Thursday, June 25, 2009

Airing My Clean Laundry

For the past month or so, I've been engaged in an experiment. Since my children operate under a "No Light Turned Off" policy, I thought it might be a good time to try reducing our electricity use some place else. It's hot. It's sunny. I've been drying the clothes outside.

I don't have a clothes line and I only have one medium sized drying rack, so I usually have to press the patio furniture into service, but it gets the job done.

Although hanging the clothes outside isn't as fast and easy as throwing in the dryer it has been useful. I've caught several stains that didn't wash out the first time through that would have been permanently set by the dryer. The wrinkles on clothes are also vastly reduced, so that we don't look quite so much like a bunch of ragamuffins.

Sadly, what wasn't reduced was our overall electricity usage. It was slightly higher than this time last year. I suppose to look on the bright side though, just imagine how much even higher it would have been if I'd been using the dryer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Too Tired for Destruction

This is what I found by the front door the other day. I can only imagine the conversation in his head...

"I have a hammer and now I can destroy any...thing...I...want...right...after...I...lay...my...head...

ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Driving the Behemoth

It seemed inevitable that we would eventually need one of these. No, this isn't an announcement of impending Adams #6. However, the kids we do have fill every seat in a small minivan and they keep growing bigger. The minivan keeps adding on more and more expensive problems. So every once in a while, I browsed Craigslist, just to see what was out there.

The other day I ran across an ad not far from Nashville for something I'd heard about in van legends, but wasn't really sure existed -- the mythical double side door van. So, even though it was white and looked like a cargo van. And even though we don't need it at present, I dispatched my gallant knight to take a look at it.

If you have to buy a used car, buy it from a car fanatic. This van has lived all its life in a garage. He had special options and upgraded wheels put on it. The poor van is going to go from being the prized baby to workhorse. We have no garage (that will fit it or that we use for cars, being in the backyard and unreachable by driveway) and it will go from carrying two excessively neat adults, to 5 slobby children and their not that much better parents.

It's roomy and clean and my kids are very happy with the new seating arrangements, but it is going to take some time for me to get used to driving such a huge thing. I've never driven any kind of truck before and that's exactly what this is -- a large truck.

So give me a wide berth on the road for a while, but I can drive a lot more kidlets around now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wormy Wednesday

From a sunny day a few months ago

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iced Coffee

The other day Robbo mentioned that he considers iced coffee to be the nectar of the gods on a hot afternoon. But when I asked, I discovered that the poor sap isn't making cold brewed coffee for his tasty caffeinated fix. He doesn't know what he's missing.

Making cold brewed coffee is very simple and although you can buy a cold brewing system from Amazon, it isn't at all necessary. We use our French press, but that also isn't necessary, just convenient.

So how does one make cold brewed coffee? The basic recipe is a 3:1 ratio of water to coffee grounds. So we start with 1 cup of medium grind coffee and 3 cups of cold water. Pour it into a French press or a large jar and stir. Cover and stick it in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

After much time has elapsed, if you used a French press, press the coffee, pour into a jar through an extra coffee filter if you want to remove all sludge. If you didn't use a press, just pour everything through a coffee filter into a jar. Store in the fridge for up to a week or two (though it won't last that long).

What you've made is a coffee concentrate. When you want to drink it, you will probably want to add some water to thin it a bit. The original recipe I used called for mixing the concentrate with equal parts water, but I found this to be too weak. I think 2/3 coffee concentrate to 1/3 water tasted much better.

Pour over ice, adulterate as you see fit, and enjoy the nectar of the gods.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Summer Colors

In spring, I've noticed that most of the flowers in my garden wear shades of purple and pale pink. It's a soft a peaceful place. In summer, though, the color riot begins and although I can't say I actually planned it this way, I think the colors of the flowers suit the season (right down the the brown dead things in the winter garden, that I never get around to cleaning out until the new green peaks through).

I love spring and I love spring flowers, especially the bulbs that arrive year after year, heralding the end of the cold and the arrival of new things. I love the fact that spring bulbs come back without any real effort of my part.

But for all that I find peace and hope in the crocuses, tulips and daffodils, I think I love my summer garden of splashy colors even more. It's bright. It's cheerful. It's kind of crazy with reds, oranges, yellows and hot pinks -- tall things, short things and a mess of weeds always trying to take over, but it's the right kind of crazy. The kind that makes you want to swing on a porch swing with a drippy popsicle while kids catch fireflies and turn cartwheels.

A lacecap hydrangea my neighbors were tossing out.
My gardening style has generally tended towards taking whatever plants anyone will give me and putting them in the ground somewhere and hoping for the best -- knowing that most things can be moved of divided as needed. And some how, with a little water, weeding a mulch, the gardens give me back so much more than just flowers alone.

Soft spring or bright summer -- what would the world be like without flowers?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Like P. G. Wodehouse with Sex

The Mrs. P may single-handedly bring a forgotten author back into popularity.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Eleven Months Old

My dear child, how did you get to be 11 months old so fast? I suppose it actually has been that long since I was enormous, uncomfortable and telling you it was about time to think about vacating the premises, but it has truly flown by. You are rather clingy, not wanting to be held by just anyone. You'll smile from your mother's arms, but given the chance to be held by others, you let the world know that, like Bartleby the Scrivener, you prefer not to. Usually, I don't mind, though there are times when I wouldn't mind being able to pass you over to someone else. Fortunately, you do let one of your big sisters carry you, even if you seem impossibly big in her arms, which is odd because... Like your just older brother, you have embraced skinny shrimpiness to the point of worrying the doctor a bit, but also like your brother, there is nothing lethargic or slow about you. You crawl, cruise, babble, smile, and show acute annoyance when your siblings or parents cross you. So now it's only one month until your birthday. I suppose cake and presents are in order, but what my child does one give a fifth child, whose older brothers and sisters already own every toy known to man?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Welcome Back!

It's only been about 5 years since Curmudgeonry lived on Blogger, but I've returned to the fold. Pixy Misa and the Mu.nu guys have been wonderful, but it was time to make a change. I know Blogger isn't perfect, but it sure is a lot better than it was in the bad old days. So change your links as necessary. It's going to take some getting used to for me too.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Quick!

1. My nine, six and four year old children have been going to a Totus Tuus program all week. Technically it's for rising first graders and up, but for some reason they let the almost five year olds come too. The program is in its second year in Nashville and it is great. The kids have a lot of fun and enjoy learning a lot about their faith from very joyful college students and seminarians.

I admit that I've been some what enjoying the quiet with only the two littlest at home, but I miss the big kids and I hate making lunches every day and trying to shoo everyone out the door so that we can arrive on time. I can manage for a week, but how does anyone do it for a whole school year?

2. It's also been baby week around here. Tuesday morning, I got to meet my new little nephew, and Wednesday evening I got to go back to the hospital and meet the newest son of some dear friends. It's always amazing how tiny these little people are when they first arrive on the outside. Even the relatively big 8+ pounders that these little boys were, look so tiny and fragile. My ten month old is a petite little girl, but seemed like a giant next to a newborn.

3. My dad has also been here visiting this week. When he comes projects get done. Two or so years ago, my mom got us a set of used kitchen cabinets at the Habitat for Humanity store and they've been filling up the garage ever since. Now they are finally hanging on the laundry room walls. Still no countertops or laundry sink, but the cabinets alone are a big improvement.

4. My two year old seems to be very close to being potty trained in re #2 and yet he wets his pants all the time. Isn't #2 supposed to be the harder one? Not that I'm complaining.

5. After throwing the Art of Natural Family Planning at a wall in frustration a few months ago, we signed up for a class which just ended last month. Now we're supposed to turn in charts to the teacher for the next six months. I guess she probably wouldn't believe us if we never ever marked that any, um, relations, occurred, but sharing that level of detail is so not me. Not that we do things like that. Never.

6. And moving right along, the oldest took the Standford Achievement Test a while back. To brag just a little -- he did very well. So well, that we haven't showed him his scores. I know he would like to know, but I don't know whether telling him might go to his head a bit. Opinions? Wisdom? As his mother, though, I was unsurprised that his worst score was in listening. Because if the words "Lego" or "Star Wars" aren't in a sentence, it might just not be too important.

7. I am contemplating moving the ol' blog off of mu.nu. After the last craziness where a post from 2005 was on top for a bit last week, I think it might be time. Would the seven of you, who still come here once in a while follow me off to a new domain or would I really be stuck talking to myself and the voices in my head?

Quick Takes Fridays are, as always, hosted by the lovely Jen.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Optimist or Pessimist?

The two year old goes running past, tushie bare, not particularly interested in putting on pants after jumping off the potty.

Says I, "Hey, you're half naked."

Says he, "I half not naked, too."

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