Pumpkins, Pumpkins. Everywhere, Pumpkins!

It’s been a few days since I’ve sat down to write. A few things have happened but I’ll try and focus on the good things and not be so dreary. Jen insists that I show off what I did one night with the rocking chair in my room. We were sitting around the fire after the boys had been put to bed and I wanted to get closer to the fire. There was a chill in the house and I couldn’t quite figure out why (a story for later). So, I brought the rocking chair from my room and placed it in front of the fire – getting as close as I could – to read my book.

Not the most flattering picture, dressed for bed and huddled in the rocking chair but, there ya have it. You’re welcome, Jen.

The other day, Caiden insisted that he was able to make my coffee. He whined until I let him and I watched him like a mother hen the entire time. He did pretty good, except he forgot to add my scant bit of creamer and sugar.

Apparently, even my fast coffee maker was too slow for him, though.

Doesn’t he look so delighted at waiting for the coffee?

This last Friday night, I let the boys have a sleep-over. This is how they ended up falling asleep. I thought it was quite precious even while I worried all night about whether they were going to kick each other off the bed or not.

What would we do without technology? If you look close, it is teaching me how to cook pumpkin for use in recipes – like pumpkin pie. I finally took the pumpkins that we had from Halloween and attempted to do something with them.

First, cut it open and clean it out. Sounds a lot easier than it really was. I did actually clean the seeds from the first one and bake them with some seasoning. I didn’t do that with the rest of them, though.

They were actually really good and I’m glad I made them. I’m worried about the babies (or myself) eating too many of them and getting sick, so I only made the one batch. Now, back to the pumpkin pieces.

The recipe I found on the internet showed two ways to prep the pumpkin. The first was cooking it in water in the microwave for 15 minutes to soften it up and peel the skin off. The other was to boil it on the stove so that you could take the skin off. I tried both and prefer the stovetop.

In both ways, you add water but not to cover the pumpkin. About 3/4ths the depth of the pumpkin – no matter which way you cook it. If you chose the stove, as I did, this is how I did it and it did turn out really good.

First, put the desired amount of pumpkin in the pan. I didn’t fill the pan more than half.

Then, add the water to 3/4ths the depth of the pumpkin.

Place on stove and turn the stove on high heat. Let it come to a boil and leave it for 2 to 3 minutes before shutting off the heat and moving the pan off the heat. I left the pumpkin in the water an addition 5 minutes or so before draining the pumpkin and water through a strainer.

When it had cooled off to the point of being touchable without burning too badly, we peeled the skin off with a knife.

Squishing it was fun. The recipe I found said to squish it very good and then bag it to freeze for later use, after it cools off.

We cut up and cooked all but Caiden and Brendan’s pumpkins, Saturday night. We ended up with 8 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin in bags in the freezer and had 2 cups of pumpkin that we used to make my first ever pumpkin bread.

I’m not quite sure why the top split but the recipe I had made two loaves. We took one over to our friend Meg to share and put the second one in the freezer for later eating.

In the middle of all this, I attempted to make my “soon to be famous” chili in the crock pot instead of a pot on the stove. It turned out rather good and I’m sure I’ll do it again. We had a lot of leftovers and I put that in the freezer for later, as well.

The kitchen, however, took a serious nosedive during all this. I had stuff everywhere as I did several things at once.

Is it a sign of starting to feel better when I’m in the kitchen, doing one of the things I do best? Today, I made peach cobbler and we ate some of that before dinner. I also cooked Caiden’s huge pumpkin, today. I haven’t measured it out to put in bags in the freezer, yet. I was waiting for it to cool off before doing so. I think Jen did it while I was taking a nap in preparation for working all night on client projects.

I finally convinced convinced my boys that, in a few days, their pumpkins would go bad and we’d have to throw them away. Caiden agreed that I could cook his today but Brendan, after much fussing and crying about losing his pumpkin, said that I could cook it on Tuesday.

On Saturday, I made a quiche for lunch and got the kitchen cleaned up, my bedroom cleaned up and worked quite a bit on my client projects before moving on to cooking pumpkin. Yes, I think some of me is coming back. I’m in the kitchen again.

On Saturday, we were running out of smokes and I sent Jen to the store to get some. She went out to Rendy and, very shortly later, came back in to tell me that Rendy wouldn’t start. I nearly started crying but decided to go see what could be done. I followed her out and, sure enough, Rendy wouldn’t start. In fact, when the key was turned, there was no lights on the dash. Nothing. Obviously, the battery was dead – again – and I had just gotten it replaced!

I sent Jen off and when she came back, we let Rendy run for about 45 minutes before turning it off. Immediately after shutting it off, I tried starting it again, to make sure it would start. It didn’t. Completely dead. I called Les Schwab and told them the story – getting a new battery, everything fine until this morning and no, nothing was left on in Rendy to drain the battery. They said they would send someone over and I stayed outside to wait.

Eventually, the boys would follow me outside. Brendan picked up a soft bat and ball and tried to engage me in playing, throwing the ball so he could hit it. It was at that moment it dawned on me, I had to do it. I had to stop with the focus on all the problems and play with them. If I don’t, they’ll never learn how to “push through the troubles” on their own. So, we played fake baseball for awhile.

Mommy showed him how to stand.

And, of course, teaching Caiden how to sit and play catcher.

Awww. His brother was sad he missed.

Showing Caiden how to stand, now.

Ha! I got Jen to miss, as well. Oh, and Brendan took this picture. He’s going to be a shutterbug.

Look at the face on that boy!

Hey! No hitting the batter, Caiden!

Lining up the pitch…

And it’s outta the park… er… across the street!

He repeatedly let go of one hand and tried to hit with just his right. It’ll take practice to teach him to leave both hands on the bat.

We took turns on who was pitching.

Caiden threw it and it bounced across the street so I made him go get it. I tried to get him to remember to look both ways but, o’well. Little boys sometimes forget. That’s why mom and Nanny are always watching, right?

Eventually, we all got cold and Les Schwab arrived.

I repeated to him what happened and he took his battery meter and went over to Rendy. He hooked up the meter and it said something like 9 thousand volts in the battery (it’s supposed to be 600-something). He unhooked it and hooked it back up and it ready around 700. Phew!

After checking the battery and making sure it was good to go, he stepped over to Rendy and turned the key. It fired right up. I’m like, “No! It really was broken!”

He diagnosed it as a loose cable somewhere and the battery was in perfect health, he went on his way. The most precious words I’ve heard all day were, “Don’t worry. We won’t charge you for this visit. Just call it it happens again.”

I called a friend and told him what was going on and he said he’d be by on Sunday morning (this was on Saturday). He did come and he tightened up some wires and told me it should be good to go. Apparently, one of the ones connected to the battery was loose. My question is, why didn’t Les Schwab take care of that while they were out here?

On another note, I’ll tell you a really funny story about the past couple weeks. I had noticed that my heater/furnace was running all the time. I adjusted the thermostat, trying to get it to turn off. It didn’t work. I turned off the heater and it kept going. We were burning fires all the time, just to stay warm while I tried to figure out what was wrong with the heater. I put my hand over the vents and it was blowing cool air, not hot. It wasn’t working, no matter what I did.

So, I spent nearly two weeks trying to solve this problem. Meanwhile, the house was freezing, except when we had a roaring fire going. Now, we haven’t been able to find enough wood for the winter, so we’ve gone through quite a bit during the past week. Unfortunately, with the heater not working, we have relied on fires more times than not.

Nothing worked and I was convinced that the furnace was busted. I turned off the heater via the controls and it still blew cold air. I was beside myself and thought that it was just not “fair” for even more to happen to my little family.

On Friday night, as I lay in bed freezing, I decided to get up and check the boys. I needed to make sure they had some good blankets on so they didn’t freeze. I put one on the babies and then put another blanket on my bed and tried again to get some sleep.

I hopped up and tried again to fiddle with the thermostat and fix this problem. This time, when I was looking at the little electronic screen, I saw an icon. It had the shape of a fan and above it, it said, “On.” On? I turned it off? Oh!

Below the switch for turning on the heat or the air conditioning, there is another switch. This one turns the fan on or sets it to auto. It was switched to “on.” That means, even when it wasn’t trying to heat the house, the fan would blow. And, because it wasn’t set to heat, it was just blowing air – cool air. I don’t know how it got switched to that. All summer, it was switched to “Auto” for the air conditioner and I felt incredibly stupid for not noticing two weeks ago, when all this started.

I turned it to “auto” and cranked the heat up to 70. I typically leave it at 68 or lower, to save money on electricity bills. After ensuring our house would warm up nicely, I climbed in bed. It was still cold but I had hopes for the morning.

Since then, my thermostat is back to its scheduled 68 degrees and my home has never been warmer. I feel like an idiot but glad that I figured it out before we all froze to death in our sleep.

And with that, it’s time to get moving. It’s nice to be back!

Categories: 1950s, Dinner, Family, House/Yard Changes, Lunch, Socializing | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Pumpkins, Pumpkins. Everywhere, Pumpkins!

  1. Welcome back! Glad rendy is ok now. I was going to say I think you have to drive a car to recharge the battery. bloody cars and heating, our boiler plays up and stresses us every winter. we had to change it by law when we built an extension the one before had been going 20 years without a moments trouble.
    So good to see you cooking up a storm and the boys smiling. you must be feeling better. Have they pulled anymore tantrums?
    What a clever idea for a soap dispenser by your kitchen sink.. I assume that’s what it is? an olive oil bottle?
    Nice to see you back on my blog too 🙂 I missed you.

    • Yes, there are a few tantrums now and again but they are slowing down. Brendan has a serious destructive streak going on, right now. We’ve cleaned out his bedroom to keep him from destroying too much else. I told him, the next thing he tries to destroy, he’ll sleep in a room with a pillow and a blanket. He didn’t like that idea. He’s down to just furniture, right now.

      Night before last, I caught him jumping off his headboard onto his bed. I think we’ve come to a battle of the boss time with him and I’m trying to weather it and stay as the boss. We’ll see.

      Yes, that is a soap dispenser and an olive oil bottle. I’ve used it for pro’lly 15 years. That same bottle. I loved it. Keeps my counters much cleaner, since that glass cleans up very well. Decorative and easy access.

      P.S., HI FAY! 🙂


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