Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Stink - it Spreads

We are still fighting the battle of Stink at our house. This morning, however, we were assaulted by a new wave, Stench on the Move. Our cute little puppy came bounding into the house covered head to tail with a disgusting, mud-colored smell. Not only was he wet, but he had rolled in something distinctively dead. Maybe "rolled in" isn't quite accurate. Immersed himself in gut goo. Painted his little furry body with a decaying critter. Put on the Stench of Death like a cologne, dabbing it liberally behind each ear and under all four armpits.

Now the Stink was no longer confined to our office closet, it had feet. It promptly launched itself on Miss Munchkin's bed and rolled around on her comforter. Then it galloped into the living room, where it rubbed up against the couches. Lastly, before we could catch it, the Stench jumped up on me, transferring its horrible smell to my skin, where no amount of scrubbing could entirely remove it.

So, if I run into you today, I apologize. I'd feel a little better if you could manage not to wrinkle your nose and gasp, "What's that awful smell?"

Yeah, good luck with that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Closet of Stink

Something has died in my house. No, really. Somehow, some little critter has creeped into our office closet and expired. Only we can't find it. So the stench of death has slowly been waifting through our home the past week or two. Do you know how hard it is to mask that unique, disturbing, disgusting smell? Candles aren't cutting it. Room fresheners help for about, um, forty seconds.

The closet is unfinished, allowing access to space behind the insulation and up into the ceiling. I'm afraid that's where our ex-culprit is lurking. I fear we'll never find the source and we will all be driven, gagging and gasping, from our home.

So. Who'd like to stop by for coffee?

Lapping at my Toes

Beautiful Bank, originally uploaded by MrsMama.

Can you see Mississippi River? It's the strip of water in the back. The river actually extends right up to my feet but is covered in beautiful lily pads and grasses.

Friday, July 24, 2009


We never get tired of seeing animals near our home in the country. Every evening, a lone bat has been flying in ellipses around our front porch, snacking on the bugs drawn to our porchlight. More often than not, an owl or hawk will be waiting near our mailbox to escort us home. And earlier this week, the Master saw "a six-pack of deer" in the field across from our driveway. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Up and Up

When I started martial arts and exercising, almost 2 years ago, I couldn't do a proper push-up. Not one! I can now do about 25 in a row, but I need to be able to do 100 for my Black belt test. Eeek!

This site offers over 35 variations on the basic push-up. Check it out for some inspiration!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Praise Indeed

Every once in awhile I'll come across a product that I like so much that I need to share it with you.

I picked up a few Zing Bars for my daughter, who is on a gluten and dairy-free diet. She's an active teenager who is always looking for an easy snack to grab. I made the mistake of "trying" one of them and now she needs to hide them from me because they are that good!
Creamy, crunchy organic peanut butter covered in a mouthwatering organic dark chocolate coating. Pinch yourself... it's healthy.
I was also thrilled to find that Betty Crocker has come out with a line of gluten-free mixes. These are priced less than the usual gf cake mixes that I've found. Thank you Betty, you've just made my life a little easier.

And lastly,

I love Method cleaning products. They use only natural and non-toxic ingredients. Check out these dryer sheets. Aren't they cute?

Have you come across a new product lately that you absolutely love?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2 Quotes and a Joke

Here are two quotes I wanted to remember and a joke I couldn't forget.

"Do not marry the person you think you can live with. Marry the person you can not live without."

"We are saved by faith alone, but faith that saves is not alone."

And now, on a totally different note:
What has 4 legs and 1 arm?

A happy pitbull.

I know, I know, it's bad. Sorry!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In Which Miss M Learns an Unsual Skill

One little-known talent my favorite sister possesses is the ability to levitate. I think she learned it from the llamas in Machu Picchu. Miss Munchkin was understandably intrigued and asked Rene for some pointers.

Well, first you raise your left knee like this. No, no, your other left knee.

Then you kick your leg forward and flip up your hair. Don't forget: the hair is key. Yes, very good!

Now, say "Cilantro" while tilting your head to the right. I can skip this step because I am so good. Now you try.

Yes! OK, let's put it all together. Remember: knee, kick, tilt, Cilantro!

Look, Mom, I'm levitating!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vacation Vittles

One memory that stands out from my childhood vacations was the special eatable treats that my parents brought along. I think I remember them because they were only bought for trips - I never got to eat them at home.

Remember Carnation Breakfast Bars?

These were one of my favorite trip foods. I think my mom and dad got these because they were a fast, easy thing to throw at me in the car after dragging me out of bed at 4 in the morning "to get an early start". Carnation no longer makes these but I still wistfully look for them in the grocery store.

The other memorable food item we took on trips were those little individual boxes of cereal. If you carefully cut them open and peel the box back, you can pour in milk and eat them straight of the box. Another item of convenience - no bowls needed!

On our recent road trip, Master Munchkin got to chug some sweet, old-fashioned, ice-cold root beer. This is a special treat for him since we don't usually have pop in the house. He must have downed at least 4 of those bottles over the course of our stay!

Do you have any fond memories of "Trip food" or special treats when you were traveling?

Try To Follow Along

I have 2 children and 1 sibling. But I grew up as an only child.

This is me and my favorite sister, Rene. We are visiting her this week.

This is my sister with my children. They are very close.

My Munchkins are 7 years apart and my sister is 7 years older than my daughter.

Confused yet?

I was 17 and almost ready to leave the nest when my sister was born. Now my children's Aunt is more like their sibling. Except she's MY sibling.

Do you get it? It's a little unusual, but entirely wonderful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Positive Spin

Some of today's Adventures:
  • Riding on a cart pulled by oxen
  • Making and eating homemade ice cream
  • Spying on a Bald Eagle with binoculars
  • Learning how wool becomes yarn
  • Sleeping in bunk beds (I call bottom!)
  • Exploring an basement built in the 1840's
  • Driving Lessons with Aunt Rene (for Miss Munchkin)
  • An early morning jog along the misty Mississippi River
Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New and Unsual

The Munchkins and I are busy having some new adventures.

Skipping rocks on the Mississippi River at sunset

Examining a dragonfly, close up!

Hope your day holds a brand new adventure and an unusual treasure or two!


Where in the world is Rene?

Well, we're about to find out!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Words Will Never Hurt You, Eh?

With summer comes roadtrips and, if you have kids, you are probably always on the lookout for ways to keep them busy in the car. I wanted to share what I came across today:

The wooden tiles are on elastic bands so you just flip them over. No pieces to lose! How clever is that?!

Some Headlock Love

Miss Munchkin and I learned this move in class the other night:

It takes me a bit longer than 4 seconds to get out of it though!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Dog Days

Photo by Nick Krug

Our community offers a unique exercise program. For the past 25 summers, the public has been invited to workout together for free. You can read more about Dog Days here.

Yesterday, the group met in an attempt to set the record for the largest community workout. And I was there, along with 2765 other people.

But where was April?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Family Photoshoot on the Fourth

A dear acquaintance hosts extended family gatherings at her home and, for the 4th of July, asked if I would stop by and take a few family photos. They pretty much knew what they wanted so I didn't have the opportunity to get too creative, but I did suggest moving a large patio couch off of the patio, to which they replied, "We have a church pew in the garage." Yes!

This family has such fine looking young men and women. I mean, look at these gorgeous people!

I will now let you hear a glimpse of the voices of doubt inside my head: I feel like I am so new to this - honestly, photoshoots like these are outside of my comfort zone. I am not comfortable taking charge and issuing orders, a skill that I think a photographer should have. I think the poses here are pretty traditional and aren't very creative. And I am struggling with getting skin tones right in post-processing. But every time I do this, I learn something new. Which is why I do this.

Things that went well: I loved having the family pose outside. I set my camera to take repetitive shots quickly and, once people were posed, I just held the shutter down. I did come home with 950 shots (yes, really!), but, with that many people, there were many rejects (eyes closed, babies wiggling, etc.). I've narrowed it down to the best 100 and am in the middle of editing these.

And I was able to sneak in a few candid shots (my favorite kind of photography). I especially love the interaction between the grandmothers and their great, great grandbabies. Actually, this is why I do this! :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Endless Conjecture

I am feeling a bit brain dead today. Master Munchkin has been fighting a virus, which means long nights and little rest all around. So, I need some input: What shall I blog about?
  • My last Photoshoot (a large family)
  • Living with Crohn's disease
  • The local community effort to break a Guinness World Record, which might include MrsMama and your friends from Coal Creek Farm
  • A cool, new self-defense move that you can try out on family and friends
  • Just post a photo and go take a nap!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Star-Spangled Fun

Hope your Fourth of July was fun and full of good friends!

Q and Miss Munchkin sport their patriotic attire. I love the star earrings! :)

Oh, 7 D's made my Pie. Check it out here.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Star-Spangled Happiness

I make this pie every year for the Fourth of July. Don't tell anyone, but it's very easy to put together and makes an impressive dessert to take to festivities.

You can make this using 3 cans of cherry pie filling, 1 can of blueberry pie filling and refrigerated pie crust. How easy is that?

First, lay down and the bottom crust in the pan and crimp the edges. Then make a 90 degree angle of out a piece of chipboard and insert it into pan, so that it sections off 1/4th of the pie. Leaving the insert in place, pour the cherry pie filling into 3/4ths of the pan and put the blueberry filling in the remaining section. Then, only then, remove the chipboard, shimmying it straight up.

Take another pie crust and, using a knife or pizza roller, cut strips to lay across the top as the stripes on the "flag". Use scraps to make the stars, sprinkle some sugar across the top, and bake till done.

Of course, you can use your own fruit that you grew in your backyard and lovingly fertilized with the chicken poop from your coop, and you can make your own crust from the wheat growing in your back 40 and the lard from your penned pigs. I won't stop you. But you have to share a piece of your pie with me!

Star-spangled happiness
and banner waves of pride
~Cherishe Archer

My Friend Mr. Policeman

As I was driving into town yesterday on our 2 lane highway, I noticed a car tailgating me. After double-checking that I was driving the posted speed limit, I pushed my annoyance aside and grimly ignored him. As soon as he had the chance, he zoomed passed me. My annoyance grew as I observed the "no passing zone".

"Where's a cop when you need one," I muttered grumpily.

A minute or two later, I glanced in my rear view mirror and was startled to see a police truck, right on my tail, silently pulsing his lights at me. As I pulled over to let him pass, hope dawns. "I think he's going after that guy," I told the Munchkins.

We watch as the policeman drives right up behind the Loser and tailgates him. "Ooooo, I bet he's calling in his plate and getting information," I informed the Munchkins. We are all attention.

The policeman flipped on his lights and pulled over the offender.

"HA!" I cackle. "Ha haa haaaaa!" The Munchkins join in. We sound like a chorus of happy Nelsons from the Simpsons.

As we drove by, Mr. Policeman looked directly at me and raised his hand in a friendly wave. I gave him a big grin and the "thumbs up" sign. "Good job!" I mouthed. Miss Munchkin is equally embarrassed and impressed. Her younger brother is whooping in delight. "He waved at you!"

Ah yes, my tax dollars at work.

What a great day!