Sunday, August 31, 2008


Is it quite possible, that they will always get along this well?

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Cinnamon bread...for breakfast and lunch and snacks...

Tomato sauce...from the neighbor's tomato bounty. Cooking down, cooking down. Smells wonderful.

Friday, August 29, 2008


scrub, scrub, scrub...

crunch, crunch, crunch...

scrub, scrub, scrub...

crunch, crunch, crunch...


He's in the bathroom, scrubbing the shower.

I'm sitting here, eating chips.

This is the life.

I should be pregnant forever.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

uh oh

...well, it's happening again. I've grown out my hair. Not on purpose, really. More as an after thought. When my hair is short, I dream of having it long, so I can pull it up into a fun style. And when it's long enough to fit into a pony tail, that's where it goes. Not into a lovely up-do....more of a haphazard sloppy bun, circa 1995.

It's only been a few weeks since I could pull it back. It doesn't all stay in....the haircut I had prior to the grow-out was an inverted bob. So there are stray pieces of random length hairs that work their way out of the 1995 sloppy bun. It's not lovely. It doesn't feel lovely. But, it's off my neck, and I don't really care.

But, I should care! I'm going to start caring again. Soon. Maybe.

I'm feeling like I need a change. Like the messy bun isn't all it's cracked up to be. I think of how fun it feels to have a new cut, how fresh and alive your head becomes. It's when these dangerous feelings come to the surface, that my fingers start eyeing the nearest scissor. And then I take that scissor and treat my head like a topiary. Only, I don't know what in the world I'm doing. And afterwards, I'm thankful that the messy look is still sort of hanging around.

I haven't gone Edward Scissor Hands on myself just yet, but I am dangerously close to doing it.

I may just have to rearrange bedrooms again just to keep my mind off of attacking my hair.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

frugal living tip #2: the weekly dinner plan

A few years ago, I REALLY tightened the grocery belt. It was amazingly easy, and totally saved money. For whatever reason, I loosed the belt, and fell off the frugal wagon.

I managed to grasp hold of the back side of the frugal wagon last week, and am hoping to propel myself to the front of the frugal wagon right away. I'll be dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder. My husband, will be Manly. (Because he is really manly.) Our children will be riding in the covered portion of the wagon. Our wagon will not tip over and catch fire, because Mary will not be with us--wearing her glasses, and we will remain on a road free of bumps.

Still with me?


My plan is to re-implement my weekly dinner plan. The only rule with this dinner plan is that my Manly is not allowed to complain about what I feed him. He is only allowed to make complimentary remarks about the deliciousness of each dish. When he gets a case of the crankies, I will impress him with all the details of my fantastic frugality. I will bring up our budget and show him just how much I am saving. He may then lift me in the air and twirl me around and around and tell me how much happiness I bring to him. (It's something he does all the time's totally in his character. A blessed man is he.)

Wow. My blood sugar must be off today or something.

To the weekly dinner plan:

Monday- every Monday is breakfast for dinner night. Eggs. Toast. Sausage. And sometimes Pancakes. (This is the kid's favorite night.)

Tuesday - every Tuesday is meat and rice or potato and veggie night. Chicken, beef, pork...whatever's on sale. (Make enough meat to save for Thursday.)

Wednesday - every Wednesday is pizza night. Either homemade, or frozen. It depends on my level of June Cleaver-ness for that given day.

Thursday - each Thursday, the left over meat from Tuesday is combined with veggies to make a soup or stew, served with from-scratch-biscuits...regardless of the level of June Cleaver-ness. Biscuits are too easy not to go through the extra effort.

Friday - every Friday is pasta night. Spaghetti, hot dish, what-have-you. This must be made using only ingredients on hand. Sometimes this tastes great. Sometimes this is horrible. Either way, everyone ends up full. Especially if you can crank out a few bread sticks or some garlic toast as accompaniment.

The weekends are freebies. We'll usually treat ourselves to a dinner out at least once, and often throw in an extra pizza, since everyone likes pizza.

Lunches are usually either leftovers, or sandwiches. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

If you are looking to trim the fat from your grocery budget, I highly recommend this method. You'll always know what's for dinner. Even the pickiest of Manly's can be won over when they see the dollars saved.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

frugal living tip #1: Rice

One of my favorite ways to extend the serving capacity of a dish is to add rice to it. Brown rice. Full of fiber. (I'm loving me some fiber these days.)

I stumbled upon this "trick" a few years ago, when I first ventured into the land of stay-home-mothering. Having not gone grocery shopping for days, and needing something to feed to dinner guests that evening, I shopped through the cupboards looking for anything that would prevent a shopping trip. (A game I like to challenge myself with far too often. Sometimes it results in new favorite meals....sometimes not.....sometimes it results in new least favorites.)

I had one pound of hamburger, some spaghetti sauce, a million noodles, and enough flour etc. to make a loaf of bread. Spaghetti and meatballs with bread. Perfect! Knowing that the noodles and sauce would be sufficient, but that the meat would not, I had to come up with a way to stretch out that hamburger, or go to the store. (and lose the game? NEVER!)

I have a good meatball recipe, and knew that adding the bread crumbs would stretch it a little. Then it struck me....I could add some rice to bulk up the mix. Could it work? Why not! So I cooked up some brown rice, mixed nearly equal parts rice and hamburger to bread crumbs, eggs, a splash of milk and some seasoning. I let them simmer in the crock pot with some spaghetti sauce all afternoon, and they were great! And MORE than enough for us plus guests. AND! I didn't end up running to the store.

Grocery store: 0 Me: 1 (what can I say? I'm just a winner by nature.)

From that point on, I've been using {brown} rice to extend all kinds of meals. I usually cook up several servings at a time, divide up random portions in freezer bags to be used as needed. Rice is great with chicken, in almost all soups, mixed in a meatloaf or burgers on the grill. And rice is not expensive. At all. It's a great way to sneak in fiber, as long as you're using brown....which tastes great, make the switch today.

So my tip for today, is to add brown rice to everything you make.

Wait. Not everything. Not cookies or cakes or coffee....use discretion. And if you come up with a new favorite dish, please, let me know. I'm always looking for new favorites.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

everything changes

My little family will soon experience some changes. Baby number three topping the list. We're all very excited about all the newness that he will bring.

For the last two years, I've been doing "daycare" for one little boy. He is just a bit younger than my son, and the two of them share a neat relationship. He would only come for the afternoon, and napped a fair bit of the time he was here. The kids would all eat lunch, take naps, and then play for a while before his mommy would come and collect him. He fit into our daily routine so nicely. Tomorrow will be his last day with us, and for that, I'm feeling some heart pangs. Soon, he and his family will move several states away. (sniffle)

We will definitely miss spending time with that special friend.

Now, daycare isn't something I'd ever thought I would venture in to. I don't feel like my personality can handle lots of kids. But, God really lead me into our previous situation, and provided us with the perfect family, and a nice boost to our income.

I am hanging up my daycare hat, and with that, closing the door to that income. So, now, I feel compelled to tighten the purse strings. To make the most of our money. To penny pinch. To find deals. To rid our budget of unnecessary expenditures.

I'm on a mission. Watch out! I'm determined to keep us on track financially....maybe even squeeze more out of the turnip than we did before, when we had more at our disposal?

I would love for my family to embrace contentment. For my children to learn financial responsibility. For our savings to grow, and our debt to diminish. To remain faithful to tithing. To be an example. Above all, to glorify God in the way we live our lives. He has always provided. He continues to provide.

As we practice good stewardship, I'll be sure and share the aspects of frugal living that I find helpful. I'm sure we all could use a little boost to the bottom line. (Not to be confused with bottom...I do not need any boosts to my bottom, thankyouverymuch.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

on the playground

I brought my kids to a playground on Friday morning. It was the perfect day to be out and about. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool....and we had the place all to ourselves. For awhile. It was blissful. My kids enjoyed each others company, and I used the moment for some quiet time with God.

Seriously, it doesn't get a whole lot better than that. A caramel latte would have topped off the morning PERFECTLY.

After nearly 30 minutes of alone time, another mom pulled up. The doors of her SUV opened and two small children spilled out. They ran over to the play ground. I'm guessing they were maybe 3 and 4. But, frail. The younger's steps were carefully measured on the shifting sand. The older walked much in the same way. They were awkwardly attempting to climb the steps leading up to the slide. I wanted to wind them up in bubble wrap.

Mommy never stepped foot out of her big rig. There were times when her children were well over 50 yards away from her, and out of her sight. So I kept them in mine. I was trying very hard not to judge her. Maybe her back had gone out? Maybe she couldn't walk? Who knows. All I could see were her two young children feebly wandering around the swings, slides, and a host of other playground equipment. After about 20 minutes, they were beckoned back to the vehicle, and off they went.

And that's when the daycare kids started showing up. More SUVs, with dozens of kids. The childcare providers sat at the picnic table farthest away from the jungle gym. Every once in awhile they would holler at Cooper and Bentley. In the most unloving of tones. It made me sick. I wondered if Cooper and Bentley's parents knew they were being spoken to like that. I'm sure Daycare Lady uses an entirely different voice around Mom and Dad.

I couldn't help but feel badly for these poor children, being watched by such crabby ladies. I couldn't see any of them being naughty or doing anything out of the ordinary for children on a playground. And yet, the only words being spoken to them were sharp and angry.

This was out in public. In front of other people. Can you imagine what it looks and sounds like behind closed doors? These Daycare Ladies were very normal looking. Young and stylish. The kids were well dressed and the vehicles they came in were all new.

I'm not sure if I even had a point in sharing this....

Please, though, if you have a child in daycare, drop in and see them unannounced. If they're going to the park, show up there and linger in the background for awhile. You don't want some crabby two faced woman "caring" for your child while you are at work. I'm pretty sure these people show their nicer side when the parents are around. I can't imagine any parent in their right mind allowing their beloved offspring to remain in such an unloving atmosphere.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

getting ready

This one is for mine...

...imperfect stitches from anxious hands....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

on a Wednesday

I'm going to be a paint artist when I grow up.

Monday, August 11, 2008

no news would be good news

The media. Can you sort through it? What kind of filter does it take to find out the truth about current events? Seriously!

I don't care about Bradgelinla's babies. I don't need hype and drama. Give it to me straight. I don't care about personal interest stories. I don't need a Hollywood minute. I don't want to walk away from a news program (or article) knowing for whom the reporter and editor and producer will be voting. I don't want spin. I don't want bells and whistles. And for the love of all things Holy, please, make sure the anchor woman is dressed professionally. There is no place for decolletage in reporting. It doesn't matter to me if the reporters are attractive. I would like for them to be able to read the teleprompter. Is that too much to ask?

The whole "fair and balanced" thing is ridiculous. We'll have some people way on the left, spinning the news their way, and some way on the right, spinning the news their way...then you can stir them together, and come up with a crude amalgamation of the two---the truth lying somewhere in the mix.

I'm sick of it. Sick of scare tactics. Sick of the morning news becoming more and more like a television tabloid. Sick of actors promoting their latest movies. Sick of authors trying to sell their books. I don't need Good Morning America telling me about the hot new look for fall. And when did we start wanting to end a news broadcast with a concert from the latest "it" artist? It's the news!

If I want a good recipe, I'll look in a cookbook.

If I want fashion advice, I'll pick up a copy of Vogue.

If I want to be frustrated, knowing less about the world, and more about fluff, I'll park myself in front of the television at 9am, 6pm, and 10pm.

If you know of a good place to find out honest and accurate information on the economy, national security, politics, and relevant current events, PLEASE point me in the right direction.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

more randomness

I caught the end of a PBS special last night. Songs from the Labyrinth. Oh my goodness. Mesmerizing. Sting sang 16th century songs to me for 15 minutes. STING! And then I had a moment. You know, one where your thoughts start to mingle from reality to irrationality? I have a lot of those moments.

Moments, where I'll be watching some period film, and the couple is in a boat, she's in a fancy dress with a parasol, and he is also dressed up, with his sleeves rolled up....gently paddling through the water. It's all so beautiful. So romantic. And then you think, "I wish WE would do that kind of thing." But, then it hits have done that...remember?

Remember on your honeymoon when your beloved paddled you around the lake? But you kept telling him to stay closer to the shore? Because you were mentally calculating how far you would be able to swim with him under your arm should your boat have capsized and your new husband been knocked unconscious? Or the time he took you and the kids out in a canoe down the 2.5' deep river, and you almost had a nervous breakdown when the kids would look out over the side of the boat, causing it to wiggle? Because you were mentally calculating how you would rescue all of them if the canoe had capsized and all of them been knocked unconscious?

Well, while Sting was singing to me, I was having a moment. What if we (my husband and I, not Sting and I) would sing like that to each other? Wouldn't it be romantic to be in some castle in Ireland, with my long hair (that I don't have) braided down past my waist, and my flowy gown blowing in the gentle breezes? I singing to him, and he singing to me? I contemplated that for a little while.

But then, reality started to creep in. My husband is no more likely to sing to me like that, then he is to wear tights. And do I really want him to? No. Why? Because, it's girly. I didn't marry a girly man. I married a man. One that can squish bugs bigger than a quarter with his bare hands. If he were girly, who would kill the bugs?

Who would build the fence?

Who would work so hard so I can be home with the kids?

Who would balance out all my irrational romanticized thoughts and daydreams?

Not Sting on PBS.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Crock Pot Orange Chicken

Will you please make this for dinner tomorrow?
Let me just tell's good. SO good. I've sampled it 4 times already, quality control--you know, and it keeps on being good. And not poisonous. So, it's what's for dinner.

And! It's easy. But it tastes complicated. Sort of....

Here's the deal, in your crock pot place;

6 frozen boneless-skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle of soy sauce
1 jar of orange marmalade
2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup water

Let all that simmer for several hours on high heat, shred the meat, and turn to low heat.

Then, add;

1 pkg frozen broccoli
2 large carrots, cut into slivers (julienne, if you're fancy)
cooked brown rice (enough for 6-7 servings)

Allow to cook for another hour or two on low.

Taste one bowl.

Taste another bowl.

Taste a third bowl.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

staying home

I'm in a bible study over the summer with an awesome group of moms. Tonight's topic promises to be interesting. It takes a close look at "working moms"...not directly insinuating that God wants all moms to stay at home.....but leans in that direction.

I'm excited to hear the opinions of these women. We all have different experiences. Some work. Some stay home. Some work from home. Some want to stay home. Some want to work. And all of theses women know how to peacefully debate and discuss. I love the dynamic. The group has been such a safe place to vent and seek advice, to ask for prayer, to ask for clarification....I wish everyone could experience it. And I wish it would go on and on and on.

Anyhow, this last study has really prompted some deep thinking. Do I think God wants all mothers to stay at home? I don't. Do I think God wants me to stay at home? I do. At least for now. Do I want to be home? I do. Have I always wanted to be home? No. I was going to BE SOMEONE. Not that a mom isn't someone....but it wasn't on my radar when I had mapped out my future in the career of my choice. Motherhood was something I was going to think about after I became bigtime and hotstuff. But then I gave birth to bigtime and hotstuff.

So what's my take on staying home? I think that it falls into the category of personal convictions. I think it's a personal choice. A personal conviction. If God is prompting you to stay home, then stay home. If He's prompting you to work, then work. It's something to be decided by a husband and wife....for the good of their family.

Right now, this is where God wants me to be. But, just because He wants me here, doesn't mean He wants you here. And I would never try and push that on anyone. I haven't been given the job of handing out convictions.

I'd love to hear other's thoughts on this topic. Care to share what you think?

Monday, August 4, 2008


I was sorting through some books today. I stumbled upon an old poetry book from my freshman year of college. Flipping through it, I remembered just how much I loved that poetry class. It felt classy. Collegiate. Mature. All the things I had wanted to be at the time.

I had highlighted 435,605 poems in the book. Looking back, many of the poems I loved were lovely. There are still a few that stick out as favorites. But, now, I can like them for no good reason. There isn't a professor helping me decide which ones speak my language. One that I love today...

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

This Is Just to Say 1934

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.


And one that I will always LOVE. Is right here.

I guess I've made it. Classy. Collegiate. Mature.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I am not...

I sorta freaked out just a little last night when I tried to catch up on a few of my favorite blogs.

98% of them wouldn't open for me. I tried this one, and couldn't open it, either. Did a little extremely low tech searching to find out what the deal was...turns out a bunch of blogspots, bloggers, and typepads were being labeled as SPAM.


I never...!

Especially if you consider the whole you are what you eat thing. No thanks.

Friday, August 1, 2008

hypothetically speaking...

A mom that finds out she's gained almost as much in the past two weeks as she has in the last 7 months at her 30 week prenatal ob check-up may, or may not, try and serve her children this for lunch:

...and she may, or may not, eat a big slice of this, (by itself):