Friday, November 4, 2011

giving thanks #3

Our internet is on the fritz (whatever that means). Last night I couldn't get online at all! I caught a glimpse of how dependent I am on my computer for entertainment: I couldn't see what anyone was up to on facebook! I couldn't blog! I couldn't listen to music on youtube! I couldn't even watch SURVIVOR! (*gasping sobs!*) What could I do? Everything that I thought to do had to do with the internet. And everything that didn't have to do with the internet didn't sound that fun. So what did I end up doing? I popped a bowl of popcorn and sat in front of the blank computer screen eating it. (the popcorn, not the computer screen).

That's how pathetic I am. (I'm ok with it).

You know, the communications the pioneers had were few and far between. They would be like, "oh, by the way, I've had another baby since I last wrote you. He'll be two tomorrow." My, how far we've come.

I remember watching my grandpa mail a letter when I was little. He dropped it in the slot and said, "There, now she'll have the letter in two or three days. That's so fast!"
Now I can text my sister on the other side of the country and get a response from her immediately (if she has her phone on her). I can also chat online with this same sister in real time. So, really, our "letters" to each other are instantaneous. It's a miracle!

I have a lot of opinions about the internet and what a time waster it can be. In fact, I have strict rules for myself about when and how often to get onto the computer, because it's such a time waster (I really can't afford to kill time these days). maybe I'll talk about that another day. For today, I'm grateful that I live in an age where communication is instantaneous. I am grateful that, even though I am thousands of miles away from family, I can still talk to them all the time. I know what they're up to. I know how they're doing (I know when they have a baby). It really is amazing and wonderful. I'm grateful to be a part of it.

now hopefully the internet will be working tonight so I can post some pictures!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

giving thanks #2

Story #1--I am one of the young women leaders in my ward. Tonight we had Young Women in Excellence. In case you don't know, it's a time for the young women to show off some of the talents they've gained while working on their goals in Personal Progress. (check out LDS.org if you're still lost) Anyway, I was listening to all the talents the girls decided to share: singing, playing guitar, playing piano, writing songs, writing poems, baking cookies, painting, photography, public speaking--it was pretty impressive. Some were just starting out, and had simplistic and basic displays for their talents. Others had been working for years on their talents, and they were pretty advanced.

Story #2--Bogey is learning to do a hand stand. He came up to me today and shouted, "mom! Watch this!" then he ran over to the wall and started trying to flip onto his head and lean against the wall. The only problem was, he couldn't get his feet up. They kept falling back down to the ground. Every time he fell, he said, "Oh, wait, that's not it." Finally, when he kicked his feet up into the air, I caught them and put them up against the wall. "Like this?" I asked. "yeah!" he shouted triumphantly from the floor, "I told you I could do it!"

Story #3--my mom came to visit last week. She is an amazing person. My mom had cancer last year and had a surgery to remove the tumor, half her sinus cavity, and her eye. Her face is deformed now, but when I see her, I don't see that. I see an amazing person. (if you want to catch a glimpse of the amazing person she is, read the quote at the top of this page: she's the one that wrote it.) While she was here, we were visiting in the bathroom while I trimmed her hair. One of the hairs fell on the counter, and when mom went to pick it up, her depth perception went askew and she missed it with her finger. We laughed about it, as I helped her put her finger on the hair and guide it to the garbage. For a few minutes after that, we stood in silence while I finished trimming. "Mom," I asked her, "how do you not feel sorry for yourself all the time? After what you've been through no one would blame you for it." She shrugged. I said, "I would be throwing a pity party for myself all the time." She shrugged again and said, "It gets old. No one comes to those parties. I'd rather be where the fun is."

These three stories have combined in my mind today. I am grateful for my body. I'm grateful for my mind, for all the things I'm capable of doing. I'm grateful that I can think and develop talents and try new things. I'm grateful that I can figure out problems. I'm grateful that I can exercise and laugh and cry and feel a million other things. Of course there are times that I look at myself with disgust. My belly is flabby, my nose is too big, I'm too short, blah, blah, blah--it's so easy to fall into that trap of "never good enough." I know because I fall into it A LOT.

But today I'm grateful to have a body that allows me to be and do and experience life is so many ways.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

giving thanks#1

I'm typing away on the computer in the dark because Iggy is asleep next to me (and so is The Hubby). I should be sleeping--the next feeding is in 4 short hours, but I feel the urge to write, so here I sit.
I love this time of year--when the produce is ripe for the canning, and the leaves are the color of fire, the air is crisp, and I start thinking about how blessed I am.
My blog was made for this time of year.
I love this time of year. Thanksgiving runs a very close second on my list of favorite holidays (Christmas, of course, is the favorite). A VERY close second. Whoever decided that we needed a holiday to remember how blessed we are is a genius.
It's so easy for me to complain. To focus only on the things that aren't going right. That's a habit I intend to break starting right now.
I gave Iggy a bath tonight. The others were all in bed. I was reminded recently to enjoy these little night time experiences with the baby because it's really the only time I have to enjoy him. He looked so cute and little kicking and splashing in the water. Every once in a while his head went down close enough to the water that he could lap at the water with his tongue like a dog. After he was clean, we sat by the heater and I put lotion on him. He was feeling warm and happy and he started cooing and smiling at me. I love how his hair is all fuzzy when it dries. I love putting lotion on his little grapey toes. I love that he stares at me until I notice and he breaks into a huge smile, just for me.
One thing you need to know about me is that I LOVE being a mother. Sure, kids are challenging. Sure, there are times that I get frustrated and yell, but at the end of the day, I'm always glad for them. I'm always glad that I'm a mother. I would be incomplete without them.

I am so grateful for the chance to be a mother.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

There, there, little blog, don't you cry...

you'll get back on my priority list, by and by!

each morning, as I watch myself in the mirror brushing my teeth, and think about what I need to do today, I always think, "today's the day. Today I'm going to blog." and at that time in the optimistic dawn light, it seems totally doable.
But then my day starts:
Feed Iggy, change his diaper, get him dressed, feed him again
have breakfast
oversee the clean up of the other kids' disastrous breakfast shenanigans
get the kids' going on the morning chores they missed
clean the kitchen
put Iggy down for a nap
have "together time" (prayers, chore chart, books, music, and alternating days of science, geology, history, and crafts)
do skill sets (more about that to come)
get Iggy up from his nap
feed Iggy, burp him, change him
get Bogey lunch
help Dev and Calvin make their lunch
put Bogey down for a nap
put Iggy down for a nap
have lunch
(go to the bathroom!!)
finish up skill sets with Dev and Calvin
clean up lunch
clean house
start a load of laundry
help Dev and Calvin do their chores
do projects (like canning, mostly, lately)
Get Bogey up from his nap
help Bogey with chores
start dinner
get Iggy up, feed him, burp him change him, bounce him while I try to
finish making dinner
Kiss the Hubby who's just walked in the door
help Dev and Calvin set the table
eat dinner
bounce Iggy (who's super grumpy this time of day)
Kiss Hubby goodbye (he's got homework to do)
help Dev and Calvin clear the table
send one to shower
clean the kitchen
Give Bogey a bath
help Bogey in jammies
Tell Dev and Calvin to get ready for bed
Help Bogey brush (all the while bouncing Iggy)
have scripture study
say prayers
read a few chapter from our chapter book (if we haven't done it already today)
say goodnight to the oldest three
take Iggy back to my desk
check facebook one handed
bathe Iggy
feed Iggy, burp him, change him into his jammies, and feed him again.
Lay Iggy down in his crib *sweet dreams little man*
get ready for bed
kiss Hubby goodnight if he's home yet
go to bed *phew!* hoping to clear some time to blog tomorrow.

The day's are getting away from me. Even now as I type, I am going back to Iggy's room every few minutes to re-bink him (aka-put his pacifier back into his mouth), and thinking that I shouldn't be blogging, I should be working on my lesson for Young Women's tomorrow. Or writing out my grocery list, since I get to hop over to the store when Hubby gets home tonight. Or planning our Halloween party that we're having on Tuesday. Or folding laundry. Or making dinner. But blogging I am, so all the other stuff can wait.
I have a ton of pictures and blog posts lined up in my mind, waiting to burst out, like a champagne bottle about to explode. I'll get it all out eventually, but right now, it's all building pressure in the bottleneck.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Introducing...

I wish that I could somehow write the 5 minute silence that preceded these words while I sat here thinking of a way to start. I got nothin'.
All I can say is that I had my baby. That's such a short sentence for such a humongous, life changing thing. He's here, and he's beautiful, and we love him dearly, but heaven help me, I am reeling from the change.
My days are filled to the brim with homeschooling, diaper changes, nap times, feedings (my nights are full of feedings, too.), spit up, etc, etc, etc.
Even worse is the prospect that The Hubby is in no position to help. At all.
Two words: Senior Year. While I am happy we're almost done with school, part of me is really wondering what God was thinking by having ALL THIS come all at the same time. I'm being magnified. And it kind of hurts.
But I didn't come here tonight to complain. I hope it doesn't sound like I am complaining. We prayed and cried over and wanted and tried for this little baby longer and harder than the other three combined. We were thrilled when we found out he was on the way. I am very blessed to finally have him here, to have him healthy, to have him in my arms. So forget the far reaching task of adjusting to another family member. I'm just going to rejoice that he is here!

I'm also happy that I am now on the downhill side of recovery. Things may be crazy here, but at least I can say that I know they will level out and get better soon. I am excited, and already have some posts lined up, to just concentrate on homeschooling, and homesteading, and homemaking--the passions in my life.

So, allow me to introduce to you my new baby son, who, for all intents and purposes shall henceforth and forever more be known on this blog as Iggy (the fourth great and wondrous messmaker.) Welcome to the world, Iggy!

(P.S. please excuse me for getting cross with the overly excited brother in this video who wanted his share of screen time.)

video

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ode to the garden

I was in the midst of typing up a lovely, spiritual post last night about my garden. It was attacked by javelina's last week. Many of the plants were destroyed. We mended the fence, nurtured the plants and it was on its way to a full recovery. I was impressed with my zucchini in particular, which were apparently a favorite of the javelina. Most of the leaves were broken off or trampled, and all the zucchini growing thereon was eaten. Within a few days, my brave zucchini sent out more tender flowers, showing promise of not giving up despite the cruelties they had previously faced. I was totally inspired. Am I like that? When things come along that leave me devastated, how quickly do I take courage and begin again? I'm more of the type of person that licks my wounds first. And I have decided to be more like my zucchini. It's not afraid of anything. Even after being pulled nearly out of the ground, it still decided life was worth living--not just living, thriving.

That's what I was going to write.

But while I was writing, The Hubby said, "Oh, I went out to the garden tonight and the javelina have been in it again." What? no! It was doing so well, and I had great hopes that it would recover! I couldn't wait until morning. We grabbed flashlights and tromped out in the dark of night to survey the damage.

I know it's tacky and cheesy to love my garden so much, but I do. And I wanted to cry when I saw it. Destroyed. I question a recovery this time. Zucchini is completely trampled, as well as the big pumpkin, and the mini pumpkin plant that was threatening to take over my entire garden (as big as it was getting), is gone completely. Gone. Only a few stem nubs are left that, I suppose, were too close to the ground for them to reach. So. sad.

So tonight, humor me as I post lovely "before" pictures of my garden in memorial. Tomorrow, I'm going to take a note from my zucchini: square my shoulders, fix the fence, and go see what deterrents I can get at the store. Maybe there is hope yet for produce this summer. Maybe there's still some time to put out some flowers.


First pumpkin of the season


funny thing about this mini pumpkin plant: we thought it was a cucumber. At least, it was planted in the row with the cucumber. Then one day I realized that it was not a cucumber plant. It looked totally different from the other plants in the row. It put out all these long flowers, but the rest of the cucumber flowers were small petaled. Then this is what started growing there:

see the cute baby pumpkin? It was love at first sight for me. The plant put out so many flowers that I was already dreaming of the pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin stew, pumpkin pancakes, carved pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin!


aren't they cute?



beans in the twilight


one of Dev's favorite chores is to gather the "done peas." (Most of them don't make it back to the house, but that's ok.)


first silk of the corn showing through.


first two tomatoes


The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"


Saturday, July 30, 2011

how to make croutons

I recently had a BBQ with some friends that resulted in a massive excess of hamburger and hot dog buns. You may recall that I HATE to waste anything, but especially food. I'm always looking for a way to repurpose or preserve it so that it doesn't end up in the garbage. With bread, there's always the old fall back: freeze it and use if for the next BBQ. But, this may have been the last BBQ of the season for us, and also, I didn't have that much room in the freezer. So that meant croutons. I started making croutons a few years ago. Have you ever cringed over the cost of croutons? or the nutrition information on the back? I have. They are very expensive, and they aren't that good for you. So I started freezing the heels of my bread in a big bag and when it was full I made croutons with them. These are so easy to make, and my kids eat them for snacks. And, although I have no evidence to support this, I would bet at least a nickel that they are better for you than the store bought ones. Cheaper, too. So, the only problem now is that they are gone too fast.

So here's what I do:
take the excess bread and cut it into small squares with a sharp knife. (a dull knife will squish your bread and you want it fluffy.)
spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, put the diced bread on top, and spray the bread with cooking spray. (I suppose you could try melted butter, but, for me 1) that would take too long, and 2) your croutons wouldn't be as healthy.) I am pretty liberal with the cooking spray. Coat the bread, and then stir them on the pan to coat even more and spread the bread in a single layer on the pan.
now you get to season it however you want. A lot of that depends on the seasonings I have in my cupboard.
But mincing garlic and sprinkling that on top is a must.
Then I threw on some Italian seasoning.
and a generous dose of Parmesan cheese.

Then bake them in a 250degree to 275 degree oven for about three hours until they are completely dry and crunchy. You don't want the bread to have any moisture in them, or they will mold faster. (You can tell by taste testing...I recommend doing lots of this, because they're good.)

let them cool completely and store them in a zipper baggy in your pantry. Use them in any way you've used croutons...on salads, in soups, as snacks, and when you are hungry.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

whoosh

I've been gone. I went to a funeral. It was hard, but good....bitter, but sweet.

I've been busy. The kids are wrapping up all the summer projects and programs they've signed up for. It's been fun, but THANK GOODNESS! they are ending.

I've been pregnant. And there is no getting around that until the end of August. The last month is the hardest. Awkward. Heartburn-y. Sleepless. I'm not going to complain about that here, though. It doesn't do me any good.

I've been tired. I don't remember being this tired in the eighth month of my other pregnancies. I can take two naps a day and still not feel satisfied. Of course, that could have something to do with being too uncomfortable to sleep at night.

I've been gardening. You'll see more posts about that soon.

I've been searching. Got any awesome boy names to share? Time is of the essence here.

I've been playing. it's summer.

I've been reading. Lots of downtime + a new ipod touch + google books app + a night reading feature (that allows me to read in bed at night with the lights off without disturbing the Hubby or hurting my eyes) + not being comfortable enough to sleep = me becoming a more cultured person. (I'm currently reading Les Miserables, and I am thrilled with how captivating it is. I thought it would be slow! Go and read it. I'm only 50 pages in, but I already can't put it down.)

I've been laying low. Time to nest.

I've been teaching. How will this year of homeschooling go? (by the way, we don't do regular school years like public school. I don't see a reason to. But we've been scattered this summer, and I feel ready for a more steady schedule.)

I've been LIVING. and I refuse to feel guilty about not doing the dishes. (I can't really reach the sink anyway. )

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three for Thursday

My Friend Evelyn over at Hanging by a Silver Lining
does a Three for Thursday Meme (I had to look that word up, by the way. It means
an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, esp by imitation. so there you go) and I have always read and enjoyed reading hers and all the others who have linked up. I tell myself that I'm going to participate, but I usually don't feel like blogging anymore at the end of a long Thursday. Since I've been on such a bloggy kick lately, I actually looked forward to doing it tonight. I couldn't let myself down! Also, it doesn't hurt that if you link up, you might get a prize! (i'm a sucker for prizes, even if it's something small like a corn flake) ALSO, my sister, Sarah, over at Creating-Sarah has agreed to become a co-hostess to the game. I have to show my support! If you want to get in on the fun this week, head over to Evelyn's blog to link. Next week, head over to Sarah's.

SO....(drum roll) Here's my three for Thursday.

Three confessions:
1. ice cream is my drug of choice. There's a line in the movie Hitch where he says, "You've got a martini. That means it's been a heck of a week, and a beer just wouldn't do it tonight." Whenever the Hubby sees me getting the ice cream out once the kids are in bed, he says, "So you've had a heck of a day, and a single piece of chocolate just won't do it tonight." Yup.

2. I Waaaay over analyze every single thing that I write on my blog. Don't want anything to be taken the wrong way, or misconstrued to turn against me. I'm working on just being myself with my writing though, and I think I'm getting better.

3. I really, really, REALLY want my own pet dragon.

Three things I do to beat the heat:
1. We have a spray bottle that sprays in a really fine mist. I spray that all over myself and sit in front of the fan.

2. Last week, I get so fed up with the heat (it gets really stinkin' hot here in my town, we don't have air conditioning, and also I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant) that I went into the bathroom and soaked my shirt in the sink, wrung it out, and then put it back on. Seriously, BEST. idea. ever!

3. Drive around (anywhere) with the air conditioning on full blast.

Three lessons, skills, or new tricks I have learned this past month:
1. I can't do everything, and it's really ok. I've really been at peace with all the undone chores at the end of the day. At least for now, I'm ok with it.

2. I've learned to set and trap gophers out of my garden with our new gopher trap. I'm a little worried about how much joy I get out of seeing a dead gopher.

3. I made my first belly band. It was surprisingly easy.

Three things that motivate me to be a better person:
1. stories of great courage. When I hear of someone who went through something really hard and handled it with grace and patience, I feel completely inspired to be a better person.

2. talking to someone about something they are passionate about. It doesn't matter what it is. If they can show me a passion that makes them human, it makes me think of all the things I am passionate about and work harder on them.

3. Compliments. When someone expresses a sincere, heartfelt compliment to me, it makes me want to live up to what they see in me.

Three things I would do if I wasn’t “Mommy”, married, and burdened with cares:
1. travel. All over. all the time. as often as possible.

2. be completely organized all the time: keep up with the laundry, no dirty dishes in the sink, everything in its place all the time. aaaaah

3. I would probably have a career as a private tutor, since that's what I did before I had kids, and I LOVED it! Either that, or maybe be a college professor, and maybe even have a few books published. Someday!


Three people I call first:
1. The Hubby
2. My mom
3. My sisters
4. My friend Mekell (sorry, that's four, but at least it's the raw truth.)

Three things I changed about my parenting after testing them out on my guinea pig child (first child):
1. text book potty training was two thumbs waaaay down for me and Dev

2. I worry less about their mental well being. With Dev I was a nut case, now I'm manageable.

3. how I educate them. I never thought twice about the education they were getting under the "normal" way (ie. public school, preschool, etc) Now I homeschool.

Three things that make me cry:
1. Stories of great courage (see above)
2. when good friends cry in front of me.
3. it's a knee -jerk reaction when I'm frustrated, which doesn't bode well in a professional setting


Three things I’m going to accomplish before the summer is over:
1. Have a baby!
2. endure contractions, labor, and delivery
3. bring another human being into the world.


Three pictures:

this is what we get when Bogey takes the family picture


I just wanted a nice father/son picture. I just said, "smile!" Like father like son, eh?

our good friends, The Burch's came to visit for July 4th weekend. Their charming and ultra ladylike daughter Avery did this when Hubby asked her to smile. Oh, and notice my cameo prego belly in the background on the left. (p.s. I have no idea why the computer is making these words a link. Do not click on them! They will lead you to no where!! dun dun DUN!)

So, same time next week?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Batter Fried Zucchini

Three zucchini were ready for picking today! We planted six zucchini plants, thinking that they wouldn't all thrive. But they are all huge, and they each have about 10 zucchini or zucchini flowers growing on them. While I was out visiting the zucchini, I kept thinking about that line in Robots, "Brace yourself; you're about to get very popular." Except I was thinking, "Brace yourself, you're about to get a lot of zucchini." Good thing it's versatile. I am thinking zucchini bread, zucchini cookies, frozen shredded zucchini, zucchini soup, zucchini stir fry, dehydrated zucchini chips....we're going to be eating a lot of zucchini.

But tonight when I picked my first three, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with them: Batter Fried Zucchini. That's gotta be a first harvest tradition. They are SO good! I thought I would share the joy in case there are similarly zucchini swamped friends out there.

Batter Fried Zucchini (I got this recipe from cooks.com, by the way)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley flakes (I didn't have any so I used Italian seasoning, and it was still really good)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
milk
zucchini

Slice the zucchini to about 1/2 inch thick.

Combine all the dry ingredients and then add the egg. Slowly add milk to make batter about the thickness of pancake batter. (too think and it won't stick to the zucchini, too thin and it will just run off--you want it to coat the zucchini fairly thick.)

Pour about 1/3 inch oil in a pan and heat over medium heat (you don't want the batter to cook too quickly). Dip the zucchini slices in the batter and slide into the oil. Turn over when they are golden brown on one side. Take out with a slotted spoon when the batter is golden brown all over, and drain on a paper towel.

These are delicious plain, but I like to dip them in ranch dressing or/and make a mayo/mustard dipping sauce . They are SO good! We also had corn on the cob and a bean and ham soup that I'd frozen awhile ago. Dev made cornbread to go with it. It was delicious! I LOVE how in the summer season when we get to eat fresh produce for most of our meals!

If you try them, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The ghosts of Independence Day Past

If you are like me, you can't remember what you were doing last week, let alone last year.

But there is one day a year that holds a lot of memories, and I can remember them fairly well. It's the fourth of July. Don't ask me what my last Christmas was like, or my birthday, or Easter, but for some reason, I can remember a lot of things about Independence days of the past. I was thinking about it last night while I was sitting on the lawn of the soccer field of the Hubby's school remembering how last year we were over there on the other side of the restrooms. We brought bubbles and blew them while we were waiting for it to get dark. Our adopted grandpa came with us. When we got all settled and "made camp" he brought out a bag of m&m's for us to munch on. My kids found some friends from the neighboring "camp" to run around with. Bogey was scared to hear the fireworks, but not scared to see them, so he sat on The Hubby's lap with one eye out peeking out of his blanket and both of his ears covered.

There are so many sweet memories associated with the fourth of July for me.

This year there was a storm moving in. We got set up in our camp spot and spread out a picnic dinner of chicken salad sandwiches, berries, crackers, and cookies. While we waited for the sun to go down we watched God's fireworks (aka the lightening storm coming in from the other side.) For a little while we thought the storm might ruin the fireworks, but it never moved in fast enough. Still, it was pretty amazing to have lightening behind us and fireworks in front of us. Almost like God was reminding us that he still loves America, too.

I started thinking about other Independence Days that were special to me.

Like the one ten years ago. Back when The hubby was just the Boyfriend, we were supposed to meet up with my family in my hometown, which was then only a little over an hour from my house, and go see the fireworks with them. We left our little college town fully intending to drive to my parents' house, but decided about half way there to stop in the town in between where the fireworks were shot over the river. We got there in the late afternoon and there were already gobs of people sitting on blankets on the banks of the river, playing ball, and kids running around. So we went a ways off, on the other side of the LDS temple to be together. Definately not an ideal spot for watching the fireworks, but perfect for us. We had a book of lists that we had started, places we wanted to go, books we wanted to read...names we liked. We had a bag of cherries. We spend the entire afternoon writing out our dreams of our future lives together, eating cherries and spitting out the seeds, and wrapping our brains around the idea that what we felt for each other may be eternal.

Two years later we ditched my family again. Only this time it wasn't intentional. It was before we had a cell phone. My family had gone up to the fireworks earlier to get a good spot, and we were going to meet them up there later. Except we couldn't find them. it also didn't help that we didn't get there until right before the show started. It was dark. And I got really discouraged since it was Dev's first fourth of July and it was turning out to be pretty crummy. She was cranky and tired, so we headed back to our car. We got there just as the show was starting. I was afraid she would be scared, so I wrapped her in her little pink blanket so that only her face was sticking out. Then handed her off to the Hubby, and we climbed up onto the hood of our car, and laid against the windshield to watch. Dev fell asleep all cuddled up against her daddy. I don't think I'll ever forget the way she looked wrapped in her pink blanket in the light of the fireworks.

There there was the year we went over to our good friends, the Burch's, to watch the fireworks from their driveway. Halfway through the show their son started singing "O Christmas Tree" very loudly. and we all laughed like maniacs. Those guys have made maniacs out of us many, many times since then, too.

I love that I can look back at all these Independence Days and see how I've changed and how my family has changed through the years. Everyone should have a day to remember where they were last year.

What did you do for your Fourth of July?

p.s. Please send prayers and good thoughts to my brother-in-law, Rex, who was hit in the eye with a scrap of fireworks. We are praying it will heal and he'll still have use of that eye!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blessings that come from being pregnant in the dead heat of summer

I admit it. I'm pregnant. I don't like to admit it, but it's getting to the point that I can't hide it (actually, we passed that point of no return a long time ago.) I don't know why I seem to think that I can do everything. I've come to realize that when I say to myself, "Oh yeah, I can do that easily" or "That won't take long." It's a kiss of death on my sanity. Things are never done easily, and it always takes a long time.
I don't know why, for some unknown reason, I become so ambitious when I'm pregnant. My pregnancies are a "perfect graveyard of buried hopes" (ha ha! that's for all you Anne of Green Gables fans) I think it's because I am a pretty ambitious person normally. It's not that I am more ambitious when I'm pregnant, just that I am the same ambitious person, with a lot less up and at 'em in me. My goals recently have become 1) to allow myself to not be so ambitious for a little while, and 2) to stop feeling so guilty for not getting things done that I want to do. <---actually, it's not even that I feel guilty, it's that I feel frustrated, because I want to do things and I can't.
Yeah, so I guess goal number 3) would look something like: 3) breath, and allow that this season in your life is going to be slower. And it's ok. (really, it's ok. Really. I have to convince myself of this, you see.) I also have to remind myself that it's only a few more months (in the dead heat of summer, but hey.....), and, most importantly, I wanted this. And I am thrilled to be almost within reach of another baby in my arms. Seriously, we tried for, and cried over, and prayed for this little one more than the others combined. So...I can do this, right? It'll be worth it, right?

I have to convince myself everyday. SO for today, here's my list of BLESSINGS that have come to me from being pregnant, and hot and uncomfortable in the dead heat of summer:

1) I get to take a nap everyday.

2) thank goodness Dev and Calvin seem to grasp that mommy is worn out in the afternoon and have contented themselves with a movie or a wii game every afternoon while I snooze on the couch (as a disclaimer: let me assure you perfect parents that they are NOT usually allowed this privilege everyday, but I figure with this season of life, it'll be ok for a few months, plus we do lots of fun stuff in the morning. Does that make you feel better? me too.)

3) our city has started having free lunch in the park for kids, and the kind lunch ladies there have taken pity on the very hot and pregnant woman who shows up with her kids everyday, and they give me a free lunch, too. So I don't have to get up and do it!

4)Dev and Calvin take turns getting Bogey his cereal in the morning too, so that's two meals I don't have to prepare for the kids (man, I have awesome kids)

5) I've read six novels in the past month--needing to lay down a lot has its advantages.

6) that doesn't include the 4 novels that I've read aloud to the kids this month

7) our kiddie pool survived the winter without any leaks! (it's inflatable) it's up and the slide from the swing set is in there, and the kids are loving it (and so am I).

8) our garden is on a drip system, so I don't have to water it manually everyday, except the peach tree and the raspberries, which,

9) Dev and Calvin take turns watering everyday.

and number 10) I cut some of my maternity pants into shorts today! So I feel cooler already!

Monday, June 6, 2011

wall goo

I've had a request. And it's not often I get requests. It's so infrequent, in fact, that when someone does ask me to post something, I get all flattered and warm inside. How can I turn down a request from my adoring fans (or, the small group of loyal friends who read my blog...whatever).
A few years ago, on another blog long lost in time and cyberspace, I created a post about decorating walls with fabric and a cornstarch/water solution I like to call "wall goo." I got the recipe at this blog, but I'm not sure you'll find it there now, as it is probably buried in the several posts that have been created there since then. Nevertheless, I would encourage you to peruse this blog, as I have done from time to time. There's a lot of great stuff in there.

BUT, on to Wall Goo. See, we don't own our home. We rent. (take that thought and set it aside while I give you another to chew on.) I don't like to waste things. I like to repurpose, find new uses for the things that I have before I throw them away. I'm not big on spending gobs of money for home decor that just sits there. I'm all for functionality of the things I choose to beautify my home. So, when I found this recipe for wall goo, it was a perfect fit for me. Basically, you take a fabric that you like (cut it into a design that you want if you like), and apply it to the wall (or any surface) with the wall goo, to get an aesthetically pleasing look that doesn't damage the surface that it's on and washes off without a trace when you're done. I have loved the projects that I've done with it, and I'm even more tickled that for the fabric I've used mostly old clothes and/or bargain fabric so it has cost next to nothing to do this (bonus!)

Here's the recipe:

WALL GOO
stir 1/4 cup cornstarch
into 1/2 cup COLD water
mix well.

Then pour in 4 cups boiling water. stir well again.

Word to the wise: this will give you A LOT of wall goo. if your project is fairly small, I would recommend halving this recipe. I've always had tons left over.

dip the fabric into the wall goo (once it's cooled a little) and use a paintbrush to smooth it onto your wall (removing any airbubbles). I usually add an extra layer or two of wall goo over the top just to make sure it's secure. Blot the extra drips with a cloth and let it dry. you're done!

When you're ready to remove your darling projects, wet the fabric until it peels easily off the wall, and wash the wall with warm water and soap. (Don't try to peel it off without getting it wet! I did that and now there is no paint on that part of the wall!)

*wash your fabric in warm water if you think the color might leak. Otherwise, when you take it off, you'll find that you're stained your walls. THAT wouldn't be good.

Here's an example of some of the things you can do with this: (or at least, some of the things I've done with this)This is in my front room, and I love it! Those curvy letters took a long time to cut out though.


this is on the wall over my pantry. It matches the colors of the Mary Englebreight pictures next to the pantry door.

I was most excited about this project. I found these little cars on a bumper pad at goodwill and paid about $4.00 for it. I cut them out and stuck them to the wall with the wall goo. It worked really well! And it looks awesome! There was enough of them to use as a border all along the top of my boys' room. Then, I used the other, blank side, of the bumper pad, to cut out their names and tack those on the walls, too. It really taught me that the sky is the limit. The cars are pretty heavy (embroidered) fabric, and they still stuck to the wall really well. It's fun!
use your imagination to create the look you want!
If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes!

Friday, April 22, 2011

peeps and jelly beans

Easter is coming! I've tried this year to make Easter an exciting and fun thing for us, but honestly, I'm feeling a little worn out. The Hubby is in finals of his second to last semester (read: he's hardly ever home). So the responsibility for everything else falls on my shoulders. aka--I've been busy just trying to hold us all together. At the end of the day, when I usually blog, I can barely sit up straight, and all I can think about is hitting my nice, warm bed. (Although I am all caught up on my Survivor and Amazing Race episodes...hmmm.) It's not that I haven't thought of you....really, I have. I have a dozen or so posts in my mind that I want to write about. It's the motivation. Until this baby comes, hubby graduates, and we move to wherever he gets a job, I am going to have to come to terms with the fact that ME time will be hit and miss.
But I did want to get this post up BEFORE Easter. Me and the kids did a craft with peeps and jelly beans. I got the inspiration to do this here (seriously, this lady is awesome at what she does. Every time I read her blog I wish I could see my garbage the way she sees hers).
So, this is what we did:
You take a package of peeps and a package of jelly beans. (I tried to find different colored peeps, but all I could find was pink--I procrastinated [epic fail]).
Take some [clean]scissors you don't care about and cut the peep lengthwise down the middle. Now you have two peeps that are each sticky on one side. That's the hardest part. If you can do that you can do the rest. Read on:
Take your sticky peeps and press them onto heavy card stock paper in any design you want. As for the jelly beans, grab a jar of white frosting (heck, use any color frosting you want. I don't care, but white looks the best). I gave each of my kids a spoon with frosting on it. Then they just dipped the jelly bean in the frosting and stuck it to the paper.
I love craft ideas that give way for lots of creativity. This activity appealed to Dev (at age 8) and Bogey (at age 3), not to mention, the monkey in the middle, Calvin (at age 6).
Of course, Bogey was not as into his as Dev was (and he spent a lot of distracted time eating his art medium.) It was fun to just give them the basic instructions and then turn them loose. All of them told me that was one of the funnest crafts they'd ever done. So, success!
Here's how Bogey's turned out: he went for a freestyle, impressionistic approach on the Easter scene. His work makes viewers think, not only, what is going on here? but also, why is it happening? very picasso.
Calvin went for the patternistic approach to his art. Notice the fusing of the two mediums: peep, jelly bean, peep, jelly bean... his art leads viewers to sigh with relief and know that all is right with a world organized such as this.
And here is Dev's. She calls it "Easter bunny hiding the eggs." I have to point out the immense detail in this piece. Notice the observant and silent witness in the sky: the easter bird.Note the easter bunny, eggs in hand, in preparation to hide. (not sure yet if the one on his head is meant to be hidden there, or if he just didn't have enough hands to carry it all.)And not forgetting, of course, the easter flower, with easter eggs hidden round about it. beautiful...brilliant.
Genius, I tell you, genius.
and honorable mention goes to the mamma:

It turned out ok, too. (I am proud of my easter peep flower.)
AND the best part of this art work is that it makes a most delicious dessert!
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 1, 2011

kabob

Every year when I was a kid, and the snow was melting and the grass was starting to show, and the flowers were starting to bloom, my sister, Jeigh, and I felt the need to appease the summer gods by showing them how ready we were for summer to come. We did this by dressing in shorts and short sleeved shirts, putting our hair in pony tails, and going outside in the melting snow barefoot to do "the dance" (this dance, by the way, is beyond description. But it was similar to this) It didn't feel like spring to me until we had done that.
Now, as an adult, I still feel the urge to do the summer dance in spring, especially when the forecast is calling for snow this weekend. ugh. The summer gods are unhappy and they must be appeased.
I was happy, then, when Calvin, who was in charge of making the menu for this week, chose kabobs. Everyone knows that kabobs must be cooked on a barbeque. There's just no other way to have them. So instead of performing the ceremonial dance, we had our first barbeque of the season (with many more to come I'm sure.)
Don't they look delicious? I can assure you, they were. I used bbq sauce and a few tablespoons of orange juice concentrate for the marinade. It was one of the simplest dinners to make: chicken chunks, mushrooms, green and red pepper, mushrooms, and zucchini, marinaded in a bowl for an hour or so and then handed off to The Hubby for grilling. We also threw together a salad to round out the meal a little, but honestly, we mostly chowed down on these.

Sorry some of the pictures are a little blurry, it was getting dark.

But Bogey approves!

And also didn't know the meaning of pacing himself.
Calvin decided to appease the summer gods by turning his skewers into spears and doing the "hunting wild animals" dance. I bet they liked that.And Dev may or may not be the cause of the snow forecast for this weekend. Does she not know that any sign of weakness angers the summer gods?
Of course, we finished up the meal with a round of s'mores, but I didn't take pictures of that. If I did, I'd get chocolate all over the camera. And that would be a waste of chocolate.

I'm hoping our stunt is enough to keep the weather warm for the rest of the season. No more snow! Boo! down with snow! Up with blooming flowers!

Now we are so happy, we do the dance of joy!

I've done my part to please the summer gods. What have you done?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

appetite


In case you don't know, I'm pregnant.
I hope you were sitting down so the shock of this new revelation didn't hit you too hard.
yup. Preggers.
By the end of this summer, I'll be the mother of four beautiful children.
I am not one of those people that has a terribly hard time being pregnant. I get nauseous, but not super sick. I don't really throw up. I get tired, but not irrationally so.
My belly does get HUGE, but that's a post for another day.
I've been thinking today about my appetite. Or more aptly, my LACK of appetite. I hate trying to eat when I'm pregnant. All I can think about is food, and what I want to eat. I think I've got it--THE thing that sounds good. And maybe, even, it is the thing that I wanted, but there is something about it that makes it, just....not as good.
In fact, not much tastes truly terrific to me during this gestational time. I eat to survive, but the glory and beauty and pleasure of it is gone. It's sad, because I am one of those people who truly dines. (I'm the slowest eater in my family. Always the last at the table.)
SO nine months of no appetite is rough,
But I do have something to look forward to.
That first meal.
Mothers, you all know what I'm talking about right?
That first meal after the baby comes. While you're in the hospital. After you're stitched up, and cleaned up, and the nurses come and put warm blankets on you, and take the baby to clean it up and dress it for you, they ask that beautiful question:
"What would you like to eat?"

Right after Calvin was born, they brought me a turkey sandwich, with lettuce and tomato and pickles and extra mayo, coleslaw and a veggie soup on the side, and a chocolate milkshake (can you hear the hallelujah chorus?)
After nine months of just eating to survive, FINALLY the bon appetit was back in full swing!
That may be the best meal I've ever had in my entire life. Fabulous doesn't even begin to describe it. It was HEAVENLY!!!
I would go through nine months of no appetite just to have a meal taste that good again.
I'm already anticipating that first meal this time around. What will it be? It doesn't matter. I can't wait.

And in totally unrelated news, I finally got my pictures to download, so here are my cute little raspberry plants that poked out of the ground a few weeks ago:




aren't they cute?

And here's my peach tree all a'bloom.

awesome, eh? I love spring!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nothing to say

I've been trying to post pictures of my raspberries and peach tree for the past two days, but for some reason, the pictures won't download.
Bummer.
so now I have nothing to say.
Except that my peach tree is blooming
and my raspberries are coming back in a big way,
but you can't see them.
Sorry.

Oh, and I cleaned the house today.
and then took a nap.
Both felt good.
and were much needed and well deserved.

For dinner tonight we got tv dinners and watched Spiderman 2.
Calvin and Dev (but mostly Calvin) have decided that Spiderman is the coolest guy on the planet.
That is, if he actually existed.
Turns out these movies aren't too scary for them to handle (minus a few parts)
and also adds fuel to the fire of their imaginations.
Calvin was jumping around pretending to shoot webs out his wrists while we were trying to get them settled down for prayers.
Bogey's new nickname is The Green Goblin.
And Dev said she's Doc Oct now.
*sigh*

But I'm still glad it's spring.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oatmeal cookie pancakes

do your bananas get mushy? Are you tired of making banana bread? Need something new for ripe bananas? If so, then this is the recipe for you!
I am like the rest of you, banana bread is delicious and all, but I can't make it every week! My kids love fresh 'nanners, but as soon as they get spots on them, no one will eat them. I've had to get creative about using them up because (true confession) I HATE throwing away food. H.A.T.E it. It's such a waste. I can't help but think of all the people in the world who need food and I am just THROWING IT AWAY!!!! oh, such a poor, poor use of my stewardship.
Anyway, I wish I could claim that I invented this recipe. I didn't. I got it off of Food Network, although I have made some modifications that fit my family better. I'm telling you right off the bat: these are SO delicious, and so filling and so wonderful, that you may find ordinary pancakes boring after this. So proceed if you dare!
Here goes:


Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes (I would like to dedicate this post to Sarah, by the way. She requested the recipe. )

Start with all the ingredients


1 cup oats (I've used all kinds--old fashioned, quick, rolled, whatever. It all works)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon (mixed cinnamon and sugar works, too. Do some people keep it plain?)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 cups vanilla or plain yogurt (food network says to use sour cream, but I usually need to get rid of the yogurt more than I need to get rid of the sour cream. That, and it's healthier.)
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 really ripe bananas, mashed up.
3/4 cup raisins

Mix the first seven dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the next 5 wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the raisins to the dry and mix (I don't know why you don't just mix them in the beginning when you're mixing dry ingredients anyway.)


Stir in the wet ingredients. And you'll have a bowl of mush that looks like this:


Heat your griddle to medium heat (if you cook the outside too fast, they'll be raw on the inside still.) I keep my griddle between 300 and 325 (that's farenheit, mind you. I don't have the little degree symbol thingy) Flip when they are golden brown.

Take a picture of your cutest helper while you're waiting



And there you have it




Serve with syrup and butter.

DELICIOUS!


Now, word to the wise: You should know that the batter is VERY THICK! so I use my little scoop to kind of spread the batter out on the griddle a little right as I pour it on. It won't spread on it's own, but it will cook more evenly if you help it along.
These are so incredibly filling, I have a hard time getting through just one. And you can bet you won't be hungry until lunch. The leftovers keep really well in the fridge for about a week (at least, that's the longest they've lasted at my house). The best part is, they taste fabulous on their own, too. On days when I don't have time to eat breakfast (aka Sunday morning, when I'm just glad that I'm dressed before it's time to go to church.), I stick one of these in the microwave for about 20 seconds and then eat it plain in the car. It's so good!
Also, Food Network says, "If you cannot find really ripe bananas, just nuke them in the microwave for about 15 seconds and they will become super soft for mashing." Really? Some people don't have over ripe bananas? They thrive in great abundance in our house.
Let me know what you think!