Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day

This morning I found myself faced with a conundrum:  it is Leap Day - an extra day this year, a "freebie" so to speak - what to do with it?

I considered taking the easy way out, stretching out on the couch to read, and at some point watch Downton Abby.  I also try to do the housecleaning on Mondays, so there was that.  Finally, looming over my head for the past 13 or 14 months, is the task of painting the girls' bathroom.  I've had the paint, but not the willpower.

I decided to bite the bullet and get the bathroom done.  There was a lot of prep-work:  removing 2 dozen tropical fish stickers, taking down 3 towel racks and an over-the-toilet cabinet, taping off the trim and shower surround, and filling a couple of largish holes that were one of the reasons the bathroom needed to be painted.  The other reason was that light yellow flat paint was not working out in a bathroom where the children don't really wash their hands before fumbling for light switches, etc, meaning that any place on the walls that they frequently touched was sort of a grayish-yellowish-brown.  Disgusting.

I'm happy to say that the entire bathroom is now a lovely blue-green shade with a satin finish, and most of the pictures and fixtures have been replaced.  The entire room has been cleaned, and once the shower curtains have been washed tomorrow, I'll rehang those.

At this point I feel like I've been on my feet all day, so I am turning in.

So what did you do with your "freebie" day?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Where's the Bear? #66

For Christmas, J received a calendar that lists random "celebrations" for each day.  For example, last Saturday was "Hoodie Hoo Day."  I looked this up, and it's a real holiday!  Every February 20th, you are supposed to go outside at noon and yell "Hoodie Hoo!  Hoodie Hoo!  Hoodie Hoo!"  It is meant to hasten the coming of Spring.  I can handle that!

Today is "National Tortilla Chip Day."  Aren't you glad I informed you of this?

The bear is partaking of  some Tostitos in honor of this great day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Where's the Bear? #65

I think that the bear finally succumbed to the stomach virus that both girls have had.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Boy Who Lived

Having recently binge watched all 8 Harry Potter movies, and having 2 children currently reading the books (J for the 3rd time!), there is a lot of Harry Potter discussion going on at our house.  Some time ago, J was wishing for a "nice, icy glass of Pumpkin Juice", while I was hoping for a frothy mug of Butterbeer.

I found a couple of Butterbeer recipes a couple of weeks ago, and finally got the ingredients to whip up a batch this weekend.  They were quite good!

For the girls, I used the following recipe that I adapted from the Huffington Post:

1 cup brown sugar
2 T water
6 T butter
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 tsp rum extract
Cream Soda

Combine brown sugar & water in small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a gentle boil, and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 240 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  Remove from heat and stir in butter, salt and 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Cool to room temperature, then stir in 1/2 tsp rum extract.

Whip 2 T butterscotch mixture with remaining cream until very soft peaks.

Add 1/4 cup of butterscotch mixture into each of 4 glasses, add about 1/4 cup of cream soda and stir gently until combined, then fill glasses with cream soda.  Top with a good dollop of whipped cream.

**I think that the same affect could be achieved by using a good quality butterscotch or caramel ice cream syrup with a tad of rum flavoring, and save the cooking.

JP and I had an alcoholic version that I adapted from

Mix 1 oz butterscotch Schnapps, 1 oz vanilla vodka, and 8 oz cream soda in a glass and top with dollop of whipped cream from the above recipe.


Maybe now I'll look into some pumpkin juice recipes, but pumpkin juice just does not sound appetizing to me!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Painting Pigs

Some of you know that I have entirely too many pig things at my house.  That started back in college when my friends noticed that I snorted if I laughed really hard, and they started giving me pigs.  They are EVERYWHERE - in fact, there are flying pig flannel sheets on my bed even as we speak!

I put a number of pig statues in my flower beds every year.  I actually discarded a few of them this Fall, as they had become "distressed" beyond repair.  There are several metal pigs that I've been meaning to clean up and repaint for a couple of years, and I decided that it was finally time to bite the bullet and actually do it.

They were looking pretty bad, faded and rusting.

I started by going over them with a wire brush.

Then I gave them a couple of good coats of exterior spray paint.

It took me a long time to get the details painted back on, and they didn't turn out as nice as I had hoped.  After a couple more coats of clear coat, they should last another couple of summers out in the flower beds!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What a Difference a Day Makes!

I feel SO much better today!

Maybe it is because the sun was shining.

It might be because I actually got out of the house and interacted with adults for a couple of hours.  (I went to work.)

Perhaps it is because these cute socks finally arrived from Amazon via Korea:

These represent my favorite Hayao Miyazaki anime movies:  My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Kiki's Delivery Service.  They are all SO adorable - if you haven't seen these, you really should.

In any case, I think I can make it for another few February days.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where's the Bear? #64 (AKA "February Has Struck")

I looked all over for the Bear this afternoon, and finally found him in the closet, in the dark, with a blanket over his head.

I think that I would prefer to be in his position as well, right about now.

February, the vilest of months, has hit, and hit HARD this week.

For a while there, I thought that this year I might just breeze through February, without any Seasonal Affective Disorder or whatever name you want to give to the feeling of desperation and utter despair that I seem to become afflicted with in the depths of winter each year.  Perhaps my hopes were buoyed by the deceptive nature of the Groundhog this year, and the lovely weather for the past couple of weekends.

Ugh.  I would love to see Spring.  I would dearly love to see some friendly and cheerful adults, (besides JP, who is also despairing at the moment - due to the rigors of switching Electronic Medical Records at work, not because of lingering winter.)  I would love to stay under the covers in my bed and binge watch "Sherlock" all day long.  Unfortunately, I have watched all of the available episodes, so that dream is already shattered.

Last night I was ready to tender my resignation in the position of "Mother" and re-locate to a sunny island where no one under the age of 24 is allowed.  We kissed and made up, and we all promised to be nicer to each other, so I am back on the job today.

Good thing too, as there was a 2 hour delay because of snow today, and the girls needed a ride to school!  Traditionally, I make breakfast on delay mornings.  Today I put cinnamon roll dough in the waffle maker.  It was good, but not great, especially considering that I had to scrub the waffle maker with a toothbrush to clean it afterwards.  Live and learn.

In an attempt to improve my mood, I just called the power company and requested a FREE truck load of wood chips when they are here in the near future.  It would be nice to completely cover the pathways in my garden, so that I don't have to mow in there.  I also followed all of the steps from Amazon to receive a FREE pair of cultured pearl stud earrings.  Lastly, I activated my PBS Passport account, that is supposed to allow me access to "several hundred hours of content" to stream for FREE (as long as I maintain my membership with the local PBS station.)

All this FREE stuff should be making me feel better, AND there is a long weekend on the horizon, but I am unmoved.  Alas, my calendar shows another 39 days until Spring!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Where's the Bear? #63

The bear noticed some very nice Adirondack chairs out in the sunshine yesterday afternoon, so he took advantage of the opportunity to sun himself.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog Day

We are watching the movie "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murphy and Andie McDowell this evening, as is our tradition.  I've heard rumors that PA's famous groundhog, Punxatawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning, meaning that Spring is on its way.  It feels like it too, the weather has been in the 40's and 50's, and all that snow from the other weekend, including another 2-3 inches that fell on Thursday night - Friday, is all gone.

Dad has tapped the Maple trees, and I see him driving his sap tractor around every afternoon, collecting the sap.  Smoke is coming out of the chimney of his sap shed too, meaning that he has been hard at work cooking it down.

JP was scheduled for a conference last weekend at an exclusive resort not far from here.  He went out on Thursday, and when he called to tell me that he made it safely there, he told me that there was a mountain lion in a cage right outside of our room.  He came back for us on Friday afternoon, so that we could enjoy the weekend there with him.  We didn't actually see the mountain lion until we were ready to leave on Sunday, but when I looked out my window on Saturday morning, I saw 2 zebras and a little donkey walking by!

We went to a gymnasium on Saturday morning.  L seemed to enjoy herself, but J sat on the bleachers the entire time with her earbuds in.

In the afternoon, we had reservations for tubing.  The outside temperature was near 50*, but we went anyway.  The hill was quite slow - in fact, the run down our own hill was much faster!  We also ended up waiting in line for 30 minutes between rides.  The only redeeming factor was the lift that dragged us back up the hill, so no walking!  We gave up after 2 rides a piece.

Over all, it was nice to get away for a bit.  I had plenty of catch-up laundry to do on Sunday afternoon, as well as unpacking.

J is home sick today with a stomach bug.  She seems to be of similar constitution to myself - I have not vomited since I was twelve years old, except for the first trimester of each of my pregnancies.  She is incredibly uncomfortable with abdominal pain, cramping and nausea, but no vomiting.  I think she'll be home tomorrow too.

Welcome to Spring, everyone, and if the Groundhog was right, this might be my favorite February EVER!