Monday, July 30, 2007

Marathon Mama

Wanna run a marathon? You're kidding right? After three babies there isn't a part of my body that wishes to partake in a run. That and when my thighs rub together my pants catch fire. Too dangerous.

Wanna walk a marathon? Walk... yes. Marathon... isn't that, like 26 miles? In a row? Who will wash the dishes? Who will feed the children? Who will push my wheelchair?

Wanna walk a marathon over the period of a month? Okay.

Penguinsandladybugs over at Monthly Marathon is hosting a monthly marathon. (Like how the title matches the event? :) ) Here's how it works. During the month of August walk (jump, skip, gallop, run- whatever works for you) 26 miles. (Not even a mile a day...) You know you want to sign up.

Buzz on over there and join us marathoners!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Hate to Admit it, but...

we play with S. I know. You play with your children, too.

No, let me clarify. When S falls asleep from absolute exhaustion we play with him. Use him like a puppet. Really for our own amusement.

A little background information: S gave up naps when he wasn't quite 2. We moved to this house and he moved into his Big Boy Bed and never took another nap time nap. Ah, with two older brothers naps are rather inconvenient anyway. If S really needed a nap I would take the "scenic" route home after picking up A from school. Or I could convince us all to sit on the couch crowded with pillows and blankets to watch some PBS.

Well, the side effect of an occasional nap shortage is that once in a while S falls asleep in unusual places. Mostly the dinner table, but we've also nabbed him folded up on the couch, or just sprawled on the floor.

Sometimes it is all he can manage to get through dinner. He starts to doze between bites. Sadly, we (the two big brothers, Daddy and Mommy) arrange him, make little voices come from his napping head, etc.

Oh, now don't think we are being mean. It is all done in good fun. In fact, S is fully aware that we do this. Hey, he laughs between head lolls.

I thought I needed to blog about this when I found this picture. S had fallen asleep on the couch in a rather uncomfortable looking position, so I moved him to his bed. And then someone added the sunglasses.

At least S is going to have something to talk about when he is on the Therapist's couch. ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sweet Tuesday

On the fourth Tuesday of the month I get a group of ladies together at my house for FUN. We have had a chocoholic night, a pajama party, an ice cream social. We have had a pair of interior decorators come to give us tips. We've learned how to container garden. We have talked about everything from nail polish to birthdays to casseroles. No matter what the theme, the fourth Tuesday is Sweet Tuesday.

One of our favorite things to have is a Guinea Pig Dinner. No, we don't eat guinea pig! Every lady prepares and brings a recipe that she has been wanting to try. The other day we feasted on chicken and dumplin's, cheesy muffins, salads and desserts.

I came across Leah (in Iowa)'s blog, South Breeze Farm. There I found lots of delicious looking recipes to try. I gave three recipes a yummy try for Sweet Tuesday.

On Sweet Tuesday I spend time getting things ready and cleaning before the ladies arrive. (I know you can't imagine why I would have to clean and "spruce up" a bit for the ladies. At least I should get all the cars, trucks and Rescue Heroes from under the couch cushions!) (Not that you think that I totally knock myself out because the best motto I've heard about hospitality is, "I've invited you to bless you, not to impress you." *) I do, however, need to feed my family something quick and easy so that my husband and the boys can get to their "Daddy Date" and that my friends can start arriving.

This Tuesday I tried Creamy Chicken Salad and it was sweet, fruity, and creamy. We ate it for a quick supper and I put it out on the buffet table for the ladies to sample, as well. I loved telling people the unusual combo for the tasty dressing.

The Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball was a quick and easy appetizer. I'll admit that I wasn't patient enough to wait to shape it into a ball. Instead, I mixed in some chopped pecans and sprinkled it with more chopped pecans. I piled it into a bowl and served it with honey graham stix and chocolate animal crackers. The sweet mini chocolate chips and tangy cream cheese were a tasty combo. And you've got to love anything you can slather on a chocolate animal cracker!!

I'm not usually a coffee drinker, but I thought Leah's recipe for Mocha Punch looked special and different. After all, who can turn down a punch that is frothy with almost a gallon of ice cream? (And lucky for me, Food Lion had Edy's ice cream on sale for buy one, get one free.) Everyone came back for a second cup!

Thanks, Leah for making my table a tasty one!

*I modeled my Sweet Tuesday after an idea I read about called, Sweet Monday. That is also where I read the quote about hospitality.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Flip Flop Finder (and a Quick Dessert)

Today started with so many plans. Bake a dessert for the Mission (Free Clinic) volunteers. Movies after lunch. Quick trip to the grocery store. Food pick up and delivery to the Mission. Pack for an overnight conference. When I made my mental list I thought I'd have lots of afternoon time. Ahahahaha. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids! My day was set at such a feverish pace I thought I would melt by the time I sat down to eat my deli pizza dinner.
I know my catchy title has you wondering how some flip flops fit into all this, so I'll just tell ya. After delivering the dinner (and dessert) to the volunteers at the mission downtown I decided the boys and I should make a second stop at Wally World to purchase something quick for dinner. S was asleep when we got there, so I unstrapped him and carried his almost-4 year old body into the store.

When I got inside the store A pointed out that S wasn't wearing shoes. Of course he is wearing shoes. I've seen the one lost shoe on the side of the road and I am not the mom who loses one shoe, or two, for that matter! I'm sure he has his shoes on!
Now, S's favorite pair of summer shoes are these camo flip flops that I bought at Target. I personally never wear flops (hate stuff between my toes), but I think these little flops are the cutest things around. Plus, the speed at which S can "shoe up" without straps, velcor, or laces is awesome.

I just figured that he must have taken off the shoes before falling asleep and those flops are in the van.

To make a long story boring, the flops weren't in the van. S was as calm as could be while I looked all around the van. I even tracked down the "cart boy" collecting carts to see if he had seen a pair of cute kid camo flops. He hadn't. So, I drove around the parking lot, slowly, looking for a presumably run-over pair of flops.
And there they were. Some kind "sole" (hahaha-- couldn't resist) had picked them up and placed them side by side behind a car, just waiting to be reunited with their feet/owner. (I'm pretty sure they didn't fall off his feet side by side.)

When I thought the shoes gone forever I realized how much I like those little camo flops. How much they just remind me of S. His youthfulness. How proud he is when he can "shoe up" by himself. How fast he can run with some stubborn piece of cheap plastic stuffed between his toes. How "cool" he is wearing flip flops like the big boys. How his stubby, fat toes get all dirty. How there is now a permanent dirt line where the flip flop straps go.
Anyway. All I wanted to say was thanks to the flip flop finder!

And totally unrelated to S's camo flip flops...
I've included the recipe for the dessert I took for the Free Clinic Volunteers.

Cookie Sheet Slice

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 can (21 ounce) pie filling (I used blueberry, but cherry is fabulous, too)

Cream the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Spread 2/3 of the batter on a greased cookie sheet (10x15) (I use a Pampered Chef Bar pan.) Spread the can of pie filling over the batter. Drop the remaining batter in little "drops" over the pie filling. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Cool. (You can drizzle a powdered sugar icing over the cooled dessert.)
(In case you aren't familiar with "slices"... These are the size and thickness of a bar cookie, but the texture and flavor is of cake.)

Florida Trip: Part Four: All the Other Stuff!


I've been dragging out the pictures from my Florida trip for way too long! It is really time to wrap it up. So... here are the last few highlights.

      • Trips to Susan's to play in the pool with her 4 kiddos.
      • Family Day Fun at the church I "grew up in".

      • A fishing trip for the kids with Grandpa and Uncle Jim
      • Dinners at my brother's mother-in-law's house

      • Donuts for breakfast!
      • Trips to Target, WalMart, Publix and The Ragshop
      • Driving to Rosslow's to pick out my Vera Bradley purse. (Mesa Red, Villager)
      • Time spent with my dad.

      • S'mores and fireworks

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

WFMW: Swim Bag

One of the many blessings of the congregation my dh serves is a sweet lady named Jean. She and her husband have a wonderful pool and they have invited us over to swim many times. (She's also not terribly opposed to us inviting ourselves over!) The boys and I love to hop in the car and buzz on over to Jean's pool.

Our Swim Bag makes getting ready to go swimming easier. I have an over sized mesh (think 1970's lawn chair fabric) bag that is stocked with towels, swimsuits, suntan lotion, water wings, a few water toys, etc. Whenever we return from swimming I restock the Swim Bag so that is always "at the ready." I never have to waste time looking for swimsuits or straining my brain trying to remember where I put the sunscreen.

Our Swim Bag works for us. What works for you? For more great Works for Me Wednesday tips visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

D and A's feet at Miss Jean's pool!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Our Family Table

Last night I ran across Lori's blog, Glass Half Full, where she is hosting , The Family Table. I thought it would be fun to blog about the place my family gathers to enjoy good food. (NO eating in the living room!)

(Of course, this table has also seen a fair amount of homework, crafting, visiting, baking, gift wrapping, clothes folding, boo-boo kissing, scrapbooking and celebrating!)

Dh and I have been married 13 years and have lived in 5 different houses. Most of our furniture has been given to us and is, well, kind of an eclectic mix that we lovingly refer to as, "Early Lutheran Rummage Sale." One of the few pieces of furniture that we've actually purchased is this dinette set.
We bought this set while we were still living in Canada. We were moving back to The States and the chrome-edged doosie of a table (complete with two metal folding chairs) that we were eating at was not going to be moving with us. We bought our dinette set (such a deal) and we didn't even take it out of the box till we set up at our new house. (Declaring it did cause our stuff to be delayed at customs, however.)

I love it when my table is empty except for my favorite crystal bowl filled with seasonal fruit atop a doily of my mom's. Ah, but, the reality is my table is set with kid-friendly place mats and the ever-ready basket of napkins. But I guess that is okay. Pass the milk, guys!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Florida: Part Three: The Beach!

One afternoon Paula and I took all 6 kids (ages 3-9) to the beach. We sat on chairs and enjoyed the sun while the kids played so nicely just a few feet away. I always thought it would be stressful to take my boys to the beach, but it wasn't. They stayed pretty close and they were content to play in the sand with quick trips to the water for a bucketful of water for their sand sculpture. And they happily played just along the water's edge (with Mom's watchful eye... :) ).
My favorite beach photo of all three boys.

A having a drink break. He was so happy to dig in the sand.
S, my other sand boy.
A way-too-far-away shot of all the kids. I'll have to mess around with the photo to make it a little closer.

D was Shell Finder Supreme. He filled an entire WalMart bag with beautiful shells. I later purchased a postcard depicting all sorts of shells for D. Sure enough, he sat with a piece of paper and drew pictures of the shells and tried to copy their names.


After :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Florida Trip: Part Two: BBQ & Movies

One of my favorite places to eat when I go home to Florida is a local BBQ place. My favorite thing to order (quite possibly the only thing I've ever eaten in there) is a sandwich basket. Sliced beef (or pork) on a bun (pour on your own sauce) with steak fries and a big ole' jug of Sweet Tea. (I admit to ordering a "half and half," though because all that sugar is a bit much.)

My brother and his family and my dad went with us for my vacation bbq lunch.

Here is S taking a huge bite from his bbq sandwich.

In addition to a trip out for bbq, my sister in law, Paula, and I took the 6 kids all over the place. One morning we went to the theater that was showing a free kids' movie. On our way there D got sick and while Paula, Ever-Brave-Paula, took the 5 non-barfed children in to see Barnyard D and I went to KMart to buy a quick change of clothes. When D and I got back to the movie theater the lady at the counter was all in a tizzy because, well, I'm not really sure what exactly was getting her knickers in a knot, but she was on a rampage. The only thing D said was, "Mommy, that lady talks FAST." Well, no, son, she doesn't; you've just been living in the South too long!

Another afternoon we went to a different theater to see Spiderman. Part of A's birthday plans was to go with my friend, Susan's kids to see Spiderman. So, Susan's Dad and her two older kids joined us for Spiderman. D came with the Spiderman watchers.
Paula and my Dad took the girls and S to see a different movie.
This is a picture of my three boys and Paula's three girls at the movies.

And, did I mention that my friend, Lynne, came to watch Spiderman with me? We shared a drink and had "run-
ning commentary" through the movie!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WFMW: Pet Hair Removal

It is Wednesday and that means a post about something that "Works for Me!"
When we returned from a mini-vacation we realized that one of our cats (we have two, Yeti and Desi) had spent the long weekend lounging in the maroon-ish computer chair. Totally disgusted by the extremely hairy seat my husband and I attacked the chair with strips of tape, "catching" the hair to the tape. While wrapping my hand with another extra large loop of tape, a little lightbulb went off inside my brain...
Hey, Don't we have some of that Glad Press 'n Seal? Don't they say it will stick to ANYTHING? (By "anything" I am sure the Glad people really mean paper plates, plastic bowls and pans of brownies.)
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, a piece of Press 'n Seal (torn off at just the perfect size for the job) will remove cat hair!

Leave a comment and then head on over to Shannon's for more Works for Me Wednesday tips.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Florida Trip: Part One: The Fountains

Okay. I sat and sorted through tons of pictures and can now post some of the pictures from our Florida trip.

When we arrived at my brother's place it was dinner time. My sister-in-law had a meeting to attend so my brother and I sat side by side at the dinner table with all 6 of our kids. It was one of those "flashback feelings." It felt sort of oddly like when we were kids, but here were our own kids. And it was one of my neice's birthday.

The next day was the birthday party for my neice. The kids had a blast at The Fountains.

Here is A and his friend.

S in the Fountains.D enjoying the water.

My brother and his youngest daughter. (He has three daughters and I have three sons. :) )

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Everyone loves waffles, don't they? What could be tastier than a light fluffy waffle with little pools of melted butter mingled with sweet syrup? Like I said, everyone loves waffles, don't they?
My sister in law, Paula, makes the best waffles. When we go to Florida my kids beg for Aunt Paula's waffles. Part of the attraction to Aunt Paula's waffles is that she makes Mickey Mouse waffles and the other part is that they are just the tastiest waffles on the planet. And I know this for sure.
Years ago my in-laws gave me a waffle maker (I wanted one!) and a waffle recipe book. Now, I've made lots of batches from the waffle book and I still think Paula's recipe is the best. Here's the recipe just in case you want to try 'em out for yourself.
And, the recipe works just as well in a regular waffle shape!

Yummy Waffles
4 eggs, separated
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup melted and cooled butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 cups flour

Melt your butter and allow it to cool, if you haven't already.
Beat egg yolks and sugar.
Add cooled butter, milk and vanilla.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat thick mixture well.
Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold in the batter.
Bake on waffle maker as usual.

I'm Only Taking Written Complaints!

Okay. There is the cute pics of my kids at the Florida beach.
Now... here is the totally unrelated post!

So, my kids are driving me crazy with the constant tattling. He punched me. He flicked me. He took my stuff. He's using my... Usually, I calmly tell the boys that I am not their referee and, "So, what are you going to do about that?"

Well, yesterday a friend was telling me that she found a letter that one of her daughters had written. The daughter was about 8 or 9 and the whole letter consisted of infractions her sister had committed. She took my doll. She broke my crayons. She pinched me.

Well the story of the letter has inspired me. This morning I told the boys that when they wish to let me know that a brother has done something wrong they must write it down. (I'm only taking written complaints!) This way the boys will have to decide if the tattle is worth the "trouble" of writing it down. (I did tell them that a somewhat labeled picture would suffice.)

S's response: "I'll get my markers!"

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pictures, Anyone?

Okay. I've promised pictures and the Picture Queen is here to deliver!

Tonight I will start with pictures from A's 7th birthday. Here's when I comment that it is hard to believe that he is 7 years old!
For his birthday, A requested dinner at KFC. So, our family dined on fried chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and biscuits at KFC. We came home for some presents and birthday cookie. Some family friends came over for the birthday cookie and presents. (We served those cute little cups of strawberry-sauced or fudge-sauced ice cream with the cookies. That was A's idea.)
His presents included a large package from his grandma and grandpa in Wisconsin. Their gifts (good stuff!) are always delivered by the mailman. And just having that big, brown-wrapped box (or boxes) around the house for a day or two is just delicious torture! Shhhh, I think it might be a scooter!!
Birthday gifts included clothes, GameBoy games, a scooter, a Spiderman kickboard, ocean animals, shark books, a Spiderman game for the TV, and a Star Wars Transformer.

A enjoyed his close-knit celebration. Normally I would've planned a birthday bash complete with a theme and lots of kids and cake, but this year A said to me, "Mom, I don't want a party. I want to go see Spiderman with R." (R is my best friend's son and he knew we were going to be seeing him soon.) A wanted a movie date with R more than a bash with school friends. Okay. I can work with that. ;)

Now, I've included this picture for all the A fans. This was taken a few days after his 7th birthday. He was at a roller skating party for one of his school buddies. A lost his tooth with a big bite of cheesy pizza and was showing off his new smile. Oh, yeah, and he's on roller skates!

Honey, We're Home! Again!

Okay. So, we came home from Florida and then some friends came to visit and then we went to Myrtle Beach with them. And now we are home. We had so much fun. LuAnn is my friend from when I taught in Indiana and my kids love her kids. (I think they are cool, too.) We had a blast and I "promise to post some pics..."