Thursday, December 31, 2009

December projects

Although my blog indicates we've been quiet and had nothing to do; the reality is quite opposite. It is life with chaos, as usual. We've been trying to occupy our time so we don't get enough idle time to sit and stew about the fact that we're ending 2009 without our sweet Claire. No twiddling thumbs here; we put them to use.

First we made placemats for the table. We spread out the paper and art supplies and designed our own placemats to use during the Christmas season. We liked them so much I think we'll keep the project for each holiday.

Then we made several batches of sugar cookies. We sent some off for dear friends and kept others around to fill our bellies. The buttons on my jeans say we kept around a few too many.

Then, the weekend before Christmas we made a gingerbread house, well, I should say we followed directions from a well designed, $9 gingerbread kit. It was blissful. All the gingerbread was baked for me, frosting was mixed and candy was separated into neat little baggies. What a bargain for an mom who loves organization!

Hopefully there will be more pictures to come of Christmas but honestly, I promise nothing. I'm hoping to fill my next few days and weeks with packing lots of clothes and goodies while purchasing airplane tickets and making hotel reservations in China. Yes, 2010 is going to start off BIG; like 44 lbs of sweet little girl with beautiful black hair and gorgeous brown eyes, BIG. You can follow along here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Going Bold

When we moved into our first house 18 months ago we painted every.single.wall over the course of about 3 months. We knew this was not a forever house for us and after painting one room we made the decision to go with a warm tan color that would be good for resale. We are not eager to paint the 58 walls again, not to mention all the wonderful closets; those were the worst. But now, after sitting in different shades of tan for 18 months I've grown a bit weary and decided it isn't all that fantastic tantastic, so lately I've decided to start finding ways to add color without turning the house into a lite brite toy; speaking of which, my kids have absolutely no idea what a lite brite is. Do the elves still make those?

So anyway, I opened the boldest paint lid yet- really teal and painted three broad stripes in our main-floor half bath. I already had the metal artwork and had been contemplating the stripes for a few months and finally made the jump. I'm not sure where I'll move to next but I do know that it will be small projects because the thought of painting 4 regular walls still hasn't won back any appeal.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Ever run to the mailbox in your pajama shirt sans bra and hope nobody was peeking out their windows, or let the kids do all the "fluffing" of the artificial tree this year because you despise it, or maybe even wish there wasn't an early out two Fridays in a row? Well stop feeling guilty and join in on "Not Me" Monday where we can be brutally honest about our imperfections. Ready? Here we go.

While taking all three children to the lab for a blood draw I would never bribe them with ice cream and then make it a double scoop when they started pitching a fit.

It was not me thinking we could set the clocks forward to speed up bedtime after a day of patience-testing children who tested every nerve in my body. It was also not me who let the shower run longer than normal just because it took one boy out of the mix and I relished in the 15 minutes of peace.

It was definitely not me combing the dog with a pair of scissors in hand to cut out the mats in his fur so I would not be scolded by the dog groomer the next day. Since I comb my long haired, fluffy pooch he would never end up with mats in his fur.

It was not me rolling out of bed Saturday morning saying, "hey, let's go to the Pancake House" and then proceed to tell all the sleepy heads to get ready. OK, who am I kidding, they were already up. I stopped monitoring the first hour of their Saturday morning a few years ago.
Anyway, I certainly did not pick out a red shirt which may have actually been sold as part of a pajama set, put it on and wear it all day. It was so comfortable I would never come home from church on Sunday and put it back on for the rest of the day. No way, never!

After church we stopped into a game store to pick out a Christmas present and while there I did not hand the cashier a new Wii game that everyone has requested and ask him to hide it while checking me out. I did not watch my children and giggle as the kind young man ducked down behind the counter to put the CD into the case and then secretly hand it back to me to slip into my purse. I certainly could not have come back during the week to purchase the game because I am just too lazy busy for that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

the fitting room

This really should be a "tips on Tuesday" post but the story really is much more than just a tip. But, let's start with a tip anyhow:

Retail stores that contain a women's intimate department should really install air conditioners inside each room, kinda sorta like those hotel room air conditioners that you automatically crank to high cold as soon as you enter the room. Want to know why? Well, of course you do!

Eventually the stock of bras you purchased nearly three years ago will disintegrate into a pile of nothing and while walking by a mirror one day you will catch a side profile and realize your once well-supported ta-tas are now looking down to see how much your waist line has grown. Instead of them saying "oh say can you see" it is more like "oh say, what'd you eat?" So, you wait a few months and decide you really must purchase new bras before an upcoming international trip. I'm sure they don't sell bras made for mama ta-tas someplace like, oh, let's say China, making that the last place on Earth I'd want my last functioning bra springing a snap.

Of course, since its been nearly three years since you last bought decent bras that fit well, they no longer make those lovely bras. To find something that fits as well, looks decent and you find comfortable you start grab a few different styles in a few different brands and head into the fitting room. Here is how it goes:

Place your purse, coat and other potential purchases on the hooks and bench; prepare to stay awhile so get comfortable.
Start with bra #1
1. snap in the front, twist around to the back
2. the shoulder straps are ratcheted down as tight as they'll go, you figure this out by scraping the straps up the sides of your arms.
3. do the bra shift wiggle and get it into position
4. reach in and correctly position the mama ta-tas in the bra and then look in the mirror
5. do they spill out the top?
Yes? Stop here, don't torture yourself any more. Take it off and proceed to bra #2.
No? Proceed to next step.
6. check under the arms, any flabby chicken fat squeezing out under the arms? Follow Yes, No above.
7. Doing well, now turn around and check the back. Back fat squeezing out? Check both places, in the middle of the back and also on the side. Follow yes, no answers above.
8. OK, so all looks well while half-naked. Put your shirt back on.
Oh holy hell, it looks terrible, kind of like a flat tire but only partially flat-all wide and bulgy. Take it off and go for #2.

Repeat steps 1-8. After twenty minutes you've probably ditched 5 out of the 11 bras you started with. Your arms are starting to get red from the pulling up the scratchy straps, your stomach is starting to get bra burn from the twisting and you're beginning to get a bit warm. You have your first urge to use the restroom because you came shopping immediately after lunch. Sorry, no way you can take a potty break now.

So hopefully you've found another bra that makes it through steps 1-8 and you can put your shirt back on for the second time. Alright, not bad. No flat tire effect, boobs do not stick out beyond your arms when you put your arms down to your side, back fat really isn't too noticeable, now bend over forward and check the spillage, holy loss of support. Glad you figured that out in the fitting room rather than bowing to the queen.

After 11 bras you end up with three that might work but there might be a bigger/smaller band sizes and a bigger/smaller cup size that might work just a bit better in those styles. Get dressed, hang up all the bras and head out of the fitting room. Consider taking that potty break but then decide that this next trip is simply a formality so it will definitely be quick. Grab the new sizes, keep the originals and of course, find about 5 more styles that look good and head back in. Whoa, what?! You were supposed to only come back with different sizes of the three final contestants, not start over with 10 more bras. Now get all the bras mixed up and forget what the original three were so try them all on again.

Where's that damn air conditioner? About now you're wishing you would have reached for the clinical strength antiperspirant instead of the daily version. Ladies, bra shopping is a special occasion. I mean, it only comes around about once every three years, after all.

In between bras on this last trip you realize you really should have taken that potty break so now you've entered full-on potty dance. Oh my, decide quick; you can always return it, right?

Grab three and go, just go.

And guess what? Swimsuit season begins in about 4 months and you get to do it all over again. Shoot me now.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A fitting update

There was a boy who loved to play,
He could play outside all the lived longed day.
His most favorite thing was to jump on the trampoline,
And when I expressed concern I was being too mean.

As luck would have it my youngest ran in the door with a hand on his eye,
He said he got hurt but was too busy playing to cry.
A little while later my boy who is so tough,
Was on the floor screaming in a huff and a puff.

So I loaded all three kids into the car,
and headed to our friendly, neighborhood E.R.
Of course these things happen when dad's out of town,
It can never be a convenient time when these events go down.

After more screaming and eye-staining it was revealed,
that my poor boy's eye was torn and it would be a few days until it healed.
He hid in dark rooms and wore a pirate patch all the next day,
He was so sad to tell his friends that he could not play.

My boy has quickly bounced back and although he looks rough,
He'll be back to playing and jumping with friends soon enough.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Boy's Life

Being a mom to a boy, and even more, two boys, I've just completely given up on some aspects of life.

My half-bath sink is now, and forever will be, simply a vessel that holds water and whatever object might float in it. We've had aluminum foil boat challenges, tinker toy boats and most recently, the battleship game pieces were put to their test in this little sink.

Anything will become an airplane, seriously, anything. This aluminum foil was actually covering a baking dish and while cleaning up the kitchen I found Matthew making it into an airplane. He snagged it quicker than I could get it into the trash. I have found numerous school papers made into airplanes and flown all around the house. On occasion I ask Matthew where the papers went that were in his folder and he points to an airplane lying on the floor somewhere. I've actually signed field trip permission slips that have the markings of paper airplane folds.

Stuffed animals become superheros and then share pop-tarts for breakfast.

While I'm not always good at it, I try to appreciate the creativeness of my boys with their toys and projects around the house because I realize there will be a day when I'm sad that I'm not jabbing Legos into my feet as I walk to tuck in my littlest boy or grumble when waking my oldest because there are toy cars lined up around his room that weren't there when I tucked him in the night before. It's all normal in a boy's life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Rug

Last week J and I had a day to ourselves while the kids were at school so we had lunch together and decided to check out a nearby ritzy home entertainment store who had painted all the windows with neon "going out of business" signs and of course everything was "up to 70% off!" What could be better than some ritzy home entertainment items at 70% off?!

This was, without question, the funniest day of my week last week. We walked around the store and saw pool tables, poker tables, shuffleboard tables, arcade games, home theatre seating and stacks and stacks of oriental rugs. I didn't find one thing 70% off, or even 50% off for that matter.
While walking around I overheard a salesman pitching a $7,000 shuffleboard table as an "investment." I think I may have accidently mumbled something like, Sure, that investment will send my kids to college.

But then, I saw the funniest thing ever to a middle-class, stay-at-home-mom, seriously, ever.
It was a hand tied rug that cost only $37,990.

I had to look twice- Seriously? I called J over and asked him "does that seriously say $38,000 for a RUG?" Why yes, yes it does; we both cracked up laughing.

First, who thinks it's a great idea to lay $38,000 on the floor to walk on?
Second, the person who does think it's a good idea certainly does not have children or pets. And they certainly don't have babies who get their diapers changed on the floor because they are the third child and Mom ditched the changing table after child #1, or children who get the stomach flu and haven't gotten the "hold mouth and run to the bathroom" coordination down, and definitely don't have dogs who eat a bit too much of the bright green grass during their potty break despite being yelled at each and every time.

For that much money we should be able to put all three children on the rug and give them one heck of a magic carpet ride.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

All things pumpkin

In the span of a week we have made (and eaten) three pumpkin-containing, baked goods. The first was an easy pumpkin muffin kit that was dessert after dinner and breakfast the next morning. The second was a pumpkin pie. Why pumpkin pie already? Well, because Matthew came home from school with a paper saying it was his favorite fall dessert. What does a mother do when you learn your child's favorite fall dessert? Make it, of course.

I also had the realization that our oldest child, Jacob, is a mere 7 years from the flying the coop age and that means I have a very small window between the age of him wanting to be in the kitchen with me and learning to cook and then reaching the all-knowing, he-never-hears-a-word-I-say age, so I must get busy on teaching this child to cook. Where do we start on learning to cook? Dessert, of course. So Jacob and I made a pumpkin pie in the middle of last week, just because. I bet money on him making pumpkin pie early in his courtship in a few ahem, 20 years.

After hearing the jealousy rage in the house over Jacob making the pumpkin pie and listening to comments such as "why did you let him do it? why didn't you wait for me (or us)? that is so unfair!" it was quickly decided that another baked good containing pumpkin must be baked. Thankfully, I remembered a recipe that I made several times last year around this time that was delicious. Here is the recipe we made up thoroughly followed, more variations are listed below.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

1 box spice cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 egg (actually, I was lazy and dumped in a bit of Egg Beaters)
1 15oz. can pumpkin

Mix this all together, either by a mixer or with a whisk (if you're trying to find toned arms under the flab, like me.) You can bake it in any kind of pan you'd like; we chose a bundt pan. Bake at 375 until you think it's done a tester inserted comes out clean. We put ours on a pretty cake stand to make it seem like it was a lot more work than it truly was and drizzled with some leftover vanilla tub frosting from the fridge homemade icing.

-Add only 1 can of pumpkin to the cake mix; the batter is thick but it still turns out wonderfully. (This is actually the Weight Watchers recipe. We made it this way last year because I was on more of a diet kick...well, diet with a cake mix.)
-Add 1 cup of water instead of 1/2 water, 1/2 milk.
-Leave out the egg (or Egg Beaters) all together.
-Add applesauce instead of the eggs; maybe 1/4 cup or so.

Making it the way we did or making it with any of these variations will turn out about the same. Omitting the liquid will make it more muffin texture (which is our next "cooking lesson") and making it with more liquid and egg will make it more cake-like texture.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In the middle

Beautiful girl
Sandwiched between 2 brothers
Animal lover
Huge, caring heart
Hard worker
Shopping buddy
Crafting buddy
Soon to be big sister to one more

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

After 88 days of waiting, we received our Letter of Approval today from China to formally approve us to adopt Claire!

I have written a post here on what the next steps are in our process.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Things that poke

Matthew, my 7 year old, loves all things that I usually try to avoid. Most of these include rocks, dirt, tall trees, insects, snakes, mummies and pokey things, especially cacti. I'm on the 12-step program of accepting the dirt, rocks, mummies and pokey things into the house so on a trip to the grocery store nearly a year ago I let him pick out a cactus that we saw on clearance. "Mom, look, it's on SALE! Only $1.99! Can I get it? Huh, can I get it? Mom, can I get it?" Ok, fine, I let him get it even though I had a pretty good idea why there were several cacti on sale for $1.99; everyone else was too smart to bring home a stupid pokey thing!

Guess who repotted the stupid pokey thing? Me. Guess where it sits? Right by MY sink. Guess who takes care of it. Me.
And guess who gets poked by the stupid thing when I reach to get my scrubber that sits on the sink directly in front of it. You guessed it, me. This last time I reached up so innocently to get my scrubber the insanely sharp, poison coated pokers on the stupid pokey thing went up under my fingernail and poked me in the very sensitive nail bed. I yelped out an OUCH and contained myself from releasing any obscenities but really I was thinking "You little fracking cactus...who the hell let you in the house?" If it wasn't so pokey and downright evil I would have picked it up and threw it outside.

It is still sitting on my counter behind the sink but I'm thinking the boy who loves all things dirty should be caring for it in his room; maybe then he will rethink the $1.99 deal the next time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Ever feel guilty that you skip a nightly bath time simply because you can't take one.more.minute of fighting siblings, or have a "make your own PB&J" dinner night, or maybe even think "God Bless Teachers" as your loud children run off to the bus? Well stop feeling guilty and join in on "Not Me" Monday where we can be brutally honest about our imperfections. Here we go.

I did not let the kids' backpacks sit for three weeks while they were on cycle break and then decide to clean them out the night before they went back to school. Gosh, there were probably important papers in there that should have been addressed or even study materials for the three week break. No, we decided a schooling on Iowa farmland and amusement park physics would serve them much better.

I did not buy one of my favorite foods (chocolate filled croissants) with the intention of thawing one overnight once in awhile and enjoying it in the morning with some coffee and then declare I was going on a diet and make them all in one day. Of course I did this with the intention of sharing with everyone to use up the croissants and end my temptation. I did not split one three ways for the kids and then eat the other three myself. Nope, I would never gorge myself on fat-filled chocolate croissants the night before my new diet.

I did not plan a short vacation and then come home with absolutely no pictures on my digital camera. No way, I always lug around the camera to amusement parks. The only pictures I did take on vacation would never be found solely on my cell phone.

I did not attend a culinary class with Emily and then proceed to tell the entire audience that cilantro tastes like soap while the chef threw it into the white chili. Gosh, that would be rude!

While walking through a cave, I did not have my wonderful (taller) husband walk in front of me so if a bat flew down the corridor it would hit him and not myself.

After two days of amusement park fun I did not park myself in a heavenly bakery with a magazine, sticky bun and a coke and let my husband run the roller coaster round with the kids one more time.

And lastly-
It was certainly not my child you might have seen vomiting in Panera this weekend and I certainly did not stand there next to him feeling all of a sudden paralyzed and not sure what to do. Also, I did not position my other children around it to try and hide the fact that there was vomit on the floor only 2 feet away from where someone was eating. Boy, if you could have seen the looks...OK, if you did see the looks, please tell me they weren't that bad because I never actually looked at anyone because I had the "swine flu stare down" fears and refused to look up. (Thankfully, Jacob really doesn't have the swine flu, just a terrible migraine and also a HUGE thank you to the wonderful customer who saw my paralyzed self and came and covered up the specimen with napkins.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a way to have a great end to the week

So, this week I've been on pins and needles waiting for my phone to ring from someone other than my mom, sister, husband or dentist (yes, I really spend that much time there) but as the quietness on my blog (and in my house) conveys, it did not happen. Despite this unfortunate week I was able to maintain a good attitude about it all. I think everyone in my house is happy all these things didn't happen during PMS time; wow wee, that would have been ugly.

Thursday morning:
I get to spend some time with my favorite dentist so as soon as the kids get on the bus I grab my clothes and head upstairs to get showered. On my way through the dining room I see a familiar BROWN truck outside. Seriously?! Did our agency not call us and just go ahead and overnight the LOA to us instead? I see the man in brown grab an overnight document envelope and start walking to the door. Somehow my mind thought "do I have time to grab the camera to take a picture of this stork delivery?!" instead of "OH SNAP, I'm in my pajamas with some whacked out hair that seriously needs a shower!" I skip the camera and open the door and patiently wait for him to walk to the door; somehow I contained myself from screaming because that would have seriously freaked him out. On my way to flip the envelope and rip it open I see it has a different last name. NOOOO! I double check- our address, someone else's last name and the sender was not our agency. I very humbly told him that it wasn't our package; he took the envelope and went on his merry way in his brown truck.

I get to my favorite dentist and they get me checked in without even asking my name; what personal service! My permanent crown was ready to cemented on so this visit would be so much less drama than the others. After much finessing, the crown went on with permanent cement only to have something go wrong and my brand new porcelain crown was drilled through and chipped off. I now get to visit them again in two weeks; what a pleasure!

Thursday lunch:
Despite starting my new diet I caved into my craving from a local favorite sub shop. To try to stick to my diet plan I ordered a kids meal in my favorite flavor- chicken parmesan. My mouth salivated as I sucked from my little kiddy glass and waited for my food. I was delivered a chicken cordon bleu sub; what a disappointment. I am much nicer than I was in my early days so I did not make them redo it; I ate the chicken cordon blue. It was fine but it definitely did not satisfy my chicken parmesan craving which meant I had to come back again. Sorry diet.

Friday morning:
I got ready to run some errands and timed my departure just before lunchtime so I could return to my favorite sub shop and get my much desired chicken parmesan. I got up to the counter to order and reach into my purse; my wallet was at home. I had placed an online order earlier and due to the frequency of my online shopping taking a nose dive, I no longer have my debit card memorized so I had to actually look at it to make a purchase. I had to leave the sub shop empty handed, er, empty stomached.
I had my checkbook with me so I decided to continue with my other errands and use a check (oh, how old school!). I didn't find anything to buy at Toys R Us so I headed to Target. There is always something to buy at Target!
So I spend an hour in Target and find plenty to buy and decide I should check out and go home because too much time in Target can actually be a bad thing. I write out my check and realize- OH SNAP, my ID is also in my wallet and of course this is the transaction that it asks for a license number to go along with my check. Hello Embarrassment! I had to leave Target without my purchases and look like a total lowlife. Thankfully, they held them at the service desk and I came back with my wallet and made my purchase.

Two hours after starting my trek for my chicken parmesan I came home and ate some crackers and 1/2 of a PB & J sandwich. Guess what we had for dinner last night? Yep, my chicken parmesan and after all my misfortunes I skipped the kids meal size and had a regular sub.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The story behind the song

I grew up in a traditional Baptist church singing traditional Bible hymns. While I have now changed my preference to worship with contemporary music those traditional Bible hymns will never leave my being. I can still break out in song (no dance, that is a no-no!) with words memorized when I hear the music of many childhood hymns and of course it always makes my husband and children laugh.

But, one of the hymns that I still remember by heart still brings me comfort today. A few years ago I learned the story behind the hymn, It Is Well. Wow, if someone like Horatio can be at peace with God and themselves after such horrible tragedy than why do I find it hard to let go of my plan and let all be well? I hope you are as moved by this video as I was and still am each time I watch it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For your Angels

Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I have been profoundly blessed by God to conceive and carry three children into this side of eternity. I will never know the pain of releasing a child back to God during pregnancy or shortly thereafter but I do not want this day to pass without acknowledging the grief and pain of the many women close to me who have. I know you will live with your loss every day, forever, while the rest of us acknowledge it publicly only one day a year. I want each of you to know that I think of you and your babies often and they will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tips on Tuesday

If you have the fortunate experience (and I mean that wholeheartedly with the state of our present economy) to work as a cashier at an establishment that sells bananas, I have a tip for you. So grab your chair and saddle up.

Do not drop the bananas into the bag, just don't.
You never know if you might be dropping the bananas of a crazy lunatic woman that has waited 75 days for a letter of approval to adopt her daughter and also just finished staring at government paperwork for three hours before taking a much needed break to the store, just to look at something other than monotonous forms. She may have painstakingly looked at many banana bunches to find the ones with the least amount of bruising because she knows the three children at home will not eat a banana with mushy spots. She may just freak out on you; I'm just sayin'.

No, I didn't actually freak out on the young cashier today but I didn't give her a strange look when she took my bananas and dropped them into the bag from about 18 inches high. Now, if I had gone through the painstaking process of picking out my Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples and she dropped them into the bag it would have been a different outcome because not even I will eat the apples with mushy spots.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Ever feel guilty that you skip a nightly bath time simply because you can't take one.more.minute of fighting siblings, or have a "make your own PB&J" dinner night, or maybe even think "God Bless Teachers" as your loud children run off to the bus? Well stop feeling guilty and join in on "Not Me" Monday where we can be brutally honest about our imperfections. Here we go.

We did not take a road trip this weekend which may have consisted of 22 hours in the car in a 72 hour period. Something of that manner sounds like absolute torture to anyone of child-bearing age so we certainly wouldn't think that would be a better idea than sending our children to school.

We did not comment 40820 times about the fact that the state of Iowa is about 4 different shades of brown. We might have said the words tan, brown, yellowish brown and dark brown so many times that I now think the word brown sounds funny and well, just not right. We also may have said the words soybeans, corn, soybean field and corn field about the same number of times we said brown. Those words may or may not be followed closely by the phrase "Look! A combine- guys right over there....LOOK!" After the tenth time my children did not start saying "Yes, they all look the same!"

Emily did not make a comment that sounded something like "I think Iowa is a state you only drive through; because if there aren't any towns people can't actually live here." I did not laugh and completely agree with her.

I did not say "quit fighting" or "stop arguing" or "if you fight one.more.time" at least 384 times in 72 hours and I would certainly never think to myself, "if these kids don't stop their freaking arguing I'm going to pull over and give myself a time out." And as a good mother I would never stop at Wal-Mart (remember, I Wal-Mart) and buy a bag of Charm Blow-Pops with the thinking if they have a blow-pop shoved in their blow hole they can't argue and fight as much. Nope, I would never do that!

We did not find it absolutely amusing that we had a corn field directly outside our hotel window the first night and then parked among the corn the next day at our lunch stop, in the middle of town. We did not tell everyone about this amusing fact and watch their faces say "well, yes, that is how it is here in Iowa."
After looking at so much brown we did not squeal with delight when we found a wind farm with 158 wind turbines. We did not venture off the beaten path to try and get up close and personal with the gentle giants; that would only add more time to our amazingly long road trip. I did not listen to my husband say he wants one of these in our backyard for the next two days. I did not take my city kids and plop them on a farm for 24 hours and let them run around frolicking in soybean fields and climbing silos. That kind of activity would have lead to muddy shoes and one freaked out mother contemplating the many safety violations of children on silos.

I did not listen to my city kids telling me they wished we lived on a real farm when I tried bribing them back into the car after such a short visit. Little do they know they would be doing far more work if they really did live on a real farm.

Something we did do this weekend...
We did get to visit two grandparents in one weekend and our children got to spend some quality time with their great-grandmother whom they've never really met, due to our frequent country-hopping moves. So despite the very long road trip, this weekend was priceless for all of us.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mini made-to-order

If your house is anything like ours, a full cooked-to-order breakfast is the very last thing on your mind on weekday mornings. No, instead something like "comb your hair, did you brush your teeth?, get your bag ready, find your shoes, THE BUS IS COMING" is more like what happens daily around here. I just need to get a tape recorder and place it at the bottom of the stairs; maybe even add a countdown and then I just have to push play at the same time each morning. Hmmm...maybe I need to work on an invention.

Anyway, I can't take full credit for this idea but that doesn't stop me from sharing it with you. You know those yummy breakfast casseroles/quiche/souffle' thingermajigs? Whatever you call them they usually consist of eggs, a bit of milk, cheese and a meat; and if you are over the age of 12 you might throw in some onions and peppers. Well, I heard of the idea of making these casseroles in muffin cups and then freezing them. My children were so excited to try something other than frozen waffles, cereal, and instant oatmeal that I had to keep them from eating all the egg cups in one morning; pace yourself young grasshopper.

Disclaimer: I'm not an exact measure type of cook. No, I'm more of an "open the cabinet and throw in whatever looks like it isn't beyond the expiration date" type of cook. I did measure out what I included in these souffles but next time it might be totally different. Adapt this to your liking.


6 eggs
4 oz. sausage (cooked)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used colby-jack but use whatever kind of cheese you have in the fridge)
1/3 cup milk

1. Cook your sausage and then let it cool on a paper towel. This will soak up a bit of the grease and allow it to cool enough so you don't scramble your eggs prematurely.
2. Add all the ingredients together and stir. Pour into greased muffin cups. (I made another batch with bacon to fill up the muffin pan)

3. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. (If you use a metal pan or fill the cups less they may cook a bit quicker.) When you remove them they will be all inflated and beautiful looking. They will deflate when cooling and won't be as pretty but they taste the same. If you think they are ugly, blindfold yourself for breakfast (or your kids.)

4. Remove from pans when slightly cool (you like your fingerprints after all, no need to singe them off now) and place on a cooling rack. Once cool transfer to a freezer Ziploc and freeze.

Warm up your mini cooked-to-order breakfast in the microwave until hot.

Note: If anyone in your house is trying to lose weight like I am you can also make these with Egg Beaters. I made some yesterday using Egg Beaters and added some onions and peppers and they turned out well. Of course, Egg Beaters doesn't mean much when you eat ice cream daily. I wouldn't know anything about that though.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tips on Tuesday

If you lose something do not spend a day, or two, and definitely not an entire week of your time searching. No. Just don't.

Look for maybe 30 minutes. If you do not find it get yourself into your vehicle and drive to the nearest store that carries the item you have lost cleverly misplaced and promptly buy yourself a new one.

I now offer you a money back guarantee* that you will find the item you lost cleverly misplaced less than one day after your return home. If you are smart you will not open the new item for 24 hours because the lost cleverly misplaced one will show up to the party, albeit a bit late. For me? I've learned to carefully open packages so that my money back guarantee is still valid.

*Money back guarantee is only valid at the retailer you purchased your item and only if you save your receipt (do it, you will find your lost item) and carefully open the package as instructed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tips on Tuesday

Today I'd like to offer up a few tips for your upcoming dental appointment. You see, being on prednisone for 5 weeks wreaks havoc on your teeth and I've spent enough time in the chair to hand out a few tips.

1. Most important- Don't ignore your teeth even though they don't hurt. Once they hurt your time in the chair will be nothing short of a trip to hell and back.

2. Try to get yourself some anti-anxiety medicine prior to your appointment. Even if you don't think you suffer from dental anxiety, that all changes when the drill happens to punch through your tooth to the root cavity.

3. If you don't have any anti-anxiety medication and can't get any beforehand raid your medicine cabinet and find some pain killers. Pain killers will work in a pinch to help make you a little loopy...loopy is always good in a dental chair.

4. Dental offices are always cold; bring a sweatshirt or just wear long sleeves. Who cares if people look at you funny for wearing long sleeves in the summer; once you try to smile and only half your lips work they will look at you funny for much different reasons; the long sleeves won't matter anymore.

5. BYOS: Bring your own socks. Refer to #4, dental offices are like mini-refrigerators and even though I'm wearing long sleeves, I want to wear my flip flops. Socks on the feet cut down on the shivers tremendously.

6. Tell the dentist right off the bat that you are hard to get numb. In my case it is true, (thanks Mom for that wonderful trait!) but even if it might not be true for you; a little extra anesthesia is never a bad thing. Heck, even raise your hand once in awhile to signal you felt a little something and they will most likely stop and give you more.

7. Pray. Pray the entire time. Please don't let her hit a nerve, please let me be numb, please don't let her drill spinning 10,000 rpms slip off and slice straight through my gums...etc. etc. etc.

8. If you stop praying think of a very happy place; the right pain killers will help you out with this.

Good luck!

Monday, August 31, 2009

"Not Me" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Ever feel guilty that you skip a nightly bath time simply because you can't take one.more.minute of fighting siblings, or have a "make your own PB&J" dinner night, or maybe even think "God Bless Teachers" as your loud children run off to the bus? Well stop feeling guilty and join in on "Not Me" Monday where we can be brutally honest about our imperfections. Here we go.

It was not me calling my dentist at 9 p.m. on a recent Friday night, even with full knowledge she was on vacation. I did not apologize about 5 times in the first 30 seconds for calling her cell phone so late and on a weekend while she was on vacation. (Thankfully I have found a wonderful dentist who called in prescriptions for me and even called the endodontist for me on Saturday!)

It was definitely not me crying in the endodontist chair the next Monday morning about to undergo my very first root canal. I would have no reason to be nervous when my tooth was still not numb after 10 (yes, 10!) shots of anesthesia.

It was not me who was looking forward to Jacob's "meet the teacher" night and then completely forgot about it, only to remember it two days too late.

We did not circle the city and drive over 100 miles on Saturday to visit 5 fabric shops in seven hours to look for the perfect fabric to contribute to Claire's quilt. We did not come home and find the perfect fabric online and order it.

It was not me getting schooled by a 7 year old that a real picnic does not involve eating fast food on a picnic table. He did not guilt me into packing a real picnic basket with food from home so I could give him a "real" picnic.

I did not do the dishes one handed last night because I had a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie in the other hand. I was definitely not trying to get my snack fill last night because I am recommitting myself to Weight Watchers today. I did not eat three cookies in the time it took me to fill the dishwasher, one handed.

I am not completely giddy about the fact that I am only four days away from dropping my children off with one of the best grandma's in the world (Hi Meme!) and spending the weekend with my wonderful husband in a quaint, quiet inn that does not allow children. I did not dodge the question when the children asked me "are you going to miss us?"

And the best bit of news:
I am NOT the least bit gloriously happy that I have been without hives for 4 days; but who's counting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Not Me" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Ever feel guilty that you skip a nightly bath time simply because you can't take one.more.minute of fighting siblings, or have a "make your own PB&J" dinner night, or maybe even think "God Bless Teachers" as your loud children run off to the bus? Well stop feeling guilty and join in on "Not Me" Monday where we can be brutally honest about our imperfections.

Monday was Jacob's last day before middle school so I let him pick where we had our last lunch together. I was not happy in the least bit that he chose Culvers because I was dreading another dish of frozen custard covered in cookie dough.

It was not me who recoiled in horror as I watched a child hit her mother because she was not taking new clothes off the rack fast enough. I most certainly would be able to control my facial expressions when watching interactions between other parents and their children.

I did not choose to make cupcakes 45 minutes before the kids arrived home from school so I could lick the bowl and not share it four ways.

After my husband's clean clothes built up next to his side of the bed for a week, I did not threaten to put him on "Not Me" Monday if they were still there Sunday night. He did not laugh and blow me off. These are certainly not his folded, clean clothes right next to his dresser.

I did not spend the entire Sunday in my pajamas. That would require someone to not step one foot outside the house and I wouldn't be so unproductive.

And lastly, I am not the least bit jealous that my husband is spending the week in Ft. Lauderdale, sans kids.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prayers for a friend

My friend, Jodi, and her family are very much in need of prayers right now. Jodi's husband, Ryan, was in a motorcycle accident one week ago and has suffered critical injuries. He defied all the odds and lived through the first night but has since been sedated to try and help his body heal. He has been diagnosed with permanent paralysis from the chest down and he is still not "out of the woods." He is currently fighting injuries to his lungs and heart and was also diagnosed with pneumonia, which is delaying his spine surgery. He is also at risk for losing his right lower leg due to the severity of his wounds.

Jodi and Ryan have two young children who also need prayers in processing this huge change to their family. Jodi is currently focused on helping Ryan survive but we all know that this is going to be a very long road for them and the prayers will be needed for a long time. Will you please add Ryan's recovery and Jodi's strength to your prayer lists?

Ryan's family is keeping a Caring Bridge page to update others on his progress; you can click on the rainbow button to be taken there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

The Bed
White, soft and fluffy
Calls your name all of the day
Horizontal bliss

I finally saw the allergist today. The hives eventually relented a couple days ago but as he put it, "You are on an enormous slug of Prednisone" so they should be gone.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Not Me" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

It was not me you may have seen feeding her kids fast food for dinner because I was still covered in hives after 9 days and coming down with an infection. Nope, even if I were covered in hives and getting an infection, I would make sure my children eat a well balanced meal every evening.

It was certainly not me you saw in the grocery store the next day buying two Totino's pizzas and a box of Kraft macaroni & cheese. Frozen pizza and boxed macaroni and cheese is only one step better than fast food and still far below what I find acceptable for an evening meal so there is no way I came home, talked the kids into helping cook dinner and then allow them to eat on a blanket in the living room so I could lay on the couch. Nope; I would never do such a thing.

It was not me who skipped curriculum night for both Emily and Matthew due to hubby being gone for the week and my body still covered in hives after 11 days. Even with all that going on I would most certainly secure childcare for my children so I could take my itchy self to school for an hour right at dinner time.

There has not been an overflowing laundry basket of towels sitting in my living room for nearly a week. Nope, I am very efficient and organized with our laundry and would definitely put those towels away in each bathroom while they were still warm. I certainly did not put the towels away the morning hubby came home and smooth out the indentation in the carpet just so he didn't think they sat there the entire time he was gone.I did not eat half a watermelon the night before my weekly weigh-in to try and naturally flush the excess water from my body. Since we only eat healthy, balanced meals with limited amounts of salt, I would have no reason to be retaining fluid.

It was not me chatting it up with a curly haired, adorable 4 year old at Six Flags who proceeded to tell me the reason I couldn't ride the little kids rides wasn't because I was no longer a little kid but because I was (insert big tummy hand motion here) "too big." But she can't say that word or she'll get in trouble.

I did not make a trip to Sam's Club over the weekend and proceed to come home and feed the kids a dinner straight from my Sam's Club cart which may or may not have consisted of 7-layer taco dip, tortilla chips, yogurt and watermelon. I certainly did not make myself feel better by pointing out that they were actually receiving a food from every food group.

It was not me who decided to can 5 quarts of dill pickles only to realize my quart jars would not fit in my biggest stock pot. I am not the least bit happy that I got a new stainless steel stock pot out of the deal.

It was not me who had a mini freak out when the YMCA called to say another child in camp this week has been diagnosed with H1N1- or the piggy flu as we call it. (This wouldn't bother me except I've been taking mega doses of prednisone and can't be around anyone that is sick.)

I did not attempt to make up for my mommyhood failures this week by making To Die For Blueberry Muffins, cut and can 5 quarts of dill pickles, make my own knock-off of Panera's new strawberry poppyseed salad AND a homemade apple tart in one day. That much work would require you to stay in the kitchen for 5 hours and that is definitely not me.

So, what didn't you do this week?