Friday, January 31, 2014

An Egg-Cellent Party Favor

This is how resourceful I can be with our eggs-o-plenty.
Why yes! Organic fresh-free-range chicken eggs can be a party favor!
Two of my high school friends share birthdays six days a part. Celebrating is something that we look forward to this time of year. Throwing them a birthday dinner is like hatching two yolks in one egg! 
Party Prep 
 My friend and were talking honestly that sometimes it is hard to have just ONE glass of wine. I couldn't believe it ... a week later, I found the perfect solution to that problem.
"Just One"
She really liked my solution ... we all "cracked" up!
It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating their16th birthdays. Fast forward thirty years and we are still taking  time to recognize the blessing of egg-ceptionally dear friendships, good health and togetherness.
Nights like this one will egg-o in our hearts forever!
 Not only did they leave with left-over brownie cake, gifts and hugs, but a special hen-made party favor ... and an egg-onomical one at that!
She's thinking ...
 "My birthday wish is that Unicycle Rose stop making lame puns
and behaving like a bad egg"
Remember, organic fresh-free-range chicken eggs can be a party favor!

Winter Chicken Report

Daniel and my Teckie  are still loving who's left of the chickens. Many have died, or been pecked to death in the last months. I count it as a blessing because 14 was waaaay to many chickens for this mother hen.
Green Acres is the place to be, farm living is the life for me ... NOT!
In November, we were preparing to go away and our friends's son was going to care for the brood. He came over to learn the food/water/egg routine when a Polish chicken slumped over dead in a laying box.  It a mystery why that one died, but she was part of a slew of many drop-dead chickens within a month.

Then there was Louise. She squawked so loud that we feared the neighbors would complain. Plus, she was going bald (not in a regular-molting sort of way). Something wasn't right.  Loud Louise was dropped off by a creek in farming land less than a mile away. Daniel was bummed because Louise had been around a long time and was a very friendly chicken that he loved. I didn't think she could survive a single night out in the wild, but I'll be darn! Dan and his buddy rode bikes down to "visit" her a couple days later. She was alive and responded to Dan, walking toward him. Daniel cheered up and felt better after that. Days later, on a run, Teckie popped in and found Louise dead.
"Like she just fell over" as my husband described it.
To this day, my son thinks Louise is living a prosperous life on the farm down the street.
The  "hen-hood"
The good news is that the chicks we purchased last Easter love their homemade chicken condos and ALAS, they are starting to lay. These gals want everyone in the neighborhood to know it! They are vocal, very squawky, and their volume makes me nervous.  If passing an egg is anything like childbirth, they can be as loud as they want.
All in a days work :)
More good chicken news? After an Egg Drought of 2 measly eggs a day (for months), these ladies are "gettin' their laying on" and producing 7 eggs a day! Before this, I  was trying to convince Teckie that
our Chicken Days were over.
Why?
 Their coop is messy, feed costs money and they were producing next to nada! Nothing! Zippo! They were stinky moochers and I wanted them OUT of our yard! Apparently, those nine hens heard me and stepped it up a notch to 7  a day! With over four dozen eggs in my fridge, I decided they can stay.

Keep pushing out those eggs honey, and nobody gets hurt
Now we  are back to the point of handing out eggs like Halloween candy. I try to be creative with that many eggs to share. More on my resourcefulness next ...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Off Christmas

Home makeover Christmas Edition: Building Gingerbread "Manor"
Thanksgiving in Arizona zoomed by and when we returned it was December 3rd! Already!
 I missed that week of usual Christmas prep and the entire season felt "OFF." Sort of like trying to find the beat as you stomp your foot and embarrassingly clap at the wrong time to the music.
Gingerbread houses are different than Gingerbread" Manors" ... let's just say
they are two stories high and frosting is not cement. Lucas and I pulled out the glue gun
after ours collapsed twice!
 
The Manors turned out sweetly beautiful
 and you can't even see (or taste) the glue holding ours up on the left!
Gingerbread houses, lights, shopping and traditional d├ęcor was delayed. This was the first time EVER that our Christmas cards arrived (as in; they were delivered to mi casa) the day before Christmas. Usually, those babies land in our  loved one's mailbox the first week of December!
Not so, not so.

Waiting to use his machete for months, Daniel finally had the perfect opportunity
 Like I said, December was "OFF" but a blessed  season of merrymaking, just the same.
 Daniel cut down a lil' sapling  that was a class gift  to me four years ago!
The most unbalanced pine tree EVER, it fit perfect in the den  corner where no one would notice
half the tree-bush was missing.
 It makes me think of the Wizard of Oz ... "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"
or "that half the Christmas tree-bush is missing."
 I planted it back in 2010, anticipating one day we'd cut it down and drag her in! It grew in a funky way towards the sun and was shaped more like a half-bush than tree. Honestly, it was "OFF" ... crouching there in the den corner like a paralyzed-green midget wearing a star hat. However,  smelling fresh pine and feeling sticky sap was a welcomed change from the fake-boxed tree we slap up every year.

Oh, and the joy Daniel had cutting down that awkward Christmas bush?
Priceless.
Saddling up the doggies for our yearly Winter Walk
 
Despite the "OFFNESS" we squeezed in some special events/traditions that
define December as "not just another month."
This  pic is from our  Christmas Light Walk with our neighbors.
It's takes a while for these kids to "warm up" since they are mature teens now. 
Once they do reconnect ... it's like they are eight again and ready for a water balloon fight.

Daniel's big Christmas gift was an Xbox that he's wanted for the past three years.
 I felt so old trying to understand the capability of this "machine" (OK, now I really sound old).

It goes like this: with a headset strapped on,  Daniel is gaming with friends on the same battlefield/soldier team, and talking real-time to buddies while strategizing and blowing up stuff together.

It's high-tech gaming  and is light-years ahead of the Pong Game from 1975!
Perhaps,  I am "technically OFF?"
Walking down Gemini Court ... a fun tradition in our small town
All Lucas wanted for Christmas was for Jenny to visit. Being that we all enjoy her, she flew in the day after Christmas and did the family thing with us. Such as ...

 
 Bowling, eating  Overboard's Lasagna, a Santa Barbara visit, visiting record stores and hanging out at the mall, of course. The days went by way too fast for them. Jenny's visit  made for a uniquely "OFF" Christmas, but in the best way possible! She blends so well with our family.

Guess what Lucas wants for his 17th birthday in March?
Yes, another visit from Jenny.
Jenny was lucky enough to meet our visiting Hawaiian Cousins
  Next on our calendar?
We pounded, beat and banged in 2014.
 Literally.
New Year's Eve was loud because  Lucas received a drum set from Santa and us parent folk.
We set it up in the garage and then  Daniel moved his keyboard in.
 Presto!
Garage band extraordinaire ... headaches, friends and earplugs included.
Ay yi yi!
Loud and a tad "OFF" at times, but overall a stupendous New Year's Eve ...
A splendid end to 2013!

Some other Holiday Highlights we embraced in this "OFF" Christmas?
The traditional Christmas gathering with my high school friends was still "ON" and we
had a special guest, Suzette, from Texas.  Perhaps you remember we named our very first
chicken after her?
(May Suzette RIP, the Chicken, of course!) 
My family played the homemade "Tree Game" Christmas Night, and it was filled with
belly-busting laughs and many loud memories! We went with a new theme and our Hawaiian cousins played too!
It's nice to keep it fresh so then it never gets old!

 
 Let's be real.
It doesn't matter if Christmas falls on an "OFF" day, or regular-convenient day .
 In the end, it's all about Baby Jesus and the loved that was poured out that first Christmas, and continues to live inside us.

I admit I am
 totally late and "OFF"  in sharing our Holiday Happenings.
 However,  I am thankful to have finally noted Christmas 2013 on Unicycle Rose ... for posterity's sake!
AWWW... Santa Dog brought The Weiner Sisters a new beddy-by
 Next, I hope to share the ever lasting Chicken Saga and their feathery-success story.
Hint: they are alive ... most of them.
 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Arizona Turkey (Delayed)

"It has been so long  since my last post" .... I HATE when bloggers start with an apology for not keeping current, but here I am. Guilty! Below is something I meant to post last Thanksgiving.
 I KNOW!  It is January, and the END of January, at that!
Jeez, way to procrastinate ... regardless,  this is what was going on last November. 

Please take note that I wrote this basking in the Arizona sun, sipping a bloody Mary (with jalapenos) and eating like a Queen ... just three short months ago ...  Ahem!
Being away from home and "the grind" lends time to sit, think, and write. Aunt Debbie is taking such great care of us that, alas, Amigas, I can share some highlights of the past months.
 Unicycle Rose cruised Blanche  in a 5k to raise money for Camp Del Corazon.
Lucas even participated, walking with his friends from Camp. Cutie-Pie and Nephew Benson came along, as the event was held in Hollywood. Camp Del Corazon has blessed my family in so many positive ways. The sting of having congenital heart defects is transformed into a big, fat blessing with that group!

Daniel shot his first duck at Pt. Mugu and then Teckie and he BBQ'd the bird ... gross!

FYI: Duck tastes greasy and bad. That's my opinion, QUACK!

I entered a Survivor Football pool for the first time, along with fifty other people. Can you believe that I was one of the last three left, and also a winner? Needless to say, my Sundays have been filled with NFL games and  actually caring who wins. I followed stats, read predictions and put my heart and soul into picking my next week's winning team. I never thought I would become one of "those" annoying football people. But I was! The pool just ended last week and I await my windfall in the mail soon. It was so much fun. I'm hooked. Perhaps next year I will head a Survivor Pool of my own?

Teckie and I celebrated 19 years of marriage in October, and had a nice getaway in the mountains. I can't believe we are heading toward our 20th year, and, we still love and  LIKE each another (for the most part, LOL!). Soooo many friends have divorced, it makes me think miracles happen; thank God for those marriages that stick. It isn't easy, this marriage stuff. However, it's totally worth the ups and downs. As my older sister, Miss Piggy, said on our wedding DVD years ago ...  
"Never lose your sense of humor."
Amen, Sister
Here is Teckie, chilling with Uncle Matt in the "ZONE"

One of the perks of visiting family in AZ? It's seeing Lucas's Camp del Corazon friend,  Sweet Jenny

Can you tell I'm not a fan of Black
Friday? I am considering becoming a "minimalist"
Since we were heading to Arizona for Turkey, we celebrated Thanksgiving  early in Santa Barbara with my family.

Thanksgiving is such a great time of year. In America, with our "First World Problems", it's easy to think we don't have enough, or we deserve so much more. Honey, listen. Sometimes I can get  caught up asking God for situations and things,  that I forget to be thankful for  the little, unique blessings that surround me. And, those everyday things are the best ones ...

Food, True Friends, God's Grace, House Fires,
Wiener Doggies, Unicycles and Fourth Graders,
and Family
(For example, Little Benson,  Aunt Debbie, my kids, sisters,  "etc , etc, etc "
 .... as Willy Wonka said),***




My conclusion?
I Thank the Lord that He is always present, He is always loving and He is always wanting the best for you and me ... and not just in November.
 ALL YEAR LONG!
 The End

***Who of you "out there" got the Willy Wonka quote? Hint:  It was from the scene when Mr. Willy Wonka is chewing out Charlie and Grandpa Joe for dirtying up the bubble room... I am just curious. That's all :)