Monthly Archives: October 2011

Redemption

You know those moments in motherhood? The ones no one likes to talk about.

The moments when you flop it SO big time that you’re sure you have a neon

“L”

tatooed to your forehead.

Not only is it neon, but it

FLASHES!

LOOSER  MOM LOOSER MOM

Well, I secretly think that EVERY mom has those moments – even if they don’t admit it, at least I HOPE so, because otherwise I am the only mom out there who accidentally sabatoges her daughter to FAIL her Intro to Languages class.

But now I’m getting ahead of myself. So lets back up and examine what made this moment my ultimate LOOSER MOM moment.

Liz had a huge project due today for her Intro to Languages class. We’ve known about it for weeks and weeks and weeks… and I promise I wasn’t procrastinating. I wasn’t procrastinating because it involved making a cake.

Well, I suppose I could have been an over achiever and made it three weeks ago, but then it would have gotten moldy and everyone would have gotten sick from attempting to eat it, and  then this would be a WHOLE different looser mom story.

Anyway, the cake. A Black Forest German Cake. YUMMMMM!!!! The plan was to make it on Sunday (so it would be fresh). Which meant Saturday I was supposed to buy the ingredients.

She reminded me.  “Don’t forget to get the stuff for my cake.”

And I, with my little ‘oh honey, I won’t forget‘ smile, said, “It’s on my list.”

I could blame it on the fact my husband had to work 6 hours, help someone move AND attend a wending with me. I could blame it on the fact that Jacob was sick, I was crazy busy with mothery stuff, I had a wedding to attend, and Liz was off babysitting another family when I got home from said wedding and couldn’t remind me. I could blame it on the fact that after 6 pregnancies my brain was left full of holes –

SWISS CHEESE BRAIN!

(the memory you suddenly loose when prego, never comes back)

Regardless of the excuse, the horrible, numbifying fact of the matter was that

I FORGOT!!!!

It didn’t even enter my head until Liz walked into my room Sunday morning and said, “Oh, Mom, did you get the stuff for my cake?”

And there accompanied by

chirping crickets

was the biggest

LOOSER MOM

moment I have had so far.

I gaped at her like a fish.  “I forgot.”

“Mom! That’s a HUGE part of my grade!”

“I know, we’ll figure something out.”

What to do? I was panicked. Granted we had a day, but it was SUNDAY. After all we had taught our kids about keeping the sabbath day holy and dedicating it to the Lord.  We always made a big point of making sure the car had enough gas to get to anywhere we needed to go, and making sure we had everything we needed for dinner or lunch. And here I was holding my daughters grade in my hands.

I suppose the ox was in the mire. More like I had pushed the ox in the mire. Well, ok, honestly, the way it would have happened was I was supposed to get the ox out of the mire on Saturday but tripped and fell in myself.

(Hey! I’m not nick- named Goofy for nothing – it would have totally happened had I oxen or mires about)

Anyway, oxen and mires aside, I couldn’t see breaking the Sabbath to go buy the stuff on Sunday. There had to be a way, some way to accomplish it.  I could call people, but Sunday mornings are hectic enough, and I couldn’t get a hold of the one or two people I tried. I finally settled on a solution, provided by my awesome hubby.

Solution?

Wait until midnight when it technically wasn’t Sunday anymore and I could go to the store guilt free and attempt to redeem myself.

The one tricky part?

The cake is frosted with

whipped cream –

I can’t exactly put that on a hot cake.

SO not only did I have to go to the store at midnight, but I had to bake it,  so it could cool completely by morning.

So, in an attempt to seek redemption from my looser mom status, I ran to the store at midnight. By 12:30 A.m. I was home and whipping up a cake. by 1:20 I was pulling the cake out of the oven and putting it on the wire wracks to cool. By 1:30 I was in bed asleep.

5:00 in the morning, Liz tip toed in. “Mom, can you help me finish my cake?”

After my 3 1/2 hour nap I hopped out of bed.  (okay, honestly, I stumbled, staggered, and crawled out of bed) We sliced the cake into layers and slathered each layer with cherry pie filling and whipped cream.

By the time we were done we had a masterpiece of cake, whipped cream and cherries.

And I had a very happy and grateful 12-year-old daughter that was no longer in fear of flunking her class. Cake in hand, she hopped on the bus at 6:45 A.M.  (I did attempt to snooze between when we finished the cake at 6 ish and 7, but that SO didn’t work.  Ever notice how in that one moment when you actually NEED the extra snooze, EVERYONE is suddenly wide awake? Yeah.)

Oh, and not only did I redeem myself on that count, but I was also able to save myself from a second looser mom moment. Emily needed grapes for her class Halloween party today, so I got those while at the store.

So, I am functioning off of 3 1/2 hours of sleep (and a 15 minute cat nap from this afternoon).

Was it worth it?

The whole zombie mom lack of sleep status?

Absolutely. I would rather sacrifice sleep than compromise my beliefs. I would rather show my children that we make sacrifices to keep the commandments, then to do what is easy. I could have gone to the store in the middle of the day, or evening, and I would have been justified. It was an “ox in the mire” situation after all. But when there was an alternative available, I had to take it, no matter how difficult, to teach my kids that if we look hard enough we can find solutions that will allow us to stand firm in our beliefs. We may need to make a few sacrifices, but it can be done.

So, I suppose my looser mom status was redeemed, at least, I hope it was. In fact, I felt like at the end, I came out a

winner!

SO…

take that, swiss cheese brain!

(I’m going to take a nap now…..)

(oh, and Liz just came home and said the cake was AWESOME! YAY!)

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Filed under Every Day Life, Lizy, Parenting, Religion

It’s All About the Chili

I had no idea when we moved to Cincinnati that chili would be such a

big deal.

It always seemed western to me,  and  southern – southwestern southern, but never eastern.

So, imagine my surprise when we moved in and discovered that not only is chile a big deal, but that Cincinnati has it’s own

famous chili.

I even found a recipe for Cincinnati Chili in my Taste of Home Cookbook!  There are chili fast food restaurants – Skyline is probably the most famous, but there’s also Gold Star, Empress Chili, and Dixie Chili  not to mention all the smaller non-chain chili restaurants.

There is even an entry in Wikipedia devoted entirely to Cincinnati chili.

What makes it so UNIQUE?

Well, it usually includes cinnamon, cloves or allspice (on occasion), and most notably – CHOCOLATE.

Yup! Chocolate!

I make my Cincinnati chili with a good dose of cocoa powder. It gives it a unique rich flavor that you either love or hate. Or maybe you hate to love.

There are a few other unique aspects –

You haven’t truly had a Cincinnati chili experience until you eat your chili served over

spaghetti

with a HUGE  helping of grated

cheddar cheese

on top.

You can order it other ways, but you might be considered an outcast. Friends and Co-workers were absolutely scandalized when they found out we had never had chili served on spaghetti before.

When people are talking about having a two-way, three-wayfour-way, or a five-way here, it’s all about the

chili!

It’s like a secret code – if you don’t know the hidden meaning you can get into A LOT of trouble.  I’ll break it down for you:

First there’s a bowl – you can order just a bowl of chili – kinda boring – but you can do it.

Then you can order a two-way – that would be chili and spaghetti

Three-way = chili, spaghetti, & cheese

Four-way= chili, spaghetti, cheese, & onions

Five-way= chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans (Cincinnati chili is traditionally made without beans, unless you’re going for the four-way – or request them.  Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…  hey! in my defense I have kids!)

Now if you come visit me in Cincinnati you won’t

blush

when hearing such scandalous terms flung around.

Finally, there’s the ever so popular

Coney!

That would be a hotdog in a bun topped with chili – and even more popular is the cheesy coney – with – you guessed it –

CHEESE beautiful CHEESE! 

So you realize just how important cheese is to chili out here I will include a picture….

See what I mean?

CHEESE!!

Wallace (from Wallace & Grommit) would be in heaven here!

A few other chili tidbits – oyster crackers are a MUST, hot sauce is ALWAYS served on the side, and regular coneys are served with mustard and onions too.

So, now that you’re prepared for a visit…

no?

okay, well at least let me give you the Cincinnati chili recipe I use – don’t forget the spaghetti & cheese! They are VERY important. (though, you do know it won’t taste as good unless your eating it with me in Cincinnati, right?)

2 pounds of ground beef

4 chopped onions

6 minced garlic cloves – don’t be afraid to use powdered garlic should you be out of garlic cloves – it works just fine

2 cans of red beans, rinsed and drained (now, if you’re not a bean lover, then leave them out and up the beef)

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup baking cocoa powder

chili powder (however you like it)

2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

4 tsp cinnamon (I don’t usually put measurements on the spices because I figure that’s what TASTING is for – measurements are really more like guidelines anyway (think Pirates) and adjust away)

3 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground allspice

2 tsp hot sauce

3 bay leaves

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper if you want it – but I usually never add it

Hot cooked spaghetti

Shredded cheddar cheese (and if you’re feeling daring, sour cream (yum!), chopped tomatoes, and chopped onion – green or white, whatever you’ve got)

1) cook the meat, onions, & garlic – dutch oven, pot, frying pan – whatever (I use a frying pan because I’m a crock pot girl)

2) Add everything else and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1-1/2 hrs or until heated through OR fling everything in a crockpot and let it sit all day. (just don’t forget to turn the crockpot on – that would be BAD)

3)Loose the bay leaves (kids ALWAYS get SO stressed over leaves floating in their soup – ha ha).  Serve your marvelous chili over spaghetti and throw buckets of cheese on top. And the other stuff too, if you want.

This recipe only makes 8 servings – SO,  I – having a large family ALWAYS double it and sometimes triple it. HAVE FUN!!!

And why did I make this post today?

Why it’s the Trunk or Treat & Chili cook off tonight!

What was that?

Am I making Cincinnati chili?

Ummmmm……

No.

Not this time. I decided on my favorite white chicken chili – I’ll give you the recipe for that one another time.

Muahahahhahahahaha.

(or maybe I’ll just stick it in the comments if you REALLY want it)

p.s. I never actually made chili from scratch until I moved to Cincinnati! My first me made chili was Cincinnati Chili and now, I am a chili making fiend…. thought I’d warn y’all. (I have no idea how that accent slipped in there, honest)

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Filed under Food

Is the Golden Guy There?

As we drove into D.C. Thursday night the kids were anxiously looking for the temple. We drove around a bend in the freeway and it lit up the night sky.

Jacob got very excited.

I see it, I see it! Is the golden guy up there?

“You mean Angel Moroni? Yes.” I pointed out the window.

Oh no! He should only be there in the morning!”

My curiosity was piqued. “Why?”

“Because if a bad guy in an airplane sees it he can fly over and take it!”

After a chuckle, and numerous reassurances that no one was going to steal

“the Golden Guy”

Jacob said, “We should sing I love to See the Temple.”

So we did.

EVERY time we saw the temple our entire trip (which was a lot) Jacob insisted we burst into song.

It was AWESOME!

And I do love to see the temple very much. And I’m SO glad my kids love to see it too!

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Filed under Children, Humor, Jacob, Religion, Things Kids Say

Washington D.C.

I have never had a trip with SO much good and SO much

crazy

at the same time!

So, we started off sleeping through our alarm, returning to the house for directions on where we were even going, and finally were on our way. That’s when we remembered to have our prayer of safety as we traveled. Paul just had to silently add

“if anything is going to happen to the van, let it happen now”

– ten seconds later the power steering died and our battery light came on. We nursed the car to an auto parts store who, thankfully, knew exactly what the problem was. Thirty or so minutes later, one serpentine belt richer, and our wallets a bit lighter, we FINALLY made it onto the freeway. (and we were VERY grateful it happened while in town)

Thankfully, at that point the drive went nice and smooth. It wasn’t late when we arrived at our campground, but it was quite dark. We managed to scavenge a little firewood and had a small fire before tossing the kids in the tent. It was cold, but not freezing, and the days were very nice.

Friday dawned and we munched on cereal in the car on our way to downtown D.C. Luckily Paul knows the D.C. area (he served his mission there) so he was able to get us to where we wanted to go without getting us hopelessly lost – and we had a GPS 🙂

Our first stop was the Air and Space Museum. We had a blast exploring – everyone loved it – and we met up with Vesna who Paul taught and baptized (along with her daughter) while on his mission.

Air & Space Museum 1

Air & Space Museum 2

After we finished exploring the museum we had lunch and headed out onto the National Mall. The kids were ecstatic to see the Capitol building.
US Capitol

We walked down the the Museum of Natural History. The kids of course were delighted with the dinosaurs. While we were there we met up with our good friends, the Johnsons. We would have stayed and seen more, but the kids were anxious to see the monuments and two of boys were taking a snooze.

National Museum of Natural History

By the end of the day we had done a TON of walking and

EVERYONE was tired and

our feet Hurt!

We saw the Washington Monument, White House, World War II memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (which was SO awesome!).  By then the sun was going and we could barely drag ourselves back to the car.

Washington Monument

Whitehouse

WWII Memorial

(We had to have our picture take above the date for D-day because we were married on June 6th)

Vietnam Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

After we finished staggering to the car we drove to Vesna’s for dinner – which was AMAZING and snuck into our campground very late. The kids were asleep the second they hit their sleeping bags.

Next morning we were up bright and early taking luke-warm showers (brrrrrrr) and getting ready to go to the temple. The kids hung out with a very nice elderly couple while Paul and I went with Vesna and the Johnsons to the temple.  Our friends, the Feinauers were there too! It was like a mini Newberg Reunion! It was so neat to be so far from Oregon and yet be surrounded by old friends. I have always wanted to go to that temple and I was so excited for the opportunity.

Temple with Vesna

Afterwards we drove to Arlington National Cemetary and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. I stayed with the girls to watch the guard change (it was a little hard for the boys to be that quiet for that long).

Arlington National Cemetary

A little ways away was the Iwo Jima statue, so we drove over there – I remember loving that one as a kid.

Iwo Jima

Then we drove back to the National mall and saw the Jefferson Memorial. By then the sun was setting, so we drove back to the temple so the kids could see it and go to the visitor center.

Jefferson Memorial

Washington DC Temple

That night things got a little crazy. James threw up as we ate a late dinner at the picnic table. We figured he just choked on something, but when he threw up a second time in the tent, we knew he had a bug.

Throwing up kids are no fun in tents!

Luckily we had extra blankets. We also slept a little cooler that night, but we made it through (James threw up two more times during the night) and enjoyed sitting in a warm van once morning came. I hung out in the tent with James while Paul took the kids to church at one of the wards he was a missionary. He really enjoyed seeing old friends. When he got back we packed up the car and went on our merry way.

The interstate happens to pass by a very special park, though, and I couldn’t resist a stop. We used to go here all the time when I was a kid and really wanted to take the kids. I couldn’t believe it when we saw the signs to it on the way to D.C. and Paul asked if I wanted to stop on the way home.

Oh, boy did I?!!!

It was awesome. Sometimes you revisit a place and it isn’t all that you remembered, but this was all I remembered and more! The kids and hubby absolutely loved it and we can’t wait to go back and camp there sometime and really explore.

Coopers Rock 1

Coopers Rock 2

Coopers Rock 3
Coopers Rock 4

No one even got sick on the way home! So, while we definitely had our challenges, the trip was wonderful. Paul and I had so much fun showing the kids the sites that we remembered from so long ago, and the kids had fun seeing all the places they had heard about in school. I don’t think we could have crammed anything more into that vacation if we had tried! There is still a lot we want to see and do, so….

I can’t wait to go back!

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Filed under Bobert, Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy

Kiddy Quips

Jacob (my 6-year-old) after swimming a long time in the lake:

“My fingers are getting

         OLD!”

We were all sitting at the table and being very silly. Jacob started asking a whole bunch of times,

“Can I have a cookie? Can I have a cookie? Can I have a cookie?”

So, I said, in a mock stern voice (because he was only being silly, not annoying), “If I hear you ask for a cookie one more time…”

He stopped, looked at me, and said,

“Can I have 100 cookies?”

I pierced him with my mock stern mommy look (all while trying not to laugh) because  I knew exactly what was going through his brain:

I didn’t ask for A cookie, mom!

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Filed under Children, Humor, Jacob, Parenting, Things Kids Say

Couponing (or non-couponing)

A post to help all the well-meaning couponers who don’t quite coupon feel better 🙂

I try to coupon.

But I’m really BAD at it!

It kind of goes in spurts.  The problem is, that unless I can find staple food items for next to free, it isn’t worth the time at least for a large family. (in my opinion of course, for some, it totally works for them)

My biggest problem:

most coupons come from the paper!

and by the time I buy the paper, spend the time organzing the coupons, finding the deals, and dragging my kids around the store – all while trying to keep the toddler from eating the coupons

(“Hang on a second ma’am while I get him to cough up that last coupon.”),

I would have been better off making a batch of

spaghetti from scratch.

I’ll admit to snagging copious boxes of pasta for free or nearly free – those I can use in grand quantities (I consider pasta a staple), but prepared sauce?

Phooey.

I throw in a few cheapy cans of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, a smidge of hamburger (if there is any hiding in the freezer), a few canned olives and mushrooms, scatter some herbs about and

Voila!

The yummiest cheapest sauce ever.

See, I think 6 is a lot of kids. I know there are lots of people out there with more. But six is still a good handful to juggle. We don’t do prepared foods. Not so much because their not as healthy, but because the quantity is so

SMALL!

I remember sitting in a couponing class and the lady held up this little box of Uncle Ben’s rice and waved it around. All I could think of was,

“You know HOW many boxes it would take to feed my family???”

All of my kids eat like teenage boys!

Ok, well My 12 year-old girl has a somewhat tamed appetite – she’ll only eat half a dozen pancakes or 2 sandwiches, and the 1-year-old only eats like an undergrown teenager, but my others –

wowee!

My 6 year old son must consume two times his body weight in food! He  easily ate a dozen home-made (non-mix) pancakes the other day!

If he doesn’t at least get seconds he’s devasted. No matter how much he had for firsts.

He’s like a hobbit.

“But what about secondsies???” 

By the time he gets to his fourth or fifth helping I’m putting the food away and he’s wailing, with sauce dripping down his chin and noodles bobbing at the corners of his mouth,

“But I’m starving, Mom!” 

All I can do is stare at him, trying to figure out where it all goes.

When he’s done his stomach isn’t protruding, his eyeballs aren’t popping out, he’s not waddling away from the table. He looks just like he did before! I think he’s hollow.  All the food just flows into his arms and legs – maybe that’s where all those six-year-old decisions come from –

his brain is full of spaghetti noodles!

Anyway, I love the idea of couponing. I love walking out of a store knowing I got the deal of the day! But, I’ll stick to the websites that tell me what the deals are AND the online coupons.

However, until I am convinced that I really and truly can save more with coupons than I can making most things from scratch,

(using humongous pots and pans that you could use for a baby crib) 

I will continue to be the non-couponing coupon shopper, who coupons on special occasions for extremely spectacular deals.

I may not save as much money as the next person, but I have more time with my kids this way, and more time to edit and work on my writing, and even a little time for writing silly blog posts! 😛

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Because He Knew What I Needed

I like to think that typically I have a good attitude about things, but on occasion I can be downright snarky. Especially when it comes to certain things. When my husband heard about Time Out for Women and asked if I was going (he thought it was some Stake or Ward meeting) my snark meter hit the roof.

After a scoffing laugh, I said,

                       “No.” 

The kind of “no” with the silent

                               “duh”

attached.

He raised an eyebrow – well I think he raised both eyebrows, but if he could only raise one, he would have, so in my imagination he rose an eyebrow.

I groaned and answered his silent question. “It’s not an actual Relief Society meeting, is a conferency thing put on by Deseret Book.” I noticed he still had the brows raised so I continued with what I thought was a deal sealer:

“You have to PAY to go.”

He remained silent, just looking at me with those, “well, go on” eyes. So I went on, satisfying my snark meter’s demands. “It’s like paying someone to have a spiritual experience. I’d rather go read or re-watch General Conference, I can be spiritually uplifted for FREE.”

I’m sure during my entire tirade my husband was silently praying not to be struck by lightning, and Heavenly Father was thinking,

“This one needs an attitude adjustment.” 

Paul very sweetly said nothing and dropped the topic.

A week later, the day before Time Out for Women Cincinnati, I received a phone call from a friend. After we exchanged pleasantries, our conversation went something like this:

“I was hoping I’d be feeling better by this weekend, but I’m really not doing well. Would you like my tickets to Time Out for Women? Catherine is going and you could ride down with her.”

“Ummmm…

Well, it would be fun to hang out with her, but Jacob has a soccer game Friday, and both he and Em have their last games on Saturday. I’ll talk with my husband and let you know.”

I hopped off the phone and waited for Paul to arrive, all the time thinking that while I might not be that interested in Time Out the opportunity to hang with a good friend would be fun.

My head battled things out.

The snark meter went crazy,

the guilt ramped up

what kind of mom ditches her kids on the LAST games of the season (even if they have attended all the other games so far)?,

and the slight PING of excitement about getting out and away for an extended period of time snuck in.

The snark meter and guilt winning, I pounced on Paul the minute he arrived, most certain he would axe the plan for me and save me from having to make a decision.

After I told him about the available tickets he said, “I think you should go, but I have to work on Saturday.”

I couldn’t believe my answer was SO easy! “No problem, I don’t mind, and I’m sure someone else can use those tickets.” I turn to bounce into the house when he spoke again.

“Wait, wait, wait. I didn’t say no. What time are the games?”

“Tomorrow’s is at 5, Jacob would have to miss it altogether. Then Em’s is at 10:30 and Jacob’s at 11 tomorrow. ”

“Hmmmm….

Jacob can miss tomorrow’s game. I can go in to work at 6 in the morning and get my hours in before taking the kids to the games and then if I need to I can work from home.”

“Are you sure? That’s an awful lot of running and juggling. Besides, Liz and Dot have done SO much babysitting, I’d feel bad making them do more so I can go.”

My million dollar man insisted, to which I replied, “Okay, but only if Liz and the girls are okay with the extra babysitting.”

I called the girls together and explained the situation. My incredibly awesome girls said, “You should go mom, we don’t mind the extra babysitting.”

My decision made for me, I called to say I could use the tickets. I was excited about getting out, mostly because of the time I’d spend with a good friend, a little because I thought I’d have fun, and a little in hopes of proving my snark meter right. My excited friend bubbled over how much fun I’d have when I told her it was my first time to ever go.

Well, my snark meter was proved

WRONG!!!!!

From the moment it started to the moment it ended I had the time of my life. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages, and I was spiritually touched and changed.  I felt inspired, uplifted, and motivated. I received answers to long sought after questions, comfort for discouragments and excitement for forging on. I felt like every talk was pointed right at me. It was as though Heavenly Father was saying,

“Listen up kid, you need this”

followed by a huge

                           hug.

So, I swallowed my pride this weekend, and it never felt so good. I thought I was sacrificing so much by missing my kids games, when I sacrificed nothing and received everything. They sacrificed their time for me, babysitting and not minding if I missed their final games. Paul was up at 5:15 in the morning on a Saturday to get his work done in time.  I am so blessed to have the amazing family I have. I was uplifted, enriched, and humbled…. and the next time Time Out for Women is in our area I will most likely be in line to get tickets if I can.

Heavenly Father knew what I needed and I am so grateful he insisted even when I was being snarky and difficult.

I know He loves us and I am so grateful!

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