Thursday, October 29, 2009

Funny Things to See

A bird in our flag bunting. Joe said one flew away (over his head). This one stayed. I had a feeling something was living in them. They are noisy.

And check this out. I boiled some of our eggs and this one was a double yolk. I've never seen anything like it.

I asked the kids who wanted to eat the egg with two half-yolks (everyone wanted a half). Jackson replied, "Do you mean the whole yolk? Two halves make a whole." Funny little smart kid.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tablecloth Skirt

So here's the skirt that took weeks in the making. Well, the actual making didn't take weeks. It was just a long, slow process. I cut out the skirt and did nothing with it for weeks. Then I inserted the zipper and sewed the side seams and did nothing with it for weeks. And then when I finished the skirt, I realized it had a horrible mistake. It was like the skirt was not meant to be.

This skirt, like too many in the past, did not fit. I made the A-line, side-zipper skirt from Sew What! Skirts. It's a book I really want to like, but I have found that all of the skirts I have made from it (excluding the wraparound skirts) have been grossly large on me. By inches. After the zipper was sewn in this skirt, I tried it on. I ended up taking an inch off one side seam (because I was not going to take out that zipper). The skirt was doomed from the start.

After the skirt was finished, I noticed the zipper. And then I tried it on again, and it was so big around my waist that I could tug on it and it came over my hips. The skirt required two darts at the waist, which were about an inch each.

I knew I couldn't live with the wonky zipper so I fixed it. What? You don't believe me?

Oh ye, of little faith.

My favorite part of the skirt might be the hidden detail in the facing. I used a vintage pillowcase.

[Last night as our town council meeting was starting, we were standing to say the Pledge. As I tried to stand up, I banged one of my sore knees on the table and then the standing-up movement with my sore chest muscles made me grunt. In the microphone. By accident. Which meeting was being taped for broadcast. It was really just a reflex grunt from my pain. However, it made the mayor turn around and look at me. I tried to stand as straight as I could, all the while wincing in pain. **The doctor said I have "traumatic prepatellar bursitis," which is basically "water on the knee." He prescribed an anti-inflammatory for my knees and said that it would also help the pulled muscles in my chest. Let's just pray it works. Also -- my blood pressure was also high (for me). They think it is because I am in pain.**]

Monday, October 26, 2009


On Saturday morning I was going to go for a short run. I told Joe, “just two or three miles, depending how my knee feels,” and out the door I went. I wanted to get in an outdoor run before the Saturday rain hit.

I started my iPod and started my watch. I thought it was impossible, but it happened again.

My left ankle gave out on me (which it usually does in the same spot every run) and I did not recover (like usually do). I fell.

Yes. Lera fell. Again. Go ahead laugh. I’d join you, except that I pulled a muscle in my chest and it hurts any time I try to breathe, laugh, or move.

It happened so fast that I couldn't even think “not my knees! NOT MY KNEES!” Before I knew what was happening both knees were on the road and my mind was screaming, “not my face! NOT MY FACE!” And I threw my hands down on the ground. And I did a major, major push-up action. Well, I didn’t really push up. I just landed that way. Like I was going to do a push-up, if I could do a push-up. My nose came within two inches of the road.

To make matters worse, a car stopped to ask if I was okay. Yes. There was a witness to this fall. (I keep wondering, “do I know that person?” and worse yet, “do they know me??” I’m terrified at the thought of hearing “Oh, the new council person just did a face plant on the road back there.”)

So I lost a little bit of my dignity that morning. And a bunch of skin on my knees That fall I had last week in the chicken coop pales in comparison to this fall. I am sore from my armpits to my ankles. (Oh, the faulty ankle is fine, by the way. It just pulled a naughty prank on me that morning.) I can’t bend my knees without wanting to cry. I can’t squat to lower myself onto the sofa. I can’t get off the sofa. I had to use the wheelchair-accessible bathroom at church yesterday so I could use the bar to lower myself and hoist myself back up again. All the while groaning in agony. (I only went to church because the children were in a program and I didn’t want to miss it and one of my boys had a talk.)

So that was my weekend. Sitting on the sofa with ice on my knees and handfuls of ibuprofen. Not much else to report. (Oh, except poor Spenser had an ingrown toenail fixed on Friday. That poor little girl.)

So, for those of you who asked, I think I will put something in my sidebar about the number of falls Lera can take. This fall makes three. Well, three that I can remember. Three that have caused significant pain/injury. (Since mid-July.)

*Oh, and did I mention that I was less than 10 seconds into my run when this happened? 10 seconds! I was in front of my next door neighbor's house. Well, actually, in front of the lot that separates us. That may have been my shortest run in history.

*If you notice the nasty yellowing bruise down my shin, it has grown to be longer than the length of my hand, from my wrist to the tip of my middle finger.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You Know You're a Redneck

when the only thing holding your son's trumpet together is some super glue and clothespins.

But, you're a little classier when you have trumpet-case fur sticking to it, giving the trumpet some extra bling.

(For the record, Carter's mouthpiece was stuck on. As we tried to remove it, the trumpet fell apart. It was Sunday night or so. Joe glued it and Carter took it to school on Monday. As the band teacher tried to remove the mouthpiece, it fell apart again. Poor guy. He was probably sweating bullets when it broke. We glued it again. And then again. And now, the mouthpiece is stuck again. It will probably stay attached until his new one arrives. Any day now.)

So, I ask: What's holding your trumpet together?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is it ever

too early in the day to eat pumpkin roll? I think not.

Pumpkin Roll:

3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together. Grease and flour* cookie sheet with sides or jelly roll pan. Pour in mixture and add nuts, if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle paper towel (or clean kitchen towel, I use a dedicated "pumpkin roll" flour sack towel) lined with powdered sugar and roll cake in towel. Let cool for 1/2 hour.

Beat together:

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
4 T. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Unroll cake roll and remove towel. Spread mixture on roll and roll up again. Refrigerate.

*Pam cooking spray with flour works wonders. I do not suggest Bakers Choice. It's crap.

Now ... what to do with the leftover pumpkin ... Suggestions?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Yesterday morning, I fell. I was in the chicken coop and somehow I must have stepped on a branch (that we use for a roosting bar) with my left foot, tripped over the branch with my right foot (those toes were trapped under the branch), and then fell on top of the branch. Thankfully I was wearing pants because, even though it still scraped up my leg, it could have been worse. Oh, and the pants protected my legs from all that chicken poop that I landed on. It could have been worse.

The area that was swollen (and actually only slightly bruised but hurts so freaking much) is longer than my pointer finger. And I have long fingers. It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but it hurts. Oh, it hurts. It hurt to touch the mattress last night and it hurt to move it. It hurts when I stand up from sitting. It hurts when I'm sitting. I can't cross that leg and let it dangle.

Apparently I'm just a klutz. Since I fell in July I haven't been right. I'm still sporting a scar on my shin from that fall and I didn't blog this but at the time I thought I broke my pinkie finger. I didn't have it checked out until September, when I went in for my pre-op appointment. They x-rayed it and said it was not broken, but if it still hurt in a month they wanted me to see a hand specialist. Well ... it still hurts. I'm trying to justify it by saying it doesn't hurt as much as it did a month ago, but it still hurts. Especially when it's cold. And this morning there is a chill in the air and my pinkie hurts.

And my knee hurts. Boy, my knee hurts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ruffled Shirt - Mod Green

During our rainy Saturday I had the chance to sew. It is a rare thing to sew on a Saturday. We usually have three soccer games that last all day long. And, while they usually play in the rain, it had rained for three straight days and it was decided that they didn't want the fields messed up with cleats, so all games were cancelled.

It was bliss.

We just all hung around the house because it was too cold and dreary to do anything else. Carter had a friend spend the night and so everyone had their own thing to do. Peacefully.

I sewed. I had a list a mile long of things I've wanted to do and haven't had time to do. I tidied my long-neglected sewing area, mended a few things, embellished a few things, and sewed a few things. One of the shirts I embellished was this $4.20 clearance special from Target. I bought a second shirt to cut up and ruffled away. Total cost = $8.40 + tax and a few minutes of my time.

Here is a closeup of the ruffles. The color of the shirt is "mod green" and closer to the color in the top photo. This photo looks all washed out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hmmm ...

Think anyone will notice??

Friday, October 16, 2009

Marimekko Love

When I saw this bag advertised in a magazine, I fell in love. Before I even knew it was designed by Marimekko. Thankfully, the bag is inexpensive and benefits a good cause. You can get yours here. (I bought two. And my sister bought one. We aren't sure if we have enough, so you better act quickly.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ribbon Flower

When I was buying school clothes (back in August), I picked up a plain striped tee for Spenser. I knew it would need something special for it, so I never gave it to her. And then I forgot about it. Well, she found it on Sunday and I knew the time had come for me to do what I had originally planned.

A ribbon flower.
I cut several strips of ribbons (I did 9" each) and sewed them in a loop. Then I machine-sewed the loops together to form the flower. I added a pin back so it removable (for laundering or wearing on a different garment) and then attached a complementary fabric-covered button. Voila!
However, I think the next time I'll make the strips shorter. It's a little floppy when upright. (Wired ribbon might work nicely, too.)

*On Saturday morning Carter wanted desperately to give me a birthday present. He ran into his room and came out with a "wrapped" gift. When I opened it, I was puzzled. I pondered it for a moment, trying to figure out why he was giving me this thing as a gift. I guess he could see the look in my eyes and quickly said, "It's a stress ball." And that's when I laughed. Hard. I said, "Carter! It's not a stress ball. It's half of a clown's nose!" We laughed quite a bit over that one. It's surely one gift I hope I never forget.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I cannot allow the day to end without posting.

Today I turned 40. Yes, forty. As in 4-0.

Even though I've known it was going to happen for a few years, it's still something for which you cannot prepare.

It was a good day. Filled with a morning run with Joe (and unfortunately seeing lots of dead animal carcasses along the way), two winning soccer games, buffalo wings and cheesecake.

This morning I had the awful feeling I should check the local newspaper online. And, not to my surprise, there it was. An ad placed lovingly by my parents, brothers, and sisters. So, yes, my face blared through not only the online newspaper, but in black and white print. For all the world to see. Announcing my new age. It did make me smile. After I grimaced.

A couple of people recognized me from the newspaper today. Well, they already knew me, but they made sure I knew they saw it. One was our bishop (and his wife.) Another was the mother of one of Carter's friends that we saw in the store.

In keeping up with my birthday tradition, I will share a few things about myself. Hopefully they are not repeats from years past. Let's see ...
  1. I drive on "auto-pilot."
  2. I usually go to the same places all the time and don't have to think where I'm going.
  3. Last week I had to make a few out-of-the-ordinary stops.
  4. I went the wrong way 2-3 times in just one morning just because I wasn't thinking.
  5. I like to watch iCarly.
  6. I was home alone a year ago (in bed suffering a stomach virus) when I realized I had been alone for hours, yet I was still watching iCarly.
  7. And I didn't change the channel.
  8. I love buffalo wings.
  9. I had some for dinner tonight and they are the first "real" wings I've had since we lived in Ohio.
  10. I might have been pregnant with Mason.
  11. Mason just turned 7 in August.
  12. Almost everything is better with Frank's Red Hot Sauce.
  13. I {heart} that stuff.
  14. Joe bought me a new cell phone yesterday.
  15. I can now text.
  16. Before last night, I had only texted twice.
  17. Both times to Joe, while he was out of town.
  18. Once during church.
  19. The other time when I lost internet service and I knew I couldn't call him on his cell phone while he was in classes all day.
  20. He never got the second text.
  21. So maybe it only counts as one.
  22. I have texted many times since last night.
  23. In fact, my thumbs were sore last night.
  24. And today.
  25. Maybe my thumbs are getting old.
  26. I started to sew a skirt a few weeks ago.
  27. And still haven't finished.
  28. I have two (three ?) more planned for the fall.
  29. I need to get moving.
  30. I discovered a yummy candy bar this week.
  31. I've eaten many.
  32. I would eat another now, but wings and cheesecake have filled me up.
  33. Joe can usually read my mind.
  34. It can be a scary thought.
  35. Today I thought I wanted to eat cheesecake.
  36. When we stopped at the store (in between soccer games), Joe bought a cheesecake.
  37. I love raspberry anything.
  38. And I love chocolate-raspberry anything.
  39. I think it's possibly the best combination ever created.
  40. Chocolate-raspberry hot chocolate is the best.
  41. I've been drinking Rooibus tea and I love that, too.
  42. I just bought four (or five ?) boxes of this.
  43. Our local SERRV was having a great sale.
  44. That's also where I bought the Divine Chocolate.
  45. I went to SERRV three times this week.
  46. I'm happy that the sale ended today.
  47. I'm happy that another sale starts Nov. 19th.
  48. I bought myself a handmade purse today.
  49. 60% off.
  50. And a pair of 100% wool gloves for little hands.
  51. For $4.00
  52. And earlier in the week I bought an adorable 100% wool hat for a little Sawyer head.
  53. Did I mention that I'm happy the sale ended today?
  54. I can't afford to go back until November.
  55. And maybe not then.
  56. I have a Christmas Club account and save money all year long for Christmas.
  57. I refuse to use credit cards.
  58. I {heart} my debit card.
  59. I should freeze it in a block of ice and keep it in the freezer.
  60. When I'm in a hurry, my handwriting is illegible.
  61. Even to myself.
  62. I've enjoyed being on Town Council.
  63. Did I tell you I get paid for attending meetings?
  64. Don't get too excited.
  65. It's not a lot of money.
  66. But it's the first money I've made in a decade or so.
  67. I get paid quarterly.
  68. I've gotten paid twice so far.
  69. I'm in charge of the town's street lights.
  70. And mowing contract.
  71. And the elderly, subsidized housing complex.
  72. And maybe something else that has slipped my mind.
  73. I report stoplight outages to the State Highway Administration.
  74. We have one stoplight in town.
  75. Well, only one intersection with a stoplight, so four sets of stoplights total.
  76. But it also has a crosswalk on all four streets, so I am in charge of them, too.
  77. And I guess there is a flashing light down by the fire department.
  78. So if a light is out down there, I would be in charge of that, too.
  79. It doesn't keep me very busy.
  80. But, I do have SHA's number programmed on my cell phone so I can report an outage as I see it.
  81. Before my old mind forgets.
  82. I'm also in charge of the street lamps.
  83. Some are reported to our town's electrician.
  84. Some are reported to our power supplier.
  85. I had to read pages and pages of our town's contract with our power supplier.
  86. It put me to sleep every time I picked it up.
  87. It was a good distraction for me while Joe was out of town.
  88. It was guaranteed to put me to sleep every time.
  89. I'm trying to get a youth running group organized in our town.
  90. I talked to the people in charge of the town's youth program and they are excited about it.
  91. We're going to discuss it again in the spring.
  92. Joe is going to take me to buy a new pair of running shoes on Monday.
  93. I have almost 300 miles on my current pair.
  94. They sure are comfy.
  95. But I'm concerned they might be the cause of my frequent knee problems.
  96. Even though I've had knee problems since I was in a preschooler.
  97. My knees used to get dislocated for no apparent reason.
  98. The last major time that happened was while I was in college.
  99. At the movie theater.
  100. That was embarrassing.

If you'd like to read other interesting (or not-so-interesting) things about me, you can read my past birthday posts. Here is last year's. And the year before. And the year before that.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


On Tuesday I went with my parents, three sisters, two brothers, one sister-in-law, five nephews, three nieces, Spenser and Sawyer to Lancaster for the day.

We hit Roots first, which is an auction/flea market/farmers market all in one. It's really a place you can get lost in. Quite easily. There wasn't a lot of time to go through each vendor carefully, so I used my best Lera-radar to scan the area.

Two of my most treasured finds of the day were the vintage cookbook and the cheater-cloth apron. The cookbook, Cooking by the Garden Calendar, has recipes separated by month. It truly brings home the "eating in the season thereof" theory of eating fruits, veggies, and grains in the season they are harvested. (Never mind my frozen strawberry use for the strawberry butter.)

The other adorable cookbook was actually a reproduction of a vintage cookbook that was given to me by my sister, Kate.

Our favorite part is this, "Have on a pretty apron, and is your hair looking mighty smooth?" ::giggle:: How cute is that?

And a few other treasures from Kate. Two small bowls with the wheat pattern that matches a sandwich-tea set we have and a Pyrex gravy boat (not goat, silly typing fingers) that matches quite a bit of my Pyrex collection.

There is another cool spot to hit in the Lancaster area on Fridays called The Green Dragon. It's just like Roots, which is only open on Tuesdays.

I am cleaning my oven (or my oven is cleaning itself) and Spenser just said, "Mmm. Something smells good." It smells terrible, like something is burning! Poor girl. She has the sniffles today and can't differentiate between good smells and bad smells. (She said it smells like hamburgers.)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Strawberry Butter

So I know that strawberries aren't in season anymore, but I couldn't resist a large, inexpensive bag of frozen strawberries at the wholesale club last week. I just had a feeling it was a canning-kind-of-weekend and strawberry butter was the first thing that popped into my mind.

Made similarly to the blueberry butter that I made this summer (and subsequently the cherry butter that I made and never blogged), this might be my most favorite one yet. It is seriously good. And since I use apple juice and only a little sugar, it's healthier than most jams.* Right?

One six pound bag of frozen berries yielded 3 1/2 pints. And I'm not sure if that will be enough. But since they are frozen and available throughout the year, I might be able to resist making more. For now.

*I used approximately 2 cups of apple juice and 2 cups of sugar for 6 pounds of strawberries.

Monday, October 05, 2009

We Have Mice!

Okay. Not really. (Well, actually, probably really in our basement, but let's not talk about that.)

Last year I bought some black craft foam in hopes of making some rats and mice to decorate our outside steps. And, well, it never happened. This year, it has happened.

I got the idea from Martha. I decided to use foam (instead of paper) so I could use them on our front steps. The kids are really excited about them. And I see I need to add more.

The pumpkins all came from our yard. Some from our herb garden and the largest ones from our front yard. (So happy to have finally picked them.) The two pumpkins we picked back in August started to rot, so we fed them to the chickens. And they were entirely loved. And I have a pumpkin on my dining room table (which I stole from the bottom step last night) and a little pumpkin on a bench on the front porch. I guess that makes 11 pumpkins total. Not to mention the little baby white pumpkins and gourds that grew accidentally in our garden. So, this little porch decoration cost me nothing.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Trying Something New

The air has turned cooler. And this non-coffee drinker was looking for new options. Apparently, so was my mother. A few weeks ago she ran into the store to buy some herb tea and stumbled upon her friend who was buying herb tea. Her friend recommended rooibus (pronounced "roy-boss"). My mother loved it. And then my search to find it was on. I went to five different stores before I found it. And, let me tell you, it was worth the wait. And I'm so happy that I like it, because I bought four boxes.

I always like to try new things, but I am often hesitant to go out of my comfort zone. So, tell me, what new things are you trying?

(And for your laughing pleasure: This morning I threw a tee shirt on after my shower so I could pack lunches. When I went upstairs "to get dressed," I put my bra on over my tee. I seriously do not know what I was thinking, except that I was totally not thinking. And Saturday at soccer Sawyer had to go potty. Even though there are port-a-pots, I told him to go behind a tree near the weeds. A few minutes later he emerged and put his fingers on my chin. I noticed they were wet! I shrieked, "get your fingers off my chin" in my shrill, loud voice. Which gained a lot of unwanted attention. Everyone looked at me as if I were a bad mother. I quietly explained to the people sitting directly next to me that he had just gone to the bathroom and his fingers were wet. That's the life, I tell ya. Pee on my chin.)