Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pssstt...

Hey you! Yeah, you!


Come here! Hurry!

I have to tell you something!



I love ya, man!

Tamales


I bought these from a lady who sells homemade tamales out of the back of her van in our grocery store's parking lot. They are divine; perfectly moist, perfectly flavored, and utterly addictive. Biting into them was a sweet (well, savory) reminiscence of the Southwestern food that I miss and crave badly. These are comfort food to me, and one of the foods I want to learn how to make. (Due to a lack of really good Chinese food here in my corner of the mid-south, I have already had to learn to cook my own favorite Chinese dishes.)

I have spoken to some people here who aren't sure about buying homemade food out of the back of somebody's van. I understand why it might bother them, but I have no such reservations. In California, we bought the world's best burritos out of vehicles dubbed "Roach Coaches." If you have ever eaten a Roach Coach burrito, you know the misgivings are replaced with an incredible desire for more. I haven't lived in CA for 14 years, and I still miss those coach burritos!

So if you are in the area, and longing for a bit of genuine southwestern culinary cuisine, just take an afternoon cruise on down to Harps' parking lot Thursday-Monday and say "hola" to the nice lady who whips these up. You won't be sorry. They are mmm, mmm, bien!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eye Candy

I was reading Pioneer Woman's blog today, and she showed this set of measuring cups on her cooking site. Oh my. I have a penchant for pretty bowls, and then they go and make pretty measuring cups. These are adorable, so I had to go to the site to see them in better detail.

Then I did something I shouldn't do. I browsed around the site a little bit. Look at these. I have never been in an Anthropologie store, and now I don't have any big stores nearby. That is probably a really good thing, because these would strain my will-power in a major way.

Jack got me a very pretty set of serving dishes for Christmas, and then we found an incredible deal on some pretty plates, salad plates, and bowls at a local bent and dent store. (We paid 50 cents a piece and got a set of 18 plates, 18 salad plates, and 18 bowls for $27) We don't have any glasses, though, because we have had multitudes of young children in our lives for so long. We are ready to move onto real glassware now that our kids are bigger, and these sing to me. I would never spend this much on glasses, but my how they call my name!
Alas, I must return to the land of reality now. Which is good, because just glimpsing into the apron and dishtowel sections of this store makes me starry-eyed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Science Fair and Medical Notes

Last week was the middle school kids' science fair. Faith particularly wanted me to come see her experiment, so I came armed with my camera. The fair wasn't anything like I expected. The last time I went to science fairs, the kids all had a table to set up their projects and it was a family-type event held in the evening. Visitors wandered around the room to see the different projects, there were flowing volcanoes and homemade electric currents all over the place, and the room would buzz with activity while the judges did their thing.

It is completely different here. The kids come in with their classes during school hours and sit and read books while they wait for the judges to see each project and hear the individual presentations. There are no parents or families there to see what their kids have done. (I was the only one, but it was obvious that the teachers didn't mind me being there.) The presentations are made very quietly, and the room is kept very,very quiet. I can understand why the kids were kept quiet reading books since this wasn't the family type affair I have been to before, and I know a lot of parents wouldn't be able to attend during the day, so I am really not criticizing. It was just very different. I didn't hear my kids make their presentations, but I did get to take pictures of them with their boards.

Chet changed his mind about his project, and just a few days before it was due decided to build his experiment around a rubic's cube.

Here is Tyler with his board.

Faith's grade worked in teams instead of building individual experiments. Her team felt really good about their presentation, and were collectively excited about the judges' reactions. They have been home for spring break this week so they will find out if they won at the assembly on Tuesday.

Spring break has been a quiet affair, which is a relief. Matt has had a couple of baseball games, and there were some medical appointments for the kids. Yesterday Matt had to go back to the eyedoctor for a checkup. The glasses have improved his vision a bit, and he is now in contacts. They are pretty pricy, and insurance doesn't cover them, so it is something we will have to add to the budget every couple of months. However, he can now see 20/20 with the contacts, and that makes a world of difference for him.

Today I had to take Todd into the doctor for some testing. A sugar test was done to rule out diabetes, which was a monumental relief. He is on a course of antibiotics now, and that should knock out the problem.

I was hoping to take the kids out this weekend and do something fun with them. Tyler is here for the rest of the weekend, and we are all wanting out of the house. After a week or so of lovely weather, though, we are expecting snow this weekend. Maybe we will stay home and play games instead, but if the sun even hints at peeking out and warming up the Ozarks a little bit, we will be at the park. All of us are standing at spring's door in eager anticipation, chanting "open,open, open." Warmer weather can't get here fast enough this year!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Bacteria"

I am working on a science fair kit, and was browsing through clipart for some graphics. I came across this one.



Now finding it by running the word "science" through the site's search filters didn't surprise me. However, finding it listed as "bacteria" made me laugh. A lot. Math and science weren't even my strong subjects in school, but even I know that this isn't "bacteria!"

McClacken

I told you I came home sick last Wednesday. While I was busy bringing home cooties, Jack was busy bringing home a horse.

Later that evening, Matt saw the horse for the first time and said, "I am not a farmboy!" His trepidation disappeared instantly when I pointed out how much grass the horse had already eaten. I clarified that the horse could eat the grass, or Matt could mow it, and asked him what he felt was the better option. He wholeheartedly agreed that the horse was much better suited to the job.

And this new lawnmower powered by natural resources has done a great job already in clearing areas of the property. He is only two years old, so he isn't old enough to break and ride yet. However, the kids are enjoying getting to know him and learning how to take care of him, even if the only thing the horse is interested in is eating all that yummy nutritive grass.

We have learned, though, that if we really want his attention we just have to bring a bucket of grain. In fact, now if he sees us outside he will kick his empty green grain bucket to let us know he wants another helping. He doesn't like being rationed to one portion a day!

For Faith in particular, the arrival of the horse was a dream come true. We have been looking for a good name for him, and have been calling him McClacken in the meantime. It will probably end up sticking because strange animal names have a way of sticking around here. If you have any great ideas for naming a horse, I am all ears!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Foggy Morning

I like the foggy mornings. I don't think they will ever cease to calm me. I shot this Wednesday morning before work, and by the time I got home that afternoon I was in my own fog. That stomach virus really knocked me out, but I am finally walking among the living again. Now I am trying to get my pictures sorted and edited. (You know I was sick when I only took 150 shots in 5 days!)

With spring here, and a need to get seeds sown, animals fed, children reared, and work completed, I am giving notice to all bugs and cooties. I have now had enough of your pestering ways. Leave me alone. I have too many things to get done to be stuck in a deliriously foggy state on my couch!

Bones

There are some not-so-pleasant aspects of living in the country, and one of those is that there are people who just dump puppies out here. This little guy showed up the other day with his skin stretched over his gaunt ribcage, and his bony hipbones sticking out. He had a wound on his ear and he was timid towards all the bigger people in our house.I said he was a bag of bones, and the name "Bones" stuck.

Bones and Beth had an immediate bonding. She talked to him and petted him and sang to him as he wolfed down a big pile of our other dogs' food. He plumped his little belly out so far that he waddled around looking pregnant for a few days.

His timid side is diminishing, and he is bouncing around the property now as if he has always been here. When he sees or hears Beth he comes flying to get some of her adoring attention.

She never fails to comply. In fact, the first thing she wants to do after school everyday is spend time with Bones, jabbering away as he soaks up all the love she has to offer.

He might have had a rough start, but if this isn't the look of a now very happy little dog, then I don't know what is.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Frog Vernacular

You might call this a lily pad. I used to as well. Beth has set me straight.

She has informed me it is a "froggy mat." Since she is our resident frog-lover, I will take her word on it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

blah

double blah.

I hate feeling like this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So sick

I wasn't feeling great this morning, but I wasn't terrible either. About noon I started really sliding down the perky scale, and by the time I got home an hour later I was positively green and so very sick. I seem to have picked up a stomach virus and all its nasty friends are having a party at my expense. I will be back with new photos when I can think straight again!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Messy Buns in Green

The kids all wore something green today, but due to work, school, and Tuesday Night Dinner, we didn't get to take leprechaun pictures. I did get this one of Beth on the way out this morning, though.

She asked me yesterday to put "bunnies" in her hair. I thought she said "ponies" and gave her ponytails. "No, Mommy," she corrected, " I want bunnies!" I really wasn't sure what she meant, so I asked her to tell me what they looked like. "You know," she said, "They go around!"

So I made messy buns, and apparently it was exactly what she wanted. Her hair is so fine that her "bunnies" are hopping out of their hair ties within the hour (she didn't even make it out the door this morning before her left bunny started slipping loose). She loves them, though, and I wanted to share with you in case your 5 year old ever asks you to put furry rodents in her hair.

"I am going to be the cutest girl in class today," she said as she admired her bunnies in the mirror. That's my girl, the poster girl for humble attitudes!


Here are a couple of Irish-themed digital layouts I made this week. Now I am thinking of doing the unexpected and actually going to bed early and getting some much needed sleep. I will probably still be thinking about it when 1am rolls around and I decide to go to sleep so I can function tomorrow. Hope you all didn't get pinched today!



Monday, March 16, 2009

Easy Peasy, Right?

I loved playing with rubik cubes when I was a kid. Sometimes I even got one whole set of colors on one side. Occasionally I would get all of the whites on one side, and most of the blues on another. When I needed it all put back together, I used my insane color matching skills and took off all the stickers and put them all back on where they were supposed to be. You can laugh if you want to, but I know most of you did the same thing.

Chet has no need of my insane color matching skills, though. According to him, he has mathematical solutions. You have to mix up a rubik cube someday, and then watch him as he whips it all together and solves it within a matter of minutes.


He uses the tips of his fingers to flip the edges around, secure in the knowledge that he will win.

Within a matter of moments you can see the colors begin to line up. And not just on one side either. (Should a 12 year old boy have hands this enormous?)


Then the voila! moment occurs. With a flip of a row on the cube and a satisfied laugh, he will hold the perfectly color-coded cube up and gloat in the knowledge that he is half mathematical genuis,

and half mad scientist.


Today he asked me if I would get him one of the ten-sided cubes because he is bored with the standard sized rubik. Of course I will, but I am already wondering how long that will last before he has mastered it. How many different rubik cube styles are there? I don't know, but I am sure we are about to find out.

Our Newest Neighbor

This pretty little colt was born a couple of days ago, and yesterday I got to take some pictures of him. I adore the painted ponies. Their markings make them stand out, and no two are painted the same way.


Today I learned that horses are born with 90% of their leg length, which is a big part of why they are so gangly. They seem to be born with a full beard too. I never realized horses had whiskers!


This baby wasn't really sure how he felt about me being in his pasture with a big camera clicking at him. He kept hiding behind his momma, who mostly continued to just chew on her hay as I chased her newborn around her legs. Aren't there any children in this world who will merely be still a moment and let me take an easy picture??

As I was chasing the baby under his momma's watchful eyes, Todd was over petting the Baby Daddy. People literally come from all over to have this big guy date their mares. He is a gorgeous horse.

Sometimes I miss living in the city, generally when I want to eat at Cheesecake Factory or shop at Target. However,there is something about newborn colts that makes the trade-off of making my own lettuce wraps and shopping online so much easier to accept.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Learning Curves

My brother has spent his adult life repairing and maintaining helicopters, airplanes, and trains. His mechanical training runs deep.

Today he was giving pretty Sophia a bath. He looked at the bottle of baby soap and asked my mom, "Do I add it to the water or add it to her?" Only a mechanic would wonder if you would "add soap to the baby" the same way you would add fuel injector to gas.

Silly me, I always wondered why companies printed instructions on shampoo bottles. Now I know it is for mechanical daddies.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Booker Returns

It was Beth's turn to bring Booker the Bear home again today. We brought him to church tonight to enjoy our current lesson reflecting on the season of Lent.

He was a good bear, and sat quietly in his chair while I told the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish.

When I asked the kids if they thought my basket of five loaves and two fish could feed the whole room, they said there was no way it was possible. (Do you like my two fish?) Booker examined the basket and agreed that he couldn't feed the roomful of kids with those meager offerings, let alone 5,000 people. With the object lesson successfully taught, we passed around a basket of tuna sandwiches and enjoyed a meal after the lesson.... much like the 5,000 people did a couple of thousand years ago.

Then Booker and Beth worked on their word search puzzles together. Booker offered a lot of silent support as Beth found and circled her words.

The kids enjoyed having Booker at church with them tonight.


In fact, the older kids asked that we make sure he stop by their room to take their picture with him. Everyone made him feel welcome, and they enjoyed his company immensely.

During music time, Beth and Booker enjoyed a little dance together. Then it was time to pack up and head home.
We added our entry to Booker's travel diary, and he is snuggled with Beth now. He returns to school tomorrow to spend another day with another child. It was nice to see ya again, Booker. Come back soon!

My How theTimeline Flies

Kyle had a timeline assignment worth 100 points this week. He needed pictures, which is where the first emotional hiccup occurred. As we went through his baby pictures finding significant moments, I found myself reminiscing over all the moments with him I have adored. I have been digital since he was four, and most of the previous photos were already scrapped, but we did find some that would work.

Then Kyle went through my scrap stuff to find things he could use to highlight other moments in his life. The road map stickers spelled Arkansas, the hammer sticker worked for the year he built some shelves, and the number 8 was his jersey number on his All-star team. That was his idea. In the end, the 9 years of his life were represented on that poster.

So he glued it all down, and wrote out his labels, and all I could see was how much was missing. There is that brand new baby, but where did all the time go where he was giggling and cooing and crawling and snuggling? Was Jack's hair really that dark? How did nine years go by so quickly?

Kyle really enjoyed this assignment. He spent a lot of time putting it all together. He loved seeing his photos. He put it all together on his own, and he was really proud of his A. He liked seeing so many significant moments in his life.

Then he headed off to school with it, not knowing how much of my heart he carried on that posterboard. I had to post about it here because I want him to know that ALL the moments are significant. Every single one.

Dear Time,

Please slow down.

Please.

Sentimental Mom Whose Babies Are Growing Too Quickly

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spring has officially arrived!

Some people think spring is all about daffodils bursting forth, birds singing merrily, animals getting frisky, and vegetation turning green. I know some consider spring a time of rebirth, a return to warmer temperatures, and longer days thanks to Daylight Savings Time.


But some of us moms know better. Some of us know that spring is about new cleats because last year's are worn out. Some of us know spring smells like popcorn and hotdogs. Some of us know spring means laundering red dirt out of white pants. Some of us know spring isn't spring until baseball starts. Spring has truly sprung in the Ozarks.







Go Red!

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