Saturday, February 7, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
So how do I recycle? Here are a few of the things I can think of off the top of my head. Last Christmas when I needed boxes to wrap gifts, I used my cereal and cracker boxes. Of course, I always reuse gift bags. Instead of buying small trash bags for my bathroom waste baskets, I re-use Walmart bags. I have always enjoyed yard sales and thrift stores. When my children,younger, I loved getting hand me down clothing. I donate our old furniture and clothing to the local Good Will store for others to use. I don’t buy paper towels, but rather use washable dishcloths. I try to reuse freezer bags when possible. I try to use the least amount of heat in the house this winter. The list could go on, but rather than saying that I am living “green”, the truth of the matter is that I am living “cheap”. Instead of saving the earth, I’m more into saving a dollar.
So what has caused me to decide to write on this topic? Last weekend, my sister and I went shopping out of town together. I have had in mind that I want to work on making a rag quilt. There is a fabulous fabric store where I planned to buy the fabric that I needed. When I went, I noticed that the fabric suitable for my project was $9 a yard. This first attempt at learning a new project for the fun of it was going to run into a lot of money. Then, I had an inspiration. Where can you find cheap fabric? Old clothes! My sister and I went to a several thrift stores looking around. I wanted to make my quilt with the colors sage green, cream, cocoa brown, gold, and reds. Sure enough, it was like a treasure hunt. I found old shirts and pants in cotton fabric in just the right colors. It was really fun looking with a purpose in mind. Most of the pieces were around $1 each. What a deal!So here are pictures of how the project is coming along. When it is complete, I’ll post the finished project. So I now have a new project that I am spending very little on. And for what it’s worth, I am “saving the earth”, one quilt square at a time!
Monday, January 26, 2009
My entire family loves the Samoa Girl Scout cookie. Of course with a family of 6, an expensive box of 14 cookies doesn't last long at all. A number of years ago, I experimented in recreating the cookie. They tasted similiar to the original, but were very messy. Today, I tried again doing it a different way. My family did not think these tasted quite as much like Samoas, but they were good. Here is the recipe that I made:
1 package shortbread striped cookies
14 oz package of caramels
3 cups coconut
1/2 package chocolate chips
First, I put the coconut on a cookie sheet and toasted it in a 325 degree oven for about 10 or so minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent burning. While the coconut toasts, unwrap the caramels and melt. I put a tiny bit of milk into the caramels to thin them a little. When melted, mix in toasted coconut. Put generous spoonful of caramel/coconut mixture onto cookie and press down. Melt 1/3-1/2 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in baggie until melted. Cut a very small slit in bottom corner of the bag to pipe the chocolate onto the cookie. That's it. It was easy, much cheaper, and fast. It was a little messy, but after the caramel and chocolate cooled, they weren't messy at all.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Without question, I know who invented the after church on Sunday morning potluck lunch. It had to have been a man.
Here is the Sunday morning routine of a typical man. Bible class begins at 9:30, so he gets up at 8:45. He showers, shaves, and dresses. By 9:15, he is sitting in the car honking for his family to hurry up, “We’re going to be late”. In my case, Steve is out the door by 5:30 or 6:00 am, not to be seen until I get to look at him from afar in the pulpit.
Here is what a typical woman does on a Sunday morning. Get up early. Let the dog out. Fix breakfast for the kids. Do shower, makeup and hair. Iron church clothes. Wake up grumbling children. See that grumbling children take a bath if not done the night before. Practice memory work one more time with the children. Clean up breakfast. Start dishwasher. Look for missing sock. Make sure all materials are ready for the Bible class that she is to teach. Fix daughter’s hair. Break up fight, (this could be children or dogs). Clean up dog mess. Straighten up. Make bed. Look for missing Bible. Tell kids to brush their teeth and get their Bibles. If you throw a baby into the mix, you’re nursing, bathing, dressing, clean up spit up, dress again, load diaper bag, change dirty diaper, and dress again. On potluck day, there is food to cook or at least heat up again. Then the woman must remember to carry children, diaper bag, Bible, class materials, purse, checkbook, and hot food to the car to the tune of children fussing over who sits where and the husband’s horn honking.
Now we all get to church. Mom takes children to class and then teaches a Bible class. At worship time, she sits through services with a fussy baby, squirming toddler, or with an eye out for note writing/whispering teenagers. In the young years, she may be leaving the assembly for baby care or to make “attitude adjustments” aka spanking a child. She must sing, pray, commune, listen to the lesson, and give while trying to keep her mind focused where it should be.
Next, is the potluck. While the men gather to visit and share the news, the women are scrambling to get the tables ready, food heated, and drinks poured. Then when the prayer is said, who gets to go through the line first? It’s the men or possibly a woman who is fixing a plate for a fussy child. The women who have already been through so much this morning are always the last to fix their own plates.
So there you have it. With all that a woman does on a Sunday morning, you know a man had to invent the potluck. They do no preparation, just show up and eat. When it’s over, a man may or may not pick up the trash while the women are cleaning tables, washing dishes, and loading everything back up. While I know there are some who really enjoy the monthly potluck, as for me, I’ll go to Mexican ANY time.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
1 1/2 cup warm water
Saturday, January 10, 2009
While I sat and watched my dear son, I couldn't help but think of years gone by. When Michael was a little boy, he had no interest in doing new activities. He tried softball at the YMCA, but it was too hot and he was bored. He was in Boy Scouts & a 4-H group for awhile, but never really cared for it, though he was an awfully cute puppy on stage at the 4-H talent show! He stuck with a children's bowling league for a little longer time, but after about a year he was done. He was offered piano lessons and other YMCA sports, but he didn't want to do it. He always preferred to stay home and play. In contrast, his older sister never wanted to miss an opportunity to try a new club or lesson.
I find it fascinating to watch my children evolve into young adults. It's really a joy to see how the story of their life is unfolding. My Michael who never wanted to try a lot of new activities, is now one who never wants to miss an opportunity to do a band activity. In addition to marching and concert bands, he is in pep band, All-District &Honors band. He was recommended and tried out for All-State band. He has done solos and ensembles. He's now checking into the Governor's School for the Arts program for next summer. Band has really been a wonderful thing for Michael. He has grown in his self confidence because of it.
I very frequently hear other parents talk about their teenage children. It is typically is in a disparaging way. Their teenagers are smart mouthed, disrespectful and rude people. They may argue over chores, have to be nagged about school work, and prefer to be with their friends over their family. I feel very blessed and thankful that those things do not describe my Michael. If anything, the older he gets, the more kind, appreciative, and respectful he is. As a younger child, he was very lazy about doing chores and would usually just put in a half hearted effort in doing them. In contrast, he will now offer to clean his room and do household chores without being asked. In elementary school, he was fine to make A's & B's with little effort, but once he started middle school, he decided to only make A's. He has kept that up to this point. It's been a family joke that he fusses if his A's aren't high enough A's. Until a couple of years ago, I worried about how much fighting he and his brother (who is 4 1/2 years younger) did. There was a constant fuss about something. Things are so different now. Michael & Matthew are best buddies. I have told Michael many times that he should take seriously how much Matthew is looking up to him. Because of Michael, Matthew wants to excel in band and is now the 6th grade first chair trumpet player. Matthew enjoys being old enough to go to youth events this year because he'll get to do them with Michael. Just this week, I have noticed that Matthew is keeping his room really clean! That is a HUGE difference! He's always been one of my messiest kids. Michael doesn't really realize it, but he is playing a big part in helping us raise Matthew, just by his influence.
So is Michael perfect? Of course not. He has been known to bite someone's head off if they wake him from a deep sleep. He gets impatient with people who do dumb things and he is a little (sometimes a lot) on the obsessive compulsive side. Those imperfections are pretty minor in contrast to many teenagers. I will look forward to watching Michael continue in this evolution from boy to man. He is a really unique and special kid! My next big problem will be in a year and a half when he leaves home for college. We may have to pack Matthew a bag, too!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
While I am enjoying my projects and time off, I am reminded that this is also a very difficult time for others. On Saturday, I attended the funeral of a man from church who found out he had a brain tumor last May. He was buried on his 60th birthday. He was a faithful Christian, so the sadness isn't for him. The saddest part of this is that he left behind two teenage daughters who had also lost their mother 8 years ago. The younger of the two is a good friend of one of my sons. I try to relate to this on various levels. As a daughter, I know how difficult it is to lose a parent. I have lost one already, though I was an adult in my thirties when it happened. I can't imagine what it would have been like to navigate my senior year of high school, college, relationships, finances, or life in general without having the security of knowing that I always had a home where I could go back. I look at this as a parent. It would be devastating to know that you are dying and will have to leave the people that you love the most in the world. Time would be so very precious! There would be so many things I would want my children to know, so much advice that I would want to give them for the future. This man also had a mother who still lives. She isn't in good health herself, but she lost a son. How would I feel if I lost one of these children that I love so much?
We all have a story to tell. I think that is at the heart of why many of us love digital photography and scrapbooking. We want to preserve our memories for our children and grandchildren. I feel even more compelled to not only take the pictures and scrapbook them, but to journal with it. I want my children to know of my family and my husband's family that came before them. I want them to remember the holidays, events and day to day life of their childhood. I want each of them to know that they truly are God's special gift to me!
Friday, January 2, 2009
The next morning, I had planned to hit a few sales and do a little shopping. My favorite clothing store had everything in the store 50% off. After going there, I enjoyed spending a lot of time in a couple of fabric/craft stores. At the fabric store, I bought a pattern and fabric to make matching aprons for myself and younger daughter. Would you believe there are patterns put out by Simplicity called, "Sewing Patterns for Dummies"? I knew I'd found the right thing! Then at Michael's craft store, I found some scrapbook supplies on sale. I had such a fun day! The only thing that would have made it more fun was if my sister had been there to share it. We always have the best time on our shopping expeditions!
Here is the recipe for my favorite quick & easy appetizer or breakfast time food:
Hot Sausage Squares
1 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled (hot for appetizer, mild for breakfast)
1 8 ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup water
2 packages of crescent rolls
In skillet with cooked sausage, add the package of cream cheese and water. Melt cream cheese and mix together well. In 9x13 pan, lay out 1 package of crescent rolls to make a crust. Pour sausage mixture on top of crescent rolls. Spread next package of crescent rolls on top. Seal the seams on the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven until lightly browned on top. Cut into squares.