Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

From all of us to all of you!

May this year bring
painted cabinets
organized drawers
vintage linens
steaming cups of coffee
angelic muddy grins of impish children
sloppy kisses from spoiled doggies
new hardwood floors
long mornings buried in feathers
cleaning challenges from friends
new fluffy towels
a new cast iron set of pots

for all of us that like those kind of things...

It might be Christmas on this blog for a while yet...

I have a bit of catch up to do, and we had such a wonderful Christmas that I dearly want to share it with all my bogger friends.

This is my dad. He is reading the Christmas story from Luke 2. Usually we do a choral reading but we strayed a bit and did something different this year. Marme and PaPa hid several ziplock bags that held figures, essential to the Nativity story and my children ran gleefully around the house trying to find each one. They brought them back to PaPa, who let them tell why that figure was important to the story. Then my kids sat in awe as he read, a story so old, and so fresh. I am always amazed how much the Christmas story reminds me of Spring.

Here the kids are looking at an ornament that I painted when I was a young teenager. It has Joseph on one side and Mary on another.

Save this idea for your next Christmas day. It worked out wonderfully. The kids were so excited to find the "treasures", and it was a heart softening experience for the adults who looked on.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The best gift ever

So many of my readers already know about my close relationship with my sister. Growing up, we shared a bed, we shared clothes, and we fought like cats and dogs- ones that hated each other. Many were the times our fights ended with me holding a hunk of her hair, and with her smiling at me with that smile that said, "I might have the black eye and a bald spot...but I have indeed won this." And then I would learn that revenge, in the hands of a mastermind, is indeed no fun at all. Those were good times... I have no idea how we emerged from our childhood with what is now a solid bond stronger even than steel. But, sometimes life hands you friendship on a golden platter...sometimes it comes through trial by fire.

Renee and I walked through the fire and came out better than when we went in.

Until her husband joined the military, Renee and I had done everything together. We cleaned our houses together, we got pregnant together, we nursed our babies together, we played strategy games together. Even when she moved to Ohio, we made sure to plan our vacations together and we saw each other every several months.

Then came the bad news. Devastating news for the both of us. A move, on her family's part to what might as well be the other side of the world. Rome, New York. I seethed at her husband Jesse for taking her so far away from me. I railed at God for moving her to a place in which distance was the great separtaor. I cried when her fourth wee one was born and I could not be there to see her.

As Christmas approached, we neared the mark of one year without seeing each other. We both had new homes, and she had a new baby, all of which we could not share with each other. We talked on the phone several times a day...but that distance was starting to overwhelm us. More times than I could count, I would say good bye and hide away in my bathtub for a good cry.

I missed my sister in such a way that I can not even describe.

And then... Jesse...that dear man I had been seething at. He called me and asked me if I would mind being my sister's Christmas gift. I think I sat on the phone stunned, not knowing exactly what he meant.
"I would like to fly you up here for a gift to Renee." he said.
And I cried. For joy.

I had to keep the secret for four long weeks. The longest weeks of my life. The Christmas season was jammed for me. I would be in New York the two weeks before Christmas which meant I had a lot of work to do. On top of that, I couldn't share my excitement- or my stress with Renee. I even found myself avoiding her calls because I was so afraid I would let it slip.

It was worth it on the Thursday night when Jesse walked into his living room and told Renee that he had an early Christmas gift for her. Then I walked through the door.
She stared
and stared
and stared some more.

And then I grabbed my beautiful baby niece Karist from her arms and held her for the first time.
Renee was still staring. And then she cried. For joy.

I could not have received a better gift. I soaked in everything, held my nephew and neices as much as possible, played star wars legos, got trapped into watching Star Wars and My Little Pony, and became a good witch who trapped children in their rooms until they got them cleaned. I helped Renee decorate her home (she is quite and expert, and everything looks so lovely), and I listened to my niece Devonae tell me wonderful night time stories about the aunt and the little girl who got lost deep in the dark dark woods and had to build a house where they lived ever after.

I am sorry about the suffering that my blog took while I was away, but I was busy. Busy hugging, and holding, and loving. Which, is, by far, better than writing.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas has come and gone...

Someone seems to have given me the gift of the flu. SCROOGE! I have been sick since the day after Christmas and this illness seems to be of the never-ending sort.

Here are some pictures of our Christmas decorations. I was out of town for most of December as well as Christmas day and so we skiped the tree, opting to decorate some garland instead. I think it makes a lovely alternative.

I made this button ornament the first year Dustan and I were married. It is simply buttons glued onto a clothespin.

THis is the first ornament in a series that my mom and dad buy us every year. It is for a fund raiser for their local rescue mission. I love receiving these every year. I love un-packing and hanging them too. Each one is different but they alll have our names on them. It is a sentimental treat to see the names grow from just Dustan and Becka, to Dustan, Becka, and Marcus, and then the addition of Weston, and lastly our complete family...Dustan, Becka, Marcus, Weston, and Esther. Maybe next year mom will remember to include Heidi.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Speaking of Work in Progresses

I am working on a quilted appliqued wall hanging as a gift for my Mother In Law. I have never done an applique before. I have never quilted before. At some point during this project I realized I was out of my ever lovin mind. At some point yesterday, when I looked at the almost completed top, I realized that it is fun, and often times surprising to be a bit crazy. Dustan's mother collects nativity sets, and I think she is going to really love this.
I still have to add the batting, do the quilting, and then bind it. But it is close enough to done that I am confident I will be able to finish. I am a little worried about my machine being able to take such tight turns (especially for that hay), but she is a glorious little hard worker of a machine, and she will do her best.

What do 50,000 words look like?

I am a nano winner and I couldn't be more proud of myself. Somewhere, around 40 words shy of reaching my goal, I realized that I have an issue with finishing things. I have no problem setting lofty goals. I race hard and quickly at the sound of a starting gun...but somewhere, in view of a finish line. I stop. Just stop. I have done this my entire life and just never recognized it for what it was. I still don't know WHY I do this. I have a big pile of WIP (work in progress) projects, some dating back to when I was a teenager.
I sat at 49,560 words for over a week.
But I didn't stay there. I looked at my computer screen for over an hour and wrote the final 40 words. I completed. On time. I finished something that few people can ever say they have done. I wrote an entire 50,000 word novel in a month's time. It is not good writing by any means. But it is mine. And it looks so pretty all typed up, and it feels so heavy in my hands.

It's December and life is supposed to be crazy

But it doesn't help to have 850.00 worth of tree clean-up. We had planned on doing most of the work ourselves, but life is already slipping us by...and we were going to have to have someone come and repair the trees anyway (We have three large Oaks that were damaged badly enough to need professional help) and so, we will add on some extra $$ and have them do the cleanup as well. The good news is that we will never have to buy wood for our campfires again. In fact, I don't think anyone in a 30 mile radius needs to buy firewood for a long long time. There is a free for all on firewood around these parts. It is sad to see the damage, and to think of how many people are still without power.

Here is a humorous side to the storm: It seems like we have a couple of new trees. But looks are deceiving and these are just a couple of branches thrust deep into the ground. One branch fell upside down. It makes me chuckle to think about it. It's always good to find a smile in the middle of a situation that has you doling out several hundred dollars.

Friday, December 01, 2006

And because, sometimes, I do actually feel grown up...

Someone could also buy me THESE EARRINGS for Christmas. Or they could buy me a ring from the ring page...or a necklace...or a bracelet...

or a whole set...I wouldn't turn it down.

But, if you are feeling generous, and are wealthy enough to spend some $$$ on me, and if you love me so much that you would actually WANT to spend $$$ on me... I wouldn't mind having one of the gorgeous watches

Ice Ice baby...

Lots of ice. Everywhere. We had a scarey night here, the cracking and groaning of trees kept me awake in the tense anticipation of the next fallen limb. I was scared to death one would come crashing through the roof, but we were spared. So was the roof and our van. Our neighbor's roof was not so lucky. And our trees are a sorry sorry sight. I truely hope that they will be able to recover from this. I love my trees. As I type this, we have lost another branch, and I hear the creaking of trees, trying hard to hold themselves together. Poor trees.

We have power. That is always a good thing. If you are going to spend a harrowing night, convinced you will die with a tree branch stabbing through your heart, you might as see the morning in with a warm cozy house. I have no idea how we have kept our power, but I am grateful to God- and to Ameren UE for the warmth we have, and the ability to cook our food. I have, however, decided that we need to get an emergency kit together. Should our power have gone off, we would have had no flashlight (batteries are dead from shawdow games the kids like to play) and we would have had no water suitable for drinking. You can't boil water without electricity. We do have a fireplace, but it has not been cleaned or inspected, and I would hate to add a fire to any other emergency.

Anyhow, we are fine, and God willing, we will lose no more trees, especially those over our house. Our van has been moved to a safer location. I know there are others not as fortunate as we are, and my prayers are with them.

May all of you have a cozy and warm day. I think I will make myself another cup of hot choco and bury myself into my feather bed. You?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Going on my Christmas List

OK, I think I fixed my link...if not, they are the capacitor earrings.

People, I am pretty sure I need THESE EARRINGS

Now watch me get either ten pairs...or no pair.

But really, those are just way too cool. And I desperately need a pair.

Haha. And ya'll thought I had grown up or something. Fooled ya!

Now buy me those earrings!


Is anyone tited of their turkey yet? I am. But I still had quite a bit left. I made up a turkey rice casserole for lunch and a turkey divan for dinner. Both recipes came from my dear sister and both I will share with you.


Turkey Rice Casserole (this is ot a recipe really, rather a throw it all in and cook it how you want instruction guide)
Turkey (or chicken...I bet tuna would even work) No amount specified...use what you have.
Rice (did you know you can cook rice in the microwave???I did not until today, i cup of rice to 2 cups of water, put in a glass bowl, top with a plate...cook for 14 minutes EASY)
cream of something soup (whatever is on hand)
Some kind of veggies (I used peas)
Mix it up in a casserole dish and bake.

Turkey Divan (Again...we don't use real recipes in our family- no amounts are ever specified...we just use what we have and eyeball everything)
1. Lay broccoli in the bottom of a 9x13 pan
2. Top with Turkey chuncks
3. Top with cheese slices or grated cheese
4. Mix a can of cream of mushroom (or chicken like I did because I had no mushrooms) and a can of evaporated milk
5. Pour on top
6. Bake at your favorite temp for your favorite amount of time...see...we just wing everything. My guess would be 150 for 30 minutes. everything is cooked, you just need to get it hot and meld the flavors together.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tiny Gifts

Sometimes the best things come in teeny tiny packages, brought by teeny tiny hands. We spent a good portion of the Thanksgiving Holiday raking leaves, and Weston saved me this itty bitty flower. He wrapped it in his hands and said to me, "I have a present for you but you have to give me what I want first." Cheeky little manipulative kid... What did he want? A kiss. That's it. I traded a kiss for this precious tiny flower (which is actually a seed pod, but shhhh, don't tell him) for a kiss. Great trade, thinks I.

Oh, and it's time to celebrate Christmas. I pulled out all my Christmas music, and am very close to being Trans Siberian Orchestraed out. And where is my Manhiem Steamroller? You can't have Christmas without Manhiem Steamroller, but it seems someone has stolen mine, I have the album cover but no CD.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Plan #2

She is so sick, but still so pretty. Esther ruined our Thanksgiving plans. We had really been looking forward to a trip to Ohio to visit my grandparents, but as usual, the oncoming winter season has showed itself by bringing us some good old fashioned illness. Esther is nasty sick and so, instead of traveling with a pukey mucousy child, we stayed at home.
And we cooked. Boy did we ever cook. Started at 7 in the morning and finished in time for a Thanksgiving meal at 5 in the evening. I let each kid choose a menu item or two and they helped to make everything. It was a blast. A messy blast- but we had such a good time.
Here's the menu:
Turkey (of course)
Pumpkin Stuffing (Dustan's choice, stuffing made from pumpkin bread and mushrooms- most delicious stuffing I have ever had. The kids loved it too, despite the fact that they hate mushrooms)
Green Bean Casserole with Portabella Mushrooms (Oh, my! This was fantastic- it will become a family tradition.)
Green bean casserole without mushrooms- because the kids hate mushrooms (silly kids) they hated the green bean casserole anyway (silly kids).
Sunday Rolls (I have to find a better roll recipe- this one was not so great)
Mashed potatoes (boring but yummy)
Sweet Potato Casserole (chosen and made by Marcus)
Cranberries (and yes, I DID forget about them until the very last minute- family tradition!)

Desert Menu! We went a little crazy:
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Pecan PIe (out of this world and made by Dustan)
Rum cake (also made by Dustan)
Eclair cake (made by Weston and Esther)
It was a feast meant for the Kings...and we enjoyed every bite of it!

Here it all is in the oven. I can't believe it all fit in there.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and may you have a very grateful Holiday Season

Friday, November 24, 2006

Favorite Things Friday-

A man who cooks. And cleans up the mess afterwards. Nothing better than that!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A place to create:

Done by Marcus, age 7 on a chalkboard.
When I redid Marcus' room, I wanted to make sure to make him a place to be creative. The desk belonged to my dad as a child and has gone through several adventures, but I think an art and craft desk has been its favorite one. You can see how passionate Marcus is about his covers his walls. The watercolor colage on his desk is my favorite. That is a cowboy there...riding into the sunset. Wanna buy it? You can't. I would outbid whatever price you would be willing to pay for it. I am hoping that Marcus gives it to me for Christmas.

As an afterthought: I really really need to get some curtains made for his windows.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Metamorphasis of a Kitchen

This was my kitchen when we first moved in. That is not a microwave above the stove, it is a HUGE oven. It was horrible. Not only did I have to learn to use an electric stove, I had to do it in a small area that would not even allow my stock pots to sit. Uggg, I hated that thing. But, since it was circa 1970, and since our refrigerator went out, and since Sears had a sale on multiple appliances, and since Dustan was in a generous mood, I did not have to use the hideous thing overly long. Lots of other changes took place too.
Out with the upper bar cabinets. Ahhhh, that felt better. Now I can watch the kids play in the family room while I prepare dinner...or breakfast...or lunch...or one of their one million two thousand, and forty-three snacks.
And blue paint! So pretty! I adore the color, and eventually the bottom cabinets will be painted as well. We moved the plexiglass cabinet doors over to the stove wall, and took off the doors on the sink wall, to make a shelf. Eventually, that cabinet will come done and actual shelves will be installed. It was getting to be a lovely place to be, if only I could eliminate that hole above the new stove.

Voila! Done! There is now a microwave, where once was a humongous ugly oven, and then followed by a big cavernous hole.
This is the kitchen of my dreams, and the cost has been almost nil...except for the new appliances, sink, and faucet. Everything else I have used has been existing.

Oh, and knobs, I am slowly replacing the knobs. I found those in a junk store and paid 1.00 for four of them. They came from an antique cabinet. Eventually, all the knobs will be mix and match...

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Big Pile of Favorite Things:

Do you remember my promise to create a sacred corner? Probably was so long ago. Anyway, here it is and I filled it with my favorite things for a favorite Friday.
First there is the small baby quilt my sister mad Marcus. None of my children are small enough for it anymore, and so I use it to cover the beautiful hope chest my mother and father made me one Christmas. The inside is filled with cozy blankets and crocheted afghans.
See my laptop there? It is all ready for me to sit down and polish off my nano novel. The phone is just waiting for a ring from my sister.
Hanging on the wall is a set of prints from Charles L. Peterson . Make sure to click the thumbnails. His work is beautiful and I wish I could afford a large print instead of the notecards that I matted and framed.
Look at the cutie tootie orange tumbler. Dustan bought a set of them for me last night at the antique mall. I fell in love with them right away and at 5.00, they were the perfect price. They will make such a cheery addition to my mornings.
My corner is peaceful and relaxing, and to be honest, it is exactly what I need today.

Yesterday I recieved the news that my Uncle David had passed away. It was sudden and unexpected. I did not spend a great deal of time with David, especially in my adult years. I loved him because he was so loved by my mother. I hurt for his death because his standing with God is unknown and because of the pain my mother is enduring. As a child, it is always something akin to torture to see a parent hurting and I am still a child. The world does not seem to be on its axis when mom is hurting so badly. I know that many of my readers pray. Please pray for my family this week, they would all love to be held in your intercessions.

And a story about David, from my childhood:
For some reason, I had been left in David's care. He was babysitting me, and in true Rebecka fashion, I quickly made a pest of myself. David was good natured, and even a bit jolly. I can still hear that Wheelis laugh... Anyhow, he quickly tired of me, and on top of that- his girlfriend came by for a visit. What to do with Becky Sue? Hmmmm.... Maybe put her on the roof? I guess that seemed a good idea to him at the time, and a ladder was always hanging around in the yard at granny's so he had easy access to an easy way out of babysitting. I sat on the roof while he smoked cigarettes with his girlfriend. You would think this is a horrible thing....but it was not for me. Being on the roof was a grand adventure and I loved every second of it. It was the first and last time I was to have the same adventure. I sat like a Queen, ruling everything i could see, which was..everything. It was an amazing view of the world.
Thanks Uncle David. And we will miss you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Just Dreaming

I spend way to much time dreaming of my house. I stare at my kitchen and think and think about how to decorate it. How would it look as my dream kitchen?
What would my living room look like if I had an unlimited supply of money?
I pore over catalogs and magazines and dream.
I didn't always used to do that. My old dreams were far different. I would disappear onto a stage, I would be in full make-up and costume...or I would be recieving an Oscar for my stunning performance in "A Doll's House".
Even more recently, I have begun to fantasize again about writing...but truth be told: My home brings me so much more pleasure than these old dreams. It is such an accomplishment to me to have gone from messy slob with no style, to what I am and what I have now. My home brings me such pride and such peace and I am beyond grateful to God for bringing me to where I am now.
Remember the baking Center I had talked about? This is it. Right now it's just an old 70's cabinet stuck inbetween a door and my refrigerator. But imagine with me...I will paint it...still not sure what color. Maybe white, maybe green, maybe red? I miss all the red from my last home, so maybe I will add a spalsh of it here. I will pull out the panals from all the doors and insert punched tin. I will add either a stone or wood counter top, and hooks along the back wall to hold my measuring cups and spoons, and a nice towel. I will have a clippy thing to hold the current recipe. Can you see it? It's lovely isn't it?
It has been nice dreaming with you. Now I have to get back to my real life, in which I am baking muffins, getting ready for Marcus' school, and I promise myself I will sit down and write 5000 words sometime today- because new dreams are good too...especially if you chase after them.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Creativity rules when one is a writer. Right?

Okay, well. I haven't been to the grocery store since this nano thing started. Bad mommy. I do however have 31,000 words written and Reba has taken a very fun trip down the river on a frozen chunk of ice. Don't worry, she has a park bench to sit on. I swear, reba has gone completely out of her mind, every story gets more and more bizarre. Anyhow...So, 31,000 words and an empty pantry. What does one do for breakfast? How about cookies? Again? Why yes. And this time, I did not make them. They came in a package, and are not cookies meant for breakfast- Oh, no. these are just plain Jane oatmeal cookies, laden with sugar and not much else. I did make peanut butter sandwhiches out of them though. Does that make it better? I included a gratuitous shot of my Big bird cookie jar- because it makes me happy. Big Bird was a gift to my mom from my aunt Denise on mom and dad's wedding. I received it as a wedding gift from mom. Big Bird has cracked both his nest, and lost his nose. Nothing a little glue didn't fix.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I had a write-in on Sunday with some fellow nano friends (aka national novel witing month members...or kaka stupid people).
I had a dare to include oompa loompas in my story (I had to use them white at the write in) is how I took the dare and ran with it.

Jaci skipped up to the choir loft and Reba ran down the aisle, her arm thrown out and her hand thumping along the tops of the pews. Thump, thump, thump, thump, thumpity, thump. Thump thump thump thump, thumpity thump...Up one aisle and down the next.
Oompa, Loompa, Doopity doo, sang Reba's mind, to the rhythm of her hands, the wood feeling hard and un-giving, and the song inside her head, willing her to skip.
Right passed Mrs Tolbert (who was- at least in Reba's mind, the twin sister in heart to the wicked witch of the West). Ooompa, lomapa.... she sang, under her breath... “that child is weird,” thought Mrs. Tolbert.

16,000 words now. I really wanted to have 18,000 by bedtime tonight, but I don't think it will happen.

And, because this is a homemaking blog, I wanted to share with you that my kitchen no longer has a gigantic hole above my oven...what once was a small cavern is now a microwave. I will try to put up some before and afters in a bit. This allwas me to start on my grand scheme for a baking center! Yay! The old microwave sat where my new baking center will be.

I am sitting at 14,000 words

I was told that the second week was TOUGH. No kidding.

I want to quit.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's day Three!

And I can't get much farther. I am stuck on this little tiny scene that should have been finished hours ago. Little scenes that cause so much trouble should be cut into oblivion.

Again: No editing here, I hope you can read it.

Carol listened as the clinking, stomping, and banging sounds went on in the kitchen. She heard it all, and even recovered from her stupor long enough to wonder what was going on in her kitchen. Just as quickly she sank back into her pillow and despair. Life was not what it was supposed to be. Reba at six years old had caused her more stress than any child should, and she was such a bad mother that she hardly even knew who Jaci was. The house was a mess and Carol despaired that she would never be able to stay caught up. The cupboards were almost bare of food and she felt humiliated every time she had to stand in lines for government handouts. Byrle was difficult and Withdrawn, and she just felt so tired. Parker. Where was Parker? She fell back into a depressed stupor and slept until the smell of something burning woke her again.

Very quickly, after she sat up in bed the fire alarm began to go off, and she heard the screaming of two little girls and the wailing of a baby boy!

Jaci and Reba were scared beyond belief. The muffins had exploded like a volcano with jam shooting straight out of the tops, and then oozing and bubbling out to the bottom of the oven. Jaci timidly had opened the oven door and she and Reba decided there was nothing to do but to let it finish cooking. By the time Mama walked in the room there were flames leaping up from crusty black jam caked and fried to the bottom of the mustard yellow oven.

First I had to find out which ingredient Reba and Jaci switched. I need to know what cook book it came from and then I had to find the recipe. To my aid come Super Tara who just happens to have the little red and white gingham covered Better Homes and Garden's cookbook that has the exact recipe I needed.

Now I am stuck on what happens next. The fire department needs to be called. But how? (No 911 yet that I can find in my research), and after the fire department comes what happens? Do they call social services? I don't want Social Services called, that will introduce characters and an element to the story that i don't want there.

So...I am stuck. at 10126 words!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Update day #2

Still doing well. I am logging in at over 5000 words. My goal is to hit 8000 by the end of the day. Little Reba is such a stinker that I am having fun writing about her. I was told that everyone enjoyed my excerpt from yesterday and it was quite a boost to my self-confidence. Thank you for the kind words.
Now for a question and answer time:

Q: How are you finding time with your already busy day to write a novel AND take care of three kids.

A: It's not easy. However, I made a log of what I spent my time doing and I was amazed at how much was wasted doing piddly things. I streamlined my day a bit, cut out all the non-essentials and ended up with several hours a day to write. I made a new routine which is helping me keep up with life. I wouldn't want to keep up this pace for my entire life, but I can do it for one month.
6:30 wake up, get dressed, make bed, carry down dirty laundry to top of basement landing
6:40 walk the dog
7:00 feed kids
7:30 sit down to write

10:30 snack for kids- run downstairs and throw in a load of laundry
10:45 School (I pared school down this month the the bare essential)
12:00 lunch for kids- run downstairs and change laundry. While I am down there hit the treamill for 15 minutes and do some sit ups and push ups.
12:30 Fix my lunch and sit down to write
2:00 Take the dog for a walk and spend 20 minutes on his training
2:30 Start dinner (tonight will be bean soup and cornbread)
3:30 sit down to write for a short spurt
4:15 read to kids
5:00 dinner

And then, I try to get my kitchen cleaned, andany other housework done. I won't have many evenings at home, so I have to reserve my day for writing.

Here is an exerpt from day 2

Now to understand Reba's reaction to this, one must understand that Micheal Pepper had told her that the principle's office was a horrid place where children were strapped to a table and beaten with electrical paddles that sent a shock through their entire bodies. He had told Reba that he had gone into the office with straight hair and cream colored skin. Reba was horrified! Micheal had obviously been fried by those electric paddles! His skin was dark cocoa and his hair was full of tight curly kinks.

As Mrs. Alexandria pulled Reba down the hall she screamed and hollered. If that had been all that had happened, I am sure the incidence could have been forgotten, but no. Reba was a strong girl- no human was going to drag her into the great abyss of torture without a fight. And so she fought. And hit. And bit. She kicked the teacher's shin until there was blood and bit her arm until there was a hole in the teacher's flesh. She would NOT be paddled with an electric paddle. She WOULD escape and run all the way home- to the safety of her mother's arms. Surely everyone would forget by the next day. But as strong as little Reba was; her teacher was much stronger. And to the principles office a tiny terrified child was hauled, held by both a handful of hair and a knotty little wrist. Reba stopped struggling by the first step into the office. This was not a place of torture. It smelled so pretty. Like peaches. And cinnamon. There was a pretty lady sitting in a chair, and although there was a look or horror on her face, it still maintained a look of kindness. Reba went limp and Mrs Alexandria dropped her on the floor.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Update #1

So far, I am doing very well. Thank you for all the encouragement that I have received so far. I have been told that the first week is the easiest, so I may be updating more often this week than in the second and third week. It is supposed to get easier again during the last week.

As far as word counts goes, I have written 1411 words on one novel and 1860 words on a second novel. The bad news is that I have two novels. I started one, and it was having trouble going anywhere. Instead of saving it and trying later, I deleted it and began a totally different story. After realizing that the research for this second novel (which was a mystery) was going to be more than 30 days could handle, I went back to the first story concept and began again.

By the time 30 days is over, I just might have 100 novels started and none completed. Let's hope not. I have put the mystery adside for now and am sticking with the highly, almost entirely fictional account of my life. Here is an excert for you to read.

I am not allowed to edit and even spell checking is strongly discouraged. the point is to get as much wordage out of the month as possible. I am a notoriously bad speller, and my typing is even worse than my spelling- so please forgive me all the mistakes. Hopefully, it will be readable.

"Reba's first memory was that of being strapped to a car seat, that sat on a lush green lawn. A large concrete apartment complex loomed gray and formidable behind her, and before her sat a small black lab puppy. There are no adults in this memory. Just that gray stone building and the black puppy that promptly lifted his hind leg and peed on Reba. Sometimes Reba remembers that she was wearing a yellow dress with ruffles. Other times she remembers that she was naked. Either way. There she was: strapped in a car seat, all alone, and being peed on by a dog. Every one highly doubts this memory is true. Reba is well known for being imaginative, and not being able to discern reality from her vivid dreams. But Reba knows it is in fact, a very true memory. She has hidden in her room, in a box. Buried underneath concert tickets, and cheap jewelry pieces, a photograph of a young child, sitting in a car seat, and beside her sits a young black lab. In Reba's mind, this is enough proof. It doesn't matter to her that Someone had to take the picture, that SOMEONE was behind a camera, it doesn't matter that it would be impossible to be alone and have a picture taken at the same time. Reba remembers it one way, and in her mind, that memory is very important."

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My BIG project!!!!!!!

I am so excited to be a part of National Novel Writing Month, better known as nanowrimo!!!! Basically, I have 30 days (starting at midnight tonight) to write a 50,000 word novel. The theory is that the only thing holding me back from creativity is a deadline, and a pushy support system. The novel itself does not have to be fact, at almost 2000 words a day, there is no way that it will be very readable, but it will be so much more than I have ever made myself do before. Gone will be the fetters of trying to write the next best seller. Instead, it will be re-placed by a timer, and a word count. This is a game that is won, not based on content, but on achieving a goal.

When I told Dustan about this, (after rolling his eyes into the back of his head, and muttering about how crazy his wife was) he smiled and said that he had married a writer and he was glad she was back after being gone for almost ten years. I married a great man. A wonderful man. With his support, in thirty days, I will turn in a 50,000 word novel!

I will try to update my blog every once in a while with how I am doing. maybe I will post bits and pieces of the novel itself (don't hold your breath).

I am taking this commitment very seriously. I will not be blogging or visiting my regular websites (and if you see me elsewhere on the web, beat me with a big stick). I signed up for a meal service: Meal Makers and I tried to get my house as clean and ready as possible. I created a new routine (with a 5:30 rising time), and I re-did my work space to be an inspirational space I made a polka dot table cloth (because my main character happen to be someone who would love polka dots as much as I do), and decorated some helpful lists for myself. I piled up a candle (for calming me down when I feel frantic) and some of my favorite books (to use as reference). I am ready to go. Ready to write. Ready to accomplish something that I have put off my entire life.

Trick Or Treat

Smell My Feet.
Give Me Something Good to Eat!

Tonight, a Monster, a PippiLongstocking princess (You can't see her bright striped tights!), and a Knight went on a delightful trek through the neighborhood and gathered up three pillow cases of candy.

Much of which were Reeces Peanut Butter Cups.

Thanks Kids!

(and thanks to some lovely neighbors, I was able to try the new caramel reeces. I didn't like them. The classic ones are way better.

We have been busy!!!

The boys made this awesome domino creation over the weekend. It looks super cool and they knocked it over while I had my back turned.

Their creativity has sparked my own and I have something up my sleeve that will keep me very busy indeed. I will have to go down to once a week posting.

Look for my news: Coming soon! (Whenever I get a few minutes to tell you about it- life got crazy around here1)

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's a rainy yucky day...and we were all bored

So, mommy went shopping. It seems that my favorite store is closing. I am terribly sad, and I didn't even get one last visit. "Junique" was an eclectic collection of junk, antiques, and unique items. They were all thrown togther here and there, and you never knew what you would find lurking underneath a basket or wool blanket. I mourned for the little store by shopping at their competitor down the street. It wasn't the same at all. Still some nice junk...but you have to look really hard. Most of the things in that store are frilly and fancy- not to mention quite pricey. I did find a cute little tea canister and a hand embroidered set of tea towels and pot holders. It even came with a toaster cover that I don't need. I do not own a toaster. I don't like to have exra stuff on my counters and I like to fry my bread on the stove top. Yummy!
If you want a cute in perfect condition Toaster cover make sure to leave a comment and I will have a little drawing for it. Dustan told me the tea cannister was an "ugly little thing" but he thought the tea towels were pretty, and he did concede that the canister was prettier than the tea boxes.

The kids spent part of the day sliding down the stairs on their behinds. What fun! I even joined them for a round or two. It was a great sound to hear their laughter echoing up my stairs. As we slid down, we could see the nasty weather that was raging outside and it made me grateful for my cozy home.

I have decided that Fridays will be called Favorite Things Friday. It seems that everyone except me has a special day on their blogs. And because I am obsessed with knowing what people consider their favorite things, and because I assume that everyone else is obsessed with the same things I am, I am declaring Friday to be the day where I share my favorite things.

Today is dedicated to Konriko...the little spice that can make ALL food taste better. We have a saying around here...goes like this: "It's pretty good. Would taste better with Konriko." It's our all time favorite all-purpose spice.

Yep, it's a cajun seasoning. Nope, I am in no way cajun, but Tara is and she introduced me to this little jewel and my family has been eating it EVERY day since then. If you are looking for an interesting gift for someone, I suggest this and maybe package it up with a bit of Louisiana Gold . The best hot pepper sauce I have ever had.
It helps to have cajun cultured friends who bring back these gems after vacationing with their family. I won't even begin to talk about the sausage...or the special Mardi Gras cakes Tara has mailed to her house. Those folks in Louisiana have a lot to put up with: stifling heat, awful humidity, and hurricanes coming from left and right...but they have great food to make up for it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm feeling a bit like Martha

And ummmm, yes, actually, this IS my third post today. I will make up for it by skipping a week. How could I not show off this creation? What is it? Glad you asked. It's mayonnaise. Homemade Mayonnaise. helman's is better. I didn't have Helman's. This works. Besides, it's homemade!
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 to 5 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
1-1/2 cups olive or other salad oil
4 teaspoons hot water

Mix up the egg yolks and seasonings until quite thick. Add in the oil a drip at a time and 1/4 a cup at a time, alternating with the hot water and lemon juice. This will take you forever to make, and it won't taste very good. But it will work. And you will be very proud of yourself, and you will even feel a bit Caroline Ingalls-ish...because she would have made her own store bought Helman's goodness for her!

Oh, and the bread turned out wonderfully. We will be having tuna melt sandwiches tonight- a family favorite. Served on homemade bread and with homemade mayonnaise. Good for me.

Wow, I think I win the award for "Most Sentence Fragments Used In One Post". I accept with as much dignity as possible.

"I love you"- the homespun way

Some people are easy to love. This bag is for one of those people. I have a friend who has been walking around using a large ziplock bag for a purse. This just won't do and so I finally got the courage to make my first bag. I have been wanting to do it for ages now, and this was the perfect opportunity. I needed a way to say I love you to a woman who brings me groceries when I am sick, who listens to me babble on and on about whatever my passion happens to be at the moment, who calls me every day to make sure I am doing ok, and who brings me deserts when I am depressed. I don't say "Love ya" very easily, but sometimes it is needed, and I think this bag will do the trick.
I used a gorgeous cord for the outside and lined the inside in flannel birds. Tweet tweet...surely the site of that beautiful fabric will express my feelings. And if it doesn't? Well, that button will...beautiful buttons can express anything!

Oh, and if you are wondering...why, yes. I did rearrange my living yet again. I can't help it. It's a sickness I tell ya. I re-arranged my family room last week too. I like to keep my family on their toes...they never know where the furniture will be when they walk into a room. The element of surprise is always there. I am not sure what I will do if I ever fnd the "perfect" arrangement. Probably find another one.

A new pet for the family and a pretty bed for me

Ahem. Nope. Not a dog. He is silent, and growing, and we can kill him for food. His name is yeastie and he lives in a jar. Technically, he is not a very good pet, but my children are loving to watch him grow and bubble. Yeastie is really a sour dough starter but my children have deemed him the new pet. He is a boy they say, because we already have a girl. Yesterday they sat at the kitchen counter for an hour, just watching yeastie bubble and froth away. In my humble opinion, every family needs a yeastie pet...One hour!!! One full hour of silence and peace. Today, a bit of yeastie is being made up into a sourdough bread for dinner. I got the directions for making both yeastie AND the bread from this site. Whatever you do, please read the FAQ's. They cracked me up, and what mother doesn't need a laugh here and there? Oh, and just in case he doesn't make it clear enough- the sour dough topic is CLOSED for discussion. I think that Mr. Ross would understand the frustration of this conversation quite completely
Weston: can I have a cookie?
Mommy: No.
Weston: Can I PLEASE have a cookie?
Mommy: No, you can have a carrot stick.
Weston: I don't like carrot sticks. I like cookies. Can I PLEASE HAVE A COOKIE.
Mommy: I said NO!
Weston: But I will DIE if I can't have a cookie. Do you want me to die because I starve to death?
Mommy: I am not going to discuss this again. We are not having a cookie. If you ask me again, you will spend some time away from your room.
Weston: Mommy?
Mommy: WHAT?
Weston: I am not going to ask for a cookie. I was wondering if I could have a round thing with chocolate chips in it?

And because I am so excited about the awesome deaal I snagged on Amazon thanks to Want Not , here is a peek at my new bedspread. it is warm and luxurious. The sheets are soft and amazing...I can't believe I paid under 50.00 for sheets, bedspread, pillow cases, pillow shams, and bed ruffle all for a KING sized bed. Unbelieveable!
Because I can't show a picture of my my without telling a bit of history: My bed is actually two twin sized beds put together. First they were my father's and his brother's. They were bunk beds, and I can sometimes imagine my daddy, up on the top bunk reading comic books under his pillow. I can imagine my uncle Duane kicking the top of the bottom bunk and daddy as a kid throwing stuff at his brother to make him stop.
It's easy to imagine, because I went through the same cycle with my own sister. The bed holds great memories for me. Renee and I would tuck a sheet under the top mattress so we would have a fort, or a cave. We would practice the Olympic sport of jumping from top to the bottom (because sometimes we had the bed put together in an "L" shape). We had fights on that bed, and told stories on that bed. We had lovely dreams, and sometimes nightmares..right on those same bunks that my father and his brother slept on.
My two boys have slept on that bed as well. They have their own memories. And I have memories of holding Weston tightly until he fell asleep. Of Marcus falling off the top and breaking his arm. Of piling on the pillows and reading my own children a pile of story books. Of creating the story of "mean Jim, the BAD pirate, and little Elizabeth, the child missionary" right on that bed.
I commandeered it recently, after we found a loft bed system for the boys. My own mattress had been in the floor for months and we were in desperate need of the bed- so we stuck them together and piled our mattress on top. On one side hangs a pink string- a leftover from Marcus 2nd birthday balloon. I leave it there, because it seems to belong to the bed. It's a reminder: This bed is for children. One day soon, we will get another bed, an "adult bed" and this set of bunk beds will be passed onto Marcus, and then onto my brother, when his children are born.

It's solid, It will last another 50 years, and I hope to one day tuck my own grandchildren, or perhaps my great nieces or nephews into bed and tell them that there are alligators under the bed, but if you feed them, they will be your friend. I can tell them the story of "Mean Jim" and we can laugh over all the funny dreams I once had on that very bed.

Family history is important, and it is too bad that it gets tossed so easily for things that are newer/better/more convenient. Some people would say, "It's just a thing". But heirlooms are more than things...they are treasures. And treasures should be cherished.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My ugly Mug

Before makeup. Ugg. redness and acne. This, friends was a gift from my daughter. I swear, Esther stole any beauty I ever had. She took it all in with her brown eyes and rosy cheeks. She has dimples and a perfect smile and I have a redness, acne, and huge pores.
I have tried all kinds of makeup before I talked dh into shelling out $$ for Bare Essentials.

It was worth it. This makeup can cover redness AND acne and somehow still feel as if my skin is bare.

I would sell this stuff for them if they would let me. It is worth the money. It also has SPF 20 and 15 so it protects my sensitve skin. I feel better, less itchcy, and WAY more confident. It is easy to apply. Well, I guess I could gush on for an hour.

Bottom line: If you have problem skin, this makeup is all that it has claimed to be. Dh loves the way it looks natural, and I love the way it can take an ugly aging mother who doesn't have time for complicated skin regimes and make her almost pretty.

As an after thought...I never noticed I have wonky eye syndrome. My eye has never drooped like that before has it? Maybe I had a stoke and didn't know it.

Another after thought: These pictures were taken as naturally as possible. i hate when they take a before with the hair all pulled back and nasty, and then the after pic has nice clothes, and gorgeous hair. I think it's misleading. i get no payback from BE. I just want to leave a honest review of some products that have really made a difference in my life. these pictures are real and have not been edited at all. They haven't even been cropped. How they are is how I am.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Good stuff

I didn't go out of my way to find these treasures. It wasn't MY fault Tara's horrid neighbors had to go and have a garage sale. I could have spent an additional 10.00 but I was already feeling bad for spending the 10 I did spend. Tara's neighbors have been less than kind to her and they didn't deserve my money. I did however, deserve their junk. Three decorating books, a mirror to go in Esther room (it will be Victorian Funk), and a cute wee little basket with a quilted top. Tara said that if I cut the handle off, that it would look like a quilted butt. I think she was in a bad mood because I gave money to her neighbors. I do thank her greatly though- since she lent me the money I needed for these finds.

I finally made a new kitchen mat. I am entirely pleased with this one. It is full of errors, the back is HORRID, and it is a bit scrumpled and wavy, but I love it. I am a notorious copier and this mat is no different. Someone made some nifty strip purses like this and I thought it would be adorable as a mat. I again forgot where I saw it. I have decided to make myself a special file for all those projects I want to copy...that way I can give due credit. I think it turned out cute, and it fits my personality well- much better than the last one. It shall find a new home at the foot of Esther's bed.

And just for fun, here is the project I made for TeenMOPS to do tonight. As you know, I am not all that crafty, and someow I was put in charge of this craft. It's a nifty clip board, turned into a frame. I thought it was young and hip. I just wish I was a better scrapbooker...But it will do. It will be used as an example and then relinquished to the uttermost corner of my house somewhere- maybe behind a door...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cookies? For breakfast????

I was hailed as "best mommy ever" today. It always feels good when that happens, especially considering that I have been in a bit of a funk lately and have not been the best mommy ever. But cookies fix all that is wrong in the world, and cookies for breakfast was such a novelty that I can almost guarantee my "best mother" status for at leat 10 minutes!

I figured that these cookies had to at least be as healthy as most cold cereals or packaged sweetened oatmeal. They were easy to make and super yummy.

1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 TBS baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C+ 2 TBS butter (unsalted)
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 Cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of craisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a small bowl. combine wheat flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In medium bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
4. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just mixed. Stir in the oats. Fold in the nuts and cranberries and craisins.
5. Drop by spoonfuls onto a non-stick baking pan. 2 in. apart.
6. Bake 8-10 minutes. Trasfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in sealed container.

I didn't have any vanilla extract (because I am ultra vanilla picky and won't buy grocery store vanilla). I also didn't have any fresh cranberries and so I just put in a full cup of crasins.

I also doubled the recipe because I have a habit of doubling everything. Less than twice the work, but twice the results!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tea for 2+2

My good friend Tara felt badly about my horrible day on Wednesday. She is so good at empathising, and she called me yesterday morning with an idea for a treat. What a treat it was! Tara and I as well as our two daughters had tea at the Oatman House. I had to giggle at our girls as they carried a solemn face for the entire event. They almost looked shell shocked at all the finery. I found myself speaking in a false, sugary sweet voice, Margeaux had perfect posture, and everyone seemed to have changed personalities temporarily. It was so fun! The little ones chose whatever they wanted from the menu, which unsurprisingly was grilled cheese sandwhiches. Their sandwhiches were brought out on pretty plates and piled high with pieces of fresh fruit. Esther ordered a Shirley Temple and Margeaux had ice a tea cup...of course. We ordered 4 different deserts and tried them all. It was lovely and relaxing and something every mother should do with her daughter and a good friend.
To find a tea room near you, check out The Tea Map It will be worth the trip, I promise.

Score!...again...we hope...

I like ellipses...can you tell?...

Anyhow. We are hoping for a few more scores from the Cardinals. Well, I am not hoping really. Dustan and Marcus have been faithfully listening to the game on the radio. They looked so snuggly together that I had to snap a picture. I hope for their sake that the Cardinals win this game. I hope for my sake that baseball does not get a foothold in my home. Baseball is truly the most boring sport in history...except for golf...except that one time I saw this game of golf called speed golf. The golfers drove their golf carts like maniacal idiots and didn't even aim before they was the most fun I have ever had watching any kind of sports game. But baseball is not speed golf. It is not fun to watch, and even less fun to listen too.

I can't believe how well Marcus has been following the game considering the only experience he has had with baseball has been a few weeks of t-ball during the summer. But he is enjoying it...the late night up...the time on daddy's lap. I hope he remembers it forever. And in case he forgets, I have a picture...


I totally hit gold this evening at my local grocery store. My dear friend Tara gave me a heads up that there was a 10.00 off 50.00 coupon at one store that would be honored at the one I normally shop at. Whoopee, cause I was out of flour, sugar. oil, and yeast. How can I survive without all that stuff?

Guess what? Everything on my list was on sale except the yeast. Darn the yeast. Not only that, Boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale for 1/2 I did a bit of freezer stocking. Here is what I bought:

3 lbs of rolled oats
2 bottles of oil (crisco brand)
8 pounds of sugar
split peas
20 pounds of flour
2 boxes of cereal for Dustan
2 3 packs of yeast (because as I just saw, the three packs WERE on sale!!!! Bless the dear yeast!!!)
2 pounds of deli meat
12 pounds of chicken.

My total was 40.18

Ok, well, now that I have probably bored you to tears, I am off to hunt down some good recipes for my chicken breasts. Boneless skinless breasts are a treat for me...Yay!!!! No picking bones for me for an entire month!

I will be trying a new recipe tomorrow. Split Pea Soup . I have never been brave enough to try it, but I saw a recipe on a blog and was inspired.
Also, be looking for a post tomorrow about a special gift that Esther and I recieved from a dear friend.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A platter of "I'm sorry", a bowl of forgiveness, and a cup full of love

A plate filled high with the rare form of tiny PBJ sandwhiches. I don't make these often because I don't often have bread, and because they are messy. Tea cups full of milk to soften the edge of a very bad day. A bowl full of cornchips because if ever we needed a treat to drown out our grumpies, this is the day. A table full of comfort food: kid style

Why was it such a bad day? Let my pictures tell the story.

Milk Bottle: broken by Weston

Windchimes: Broken beyond repair by the wind

Room: gone through and destroyed by Esther

School Book: Chewed up by Heidi

Baby Boy: Spirit hurt by angry monster mommy.

It was a bad kind of day. The kind I hope will never repeat itself. Here's hoping that apologies are accepted and that forgiveness can restore peace, love, and happiness. Here's hoping that they don't spill their lunch milk. And if they do? I won't cry. Again.

UPDATE: Esther climbed onto my counter and painted the entire surface of her body and the countertop in peanut butter. Someone come save me.