Thursday, February 28, 2013

Keeping It Real

Today was one of 'Those Days'. You know the kind you wish you could rewind, or start over, or skip entirely. The kind of day you don't want to repeat anytime soon. 
 It began with the child responsible for making breakfast wouldn't get out of bed. Finally, he got out of bed and immediately went outside to take care of his farm chores, but got sidetracked by the basketball hoop and sucked his brothers in to his game of PIG. 
I love to see these relationships grow and I am guilty of taking over their chores so that they will have time to develop their friendships with each other. I made breakfast. At breakfast, Liberty pushed herself out from the table and the chair got stuck somehow and cracked one of the bracing for the chair legs.  I then corralled the Erik and Ian for our Skype Math Lesson. I am loving teaching another student and have found myself more prepared and like the accountability with both my time and my attitude. 
Little Miss Independent
 I am enjoying the fact that the math lesson does not drag on for hours or even days. I digress, My boys were irritated that they are having to perform in front of one of their friends, and that sometimes they are not the best, or they have to work a little harder than the next person.  Aaron was fascinated by the Skype and wanted to stay as close to us as possible. This does not work when you are quizzing a 6 year old on her math facts. He then got extremely offended when I asked him to take it somewhere else!
We moved on to circle time and I had this great game "Nine Men's Morris" that we were supposed to play, it went along with the time period we are studying. I set my coffee down and went to get the game off of the counter. In that time, Ruby climbed up on the cabinet grabbed a toy, got her foot stuck in the piano cord, knocked my coffee flying (there was coffee on the ceiling) smacked the hermit crab tank and fell into a chair, knocked it over and started crying. I calmly left the room, then told Liberty to leave me alone when she followed me into my room. After dropping to my knees, crying and praying for the strength to raise these children in the admonition of the Lord, I returned to find all the bickering, bad attitudes, and coffee (except what is still on the ceiling), cleaned up and the children reading and playing the game. So much more effective than if I had yelled at them.
Erik, Taylor and Aaron September 2005
I made lunch, we had our reading tutor come,(while I was occupied the little ones dumped the entire Rubbermaid bin of Playmobile, and disassembled a majority of the 39,000 tiny pieces)  then a friend who is trying to train her dog around children came over. In between making a new recipe for dinner, helping the children behave appropriately around the dog, and keeping Liberty off the counter, I placed a hot 11 X 17 Pyrex in my sink and it exploded! tiny shards of glass were mostly contained in the sink and nobody was hurt. But I am out my best fudge pan! 
I got the Ox Tail Soup in the oven, got my Pioneer Woman Crush Potatoes Ready, and the Caramelized Winter Vegetables all ready.  We had Turnips, Pearl Onions and Daikon. 
Surprisingly what took me 4 hours this afternoon to prepare was not nearly enough food for the family. 
Liberty spilled her water, in it's entirety, in my lap. Erik and Ian detested the potatoes, Sean asked for more, and Taylor asked to be excused! 
I heated up some Pioneer Woman Chicken Tortilla Soup and on my way to the table, spilled it all over. As I was cleaning it up, Sean asked for a spoon and crackers. I jokingly called him My Lord, and the name stuck.
Ian, September 2005
I felt like pouting like Ian in this picture! We are not a clean your plate club type of family, UNLESS, you make some snide, rude or otherwise ungrateful comment about what we are eating. Tonight we had 3 that had to finish their meals. We won the meanest parents ever award. What made it even worse was that Liberty and I had made Ginger Cookies tonight and they were fresh from the oven, waiting for those that were thankful for their dinner.
I finally sat down to register for a class that is going to keep me updated on my CEU's for both my Childbirth Educator Certification and my Doula Certification. The deadline to enter was today and thankfully I made the deadline, but I had to laugh at my confirmation code: Regionalass. Thanks. I think that pretty much sums up my day. What about you, how was your day? 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Arrow Of Light

Erik has been in scouts since he was a Tiger scout. It's hard to believe it has been almost 5 years! 
He was thrilled that his friend Jake came with most of his family, and his Grandma (aka Geaba) also attended his Arrow of Light Ceremony.
Erik's Webelos Den
He has been with the same group of boys the entire time. They support and encourage each other and there is just enough competition to keep Erik motivated, but not so much as to discourage him. Erik is competitive, but maybe not as much as I am.  He did pursue many of the requirements on his own, without me nudging him along.
The scouts honor their mothers 
The Arrow of Light is the highest award that a Cub Scout can earn. It is also the only Award that a boy can transfer to, and wear on their Boy Scout Uniform.  There is also an award for Super Achiever. Super Achiever is when the boy earns all 5 requirements from all 8 Activity Badges.
Erik was very proud of his Arrow
 Here is where my competitive spirit comes into play. Aaron missed Super Achiever by 1 requirement, and again, Erik missed Super Achiever by 1 requirement, not 1 whole Activity Badge, but 1 requirement within the Activity Badge. Talk about feeling like the lame mom.
At least I still have 1 boy left to get it right.
I assured both boys that they did a super job and that they should be proud! I AM proud of their achievements and know that they did work hard, with a whole lot of adult support and encouragement.
Geaba came to honor Erik 
I just wish I was better at the whole keeping track of things, because then I would have known and could have encouraged them complete their last requirement.
In reality, the reason that we have chosen to have our boys participate in Scouts is to reinforce the character qualities that we are trying to teach our boys.
We have used the Scout Oath, Law and Motto in our Homeschool because it so clearly and concisely articulates our desire for the character of our children.
The Scout Law states that, A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent. 
The Scout Oath talks about keeping yourself morally straight. 
I am thankful for an organization that has upheld their standards despite intense pressure to change to the culture. I am thankful for the great leaders who have helped my husband and I train our boys in the way that they should go, and for our boys who diligently worked on their requirements. They can and should be proud of their achievement. 
Congratulations Erik for earning your Arrow Of Light!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cowgirl Dinner Party ~ Pioneer Woman Style

What can I say except, "This was the best idea ever!" It all began when my dear friend Kelly, gave me a Pioneer Woman cookbook. The inscription said, "Just Because". 
Signey, Me, Syndi, Sherie, Jess, Alanna,
Trisha, Sarah, Farmer Jess, Tami
Missing: Kelly(we took the picture before Ben left and she wasn't there yet.)
 In the cookbook is a collection of recipes for a Cowgirl Dinner Party. How fun to have a dinner party, Just Because, with women! Farmer Jess, is Jess' Sister in Law, and she graciously agreed to host our party when we approached her with the idea.
The perfect table for a large family, or an intimate gathering of friends
 I really am not sure how I got so fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful women, but also to have a party where I only had to show up! I'm not sure if you can see in the photo but Jess made us wine glasses, Mason jars epoxied to candlesticks, with raffia and bandanna embellishments.
I even ate the tomatoes, everything was delicious. 
 We began the evening with Jess gathering us in the living room and reading a wonderful nugget from God's Word.
        Psalm 75
         We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is nnear.
We1 recount your wondrous deeds.
“At othe set time that I appoint
I will judge pwith equity.
When the earth qtotters, and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its rpillars. Selah
I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, s‘Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with haughty neck.’”
For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes tlifting up,
but it is uGod who executes judgment,
vputting down one and lifting up another.
wFor in the hand of the Lord there is xa cup
with foaming wine, ywell mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall zdrain it down to the dregs.
But I will declare it forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 aAll the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
bbut the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

Doesn't Tami look beautiful, how fun that Taylor did her hair
 Then, she reduced us all to tears by saying meaningful, wonderful things about each person at the party, even someone she had only met a handful of times. The honesty and reality was refreshing! I appreciate how giving Jess is with her words, her time, and her faith.
Sangria and Pioneer Woman's Cookbooks
 We divided up the recipes and were treating to an amazing feast! We had Sangria (Sean said, in my day we called it Spodie) Sangria sounds much more feminine and grown up. We also had Cherry Limeade, Whiskey Glazed Carrots, Burgundy Mushrooms (they took 9 hours to cook, but were well worth the wait), Artichoke Cheesy Bread (could have eaten a whole loaf all to myself, maybe I will some day...), Caprice Salad, and Beef Tenderloin.
Kelly loves me despite my quirks.
She drove up from Snohomish to come to a party where she knew exactly 1 person, me! 
 The one who started it all, me and Kelly. For dessert we had Pots de Creme, and Flat Apple Pie, with homemade caramel sauce and Flat Blueberry Pie. I only wish I could have eaten more!
What Cowgirl party is complete without the Cowgirl boots? 
 Pioneer Woman Recipes have never disappointed me, and her party idea was even better. We laughed until we cried, we cried, and we talked and ate, and talked some more.
Jess, in the middle of one of her hilarious stories, or it might have been an impersonation.
Savannah did her hair
 Sherie, was Mikaela's 7th grade teacher and she is also the sister of Sarah, Jason O's #1 volunteer and one of the most generous, thoughtful and thorough women I have ever met. Sarah is conspicuously absent in all but 1 picture. Sherie told stories that had to be true, because there is no way you can make these things up! Side splitting laughing funny. Plus she brought the cute baby, so she's a keeper.
Don't be fooled by the quiet ones, they have the best things to share. 
 Alanna is pregnant with boy #4! Does she ever have some wisdom and experience to share.
 The Artichoke Cheesy bread might be the death of me, or at least my waistline! My friends really do love me! The original recipe calls for olives, but since I detest olives they changed it, Just.For.Me! Tami was happy with the change as well.
Why did they let me in? I don't have blond hair! 
 This is a Jessica Sandwich! Jess, Tami and Farmer Jess. Beautiful women inside and out. I really can't express how much they have blessed me just by who they are. Honest, hard working, full of integrity, fun, Biblical wives and mothers, and true friends.
Sherie and Jess
 Both Kelly and Sarah brought lovely hostess gifts. Kelly made us candy dispensers that are the cutest ever! They look like chicken waterers! and Sarah brought the 3 of us beautiful potted tulips! I love tulips, they give me the hope of warm weather, blue sky, and fresh air. I really felt like I was cheating. I said, let's have a party, then I showed up at the party and got lots of credit for hostessing.
I'm full of great ideas and always ready for some fun! If it's that easy I think I will do it more often.
Kelly, Me, Jason, Syndi, and Tami

Jason came and had some dessert, then Farmer Jess' husband, Ben came home, and Sarah's husband, Marty was with him. super fun to have some of the husbands there. Next time, I will make sure Sean comes to pick me up so he can join in! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Proficiency is something that I am striving to teach my children. Proficiency in school, the kitchen, in all areas, especially critical thinking. Basically, the need to think critically about what you are doing and why you are doing it. 
Aaron is very motivated to learn how to make homemade Cinnamon Rolls
 When I was in college I got a job at a cannery that I really did not want. I applied for another job doing maintenance. The thing is I really didn't have the skills for the job, but I knew I knew how to think. I got the job and didn't even have to do one day at the cannery! Often during that job I would be asked to perform a skill I had absolutely no idea how to do! I began by praying, then thinking. I always came back with the correct tools and got the job done, not only right, but well!

Don't let the somber expression fool you. He was grinning ear to ear at his accomplishment! 
I tell this story not to tell you how great I am (we all know that's far from the truth). I tell you because the skills I learned there have served me well. If I had not had the confidence to try, I would never have met Sean, had the children we have, and learned a whole lot of useful skills (how to tile, drive a backhoe, use a skill saw, build tables, repair plumbing, roof a building).
Teaching my children to have the confidence to make mistakes has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done! It requires an immense amount of patience. I  like to "git er' done" waiting for them to  tediously read and prepare a recipe is a mild form of torture.
I am beginning to see the fruits of teaching my children these skills.

Clone of a Cinnabon
1 Cup Warm Milk
2 room temperature Eggs
1/3 Cup Butter, softened
4 1/2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast
Sugar Mixture:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
Combine Dough ingredients,let rest for 10 minutes then roll out into a 11 X 17 rectangle. spread softened butter all over the dough and fill with the sugar mixture. Then roll and cut into 2" pieces. Place the pieces into a greased 9X13. I leave it overnight to rise. you can put it in a warm spot to rise more quickly.
Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, until the rolls are golden. Then cover with frosting and enjoy!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What's A Girl To Do?

Liberty keeps us laughing. She is such a fiercely independent little soul. I guess we should have expected that with a name that means Freedom. 

If you don't have the right utensil, improvise! 
I often feel like I am butting my head against a brick wall in teaching my children to think and act independently. I get questions all day long like: "Mom, where is the ketchup?", "I don't have any socks!", "What is my Latin word this week?" You get the idea. Not Libby! That girl can make her own tea, bagels, or toast. She wants to do 'school' and will answer Erik's questions with authority. The funny thing is that often she is right!  The other day Erik asked what the capitol of California was and Liberty answered, "Sacramento."
Liberty's family job is to set the table. The other day when we sat down for dinner Sean had a baby spoon and I had a serving fork! The discrepancy of these two utensils was magnified by not only who she chose to give them to, but that she had no problems coming up with a solution when she found no clean forks in the drawer! She has also set places with measuring spoons, a steak knife, and a slotted spoon. She did not say anything to anyone, just sat down at the table like nothing was amiss and it is just another normal day at our table. Oh wait! That IS a normal day at our table.