First Ever Road Trip

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Mr. Housewife had to go to Las Vegas for work (sure buddy….) and asked if I wanted to come along with the twinadoes.  Honestly, I just didn’t think a week in Vegas with two six year olds would be much fun, sounded more like a nightmare, so I declined.  Then as we got closer to the day he was leaving I started having second thoughts.  Thing 2 was getting upset just thinking about her papa being gone for that much time and said she wanted to go.  Good thing it’s summer break so our schedule is our own…..

First idea was to just fly down there, but then I got the brilliant idea to save us the crazy amount tickets were now selling for and just do a road trip.  Let me say, I have never in my life done a road trip that I wasn’t forced to do as a child, everyone finds this so strange and honestly I do too.  Adding to this I decided we would just wing it, didn’t make any hotel reservations or any plans other than the end goal was to wind up in Las Vegas.  Some of my friends thought I was crazy and asking for disaster, but I was like, what’s the worst that can happen…..

First was finding someone to take care of the ladies while I was gone, insert best neighbor ever!!!  I cannot for the life of me remember how I met Her Royal Highness, but I’m sure glad I did.  It was coming down to the last minute and I knew if I didn’t find someone the whole road trip would have to be cancelled, and in she comes, offering up her services.  As a bonus, this experience might have convinced her to get some chickens in the spring, but more on that later….. So anyhoo, chickens are covered, road trip is a go!!

Mr. Housewife left on Sunday night and my plan was to leave first thing Monday morning, drive to Boise, spend the night then proceed to Las Vegas.  Sunday night I tried to get as much done as possible so we could just get up and go on Monday, but of course things don’t always go as planned.  The majority of tasks did get done, but I was still running around in the morning finishing up and it took longer than expected.  Organizing the snacks, luggage, toys, etc. in a manner that worked for me as well as the twinadoes (toys and snacks had to be in the “perfect” spot) was not as easy as just tossing it in, so lost a little time there. I was hoping to be on the road before 6am, but it was closer to 7, no biggie.  So in the car and off we went…..

All was well until the app on my phone spazzed out and sent me on some crazy tour of freeways.  Then, to make matters worse, the app said it couldn’t proceed due to no internet.  Now, at this point I’m sitting in some neighborhood in Yakima, Wa trying to make it work, people outside looking at me like I’m getting ready to rob them or something. A normal person would have just used their car GPS or another map app, but not me, I tried to get this one to work for a good twenty minutes before giving up and used another.  Later I realized (not surprisingly) that this crazy app took me on a wild goose chase, all those freeway changes were completely unnecessary.  Gggrrrr!

Once we got on the correct road it was smooth sailings, stopped for lunch in La Grande, Oregon at the play land in McDonalds.  I’ve never been so happy to see one…. the twinadoes had been in the car for about 5 hours at this point and needed some wiggle time.  I told them one hour and we were back in the car, thankfully, there were no pleadings for staying longer.

Next stop, Boise!!!  Now let me say, I don’t know if they put Xanax in the water in Idaho or what, but those people are the most considerate drivers.  They also know that the left lane is for passing and not camping out.  I was just happy as a bug in a rug driving through there.  Then of course there’s the “Welcome to Idaho” sign immediately followed by the speed increase to 80! I decided to use Boise as the halfway point since it’s fairly big and had good chances of having a place to stay without reservations.  On some advice given to me I simply pulled over, used Expedia and booked a hotel ( I was already in their parking lot).  Five minutes later I was checking in, saved $75 doing this and not just walking in asking for a room.  We stayed at the Riverside Hotel, they not only had a pool, but a splash pad for the kids which was awesome. After a couple hours at the pool/splash pad I had some hungry tired kids… success!!!  The room was fine enough, clean, had all the usual amenities, so everyone was happy.

The next morning we got a later start than I had hoped, again….  I should have set an alarm (duh…) but I didn’t, and with the curtains making the room so dark the sun didn’t wake me.  Oh well…. that’s the fun of not really being on a schedule.  So we eventually got up and went to breakfast since it was included with the room.  By 7am (my time not adjusted for mountain time) we were on our way to Las Vegas!!!

The twinadoes were excited to be on their way, especially Thing 2 who couldn’t wait to see papa.  She’s really a papa’s girl and gets extremely upset if he’s not home or right with her.  The map said we were about 725 miles from Las Vegas, so a couple hundred miles more than what we drove to get to Boise.  From Boise it’s a pretty easy drive, there was road construction, but even with that they only reduced the speed to 70mph, which I thought was crazy.  But again, the drivers actually understood how to drive properly.  Thing 2 loved all the hills and farms, which was a good thing because that’s pretty much all we looked at for ten hours!!

Then the moment we had been waiting for….. in the distance I could see the Stratosphere, we were almost to our destination.  Every time I’ve gone to Las Vegas I’ve walked everywhere or took a taxi, but this time I was actually driving…. let’s just say it’s interesting driving down “the strip”, but totally doable as long as you are not a nervous driver.  It was nice having a car while we were there, valet would bring your car when you wanted and then parked it when you were done so no headache for me.

When it was time to leave the plan was to basically do the same, but in reverse (obviously).  The twinadoes didn’t want to stop in Boise for the night, they wanted to just get home.  I told them we would play it by ear, but if I got too tired we would have to stop so we were safe.  We left Las Vegas at 5:15am and made it to Boise a little before 3pm.  I was not tired at all and the kids were asleep so I kept driving.  Ran into a little traffic but not too bad.  When they woke up I asked if they were hungry or needed anything and they said “no!!! keep driving!!!”.  So I did…..  We stopped again in La Grand, Oregon at the McDonald’s play land then dove the remaining 5 (or so) hours to home.  We made the trip home in seventeen hours and 20 minutes, that included multiple bathroom stops, getting gas in four of the 5 states we went through (you are only in Arizona for a hot second) and dinner at McD’s.  Since we didn’t take the tour of freeways we cut the time down by a couple hours.

After driving to and from Las Vegas I can say I will definitely do another road trip, just not in the near future.  The twinadoes did amazing, better than I expected, even said they had fun, however, this morning I asked if anyone wanted to come with me to get some groceries and they both said they are refusing to get in the car for a while.  Ha!!!

 

 

Costco Trip

Since Reber Ranch didn’t have the chicks I wanted I decided to stop into Costco instead.  Costco with the twinadoes is always an adventure, not always a good one.  Seriously, they start grabbing stuff and before you know it I have two carts.  Oh, and fyi, if you find yourself in a similar situation needing two carts you can park the full one at the front and continue filling up the second and third cart.  Then when you go through check-out they will help you bring it all to your car, it’s quite nice actually.

Ok, so on to all the neat stuff I found…..

Gardening supplies have arrived!!!  I wish I had taken more pictures, but sometimes it’s difficult when I have the twinadoes with me.  Their plant selection was the one thing that was a little slim, but it’s still early in the season.  I did pick up the 9 pack of lavender, thought that was a great price.  I’m a big fan of the pots Costco carries, and their prices make them even more attractive, the blue ones were roughly $39 and the others were around $18.  For bulb fans, there was a quite a few, I picked up the peony and calla lilies.  Then there was this interesting pre-potted planter that you just add water.  I did not pick that up, but did find it interesting.  They also had hoses, tools, gloves, whirlygigs, and some yard art, which I’m sure varies a bit by store.

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I was at the Covington Costco, they were having an in-store display of the Burlington shed and let me tell you I was really tempted.  For the price listed that includes them putting it together on your property.  He said that their size was small enough that you do not need a permit (but I would still check just to be safe).  If I had a spot ready for one this would have been highly considered.  The display was so neat, and even had a loft.  Someday….

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All the pools, water toys, goggles, etc.. were also in.  We took home this pool since the twinadoes love them.

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Are these helpful to have?  The Drunken Breeder is in love with this thing.  I’m not so sure I’m sold.

I really want another hot plate, but want to do a little more research on this one.  I want one that heats up well and isn’t super fussy.  Maybe then I’d do a live cooking show…..

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I thought this was a good price for rugs this size, really liked the few grey ones they had.

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I had read that they were carrying organic ginger…. and they were.  I picked up some of this.

And who leaves Costco without some alcohol and snacks?  I picked up a bunch of snacks for the twinadoes’ class to have in the afternoons as well as these little popcorn carrots for me.  The wine was definitely one I’ll buy again.

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By the end of our trip we were all ready to get the heck out of there.  But overall we had a fun time looking at all the neat stuff and just doing the Costco thing.  Have any of you found any neat stuff at Costco lately?

Time For Change

Slowly, I’ve been updating my new website, not quite where I want it to be, but soon, and also switching to a new blog host.  I’ll keep the posts on here up, but will start all new ones at http://therealhousewifeofsuburbia1.blogspot.com//.  I hope you will come join me there!!

This year I’m crossing my fingers for my best garden ever, lots of twinado  antics during their last summer before heading off to kindergarten (where did the time go?), food, desserts, lots of baking, and of course the chickens….

As always, you can find me posting daily on Facebook.  I need therapy for that!!

2016, No Resolutions For Me

Happy New Year!!  There are 366 days ahead of us to live life to the fullest in 2016 and I intend to do just that.  Starting with no resolutions for the year, not even a goal or anything like it.  This year I’m going to live more organically, just let life happen, see where the road takes me so to speak.  Yes I’ll get everything that needs to be done every day, but it’s the rest of the stuff that I’ll make up as I go.

2016 is a big year for us, the twinadoes will start kindergarten in the fall, that signals the end of our “free time” so to speak.  Yes they have gone to preschool since they were three, but it’s a little more relaxed, this is actual school.  Our schedules will revolve around the school year and their breaks….sigh….  My mom heart can barely take it.

Another reason for this, I’m tired of all the planning, the deadlines, the chores, etc… with these brings inevitable failures, and failure sucks.  Maybe I’m just being pampered housewife right now, but seriously, I’m really over it.  For me personally it seems like I’ve been obsessing over getting things done to the point I’m missing out on the current moment.  I try to micromanage all the seconds in the day to make sure I can check off these lists.  Well screw the lists!!

This year I’m going to hang with my twinadoes, garden, cook, bake, and enjoy life.  Like I said, tasks that need to get done will, the cat litter will still get cleaned, dishes will be washed, floors will shine, but I won’t add in any extras unless I feel like it.  I think this is something I can do, and do well….

With that said, I still would love to hear about your new year’s resolutions.

A Different Kind of Suburb

When we toured Awesome Opossum I loved how it was surrounded with trees and not houses ten feet from my window.  I loved that it was secluded and that only if I looked for them could I see a neighbor.  And even with all this it was still only five minutes from a grocery store.  Made the decision of buying this house that much easier.

And then we moved in…

Within about six weeks of living here we had a bear on our back deck.WP_20150505_20_16_41_Pro

The locals told me that the bears come out hungry in the spring and the yearlings don’t really have a territory yet so they just wander around looking for whatever they can find.  In this case it was my new bird feeders… lesson learned.  Immediately I ordered some whistles, air horns and made noise makers out of cans and rocks.  The one good thing about our black bears, unless they have babies they scare very easily.

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So when this skinny mama raccoon came I didn’t even bat an eye, my only worry was making sure I had the door closed since my baby chicks were inside and a screen door was not going to stop a hungry mama.  At our old house we had so many raccoons it was crazy, but we loved them.

As summer progressed and I got to know more of the locals it became quite clear I was not really in the suburbs, I was in the wilderness.

North Bend is also known for its elk herd, that are quite impressive I might add.  When they cross the road it’s a sight to be seen, but I hope you are not in a hurry because they don’t rush for anyone.

Elk-Raphael-20110128(not my personal picture, but one of our elk none the less)

The lower part of our property is completely untouched, it’s where our well sits so there are limitations on what we can do.  In addition to that there is a beautiful stream that runs the length of it that I would never want to touch.  When we walk through it you don’t feel like you are anywhere near homes, stores, or really anything, it’s so beautiful.  However, the bear, elk, deer, coyote and a few other prints let you know that you are not alone.

The summer was very dry here which meant the normal supply of food for the wildlife was not as plentiful, this is leading to some very desperate animals.  We were quickly schooled in their desperation a couple weeks ago when the coyotes came up the hill and got a quick meal, two of our hens.  They tried to get my handsome Louie, but thankfully I was able to chase it back down the hill after it dropped him.  He was definitely a little banged up, missing all his tail feathers and didn’t crow for four days, but he survived.  We are now making adjustments around here to prevent that from happening again.

Three days ago, I was again reminded that my home is surrounded by nature and all the creatures that live here….

WP_20151210_14_11_32_Prowhen this little cutie came around.  This little cub is maybe the size of a schnauzer, 20 or so pounds so it wasn’t really her I was afraid of.  What got me blowing my whistle and yelling like a crazy woman was what is normal very close to a baby cub….mama bear.  Sadly, mama never showed up.  After a day of hanging out with our chickens I realized nobody was coming to retrieve her, so I called our state wildlife department to get advice as to what I should do.

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The next day in come the cavalry of fish and wildlife officers, including their Karelian bear dog.  Even with all this talent, she escaped.  Today they are bringing a trap and will hopefully have success so this bundle of cuteness can be on her way to Idaho to a black bear rehabilitation center.

So I guess you can say my current “suburbs” have changed a bit.  I would be lying if a few times I didn’t catch myself thinking that maybe this is just too much for me, maybe I want to go back to the suburbs where this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.  And then I look around and see how lucky I am to live in this gorgeous place, surrounded by mountains, trees, and yes, lots of wildlife.

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Oh Costco…..

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I follow a blog of a woman that is all about savings, making things from home, and pretty much just living life.  Well she does this once a month post about her trip to Costco.  Her goal is to not go over $100.  It intrigues me and I look forward to it each month.

She shows some of what she bought as well as her receipt, and each time I see it I think “how the hell does she get out of that place for under a hundred dollars?”.  Seriously that place sucks you in with all kinds of crap you NEED!!!  So I decided to show my trip to Costco, a Real Housewife with a minimal amount of restraint…

First, let me say I was clearly off my rocker to go to Costco the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

This time of year Costco has even more stuff that you know will be gone in a few short weeks, so you are already in this buy it now or never see it again state of mind.  Seriously, they must pump something through in the air because as soon as you walk in your eyes get big and you suddenly feel the need for two carts…. The list of ten items, out the window.

So what did I buy?  Some of the needed items were for all the holiday baking I do like sugar and flour as well as some staples I like to keep in the pantry all year such as my favorite Better Than Bouillon (this stuff is the greatest).  Mr. Housewife needed some of his usual purchases as well.  The combo of that alone was a bit spendy.

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Pine nuts are not cheap, but at Costco you can get this 1.5 pound bag for $23.99.  No, it’s not exactly cheap, but for organic it’s a very good price.  Next time you are at the store take a peak at how much they are, you will totally understand.

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It’s definitely not melon season so they are a bit higher priced than in the summer months, but the kids and chickens love them so you know….

Then came a few things that always get added to the cart when you go a little hungry….

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Their soups are really good, and such an easy quick lunch, $10.99 for two containers is a steal in my opinion so into the cart it went.

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And the cheese…. I showed a little restraint and only came home with these.  The Le Delice De Bourgogne, to die for!!!

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How the heck did these two items get in the cart?  Oh yeah, I tossed them in.  Definitely not something for all palettes, however, at $59.99 the caviar was a great price to what I normally pay at my favorite caviar shop downtown.  The truffle mousse, it was just ok, won’t buy that again.

 

Costco will sometimes carry my favorite makeup, Bobbi Brown, so when they do I like to grab it.  This was priced at $39.99, which is lower than at the store.

Of course there were other things that went into the cart, but you can see how it’s freaking impossible to stay under $100, unless you go a couple times a week.  There are times we go and don’t get as much stuff, but on average we get sucked in.  And looking around at the other people in there with their overstuffed carts, we aren’t the only ones.

So in the end we went a little over $100, but I sure got some cool stuff!!

Time for More Thyme

Even when we lived in the apartment with the tiny balcony I had herbs.  It was pretty much the only gardening I could do there, my little one foot by 3 foot planter box.  Now that we are at Awesome Opossum I’ve gone a little crazy with gardening, most every area I’ve planted things you will always find at least one herb mixed in the bunch.  Thyme is such a rock star in the garden.  Normally I stick to two types, English and lemon.  Not only does this stuff grow like crazy, it smells amazing (especially the lemon), and of course can be used in the kitchen.

If you purchase a few thyme plants early in the growing season you will end up with plants that can be divided and replanted in other areas in a couple months.   I went a little crazy with the thyme plants this year so I think I’ll be good for a loooong while.

DSC_0277 DSC_0278As the plant grows, anywhere it touches soil it will produce roots, once these roots have a chance to really grow and get strong you can cut that part from the main plant.

DSC_0276I usually let them stay in that area for a couple weeks while they get stronger before digging them up and moving them.

Today I was feeling all Pinteresty and decided to bring a few of the little plants inside to grow in a mini greenhouse.

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I grabbed three of the little thyme plants and put in this cute garage sale score (I believe I paid around one dollar for it).  The greenhouse was purchased at Ikea last year.  The pots are quite small so they will have to be replanted in the spring.

WP_20151118_11_28_46_ProNow I just need to put a few things around it to make it a little more “decorated”.