he no longer dealt with bees but gave the number for the Texas Honey Bee Guild.

The Texas Honey Bee Guild is a couple who build hives at other peoples' homes and take care of the bees. They give some of the honey to the people who house the hives, the rest they sell in local health food stores as ZIP CODE honey. I guess it is good for allergies to eat honey made from pollen in your area.

She said since the bees were not building in a wall or eave, she could remove them for $50.00. That's more like it. She is suppose to try and come by on Monday to take the bees. I hope I'm home to watch.

Maybe someday I'll have a bee hive. That's almost as cool as having chickens!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gig 'Em

Last weekend we drove the kids down to College Station, Texas for their first college football game.

Saturday morning we got up and went to the George Bush Presidential Library. We took a walk through the grounds and around a small lake while waiting for it to open. It was very pretty.



(DH wanted to use one of these pictures of the kids for a Christmas card photo. I told him I couldn't sent a picture of the kids decked out in Aggie gear for Christmas.)

The library was very interesting. There was a scavenger hunt for the kids to play, so I spent most of my time finding Little Millie dogs, reading questions and writing answers. I didn't actually read much about George Bush, but there was a lot about him that I never knew. I'd like to go back without children and spend more time there.

After the library we went to Northgate, ate lunch & played pool at the Chicken. We walked through campus and played near the stadium. They had bounce houses, slides and lot of giveaways.

The kids took part in the kids' yell practice.

We watched the band lead the football players to the stadium and tossed the football around in the shade. After buying a sausage on a stick, we finally headed into the stadium. The game started off shaky but the Aggies pulled through and ended up routing the UAB team. Brian loved the game. He especially liked the fire breathing dragon mascot from UAB. He said he wants to be a fire breathing dragon when he grows up but he wants to be a red Aggie fire breathing dragon.

A had had enough football by halftime. We ended up sitting on a very nice grassy lawn and watching the game on the jumbotron. J went back and forth between the bleacher seats and the lawn. B stayed with DH the entire time not wanting to miss a minute of the football game.


At the end of the night A was in a fit. She complained about her legs hurting. The hotel room where we stayed was super musty/moldy/stinky so we ended up driving home after the game.

It was good thing we did because A woke up Sunday morning with a 103 fever. A trip to the doctor on Monday morning confirmed flu A, but the doctor said it was swine flu. She said the swine flu shows up as flu A but you have to sent it in to get it typed as swine flu. There are so many people sick they are only typing the flu for people who are hospitalized.

Luckily she had a very mild case and was back to school by Wednesday. I spent this week in a panic that all of us were going to get sick. We had all shared water bottles on Saturday before she got sick. Every twinge in my body was obviously the start of the swine flu. Every cough by the boys made me check them for fever. It has been almost a week now so I think we're safe and managed to get away with only one person sick.

Now I need to go knock on wood!