7QT: The Late, Late edition

Well, lookee here…it's late at night on Sunday and I'm just now getting the Friday Quick Takes up.  Didn't even get to Psalm 71 as advertised last Sunday.  Does it ever happen to you that when your usual routine is disturbed it takes you a long time to get back into the swing of things?  I had the loveliest of disturbances (see take #2) but I am really having a hard time getting back into gear.

Crickets have been chirping on the ol' blog this week, but that's only because I've been far too busy hanging out with Chandra, my awesome cousin/soul sister from another mister.  She spent a week with us before jetting down to L.A. for work purposes (ha, just a convenient excuse to bask in the sun, says I).  The weather here was pretty nice for her: not too rainy and several days of warm spring sunshine.

Playing at an awesome kid cafe in Vancouver

Handsome like daddy

Max and Chandra playing trains
Our mutual friends Sarah and Joel kindly hosted her in their Vancouver home, so I did a lot of driving back and forth between the 'Couv and Oregon City.  Sarah and Joel's house is like the best vacation resort for the kids (and us, let's be honest).  The kids were just pumped to take a bath in a REAL BATHTUB again!  We are easy to please.

Chandra read many, many books

Bob the Builder has met his match

Stop taking my picture Mom!

Incidentally, I'm thinking that I'm going to need to invent a new line of apology/condolence cards for Sarah and Joel after we visit them.  Seems like every time we do, we ruin something of theirs or cause illness and/or distress.  And there's a distinct lack of "Sorry I backed into your car" or "My sincerest apologies for perhaps introducing the MRSA virus into your humble abode" Hallmark cards out there.  (And those were not even from this visit! That was last time!  Although, to be fair, it wasn't MRSA, just a regular old virus.)
Chandra also did yeoman godmother service by babysitting all three kids over night so Allen and I could take a much needed date night away.  We had a classic married couple with young kids date: used a Groupon for a non-fancy hotel near the Convention Center right next to the MAX line train (which rattled the room every few minutes), ate at the hotel restaurant with good food and terrible service, watched the Portland Trailblazers get whupped on TV, and then passed out…and enjoyed every minute of it!

Chandra did not look too much the worse for wear the next morning, although she did not say no to a venti coffee from Starbucks ;)
Weighed in on DietBet…and did not make the goal for the first round.  I have lost an inch from my bust, waist, and hip measurements, though, so I'm happy about that.  I also think that the cheap digital scale we got is, well, cheap.  Allen was testing it out and apparently depending on which floor tile you use, it can add to or subtract from a pound of weight.  It also reports that a person can fluctuate about five pounds in a 12 hour period.  Is that even accurate?? I don't really trust it.

After this month, I'm getting out of the DietBet thing anyway, for two reasons.  Reason one: I don't want to be obsessive about weight loss.  The truth is that I am NOT interested in doing crazy diets or insane workouts to win something.  I want the weight to go away slowly and reasonably, and that might not happen in just six months.  I also am still waiting to hear about my possible hypothyroidism (which can make weight loss more difficult than normal, among its other symptoms), so that could be affecting things adversely.

Reason two: DietBet is kind of a ridiculous first-world solution to a first-world problem. In the mail the other day I received a flyer from my friend Katie Nelson, who works at a non-profit ministry called Lahash.  Through Lahash, individuals can sponsor children in need for--you guessed it--the same amount of money per month that I'd be paying into the DietBet pot.  Let's see here…which is a worthier cause?  Oh yeah, feeding children who don't get enough to eat and helping them to have access to clean water, food, and education.
Big week here at the Cookie Jar: we bought a house!  And no, I don't have picture yet.  Soon, soon!  It's a manufactured home in a mobile court (or, as some like to say, a trailer home in a trailer park).  It is small (642 sq. ft) but as you'll know if you've read this blog for any length of time, that's a step up for us!  The rent for the park space (since we don't own the land on which the house rests) is also cheaper than the rent here by $200 and still includes the same utilities (water/sewer/garbage).  We won't owe a mortgage payment because we were able to buy it outright…woo hoo!

It's a bigtime fixer, of course, but all things that Allen feels confident that he can manage.  I'm thrilled that it has a fenced yard with some space for a garden.  I'm not a great gardener by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I've been inspired by recent articles on Real Housekeeping and want to give it a try.
Speaking of Real Housekeeping, I did actually do the Friday challenge of cleaning out the pantry.  Here are my "before" photos:
The main pantry cupboard

Cereal (unopened)

Cereals we're actually working through and appliances

Mostly baking related items here

That last one is our solution to the insufficient amount of actual cupboard space.  We took the "entertainment center" from our last house and made it into more cupboard space.  But as you can see, it was getting a little bit messy…and ant-ridden.

Yes, not long ago I wrote about how I was actually feeling somewhat tolerant of the ants in our house.  But that changed when I started noticing that they were making a trek from the windowsill all the way to the pantry cupboard.  And I found out why!  I thought I was joking about being an ant welfare state, but when I started poking around the cupboard I found this:

What the!?

They're not even forming an orderly line at this location!
To add insult to injury, the ants had formed a disturbing layer of antyness around my $8 bottle of French Vanilla Torani Syrup, and some had even GOTTEN INSIDE THE LID.  There ended my tolerance. You walk all over my countertops, my table, even the pantry?  Okay.  But get into my coffee flavoring and we are DONE.

Needless to say, the bottle was washed thoroughly and all sugary pantry items were moved into the fridge.  My aunt suggested I put out cornmeal (apparently it is indigestible to ants) so I decided to sabotage their welfare office and put some there overnight until I got around to cleaning the pantry the next day.

(Note: Some readers may think that I am poking fun at people who receive food stamps or any other kind of welfare by making an ant version of a DHS Self-Sufficiency Office.  This is not the case.  I am not in any way contemptuous of people in need of government assistance, seeing as we are among them.  I just thought it was funny to imagine ants doing the same thing.)
Okay, here are the "after" pictures (which, hilariously enough, don't even properly correspond to all the "before" pictures…but you know what, it's late and what the pote people I don't even currrr anymore):
Much better!

I never remember to have this curtain drawn but it exists

Spiffed up a bit: look at all of those beans waiting to be turned into WIC win dinners!

Didn't show the before version, oops, but trust me, this is better!
My cleaning routine was pretty simple: wipe everything down with Lysol wipes, do some repackaging and throwing away old stuff (did you know nuts could go rancid?  I didn't, until I cleaned out my jar of assorted bags of nuts).  

There you go.  Multiple days late, multiple dollars (and brain cells) short, but I finally got some blogging done. And now, bed.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Pantry looks good, girl! Love the ant trail. Kind of like the Oregon Trail, but with a different destination in mind.


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