Friday, September 28, 2007

Oh, Woe is Me

Well, I did it. I went and got a haircut. A major haircut. I don't like it. I think we've all been there, right? I wanted something shorter and maybe some bangs, because I have such a long face and I wanted to try to soften it up. I tried to explain what I wanted to my new hairstylist, Charity, (this is the first time I've been to her) but something got lost in the translation. Now what do I do? I tried to take a picture of myself to post here, but they all looked so terrible I deleted them.

What I was afraid of is what has come true. She layered it quite a bit, which I'm always uncomfortable with. My hair has little or no natural body, and I just knew if she cut layers it would end up looking dead. Charity confidently assured me that my hair had plenty of natural body and if I would just wet it like so, blow dry it here, and here, and then use this spray and styling get the idea. Already, however, it looks flat, and that's with her styling it this morning. I look dead, or at least deathly ill. Not only that, it makes my acne stand out more for some reason.

I just feel stupid. Oh, and ugly. I could use a whole lot of bloggity love and commiseration right now.

Meow meow meow (If you spoke cat you'd be laughing!)

Gatito has finally decided to bless us with his presence on occasion. (We've been having fits getting him to stay at the new house since it's only blocks away from his old stomping grounds.) The poor kitty is still alive, somehow, and has been showing up every now and then to allow us to feed him. I think he's a bit intimidated by some of the other cats on our street, but now he can see that we are prepared to defend him. This is my husband's Wrist Rocket from childhood, ready with ammo for that fiendish tom cat who tries to come over and pick a fight. Ha! Imagine the fear on that little furry terrorist's face when he comes face to face with a grown man bearing a slingshot. It's like our own little David and Goliath here, except this time David's ten times bigger. (Goliath is still the aggressor, you see, he just happens to be little and fuzzy.)

Mim just had to watch Gatito eat his supper yesterday afternoon. She was supposed to leave him alone, but she kept coming in to get spoons and bowls. Finally I had to bring her inside and try to explain how kitties do not need spoons and do not like eating goldfish crackers and raisins.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #31

13 Kitchen Mixes for Gifts or Convenience.
These were all copied indiscriminately from Gifts from the Kitchen, Christmas Gifts from the Kitchen and Make-A-Mix.

1. Hot Chocolate Mix

1/4 cu. Miniature marshmallows
2 Dark Chocolate bars (3 1/2 oz., 100 g. each), coarsely chopped
Ground cinnamon

Layer all 3 ingredients, in order given, in jar with tight-fitting lid. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Heat 4 cups milk in heavy medium saucepan on medium until hot and bubbles form around edge of saucepan. Remove from heat. Add contents of jar. Heat and stir on low for about 5 minutes until smooth. Serves 4.

2. Basic Seasoning

1/4 cu. Paprika
2 tsp. Poultry seasoning
2 tsp. Garlic powder
2 tsp. Celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Curry powder

Combine all 6 ingredients in small bowl. Spoon into small jar with tight fitting lid. Makes about 6 Tbsp.

Use in place of salt in cooking meat, fish or vegetables. Store in cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

3. Cakey Brownie Mix

1 1/4 cu. Granulated sugar
1/2 cu. Cocoa
1 1/2 cu. All-purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cu. Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cu. White (or semisweet) chocolate chips

Layer all 8 ingredients, in order given, in large jar with tight fitting lid. Makes about 4 cups.

Empty contents of jar into large bowl. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, 2/3 cu. cooking oil, 3 large eggs and 1/4 cu. water. Mix for about 15 strokes. Turn into greased 8x8 pan. Bake in 350 oven for about 40 minutes.

4. Granola Mix

10 cu. Old-fashioned oats
1 cu. Wheat germ
1/2 lb. Shredded coconut
2 cu. Raw sunflower seeds
1 cu. Sesame seeds
3 cu. Chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 cu. Brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cu. Water
3/4 cu. Vegetable oil
1/2 cu. Honey
1/2 cu. Molasses
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
3 tsp. Vanilla
Raisins or other dried fruits, if desired (but who would, really?)

Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl combine oats, wheat germ, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and nuts. Blend well.
In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, oil, honey, molasses, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Heat until sugar is dissolved, but do not boil. Pour syrup over dry ingredients and stir until well coated. Spread into five 13x9 baking pans or cookie sheets with sides.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bake 15 minutes longer for crunchier texture. Cool. Add raisins or other dried fruit, if crazy. Put in airtight containers. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 months. Makes about 20 cu.

Use it as a topping on ice cream or yogurt, or use it to make Energy Bars: Butter a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cu. brown sugar and 1/2 cu. light corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cu. peanut butter until blended. Stir in 3 1/2 cu. Granola Mix and 1/2 cu. Spanish peanuts until coated.
Press into prepared pan. Cool to room temperature. Cut into 3" x 1" pieces. Makes 27 bars.

5. Bean Soup Mix

1/4 cu. of the following:
Dried red lentils
Dried baby lima beans
Dried black beans
Dried green lentils
Dried small red beans
Dried black-eyed peas
Dried pinto beans
Dried green split peas
Dried red kidney beans

1 tsp. Dried sweet basil
1 Tbsp. Parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. Beef bouillon powder
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp. Ground oregano
1 tsp. Salt

Layer first 9 ingredients, in order given, in jar. Combine remaining 6 ingredients on piece of plastic wrap. Tie with twist tie or ribbon. Place on top of kidney bean layer. Secure lid. Makes about 2 cups.

Empty contents of jar into large pot or Dutch oven. Rinse well and drain. Add 6 cups hot water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain, Rinse and Drain again, then add 7 cups water, 1 (14 oz.) can of Mexican Stewed tomatoes with juice, and package of spice mix. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour. Makes about 9 cups.

6. Lemon Dill Rice Mix

2 cu. Long grain white rice, uncooked
2 tsp. Dill weed
2 tsp. Finely chopped dried chives
1 1/2 Tbsp. Vegetable (or chicken) bouillon powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

Combine all 5 ingredients in cloth bag or jar. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Empty contents into large saucepan. Add 4 cups water, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. hard margarine (or butter). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes until rice is tender. Makes 7 cups.

7. Spiced Tea Mix

1/2 cu. Powdered orange juice crystals (such as Tang)
2/3 cu. Granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. Powdered iced tea mix, with lemon
1/2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1.4 tsp. Ground cloves

Pour orange crystals into jar with tight-fitting lid. Spoon sugar over orange crystals. Combine tea, cinnamon and cloves in small cup. Spoon over sugar and orange crystals. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Stir contents of jar before measuring. Measure 2 tsp. into mug. Add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir. Serves 1.

8. Mexican Popcorn Mix

1 1/4 oz. Envelope of taco seasoning mix
1 tsp. Dried whole oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. Dried sweet basil
3/4 tsp. Garlic powder

Combine seasoning mix, oregano, basil and garlic powder in small bowl. Spoon into small jar with tight-fitting lid. Makes about 1/3 cup.

Melt 3 Tbsp. hard margarine (or butter) in small saucepan. Drizzle over about 6 cups popped corn (1/4 unpopped) in large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. Mexican Popcorn Mix. Toss to coat well.

9. Cran-Raisin Cookie Mix

3/4 cu. All-purpose flour
1/2 cu. Quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cu. All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cu. Brown sugar, packed
1/3 cu. Granulated sugar
1/4 cu. Dried cranberries (Craisins)
1/4 cu. Dark raisins
1/2 cu. M&Ms
1/2 cu. Pecans (or walnuts), chopped.

Layer all 11 ingredients, in order given, in large jar with tight-fitting lid. Makes about 4 cups.

Cream 3/4 cu. softened hard margarine (or butter), 1 large egg and 1 tsp. vanilla together in medium bowl until fluffy. Add contents of jar. Mix by hand until well combined. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 oven for about 16 minutes until edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 36 cookies.
(The question here, though, is do you really want 3 dozen cookies with cranberries and raisins? =P )

10. Onion Seasoning Mix

4 tsp. Instant beef-bouillon granules
8 tsp. Dried minced onion
1 tsp. Onion powder
1/4 tsp. Bon Appetit Seasoning

Place in small air-tight jar or container. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 months.

Combine 2 Tbsp. seasoning mix with 1 cu. sour cream to make a tasty dip for vegetables. You can also use it to flavor meats and soups.

11. Mulled Cider Spice Pouch

3 Cinnamon sticks (4 inches each), broken up
2 Tbsp. Chopped dried apple
1 Tbsp. Whole allspice
2 tsp. Dried orange peel*
1 tsp. Aniseed
1 tsp. Whole cloves

Combine first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Put spice mixture in center of 8 inch square of double-layered cheesecloth. Draw up corners and tie with butcher's string. Makes 1 spice pouch.
*Omit dried orange peel. Use the same amount of dried zest. To make dried zest, spread zest from 1 medium orange in shallow pan. Bake in 200F oven for about 15 minutes until dry. Store remaining zest in jar with tight-fitting lid.

Pour 6 cu. apple cider (or juice) into medium saucepan. Place Mulled Apple Cider Pouch in apple cider. Bring to a boil on medium. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes to blend flavors. Discard spice pouch. Makes about 6 cups.

12. Soothing Tummy Tea Mix

1/4 cu. Dried mint leaves
1 tsp. Dried rosemary, crushed
1 tsp. Dried sage
1/2 tsp. Dried orange peel (see previous *)

Combine all 4 ingredients in small bowl. Spoon into decorative jar with tight-fitting lid. Makes about 1/3 cup.

Measure 2 tsp. Soothing Tummy Tea Mix into infuser ball. Place in 2 cup teapot. Pour 1 cup boiling water into teapot, cover, and let steep for 2 minutes. Makes about 1 cup. Great for tummies that have just had a big holiday dinner.

13. Tomato Basil Seasoning

2 Tbsp. Dried basil
2 Tbsp. Garlic powder
1 Tbsp. Dry tomato basil soup mix, stir before measuring
1 Tbsp. Onion powder
1 Tbsp. Parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. Dried whole oregano
1 Tbsp. Dried thyme
1 tsp. Dried marjoram

Measure all 8 ingredients into small bowl and stir well. Spoon into jar with tight-fitting lid. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Sprinkle over beef, pork, poultry or white fish. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before cooking. For best flavor, sprinkle over meat, poultry or fish and chill for 4 hours before cooking.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Another Book Report

I recently finished another great book that I thought I'd share. This one was recommended by my mother, and I in turn recommend it to anyone who is interested in apologetics. (The intellectual defense of the Christian faith)

The book is called Letters from a Skeptic. It is a series of letters from a father (Edward Boyd) to his son (Dr. Gregory Boyd) a theologian. Mr. E. Boyd was a 70-yr-old skeptic when his son convinced him to have a conversation of letters with him, where he could raise all his questions and Dr. G. Boyd would answer them, one by one.

It really does a great job explaining what we believe, and why it makes sense to believe it. It takes a bit of thinking, so this isn't something you'll want to read while you're in a crowded room, but it's worth the effort.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And What do You Eat?

Yesterday Zaya brought in his toy lion and proceeded to discuss life, politics and dinner with me, through the lion. I told "lion" that I was making some chicken for supper, and "lion" said, "Oh, good, I like meat, because I'm a carnivore and I eat meat!" I said "Oh, yes, and what would an herbivore eat?" Zaya answered, "plants". So, pushing it a little farther, like all good mommies do, I asked, "And what does an omnivore eat." Without missing a step he said, "Macaroni and Cheese!" Well, I have told him he's an omnivore, and he does like a nice bowl of mac and cheese, and it does have bread and animal products...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


My husband graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Furthermore, we have had the same silverware tray, and the same set of silverware since we were married more than 7 years ago. Yet, somehow.....

What is wrong with this picture, and why has it happened more than once?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gracia Burnham

Our church had Gracia Burnham to speak tonight, and it was an excellent service. If you don't remember her, she was the missionary's wife held hostage with her husband for over a year in the Phillipines. Her husband was killed on the eve of their rescue, but Gracia survived to return home to their three children. She has written a couple of books, which I highly recommend, even though I haven't actually read them yet. Her story was intriguing, even though it came through the little nursery TV. I was watching my kids, and the baby of a young missionary couple travelling with Mrs. Burnham. Our ladies committee gave a supper for her and her travelling companions, which was a lot of fun as well. She is very pleasant to speak with, and very willing to talk about her experience and her life since. She travelled with the aforementioned young couple and with her parents and her parents-in-law.

All that to say, if you have a chance to go hear her speak, you should. She'll be in OKC tomorrow afternoon and evening at two different churches. Her books are In the Presence of My Enemies and To Fly Again: Surviving the Tailspins of Life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Scopin' it all out

I had my EGD today (esophogeal scope) and I am definitely glad that's over with. The actual procedure wasn't so bad, because they knocked me out and gave me some stuff to forget, but not eating for eight hours before was murder. My heartburn comes when my stomach is empty, so I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and haven't slept yet except for the recovery from the procedure.

I now have three prescriptions I'm supposed to take for a few months. There are basically three problems, so the doctor's trying to get all of them calmed down with these medications. I hate taking medicine, so this'll be a challange. Especially since the one I have to take four times a day is a particularly foul-tasting liquid. Further proof that some people in the medical and pharamceutical professions are sadists at heart.

If you want details, you're welcome to e-mail me. I know people are always much more willing to talk about their medical problems than other people are willing to listen, so I'll just leave it at that. Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #30

13 Interesting Facts from Uncle John's

These were all taken from either Uncle John's Unstoppable Bathroom Reader or from Uncle John's Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader.

1. The average public swimming pool contains more urine than fluoride.

2. Buculets are those little bumpers on the underside of your toilet seat.

3. According to a poll by Progressive Insurance, 63% of Americans talk to their cars.

4. In the 1860's, Thomas Edison developed a device to electrocute cockroaches.

5. Norway consumes more Mexican food than any other European nation.

6. Wonder Woman's bullet-proof bracelets were made of a metal called feminum.

7. More children are accidentally poisoned by toxic houseplants than by household chemicals.

8. What do Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare have in common? No living descendants.

9. Sheryl Crow's two front teeth are fake - the real ones got knocked out when she tripped onstage.

10. A flea can jump 30,000 times in a row without taking a break.

11. On average, men spend 45 seconds in a public bathroom stall. Women typically spend 80.

12. Pizza Hut uses 80 million pounds of tomatoes each year.

13. The cat was the symbol of liberty in ancient Rome.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteens.

Ha. So There.

I think all of us imagine that in a situation where we are cornered or threatened we will be strong, say some remarkably witty things, and/or otherwise defend ourselves. Well, I do anyway. Imagine that, I mean. It turns out I'm probably wrong.

My neighbor friend Tina met me at the Y yesterday for a little friendly exercise motivation, because I think we'd all agree it helps you stick it the full round if you have a friend going with you. Anyway, we thought we would play racquetball, because it's something neither of us could really do when we're by ourselves. She hadn't ever played before, and I've only played twice. Despite the fact that we borrowed rackets and a ball, and even entered a court, our play stats have not changed. You know why? Bullies. Isn't that ridiculous? We're both in our twenties, and we got "pushed around."

While we waited for my husband to come pick up the kids, my friend and I were watching a couple of guys (really big guys) playing in the front court. They seemed to be pretty good, and had already been playing for about twenty minutes when Hubs came and we were officially free to exercise. The friendly (if not very chivalric) Y man gave us our ball and told us to go to court five. (There are only two courts that work, even though they still have the others numbered. Probably sort of like the big camo tanks and such made of cardboard that you have in a war to make the enemy think you're more impressive than you are.) We went into the court, and made one serve, when the door opened and in walked the two big tall sweaty neanderthals..err men from the front court. They told us basically that we must have the wrong court, because this was theirs. We were confused, but thought that maybe we had misunderstood wimpy boy at the front desk, and were supposed to have the front court. We left meekly, and apologetically, which still gets my goat, because that would've been the perfect time for a little witty repartee.

Anyway, it turns out that the men had to leave their front court because a couple of women had come and basically kicked them out. I guess I should be thankful we met the men and not the women, because I don't want to meet any woman who bullies bullies. We told the wienie at the front desk, after the situation had been explained (Yeah, we tattled) that it was OK, because we are little, and used to being pushed around. Ha. That'll show 'em.

Just to spite those beggars, we had a nice workout anyway, using all the treadmills and stair steppers in the aerobic room. I think next time we'll just go on a walk here at home though. So much less confrontational. All we have around here are dogs, and I can usually think of something acceptably witty to say to them. (I told one his mother was a coyote one time. Ha! He didn't think it was funny.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another Kitchen Adventure

Having some leftover bananas, and leftover buttermilk, I decided to try a Buttermilk Banana Cake from my Taste of Home Baking Basics book. (Which I highly recommend, fyi.) It is a two-layer cake with filling in the middle and a whipped cream frosting on the top. Theoretically.

Here's what it was supposed to look like...

And here's what happened.

Can we say incompetence? So, the problem was that my cakes were baked a bit longer than called for in the recipe. (Some less creative people call this burning.) What can I say? I'm a free-thinker. This, er, cake darkening is probably the reason they wouldn't come out of the pan. One cake finally did, more or less, but the other came out chunks at a time. I just stuck them all in a ziploc and I grab a crumby handful every time I walk through the kitchen. It tastes pretty good, actually, if you can get past the presentation. *sigh*

I just had to post these pictures because they made me think of all the beautiful food that Scribbit cooks and posts about on Sundays. Like this, this and this.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

All Tuckered Out

We had a lot of fun this weekend on our little family mini-vacation. We went to the State Fair on Saturday and the Zoo on Sunday. It's Oklahoma's Cenntenial year, so I thought this would be a good time to go to the fair, if we ever planned to do so. It was actually pretty hot, and there wasn't much we could do with the kids that was free and didn't entail standing in line. We did a few things, though. We got to see the world's largest boot, and a giant sand sculpture. I asked Hubby to get some pictures of me with the kids this time, as it's always just he and the kids in our photos. All of you mommies out there know how that is, I'm sure. I've included the best one of Mim and me at the bottom of this post.

We stayed the night in OKC at my Aunty and Uncle T's house. Zaya played video games with Daddy and Mommy's cousin, and Mim made Auntie M pull out every toy she had in storage, one set at a time. Both of the little beggars slept very well (despite my worrying) and we were very, very grateful to my relatives for opening their home to us. (They always do. They're great.)

The Zoo was an extended family trip, with Hubby's parents, brother, sisters, brothers-in-law, and nieces, as well as our little family. It was a lot of fun, and would've been better only if it had been a bit cooler and the children had cooperated with staying in their strollers/wagon. We saw the Sea Lion show and walked all the way around the zoo, looking at interesting (cheetahs, Okapi) and not-so-interesting (ducks) animals. The kids were thrilled with everything, but especially enjoyed the carousel. Why is it they're unerringly enthralled by the things that cost money? Zaya's favorite animal was the GIANT HARMONICA! (Anaconda) We had to work on that a bit. Cousin Jaida liked the pigs (flamingos) and Mim spent a lot of time watching the Alligator Snapping Turtle (BIG! TURTLE!). Mommy liked the Herpetarium, because it was cool and dark. (Just a little aside, Zaya peed in the herpetarium last year. Just a little. No such incidents this year, thank goodness.) Here's a picture of Zaya being just a bit silly while we wait for the Fins and Feathers show at the aquatic center.

Best of all, the kids slept all the way home. No, really, all the way! Last year when we went to the zoo, Mim screamed the whole way there and the whole way back. This year, Mommy remembered the bottle. Yeah, I'm a bad Mom. Oh well. We were all happy and sane.

Here's my best picture. That's Grandma (My MIL) in the background. She's even more camera shy than I am, which is saying something.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29

13 National Insults From the Book The Big Book of National Insults: 1001 Xenophobic Quips and Quotes
The opinions expressed in this post are not the opinions of the blog author, and she will not be responisble for any hate mail which may be forthcoming. In fact, this blogger has decided to only post insults of the countries she would be interested in visiting someday. (Or others that are just really funny.)

1. There is the fear, common to all English-only speakers, that the chief purpose of foreign languages is to make fun of us. - Barbara Ehrenreich

2.Can we never extract the tapeworm of Europe from the brain of our countrymen? - Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. The best thing I know between France and England is - the sea. - Douglas Jerrold

4. The French are a logical people, which is one reason the English dislike them so intensely. The other is that they own France, a country which we have always judged to be much too good for them. - Robert Morley

5.Wherever Germans are, it is unhealthy for Italians - Italian Saying

6. One German a beer; two Germans an organization; three Germans a war. - Polish Saying

7. Belgium is just a country invented by the English to annoy the French. - Charles De Gaulle

8. Since WWII, Italy has managed, with characteristic artistry, to create a society that combines a number of the least appealing aspects of socialism with practically all the vices of capitalism. - Gore Vidal

9.Be friendly with the Russian, but take care that you have a rock ready on your chest. - Ukranian Saying

10. In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, bloodshed, murder - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock! - Orson Welles

11. The climate of England has been the world's most powerful colonizing influence. - Russell Green

12. English cuisine is so generally threadbare that for years there has been a gentlemen's agreement in the civilized world to allow the Brits pre-eminence in the matter of tea - which, after all, comes down to little more than the ability to boil water. - Wilfrid Sheed

And my personal favorite...

13. Cricket is a game which the British, not being a spiritual people, had to invent in order to have some concept of eternity. - Lord Mancroft

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

It's Fun to Stay at the Y-M-C-A

We are officially members of the YMCA. Hubby's insurance from work pays for our membership at a gym if we commit to going a certain amount per month, so we are taking advantage of it, now that we don't have a baby in the house. (I think the idea is that if you work out at a gym you'll be healthier. I can see problems with this [sprained ankles, tennis elbow etc.] but apparently they can't.) Hubs goes during work already, so we just added the family and now I have to go 8 times a month too. That doesn't sound like much, until you divide it out into twice a week. Then it seems a bit tougher, because the W'ville YMCA is about 15 miles from here.

The kids are loving it so far, because they have an indoor swimming pool and a few racquetball courts where the kids can just bounce themselves and the racquet balls off the walls. A bonus would be the great echoing effect; you can only imagine this with two (loud) toddlers. There's also a huge gym with aerobic equipment (OK, some stand alone punching bags and those little step thingies) and tumbling mats (They stink like a thousand sweaty wrestlers) and lots of empty space for running around like goobers with no one else in there to make them stop. (There's an official basketball/skating court elsewhere.)

Mommy is loving it, because my saintly mother-in-law has agreed to watch my children once a week so that I can go all by myself. Let me re-emphasize that, in case you didn't catch it. ALL. BY. MYSELF. Can you imagine the possibilities? I can swim, or work in the aerobics room on treadmills or stair-steppers or bicycles. I can lift my way around the nautilus room. I can walk the track at whatever speed I feel like going. The world is my oyster. I can even meet my husband at lunch and play racquetball with him. (He's very good, and I'm just starting. Not generally good for a relationship, but we haven't hit each other with the raquets yet)(OK, not on purpose).

Anyway, today is my day, so I'm looking forward to my new-found powers of choice. I might, in a moment of hedonism, even go to the local thrift store and try on some jeans.

Today I'm going to swim; when I get cold, I'll sit in a hot tub. It's been years since I've sat in a hot tub. No, it's not necessary for mankind to sit in a hot tub, but you have to understand how I work. Swimming makes me cold. Really cold. I have sat on an inner tube in mucky turbid waters in 100+ degree temperatures and still crawled out of that river with purple fingers and toes and blue lips. I used to look like a hypothermia victim every time I swam as a child and still do if someone makes me stay in too long. The thought of being able to sit in warm water after I swim is so very comforting. I plan to enjoy it. It's only too bad I can't take a book in there with me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Supper's on the Table: Come on Home

Upon re-reading this, I realize it sounds like a third-grade book report. So be it. I have four baskets full of laundry to sort out in my living room, a dishwasher to load and breakfast to make.

I've started using a cookbook I bought last spring. It's the kind where they have menus for the whole week (5 days/meals) and a grocery list for all the things you'll need to make those meals. So far I highly recommend it. The meals are simple enough for me (which has to be pretty simple. I am not an excellent cook.) and just the kind of food I grew up with. Filling, tasty, easy and without expensive ingredients.

The author, Rachel Masters, is a stay-at-home mom of five and she sells the books directly from her website. She gives quite a few extra recipes and tips in the appendices of the book, like mixes, dairy-free recipes, freezer meals and more.

Anyway, all that to say, I'd highly recommend this cookbook to any of you out there who are kitchen challenged like I am. I've even e-mailed Mrs. Masters for help when I had a question, and she was more than willing to provide advice and encouragement. You just try that with Mrs. Crocker (Betty) and see how far you get.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Every single weekend I vow that I'm not going to let the house go to pot, and every single Monday morning I wake up thinking, "Oh, man! Not again!" We probably have more dirty than clean clothes this morning, and the house is just in general disarray. Ugh.

Part of this weekend's reason is that Hubby got called in to work about 10 minutes before were left for church yesterday morning, and didn't get home until 11:00 pm. Double ugh. Actually, it wasn't as hard on the rest of us as it could've been, because we just hung out with family all day anyway, so I had lots of company and help. It was hard on him, though, of course. Poor guy. I hope everything has smoothed out today.

Despite what is yet to be done here, the kids and I are still going to go play at Zaya's friend's house. Consider it giving the world a big raspberry.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Double Take

At first glance, one might think, "Oh, what a darling little girl. Look at her cute little sundresses (Thank you Grandma T) and her lovely smile. But wait, what has that child done to herself? Well, the first one is A&D Diaper Cream, and the second is a Sharpie marker. The irony here is that while she was ritually tattooing herself with Sharpie, my friend was in the kitchen telling me how well-behaved my children had been the previous morning in the nursery during Bible study. Apparently, God thought I was getting a big head. I really did know better, because the A&D fiasco had happened right before said Bible study. "Look Mommy, look! Mimi lotion!"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29

This week's Thursday Thirteen is a rebuttal from my mom's Jr. High class. She read them last week's Thursday Thirteen. (13 Ways Jr. High Students Annoy Their Teachers) They were quite proud of it, and only sorry that she didn't include the names of those students who inspired them. She allowed them to create their own list, so, in the interest of fair play, here it is.

13 Ways Jr. High Teachers Annoy Their Students

1. Give homework

2. Take off 50 points on a test for talking, without warning.

3. Make your students write dictionary definitions for talking.

4. Give your students something to study and then give them a test with different information.

5. Never listen to the students' opinions.

6. Ignore students with their hands up after you told them to raise their hand before talking. (And answer the one who doesn't have their hand up!!!)

7. Allow certain students to get a drink or got the the bathroom and don't let others.

8. Give REALLY HARD extra credit!!

9. Tell dumb and corny jokes that no-one gets.

10. Tell your students soemthing and then tell them or another student something different.

11. Give your students something really hard to memorize.

12. Always call your students by different names.

13. Act like you can't hear your students and always say, "What, what, what? I can't hear. TALK LOUDER!!

Bonus: Give two assignments on one day for the same class.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Adult Education

When we decided to become dorm parents three years ago, I knew we had a lot to learn - a lot to learn. Zaya was only five months old, and although I didn't know it yet, he was going to be joined by baby sister Mim in one year. I had never really taken care of teenagers, and certainly never planned to do so. Like everyone on planet Earth, we learned a few lessons from what we did right, and many, many lessons from what we did wrong.

I learned, first, that you can't trust teenagers, and you just have to trust teenagers sometimes. If that sounds contradictory, it's because it is, and it was. Every time something happened, my naturally cynical nature prepared for the worst, or at least a lie about the worst, and time after time I found that I had misjudged my boys. They really weren't as bad as I kept expecting them to be. the later years they told me stories that would make any mommy's blood curdle. Things they had done when all the innocent world was asleep.

I learned very quickly that teenage boys are a bit like toddlers. It's best if you don't leave temptations around the house. Aerosol cans, for instance, are not a good idea, no matter how innocent their intended use. Deoderant spray, air freshener, you name, they lit it. They told me (much later) about spraying themselves with aerosol products, and then lighting them on fire to see if they would burn away before it got to their flesh. And these really were intelligent boys, for the most part. Any access to fire, of course, was prohibited, but that was a losing battle from day one. Hard fought, I promise you, but losing, nonetheless.

I suppose the most important thing I learned during these last three years was about love. It was the love of a parent, for children who weren't even mine. Of course, there were some who tried my patience more than others. There were some I was, honestly, not sorry to see go. But there were quite a few that I found myself defending and excusing before their accusers, just as I would my own toddlers. I learned that the most amazing things can happen when you let God take your life and use it, even if the use involves trying to keep teenage guys happy, alive, clean and devoted to God.

I know that leaving was the right thing to do, and I love being able to devote my time and energy to my own two law-benders, but I miss the opportunites and relationships we had. I hope the new dorm parents have as much fun as we did.

If you're interested, visit the September Write-Away contest at Scribbit.


Today I'll have three preschoolers in the house from 8:30 to 3:00, more or less. I know, this shouldn't be a big deal, but I admit I face the prospect with a bit of trepidation. Zaya and Mim's cousin will be here, and she's 2 1/2 so that means we've got 3 1/2, 2 1/2, and 2. A mommy doesn't stand a chance against that kind of competition, for all that she's 27.

Actually, I know things'll be fine, I just worry about naptime. (If you ask my husband, though, I always worry about naptime.) Jaida and I might just watch a lot of cartoons if she doesn't want to sleep, because my kids have got to sleep today. They really haven't had a good long nap since Friday, and because of all the craziness of the holiday weekend, which included a one night sleep-over at Grandma C's house, their sleep-tanks are low. (More on that later)

We all know how much fun it is to take care of 2 and 3 year olds who need more sleep. Regardless of what happens this afternoon, I really need to get my tail in gear and clean-up. At least we can start the day with a clean house. I'm not so delusional as to think I'll be able to keep up with the three little tornadoes.

The above picture is from a split-second when all three of them were actually in the pool this summer. Usually, at least one of the three is running around the yard looking for things to throw into the pool. (ie Marigold heads, bugs, grass, get the idea.)