Jul 272011
 

My kids like to paint. I like to paint. It’s not a coincidence that so many of the pictures I post here are of kiddos…covered in paint. My babies paint with water and my toddlers paint with ketchup and mustard. And once the paint brush stops going into the mouth…everyone gets big messy globs of washable, water based paint. And we paint and we paint and we paint.

But even big messy globs of brightly colored paint can get boring. And water color paper is a little expensive…especially considering that most of my kids’ masterpieces will end up in the trash (I have a 24 hour rule for displaying and saving crafts…except for the occasional one that so-and-so is especially proud of).

So on Monday, I let everyone paint my dishes.

Which gave me bonus points for coolness (which you can never have enough of as a mom).

And I gave myself a little pat on the back. Bonus points for easy clean up, too.

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 July 27, 2011  Homeschooling Comments Off
Jul 252011
 

You like sleeping late…or sleeping at all.

You suffer from insomnia that is otherwise known as late night movies and pie.

You require an entire half of a Queen sized bed.

You have convinced yourself that you’re patient.

You do not [know you] have a problem with anger.

You like money…especially when you’re spending it on yourself.

You want to go on thinking you’re a good person.

or

You’ve decided to blame your parents’ mistakes for your weaknesses.

“Handmade” clashes with your decor.

Crumbs on the carpet make you cringe.

or

You’re not familiar with the five second rule.

You think you’re spontaneous.

and

Your body is a temple, but it might also be an idol.

Stretching, growing, and being painfully transformed into the image of Jesus is not your idea of a good time.

Do have children if this makes you smile. Cause nobody is ever ready until after the blessings come.

Children change you.

If you let the Father work, that change is for the better.

 

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 July 25, 2011  Mommyhood, Photo Posts Comments Off
Jul 232011
 

Egg drop soup is one of my very favorite soups. But until I was inspired by a sweet friend last winter, I had never made it at home. Now, it’s one of my favorite concepts to play with (soup wise). Too bad it’s not very photogenic.

Through the great people at BlogHer, I learned about a new Knorr product and was given the opportunity to try it. The product is Knorr Homestyle Stock.

Now, y’all know that I’m a from scratch girl for everything from my BBQ sauce to my salsa, and I very rarely use bullion or store bought chicken stock. But lately, well, I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that my standards have fallen below my own bar. And if it simplifies my life, I’m certainly willing to give it a try (especially if it’s free!). It might not be a rave review to suggest that this product exceeded my expectations (since they were pretty low to begin with), but let me say that it far exceeded them.

I’m actually going to use the word good. It tasted good.

The concentrated stock comes in little containers…like applesauce or pudding, only smaller. Each container makes 3 and 1/2 cups of broth, so it’s a space saver if you normally buy the large container of ready to use broth. It’s also a space saver if you normally store large bags of homemade stock in your freezer. Though, no, it’s not as good as homemade.

But oh, holy moly, it’s SO easy!

For the egg drop soup, I sauteed a few scallions in a stock pot with just enough veggie oil to coat the pan. When the scallions began to stick to the pan, I deglazed the bottom with two tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. Then, I whisked in the concentrated stock and three and a half cups of hot water. I seasoned the broth with one tablespoon of soy sauce and then brought the stock to a rapid boil before drizzling in two well beaten eggs. I garnished each bowl with scallion tops and served the soup piping hot. One container of concentrated stock made enough soup to serve two people (or four people as an appetizer).

If you try it, let me know what you think!

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 July 23, 2011  Foody Friday Comments Off
Jul 222011
 

There is a secret carried by many, many Christians. I know that many is the correct term, because I, personally, hear from such a large number of them. That secret is depression. We’re depressed. Not blue. Not in need of a spa day or a good night’s sleep. Depressed. At times, we’re even suicidal. We cry ourselves to sleep at night and can think of no good reason to get up in the morning (even though there always are good reasons). This depression is not lessened, somehow, by the fact that we know Jesus. Actually, it’s amplified, because we know that our depression is selfish and inwardly focused. We know that depression is diametrically opposed to our God and our salvation.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

But we don’t always feel that way. And when we don’t feel that way, we’re flooded by thoughts of guilt.

For me, my two battles with depression have both been initiated by something big. My first battle began in my late teens after a few years of suffering from a painful and debilitating illness. I have a fairly decent pain tolerance, it seems…both for physical and emotional pain. But once I lose my footing and succumb to the waves, I find it very difficult to get back up. At that time, depression climaxed in a downed handful of little blue pills. God saved my life that night without so much as a trip to the hospital, and I wasn’t surprised. Deep down, I think I knew that I wasn’t swallowing enough to kill me. Maybe I hoped that an ER run would reveal the weakness that I was carefully bred not to speak about. But a quick meeting of my head with the toilet solved the problem, quietly and discretely, and I continued to hold my desperation to myself. I eventually surfaced from the waves, just a very short time before God chose to heal me, in fact. And I’ve had little more than a really bad day, maybe even “a really rough week,” until just a few months ago.

About two months ago, maybe closer to three, I went underwater. I didn’t see it coming, as I’d had days of bobbing and thrashing but had always found my footing in Christ and had never fully submerged. But after several weeks of drowning and yet somehow remaining alive, I feel that the only thing left to do is to talk about it. So here I am.

Yesterday, I woke up sick. I decided to drive the kiddos the forty-five minutes to McDonald’s as a way of saving all of our lives. I’m exaggerating of course, but only slightly, because my mothering style could have been described as monstrous. A straight jacket or a seat belt, sometimes their uses are the same.

I ended up driving all over town because I was determined to find dressers for my bedroom. I didn’t find anything in my price range, but I did succeed in wearing myself out and coveting some really gorgeous antique pieces that I never even knew I wanted.

Before McDonald’s, we stopped by Wal-Mart. I snapped and growled in front of perfect strangers for the first time in my entire parenting life. And I wasn’t even embarrassed…though I was having an out of body experience and yelling, “WHAT is wrong with you?!?” down at the weary mother whose face closely resembled what I’ve always imagined I’d look like around sixty.

Of course, the faster I approached insanity, the more my children scattered in different directions and transformed into the children that I’ve often witnessed in Wal-Mart but have never had the distinct displeasure of escorting. By the time we reached McDonald’s, I was parking and entering for one reason and one reason alone: iced, sugary coffee.

I pointed the kids in the direction of the PlayPlace, and I went to the counter to order parfaits and chicken nuggets. There were a couple of people ahead of me in line, and about the time it was my turn, I turned toward the glass to see Baby Bear, one shoe off and one shoe on, tugging at his diaper and yelling, “Poopoo! I have to go poo poo!”

He’s not completely potty trained, but he has developed an understanding and excitement for the potty treat. I ran to him, hoping I’d made it in time. He was still screaming and not stinking; so, I scooped him up and ran him toward the bathroom. There was a sign on the door indicating that it was out of order. This caused me to panic, because the other bathrooms are not in view of the PlayPlace. All of the big kids were inside the tubes, so I made a quick decision and I ran toward the back of the restaurant.

As it turned out, those seconds of agonizing were for naught, because all of the bathrooms were out of order. The manager approached me and explained that someone had hit the water main and there wasn’t any water. No water. No bathrooms. No coffee. No soda. No happiness.

I carried Baby Bear back to the PlayPlace, and I sat down on the playground floor. He begged me to take him to the bathroom, but because I was unsure of how far I’d have to drive to find a working one, I begged him to go in his diaper. Tears ran down my face as I repeatedly offered him a potty treat for not going in the potty.

A happy woman seated directly across from my meltdown explained that her two year old daughter was in the same boat. Her daughter was not panicking, however. The woman handed me a postcard for her church on her way out the door. Being witnessed to has a funny way of making you feel terrible about yourself…when you’ve been a Christian for nearly thirty years. Still, I was grateful that someone was in McDonald’s doing right.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to snap me out of this spiral, but I think admitting that it’s happening is probably key. This morning, I scrubbed down my entire kitchen and I didn’t sleep as late as I could have.

Perhaps confession and old fashioned bootsrap pulling will do some good.

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 July 22, 2011  It Actually Happened Comments Off
Jul 162011
 

Have you ever made someone so mad that they shook violently and screamed at you…and they screamed so loudly that they made themselves hoarse in under two minutes?

Well, I have.

Let me go back to the beginning. You see, it all started when I decided that I needed a vacation. Dr. Marvin is my personal psychiatrist. I did need a vacation, but I couldn’t afford a vacation. So, I headed to my mother-in-law’s.

The kids and I had a great time relaxing and hanging out with Grammie. But then Grammie went on vacation.

We didn’t scare her off. She’d already bought her ticket.

So, brother-in-law and I were left to house-sit the house and babysit the dog. And everything went off without a hitch. Everyone got along (even Mom’s big dog and my little dog), the house didn’t burn down and we fit in two fantastic trips to the beach/lake.

The second beach trip was on Friday. I planned to leave on Saturday. My sun/heat “issue” took over by late Friday night and I went to bed feeling like I’d been hit by and then backed over by a double decker bus. It wasn’t pretty. I don’t even think I washed my face. The kids were bunking with their cousin and I shoved Mackey into his kennel and hit the pillow. Hard.

Here’s the part I haven’t told you. You see, Mom’s dog is a collie. Lassie is not her real name, but I’ll protect what’s left of her innocence here. Lassie thinks that Timmy is in the well. All. Day. Long. In fact, every time Lassie is put outside, she loudly and persistently proclaims Timmy’s troubles. What I didn’t know is that this had, in the past, become an issue with the neighbors.

At 5:45 on Saturday morning, Lassie became an issue with me. She bounded up the stairs and found Mackey (lazy, lazy puppy…my Dad is convinced that he is really nine years old) asleep in his kennel. And then, she barked until she woke him. Once awake, he had to pee (just like me). And apparently, even at 5:45 am, he values peeing above sleeping (unlike me).

I put the pillow over my still throbbing head and I tried to make the world go away. I whined at the clock to stop ticking and I had a few choice words for both dogs. Somewhere around six in the morning, I grumbled my way downstairs, and I let both dogs outside.

Then, I climbed the stairs to my room. I laid my nearly comatose self down in my bed…again. I heard one bark over the fan that was humming in my bedroom. I could hear her, so I’d know when to let her back in. Is there such a thing as a famous last thought? If so, that was mine. Because the fan lulled me back to sleep, and what woke me was not a barking dog.

It was the doorbell.

It was seven o’clock on a Saturday morning, so the doorbell was a mystery to me. I climbed out of bed and I went to the balcony to confront the very rapid doorbell ringer. “Who is down there?” I groaned.

And, that’s when I saw her: The tannest woman with the deepest frown lines I have ever seen walking an extremely well behaved little Shih Tzu. And this woman wasn’t very happy was, without exception, the angriest person I have ever met in my entire life.

She screamed and shook, shook and screamed, about how she’d been woken every morning that week (which simply isn’t true because Saturday was the only morning I’d woken before seven-thirty or been completely unaware of my surroundings). I don’t think I’ll ever forget her painful and repetitive shrieking of,

“My God, it’s Saturday…IT’S SAAAAATUUURDAAAAAY!!!!”

I felt terrible. I apologized and apologized for my mistake, explaining that I’d been a little sick and that I simply hadn’t heard anything over the fan. I couldn’t believe I had met someone who needed sleep even more than I did, and I might have tried to hug her if she hadn’t been….you know…

TERRIFYING.

She called the cops, and now my mother-in-law has to deal with the aftermath. Which is just never good. You know, as great as she is, it should always, always be the legitimate kids who mess up and anger the neighbors into calling the cops.

It should never, ever be the daughter-in-law.

Never, ever.

On a related note, I now have a new worst way to wake up. It puts being hit in the eye by a Dr. Seuss book into perspective. At least for me.

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 July 16, 2011  It Actually Happened Comments Off
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