If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, a grandson, a granddaughter, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 dwarf frogs, an unfortunate number of tadpoles, and a whole lot of love.




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Friday, February 25, 2011

Go Fish

The good news: I finally lost the 9 lbs I gained over Binge-mas. (Um, I mean Christmas.)

The bad news: I've hit the dreaded plateau. You know, that place where regardless of how little you eat or how many hours you bounce along on the elliptical machine, you still find yourself flipping the bird to the scale each morning. (Not that I've done that. Ahem.)

While grocery shopping on Monday, I noticed they had packages of frozen Tilapia fillets on sale. The only fish I'm familiar with comes in a giant cardboard treasure chest surrounded with hush puppies and extra deep fried crispies. (Helloooooo Long John Silvers....but I'm pretty sure that doesn't qualify as fish.)

What I do know, is that according to Bob-The-Biggest-Loser-Trainer, fish is great for losing weight. And since I can't pass on a good sale, I grabbed a couple of packages. When I got home I realized I have no idea what to do with frozen Tilapia fillets. I felt like a contestant on 'Chopped' and I'd just opened my mystery basket. (Me likes me reality shows.) I Googled a few, but I prefer getting recipes from people I trust.

Enter Facebook. I sent out a plea stating that I was making Tilapia fillets for dinner and I asked for some recipes and/or tips on cooking them. I ended up with 21 comments. The first few were recipes and tips. And somewhere along the way, things went downhill and fast. It started when someone informed me that Tilapia are "bottom feeders." Let's state the obvious; nothing about that sounds appetizing. Good to know, but I'd already bought the Tilapia. Then there was mention of 'farm raised' vs. 'fresh caught.' Now I have to worry about where they spent their formative years?!? Bob never mentions background checks. And I can only assume, at the price I paid, mine arrived via wagon straight from the farm. Yikes.

Shortly after that, a friend posted a couple of links. I refrained from clicking on them when I noticed the words "tilapia-eat-poop-really" in one of the titles and I stopped reading any further, clicked out of Facebook and turned off my computer. It was time to cook dinner.

I stood by the counter looking down at my poop-filled-bottom-feeding-farm-raised-hillbilly-tilapia fillet and couldn't seem to find my appetite. I baptized it in some buttermilk, dredged it in bread crumbs and baked it in the oven in hopes that anything from it's horrendous past would be disintegrated by the heat.

In all honesty, it tasted pretty good and I'm sure that septic smell was strictly my imagination. Now I'm left with 7 Tilapia fillets in my freezer. I'll eat them....eventually.

I'd like to try some new recipes. I think I'll stick to Google and take my chances. Turns out my Facebook friends are way too highly informed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time for another Peek at a Week

It's been a busy 7 days around here and for those who know us well, or read this blog, that's usually not a good sign. But I'm pleased to report that this one wasn't all bad!

C and I had our annual adventure of taking our dog, Summer to the vet and it went rather well. Granted, in her perpetual state of excitement in the waiting room, she choked herself to the point of vomiting up a frothy pile of phlegm onto the shoe of a drug rep who was standing at the counter talking to the receptionist, but compared to last year when we got halfway there and realized we forgot the dog, I stopped at a friend's house on the way and got bit by her dog, and eventually ended up peeing on the side of her barn through circumstances I'd rather not explain, it would seem that this year's pile of froth on a guy's shoe equals success. I'll take it.

Our daughter A had an adventure of her own! She went out on her very first date Friday night! (I probably wouldn't be nearly as excited about that if not for the fact that we know this young man's family and love them dearly.) So we invited 'N' to join us for dinner before he and A headed out bowling. Shortly before he was due to arrive, he called and told her that he was lost. Turns out he was calling from our neighbor's driveway. He showed up with a lovely box of truffles for dessert. (SO SWEET!) We enjoyed getting to know him during dinner and then I opened the box of truffles. The box opened just fine. It was that sealed bag that became the problem and I scattered truffles all over N & A and even managed to catch one on fire when it landed in the candle. (Welcome to our family.) He took her on a 2nd date to Chuckie Cheese for Valentine's Day, so we must not have done too much damage. (Hmmm....he got lost getting to our house and took her to Chuckie Cheese to celebrate Valentine's Day....something about this boy is bringing back memories for me ;)

Now for Z's big news. I was sitting at A's basketball game when one of the faculty members motioned me down to her and said, "I need to talk to you." My response, "I paid to get in this time." (Yes, I've been known to take my seat before they set up the ticket table. Don't judge me. At $6 a pop, you would too.) But I digress....I followed the woman into her office where several other faculty members were waiting for me. Then one said, "We need to tell you something. Z made NHS." I drew a complete blank. All I could think was that he had managed to construct some sort of explosive device. So I said, "Oh crap. What's an NHS?" As it turns out, NHS stands for "National Honor Society." (I might suggest they stop using initials and possibly cut the drama, like, in half when calling a mother into an office.)

I spent the next several days keeping this secret from Z while watching him rush home from school each day, checking the answering machine for messages, and asking me if the school called. I'm glad I didn't have to lie. "Nope. The school didn't call." (They just ushered me through back corridors into a dark office where they made me think you may or may not be facing a felony, but you didn't ask that. So no, they didn't call.)

All the while we were making secret plans. I had a friend post a breakfast invitation on my FB wall for Z to see, thus explaining why I might be out of bed and dressed at that hour. (Thanks Misti!) My husband scheduled the day off, we pulled some major strings to get his girlfriend out of school that day and invited my aunt and uncle. Yesterday morning (the big day) my husband pretended to go to work as usual and drove around some back roads for awhile. Then everyone met in our driveway to form our caravan.

The main objectives: 1. Get there early. 2. Don't make a scene. (We should have known that was way too much to ask.)

We got stopped by a train and my husband refused to go the back way directly to the designated gym but chose to cut through the main high school parking lot not realizing they had the access to the other parking lot blocked off and we had to drive our obvious caravan right past the big entrance to the school. (Insert fight.)

Of course it all worked out in the end, as it usually does. We watched from the back of the dark CafeGymAtorium as he got tapped, made his way back to us grinning from ear to ear, gave us hugs and watched his face light up to a whole new level when my husband and I parted and he came face to face with his girlfriend who handed him the rose. Perfection.

So despite dog froth and flaming truffles, I have no complaints about these past 7 days. They were full of excitement and memories for our kids. Especially, C, who continues to talk about and demonstrate exactly what our dog did to the guy's shoe at the Vet's office. Nothing like the skits of a toddler to keep things fresh in everybody's memories.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Coyote Ugly

We're well accustomed to one of the downsides of country living. Raccoons, possum, snakes, mice, swooping bats and the far away cries of coyote at night. (Emphasis on far away and at night.)

We've never given a second thought to allowing our two dogs to enjoy their daily hikes through the fields that surround our house. It's great exercise and it keeps them off the road.

But today, the coyote upped the ante when a pack came after our dogs in the middle of the day in broad daylight. By the time I got to our back door, our dogs were running home and the pack of coyote were heading toward the woods in the opposite direction. Crisis averted.

An hour later we let them out again and planned on keeping a close eye. In seconds, they bolted for the back field and completely ignored our calls. They were clearly on a mission and nothing was going to stop them. My husband, wearing only his boxers, baseball cap and tennis shoes, went for the shotgun while K and I continued to scream for the dogs. Well, I was screaming for the dogs. K was just screaming. When I saw what she was looking at, I began screaming too. As our dogs ran full speed toward the woods, the pack of coyote ran full speed toward our dogs.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my underwear clad hubby run out onto the deck, lose his footing in the snow, and slide into the railing, which barely kept him from plummeting off our 2nd story deck with the loaded shotgun. (Yeah, that's what we need.)

When I looked back toward the field again, I noticed the dogs had reconsidered their plan of attack and decided instead to retreat back to the house as my husband took aim and fired round after round toward the pack as they quickly changed direction and went back toward the safety of the woods again.

Clearly, this is a game changer. Allowing the kids to play outside alone is off-limits. The dogs are no longer permitted outside at the same time, and the one dog outside at any given moment is now guarded by my husband or myself with the shotgun. And my husband should maybe consider shoveling the deck and wearing something other than his underwear in case of an emergency. Just a thought.

PS. If you're planning to visit, call first. You should now consider us armed and dangerous....whereas before, we were just dangerous.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Boy Scouts, we're not.

For those who are unfamiliar with what's going on in 60% of our country right now.....we're under a major ice storm!

And what should you do when you're under a major ice storm?!? Why, be on Facebook, of course! Last night I sat obsessed watching my friends status updates and reading about their flickering lights, electrical outages and everything they did to prepare for it. Some even went so far as to fill their bathtubs full of water to use to flush with! Brilliant! Too bad I didn't listen.

Here's as far as I went. "Hey Babe! Do we still have those two generators in the barn?" He answered, "Yep." And with that, and the fact that a massage therapist is never short on candles, our lives carried on as usual. We texted our friends without thinking that maybe we should have our phones charging. We let that valuable water simply drain from the tub after our baths. And we sat mindlessly in front of the television enjoying Ramona & Beezus as a family. And just as Ramona was about to pirouette into the giant peanut butter sandwich, our house went completely dark and quiet.....and then chaos ensued.

My lighter wasn't with my candles. Our brand new flashlights didn't come with batteries. Every cell phone in our house was almost dead. We couldn't find the electric bill for the number to call in case of an outage. To get to the generators, we'd have to risk life and limb. And out of nowhere, everyone in the family had to go to the bathroom!!!

If not for Z's glow-in-the-dark juggling balls, we'd still be running in circles. When my husband said, "Bring your balls over here and help me find the electric bill," nobody even giggled. (You know you're in full out crisis mode when nobody giggles at ball innuendos .)

We finally got everyone situated in our bedroom in front of the fireplace and somehow, without the use of box fans for background noise, we managed to fall asleep. Three hours later we awoke to find our house had miraculously come back to life.

At 3am we were making the rounds of turning off all the lights and told K to go turn off the television. A few minutes later we heard her yell, "Hey everybody!! The little words on the bottom of the tv say we're under an ice storm warning!"

Good to know.