Would you like to translate this into another language?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quick Breakfasts - 30+ Ideas

I'm on a new quest....

I have quit buying breakfast cereals.  They're expensive, and I haven't been using coupons lately.  To be honest, I feel guilty feeding them to my family.  I, personally, am a leftover type of girl.  I will pretty much eat anything for breakfast--the easier the better--pizza, left over spaghetti, whatever....My family, most of them, don't do things the way I do.  So, it's for them, that I have embarked on this quest.

I buy granola in the bulk food section of the store, but my family loves it so much that it's gone so quickly; best when stirred into yogurt.  We eat oatmeal frequently.  #6 very often runs out the door with a paper cup full of oatmeal and a plastic spoon.  Half of the family leaves by 7:10am, so whatever we eat has to be prepared early and quickly.

My hope was to end up at least 30 options.  I think I've ended up with a few extra.  Enjoy!

Things that go together rather quickly:
  • fruit and yogurt parfait - layer berries or chopped up fruit with any flavor of yogurt in a cup.
  • yogurt and granola
  • hard boiled eggs - make ahead and have on hand.  We mark our hard boiled eggs with an "x" in pencil on the shell, so we can assure that it's not a raw egg.
  • scrambled eggs - throw in veggies or cheese.
  • French toast in a mug
  • smoothie - you can throw pretty much anything you like in a blender along with a little bit of milk, blend it up, and you have a smoothie.  Freeze bananas, blueberries, peaches, etc. to throw in, or use fresh fruit and ice.  You can also throw in a tablespoon or two of frozen apple or orange juice concentrate for a bit more sweetness or sprinkle a bit of cinnamon in for a bit of spice.
  • oatmeal - throw in brown sugar and a little bit of milk.  Add a bit of pumpkin pie spice--my kids love it.
  • English muffins - topped with whatever you like or make into a sandwich with ham and eggs.
  • bagels - with peanut butter or cream cheese and /or jam.  I like my cream cheese softened in the microwave for a few seconds until creamy on a toasted bagel.  Yum!
  • fruit and cheese - or anything and cheese.  Seriously, how can you go wrong with cheese?  Can you tell I'm an addict?
  • scones - Rhodes rolls left to rise overnight, flatten and deep fry; top w/jam or make elephant ears by sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar.
  • poached egg on toast - fry an egg in a bit of water (1/4 C. or so), cover and let simmer until the white of the egg is no longer gushy.  Butter a piece of toast and put the egg on top.
  • rice sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and a bit of milk
  • toast topped with whatever you like


Things to have ready in the freezer (throw them in the toaster or microwave, and voila!):

Other items to premake that don't require a toaster:
  • muffins (make them yourself the night before or buy the muffins at the store)
  • banana bread (I've linked you to my favorite)
  • zucchini bread (there's a really good recipe in the Madhouse cookbook)
  • pumpkin bread
  • ...you get the idea.

A Great Quote

This is so very true.....

LDS Scriptures - Quote

Thinking of my daughter's most recent blog post....Why are we so out to get ourselves on a daily basis?

The goal: Make choices that will help you and all those around you succeed today.

Our futures could depend on it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Commandment #5 - Act as If

When I first found The Happiness Project, I started that night to create my own twelve commandments.  Little by little, I'm explaining each.  Here we are at number five.

Gretchen Rubin, the writer of The Happiness Project, says that one of the things you can do to help create your own commandments is to think of phrases that have stuck with you.  This commandment is courtesy of my dad.  I would actually call this my dad's catch phrase.  I mean, if someone were to come up to me and ask me what my dad's parenting phrase was, I'd say this...

"Act as if."

...which I guess is very similar to "fake it til you make it."

There have been a few times in my life when I've found myself in really uncomfortable situations, and I remembered and used my dad's words, and it changed the situation completely.

The first was my first semester at BYU.  I was the only Freshman I knew there.  I had an upper classman friend or two, but they lived off campus.  Having lived in the same house since I was three and attending school with the same people my entire growing up, I was in a completely new world.  I had to learn how to make friends starting from scratch.

One night as I walked out on the quad and passed the statue of Brigham Young, it hit me--not that Brigham Young has anything to do with this story, but just that the idea was so stark that I remember exactly where I was when it happened.  I decided that I had to "act as if" and put a smile on my face and pretend that I was happy.

It worked.

There's much more to that story, and I met one of my dearest friends that night, and we're still in touch after all these years, but that's an entire post in and of itself, so that'll wait for another time.

The other time was when we (four sisters and five elders) received our first assignments in the mission field.  Those first days in the mission home, I decided to have a good attitude no matter what.

When we got our assignments at breakfast the last morning in the mission home, I learned that I was heading to Aomori and would spend the entire day on the train and have two transfers.  I would have all of my luggage with me and would have to make it alone.  The other missionaries (most of them) were going fairly close by--an hour or two away at the most.  I was traveling farthest.

To be honest, I was petrified--what if I got lost?  What if I couldn't read a sign or failed to get off the train at the right place?  How would I communicate and get myself back on track?  No one knew that I was having these thoughts.  I had already decided that I wasn't going to let the worry get the best of me.  I said only positive things, and my demeanor followed suit.  It ended up being a fun adventure.

So, here's the bottom line...If you don't want to do something, act as if you do.  If you don't particularly care for someone, act as if you do.  The amazing thing is, from what I've experienced with this rule, if you can make yourself believe it, it comes to pass.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Menu Plan #3

HaHa!  I don't know if I ever posted about menu plan #2, but it happened (I'll make sure to finish it and post it later--it's been a busy week).  This past week's menu plan was great.  The only snag was that the the Warden LOVES to cook, and I had to encourage him a couple times to step back and let the kids suffer through it a little bit.

#1 even went out of town this week, but she got her food (sweet and sour meatballs) put in the crockpot on Thursday night and got the rice done in the rice cooker, so it could all cook on Friday and be ready for the rest of us Friday night.  Kind of a nice little dealio.

Here's the plan for the upcoming week....

Saturday (today):
#2 wanted to make Polish hot dogs (like Costco has) and salad.  I told him he couldn't cheat and just buy them at Costco.  He had to make them.  Mean, huh?  I figure he's got Saturday, and this is all about learning to prepare food, so for now, I'm not letting them take the easy way out, which would be especially easy to do on Saturday.

Tonight, however, was the Blue and Gold Banquet at the church.  We weren't sure we were going to attend because #5, currently our only Cub Scout, has such terrible asthma right now that we thought it might be better to keep him home.  He's one step away from being the hospital from what I'm seeing.  We've increased his meds to full capacity, so we'll see where this goes.  It's been more than a month since we've been using his inhalers.  We've never had to use them that long except for the year of H1N1 when he was in the hospital (twice).  #5 slept nearly all day today so that he could go.  We allowed him to attend with the promise that he'd just be mellow during the entire activity.

Because of the Blue and Gold, #2 got off scot-free.  I figure he'll end up doing lunch tomorrow or something.

Lunch - the Warden's chicken fettuccine alfredo will be preempted by #2's Polish dogs and salad.

Dinner - I'm going to make black bean and salsa chicken (from our ward cookbook), or maybe, if I'm lucky, the man who loves to cook so much will preempt my chicken with his fettuccine.

#4's making tacos.

#6 is creating a baked potato bar, or really baked potatoes (prepared in the crockpot--p. 16 in the Madhouse cookbook) topped with sour cream, cheese and ham, since those were the only toppings I could get him to approve.  Oh, and we're having baby carrots on the side.

#5 has decided to make Swedish meatballs on mashed potatoes with salad on the side.

#3 is going to make a chicken broccoli ring.  This is a favorite at our house, and is often served for birthdays.

#1 decided to make Mexico Pronto (p. 26 of the Madhouse cookbook).

There you go.  The past two Saturdays I've just taken one child with me to shop.  I look forward to going with the whole crew again.  Next week, that'll be the goal.

Totally LOVING this!  I wonder what my kids'd say if you asked them how they feel about it.  Hmm....

Irena Sendler

"Look at this lady - Let us never forget!
The world hasn't just become wicked...it's always been wicked.
The prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.

"Irena Sendler died 12 May 2008 (aged 98) in Warsaw, Poland.
During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a plumbing/sewer specialist.

"She had an 'ulterior motive'.
She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German).

"Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried, and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids).

"She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.

"The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

"During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was eventually caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs and arms and beat her severely.

"Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.

"After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family. Most had been gassed. The kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

"Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

"She was not selected.

"President Obama won one year before becoming President for his work as a community organizer for ACORN, and Al Gore won in the year Irena Sendler was nominated --- for a slide show on Global Warming."

I received this on Facebook.  It is being circulated as a memorial to this great woman.  

Let us NEVER forget!  Not only should we never forget, but that we should work everyday to become like Irena--to sacrifice for a better life for others.

For more information on Irena, click here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Can I Just Get This Off My Chest?

We only subscribe to the local paper because of the coupons.  Really!

At one point, many years ago, the Warden was quoted in the paper twice in one week.  Both times he was misquoted.  It was at that point that I decided that the paper wasn't for me.  When they used to call and ask if I want to subscribe (pre-coupons), I would explain why, and they'd say, "Okay, thank you."  I mean, really, what could they say to that?

Well, yesterday I was successful at contacting them to put the Mother of the Year info in the paper.  I sent them information but never heard back about if they'd received it, so I followed up today.  Yes, they had received it.  They sent it on to the editor of the "Mom blog."  Huh?!  I didn't even know they had a "Mom blog."  Sure enough, they do.  But, I can promise you that was a big let down.  Don't get me wrong, blogs are life, aren't they, but if I'm going to go to my local paper's website, it's not going to be to read their blog.

Being the stubborn person I am, I decided that wasn't where I wanted it to end, so I contacted the original guy I had spoken with yesterday.  I explained that in the past it was a tradition to put such information as a write up in the actual paper, and how could we make that happen.

His response....you're not going to believe this....

I'm not quoting here, but it was basically, "I've been here for four years, and I've never heard of you until yesterday."  Huh?!  What?  I would think that someone who works for a newspaper would be the last individual to live under a rock, but never heard of the Mother of the Year?!  For real?  Are you pulling my leg?

I decided at that point that I was definitely talking to the wrong guy, and if I let slip what I really wanted to say, we wouldn't even be making the Mom blog, so I thought I'd better just say "thank you" and move along.

I'll be taking another route as of Monday, and guess what....I think I've decided that maybe the coupons aren't even worth it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Word on the Street

I received a phone call Sunday evening informing me that I'd been nominated as co-president for the Oregon Association of American Mothers, Inc.  I was told that they wanted to swear me in Wednesday during our board meeting at the state capitol.  So, yesterday, I was sworn in.

It's so interesting to be on this side of things.  The other co-president was Mother of the Year in 2011.  She's wonderful and amazingly talented.  She's been president in the past, so I'm thrilled to get to learn from her.  She's heading to the United Nations this next week to give a presentation.  Here's more on what she does.  I mean, seriously, can you imagine getting to work with someone like this?  What an amazing opportunity!

So, I head into a new experience.  Something always comes along after one thing has ended.  It's a great life!

Have you ever heard of American Mothers, Inc.  I mean, other than from me?

I really knew very little about it before I was nominated last year.

I think it's sad that so few people know about it.  It's really a remarkable organization.

With this new position, I have taken it upon myself to tackle a few obstacles that have been in our path for the past few years.  In speaking with some of the women that have been with the organization for awhile, there are a couple of negatives.  One has been the Oregonian newspaper and another is the Rose Festival.  I just refuse to believe that they won't include American Mothers.

Today, I spoke with both.  They both seemed to be accepting.  The Rose Festival sent me an application to participate in the Grand Floral parade, and the editor of the "Living" section of the Oregonian gave me a call and asked for further information.  Sounds like we're heading places.

Yesterday, we attended the legislative session for the day and were recognized there.  The Mother of the Year opened the session with a speech.  The representative who invited us, introduced us.  We also met with him before the session.  His name is Michael Dembrow.  He's a representative for Portland and works a lot with education.  He shared with us what they're working on right now in his committee.

During the session, our Young Mother was introduced as being from Hillsboro, without missing a beat, Representative Shawn Lindsay, came up to meet her.  He's the representative for Hillsboro and North Plains.  He found out that our Young Mother isn't from Hillsboro, but that didn't stop him from coming in to meet with us after the session as well.  He also sent some female representatives to come see us too--Vicki Berger and Julie Parrish.

I was impressed that these people, busy as they are, would come and spend some time with us.  It was a choice few moments.  We have some very good people representing us.

So, there is one negative remaining--the Governor, but I'm not even about to touch that one.  Two governors ago, American Mothers could get an audience, but not any longer.  I was told our current governor doesn't care about "Mommy issues."  Sad.  Not caring about "Mommy issues" is like not caring about society at large, if you ask me.  Mommy's issues are everybody's issues.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Favorite

This is my VERY favorite--the entire chapter.  I don't know what it is, but whenever I get to this point, I just fall into this chapter and learn so much.  It's all so basic and necessary to growing and developing as a human being and as a child of God.  Absolutely LOVE it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sometimes Things Just Grab You and Won't Let You Go, You Know?

Awhile back, I was invited to co-write a blog with a friend. I write every other week. Right now, we're reading the same book and taking turns sharing our feelings about the chapters we read.

There are times when a topic really grabs me. This past week was one of those. I've started doing what I wrote about, and it's amazing how my list is growing.

The other topic that grabbed me was this one. I'm surprised about how much it's still on my mind, and I'm still trying to live it everyday.

There are things in life that seem to be pieces to a much bigger puzzle--things that you learn piece by piece. A good friend was asked to speak in church yesterday, and as she did so, it seemed like this enormous puzzle piece--one that put all of the others in order--was revealed. It was amazing.

I guess what made it super amazing to me was the fact that this woman's only been a member of the church for a few years. It was so full of truth and wisdom. I'm sure I sat there with my mouth wide open in awe.

I asked if she would send me her notes, and she did. It was just one of those things where I've been having all these things come together but haven't known how to get them into words. She said exactly the things that brought all of those thoughts together. I'm so excited to write about it and attempt to get all the pieces in place. Thanks so much, Christine!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Gala: My Viewpoint

After seeing how many people have read the post about preparing for the Gala, I thought I'd better just dive in and share more details about the evening.  Photos will have to come later.

We arrived at the Portland Airport Embassy Suites Hotel around 6:30pm.  Our tickets for dinner were on a table outside the ballroom.  We stopped and picked them up and were told our table assignment--we were table #3--and that we should put our tickets by our place on the table.

The Warden and his parents walked into the ballroom, but I was told to wait because they needed to get some pictures.  Before my picture was taken, a dear friend from the past came out, and we hugged for about 5 minutes.  We knew her before she was married; she knew us before we had any kids.  It was GREAT to see her!  She was given the award as the mother of adoptive children.  She's fabulous!

Can I say, here and now, that it's amazing to be among so many women that make your jaw drop.  I think mine nearly became unhinged half-way through the evening.  For me,  it was kind of like being the rag doll among the porcelains.  Really, truly amazing!

This friend and I got our picture taken together, I got mine taken alone, and then the Warden came back out so we could get ours taken together.

We went in, ran into a quite a number of other friends.  It was great to get to catch up with people.  After chatting for a bit, I found my place at the table next to the Warden.  The orchestra was playing in the background.

We were served our salads, our main entrees and dessert.  The Warden ate cheesecake, but my dessert was this amazing chocolate something or other.  SO RICH, and SO GOOD!  I only ate about five bites before I was done.

My dad and his wife arrived just as we finished and came and joined us at the table.

When we finished eating, it was announced that all of the nominees were to go to the back of the room.  We sat in a row and waited for what came next.  Our escorts stood behind us.

Two Mother nominees and the four Young Mother nominees

Thanks for letting me borrow your photos, Amanda!
In each woman's turn, her escort was to walk her up to the front of the room where there was a small stage.  When we reached the stage, we were to leave our escorts, climb the three or four stairs (in these kinds of circumstances, it's quite a climb) and turn and face the audience while our biographies were read (Above: modeled by the lovely Amanda Larimer).  A slideshow was playing at the same time with photos of us and our families.  When that was finished, we were asked to go to the podium and share what our "parenting phrase" is and why.

They introduced the four Young Mother nominees first.  The five Mothers went second.  I really wish it had all been recorded because there were some very important and profound things said that night.

When it was my turn, the Warden leaned over to me and said, "Do you know what you're going to say?"  I replied, "Not a clue.  I'm going to punt," and so I did.

My parenting phrase was, "You always have a choice" (#3 told me a few months ago that I'm always saying that.  She was a bit annoyed at the time).  I shared how inspiring it was to watch the Japanese people and how courageously they were working to rebuild their lives.  I don't recall exactly  what I said, but afterward, people said it was good, so I was relieved.

After we said our bit, we were handed a certificate awarding each of us as a "Mother of Excellence" and a long-stemmed white rose.  We walked to the tables on the stand and sat down at them.  Two women were already sitting when I arrived.  I commented to the one next to me about how much I was shaking.  Funny thing was, when the next woman arrived to sit next to me, she made nearly the same comment.  I assured her that that's what we were all doing and not to worry.

After all of the Mothers were introduced, we had a number of wonderful musical numbers--piano and vocal--and then they awarded the special awards--adoptive mother, service, and mother of disabled children.  These, to me, were the truly inspiring moments of the night.  I sat there alternating between goosebumps and tears as I listened to their stories read over the podium.  What truly inspiring people who have made some really great sacrifices.

When these were done, I leaned to the woman next to me (the one who sat after me) and said, pointing to the ground beside her, "You'd better make sure you have a clear walkway, you're going to be heading up there in a few moments."  She laughed and told me I was wrong, but guess what...I wasn't.

They named Amanda Larimer as Young Mother of the Year, and Bobbie Jager, the woman sitting next to me, the Mother of the Year.  When I wrote this post, she is the one I referred to.  She had my vote from the beginning.  She's FABULOUS!  Oregon is going to be well represented in both categories at the national convention.

Both women then gave their acceptance speeches.  Amanda talked about her family getting unexpectedly stuck up on Mount Hood on Christmas Day because of a gunman on the loose and how unprepared they were and how she can relate that to how she feels right now.  The words I would use to describe Amanda, are warm, beautiful, graceful and poised.  She'll do marvelously.  Bobbie shared about three times she'd felt her heart nearly stop--this time being the third.  I think of Bobbie as vivacious and welcoming to anyone and everyone; it's great just being around her.  It was so fun to watch these women in action that evening.

After all was done, we chatted for a few minutes and were then ushered to the back of the room again for photos.  We said our good-byes, and we were off.

Really a FABULOUS night!

Yesterday morning, after #5 woke up, the Warden and he were in the kitchen.  I walked in, and the Warden said, "Oh look, it's the Mother of the Year."  #5 turned around, smiled at me excitedly and said, "Really?!"  The Warden said, "Yes, she's our mother for the year every year."

What a cute guy I married!


American Mothers, Inc.  is the organization that names the Mother and Young Mother of the Year.  There are groups in nearly every state.  The organization's been around since the early 1930s.  The first Mother of the Year was named in 1935.

The purpose of American Mothers is to strengthen and encourage mothers and thus strengthen the entire family.  I'm looking forward to doing much with them this coming year.  I hope, if you're interested in getting involved, that you'll look into it.  If you live close to me, come along with me.

This coming Wednesday morning, we have a meeting with Representative Michael Dembrow and will get to sit in on a legislative session in Salem.  We'll have lunch and a board meeting following.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Envelope System: Month 5

Right off the bat, I HAVE to thank those who have commented on past Envelope posts both here and on facebook.  Thank you for taking the time to share your tips on how to do this better.  This month was SO MUCH easier...thanks to you!

The most helpful tip was about splitting the grocery budget into weekly increments.  It was nice to have money each week and not feel like we'd run out waaayyy too early.  As I mentioned in yesterday's Gala prep post, I even found grocery money I hadn't spent.  Not sure how that happened, but I was glad it did.

I think the envelope system has lent itself to making our new cooking system that much easier as well.  The two go hand in hand.  Eventually, I'd like to be able to hand the kids the cash they will need to buy their groceries with for their cooking night.  As of now, I'm not that organized, but I'm thinking within the next couple months, that might just become a reality.

The Warden LOVES to do our taxes.  He always gets them done and submitted as early in the game as he can.  If we had to pay taxes, I wonder if that feeling would change.  I'm betting it would.  But, because he submitted it early, we have received our refunds, which is a very happy thing.

Sad thing, though, is that both of our cars are in need of brakes.  Ugh!  So, there goes a good chunk of the refund.

I've been nervous to spend the refund on the trip to Disneyland I've been dying to go on with a daughter heading off to college and the unknown expenses there....and now the brakes.  I'm thinking that if we're going to get to go on that trip, I'm going to have to find a way to earn some extra funds.  I've been pondering different options, but I haven't found anything that fills the need.  I'm open to any ideas you might have.

I will write another post about this week's menu plan and share some other ideas for saving money there.

So, I now have a bunch of envelopes that I store away and a few I keep with me for the things I spend on fairly regularly.  It's getting easier to see upcoming expenses and keep an envelope for whatever that expense might be.  I have budgeted for each member of the family's birthday and have evened those out so everyone gets the same amount each month.  I had to take money out of the fall sports budget to even them out and am now shy in that department, so that might just have to be pulled from  the pellet fund since we won't be needing that again until the late fall. That should work out just right.

Tonight during dinner, each of the kids took a turn explaining how they need jeans or socks or underwear, so the clothing budget is as good as spent already.

Oh, and yes, I have a trumpet fund.  I put a larger bill in the envelope every month and have a bunch of $1 bills that rotate each month.  The child has to earn $1 each weekday to pay off the debt.  I look forward to this envelope going away.

It's nice to have school over and not have tuition payments for myself any more.

Still loving this system.  I frequently wonder how we survived without it.  It's so reassuring to know that money's saved aside for the kids' sports and other things that are months away.

At this point in the game, I think I can safely share some pointers in starting an envelope system for yourself:
  1. Go back through a couple months and figure out just what you're spending your money on.
  2. Figure out what things you spend on during the month--groceries, gas, etc.; which things you spend on monthly--utilities and other bills; and which things you spend on much less often--quarterly, yearly, etc.
  3. Even out your bills.  Pay the same amount each month so you don't end up richer on some months than others.  We pay these online.  Our life insurance can only be paid yearly, so that is set aside in its own savings account, but the others--even those that are to be paid quarterly--are now paid monthly in smaller amounts.
  4. Set up envelopes for the things you spend on. 
  5. Use a spreadsheet or even just a piece of paper to figure out just what cash you will need to spend--100s, 50s, 20s, 10s....You get the idea.  Have it all figured out and then go to the bank.  It's easiest to hand the teller a piece of paper with what you want.  Make sure you have totals, so it's all easy to verify.
  6. Immediately after getting the cash, divide it among the envelopes.  It's really easiest if, on the spreadsheet or paper, you have the number of 10s or 20s you're to put in each category, so you can just divide them easily into the envelopes.
  7. Divide the grocery budget into weekly amounts and keep separate envelopes for each week.  I do this with our date money as well.
  8. Try VERY hard not to rob Peter to pay Paul.  When the money's gone in an envelope, it's gone.  Sometimes, when we're in the last week of a month, and the money for medical expenses, for example, remains in it's envelope, I'll dive into it and use it for something we need.
  9. Make sure you share.  The Warden has his own container for cash too, and his cash is divided for groceries, gas, etc. too.  He rarely uses all of his money, so near the end of the month, he'll hand me back the cash, and we can use that in an area where it's needed.

That's what I have for starters.  Hope it helps.  If you already do this, I'd love to hear any pointers you have as well.  Again, thanks to those of you who have already shared.  It's helped so much!

The Gala Prep

 Warning:  The photos at the end of this post were taken after the gala, and it was raining earlier in the evening, so...you get the idea--not the best.  There will be more later when others release what they've taken.

Here's how the afternoon went down....

I, walking around zombie-like after minimal hours of sleep the previous night, go volunteer at the elementary school.  I arrive home after finishing correcting math papers and picking up two tired children from a friend's house, start putting one down for her nap and find a message blinking on the answering machine.  It's the Warden reminding me that #4 has a campout tonight and we're to have him at the church at 4:29--no later.  Bad news....we've all forgotten this particular campout, and #4 arrives home from school around 4pm.

I call the Warden, he suggests I go get #4 a bit early from school, so he can prepare for the fun ahead.

Done!  Oh, after I pulled the small one from her bed after just laying her down.

We go back home after picking him up to look for a few extra dollars that might just be laying around so #4 can take a decent sack dinner with him on the campout.  The great desire is Subway, so I'm trying to eke $5 from the remaining budget (remember, payday's on the 20th)--what are the chances?

Somehow, miraculously, I find that the grocery budget for last week wasn't touched, so I find a nice little wad of money.  We get #5, who has just gotten out of school and head to Subway.  On the way there, I call #s 1 and 2, who have decided to walk home from school and tell them the plan.  They decide to walk to Subway instead.

We all order sandwiches and blow a small portion of the wad.  Nice to be able to treat my kids to something special at the end of a pay period on a Friday afternoon.

#2 starts talking about all of the plans he has made with his bubs for the evening.  I'm half listening as I distribute sandwiches around the car.  He asks if I can drive them.  I tell him it's not a problem--not sure what I was thinking.  Let's blame it on the lack of sleep, shall we?

When we get home, #4 goes to pack, and I make the realization that my parents-by-marriage will arrive at 4:30, so I'd better get ready to go.  We have to drive to a hotel near the airport on a Friday evening on President's Day weekend, so it's not going to be pretty.

I get partially dressed with the plan to get the hairspray done before I put the dress on.  #1 does my hair and has quite a bit of fun promming me up for the evening even adding little jewels to my hair.  (I have to admit, I'm not a froofy kind of girl, but it's fun to be a princess for the evening).  Wow!  Two self-created words in one paragraph.  I pull the dress on, stick the earrings in my ear lobes and fasten the necklace around my neck.

After less than half an hour to pull is all together, we're off--#4, #2 and two of #2's bubs.  It's about 4pm.  I already know there's no possible way I'm going to be back home by 4:30.  When we find that no one has arrived at the church a half hour early (why would they?), we decide, last minute, to drop #4 at a friend's house so he can get to the church by 4:29 and then head off to drop off the other three.  About this time, #1 calls to ask if I bought cheddar cheese soup for her crockpot mac and cheese--SERIOUSLY LOVING the kids making dinner thing.  Oops.  I hadn't.  We stop.  The boys run in and get it, and we're off again.

Oh, I did my make up in the car as I waited in the grocery store parking lot.  Typical.

I drop they boys off, inquire as to how #2's planning on getting home, to which question I get the response, "I'm not sure," shrug my shoulders, and I'm off again.

I arrive home, get out of the car and #3's standing on the front porch clapping as she sees me coming.  She tells me I'm beautiful.  Does life get better than that?

I walk in to find my parents-by-marriage and the Warden waiting for me.

We hit the road and after roughly an hour and half, we arrive at the hotel that is only 21 miles away from home.

There, that's the prep for the evening.  I LOVED it!--once we got there.  More on that later....

For now, here are the photos:

The hair--I was going to do this fancy updo, but it was a disaster, so it became a simple bun, glammed up by #1.

And...here's the dress.
Oh, by the way, #2 got home just fine.  I knew he'd figure it out.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Try this out!

I'd LOVE to hear how this goes.

Striking it Rich in the Gold Rush?

Wrote to my Stegner and Holz cousins the other day and asked them to share who they were interested in knowing more about in our family history.  I have all of my mom's books here at my house, and I know she'd want me to share what's in them.  Now that school's out, I have the time.

So, today, we started in while the house was quiet, and I was alone.

I received a message from a cousin that she was interested in my great grandmother, who, I think is her great, great grandmother--Dorothea Catherine Klever Holz.

The Holz line was a tricky one, and my mom didn't spend a lot of time on it because it was such a difficult one to trace.  Before my mom died, I was able to find a few more connections and the day she passed away, I found that the only book she had sitting on her desk was the Holz family book, so I'm pretty sure it was the last family she spent time on before she passed away.

Today was VERY interesting....
Dora's father's name was Henry Klever from Holstein, Germany.  In the 1920 U.S. census, it says that he immigrated in 1851.  In all other censuses, it was 1872.  I am certain they are all the same Henry Klever.

Here's the funny thing....He shows up starting in 1900 in Minnesota, but there is a Henry Klever of roughly the same age and from the same town--Holstein--in the 1860 census in Tuolumne, California.

So many questions arise from this.  Did Henry come to the U.S. in 1851 to seek his fortune in the California Gold Rush and then return to Germany to marry his sweetheart in 1866, have some children and then return to the U.S. again in 1872 to settle in Winona, Minnesota?  Could be, couldn't it?

I think my mother would have loved to have contemplated that with me.  She didn't have all of the records open to her that we have now.  What a wonderfully convenient thing that is!  She really had to dig for anything she got and when she found something, she was so excited.  I just remember her writing letter upon letter upon letter and waiting weeks to receive responses.

I now wonder who she shared all of her excitement with.  I wonder if she ever felt like she had someone who would get as excited about it as she was.  I wonder if this was a disappointment to her.  I felt that disappointment, and a greater desire to call my mom than I've had since her death, after I found what I did today.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit of it with you.

You'd Think I've Lost My Mind...

...If you ever thought I had one.

I'm counting the minutes to Monday.

I finally succumbed to the idea of getting the extra stuff out of the house.  Just out.  Not organized or anything, just OUT.

I have never been one to believe in storage units or for using my garage or attic as storage space.  My feeling is that if I have that much stuff, I have too much stuff.

Because of this attitude, the house has become the storage space, and with other, heavier things pressing on my mind and little ones to tend to, the extra stuff has taken a backseat.

Well, with school over with, my schedule's been freed up a bit.  I have been going through the house and basically boxing up the stuff, clearing spaces and moving it to the garage.

It looks TERRIBLE in there, but Monday is the day!  Monday, the Warden's taking the kids for a morning out, and I'm going to organize the last remaining place.  The house will look beauteous because the extra stuff is in the garage, and the garage will soon be as gorgeous as the rest of the house.

I'm going to create a garbage pile, a recycling pile, an items to be shredded pile and a donation pile, and then it's all going away.  Seriously,  I'm excited about this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So Glad Someone Cares

I lay in bed yesterday morning, dreading to get out of it.  The bed was so warm and I was still so tired and I honestly couldn't think of one reason why I wanted to get out.  There are many reasons why I should get out of bed.  Usually, my sense of duty gets me up, but I'm tired of feeling duty-bound.  I want to get up because I want to get up.  I want to be excited about the day ahead.

I laid there thinking, "This just isn't going to do.  I HAVE to get up."  I tried to rouse myself to the sense of duty, but it just didn't work.  I knew there had to be something that would get me out of bed.

Finally, I thought once I'm out of bed, being out of bed just won't be enough.  Once I'm out, I'll have to do something, and I don't want to do anything.  So forget it!  I continued to lay there.

I decided that I needed to pray.  Maybe God would get me out of bed.  I told Him how I knew He could work miracles and expressed my need for one because getting out of bed was going to be one.  Not only that, but I pushed my prayer a bit further.  I told Him that after I got out of bed, I wanted to have energy and feel motivated.  I wanted to get some things done and feel good about what I'd accomplished.  Just getting out of bed wasn't going to cut it.

I closed my prayer and continued to lay there.  Then I remembered what faith really is.  If I wanted that prayer to come to pass, I was going to have to make the first move.  I needed to give Him something to work with.  I had to show Him my desire.

I sat up.  The next thing I knew, I was on my feet and in the shower.

By the end of the day, I had straightened the entire house (including the toy closet), entertained three children besides my own, cleaned out my laundry room so that you could dance in it (and we did as I showed it off to the kids when they got home from school), made cookies and a Valentine's box completely with spray paint and googley eyes, washed and folded all the laundry in the house, cleaned the office area a bit more, read the next chapter of Harry Potter to #5, helped #4 make homemade pizza for dinner, prepared and shared the Family Home Evening lesson on this very topic, and worked with #3 on her algebra.

So, yup.  Yesterday was a miracle.  So glad He cares about even simple things like getting me out of bed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

An Addition to the New Plan

Insomnia strikes again....

I was up for about two hours, and right after I climbed back into bed, I came up with an addition to the new plan.  We tried it out today, and it worked beautifully.

First, I grabbed a bunch of cookbooks, the menu calendar, a bunch of pieces of paper and a pen for each child.

Second, I gathered the kids together and had them go through the cookbooks and figure out what they were planning to cook for their days.  Here's how it looks:

Saturday/tonight (#2) -
  Spicy cornmeal tilapia (a HUGE winner)

Sunday -
  Lunch (the Warden): omelet - He makes AMAZING omelets.
  Dinner (me):  meatball soup

Monday (#4) -
  Homemade pepperoni pizza

Tuesday (#6) -
  Homemade chicken noodle soup and crescent rolls

Wednesday (#5) -
  German pancakes in a mug and sausages

Thursday (#3) -
  Sloppy Joes

Friday (#1) -
  Crockpot macaroni and cheese

I have to say that I was impressed that a number of the kids ventured outside the normal box.  #2's gutsy move to serve fish was one of those.  He asked why we don't eat more fish, so he decided that that's what he was going to do.  EVERYBODY ate and ate and ate some more of the fish he made tonight.  SO GOOD!

Third, I had each child create an ingredient list on a little piece of paper.  They were then to go around the house and mark off the items we already have in the house.  Those left unmarked were the things they would shop for at the store.

Fourth, I told the kids our budget, and we went to the grocery store with their lists.  Each person picked up what they needed.  We stuck pretty close together; although, the girls, who tend to be a bit more comfortable with the store layout ventured away and would come back with items for the cart.

We ended up going over our budget by $3, but we hadn't paid attention to it much, so I think that was pretty good.  We cut our shopping time in half.

Since the boys bagged the groceries, the girls had to take them and put them in the car.  Everyone helped tote them into the house.  We put many of the refrigerated items in the garage fridge so no one would be tempted to eat them before it was time to cook them.

I'm thinking we have a new Saturday tradition here.

I've shared this here....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Commandment #4: Do It Now!

This is a little ditty I learned from taking college classes.  Originally, when I set up my class schedule, I put statistics as the very last class I would take.  I absolutely DREADED taking it!

As time went on, and I took other courses, I realized that I really wanted to end the experience on a good note, so I changed the timing of statistics.  I placed three electives last--things I thought would be fun (I was a little bit wrong thinking that personal finance was going to be fun, but I still learned a lot).

In the end, I was very glad that I did this.  What I really wish, though, was that I'd taken stats first and just gotten it out of the way.

So, that's the nature of this commandment....Don't put off the things you dread.  Get them over with.

Along with this are two other ideas that go along with it.  If you truly dread something, cut it up into babysteps and do one, or two if you're feeling really adventurous, each day.  When you've done the babystep, take a minute to look at what you've accomplished and give yourself a pat on the back.

One thing BYU sent out with the first class was a form on which you assigned yourself different tasks for each day and how you would reward yourself once you were done.  I loved those things.  I got, over time, so I didn't need them any more, but they were great motivation there are first.

The big phrase in our house right now is "doing anything is better than doing nothing at all."  Those words tie in great with this commandment.  Just do something that'll get you going in the right direction--anything no matter how small that thing might be.

At church a number of weeks ago, a man spoke and shared something along these lines:  "Don’t let any generous/good impulse pass unfulfilled."  These have stuck with me ever since.  You know when you just think, "Oh, I should really help that person put her groceries on the conveyor belt" or "I should go over and talk to that person."  But, immediately following you think, "But she'll probably think I'm rude and being impatient" or "But I've got all these kids here right now, so I'd better not."  Along the lines of "do it now" fall these kinds of impulses.  If you feel it, do it!

So, here's what this commandment is all about....
*No more putting of things you're dreading--just dive in.
  I dove into my gift wrap box this evening.  Ugh!  But it's now done, and I have a newly cleaned corner of my laundry room.
*If you truly dread something, create babysteps that are a little less frightening to get you there.  While you take them, look back and cheer yourself on.
*Don't put off or excuse yourself from any generous impulse you might have.  You never know where this kind of action might lead you.

This all goes back to that quote I love so much...
The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago; the second best time is now.
It's time to stop making excuses and just get 'er done.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Newton's First Law

Some of the laws of physics, I'm deciding, don't just relate to the physical world.  I have now experienced this (noticeably) three times in my life.  Let me explain....

Sir Isaac Newton's first law of motion is:  "Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed."  

This law first talks about things being at rest: "An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it," and I guess that's pretty important too, but it's the second part of that law that I'm referring to here.

I guess we could also call "force impressed" "hitting the wall" or "changing direction" or "derailing" or "getting onto another track" or even getting "back on track."

Finishing school has become a "force impressed."  I was going along just doing everything required to graduate and suddenly, it's over.  Done.  Finito!  What's a girl supposed to do with that?  Weird!

When my mom died, similar feeling.  At her home for five days.  Seeing to her needs.  Helping where I could, and suddenly she's gone.  Having never experienced anything like that before, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Why was the world still revolving?  The need to help continued with funeral preparations, burial, etc., but it was so different and much decreased in its intensity.  It's something like having the ground disappear beneath your feet. Just hoping and praying there's a net or something that's going to catch you.

It's surprising when you find yourself still standing. But, as you get onto another track, for awhile it feels like the new track is spent on a tricycle with a bent wheel.

When I returned from my mission, WOW!  That was the hardest.  Completely submerged in a different culture and language.  Walking up to complete strangers and striking up conversations in their language.  Living a lifestyle much removed from the rest of the world--no TV, no newspapers, no radio.  Completely out of the loop.  The year and a half ends, and suddenly, back into the real world with you.  Just weird, and the adjustment period was remarkable.

I didn't bargain for this with the school thing.  I am amazed at all the avenues that are opening up.  I didn't even realize that they'd closed; in come cases, I'd closed them out of convenience sake.  I hated having them closed, but I knew there were going to have to be sacrifices if I was going to meet the goal and continue in my straight forward path.  There would be no detours and no shortcuts.

The thing that's opening a little more each day, and that I'm enjoying the most, is being able to spend more quality time with my kids.  My blinders have been removed, and I can see the opportunities more clearly.  It's wonderful!

When I told #2 about the dinner idea, he scoffed, "But Mom, we've done this before.  Over and over again.  It never works.  The kids forget that it's their turn to make dinner, and then we find ourselves at dinner time with nothing to eat, so we scramble to make something quick.  It won't work."

It was WONDERFUL to be able to reassure him that I'm now available.  I can be in the kitchen with whoever's cooking and can instruct as needed.  I'm AVAILABLE!

What a great feeling!

So, although having a "force impressed" on your comfortable uniform "straight forward" is not a comfortable thing, that force helps you get to a new straight forward, and sometimes, that straight forward is even better than the one you used to be on.  YAY for forces impressed!

Like it? Share it....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...