Monday, March 30, 2009

Easter dresses

I decided I wanted Easter dresses for the girls this year. I know it's a tradition in some families to have new clothes every year for Easter but that hasn't been my tradition. Anyway, I got online with LLBean and Lands' End and just didn't love anything they had. Instead I decided to take a look at Walmart in the fabric department to see if I could find a pattern that wouldn't drive me crazy and some fabric of decent quality.

I let the girls choose their fabric with my retaining the first right of refusal (I said "no" to the black with red hearts that C wanted) and this is what they came up with. The pink is S's and I made it up today. Surprisingly the pattern was true to size, at least in her size. My experience with patterns is that they run large. I hope to get the other two dresses finished this week so I don't put it off until the last minute.

While we were at the store we stopped by the shoe department and got shoes to go with each piece of fabric. S got the shoes pictured (her photographing skills at work here) and the older two chose some shiny thong slip ons.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday night dinner

Yes, this was our dinner. We had a late lunch because we were running errands and when one of the girls saw the fondue pot in the storage drawer and asked if we could have some, I said, "Yes."

Our friends Kathy and Andy sent us this fondue pot for Christmas a couple of years ago and we love to have chocolate fondue in it. Here is the recipe I used:

1 bag of chocolate chips (12 oz.)
3/4 cup canned milk
1/2 cup sugar

Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Pour into the fondue pot.

This dinner was a huge hit. Here is the result:

Friday, March 27, 2009

What the camera saw

Sometimes I go to upload a picture from my camera and find lots of pictures I didn't take and sometimes ones I know nothing about! Here are a few I found today: C showing what six year old teeth are like. Lots of different teeth in various stages of loss and growth. Pretty fun stage, I think.

Here is E playing on dh's computer. She has about five educational sites she likes to visit and she's pretty good at finding them on the 'net.

Pictures like this one of S always interest me. She's standing on the bunkbed ladder that has been put up against her sisters' bedroom window. Hmmm. I didn't know about this one.

Okay, I'm being very brave to put these last two pictures up because they show how old I'm getting and how well I haven't aged. ~sigh~ They also show that when baby Zachariah visits it's not all sweetness and light. Imagine that--he acts like a normal baby!

These two were taken a week ago. He's getting stronger and more interactive every time I see him.

Fast and easy school lunch, nutrition not included

On Fridays I'm tired of making school lunches for the girls. I try to put at least a little creativity into their lunches and as a non-creative person, that's hard. Friday is my day off, so they usually have prepackaged food in their lunches on Friday. I think this was about the most prepackaged they've had though.

"Cheez" and "breadsticks"

"fruit" rollups

chocolate pudding (the most nutritious thing in the lunch)

flavored water

plastic spoon

throwaway paper bag

The good part is the girls really like this kind of lunch, probably because they don't get it more than once a week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Milling wheat and thrift store shopping

I didn't plan to go out this morning, other than taking the big girls to school, then walking S to preschool. However, when I was getting S's lunch ready I realized I was also looking at C's lunch left on the counter as we hurried out the door this morning. Oh well. That's the first time this school year so I decided to drive S to preschool, then take C's lunch to her.

Once I was out I decided to go pick up a prescription I dropped off a few days ago. For the very first time, I had a really pleasant, personable tech at the window. The service is so surly at that pharmacy I don't think I'm going back again. Why should I? But this gal was a pleasant send-off for me.

In the same shopping area is a Goodwill store and I always like to browse. I didn't find any of the several kinds of housewares I'm always on the lookout for, nor did I find any Sue Barton books for my mom, but I did find this shirt for my dd. At first I thought it was a Spiderman shirt which would make E very happy. Then I realized it was a Speedo swim shirt with boy colors, but Hawaiian flowers, making it a girl shirt in my book. Since we are moving to a warmer climate soon with lots more opportunities for swimming, at $1.59 I snapped it up. We have one other Speedo swim shirt and the girls like it. I like that it protects them a little from sunburn and they don't seem to mind that it has a bit on the arms.

One project yesterday was to mill some whole wheat flour since I was out. I needed some bread and that pushed me to get it done. Here is the mill I use. I've had it for about two years and I like it a lot. It is REALLY loud which is why I always mill in the garage, but it makes really nice, fine flour.

Here is the 25 pound bag of wheat I'm working out of at the moment. I have two more bags like this in my garage that are not packaged for long-term storage, so I need to keep using them up.

The wheat goes in the top . . . .

And if I knew how to rearrange photos on blogspot this would have been the last picture. The lid comes off and there is a big bowl of fresh, warm, whole wheat flour.

This is the second-to-last picture and it shows how the bowl comes out of the mill.

I made two large loaves of bread and trust me, they were delicious.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cake Wrecks

If you like, you'll also like Cake Wrecks. I'm pretty good with spelling, grammar, and so forth, but I'm still stunned by some of the really uneducated things people put on cakes. What I'll never understand is this: if you are bad at spelling or punctuation, you probably know it--why wouldn't you have someone proofread your things??????

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A surprise Relief Society lesson

I'm the Education counselor in our ward's Relief Society (women's group in our church) which means I'm in charge of all the teachers (one for each Sunday of the month) and the music. We've had only a single teacher since our ward was reconfigured the first Sunday of January. Every week in church I hope someone will be called but week after week goes by with no RS teacher callings.

This month we had Stake Conference on the 1st so there was no lesson that Sunday. Since there is no "second Sunday of the month" teacher, I dutifully taught that lesson. I found a willing substitute for the third Sunday and it was nice to not be up there teaching. I was looking forward to the fourth Sunday because that teacher is an older lady whom I just love. She has a cheerful outlook and tells just the right little stories to illustrate her lessons. Friday I got a call from the RS president telling me the older teacher is in the hospital! She had a mild heart attack and is in the hospital in Albuquerque. I was so surprised because you don't expect your friends to have medical problems. So my thoughts have been with her and also on the fact that the RS ladies are going to have to hear from ME again! Haha. After the happy expectation of a lesson from the lovely, lively older lady, their little faces will droop when they see me up there again.

The lesson is based on Henry B. Eyring's talk "Our Hearts Knit as One" which he gave in the October 2008 General Conference. I've read it through a couple of times but I still think this lesson is going to be mostly my reading the talk and introducing talking points that ocurred to me as I read it. I hope my older friend gets well soon and I hope some RS teachers are called soon so the ladies don't have to listen to me week after week after week . . . .

Welcome to a faithful reader

Welcome, Audrey. I hope you'll continue to enjoy reading about my family and the things we do. Our lives are pretty normal, and we have lots of fun and quirky things that happen as do all families. You're free to cut and paste and send off emails telling others the things that happen in our family. Or you can just have them read it here instead of getting it second-hand from you. I'm glad you're interested in us.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Second Grade Shoes

These shoes are hand-me-downs from cousins and have been worn by C. She is about one size bigger in all her clothes as compared to E who is a size bigger than S. Makes it very convenient for handing clothes down within our family too.

Anyway yesterday first grade E put these shoes on for the first time. She was grinning from ear to ear and said, "See Mom? These are my second grade shoes--I feel like a second grader in these. And see how tall they make me??" Isn't it great to be so easily pleased?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Walking the line between frugality and pack rattery

I subscribe to a couple of blogs and this article was referenced in one of them. I am definitely a stockpiler, especially when it comes to food and personal care items. I just don't want to pay full price for them and I don't want to run out. Since we are planning a move in a few months, I've put my mind to reducing the food supply in the house and am doing pretty well. I do fear I won't empty the freezer before we go, although we have moved it with a certain amount of food in it in the past. Quick truck ride, plug it right back in again. This time I want to defrost it though, so my goal is to get that thing emptied!

I try hard not to get overly pack ratty with other things, with varying degrees of success. I'm better than I used to be though. However, I do want to get a supply of . . . fabric! I want to make quilts without having to go out and specifically buy the fabric for each one. I want to have choices. Maybe I'll have room for that in our next house.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Our extraordinary oatmeal

We have oatmeal for breakfast several times a week, but we don't have any of that expensive, gluey prepackaged stuff OR any plain-Jane oatmeal out of the big round box. Here are all the things that found their way into my bowl yesterday:
  • oatmeal
  • ground flax seed
  • powdered milk
  • protein powder
  • raisins
  • milk
  • cinnamon
  • Splenda
  • salt

That was yesterday. Today's bowl also had a nice sprinkling of chopped walnuts in it. Delicious, and S likes it too, minus the raisins. None for her, thank you very much!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I cracked the whip over the backs of some girls and the house looks better. Okay, no whip, but I sent their friend home and kept bringing them back and back and back to the task. I threatened to throw away any boxes of assorted junk they had stashed and since I have in the past, they knew I meant it. They even got that taken care of. They cleared the floors enough that I could vacuum and then I steam cleaned the bedrooms and the living room area rug. It's amazing how much mud you pour into the toilet after using one of those things. I have two loads of laundry in progress and that always makes me feel better.

C was invited to a swimming pool birthday party, then all of us were invited to join the birthday group at Pizza Hut for pizza and birthday cake. I thought that was really nice of the mother to invite us. Pizza Hut pizza is my favorite. :-)

What a mess

My house, that is. There is debris from the girls everywhere. EVERYWHERE. A tiny bit is mine, but almost none of it. It's so overwhelming I don't even know where to start. I'll post back if I figure it out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Confirmed: I've lost a friend

I've had a couple of friends here in my town, not many, but lots of acquaintances sort of make up for having few friends. I noticed last fall one of them was giving me the cold shoulder but at first I thought it was that we only passed in the hall at Church or when dropping our preschoolers off at school. Finally I realized she was speaking to me as briefly as possible and only when I approached her.

I wondered if I had offended her some way or if it were something else. I wondered if it were my dd's situation with her unwed pregnancy. Turns out that is what it was. Dd had horrible behavior when she arrived here last summer. The friend was concerned that her dd of a similar age might get some ideas, I guess. So instead of just keeping dd away from her daughter, she cut off our whole family. Dh had been friends with her husband and that has dwindled to an occasional "hello." My youngest dd was in love with her youngest ds at preschool, but she moved him to another schedule and they don't see each other anymore.

Oh, and my unwed mother dd hasn't lived in my home for five months. Glad she won't influence my former friend's daughter.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Cat in the Hat's visit and a guest reader in the first grade classroom

The celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday seems to be really wide-spread this year in the USA. E's teacher is a particularly big fan of his work so I expected a big celebration, but C's teacher is making a fairly big deal of it too. E's teacher set up a schedule of parents to come in and read to the class. We could bring in our own Dr. Seuss book to read or read one of hers. Since I know she plans to get through every single book he wrote I figured it would help her schedule to just read whatever she put in my hand. This one was something about McElligot's pool which is a new one to me but easy to read and fun for the children. You can see E was pretty happy with the visit from the Cat in the Hat. And now you can see why I like to be in charge of the camera--I delete all the pictures of myself I don't like!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Almost-full moon

Once in a while I see a really big, low moon. This one looks like it will be full tomorrow. I guess I could look that up, huh? This picture is looking west down my street at about 7:25 am. It doesn't do justice to the apparent size of the moon.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Back and Forth

That's what I've been doing this morning--walking back and forth in my house putting things away. Amazingly enough, only about 2% of the things are mine and 98% belong to three little someones who also live here. The floors got worse and worse over the weekend and despite some straightening up by the aforementioned someones, they still looked bad.

First thing I went around with a laundry basket under my arm and picked up everything, then redistributed it to its proper place. Next I vacuumed all the carpets and rugs and swept the wood and tile floors. Then I started folding laundry. Next I think I'll wash all the girls' sheets and remake their beds.

I invited one of S's preschool friends over to play this morning. I figured it would be easier to have two of them entertaining each other than to have just S alone. Plus the little boy's mother will undoubtedly get more done as well. :-) This is the first time I've invited this little one over and it's going fine so far. The parents are potential renters so I also want to really see what they are like before possibly turning our house over to them.

Speaking of renters, one of our small rentals came open about two weeks ago and it has been up to me to get it filled. I don't really like this kind of stuff, but it has to be done. I placed an ad in the paper, answered dozens of calls, showed it to a couple of people, and took an application. Dh is going to call some of the references and make a decision.

Friday, March 6, 2009


S had pink eye on Monday and I took her to the doctor on Tuesday. The doctor prescribed some erythromycin ointment for her eye and it started to look better right away. By Wednesday I had my doubts though. She was so purple under her eyes that I thought she had allergies instead. With spring coming and the crazy wind we've been having, I've had some symptoms and thought maybe that was her problem too. I've been giving her children's Benadryl but I can't say it is making a big difference. Could this be a cold? I'm still thinking allergies, but the poor child looks terrible and complains that her eyes hurt.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Record early mailing

This is what when into the mailbox this morning! And I think this is the earliest dh and I have ever gotten it off. I don't know why we always procrastinate and procrastinate, but we do, and it's not because we owe because in fact we usually get a small refund. Now to hunt around online to find the New Mexico state forms and get them figured out. I'm hoping it will be easy because I don't have a computer program to help me, just my tired little brain.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brief memories of Sicily

Someone online asked me about living in Sicily and this is what I posted back:
My xh was stationed at Comiso Air Station which is on the SE side of the island. It was a GLCM (Ground Launched Cruise Missle) base and was still being built up even as the GLCMs were signed into history by President Reagan. It was a small base, mostly US with a small part that was Italian. I had tiny children at the time but still managed to get around the island a bit, go to the local markets regularly, get up to Rome, and also one trip to southern Germany (before moving to Germany a year later). That was on the train and it was very interesting to see how they got that train on a ferry to cross the Strait of Messina. :-)

I thought the weather was very much like the weather in the Sacramento area--hot dry summers, cool rainy winters and lots of agriculture. There was also a lot of history in our area with Parthenon-like ruins at a place called Agrigento and a place calle Monte Rosso that has a traditional Christmas nativity walk with the final stop in a cave with Mary and Joseph and the baby. It was neat. Very authentic-feeling.

The locals were in love with children. At the time I had a baby with curly red hair, fair skin, and blue eyes (Holly who just had the baby). I couldn't count the times I was stopped on the street by an elderly woman reaching to touch her hair and say, "Bellisima!" to me about her. If we'd go to a restaurant (they don't open until 7 pm) in the evening, the waiters would rush to make a little bed for the children or do something else to show concern for the little ones. I don't know if it is still that way, but I'll bet it is. There aren't a lot of children in Italy these days and they really value them.

It was over too quickly as we were there only about nine months before the base closed, but it was a memorable tour of duty.

Of course I have many more memories, but these are just a few off the top of my head.

The Mystery Worshipper

I was reading an article on church hopping in America and it referenced the Mystery Worshipper who visits churches in the US and other countries, then writes up a review and posts it online. It is very eye-opening to read about the worship services of churches other than my own. I've been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for all my life and have only limited experience visiting other churches. I think for awhile I thought all church worship services are kind of like mine, but I've discovered over the years that they aren't. My church is quite conservative both in its doctrine and in its worship practices. I'm very comfortable with that. I would not feel as though I had really worshipped if I visited a church with dancing in the aisles and multi-media music. OTOH, I'm sure many people would feel bored in a church without such things.

What kind of worship service (if any) do you prefer?