May 15, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Tourtière (Meat Pie)


As promised, I have a recipe that is a little more adventurous than last week's Pumpkin Bread. I actually followed two recipes to make this--one for the crust and one for the filling. The crust recipe was actually submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by my grandma! I wish I had memories of this, but sadly, I do not--most of my memories of my grandma were after she developed Alzheimer's. She passed away in 1999.

My mom said that my grandma used to make Tourtière every year at Christmastime--not just for the family, but also for the priests at church and for close friends. She made it for the family every Christmas Eve. Her filling recipe wasn't in the book, unfortunately but there were three other recipes for the filling. Here is a photo of my grandma ("Gobby") and me:


The recipe I chose for the filling was submitted by Carol Tilly in memory of her great-grandmother Rose (Beaubien) Laura. Carol was born in 1930 and passed away in 2018. The year she graduated high school, she was one of only SIX in her class! She was also the Valedictorian. Later on, she volunteered for veterans' services, crocheting lap blankets for veterans in the VA hospital--how sweet is that?

Carol's great-grandmother, Rose, was born in 1866 and passed away in 1959. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any info about her, other than what I'll share below. I chose her recipe because tourtière is a French-Canadian dish, and her last name (Beaubien) sounded French to me--and I figured it was my best chance at an authentic recipe! (Hey, whatever works.)

I even found a picture of each of them... Carol is on the left and Rose (her great-grandmother) is on the right.


Sorry if this is boring, but I found it very interesting! I was able to find Rose on geni.com, an ancestry site, and I kept digging back generations to see if any of her relatives were born in Quebec, Canada--that's where the Tourtière recipe originated. And sure enough, Rose's great-great-grandfather was Jean-Baptiste Cuillerier Dit Cuillerier dit Beaubien (I had to copy and paste that, haha) from Quebec, born in 1709. He died in Detroit, so I can assume that he is the one who emigrated from Canada to the States, bringing the family name.

If my assumptions are correct, then I like to think that this is an authentic tourtière recipe from Quebec in the 1700's. Fun! Okay, I'll get on with it...

As usual, I am copying this recipe exactly as written, but make sure you read my notes. (If you plan to make the recipe, use the printable copy linked below, because I rewrote it to be easier to follow.) Also, I made this exactly as written--no substitutions or changes.

Here is a printer-friendly version!

First, my grandma's recipe for the crust...

French Pastry for Tourtière

2 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
3 Tbsp. lard
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Sift flour and salt. Add butter and lard. Blend with pastry blender. Beat egg and milk together. Stir into flour mixture. Chill 1 hour.

My notes: This is very self-explanatory--it was easy to make, even for me (who is notorious for screwing up baked goods). I prepared this and while it was chilling, I worked on the filling. This makes enough for the bottom- and top- crust for one pie.


Tourtière (Meat Pie)

1-1/2 lbs. ground pork
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 or 4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sage
Pie crust for 3 pies

Combine first 8 ingredients (meat and seasonings) in large pan. Cover with water. Boil, uncovered, 30-45 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking. Cook potatoes; mash and add to drained meat. Add sage and salt and pepper if needed. Remove bay leaves. Fill pie crusts. Cover with top crust. Bake 45-60 minutes at 400 F. (A traditional Christmas treat.)

My notes:

The first thing I noticed was the potatoes--they aren't listed in the ingredients list. I wasn't sure how many I needed, so I looked at some other recipes for tourtière to get an idea; for this amount of meat, it looked like 3-6 potatoes). I had four large potatoes at home, so I used those. It turned out to be the perfect amount. (I would guess the potatoes were probably 10 oz each? I should have weighed them. But it's not crucial to get the perfect amount of potatoes.)

I'd never cooked ground meat this way before (in water) so it was fun to try something different. I'm not sure why you don't add the sage in with the meat while it's cooking, but I followed the directions.


It says pie crust for three pies, but when I was done making this, the filling was only enough for two pies. This is the texture of the filling:


To assemble: Divide the dough in half. On a floured countertop, roll out one half of the dough in a large circle, big enough to cover the bottom and sides of a pie plate. Spread half of the meat filling into the dough-lined plate. Roll out the other half of the dough and drape it across the top. Pinch the edges of top and bottom crust together. Cut a few slits in the top to release steam while baking.



I only made one pie; I put the other half of the filling in a Ziploc bag and set it in the freezer to make another day.

The verdict: I SO BADLY wanted to love this! And I would have... if it weren't for the cinnamon and nutmeg. My family agreed. The texture was nice, the crust turned out great, but I just wasn't crazy about the cinnamon-nutmeg flavor with the meat and potatoes. I would definitely make this again, but I would change the spices.

This was a fun recipe, even though I spent two hours making it! I can see why this was reserved for Christmas Eve dinner ;)

May 14, 2021

Friday Night Photos

I don't have a lot of photos today, but I do have a couple of pretty interesting ones...

First, Jerry got a great photo of the fox that's been hanging around. I've seen him trotting past our house a few times now. I really love where we live--with the state land/marsh across the street, we see a lot of fun nature.


Jerry finally power washed our house and deck. I've been asking him to do it for a while, but it seemed like it was either raining or we had something going on every day that he was off work. I would have done it myself, but he told me that it would be killer on my hands/arms. One of the most painful things for me to do is to squeeze something and he said you have to squeeze the trigger and handle the whole time you're spraying.

Anyway, I knew the deck was terrible and needed to be power washed, but I was not at all prepared for the before and after pictures. It's gross! We usually power wash every year in the spring, but last year we didn't do it. When our "bug guy" came to spray the house for spiders, he said not to power wash the house afterward because we'll get spiders again. So this time, we knew better--we power washed the day before he came. (Spiders are probably the biggest drawback to living across from the marsh!)

These pictures are from before, then immediately after (when it was still wet) and then the next day. We want to stain or paint the deck this year--we just haven't decided exactly what we're going to do yet. The stain we had on it faded a long time ago.


And then, most horrifying, is this picture when Jerry was actually doing the power washing. Look at the difference!


I attempted the Color Street Nails again. It's been at least six months since I first tried it--I'd sealed the leftover pieces back in the plastic so that I could use them again in the future. However, I never found a good time because I was always working with my hands, like drywalling the garage and building things out of wood. It just seemed pointless to try to do my nails.

They look better than the first time, but there are still some spots that I messed up a little. They took a long time to apply because I was trying to be very careful, and I find applying nail polish to be easier--but I love how durable the Color Street strips are. When I use nail polish, it gets chipped within 24 hours. With the Color Street strips, they lasted until my nail grew out a bit and there was an obvious gap between my cuticles and the color (maybe two weeks?); they never chipped. I'd love to be able to paint my nails and have it last at least 4-5 days without chipping or peeling.


Finally, here is a meme/ad that Jerry saw and sent to me. I love seeing these sorts of memes about the insane cost of lumber right now! So funny.

Have a great weekend! xo

May 13, 2021

Finding a Cat Sitter

A rare photo of all four cats together

I have been sitting with my computer on my lap for at least 30 minutes, and I haven't written a single word (until this sentence). I am SO tired that I can't even really think. I didn't get much sleep last night--it was one of those nights were I was super tired but my body just wouldn't let me fall asleep--and I've had a fairly busy day.

I had my second COVID-19 vaccine this morning, so that could be making me feel tired, too. When Jerry got his, he was super tired, and had chills and body aches. I haven't had any side effects other than a very sore shoulder where the injection was given. It was totally worth it, because I now feel like a big weight has been lifted; even though I was never extremely fearful of COVID-19, it was definitely on my mind when going to the store, or when the kids would go to school, etc. 

This afternoon, our new cat sitter came over so I could show her the ropes of taking care of the cats while we are on vacation in July. (We're going to my sister's property in the upper peninsula.) We're taking Joey with us, but I don't want to leave the cats alone--I worry too much about them.

It's kind of interesting how I met her (the sitter). After I'd gotten our new couch from Facebook Marketplace, I set our old couches at the end of the driveway, hoping someone would take them. They were still there the next day, and I really didn't want to have to call the garbage company to collect them.

That afternoon, there was a knock on the door and when I answered it, there was a girl (she's 18, but I say "girl" because 18 looks so young!) standing there and she asked me about the couches. She was wondering if I was getting rid of them and when I told her yes, she's welcome to take them, she was thrilled. She said she'd just gotten her first apartment and needed furniture.

She (I'll call her "Sara") wasn't able to pick them up at the time because she didn't have a truck, but she said her brother would be able to get them the following week. So, she helped me move them into the garage. She was super friendly and I loved that she was so excited about the couches--I really didn't want to throw them away. 

Her brother and dad came to pick them up, and they were just as friendly as she was. They thanked me for the couches and that was that. Then, the day before Easter, I got a call from Sara. She said she wanted to invite my family to her church on Easter morning and an Easter egg hunt afterward for the kids (she hadn't known my boys are teens). Her dad is the pastor and they'd just opened the church last fall.

I didn't go, but I asked her about the church and I learned that it's actually the little chapel that Jerry and I got married in back in 2003! Quite the coincidence. I sent her a picture from our wedding, because it looked quite different inside than it does now (from the pictures I saw on Facebook).


Anyway, I got a good vibe from her. She had been walking dogs when she first walked past my house (when she spotted the couches) so I knew she liked dogs. I'd been worried about who we were going to have cat-sit for us in July, and it occurred to me to ask her if she'd be interested. I figured she could probably use the money, having just gotten her first apartment.

So we made plans for her to come over so that I could show her the basics of what we'd need, and she came today. I loved the way she interacted with the pets, and she was even excited about feeding the squirrels. I feel like she's a good choice! I'll have her come over again before we leave to go over everything, but I am happy to not have to worry about the cat situation anymore.

It's interesting how things like this work out :) 

May 12, 2021

Pain Update

Well, it was a week ago that I said I was going to take a break--of everything--for at least a few weeks, in the hope that it would alleviate the chronic pain I've been experiencing since at least 2017. This pain has progressively been getting worse, to the point where it's unbearable sometimes, and I realized I hadn't taken a break from laborious projects since before I started remodeling the house in 2017. Jerry suggested I stop all physical activity and let my body rest for a while.

I am so thankful for all of the kind and helpful comments on that post! It was really great to read others' input, and it encouraged me to make an appointment with a rheumatologist. It wasn't easy getting an appointment, but I did manage to get in touch with someone today who can see me via video chat on the 28th of this month.

I really would prefer an in-person appointment, but doctors' offices are doing video for the time being because of COVID-19. The receptionist told me that the first appointment would basically be going over all of my symptoms and then the doctor will order tests based on the symptoms I'm having--so I'm good with that. I really just want to get the ball rolling with the correct tests so I can hopefully get some answers.

I've taken the past week off of physical activity, and it's been really hard! There are so many things I've wanted to do, but I wanted to give this a real try and see if I noticed an improvement in my symptoms.

And unfortunately, there is no difference at all. I still can't do anything without pain. It's only been a week, so I'm going to give it more time, but I thought I'd at least feel a little better by now.

Today was a bad day--I had a migraine. Until about five weeks ago, I'd never had a migraine before. I'd had severe headaches, but never what would be classified as a migraine. And good grief, I don't know how people who have frequent migraines live like that! It was so miserable. This morning, I had a second migraine. I couldn't move my head at all without my head feeling like it was going to explode. And I couldn't even keep my eyes open because the light was blinding.


I felt terrible because Eli had an appointment at the podiatrist at 9:00. With my head feeling like it did, I couldn't imagine driving; and the appointment was in Toledo, so Eli couldn't drive (his driving permit is only good in Michigan). Jerry had gotten home from work this morning and normally would go to bed, but he ended up taking Eli to his appointment. He didn't mind doing it, but I still felt bad.

My head finally felt better by early afternoon, but I've had a mild residual headache all day. I have no idea if the migraines are related to the pain in my joints, but I'm definitely going to talk to the doctor about it.

Eli had a baseball game this evening and I drove along one of my old favorite running routes. I used to do a 12-mile run (6 miles out and then back). Driving that route today made me wish so badly that I could be back at that point--where running 12 miles was no big deal. I would get it done in the morning and then relax the rest of the day, feeling a *good* ache in my muscles. At that point, I thought I'd always be a runner.

I still have hopes of getting back to it once I get this pain situation figured out (not necessarily 12-mile runs, but a 3-miler would be nice!). I never thought I'd feel nostalgic about running, but I really do.

Well, I've got to get up early tomorrow so I can go get my second COVID vaccine. I never thought I'd be looking forward to a vaccine so much!

May 11, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #26


I have several transformations to share for Transformation Tuesday today! I was going to split them up to save some for next week, but they are pretty short, so I'll just post them all today. So please send me some more for next week!

To submit a transformation, just send me a before photo and an after photo to: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Make sure you include your name and a description of your transformation. I look forward to seeing them!

Here are today's posts...

We continue to have our stained trim painted white throughout the house.  This transformation was of the wood trim on top of our 3/4 wall that separates our dining room from the kitchen.  Now I want to paint our cabinets white. Maybe those will be my next Transformation Tuesday photos.

Cheryl



Here are before and afters of my daughter's hair. After being pregnant and having her baby over a year ago, she finally pampered herself at the salon with highlights and a haircut. I think they did a BEAUTIFUL job.

Dara



We were getting new carpet for our main level and had to remove the old closet system in my closet. So I ordered a Closet Evolution Closet System from Home Depot. My husband put it together and also added a light. I’m loving my new closet!

- Kim, Minnesota - walker, grandmother, and rescue dog-mom



My husband and I have three boys (ages six and under) and for the last few years, I've been fighting the battle of stains on the carpet. This 'before' photo isn't great, but you can kind of see how gross the carpet was. Between potty training accidents, food spills, and our dog occasionally throwing up, I was over it. We replaced the carpet in our living room with luxury vinyl planks! It has made cleaning so much easier and the vinyl doesn't hold on to odors like carpet does. 

Sara



I was packing up the rest of my winter clothes and while I was at it, decided to clean out my closet so I could actually walk in there.  It just took a couple hours but feels so much better when I open the door!

Shelley



After a year of working from home, I finally redid my home office! We got the desk for free from a neighbor and stained/painted it. The rest is mostly from IKEA.

Tiffanie



Cheryl - Doesn't it blow your mind at how much of a difference the trim color can make? Out of all of the things I redid in my house, the trim is what made the biggest difference, in my opinion. Yours looks great!

Dara - Your daughter's hair looks stunning! I love the color and the soft curls--I bet she feels amazing :)

Kim - The closet system looks great! I love that the clothing rods are stacked so you can fit twice as much in there. It looks like the system doesn't leave any space wasted, which is nice as well.

Sara - The floor looks fantastic! We went from carpet to luxury vinyl planking (it looks identical to yours, actually!) a couple of years ago and I am thrilled with it. You're right about the upkeep--so much easier than carpet.

Shelley - Holy smokes! It must be so nice to be able to walk into the closet now. It looks like you have a great organization system in there--what a big difference a little tidying up can do!

Tiffanie - How fun! I LOVE the desk makeover--you did a very impressive job. The whole office looks nice and cozy!

Thank you so much for sharing!

May 10, 2021

Gratitude List

I called to make an appointment with a rheumatologist today (my dad sees one at U of M, which is considered a great healthcare system, and my mom gave me that doctor's number). My insurance doesn't require a referral, so when I see a specialist, I can usually just call and make the appointment as needed.

When I called today, however, I was told that I have to jump through hoops just for the doctor to consider seeing me! I have to get doctors' notes (including symptoms and a diagnosis), test results, lab work, and basically my entire medical chart from the onset of symptoms. I first saw my primary care doctor about my pain in 2015 (that was when it was just my back).

Since then, I've seen four specialists (orthopedist, neurologist, podiatrist, and an orthopedist who specializes in back pain); had an MRI; had two sets of x-rays; had lots of lab work; done physical therapy; seen a chiropractor; and probably other things I'm forgetting right now. This was in four different healthcare systems. Tracking everything down would be a nightmare. Not to mention that I don't have a diagnosis--that's why I want to see the rheumatologist! 

I cried when I hung up the phone. I felt sorry for myself--I was finally feeling good about making an appointment, and then I was unable to make one. I got over it, and I'm not giving up--I'm sure if I call some other rheumatologists I'll be able to find one that will see me without having to collect six years worth of my history. I asked my primary care doctor if she knows of anyone, so hopefully I'll hear from her tomorrow.

But anyway, all of that was basically to say that I'm grateful that right now, my biggest concern is finding a specialist who can diagnose what the heck is wrong with me. I'm lucky that I have good insurance and am able to get care when needed. 

I thought it would be fun to write a short gratitude list. I don't want to include the obvious things like: my family, my house, food, clean water, and things like that. I want to pick out the "little things" that's I'm grateful for today.

1. New socks! There is nothing quite like the feeling of putting on a brand new pair of socks. My whole family has needed new socks for a while now, so I finally just bought some on Amazon. I really wanted to buy Balega socks (my very favorite) but they're so expensive. If I only needed a couple of pairs for running or something, I'd buy them; for everyday socks, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $12 a pair.

I read a bunch of reviews and in one brand, several people mentioned that they are very similar to Balega. So, I bought two packs (6 pairs in each). I got them in the mail yesterday, and they were SO comfy to put on! I have to agree that they are similar to Balega. You can tell the quality isn't quite the same--they are a little thinner--but the comfort is identical. I just imagine I'll have to replace them sooner. (My Balega socks lasted about five years before getting holes!) Anyway, I am grateful to get to experience putting on a brand new pair of socks for 12 days in a row. (Here are the socks on Amazon, if you're interested--affiliate link.)


2. Being able to watch Eli play baseball. (Noah isn't playing this year.) One of the many reasons I love being a stay-at-home mom is that I am available to go to the kids' events, whatever they might be. I've only missed ONE game in 12 years! It means a lot to Eli when people watch him play, and I would feel terrible if I had to miss it. I'm grateful that we have the means for me to be a stay-at-home mom and I never take that for granted.



3. Convenience food. Yes, I know--it's not healthy, but on busy baseball days, it's--well, convenient. I bought some chicken pot pies to throw in the oven for dinner after the baseball game, and they were delicious. (I do remind myself that I need to utilize my crock pot on days like this--I'm just terrible at thinking ahead!) So while convenience food isn't ideal, I am grateful for it on the days that I don't have the time or I'm not prepared to cook dinner.


4. Vaccines. Jerry and Noah just got their second dose of the COVID vaccination, and my appointment is on Thursday for my second one. It will be such a relief not to worry every time Noah goes to school or when Jerry goes to work. Eli isn't old enough for the vaccine yet, but he and his baseball team get tested every week. I know that the vaccine doesn't mean that we are completely immune, but we have greatly reduced our chances of being hospitalized or getting very sick with COVID.


5. My new electric blanket. Jerry got me an electric blanket for Mother's Day, and I love it. I used to have one but it stopped working a few years ago, and I never replaced it. Instead, I just use a heating pad on my back (both because it helps the pain and because I'm always cold). Using the electric blanket yesterday was heavenly! I was falling asleep on the couch because I was so cozy. (Do you spy Jerry in the pic? haha)

I like to think that I am generally a grateful person on a day-to-day basis, but it feels good to write these things out. It's easy to be grateful for the "big" things, but the little things go by unnoticed sometimes. 

And I will end with this: I am grateful for YOU, Friends, for reading my blog all these years. My writing has changed significantly--not just the writing style, but the topics on my blog--and I am still amazed that people continue to read about ordinary me ;)  Over the last 10 years since I started Runs for Cookies, I have made many friends, gotten TONS of support and advice, and had numerous opportunities... and I wouldn't have gotten any of it without you. I do not take it for granted--so, thank you, Friends!

May 09, 2021

Photos of My Boys and Me

I was trying to think of a cute Mother's Day post, and I spent a couple of hours going through old papers and drawings that my kids have done through the years; in the end, I decided to forget the idea. If I'd have worked on it sooner it would have been a fun post, but as it was, I was overwhelmed. It was fun going through it, though--I showed the kids some of the pictures they drew or things they wrote. It was kind of sad; I miss when my kids were little!

And now it's the end of the day and I still don't have anything to post. So I'll just share some photos of me with the boys through the years...

I hope all the moms (including pet moms!) out there have had a great day :)

Yikes--that's the most recent photo I can find (without really digging) of me and the boys--and it was from 2016! I know I have to have more, but if there is one thing I learned today, it's that I need to get more pictures with the kids.

A few days after becoming a mom (this is Noah, born in July 2004)


Eli, who was born in January 2006







May 08, 2021

HERITAGE RECIPE: Pumpkin Bread


Before I even get into this recipe, I have to say that I wish I'd chosen something more adventurous to make from the heritage recipe book this week. The only reason I made this was because I wanted to make a quick bread (my kids love quick breads for breakfast or a bedtime snack) and I figured if I was going to make one, I might as well pick a heritage recipe.

Even though the recipe isn't anything to write home about, the pumpkin bread is definitely delicious! It's a great recipe for pumpkin bread; there just isn't anything super special about it. When I have a craving for pumpkin bread, I can say this will be my "go-to" recipe. Sometimes, simple is best--and this is very simple! (I'll be more adventurous this week.)

This was submitted to the Rockwood, Michigan Area Historical Society by Donna Kay, in memory of Louella McDonald. I searched and searched, but couldn't find any information about either of them! When I post the heritage recipes, I like to read about the people who submitted them, if I can find any info.

I actually don't even need to post notes for this recipe, because it's simple and specific--I just followed everything exactly as written and it turned out to be delicious! Noah raved about this and probably ate a whole loaf himself. (This makes two small loaves--I used regular-sized loaf pans, but because you only fill them halfway, they are on the small side.)

Here is a printer-friendly version!

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 c. pumpkin, solid pack canned
2-1/4 c. flour
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Combine eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin; mix well. Combine flour, pie spice, baking soda, salt in a separate bowl. Mix well. Make a well in center of flour mixture; pour pumpkin mixture into well. Stir until ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into greased loaf pans about half full. Bake 1 hour or so, at 350 F. Makes 2 loaves.

I ended up baking mine for 53 minutes, and it was almost perfect--it was a tad soft in the center, so I would say 55 minutes would be perfect next time.

This is extra delicious with peanut butter!


May 07, 2021

Friday Night Photos

I am overwhelmed with all of the kind and helpful comments on my post about my pain. My mom gave me the number to my dad's rheumatologist (my parents really like her) so I'm going to make an appointment with her to get checked out. My dad has a condition called 'polymyalgia rheumatica', which sounds like what's going on with me, but it's extremely rare in people under age 50. Rheumatoid conditions are scary, so I'm hoping that it's nothing like that. But I really just want to know what's wrong with me!

Anyway, it's been a couple of weeks since I did Friday Night Photos, so there are a few more than usual.

Duck has a routine that is as routine as my own--in the evenings, after picking Eli up from practice, I sit down in my bedroom with my computer to write a blog post. It NEVER FAILS that within two minutes after opening my laptop, Duck runs in and jumps on my lap. He insists on sleeping between my computer and my chest. It's really difficult to type, but it's so cute that I can't bear to move him!

And then if I don't pet him or pay attention to him, he reaches out and touches my face over and over until I pet him. He's lucky he's so adorable!



My brother, Brian, is a pilot for Delta--and he was just promoted to Captain! This is a huge deal for him and super exciting. Becky held a little surprise dinner for him when he returned from a trip (just my parents, Nathan and his girlfriend, and my family). Luke and Riley were SO entertained by the balloons--we all had fun just watching them play! 



If you happen to see my brother on a flight, make sure you tell him you saw his picture on my blog--he'd be thrilled! ;) 


I saw this ad on Facebook Marketplace, and thought it was an interesting selling strategy... list your machine as boring. Then I realized that it's actually called a "boring machine"--a machine for boring holes in wood. Hahaha!


I bought a piece of used Pottery Barn furniture (again) and planned to restore it to use in the bathroom. We'd been using my old dresser, but it was really impractical (lots of shallow drawers). I love the pieces I bought for the living room, so I was excited to find this one on Marketplace. It's going to be a while before I can restore it, but it's totally functional now and works well in that space. The cats were all over it when we brought it in!


This was shortly after I woke up (the time when my hands are swollen and the most painful). I was demonstrating to Jerry how my right wrist is really messed up compared to my left (although both of them hurt). In this photo, I was trying to pull my fingertips back so they were pointing toward the ceiling; you can see how there is pretty much no range of motion in my right wrist. What you see in the photo is how far I was able to bend it.



I don't even remember why I took this photo--probably because the three cats were hanging out together.



I went into my closet and I saw a bin of my clothes dumped over on the floor. I went to pick it up and put it back on the shelf, when I saw the offender. Little Duck!



Eli's in full baseball-mode and we've been going to games 2-3 times a week. Right after I took this photo, Eli hit a two-RBI double! He's been doing great this season--he plays catcher and he's really good.



Just a meme that I found hilarious... (lumber prices are INSANE right now)



I'd removed two glass panels from the doors of the tv console I refinished, and while I was cleaning the garage, I gently set them down next to a desk and they seemed to just explode and crumble into tiny pieces. This took a long time to clean up!



This popped up on my Facebook memories a few days ago and I never noticed it before, but look how awesome the photobomb guy is in the background! Haha



While I was cleaning out the garage, I moved something back from the wall and there was a decent sized spider behind it. I got so used to NOT having spiders around (we had the house sprayed last year and there was not a SINGLE spider on or in our house until just recently). I decided that it's time to get the house (and garage) sprayed again immediately. Tim ("the bug guy" is coming on Wednesday. We are going to power wash the house tomorrow to get it clean before he sprays (well, Jerry is going to power wash while I point out the spots he misses, haha).



Another lumber meme--this is so funny! I spend the longest time trying to find decent boards at Lowes--they are usually warped in some way, so you try to find the least-warped-looking boards of all. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack.



Remember I mentioned how the landscaping weeds are calling out to me to pull? Look at this! A month ago, it was just dirt--nothing else was in there. I thought I'd pulled out all of the tulip bulbs, too, because I wanted to replant those, but I guess I missed a lot of them. Anyway, we had decided to start our landscaping from scratch this spring so we dug out the plants that were there. Now, I want to pull these weeds and spray with weed/grass killer before we plant anything. However, since my hands are so messed up, I asked Eli if he'd like to earn some extra allowance money by doing a really good job pulling all these weeds. I'll post a before and after on Transformation Tuesday soon.



This is a project I was working on--I wanted to build a large work bench that could surround my table saw. Right now, my work bench is the garage floor ;)  I spent quite a bit of time working on this, and kept running into problem after problem. I finally decided that it was more trouble it was worth, so I took the whole thing apart. Now I have lots of scrap wood to use, when I can start building again.



Jerry and I were playing Carcassonne and Duck decided to join us. Here, he was deciding whether he wanted to claim a road or a monastery...


And that's all I've got! It's been a LONG day. Eli had baseball over an hour away and it was a double header. We just got home at 10:00 PM. 

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