Monday, March 28, 2011

R.I.P. Volvo V50

I had a little run-in with a concrete median a while ago. I could make it sound all dramatic but, frankly, it was nothing of the sort. It was one of those things that just shouldn't have happened but did. Watching carefully for oncoming traffic I overlooked the one stationary object that had an unknown prejudice against my car's undercarriage. One flat tire, an obliterated transmission, and a ruined suspension later, my car has been proclaimed "a total loss." I don't know what's worse at this point, the financial loss of a perfectly nice vehicle or the damage to my pride.

Now our upcoming visit to see our family has also turned into a car-buying trip. I can't lie and say I'm not excited by the prospect of a new vehicle, but I know that every time I get in said car my first thought will be "you are the car that shouldn't be."

So, dear reader, don't overlook stationary objects while driving. You never know when they will take you and your bank account for a spin.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Birds and the Bees

Okay, so this entry is likely not what you think, but I was at a loss for a better title. After all, this post is about nature! When we purchased this house one of the reasons I knew it was "the one" was that it had a nicely sized yard. Now, little did I know that we'd be bombarded with creatures! Well, perhaps "bombarded" is a bit strong of a word, but you'll see what I mean in a second.

First of all, I have done some landscaping work since we moved in. I have ripped out some dead bushes and planted both annuals and perennials. Unfortunately, the beautiful little flowers I planted all along my back landscaping (see image below) become an entrée for a resident bunny. I spied the little critter escaping under our fence into our neighbor's yard this evening. See those little flowers? Yep, neither do I. There are no flowers on those plants now, just a few leaves. So much for that. An entire flat has gone to Mr. Cottontail.

Also, we have a new neighbor that has decided to take up residence on our detached garage. That's right, thankfully "on" and not "in." I don't mind her, though. She's been good quiet company when I'm in the yard playing with the kids. In fact, I'm guessing she'll soon have her own little ones for us to adore. It's actually been a nice nature lesson for Anna on how the mommy and daddy work together to build their home. The daddy would fly away to grab twigs for the nest, return, hand them over to the mama, and then go off again. Repeat, and repeat. They don't even seem to mind that the kids' play fort is mere feet from their chosen habitat.

Now, you're probably wondering where the bees come in. Well, thankfully they don't as of yet. But, speaking of insects, the ants are coming out in force so I'm going to make it Matt's priority to put down insect killer on the whole yard this weekend. If there's anything I want to avoid, it's stepping in a fire ant pile. Done that one too many times.

Here's hoping all of you are soon blessed with some similar signs of spring!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Summer in March

I have never spent a March picking strawberries and making freezer jam. But, I suppose, there is a first time for everything. Every year, for the past 3 years, I have made homemade freezer jam during berry season. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple in our house and we're jam snobs. Buying jam with real fruit and no high-fructose corn syrup can be quite expensive. As a result, I tend to make my own jam. It tastes better, in my opinion, and it's enjoyable to make.

Anna and I had some bonding time at the berry patch and then mashing up berries (a great stress-reliever, might I add). I use a handy little tool for berry mashing--the Pampered Chef Mix 'N Chop. It's a lovely little gizmo that works like a potato masher but much, much better. I use it for all my smashing needs; it also works well for breaking up ground meat into small restaurant-quality consistency for tacos and meat sauces. I can't say enough about it. Actually, I can't say enough about almost all the Pampered Chef kitchenware I own. I have considered becoming a Pampered Chef consultant, but then I decided I'd spend more money on their products than I made (which is probably what they want you to do but I don't really want to play that game).

Living in Texas is like living in another hemisphere from Michigan. Bugs are bigger, my hair has been bigger (and it's not even that humid yet!), it's like June at 78 degrees today, and the June Bugs (aka Japanese Beetles) are already banging against my back door. I left winter, skipped spring, and entered what I think of as summer. I'm told to just wait; I'll melt.

So, to those of you back home, know that I'll envy you in June when it's your turn to pick berries. Maybe I'll even turn up on your doorstep; to experience this season again would be nice!