Friday, October 29, 2010

A week of cake

I hopped on the scale this morning and realized that if I ever want to lose weight and keep it off, then I will never be able to open my own bakery. Apparently the aftermath of staying home all last week and baking wreaked havoc on my diet. Oh well.

And to think that I'm at it again.

Not the week-long stay-at-home baking spree, but something close. With 3 cakes due in the next 5 days, I'm going to be having some late nights baking, icing, carving, and decorating. I promise I'll show pictures of my results in my Facebook cake album.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I stayed up late last night making Chloie's water bender costume for Halloween. I rummaged through my fabric scraps and found some old curtains I'd made in dark blue fabric, a medium blue fuzzy bathrobe, and ribbon bits from the store in Hagerstown. After some serious alteration and lots of safety pins, I think it is safe to say that it's ready for her costume parade today at school. Pictures on that after I see her in it.

It seemed that every time I sat at the sewing machine last night I started sneezing and sniffling. Once I walked away from it I mostly recovered, but when I woke up this morning I was sneezing and sniffling without the sewing machine. I hope I'm not getting sick. Ugh.

One day I hope the kiddos will look back on these late-night-costume-making sprees and see the love we have for our little munchkins.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When to stomp two feet in the puddle

I've decided that if I don't jump in with both feet I'll be timid for months. Annabelle will be there for a couple weeks to keep me straight and help me if I get stuck. I guess it's better to get the initial jitters over with sooner than later, so I spent some time yesterday obsessing about this Sunday's Primary lesson/sharing time/music time thing I get to do from now until I don't know when.

... OK, in reality I've been obsessing since they sustained me Sunday morning. That's not a bad thing is it?

Sunday afternoon and evening I sat at the piano with the primary song book, Annabelle's lesson plan for this week, and the kiddos to learn the songs we'll be singing. They helped me learn all of them except the one I'll be teaching them. Now I can't get them out of my head!

I got up in the morning humming them;
I drove to work belting them out in the car;
I find myself humming them at work;
I sing them on the way to get Dougie;
Dougie and I sing them on the way to get Audie and Chloie;
the four of us sing them on the way home;
I hum them while they do their homework and sing while I'm cooking dinner;
I probably sing them in my sleep (much to Tim's dismay).

I will say this for primary songs... I am now intimately familiar with the correct order of the books in the Book of Mormon. Who knew?

I sat with Annabelle last night after the pack meeting to pick her brain about this Sunday's music lesson. She said she hadn't worked on it at all, but thoroughly loved what I'd come up with on my own. Without giving too much away, we're going to see what 2,000 warriors looks like, dress and sound like warriors, and learn a new song about them. I've already tested these ideas out on Tim (as an age-group-appropriate gage for success) and he loves the ideas so far.

Maybe this isn't so bad after all. I'll let you know for sure after this Sunday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not this time.

We have a pack meeting tonight at Scouts. I was kind of excited... scratch that, very excited... that Audie had completed the requirements for his Bobcat badge because that meant he would get it at the next pack meeting. Right?

I checked his book last night as we were working on another requirement for his Wolf badge and found that they hadn't recorded it yet. Meaning he won't get it this time. The whole family is a little disappointed. Apparently the den leaders have to notify the pack leader in the week before a pack meeting of any new achievements so that they have the time to get the needed items from the Scout store, and by the time we found out that there was an issue, it was too late to get to the store again. So we wait.

It's OK, though, because it gives us a little more time to work on more Wolf requirements. We're in section 4 creating job lists, phone lists, and learning how to answer the phone and door. We need to visit a historic site in the community for one of the requirements in this section... any ideas?

Monday, October 25, 2010

What exactly have I gotten myself into?

I've been released as the RS pianist... Yay, right? Or so I thought. Turns out that there is more for me to do. I've been called as the...

wait for it...

wait for it...

Primary Music Leader

Lucky for me Sister Chacon will be sticking around for a couple weeks to teach me what to do. I'm clueless, and I don't even know any of the songs in the Primary song book. Would you believe that I learned more in 1 day in Primary than I have in 2 years reading the Book of Mormon? Oh, of course you would. I now know there are 15 books in the BOM and (mostly) what order they are in. Oh, boy!

I've already found a good resource in at her suggestion. We'll be learning a new song this Sunday... The Army of Helaman... and I've got 2000 warriors for the kiddos to see. I think I'll also let them teach me a song or two. :) I suppose it is time to get in touch with my inner kiddo.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Super Spuds!!!

There is something back-home-ish about a baked potato. There is something incredible when you load it with all of your favorite fixins and call it something more than a "spud"... and I'm a big fan! The best part is that everyone gets to customize their Super Spud any way they like. On hand for the event: butter, salt, pepper, cheese, sour cream, bacon, BBQ sauce, the works. Mmmm, tasty!

OK, in reality it's what we're having for dinner tonight. Can you tell I'm looking forward to it?

In the mean time, there is nothing like dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets to bring out your inner kiddo.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

Plastic canvas, that is. With a little bit of yarn and a lot of imagination (or a pattern), you can make some pretty interesting stuff!

These manual covers were from a pattern developed by JaNae Barnes. They fit over the front and back covers of the Gospel Principles manual, have 2 ribbons to mark your place, and have a window in the front to show the picture and title of the manual. I suppose that this pattern could also be adapted for other manuals as they are published. They take about a week if you dedicate the time to them. I will tell you that the back takes the longest by far. They take only a few ounces of your chosen yarn - 7oz. (one skein) of Red.Heart usually goes for $2.50, and the package of canvas is usually $1.50 for 6 sheets. Between the two purchases you could easily make 2-3 covers.

These two were for friends at church - note the one is in a more guy-friendly color scheme. Open with ribbon... Both of these were done in variegated yarn, meaning that the yarn changes color at random (or regular) intervals. Depending on the direction you are stitching and the size of the piece you are working, it can create some pretty interesting patterns.
This one was done in solid colors. I try to have a contrasting color to break up the monotony of the one color.
See? Having that box in the back and the borders in the different color makes the cover more than a blob of blue. I'm not much for blue and yellow together like this, but this was a pleasant surprise.
One thing about cutting a pattern like this out of a sheet of plastic canvas is that you will have leftover pieces. Pieces that at first you might not know what to do with them. The cut-out from the front cover splits evenly long wise into two perfectly-sized bookmark pieces; I've been making "I ♥ Gospel" bookmarks for the kiddos. The other pieces I cut to make these charming little boxes with lids. They don't hold much... they're only 2" square and 1" tall, but they're cute.
The kiddos loved them, I and they're a good way to use up some of that extra yarn!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Freaky Fliers

Yesterday morning, as I was coming up to the top of the mountain, I saw something streak past in the dark of my peripheral vision. Then BAM! it hit my windshield and clung for dear life to my wiper blade, wings flapping in the wind. You'd be proud of me, I didn't scream or anything, but then I realized that the furry and winged creature attached to my vehicle was indeed a bat. I tried to run the wipers to get it off, but it hung on. It even hunkered down out of the wind as I drove. I felt so bad for it, but it finally died and let go, and I was able to run the wipers to get it off of the car. Wow. O.o

The sad part is, sleeping bats are cute. Really! We cleaned our weapons every Friday in the Army, and there was a commotion at the arms room one day. Hanging from the steel-barred door of the arms room was a sleeping bat. It was so cute. They told us to silently get our weapons and go clean while they waited for animal control to come get it. Hopefully it was a catch and release!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

♪♫♪♫ I'm FALLing in love ♪♫♪♫

OK, so it's not the photo quality you're used to, but on my way home yesterday I decided to snap some pictures of the changing colors with my phone. I especially like the contrast - all of that green then suddenly a jolt of red or orange or yellow! Some of the pictures might be a little hard to make out... the sun was not cooperating.
Still pretty, though! This last one was to the left of our driveway.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A tasty alternative to American cuisine

Yes folks, I've branched out beyond easy Italian and Mexican! I've pushed aside spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and ziti! Overcome tacos, burritos, and enchiladas! (still working on the overuse of exclamation points)!!!

That's right...

I've made...



The kiddos and I like the honey chicken at our local Chinese restaurant, but in the interests of not breaking the bank to go there often, we decided to experiment at home. My parents even joined the ranks of guinea pigs. I found a rather scrumptious-looking recipe online, bought the necessary vittles during our bi-weekly grocery run (surprisingly, most was or could be substituted with common foods and food stuffs), and waited for the day.

Sunday was the day.

Why Sunday? Well, Tim isn't as adventurous as we are, and he's not a fan of honey. I know, I know, blaspheme, but I love him anyway.

So, the batter was pretty easy to make, and while it sat for the required 30 minutes, we started the rice, heated the oil, and cut the chicken. I ended up deep frying the batter-dipped-chicken-pieces for a little longer than the suggested 2 minutes because I liked a deeper tan on my chicken pieces. While the pieces dried on paper towels, I made the sauce, also very easy, and once it was done, we tossed the pieces in it and sat down to eat.

For a first pass it wasn't bad. The author of the recipe was right, it wasn't nearly as sweet as the restaurant munchies we're used to, but it did have a nice garlic flavor to it. I did discover that ground ginger and minced ginger have different flavors, though I don't know enough about either do make that determination. I will add a little more honey to the sauce next time to even out the garlic.

Dad, Audie, and Chloie went back for seconds (thank goodness I doubled the recipe), and when Tim got home he ate the left-overs. Here's the best part... he even liked it, so I think this recipe is a keeper.

Oh, and did I mention we had home-made peach cobbler? With vanilla ice cream? And Oreo cookies on the side? Mmmm, tasty!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ah, progress

It seems like you're cruising along, and then it hits you. I was hoping to break 270 this week and start working on the 260's, but alas it is not so. I'm so close, only two-tenths of a pound and I'm there. It brings to mind a line from one of my favorite movies, "Almost there... Almost there..." Bonus points if you can name it.

I've read that it is possible to under eat while dieting and that it causes the body to preserve what it has. Yeah, lets go with that. Admittedly I've been so busy at work that I've "forgotten" to eat my second package of oatmeal in the afternoon. Is it too much to ask that I shrink a size or two anytime soon? At least I'm showing some progress... granted it is not 2 lbs. like last week, but I'm still going down.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Fun with wood

So first we started with a list of lumber we needed, a set of free dresser plans from the Internet, and three helpers. Then we started cutting wood, planing it to the proper thickness, and using the router table. Using the router table is fun.

These are pieces for the drawers. There are 2 small and 3 large drawers in each dresser.This is one of the small drawers completely assembled. At this point, all we have to do is polyurethane it and put the knob on it.A shot of most of the drawers assembled without the front attached (the two little ones in the front are complete).A picture of the "inside" of the side panels, partial shot of the front frame, drawer, and bottom trim.One frame assembled. We have to put the bottom trim, the top of the dresser, and the drawer runners in before we polyurethane the snot out of it. I ran out of screws before I could assemble the other one. One of my helpers posing next to his dresser.

This has been a long project, and there is still more to do. At least I know t hat these should last a lot longer than the $40 particle board Wal-mart jobbies we got almost 8 years ago. I have to admit that they held their own for long enough, through 6 moves and 2 destructo-boys! The new solid wood dressers should last a life time, and they're prettier! :)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

My Little Scout

Audie's first day in uniform. HUGE PMM (Pround Mommy Moment)!!! What a smile! :)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

"Patch" work

Last night I stayed up prettly late, and I must admit that I'm paying for it now, but it was for a good cause. Friday Dougie and I went to the Boy Scout store in Hagerstown during our shopping excursion and got a shirt for Audie's Boy Scout uniform. I've felt bad because the one we got at church was 2 sizes too big, and he's the only one in his group that doesn't have one. So last night I stayed up past 11 to sew on all of his patches. I would have loved to have been there to see his reaction when he got up this morning, but work calls me away early. I wonder if he was excited. At least I get to see him in it tonight for his meeting.

Monday, October 04, 2010

When the camera pans back

I was driving to work this morning and had a thought... and I thought I would share that thought with you. Something to think about...

I love movies; they're very entertaining. Some of the most dramatic usually have a scene like this:

The hero, fleeing from an unseen danger with damsel in tow comes to a crossroads. After a quick evaluation of the sign and available paths, he chooses to go right. The camera follows him until he is out of sight then pans back to the sign. The snow falls off, and reveals a warning of danger ahead on the right path. Queue dramatic music (Dun dun duuuun). End scene.

It's not always snow, it could be branches or wind that reveals the pitfall about to ensnare our hero, but they never show them going down the safe path and the camera revealing the danger they avoided. I began to wonder if after the veil lifts and we watch the movie of our lives if the camera will pan back to reveal the warning sign we missed. There are plenty of recorded "pans" in the scriptures. The children of Israel doomed to wander the desert for 40 years because they murmured, when we can clearly see the camera pan back to reveal the warnings they received before they made their decisions to rebel.

Luckily for us our Heavenly Father also provides camera pans for missed pitfalls as well, though I'm sure they don't make for as exciting cinema. Take, for example, Daniel in the lion's den. I'm sure he was grateful not to be lion fodder because he chose to follow the commandments and listen to the Spirit. Nephi also when sent to Laban to slay him at the Lord's command avoided future hardship because he was obedient.

There have been plenty of times where I've seen the consequences of the path I didn't take. When money is low and we make the decision to pay our tithing, the checkbook balances itself and we have the money for the things we need. I could clearly see the possibilities if we hadn't - the camera pans and the snow falls away to reveal late payments, overdrafts, and bankruptcy. We can easily speculate on what could have happened if we had or hadn't chosen as we did. What could have been if we'd picked the right path instead of the wrong one, wishing we didn't have to deal with the consequences and suffer to our fate (shoulda, coulda, woulda?).

It seems to me that it would take a lot of faith to consistently listen to the Spirit, follow the commandments, and choose the path He intends for us without seeing what we avoided. What about the recovering alcoholic that chose not to take that drink? He went home sober and healthy without realizing that had he taken it, the camera pans back and the snow falls to show that he would have driven home in a drunken stupor and killed himself and someone else on the road. Or how about the woman with the gambling problem that walked away from the opportunity for easy money? The camera pans to reveal the sign... her life savings lost on that "sure thing". We can see how promptings have helped us find some hidden treasure, but how many times have we listened to the Spirit and unknowingly avoided suffering, danger, or contention? Where a bad feeling steered us away from trouble, but to us life went on as normal?

I did think, however, that it is possible to take a couple steps in the wrong direction, but listen to the Spirit before it is too late and go down the correct path. Again not as exciting or dramatic cinema, but worth considering.

Just wondering if anyone ever thought of it that way...

Looking forward to April

After this weekend's General Conference, I'm looking forward to April. I'm amazed at how much more relevant things are and how much more they make sense. It seems that things are slowly coming together, and honestly, I like what I'm seeing. :)

Tim had to work through Conference. At least he was able to go to the Priesthood session Saturday night. I missed having him there. Audie even gained an interest when one of the speakers Sunday spoke about the Aaronic Priesthood. I told him to pay attention because he'd be doing these things in a couple of years. He actually sat and listened. I'm so proud!

The kiddos and I were able to do a lot of work on the dressers over the weekend. I know, I know, I owe you progress pictures. Soon, I promise! We got the frame assembled for one of them before I ran out of screws, and we now have 4 of the 6 big drawers completed and ready for Tim to polyurethane. I think the kiddos and I will finish putting everything together this weekend and let Tim do his thing. I really have no desire to coat everything... that's his job.

I've also been working on knitting my sweater and crocheting the squares for the mystery afghan. Don't tell the sisters I visit teach, but these are Christmas gifts!