Would you like to translate this into another language?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Much Luckier

There has been a young man in our house who has been wearing unlucky shoes. I know, tragic, huh? I didn't realize they were unlucky, I mean, he's wearing them in this picture:

By the way, Julia Shinkle ROCKS! I started a post on her, I'll have to finish it and get it up here for you to read.
image: motifake.com
But, some time between then and now, either the luck had rubbed off exposing the bad luck, or he's somehow happened to step in a big ol' pile of bad luck and changed the original standing of those shoes.

Regardless of how it happened, those shoes changed everything for him. Something had to be done.

I keep an envelope just for shoe purchases. I got the envelope out thinking that there really was very little in it and, thankfully, found that there was enough for a pair for him if he wanted them. It would just mean that when we go as a family to buy shoes, his part of the budget would be much reduced because of this purchase. He was okay with that.

Anything not to wear unlucky shoes.

image: sodahead.com
Just in case you didn't know, orange Converse are lucky. But, I guess if you think about it long and hard, they'd have to be. Why else would you buy them?

The lucky shoes were WELL within budget. With the money in his hand, shoe boy couldn't argue that some shoes were too expensive, but when all was said and done, he really did get just what he wanted. As he was trying them on, you could tell by the look on his face that those shoes were the lucky ones.

Unlike days before, that boy went off to school this morning knowing that he didn't have a care in the world. Luck was on his side. He was wearing it.

Juggling Between Yawns

image: 123rf.com
Man, oh, man! I woke up this morning and had a TON of things to write about. Seriously, had I had the time, I could have gone on and on and on. It's funny how that works. Sometimes, I can go weeks without anything, and then all of a sudden, there are fifteen topics in my brain all at once.

As it turned out this morning, I HAD to go grocery shopping, and all it took was one good spin around the grocery store, and it was all gone. All of it. Not a word of it left. **Sigh**

All I know is that I went to bed so happy last night. Here was my last Facebook status for the day (I'm going to see if this will help resurrect some of those feelings I woke with this morning):

"Well, let's see....Today consisted of one motivational find out and resolve conversation with a high schooler (had one with another one yesterday), one morning spent at the preschool, one part of the afternoon spent at the elementary school, preschool homework help, Kindergarten homework help, 4th grade homework help, 7th grade homework help, and reading to and/or with four children. Is it any wonder my house is a mess and we had Taco Bell for dinner? We also bit the bullet and bought our Disneyland tickets. I think my work here is done....Good night good people of the world."

I've been rockin' it lately as the mom. I only say this because I see the contrast. This is typically the case with anything I write that has to do with parenting and possibly anything else, for that matter. I learn from trial and error. In other words, prior to yesterday, I WAS NOT rockin' it. Believe me.

One enormous reason....I've been tired for YEARS.

I thought it was just the fact that I had seven children. Sure, that'd wear anyone out. I was trying to do my best with what I had, but what it all came down to was the fact that I was WIPED OUT. I thought there might be some day when I'd wake and find myself rested, but as the days went on and on and on, I found this was not the case. I was ALWAYS tired. By 4pm everyday, I could have been happily in bed for the night, but yah, right. We all know that wasn't going to happen no matter how much I wanted it to.

The doctor, who also thought it might just have been the seven children factor (she really has no point of reference here), finally set me up an appointment with a specialist. I went and was set up for a sleep apnea test. Because I sleep on my stomach and don't snore, I just KNEW this wasn't me. It was a waste of time and would come back negative, so why even do it? The appointment was made, but I canceled it.

The sleep test appointment person called me back to reschedule. I put her off. Really, why was I doing this? What was the big deal?

image: entandallergy.com
Finally, a few more months passed, and I went ahead and bit the bullet. I made the appointment and went in. What would it hurt? At least it would cancel the sleep apnea idea out for certain.

Yes, I finally went in and slept in front of complete strangers. Well, kind of. They had me fully monitored and came in and out during the night. At the time of scheduling the first appointment, I was also prescribed sleeping pills. HaHa! Umm...no need, I could have slept anywhere, at any time. I slept just fine with no additional help. I didn't care how many people walked in or out. Heck, the whole darned circus, train and all, could have paraded through, and I wouldn't have cared at that point. Finally, morning came, and I went home. I was positive that the test would end up having been pointless.

Quite awhile later, I received the call that it was POSITIVE, but it was mild. I had woken six times during the night, or at least that's what I thought I was being told. Eh, no biggie. When I looked at the results later, I found that I stopped breathing and woke six times each HOUR during the night. That was a different story!

Is it any wonder I was tired?

image: snoringisntsexy.com
I finally got my sleep apnea appliance three days ago. The first morning I was SHOCKED! I felt rested. Did the appliance really work, or was it all in my mind? I'm still not sure. Day three, and I'm starting to feel human again--at least to some degree.

I'm also learning that because of months of tiredness, there are balls that I used to have in the air that I have let drop. Really, really important balls that used to be HUGE priorities. Many of those balls were things that affected my children and continue to cause them some amount of a disadvantage in their day-to-day lives.

Ah, regret.

image: spirituallythinking.blogspot.com
I'm working hard, at this point in time, not to heap guilt on myself. I mean, after all, what could I have done? I guess I could have gotten myself to a doctor earlier on, but I really had no clue. I kept thinking it would get better, and then I thought it was just the way things were.

image: higginsbrothers.com
So, yesterday I started to find that I am learning to pick up the balls again and learning how to juggle them into my life. I am learning the importance of forgiving myself and allowing myself to change at any given moment. It is better to get up and try to go again than to just give up.

I am grateful to have a new start. I am hopeful that these changes now aren't too late for me and my kids. I'm hoping that we can all get ourselves to the places we're supposed to be--just a little later than we probably should be. Better late than never, right?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Outpouring and Down Pouring of Tender Mercies

Just thought I'd take a moment to give you a glimpse into #1's world. There have been some pretty sweet tender mercies land in her lap, for which we are very grateful. Never have I seen so many land in such rapid succession. Is it because I've been unobservant in the past?....

image: sistermissionaryclothes.com
We, just as of these past two weeks, have sister missionaries in our ward. This means that #1 can go out and learn some of the ropes from them. Had we still had Elders, she wouldn't be able to do this, so this is a nice little blessing to have come her way right now. She is actually leaving with them in just a few minutes from now.

We have a friend who served in the Philippines who we're going to go see in a couple weeks to hear her son speak before he leaves on his mission in the Alps. She has a tape of children's songs sung in Tagalog as well as some books and things for #1 to peruse. Awesome! Nice that she'll have a little exposure to the language.

image: amazon.com
A friend brought some Girl Scout Tagalong cookies to our door yesterday morning. So CUTE! Tagalongs are #1s favorites. When she was a Girl Scout, she would always order her own box of Tagalongs just for her. By the way, we know the language isn't called "Tagalong," but it's awful close.

It's been great connecting with other moms whose kids are going to the Philippines through ldsmissionarymoms.com. I got a tip from one on shoes just this morning. The other day, one posed a question about lice and fungus, which I understand are concerns for the Philippines. She asked about tea tree oil. I had heard of it but have never used it and really know nothing but the name.

image: care2.com
I posed the question on Facebook and instantly received answers. All I asked was, "Does anyone know anything about tea tree oil?" and the first respondent said something about it being an antifungal. She chimed in just seconds later with something about putting a couple drops of it into shampoo and that it will kill lice. There you go! Wow! She didn't even know why I was asking, but she provided the exact answers I needed within seconds.

Here's the other funny thing about that whole bit....

A couple weeks ago, I checked my messages on Facebook, and a friend who lives in Washington wrote and said she was coming down to do a class on essential oils. Would I like to come? Well, I've received many, many invitations like this and have turned every one of them down. I'm just out too many nights of the week and feel for my kids and husband when I do that to them too much.

This invitation was so personal that I really couldn't say no, so I was already scheduled to go to learn more about tea tree oil before I even knew it was going to be something #1 would need. Pretty nice little tender mercy, wouldn't you say? Someone's watching out for us rather carefully.

Then, there's the friend who just called to tell me about dresses on sale. She just bought one for her daughter who's heading to Brazil. And the other friend who happened to have two sewing machines, and I could have one if I didn't mind messing with the tension a bit. I'm not sure how to "mess with the tension," but I figure you tube must have something for me, right?

The friend with the machine also had a number of skirt patterns, so #1 got to look through those and found two she really liked.

Wow! This is all so amazing!

image: twfec.org
To be honest, I've never felt such love and support as we've experienced since #1 put in her mission papers. I truly feel like the whole world is on her side. What a wonderful feeling! So much love has been shown to #1 and to our whole family. Thank you!!!

Delayed Frog Eating

image: avani-mehta.com
You know the phrase "eat the frog" first? Meaning, if you were told that every day you'd have to eat a frog, would you do it first thing in the morning, or would you wait until the end of the day? Well, as we got to looking at all that #1 needs to do before she leaves, we took that idea to heart. We thought, let's get rid of all of the most unpleasant tasks first, so we don't have to stress about them later.

We just heard from the travel office at our health clinic. Our policy doesn't cover travel, so it will all have to be paid for out of pocket. They said they wanted to consult with #1 first, for $50, to see what they feel she needs. We already know what the Church feels is prudent, but the insurance company may add on their own--fun, fun, fun! She may end with gamma globulin after all, YIKES!

I shared with the insurance company what we knew the church required. The insurance company rep said that influenza and DTaP were routine, so they would be free but typhoid would be $58--no biggie. Then there will be anything else the insurance company adds on. They also said that there was plenty of time, so we should contact them again around June. So much for eating that frog. We'll contact them in April.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Preparation Starts Today

Three shots and a pair of glasses. That's what we're after today. The shots are diphteria, tetanus, pertussis, typhoid, and influenza. The other required immunizations were all up to date, so that saved her a bit of stress. Thank goodness for small favors.

image: vactruth.com
#1 just called about the shots. Sounds like they'll have to be paid out of pocket, and it's not as easy as I thought and hoped it would be. We have to wait for a call from the "travel office" either today or tomorrow. They want to know her itinerary. Haha! Yah, right. Okay, so did we jump the gun on this one? All we know is that she'll probably be in the Philippines in August or September-ish. Looking back at what I learned, Asian languages stay in the MTC for nine weeks, so probably more like September.

I really thought it would be the opposite--making the eye appointment would take forever and we would be able to walk right in and get the shots. Do you see what an education this is going to be for me?

image: shopping.aol.com
We are also now in search of Crocs crossmesh ballet flats. I can find them in lots of places, actually, but so far not in her size (8). As far as clothes go, we're looking for things made of natural fibers that will keep her cooler in the heat. Funny, but I never thought she'd be sent to a tropical place. So glad we didn't buy anything until after she received her call. To be honest, it was very tempting to do so. The trickiest thing is finding dresses and skirts that go just past the knee. They need to be at her knee when she sits down. We're looking for cotton and linen. It may be time to invest in a sewing machine. The one I have is broken. It would be great to have #1 making some of her own skirts.

Yesterday, a friend from many years ago came forward saying that Olongapo was her mission. She gave a lot of useful tips. She said that #1 would need to plan for clothes for hot and hotter and wet and wetter. So, that's what we're after. We did find one skirt in her closet and one blouse in her sisters--what are the chances we can talk #3 out of that blouse?

image: javaphoto.com
We also found a food cart in downtown Portland that sells Filipino food, so we're going to head down there one of these days really soon for some shopping and to give the cuisine a try. I've also found a few recipes I'm going to give a try at home. I threatened that I would make pigs feet stew, and I think she thought I was kidding, but really, I wasn't. I think I'll make it and serve it some night without anyone knowing.

This is going to be so fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Tender Mercy Comes Back Around

Years ago, shortly after we'd moved back to the "big city," while driving to the beach with her grandparents, #1 was quizzed as to what was outside her car window. When we arrived, her grandmother asked me if I'd had #1's eyes checked. During the game, when seeing cows, #1 had reported that they were horses.

I took her to the doctor shortly thereafter, and sure enough, #1 needed glasses. We got them for her, but it wasn't even six months later when a student-teacher working in her classroom mentioned the fact that she could see #1 struggling to see the overhead and that #1 would walk up to it after lessons to see what was there and write things down.

Our insurance, at that time, only covered eye appointments every two years, so we were a bit stumped as to what to do. If her eyes were going to change that quickly, we were going to have to fork over quite a bit of our budget to take care of this need. It was going to add up pretty darned quickly.

Not even a week later, the Warden had had Back-to-School night at the elementary school where he was working. He came home that evening with a flyer from a nearby university. They were doing a study on children who wear glasses and were looking for children just #1's age.

image: focusonbookarts.org
We contacted the university, and although #1 was on the older end of the desired age scale, they accepted her into the study. We had to go out to the university and have her eyes tested every six months, but they told us that each time she came, if her eyes had changed, they would give her new glasses. The exam and the glasses would be free just for being part of the study.

This was, as you can imagine, a huge tender mercy for us.

In this study, #1 could either be a contact or glasses wearer for the duration of the study, I'm trying to recall, but I think it was four years, or she could be a glasses wearer. 

The day she went in to be randomly chosen for a group, she hoped and hoped that she'd be chosen as part of the contacts group. Things did not go her way. She was disappointedly placed in the glasses group, so as part of that group, she had to commit to wear glasses every day for the duration of the study, which she did faithfully.

As the years passed, every six months, her eyes had changed just enough to warrant a new pair of glasses. Seriously, what a blessing this was to our family. She and I had fun going in and picking out the new frames. That part she liked, but as she got older, she got a bit tired of wearing glasses, especially as her friends started wearing contacts. She adapted to it and did just fine and made it to the end.

When the study was finally over, she was promised contacts by the university as a gift of appreciation for participating, and they delivered. For a few years after, they provided her with free contacts. She loved them and wore them everyday. She wasn't afraid to wear her glasses, which she did from time to time, but she, I'm pretty sure, was making up for lost time.

Last evening, as we read over the booklet that comes with a mission call, we read that contacts were not preferred because of the instance of eye infections, etc. #1 quickly interjected: "Well then, I won't take them with me. I'll just wear my glasses."

Last semester at college, #1 had an eye infection. She now knows what those are all about and feels just great about wearing her glasses for 18 months. We're pretty sure eye doctors in the Philippines might not be that abundant and getting what she needs to provide the upkeep for contacts, might be next to impossible. She'd have to take it all with her from the start, and we all know how fun it is to carry extra weight, and liquid at that, onto an airplane. No, thank you very much.

image: spoonflower.com
So, just like old times, we'll go in and choose a new pair of frames. We set up an appointment online, and they're able to get her in tomorrow. She's asked me to go with her. It really will be just like old times.

I guess that random selection into the glasses group paid off in tender mercies in more ways than one. Funny what prepares you for your future.

Have You Seen This One?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

#1's Call - The Video

I never thought we'd be the kind to scream, but seriously, the emotions....nothing like it. It just seemed like suddenly it was opened and there she was reading. Before I knew it, we knew what her future held. CRAZY!

The Call

Just in case you aren't a Facebook friend of mine and are curious, #1 opened her mission call this evening. She will be serving in the Philippines Olongapo Mission and will leave for the MTC in mid-June. She will learn to speak Tagalog.

Crockpot Menu - Week #5

You may see a number of breakfasts repeat during this coming month's menus. I really slacked on the breakfast thing. I'd be all snuggled up in my bed and suddenly remember that I hadn't filled the crockpot and started it up. I also haven't figured out how to use the outlet timer yet. I tried it out and failed the other day, so I need to pore over the instructions (or maybe in my case it's "destructions) one more time to see what I was doing wrong.

Here are the links to the recipes for this week....

SundayBreakfastMexican breakfast casserole
DinnerCranberry roast
MondayBreakfastapple oatmeal
Baked potato soup
TuesdayBreakfastbreakfast burritos
DinnerPulled Pork Sandwiches
WednesdayBreakfastSausage and Egg casserole
DinnerChicken and corn chowder
ThursdayBreakfastcheese souffle
Dinnerchicken paprikash
FridayBreakfastBreakfast bread pudding
Dinnercheesy Italian tortellini
SaturdayBreakfastpumpkin pie dip
DinnerSloppy Joes


Crockpot Chicken and Corn Chowder

I have decided that the best recipes are those without exact measurements. If you own the Madhouse cookbook, you will see that there are a few of my mom's recipes that just have ingredients listed. It's up to the creator to figure out how much of what to throw in. Those recipes--my mom's dip and her fried chicken, as two examples, were her claim to fame. They were delicious!

My friend, Angelina, has shared a couple recipes with me this month and given me permission to share them with you. She explained to me that this first one doesn't have measurements, so you KNOW it's going to be a winner. Thank you, Angelina! 

Here are the ingredients......

*Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
* Onions-chopped
* Evaported Milk (can use regular milk or some of both, although it is creamier with the evap. milk- if you use too much it is more of a soup than a chowder)
*Potatoes (peeled, chopped into bite size chunks)
* Corn (Kernel/Cream) by preference or what you have on hand
*Season to taste: Garlic Salt, Seasoning Salt, Pepper, Salt. Sometimes I add Basil and Oregano if I want a slightly different flavor

Top with:
* Grated Cheese
* Bacon (I cook ahead and break it up into a bag or small tupperware container)


A Little Step Back into Hesstory: Calvin and Me

image: 1000awesomethings.com

Forget Christmas Eve or the day before my birthday. You can even throw out the night before I got my driver's license, the night before my first date, and the night before every first day of school in my life. Last night was, without a doubt, the  most difficult sleep I've EVER had.

Here's the combination of last night's insomnia....First, the Warden was gone to the coast with a bunch of scouts. I never sleep well when he's gone. Second, #7 was up over and over and over again with a fever. I gave her some medicine and moved her into my bed, but then she would stretch out while she slept and push me to the outer limits of the king-size bed. Last and the most obvious reason, was that envelope  that currently sits by the head of #1's bed. All I had to do was think about that envelope or ponder her future, and my heart would leap. THAT was the WORST!

image: en.wikipedia.org
I finally remembered health class in high school. I remember sitting on the floor of the wrestling gym and somebody, a special guest, coming to show us some relaxation techniques. Yup. That's the kind of high school I went to. I remember being told to take deep breaths and picture myself descending (or was that ascending) a staircase. As I breathed, I was to relax parts of my body starting at my feet and working my way up. Wow! Am I grateful for that little health class! It saved me last night, and I finally got some sleep.

So, all of this waiting has taken my mind back to waiting for my own call, and although I wasn't a Hess at the time, I'm still going to use the title above because, let's face it, Hammtory just doesn't work all that well.

My mom was just cute. Every morning she would drink hot chocolate and eat toast with peanut butter and boysenberry jam. The one thing I didn't know until the day I finished the mission paper process and had my papers mailed off to Salt Lake, was that while she ate breakfast, she read the comics. Cute, huh?

That morning, she shared this:

That's right. The day I turned in my papers, Calvin turned in his proofs of purchase for a beanie.

From that day on, Calvin and I waited together.

And waited....

 And waited....

One morning, weeks later, my mom came to me excitedly. She was carrying the Oregonian with her. "Look! Calvin got his beanie today! Wouldn't it be funny if you got your call today?!"

By this point, my response was, "Yah Mom, really funny." I was SICK of waiting and felt like it would NEVER come.

my brother and me - pre-missions
My younger brother had put in his papers very close to the same time I had, and his call came within two weeks. Here it was three, and mine still hadn't come. Ugh! I was dying!

But, sure enough, that was the day.

I don't remember there being a big hoopla. We didn't have a party. We didn't have relatives to invite. Mine was the fifth and final call to be received in that house, and mine was the least expected. My parents had saved for the four boys to serve. They hadn't expected that phone call from me my freshman year at BYU. I'm sure I totally caught them off-guard, but like #1, I finished the semester my sophomore year and returned home to earn a portion of the money needed and to wait until I turned 21.

Other calls that had arrived at my childhood home were to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Anaheim, California; Cali, Colombia; and Hartford, Connecticut. Because my dad served in the military at that age in his life (at the very tail end of WWII), he didn't get the opportunity, but all four of his boys did. I think this was something he was very proud of.

Because my younger brother had received his call to Hartford, Connecticut, as I recall, the monthly cost to send a missionary there was $380, I started stressing about the financial burden on my parents. I had earned money, but I hadn't earned all of it. My parents would up the rest. I found the list of mission costs and started praying, no, more like begging, for Lima, Peru and its $59 per month. Nightly, I petitioned the Lord.

image: todayinsci.com
When I opened the envelope the day Calvin got his beanie, I already knew what line the actual location of my mission would fall on (having so recently seen my brother's call), so to be honest, my eyes slipped for just a second, and instead of seeing "Iowa," as I had expected, or Peru, as I had hoped, there was the word "Japan." NO WAY! This must have been somebody else's letter.

After we all whooped and hollered for awhile and perused the accompanying documents, I found the bottom line. A mission to Sendai, Japan, would cost $485 per month. UGH! How could this be?! Not only was it the most expensive mission in Japan, it was one of the most expensive in the world. NO!!!

I guess you could say that at that point, my prayers changed. I begged and pleaded that we'd have enough money to cover the expenses, and that I'd be able to make it to the end financially.

A week after I entered the MTC, I received a letter from my dad--typewritten on the computer with his slanted left-handed signature and the face he drew for me so may times during church. Someday I will scan this for posterity's sake. On every letter he wrote me, the face he drew became his official stamp. I loved it!

his shop now - image: city-data.com  
In this letter, he shared that the day I boarded the plane to head to the MTC, he went to work and was astounded at what he found....The cars were lined up and filled his parking lot. My dad was an auto mechanic and that particular day was the busiest and most lucrative he'd ever had.

He shared with me that he knew from that experience that I was being watched out for, that the Lord was going to take care of us, and I was doing the right thing.

My dad has since shared with me another financial miracle that occurred later on as I served. There was no doubt that we were being cared for. Just when we'd start to forget, He'd remind us.

I look forward to #1's experience today and for our family's experiences for the next number of months. What I foresee are a number of joys and a number of trials--each of those trials leading to an increase in all of our faith.

The first of those trials may have been last night's lack of sleep, and I'm sure I'm not done with nights like that. As my daughter's off serving in the world somewhere, I'm sure there will be many nights of worry and concern for her well-being, and then there are others to follow in her footsteps in this house. They will lead to some sleepless night too, I'm guessing.

image: harrypotterfanzone.com
Yes, my hope is that there will be many nights of waiting for beanies. I finally got so I called #1's letter "The sorting hat" because that's exactly what it feels like. Funny similarity--a beanie, a sorting hat.

At this point in the game, I only have one thing to say.....Thank goodness for the time spent in the wrestling gym. That knowledge might just get me through these missionary years in the Madhouse.

image: songworm.com

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tune in Tomorrow

It's here!

How Do You Keep the Fire Lit?

I just went down to put pellets in the pellet stove. It made me think of what I wrote to a dear friend the other day. Thought I'd share it with you too. It's funny how sometimes the most mundane things in life can teach you a profound principle. Such was the case with the pellet stove on Sunday morning. Here's the Parable of the Pellet Stove for you.....

image: countrysidestove.com
We have a pellet stove that heats our entire house. There are so many of us that feed that thing the pellets it needs that we often think someone else has put a bag in, and it ends up that the fire goes out and the house slowly turns colder because, in fact, no one has put the needed pellets in.

This has happened so much lately that I've gotten so I recognize the sound it makes as the pellets are running out. It's a very subtly different sound and things have to be really quiet for me to hear it.

image: westernfireplace.com
This morning, as I was laying here, I could hear it struggling, so I went down and sure enough, found that the pellets needed to be fed to the spot so they could reach the auger to keep the fire going. I shoved them down and everything was happy. I had saved the fire, but that was only a temporary fix. I had to go out to the garage and get another bag to make sure the fire lasted longer. I did that and all was good for another day. 

So, my question for the day....What are you doing to feed yourself the pellets you need? How are you getting them into the place in your heart where they are needed so they can keep warmth in your life? Church helps a little bit, but I'm sure you're aware that they need to be fed mostly by yourself. What do you do to keep your fire lit?

Back Off?

A friend's daughter got her mission call recently. When questioned why it didn't show up on her Facebook wall, the woman replied, "Well, it is my daughter's thing, not mine, so it's on her wall."

I got to thinking....maybe this is my daughter's thing as well. I mean, it is, of course. Maybe I should back off.

Then I realized that many of my friends are not necessarily my daughter's friends. I even have relatives that my daughter doesn't know who are interested in what she's going to be doing and where she's going to be heading. Especially those who aren't of our faith are curious. Many of them seem to be almost as excited about this as I am.

#1 doesn't seem to have any problem with me writing about it, so maybe it's all good.

I am excited for her. She's my first. I should be excited, shouldn't I? Maybe it's just that I have a different relationship with #1. Maybe with my kids in the future, they'll tell me to back off. For now, I'm grateful for #1's easy-going-ness with this whole thing.

She is a level kid, very much like my mom was. Nothing gets her down and nothing gets her super excited. I tend to be different in these ways. Can you see why I always wanted to be like my mom? Well, raising a child so like her is a wonderful gift.

So, keep watching my wall. I'll let you know when it all goes down and where she's off to. I'm still excited but trying to keep it under wraps a bit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Simplest Crockpot Recipes: Chicken

Okay, are you ready for no-fail, easy crockpot chicken? These are great go-to recipes for any time you're in a rush. Most of these ingredients, you probably already have on hand. Throw them into your crockpot in the morning, turn it on low, and go about your day. By dinnertime, voila! Your house smells marvelous. Make a salad, and you have a no stress dinner.

Chicken Fryer (rinse and pat dry with paper towels before cooking)
Add  1 C. water
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. It's done if the joints are coming apart from the body.

This chicken can be used for any recipe that calls for chicken (chicken salad, any chicken casserole, etc., etc., etc.). Wait for it to cool and remove the meat from the bones. The bones can be used for a future chicken soup, or throw them away. When fryers are on sale, I'll cook them up this way and then freeze the meat for the future.

Here are some options for this same recipe:
  •  Throw in some salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle with any one or combination of these herbs:  
                lemon pepper
  • Add a lemon, cut in wedges (and a bay leaf if you have one) into the chicken’s cavity for flavor.  Remove lemon and bay leaf before serving.

Chicken breasts - cook these recipes on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour 1 can cream of mushroom soup over top. Cook. When done, put chicken on a plate and if you want, you can make what's left in the crockpot into a gravy--mix 1 Tbsp. flour and ½ C. water (or milk) together in a small bowl. Turn the crockpot on high, and stir the flour mixture in. Cook until thick. Pour over chicken to serve.
  • Pour in salad dressing – honey mustard, Catalina, French, Russian, Italian.
  • Pour in equal parts of soy sauce, water and sugar and throw in some minced garlic and minced ginger (if desired). Cook. Serve over rice.
  • Pour in barbecue sauce.
  • Pour in 1 jar of salsa.  When done, shred the chicken and serve in tortillas, over tortilla chips, or over rice. You might also want to serve with refried beans, sour cream, and shredded cheese.
  • Sprinkle with one package of taco seasoning and 1 C. water. Use for nachos, burritos, etc.
  • Pour in one bottle of French or Catalina salad dressing, 1 envelope dry onion soup mix and 1 can whole cranberry sauce.
  • Add 1 can golden mushroom soup or cream of mushroom soup and 1 envelope dry onion soup. Serve over rice.
  • Pour in one can cream of chicken soup, ½ pkg. cream cheese, and 1 C. sour cream.
  • Mix together  2 cans undrained green beans, 2 can cream of mushroom soup. Put in crockpot and add chicken. 
  • Slice 1 large onion and put on bottom of crockpot.  Slice 4 potatoes on top of the onions.  Put chicken breasts next.  Pour 1 can cream of mushroom soup mixed with one can of milk on top of chicken.  Sprinkle with garlic powder if you want to.  
  • Place chicken breasts on bottom of crockpot.  Place 4 cups of chopped broccoli on top and mix together 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1 c. mayo, and 1-ish tsp. of curry powder, and pour over top. 
  • Pour in 2 cans of Contadina Sweet and Sour sauce. Serve over rice.
  • Pour 1 jar of spaghetti sauce over chicken. Cook. Sprinkle with mozarella before serving.  Serve on pasta.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's the Mom's Job

A few weeks ago, because I've been having such interesting sleep habits--if I am awakened and have to get up to help someone in the middle of the night, I can't go back to sleep--the Warden told me that if there is ever a reason to get up in the night, he will do it. So, since I'm the only one that hears the kids crying out at night, I wake the Warden and turn right back over and go back to sleep. So far it's worked out very well.

Last night, we put #7 to bed with a super bad cold. She hasn't been sick in so long--none of our kids have--that we've gotten kind of spoiled by it.

I checked on her before we went to bed, and she was asleep on her back with her mouth wide open. It was clear that her nose was really stuffed. Poor little thing. I covered her up and went to bed.

Three times last night, I woke the Warden when I heard her crying. Three times, he went to take care of her needs as I rolled over and went right back to sleep.

This morning, when she woke up, #7 came into our bedroom carrying her Tinkerbell blankie. She snuggled up to me and said, "Mom, I called you and you didn't come. Dad comed, but I wanted you. Why didn't you come?"

Sad! I guess it's nice to be needed. Some things are just the mom's job, I guess.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Here Are Our Guesses

We sat down tonight at Family Home Evening and went around the circle three times. Each time around, we chose a foreign mission and a stateside mission. We referred to this list, so we could guess most accurately. You'll notice that instead of guessing which Washington, D.C. or New York New York mission, for example, we just gave them all of Washington, D.C. and all of New York New York.

If you want to get in on the fun, go ahead and guess. You can leave your guess as a comment on this post, or on my Facebook page (I'm not sure if this link will work, but you can give it a try). Just make sure your guess is for a specific mission. To help you out, you can go ahead and refer to the link we used.

England  London
China Hong Kong
Thailand Bangkok
Colorado Denver
North Carolina Raleigh
Texas Houston

Japan Sendai
Slovenia Ljubljana
Finland Helsinki
Salt Lake City Temple Square
Ohio Cincinnati
Iowa Des Moines

Canada Toronto
Guatemala Quetzaltenango
Chile Santiago
Arkansas Little Rock
Washington D.C.
Indiana Indianapolis

Russia Moscow
Brazil Sao Paolo
Italy Milan
Oklahoma Oklahoma City
Florida Miami
Alaska Anchorage

Tonga Nukualofa
Czech Prague
South Africa Cape Town
California Los Angeles
New York New York
South Dakota Rapid City

Germany  Berlin
Brazil Rio
Australia Sydney
Hawaii Honolulu
Utah Provo
Massachusetts Boston

Spain Barcelona
England Manchester
Portugal Porto
Illinois Chicago
Florida Orlando
California San Diego

Japan Tokyo
Japan Kobe
Paraguay Asuncion
Idaho Pocatello
Arizona Phoenix
Washington Everett

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