Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Overheard #47

Upon coming back from a lengthy visit to the mailbox, and responding to my inquiry about the length of time the trip had taken, Miss M responded:

It's freezing cold out there! I stopped for a moment to do some jumping jacks!

Presumably to warm herself, since it's a chilly 58 degrees outside.

We continue to exchange looks of surprise when M uses these phrases (for a moment, catch a glimpse, and more) in her everyday conversation. I'm more convinced than ever that moving her to a different school was absolutely the right decision. She is blossoming!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful List 2012

I am thankful for...

1 - an impromptu lunch date with my husband
2 - safe travels for my guys, and hoping they will have a great weekend
3 - naps and cold medicine
4 - my husband and all that he does for our family
5 - my almost-9-year-old
6 - the opportunity to vote
7 - a body that can walk and hike and run, do push-ups and crunches, and maybe even do some things I don't yet know that I can do
8 - laundry room dance parties
9 - safe travel (especially with two 21-mile round trips to school each day)
10 - a successful garage sale this morning. I think I can park in the garage again soon
11 - my daughter and her sweet prayer for our veterans and active military
12 - enough food and a kitchen in which to cook it. Prepared dinner for this evening and food for both adult and kid lunches tomorrow. My fridge runneth over.
13 - this one may seem silly in comparison to my other thankful posts, but I am thankful for finally finding some jeans to fit Miss M
14 - lunch with a friend
15 - time with my Circle 4 friends. Blessed to share an evening with them
16 - a quick afternoon nap. After a busy week, I was dragging today, but now I'm recharged for the evening
17 - some fun times with each of my kids today - a little time for each of them to shine on their own and do something special!
18 - to know that, even when I'm grumpy, I am loved 
19 - far-away friends and family. They've all left their imprints on us, and we are the better for having them in our lives. I've had several of them on my mind today, and I'm so glad that we can stay connected via FB
20 - a few days off from packing lunches! I know - not at all profound - but mama appreciates a break every once in a while
21 - a 2+ hour trip to the grocery store.  Really.  I loooove grocery shopping!  And spending that time with my SIL made it even more fun! 
22 - a boy riding a bike, a girl helping her aunt in the kitchen, and the noise and busy-ness of a house full of people.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Overheard #46

Mr. J is watching a movie that he has seen many times. He has the words pretty much memorized. As he is saying one character's part, along with the movie, he follows it up with:

Jinx! He owes me a Coke!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Overheard #44 and #45

Miss M wanted to play the animal sounds game while we were in the car.  Here's a snippet of the conversation following the 5th or so animal sound.

Miss M: (makes hissing sound)
Mom: A snake.
Miss M: No. (repeats hissing sound more loudly)
Mom: Didn't you just make that sound and it was a snake?
Miss M: Yes, but this one's more hibernated.

And the answer? It was a King Cobra.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Again in the car, and this time we were listening to the radio.  "Holiday" by Madonna came on, and Mister J said, "That's from Kids Bop 5!"  Mister J informed him that it was actually a song from the 80s, and the Kids Bop version was a remake. 

And from the back seat, Miss M chimes in with, "It's from Hades?!?"

Read into that what you will...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Well now they're even

Moms of two or more kids know - if one gets a treat, the other one wants it, too.  If one gets a privilege, the other one wants the same.  And apparently, if one gets an ER visit, the other one will eventually want one, too.  I say that in jest, of course, but our kids are finally even on this count, too.

Miss M had her first visit at least 3.5 years ago (maybe more - she was just a little thing) after she fell and hit her noggin pretty hard on a driveway.  We were out of town at the time, so a trip to the pediatrician wasn't even an option - we just went straight to the nearby ER. 

The boys (Big J and Mister J) were at Cub Scout camp this weekend, by all accounts having a great time.  BB-shooting, archery, hiking...  Later in the day, Mister J was sitting in a camp chair, reading, when his chair got tipped over.  He was caught off guard and didn't have time to catch himself before he hit his head on a tent platform.

He got a gash on his head, but the EMTs at the camp (and two doctors within our pack) checked him out and he seemed ok.  He had some worrisome symptoms overnight, so Big J packed up right after breakfast to head home so Mister J could be seen at the local children's hospital ER. All of those checks were normal, so we are now home.  We'll see his pediatrician on Tuesday for a follow-up, unless any worrisome symptoms reappear.

I think the hardest part is going to be keeping him "calm" - including no video games, computers, reading (activities that require a lot of focus and concentration) for today, and no sports/playground shenanigans for a week.  I've already had to give him reminders about running and jumping - in the house, no less!  And what do you do when you can't be active and play?  TV, reading, etc. - which are off limits for at least today.  The good news is that he can return to school tomorrow - as long as he doesn't have a headache. 

So thankful that he's okay, and also for the great care he got while they were camping (and away from immediate medical care). And that they had a good time, but I know I still haven't gotten the whole of that story given all of today's excitement!

Friday, October 19, 2012

SUYL - Favorite Charities

I'm linking up with Show Us Your Life - Favorite Charities over at Kelly's Korner today.  I'm sure I'll think of others to add to this list later, but for now...

debra - The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America - (and especially Jogging for Jonah - 2013 date TBA)
My dear friend's son has EB, and she not only has a fundraiser auction for his birthday every year, last year she spearheaded a 5K fundraiser that had 200+ participants (for the 1st ever J4J event!).  These events are to raise money for debra - to find a CURE for EB!

Imago Dei - This is a Bible study group that I attend, but it's not any ordinary study!  Each week we have large and small group time, but once our study, discussion, and time for prayer requests are complete, there's exercise time.  This group has retreats, goes out into the community for special events, and will not turn a woman away.  When I think of Imago Dei, I hear one of the leader's voices in my head, saying, "Just come."  They provide scholarships for women who want to participate more fully than their budgets will allow (from buying the book for study to attending a retreat).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Coffee shop

There's a nice little coffee shop/bakery downtown that I have really enjoyed lately.  It has a quiet (but not too quiet), relaxed atmosphere.  It's a great place to get a little work done or hang out with a friend.  It doesn't hurt that the coffee, pastries, and sandwiches are very good, too.  That first photo?  It's a ginger molasses latte - mmmm, autumn in a cup!  And this next photo?  Well, that's my sweet girl enjoying a surprise afternoon treat - one of their gigantic cookies.  There were several choices, and Miss M went with lemon ginger.  Chocolate chip or some other standard, and I would have passed - but I had to have a taste.  Oh, my, was it ever good!  My girl loved it, and saved half of it to give to her brother when we picked him up from school.  I told you, they bake HUGE cookies!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

7, 5, 1

Well, I started this post on my phone ages ago (probably about a month ago), and now it's gone.  Oops.  It was really a lot (a lot) of babble - which is why I didn't post it then.  But I think it's important enough - just for my own memory - to post a little bit here about what 7, 5, 1 means.  The definition, and also why it's important to me.

This number is more symbolic than an actual definition, and it represents a large group study that I started earlier in the fall.  We are reading The Story, and this study will take us through the spring (we meet every other week, taking a longer break for Christmas).   It was important for me to participate in this study because I've never read the Bible all the way through, and at times it is difficult for me to understand passages without having all of that background.  The Story is a chronological, novel-type version of the Bible - still with much of the text of the Bible, though some parts are summarized.

Our church has been studying The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (by Robert Schnase) - both in small groups and with church-wide devotions.  As part of an ad hoc group that meets to specifically explore the Passionate Worship aspect of the five practices, I also wanted to participate in a small group study to learn more about what other members of the congregation thought about the five practices.  My small group has exactly two people - myself and the leader.  Not a popular time, I suppose, but she is still faithful to lead our very small study even though I would certainly give her the "out."
This book (7: A Experimental Mutiny of Excess by Jen Hatmaker) makes me want to pretty much toss out everything we own.  I think the only reason that I haven't (so far) is that I want to sell what I can to raise money for our adoption* and I have a long-standing (genetic?) history with clutter and "stuff."  I'm studying this book with a group of ladies meeting every other week in the home of a friend.  Some of the ladies I already know, some are new - as an introvert, this is the perfect setting for me to get to know new people.  But back to the book...  I couldn't really get into Chapter 1 - it was about Food.  I can't really put a finger on why I wasn't into it, except that I was chomping at the bit to get into the chapters about clothing, spending, media, and waste.  We started Chapter 2 this evening  - Clothing.  I couldn't help myself, I cleared out about 1/3 of my closet over the weekend.  Decent, wearable stuff that I'm just not wearing (Hello, Goodwill!).  I could probably eliminate about 1/2 of what's left, but I haven't decided exactly what this chapter will look like for me.  (We are each deciding what significant, meaningful actions we will take during the time period we study each chapter/topic - typically, three to four weeks.)

Why three studies at once?  Hmmm...  They all sounded good, and since I read Five Practices over the summer, I was already prepared.  I've always wanted to read the Bible, but that's a bit of a daunting task - so The Story seemed like the perfect way to get the background I have desired and that would be helpful in other studies.  This doesn't mean I won't ever read the Bible, but this makes it accessible to me now.  And 7, well, I've been trying to conquer the excess for about two years now.  I've got plenty of reasons to be motivated, but Jen just adds another layer to it all that kind of rocks my world.

Y'all, three studies at once is kind of crazy, but it is a beautiful kind of crazy.  Even cooler?  The three studies and the Sunday school class I taught last month all included the same part of the Bible - and my favorite part of the Bible at that!**

All of these studies are groups of women, though Five Practices was open to everyone.  I am really enjoying the opportunity to meet new women and get to know acquaintances even better.  As we discussed in our study this evening (7 - small group), women tend to judge each other - and we judge ourselves, too.   But once we get past that, we can be genuine with each other - and that is when our true beauty shows through.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to be genuine with these women, and my courage grows each time we meet. 

*things are progressing slowly, because we have needed to put things on hold for a bit. We are returning our focus to the process, though, and hope to have it officially in motion very soon.
**from what I've read so far - I did read the actual Bible to about 2 Kings

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pray for Pie

Please take a moment today and pray for our friends.  You can read their story here.  You can follow them on the blog or on Facebook to keep up with their story and keep updated on specific prayer requests. 

You can help by shopping here - and you can use pie15 for a 15% discount (or not).  All of the money raised will go to help the specific need mentioned in the post linked above. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Honestly, 1st ed.

If you are my friend on Facebook, you already know that I put the good stuff in the coffee maker this morning.  I usually try to drink decaf (Honestly!), but since I nearly took Prilosec instead of Claritin this morning, I decided that I needed the caff after all.

 And the reason for the Claritin?  Some kind of allergy or cold going on - not sure which - but the Claritin is proving some relief.  Some.  Which is why I brought along a box of tissues with me today.  And honestly, you should know that having a dinged-up box of tissues is just annoying to me.  Do you see that little crease on the edge of the box.  Can't stand it.  Bent-up cereal boxes annoy me, too. 

And this is honestly what the passenger seat of the car looks like right now.  It's a library!  Clockwise from top right - book study, reading to M, "auditioning" a book for J, and potential Girl Scout books which I'm now pretty sure I'm not going to use.  There are more books in the bag on the floor.  And then, later on, I actually went to the library!

And this, for a small portion of the morning, was my office.  (Please don't interpret this as a political statement, I just like chicken and free wifi.)  I needed a change of scenery and some breakfast.  And it was convenient to one of my late-morning stops. 

And that gets you through about 11am today!  Afterwards, I was busy at church, school, and then the library until it was time to pick the kids up from school.  Even though it's the first week that both kids have been in school, I can honestly say that it's going well.  So proud of my kiddos for that!

One last thing.  I honestly think Grass Stains is letting one of her kids play me in Hanging with Friends.  I rarely win (she's great at these games!), and never without almost losing first.  (Go ahead, fess up!)

Now, tell me how your day/week has been - honestly.

(Hmmm... Maybe I'll turn this into a little series - the honest truth about me, or how my day is going, or parenting, or any other thing I need to be honest about.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Overheard #42 and #43

My 8.5 year old son: "Mom, Michaelangelo is one of the Ninja Turtles' names!"

Me: "I know - the Ninja Turtles have been around since I was a kid!"

My dear, sweet, 8.5 year old son: "But in black and white, right?

Heh.  Maybe I am that old ;)

And other good one for you - it's one that he doesn't like for me to mention but that I find utterly adorable. 

Last school year, Mister J's class had studied a bit of history that really stood out to him.  That day, he came home explaining that he had learned about some things that happened, "...way back in the Nineteens."  Big J and I now use this phrase when we talk about things that happened a while back - like graduating from high school, getting married, buying our first house.  We find it so sweet, and just a little funny - and it just gives us a happy feeling to remember our boy saying it. 

So, even though I wonder some days if I am "old," I keep reminding myself of what I've always believed - age is a state of mind.  Apparently, I'm not alone.  Hop on over and read this great post by Tsh over at Simple Mom.  I, too, agree that the 30s are my favorite decade so far.  And I think the 40s are gonna totally rock!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Out of My Comfort Zone

Oh, y'all, I just have to admit it. Meeting new people makes me nervous.  If you know the job I used to have before I became a full-time mama, you will probably find this pretty darn amusing.  But it's the truth. 

I stepped a bit outside of my comfort zone on Wednesday, though.  As Miss M and I were walking back to the car from after-school pick-up, I saw another mom walking toward us.  I had seen her at Back-to-School Night, knew I recognized her, but couldn't pinpoint where - so I said nothing.  Totally easy for me to do since the classroom was crowded.

As an aside, Miss M started 1st grade at a new school this year.  Haven't addressed it here yet - and still may or may not - but I'm thinking I will share first-day-of-school pics after Mister J starts back to school next week.  An-y-way.... I'm a newbie at this new school.  So that's why I couldn't immediately place the other mom from Back-to-School Night.

Moving right along - I eventually figured out that I recognized the other mom from the dance class that Miss M took two years ago.  When I saw her again a couple of days ago, I just said hello, remarked that I recognized her from the dance class that our daughters had taken together, and that now they were in the same 1st grade class.  We chatted for just a bit - she reminded me of her daughter's name and then, this is the part that I could not believe, THANKED ME for stopping to say hello.  I don't think that has ever happened to me before. It sure helped me feel not-so-nervous - so I'll take that any day!

I just might have to introduce myself to some of the other moms and try this thing out a bit more. 

Does meeting new people make you nervous? How do you deal with being a "newbie"?

Friday, August 17, 2012

There's more than one way to load a dishwasher

My bloggy friend over at Grass Stains posted several days ago about the proper way to load a dishwasher. She was aghast to hear that not everyone uses the spindles on the top rack to keep cups and glasses in place. So, especially for Katherine, I'm taking you on a little tour of my dishwasher. Because apparently, jangling her nerves once was not enough.

Looking down on the bottom rack. These bowls do not nest well using the spindles, and actually take up more room that way. 


Glasses not on spindles. They don't move. But Katherine, I hear you on alternating glass-plastic-glass when possible.

It's not necessary to keep the spoons in a separate compartment. Each utensil can have its own slot - see? No nesting (spooning?) going on here!

Katherine, these are just to unjangle your nerves. (But when I originally posted from my iPhone, "unjangle" autocorrected to "unhinge" so I must not be doing a very good job here.)

Other things about my dishwasher that may "unhinge" you:
  • The little spinner in the tip top of the dishwasher that's supposed to spray water more effectively?  That little 3-inch wide whirly thing?  It broke at the beginning of summer. The top rack actually rinses better now than before. 
  • The detergent door doesn't stay closed anymore. Hasn't been a problem. But eventually I will probably need a new dishwasher and I will have to start all over figuring out how to load it.
You might also like to know that, as particular as I am about how my dishwasher is loaded,  this is also my least favorite chore around the house.  And while you're pondering that little tidbit, I probably need to send Katherine some chocolate and a diet coke.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Am I old yet?

No, this isn't a post for my "Overheard" series.  It's actually a comment I left on a blog post I read earlier today.   I've actually been thinking about this a good bit lately, since it's a milestone year of sorts....

My 20th high school reunion is happening right now, and as far away as I am from being a teenager (an age to which I don't wish to go back), I still don't feel like an adult.  I still feel very different inside from how I think that person in the mirror should feel.  And yet, 40 is coming soon.  I have a rising 3rd grader and 1st grader.  The college students that I used to work with now have jobs and spouses and graduate degrees and families of their own.  My husband and I have two paid-off vehicles, wills, and a comfortable home.  My family looks to me for homework help and dinner each evening.  I'm a reading partner and prayer partner at bedtime - my husband is the pro at tucking in the kids. 

Where did all of those years go?  And with so much that has happened in those in-between years - shouldn't I feel older?  But perhaps it is a blessing that I do still feel so young inside - I've got a lot left to do!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Overheard #41

So exciting to be reviving this series - I always enjoy looking back at these posts!

This morning, what M said:
Mom, can I try some of that frosted twist cake?

What she meant: Cheese Danish

And then later to J, when he declined a taste:
You're missing out!

No question about what she meant!  And the ate the rest for dessert this evening - after a taco, cucumber slices, carrots, and a little Mexican hot chocolate.  Either art camp is keeping her so busy she needs more fuel, or she's growing (again)!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Tradition

Farmer's market
Looking at fruits and vegetables and flowers
Saw a pea sheller this year
And we always pick up boiled peanuts!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My friend (is obsessed with) {is fond of} [flips for] likes owls

This post is really late in making it to the blog, but I still really want to share it.

My friend over at Small Town Joy likes owls. A lot. Her girl Sweet Potato Pie even had a owl-themed first birthday party!(To be fair, STJ left it up to her readers to decide - and WE chose owls!  After all, they can be pretty cute!)

Last year, especially one day as I was doing some marathon Christmas shopping, I noticed that I was seeing owls everywhere. Sure, they are kind of popular, but they were catching my eye from the bottom shelves of store displays (when I wasn't even looking at the display) or on things like pajamas (also, not looking at/for those). I saw them everywhere - to the point that I emailed my friend to check in and see if all was well. I felt compelled because every time I saw an owl, I was reminded of her and her sweet family.

Here are the owls - because, yes, I took pictures to share with her!  PS - I cold now kick myself for not snapping up the first two that I saw.  Scroll down to find out which ones!

Mast General Store
Do you see the owls? (These are at TJ Maxx, I think.)
Here they are, on a box of stationery that was *under* some other stuff!
Little store at the mall that I'd never been to before (because I am allergic to the mall.)
Two more from TJ Maxx
More from Mast General.
Target, so you have probably seen these. 
Mast General (they had a lot of owls!)
More Tar-jay
PJs at TJ's (I'm a poet...)
My very favorite owls at a local resale shop - actually the first ones I saw.  
These hooted at me from the bottom shelf.  They are the reason I checked in with my friend.
Pretty sure these are ALSO from Mast General.
Michael's (?)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A little dose of my crazy..

I saw a mom at camp drop-off today that was wearing a pair of shoes that I've been pining over (Keen Harvest MJ II - though she had the pink stripe and I want gladiola).  So I looked at them online tonight.  Kind of like picking up a few things at Target and walking around the store with them to see if I really need to take them home (I call it "temporary ownership" - sort of like test-driving a car, I guess) - and I usually put back whatever it is I've picked up.  Yes, I really do that.

Unfortunately, this strategy isn't working with the shoes.  Probably because I can't actually hold them.  Man alive, do I love Keens (And several other brands of shoes that make you think "cha-ching!" when you look at the price tag.  All of them pretty rugged and outdoorsy-looking.  Or just uber-comfy.  No heels or anything like that....)!

Back to reality - time to get the kiddos off to bed.  Early day of day camp drop offs tomorrow!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Camping for a Week!

We've just returned home from a week-long camping vacation. It's the longest we've ever camped, and the first time we've camped without more experienced friends. We had a great time, and learned a few things too. I don't think we can be called "rookies" anymore, though I know we have a lot left to learn. Here are just a few notes I made during the week:

You can't tell the gnats from the pepper unless they move.

"Clean" is a completely relative term.

You actually do need a fire when it's warm out, and especially if it's humid (it's a great way to dry towels).

Rookie "mistakes" are par for the course - you will find your groove in a day or two.

Eating off of "real" dishes, while nice, does mean that you spend a bit of your time washing them.

Cooking "real" food, while nice, means that you spend a bigger bit of your day cooking. And usually means even more washing up. Using paper plates for a meal or two is certainly acceptable.

Cooking over the campfire and cooking with a cast iron Dutch oven are both pretty cool ways to put dinner on the table!

Kids are great helpers when it comes to the washing up - and you should remember this when you return home!

A creekside site means great sleeping for you (after the first night), but perhaps some earplugs would have been helpful for your spouse.

Even if you are an adult, your mama will still worry if she can't easily reach you. So, on one of your trips into town to replenish the ice, email your parents to let them know you are safe and having a good time.

During the week, we came up with a short list of nice-to-have items for our next camping trip (because yes, we will do this again!). We learned from some more experienced campers that this isn't at all unusual. We are starting our list of Christmas and birthday ideas now!

We also spent several hours doing one of the things Big J and I enjoyed in the years BK (before kids) - reading aloud. This year's picks were Little House in the Big Woods and Harry Potter 1. We haven't finished either one, but I know we will very soon!

We came home from this vacation rested - even though we hiked and played in the creek and hauled our food in and out if the mommy-van many, many times. I guess you could say that unloading the cooler and non-perishables for every meal meant that unloading it all at home didn't seem such a chore. Yes, there's still a lot to do, but it's so much easier to take it all on after a truly relaxing week.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's been a while...

But I may just be back! Thanks to a bloggy friend, I just learned about the blogger smartphone app. This just might make it easier for me to pop in here from time to time - yay!

And about that photo.... Someone here just celebrated birthday number six! We had a Halloween in June party, complete with bobbing for apples! Happy birthday, Miss M!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reality TV?

I am not a fan of reality television.  In the last year, I've become someone who really doesn't watch much television.  When I do watch tv, it'll be the news, evening game shows that we can watch with the kids (WoF and J!), or something "nerdy" like a documentary. 


Sunday night after the Superbowl - which I hardly watched, even for the commercials - was over, I ignored the tv while The Voice came on.  It didn't take long for me to be very interested.

You see, I've quit watching tv - especially reality shows - because they seem to be full of mean people, greedy people, or people that make very poor decisions.  Sitcoms, evening dramas, even morning talk shows - I get so annoyed by all of the "drama" that fuels these shows.  So I just quit watching them.  (And maybe I traded them for facebook and twitter and blogs and pinterest - but even there I try to get away from the drama, taking bloggers off my reading list, unfollowing tweeps, hiding or unfriending folks on fb.)

But The Voice - so far - seems different.  The artists/judges are encouraging.  OK, so Christina was a little mean to that Maroon 5 guy - but to the artists that are auditioning, the judges are generous and caring.  It is such a nice change to see 'good' on television!  

Before Sunday night, I had no idea who Cee Lo was (is?).  I still don't, really, but I know that he was in the Super Bowl halftime show with Madonna.  And when I googled Blake Shelton, I found out that he and Miranda Lambert sang before the Super Bowl.  I missed that part.  And apparently, he's a country musician.  I did know of Christina prior to seeing the show.  In fact, she's the reason I thought I wouldn't like it.  Let's just say that her style is different from mine.  (Here I am blogging about a show that's "nice" and I feel mean for saying that.)

My husband found this last bit terribly funny.  I am pretty out of touch (obviously) with current music unless it's contemporary Christian music.  It's the only thing on the radio that's appropriate for our kids to listen to, so that's where my radio station is set.  Don't get me wrong, I like a variety of music, but I usually listen to it when I'm driving.  And a lot of that time, the kids are with me. 

Even for the songs I like, it's rare that I know the title or artist.  I guess I'm just not that into music.  But I am into The Voice.  At least for now!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Recipe Collection

I have a mish-mash of recipe cards, cookbooks, pages torn from magazines, and notebooks of pages I've printed out.  Search engines, blogs, and pinterest make it really easy to find recipes online these days, but I'm still a fan of having them on paper in front of me.  Much easier to make notes that way - to double a particular recipe next time, use only half as much of a particular ingredient, or any other note on how I may have varied the recipe. 

Some of my cookbooks and recipes remind me of particular people.  These lists of ingredients and instructions are more than just how I turn basic ingredients into something wonderful.  They come together to form a scrapbook of sorts.

Grandma's Macaroni and Cheese
Mom's Chocolate Frosting
JA's Blueberry-Orange Muffins
The cookbook that N gave us as a wedding gift
Zucchini bread - reminds me of our friends, B and S.  My recipe makes two loaves, and until they up and moved across the country, I'd always give them one when I made it. 
Tonight, I was making JA's muffins.  The house was fairly quiet - the kids already in bed and my husband working late - so I was alone with my thoughts.  I realized I was out of orange zest (I usually keep some in the freezer), and wondered if the same thing had ever happened to JA.  I thought about her family.  Thought about how we originally connected (through the internet - I've never met her) and what we had in common (peanut allergy).

As I measured, sifted, poured, and mixed, I had a chance to not only be thankful for my full pantry, but also to be thankful for my friends and family.  As big and busy as the world can seem, sometimes something as simple as a recipe from a friend can remind me of what's most important.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Keepin' It Real

Not complaining, but not doing a happy dance right now.  Just telling it like it is.
  • The adults are sick.  We had an appointment with the dr this afternoon, and now have 2 z-packs, 4 packs of tissue with lotion, a bag of cough drops, and one bottle of prescription cough suppressant.  We should be fine in a few days.
  • In the meantime, we are eating like ... Well, like no one feels like cooking.  Toast, eggs, cereal, oatmeal.  Cookies.  Yes, cookies.  They are oatmeal, at least!  We tried to clean out the fridge before our holiday travel, and came home not feeling well.  It was the weekend, then the holiday, so the dr office wasn't open.  We sat around and felt icky while the kids enjoyed (too many) movies, (not enough) outdoor time, and their new Christmas gifts.  
  • Christmas was nice.  I did not stay up until the wee hours of the morning ... waiting ... for Santa, which was nice.  But we still didn't get enough sleep, considering that it was vacation :)  
  • The kids got plenty of super-nice things.  Not too much.  That part of Christmas was pretty perfect.  Oh, and I got a new 50mm lens for my camera.  That was very perfect :)  Haven't gone out to do anymore "photo shoots" - I've just been playing around with it and really don't have anything cool to share yet.  Yet.
  • Even though I told everyone that M didn't need anymore art supplies, someone (ahem) got her some watercolor paints and paper.  And suggested to a certain aunt-to-be that a crayon tower would be pretty cool.  I just can't help it that I'm in my mid-30s and love crayons.  Also?  We need to add on an art room for the girl.  It's the first thing she does when she walks in the door from school.  Yes, even before unpacking her lunchbox and doing her homework - unless mean Momma is on patrol.  
  • We also signed her up for a weekend art class.  She's totally excited - and I'm excited for her.
  • Basketball is in full swing this week, with the first game this Friday!
  • Miss M asked, "When do we go back to school?" (or some variation of that question) for the first several days of the holiday break.  I think she was pretty happy to go back to school.  I'm sure J was glad to see his friends again, too.
  • I did not miss packing lunches - I'm always glad for the break.  I also considered - but only for a moment - letting J and M eat the hot lunch at school.  I read the menu and quickly changed my mind - it would have been a waste of money.  Another reason I considered it...  It was COLD today.  And I typically pack a sandwich, fruit, vegetable - basically, a cold meal - so I was thinking that it would be nice to have something warm in their tummies.  And since we are low on groceries, that wasn't really an option (see above).
  • Hoping to get back to a regular exercise schedule - I've already got plans to walk with a friend twice in the next couple of weeks.  We've got quite the cold snap now, but hoping for biking when it warms up a bit.
  • And, just because I want to end on a good note, I have to add this thought that I shared with a friend recently.  I was writing a note - probably in a Christmas card - about how big the kids are getting, what keeps us busy lately (school, church, scouts, basketball),  and how much fun they are right now.  I have always loved every stage of their growth and development, though for a long time I would tell folks that my favorite age was "from sitting up to saying no."  That was really a fun time, and I still really enjoy others' kids who are that age.  But I have come to realize that every age - whichever one my kids are currently in - is my favorite.  There's something unique and special about each stage, and it's so much fun to watch each of my kids develop.  Even though M is where J was about 2-2.5 years ago, she does it differently.  And so, while developmentally things progress along pretty much the same path, they each do it with their own style, which makes it brand new and special - and fun.  Love them!
So - there's the 'first installment' - hope to be back with another post sooner rather than later!