Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heading To The Beach

We're headed to the beach this weekend with wonderful friends and their children.  It should be a blast...and hopefully relaxing too.

I always get myself stressed out when I'm trying to prepare to go away with my family.  I've got a zillion things running through that my that need to be done, supplies to be bought, items to be packed, etc.  I usually write them down on paper so I can hopefully remember everything.  Not to mention, I want to leave the house in a way that I would like to return to it.

My husband is more of a 'throw a couple shirts, a pair of shorts, and a couple pair of fresh underwear in a bag' kind of guy.  He figures if we forget anything there is always a store within a short drive.

Why can't I be more like that?

Well, in an attempt to begin my vacation refreshed and not completely worn out, I'm going to bed at a decent time tonight.  And, what I get done tomorrow before we leave, I get done.  And, what I don't...I suppose the earth will continue spinning on it's axis anyway.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kids & Chores

There are some things that I know that I want for my boys.

First and foremost I want them to know, love, honor, and serve God.

I also want them to become men of integrity. Men who are kind & considerate.  I would like them to be gentlemen.

In addition to all that, it is my desire that they would be hard workers just as the men before them.  My father and grandfather, my husband, my father-in-law, my husband's grandfather....all these men who have had a strong work ethic.

I do not want my boys to get sucked into the mentality of a generation that seems to embrace laziness, entitlement, and takes little self-responsibility.

So, when trying to get my boys to do a few simple chores results in whining, moaning, complaining, stalling, arguing, etc. etc., it's annoying & exhausting.  And, I envision them as teenagers behaving the same way and that's just downright scary!

I would love for them to do their chores willingly and with enthusiasm.

But, I'm also realistic.  I can't say I do my own work around the house with a ton of enthusiasm.

Having them do their chores obediently and without whining (and all the above mentioned theatrics) would be great!

I had this book for awhile and if I remember it had some really great tips.  And, it was based on biblical principles.  It's called, Do I Have To?  What To Do About Children Who Do Too Little Around The House by Patricia Sprinkle.

But, I'm not sure where it is anymore.  Did I get rid of it?  Why would I have done that?

I did find the author's website and it looks like she even has out a new edition of the book.

I would like to reread the book.  But, in the meantime, I'd love to hear what works for all of you.  Will my children reach a point where they work without whining...if I'm consistent?  Am I expecting too much of them?  Actually, I'll answer that one for myself.  NO.  I'm not expecting too much.

Anyway, I'd love your thoughts & insight!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Big Fish

I just have to say that as the only girl in a houseful of guys sometimes I have to see things I'd otherwise rather not see.

Things like this....

That would be an ice chest full of catfish.  The big one on top there?  Yeah, he was still trying to suck oxygen with his gills.  Very disturbing.

But good eating.

My husband cleaned the fish & made one yummy fish fry.  He coated the fish filets with  seasoned crushed tortilla chips and then fried them.  Really delicious.  They didn't even taste fishy.

Oh, and I gotta give props to my boy Wyatt who caught the ginormous catfish.

He even pulled it in himself.  Way to go son!

You men go ahead and catch it & clean it.  But, next time I really don't need to see any part of the process prior to it being on my dinner table.  Thanks.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Peaches....AND Corn!

It's after 11 and I'm ready to zonk out.  Today was a very busy but a highly productive day.

I don't have a lot of brain juice left for writing very much.  So, I'll do most of my speaking through pictures.

The last couple years we gotten the best peaches ever !  from an orchard just a couple miles down the road from us.  I've been meaning to can some each year, but we always ended up eating them.  There's nothing quite like a sweet, juicy, fresh peach.

This year I bought 2 baskets.  I determined that I absolutely would can them this year.  

I do most of my canning & freezing based on what I remember doing with my mom & grandma as I was growing up.  But, the Ball Blue Book is an absolutely necessary reference.  It will tell you how to can just about anything that you can imagine...and then some.

Here are some peaches waiting to be placed in canning jars after being peeled & pitted.  I made the mistake of using my regular mouth jars for the first batch.  Wide mouth would have worked much better with the peach halves.  I just ended up cutting them in fourths so they'd better fit into the jars.

What do you do with the mushy, bruised, or overripe peaches?  I cut them into chunks and set them aside to use for jam.

Chopping up mushy peaches was an easy job for the boys.

The Blue Book calls for a medium to heavy syrup (simply water and a LOT of sugar boiled together).  I use a much lighter syrup.  For one the peaches are already so sweet, plus I save a little $ by using less sugar.

They are finally ready to take their hot water bath.

In you go guys.

Finished product:  19 quarts of peaches, and about 7 pints of jam.  Don't you love how easy it all looks in pictures?  Don't be fooled.  This little project took me all day.  (I should mention that I also had help with the boys today.  One of the boy's 2nd cousins, a 14 year old girl who loves being with kids, offered to come and help me out.

And, then, because either I'm a little crazy or I was running on adrenaline after my earlier completed task, I decided to go ahead and do the corn that my father in law offered me from his garden tonight.  I knew the rest of my week was pretty busy & wasn't sure when else I could do it.  And, I certainly couldn't let it go to waste.  So we had a corn party at 9 o'clock.  The boys willingly & eagerly helped since it meant staying up past their bedtime!

Sometimes my husband comes up with some strange contraptions.  But, this one is awesome!!!  This is a propane fueled, outdoor burner.  We sat the blanching pot on top of that and the water was boiling in no time.    This made the whole process so much quicker.

Bagging the corn after it's been blanched, cooled, drained, and cut off the cob.

Finished Product:  9 quarts of corn

For anyone out there wondering WHY in the world I'd go through so much work for food you can buy in the grocery store, I need to tell you that nothing compares to homegrown (or in the case of the peaches, locally grown) food.  We go through corn in the winter like crazy.  I use it in my chicken corn soup, for baked corn, chowders, etc.  With corn in particular I will not use anything that comes out of a storebought can or freezer bag.  I'm just picky that way.

Ok. - It's insanely late now.  And, tomorrow's another busy day.  So, I am going to bed!

Friday, July 23, 2010

How Do You Know When Your Family Is Complete?

This is a post I've been thinking about for quite a while.  I want to first say that I know that my title question is a question that not everyone gets to answer on their own.  I know so many who have struggled with infertilty and miscarriage.  And, I want to apologize outright to anyone who has experienced that kind of heartbreak.  It's not my intention to be insensitive to you.

My husband and I have been blessed with four wonderful sons.  Sometimes when I sit back and look at my family, I am amazed at where God has brought me.  I have always wanted children.  From the time I can remember, I wanted to be a mommy.  It was never a question of IF I'd have children.  It was a question of when and how many.

There was a time in my life where I wondered if I'd ever have the opportunity to have children.  It broke my heart to imagine my life childless.  At some point, I would also like to share my testimony.  But for now, I'll just say that I lived the majority of my 20's in rebellion towards God.  It wasn't until my late 20's that a godly man (my husband) came into my life and I changed the path of my life.

I was 30 when my husband and I married.  Since I was 'older' and unsure of my fertility I wanted to try for a family almost immediately.  My husband was also eager for a family so he agreed.  Our first son was conceived probably somewhere around our 1st anniversary of marriage and was born when I was 32.

We knew we wanted several children.  We weren't sure how many.  But again, because I was an 'older' mom, I didn't feel like I had the luxury of large age gaps between our children.  Plus, I liked the idea of having siblings close in age so they had each other as they grew up.

Our second son was born 20 months after our first when I was 34.  And, our 3rd son was born about 2 1/2 years after that when I was 37  (his birthday is 2 days after my birthday!).

At this point, we had our hands pretty full.  I had some pretty bad postpartum depression after our second son was born (there's another topic I could write a whole book on) and even though the postpartum stuff wasn't as bad after Boy #3 it was still there to some extent.

My husband was happy with his 3 sons.  My family felt like we were busy enough with 3 little boys and we shouldn't have any more.  Some of my friends already thought I was a little wacky to want THREE children.

But, in my heart, I didn't feel like we were done.  I felt very strongly like there was another child who belonged in our family.  Some people have asked if we kept 'trying for a girl'.  And while having a girl certainly would have been lovely, it wasn't our goal in continuing to have children.

My husband was a bit reluctant at first, but he was starting to consider the idea of a fourth child when we discovered we would indeed be having a fourth child.  Our fourth son was born almost 7 months ago when I was 39 (I turn 40 later this year).

So, are we done?  It's so hard to know.  But, I think we are.

1.  My husband is done.  He says he's ready to have his wife back.  He doesn't enjoy the baby/ diaper stage. And, he looks forward to the ages where are boys are more independent and able to boy stuff with their daddy.

2.  My body is tired after 7 years of being either pregnant or breastfeeding.  It's just plain worn out.

3.  I'm getting old.  Ok - 40 really isn't old.  But, I'm not sure how I feel about having children after I'm 40.  I just don't seem to have the same energy, enthusiasm, patience, creativity, etc. I had in my younger years.

4.  I really DO have my hands full.  I know there are lots of families out there with 6, 7, 8 or more children.  Maybe if I had started having children earlier in life I'd be one of them.  But, my four boys keep me hoppin'.  And, I want to be the best momma I can be to them.  I don't want to be a continuously stressed out momma.

I do keep thinking that someday maybe we would court the idea of foster care or adoption.  Not now.  But, maybe someday.  Maybe a little girl?  Maybe.

God knows what our family is supposed to look like.  I suppose our purpose is to welcome the children he brings to it, however he brings them.

For now, I will enjoy my children and rejoice in how blessed we are.

If you'd like to share, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Keep On Movin'

In my sidebar this week I have a little survey about your exercise habits.  I will admit that my answer to my own survey question is that my only form of exercise is running after my children.  And, that keeps me pretty busy.

I have been very aware of my need for some genuine exercise.  But, for one, I don't particulary care to exercise. And, I haven't been able to figure out a time to fit it in.  I'm pretty much with my children 24/7.

So, I think I may have come up with a solution today.  I took my boys back to the rail trail near our house (it's about a 7 minute drive).  The big boys brought their bikes.  And, this time I had a double stroller for my 2 year old & my baby.

We had a great time!  The trail is beautiful and shaded.  It is straight and level.  It's perfect for boys who are still getting the hang of riding their bikes, and one out-of-shape momma.

Once again I forgot my camera.  I also forgot to wear good walking shoes.  I was so focused on getting 4 boys out the door that I forgot to change out of my flip flops.  And, next time I think we would bring water along as well.  My boys & I were pretty sweaty & thirsty by the time we finished our walk.

I'm thinking we should try to make this part of our early morning routine.  And, on days that we can't go in the morning we could come back in the cool of the evening.

It seems like an easy solution to my exercise problem.  And, it's a great activity for the boys too.  Hopefully, I can remember the enthusiasm I have right now and follow through.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dinner Tonight

This was actually a combination my boys came up with.  I had chicken & broth in the crockpot with the intention of making Chicken Tortilla Soup tonight.

But then my boys asked if they could make a special soup.  I gave them a little of the broth & chicken and then they chopped up zucchini & tomato & I cut corn off the cob (all from our garden) and added it to their little pot of soup.

I tasted it after it had simmered awhile.  Mmmmm.  Summery.  Fresh.  Yummy.  I decided to use the remainder of the chicken and broth to make a big pot of the soup.

And, that (as Rachel Ray says) is what's for dinner tonight.

The experimental boy pot o' soup

P.S. - I used my new favorite seasoning, adobo, when I cooked down the chicken & broth in the crock pot.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How I Write

I write like
Margaret Atwood
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I found this fun little diddy over at Testosterhome.  How fun is this??!!!  Click on "analyze your writing" and it will take you to the site where it will ask for a sample of your writing.  Simply cut and paste from a blog post or what have you.  In just a couple seconds it compares your writing to that of a famous author.   Love it!

There's Nothing Quite Like a Sense of Accomplishment

I finally have some before & after pictures to share!

I've mentioned various projects I wanted to complete.  But, I actually have one now that is officially completed!

O.K.  Here it last time...the 'Before' photo of my $15 yard sale bench.

May I have a drum roll please?  I would like to present my 'After' photos....

I'm trying it out in a different location....

Sorry about the lighting in these pics.  A professional photographer I am not.  Hopefully, you get the gist.  I'm pretty pleased with the results.  I'm actually thinking about painting my dining table chairs & benches too.  But, for now I'm just basking in the glow that comes with one completed project.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 16, 2010

For Serious Chocolate Lovers Only

Around our house we are constantly seeking for the 'Best Ever' of our favorite items.

For instance, a little store named Weiser's Markets near our house has the Best Ever Cream-filled Donuts.  Lapp Valley Farms has the Best Ever Chocolate Milk.  We also found how to make the Best Ever French Toast.

I think I may have found the recipe for the Best Ever Chocolate Brownies.  Actually, these were brought to a picnic by another mom and I begged her to send me the recipe.

Be warned.  These are very, very rich.  These are for serious chocolate lovers.  They are amazing.

Best Ever Chocolate Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
3 cups sugar
1 T. vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 tsp. salt 
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan.  Cream together butter & sugar.  Add vanilla & eggs. Add dry ingredients.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Bake 35-40 minutes.

They are so dense, moist, and a bit naughty.

Also, I wasn't able to share this picture yesterday, but here is my bench painting in progress...

I did finish the first coat yesterday.  I still need to lightly sand it and give it a second coat.  Hopefully, I'll have a picture of the finished product for you on Monday.  So far, I'm really liking the results!

Oh, and no weight loss update this Friday....because actually I gained a couple pounds back.  (See recipe above).  Anyway, next week is a new week!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Slowly...but Surely

I've been meaning to paint this bench since I bought it at a yard sale last year for $15.

I even bought the paint a couple months ago.

I just couldn't seem to find the time to start the project.

Today, I decided just to jump in and start it.  Even with the boys there, hopefully they'd be so interested in what I was doing that all would be calm & peaceful.

I wanted to show you pictures of the project in progress.  But, my camera & my computer apparently aren't talking to each other right now.

So, you'll just have to believe me when I say that I've got one coat on so far (and I'm liking how it's looking!). This had to be done in 2 parts because....well, when you have small children there are interruptions.

Here's what I posted on Facebook this morning as I described the difficulties I was having during interruption #1 - fussy baby ready for a nap.

"Unfortunately I think I helped perpetuate the 'helpless woman' myth today. I started working on painting a bench. (I'm not very experienced in painting). First called my husband to find out how to get started. Then, about 45 minutes later called him because baby was screaming, I had black oil-based paint all over my hands, and I could NOT get the ding dang cap off the mineral spirits to clean my hands & brush.

I'm not entirely sure what I expected him to do. Oh, did I mention I had sweat dripping into my eyes, blurring my vision? Anyway, he tried to have me use a pipe wrench to screw off the cap. I still couldn't get it. So, he finally told Wyatt to go get the gasoline can out of the barn & I used gasoline to clean off my hands so I could finally go comfort the baby."

Anyway, I hope to have 'After' pictures for you next week.  First coat needs to dry, then a light sanding, then a 2nd coat.  And, voila, a brand new bench.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Me Again - This Time With a Different Attitude

I was grumpy this morning.  All you have to do is look at my post before this to see.

But, I saw Cindy listed some of her favorite things today, things that make her happy, things for which she is thankful.  And, Janette also encouraged me to do that same thing.

So, here goes, my pants are still too tight, and I think I'm going to have to throw away this wedgy-causing pair of underwear, but as for the rest....let's try on a different attitude!

  • My husband and I are going out to dinner tonight with another couple.  Grandma & Grandpa are babysitting.  And, we get to have adult interaction!
  • I am living my dream.  I am a wife and a mother, and I am able to stay home with my children.  It's the life I always wanted.  It's not always easy.  In fact it's so much more difficult than I could have imagined, but I wouldn't want any other life.
  • Chocolate!  
  • God knows the desires of our heart better than we know them ourselves.  Before I was married, I pictured myself with a certain kind of guy.  Then my husband came along & he wasn't the type of  guy I had envisioned being with, but he was (and is) hands-down the right guy for me!
  • Sloppy baby kisses, flowers from my sons ( picked from our yard or from the field), surprise bear hugs from behind that almost knock me over
  • The love and support of family.  I've got wonderful parents and awesome in-laws.  I know not everybody has family close by or even much family at all.
  • Coffee!!!
Now, what are some of your favorite things?


My pants are too tight.
My underwear is giving me a wedgy.
My boys are at each other's throats.
My house is filthy, chaotic, a mess everywhere I look.
I blew my diet this weekend.
I feel yucky & gross.
It's getting hot & humid.
I don't know where to start.
I'm irritable.

I just needed to say all that.  To get it off my chest.  Now, I'm going to go try to drum up some of that motivation & move on.  And to pray...that God would give me strength today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Doin' Corn

I'm heading to my mom & dad's house this morning to help my mom do their corn.  A.k.a - husk, blanch, cut, & freeze.  My parent's still keep a fairly large garden & usually put in enough corn to share with family.

We keep a garden too.  But, at this point I'm so busy with the boys that most of the food we grow is for consuming.  Not too much is preserved.  I do can tomatoes, and some pear jelly.  Plus, we grow enough potatoes to store & use throughout the winter.

My family has done corn every year since I can remember.  My grandparents used to grow so much corn that we would have a large tractor wagonload that we would do at one time.  It was a family event.   The men would help pick & husk and then the women would do the rest.

It's on a smaller scale now.  But, it's still a family event.  Today will probably be my mom, grandmother, and I.  I'm not sure but one of my aunts may be there as well.

It's also a great tradition & memory that I want to pass on to my boys.

Ok. - I'm off.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lessons Learned

You might recognize these chairs from my header.

They sit on our front porch.  There are actually 3 of the rockers.  And, up to this point I have been OK with their weathered look.

But, the chairs have gone from having a weathered look to being weathered.  It's time for some fresh paint.

I bought a can of white outdoor spraypaint to paint the chairs.  My husband told me that the spray paint would be not be the best or easiest way to paint the chairs.  And, he suggested a different method.

But, I had the spray paint already and was not to be deterred.  

So, a couple days ago I pulled one of the chairs out onto the grass, sanded it down (a little), and started going to town with the spray paint.  

Here is what I learned....

1.  One can of spray paint isn't enough to cover even one chair.

2.  Spraypaint is a slow & aggravating way to paint furniture.

3.  Sometimes my husband is right.

I guess it's Plan B (aka my husband's method) for me.  

P.S.  - This week weight loss:  1 pound
            Total weight loss to date:  6 1/2 pounds
           Total pounds remaining to goal weight:  35 pounds

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mother's Intuition? and Visits to the ER in the Middle of the Night.

I am not one of those mothers who rushes off to the doctor at the slightest sniffle, cough, or boo boo that my children have.

But, I also am not afraid to seek medical attention when I believe my children will benefit more from seeing the doctor than 'waiting it out'.  

This is preface the following story...

Last night after dinner, my husband took the oldest 2 boys with him to the 'shop' where he wanted to work on a project. (My husband's place of employment, an engine & generator machine shop, is just down the road within sight of our house).  The boys brought their bicycles along so they could ride around in the shop's empty parking lot while my husband worked.

About 20 minutes after their departure my husband returned carrying Wyatt, who had crashed him bicycle & landed on his knee.  The knee was obviously bruised & sore with the typical scrapes.  A small piece of gravel also had left a small but painful puncture wound.

In general, no big deal.  Or so I thought.  Wyatt was crying quite a bit.  But, this isn't unusual for him when he is injured.  As the night went on, he continued to cry & refused to put any pressure on his leg.

When it was time for bed & I tried to help him up the stairs he cried out with each step or any time his leg was jostled.  

Still, I didn't think too much of it.  And, if I'm being completely honest, I was actually pretty annoyed.  I thought he was just being whiny.  The baby was crying, the other boys needed attention too, my husband had gone back to the shop to finish his project, and I was alone to put all the boys to bed.  I was irritated by his continued complaining about his leg.

My husband did return to help me get everyone tucked in (after an upset phone call from yours truly).  And, Wyatt fell asleep.  

Around 12:30, Wyatt started to stir.  (I hear every noise my children make in the night...even if I was fast asleep).  At first he was just whimpering, but then he started crying in what sounded like extreme pain.

I got up to give him some Tylenol and an ice pack for his knee.  But, he grew increasingly upset. Every movement seemed to cause him pain.

At that point I started to review the evening.  He had more or less been crying or complaining of pain since the accident happened.  He hadn't really been able to put any pressure on the leg.  And, now he was saying he had pain in the shin area as well.

I started to feel like something more was going on.  I woke my husband.  And, we brought Wyatt over to our room (partially to get a better look at his leg & partially so he wouldn't wake his brothers).  There wasn't any sign of swelling or extreme bruising, but I still felt like something wasn't right.

I told my husband I thought I was going to take him to the hospital.  My husband is much more conservative about going to the doctor.  He falls into the 'wait it out and see' camp.  He didn't think it was broken, but he also understood my concern & didn't object to me taking him.

Long story short, I went back and forth about what to do.  I actually got dressed, then changed my mind & put my pajamas back on.  Then changed my mind again & got dressed again.  He really seemed to be in legitimate pain.  And, if something truly was wrong, I couldn't forgive myself for making him wait it out.

I took him.  And, as it turned out after 2 1/2 hours in the ER and 4 xrays to his knee, he was fine.  The knee is just very bruised & sprained.  

I felt a little silly.  My mother's intuition let me down.

But, at the same time, I don't really regret taking him (Remind me of that when we get our bill).  

Being a parent requires so many choices, so many decisions big & small that effect the welfare of our children.  

We pray, we seek, and sometimes we just have to listen to our mother's intuition...even if it's sometimes wrong.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Kitchen

I keep seeing pictures of white kitchens.  On blogs.  In magazines.  On TV.  And, they really, really appeal to me.

They are so bright.  So cheery.  So homey.

So when I see something like this...

or this...

or this...

 and especially this....

I feel drawn to these spaces.  I could picture myself working in these kitchens.  They exude a sense of calm & I imagine that I too would be serene and at peace.

Ok - I suppose that's a lot to ask of a kitchen.  Still, I would love to someday have a white kitchen.

But, my reality right now is four active, dirty boys with more daily messes & spills than I can count. My white kitchen wouldn't stay white for very long.   Not to mention it's not really financially feasible now.  So, my someday has to wait.

In the meantime, I can dream!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Something Light

It is H. O. T.  hot in these parts today.  We're hitting about 100 & the humidity is super high.  We stepped outside for about 15 minutes just to go feed the chickens and the sweat was pouring off us.

So, we're hibernating inside our blessedly cool house today.  I'm feeling very thankful for our AC window units.  It's not central air, but it's certainly better than no air.

I'm babysitting my friend's 2 little girls today.  So, with 6 kids pretty much confined to the house today we are breaking out of our typical daily routine.  Currently 5 of them (the baby is taking a nap) are draped across the couches eating popcorn & watching the kid's movie 'Bolt'.

Brain power & energy levels are on low today, so this post will be short & sweet.  For your amusement I thought I'd share some examples of  other times my brain power has been on low.

Some Things I Used To Think (But Have Since Been Properly Educated):

  • I used to think espresso was spelled & pronounced expresso
  • I used to think that a central vacuum system was an extremely strong suction system whereby you flipped a switch & all the dirt was sucked into suction vents throughout the house.
  • I used to think that the name of legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was Ellafitz Gerald.
  • I used to think that the signs reading "No Vacancy" at motels actually read "No Bikinis"  (Ok - that one is from when I was a kid...I could never understand why people with bikinis weren't allowed at those motels).
There you have it...a little something light for a hot, hot day.  Do you have any of these to share?

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    100th Post!!!!

    As I went to begin my post for today I realized that I've hit a milestone.  This is my 100th post!  Wow.  How quickly that happened!  And, I'm totally unprepared.  I know some bloggers offer giveaways to help celebrate these kinds of things.  And, I love the idea of doing that.  But, I've got nothing at the moment.

    Sooooo, what I can give is my thanks.  Thanks for taking the time to stop by & read my ramblings.  Thanks for the comments you make.  Thanks most of all for your encouragement.  It really has been so fun trying out this blogging thing.  And, all of you have been so wonderful to meet...even if it is through a keyboard & computer screen.  O.K. everyone - group hug!

    I am very excited today!  I mentioned on Monday that it was time for me to get serious about weight loss.  I have to say I've done pretty well this week.  Mainly I've been watching my portions, snacking on more healthy options (like fruit, yogurt, and granola), and cutting out my night-time binges.  I was eating a ton of food at night after the kids went to bed.  It was my destresser.  It's not terrible to have a snack at night every now & then.  But, this was every night...and I was pretty much eating the equivalent of another meal.

    And, now for the results.  As of this morning I have lost a total of 5 1/2 pounds off my starting weight.  Five of those pounds were in this week alone!  Yay!  Now, I know I can't expect to continue to lose 5 pounds every week.  And, there will be the inevitable plateaus.  But, I am thrilled.  I already feel a difference in my clothes.  My size 16 (yikes) pants are no longer tortuously tight.  They are snug, but I can wear them again.

    I also have to share about my awesome day with my boys yesterday.  I decided I was going to take the whole day just to do fun stuff with them & ignore the housework altogether.  So, we tackled some items on our summer list.  (Of course I forgot my camera for all of this.)

    We drove over to the rail trail which is only about 8 minutes from our house.  The two big boys brought their bikes.  I pushed Joseph in the stroller.  And, Charlie had his push scooter.  The trail was beautiful!  I couldn't believe I hadn't checked it out before.  Charlie got tired of pushing his scooter though after the first 5 minutes & then got tired of walking about 1/2 way through.  So, I'll need to come up with a better option for him.  Wishing I still had my double stroller.

    Then we went to the park, played & had a packed picnic lunch.  We came back home for rest time.  And, then, in the afternoon we headed over to Lapp Valley Farms ( an Amish dairy) where we've gone before to buy milk.  (They officially have the best chocolate milk EVER!)  One of our summer list items was to have an ice cream cone there.  

    Well, we had so much more!  They have about a dozen calves the children may see & pet.  And, if that weren't exciting enough it was milking time & they have a viewing area where you can see the whole process up close.  My boys didn't want to leave!

    It was a great day.  Very relaxed.  Very low stress.  And, we all had fun.  Housework?  What housework?

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    A Follow-up, A Project, and A Recipe

    First of all I want to thank everyone for their very kind comments on my post, Tuesday Randomness.  You were all so encouraging.  Looking back at it I sounded more negative in that post than I intended that day.  But, you know, sometimes it's good just to get things off my chest.  If I can put into words what I am thinking & feeling (and find out I'm not as alone in those thoughts as I sometimes think), it helps me to move on.

    A few things I was reminded of as I read your comments...

    • I am blessed!  And, I shouldn't question or envy the way that God has chosen to bless someone else.  He blesses us all in different ways, gives different gifts to his different children.  I am blind to the ways God has blessed me if I'm focused on someone else's blessings.  
    • In that same train of thought....I need to be thankful for all I have.  A couple of you mentioned the woodwork in my home.  And, I do love older homes for that very reason.  I love the character.  But, it's a tradeoff - the house won't be perfect.  Instead of looking at the imperfections (and this applies to every area of life...not just my house) I need to be grateful for what I have.
    • I should worry less about what other people think.  I let embarrassment over my home keep me isolated sometimes.  I rarely invite people over.  And, one of my passions is hospitality.  One of the best things I read on this topic of showing hospitality was at Antique Mommy. It was called "No One Drops In For Coffee Anymore".  I loved it!

      Today I wanted to share a couple pictures with you and get your opinion.  Our neighbors recently moved & they were loading some things to take to Goodwill.  I saw this piece and something about it appealed to me.

      They said I could have it if I wanted it.  It definitely needs work.  But it's sturdy & I love the feet on it.  So, do I add this to my summer 'to do' list?  I was thinking of sanding it down & painting it white.  What do you think?

       Also, the last few days have been nice & cool.  Temps are in the mid to upper 70's.  It's been sunny, but breezy.  Such a nice contrast to the extreme heat & humidity we were experiencing.  I figured it was perfect weather for baking...something a don't do a lot of it the heat. 

      So, I pulled out my recipe for Chess Bars.  Very buttery, very decadent, very yummy.

      They are crispy on the outside & gooey on the inside.  They are definitely a temptation as I am getting serious about weight loss.  Nonetheless, my family enjoys having baked goods around.  And, I feel better about them eating home-baked treats than packaged stuff.

      Chess Bars
      1 cup butter, melted
      2 cups packed light brown sugar
      1 cup white sugar
      4 large eggs
      2 cups flour
      1/2 tsp. salt
      2 tsp. baking powder
      10x sugar for dusting top (optional)

      Heat oven 300 degrees. Butter 9x13 pan (or 2 small square pans).  Dust with flour.  Combine butter & sugar until smooth.  Add eggs. Combine dry ingredients and add to mixture.  Bake 1 hour.

      Easy & awesome!  

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