Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mouse Sitting Adventures

I am not sure how this happened but suddenly I am mouse sitting.

Melody the white mouse was replaced with Needles the little gray (feeder) mouse. 

Our household is again replete with critters. I am not scared or disgusted but I am a cat person…

My daughter is in Colorado for ten days at a ranch with her classmates. She attends Options for Youth which is a charter school with a minimal attendance requirement.  A hybrid between her unschooling homeschool past and traditional all day school.

Here is the blogspot for the ranch and one of the photos they snapped.

The trip did not cost us a thing besides a few new pair of jeans which was its own adventure…

I asked as trip planning and packing began. "What about your pet mouse?"

My daughter said she would see who among her friends that were not going might be interested and available to watch the little creature.

I was not worried. Time and days passed.

As my daughter was leaving on the trip and I asked what had become of her plans to find a sitter she mentioned a friend she had recently visited. 

Most of the time when she knows she is going somewhere over night my daughter will take her caged pet. When she last saw this friend the mouse was in tow and the friend loved Needles.

Said friend however has a house full of cats.

When my daughter mentioned the friend she said “she is going to try and find a way to get to our house and pick up the mouse”.

I should have known I was in trouble. A few days passed. I feed and water the little rodent but it was cage cleaning day. Ugh

There are worse things to be sure but this was so not my idea of fun. 

I thought I would be a gem and take the mouse to the friend.

I drove to her house. I forget other children go to school everyday. Her mother works from home and it was the middle of the day. Her mother looked strangely at me when I told her why I was there. 

“I have heard nothing of this idea the girls have hatched” was her line.

Now what was I supposed to do???

We talked and laughed. The friends mom said she would have her daughter call me. I told her not to worry about it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sweet Treats and Memories

Disclaimer (and blog post): I got free candy!

Old habits die hard. I do understand this. One of my mothers’ habits was to go to the See’s Candy shop.

What kid would turn this down? I certainly never did. I am not sure I had a favorite confection. I think I liked the adventure of trial and error.

When my daughter was born my mother became a doting Gramma. 

As my daughter got older she would go for weekends off to Gramma and Grampas house.

I had told my parents that I was not giving the child candy or sweets. They thought this was nuts for some reason. I do not know why.

Anyone who knows anything about toddlers and preschoolers knows they do not need caffeine or sugar to be peppy. So I am not sure what all my parents were thinking.

For her very first birthday I baked a cake with about 1/3rd of the specified amount of sugar and substituted flavored cream cheese for frosting. It was tasty but not overly sweet and to my mind a splurge for the kiddo.

Time went on and I thought my parents had mellowed out worrying that I was depriving their grandchild. 

They did eventually come around to my way of thinking and acknowledge that my prohibition on desserts for the child had not hindered her and might actually have been a good idea.

It was some time later this little secret came out:
Gramma would take the child to See’s but get her only vanilla lollypops so that if she got messy with them the other darker colors would not stain her clothes and clue me in that she’d been having sweets.

Sneaky silly girls. 

My official ban lasted until my daughter was old enough to argue convincingly with me at around 4 or 5 with more of an understanding of the world around her and what she might be missing.

No telling what impact my parents had on this.

Grampa was rather open minded in his candy consumption. I am not sure he ever took me to See’s but I am sure we brought him home goodies from time to time.

Gramma likes a good pecan roll.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Neighbors and Kitties Oh My

                        If you did not know, I have a cat.

So I bought three skeins of yarn recently. One got away from me and wandered onto the floor across the living room. There it has lived and stayed for at least a month untouched.

The kitties run freely all over the house. There are two cats but one is mine and the other was the neighbors and is now being claimed by my daughter.

Might I mention that the neighbors moved out. Literally we live in condo’s and they were the next door over. We hardly spoke. They have not left town and might indeed still live close but there are no planned visits. We have had the cat months if not a year or two and they have not even asked to see it.

Right before moving they adopted a kitten. They have a dog too.

Anyway my daughter told me they said “If we move they want their cat back.”


That cat has fleas so bad she got down to about 20% of her fur (the hair balls to authenticate this have littered our home), with the fleas she finally got worms and because there are two cats in our home, my cat who had a minor flea problem also got worms.
When only she had them I tried to give her worm medicine $20 for a small bottle. For a four pound cat she is feisty and was not fond of this. Such that it was not done regularly, thrice daily as required. When I finally figured out that I needed and could give it in their drinking water they both needed it but the medicine ran out.

I bought a knock off Advantage type product. It worked 80% well. A friend of my daughters is a vet tech or something so she sent us the real Advantage. Finally we are flea free and the poor mini fluff ball is returning to full poof.

She has shredded my kitchen chairs. It is less of an issue because I have no kitchen table and no room to put them or it in should I have one. Still now the leather or faux leather is pox marked looking.

We took her in because they left her outside and she was thinning plus suffering the abuses of an outdoor only cat.

They want her back if we leave this condo???

What bills will they be paying for the use of us as a kitty shelter and kennel? LOL

Truly I would do all of this for free to the point that I could afford.

I thought it was my daughter being silly when she said “When I move out I am taking my cat.” 

At the time with the family still living next door I thought they might object to their cat leaving the complex. The idea that they would leave never crossed my mind. She has been getting out occasionally now that the weather is both warm and dry. I know the neighbors are happy to know she is alive and well in our care. Such that if they happened to see her outside they would enjoy her.

The idea that they would leave and expect us to stay or return the cat, now that is funny.

Anyway I was talking about my cat. She is used to my yarn, supplies and life being strewn about the house etc.

Suddenly out of nowhere a day or two ago she started attacking the stray skein of new yarn on the ground. She was shaking it and carried it a few inches. She bit into it and pulled puckers of strands away from the form.

I sat on the couch trying not to have to get up and save it but watching her fascinated that she suddenly cared.

Pets & people, I tell ya!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

It Aint All Roses

So we’ve had an EXCITING week and not totally in a good way. Winning a stop in the Top 25 Single Mom blog challenge by Circle of Moms is an honor I have to share with my friends and followers here in social media.

In off line life however the teen had food poisoning. She as not even home half the time she was dealing with it. She got a little ill… thought she was fine and recovered so she left.

It was a day later that her Facebook updates said “I feel like I am dying.”By then thankfully as these things go the worst of it was mostly over.

Poor Melody the mouse did not survive all the house hopping she has been doing. I did not know rodents are sensitive to sound.
I knew we would be okay yesterday when I could hear my daughter singing up stairs as she worked on cleaning her room and other girly teen things out of sight.

Then she was hollering down the stairs 
"Mom you should let me bleach a lock of your hair.”

I replied "Umm, yeah no. I am good and what are you up to anyway?"

“I am going for cherry red” she said.

Not even close. We have pumpkin orange spice stripes.
I think it still looks cute but she is not amused.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Apple Crisp

The time before last when I went grocery shopping I bought oats and Granny Smith apples. You should know what that means. 

Apple Crisp! YUM

This dessert is so easy and relatively healthy due to both the apples and the oats.

It is super simple and fast as well. It bakes in about half an hour. Which is great because when I finally got around to making this one I had a small, small window such that I had to leave the house to take a final about 40 minutes after I put it in the oven.

I forget what else we were doing that day. I think I was playing chauffeuror Mom Taxi which I don’t do religiously anymore. My evening final was on one of the daughters school days where in which she attends for a few hours in the afternoon.

Piled on top of that I had a morning class. It just made for busy days our schedules this quarter. That mixed with the cold spells here and there made the warm spiced comfort food delight that much more delish'.

Grab a large baking dish 9x12 or so will do. I like mine thin but you can get more of a deep dish effect by using a smaller pan. 
4 Cups of sliced apples (Approximately 4)
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup flour
1/2 Cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 Cup butter softened
3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg 
I take one third to one half of the sugar and sprinkle it with the spices over the apples in the dish. 
Then sift the dry ingredients and cut in the butter until you have a uniform consitnencey. Sprinkle the resulting mixture fully over the apples.
Bake 350 for 25-40 minutes. Apples should be softened and the crust should cook and begin to brown and crisp just slightly. That is how you can tell it is done.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. I eat mine plain but people like it al a mode aka with a scoop of vanilla ice cream which could also be fun.
Living in a split level I have resorted to using the oven to heat the downstairs when the temperature really dipped. So it was nice to have the thing on and the smell of food actually coming out of it.
Most of what I eat these days can be cooked on the stove or reheated in the toaster oven. I no longer microwave but the daughter likes the ease that affords.

She has tried her hand at making pasta which came out better than average considering she had no experience and was just kind of going on a whim that day. She has however not ventured too far into baking. Cookies and cupcakes so far has been her limit.
I should see if she wants to make fudge.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

How Many Pets is Too Many

A few years back had the daughter and I living together, in a one bedroom apartment trying to get back on our feet as a family unit.

It was a spacious one bedroom but we had­­­ furniture for a two bedroom apartment. 

We live in a two bedroom condo now. So why do I feel that strange, over run by animals feeling, creeping up on me again? Maybe it is because my daughter brought home a feeder mouse as a pet.

Did anyone forget we have two cats? Does anyone have any idea how to feed and care for a pet mouse? What the heck is going on here?
Oh well Melody the mouse is cute enough in a rodent sort of way.

The cats agree... 

Back to the one bedroom. 

Maybe it was not the size but my daughters perspective on it all, life and pet ownership. 

So we took in two kittens from a litter a few doors down from us. Their mother had not litter box trained them. That was an adventure. 

A cute little adventure that had me digging a kitten out from behind wall furniture but we made it past that hurdle.

Then a mom I knew through social media sent out an SOS about a friends' cat they were trying to adopt into their household. The friend was out of town or out of state for good and had left two cats. 

One was fine and one was not doing so well. Her house, with two little kids under 7 was too much for this older kitty. Would anyone take her.

We said yes. The family even delivered her to us in a cardboard pet carrier. I set the carrier inside the apartment and went back out to say goodbye to the family. 

My daughter opened the carrier and either tried to take the cat out or put a kitten in…

What was inside the carrier was a grumpy, SMELLY, anti social, fully grown, black, female cat with talons not claws. 

This did not go over well. 

She hissed at the kitten who for the first time in it’s life arched it’s back and puffed out in defense mode scared to death!
To all of this, weeks later, my daughter wanted to add yet another kitten from the litter. 

I said "No". She kept asking. I held firm. So did she.

One afternoon she was on the patio with the third kitten. Through the screen she tried to tempt me to agree to adding it to our household. I really thought she was nuts. She got mad at me for not budging. 

Finally I said

"Listen here is the deal, no other living creature can live in our home. Five is enough. So you can add the cat if you want to sleep outside. Otherwise the answer will remain no."

She gave me a mean look and stopped talking to me but eventually she came inside, without the kitten.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kitchen Adventures

After a recent shopping adventure I told my daughter to cook some flank steaks I had brought home.

The kitchen was a mess so while she was cooking I was washing dishes. We decided on a rice dish to go with our protein so that was working as well.

With all my distraction the food was ready before I could finish. After she had taken a few bites of her meal I asked my daughter if the meat came out okay.

Yes she said the prep had come out well but the steak she was eating was a tad bit salty.

"I don't know why" she said "I always season my meat the same way."

"It could not be that you over seasoned by a tad could it?" I asked

To which she replied "Oh no it can't be that."

"So then it is what the cows fault?" I asked

"Yes!" she said

So I started laughing and I said "Darn that salty cow." She countered with

"Yeah it is because you bought organic." and I nearly lost it. I was laughing so hard. What the heck kiddo? Whatever you say...

I hope she will realize for next time that thinner meat might not need as much seasoning but my pieces were not overly salted so she did not do a bad job.

Before this she had gotten a hankering for friend chicken one night and chicken breast the next. Both of which she artfully prepared all by herself.

Then more recently she decided one night she needed to make cup cakes. One of our many problems that night was that we had no baking soda.

I thumbed through my Betty Crocker Cookbook as well as searching the web.I think we ended up adapting the Silver White Cake recipe. We added chocolate powder and used oil for the shortening.

    2 1/4 cups cake flour
    1 1/2 cups white sugar
    3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup shortening
    1 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 egg whites
 Since we were not going for an all white cake we used two whole eggs as well in lieu of four egg whites.

Sift the dry items and add the liquids. Stir all together and put in prepared pans etc.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes if making cup cakes. Ours came out yummy. I ate a couple before she put her make shift frosting on them. She does not like chocolate and I don't like frosting. I hate to say the rest of them just went to waste.