Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Horoscope for November 10, 2008
This is not the greatest time for action for you -- let someone else call the shots.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Times like these are when I am most grateful that I am a stay-at-home mother. I know there are plenty of other women in my sister-in-law's life that would like to be there with her, but due to their schedule they can't. It is my privilege and blessing to be able to be with her. There are material things that my family and husband do without because of the loss of additional income, but it is such a blessing to be available in times of need.
I have found ways that I can be more productive and organized at home to find the time to spend with her each day. And it has helped reprioritize what is most important in my daily tasks. Right now, I get the essentials done, and let the rest worry about themselves. I learned that from my sister, who is a breast cancer survivor of thirteen years. Woohoo! She went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner when she was not able to put that meal on for her family. She and her family made that a wonderful memory, and reduced a ton of stress that way. I take my cues from her whenever I can, she is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Someone once said to me something to the effect of, I can see that through the trial of cancer your sister became a really incredible person. No. She was already incredible. The trial of cancer just magnified it. Her family knew how incredible she was all along.
My sister-in-law goes by Bindi, and if you would like to add her to her prayers, I am sure she would appreciate it. We have come in contact with so many kind people that do creative things to relieve suffering. Yesterday, a woman playing a miniature harp came by her room. Someone came by with a black dog for pet therapy. I couldn't help think of my friend Pam. Read up about her contribution as a giggle therapist on the right side of her blog.
Doesn't it just make you want to be like that? For those of us who are looking for a way to benefit others, can I just encourage you to donate blood? It's easy, and not painless. I know, I was supposed to make it sound like no big deal, doesn't even hurt, but truthfully, donating blood is really hard for me. My veins roll and they are small and when I am cold it is even worse. Last time I donated blood I had to drink 3 bottles of juice and they had heated saline bags all over me to get my blood moving. I kind of felt like I wasn't sure it was worth all that. Watching a bag of blood save my sister-in-law's life has changed my tune. She has needed one transfusion so far. Last time she went through chemo she needed two. She truly wouldn't make it without it. I have become so grateful for those who consistently donate blood. It really does save lives and there is always a shortage of your blood type. I don't care what type you have, there is always a shortage of it. There are so many people that can't donate blood because of health, pregnancy, nursing, diabetes etc., it becomes even more important for those of us who can to donate. Sometimes it is so important for us to back up our prayers with action. Maybe we could all say a prayer while we donate blood? So consider this my blogblooddrive. For those of you who can donate, please comment after you have donated. Let's see how much we can accomplish. For those of you who are unable to donate blood, well wishes are welcome. How have you been blessed by blood donation?
Here are a few tips from me for donating. Eat a hearty breakfast and drink plenty of fluids before you go. They will have lots of yummy snacks for you afterward, so don't worry about bringing any. Wear comfortable clothing that gives easy access to your arm. For women, we often run low on iron depending on where we are in our menstrual cycle. For donation they need sufficient iron levels. If you are too low to donate, it does not mean you are anemic. I think they need your iron at something like 12 to donate and something like 4 is anemic. I find it helps to have red meat for dinner the night before I am going to donate and then I never have a problem with my iron level, no matter where I am in my cycle. I prefer to use it as an excuse to have steak, but since that isn't always an option, here is one of my favorite recipes for good old chuck roast. Easy, delicious, everybody loves it.
French Dip sandwiches
1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds)
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp galic powder
1 bay leaf
3 to 4 whole peppercorns
8 french rolls split
Place roast in slow cooker. Add water, soy sauce and seasonings. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or until beef is tender. Remove meat from broth; shred with forks and keep warm. Strain broth; skim off fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping. Serve beef on rolls.
I double the water through peppercorns. I like to leave extra juice on the meat to keep it moist and lots for dipping. It is great made overnight and then put in fridge. That way the fat in the juice rises to the top and hardens. Remove the fat, heat and serve. Your house is going to be filled with a wonderful smell. Leftovers freeze well.
In honor of Bindi and survivors everywhere -
Donate first, comment later! Can't wait to hear from you.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Tomorrow would have been his 77th birthday. He passed away in 2004 from lung cancer. In honor of him, I would like to share just a few memories of his unique writing style. He didn't really love writing letters, but I loved getting them, because they were never ordinary.
He once sent me a letter at camp from the perspective of a fly.
He sent me a letter making different hash marks on the page to represent each member of the family's shopping style (he had all girls and complained that he should own stock in the mall to get some of his money back).
He sent me a letter complaining about how stupid it is that at the end of a letter on the left hand side people write the word over in parentheses even if it is mid-sentence which is stupid because what fool doesn't know that the letter is to continue on the other side? Some people continue to do this even if they have numbered their pages. Redundant. For the rest of the letter he wrote (over) mid-sentence and continued on the other side. Then he began another sentence and in the middle wrote (over) and finished on the other side and kept going. To read the letter I had to keep flipping the page, finding where he left off and keep going around.
Speaking of going around, he also wrote me a letter that started in the middle of the page and spiraled out so that I really did have to keep turning the paper around and around.
But the letter that wins the comedy prize was the newspaper clipping. I served a mission for my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). We were encouraged not to read our mail until our day off and we didn't read the newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV so that we could stay focused and not mentally going home every day. For a straight month, every time someone asked me where I was from and I told them they would tell me of some terrible disaster in the area my family lives and say "I hope your family is okay!" They were freaking me out! So I wrote home and asked my parents that if there was some big thing going on anywhere near them would they just send me a quick note telling me that they were okay and not involved, nothing else, and label the outside "Open immediately"? It was just a few weeks later that I got just such a letter with my dad's handwriting on the outside. Inside was a newspaper clipping from the Associated Press that detailed a domestic abuse incident that had occurred in my home town. Apparently, some man became enraged at his wife and killed her by beating her with a frozen squirrel. That's all the article said. Just 2 or 3 sentences. At the bottom, my dad added one sentence of his own. "Your mother and I were not involved. Love, Dad"
Thanks Dad, for making life beautiful, making your love for me abundantly clear, and teaching me how to find the humor in just about every situation.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Why, oh why, did I want this hair in the first place? I know, I am the one who posted enough said just moments ago, but I just couldn't go without saying it. There are some things that even being a child of the '80's is not enough of an excuse for.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Dad got home from work early, had the evening free, and so we decided to go on a family walk in beautiful fall weather. We even brought the dog, and the football. Cool, huh? Till thing one saw the P.T. Cruiser. Punched Dad in the back. I am not involved, whatever. Then I turn around to see Thing 2, my little girl, punch Thing 1 right in the chin!?!?!?! What are you doing? I missed? Missed what? His shoulder. By a long shot! In her defence Thing 1 is growing at an alarming rate. At the beginning of summer he had just barely become as tall as me. School has started. He is at least two inches taller than me. He is growing about 3/4" a month. So I thought, maybe it is hard to aim up. Maybe, she hit his arm and then it grazed off and accidentally hit his chin. Thing 1 states clearly that this was not the case.
The bumper on my car is fixed. But the catalytic converter on the driver's side is not. And something is wrong with the steering wheel, and the passenger side mirror isn't doing the night dimming thing right anymore, and winter is coming and the back heater isn't working. So my car is in the shop. It has been there since Monday night. And it won't be done until Friday. That is the bad news. But, it is all under warranty and my warranty covers everything including a rental car. That is the good news. Until I see the rental car.
It is a P.T. Cruiser. The good news is now a little bit concerning for my family's welfare. I have got to get my car back before somebody in my family ends up looking like this:
"Cruiser Bruiser, no bruises back!"
Monday, September 8, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
It made for a great family discussion. What is so dangerous about being neutral in our lives? Well, kind of like this car. If we don't make decisions ahead of time about what we will and won't do, what we want out of our lives, what we want to accomplish, we may very well end up someplace we don't want to be. And it won't be because we made any effort to get there. We will have just ended up there somehow. Pulled by gravity, or laziness, or lack of purpose, no clear set goals and standards. James describes it like this: James 1:6 - "For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." Just like nature pulled her car to where she never intended it to go, unchecked, our natures can pull us to where we never intended to go. Unless....we get it in gear. Apply the brakes. Figure out where we want to go and where we don't. Change our very nature. But how to get it in gear? James says it again. James 1:22 "Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
I am so grateful for all the things I have learned by trying to follow my Savior. It gives me purpose, direction, comfort, joy and so much more. In short, it helps me get it in gear. Know when I need to apply the brakes. Get where I want to go.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
So did the kids. Thing 1 caught a fish,
and swung from the awesome rope swing.
Thing 2 played in the sand,
jumped off the high dive,
rode on the Big Bertha,
and put on too much sunscreen.
Hubby did the best cannonball!
Aren't those good reasons for my house not to be clean?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
One of our struggles about going back to school is breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day. I love all foods breakfast. In the summer we enjoy hearty breakfasts every day. If I ever skip a meal, and it is not often (I don't get it when people say they forgot to have lunch! I never forget a meal) it is not breakfast if I can help it. I like breakfast so much that during the school year I still get up early enough to cook a hot meal every morning. Sometimes I take Fridays off and we don't have time Sunday morning before church, so those are cold breakfast days, but other than that...
This is one of my recipes that we use about once a week or more during the school year and summer as well. I double it and either keep the extra batter in fridge, (it will keep for a week and a half or so) or I put it into muffin cups and freeze it. Then just pop them out of the freezer into muffin pan (no thawing required) and bake for about 25 minutes instead of the 18-20 minutes. It is a great healthy breakfast with a couple of slices of turkey bacon for some protein to start the day. Hope you enjoy! I like to use my stoneware muffin pan from my Pampered Chef consultant days. That way when you finish your yummy muffin and come back for more the stoneware keeps it warm.
Classic Bran Muffins
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins (optional) - I don't add these, I like them, but I am the only one in the family who does.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. - I use silicone cups. Love them. Easy to wash out. A tiny spritz of Pam and all you will have to do is turn them over and lightly squeeze, the muffin will fall right out. Easy clean-up.
Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes. - I don't wait ten minutes, Just however long it takes to get the other ingredients together.
Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 15 to 20 mintues or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy! - I eat mine warm, split in half with a little pat of butter or jam. They are great with fruit butters in the fall!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Which brings me to Subway. I have a problem with the way they have things set up. I went in on a lovely day to pick up lunch for me and some friends. I was in a great mood. This particular Subway was a bit busy that day. I moved on down the line and when it was my turn I gave my order. One footlong turkey and bacon with extra mayo and everything, one 6" teriyaki chicken warm with dressing, lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, tomato, a 6" ham and cheese with everything but hot peppers. What kind of bread? Bread? Ah, white. He cuts and shoves it down to the next person. She asks me what kind of meat. Ah, Turkey and bacon. While she slaps that on, guy number one repeats what kind of bread? White, all of them white. He cuts and shoves. Meanwhile, girl two has the new white bread and asks what kind of meat. Um, the first was turkey and bacon the second is teriyaki chicken. Which one is this? Two. So far so good. Then guy three, who is now holding sandwich one asks what do you want on the turkey and bacon. Everything. Not bad. I am doing okay. Lady number two now has the bread for sandwich number three. What kind of meat? Okay so one was turkey and bacon, two was teriyaki chicken..... She interrupts me because quite a line is now forming behind me. I just need to know what you want on this one. But I am just not ready to blurt out, 2978. That is not how I rehearsed it in my head so that I would not forget. I rehearsed, One footlong turkey and bacon with extra mayo and everything, one 6" teriyaki chickien warm with dressing, lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, tomato, a 6" ham and cheese with everything but hot peppers. Nonetheless, I now silently run through the order in my head until I get to the part she wants and blurt out, ham. Guy three is now interested in what to put on sandwich two. Girl two wants to know what kind of cheese. American, or white whichever is easiest. But now, I have just remembered that sandwich one is supposed to have extra mayo. And he has already wrapped that one. I tell him anyway. Guy four steps in. He is the cash register guy. He hastily unwraps and mayo's sandwich one. Mr. Three is still asking about sandwich two. I have learned, I am silently going through my list 'til I get to his part, when lady two asks what do you want on the ham. I hold up a finger to silently tell her just a minute and blurt out guy three's necessary info, and then turn to girl three to ask what info she needs when guy four at the cash register is interested in what kind of sandwiches I am getting so he can ring it up before it is made. I don't even know what sandwich girl two is working on, and she is really agitated. Guy one has cut another piece of 6" white bread and wants to know what kind of meat I want. I am confused after giving the whole order to cash register guy and tell him ham and cheese. Girl two wants to know what veggies. Everything but hot peppers. Anyway, I ended up with four sandwiches instead of three, I wasn't sure what was in any of them, the staff was irritated with me, the line was piling up, and I was willing to buy the mystery sandwich just to get out of there.
Why can't they have an order sheet that moves along with the sandwich so you don't have four people asking you what to put on the sandwich all at the same time? It is just not nice. No other sandwich places do it that way and with good reason. I love their sandwiches, but that system is just enough to drive me crazy.
When you are feeling stupid, just say to yourself, "There are other things that I am good at, this just isn't one of them." I am not a great multi-tasker. I am easily distracted. And my memory is not so good. If you want a sandwich from Subway, you are going to have to get it yourself. I am not going to order for you. It was embarrassing wiping that tear from my face in front the cashier guy.
Would you like to share some of your own humorous shortcomings? I wish you would. It would make all us schlepps out here feel so much better to read about it. I wish this is the only embarrassing moment I have to share, but there are so many more available I will have to save them for future blogging days so as not to overwhelm you all.
Monday, August 11, 2008
We started with a craft I found from Family Fun magazine several years ago. The girls had a little bit of a hard time with it, but they turned out great.
You get 20 guage wire and cut 2 1/2 feet. Make a loop at the top for hanging. Then thread beads on about 1" apart making a "z" shaped bend in the wire (bend in one direction at the top of the bead and the other direction at the bottom of the bead) to hold the bead in place. At the last bead wrap the wire around the bead two times to secure the end. Then wrap the wire about a thin spice bottle from your pantry. When you slide it of your spice bottle you will have a corkscrew shape suncatcher like this:
Then, we played games. I found this great game when surfing the internet for great outdoors games for the kids for summer. It is called Bucket Blast. The genius is in it's simplicity. They give instructions for 15 games to be played with buckets, beanbags, cones, and blindfolds, all of which are provided with a nifty little mesh bag to keep it all in. The games are great. At first I thought only my 9 year old would love it, but now see that my soon to be 13 yo would have fun with this with his friends. Perfect for family get togethers. Here is the link to their website:
Read the reviews on Amazon too.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
And then I remembered - I have something I want to say.
At the end of the school year I was trying to arrange some meetings at my child's school. One day I got home to a message on my home phone. It was one of the school administrators. She was totally exasperated with me. "We had a meeting scheduled for this morning at 9 am! I left you a message on your cell phone to let you know the date and time. You missed it. Please call to reschedule."
I did call to reschedule. In fact, we were able to meet that day. She asked me what my schedule was. I told her it was open. Whatever time would work for her, I could work my schedule around it. Having a flexible schedule is one of the benefits of being a sahm.
I tried to kindly let this woman know that for future reference, my cell phone is not my primary number. I really don't even use it very often. It is best to leave messages on my home phone first and cell phone secondary. "REALLY?" she says.
"What do you do?"
"I am a stay-at-home mother."
"Both your kids are in school?"
"Oh, (Clearly this has taken her off guard and she is shocked. There is now an awkward pause while she thinks of what to say next)I wish I had time like that. It must be nice."
"It is." - I let it go at that. I may be oversensitive. But it seems to me that this lovely woman got the wrong impression of what my life is like.
Let me just say it from the start - I respect working mothers. In fact, I am in awe. You amazing women manage to do in a matter of hours what it takes me all day to do.
But, I don't just sit around with free time on my hands!
I remember being a kid and leaving for school. I remember coming home and asking mom what she did that day. I don't remember her answer. I do remember assuming it wasn't much. I am a mother now. I remember finding out that I was WRONG - PERIOD.
I am not June Cleaver, though I aspire to be like her, clean and organized house, well dressed, good cook, have all the answers and dish them out with kindness, patience and humor. I am nowhere close, but I do believe that good homemaking takes real skill. And I am truly passionate about things like sewing, cooking, (notice cleaning does not make the list) parenting and especially my wonderful husband.
So, this blog will be my answer to every child's question, what does my mother do all day? I intend to share some recipes, parenting tips and faux pas, what helps me stay in my budget, I think I'll let you know what is keeping me busy, I might do some product reviews (I love gadgets!), I'll probably share some rambling, random, humurous anecdotes, if I ever get to it, I will share my projects completed and it is entirely likely that I will do just whatever I feel like at that moment, on that day.
That is how my blog started.