Friday, August 29, 2008

Crowd Pleaser

Last night I hosted Bunco at my house. For those who don't know, it's a game played with 12 people and involves rolling dice. Honestly, if you can roll dice, you can play this. Everyone in the group takes a turn hosting, providing dinner and drinks for the entire group. Since you only do it once a year, it works out pretty well. This is my one night a month I can forget about everything going on in my life and just have fun.

(This would be, by the way, the reason I've not been blogging much this week. I had to get my house ready and make all the food for these ladies. Plus, it was my first time hosting so I had to put my best face forward.)

On the menu:

The theme was a cocktail party so I tried to do lots of little things that you might find at a party, only punched up a bit. Almost everything got eaten and we all had such a fun time. I wish I had taken pictures of all the food but it got eaten too fast!

The biggest hit was the crostata. I've never made one before and now I'm hooked on them. It was so, so easy and extremely yummy. You really can't go wrong when mushrooms, bacon, and cheese are involved. And I'm not a homemade crust maker but this was so easy and turned out great. You will not be disappointed should you decide to try it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Holding Her Own

One preschooler + one baby + one stroller - one umbrella = waiting with other moms (and a dad), to allow the rain/torrential down pour to let up. The rain started just as I got L into her class room.

This was actually a good thing because I was able to talk to some of the other mamas in the class. I don't often get to do this with them because I drop off L as early as possible due to scheduling. However, these other mamas are usually late to arrive so I don't get to see them.

As is common (actually it's more like a law), the conversation turned to our children. The lone dad in the group was saying that his son, J, is a middle child and shy, taking his time getting to know everyone. J is new to the school this year. Another mom said that her child, also a middle, was the same way: very quiet, very deliberate, and takes awhile to warm up to new situations.

And then there's L. Again a middle child but nothing like the ones described above. I made the comment that L is the complete opposite and the dad said, "That's L? She's your daughter? I've heard about L. We know all about her." This from the father of a child who has known L for all of 3 days. I think she's doing just fine as one of 4 girls in a class of 13.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Down Came the Rain

As is common this time of year, we have pop-up thunderstorms in the afternoon. Although they do happen at other times of the day, they are most common in the afternoon. A friend of mine was over with her kids and commented that it was raining in the back yard but still sunny. When we looked out the front, however, there was no rain.

I looked in my neighbor's back yard, no rain. In the side yard, no rain. It was, literally, just raining in our back yard. For about 10 minutes. It was the one of the oddest things I've ever seen!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mrs. Whiting

With K starting first grade, I've been thinking a lot about my own experience in first grade. I was talking with a friend recently who said that you may not remember all of your teachers but you do remember your first grade teacher. Now while I might remember all of their names, I don't necessarily remember lots of details of my elementary life. But I remember Mrs. Whiting.

Mrs. Whiting was Cinderella in the flesh. She was just out of college, newly married, and beautiful. She had long blond hair, blue eyes, and gorgeous tan skin. Every girl in that class wanted to be her and the boys, though young, loved her. Plus she was an excellent teacher.

I recall being made to stay inside from recess because I rushed to finish my work and did a very poor job of it. My goal was to beat my friend Natalie because she always seemed to finish first. Competition started early for me. (I did beat her, by the way.)

Mrs. Whiting read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and other classics to us at the end of each day. It instilled in me a love of reading that I still have today. (Alas, this did not carry over into middle and high school as I didn't really read every book that was assigned to me. While I love reading for pleasure, required reading isn't my forte.)

So here's to Mrs. Whiting, my fabulous first grade teacher!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lest We Forget

It was L's first day, too!

First Grade

Early to rise
Hearty breakfast
Choosing the perfect outfit
Fixing hair
Lots of pictures
Finding the proper seat
First day of first grade

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Inquiring Minds

Last night we did something we've never done as a family: we went bowling. I should tell you that I really detest bowling. I have never liked it and the last time I actually bowled a frame was in junior high. I scored an 83. And that was the end of my bowling career.

A friend informed us that they and several other families were going to dinner and bowling as one last hurrah before school starts. And it was so much fun. Dinner was great and the bowling even more fun. I didn't bowl (neither did H) but S and the girls did. My excuse was that someone had to help K and L.

So what does this have to do with an inquiring mind? Well that incident happened on the way to dinner. S and I were talking when K piped up and asked, "Daddy? When you're away do you tell people about God?" Both S and I were taken aback, not able to speak as if the wind had been knocked out of us.

We have prayed, from the time I was pregnant with K, that she, and all of our children, would have hearts for God, that they wouldn't know a time they didn't know the Lord. I looked at S, wanting to hear his answer. There aren't a lot of opportunities for witness with coworkers in today's society but I know that he has shown his faith as best he can. He did his best to explain this to K and it seemed to satisfy her.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Romans 1:16

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Little Nostalgia

I found this picture of K taken a couple of months before she turned two. She was helping Daddy do some yard work. I see a lot of H in her!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Treasured Moments

Yesterday was a rough day for L. K had a friend over to play and poor L kept getting left out. I'm pretty sure she spent 80% of her time crying about one thing or another. It just wasn't her day. I did tell the older girls to allow her to play with them and to their credit, they did. However, when L would suggest something to do, the other girls didn't want to play along. It just generally wasn't her day.

I had a school board meeting last night (did I mention I'm on the board of our little Christian school?) and when I got home the house was dark, the kids were asleep (or so I thought), and S was catching up on some work. As I was closing the back door I heard a tiny voice say, "Mama?" followed by little feet slapping the hard wood floor in the hall. A pitiful face peered out from around the corner.

She didn't have to say anything because I knew exactly how she felt. She proceeded to tell me that I needed to come to her room to sing with her, something I do with the girls every night. However, K was already asleep and I didn't want to wake her. I scooped L up and sat on the sofa with her for just a few minutes. I asked her, "You had a rough day, didn't you?"

"Yeah, K and K2 wouldn't play with me because K2 didn't want to get on my bed and play with me."

"Sometimes we get left out, don't we?"


It was probably the most pitiful conversation I've ever had with her. So we just sat there, in silence, L sitting on my lap, resting her head on my shoulder. I carried her back to bed a few moments later, gently placing her in the comfort of her sheets and stuffed animal friends.

When it seems like the kids have been going crazy and are driving me nuts, these are the moments I treasure.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time for School! Time for School!

So school starts a week from today. I can't believe summer is drawing to a close so fast! I'm preparing myself for a whirlwind of activity and the everyday commute to get both K and L to school. I'm also looking forward to some time alone with H. He gets bigger everyday and it's not going to be long before he's going to school, too.

I've resigned myself to the fact that I have a first grader. I don't feel old enough to have a first grader! The supplies have been purchased, the clothes washed and hung up, uniforms ready to go for the first day.

K and L are more than ready for school to start. When I told L that we had to go to church twice before school started, she asked, on the way home from church yesterday, if we were going to church the next day (that's her way of saying tomorrow). She's definitely ready. A woman at the gym today commented that L is an independent spirit. I would concur.

H is still crawling and saying "no" a lot but he's added "no way" to his repertoire. He also knows the word mouth and will open his when you ask, "Where's your mouth?" My child, he is gifted. But you already knew that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Have any of you ever tried quinoa? I first heard of it right after S and I got married. A friend's mother found she was allergic to gluten and had to go on a gluten-free diet. She (the friend) brought leftover quinoa to work one day. It's a grain very high in protein and perfect for those who have wheat or gluten allergies. I bought some a while back and decided to try it at home.

It's easy to prepare, pretty much like cooking rice. You can do a lot with it, too, even substituting it for rice in some cases. It has a much nuttier flavor than rice, almost an earthy feel with its golden wheat color. I fixed it last night with some cheese to appease the children, praying they would be open to trying something new.

Believe it or not, they loved it. Even H wanted seconds. I slightly overcooked it and it had just a slightly rougher texture than grits. Since H loves grits with cheese, he loved it and fussed until I got more in his mouth. The girls ate it, too, although not as willingly. L was the most timid and usually is about trying new things. In the end, she ate all that was put on her plate and not a grain more.

You really can do a lot with it and there are even some recipes in the box just waiting to be tried. I encourage you to try something new, some new food that you've never had before. You may end up really liking it!

Monday, August 4, 2008


As a little girl, one of my favorite snacks was a mayonnaise sandwich. And it couldn't be anything other than Hellmann's. It's the only one that tastes right. I even ate the sandwich on white bread. That is, of course, until my grandfather told me that was gross and made me put a piece of lettuce on it. Right. Like that's going to make it healthier.

Since my mom and I didn't have a whole lot of money, we would sometimes have odd things for dinner. One of our favorites was steamed artichokes. Sometimes we'd share, sometimes we'd get our own. And these are just plain old steamed artichokes. I loved the silky feel on my tongue as I scraped the meat on the leaf of the choke off with my teeth. Of course, you must have something in which to dip said artichoke. Our dip of choice? Mayonnaise. Oh it was so good.

The other day I found artichokes on sale and bought two of them. I had one for lunch today and it brought back a flood of memories. I had to settle for low-fat, low-cholesterol mayo which isn't my favorite. But as I pulled each leaf off and dove into the tiny piece of meat at the bottom, I felt like I was sitting at my mom's table, sharing a wonderful treat with her.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

One More L-ism

Nana recently told L that there are no flies on her, being that L isn't one miss anything going on around her. L said, "I don't have any mosquitoes on me either!"

Pushing Buttons

The other day Gran (S's mom) and I had to take a day trip to a nearby town to pick up pants S had altered in a nearby town. Since our small town doesn't exactly have this particular store we were forced to another town. It's really not that big a deal and Gran and I set off with 3 kids in tow.

Ever since we got our new car, L and K have been sitting in the third row and usually get along quite nicely. Well, Wednesday was an extreme exception. I don't know if it's too much time together and they need a break from being together or if it's their ages but something's got to give. I spent the first half of the trip attempting to break up fights, threatening to pull the car over, telling both of them that they were pushing each other's buttons. I was forced to stop half way there, partially to break them up and partially to stop at a really cute shop. K got moved to the middle row next to H but was, tragically, in front of L.

Better but not perfect, we trudged on to our destination. As the girls were both in a mood, L just couldn't let things go and kept putting her hands on K's chair. I was forced to break it up and threaten L within an inch of her life. K wasn't exactly making life easy, either. L's response to the whole thing?

"I'm just pushing buttons."