Friday, June 29, 2007

More, Please?

My internet service may be a bit patchy for a while since we're in the middle of our move. We don't technically have our internet service connected at the new house yet, so until we get some kind of reliable connection, I'll be running over to the homes of friends and relatives, begging a crust of server time and a morsel of keyboard. Wish me luck, and I'll see you all on the other side. With pictures, no less!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #25

13 Mimisms

1. Lair-pay - Airplane: As in, "Mommy! Look, look, lair-pay sky!"

2. Nimetopa - Minnesota: When Daddy was in Minnesota, she asked me where he was about every five minutes. I always told her, Minnesota, but she would argue that he was at the new house or at his job. This week, now that he's home, I tell her that he's at work when she asks, and she argues that he's in Nimetopa. Argh!

3. Mongy - Grandma: Actually, we've progressed to Ga-mah now, but Mongy lasted for a long time. The 'g' isn't actually a hard or a soft 'g'. It's a moderate 'g'. When Zaya was little, he called the grandmas, "Gn-gn". I originally told the grandmothers that we'd call them what the kids did, but since they both picked such weird things, we stuck it out till they managed "grandma". Now, their cousin calls Grandma T, "Na-na" which is cute and do-able for adults, but it's too late for us.

4. Keeto Bite - Flying insect: any flying insect, actually. Mosquitos, fly, gnats; they're all keeto bites.

5. Oosh - Shoe/Shoes: We loves oosh in all forms and sizes. Sometimes we have to try on every oosh we can find in the entire house, regardless of size or seasonal appropriateness.

6. Oss - Off: As in, "Ite oss", when she's in Mommy's room and wants to endear herself by flipping the light switch over and over and over and over...

7. Woot-nak - Fruit Snack: I wish I meant real fruit by the phrase fruit snack, but I mean those little multi-colored sugar lumps shaped like fruit or cartoon characters, and optimistically called "fruit snacks" by some enterprising business man long ago.

8. Coo-Coo - Blue's Clues: Need I say more?

9. Ga-it - Tag, you're it!: This is the first thing Mim wants to do after Daddy's welcome home hug. She slaps him on whatever she can reach, yells "Ga-It!" and runs off squealing.

10. Hi-See - Hide and Seek: Another game played frequently with Daddy and Zaya. The kids always "hide" in the exact same place, and then Daddy has to go find them. Thrilling and often an off-shoot of ga-it.

11. Bank-it, Ba-ba - Blanket and Bottle: Along with Puppy, these form the sleeptime triumvirate, which must not be disturbed, changed or questioned in any way.

12. *#@ - House: I'm not going to write it. Let's just say it's awkward when she yells "Grandma's House!" in church.

13. Ol' Lucky Bucky - Old yucky spaghetti: My general phrase for anything I don't want her to eat, taste or otherwise mess with is "old and yucky" which comes out "ol' lucky" when Mim tries. She saw some old spaghetti on the table when we were eating lunch yesterday and kept telling us about the "ol' lucky bucky" until Mommy came and cleaned it away.

Senior Thievery

The little town where we live, and it's specific churches and businesses will remain unnamed, but for the sake of flow, we'll call the town Daisy. Daisy is one of those little prairie villages that is mostly seniors, mostly church-goers, and mostly harmless. We do have a new element moving in, but they're just collectively called the Druggies. They're the people who've been forced out of other towns and found themselves in Daisy for a time. We have two churches in town. The Baptist and Proud runs about 50 people, but the Church of Heritage runs about 200. I married into one of the Heritage families, so that's where we attend.

Here in Daisy we have our own special generation of religious, thrifty seniors. Sometimes they're religiously thrifty, and sometimes they're thriftily religious, but the first is something I could use a little more of myself, and the second is not for me to judge. They all survived the depression/dust bowl out on the Oklahoma prairie, raised their children and spent their lives and strength out on the farm.

One of the funny things I've noticed about them is how they cannot stand that a fruit tree might go unappreciated for a season. You haven't seen funny until you've seen a group of senior ladies with big white sheets and broomsticks shaking down the mulberries from the tree at Mr. and Mrs. Whosits' old house. The Whosits aren't going to use them, because they're in the home, poor souls, so why let all that purply goodness go to waste, right? I'm not kidding. They'll lay sheets on the ground, and start shaking those branches with broomsticks. When the sheets are covered with mulberries, they'll wrap them up and take their loot home to make mulberry cobbler, mulberry jam, and other manner of sweets.

There's also an apricot tree across the street from the dorm, and since the house is empty (The Druggies left when they couldn't pay their bills.), the Senior Swipers feel free to start their usual procedures. Almost every evening someone is out there gathering apricots. The photo at top is the pile of rejects from someone's sweet little grandmother. And let me tell you, if a Daisy grandma can't use it, it's unusable. Period.

Last night as we went by, the couple out picking fruit invited us to come over and get some any time we wanted. They do have some right to ownership, since the man who was picking the apricots is also the man who mows that yard. He can't stand for one of the houses on the street to look so unkempt. Since he can't do anything about the dilapidated house, he keeps the lawn presentable.

I suppose they're entitled. Surviving on the Oklahoma prairie isn't easy, and these families have thrived. Maybe it was all the extra fruit. All I know is, it's a vicious race against the clock to get into our new house before the pears ripen on the tree out front. It's probably still fair game, since we aren't actually sleeping there, and Mr. M has been mowing our lawn off and on all season, well, the parts of it you can see when you drive by, anyway.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Little Boxes Made of Ticky-Tacky

My mother and sister came over yesterday, and we've started packing in earnest for the move. Since our "new" house is only a block away, we just take things a little at a time. We packed up most of the kids toys and things yesterday, and hauled them over. This might sound like it was cruel and heartless, but I don't think Mim and Zaya have even noticed. They even helped us, and never once said anything like, "Hey, where are taking all my stuff!?"

I'm hoping that by the end of this week we'll be completely moved. It's going to be so crowded for a while, because we have more than enough junk to completely fill the entire house, but we'll really only have use of the front half for a long time, as the back-half needs extensive work. I hope to get pictures up soon.

It makes me feel a bit spoiled, because all the other houses on that street don't have that addition at all. They were all built at the same time, back in the oil boom of the late sixties, and they're all exactly the same. Most of the houses on that street have had the exact same owners/residents for as long as my family has owned the house, which is almost twenty years. They have raised their children, and lived almost all of their married lives in these houses, which are less than 2000 sq. feet. Most of them have dreams of adding on, but are waiting until they have enough saved up. Our house already had part of the addition on it when my parents bought it. I don't know how all those families have fit themselves and everything else in their homes for these last 25-30 years. It's amazing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

C'uncles and C'aunts

Most of my husband's extended family lives in this area, or at least in this state, so he and his cousins still see each other frequently. We especially see his cousins on his father's side, because we all eat lunch together at their grandma's house every Sunday. We had to find some kind of title for the cousins of one's parents, because First-Cousin-Once-Removed is just too awkward and pedantic. We developed C'uncles and C'aunts, but we really only use C'uncles because C'aunts sounds too weird.

Zaya always sits with his C'uncle Luke on Sundays and makes just as many demands of him as he does of us, his parents. ie "Can I have some gravy?" "I need more Jello." "Is is time for dessert?" "Oh no! Where's a Kleenex?" It's been a lot of fun to let our children get to know our cousins, as well as their own. It's a little more difficult for my side, since we're all a bit more scattered, but even there we've been trying, because I have a fairly close relationship with all of my cousins... or I like to think so, anyway. A couple of them even read this blog, which is, in itself, a testimony to family love, because goodness knows I can ramble, like today.

Two things brought this to my mind recently. One was discovering that one of my own C'aunts has started reading my blog. Aftergrace is someone I've known about, and met, but not really known. I look forward to getting to know her better, because it's only fair now that she knows what my living room looks like and all my other mommy troubles. The other C'occasion was my Hubby's C'uncle E singing in our church yesterday. He doesn't attend our church, but he only lives about 15 miles away, yet we don't really know him, or his family, at all. As he and his wife were singing their special I told my husband, "Hey! He would be your C'uncle!" And we were a little bit sad that modern life tears families a bit farther apart than it has in times past. I hope we can do a little bit to repair that for my own children, and I'm glad for the assistance of cyberspace in that quest for our generation.

Picture: This is my husband and I pre- but near- kids. The blond in the very back is a C'aunt and the two tall guys on the right-hand side are C'uncles. The others are my husbands two sisters and brother.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rained Out

Yesterday went a bit differently than planned, but that's hardly surprising, really, as most things do. I was going to take the kids to Grandma C's house, and then I was going to come back home and clean, clean, clean. God had other plans, apparently, because it absolutely poured rain all morning. By the time we got to the town where Grandma lives, I was feeling lucky to have made it there, let alone turn around and travel the same road home.

There were several places where the run-off water was flowing across the road in 10 to 20 foot swaths. If I hadn't been following someone else, and watching them go across these little rivers, I would've turned around, because some of them seemed, and were, very deep.

It's been a crazy, wet spring here in Oklahoma. At first, the farmers thought all the rain would give a bumper wheat crop, but then when it didn't stop, their hopes fell. Because of the moisture, a fungal growth called rust set in, and sapped nutrients from the kernels. Many were able to harvest in the one dry week we had recently, but those that didn't are having a very hard time getting their crops out of the fields. Someone forgot to tell them that rice, instead of all the drought-resistant wheat, would've brought a profit this year.

Anyway, my family just came back with me in the afternoon, when the rain had stopped and things had dried up a bit. They helped me with my house, and we all had supper together. I think it worked out much better than my original plan, so I'm glad it happened the way it did.

Hubby came home at about 1:30 a.m. and is now giving the kids lots of hugs and enjoying theirs. Now we can start packing and getting ready for the move.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Call Me a Member-For-Life

A couple of other mommies have started their own little association. This is one I could really get involved in. I think it was made for me. It's called the Mom's With Trashed Houses But That's OK Because We Have Good Kid's Club. So, in an effort to participate and air all my dirty laundry (actually, that's the clean stuff) for potentially millions of stranger, here is my picture:

I know for a fact that I have just horrifed my mother, aunts, cousins and grandmothers, but the truth has to come out. Hubby has been in Minnesota for a week, and the house has degenerated. All the clothing you see just needs to be folded. As soon as I do, though, the kids will dump it all over the floor. Like I need that kind of grief right now. Tomorrow morning the kids are going to Grandma C's house first thing, and I am going to have a whole blessed morning to get my house clean. It just doesn't work with them running around and no Hubby here in the evenings. I always try to pick things up before he comes home from work, but since no one is coming to my house, I just haven't had sufficient time or motivation.

If you'd like to see the other member's pictures, check here, here and here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #24

13 Cookbooks and Cooking Idea Guides that I haven't packed yet.

1. Complete Guide to Baking - Taste of Home - This is a great resource for baking anything from yeast breads to cookies to cakes. There's a lot of information about the ingredients themselves, as well as many recipes.

2. 2007 Taste of Home Annual Recipes - I snookered myself into getting this one, since I didn't return it after the "free 30-Day Trial". It does have some good recipes though, so it's ok.

3. Best-Loved Cookies and Bars - Taste of Home - This has a whole lot of great cookie recipes. I've made several of them and enjoyed them all. But then, I'm a real cookie girl, too.

4. The What's-for-Dinner Cookbook - Botta and Bendoca - This is a menu plan book. It gives grocery lists and menus for a week or so at a time.

5. Supper's on the Table: Come on Home - Rachel Masters - Another Menu plan book, but this one is from a mom of 5 kids. Her recipes are down-to-earth and comforting.

6. Saving Dinner - Leanne Ely - This is the author recommended by the FlyLady. Yet another menu-plan book. The idea is good, and she has very healthy menu ideas, just don't try the Moroccan Fish Tangine. Trust me. Don't do it!

7. Saving Dinner for the Holidays - Leanne Ely - Some great information about how to cook a turkey, with specifics for cooking novices like me. She walks you through making gravy and great mashed potatoes.

8. Kid Favorites Made Healthy - Better Homes & Gardens - There are some good ideas in this one for working on Macaroni and Cheese and French Toast and other kid favorites.

9. Gifts from the Kitchen - Jean Pare - Great ideas for housewarming, new baby, care-package and other packaged food gifts. She also gives decorating tips.

10. Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen - Jean Pare - Specific gifts for the Holidays, also with ideas for decorating.

11. The One-Armed Cook - Graubert and Fliegel - These recipes are made by mommies, who literally tried cooking each recipe with only one arm, to make sure it can be done while holding a child. The food is probably good, but they usually require ingredients that are just too expensive for me. They also have a lot of advice about how to handle cooking, eating and entertaining right after you have a baby.

12. Joy of Cooking - Rombaer, Becker & Becker - This is the 75th Anniversary edition of a great American classic. It has tons of information for all levels of cooks, including explanations and a comprehensive glossary of cooking terms and ingredients.

13. How to Grill - Steven Raichlen - Lots of great grilling recipes for all different kinds of foods. He also discusses grills themselves and how to use them the their greatest advantage. I did another TT on recipes from this book.

This does not include a whole host of church cookbooks and the like. And, no, I still can't cook. Oh well.

Check Here for More Thursday Thirteen

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Daddy is in Minnesota again this week, so, to console ourselves, the kids and I went with my mother and sister to visit my grandparents in West Texas. We left on Monday, and got back yesterday, so it was a very quick trip, but the kids had a ball, and so did I.

Not only did we get to talk with Grandpa P, Grandma P and Uncle T, but we also went to THE McDONALD'S PLAYPLACE! and the TEXAS PARK!! We ate way to much, and scattered toys all over Grandma's house, several times.

Zaya and Mim both had big fun with their Great-Grandpa, helping him feed the baby chicks, licking whipped cream off the beaters and riding the lawnmower. He gave them two little black chair from one of his store-rooms. Mim didn't want to get off her chair. It took a hissy fit to get it into the trunk in Texas, and another one to get it transferred back to our car when we got to Grandma C's house. They're sitting in my living room right now.

Great-Grandma had all sorts of fruit available on the cabinet, and I'm not sure Zaya ever stopped eating. They filled up on apricots, bananas, grapes and apples.

As the kids get a little older, I hope we'll be able to go to Texas more often. It's not everyone who really gets a chance to know their great-grandparents, so I'd like to take advantage of this opportunity that the kids have.

Oh, and Grandma, I do have the painting in the picture. I just cropped it out for the blog photo. It was still worth taking the picture on the yellow couch.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Here are a couple of things Zaya has told me recently.

At Grandma's house yesterday he was holding a small plastic turtle, and the following conversation ensued.

While snuggling with said amphibian, "The turtle is sad."

"Oh really. Why is he sad, Zaya?"

"Because his mommy left him."

"Oh, did she then."

"Yeah, she went to [local town where I go to buy groceries]."

"Well, you tell that little turtle that he'll be just fine and his Mommy will be back very soon."

You'd think I abandoned my children on a regular basis. And then there are the strange things that Daddy must be doing...

After bath time tonight:

With arms held out and palms upturned, "Oh no, we have a problem!"

"What is our problem, Zaya?"

"We have a big problem! I can't find any clean underwear!"

"Hmm. Well, I think I know where some is."

"Yeah, Daddy took it all with him to Minnesota."

"Babe, I'm pretty sure Daddy does not have your underwear with him in Minnesota. I'll go find you some."

Of course, the truth is that most of it was in the laundry, but I did manage to find a clean pair, for all of you out there worried about my parenting skills, or lack thereof.

Happy Father's Day

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Photogenic? Hmmm.

I tried to get a good picture of my children to put in some frames for Father's Day. It's like the little boogers can sense angst on Mommy's part. Here was the result.

On the other hand, here is one of my all-time favorite snapshots. No, he wasn't actually going to hit her, and he didn't, but the look on her face is priceless.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Guys blobbly!

I can tell that the kids are really missing their dorm brothers. Our school had a little camp for prospective 7th graders, and when Mim heard the voice of the boys out in the lobby, she came running to tell me about it. "Mommy! Guys blobbly, guys blobbly, Go see 'em?!" I tried to explain that it wouldn't be her guys, but some different guys. She didn't care, and couldn't be convinced, so I let her go out. At the door she met a couple of the young men, who sweetly said hello to her, and ran bawling back to Mommy. She spent the next five minutes crying on my shoulder while I tried to introduce her to them.

Today we went out and talked to them again, but I made sure to remind her before we left the apartment that it would be different boys. She stuck close to me, but she laughed and smiled at the boys, so I suppose she's recovered. Zaya, on the other hand, immediately ran out and started wrestling with them. Of course they loved it, so he had about 30 minutes of sheer joy as he ran and wrestled with all of them. Mim enjoyed watching him, but wouldn't get involved.

It makes me a little bit sad, because we did have such great guys this past year, and the kids truly loved them, I think. I hope they come to visit some next year, so that they don't completely forget.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #23

13 Fun Things to do with kids (without the TV)

1. Get out some pictures, markers and a white posterboard and make your child's family tree. Some will be able to go farther back then others. Just make sure you only go as far back as your child can understand.

2. Have them try to draw some mythical creatures. Everyone can draw a puppy. Here are some that are a bit more challenging. chimera, centaur, dragon, minotaur, Pegasus, satyr, sphinx, unicorn.

3. Help them make a door-knob hanger for their bedroom door. Cut a light piece of cardboard into a rectangle and cut a circle in the top so that it can slip over their doorknob. Let them use markers or crayons to write their own personal message. ie Genius at Work, Girl's only, etc etc

4. While your child is waiting for you to finish cooking, tape a large piece of paper to the table, and have them draw their meal. They can draw their plate, glass and silverware, and whatever food they want.

5. Have your child make a sense diary. They sit still and quiet, and tell you (or write, for the older ones) what they see, hear, smell, and feel. [Taste may or may not work, depending on the situation] Write down the answers of your little ones, and create your own family poetry.

6. Try spending a set amount of time without talking, or without using real words. See if you and your children can figure out what you are trying to say to each other.

7. Put a lamp on the table and set your child between it and a piece of paper you've taped on the wall. Outline his silouhette, or let an older child do it. Color it in black, and you'll have a piece of memory set down.

8. If your child is old enough to cut well, they can do this on their own. Otherwise, you may need to help them. Cut lots of clothing and animal pictures out of magazines (Old National Geographics are great, but any can work if you use your imagination) and have your child find some clothes that will fit on their animals. This is fun for a little silliness time.

9. Another thing you can do with magazine cuttings, or just with their own artwork...Have your child illustrate their favorite Bible verses or nursery rhymes by writing the verse or rhyme on a piece of paper and making an appropriate picture for it.

10. Draw a face on a styrofoam cup, fill it with potting soil and plant some grass seed in the top. When the grass grows it will look like hair for your crazy little man.

11. Make your own Rorshach test by smashing some tempura paint between a folded piece of paper, let the kids use pens and pencils once it's dried to draw the outline of whatever the "see".

12. Look up "Coat of Arms" on the internet or in a book to get an idea of what they contain, then let your child use markers, crayons or paint to make your family's own crest.

13. Let your child make their own special holidays. For instance, Red day, Rubber Band day, Eat Outside day....

Most of these were adapted from the book 365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Who Should've Been Embarrassed?

I spent one disastrous year at the public high school in Gunnison, CO. My family lived there for four years, but I only attended GHS for my freshman year. I really loved the people at our church there, but the high school was something else again.

This is the kind of thing that happened there.

There were two guys in my Algebra 1 class that were forbidden from going to the bathroom during class. They had been taking drugs of one kind or another during their pit stops, so the administration told our teacher she couldn't let them go, even if they really seemed to need a break. The next day after they'd been given this punishment, the older of the two long-haired hippy wannabes walked up to our (annoyingly naive) teacher and told her he really needed to go to the bathroom. He said he knew he wasn't supposed to go, but maybe they could work something out. What if that girl (pointing at me) escorted him to the bathroom?

Surely anyone with half a brain sees the flaw in this. It wasn't the hall where the shooting up or pill-popping or whatever took place. It was in the bathroom. Of course, I wouldn't be watching for that part. So what did the teacher say? She said, "OK, [me], go with Tony please to the restroom please. You can carry the hall pass."

The hall pass was a softball with our teacher's name written on it. So, I walked with the drughead all the way down the hall, carrying a softball, and feeling about as stupid as an angst-ridden 14 yr. old can feel. (Which is pretty stupid) I stood outside the men's restroom, tossing the softball up in the air, while Tony did his thing. Then I escorted him back to the classroom. Here's the funny/tragic part...suddenly his drughead friend really had to go too. Hmmm. Could there be a connection?

Any normal person/teacher would've said, "Ah-ha! No, I don't think that's a good idea." But this teacher said, "OK, [me], please walk with Jim to the restroom." Then, in front of God, the whole class, the teacher and me, Tony handed Jim some bright colored pill looking things, and I escorted Jim to the bathroom to do.. whatever it was he needed to do.

That, and many other incidents that were much more personally painful, made it all too easy to leave that school at the end of the year, and never return. Thinking about that year still makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Super Big Park!

Our tiny little town has three parks. No one from a normal sized town would call any of them parks, but we do. There's the "little park" the "medium park" and the "big park". The first is actually the playground at the old kindergarten, the second is the town's actual public park, and the third is the elementary school playground.

The kids love visiting these, of course, as all kids do, but what they especially love is going to a nearby town, with actual grocery stores and gas stations... and real parks. The parks there are called the (town name) big park and the Super-big park. You really should see their eyes light up when I tell them we're going to one of those parks. Today we went to the super big park, and let me tell you, there was excitement in the air. Zaya was telling people at the Library, Wal-mart, and MacDonald's all about our adventure at the SUPER! BIG! PARK! Complete with Travolta-like hand gestures and full body involvement. Mim was no less thrilled.

Most importantly...the kids were both totally exhausted. Ahhhh. The peaceful sound of napping toddlers. It doesn't get better than that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Have a New Niece!

My husband's sister had her second baby on Wednesday. In this picture she's only a few hours old, but still obviously one of the cutest babies in the world.

For the purpose of this blog, her name will be Addy, and she joins her big sister, age 2, whose bloggy name is Jaida. Addy was born on the sixth, and weighed 6 lbs 2 oz. She was about two weeks early, but we were all amazed that she waited that long because she's been trying to come and see us for a little over a month now. Her big sister was born about 5 weeks early, but she weighed 7 lbs. Which goes to prove...something. You just never know, do you?

I haven't decided what to call my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, so for a while they'll just be Jaida and Addy's parents. They might as well get used to being called that anyway.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Oh, C'mon

Last night, Zaya was telling his Daddy about his plans for the evening. His plans and goals usually involve the Wonderpets these days.

"In thirty minutes, when I am one-hundred years old, the Wonderpets will come over and we will fly to space together in my rocket ship"

In an effort to get Zaya to go to sleep, Daddy said,

"Why don't you tell Vivian about it."

He said, as if Daddy was a man who needed help, "Daddy, Vivian is a stuffed sheep."

We do have a grasp on reality here, but apparently it's touch and go.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Almost thou hast persuaded me...

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my parenting quandries. You gave me several good ideas for dealing with tantrums, and I'm feeling a little more prepared for our next round of screaming hissies in Wal-Mart.

On the other hand...I'm afraid I'll be staying here at home when Hubby goes to Minnesota. Sorry, Lisa, I would love to have met you and your family. I really was looking forward to it. I know all of you said I should go with him, but the childcare issue here is a little more complicated now. One grandma thinks the kids are too young to be left without Mommy for that long, and the other has a brand-new granddaughter, and I know she'll be wanting to help her daughter and the new big sister.

It's just not fair to everyone who wouldn't be going. I guess maybe in a few years...who knows. I'm trying not to be a big baby about it myself, so I'll just leave it at that.

Thursday Thirteen #22

13 side-dishes to grill for your next barbecue.

1. Asparagus Rafts -
1 lb. asparagus (stalks shouldn't be too thin)
2 Tbsp. Asian (dark) sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
Line 4 or 5 pieces together. Skewer below the head and near the base with bamboo skewers. Combine sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic and stir with a fork to mix. Brush this mixture on the asparagus rafts on both sides. Season with a little salt and lots of pepper. Grill 2 to 4 minutes per side. Sprinkle with sesame seeds as they grill.

2. Barbecued Cabbage
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
4 slices bacon (cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slivers)
1 sm. onion
1 med. green cabbage (about 2 lbs.)
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
salt and pepper
Cook bacon and onion in 1 tbsp of butter on stove. Drain and reserve drippings. Crumple a piece of aluminum foil and shape it into a ring about 3 in. in diameter. Cut core out of the cabbage (To core a cabbage: Set the cabbage on a cutting board on its crwon. Cut out the core by angling your knife about 3 inches down toward the center of the cabbage and cutting in a circle that is about 3 inches in diameter. The piece removed should look like a cone. Pull it out and discard it.) Use the ring of aluminum foil to set the cabbage in while it grills. Dice the remaining butter. Stir the barbecue sauce into the bacon/onion mixture. Put butter and mixture into open top of cabbage that is sitting in its foil ring on the grill. Use a basting brush to brush the outside of the cabbage with the drippings. (or save for baked beans or pork chops) Use indirect grilling and grill the cabbage until very tender over med. heat, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Peel off any dried-out or charred outside leaves and discard before cutting into wedges to serve.

3. Grilled Corn
4 ears sweet corn in their husks
6 Tbsp. butter, at room temp.
2 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Pull husks of corn back from kernels, but not off of ear completely. Tie them all together with string to form a handle. Whisk butter, parsley and garlic in a mixing bowl until smooth. Lightly brush each ear and place on grill so that the husks are not directly above the flame. Grill until kernels are browned, 8 to 10 min, turning as needed, brush with remaining butter and serve immediately when done.

4. Grilled Corn (in husks)
Rex Stout says that the best corn in the world is grilled while still in the husk, and as soon as possible after being pulled off the stalk. Grill it until the outer husks are blackened. Then open and cover with butter, garlic, salt, or whatever you most enjoy on corn.

5. Portobello Mushrooms
4 lg. portobello mushrooms
2 large cloves garlic, cut into slivers
1 oz. Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other firm cheeses, cut into slivers
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped of the stem, or 2 tsp dried
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/3 cups EVOO or more as needed
12 fresh basil leaves, thinly slivered
Trim stems off mushrooms and wipe clean with a damp paper towel. Make a series of small holes in the gill side of the caps, 1/2 inch apart. Insert garlic and cheese slivers, rosemary leaves, and pine nuts in these holes. Combine 1/2 cu vinegar and salt and pepper in mixing bowl and whisk until salt is dissolved. Whisk in oil and basil. Pour some of the mixture in a baking dish and arrange mushrooms in it, gill-side up. Swish the mushrooms around to coat the bottoms with marinade. Spoon remaining marinade over mushrooms. Let marinate, covered, for 30 min to 3 hours. Put on grill, gill side down, for three minutes, then invert and spoon on reserved marniade with extra 2 Tbsp of vinegar added. Continue grilling 4 to 6 minutes.

6. Onions
Use skewers to grill all different types of onions, like large sweet onions, red onions, cipollini, pearl onions, banana or regular shappots, green onions, scallions and garlic. brush them with evoo, salt and pepper, or Honey-Balsamic Glaze (1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce (Bring to boil then simmer until thick and syrupy and reduced to 1/2 cup)

7. Sweet potatoes and yams
If using a charcoal grill, you can roast them directly in the embers. Rake loose coals around them and turn as the become charred. Skins will be charred black when they are done, about 40 min to 1 hour. Cut open and scrape together soft inside. Serve in blackened shell, or in separate bowl. Add touch of maple syrup, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and butter.

8. Garlic Grilled tomatoes
6 ripe red tomatoes
salt and pepper
6 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp EVOO
1 pc. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 to 2 oz)
1 to 2 Tbsp fresh Thyme leaves
Cut tomatoes in half crosswise. Season with salt and pepper. Peel and pulverise garlic. Heat oil in a small frying pan and cook garlic until golden brown, 1 to 2 min. Pour garlic and oil into small heat-proof bowl. When ready to grill, bush oil across grill grate. If using charcoal, toss wood chips on the coals. Place tomates cut side down on the grate and grill until nicely browned. Turn with tongs, spoon garlic over tomatoes and continue grilling until bottoms are nicely browned, 3 to 5 min. Transfer to plate when done and sprinkle with cheese and thyme.

9. Foil-Pouch onions.
Put sliced onions in a foil pouch with 2 Tbsp butter diced and salt and pepper. See packet well and grill with rest of food. Open to serve. Great on hot dogs or hamburgers

10. Grilled Quesadillas
8 flour tortillas
6 oz. Jack or Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
3 to 4 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 to 4 fresh pickled green and/or red jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 Tbsp melted butter
Arrange ing on half of flour tortilla. Fold in half and refrigerate unitl ready to grill. Place on hot grate until golden brown and chesse is slightly melted, 1 to 2 min per side. Brush outside of each quesadilla with butter. Serve at once.

11. Grilled French Bread
Slice one loaf of French bread and spread with butter, minced garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Brown slices on both sides, watching closely that it doesn't burn. Serve at once

12. Grilled Coconut-Pineapple
Cut fresh pineapple into rings and dip both sides in cocnut milk and then cinnamon and sugar. Grill until browned on both sides, and serve with homemade vanilla ice cream.

13. Sweet KabobsSlice froze store-bought pound cake into two inch cubes. Slice fresh pineapple into wedges and alternate with pineapple on bamboo skewers. Experiment adding other fruits as well. Grill until browned. Add flavors as desired. Serve with ice cream.

Most of these ideas and recipes are from How to Grill by Steven Raichlen. I highly recommend the book as he goes into great detail about how to prepare the grill, and exactly what heat setting is best for each recipe. Some of the recipes are from my memory or experience.

For more Thursday Thirteen check here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Free shoes? Yes, please

All of you who know me, know I'm obsessed with baby/toddler shoes. Therefore I felt morally obligated to sign up for this giveaway from Adventures in Babywearing. I like the style shown. They're called "Bobby". If I won the $50 Vincent gift certificate, I think I'd use it for something like this that could be worn by Zaya and Mim both.

Advice Needed

I've got a couple of parenting quandries that have me stymied. I'd appreciate some advice from my faithful little readership. If you've been lurking, this would be a good time to make a peep. (Lurking means reading without ever commenting, Grandma) =)

1. What do you do with a baby/toddler who screams and throws fits in public places like Wal-mart? Mim is about to drive me over the edge. Yesterday we just had to leave, after I paid for our things. Part of the problem was hunger, I think, but I don't know how to solve that problem, because she won't eat in the morning unless it's total junk like candy. If I offer her a good filling, healthy breakfast she just pushes it away. She'd probably eat a pickle and some gummy worms, but I refuse to feed her that. So she's hungry. I give her crackers and such, but she probably needs protein. That point aside, how do I discipline her in public places...or at home for that matter. When we have the screaming hissies here at home, I just put her in her bedroom and tell her she can come out when she's all done. That works...eventually. In the car, I just ignore it, because I can't do anything else without being a road hazard. In Wal-mart....I don't know. I don't give in to her, but I have no recourse for making her stop either.

2. My husband has one more business trip to Minnesota coming up in a couple of weeks. He wants to drive this last time instead of fly, and take me with him. That way we could spend some time together; I could sleep for a few nights without waking up for my toddlers, and we could purchase the things we've been wanting to get from Ikea there in St. Paul. We can't find those specific items at the only Ikea within easy driving distance of our home. The company would pay for the trip, since it'll still be cheaper than the airplane ticket they would've bought him, and the hotel room and food will also be paid for already since he'll be making the trip regardless. Those are all the pros. The con, of course, is leaving my children for what would be only half a day short of a full week. I've never left them for longer than two nights before, and I worry about putting to much stress on the patience and affection of my children, and especially that of their grandmothers. What do you think? Have you ever left your kids for a full week? Mine are 3 and almost 2, for those of you who don't know us well. Oh, and taking them with us is not an option. I don't even drive with them the hour and a half to Oklahoma City if I can help it, because of quandry number 1.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Additions to Joshua's List

I recently posted about my little brother, Joshua, and all his accidents and injuries as a child and young adult. There were a few I missed, and some updates I had to add, but there were a couple additions that I thought deserved their own post.

1. My mother and aunt remembered a time when he dove off the diving board and hit the bottom of the pool so hard his head had to have stitches.

2. I wrote about when he scratched his stomach on the top of the chain-link fence diving over it. (He dove over it all the time, and he only scratched it once) I forgot, though, that he told people who saw the scar that he got it from "fencing."

My brother is also very forgetful. He is constantly losing pens, pencils and etc. One day my family got all the way to church, and he had forgotten one of his shoes. He walked around for the whole service and at the restaurant afterwards with only one shoe on; and he was about 14 yr. old by this time. When people asked him what happened to his foot, he said he "misplaced" something. Leaving the interpretation of the ambiguity to the audience.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Daddy Dearest

My father's hobby is having hobbies. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. In fact, I think I would say that my father's hobby has mutated in the last few years into buying things on e-bay for his hobbies. Lest you think I'm criticizing, I want to say that all of this was quite fun for us as children. Not everyone gets to use beaver skins to cover their playhouse on rainy days. Now, what my mother thinks about'll just have to ask her. And Dad always shops sales, too, so the amount of money he has spent is really not at all what it could have been. I would imagine that a man who likes to golf has easily spent more money on that than my Dad has on....well, you'll see.

He was a boy scout as a youth, and all those nature/man-of-the-woods hobbies have always interested him. When he became a preacher he also worked with our churches' boy's program, which was very similar to the boy scouts, and involved many camp-outs and Frontier-man type events for the leaders. When I was little we shot bow and arrows, threw tomahawks and knives, and even helped my father tan hides; all in our backyard. Yes, the neighbors thought we were loony, thanks for asking. We had one neighbor who rushed his kids inside when we started throwing tomahawks. It was hilarious. The other kids threw with us.

When Dad was in an archery phase, there would be bowstrings, shooting gloves, extra strings...he even made his own arrows once, which means feathers, sticks, metal for arrowheads, a fletching get the picture. He also made his own outfit for the Buckskinner stuff he did, so we had bead looms, beads, leather, and a tackle-box full of leather-working tools. Not to mention all the blackpowder rifle paraphernalia. I knew how to load and shoot a blackpowder rifle before I had the slightest clue what to do with a basketball. Dad even had/has a bag made of deer skin and a real powder horn. I thought all of this was normal as a child. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

And then there's fishing. Let me just tell you about fishing gear. My father has about 17 fishing poles. That's not an exaggeration. He has tackle boxes full of spinners, bait, flies, lures. He's really into fly-fishing right, now, so I'm surprised he doesn't have tie flying kits out on the table. He probably does. It's not that he goes out to buy all these things either. It's just that when something is on clearance, he gets it. He'll also find poles and such at pawn shops or garage sales.

There's also back-packing and camping, and all the gear that would go with that. Whenever I or my friends want to go camping, we know who to ask for a stove, lantern, water purifier, survival get the idea. It fills a set of shelves in the basement.

When Dad finds a new food he likes, he does it right. For instance, Turkish coffee. My mother now has an entire shelf in her kitchen full of tiny Turkish coffee makers, little cups and all the other things required for this tiny, yet apparently very complicated, drink. Then it was rice. I think maybe it's still rice, because that's fairly recent. There's a bamboo rice steamer up in the cabinet, an automatic rice cooker (which he got for Christmas, in his defense)and the coolest little chopstick sets with special rests and dipping bowls.

And then there's books. Oh my, the books. My father cannot pass up a library sale, and his books reflect his various interests. When we were teenagers, and had begun to realize how unique my father was, we would read through the titles on just one shelf and stand in awe at the variety. Someday I'll do a Thursday Thirteen of a representative sample. Because Dad is a preacher, he also has an office full of commentaries and all sorts of reference books and such. He shops for antique books on e-bay, and has actual pages from some very, very old religious texts.

I haven't listed all of Dad's interests. Not by a long shot. Many of them can be categorized with the Buckskinning/Camping paraphernalia, but really deserve categories of their own, like the beadwork and leather work. There was also a time when Dad collected old cameras, boating kits, airplane kits, and I'm sure I'm missing things that Mom could add.

I have to add that Dad has passed his hobby jumping and mini-obsessions on to me. When I'm interested in something, I head to and get books about it. I go to the library and research it, I go to Wal-mart and buy the gear, I get those looks from my husband...the kind Mom gave Dad. Ah well. Everybody's got to have a hobby. Right Daddy?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Dear God,

My son has yet to grasp the finer points of communion with his heavenly father. His prayers for meals, though fervent, often leave me trying not to laugh, which isn't exactly the spiritual heritage I meant to pass on to my family.

For instance, at the big Sunday Dinner at Great-Grandma's house Zaya decided it was his turn to pray. His prayer went something like this:

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for the food. When I go to church I want to be with my Mommy. Thank you for helping me. Amen"

Yesterday at supper, we traveled even farther:

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for Praise the Lord. I went up to space in a rocket ship. Amen"

I know that Jesus has a sense of humor, and I'm sure God does too, so I hope he gets a kick out of these early prayers we all have, instead of being annoyed with me that I can't seem to teach my child how to pray. Isn't it more important to teach children that God is someone to whom they can pour out all their troubles and joys? That's what he did, really. The first prayer was a "trouble". He doesn't like to leave me to go to Sunday School. The second was a "joy". He loves space and rocket ships, and proceeded to tell us after the prayer how he had gone to Mars in a rocket ship today and saw the huge volcano there. (Olympus Mons)

He told Hubby and I both that Jesus was in his heart. I hope someday he really understands that, and grows quickly from the phase of talking about God to please his parents, to talking with God about how to please Him.