Monday, June 21, 2010

From the Mouth of Nathan

On the way to the store this morning, Nathan piped up from the backseat, "Mommy, you are very wise. Mommies need to know all sorts of things to be good Mommies, and you know them all." After a brief pause, he went on to add that he thought that Miss Lindsey (the most marvelous housekeeper/friend/munchkin-sitter ever) knew them, too.

Bless him, he made my day. Especially as once we were at the mall, we visited Dillards and happened to walk through the area where all of their prom dresses were on clearance sale. He promptly wandered over, picked out a long, red, sequined one and told me that I would be so beautiful in that dress and would I please buy it. I pointed out that I didn't really need a ball gown as I didn't have any where to wear it. His reply, "Yes you do. You can wear it at home while you take care of us. Mommies should wear beautiful dresses while they take care of their kids".


Noah has been reading for over a year now. The novelty still hasn't worn off for me. I LOVE to listen to him reading. There is just so much satisfaction in it. This summer, he couldn't wait to get enrolled for the Tulsa County Library's summer reading program, and he finished reading the required 20 books in under 3 weeks. Now, he is busy reading to Nathan so that Nathan can finish the program, too. That sure makes it nice for Mommy! And, it's so good for Nathan. Books that he might not normally choose to sit and listen to are fine if Noah reads them to him. Last week, Noah picked out "George Washington: Soldier, Hero, President" and set out to read the biography to Nathan.

On Thursday evening I could hear Noah reading and crept in to find this:
So sweet. It brought a big lump to my throat to see the little buddies curled up reading together and then a big smile as I heard words like Massachusetts, ailing, continental, smallpox, and Hessians rolling off his lips without hesitation.

It may be summer-time, but I really think that lots of Noah's days could still count as school right now. He's interested in so much, and every time he asks me a question, I counter with, "That's a great question. Why don't we see what we can find out about it". Then, we pick our library books around those themes. It's always lots of fun to have him come running in to the room I'm in, and tell me about what he has learned. Usually it's followed with, "Isn't that just so cool!"

This week, Noah wanted to know where lightning comes from. So, today at the library we selected 3 books about weather and storms. Then, in anticipation of next weeks' flight to England, he selected 1 book about Great Britain, 2 books about castles, 1 book about knights, and 2 books about the ocean.

Although you couldn't have convinced me that I would half-way through my first year of home-schooling, I love it. There is just nothing quite like watching your children learn, and seeing them take the initiative to learn is so rewarding!

Fresh From the Cabbage Patch

Wish the peas had done as well as the cabbages have done this year. Still, it looks like there'll be no lack of cole slaw in my future!

Really, I could do without quite so much heat, but I do LOVE summer!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Raising Future Husbands

I have long(okay, well, for 6 years) maintained (somewhat jokingly)that one of my biggest jobs as a Mommy is to raise my sons be great husbands. After all, the qualities that will make great "husband material" will also make them successful in many other aspects of life.

I've been fairly confident that Noah will make a great husband since he was a little guy. He's sensitive and gentle, quick to compliment, loves to give kisses and cuddle, likes to do things together, has already learned to put his clothes in the laundry basket, and likes to help with the laundry!

And now, I think I can add Nathan to the category of great future husband material. After a long day shopping, I came home and tried on the new shirt I bought. I walked out into the dining room, and Nathan looked at me and said, "Oh Mommy, if you wear that tomorrow, you'll be the prettiest girl at church".

A Hard Days' Night-Take 6

Poor Nate. I think he must have been tired last night. Gareth went to check on them, and Nathan was so tired that he didn't even wake up when he rolled out of bed.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Bouncy, Bouncy, Bouncy, Bouncy, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun

I've been wishing for a trampoline in our backyard for a year now. Last summer, the munchkins were really still a bit small, though. At Christmastime, the munchkins were probably big enough, but we were still working on dealing with Noah and Rosie's medical bills and Gareth's truck accident.

But, as Spring has worn on, and the munchkins have been more and more active, I decided that it was definitely time to put in a big trampoline (for Mommy's sake). I have been using coupons like a mad woman and watching the sales carefully trying to save some grocery money. Then, last week, I found the trampoline that I have been wanting (complete with safety net) on sale. I called Gareth at work and asked him if I could buy it, as with one more pay period of careful shopping I thought I could pay for it. Thankfully, he went for it, and on Friday, we were able to go pick up our trampoline.

The munchkins were beside themselves with excitement (as was I), and we couldn't wait for Daddy to get the lawn mowed so trampoline assembly could start.

Thankfully, Daddy is an engineer, so he had the trampoline put together in just over an hour.
He did have a short break part-way through to try to convince the munchkins that he was finished and the trampoline should look like this (poor Rosie was a bit confused!).
He had lots of helpers. I'm not sure if this made the job go faster or slower, but his helpers had a great time.

It was agreed that Nathan would have the first jump. He was nervous and gave such timid little jumps and giggles that we couldn't help laughing at him.

So, we put the other two munchkins on, and let them help him "warm up".

After a minute or two of nervous, small jumps, they got right into the hang of it and were hopping all over the place.

They bounced until it was dark and Mommy insisted that they had to come in and have supper. First thing this morning, they wanted out again. Daddy couldn't resist running out to jump with them, even if he was still in his pj's.
Happy, tired Munchkins. Happy Mommy looking forward to being able to just tell them to go "jump it out" whenever the energy levels start to get too high!

Grateful That This One Wasn't Flat

As I sat by the window trying to get some school done this morning, I was interrupted by a small round face pressed against the window squealing with excitement. Nathan had caught a toad. All by himself! He was just so proud of himself. The toad was scared half-to-death and squeezed three-fourths to death. As for me, I'm just grateful that this one wasn't flat. Don't have a clue what I'm talking about? Just check here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pictures at the Park

The munchkins and I have thoroughly enjoyed our first week of summer. Okay, well, it's not actually summer, and it was actually our second full week out of school, but it has been the first week that we have been able to just play and take advantage of a more-relaxed schedule.

We've done something fun every day this week, and yesterday was a visit to Woodward Park. Now, I have to admit to having dual motives for this. The munchkins wanted to play at a park, and I wanted some nice photos of the munchkins (but didn't want to/couldn't pay a photographer right now;I've spent my pennies on something else, which will no doubt debut on the blog later this week-end).

I'm definitely no photographer (although it's one of those things I'd like to learn to do well), but we had some fun, and did get some photos that while not great, are good representations of this stage of life with the munchkins.

And, the kids had fun. We wandered through the Linnaeus garden, the rose gardens, played on the swings, caught tadpoles, hiked, jumped across a creek on stepping stones, and did some tree climbing. Pretty much a perfect day if you're a munchkin. Here's some pictures from the day:

Amazingly enough, we only ended up with one munchkin landing in the creek instead of on a stone while jumping. Oh, and my sunglasses made a landing in the creek while I was helping Rosie across. Thankfully, it was quite shallow, and I could fish them out with a stick. I was a bit put out, but couldn't stay that way, as Nathan and Noah were standing behind me exclaiming about how talented I was and what a good "fisher" I was. It's soo easy to be their hero right now!

LOVE this next one. Okay, so it's probably not one of those enlarge and frame-type pictures. But it is just so typical of Noah as a 6-year old!

Poor munchkins. They're desperate to climb trees. They climbed in alot of trees yesterday (and also spent lots of time wishing for a "forest like this" in their backyards so that they could climb trees every day. I think we'll be making lots of visits to Woodward Park, now that they're wised up as to the tree-climbing options there.

In case you can't tell, Noah is holding a tiny frog. We found a concrete pond that had thousands of tadpoles in all sorts of stages of development. I got the chance to show the munchkins an egg sac, a tiny tadpole, a large tadpole, a tadpole with hind legs, a tadpole with all 4 legs and still a tail, and then caught a little frog for them. Such fun! Science class, even in the summer.

Here are the munchkins looking for tadpoles with hind legs.
Ahhh. My sweet munchkins. I wonder when they'll think they're too old to hold hands. Hope it isn't too soon. (Not really related, but I had to have an "interesting" conversation this week with Noah about not being able to marry your sister.... Poor lad, he said: But, I can't marry you, 'cause you're married to Daddy, so I thought I could marry Rosie instead.)
This next one is my FAVORITE. Not sure why. I can't see their faces, but I just love it. They LOVED the bridge and the creek. They spent some time wishing that this was in their backyard, too.

Wonder if I'll be able to convince the munchkins to put off our next trip to the park until after the day-time temperatures drop below 95? Somehow, I think not.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


When I was growing up, my Grandma and Grandpa had a HUGE yard. And every summer they put out a slip-n-slide. As often as we were allowed, we were at Grandma's house, slipping and sliding. We would slide for hours, until our stomachs were bruised. Grandma would feed us watermelon or ice cream, ask Mom and Dad if we could spend the night, and then take us in the house for a shower, dress us in Grandpa's old t-shirts, inflate the air mattress, and let us lay in the living room and watch Disney cartoons until we fell asleep. Such sweet memories.

Funny, but the slip-n-slides I remember were MUCh longer. Or perhaps it was just that I was so much shorter. Still, the munchkins love playing on the slip-n-slide. This is last years' slip-n-slide, and it has developed an air leak, but we still managed to make it work yesterday (when temperatures made it to 95). The munchkins are pooling their allowance money, and Mommy is going to make up the difference, so we'll have a new one this week-end. But for now, they're still having lots of fun. Happy Summer everyone!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Because You Asked....

I've had lots of phone calls and e-mails this week asking for the recipe for the potatoes from last week-ends' Senior Banquest. So, since you asked so nice.... With my apologies for the poor picture quality.

Hasselback Potatoes

6 medium-large potatoes (my personal preference for this recipe is Yukon Gold potatoes)
1/2 c. melted butter
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
parmesan cheese (optional)
panko bread crumbs

Wash potatoes, scrubbing well. If potatoes have tough skins, they can be peeled, but I prefer to use really nice thin-skinned potatoes and leave the skins intact. Slice a thin slice off the bottom of each potato so that it will sit flat. Insert a wooden skewer close to the bottom of each potato. Using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato the short way about 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart, making sure to cut down to the wooden skewer. (If you are very careful, you don't have to use the skewer, but it makes it a bit easier to not slice right through the potato.) Be careful to cut straight down, not at an angle, or you'll cut wedges out of the potato! When the potato is sliced, carefully remove the skewer and place the potatoes in a bowl of cold water. Allow the potatoes to rest in cold hour for at least one hour (this removes some of the starch so that the individual slices won't stick together). Preheat oven to 350. After soaking, remove the potatoes from the water, rinse again, place potatoes on a rimmed baking tray, and into oven for 5 minutes to dry them. Remove potatoes from the oven, dip in melted butter, return to baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn oven up to 450. Sprinkle with parmesan and bread crumbs. Spoon a little bit of the butter from the bottom of the pan over the top of the bread crumbs. Return to oven for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are soft and breadcrumbs are brown and crisp. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

*Sometimes I leave out the parmesan. Sometimes I add a little paprika. Sometimes I use onion salt instead of sea salt. Feel free to make it your own!*

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cooking For A Crowd

I was asked a couple of months ago if I would consider catering our church's Senior Banquet honoring all of this year's graduates. Now, had I known that I would be in the middle of a nurse refresher course come May, I might have said no. But, I didn't, so I happily said yes. And, I'm glad I did.

I love playing in the kitchen, and cooking for a big crowd is lots of (slightly masochistic) fun. Gareth has decided that he likes to play in the kitchen, too; especially as it gives him the chance to say, "Yes, Chef" if I ask him to do something.

We were asked to cater for 140. Thankfully, I had some great help in the kitchen and a sweet family who took the munchkins for the day (they regarded this week-end as a big treat, as they had 4 big kids to play with, were introduced to video games, and got to jump on a big trampoline-Thanks, Dudley Family). And, best of all, when it was all done, the serving staff (church youth) stayed behind to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes while I collected the munchkins, came home, and collapsed.

Unfortunately, I was so busy that I didn't get a chance to take photos of all of the fun we had in the kitchen. But, I am grateful that a couple of friends (Thanks, Shannon and Miriam!) grabbed my camera while we were serving and got some photos of the food for me.

We served Strawberry Spinach Salad for a starter, Roasted Pork Loin with a Balsamic Reduction, Hasselback Potatoes, and Green Beans for the main course, and then for dessert, a choice of cherry cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberry cheesecake, or turtle caramel nut cheesecake.

Here are the photos I have of the evening:

Oh my goodness, that is a lot of desserts!

Cherry Cheesecake

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cheesecake

Turtle Caramel Nut Cheesecake

There have been a lot of recipe requests, so I promise to get those up on the blog later this week. Now, I really must get some schoolwork and housework done.