Monday, September 29, 2008

They call it Choclate Mug Cake

Cause a gal like me really needs to be within 5 minutes of a decadent chocolate dessert.


4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips(optional)

a small splash of vanilla

1 coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.

Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook 3 minutes at 1000 watts.

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

Hmmmmm........maybe if I used whole wheat flour. Then I could add a scoop of ice cream!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Cornbread

Okay, I'm re-posting this recipe, but I figure it's okay since it's been since June of 2007, and we all need the reminder. As we head into the fall months, this is the perfect bread to go with your chili, stews, soups, etc. There is never a piece leftover when I take it somewhere. It's just plain good, and it's just plain easy.

It's pretty much cheater cornbread, so if you are a cornbread purist, please stop reading now. This is a relatively sweet bread. Perfect with just butter. Not too sweet that you can't add a bit of honey to it. Give it a try.


I stole this recipe from another blogger, but now I cannot remember whose it was to give proper credit. 2007 was a long time ago. If you are reading, I'm sorry - because you have surely changed cornbread for my family, and we are so very grateful ;-)

2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix

1 box Pound Cake

Mix all mixes, plus all ingredients listed on the box to make them in one big bowl - I think you end up with like a zillion eggs, some oil, and some milk/water.

If you are trying to please Matt, you will add a can of cream corn in there somewhere, or even just a can of whole corn. If you are like me, and believe whole corn doesn't belong in cornbread anymore than whole, slimy slices of banana belong in banana bread, then just stick to the basics.

Pour into greased 9 x 13. Bake at 350* for 40 minutes.

Head over to Overwhelmed with Joy for more bread recipes today.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

All because two people fell in love.

Okay, I'm almost addicted to the DQ Banana Cream Pie Blizzard.

Thanks, Darla.

It's like crack in a to-go cup.

Thus, my Mexico waistline still eludes me.

Darla says just to find someone on the beach heavier and stand by her, and I'll feel better.


Anyway, today I had to run into town for a fax toner cartridge for work. The danger was eminent. The fax had actually stopped printing, and was flashing all sorts of lights and signals. I was happy to jump in to the rescue, and to pick up Banana Cream Pie Blizzards on the way back.

I get the toner, and make the call to the office to see how many delectable treats I need to be returning with. Head count = 4.

I get to the Dairy Queen drive-through.

The order speaker is at the back of the building, and I'm assuming cannot be fully seen by the girl working the drive-through.

The drive through is full, and I pull close to the speaker, but still about 1/2 of a car length behind. Apparently, though, close enough to set off the bells and whistles that tell the extra-helpful order gal that I'm there.

"I can help you whenever you're ready," she says.

I am silent. I pretend not to hear. I'm still 1/2 of a car length back, and don't really need to shout to the world that the chubby gal in the car by herself is ordering 4 blizzards. Albeit small ones.

Again. "Go ahead and order whenever you're ready."

I pretend my window is not down. After all, it's understandable that I may not have rolled it down yet, based on the fact that I'm still 1/2 a car length behind!!

Finally, the line moves forward, and I am able to drive up in front of the actual speaker. I politely order my blizzards, even though now she's a little annoyed because this is the third time she's asked.

4 Heaven-in-a-cup Banana Cream Pie Blizzards, with lids and a carrier, please.

No problem, please pull forward.

It appears as though there is now about a full car length between myself and the car ahead of me. I have a chance to be a hero! I can save the gal behind me from the 1/2 car length frustration and embarrassment!

I inch forward, trying to see if the gal can make it to the speaker.


I hit the car in front of me.

Oh, crap!

Quick, reverse! No, wait! Not so quick! Don't hit the one behind you, too!!

I properly secure my car, and lean out the window to thoroughly apologize to the car in front of me.

She is not impressed.

Thankfully, I was only going 0.025 mph, and it didn't actually hurt anything.

Except my pride.

Hopefully, she got a blizzard, too. I think if she did, she is already feeling a lot better about the whole ordeal. I know I am!

All because two people fell in love . . .

. . .with a blizzard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This technology stuff is amazing!

So, Chance got his own e-mail last week. I've been dragging my feet, solely because he first started mentioning wanting an e-mail address when they started asking for one on the free game web site where he plays games. At the time, that issue was easier addressed by just saying - you don't have an e-mail, guess you can't play that game.

But, I could bury my head in the sand on the technology issue only so long.

The e-mail bug, it was eminent.

We set down some basic e-mail guidelines appropriate for his young age:

  1. You can only send an e-mail to someone you know.

  2. You can only send an e-mail to someone your dad or I knows.

  3. You cannot enter your name or e-mail address anywhere on the Internet.

  4. You still cannot play games that require you to enter any personal information, including an e-mail address.

  5. If you decide to break any of these rules, you will not use e-mail or the Internet for the rest of your life.

Pretty straightforward, wouldn't you say?

But with all the headaches and hassles I was trying to avoid, I overlooked one very positive thing. I know it's partly the novelty of it all, but he e-mails me almost everyday. Here is a sampling of the little blessings that have come from this monumental step:

  • Have a good day at school!Are we going to go to any stores? Love you!

  • Have a good day!Be good.

  • Have a good day at work.Are (we) going to any stores?I love you!See you after Tina's.

Ahhhh, the little things. Help me never to take them for granted . . .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Caution appears to be the theme of the year




Usually known as the colors of the stop light - also known as the colors in Colton's Kindergarten discipline policy.

Green obviously means you're good to go. No infractions for the day.

Yellow. Caution. Minor infractions have occurred.

Red. Stop right there. Time out chair. Serious stuff.

In an effort to control the behavior of the class, Colton's teacher has issued a challenge for the students to remain on green the entire week. If they have 5 green days, they get to choose their free time for Friday. I bet there are children in the class who have gotten to choose their free time for 3 weeks in a row. Colton is not one of those children. He has gotten to choose his free time . . . . . . zero times. Still has a great attitude about it, though.

Mommy, if I ever finally get all greens, I am choosing the building center for my free time.

Last week, on about Wednesday or so, his chair had a mind of it's own and "just slipped right out from under me and tipped over. I was sitting in it just like you're supposed to, and I have no idea why it just jumped out from under me."

The week before that, I'm sure he was just trying to be the teacher's helper. You see, you are not supposed to lay down during story time. And someone named Terrance was not following the guidelines. So, Colton decided to "help him" see the error of his ways. I think every classroom needs enforcers, errrr, I mean helpers, like that!

This week, we stepped a little more to the serious side, or so I thought. Tuesday night, on the way home, Colton says -

I already slipped over to the yellow, mom.

What happened?

I'm not really sure

Colton, it was a matter of hours ago. I'm sure if you think about it, you can remember.

I don't know!

When did you marker change to yellow?

Oh yeah, it was after recess. There mighta been a little bit of pushin' and shovin' on the playground.

Really? And were you involved in this pushing and shoving?


Who was pushin' and who was shovin'?

Well, I was mostly doin' the pushin' and Terrance and (forgot 2nd name) were doin' the shovin'.

Great - so you're fighting on the playground?! Colton, we've talked about how to handle arguments at school. You can't just be fighting with other kids!

Mom, we weren't fighting! We weren't even mad at each other. We were just playin' cops and robbers. But, I guess you can't be pushin' and shovin' even when you're just playin'.

Enter Chance - Colton! Everyone knows you can't play real cops and robbers on the playground! You just have to play the tag kind, and they have to walk to the "jail" by themselves. No pushing! Jeez!!! Everybody knows that!!

Yes, apparently now we all know. And so, we just have to figure out how to get all these little nuggets of wisdom through to Colton. He's already figured out that a yellow on Tuesday deems the week a failure, so the incentive to try for green on Thursday is greatly diminished. I'm gonna have to come up with some sort of graduated reward scale at home. Something like - two greens, cheesy prize; three greens - a bit less cheesy prize; four greens - halfway decent prize; five greens - he gets the world. Reds cancel all.

Because the Caution, it's like limbo-land. Nothing bad enough to actually send a note home. No real trouble or consequences. But no reward. And me? I'm a real black and white kinda gal. We're either succeeding or we're not. I'm not much for the limbo-land. I need a chart, and goals, and tracking. And success. We need to find a way for him to have some success. So that on Tuesday, when the yellow monster strikes again, all is not lost.

Does this make sense? Anyone else out there with the same challenges? Would welcome any and all suggestions. Unless they start with how cute Colton is, and how much you love to hear about his antics every week. Cute's not gonna get him to the graduation podium. Thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I am an artist! Of paint-by-number greatness.

I'm not sure if you've ever checked out Alyson's blog, but she's one talented chick. Fabulous photographer, and artsy fartsy extraordinaire. She was kind enough to give a card class on Friday evening, and we had a blast!

Hopefully next time, Darla and I will be comfortable enough to come out of our shells a little bit - we were pretty quiet. Watch out next time, though :)

See that cute, cute chick card? Yeah, the chick and stripe are all "fuzzy" cause we flocked them. I had never flocked at a card class before. It's a good thing Darla and I were being so meek and quiet, or we may have had a hayday with that one.

More great cards. Alyson sure had an eye for colors. They were all fun to do, and not very hard. I think the beige "Thinking of You" one is probably my favorite for the evening.

Thanks for the fun class, Alyson! Thanks for the venue, Deb - you are a fabulous hostess! Can't wait to do it again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

44 Odd Things

Nothing like a good survey to create a quick blog post, and help us find out more about each other. Okay, aside from the rhetoric, really I'm just feeling lazy today, so as far as the tagging thing, I only tag you if you're feeling lazy, too!

44 ODD Things about you!

1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes
2. Have you ever smoked? Yep
3. Do you own a gun? Washington's a community property state, right?
4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite? Red
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No
6. What do you think of hot dogs? Like them, but after the "How It's Made" hot dog special, things got a little iffy.
7. Favorite Holiday movie? A Christmas Story
8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning? Grande, Soy, No-Water Chai
9. Can you do push ups? Yep. I once had to do 100 of them at PE, in a bikini, for flipping off a boy in class because he made a comment about my bikini. The punishment started off at 50, but got doubled as I bided my time trying to find a t-shirt to cover myself up.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring.
11. What's your favorite hobby? Based on what I like to do, either scrapbooking or camping. Based on what I actually spend my time doing, it must be either organizing or driving.
12. Do you have A.D.D.? I don't think so.
13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? I talk a lot when it means little, and am way too quiet when it means the most.
14. Middle name? Marie
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: My friend Erinne doesn't give herself enough credit, I'd really like a banana cream pie blizzard at Dairy Queen, and I can't believe I'm already sending out letters about Christmas.
16. What happened to question 16???? Somebody was too chicken to answer it.
17. Current worry? That I'm missing and/or forgetting something - too many irons in the fire right now.
18. Current hate right now? Negative political ads - on both sides. It's maddening.
19. Favorite place to be? Anywhere with my family, preferably in my camper.
20. How did you bring in the new year? Hockey game and dinner out with awesome friends.
21. Where would you like to go? Israel
22. Name three people who will complete this? Why is this question always on these?
23. Do you own slippers? Own them, yes. Wear them, no.
24 What shirt are you wearing? Red plaid w/white t-shirt under.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Never done it.
26. Can you whistle? The "whistle while you work" kind, yes. The "call your kid from seven blocks away" kind, no.
27. Favorite color? Red
28. Would you be a pirate? I don't think I have the guts
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? It entirely depends on the day, but it's usually by Third Day or Casting Crowns
30. Favorite Girl's Name? Faith
31. Favorite boy's name? Chance and Colton
32. What's in your pocket right now? Expired coupons from a Safeway shopping trip.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? Watching a movie with Matt last night.
34. What vehicle do you drive? Chevy Impala
35 Worst injury you've ever had? Tore many ligaments (repeatedly) in my ankle while playing basketball, requiring surgery.
36. Do you love where you live? I love my house, I love the people who live there, but I hate it's actual location.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2
38. Who is your loudest friend? I think I don't know the answer to this questions because I'm usually the loudest and when you're the loudest it's hard to decipher who the 2nd loudest might be.
39. Do you have any pets? 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 cows (for now)
40. Does someone have a crush on you? I used to think it was only Matt, but learned I may be underestimating myself when I got swatted on the rear by an old man at a funeral last week :)
41. Your favorite book(s)? I Am David (Ann Holm), anything Corrie ten Boom, or CS Lewis.
42. Do you collect anything? Dust
43. Favorite Sports Team? Whatever team my kids are playing on, and whatever team I picked for Football Survivor that week.
44. What song do you want played at your funeral? Amazing Grace - the Chris Tomlin version.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Funeral Funnies

Seems a bit disrespectful, but with kids, you just never know what you're going to get. We have recently attended two funerals - one on each side of the family. The boy's reaction to the services, the cemetery, and the whole shindig has been priceless.

Visiting the cemetery in Yakima brought back a memories of the last time we were there, at the funeral of Matt's grandma. While driving in, a 5 or 6-year-old Chance was understandably curious about the grave sites. From the back seat came his questioning voice - "How come some of the markers are tall and some aren't. Did those guys die standing up?"

I reminded him this time, and we all had a good laugh. It must have stayed at the back of his mind, because after the funeral he said - "Why doesn't everyone have a tall marker?" We talked about cost, preferences, etc. His answer - "Mom, when you're dead, you can't spend your money anyway. It's not like you get to take any with you. Might as well buy the tallest one you can."

Chance says, as we're driving through the cemetery, I saw on the History Channel or the Science Channel that someone on the earth dies every 6 seconds.

Colton - 1,2,3,4,5,6 - Somebody's dead. 1,2,3,4,5,6 - 'Nother one's dead. 1,2,3,4,5,6 - 'Nother one's dead . . . .

The rest have to do with the funeral in Waterville, which included military honors. The questions were flying so fast, I'm not sure who to give credit to, so I'll just say it was about 50/50!

Look, dad - soldiers!

What are the soldiers doing here? How come some have different uniforms?

Why are they shooting those guns?

What if they kill a bird? What if a bullet lands on someone's head?

What are blanks? Why are they blanks? Do we have any blanks?

Where's that trumpet coming from? What's he playing?

I CAN'T SEE HIM (imagine the loudest stage whisper)!!!

And, Chance's biggest concern after the two services - When's someone going to die that I get to sit down in those chairs under the tent, so I don't have to stand in the sun the whole time?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What a chore!

School's in session. It's time to get back to normal, back to basics, and back to some sort of schedule.

The boys are settling in well, so I decided to spring the chore chart back on them. It's a great time to get things back in line.

Realizing that we hadn't done the chore chart all summer, and so realizing that some of the rooms and chores would be "big jobs" the first time around, for the last week a $$PAID$$ chore list has been available. I would pay the boys to do the chores on the list, with all of us understanding that many of these things would be on this week's chart for no pay at all.

They completed a grand total of 3 things. 2 for Chance. 1 for Colton. Colton attempted a 2nd thing, but decided he was just too young to earn money. He thinks he'll probably be 12 before he gets a Nintendo DS (which he was going to save his money for).

On Sunday night, while they were in front of the tv, I tried to gently remind them again. Does anyone want to put the clothes away? It's a chore that is worth $2!!

Chance - do I have to put them all away, or just mine?

Me - All of them - that's why it's worth $$.

Chance - Nah.

Me - Do you understand that tomorrow, this will be on your chore chart for free?

Chance - Yeah, but then it will just be my own clothes, not Colton's too.

Me - So, you'd rather do 1/2 for free, instead of doing them all to make money?

Chance - Yep.

Whatever. So, with minimal moans and groans, we started the drudgery last night. Here's the chart. There are daily chores, and then add-ons for extra $$ in their piggy bank.

Chance's last comment of the night (because I almost strangled him) - So, what do you and daddy do? Please see this post, Chance, before ever asking that question again.

How do you handle chores in your house?? Do you pay for chores? Do your kids get an allowance? What works for you??

Monday, September 8, 2008

Compassion International

We decided recently to sponsor our second child through Compassion International. Our first sponsored child has been both a blessing and a lesson to our family, and I was eager to make a difference once more.

A few years ago, the radio station we listen to the most in the car - Positive Life Radio - had a day for Compassion International. They were explaining what Compassion does, asking listeners to sponsor children, and holding somewhat of a sponsor-a-thon.

I was impressed with their pitch, but generally skeptical. Chance asked me that day what the people on the radio were talking about, so we had a discussion about children around the world that don't have near as many blessings as we do. I explained that these people were trying to help children, and that you could sponsor one.

I took some time to check out Compassion's web site, as well as their reputation. I was most impressed that more than 80% of the money collected by Compassion goes to the child you sponsored. Food, medical care, clothing, spiritual guidance, etc.

Chance (then 6) and I decided it would be really neat to find a child with his same birthday.

This is Abusha. He is from Ethiopia. He and Chance share a birthday and their Savior - but little else. It has been an amazing journey to sponsor Abusha thus far.

Although most of the time Abusha feels 1,000,000 miles away, when his letters come, they always come with opportunity for blessing and learning. His love for God is simple. He is grateful for every little thing.

We recently sent some extra money to Abusha for his birthday. I was incredibly humbled as I compared my budget for Chance's presents and my budget to send extra money to Abusha. You can be sure Chance got more than the $25 I sent to Ethiopia.

We soon got a thank-you letter, describing what Abusha got with the money - an exercise book, a toy, some food oil, and a new pencil. He was so grateful. We were humbled again. Chance and Colton were amazed at how grateful this little guy was for a new pencil.

In his letter, he also asked us to pray for his behavior in school - I'm thinking we need to pray for a bit of patience on his teacher's part, too! I think that is just another thing I love about this program. Abusha is real. He is, in many ways, just like any other little boy. He loves to learn, he loves Jesus, loves to pray for us, and needs prayer himself. We are blessed to know him.

And so, now that Colton is 5 (I don't know why that's magic, but it seemed so), I thought he needed his own "Abusha".

I used Compassion's advanced search function to find a child with Colton's same birthday.

Meet Matheus. A 5-year-old boy from Brazil. We are anxiously awaiting his packet of information, and I can't wait for Colton to form a bond and learn from this little boy half a world away, yet similar to him in so many ways.

If you are looking for a way to make a measurable difference in a child's life, create an incredible learning opportunity, or just have about $32 per month leftover in your budget that you're not sure what to do with - please visit Compassion's web site and see if one of these children would be a fit for you. While you are providing an irreplaceable blessing to a child a world away, they will be blessing your home in more ways than you can imagine. Check it out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I think I need a 12-step program

Colton told me this week:

Mama, if I had a thousand dollars, I would go to Starbucks and buy you 100 grande, soy, no-water chai's and a spunkin cone (pumpkin scone)!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thank goodness Matt's smarter than this, not to mention more considerate . . .

What Do You Do All Day?

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring on a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened.

He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel.

She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"

She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?"


"Yes,” was his incredulous reply.

She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it”.


So, my question is - what would your house/work space/etc. look like if you didn't do what you do all day??

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Cabin - It speaks for itself

This is usually our huckleberry picking weekend, but an unusually cold spring has left us with very few berries, and green ones at that. So, instead of trekking untold hours to the huckleberry hills, we went to Matt's family cabin instead.
It turned into an unintended work weekend for some, but I resisted the guilt at every turn, and pointed my efforts toward a photo chronology of the events instead. As usual, there was great food, fabulous company, and another fun camping weekend.
I wasn't quite ready for fall camping yet, so there wasn't enough hot cocoa, warm clothes, socks, or coats. Thankfully, there was enough propane, so we survived!.

The Cabin

The Barn


The Stream


Some rock stars came and camped in the prairie for awhile.


The "facilities" for those who didn't bring RV's. This would make me purchase an RV after one night, but I am a wimp.


New ditch crossing, Phase I.

New Ditch Crossing, Phase II

New Ditch Crossing, Phase III (Final)


New Driveway

aka (Oh where, oh where has the horseshoe pit gone?)


New well.

What a great weekend! Lots was accomplished (as you can see), and lots was chronicled, so that I didn't necessarily have to be a physical part of the lots that was accomplished.
And, I'm really good at Mexican Train Dominos. Way better than Matt. And Chance. But not really better than Turner. Darn. Thankfully, neither is Steph.

Can't wait for October!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Boy! The latest excerpt from the Jake Chronicles

Okay, remember this guy?

I wrote about him in this post.

He's gotten just a bit bigger.

Like 110 pounds bigger. Yikes!

Last week, as you may have deduced from Chance's prayer, he had a bit of a run-in with a porcupine. Our Tuesday evening was spent at the vet's office. He had to be sedated and stay the night to get all the quills out.

The vet told us that it was likely that he would attack the porcupine again. That you would think they'd learn their lesson, but actually they usually get mad and try to find the varmint again. She warned me that we would probably be back soon if we couldn't keep him fenced in. Yeah, just what I was thinking - FABULOUS!

Thursday we come home looking for Jake in anticipation. No quills. Thank goodness. A sigh (or two) of relief is breathed.

Friday evening, Matt gets home before me. He calls me at work approximately 33 seconds after driving in the driveway.

"I'll give you one guess about how stupid your dog is today."

Insert - Matt and Jake have a bit of a love/hate relationship. Jake loves to drive Matt crazy, and Matt just plain hates Jake. At least until it's time to feed the cows, and he needs his "cow dog" with him. Or he doesn't want to work in the shop alone late at night, so he needs his "shop dog" with him.

On this day, however, it appears the "shop dog" and "cow dog" have given way to mentally challenged dog. He'd found the porcupine again. Only 3 or 4 quills this time, which Matt was able to pull out. So, I'm hoping he learned his lesson. Hoping . . .

I get home, and we are packing up the camper for a long weekend. I am barely out of my car when Matt beckons me to where he is, asking if I want the good news first or the bad news.

I hate the bad news. Every. Time.

So I ask for the good news.

He gives me the bad news anyway.

The porcupine will not live to quill another curious pup. Because, here's the good news . . .

Jake's my boy!

Check out what my dog did!

He's amazing!

He's superdog!

What a guy!

What could cause my Jake-hating husband to expound such expletives? You guessed it - Jake won the porcupine fight. And deposited the dead carcass on the back porch for us to witness and bear testimony.

Clearly, Jake's the man!! Errrr, Jake's the dog. Whatever.