Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas is over..YAY!

If I sound elated to you about Christmas being over, you're right. Normally I'm a huge Christmas pusher...I love the smells, cards, gifts, trees and lights and decorations, pictures, music, cookies and turkeys and hams...I make homemade dog treats and give out, and the dogs and cats wear Christmas bandanas. I buy cute Christmas pajamas and outfits for the kiddies, and the house is full of the wonderful smells of Christmas baking and candles.

Not this year. This year it's been a giant pain in the hiney...the dogs knocked the tree over, the cats knocked the tree over, the legs broke on the artificial tree, the tree started shedding more than a real tree, the dogs broke ornaments, the cats chased ornaments all over the house and wadded up & snagged the tree skirt...and the lights refused to work 50% of the time. By the time Christmas rolled around, we had a lightless, decoration-less tree that leaned to one side.

So I think this is my first ever real venting post for this blog? I won't make a habit of it.

PS..maybe I'll post pictures of the Christmas cards that I made and didn't send out? LOL

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer & Go Team Edward!!

I cannot tell you how LONG I have been patiently waiting to get to my blog and write, obsess, and otherwise share with you my love for the Twilight movie. I picked the first book in the series up this past summer..on the advice of several other women my age who said although it was a young adult book, they found it to be captivating, beautiful, and romantic. I thought it sounded like the perfect pool-side read.

I hate to admit it, but I kind of have a vampire fetish. It started with the Lost Boys movie in the 80's..Keifer Sutherland was a gorgeous vampire. I was always very self conscious about my dark hair and pale skin, because "tan" was definitely in back in the 80's. I spent a lot of time trying fake tans, sun tanning (or burning, such as it was)and hair lightening. It was easy for me to obsess over some hunky guy that not only accepted the dark-haired, pale-skinned girls, but thought they were beautiful. Oh, vampire!! How dangerously romantic are they?! Well move over, Keifer...cause Edward has definitely become my new favorite vampire. (Followed closely by the oh-so-spooky Jasper, and the adorable Alice.) Unfortunately I am never ready to commit to buying a book unless 1.)I've read it previously and want to own it, or 2.)It's a series and I know I'm going to like it and want all the books from the series. This meant I had to borrow it from the local library...normally books have a 2-week checkout, but Twilight was on a "popular book" list and had a short 1-week checkout time. Unfortunately I had to read it fast. It's basically 500 pages long, which for a speed reader such as myself not a HUGE task, but it was baseball season, and this was during the "do I keep the Shasta and buy a new camper, or not?" phase. I didn't get the book finished..and I had to return it because there was a waiting list. Meanwhile everyone kept telling me how I HAD to read it, etc...I managed to borrow it again and do a quick read and fell in love immediately.

Jordan and I anxiously awaited the arrival of the seemed everyone I talked to either knew someone addicted to the books or was a fan themselves. I noticed it was showing up on every GoodReads list belonging to my peers from World Crossing. It sold out at our small theater before the first showing, so we put it out of our minds and decided we would wait until the new wore off.

I'm not usually a big fan of book-inspired movies--they're usually a let down, so it's normally a "given" that I'll be disappointed. Curiosity wins out though and I almost always go see the movie, especially if I loved the book. For those of you who have read Twilight BEFORE you saw the movie (as opposed to reading it after falling in love with the movie) you'll understand what I mean when I say that in MY mind, Bella, Edward, Jasper, Carlisle, Charlie, and Alice (Okay..just about everyone)had a distinct look in my MIND. The descriptive words used to tell us how they move, look, act, etc are so very abundantly clear that I couldn't FATHOM how on EARTH they chose Robert Pattinson (from Harry Potter fame)to cast as our beloved Edward. Seriously. In my MIND, Edward and his siblings are by far the most beautiful people in the world--as he says, everything about them invites you in..their face, their musical voice, their scent. How could a Harry Potter cast member do justice to our gorgeous vampire hero?

That all changed about 10 minutes into the movie after Edward makes his grand entrance into the school. If Bella wasn't already saying it outloud, everyone in the theater (who hadn't read the book and didn't already know that Edward was beautiful) was thinking it: "Who is THAT?!" When the other girl says "THAT is Edward Cullen..totally gorgeous, obviously." Sigh. Edward. EDWARD. Robert Pattinson NAILED the part of Edward. I totally forgot whatever mental image I had conceived of beautiful Edward from that moment on. His mannerisms, his voice, his facial expressions..they were all 100% Edward from the book. Perfect! My reading image of Edward was replaced by this tall, thin, muscular wild-haired beauty with the sing-song voice. What was I saying? Oh, yeah..the movie. *cough*

For those of you unfamiliar with the story or the movie, here is the basic plot. (This summary contains MINOR spoilers but shouldn't take away from your reading pleasure..I've kept all the action and secrets to myself.)Bella's mom remarries a much younger man who plays minor league baseball, so Bella moves from hot, dry Phoenix to the cold, wet town of Forks,Washington where she'll be living with her dad. Her dad, Charlie, is the local chief of police. They eat at the diner regularly..for his favorite steak & cobbler dinner. He works a lot, but buys Bella a neat old truck for her own transportation. During her first day at the new school, she immediately notices a group of kids who keep to themselves and look unlike any other people she's ever seen. They are pale, beautiful kids who dress and walk like supermodels. They seem to have uncanny coordination, and are absolutely stunningly beautiful. She finds out they are the foster kids/adopted kids of Mr & Mrs Cullen, who moved there a few years ago from Alaska. Four of the 5 kids are couples, oddly enough, except for young Edward.

Bella & Edward are forced to sit together in Biology, and she immediately notices his extreme discomfort while being around her. At this point she has no way of knowing that he is a vampire and her scent is driving him mad. He wants her...not in a romantic way, but in a "I'm kinda thirsty for your blood" way. The Cullens are all vampires, but have learned to control their thirst and consider themselves "vegetarians." They only kill animals, not humans. This allows them to set up a permanent residence in rainy, overcast towns such as Forks. Dr Cullens works at the hospital, and the 5 foster/adopted kids attend the local school. Edward's interest in Bella causes him to rescue her from a skidding out-of-control van in the parking lot, thus exposing his extreme strength & speed. This threatens his family's secret, and makes Bella determined to figure out "what" he is.

Eventually Edward & Bella develop a dangerous romance..but he is worried that he won't be able to control his thirst, and she is equally worried about losing him and is convinced that she cannot live without him. She is keenly aware that with every passing minute she becomes older, while he remains 17 forever. Hanging out with a family of vampires is a little scary, even if they are "vegetarians." There are 3 books after Twilight, so I'll comment on them as I finish them.

I've read a lot of reviews about the movie, and after seeing it 4 times the ONLY thing that REALLY disturbs me is 1.)There is a lot of info missing from the movie. I realize 2 hours is a relatively short time to cram in 500 pages of information, but really...viewers who haven't read the book want to know why Carlisle would make ANYONE a vampire in the first place, 2.)why no one questions why Dr & Mrs Cullen's adopted and foster kids all share the same beautiful outward appearances..pale skin, bruised eyes, black, piercing eyes that turn golden some days, etc.

Some things were conveyed as quickly as possible and quite understand quickly that Edward can read minds..although at first you won't understand why he's smiling when he's "listening" to minds (cause you don't know he IS reading minds to begin with), why he's almost gagging when Bella walks into Biology class, or that Rosalie & Jasper are supposedly actually real brother & sister. (Rosalie & Jasper are "foster children," whereas Alice, Emmett and Edward are already adopted by the Cullens. Of course this is just the "understanding" of the townsfolk..Rosalie and Jasper are certainly NOT brother & sister..)Certain things become more clear as the movie goes on.

Fans of the book will be relieved to know that some of the BEST lines of the movie are not left out....My personal favorite, of course, is "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb." "What a stupid lamb.." "What a sick, masochistic lion."

Oh, sick, masochistic lion. Of course Bella is going to tell you that one of the best things about Charlie is that he doesn't hover, that she is irrevocably in love with Edward, and you'll get to hear her tell Edward, "I know what you are." You'll also get to hear her ask Edward "How old are you?" Edward then replies "17." Bella shoots back "How long have you BEEN 17?" Edward doesn't disappoint us with a slight pause and then he comes back with "A while."

Bella is beautiful, although I was thinking while she was simplistically pretty, she also was plain enough to convey the "beautiful Cullens" difference. I realize that there are millions of other women & girls lusting after Edward as well..they created the PERFECT character for women to fall in love with. He is the epitome of the perfect man--he IS what every girl dreams of, and as it turns out, every 35-year-old woman. He is beautiful, intelligent, charasmatic, and a hero. He is protective of Bella, always making sure she is safe and free from harm...he is witty, intelligent, and chivalry is not lost with our vampire hero. Edward always makes sure Bella has eaten, he opens the car door for her, helps her into the car, into the house, helps remove her coat. During the final fight scene when he is there to avenge his beloved Bella, you can plainly see how distraught he is..he is ready to kill the evil james for harming her. He is the man we all wish we grew up and married. He's every woman's dream man, except for that blood-sucking thing.

I can't really pinpoint a favorite part of the movie, or the book, but I do have to say the baseball scene is a lot of fun to watch. I love how the Cullens immediately welcome Bella into their "family," so to speak..knowing she knows their secret. (Except for Rosalie, who if you'll recall from the book was brought home by Carlisle to be "for" Edward...but Edward wasn't interested.)The Cullens are all so tremendously relieved that Edward has finally found his soul mate that they're willing to open their home, lives, and dangerous secret with a human.

Some friends of Jordan's haven't seen the movie due to the PG-13 rating, but I felt confident that she'd read the book and we'd talked about things, so she would be able to handle it. I was VERY pleased that there was absolutely NO language at ALL in this had less language than your typical PG Disney movie, so that was a nice surprise. There is no sex, either..although there is a scene on the bed with kissing. The ONLY thing that I can see that deems this movie worthy of the pg-13 rating is the tiny bit of violence at the end when Edward comes to save Bella from the big-bad James. The violence is minimal, and there are no close-ups of anything too dramatic. Most of it is implied.

Please stay tuned for my comments about New Moon, the 2nd in the series. I've already read the 12 chapters of Midnight Sun from Stephenie Meyer's website..which is essentially the Twilight story but told from Edward's point of view. It closes a lot of unanswered questions that you're left with after reading Twilight. I cannot wait to read the ending of it, and I hope it is as long or longer than the other 4 books.

If you didn't see the movie before it left your local theater, or you haven't read the book and I've piqued your interest, here is a clip of the official movie trailer:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Julie's Birthday

Today is my best girlfriend's birthday...I won't tell you how old she is, but she is older than I am. (hehe) Anyway, I decided to make her a little birthday card & treat box to let her know that I love her & that I'm glad she's older than me.

For this project I used Chatterbox double-sided papers from their wallpaper line. I picked these up quite a few months ago from Happy 'N Scrappin'. I LOVE that online store...these were on sale and I fell in love with Chatterbox after receiving my first papers. I used the Cricut cartridge George, Plantin' Schoolbook for the envelope & card, and Tags, Bags, Boxes & More for the flower box. I filled the box with chocolate Skittles. I've since heard that chocolate Skittles are rather gross...Whoops!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Croppin' at the Crop

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be free to travel to a local Friday night/Saturday morning crop. I've been trying to get to this crop for a few months now, so I was pretty excited to finally have the opportunity, especially since an old friend from our old town was going as well. Her name is Steph, and she is a BLAST. I just love her to pieces! She's silly, and I'm silly, and after you've been sitting and staring at paper, photos, and adhesive for hours on end, you start to get even MORE silly.

The crop was very well organized and a lot of thought was put into it. Everyone brought snacks and drinks to share, and there were 3 Cricut machines on a table for everyone to use. I didn't get mine out since the table was full, but I did take 3 cartridges that I set out for everyone to use. (Stretch Your Imagination seemed to be the big hit this time!)Since it's one of my favorites, I let Steph take it home after the crop so she could play with it at home.

I ended up running out of ATG adhesive and couldn't remember how to load the refill...I'm going to draw myself a little diagram in case that happens again. I ended up buying adhesive from Joyce, the crop host. I'll be more prepared next time though with my loading diagram.

Here are the pages that I completed...some still need the finishing touches, but for the most part, they are completed:

Steph being goofy...

Joyce looking for my lost letters...LOL!! I cut the word "Oliver" in tiny polka dot paper, and it blended in with the carpet and "disappeared" before I got back to my croppin' spot. Joyce painstakingly located all the missing letters on Saturday. haha!!

If any of you local girls want to come along next month, please let me know!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Review of my New Blackberry Pearl 8130

A few weeks ago I left my phone laying on the bed in the camper, and at some point during the night it was found on the floor at the OTHER end of the camper in a rather unrecognizable condition. Shattered glass, missing antenna, doggy chew marks all over the plastic. Two things could be concluded: 1.)I'm a horrible doggy mommy, and 2.)I was without a phone.

I started researching and reading reviews online, and thought I wanted the HTC Touch or the Motorola Q. I bid on a few on Ebay but never won, and I'm really glad now. After visiting with the guys at the Alltel store here in town, I concluded that what I *really* wanted was a Blackberry, and this is what I came out with:

It's a Blackberry Pearl 8130 in white..(it matches my new van..I'm so easily amused!)I ended up buying it online from the Alltel store because it was $79.99 after rebate, and it came with a free Bluetooth headset and free car charger,and free shipping of course. (I am the free shipping QUEEN!)

The first thing I noticed with this phone was the unique keyboard...then when I realized what was so unique about it, I started to panic. The Blackberry pearl hosts 2 letters per key. Yes, you read that has a Qwerty-style layout, but rather than each letter to a key, you get 2 letters per key. This new-fangled idea is called SureType, and I'm sure the sadistic bastard that created it is laughing his rear off at those of us more technologically-challenged folks.

The other aspect of the phone that took some getting used to was the scrolling/clicking ball..gone are the up/down/left/right buttons and scroll wheels of the past. This roller ball is placed in the top center of the keypad to allow you to navigate horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. Pretty nifty, huh?

My favorite features of the phone are the Smartphone features--I was able to sync my email immediately, and set up a Blackberry email as well. The ability to live chat on Yahoo messenger or Blackberry messenger is very nice, and web browsing is convenient and easy. If I get a text, it chimes. If I get a Yahoo messenger message, it chimes. An email?? Chime! With a 2.0 mp camera, video camera capabilities, and Bluetooth technology, there just isn't much that I can't do with my Blackberry.

Just don't ask me to type very fast with the SureType keyboard, okay?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The New Croppin' Cabin Car....

I've been tracking my expenses, income, and budget faithfully for a couple of months with a very specific goal in mind--to see just how much money I was running through the gas tank in the Gas Guzzler, otherwise known as the Ford Econoline 1/2 ton conversion hi-top van. Yes, it towed my 16' Shasta, and yes, it towed my 28' Prowler, but was it really practical for everyday driving? You know the kind of driving that I'm talking about--to & from school, to the store, to the library..

Needless to say my worst fears were confirmed..I was spending, on average, about $400 a month just driving to and from school & the store. Wow. We don't go anywhere significant since acquiring this conversion van--it's sole purpose was to tow with, and it succeeded. It just didn't seem logical, however, in these hard times (if I may quote a little matchbox twenty just for the fun of it)to use it as my every day means of transportation. That isn't very green at all, and it certainly isn't helping my checkbook any, either.

I sold the Guzzler, and after reading reviews, asking others, and weighing the pros & cons, I settled on this Kia Sedona EX:

Oh, beautiful moonroof! I love you!

Yes, I bought a foreign car..I bought a Kia. Kia is from S. Korea, and it means something in Korean but I've forgotten already although my user manual tells me in the first few pages. And you know what--I LOVE my little foreign-made's way cooler than any of my American-made vehicles. What can I say?

It cost me a whopping $40 to fill this one up, as opposed to the $125 Guzzler. Common sense would say that means you'll be finding me at the pumps a lot more often, but unfortunately, the Guzzler held more but used more, so I don't think I'll notice much difference in time spent at the pump. As for how we're going to tow, we're only going camping once more this season as it's already freezing cold here, and Robert has a tow vehicle. Then we'll have until next spring/summer to find an alternative for towing the Prowler.

So far we LOVE the van. No, we really do LOVE the van. I love the soft leather, the power everything, the fast engine (I'll behave, I promise!) and the quick take-off. It has that new-car smell and feel, and it's so clean that I wouldn't let you eat a Cheerio in it. And Marley & Sadie..well, they're on a car-riding restriction now. Marley got his first ride in the van yesterday on his way to pet therapy, and he didn't seem too impressed.

What do dogs know though?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bags, Bags, and more Bags

Sorry for the empty post for a few days..I became distracted. :gasp:

This post was going to be about bags..betcha couldn't tell, huh? Anyway, I've been hankering for a new bag lately. You know how some girls have a thing for shoes?? I have that same thing, but it's for bags, not shoes. I LOVE bags, and I HATE to carry the same one for very long.

So..for the past few months, I've had my eye on one of the khaki signature totes from Coach...especially with the big hoop hardware and pink accent stripe. CUTE!! The other day, though, I was perusing Ebags and came across the Kathy Van Zeeland bags. I've never given much thought to Kathy Van Zeeland, but now I think I NEED a Kathy Van Zeeland bag, and this one in particular:

It's black, shiny, fairly big but not tote-sized big, has lots of the silver hardware that I like the looks of, and the lining is pink. PINK. I LOVE pink!! Oh, yeah..that needs to be my next bag?

Any comments or suggestions? Do you have this bag and hate it? It's on sale at Ebags for $74.99 right now.

New Haircut

I finally got a new haircut the other day..the "ponytail" thing was starting to become my everyday uniform look, so I knew it was time to stop the madness.

I realized as I was parking the van that I totally forgot to bring the picture to show Elizabeth how I wanted it cut, but she guessed and did a great job.

I took some pics so you could see...please ignore the dark roots--I'm overdo for a color, and I think instead of lighter, or streaks of dark & light, I'm going to go dark. (insert evil laughter)


Scrapbooking Toys

I haven't purchased any new scrapbooking toys lately, because all my spare $$ seems to be going into the gas tank...however this doesn't mean that I'm not wanting and desiring a few new things.

Here's what I have my eye on these day. Number 1--Nestabilities scalloped ovals and circles, Number 2--Bazzill In Stitch'z Kit (why can't I find embroidery floss at Walmart anymore? GRRR!) and 3--a Bind-It-All.

If you have experience with any of these items, would you please leave me a comment & let me know what you like & don't like about them? I plan on "rewarding" myself around the first of the year, but I can't decide what I want most. :-)

I've been anxiously awaiting to hear how everyone likes the new Slice, but I hear from Pen-Pen in California (hi, Pen-Pen!!) that it hasn't shipped yet. The price is nice, but with the small Cricut & the Cricut Expressions, I don't feel like I can justify anotyer die cutter.

Or can I? Hmmm...hahahahaha

This weekend is my kid-free weekend, so I'm planning on surrounding myself with pretty papers, brads, eyelets, Primas, and skittles. (the scrappin' kind, not the candy kind, but that sounds kinda yummy now that I think about it.)I WILL get some pages done, or at least the cards that I've been planning to made for a month now. I might even venture over to the Cricut boards and say hi to you fellow Cricut girls! (((HUGS)))

Lemme know what you're using that's on my wish list, girls (and guys!)

The Hoover Floormate

My new cleaning gadget arrived on Tuesday--the red model Hoover Floormate. (I believe this is the wide path model but what do I know..haha)I ordered from the Home Shopping Network (so cliche am I!) for $169.95 with free shipping & handling, plus it came with the flexibility to do 4 easy payments of $42.45 and it came with 4 bottles of cleaning solution vs just the standard two. I'd read reviews and decided this was one of the best models, and I like the flexible payment plan with NO interest. I'm a happy girl! I obviously have NO life, either. haha

I had it assembled in less than 10 minutes and went straight to the kitchen with it. I have 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. I also have The World's Ugliest Ceramic Tile, so you can imagine how I might fret & worry about my floor. It's bad enough it is cosmetically challenged, but I cannot STAND a dirty floor. If I feel a crumb with my bare feet, or see a dog hair, I flip out. It's almost become an OCD thing for me, because I've tried every mop, Swiffer, etc on the market almost, and NONE of them leave me feeling "satisfied" with the cleanliness of my floor. I routinely perform the "white paper towel" know, after you mop and the floor dries, take a white paper towel, dampen it ever-so-slightly, and wipe a spot on the floor. NO OTHER MOP has passed the towel test until NOW. After one use with my Hoover Floormate, my floor passed the paper towel test with flying colors!!

As stated, the assembly was quick & painless. This model comes with 2 sets of brushes..the grout/ceramic tile set, and the regular set for laminate, hardwood, vinyl, etc. Switching the brushes out is painless and takes less than 20 seconds. The cord is super long, which I like because my house is old and is outlet challenged. The appliance has 3 modes--dry vacuum, wash, and wet vacuum. You change modes by turning a large dial--easy schmeasy! There are 2 tanks--a dirty tank and clean water tank. First you can dry vacuum the floor, which did a great job removing pet hair and crumbs--the typical gunk on my floor. You empty the bottom tank into the trash can & you're ready to start "mopping." You add the recommended (and included) solvent to the clean tank with hot water, and flip the switch to wash. You press the trigger on the bottom of the handle to apply the hot water & cleaning solution, then release the trigger when you pass it back. (Brings back fond memories of using my Hoover steam cleaner/carpet cleaner..I'm such a cleaning nerd!)If the floor is still too wet for your liking, you can flip the switch to "wet vacuum" and suck it dry. SWEET! It's also handy for cleaning up wet spills...most of mine seem to be dog water spills.

I had to dump the dirty tank once and fill the clean tank just one extra time to do both my kitchen & bathroom floors. Some people would find this annoying, but if you own a shampooer, or a Rainbow vacuum, as I do, then you're already accustomed to the frequent fill/dump method of cleaning. I just realized that all 3 of my major cleaning applicances require water and tanks. I really AM a nerd.

The handle folds down for storage, making the entire unit much smaller. My cleaning closet contains a Rainbow SE vacuum, a Hoover steam cleaner, and now a Hoover Floormate, so I appreciate the fold-down handle.

The cleaning solution appears to run about $7 for a 1/2 gallon bottle at Walmart, and the filters seem to run about $10. I did see that Hoover says you can use plain vinegar and hot water if you're opposed to using cleaning chemicals on your floor, and since we're making a serious effort to be more GREEN at my house, I love that idea. The cleaning solution itself has a pleasant smell though, and it isn't overpowering. It smells a LOT like the Hoover cleaning solution that I use in my shampooer, but it plainly states in the manual that you cannot use ANY type of cleaner with solvents in it.

So there's my poorly-written review of the Hoover Floormate, and guys didn't guess it, but one of you came close!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Guessing Game..

I am out of time for today, but I bought myself a little cleaning gadget from the Home Shopping Network today. Your clue--it has free shipping & handling right now.

First person to guess what it is gets a small your guesses in comments or email them...(I know some of you are shy...pbbbbt) See? I didn't forget! And no, those of you who know already can't play. Sheesh!

And for those of you who were asking, I do have a new scrapbooking RAK coming up. I missed last month, and I'm sorry! (insert pouty face here) Hold onto your hats, girls...(and guys)and I promise to have a bigger & better scrappin' RAK soon!

Marley Gets Attacked

Last Sunday I had to go get a pool about an hour & a half from home, and since it was a straight there, straight back trip, I thought I'd take the dogs. On the way back we stopped at a state park that we're fond of. There's a cave, a great river, rock climbing, etc..the dogs LOVE it. The kids love it, too..especially seeing the frogs and walking barefoot in the lake. The dogs love being able to romp and run in the water, then roll their wet furry bodies in the sand (much to my dismay.) It takes a LONG, LONG time to get wet sand out of the fur of an F1b labradoodle..just take my word for that. HOLY SMOKES!

Anyway, after a long afternoon, we came back home and I thought we'd come inside and have a little nap before the kids came home. I got out, shut my door, went around and opened the side door to the van. The dogs know what "go inside" means, so Sadie got out first and ran to the steps, and Marley was last to jump out. Just as I was shutting the door, I saw a BLUR of fur and heard mean-ass barking out of the corner of my eyes & ears..and the neighbor's pit bull dog ATTACKED Marley from out of nowhere. Marley never saw it coming, and neither did I. He lunged and attacked, and Marley let out the most awful noise that I think I've ever heard in my life. For those of you who know me and for those of you who have been reading since the old blog, you know that we've had repeated attacks from this same dog. Marley managed to get up and scramble away..he ran as fast as his puppy legs could take him into Reta's yard, and the dog managed to catch him and attack again. It was the most sickening thing that I have ever seen..I felt nauseous & terrified at the same time. About this time the neighbor comes running around my van..I was screaming, and he hollered, and I ran up to his dog (not the smartest thing, looking back now)and the dog let go and ran from me..Marley was still screaming and crying and yelping.

So by this time I'm no longer at the terrified phase, and I'm into the "OMG, MY POOR BABY" phase. Reta and I spent a long time going over him entirely. The problem is that you just can't SEE through all of that fur--it's unreal! Reta then tells Mr Dull that if his psycho pit bull ever comes into HER yard, he won't have to worry about it anymore. GO RETA!! She really gives him what-for, and he sulks off to his own house. No apology, no nothing. These people are not the sharpest tacks in the box, if you catch my drift, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me.

Marley is doing better, and has a big day tomorrow. He's still afraid to go out, but we're working on it. ..he has a visit to a school and a visit to a nursing home. He has a few stories to share since his last visits. Marley is a trooper, and I'm so glad he came to our family!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Marley Goes Camping

The kids & I took Marley camping this weekend--his first ever camping trip! He did great..he seemed to understand that the camper was just like the house in that you potty outside, and sleep indoors. He loved going for walks, smelling the smells, playing with Sadie, and just being 2" next to me the entire time. (We're still working on that velcro-attachment syndrome thing..I hope to be peeing w/o his assistance by next month.)

Our neighbors were sitting around their campfire Saturday night, and one of the guys hollered at me and asked what kind of a dog he was. I said labradoodle, in that way that only labradoodle owners can SAY labradoodle, and one of the girls exclaimed, "I KNEW IT!! Can we see him??" Then the guy said, "He's an awesome-looking dog." AWWWW, Marley had his own little camping fan club!! Go Marley! They loved Sadie up for good measure, too, and then we went in for the night.

Here are pics from Marley's first trip..enjoy!

Are you ready to go camping, Marley?

Come get in the van, Marley!! We're going camping, boy!

On top of sleeping people is the best place to chew bones in the whole camper!

Sadie gets in on the waking-up action:

Aww, a boy & his dog:

Wake up, that a giant wet doggy paw print there beside you? Nice..

This must be the guilty, paw-print leaving party..trying to look all innocent. Notice the trees & campfire outside the window, and picture the cool, crisp early-fall air..Sigh..LOVE it!

Kid 2 is worried about his bed-head hair...he's temporarily forgotten that we're in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees?

Sadie tries to ONLY lay at the end of the bed...until they're asleep, then she plots her power takeover of the entire bed....BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

XM Satellite Radio...No more Boonies Radio

I've fallen victim once again to the wonderful world of electronical gadgets...For whatever reason, our local radio station refused to work or tune in about every other week for most of the summer. This left us with a few Christian talk stations, a country station, and an oldies station. That's it...The cd changer in our van is stuck, so we've listened to the same 6 cd's for 8 months. It was becoming a dire situation. Furthermore, in the house or at the lake, we're only able to pick up the oldies station as it overpowers everything else. Eventually the kids start to whine that their arms are tired from holding the tip of the antenna anyway, so I knew something had to be done. (I'm kidding..really.)

So..after some thought & consideration, I decided to take the XM Radio plunge. This arrived in the mail last Saturday:

The little XM thingie slides into the boombox, so we can listen to XM satellite radio in the house, and the camper. And for the car, it just sits in the docking station and plugs into the cigarette lighter.

What do we think of it so far? Well, we all agree that the overabundance of sports channels is a bit overkill. I guess if I ever get a hankering for flipping through unlimited baseball/football/hockey/golf/tennis/softball/bowling games, at least I take some comfort in knowing I can do this in the house, camper AND car. The kids love the Disney channel, which plays ample amounts of the Jonas Brothers & Miley Cyrus. I like the Oprah talk channels, and the comedy channel, and of course the 80's, 70's, and MIX & Hits stations. I was pleased to see you could still listen to Rick Dee's Top 20, too.

It's a whopping $12.95/month for XM, and it's too early for me to say with definite certainty that we'll be keeping it, but I think we'll enjoy it for a while at least. The boombox option is really sweet, and was super-easy..we just opened the box, set the antenna in the window, plugged everything in, slid the radio into the boombox, and we were on & going in 20 minutes or less. (After signing up..took 20 min to get all the stations loaded from the satellite.) The dogs kept knocking the antenna off the windowsill in the camper but I think I'll hang a small shelf for it.

Possibly the BEST thing about it so far, aside from having radio at the lake, is that with our $12.95/month membership, we get unlimited online listening, sweet is that? I also like the remote control...heaven forbid I have to put down the ATG gun to switch channels.

Keep on rockin', small-town girls!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Laptops & Laptop Nerds

So my birthday was this month, and I bought myself a little gift. I'm a nerd. It's no secret amongst my friends & family--I'm a nerd. I like gadgets..I like mp3 players, computers, photo software, digital cameras and camcorders, etc. I chat online, make web pages, blog, do almost ALL of my shopping online, pay bills online, etc. I have an mp3 player on my cell phone, and I've had it for 3 years. I'm obsessed with these things. I could easily become a hermit if the dogs didn't insist on taking walks. I don't like complications though..if it doesn't work, I have zero interest or patience in fixing it..that's where GG comes in handy! She can help me fix my gadgets, and I can teach her to blog. So it only seems natural that I would buy myself something that I would use, that I've wanted for a long time, and that would help me achieve the highest in nerdy standards. I bought a laptop. I have wanted a laptop forever, mostly so I can get Design Studio for Cricut and have it portable, and so I can follow along with recipes on Pioneer Woman & AllRecipes & not have to print them. haha Yesterday I made a delicious apple crisp with some fresh apples from my Aunt Lorna, and I just used the laptop to copy the recipe and listen to Launch. Sweet, right?

So..when I go camping, I have a laptop and I can install Design Studio for Cricut and be able to weld words, etc...I also take the laptop upstairs to the loft where my scrapbooking/sewing room is...I can chat on IM, listen to Launch, watch a DVD, etc..while I craft/sew.

GG did the wireless router for me, so now we have 3 working computers in the house and a wireless network. I feel like I've been behind the ages forever! haha We keep the 2 desktops on an 8-foot table in the living room...they both have flat-panel LCD monitors, so it's just easier to share the printer, etc at one location. What cracks me up though is that Jordan & I will sit here and IM each other..we're 3 feet away from each other on separate computers. HAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I'm very excited to get Design Studio now..which means I can even take the laptop & software to scrapbooking crops. OH BE STILL MY NERDY BEATING HEART.

Shasta Sistas Travel to MO from TX

This blog post is way late, but I was waiting on my friends to send pics that they took during their visit. They never got around to it, and now they're sitting around without power, so I'm going to talk about them and post MY pics while they can't stop me. BWAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! (Love ya, Lisa & GG!)

A few weeks ago, Lisa & GG from the Shasta Sistas came from Houston to visit the kids & I. They arrived about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, and stayed until the following Saturday morning. They stayed in the Prowler so that they had their own space, beds, coffee maker and potty/sinks. I haven't had guests in so long that I was nervous, and I was probably the worst hostess anyone could have imagined...but I think they had a nice time. Lots of things happened outside of my control..I had a horrible ear & bladder infection, as well as a persistent outbreak of poison ivy or sumac, the kids had a dentist appt that they wouldn't let me cancel, and then Madison became very ill and had to go to the ER, where we found out she had bronchitis and strep throat. We'd also had some 75mph winds and storms the days before, leaving our yard trashed, our tree fell on our swingset, and some orphaned baby squirrels to deal with. (How did I miss posting about THAT?) Poor Lisa & GG!

So..back to the story--we hit ALL of the resale and consignment & thrift stores, and GG bought me a sewing machine and taught me how to sew. GASP. I have to say that I am LOVING IT, and I'm making grocery bags as my first project. hehe They seemed to really enjoy our cooler MO weather, and I made them pose at the hitching post at our Walmart store for kicks & giggles.

They also stayed for my birthday, and boy did they spoil of my fave gifts was the vintage train case they picked up for me. I cannot WAIT to get that thing altered...YAY! Gadget Girl introduced me to the wonderful world of wireless internet and laptops, and fixed about everything in the house that needed fixed. (When ya comin' back, GG??) She fixed our upstairs shower so no one has to shower in the basement shower anymore..which was always a contest to see if you could get showered and out of there before a run-in with a brown recluse spider. Lisa introduced me to the wonderful world of some very delicious spices...I've been using them on everything--steak, burgers, chicken. YUM!

They tried out one of our MO Mexican restaurants and said it was "pretty good & they were impressed," so I guess it passed their Tex-Mex tastebud test.

Here is Lisa trying to get our cat, Oliver, intoxicated..Shame on you, Lisa (okay, not really..but that's what it looked like..haha)!!

Actually I'm not sure what is up with that..Oliver doesn't like ANYONE, and he hisses more than any cat I've ever met in my life. Keep in mind that this is the sweet little baby kitten that we bottlefed and spend hundreds of dollars on for iv's, etc to save his life. He adored Lisa for some reason...of course trying to remove him from her lap would result in a loud HISS and scowl, but if you didn't know better, you'd think they were bonding:

And here's a picture that they took with my camera on my birthday..that is a bottle of Ralph that the kids gave me..Sadie had to get in on the action:

And here are Lisa & GG & all of us, minus Marley, Oliver & Mia, and the hamster:

And here are Lisa & GG leaving us...*sniff, sniff* Come back soon, TX girlies!! We love you & miss you, Shasta Sistas!

Rain, Rain..Go Away

I swear it has rained here since...I can't remember when it wasn't raining. It's rained here and flooded more since June than I can ever remember during my entire 35+ years.

So, for the first time in YEARS, I am going to buy a pair of galoshes. Yes, rainboots. And not just some practical, boring rainboots..Oh, no..that will never, ever do. I want pretty, unique, whimsical boots.

So the other day at the Chinese restaurant, I saw a college girl sporting these:

She said she got them at Target, which figures...(remember how I mention at LEAST every month how all we have is, Walmart?? Sigh. The nearest Target is at LEAST an hour & a half away..bummer, dudes.)So I looked all over a desperate attempt to find something equally cutesy and in my giant size 9, and found nothing...Sometimes living in the middle of nowhere is not fun! I did come across these at our local Tractor Supply Company store though:

Unfortunately they didn't carry them in a size 9, so I'm going back this week to see if they get more in. (The girl in the shoe dept thought they were...YAY ME)

So do you know what this means??? I will no longer have to stand outside in the flooding yard, waiting on dogs to piddle, with wet shoes. I will no longer have to wade through water soaking my shoes on the flood streets of town during our daily dog walks. I can take the trash out w/o getting my feet soaked.

Oh how the simple things in life thrill me!

Marley Updates

Marley has been here a full week, and he is doing wonderfully well in his new home. (He can't speak, obviously, so this is my observation.) *smirk*

Marley has had no accidents in the house, and none in his crate, either. The first few days he took his sweet time going potty, and I spent a LOT of time outside in the rain. (Nice that it decided to rain solidly for a week after we get a new puppy...Mother Nature is a real pill sometimes..)On about Day 3 he started to understand what GO POTTY meant, and he did his business and bounded back in the house, muddy feet and all. Alpo Snaps are a WONDERFUL training tool! No, they're not the most nutritionally-sound doggy treat, but it's for training purposes. He's still not digging the van or car rides, so I'm keeping some real dried meat doggy treats from Western's Meat Market in the van for him..he gets one every time we get in the van. He hasn't been sold on that 100% yet, but I think it's working.

He & Sadie seem to be getting along as well as could be expected at this point. There are some squabbles over toys & bones, but they break it up the minute I yelp at them. He likes Lego's, my old nasty mowing shoes, my new shoes, and Mizzou baseball caps...those are on the "list of things I've removed from the new puppy's mouth the first week." He seems to like his food, and we're learning that we do NOT put our paws on the kitchen table or counter.

Marley & Sadie both went to the vet last Friday..Marley got all of his puppy shots, wormer, flea preventative, and heartworm preventative. He goes back in 3 weeks for boosters and to schedule his neuter. (Poor Marley!) Sadie went for the raging yeast infection she has from her neverending allergy issues..(Poor Sadie!)

Marley goes to the nursing home tomorrow for pet today he gets a bath. I can't believe I gave him such a horrible hair trim on his face...but maybe by the end of next month it won't be noticeable? I can dream, right?

He's also learned "sit" in his first week, so we'll keep working on that for another week or so before we move on to "stay." He's also learned to walk well on a leash, and follows me with his eyes constantly. What a good boy--he needs to teach big sis Sadie because she requires a LOT more effort on walks.

And look what's going on when I'm not looking:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The newest addition to the family!!

My birthday was last Friday, and I had some guests from Texas staying with us. (They stayed in the Prowler, nonetheless!) Anyway, Robert wanted to know what I wanted from him, and I mentioned a labradoodle. (I've been looking for one for over 2 years, and we had one for a while that was just psycho...)

Well, believe it or not, Sunday we went to pick up my new labradoodle. He is a 2nd generation labradoodle, and he is 6 months old. We have named him Marley (DoodleBob Marley, 'cause he has dreadlocks...haha)Mama was a black labradoodle, and daddy was a white/cream labrador retriever. When we picked him up, he could barely see due to the fur on his face, so after I bathed him, I gave him a little trim. I got a *little* carried away, but it's only hair, right? It will grow back, right??

So far he's the sweetest little boy you could ever hope for...He was totally an outside dog, so we have a lot of learning to do-housebreaking, manners, crate training, obedience commands, walking on a leash, etc. His crate has been dry/clean every morning, and so far he hasn't had one single accident in the house. He's almost entirely ignored the cats, and he & Sadie are starting to get along a bit better. He hates being left alone, so we're working on his separation anxiety.

The other day I took him to the nursing home to meet my dad, and the nursing home employees and residents ADORED HIM. Some said he was their first real-life labradoodle meeting, and some wanted to know where THEY could get one. lol He was such a sweetie that they asked us to come back next week for pet therapy. YAY Marley!

Meet Marley:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The new Croppin' Cabin!!

Wow..I am so behind here, and I apologize for being absent for so long. I've been very busy, but I'll spare you the boring details. However, I have made some MAJOR changes here on the homefront, and I'm excited to share them.

First, and by far the most highly-expected news I am sure, is that we have added a new camping trailer to our family. It replaces the Shasta, but doesn't really replace the Shasta. Does that make sense? What I mean is while this MORE than adequately fulfills our camping needs as a family, it leaves me feeling a bit void in the "I want a cute canned ham vintage trailer to read & scrap in..." need. But that's okay, because I am totally, completely, 100% okay with that. I know that someday when my babies are at college becoming doctors and lawyers (a mom can hope, right?)I'll have plenty of time to find a new vintage trailer to submerse myself in, but for right now I need to go camping with my family and make memories!

So...I was perusing Craigslist & Ebay and all the local papers pretty heavily after the sale of the Shasta, and just when I thought I needed to take a break from the search, I happened upon a small ad posted on the St. Louis, MO Craigslist RV thread. There were no pictures, but I emailed and asked for pictures. In the next few days, I had totally forgotten about the email, and I sat down to log off one night and lo & behold, there is an email with pictures attached. Robert was here, and we both took one look at the pictures, and my heart started racing. This was THE one..I knew it. I immediately called them, and we arranged to come look at it the following Monday.

The kids, Sadie & I made the 2 1/2 hour trip where the trailer was sitting at a private lake. It had been sitting for 5 years in this same location, as a permanent vacation trailer, so I took the digital camera so I could show Robert the tires, etc. (And hitch, and all those other "guy" things that I'm still learning about but that usually bore me to tears...hey, at least I'm honest.)The seller was super nice, and he took his shoes off before we entered the trailer. I took this as a VERY good sign..the outside & inside were both meticulously could tell he was proud of his trailer. He gave me a walk-through, and showed me all about the electric hot water heater that he'd replaced the old gas one with, and the water pump, and the toilet and etc..I paid him $200 down and we went back later on the weekend and picked it up. are the pictures..It is a 1986 Fleetwood Prowler, 28 feet long. It has double doors, a queen walk-around bed in back bedroom, full bath with toilet, tub and shower, stainless steel appliances, jackknife couch, dinette, OODLES of storage, and get this--everything works. No more porta potty, no more sawing and nailing and electric screwdrivers and putty and water lines and gas lines. YAY. No, really..DOUBLE yay! My favorite things are the toilet (hehe), the extra table with leaf by the sofa (can we say SCRAPBOOKING!!), the porch lights at both doors, and all the storage.

Meet the new baby:


designer : anniebluesky :