Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why I tend to spend Saturday morning in bed

When this:

Is your view from this:

Wouldn't you have trouble getting out of bed, too?

Spring is nearly here and, after 16 months on the market, we have yet to sell our house in NC. As the lease on this house comes up, we have to once again examine our options (2 mortgages is still not an option). Since the housing market has yet to recover, I am hoping the owners will be open to signing another lease here; the beautiful view is the only thing keeping me sane while we wait for our own dear home to sell.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This doesn't make me look paranoid...

I didn't feel paranoid when I bought this:

After all, I studied it out and 25 lb. buckets are a good way for me to store my grains.

I didn't feel paranoid when I bought this:

After all, if I'm going to buy a lot of cans, I should make an effort to track and rotate them.

I didn't feel paranoid when I bought this:

After all, my family eats a lot of meat and it actually is cost effective (and more healthy) to buy it in bulk. Plus, Peter was able to choose the cuts as he wrapped the cow we had butchered.

I didn't feel paranoid when I bought this:

After all, if I'm going to store wheat, I need to grind it.

But, in the deepest part of my soul, I couldn't help but feel slightly paranoid when I added this to the bottom of my wheat grinder order:

But what else am I going to do when civilization ends, there is no more electricity and I am feeding my family with food I have stockpiled in my basement? Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go get my tinfoil hat and research buying and hiding gold coins.

P.S. I totally photoshopped the wheat grinder to remove dirty spots only to realize it would have taken me less time to actually wash the spots off.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recipes by an 11 year old: MILK

I keeping with my last post:

Take one 11 (for another week) year old. Add a desire to bring milk to school (in an old water bottle). Put in bag in locker and then forget to bring bag home. Works overnight, better over weekend, but best if left over a week long winter vacation. Open locker, freak out about smell.

Find out the lid was not properly screwed on. Spill on self, coat, notebooks, and anything else possible. Have nurse call mother to bring up new clothes. Have mother gag when she smells the clothes. Have typical 6th grade boy call you "milk girl" the rest of the day.

Have mother consider sending you to school with a small Tupperware full of baking soda to help absorb rotten smell lingering in locker, but realize that bringing unidentifiable white powder to keep in a locker might not be the best idea. Put car freshener on shopping list instead.

How was your yesterday morning?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recipes by a 4 year old- Microwaveable popcorn

Take a brand new microwave and a bag of microwaveable popcorn. Add a hungry 4 year old. Set timer for 5 minutes and see the results:

That last one is a close up on the actual popcorn. Appetizing, no?

Just a note, it has been a couple months and I have cleaned that microwave over and over. It is permanently stained yellow.

Tune in next time where I expound on some unusual uses for legos. Just a warning, don't come with a full stomach.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Assemblies, Middle Schoolers, and Growing Wings

The morning starts with dread. My daughter is performing with her chamber choir in an assembly at school. She desperately wants me to come and watch. So I send the younger kids off to school and then, with the 20 minutes left before I need to leave, hastily dress myself and my two preschoolers. Taking granola bars to eat for breakfast on the way, I grab my video camera and arrive just as the middle schoolers begin to filter into the cafetorium.

I sit in the parental seats hastily thrown up along the back wall and watch in fascination as the students saunter into the room. They are just becoming aware of their individuality and it shows in their extreme fashions and overly thought out attitudes. If I look close enough I can almost see them sprouting wings. I have an unobstructed view of my daughter as she sits on the back row with her choir. As hard as I try, I can not quite tell where she fits into this complex social structure. Is she a leader, a follower, a do her own thing anomaly? An 8th grader in the choir walks along the back row, high 5-ing his friends along the way. As he passes my daughter, her hand goes up and gets the slap. This leaves me strangely disconcerted.

The choir director has asked the choir to stay after school for an unknown reason. I assume it is a celebratory party, so I’m surprised to see my daughter’s tear streaked face when I pick her up. The choir director, her favorite teacher, is leaving. Today was his last day. Apparently he was here only for a year while the normal teacher was on maternity leave and, being offered a permanent spot elsewhere, has decided to leave. The school refused to let him tell his choir until his last day; they will return from winter break with a new teacher. The news, broken at lunch, has left my daughter devastated. The supposed celebration was actually a final goodbye. As we drive home, she tells me she was teased for her tears the rest of the afternoon, but it didn’t matter, because she was sad and it is their problem if they couldn’t understand. I find this revelation strangely comforting.

And as I hold my baby and let her sob, I am glad she is still only a 6th grader. And I am very grateful I dragged my preschoolers out so early today. It was her chamber choir’s only performance of the song they practiced so diligently, and, more importantly, she knows I was there. She still wants me to watch her perform. She still wants me to comfort her aches. Today, she has shown the strength to be herself. She may be growing wings, but she’s not ready to fly away just yet. I hope I can help her wings grow strong and sure.

Monday, February 16, 2009

If I post Peter's birthday cake... *pictures fixed so it makes sense*

If my kids have the whole week off for winter break, I will celebrate by spending the whole first morning on the computer.

If I spend all morning on the computer (and the kids are all home ), my housework will double.

If I have double my usual housework, I will convince myself I would rather do it myself then spend twice the time convincing the kids they "want" to do it.

If I am trying to keep the kids out from under my feet why I clean, I will let them watch Star Wars all afternoon.

If I let them watch Star Wars all afternoon, they will pull out their play light sabers and quickly spiral from pretending to actually trying to kill each other.

If they try to kill each other while fighting over who will be Darth Vader, I will remember I never posted a picture of Peter's Vader birthday cake.

If I take the time to post a picture of Peter's cake, I will go to bed late.

If I go to bed late, I will want to sleep in late.

And chance are, if I want to sleep in late, I will be glad my kids have the week off school.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Momzoo, this bread's for you

Momzoo's blog has inspired me for several months now. I love her step by step pictures, ideas on self reliant living, and good recipes. Because of that inspiration, I have here a picture of my very first use ever of freshly ground whole wheat. Well, the bread is half wheat/half white, but that's a start. She reminded me how much I enjoyed making my own bread and gave me the courage to try whole wheat. I told her I would dedicate my first wheat loaf to her. And I just did.

And another special thanks to my friend who kindly brought me the wheat from the store house and answered several interesting bizarre questions. Like, "What do you mean I need to choose between two different types of wheat?" or "I just finished my bread and it tastes like normal bread. Just what did I do wrong (because everyone knows that your first attempts at using wheat should be a total failure!)?"

And then there is my other friend, who keeps me motivated by always having yummy bread cooking when I take my kids to piano lessons. Not only does she share her great recipes (and my husband is in love with her cookies), she also gave me advice on buying my new Bosch mixer~ after my kitchen aide broke the day after I got my wheat grinder in the mail.

Much thanks ladies! Without you, my family would be homemade breadless. And I would be at least 5 pounds lighter, but that is an entirely different story.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Family Pictures

Only bought the clothes 2 months ago (luckily they still fit).

Only had one child get the most horrible haircut 2 hours before the photos were scheduled (luckily Peter could fix it, or at least hide the flaws).

Only half the family had unsightly facial blemishes (luckily only one picked the scab right before we got there).

Only had one child wear the wrong pants (luckily you can't see Ryan's high waters in the pictures).

Only had two enter the store with terrible shoes (luckily the shoe department was next to the photo studio).

Only had one child fall asleep on the car ride there (luckily Matthew didn't fuss at all when we woke him up).

Only had to reschedule once (luckily Elise remembered to tell us about her school concert the day before she had it).

And I didn't even have to kill any of the children (luckily they responded to just the threat)!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 9, 2009

Just Who is Da Babies' Daddy?

So, when my husband worked in the south, he learned some interesting phrases. Of course, since he was working in a rougher town, in the emergency department (where surprisingly people are not always at their best), most of these phrases are not repeatable. Wouldn't you love a job where several people swear at you several times a day?

One of the best phrases, though, was "Who da baby's daddy?" We loved this phrase because my children have all had different fathers...

My oldest baby's father was a UPS loader. Every morning he would get up earlier than should be legal and load those big brown trucks. Not a bad, gig. Unless your a total night owl. Did I mention he was a total night owl?

My next baby was born to a surgical department orderly at St. Mark's hospital. This guy learned the hard way that if you meet someone who had surgery at St. Marks, you should never say, "I might have been the one to wheel you down the hall, passed out and naked." Awkward...

Baby number 3's father was a 3rd year medical student. Which meant WE were paying THEM a lot of money so HE could work A LOT of hours. Still, 3rd year was easier than the first 2 years.

My fourth's dad was in between jobs. Of course those jobs were medical school and residency. And it there was only a couple weeks in between, but still. Jobless. How embarrassing.

Baby 5 had a father in residency. One week he worked over 115 hours. Enough said.

Finally, I learned my lesson and my last baby was born to a doctor. More than decent wages, lots of free medical advice and good hours. OK, I'm lying about the good hours. But at least now he can work the night shift. Because he's still a night owl...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A New Tradition I Can Love

I have always held that if Peter wants better dinners the only way he would get them was if he started cooking himself. After 13 years, he finally realized I wasn't bluffing. Actually, for Christmas this year he gave me a very thoughtful gift: 3 cookbooks. From which he would choose dinners to make. The first week he took Elise with him to the store. After 5 calls home asking if we owned ingredients I had never heard of, he came home and they made a delicious dinner and dessert (on a sidenote, notice the 3 boxes of soda stacked next to Elise).

Thus was born a new tradition in our home. Once a week, more or less (sometimes less, never more), Peter and one of the kids choose a recipe and a dessert, go out and buy the ingredients and make it for the family. I get a break, the kids get one on one time with Dad, and Peter gets a meal that requires more than 3 ingredients to make. It is a win-win for everyone.

He's done it 2 times so far and they have both been excellent (and I now know some nonalcoholic substitutions for rice wine, have cinnamon sticks in my spice cabinet, and spinach has made its first appearance in my fridge).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Black Hole

One day, several year ago, I made a innocent little comment. I can't remember all the particulars, but somehow I referred to some repetitive thing being like "Groundhog Day." The only response I received was a puzzled expression. "You know, Bill Murray?" The puzzled expression slightly frowned. "But you were BORN on GROUNDHOG day! How could you have NOT seen that MOVIE?"*

It was then that I realized I had once again encountered the unusual phenomena of the black hole. Just what is the black hole? Imagine two years living outside the United States. Without TV, radio, movies, internet, or phone calls home. Do you know what happens? A complete pop culture black hole. Nothing.

Remember the Police chasing OJ's white Ford Bronco down the freeway? How about Waco Texas? Baseball strike that cancelled an entire season? These things are known to Peter only secondhand.

At the beginning the gaps were obvious. He missed the premier of Friends, ER, and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Poor guy even missed the beginning of Power Rangers and Ricki Lake and the Nanny (I know, what a loss). He quickly assimilated as much as possible. Forrest Gump and Jurassic Park were a must see if you wanted to understand regular conversation. Life is like a box of what?

Years later, he knows the words to I Will Always Love You and Rhythm is a Dancer better than I ever did. Somehow, even immediately after his mission he knew the power of playing Fields of Gold on a date (of course it is hard to go wrong with Sting).

Every once in a while the black hole rears its head again:

"Hello? Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have obvious chemistry! Didn't you ever watch Sleepless in Seattle?"

"Robin Williams, cross dressing at its funniest? How could you have missed that?"

"Tanya Harding- Nancy Kerrigan, it was only in the news FOREVER!"

On the flip side, he can tell you what a big deal it was when Norway voted against joining the European Union, how exciting the Olympics were in Lillhammer, and every Ace of Base song. So he does know some pop culture during that time, its just not our culture.

*On a side note, I made him watch Groundhog Day. After all, it was based on the holiday shared with his birthday. And Happy Birthday Peter!! And Happy Groundhog Day, too.