Tuesday, September 30, 2008

File Under "One Of Those Days"

I swear sometimes taking care of dogs can be more trying than dealing with the kids.

I wrote recently about my ordeal with one of my dumb dogs, Hazel, and she was up to her old tricks again today. If you don't feel like reading my past account--let me just sum up that it involved rat poison, life and death scenarios and thousands of dollars in vet bills.

So early this morning I had just stumbled downstairs and let the dogs into the yard. I was going through my early morning routine--getting the kids breakfast, packing their lunches, etc. As I waited for my coffee to brew I gazed out the window and happened to notice that Hazel was eating something out there.

Now I'm paranoid, given her past history of poison consumption, so I ran outside to see what she was up to. Just as I got out there, one of our other dogs, Petey, was getting in on the action and eating it too. They had already eaten whatever it was but I thought I saw a flash of something bright green and that had me worried because I have learned the hard way that rodent poisons (or "rodenticide" to us pros) are bright green. Hazel quickly ate that speck of green and I sent them inside and searched around the grass for any more clues. I found another little nugget of bright green and, upon closer inspection, was almost positive it was this stupid rodenticide. I put my specimen in a Ziploc bag and continued with my the routine until the vet's office opened and I could call.

The thing about this poison is that it's slow-acting. You don't suddenly become sick--it slowly removes the vitamin K from your blood so the blood stops clotting and you eventually bleed to death. Nice!

I put Pickle down for a nap and called, hoping they could just give me some vitamin K and we could call it a day--but no--they said I had to bring the dogs in immediately, which meant I had to get Pickle up from the nap I had just put her down for.

Did I mention it was pouring rain?

Now I had to wrangle a tired toddler and two hyper, poison-riddled dogs into the car in the rain--and then out again on a busy street.

I was greeted at the vet's office by a waiting room covered in dog-doo. An apologetic woman was trying to block people from stepping in it while trying to control her out-of-control dog. Just picture me--soaking wet--holding Pickle (who wanted to get down but I couldn't let her because of the dog-doo) while my dummy dogs wrapped their leashes around my legs.

Finally the mess was cleaned up and we went into the examining room where I explained what happened and produced my evidence in the Ziploc. The vet said she wanted me to leave the dogs so she could examine them and then she was going to induce them to throw up (ew) so she could check the vomit or whatever. I was barely listening because I kept thinking OMG this is going to cost thousands.

Later the vet called with the "vomit report" and said that Hazel's puke was loaded with the bright green stuff, but Petey's wasn't. She recommended that they both be put on vitamin K (for three weeks!). This was what I wanted to do in the first place!!

She went on to say that they didn't have the right kind of vitamin K but she would call my prescription into Walgreen's (?). Can you get dog medicine there? I guess so!

So back out into the rain for the dog prescription. I made the mistake of thinking dog vitamins at Walgreen's wouldn't cost too much. Get this: Hazels pills--$124 and Petey's pills--$188!! FOR DOG VITAMINS! I don't spend this much on all of Patrick's asthma medications. I felt sick paying for it.

Then back into the rain again, this time to pick up the dogs. Shelled out more money to the vet--reinforcing what I always tell the kids--which is: if you want to be a millionaire, be a veterinarian.

So I hope the dogs will be ok. The real mystery is where this poison is coming from--we certainly aren't putting it there. The only thing I can think of is that others are putting it out and maybe small animals or birds are dropping in in our yard? I don't know. All I know is that it's putting us in the Poor House.

The one bright spot in my day--I made a recipe from Cathy of Noble Pig--Baked Shrimp with Fennel and Feta and it was delicious! Here are a couple of pics:
So at least we had a nice dinner! Tomorrow will be better, right?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Practical Jokes

I love a good joke and every now and then--if I see the opportunity--I will pull a funny one on Don or the kids.

Last night, the three oldest boys were having a "sleepover"--that means they all sleep in one room together with sleeping bags on the floor, etc. They had been "asleep" for awhile and when I came upstairs to take a bath I could hear them talking and giggling in Andy's room.

I went down to the basement storage room where we have every conceivable Halloween costume in boxes and I found a really scary werewolf mask. This mask:

Scary, right?

So I put it on and got down on my hands and knees and started scratching at Andy's door. I could hear them saying "What is that?" and then Patrick opened the door and I crawled in really fast making weird growling noises.

It totally scared them--for a split second, then they were all laughing hysterically. They loved it! One of them said "Mommy, you need to do that more often!" LOL!

That reminded me me of one of the best April Fool's jokes I have ever played on them: One year, April Fool's Day came during their Spring Break--I think they had a couple of days left on vacation. So they came downstairs and were all having breakfast in their pajamas and I sneaked my cell phone out and called our home number.

I answered our home phone and said stuff like "Really? Why? OK--yes, I understand!" Then I hung up and told the kids it was the school calling to say Spring Break had been cut short and they had to go to school right away. I was like "Come on! Get dressed! Get your backpacks! We have to go!!"

They freaked!

They all started crying and screaming "It's not fair!" Andy threw something across the room.

Then I said "April Fool's" and they thought it was the funniest thing ever!!

I'm so mean! But they really did love it--they love being surprised--even if it's a joke.

Speaking of surprises, I have a super secret plan in the works right now--not a practical joke--but a fun surprise I'm planning. I can't wait to tell you all about it...stay tuned in the next couple of weeks!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pickle Party!

Today was Pickle's birthday bash and I'm thoroughly exhausted! It was fun though--and I know Pickle enjoyed herself. We kept things very low-key--just my sister and her kids and my mom. But with all of her kids (four) and all of mine, it still ends up being a lot of people!

I chose a kitten theme for her party (she loves cats--calls them meow-meows). These are the plates:

Here's the table--but I didn't have all the food out yet. I made my super amazing artichoke dip and some stuffed mushrooms plus some chips, etc. and then later we had pizza.
Also, my "famous" punch!
And the piece de resistance: The Cake. No, I didn't make it and I couldn't if I tried. And, no, it wasn't bacon-flavored!
It's a beauty, right?

Oh, wait a minute--I forgot to show you the birthday girl!
Here's another angle so you so can see her dress better. Pretty!
Here's The Gooser in a cat-hat.
I have lots of pizza-eating Pics: Pickle on her unicorn:
Three big brothers:
And Gooser with his cousin, Drew.
Of course, there were lots of presents! Here is Pickle's present pile--the embarrassing thing is that I used wedding paper and "Baby's First Birthday" paper--what was I thinking??
Pickle opening presents with her brothers' help.
She got LOTS of dolls and purses!

Dog Pile!!!

Let's take one more look at the cake--it was so pretty!

And finally, Pickle in her jammies with her hair sticky from candy, having one more piece of cake before bed!
Happy Birthday Pickle!!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pickle's Birthday Lunch: Restaurant Adventure Saturday

I decided to take Pickle to American Girl Place for her birthday lunch. She is doll crazy so I knew it would be right up her alley. We met my sister and her son there. Pickle brought some of her dolls and they got to sit in their own little highchairs!
Actually--the one on the left is my doll. I wanted to bring a doll too!-- well,other than Pickle. Believe it or not, this was my absolute favorite doll when I was little--Baby Happy. This isn't my original doll--she's long gone--but I got this "replacement" on eBay. I guess she's kind of scary! She has some kind of lazy eyelid thing going on.
She looks like something from the Twilight Zone that might rise up and kill us all in the night. My sister said she was "Chuckie-esque." But anyway, she was having lunch with us.

Pickle was very happy because she got a "big girl" cup to drink from. She's kind of anti "kid cup."

She even shared her cup with her doll.
The food is very fun here! First, they brought out cinnamon rolls. We ate them like animals and by the time I remembered to take a pic, there was only half a roll left...
Here's Pickle enjoying one. She's using the "two fork" method for extra efficiency!
Then they brought out a platter with fruit, vegetables and some soft pretzels. Very good!

I ordered quiche for an entree which was really interesting because it had dried cranberries in it. I loved it!
Pickle got the "picnic" lunch which included a little hot dog, a tiny hamburger and some macaroni and cheese.
There are lots of pink flowers at the American Girl Place--on the table...
...and on the light fixtures.
Then came the really fun part--the cake!
My doll looks especially creepy there, doesn't she?
A big group sang Happy Birthday to Pickle.
Then they gave out goodie bags:
Here's a piece of the cake with the cute little flower pot ice cream.
Pickle LOVED the ice cream!
Then came the best part--doll shopping! Actually, we didn't buy any dolls, but I bought Pickle the cutest pair of pajamas and slippers and a matching set for her "Bitty Baby."

Is there anything cuter than little girl/doll matching outfits??

Pickle says:
"American Girl is the best place on Earth!!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dollhouse Frock GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Dollhouse Frock GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!
I want to win!!

Isn't This Sweet? Fx4

Yesterday was Pickle's second birthday (sob!) and I first thing I heard when I woke up was Gooser (over the monitor) singing Happy Birthday to her.

When I brought the two little ones downstairs, I found that my three big boys had gone down early and decorated the house for Pickle! They hung up streamers and balloons and signs:
This was Gooser's contribution LOL:

And Teddy had made her some BACON! Talk about the perfect way to start her birthday!

And they had some little gifts wrapped for her to open. The younger ones found stuff around the house and wrapped it and Andy had bought her a couple of things from his high school bookstore (CUTE!!).

Moments like this make me so proud of my kids!!

Happy Friday and don't forget to join Candid Carrie for some Phreaky Foto Phun!!

P.S. My pal, Ronda, is having a cool Bonnie Hunt giveaway on her blog. Check it out!!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday To Pickle!!!

Well, I can't believe it--but Pickle is two today! I know it's a cliche, but wow, time goes by so fast. I swear it feels like she was just born.

So in honor of her birthday, I made this little video. It makes me tear up--not sure if it will have that effect on other people--but have some Kleenex handy just in case!

Happy Birthday to my sweet Pickle!! Her birthday bash is Saturday, so tune in Sunday for the recap!

P.S. Thanks to my friends Tami and Misty for recommending a site to make the video!

P.P.S. I participated in a "Favorite Things' swap on Because Wendi Said So and I received my swap package today! Thank you Alex!! Look at all this cool stuff:
1. Bend It Like Beckham video.
2. The Jane Austen Book Club (book)
3. Can You Keep A Secret? (book)
4. Really cute pack of note cards.
5. Great set of pens.
6. What is, according to Alex and also my son Teddy, the best gum in the world.
7. A nice magnetic notepad (much needed!).
8. The best Chapstick in the world!
9. Fun stickers for Pickle (she's already played with them--I had to hide that part for the pic).
10. A chocolate bar--I will thoroughly enjoy this, but I feel AWFUL because I didn't realize that Alex hates chocolate and I sent her some! And not just any chocolate--REALLY weird chocolate. So, I'm sorry Alex--maybe it's so bizarre that you'll like it? Otherwise, just regift it! And thanks so much for the package! That was a fun swap!!
11. Oops! I forgot--there was also a pack of Crystal Light--one my kids commandeered it so it was missing from the picture.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Call Me Martha!

It's very dangerous for me to buy Martha Stewart's magazine. If I start flipping through it, I want to make every single recipe, do all the crafts and I want my house to look exactly like the houses in the pictures. It's inspiring and depressing all at once.

I made the mistake of buying the new fall/Halloween edition. I'm a sucker for both and I was lured in by the cool pumpkin-clock-face on the cover. As expected, I wanted to make everything I saw. A concord grape tart (with the pastry cut out to look like a bunch of grapes!), black light Halloween decorations, marzipan pumpkins, Moroccan lambs shanks...I didn't know where to start!

But then I saw "Stuffed Pumpkin Stew" and I knew I had to make it. Right NOW!! Get this--it's a stew of fall vegetables and chicken and you cook and serve it in a pumpkin! It looked so delicious and fall-like--I couldn't wait to start!

It called for something called a "cheese pumpkin." Sorry, Martha, but I'm not well-versed enough in pumpkins to have a clue what that means. And something tells me if I had set out on a mission to find a cheese pumpkin, I would have come back empty handed. So I got a regular old pumpkin, but kind of a short, wide one so it would hold the stew nicely. Then I had to buy about ten million vegetables. Look at this!

So first you cut the top of the pumpkin off like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Then you take out all the goop and seeds. Then you rub that baby down and bake the pumpkin and the top in the oven for an hour.Then there's all sorts of fancy maneuvers with boiling water and ice water baths. Here are my peas resting in ice water:
Then you have to chop the ten million vegetables and roast them with olive oil.
Meanwhile, you have to prepare the chicken. Oh,and I forgot about sauteing the apples!

When everything is roasted you put it all inside the pumpkin with some chicken stock and bake the whole thing. Check it out:
In Martha Stewart's pic you probably wouldn't see the yucky baking sheet or the pile of text books in the background--but still! Doesn't it look delicious and the perfect thing to serve for a fall dinner??

Here it is on the plate. Martha actually slices the pumpkin and serves it on the plate, but I found that when you scooped out the stew it was easier to just scoop out some pumpkin. And my "generic" pumpkin tasted just fine!

I wish I could find a link to the recipe--but I can't. If anyone is interested, I'll type it out, just let me know--otherwise, it's in the current Martha Stewart Living.

One more thing--a fun blog called The Cutting Edge of Ordinary is having a cool giveaway--a baking book and some other treats. Check it out!