Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday night thoughts

Wow... the past week was great. Fun. And funny too! Just a few thoughts...

* You know your Thanksgiving party was a real hoot when someone calls the next day wondering if we found their teeth! (I am not making this up... I promise!)

* I notice that when the fracas in the back seat gets worse that the Chairman drives faster. I asked him tonight, do you really think you can out-run them by speeding up?

* We went to a lovely performance of "Nutcracker" on Saturday. It was nice, the music serene. But at the falling of the curtain at the end Mira yells out so they could hear at least five rows up... 'FINALLY!'.

* Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It only took 36 hours for me.

* I still love my mom's German Chocolate cake. And pecan pie. And pumpkin. And the turkey gravy. My waistline doesn't.

* Holidays are nice, but normal is nice too. I look forward to it. And really isn't that a good thing? Loving 'ordinary' days?

* Someone dear is going far away this week with the simple intent to bring help to others. I can't stop thinking about it.

Happy new week ahead!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday to my dad! Not sure how to sum up someone like him. He gave me life. He supported, guided, protected, and loved. And now... he's a friend of mine. He loves others without reserve. Has a very hard time seeing faults in others (an incredible quality). Can't wait for his next trip to China. And discovered the fountain of youth years ago and keeps drinking from it. A laugh like no other. And a love for the Kingdom and those in lonely places.

Happy Birthday dear Dad! Have a great year.

psst: If you know him, please call. Write a little e-mail. Send a card. He'd love it!

Just because..

Talkin' Turkey

dig in!
hmmm. what is mom-in-law saying to mom?
kinda nice when the parents all like each other, eh?
standing room only!

* We survived! We were 36 all told. The earliest ones came by 10. The latest left right at 10...
* It was a lot of family and a few of our friends. But really, that line is very blurred.
* I'm thankful for the 'extra' turkey breast I threw in since Mr. 18-pounder didn't want to give up the fight very quickly.
* We had Too. Much. Food. Really. (urp)
* The kids had a blast. At one point I saw they had made a slide out of two adjoining mattresses and sliding from the ceiling to the floor in the basement. It looked simply dangerous. I got out quickly.
* Lisi hates days like yesterday because she spends most of it looking in from the outside. I needed to convince one family member that she doesn't really suffer... In fact, I disappeared at one point to take a walk.
* There was a definite color-scheme of dark reds yesterday for some reason (me included)
* Folks of Italian heritage can be loud. Really! And a lot of them though polite would have rather eaten spaghetti yesterday.
* I love turkey gravy. And this year my mom made it!
* I took about six pictures at the beginning of the day. And then for some reason I forgot. Busy you know. Did I say there were 36 here?

Now I'm off for some fun with more family! Think birthday cake and the "Nutcracker" and seeing some faraway family that I miss...

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Two's or too's?

Today I have two kinds of cold symptoms (sore throat and sneezing). Baked two kinds of cookies (Mexican wedding cakes and a oatmeal choc. chip), two batches of dinner rolls. Two walks with the dog. Two loads of laundry. And! Finished the last two chapters of "The Tale of Despereaux". Really a kids' book, but enjoyable nonetheless. Oh. And was on the phone two times. I think that sums that up.

A year ago tonight I went into the ER at 3:00 am for excruciating pain which turned out to be a kidney stone. This year I'm thankful for drinking lots more water and (HOPEFULLY!) not having a repeat performance on that.

Uber-cool wood stove fan came today via the free delivery of It's little blades start whirling around once the stove reaches 300 degrees. No electric needed!

I'm so looking forward to the end of this week. We'll have a ton of people here on Thursday and for that we're thankful. Mostly relatives, but friends that feel like relatives too. It usually starts early and ends late.

And! Then I get to see some other VIP family members after that! Throw in a "Nutcracker" performance with the girls and... (happy sigh)

But first... I must be too busy. Doing too much. In too little time. Happy Thankfulness to you and yours...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Chairman's Favorite Granola

8 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick)
3 cups nuts (I used about 1 cup sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, and chopped pecans)
1/2 bag coconut
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup canola (or other kind) of oil
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup Craisens

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large bowl mix the oats, nuts, coconut, wheat germ, brown
sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk in extracts.

Pour liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with spoon. Finish mixing with hands if you need to. Spread onto two 15X10 baking pans.

Bake 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Transfer granola to a rack to cool. Add the dried fruit if you want (I do 1/2 with the fruit, 1/2 without). Put in airtight containers or bags and enjoy!

(I told the Chairman that I had mentioned the granola on yesterday's post and he asked, 'did you tell them it was the best granola I've ever eaten?). Of course not! I'm (cough, ahem) too modest for that...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

* Sigh. It must be the weather. Or my mostly dull week. Or... ? But the best word that describe me right now is blasé. Being a 'housewife' can be really dull.

* Gearing up for a big turkey day next week! We expect 33 here around our table(s). That in itself should keep me from being blasé, right?

* My creative first daughter had leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast. She usually has come down to the counter in the morning dreading what was ahead for breakfast. Now I just give her leftovers and she's eating way more in the morning that she ever has. But it goes against every tried-and-true, dyed-in-the-wool feeling I have of what breakfast 'should' be.

* I've been doing an experiment this week. No computer for the kids unless it has to do with homework or games from their school's website. And guess what? They are happier! Less moody! Playing games! I struggle with knowing how much they should really 'play' on the computer. Usually they are a pile of cranks when their time is up. This experiment has been very telling to me.

* There are different ways to show a love and care for someone. Mine was represented in a big batch of homemade granola yesterday. I concocted several recipes together and... well... yum! It is way cheaper (and tastier!) to make it yourself than to buy.

* How do you other mom's (or brilliant minds that have a suggestion) handle allowances and chores around the house. The kids have basic responsibilities around the house (ie., put clean clothes away, take out garbage, help in kitchen), but I've not done a real 'chore chart' in a long time. Nor been great about giving allowance for jobs. What works??? Sometimes I feel so very new at this parenting thing... and I think the older the kids get, the less I know!

* Hoping the blasé leaves me and soon!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Ugh. It was rough. Yuck. Ouch. But I better get some background to you first. Hi there all you dog and non-dog (gasp is this possible?) loving people out there. This is your ol' pal Lisi again. I usually like to tell stories about when I'm naughty. It is usually good for a laugh. It makes the big lady that yells but loves me anyway very tense. And crabby. But this time I worried her a lot.

You see yesterday afternoon the car came home early. Man I love that guy. He's big and he rarely yells. And he takes me for the best walks ever. We head out further than the big lady does (and she even sometimes yells on my walks!). He was saying something to the little people around here and then! They were scurrying to get jackets and shoes on! Really? He's going with them for a walk! And I get to go too! Lucky lucky me. And so we headed off for the woods. The big love able guy and the little people were playing hide and seek in the woods. It's great fun, but usually the little people yell at me when I go stand by them behind a tree. Hey! I like to play too you know! Then we kept walking through the crunchy leaves. I chased a couple of squirrels. And then we headed out by a big cornfield. The bigger little kid and the smaller little kid were throwing these yellow things up in the air and then it would rain down on us. I started to catch them with my tongue like I do snowflakes. Except I would swallow them. I did this for awhile and then they threw up a big thing and I ate that too. After awhile, we headed for home. Then I started to feel rumblies in my tumbly. Oh boy. I didn't feel good. We got back when the big lady did. She took one look at me and asked if something was wrong. The big guy that doesn't yell so much said I had been eating some corn. The big lady started to look worried and I started to feel sicker. She was busy in the kitchen. The big guy was busy with the little people and I felt sick. Like... I've got to throw up this instant and so I did. On a little rug. In just moments the big guy that doesn't yell was yelling. "OH NO! OH NO! LINDA!". The big lady comes over and looks and ushers me outside very quickly. For yuck. I felt terrible. Not because of the rug. Why you ask? Because I'm a dog and we don't give a lick about rugs or keeping them clean. I felt terrible because, well, I felt terrible. And so I puked a lot more times.

The big lady was looking anxious and worried. She was talking to the big guy and saying things like obstructed intestines (what in the dickens is that?). And so she would keep coming out into the garage and stare and me. Murmur sweet words of comfort (although I have no clue what they were). And pet me softly on my sore belly. She really loves me even though she yells. Then she left me there for the night. The big guy came out much later in the night to check on me. But you know what? I started to feel better.

And this morning? It was great. The big lady came rushing out to look at me again. She brought me rice and meat mixed together. She watched me to make sure I went potty (can't a girl get a little privacy around here?). And after I went I could tell she was happy (isn't that weird that someone would be so happy to see you do your business?). And then we went for a walk and I had a drink and I chased a ball and life is good again!

And so... I didn't learn my lesson. You see we dogs have brains that aren't big in cause and effect. So if you see me in a cornfield munching away, please stop me and try to remind me that I'm not a deer or a cow or a pig. And dogs shouldn't be doing that!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wed. without wonder

* Lisi got a new toy. This time without stuffing. Neat idea, eh? It's a buffalo with five squeakers. An early birthday present if you will... She's very happy.

* I found a tooth. Did some deep cleaning yesterday since the window cleaners were here. I'm not sure why. But I dug behind one hutch to wipe it down and out comes a tooth! Not just any tooth. One of my kids' teeth! That's something you don't find every day.

* The Chairman left for a bit over 24 hours and should be home tonight. It was a thrill to get a text picture last night of Times Square with an endearing message.

* Rayna's basketball team keeps winning. And I keep hooting and hollering like a crazy lady cheering from the stands.

* I've been quite riveted with a blog that is written by someone I don't even know. The baby has had heart trouble and it is so interesting to follow their journey.

* Since the Chairman was away, I allowed a child to sleep with me last night. As Jerry Seinfeld said once, it's like sleeping with a laundry bag with a live collie inside.

* Trevor has been telling me about "Honey Buns". I thought it was a term of endearment. Then he said he was trading (his perfectly healthy lunch choices I packed for him) for a "Honey Bun". So finally I ask what they are and he's describing it to me. Well at the store I see them. Lo and behold they are Little Debbie breakfast snacks. I scan the nutrition label, shudder, and then buy them to see a little kid smile big today. But... I doubt they are regulars in my shopping cart.
* And finally... how old is too old to have a security blanket? We're having issues. Or maybe not.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mundane Monday

* But I like them. It's quiet. I can get the house back in order. The laundry done and stacked in neat piles. And be ready for the chaos that erupts again in 7 hours.

* Trevor caught a big one! His good friend Denver came over on Friday and spent the night. Saturday afternoon I took them to 'the dam' a few minutes away. Told the boys to come get me if they need something. I settle in with the newspaper and quietness and 10 minutes later Denver walks up and says, 'you should come see the fish Trevor caught'. (insert heavy sigh... ok, sure) and there it was! A 29" northern! It caused quite a stir in the fishing world there at the pond. And the smile on T's face was great. I didn't have my camera and so there's no picture to share. Only the measurement that someone did for us.

* Rayna still wants non-breakfast food for breakfast. Today was a cold meatball left over from yesterday's spaghetti. T&M look at her like she's really disgusting. In fact, me too. But what is wrong with it? It's usually nutritious. And she's eating.

* Mira told me the other day that she loves homemade bread and toast so much that she's coming over every morning for breakfast no matter how old she gets. Um... why don't you learn how to make it yourself and then you don't have to come over? What's that saying about not giving them fish but teaching them how to fish?

* Windows are all getting washed in and out tomorrow and not by me! Maybe we'll have a brighter outlook!

* Is there any reason why I'm getting unsolicited e-mails from AARP?

* Are any of you brand-loyal to certain products? I seem to always buy Dawn dish soap. Or Cheer powder (because it's a great value from Sam's), or Pantene shampoo. Anyone have suggestions on the best... whatever?

* I kinda created a family favorite that is super-simple. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning. Add either cooked regular rice, or add more water and throw in a half-cup or so of Minute rice. Also a drained can of kidney or black beans. And after that simmers a few minutes throw in about a cup of shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand). Let warm for about five minutes and serve with crushed tortilla chips and shredded lettuce, tomato, salsa on top. It's very easy and yum for our family.

* I better get a move on it or the chaos will be here before the jobs are done.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I see each day

Trying to do a self portrait. All I got was a juicy kiss.
Yes Lisi... that's better. But my eyes are buggy!
And we're off!
Pond #1
the path
Makes me think of SD...

this is "The Tree" where I peeked from behind watching Mr. Undertaker look for his body
Into the woods we go

Pretty in the dappled sun
They think the winter will be long!
I like this part
The leaves were so pretty and crunchy
The cornfield at the edge of the woods
A full-court basketball deal that converts to hockey come winter (nice, eh?)
Pond #2. Geese! The chase is on.
And they're off! Thanks to our swimming dog.
A 'friend' that watches us each day
Home again!

Most of you know I'm a walker... and since I'm not very original, I stole this idea from another blog. I took my camera today to show you what I see nearly every day. (I'm not nearly as good of a photographer, but oh well.) The weather changes daily. The seasons change. The smells. The wind. And I love it! I feel more relaxed once my walk is done.

And for all you dog-tolerant only people, sorry that Lisi is in so many of the shots. I tried to not have her in some, but that's what I see on the path. And for all you dog-lovers, I took some of her just for fun.

So sit back and enjoy the journey. I sure did!

The best choice in the Chairman

It was the best choice for me. And I think know the best choice for the Chairman. You see 15 years ago on this date, we vowed that we'd stick with each other for better or worse... as we walked life's pathway together (real words from our vows!). It feels like nearly a lifetime. And it feels like just a few years. We've been through the best, the worst, and a lot of ordinary days. And I am thankful I've had a Chairman at my side. Life is easier that way. You feel protected, loved, and respected. And me? I'm just the sidekick that feeds the flock, tidies up when it is messy, soothe some real and imaginary wounds, and be a helpmate to the one I love. Yes, it was the best choice. Lucky us.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Post Halloween...

* Again a huge highlight for the kids. We had two 'witches' and a paintball player.
* The weather was frightful. Cold with wind. I was happy to stay home and pass out our loot.
* Lisi wore her Halloween bandana. I can't find costumes for her size without spending too much. Plus she'd probably just chew it off anyway.
* Most the fun isn't really the candy. It is sorting the candy. By shapes, sizes, colors, types. Then trading the 'icky' stuff. Trying to make brownie points with mom and giving her Twix bars (thanks R. for the full size one!).
* Two friends came along with us. I think they'll have cavities to show for their efforts.
* The costumes this year overall were just average. The cutest to me was a 2-year old little Army boy.
* Because of large lots, a lot of parents drive their cars on their lawnmower tractors or pulling them in a wagon behind. There was even a decorated golf cart!
* They need to shorten the length of trick or treating. Ours is from 4-7 but it is really wrapped up by 6:30.
* Anything over two pieces makes me feel bloated. I'll try for three today.

And completely unrelated to Halloween. You see Lisi is a dreadful pack rat. She loves toys of any kind. Her favorite thing really is to drag out all the milk cartons from the recycle bin and chew them down flat. Her stuffed toys have no stuffing and then she drags them all over the yard. She has a fleece dog bed that ends up in the driveway most days. It would look like a garbage dump if we let her. And then there's bones. I buy round beef bones at the meat counter for cheap. Cook them awhile and freeze them and pull them out every once in awhile. More cost-effective than buying at the pet store. But then there's an assortment of bones in the yard. Bone-yard if you will. And so on Saturday, the Chairman is trying to clean up the yard. He gathers up all the bones and puts them in a plastic bin (on the garage floor). Then as he was telling me to stop giving her bones, Lisi is hauling them right back out into the yard behind the Chairman's back. Oh dear.