Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting back to "normal"

It was interesting to read through my old blog posts last night while I was waiting for Josh and Karen to come and pick up Aiden.

I went back to Christmas of 2008.Very interesting to see that I actually *wrote* blog posts instead of just posting pics only. :) It was fun to see pics of my kids at that age, too. I also was astonished at how much better the pictures look now with my 8 mp camera instead of my old 3 mp; so much more color and so much sharper.

I didn't go to the Black Friday sales this year, did you? I was sooo sick. You know the Niquil commercial that says it is the "sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine"? Yeah, well, that about sums up my Thanksgiving weekend.. oh, and that my asthma acted up really bad too. I think it was the true flu that people get the shots for. I am feeling so much better today though! And I didn't cough once yesterday. Yay!

So instead of going shopping on Friday, I worked on Aiden's quilt. I am going to have to wash it thoroughly so that I don't give him more than a quilt for Christmas! Many times as I was working on it and feeling so junky, I remembered how the "white man" gave the Native Americans presents of blankets.. infected with small pox. Yes, I will be washing that quilt at least twice before giving it to my precious grandbaby!

I did cook for Thanksgiving though. The whole shebang too: turkey (Amber commented on how moist it was :), cranberries (from a can - Matt took care of them :), stuffing (that even Amber's stuffing hating boyfriend said was pretty good :), sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows (mmmmmmmmm), mashed potatoes (Amber made them :):):), giblet gravy (again... mmmmmmmm), fruit/cream salad (made with real heavy whipping cream. so, so yummy!), rolls (that Amber made. love them!!), and lots of pumpkin pie with real whipping cream (MY FAVORITE!! :)

Amber is going to Culinary Art school, did I tell you? Anyway, her instructor told her class that she was sorry that she was going to be "ruining everyone's Thanksgiving dinner" as they were eating the dinner that they had worked on all week in school. Amber was *so* excited to taste such yummy food! When she came home from school she told me that she was disappointed with the dinner. She said that ours is so much better. And *that* from a chef! (and a very picky eater :)

Aiden is gone today. Amber, Jared, and Emily have left for school. Steve is at work. Which leaves Matt, Michael, and me here at home. It is very quiet. I will miss everyone as we go back into our "real life", but routine is nice too.

Today I have plans of working on Christmas presents, cleaning up the house (are we the only ones whose home looks like a bomb went off??), and maybe, just maybe, putting up the Christmas tree. :) That's the plan, Stan; hopefully we can pull it all off!

Have a great day, and if you don't hear from me for a few days send the Search and Rescue to look for me in the living room, okay? I just might be buried under an avalanche of blankets, pillows, and toys. ;)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

First thing yesterday morning I got out the building supplies in hopes of the kids wanting to hang out with each other, talk, and play. It worked!

Throughout the day, I asked the kids to wash some dishes. It made cleanup after dinner so much easier!

Amber was home, so she took some pics of herself with each of the kids (except Michael... I wonder where he was off playing while this was happening??)

We really had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and except for me being sick with the flu, it went off without a hitch.

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too, and I look forward to hearing all about it! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving wish for you:

May your turkey plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off your thighs! (author unknown)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to make a fabric Yo Yo

Actually, I'm going to hook you up with a woman who knows how to make them. They look super easy, and I want to make some!
Here is her link: - How to Make a Yo-Yo

Happy Stitching! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual (originating with SouleMama). A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cranberry Relish

At the Old Farmers Almanac I found a recipe that sounds really yummy and thought I would share it here with you:

Cranberry Relish

Yield: Makes 3 to 4 cups.

* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 2/3 cup red-wine vinegar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
* 1 teaspoon ground pepper
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, coriander, cloves, and nutmeg
* 1 bay leaf
* 3 cups cranberries, washed and picked over
* 2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced

Heat oil and saute the onion, then add vinegar, sugar, spices, and herbs. Simmer until syrupy, about 20 minutes. Add cranberries and pears and simmer another 15 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

If you make it let me know what you think!

Tonight we are headed to my mom's nursing home's Thanksgiving Dinner. Yum!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Serenity Prayer

The other day when Steve & I were on a walk he said something that made me mad. Really mad. Madder than I ever usually get at him.

I stomped away from him and I looked down at the trail. I then saw my ring. It wasn't my "real" wedding ring: the one with the diamonds. It was just a gold band I'd bought for myself at WalMart when Matt was a baby and I was worried about scratching him with my diamond ring. I remembered that it had only cost me $20. I had the uncontrollable urge to take it off and throw it .... so I did.

It was just like in a movie: I saw it spiral around and around, silhouetted in the pink, sunset sky, twirling in slow motion and then a final plink as it landed far away in a clump of bushes. I have to admit that it was very satisfying.

A couple of days passed and I finally cooled off. I found that I really missed having a wedding ring on, so I put back on my behemoth. I love my original wedding ring, don't get me wrong, but sometimes it feels big and bulky. So yesterday I looked for a ring at WalMart; I just knew they'd have a plain gold band for cheap. Well, they didn't. The cheapest was a super thin ring for $38. So I decided to keep looking.

Steve & I were at Shopko tonight to get him some shoes, so I decided to look for a ring there. There were no gold bands to be seen in the jewelry case, so I started looking at different alternatives. I thought two hearts looped together would be good, or maybe one with circles entwined to represent eternity. While I was looking so was Steve. He found one in my size that had the Serenity Prayer on it. I laughed and he laughed. It seemed pretty fitting! I tried it on to make sure I really am a size 7, but with no real intentions of buying it... and it got stuck. There was the plastic card with a little plastic loop keeping the ring on the plastic card. No matter how hard I pulled on the ring, it just wasn't coming off, so I told Steve I'd have to buy it, there simply wasn't a choice. He took his leatherman tool out of his pocket and cut off the plastic loop to free the ring. It was then that I fully read what the ring said. Come to find out, it didn't have the whole prayer on it, it just reads "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."

At first I felt silly for having the Serenity Prayer on what I would use as a wedding ring, but the more I think about it I think that *every* wedding ring should have that statement on it! Because let's face it, we can't change each other, and by the time we realize that fact, we are stuck. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing to be stuck, but we are stuck all the same.

After wearing the ring for a few hours now, I have the feeling that it wasn't just fate that Steve found this ring and that it got stuck. It is simply the perfect ring, and I think the next time I get the urge to throw it (because I know that there *will* be a next time), the message will make all the difference.

Grandma's Noodle Recipe

My mother-in-law just sent this recipe to her niece (Steve's cousin) on facebook, and because I lose written down recipes, and because I love all of you, I decided to add the recipe here where we can all find it whenever we want it. :)

She says:

Here is Grandma's noodle recipe. You can make it with or without eggs. With eggs:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 TBS oil
warm water, start with 1/4 cup

Mix the egg, oil and water together before adding to the flour mixture. Mix well, kneading it together, adding more water if needed to form a dough that can be rolled out. It will be a stiff dough. Roll it as flat as you can and cut into noodles.

You can leave out the egg and add 1/4 cup more water to begin with.
Happy noodling!

There you have it. Yummy homemade noodles just in time for turkey left overs in a couple of weeks!

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Grapes" (otherwise known as "Breakfast")

This morning, like most, I was eating my fruit and I noticed how beautiful the grapes happened to be naturally arranged. Just at that moment, Emily reached to take one. I have to admit that I slapped her hand away and told her to hurry and turn around (so that I could use her jacket as the background), because *this* is what I saw:

Beautiful. I love it when things just fall in place like that. :) (the picture is the straight out of the camera shot, since GIMP is not installed on the Mac, so I'm stuck for now. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Misc. info from the day :)

Today I woke up and checked my blog to see if anyone commented. When I saw that there were no comments I was surprised and sad: doesn't anyone read my blog? for three days?? And then I remembered: OH! I put on comment moderation!! So I checked. Three!! Thank you for commenting! You made my day! :)

I turned on the comment moderation because I am concerned I might be missing some of your comments; comment moderation was turned on for anything 2 weeks old or older, but sometimes I don't look that far back. Now I'll know for sure I'm getting each and every one. :)

On some of the blogs that I comment on, the author of the blog will reply to me by email. I am going to try to do that. It makes me happy that they have read my comment and appreciate it enough to "talk" back to me.

Yesterday Emily got to go watch her schools version of "Cats". She LOVED it! I didn't have much time to talk to her about her favorite parts, since it was so late when she got home, but I'm looking forward to the discussion later on this afternoon. :)

Josh's car got hit by another car during his morning commute yesterday. He had a beautiful, shiny black Nissan Altima, a gorgeous car, but yesterday morning as he rounded a corner he saw all of the traffic at a stand-still. He stopped okay, but noticed the car behind him wasn't slowing down. He turned his wheel all the way to the right, so that when the car hit him he wouldn't hit the car in front of him but instead just go off the road. That is what happened. He sent me a picture on my cell phone. His trunk was smashed, and turned right side in. They have no hope of saving his car. He is staying optimistic, saying that he only his muscles are sore and that he was getting tired of that car anyway. lol! He went to the ER and got some flexeril and ibuprofen 800 mg. The doc released him from work for a week with his note, but Josh asked him to change it for just one day because he "has bills to pay". He'll stay home today but is planning on going in tomorrow. I certainly hope that he feels ok on Saturday. I am so thankful that he was safe!!

I called our mechanic about our car yesterday, and he said that he still hasn't gotten the car to die for him. He said that he will keep it through the weekend and take it on drives. He needs to drive it far and long, otherwise I don't think he is going to have success.

A raccoon visited out house night before last. I'm planning on writing the story on later on (I'll let you know when it is there :), but I'll copy and paste my status and comments from fb as a summary:
Oh my goodness I am tired this morning!! At 3 a.m. I got woken up to my chickens going cRaZy, so I went out to check on them armed with nothing but a flashlight and I see a HUGE raccoon the size of a medium sized dog sitting in the corner and eating one of my chickens!

I told Steve to get a gun, but he came out with nothing, saying that we could kill it with a pitchfork or a shovel. He took the pitchfork, but when he wasn't *doing* anything I told him to give me the pitchfork. I went over to that raccoon, lifted up my pitchfork, he turned around, came toward me and hissed and I ... ran away and told Steve to get him. LOL! What a sissy little girl I am! I thought I was totally She ra, but no. Sad realization.

And the poor chicken he was eating was STILL ALIVE!! I thought it was dead! When the raccoon ran away, I went over to it. It was bloody on the back, and the neck was bare and bloody and there was bites out of its back, and it lifted up its little head and made a little groan. Poor thing! I think I would have been able to kill that stupid ole raccoon had I have known it was being eaten alive! (or maybe I'd feel like a worse sissy girl for not killing the raccoon. Maybe it is better I didn't know.)

Next time I'm going organize a group armed with pitchforks and shovels and we'll sing the song that they sing on Beauty and the Beast about "not coming home 'til its dead! Kill the beast!"

Alone I might be scared, but with a mob I can do anything!! ;)

I remember seeing one for the first time at a state park in Tennessee and thinking that they were so cute! Now I want it "dead! Good and dead!" I did feel sorry for my poor little chicken. :'(

A lady responded with this story:
"I dated a guy in high school that loved to go "coon" hunting! That was His idea of a fun date. I told Him he was going you know where for killing such darling poor defenseless little animals. So He brought me a coon once in a cage and said look I didn't kill this one just so you could see how sweet they are. I was like ooooh it is soooo cute can I hold it? So I start walking up to the cage and it starts freaking out and hissing and biting the cage and I am jumping back screaming "aaahhhh kill it! kill it!"

LOL! That was just how I felt about that mean ole raccon!!

I hope that you have a terrific Friday and weekend!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordy Wednesday :)

I found a really cute hairstyle today while I was looking up any specials going on at Standard Optical. Look at this:

(image removed. the link changed and the haircut is gone. bummer.)

I think it would look terrific on Emily, and I think I would love it too! Hmmmm....

Matt needs glasses, so that is why I was looking in the first place. In the past month or two he has noticed that his vision has gotten worse. It makes me sad, because glasses are *such* a pain. I wore contacts for a very short time and loved it, however the doc said that my eyes were making lots of new blood vessels because they weren't getting the oxygen they needed. Bummer. So back to glasses I went.

Last night Steve & I went and cleaned my friend's chimney. What a mess! I had no idea that I'd come home looking like Bert from Mary Poppins, but that is just what we both looked like. Chim chiminy chim chimimy chim chim cheree....

Josh and Aiden came down to visit yesterday, slept over, and have been here today. It is fun to have Josh around to visit with, and of course we love having baby Aiden around!

Tonight I'm hoping for a long walk, but I'm feeling way more like a long nap. ;)

Jared went to a Speech and Debate competition last weekend and won 3rd in Impromtu and 3rd in Congress. On Sunday I made him don all of his metals and I took a picture.

Our car went in the shop on Monday. It is dying again, even while we are driving it on the interstate. It is very disconcerting. But get this, the mechanic can't get it to die for him. So we are waiting for the car to act up so that he can know what is going on with it.

Amber has had to get a ride with a friend to school every morning and then arrange for a ride in the afternoons while the car is in the shop. Steve has ridden in a ride share van. I have played chauffeur to get them to their rides every morning. It has been good to get up so early, but boy am I beat by the afternoon! 6:30 comes too early (especially when you go to bed late!), is cold, and is very dark!

So our plans for the week are to get Matt into the eye doctor, get our car out of the shop, and get me more sleep at night.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Thought #1

The NaNoWriMo started officially yesterday. Are you involved? Steve is, and his novel is in full force.

I, on the other hand, am just going to post something every single day. I'll try to document our lives in a positive and uplifting way... I hope. And in an entertaining way too, which I doubly hope.

I have stayed away many days because of Thumper's rule: "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." Yep, lots of those sorts of days really.

But this month has Thanksgiving in it, so it will be a good exercise for me to every day find something to be glad about. Pollyanna-ish. It'll be just right.

Today, my glad thought is that I'm so thankful for the opportunity that I had to live in Kentucky for 5 years. I loved Kentucky and I felt like I grew up a lot there. Let me count the ways:

I'm so glad that I had the chance to see up close and personal how many bugs can live in one area. And I was so glad for spiders... they eat the bugs, see. My family came to visit me once, my sister and her husband and kids, and they stayed at our house. I cleaned and cleaned to get the place just right. In one room, which was an empty bedroom that we turned into an office that I intended for my nephew and my neice's boyfriend would share. There were myriads of spider's webs that I swept up with my Dexter duster. I thought I got them all. The next morning the boys told me how they'd counted 120 spiders before they turned off the light and hoped for the best. I think they just counted the same ... ten... over and over and over. Yep. That is what I think and I feel better for thinking it, too.

On my porch we found all sorts of spiders, but my favorite was a big, yellow and black garden spider. We found it the first part of October on our porch and let him live there past Halloween... we though a cool spider would be a wonderful decoration for Halloween! It got ginormous! It kept all of the bugs down which was absolutely wonderful!

Another spider that is trapped in my memory (a good place for a spider to be trapped. no webs to clean up, you know.) was a running spider that lived under my couch. He hadn't always lived under the couch. He once ran along the wall. I told Steve to kill it. Then I went off and had Michael 10 weeks early and was gone for about 6 months, more or less. When I came home, Steve and I were sitting on the couch watching tv and something that looked like the size of a mouse ran across the floor from the couch to behind the entertainment center. I shrieked and yelled, "WHAT WAS THAT??" "Um," Steve stammered, "that was the spider that you wanted me to kill a few months ago." Ugh. Never, never ask Steve to kill a spider, because he won't.

In fact, Steve is simply *not* a killer of anything. He would rather co-habitate with all of God's creatures than kill them. Because of that, I have learned to kill all of the pests in our house. Spiders, mice, bugs of all shapes and sizes. It is up to me. I have, in fact, caught a mouse by its tail and fed him to a cat alive. Just for spite. Don't mess with me!

In Kentucky I learned about wells. And lack of water. And wells that go dry. Did you know that you can take a sponge bath with just a 2 liter bottle of water?? It is totally possible. I've done it. I've also gotten lost trying to come home from a friend's house after luxuriating in her bathtub and then letting each child have a turn too. Because we were sick of sponge baths, that's why. And I stink at map reading. Don't travel with me or at least let me navigate.

My husband is really good at putting out fires in the field without water. He grew up in Idaho where there is no water and electric fences' sparks start fires. Good thing, because he needed those skills when our 10 year old started the field on fire while he was burning our garbage... and our well was dry. We got a garbage service soon after that experience.

Oh. And did I ever tell you about the time that our trampoline was lifted clean into the air and dropped about 50 yards away in the cow pasture? Yep, Kentucky winds are somethin'!

I also learned to heat exclusively with wood. I learned a *lot* from that! I learned how to start a fire in the morning when no one else will get out of bed to light one because it is way warmer in bed than in the cold, cold house. I learned that deciduous trees are the trees of choice to burn; they burn slower and leave less creosote in the stovepipes. Evergreens: pine and cedar, are wonderful to heat up the stove and house quickly because they burn quickly and hot, but they burn out quickly too and they burn dirty.

I learned that baby kitties are really hard to keep alive, even when you feed them every two hours around the clock and fill their hot water bottles with hot water to keep them warm. And you even take them to church so you can feed them and refill the water bottles. I know because I took them with me and left them on top of the refrigerator in the church's kitchen. I fed them every two hours with a syringe. I stroked them and washed their bottoms, which is what their mommy's do to make them pee and poo (did you know??). It broke my heart when one after another, each day for three days, they took turns dying.

I learned that baby cows die easily too. If a calf gets scours (a fancy name for diarrhea), they are in serious trouble. Premature calves are especially at risk. We had one for a couple of days. In the winter. Just after the kitten incident.

I also learned that human babies sometimes die too. Especially when they are premature. And that sometimes mommies die too; I was fortunate. Baby wasn't. Three days after he was born he died. It was a hard time, but it bonded Steve and I closer than we'd ever been. I learned what kind of a man I was married to. A very kind man. One who didn't think his wife was going insane when she admitted in whispers in the middle of a cold, blowy January night just a few days after the baby died that she wanted to go put a blanket over his grave so he wouldn't get cold. My rational self knew I was being irrational, but my maternal self wanted to care for my baby and couldn't let go. Steve very kindly and gently talked to me about it and let me cry.

I learned to cook from scratch. Even better than I'd learned the year before in Tennessee, when we first moved to the South. I learned that I loved big pantries as big as a bedroom! And that I could totally fill them up with food. I am the biggest squirrel there is, I think. :)

I learned that the best neighbors are Amish. They are quiet, kind, and don't get into a fit about anything. They are the calmest people I've ever met. I also learned that I loved their cooking. And their greenhouses. And their cute little stores. I am a huge fan of the Amish.

I learned that I could actually grow a garden! Steve made me plant a row of peas. Made me. Stood behind me while I did. I knew I couldn't grow anything because I had a black thumb instead of a green one. But he made me. AND THE PEAS GREW!! And I fell in love with gardening. And it is all Steve's fault.

I learned that kids thrive in the country. That just like plants, they need a little dirt and a little water and they grow up really well. Having 120 acres buffered me from neighbors and let my children run in the pastures with the cows, goats, and chickens. They gathered up buckets full of turtles. They gathered buckets full of crawdads. We homeschooled and learned the secrets of the plants, trees, animals and birds around us. The children found Sweet William flowers and sent one along with a letter to the Williams' family from Tennessee that we were friends with and one along with a letter to their Uncle Bill and sent one along with a letter to their Grandpa who happened to be a William too. I've heard those Williams still have that letter, too. We used Audubon books to figure out everything around us. It was a magical time in a magical place. Steve worked from home and we schooled at home and we were always together. I felt like we were living out one of the "Little House" books.

It was the most amazing time in my life. The spell was broken when Michael was born and we had to move away from our Eden, but the memories and lessons learned will stay with us always.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A recipe for you: Quick Breadsticks

Do you want a really tasty recipe for super quick yeast bread breadsticks?? I thought you would! :)

In a medium sized mixing bowl add:
1 1/2 c. of warm water (about body temperature warmth)
1/4 c. sugar
1 TBS yeast
Let set for about 10 minutes while you do the next step:

In a separate, small bowl stir together the ingredients for the Topping:
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. butter (or margarine), softened
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced

Add to the yeast water:
3 1/2 c. flour
Mix together and add more flour if necessary (dough will be sticky).

Spread dough on a greased cookie sheet. Spread the topping onto the bread and sprinkle Italian Seasoning on top. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 400* (while the breadsticks are in the oven). Bake for 10 minutes, until it is light brown, longer if you like them crispier.

Easy peasy and super tasty! Enjoy!