Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thankful Thursday


I am thankful for a fun and fabulous camping weekend. For resilient friends who can have fun in spite of less-than-perfect weather. For thought provoking talks, fun games, relaxation, and good food.
I am thankful for the gorgeous weather we are having this week. Summer is here!
I am thankful that the beautiful weather has helped me to get out and walk like I should.
I am thankful for the Our Journey daily guide from Walk in the Word, which gets me started right with my bible each morning. I am thankful for their engaging writings, daily encouragement, and faith-stretching themes.
I am thankful for some fun activities coming up on our summer calendar.
I am thankful to live in the Pacific Northwest, where water, woods, mountains, camping, and scenery are just a short drive away. There is nowhere to feel closer to God than beholding the beauty of His nature--I am in awe.
I am thankful for the outlet and opportunity to express my gratitude each week - thanks, Iris!
For more Thankful Thursday posts, you can visit Sting My Heart and check them out!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Little Eyes Are Watching

There are little eyes upon you
and they're watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly
take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager
to do anything you do;
And a little boy who's dreaming
of the day he'll be like you.
You're the little fellow's idol,
you're the wisest of the wise.
In his little mind about you
no suspicions ever rise.
He believes in you devoutly,
holds all that you say and do;
He will say and do, in your way,
when he's grown up like you.
When I was in high school, our basketball coach gave each of us a copy of this poem to remind us that our conduct was under constant scrutiny. We had a lot to live up to, as heroes in some kiddo's world. I was immediately reminded of this poem while reading this post today.
What am I doing in my everyday life to further the kingdom of God. Am I putting on my "church clothes" and hoping people will notice, or am I really living it? Is my faith merely a pretty picture, or an unmistakable way of life? I think I strive for the latter, but too often only achieve the former.
Thank you, Lord, for endless grace. Please, please - make me more like You.

Recipe Wednesday

My friend made this while we were camping this last weekend, and it was love at first sight for me!!

Craisins Salad

1 head of each: red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce
1 8oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 8oz. pkg. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 8oz. pkg. Craisins
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 recipe Craisins Salad dressing (see below)

Break red and green leaf lettuce into pieces. Shred iceberg lettuce. Toss together with other ingredients just before serving. Pass dressing with salad. Makes approx. 12 servings.

Craisins Salad Dressing:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup sugar (or Splenda)
1/2 onion, chopped (this is sooooo optional ;-)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. mustard
1 cup salad oil (I use Smart Balance)
In blender, mix all ingredients except oil. Add oil and blend again. YUM!

Enjoy!
Check out Darla's blog for another great recipe today!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Camping, Camping, Camping

Wow, what a weekend. It's good to be campin' again, that's for sure! Just thought I'd give you some snippets of our weekend . . .

On Sunday, the wind blew SOOOOO hard! Wow! Everyone retreated to the safety of one camper or another, and played games or visited over cups of hot cocoa. Many, many tents ended up in mangled messes at the other end of the campground - not fun at all! I was so thankful we have a camper on that day!

I am going to try to do this paragraph without stereotyping, but it's going to be a tough one. The people across from us in the campground were and interesting bunch. When they showed up, the first thing they unloaded was the 1/2 gallon of whiskey - then they proceeded to the 4 or 20 tents that they erected on one campsite. In general, they were much more night-owls than we were, and seemed to enjoy playing their music loud enough for all to hear. Now, is it just me, or when they break out the boom box, are ya just certain that at some point it's going to blare loud 80's hard rock? Not that there's anything wrong with 80's hard rock, except that it's no longer the 80's, and it seems some people haven't been made aware of this, and at 2:00 a.m., it's REALLY not the 80's anymore - it's time to get some sleep!

Once again, we had fabulous food - and I have a great new recipe to share with you guys tomorrow! Colton, who is my picky eater, could be heard many times this weekend saying, "Wow, this is just scrumptious! Isn't this scrumptious, mom? I really think this is scrumptious!"

The boat had a few hiccups, but the kids had a blast. All of them rode on the "tank" tube, including Colton. Rumor has it that Wyatt was totally inverted for a matter of a few seconds, and managed to still hang on, despite Matt's best efforts to dump him. From the sounds of the stories, and the way they got better each time they were told, I think all the kids had a great afternoon on Saturday.

I finished the book I was in the middle of - Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. It was a really good book. I really like his writing style, and the straight forward message in this book. I totally recommend it - but only if you want to think, because you won't come out of it the same as you went in. Which should be the way with any good book, right?

We are trying to plan a big trip for next year, but can't decide which direction to head. It will probably be a week-long trip. We are split between mountains or ocean. Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Washington. We are spoiled enough to need hookups at least part of the time. So, where do you guys camp? What am I missing out on? If you had a week with your camper, where would you go?

We got to walk lots, ride lots of bikes, swim some, boat some, visit lots, eat lots, and enjoy even more. Already can't wait 'til next time!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Technicalities

Since it is baseball season, Chance and I have both been hit by the sunflower seed bug! So far, we have been great fans of SPITZ brand seeds -
- particularly enjoying the Dill Pickle and Seasoned varieties so far.
Last night on the way home, Chance and I were both feeding our new-found addiction, and Chance asks - "Mom, are sunflower seeds good for you?"
"Not in the quantities we are eating them," I answer.
"Oh, darn.
~~slight pause~~
Well, actually, they're already good - we just need to find a way to add the 'for ya' part, and we'd be fine!"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thankful Thursday


I am thankful for school administrators who are willing to listen, and are ready to try and solve problems to make the school the best place it can be for our children.
I am thankful for my two boys.
I am thankful that our car appointment last week went well - everything was either fixable or maintainable. I am thankful for reliable transportation.
I am thankful for camping this weekend - for time away, for fellowship with friends, for much needed rest, and good, good food!
I am thankful that I don't have teenagers yet (sorry, Darla) - I think this week's tragedies are about all I'm equipped to handle right now. I am thankful for a God that gives you as much strength as you need, right when you need it.
I am thankful for Matt. For his fix-it abilities, and for his willingness to work on projects around our home. I am thankful for the time he spent fixing up the camper for this weekend.
Thank you, Lord, for all our blessings - the big and the small - the noticed and the unnoticed - the appreciated and those taken for granted - we are so very blessed.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! For more thankful hearts, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

It's cookie day! It seems we are always being asked to take a batch of cookies somewhere, or just whip them up as a quick thank-you for a friend. You can never have too many cookie recipes! Don't forget to visit Darla for more cookie recipes today!

Easiest Snickerdoodles

When these cake mixes go on the 10 for $10 at the supermarket, I stock up! I've got a quick, cheap batch of snickerdoodles in no time!

1 Betty Crocker Cinnamon Streusel Cake Mix
1 t Cream Tartar
1/2 c Flour
1/2 c Butter (melted)
2 eggs

Set aside cinnamon topping packet. Mix the dry cake mix, flour, and cream of tartar. Now add melted butter and eggs - mix well.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into cinnamon streusel topping, and coat well.

Bake on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 9 minutes.


S'Mores Bars

3/4 c White Corn Syrup
3 T Butter
1 pkg Milk Chocolate Chips (not semi-sweet!)
1 t Vanilla
9 c Golden Grahams Cereal
3 C Mini Marshmallows

Heat first three ingredients to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add vanilla. Stir in Golden Grahams and Marshmallows. Press into greased 9 x 13 pan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shopping, Con't.


Just so you all can be so proud of me - this is what I can do when I go shopping by myself. With no distractions! Someday, I swear that I'm going to have more in savings than spending - I was pretty close this time!!

Shopping----------------------------------------Alone!

Oh my, folks. Life is about to get really good, if only just for a couple hours.

Tonight, after Chance's baseball game, I get to go grocery shopping. This may not seem like a banner news item (or even blogworthy item) to the average gal - but what if I couple the fact that I am going shopping with the fact that I am shopping ALONE (aka-no kids, no spouse, no whiners, no crying, and did I mention no kids?) - okay, now you get it!! How long has it been for you? Wandering the peaceful aisles of Safeway, never once having to tell yourself not to touch the displays, not arguing with anyone about which kind of cereal to put in the cart, not yelling down the aisle at two boys racing to a "coupon machine" about 40 yards ahead to see who can get the coupon first, etc, etc, etc. I am in anticipatory heaven already.

So, I am armed with my lists - a list for camping this weekend, a list of our regular household grocery needs, and a list of the non-food items I will need at the other side of the Wal-Mart. Yes, yes, I am going to go to TWO. SEPARATE. STORES. You see, I am perfectly equipped and able to do this, when I am not towing two whiny, crying, fighting kids behind me - then, it's one-stop-shop or nothing!

In addition, I am armed with my Grocery Game sales list, which lets me use the store ads and the weekly paper coupons to get the best deals on my groceries possible - mostly because I really need a couple pairs of shorts for camping, and this savings will totally justify some new clothing purchases!

So, be jealous, all you who will shop with your children tonight. I will be looking on, armchair parenting like I used to do before I had kids. And I might even say - why doesn' t she do something with that brat? Knowing full-well that next time, the brat will be mine, but thinking this anyway, because, even if just for this moment, it is sooooo not my problem!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Turn Over The Tables, or Turn The Other Cheek?

I am in quite a quandary. My son is hurting - and I want to fix it. But, I don't know the best approach, or even if I am called to fix this at all.

As I've mentioned before, Chance is my sensitive one. He is a quiet achiever, a very polite boy, a considerate, thankful person (I love to listen to his prayers at night), and he feels and remembers everything - every comment, every look, every praise, every criticism - he takes these all in and keeps them. The positive things, they build on each other and build him up - you can see his attitude buoyed by them. The negative things, well, they do the same thing - they build up, and pretty soon create such a damper on his spirit that you can see it.

Chance is a sports nut. He has been blessed with some athletic ability, and can usually be found playing one sport or another. He is allowed to choose two extra-curricular activities each year, but even beyond those, he can be found playing whatever sport is in season about 90% of his playtime, either at home or at school recess. He loves baseball, but only because it is currently baseball season would he rate it above basketball, hockey, or soccer.

Consequently, I thought a summer basketball camp, led by our high school boys' coach, would totally appeal to him. I told him about the camp, who was coaching, and who would be there (it is for 3rd - 8th grade) - as soon as he heard who was going (or possibly going), he turned me down flat. Wants nothing to do with it. I probe further, knowing there is possibly an irrational reason for him not wanting to go - everything logical says that he should be in love with this idea. Finally (and by finally, I mean after about 15 minutes of coaxing) he tells me - if there will be 8th graders there from my school, I don't want to go, and you can't make me go!

At Chance's school (a local, private Christian K-12), each of the grade school kids has what they call a "chapel buddy." The Jr. High and High School students are each assigned someone in the grade school, and they become their partner who gets them safely across the street to chapel on Wednesdays, buddies up with them for fun projects throughout the year, and basically becomes their mentor for the year. A fabulous concept that works well probably 95% of the time. I guess this year, I became a part of the 5%. All the boys in his class this year were assigned 8th grade boys as chapel buddies. So, of the 8 boys in his class, about 4 of them got a good match (according to Chance, they got the "nice" ones), and 4 of them got the "rowdy" bunch from the class. After almost a full school year, it has taken it's toll, and has ended in meltdown.

I finally got to hear about constant ridicule (as perceived by Chance), wrestling that ends in hurt feelings and crying, projects that are supposed to be fun are ruined, etc. Many of the stories are vague - probably because my closed-mouth kid has held them inside the ENTIRE school year! But, they are so hard on a mom's heart - obviously on a kids' heart, as well!

So, where do I go with this one? I have an appointment with the school to get answered some basic questions like - how are the buddies picked, will they be paired with the same class next year, who in the world decided that 2nd graders wrestling with 8th graders was okay, and how do you plan to fix this system????

Beyond that, though, is helping Chance come to terms with this. Several times in the bible, Jesus both preached and personified turning the other cheek. He took more punishment and ridicule than any man ever should have to endure. He calls us to love our enemy.

But, he also angrily turned over the tables in the temple when people were being treated unfairly - when the worship of God had turned into something it shouldn't.

Chance and I have started to address the cheeky/loving side of the issue. We remembered his fabulous chapel buddies from last year with thankfulness. We talked of him remembering this year forever, and he vowed when he's old enough to be the kind of chapel buddy he is wishing for. We prayed, honestly and earnestly, for his chapel buddies and the others. I think it was a good first step.

By no means, do I want to be the mom that thinks her kid is perfect, and always jumps to his defense because the world is against him. I know my kid is not perfect. I know there are many times when he is as much or more to blame than other children. He has his fair share of instances where he is in trouble. But, for the life of me, I cannot find a justification for ridicule, embarrassment, and pain from someone who is supposed to be your mentor.

And, folks, this mama is still ready to turn over some tables. 8th graders are picking on 2nd graders, for goodness sake!!! At the Christian school!!!!!!

But, as my already very wise son said to me:

"Mom, just because you go to a Christian school, doesn't make you act like a Christian."

Oh, son, unfortunately you are so right. So, for now, let's go back to that praying part . . .

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Today, we had Adrian and Elijah over for the day, so Darla could go to District Softball. It was nice for her not to have to corral two busy boys during the games and on the drive, and it was great for me to have playmates to keep my two busy boys entertained throughout the day. Here are some of the excerpts that made today fun . . .



Adrian - Chance, did you know you sound just like one of the boys on my baseball team?

Chance - What's his name?

Adrian - It's ________ (obviously, this is not the most important part of the story, because I don't remember the little guy's name ;-)

Chance - Is he a good hitter?

Adrian - I don't know.

Chance - Well, when he gets up to bat, does he hit the ball most of the time?

Adrian - I don't know! I'm not talking about his hitting, I'm talking about that he sounds like you.

Chance - But, he plays baseball, right?

Adrian - Yeah.

Chance - Then how can you not know if he's a good hitter?

Adrian - (exasperated) I'm not talking about hitting!!!

Chance - But, if he sounds like me, he should be a good baseball player like me. (Of course, in the most humblest of voices)





Elijah - (Comes into the house soaked and caked in mud) Hey Matt, guess what Colton just did to me?

Matt - What?

Elijah - He sprayed me with the hose.

Matt - How did he do that? (Thinking there wasn't any water turned on)

Elijah - We turned the sprayer hose back on.

Matt - You did?! Why did you do that?

Elijah - Because we needed to make big, Big, BIG mud in the dirt pile for our tractors.

Ahhhhh, that explains it all . . .



And, after I was done making some Snickerdoodle cookies--

Chance - Mom, can I have another cookie?

Mom - Nope, you've had two, and you can't have any more until after dinner.

Elijah - Heather, can I have a cookie?

Me - Yep, you can have one.

Elijah - Wow, this is really good. Can I have another one? I mean, after dinner. I mean, can I . . . .
.
.
.
.
.
.
How 'bout you just make a plate of them for me to take home!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Free Bandaid Contest


5 Minutes For Mom is hosting a contest for a year's supply of Nexcare band aids. For those of you without two rough-and-tumble growing boys, it might last you more than a year. But, give it a try!

We get to ride in that????

Okay, before I get to my regularly scheduled post, I must make a confession. On Wednesday, I said that we have a fan club that requested camping recipes.


Yeah - it's my mom.

But, mom or not, it was a legitimate request, and I'm counting it as a fan club!!!!!

And, now onto our regularly scheduled programming - errr, I mean, blogging.




Ride a Fire Truck to School Day


Last fall, at our school's annual fundraiser auction, I was lucky enough to win an auction that allowed your child and 3 friends to ride a fire truck to school one day! We gave the present to Chance for Christmas, but then it kind of went to the back burner, and we hadn't done anything about it yet. Well, with only 3 weeks left in school, I thought maybe I'd better get on the ball! We scheduled with the fire department for today.


The gift certificate was for the student and 3 friends. It took some of my best negotiation skills to convince Chance that yes, your brother is your friend, and you really only have two slots left to fill the truck. After a good-natured exchange, in which one party might have threatened extended loss of Game boy privileges, Chance saw it my way and invited Colton, as well as his friends Grant and Ross.






The boys got to take a tour of the trucks, ambulance, and fire station. The regular truck that they use for school things was out, so they got to ride the ladder truck! Based on the looks on their faces, the boys had a great time. They were all smiles when the truck arrived at the school with lights flashing, and left the parking lot with sirens blaring.







I got some great pictures at the station, but Chance was so embarrassed once they got to the school (the truck parked in front of the high school, drawing much attention to the boys from the older kids - it was all positive attention, but it was just too much for Chance), that he practically ran to the classroom without letting me get a picture in front of the truck at school.


What a fun memory for the end of the school year. Thank you, MLFD!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thankful Thursday



This past week has just been the busiest - I am thankful it's done, thankful we got through it, and thankful we are all better for it, somehow!

I am thankful for the opportunity to share birthdays and Mother's Day with both sides of the family over the past few days. We are very blessed to live close enough to my family and Matt's that we can easily get together.

I am thankful for my wonderful guys! I have the best husband and sons. They showed much appreciation for both my birthday and Mother's Day - they are so special!

I am thankful that work is finally slowing down to a manageable pace. Still busy, but at least not crazy. I am thankful that the crazy-busy part only lasts about 6 weeks - I'm not sure I could handle it being any longer!

I am thankful for reliable transportation. I am thankful in advance for my car appointment on Tuesday - that Lonnie will be able to give it the "tune-up" it needs to go another 50,000 miles.

I am thankful for a beautiful Spring day, for Darla's kids coming to hang out with us today, for a baseball game tomorrow with the promise of more beautiful weather, and for all the fun that's in store for the weekend!

For more Thankful Thursdays, visit Iris. Have a blessed day ;-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

Oh my goodness, it feels so good to have a fan club! We have recipe requests for this week for some camping recipes - what fun! So, after you check these out, head over to Darla's blog to see more.

Mushroom Bacon Burgers

These burgers are so filled with flavor that you probably won't want to put anything on top. After all you get the bacon, mushrooms and barbecue sauce right in the patty.

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork (I used turkey)
1 cup chopped cooked bacon
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup of barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's!)

PREPARATION:
Combine all ingredients. Cover with plastic and let sit for an hour in the refrigerator, make patties the size you like, put on grill, and enjoy!

This recipe originally called for shredded cheese in the mix, but the cheese seemed to char and burn quickly on the grill, so we eliminate it in the meat mixture, and just put a slice of cheese on top toward the end of cooking.


Strawberry/Rhubarb Dutch Oven Cake

Make in a large-sized dutch oven to feed a crowd!

Mix up 1 Pound Cake mix and 1 Yellow Cake Mix according to package, and mix them together. Pour into oiled dutch oven.

Cook with 8-10 briquettes on bottom, and 14-16 on top, for about 1 hour. Check frequently, as you are rotating the lid, so you don't get burnt spots!

Poke baked cake a whole bunch of times with handle of wooden spoon.

Top with 2 cups Strawberry/Rhubarb sauce. I make this when Rhubarb is coming off, and freeze in 2-cup quantities.

Place lid (with briquettes) back on, about 5 minutes, until sauce bubbles on top.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream.


Strawberry/Rhubarb Sauce
3 c Rhubarb
2 c Strawberries
1 c sugar
1/2 c (or less) water

Let this simmer several hours. Use the first batch warm over ice cream, then freeze in 2-cup quantities for other uses throughout the year!

Hope you guys enjoy! Jane - if you can guess what dessert I was trying to copy when we concocted the Strawberry Rhubarb Dutch Oven Cake, I'll give you a prize!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Colton, The Humbler


Just in case I ever get too big of a head, and think I've got the world covered, one of my kids brings me right back down to earth.


We celebrated Colton's birthday on Sunday. Earlier in the week, we went to Wal-Mart, and picked out the cutest Happy Feet cake - made of individual cupcakes. I'm not sure I ever want to make a birthday cake again.


So, here is Colton's phone conversation with his Aunt Lori on the phone last night. Please keep in mind that I am totally assuming Lori's side of the conversation, since I could only hear Colton's side.


Colt - Hi. Thanks for the $10.


Lori - Did you put it in your piggy bank?


Colt - I ALREADY DID!!


Lori - Did you have a happy birthday?


Colt - Yeah, I got a new blanket, some tractors . . . .


Lori - Did you have a birthday cake?


Colt - Yes! It was Happy Feet!


Lori - Did your mom make it for you?


Colt - No, my mommy didn't make it - the Wal-Mart did!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekend Events

Well, we had many, many happenings around our place this weekend. We celebrated my birthday, Colton's birthday, and Mother's Day - and somehow, we got it all pulled off! So, I thought I'd just share some snippets of the weekend . . .

1. Matt got me a musical birthday card that played Everybody Have Fun Tonight by Wang Chung - now come on, how long has it been since you Wang Chung-ed?? It was too cool! I don't know how many times that little Hallmark card is supposed to be able to play the song, but we used up quite a few of them over the weekend!

2. Chance made me a beautiful heart/button pin at school for Mother's Day - and then, taking after his mom just a bit, couldn't stand waiting until Sunday, so he gave it to me Thursday night!

3. Chance's school program was Thursday night - the kids did a fabulous job on a play about Nicodemus. Chance forgot to mention that he was positioned in the front row on the stage, and it took me a really long time to get past the grass-stained knees and almost high water pants, and just enjoy the show. He did a great job.

4. When we talked with Colton on Sunday morning, Matt said - "Colton, what is today?" Colt said - "I knew you were gonna ask that, and it's Sunday, and I already knew that!" Matt said - "What else is today?" Colt said - "And, I knew you were gonna ask that too, and it's my birthday, and I already knew that too, so quit asking me that!!!"

5. Matt got me a ticket to Women of Faith to see one of my favorite speakers of all time, Max Lucado! It's going to be so neat.

6. Colton decided many new things come with being 4. He needs to dress himself like a big boy, he needs to buckle his own car seat like a big boy, and he has to stop throwing fits like a baby. So far, in the first two days, we're 2 for 3 - I'll let you guess which one we're lagging behind on.

7. Chance made a spectacular diving catch in his baseball game on Friday night. Another one of those where his mom yelled with great fervor - I don't know who that crazy lady is, but I bet the people around her wish she would be quiet!

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend! We ate way too much cake and cupcakes, had a fine time giving and receiving presents, and spent some quality time with our family. It just doesn't get much better than that, this side of heaven. Thank you, Lord!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Colton!

Colt will be 4 on Sunday - he is getting to be such a big boy - just ask him!

Rascal Flatts My Wish Lyrics


I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,

and each road leads you where you wanna go,

and if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,

I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.

And if one door opens to another door closed,

I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,

if it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

But more than anything, more than anything...

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,

your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold

,and while you're out there getting where you're getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,

all the ones who love you, in the place you left,

I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,

and you help somebody every chance you get,

Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,

and always give more than you take.

But More than anything, yeah, more than anything...

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,

your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold,

and while you're out there getting where you're getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this, is my wish.

I love you, Colt!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thankful Thursday



1. I am thankful for our beautiful weather. I know many parts of the country are having weather that is anything but beautiful, and our gorgeous Pacific Northwest is definitely blessed!

2. I am thankful for kind, patient, and supportive baseball coaches for Chance. They really care about the kids, and work hard to make sure each one has a positive experience.

3. I am thankful that the parents on Chance's baseball team are positive and supportive. No one is negative toward players, the other team, etc. There doesn't seem to be a lot of politics on the team about who is playing where, what the batting order is, etc. Everyone is just giving it their all to make sure the kids are put first. It's neat to see.

4. I am thankful for my job. That I work with some really neat people - some of whom are great friends. We can share workloads, frustrations, triumphs, and jokes. It makes the day go so much faster to spend it with people you like to be around.

5. I am thankful for Matt. He is working so hard this week. I know he's having some hard times, being forced to choose what activities to make and which ones he can miss - he doesn't want to miss any! Still, I am thankful for the provider that he is. I am thankful for his work ethic, which doesn't allow him to slack off on the job. And, I'm thankful that the times he does have to miss things, he doesn't just blow it off - he really takes it to heart, and considers the boys' feelings.

6. I am thankful for Darla and her family. I am thankful that we can trade babysitting, boy watching, occasional daycare pickups, and even a meal here and there - it keeps us both more sane, keeps a little more money in each of our pockets, and it's just plain comforting to know there is someone you can call on day or night that you trust to help out with your kids.

7. I am thankful for my brother. That he is having a great week. That we got to have quality time with him last weekend. That we got to spend time with his girlfriend Maggie. That she has been such a perfect addition to his life so far. Lots and lots to be thankful for on that front . . .

8. On this Mother's Day weekend - I am so thankful for my mom. What a wonderful lady God placed as the head-woman-in-charge in my life. I couldn't ask for anything more . . .

9. I am thankful for Matt's mom, Verna. I'm thankful for the son that she raised--the time, energy, and love that she put into that boy really paid off!!

10. I am thankful that Maggie's Aunt Mary is in remission. I am thankful for answered prayers - whether answered how we hope for, or maybe in a completely different way. I am thankful for a sovereign God that I can praise no matter how the prayer was answered.

I hope you all have a fantastic week, with much to be thankful for. For more Thankful Thursday posts, head over to Eph2810.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

It's pasta day!! Darla and I decided to share some pasta recipes today, and then we remembered Cynthia had posted a fabulous cheesy bread recipe that would go perfect with both. So, visit Darla for another pasta recipe, Cynthia for the cheesy bread, add some salad if you're feeling healthy, and go to town!!!


Carbonara

1/4# Mild Italian Sausage
1/4# Cooked Ham, thinly sliced
8 oz Spaghetti
3 Eggs, well beaten
1/2 c Grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Garlic, to taste

Remove casings from sausages, and crumble or chop meat. Brown sausage, and add ham and garlic. Cook spaghetti until al dente, then drain. Add spaghetti to hot meat mixture, at once pour in eggs and quickly lift and mix spaghetti to coat well with eggs. Sprinkle in the cheese, add pepper to taste, and mix again. If you are feeling extra sinful, you can add a bit of cream as well.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese for garnish.

This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or more when you've got a crowd!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Silver Medal Pedestal

As with any other mom, my day is filled with a multitude of tasks, roles, and jobs - the trick is to try and juggle the mommy hat, the wife hat, the employee hat, the baseball mom hat, etc - and somehow still look on the outside like I've got it all together, when inside, all the juggling is a 5-star circus performance!

To help me keep up this insane facade, I try and pre-plan anything I can. The night before, I lay out clothes for everyone but Matt (yes, at 35 years old, he can usually come out of the closet wearing matching clothes all by himself!), I plan Chance's lunch for the next day, pack any sports bags, school bags, etc., and try to rotate through a load of laundry or two. The boys do bathtub/shower at night (because we all hate mornings), and homework is all done for the next day - if I'm lucky, homework happened at Tina's house (have I mentioned how much I love her?), and the boys can have some time in the evening just to be boys.

Since it is baseball season, and Chance only has one uniform, I have to do at least a couple loads of laundry before each game - one of whites for the pants and socks, and one of colors for the t-shirt. It's never a problem filling up the color load, but we don't generally go through enough whites to do a full load every 2 days - so the whites just become this rotating pile of clean to dirty - never quite getting folded - 1/2 of it shoved into the baseball bag, and everyone grabbing their socks for the day out of the other 1/2.

Well, by a couple weeks into the season, the clean side of the white rotation pile had grown through the acquisition of several 1/2 loads. Those of you who are real organized moms, not just pretend organized like me, please do not judge the fact that I didn't fold my whites for a couple weeks - if you do, I will have no choice but to invite you to my house to show me how this is done. It may take several lessons before I get the hang of it - you, coming over, rescuing my poor, wrinkled athletic socks from their pile of doom, and dallying them up in to cute little pairs that are easily grabbed out of my sock drawer. Until you are ready to take on this project, please read on without condemnation . . .

Anyway, as I stated, the white pile had grown significantly, and I had to pack some weekend bags for the boys. So, I pack the regular clothes in their little suitcases, and head to "the pile" in search of underwear and socks. In walks my son, Chance. Picture me, bent over "the pile", tossing socks in to make-shift smaller piles, belonging to each family member . . .

Chance, Colt, dad, dad, mom, Colt, Chance, Colt, Colt, dad, mom, mom, etc, etc.

I was going so fast, it was a veritable tornado of white, with each little (or big) sock landing majestically into it's intended pile.

Chance watched with wide eyes.

"Wow, mom, how do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Know who's is who's so fast?"

And then, I did what no parent should ever do. I told him my secret. Up until this point, he was standing in that room pondering - "maybe my mom really does know everything. And, she knows how to do everything, even sort laundry, really, really fast!" So, pardoning my error in judgement, here is how the rest of the conversation went . . .

"Well, your socks look different than your brothers."

"Show me how."

"Colton's have grey all along the bottom - yours just has gray at the toe and heel."

"How do you get them to do that, mom?"

"Well, I buy them like that - from Wal-Mart - on purpose!"

"Wow . . . . . . . . . you're really good at that."

Now, aside from an occasional complement on a really good do on a batch of chicken nuggets or Kraft mac n cheese, Chance isn't usually very loose with the compliments. This is one of the first unprompted ones I've gotten, which wasn't related to food.

And here I thought I was pulling the Superwoman thing off pretty well - gourmet cook, top-notch employee, daily planner extraordinaire for our household - a real gold-medal mom.

Instead, I find myself in a distaaaaaaaaaaaant second place, on the silver medal platform - as the mom who knows how to sort socks really, really well.

I guess we all gotta have something . . .

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Mother Pedestal

I remember clearly one day when I was a teenager.

Wait a minute - backtrack - that's not really how I wanted to start this post. I gotta give you a little background. We never had a dishwasher when I was growing up. My mom got one a couple years ago, after 60 years of doing them by hand.

Anyway, although I can't say I was worked to death while growing up, I can say . . . . . . Actually, I can't even say anything close. I had to do an occasional chore, and that was about it. I watched my little brother, and helped around the house a bit. But, from the time I was in 8th grade, I had a part-time job - and I played that card over and over, and it admittedly got me out of lots of housework. But, sometimes, my chore was doing the dishes.

Nevertheless . . . . . as I've mentioned in previous posts, my mom was "the chick". Just the right amount of tough and love put together - always worked her tail off, was always there to support whatever activities I was involved in (which were many), and always kept our house running--it wasn't always a perfect house, but somehow that wasn't important.

So, after years of doing all this Superwoman stuff, I decide, in my infinite teenage wisdom, to give my mom a compliment. I am certain, that at this point in my life, I had never expressed even a fraction of the appreciation that I had for her. So, on this day, I am doing the dishes with my usual attitude and vigor, and my mom is in the kitchen doing something else - probably baking up one of her famous masterpieces of some sort - could have been cookies, pecan pie, oatmeal cake, or any other number of things.

I said - "Mom, do you know one thing I've always admired about you?"

Keep in mind here, I could have picked any of 1000 things to compliment my mom on, and been right on the money.

"What?" she asks.

Now that I am a mom, even if only for 7 years, I know the anticipation this question probably held with it. She was probably thinking - wow, I really am doing a good job, and now my daughter is going to let me know . . .

"The way you can always stack like 1,000,000 dishes on this drying rack, and they never fall down."

Wow. I was a 4.0 student, and that's what I came up with? I remember thinking, even then, what a stupid thing to say! Obviously, it's stuck with me, and I was reminded of it again, based on a compliment from my son this week - which I will detail in tomorrow's post.

And as I watch my mom today, still keeping our family running, and now playing with grandkids and attending their activities, evermore with that perfect combination of tough and love, I can say . . .

"Mom, you know one thing I've always admired about you?"
.
.
.
"Me neither - can't narrow it down to one thing. It's just every little thing that makes you - the Mires toughness, the fierce protector of your family, the loving grandma, the supportive mom, the most wonderful friend. What would I do without you?"

Tomorrow, I will help you get a little revenge for my silly comment those years ago. Remember you always said things come back around? Whether good or bad? Well, this one came back around, in a way that only a 7-year-old boy can do. So, tomorrow, I will share with you the sock story . . .

Coltonisms

A few little gems from the mind of Colton this past week . . .

1. Background - Matt picks the boys up from school, stops at the store, then at my work on the way home. The kids are playing around, drawing, using the calculator, etc. while Matt gets some fertilizer. . . .

Colton - Mommy, I need to tell you a secret.
Mommy - Okay (leaning down)
Colton - We bought you some flowers.
Mommy - What? (not sure what I heard)
Colton - (Now in a fairly loud stage whisper) We bought you some FLOWERS!
Daddy - Colton Steel!!!!!
Colton - (Immediately crying) I just wanted to tell her the secret
Daddy - But you are not supposed to tell secrets
Colton - Oh no, am I in big trouble????


2. Background - We are eating at Red Robin. Colton is throwing a bit of a fit, because he did not eat his dinner, and is not allowed to order his own dessert (we are sharing). . . .

Colton - Fine then! I will get my own ice cream, and I will sneak it away and eat it myself!
Uncle Judd - Hey Colton - first rule of sneaking - don't tell anyone else you're going to do it.
Colton - Why not?
Uncle Judd - Because then they'll know you're going to sneak it.
Colton - SO!!!!


3. Background - Hanging out at my parents house on Friday night . . .

Colton - Mommy, why doesn't Grandma D have a walker anymore?
Mommy-Because she is getting better. Now, she just has to use a cane most of the time.
Colton - Oh.
Mommy - Isn't that great that she is feeling that much better?
Colton - (After a slight pause) Yeah, but she's still old, though!


Happy Monday! Hope you all have a great week ;-)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Happenings . . .

Just an update about what's been going on in our crazy household . . .


1. The Respectful Jar - thank you to Matt's Aunt Jennifer for this idea. She, also, was tired of her two kids constantly fighting, so she implemented the Respectful Jar. If you say something derogatory or disrespectful to a family member - you put $$ in the jar. No fighting, no whining, no name-calling, etc. Oh,and one more thing - the jar doesn't make change - so, if you're going to act up, and you only have a $5 - that's just plain gonna hurt! Currently, Chance is putting in 50 c/ per transaction - Colton is putting in a matchbox car (he is 3, doesn't have much money, and responds much quicker when he loses something near and dear, like his cars). So far, Chance's worst day has been $2 (Colton was close with 3 cars that day), but they have also had several days of not having to contribute. And onward we push with Parenting Strategy #546.


2. Baseball - lots of baseball. Chance is in 7th heaven, Colton is somewhere opposite of that. Today, baseball was boring, the Dora coloring book he brought was boring, his football was boring, and his mean mom wouldn't let him play on the toys because they were too far from the field. It was blowing, raining, and cold. I am 100% certain that Chance didn't notice any of this. He got a few hits, got to play catcher, made a great catch in center field, and got Rice Krispy Treats and pineapple juice after the game. It just doesn't get much better in a 7-year-old's little world.


3. I can't keep either of my boys in pants. Chance comes home with holes in his jeans pretty much daily, and lately, Colton is the same. Colton has a bit of an excuse, though, because everything he is wearing has already been worn generously by Chance at that age - it had a head start on the whole threadbare situation. Chance, on the other hand, is just plain rough. Do all 7-year-olds slide wherever they go? I got mad last week, because he was sliding all over the yard on purpose, and told him if he slid on purpose again, he would have to do the laundry himself and get the grass stains out - and that if he ripped his pants, he would have to use his own money to buy a new pair. It took about 5 minutes. Lucky for him, he has more than a little bit of his mom in him - we hit a yard sale the next day that had stacks and stacks of jeans in his size, plus the next size up. He got out of his punishment with a pair of pristine Wranglers for a measly $1, and I got 5 more pairs and some school shirts for a total of $10. Today, he was sliding all around again, so I'm thinking either the lesson didn't sink in, or he is totally confident in his yard-sale abilities.


4. We are headed to a craft show this weekend. It is near my home town, so we get to stay with my parents for the weekend. Colton thought we were going today, so he cried all the way to daycare that he "just needed his Grandma D, RIGHT NOW!" That was pleasant. I'm looking forward to a good weekend - time with family, dinner on Friday night, and hopefully a successful weekend business-wise.


5. The cows are doing most fantastic. They are just chomping away, day and night. This is a good thing, since their main purpose in life (though I suspect they are blissfully unaware) is to fatten themselves up and make a good year's full of meat for us and a few other families. We have named them . . . . . "A" and "B" - because with two little boys and one emotional wife, you just can't be naming and endearing yourselves to something you plan to kill in the foreseeable future. Colton has prayed almost every night this week - "thank you for our cows, thank you for "A" and thank you for "B" and please let daddy let us name them something more than "A" and "B""


And, now that I have completely bored you with the mundane details of my everyday life (because, somehow, based on my other posts, you thought it was so exciting), I will sign off. I wish all of you the best of weekends. Darla - get some rest - you deserve it!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Thankful Thursday


We watched The Pursuit of Happyness last night, so my thankful post today is just so basic, but it's what is on my heart, and what I often take for granted.
1. I am thankful for our home. That it is warm. I often complain about the cleaning, upkeep, drive to town, etc. Lord, forgive me for that. Thank you for giving us shelter.
2. I am thankful that we always have enough food to eat. I have never had to go without a meal that wasn't my own choice. I have never had to stress about what to feed the kids that night. Lord, forgive me for the times I've complained about cooking dinner each night, or that I didn't know what to make. Thank you for giving us enough food that we have choices each day.
3. I am thankful that I have never had to sleep in a subway restroom, or on the subway, because that was safer than sleeping on the street. Lord, please forgive me for the times I worried that my pillow wasn't comfortable, complained about Matt stealing the covers, or that I didn't get quite enough sleep. Thank you for a comfortable bed, warm blankets, and a quiet room to sleep in.
4. I am thankful that I don't even know whether our town has somewhere that a homeless person can go to sleep. But, Lord, please forgive me that I don't know that - I could have helped them by now.
5. I am thankful that Matt and I both have jobs - good ones. I am thankful we live in a country where we have the freedom to choose those jobs.
Everyday, the Lord gives me so many small blessings - blessings I start to take for granted. So, I am very thankful for this movie, which was a good one, that reminded me that none of this is to be taken for granted. I am fed, clothed, sheltered, and warm each day - and not by accident. THANK YOU, LORD!
For more Thankful Thursday entries, head over to Eph2810 and check them out!


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

It's Recipe Wednesday! Darla and I decided to do some appetizers today, so you could all be prepared for your graduation parties, Memorial Day celebrations, etc. Head over to Darla's to find more great appetizer recipes this week!


Meat Dip
From: Jay Crabill
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 pounds pork sausage
1 package (32 ounces) Velveeta cheese
16 jar (16 ounces) Picante salsa

Brown ground beef and pork sausage until no longer pink. Add sliced Velveeta mixing into meat mixture. Add Picante sauce and let simmer until heated through. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

We just keep this in the crock-pot on low/warm, and let everyone snack on it throughout the evening.


Italian Pinwheels

1/2 c Mozzarella Cheese - shredded
1/2 c Pepperoni or Ham - finely chopped
1/2 t Italian Seasoning
1 Egg - separated
8 oz Crescent Dinner Rolls

Combine Cheese, Pepperoni, Seasoning, and Egg yolk. Mix well.

Separate dough into four rectangles. Firmly press perforation to seal. Spread each rectangle with about 3T pepperoni mixture.

Starting at the short end, roll up each rectangle, and pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into 6 slices. Place 1" apart on greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg white.

Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Opening Day!



Disclaimer - all Major League Baseball Scouts, please stop reading now. You see, Matt is just so convinced that Chance is destined for a career in "The Bigs." But really, since he's only 7, we are still practicing that aloof, careless attitude that must accompany any professional sports personality. So, this post may get a little too excited and just plain giddy - which will not match the persona we are so striving for.




If you are simply a friend or grandparent who won't mind my boasting, and if you promise to only roll your eyes a little bit, you can read on . . .




Saturday was opening day of baseball. This is a big deal in our town. For one day, the bitter rivals of Cal Ripkin Baseball vs. Little League Baseball bury the hatchet, and put on a huge parade and opening ceremonies for the kids. They all just look adorable, all decked out in their uniforms, each team piling in the back of an obnoxiously decorated pickup, and cheering through the parade route. Scrapbooking moments abound, let me tell ya!




Our Little League is broken up into three parts - Instructional, Minors, and Majors. Chance is currently in the Instructional League.




So, for the first excitement of the day, Chance's coach informs him that one of the Minor League teams is short of players for their game, and would he be interested in joining a couple of his teammates to help them out.




It's the Instructional League equivalent of being "called up" folks! How can one little heart contain this much excitement?!? I didn't have to tell him to smile for a picture all day - it was permanently etched on his face!




So, we have the Minor League game at 1:00, then our regular game at 3:00. Our first of what will be many double-headers in our lifetime.




He did really well with the older kids. Got hit by a pitch and walked - without even wincing, let a long crying. Then, he did this little accidental bunt thing on his next at-bat, and was thrown out at first. But, he stayed in there - didn't shy away from the faster pitches, paid attention when playing in the outfield, and had a pretty good game!




Then, came his regular game. Man, he was warmed up and ready to go - pretty much still on Cloud 9. He was up 5th or 6th in the batting order, and when he got to the plate, the bases were loaded. First pitch, he hit a GRAND. SLAM. HOME. RUN!!! I was screaming so loud, I'm sure I was quite an annoyance to anyone sitting nearby. Too bad - when your kid hits a home run, I will not deny you the right to scream yourself into an absolute frenzy. Mind you, this is instructional league - it's not like there is a fence he hit this ball over. We play at a playground - he just hit that ball so dang hard and far that the poor little outfielders on the other team didn't have a chance of getting it thrown in by the time Chance rounded all those bases.




Since Chance started baseball 3 years ago, Matt has always said that he would take him to a Mariner's game the first time he hit a home run in a real game. Those were almost the first words out of his mouth after he crossed home plate - "When are we going to a Mariner's game, dad?"




He got a single in his next at-bat, and then ANOTHER. HOME. RUN. on his 3rd at-bat! The kid was on fire! It was so, so fun to see the joy on his face. In his prayers each night since, he has thanked God that he is good at baseball and he can hit home runs. So precious.




And, you guessed it, the next words out of his mouth after the 2nd home run-




"Dad, does this mean I get to go to 2 Mariner's games?"