Sunday Stealing: The Question Meme
Strawberry Fields Forever

Garden State


Before I forget to tell you, I wanted to let you know now that I have created a new blog for our homeschooling efforts. You can see it here. Don't forget to add it to your reader!


Saturday was a dud, despite a multitude of plans, because Rob had a migraine, and I was super-exhausted. Chloë was supposed to go to overnight camp with her troop; we were supposed to go to the She-Crab Soup Classic down on the beach; we were supposed to take the kids to a Mother's Day Bead Craft at Michael's; we were supposed to take the kids to an Earth Day event at the mall; we were supposed to go to church. None of that happened. Instead, we took it super-easy today and did practically nothing. Hopefully, Sunday will be more productive, but every once in a while you need a day like that, so I don't feel too bad about things.

Instead, I'll tell you about Friday, which was a pretty great day.

Rob didn't have to work, for whatever reason, so we spent the day together. Once again, I had stayed up all night, this time doing homeschooling research. He got up with the children, while I showered and got ready for the day. After they were on the bus and he showered, we got started.


First, we went to Harris Teeter, since it's still triple coupons week. This picture is from Thursday, though. If you'll remember, I went on Wednesday and got a bagfull of groceries for 11¢! On Thursday, I got all of the above for 13¢! So all that stuff for under a quarter. Pretty great.


For Friday's shopping trip, I had Rob got to Customer Service to get his own VIC card, so he could use 20 additional coupons (their daily limit). We had two carts. In the end, we bought all of the above - and more, mostly cleaning stuff, that I forgot to put in the photo because I didn't see the bag - for less than $40, saving about $110 in coupons. If you want more specific details on this shopping trip, please comment or email me, because I don't want to focus on that in this post.


After we went home and put everything away, we had to go out and do a couple of mystery shops. The first one was at a gas station, where I had to buy gas, coffee and a soda, and do a number of observations. Unforunately, when I started to do the report today, I realized I forgot to take an essential picture. It's still up n the air whether I will need to just go back for that picture, or entirely reshop the thing. Obviously, I hope it's the former.

The second shop was at the fast food chain where I go all the time. Throughout the day, whenever we were in the car and traveling to our various destinations, and during this fast food shop, we talked about home-schooling the kids. Rob hasn't been reading my blog this week, so he was completely unaware of my plans. I wanted to bring him into the fold, of course, because I want him to be a vital part of this process, this experience, this adventure. I want him to come home and hear all about what we learned that day, but I also want him to be part of the teaching, and the learning, himself.  He readily agrees.


As part of our discussion, we talked about the hypocritical nature of this particular fast food shop, in which I'm not allowed to purchase certain foods. That pretty much leaves beef and pork, which I don't eat, which leaves him and the kids to eat the food or throw it away. That really sucks, because he doesn't want to eat beef either, and I would be happy if the kids didn't as well. Unfortunately, these shops pay well, so I'm torn. I can get a meatless sandwich, but I've been told not to order it every single time, less they identify me as The Shopper, and then I won't be able to work for them anymore. It's a slight conundrum. In the end, I'm sure I will quit doing them, but maybe not immediately. We'll see.


Finally, we headed to the Farmer's Market, to get me some crab cakes from our favourite fishmonger, Uncle Chuck. He's an awesome guy; I just love him to bits. And he makes great crab cakes. All of the rest of his seafood is wonderful, too - and it's fairly local. If it's not caught here, then he gets in from the Outer Banks or the Eastern Shore. The fish that he was fileting that afternoon was brought in on a boat at the oceanfront that morning. We chatted with him and one of his other customers for a little while, and then we headed next door to a new garden shop that has joined the Market since the last time we were there.

One of the things that I stayed up all night researching was composting and the garden I want to install in our currently-horrible backyard. Here are the first 14 things I would like to start growing four ourselves, with apologies in advance if the pictures make you drool on your keyboard:

Tomato Super Sweet 100 

Cherry Tomatoes (Super Sweet 100 variety)

Spinach Teton 

Spinach - Teton variety

Summer Squash Saffron 

Summer Squash - Saffron variety

Lettuce Black-Seeded Simpson 

Lettuce - Black-Seeded Simpson Variety

Cucumber Bush Champion 

Cucumber - Bush Champion variety

Sweet Pepper Carnival 

Sweet Pepper - Carnival hybrid variety

Beets Chioggia 

Beets - Chioggia variety

Carrot Danvers Half-Long 

Carrots - Danvers Half-Long variety

Radish French Breakfast

Radish - French Breakfast variety

Swiss Chard Fordhook Giant 

Swiss Chard - Fordhook Giant variety

Pole Bean Kentucky Wonder
  Pole Bean - Kentucky Wonder variety

Eggplant Rosa Bianca

Eggplant - Rosa Bianca variety

 Snap Pea Super Sugar Snap V.P.

Super Sugar Snap Peas



Those are the specific varieties I want (when mentioned), and I can get them all from the Burpee website for about $50. I want to peruse local vendors for cheaper sources, though. Hopefully I can spend a little bit less than that, but that's not really too bad.


At the garden shop at the Farmer's Maket, we started out by looking at the vegetable plants, but I wasn't too impressed with the varietes available or the prices. We found container garden planters shaped like giant feet that we both loved, similar to the ones above. They were $65 apiece (!!), which I found outrageous, but I can't seem to find them anywhere online. Not that shipping wouldn't be substantial... However, when an employee, Eileen, came over to ask if we needed help, we ended up getting into a wonderful conversation with her about how to start our vegetable garden. I'm so glad we did; she was a font of useful and practical information. We were going to rent a rototiller and tear up the whole backyard, but she advised us to save our money and build the raised beds I already knew we'd need (bad soil, poor drainage) right on top of the grass, instead. Hopefully we can all design the garden and build the beds ourselves, and we'll certainly work the garden together. I'm completely excited; I can't wait to start.


It will be costly, though. With all those seeds, the soil and whatever (organic) fertilizer we end up buying, lumber for the beds, the composting system, watering, etc., gardening isn't the cheap thrill I thought it would be! I'm so naive. Between that and the curricula I want to buy for the kids, the belly-surgery money is going to go POOF! I'm disappointed, but that doesn't mean I'll never have the surgery. It just means I'll have to wait another year, at least. Maybe by then, I'll be ready to have all of the surgeries I want to have (arms, thighs and boobs) and can pay for them all at once with our 2010 tax refund. I don't look quite as bad as the poor guy above, but it is how I feel, especially when I look in the mirror, so I don't want to leave things as they are. And I am pretty happy with how I look in clothes, except for my underthings and bathing suit. With summer coming, that stinks a bit - but what the hell, I didn't look any better before I had my gastric bypass!


It was just about time for the kids to come home from school by then, so we headed home. I was all set to relax while Rob took the kids across the street to the lake to run around, but then Rob came racing back to tell me about the newborn ducklings I had to see. Sophia came along beside me on the Big Wheel that she's about two years too old for, but she didn't care.


This mama had her hands full with no fewer than TEN ducklings trailing along behind her, wherever she went. I can relate, but ten! All at once! Phew. She is a brave woman bird. We found one egg whose inhabitant didn't make it out, so that was sad, but it's nature. It's what happens, all the time, even in people. I try to be that philosophical about my own loss, but it's obviously very hard! Anyway, these little critters were terribly cute, and I stood there and took about a dozen pictures and a video of them. I loved it when one little guy kept daydreaming and getting behind, only to look up and realize his mother and siblings were two feet away. Then he'd swim as fast as his little legs could carry him back to the pack. Adorable!


My feet. I took this picture by accident, with my iPhone, but I liked it.

Stim and Luke were headed over a few hours later for Game Night, so I had some cleaning up to do after the ducky visit. The kids helped me straighten up the office and living room, while Rob worked a little bit on the kitchen. It wasn't spotless by any means, but it was a damn sight better than what it was before we started!

Just before they got here, Chloë started pitching a fit about going to camp the next morning. She just did NOT want to go, but she could give no reason why not, so I was insisting that she go. She was furious and in tears. I brought her over to me to try to talk to her more calmly, when I noticed her poor, infected finger. (It was our second finger mishap of the day: I'd shaved off the top of my finger - a piece of the nail and the nailbed under it - in the shower that morning!) A week or so earlier, she'd had a large hangnail, so I cut it off with nail clippers. A couple of days ago, I noticed it was infected, so we put triple-antibiotic ointment on it. Well, we forgot about it, and it was a billion times worse when I noticed it. Immediately, I knew she had to be taken to the doctor. She burst into tears afresh, but there was no question about it. It was really bad. Rob jumped up and got her into his truck.



Stim-fam arrived while I was getting The Littles ready for bed. I was about to send them up, when they reminded me they hadn't yet had dinner! And it was after 8 PM! Whoopsy-daisy. I gave them each a half a bagel; I was just not in the mood to cook. It was hot, and I do NOT cook when the kitchen is fully clean. I just can't. Can't. They were satisfied, anyway.


Soon enough, Chloe and Rob returned from the ER. Poor girl! She'd had quite a bad time. They gave her a shot in the finger to numb it, and then sliced open the oozing infection to drain it. Yuck! And OW! It hurts a great deal, now. She keeps telling me she feels her heartbeat in her finger; I tell her I feel the same thing in mine. I feel bad that I wasn't there for her when she was going through that, though. Poor little one!



Once we got all the kids to bed and Steph had nursed baby Luke a few times, we started playing Quelf. To loosen us up, we girls each had a winecooler, and Tim had a beer. Maybe. I can't actually remember whether he had one or not, but alcohol definitely helps when playing this game. It was a blast!! I wanted to play a second game, but they had to go. Too bad, because we had all been laughing our asses off during play. Good times, good times. (I was Mrs. Picklefeather, in case you were wondering.)

After they left, I crashed. Hard. And that's all there is to it!