Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Being An Elf

I've been working like an elf this week, making some presents and things. It may seem that I'm leaving it to the last moment, but this time, I'm not going to own up to my procrastination.

See, I wasn't going to make anything for Ben this year, because I thought he had all the warm things and pajama pants he could need (because he says so all the time). He was saying the other day, though, that he'd like a new hat and mittens that would match his coat, for wearing in to work, since last year's hat and mittens are older and being used for working outside and such. Well, call me a knitter, but I jumped at the chance.

I picked some nice tan wool yarn with a dark brown accent color to go with his dark brown coat, and took the opportunity to practice knitting colorwork with a color in each hand. The hat is almost finished, I'm going to finish it and wrap it up today.

Our present exchange is on Friday, since we're headed to MI to spend Christmas with family, so I probably won't have the mittens finished by then, but I'll just wrap them up with the needles and the yarn too, and finish them while we travel. The mittens are going to be flip tops, and I can't decide if the colorwork pattern should be on the flip top part or the lower hand part, or both... Maybe I'll just take the easy way out and do stripes.

Other elf-ly things I've been up to include planning baked good presents for the neighbors, and hanging stockings with care. All the wrapping and carols and candy canes and Christmas movies are really making my December lots of fun. Relaxing too!

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Fried "Chicken"

Yesterday was the Christmas lunch for the Homemakers' club. It was a lot of fun, and I won a prize because I dominated at Christmas carol trivia.

The party was held at a little restaurant in town, that had "chicken" listed on the menu. Yes, I actually asked why it was in quotes, because I wanted to order it for lunch, and I had to make sure that it really was chicken and not some kind of "chicken" made of tofu or something. It actually was chicken, and it was pretty delicious too.

So, other than that, I've been up to a few different things this week. Not all of them constructive, but the cold weather does slow me down. I finished a few books that I've been wanting to read. Oh, I have to say, if anyone else is reading the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series and hasn't read Echo in the Bone yet, don't bother until the next one comes out. It's honest just a giant cliffhanger book to set up the next one.

I think the pullets have been making progress. The brown one is fitting in better and is eating among the older flock now, even if she does get scolded now and then. The white one is having a harder time of it, but I can't tell if it's because they're harder on her, or if it's because she seems to be too afraid. They do scold her and peck her, but not hard, and not really ganging up anymore, but she runs to the corner and hides at the first sign of any of the other ones pecking her, and won't come back out for a while. I'm concerned that if she doesn't start trying harder, she won't fit in at all.

I haven't made any concrete plans for today yet, just my regular Friday chores of washing the sheets and sweeping the floors. I do need some new lounge-y type pants, since I only have two pair of long ones, and one has a hole in them now. I still resist wearing work-out / lounge pants all day, because it seems just a step away from the slippery slope of a homemaker in her sweats or pajamas all day, but my jeans that I like to wear are so expensive, and not wearing them everyday around the house really drastically extends the life on them. So I at least want to make sure that my work out clothes (which I wear for working out, and for my regular work, and for relaxing in) aren't ratty or unattractive looking.

Wait, what was my point? Wow, I'm rambly today. Oh, so I should make myself some more pants. I have fabric, some nice cozy knit that I bought a while back when we lived in AZ, and I do have a couple of patterns to try out. But I just don't know if I'm ambitious enough for sewing today. I'm sure if I go work out, then I'll feel a lot more energetic and ready to get some stuff done!

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Smart or Pathetic?

Let's play a little game. Is it smart or pathetic that I...

...wait until afternoon to take my "morning" shower so that I can get right in the warmth after coming in from feeding the chickens and collecting eggs?

...keep blankets spread on the couch at all times, and sit down under them automatically?

...hand wash more dishes than usual to enjoy the hot water?

...have started exercising twice a day, just so I can get hot?

Is it me, or is this winter starting to seem like a hard one already? And this coming from someone who prefers the cold!

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Monday, December 07, 2009

I'm going to write this post with bullet points, since I have a few things to jot down and mention, and they're all unrelated and don't really fit together.

  • Columbo passed his test at the vet. He doesn't have rabies, we get to keep him, and I think that's the end of it. Right now he's drunk from the sedative we gave him beforehand, because when we take him to the vet, it's like Taz and a wolverine had a cat baby and we put him in a box. He still tried to kill them, but he was much slower and the tech was much braver than they usually are and held him firm. He kept trying to walk around and jump on things, but missed and fell, so we shut him back in his travel box for a while to keep him safe.
  • I'm making boiled dinner for dinner tonight, and I can't wait to eat it! I couldn't find any pork hocks, so I got some pork riblet things... rib trimmings, I think. I think they'll work just as well. And won't be all gross to look at, like neck bones are.
  • I've been practicing driving, getting on the highway and stuff like that. I don't really enjoy it, but I no longer shake or panic, so I'm getting much better. I have to take the neighbor to an eye appt on Wed, but I told her when I agreed to do it, we'd be taking the rural highways, not the expressway, so it's cool.
  • The feast of the Immaculate Conception is tomorrow, so we're going to the vigil mass this evening. Last year on the same day, there was a big ice storm. That was the morning I fell down the porch steps, we were on our way to church. They're calling for a big rain/snow/ice storm tomorrow too. Must just be something about Dec 8.
  • I have a Apple Crisp in the oven. I'm looking forward to it, because it's so cold and gray today. It's the perfect kind of day to come home to boiled dinner and warm apple crisp.
  • The chicken integration is still going along. The brown pullet seems to be fitting in pretty well now, but the white araucana is very ostrasized. I've been fencing them off for at least a couple hours every day to make sure that she is getting the chance to eat and drink without the others giving her trouble. I hope that they'll at least accept her enough to start letting her eat at her own feeder and waterer soon.
  • I've been loving my Wii Fit. I really want to try some of the other balance board workout games, but they're all expensive, so I can't decide which one to try. I don't want to end up wasting money on one that isn't as fun as the other ones. I've been looking at Biggest Loser, Dance Dance Revolution 3, EA Sports, All Star Cheer Squad 2, Gold's Gym, and Jillian Michaels 2010. I'm interested in My Fitness Coach too, but that one doesn't use the balance board. It does use a regular aerobics step, which would be a lot of fun to try. Anyone ever play any of these? I'm considering getting a Gamefly account, just to get to try all of these out, so I can decide which one I want to buy.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

One Day at a Time Holiday

I'm very much enjoying the method of doing one Christmas-y thing every day this month. Yesterday I finished my knitted hat for the charity drive, while I listened to Christmas music. The day before, it was a very small thing... just Christmas socks. But still very fun!

Today I think I'll get some food packed up for the post office food drive and bring some molasses cookies to my neighbor.

This weekend, we might do some gift shopping/crafting, put up the tree, make a gingerbread house kit, or watch Die Hard. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie. One of the best. ;)

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Oh My Gosh!

Our Thanksgiving dinner went really well, and it was super fun to have so much company, my parents-in-law and my sister and her husband and their two kids.

BUT, on Friday, Columbo bit me, because he was all stressed out from the kids running around. It took him by surprise to get picked up, and I got chomped on my index finger. Generally no big deal, but it ended up hugely infected. So, I had to go to ExpressCare on Saturday and get a penicillan injection and a tetanus shot and an antibiotic prescription. Yesterday was the first day that I didn't have a low fever for a lot of the day, but I'm very much on the mend now.

Besides all that trouble, they made us fill out a form for Animal Control, and now they're making us take Columbo to the vet and get him cleared and send them paperwork saying he doesn't have rabies.

Makes me wish I hadn't grabbed the cat to put him in the bedroom. Oh well...

So, I'm wanting to get into a Christmas mood. I've decided that every day from now till the 25th, I'll do at least one Christmas sort of thing everyday. Anything from crafting a little or watching a Christmas movie or baking cookies or just eating a candy cane, lol. Yesterday, I started knitting a pretty bright red hat to give to the coat drive at the local food pantry. I'm thinking that today I might start putting out some of the Christmas decorations here and there.

It's a very cold and grey day, with rain and snow flurries. I spent some of the morning setting up a wind break of straw bales around the chicken coop, to help the pullets stay warmer. The original flock still won't let them into the coop during the day. I think they might be getting a little more settled in though, since sometimes the pullets even grab treats and run away and eat them now, instead of just lying in the corners of the coop when the others are eating.

For now, I separate them with a gate in the middle of the run for most of the day to make sure that the younger ones are getting a chance to eat and drink without worry, and then let them all mingle again just before dark, so that they can all get into the coop for the night. I think it's working fairly well, and it eases my mind that the pullets won't starve during this transition thing. I'm hoping to just start keeping them all combined for longer periods at a time as the weeks go. The plan is that by the time we're away for Christmas, they should be able to spend all day without being gated off. But with multiple feeders and waterers to make sure they have a fair shot.

I hope that'll work, anyway, since the neighbors are watching them for us, and they seem to forget the basics like cleaning the waterers, let alone, messing with a gate and checking on them all multiple times a day. Maybe if I were to put all the instructions in writing, they'd be more likely to be more diligent about things? I miss their exchange student, he was awesome at chicken duty...

We shook up some cream and made homemade butter for our big dinner, and there's still some left in the fridge... I can't wait to have it, so I think I might make some biscuits. Seems like the perfect butter enjoyment vehicle! If I cut the biscuits with Christmas cutters, that would be my holiday themed thing too! :)

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