Sunday, December 8, 2013

Catching Up – Now!

If you’re wondering how I finally found the time to catch up with my blog posts, the answer is:  the weather!  As I stated earlier, Alan left for Montana on Thursday, and within a few hours we were hit with the worst winter storm that we’ve had in quite some time.  If he had scheduled his flight for late afternoon or early evening, he would have been stuck here.  It’s true that Texans are quite wimpy when it comes to winter weather, but this was really something!  The pictures below are not of snow…that is sleet that has been compacted and is now pretty much ice!

Here’s an overview looking out of our front door:

Here’s a picture I took of the road that runs in front of the house (Pretty slippery!):

In a weird (and lucky) twist of fate, our heater went out just a couple of days before the cold snap.  We had a new unit installed about 6 or 7(?) years ago, and it was a total lemon from the day we got it.  I’ve lost count how many times we have had it repaired, and this time it was going to cost quite a bit (again!).  It seems they quit making that model (I wonder why?), and parts are hard to find, and this fact makes them cost a lot.  So a command decision was made to just replace the whole unit.  We got a Lennox this time instead of Amana and are hoping it lasts much longer.  Even though it hit our purse pretty hard, at least we are warm, and ever so grateful that things were fixed up before it got so very cold.

I used the first couple of days of our “snow days” to catch up on some laundry and general housework.  Church was cancelled today (quite unusual), and I didn’t want to do regular chores, so I decided to catch up on the blog.  I also fired up my bread machine.  My mother-in-law gave it to me many, many years ago, and it’s still working!  The bread turned out so well, and it was so easy, I found myself asking, “Why don’t I use it more often?”  Just dumb!  I will certainly crank it up more often in the future.  Here’s the recipe I used for the bread I made today.  I really like it because I have quite a few cans of potato flakes in my food storage arsenal, and I need as many uses for them as I can get!  It’s also just plain good!

Crusty Potato Bread
3-1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 tablespoon white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/4 cups water
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select White Bread Cycle; press Start.

Note:  This recipe was originally found on the “All Recipes” website – to visit the site, clickhere

Since I didn’t want to break my neck trotting back and forth to the chicken coop, Opal Chicken has been sleeping in her dog crate in the craft room.  I have taken her outside a few times to let her stretch her legs, as well as to show her that it really is awful out there and she should be glad to be inside!  She also has spent some time in the mud room (the floor is covered in newspaper) so that she can eat and drink and stretch some more.  NestlĂ© Bunny has also been stranded inside, but she has so much fun chasing Toffee around the house that she doesn’t care.

That’s pretty much my life:  keeping fur and feathers alive, aside from doing yard work and such.  I am hoping it clears up soon because I have a date this week with this little girl:

Paisley (aka:  “Stink-A-Tha”) is growing to be quite a little lady.  She loves going and doing things, and is definitely into her weekly dance lessons.  Since Fox has been born, she has also gone to an event to meet Doc McStuffins, and she went to a little theatre play showing “Blue’s Clues” and got to have her picture made with Blue.  In an effort to make sure that her events are not spoiled by her baby brother melting down, I actually have spent more of my time with Fox (aka:  “Boyfriend”), keeping him home while Stink-A-Tha goes out with her parents.  Even though it has been for her benefit, I think she might be feeling a little neglected by her Old Lolee.  Therefore, I am looking forward to picking her up some morning this week, doing a little shopping, and then taking her to lunch.  I never want my girl to feel less than wonderful in her Old Lolee’s heart!

As for Boyfriend, he’s growing bigger and wants to walk so badly that he can’t stand it!  He has already been scooching across the floor (that was last month), and I anticipate that he will be quite the go-getter.  Mandy says that he will be the one who destroys her house.  But here’s the thing: He has this crazy little crooked smile that he flashes that just melts your heart.  I have a feeling that it won’t matter what he does, or how much destruction he causes -- he will get out of all kinds of trouble with that little crooked smile and those big, blue eyes.

So that’s it!  Pretty much caught up for now!  The Christmas season is upon us, and there will be fun times ahead!

Catching Up – Play Dates!

Here’s a little glimpse of what “play dates” look like at our house.

NestlĂ© absolutely loves hanging out and playing with the squirrels…

…In fact, LOTS of squirrels!

I wonder how many other people can have a squirrel, a rabbit, a chicken, and a dog, all in one shot?

That’s my idea of heaven!

Catching Up – Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was a little different this year; Paisley’s allergies have made it impossible for her to be at our house for any length of time.  Mom and I had considered doing the actual cooking over at Mandy’s house, but the thought of having to trot all of the ingredients, etc., over there and back again was just too much.  So we decided to do the cooking at our house and schlep the finished dinner to the Lacky abode for the actual event.

Mandy and her family have a tradition of visiting Bass Pro Shop on Thanksgiving morning.  There is the most amazing Santa there (the only one that Paisley has ever known!).  Grump-Pa (or as Paisley says, “Gunt-Pa”) decided to spend the morning with the family and get in on this Santa visit himself.  The store is always decorated and ready for Christmas, a wonderful place for some pictures:

Paisley was ready for Santa this year!  She told him her heart’s desire:  A Big Bird, an Elmo, and a penguin for the bath(?)…

Here is the official Santa photo for Paisley…

…And the official Santa photo for Fox:

After they returned, Dee Dee, Alan, and I loaded up the dinner and we were off!  I have to admit, it wasn’t quite as good as it is when it’s piping hot, directly from the oven, but it was still pretty good!

We were just thankful to be together!

Catching Up – Alan: Already Come and Gone!

Alan came home from Yellowstone after spending a couple of weeks in Bozeman, MT, with a friend.  Due to the government shut-down, he had to leave the park much earlier than he had expected, and his friend was kind enough to let him hang out there until his scheduled flight home.  It seems like he wasn’t here any time at all before it was time for him to go back for the winter season!  (It certainly wasn’t long enough for his mother, let me tell you!)  While Alan was here, he mostly enjoyed having home-cooked meals and catching up on some of his favorite television shows.  I had a whole DVR stacked up with things that I thought he might like to watch, and I was right!  We also made the rounds of his favorite restaurants; there’s not a lot to pick from in Yellowstone.

He left to go back to Montana this past Thursday, and the biggest irony is that he left just a few hours before the ice storm to beat all ice storms hit here.  Our airport started cancelling flights just about 3 hours or so after he left.  He since has posted pictures of what the streets in Bozeman look like, and believe it or not, I think our streets look even worse!

Of course, while he was here, he had to spend some time with his best girl:

And I was pleasantly surprised at how much he likes Fox.  He absolutely adores him!

Mandy took this picture just a couple of days before he left:

I know he has to make his own life, but I sure wish it was just a little closer.  I always cry like a total nit-wit whenever he leaves.  I hope he will be home again soon!

Catching Up - A Blessing for Fox

Blessing Day for Fox came a little later than it does for most babies, mostly because he had been so uncomfortable/sick/fussy with reflux and/or colic.  But it finally came, and it was a special day for the family.  In our church, a blessing is somewhat like a christening for a baby in other churches, although it isn’t exactly like a christening.  At a baby’s blessing, their name is officially stated, and then a prayer is said over the child (Jeromy did the honors), with some sort of blessing pronounced.

Fox looked quite dapper on his special day:

Afterwards, we went to Mandy and Jeromy’s to take some pictures (and eat some food!):

We were quite happy that Robert’s mother, Grandma Lynda, was able to come, too:

In fact, it was Grandma Lynda who made the beautiful little outfit that Fox was wearing:

It was Grandma Lynda who also made the beautiful dress that Paisley wore on her Blessing Day:

Mandy is going to have them treated and preserved so that each of her grandchildren will have a special outfit to wear on their blessing day…One of those family heirlooms to be treasured forever!

Catching Up – Pumpkin Patch 2013!

Okay, even before Halloween, there was the trip to the pumpkin patch.  Once again, the whole family went with some family friends and had a great time:

This was a first for Fox, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t quite get what it was about (other than his mother was taking yet more pictures):

But Paisley has it down!  This first picture was even shown on one of our local newscasts:

What cute little pun’kins!

Catching Up – Halloween!

The Christmas season is already upon us, meaning that there will be lots of fun things to post about.  However, the OCD part of me will not allow me to write about any of that until I catch up on what has already happened around here!  So before Christmas, before Thanksgiving, there was Halloween!  Now, Halloween is not a big deal to me any more (it mostly just means handing out candy, and Robert actually did that this year) – but, over at the Lackey household, it was quite the event(s).  Lucky for me, Mandy is a great photographer who not only likes to take pictures, but doesn’t mind if her old mother steals them for her personal use.  Since I wasn’t there, I will try to relate the events to the best of my memory of the story:

A couple of days before Halloween, there was something called “Boo at the Zoo” and Mandy went with a very good friend of hers and all of their crumb crunchers.    There was “trick-or-treating”:

And Paisley played all kinds of fun games:

And Fox – Well, he mostly just sat around looking cute:

Even though it was tons of fun, I think they were there for quite some time, and Paisley reached a point that she was just done:

That was too bad, because there was a party at the church later that night, and the whole family went:

Mandy had been asked to be one of the official photographers, tasked to take family-type shots of all of the attendees.  She used Jeromy and Paisley as subjects for some test shots, and our little bunny was so tired, even her ears were drooping:

On Halloween night, the little family went “trick-or-treating” with some other family friends, hoping that Paisley would have more fun and more confidence about going up to strangers’ doors if she was with a group.   At some homes, she still needed a  little help from Dad…

But other homes seemed safe enough that she could do it herself:

I was quite tickled that Paisley wanted to be a bunny this year…just like her mother did when she was a little girl.  Here’s a side-by-side of my two sweet bunnies:
Even Halloween has come full circle!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Old Wet Hen

Now that the fall season in Texas has lasted all of one week, we will be getting our first freeze here in a couple of days.  I guess the hot days of summer are truly gone…for a couple of months, anyway.  This means that Opal Chicken will have to wait awhile for her next bath.  Believe it or not, I think she might miss them!

It isn’t like we bathed her all the time, but she certainly got more than one bath this past summer.  It began when the temperatures started climbing way above the 100-degree mark; even with fans blasting in the chicken coop, there was just no way to really keep her cool!  And a hot chicken is a very sad sight!  So I started bringing her in during the hot part of the day and putting her in a dog crate in the craft room.  Once it the temperature started cooling down, she would go back outside.
“She stinks to high heaven!” my husband declared.

“She does not stink!” I countered.  “She just smells…different.”

“She needs a bath!”  He wasn’t backing down.

After seeing how wild the dogs can be when Robert bathes them, I wasn’t quite sure how Opal Chicken would take to this.  But time after time, she would just sit calmly in the tub, letting Robert suds her up:

He would  take her out and sit her on top of something, and then pour clean water to rinse her off:

The only part she didn’t enjoy was the indignity of Cookie doing some sort of inspection:

But after that was over, now all clean and sweet (and cool!), Opal Chicken could strut around and enjoy her day:



This summer we finally accomplished one of our goals!  We have been looking around for quite some time to find a camper trailer, and Robert finally found one that was still in really good shape (except for a leak in the roof – discovered after we bought it, during the first major rainstorm).  We bought it at such an insanely low price, that even with the leak (which Robert is in the process of repairing), it was a really great deal.

Since it is used, there is the possibility that there were dogs and smokers in it.  We are going to replace the carpet with a hard floor and reupholster the couch, etc., as well as buy a new mattress.  It is important to us that it is fresh and allergen-free because one of the major things we are looking forward to using the camper for is taking the world’s most beautiful girl camping as soon as we can.  Also, since she still can’t come in our house until we are down some animals, we thought that maybe she could come spend the night sometimes and we can camp out in the driveway.  Fox will be coming as soon as he is old enough to enjoy it, but for now it is Paisley’s special thing.  In fact, we have named our new home, “Paisley’s Palace”.
Here are some pictures of how it looked when we bought it:

There will be new pictures when we get the re-do finished!
Robert also surprised me with a little something he came bringing home one day.  I have been aggravating him like crazy about moving to a small town…a town small enough that I could ride a bicycle to the grocery store, the library, and what-not.  I could just picture me waving to my friends as I ride by, just like Jessica Fletcher does during the opening song of “Murder She Wrote”.  Of course, if I was going to be hauling groceries home, I would need a big basket of some sort.  Well, I’m not moving to a small town any time soon, but half of the dream came true when Robert showed up with this bad boy:

An adult tricycle!  How fun is that!
I guess with all of these wheels, there’s a plan to get me out of the house more…

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Paisley Turns Three!

It seems like it was just yesterday, but Paisley actually turned three a little while back.  Once again, I have not been timely in my posting, but I want to share highlights from Paisley’s party any way.

Mandy warned me early on that with a brand new baby, she would not have the time, nor the energy, to throw the blow-out birthday bash that she gave for the first two birthdays.  For the life of me, I don’t know what she was talking about…it was darling!  The theme came from Paisley’s favorite things:  Favorite colors – yellow and pink, and favorite drink – lemonade.  Thus, the Paisley Pink-and-Yellow-Lemonade-Party came to be.
There were decorations:
And Refreshments:

And Cake:

The World’s Most Beautiful Girl even had a dress with lemons on it:

Fox was dressed for the occasion, too:

Paisley had fun hob-knobbing with all her guests (shown her with her cousin, Joshua):
And of course, PRESENTS:

And singing and candles:

Grump-Pa and Dee Dee were both sick and were not able to make it.  However, Robert’s mother, “Grandma Lynda”, came for the event and she and Paisley had a great time together:

Grandma Lynda was a big help by manning the kiddy-treat table…Mandy had those little plastic cups with the decorative inserts that allow the kids to decorate their own cup as the party favors.  Grandma Lynda helped everyone with those:

In fact, I must say that Grandma Lynda was quite appreciated all the way around.  She helped me shop for some upholstery fabric for an upcoming project, helping me to figure out what is suitable and helping me understand what I needed to be watching out for.  Also, since Fox was right in the midst of his colic/reflux woes during this time, she offered to spend the night at Mandy’s house to help out.  She stayed for two nights and Mandy told me that Lynda was a real pick-me-up for their spirits and brought a great sense of calm to their home during this time.
I think Paisley’s party was wonderful.  Actually, although Mandy had been worried about whether or not it was “enough”, she later told me that she ended up being more that satisfied with it, and was able to truly enjoy it, because it wasn’t quite so much and was less hectic.  I think that a sense of peace might be the best gift of all!