Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Recipe Wednesday

Okay, so Janice over at Journey to Emma turned me onto a new blog. I am most impressed, and most intimidated. I cannot think of a recipe of mine worth posting after spending 1/2 of the afternoon drooling over hers. Coveting is a sin, isn't it??? Dang it . . .

Without further ado, I give you

The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

Enjoy browsing. Hopefully my inferiority complex will be gone by next week, and I'll be able to post a recipe again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wii had joy, Wii had fun, Wii had seasons in the sun . . .

Except that the only sun we saw this weekend was what filtered through the horizontal shades as we played the Wii!!

This past week, Matt had training in Seattle. Armed with the determination to soak up much knowledge, about $500, and the determination to purchase a gaming system for the joy of the whole family, he and his partner set off. He quickly found several retailers near his hotel, and faithfully checked in with each of them each day. They even asked the hotel front desk if they could change rooms, to a room with a better TV, in case the Wii purchase worked out early in the week. It didn't.

Finally, on Friday, a merciful Fred Meyer representative, who had seen Matt's number on caller i.d. that week more than his girlfriend's, revealed that they had received a shipment. Matt agonized over leaving class early, but made the studious choice to wait until the end and hope there was still one in stock that afternoon. There was.

When he got home from training, he and the boys headed to the yard for possibly the last "real" baseball game of the season. Matt's a smart enough dad to know that as soon as he reveals this coveted gaming technology, outside baseball won't even make the back burner. They had fun, but he was right. He started giving them hints, and as soon as Chance guessed it, they both abandoned the backyard baseball game in favor of state-of-the-art graphics and an air-conditioned living room.

We had so much fun trying out all the games, setting up our individual Mii players, and figuring out how to use those silly controllers and nunchucks. Wii Play was probably the biggest hit for everyone, at least for the first round. It has tons of different games and activities you can play, which meant there was something easy enough for Colton and Mama, and challenging enough for Daddy and Chance.

Chance fell in love with the baseball game that Matt got called "The Bigs" and has been pitching and hitting almost as much as he did in real life during baseball season. Grandma D and Papa Chuck were down on Sunday, so Papa challenged Chance in pool and bowling, and Grandma D raced cows with Colton. Really, it's fun for the whole family - and they're not even paying me to be their commercial!! If anyone out there (of you 5 people reading) have a preview copy of the Wii Fit game coming out in 2008 that you'd like me to try out, send it my way - that's my next ambition!

So, some snippets from our Wiikend . . .

  1. Colton - Daddy, can you help me swing the golf club? / Daddy - You have to keep your feet still, buddy. / Colton - Daddy, you stand there, and use your "talented toes" to keep my feet from moving! (Yes, as you can guess, the "talented toes" is a whole 'nother blog in itself!)
  2. Chance - My arm is sooooo sore from pitching and hitting. Mom, I don't think I can do swim lessons tomorrow. / Mom - if your arm is too sore to swim, it will certainly need the rest of the week to recover. So, if you don't swim, you can't play the Wii. / Chance - I think if I stretch it out on the way to the pool, I'll probably still be able to swim . . .
  3. Papa Chuck - Dar, I think the grand kids really need one of these at our house. They would all have so much fun with it! We ought to just stop at Wal-Mart on the way home and pick one up for ourselves.
  4. Mommy - I think, at least for awhile, I have more leverage than I have ever had in my parenting journey thus far. Just the mere mention of a Wii hiatus snaps Chance to attention in a heartbeat. And if you think I exaggerate - he dusted the microwave last night . . . . without being asked. I've got the power!!! Or at least, the cord to the Wii, which, at the present moment, is synonymous.

Monday, July 23, 2007

In Which Wii Sell Our Metal Goods . . .

Part I: Lessons From the Farmer's Market

So, we have been contemplating the purchase of a Nintendo Wii for quite some time. It was one of those things where when I was ready, Matt was reluctant, and when Matt was ready, I was reluctant. Two weeks ago, we finally hit it - we were both ready at the same time - and Wal-Mart was out. Now, many of you may have seen this as a sign from God (or multiple signs, being with the ready, not ready, no stock, etc), but our faith is so much deeper than that - we saw it as a test of our perseverance ;-)

We decided to take our craft to the local Farmer's Market last weekend. This is in addition to our 6 or 7 main shows - so we decided that whatever we made could go to the Wii fund. We enlisted both of the boys to help, and promised to pay them a wage. Chance has visions of a new skateboard, Colton, just visions of playing that claw video game, in which for $1 you have the opportunity to win a cheesy stuffed animal that isn't even worth 25 cents.

So, we all got up at 5:30, bright and cheery, to be in town to the market by 6:30 - this was a feat in and of itself (the bright and cheery part, that is). We got our little booth set up, and Matt promptly broke the "you must sell something before you can buy anything" rule, and sent me the short block to Starbucks for a little morning encouragement. By the time I returned, the boys had thankfully sold some items, which covered my Starbucks expenses, but hadn't yet sold enough to visit either of the bakery booths for a little breakfast action. As we were all getting hungry after our hard work setting up, it was quite a relief to have another sale fairly quickly, so that we could send Matt off for some Cinnamon Pull-Aparts. Colton is pretty much oblivious to the goings on, but Chance is quickly seeing how fast the money can go out once you earn it.

Chance is working the counter (which is really a folding table and chairs), taking customer's money and putting their purchases into fancy bags which strikingly resemble tall kitchen garbage bags. Colton, ever the outgoing one, talks to each customer, points out which items he stuck in the hay bales, tells the price of each item (even though they are all the same), and repeatedly asks which one they'd like in their own garden - as we repeatedly tell him that we are really more "low pressure" on the sales end, and that he should keep it to a simple greeting. I'll let you guess how well this worked.

After awhile, both boys are starting to show signs of a late night combined with a very early morning, and retreat to the pickup with their pillows and blankets for a couple of hours of sleep. Chance got a good rest in - Colton was more intrigued/irritated with the bird in the tree that was shrieking, the music that was playing, the people that were walking by, and when could he have another sticky bun?!

A bit after noon, we loaded the booth back in the pickup and headed off toward home. On the way home, it was $$ time. I counted up what we made. Chance's eyes were wide as saucers - in his little mind, that was enough for a skateboard, a skate park, maybe some extra pads and helmet, and a skate board video game. So, then, we started talking expenses. We talked about how much metal we would have to buy to replace the items we had sold (about 40% of our profit, this time); we talked about the fee we paid to the market, the items we bought while there, the money we spent in diesel to get the truck to the market and back, etc. Suddenly, the dollars we made were cut to less than half of the gross income. Chance's eyes got even wider.

We then gave each boy an opportunity to negotiate for their wage for the day. We talked about how much they each did to help, how many hours they worked, how many hours they napped, and how much they could actually do. Chance ended up with $10 for the day, and Colton ended up with $4. The rest - into the Wii fund.

Some things we gleaned from the day:
  1. Chance thinks "we sure have a lot of bills to pay."
  2. Colton doesn't care if we make any money before we spend some on sticky buns.
  3. Colton loves the Farmer's Market music (yes, it's bluegrass Papa Chuck!)
  4. Colton thought he should have gotten $20 for his contribution.
  5. Matt and I both thought $4 was more than enough for a 4-year-old.
  6. Chance disagreed, and gave Colton $2 of his own pay once we got home.
  7. We all learned what we could do when we worked together for a common goal.

To be continued tomorrow, in which Wii attempt to purchase said video game system . . . .

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Recipe Wednesday - Kansas Cucumber

Kansas Cucumber Salad

From: Jay Crabill

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon dill weed
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon vinegar
3 green onions, diced (as with all my recipes, totally optional!)
3 or 4 cucumbers, sliced
Peel and slice cucumbers. Let stand in bowl with ice water until crisp. Mix mayonnaise, sugar, dill weed, salt, and vinegar. Combine cucumbers and diced green onions. Pour mixture over vegetables. Mix and refrigerate.
Head over to Darla's blog for a fabulous potato salad recipe for those new red potatoes! I can't wait to try it . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My 100

In true bloggy tradition, for my 100th post, I give you 100 things about me. I know, probably 99 more than you ever needed to know. But I didn't start this tradition, I'm just following it!

  1. I love Jesus.

  2. I have the most fabulous family.

  3. I live in the Northwest.
  4. To most people, that would mean mountains, trees, and rain; but our part of it is as far from that as you can get.
  5. I love the changes of the seasons, and I'm usually quite ready for the next one by the time it comes around.
  6. My husband is my perfect other half.
  7. I have two boys that I absolutely adore.
  8. My mom has been one of my best friends for my entire life.
  9. I love to scrapbook.
  10. I don't have nearly enough time in my life to do it regularly.
  11. I'm a bit, ummmmm . . . . . particular (insert OCD), so I don't get a much done as I'd like to when I do sit down to do it.
  12. I am working on this, and getting better--in part thanks to the ideas in the Simple Scrapbook sessions of 5 Minutes for Mom.
  13. Since we went with a digital camera, I take a kazillion pictures.
  14. This drives my boys crazy!
  15. I'm finally okay with only printing about 10-20% of the photos I take.
  16. Except for school pictures, I do my kids photo shoots.
  17. Partly because I'm too cheap to pay a photographer.
  18. Mostly because we live on a really cool old ranch, and I couldn't ask for any better backdrops than the ones right outside my front door.
  19. I am so touched by the story of Especially Heather, that I am daily praying for a girl that really the only things I know about her are that we share a name, a love of blogging, and a passion for Jesus.
  20. I am currently trying to be a halfway good mom by pausing every 2 seconds to watch Chance do a slow-motion replay of his imaginary football game while inserting a myriad of "and I was like . . . .", "and then, the ball went like . . . .", "and, watch, this is the cool part . . .", etc, etc.
  21. When he isn't doing imaginary replays, he is doing replays of George of the Jungle.
  22. George of the Jungle is Colton's movie pick of the week.
  23. I love date nights with my husband.
  24. Our family enjoys camping.
  25. We have camped so much that we don't do many of the "novelty" type camping stuff anymore.
  26. Which makes me really miss s'mores sometimes.
  27. But, I also appreciate the smorgasbord of food that we've come to enjoy as a group.
  28. Chance has only asked about 28 times if I'm done on the computer yet.
  29. Chance - my mom plays on the computer too much.
  30. Chance - my mom likes to sit in her chair.
  31. Chance - my mom likes to read books.
  32. Chance - you drive your car too much
  33. Chance - you like going to the store too much.
  34. Colton - I don't like it when you get me in trouble.
  35. Colton - I like it that you let me watch cartoons in the morning.
  36. Colton - Pink is your favorite color.
  37. Pink is sooo not my favorite color. I like it, but it's not my favorite - I lean more toward red, blue, and black.
  38. Colton - you love me to the moon and back.
  39. I just got done reading If You Can't Lose It, Decorate It by Anita Renfroe.
  40. It was fabulous!
  41. Those of you reading this who have me on your Christmas list, I'm inserting a giant hint that you can buy me any other Anita Renfroe book or dvd, and I would be extra, extra joyful.
  42. I am now reading Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson
  43. It was the Women of Faith novel of the year, which is why I chose it.
  44. I love, love, love to cook.
  45. I also quite enjoy eating the concoctions that I cook.
  46. My body shape does reflect this.
  47. Although I'm working on that.
  48. Daily.
  49. At about 5:00 in the morning.
  50. Crazy, huh?
  51. Rachael Ray was my hero of all time.
  52. Until I started watching Paula Deen.
  53. Now, I can't decide.
  54. And loves that, because I am a cookbook fiend!
  55. I shop online a lot.
  56. Ebay and Amazon are my usual vices.
  57. I also like to browse Overstock, Zappos, and Joe's New Balance Outlet.
  58. I do like my shoes.
  59. And, always with the justification, as long as I have fewer than my friend Annette, I am totally at peace.
  60. Thankfully, Annette and Imelda Marcos are sisters or something, so I have very little to worry about.
  61. Matt doesn't really understand the shoe thing.
  62. But, he's relaxed enough about it that he actually bought me a pair a few months ago.
  63. A few years go, I wouldn't have bet on the previous entry at 1,000,000:1 odds.
  64. Chance - how can you only be on number 63 - you've been doing that forever!
  65. I was a really good student in high school.
  66. I was also pretty good at sports.
  67. I played volleyball, basketball, and track.
  68. I was good enough to play basketball in college.
  69. It was an incredible experience.
  70. I met Matt while in college.
  71. I thank God everyday for that.
  72. I like old stuff.
  73. We have a lot of antique furniture in our house.
  74. But, not the chairs or couches.
  75. I'm a firm believer that those folks did not know how to make comfortable furniture.
  76. If you don't believe me, try going to my brother's house.
  77. I like to imagine how many conversations those pieces of furniture have overheard throughout the years.
  78. I bet they know a lot of secrets.
  79. I don't like secrets.
  80. Or surprises.
  81. Maybe because I'm such a planner.
  82. Or, maybe because I have a really active imagination, and by the time the surprise gets there, my imagination has either blown it out of proportion or gone off in the wrong direction, and the surprise really has no chance to meet my expectations.
  83. I read the Bible each morning.
  84. I have found my day just does not go the same if that doesn't happen.
  85. We took lots of drives when I was growing up.
  86. I thought all families got to go on drives, see new things, go camping, not know what hotel you were staying at until you had checked the rates at 7 or 8, and see all of the historic forts within a reasonable distance.
  87. I was wrong.
  88. I so appreciate that now.
  89. I didn't appreciate it near enough then.
  90. I hope my boys appreciate all of our adventures when they are older.
  91. Even if they don't, they'd better respect me enough to flip through the scrapbooks 7 or 85 times, oohing and ahhing over the kazillion pictures I took.
  92. Someday I will drive a really cute car.
  93. Or maybe a really tough car.
  94. But, as long as I have kids who eat McDonald's in the back seat, and I put on thousands of carpooling miles per year, I will drive an economical car.
  95. George of the Jungle is over.
  96. My time is drawing very short.
  97. I must surrender the computer to Chance so that my children can get to bed sometime tonight.
  98. This is a lame way to fill in the last few numbers.
  99. But, I am lame like that.
  100. Did I mention that I love Jesus?

Monday, July 16, 2007


Just a few snippets from our weekend. We had the extreme of emotions - lots of great fun and lots of great fits. Here's a bit of each . . .

  • Sunday afternoon, Colton comes in crying from playing outside . . . . . ."Sorry mommy, I scared the baby birds a little bit. They all flew away!" . . . . .We have some birds that nested on our deck, and we have recently been watching them learn to fly . . . . . "Did you do something that might have scared them?" . . . . . "No, I didn't do anything that was too scary at all." . . . . . ."Did you do anything to the baby birds - even anything that wasn't scary?" . . . . ."No............well, I just reached the hockey stick up to their nest very gently....but not scary."
  • Chance - to his dad after he struck him out multiple times - "That was high heat, baby! You know you can't hit my junk - take a seat on the pine!!!"
  • And, the pinnacle of the weekend, as well as my "Mother of the Year" nomination - after a bit of a raised voice on Sunday evening (okay, okay, I was screaming like a banshee), Colton says - "Why were you talking like that - you were mad and sad at the same time! And you were not listening to Jesus anymore, because you yelled and said bad words (relax, the words were 'butt' and 'stupid', and they were not names I called the boys. Compared to the words flowing through my head, I consider this a miracle that these were the only ones that came out), and you broke my heart, and I will never be the same again!"

Friday, July 13, 2007

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday To You!
Happy Birthday To You!
Happy Birthay, Janey Payney . . . .
Happy Birthday To You!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Choose Wisely . . .

We are back from our mini-vacation, and there are many stories to tell and pictures to share. But, until I get them all organized, I'll leave you with another priceless moment from Colton last night.

On our trip, our friend Terry had given us some fresh spinach from his garden. I decided to make wilted spinach salad for dinner, as a quick, easy, and cool dinner. Perfect after a long drive. I knew Colton would not be too excited about this, so I offered both he and Chance the option of mac & cheese. Chance wanted to try the salad, and Colton opted for mac & cheese.

We are all seated at the table for dinner, we've said the blessing, and everyone is ready to dive into their food. I'm well into my second bite of salad when I notice the table had gone quiet. Matt is staring at a bite of salad on his fork. Because he is at the other side of the table, it takes me a bit to see the MOTH nestled in his spinach. Apparently, this persistent little bugger (no pun intended) made it past both the stem-snipping and washing stages, all the way to Matt's plate.

We all kind of looked at each other, not sure where this was going to go. My stomach is rolling, and I'm a bit embarrassed as well. Matt's trying to decide how to get out of this situation, and begins to gently set that bite aside on a small plate.

Suddenly, Colton is giggling in his seat.

It's a quiet version of the laugh that usually literally tips him over when he's laughing hard.

He looks Matt straight in the eye and says - "You shoulda picked the mac & cheese!" And continues to giggle . . .

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Woo hoo - I love Thankful Thursday ;-) I'm just going to jump right in . . .

  1. Happy Birthday USA! I am thankful to live in this free country. I am thankful for the blessings God has bestowed on America, and all that he allows for us in this country.

  2. I'm thankful for the many thousands of soldiers that have died to protect my freedom.

  3. I am thankful for the ONE who died to save my soul - Jesus Christ.

  4. I'm thankful for posts like this one at This Ain't New York, which is a great reminder of the reason we celebrate Independence Day.

  5. I'm thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my parents yesterday.

  6. I'm thankful for the Women of Faith conference this past weekend - the lessons, the praise, fellowship, finding unexpected friends, and a completely amazing weekend.

  7. I'm thankful for my family - my husband and sons are the best around, and I am forever grateful.

  8. I'm thankful for Darla, who is totally behind on her blog because she has watched my children for the last two days - you are the best!

Hope you are having a fabulous Independence week! Head over to Iris at Sting My Heart for more Thankful Thursday posts.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Boys' Side of the Story

So, while I was at Women of Faith, having such a wonderful time, Matt was raking in "dad of the universe" honors, showing the boys the highlights of Seattle. On Friday, they went to the Children's Museum, hung around Seattle Center, rode some rides, and played in the fountain. Then, they took the monorail down to the waterfront, and hung around down there, admiring the various pig art forms (pigs are Seattle's theme for their downtown art this year).

After a relaxing evening at the hotel, complete with dinner, swimming, and a couple of rousing games of Jenga, they were ready for Saturday. They dropped me off at the conference door on Saturday morning - okay, not quite at the door - they kicked me out of the car at a nearby stop light! - and then proceeded to the zoo. I heard funny stories about Lions! and Tigers! and Bears! Oh My!!! They had such a fun time, and Matt got great pictures to prove it . . .

Then, on Sunday, we all went to the Mariner's baseball game. It was a great game - decided in the bottom of the 9th inning. Chance was totally into the baseball aspect, Colton was totally into everything else at the ballpark - the playground, his new helmet, the Mariner Moose, the food, etc. Great fun was had by all!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Amazing Freedom

This weekend was absolutely fabulous! We went to Seattle as a family, and had a weekend full of fun and activities. Matt had gotten me tickets to the Women of Faith event in Seattle for my birthday, so we planned our family weekend around that.
We got up bright and early on Friday morning, and headed to the big city. With a quick stop at McDonald's, the back seat loaded with pillows, blankets, Nintendo, and DVD's, we were on our way! It was actually a very peaceful drive. The kids did great.
On a side note - I'm going to be extra-selfish and post mostly about my stuff today. I'll post the boys' adventures, along with pictures, tomorrow.
Friday was the pre-conference event. Dr. Henry Cloud and Sheila Walsh. Both fabulous. You could tell from the set-up of the arena, that there were about 1/3 of the attendees there would be at the regular event. So, even though there were still lots of ladies there, it somehow felt more personal. I was never ready for the breaks, and excited every time they started up again.
For reasons too long and still too emotional to blog about, I missed the Friday night session. Suffice it to say, I am a hick from the sticks, with no understanding of traffic, time lines, and alternate routes. My town is too small to have alternate routes. And, having your ticket in the car with you, instead of sitting on the table at the hotel - well, that is also usually very helpful. So, in essence, I missed the reason Matt had bought me the ticket in the first place, because Max Lucado was speaking, and he, being my very smart husband, knows that Max is like my favorite of all time. So, in addition to wasting 1/2 tank of gas that evening for nothing, I also had to purchase the conference DVD for $40, because I had to see Max in some form!!!!
But, fortunately, I didn't really miss it all. In fact, if I hadn't known Max was speaking on Friday, I wouldn't have thought I missed anything. Saturday was absolutely amazing - which is good, because their theme was Amazing Freedom. I think my favorite speakers were Nicole Johnson and Sheila Walsh, but it's hard to pick. Sandi Patti is completely wonderful, Anita Renfroe made me laugh so hard my sides hurt and I will be hot on the e-waves of to purchase some of her material, and Nicole C Mullin can rock like no one I have ever seen - she is THE chick!
So many times, I'm sure they were talking specifically to me - which, in my opinion, makes a success out of a 10,000 person conference. Even the gals who, at first glance, didn't look like they would be as enjoyable, carried a message that touched my heart in one way or another. I was impressed, awestruck, laughing, crying, and doing some furious note-taking, all at the same time.
I ran into some friends from my hometown, and it was such a blessing to be able to spend the day with them.
If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Women of Faith event, I highly recommend it. I am already looking forward to next year, and that kind of futuristic planning just doesn't happen too often with me - okay it happens all the time, but it's still exciting to think about putting this year's stuff into practice, and look forward to what next year's conference will bring.
And now, as I look back on this post, I have over-used all the amazing!'s, absolutely!'s, fabulous!'s, awesome!'s, and many other exaggerated, descriptive adverbs. Hopefully, they served to get my point across that I had a truly one-of-a-kind weekend - that is, until next time.
PS - It's good to be back ;-) See you tomorrow . . .