Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A boy's point of view

Here's a tiny tad of a conversation I heard on the long (9 hr) ride home from Christmas in OH.

As we pass the Indiana sign, Dustan hollers to the kids, "Hey, We're in Indiana now. There's the sign."

And Weston pipes up.
"Yes. Indiana. That is the place where Indiana Jones was born. Only his real name is not Indiana. They just call him that because he was born here. And it's not Hans Solo either. I just can't remember what it was."

Great stuff. And I am recording it all here because I will forget to tease him about it when he is a teenager.

Here are some more Westonisms in case you get bored:
Meet Albert

A really weird conversation from a couple of years ago

A little something to melt your heart

And my own personal favorite glimpse inside Weston's head:
Bad Thinking

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Dream House is a Green House

And apparently it is made of gingerbread and covered in candy. Who wouldn't want THAT kind of house?
It's lighted by candle light, and just outside the back door is a garden, with a garden gate. Oh, it makes my heart wiggle with desire. You can't see it, but it also has a compost heap. Oh, how I have always wanted a compost heap.

Stained glass windows and a teeny tiny well for water supply. How adorable is that itty bitty bucket?

My dream house is heated by a vine covered fireplace and has a pile of wood just waiting to be used for a cozy fire.

It has a teeny tiny clothesline with teeny tiny clothes- made from bubblegum. That way you can wear your clothes and eat them too!

Every year at the Yorkville Family Thanksgiving, there are about fifty (or more) gingerbread houses that are baked and decorated. there isn't a contest, but I won anyway. I judged the non contest myself and though I have been told that judging an imaginary contest and giving myself an imaginary prize is rather unethical, I had to do it anyway. That house just deserves to win.

My kids made one too. But I am showing you mine. I am just that kind of morally debased person.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Come visit Death Island

For those not in the know- I homeschool my demented children. The title of demented is well-deserved, as you shall soon see.

The curriculum that we use is Moving Beyond the Page. At the end of each unit, there is a big final project. This unit was on the land and for his final project he had to create a tri-fold brochure about an Island that he created. he had to include landforms, weather, location, natural resources, and all sorts of other interesting facts. And when I say "interesting", what I mean is, "demented".

We used ipages to create his brochure and he has a blast playing with the fonts.
Here is Marcus' third grade project on our "Land" unit.

Read it and DIE!!!!
PS, it's a tri-fold, so you have to imagine how it would look folded up.

Death Island Brochure

Monday, December 08, 2008

I sometimes take dictation for my children,

Especially for my oldest who loves to write stories and poems, but hates to actually WRITE them down.

Today was the first time that Esther asked me to type something up for her.

"Mommy. I have a book to write. Can you type it for me on you puter?"

Me: Sure baby, what is it?

Her: Well, it's a book has a title. Type this up now. "Kids know everything, and adults know nothing"

Me: Umm, I don't think so. That sounds like a not so nice book.

Her: See. You don't even know what a nice book is.

I kind of feel bad for nipping it off at the title. Maybe it could have been one of those shrinky dink self-help books and been a best seller. What do I know?

Apparently, nothing.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day to be Grateful

I am going to repost an old one. It was originally written in July, 07 but I think it has some nuggets that are worth reviewing.

As and update for the following post: We are now over a year outside of the "Rice Event" and I must say, it is still a resounding success.


I left my camera at a friend's house (after a tea party) and since I hate blogging without pictures, here is one of my three children, right after Esther's birth. This is before they became spoiled brats. Did I just call my children brats? Why yes. Yes I did. See how sweet they are here? Little Esther was content to nurse her days away and Marcus thought we were heroes just for sharing our french fries. Weston was always a bit of a whiner, but lately, oh my! Lately it has snowballed into something very unpretty.

If I give them a cookie, Weston will cry, and call me a liar, because he will say that I did, in fact, promise him ten cookies. Which is completely untrue. Esther will cry because her cookie only has three billion chocolate chips and she wanted fifteen gazillion chocolate chips. Marcus will pout because...well, actually, I have no idea why Marcus will pout. He has been in a constant state of poutiness lately.

If I fix their favorite dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches with granny smith apples, mayo, and green olives (don't mock it, they LOVE it), Weston will complain that his has a brown spot on it, Marcus will cry because I only had enough to give him four full sandwiches, and Esther will suddenly decide she hates bread.

If I take them to the park, they will throw a fit because I ask them to put on their shoes, because we have to walk, and because I didn't know they wanted to go to THAT OTHER PARK.

If I take them swimming, the sun will be to hot, or they will be too cold, or we will stay too long, or we will not stay long enough.

If I bake them a surprise cake, someone will cry because they wanted lemon, not chocolate.

And on and on and on to kingdom come. Do I sound as if I am complaining? My dears, I don't know any other tone of voice. I have been surrounded by whining and complaining for so long, I have forgotten how to converse any other way.

BUT. But, I found a solution. It hit me one night just like a lighbulb turning on and illuminating the deep recesses of the parenting brain I had shut off. We were in the van listening to Weston and Esther whine because we were not going to the restaraunt THEY wanted to go to (which happened to be two different ones). Marcus did not whine. Rather, he gave this deep sigh and rolled his eyes. the sigh ended with a deep disgusted grunt.
Something inside of me snapped. I am not sure when the last time I have heard my children say thank you, but I can gaurantee you it was so long ago that we might as well consider that they never said it. I told them, "you have this weekend to learn gratitude because by Monday, if you haven't learned it, I am going to start feeding you rice with every meal. I am going to feed it to you until you will bow down in gratitude to just see a boiled egg.
Let me just say that their response was... Well, I don't know how to describe it. Bad. We are talking screaming. And kicking. More screaming. Calling us names. Remember now, that I have only threatened this course of action. I look at Dustan, he looks at me. The looks says, "What did we do wrong? How did we raise these monsters?"

And so we went home. We did not go to any restaraunt at all. We had rice. No one said thank you. So we had rice at dinner. Weston gave me a very feeble "Thank you for the rice, mommy." By breakfast, Marcus, who can't stand rice at all, and who has now missed two meals, tells me that he "will be grateful for whatever I feed him." I say, "Good, cause we are having shoes." Marcus says, "Thank you for the shoes mommy."
I feed them all their favorite cereal. I recieve three hearty thank yous and some help in cleaning the kitchen. These children do NOT want another meal of rice.

But I have the container sitting in the middle of the counter- just in case. I think the visual reminder will be enough.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So. I heard some famous person on tv said that home-schoolers were demented.

I only heard that a famous person said this. I didn't follow the link to find out what the context was, or who this famous person was- because:
a. I don't care
b. I really, really, really don't care.
c. because I wouldn't know a famous person if they slapped me upside the head and stuck a straw in my nose.
d. I just really can't make myself care.

I feel as if I should make a defense for myself. In the year of 1983 my mother (who is undoubtedly demented) pulled me out of school to homeschool me. So, if anyone has a right to speak on behalf of demented home schoolers, It's me. Right?

Oh, and I home school my kids. My kids are second generation home schooled, which makes them an extra special form of demented.

Here's the deal. I want to type out this really cool coherent post in response to this un-known famous person. Alas, I can not.

My fingers are in my ears, my head is wagging back and forth, my eyes are glowing red, and my tongue is hanging out. Bliggity bloggity bloogity blubber blug.

It's all I can seem to get out.

If anyone thought I was going to disagree with the well known famous person (except to me), they would be mistaken. I am definitely demented. I am pretty sure that anyone who knows me agrees.
And the poor clerk at Starbucks tonight agrees. Poor guy. My friends tipped him extra because I made him so distraught. One friend dumped all her change into his tip cup.

And I am SURELY not going to argue about how my children are not demented. Have you met my kids????? They are s.t.r.a.n.g.e AND demented.

However. I don't think it was the home schooling. I think it was genetics. But, maybe it was home schooling. I should definitely leave that option open.

And it starts.

The count down for Christmas. Except this year I won't be party to it. I don't really care how many days there are until Christmas.

Last week I cared. But this week I don't care.

This week I am already ready for Christmas.

You see, at first I thought, "This year I will make everyone's gifts." I hoarded links, and how-to's, and tutorials. I made a mental post it note list of everyone who "needed" gifts, and what I could give them.

A Christmas checklist. Like every other year. Like every other family.

And then I had a better idea. Why spend all this time frantically trying to make gifts that will never get completed? Just like every other year, I would be forced to run to the store- buying high priced, over priced crap for everyone. Why? For what reason? Did everyone really enjoy last years dollar store lotion?

So, my new idea was just to buy the stuff now. I would shop ahead, and therefore put thought into each gift. I would think about the person, and buy gifts that they would really like. It was a good idea, right?

But, then I had a better idea, helped out by a certain video I saw on youtube.

Why not buy nothing at all? Seriously? I don't even remember what my husband got me last year, much less his Aunt so and so. The gifts I so carefully picked out for my children now sit neglected on a shelf. What is the purpose of all this gift frenzy, the money spending, the debt building, the guilt induced fear of not adding up to everyone else's generosity?

So. I am opting out. No one is getting store bought gifts from me. No one is getting handmade gifts for me. Not my mother, not my pastor, not my son's Sunday School teacher... Not my children.

And I can hear a worldwide gasp. "What about the magic and awe of Christmas for the children?"

My response, " Under Control." My children will not open a single battery operated, plastic, hair growing, gun toting, miniature sized anything.

Nothing they open will have a price tag, a return receipt, or those nasty little screws that drive parents nuts every Christmas day.

They won't make a list, and if they do, I doubt their list will coincide with what they receive.

Because Esther is NOT getting a white horse with a horn out its head.
And Weston is NOT getting the entire Star Wars Lego set. No matter how much he begs for it.
And Marcus- actually, I don't have a clue what he wants. But it probably is long and shoots bullets which he most definitely WILL NOT GET.

As I travel to Ohio to spend Christmas with my parents and siblings. With my sister-in-law Carrie, and with my brother-in-law Jesse. With my little nieces- and my mischievous nephew, I will load my van with gifts wrapped in festive paper and tied with ribbon. Just like every other year. But this year, the gifts that I add to the tree will be far different than any other year.

My Christmas revelation has not turned me into the grinch. It has, rather made me a bit more Claus like. And far more Christ like.

Throughout the day, we will unwrap these gifts. The fist one will be a rectangular one. Under the paper and ribbons, our family will find my father's old black Bible, and he will open it and read the Christmas story. I will hold Esther on my lap and Marcus and Weston will be snuggled under my arm, and together we will have anew, the awe of that very first Christmas.
The Christmas story will remind us what Christmas giving is all about.

And in that spirit, the children will grab another package. Inside the gift bag filled with confetti will be a bag of chocolate chips. Together we will make chocolate chip cookies. And Marmie will have to swat at the children's hands when they try to eat all the cookie dough.

Maybe later, they will unwrap a movie. Not a new one from the store, but an old one. A favorite. Probably Star Wars because I am the only one who hates Star Wars. And we will pop corn the old fashioned way and have a family movie time.

I will have wrapped our well worn games; the ones that we already know the rules to, and the ones that everyone loves. When they are unwrapped we will play them. Grandma too. We will even make her play Bang. If I have to watch Star Wars, she can be forced to sit through a rousing shoot em up game of Bang.

I will wrap up a pair of socks for each kid, because we will need to keep our toes warm for our Christmas day walk, and maybe someone will stay home to make us hot cocoa for re-warming our frozen noses.

This is not a new idea. It's one I learned a long time ago, but the video reminded me of it.

On Christmas day, God gave me His heart. And I plan to celebrate that gift by giving mine.

Want to join me?

As this post gets read by more people and passed around, please comment and add your ideas of what could be wrapped and placed under the tree. Together, we can make this the second best Christmas this universe has ever seen.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Learn from my mistake

Don't try to freeze bean soup, in jars.

It makes a bean bomb.

bean bomb
1. An explosive weapon of great destructive power derived from the rapid release of energy in the sudden expansion of small pebble like frozen beans.
2. A bomb deriving its destructive power from the release of gaseous energy.
Also called stink bomb, forced window bomb, run and barf explosion. Often seen in public places like a library or grocery store.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

History. His Story.

My father challenged me to read this today. How relevant and how beautiful it is. Nothing I could write today would equal the value of these beautiful simple words.

Psalm 146

1 Praise the LORD. [a]
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,

6 the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.

7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,

8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.

9 The LORD watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.

Weeks ago, I read a blog post that resonated with me. It's like she jumped inside my head. I saved it and link it here today. Those who read my blog and align themselves with Christ- Do not forget who you are. Those who read my blog and are not Christ followers- please know that not all of us have lost our mind or our hearts.
For Christian Voters

Friday, October 31, 2008

Another last minute "Pull a costume out of nowhere" success

"Onward Christian Soldiers...ladeedadeda.."
Costume was a 3.00 find at goodwill, which was rather providential since he had decided prior to finding the costume that he wanted to be the armor of God. It was missing a shield and sword. We found a sword for another 2.00 at the toy store, and if I was a good mommy, I would have made hm a cardboard shield. But today was not good mommy day. Today was busy mommy day. I told him he lost his shield in battle.

Sweet Essie was insistent that she would be Rex. Rex is a dog. A stuffed dog. A stuffed Webkinz dog.
I paid 1.00 for the skull cap that I stapled construction paper floppy ears to. I'm just that kind of lazy mommy.

And Weston is a soldier too. Or maybe he is a hunter. He can't decide. Either way, he is pissed that he doesn't have a gun OR a bow and arrow.
FREE. I had to buy the face paint for the fall festival at church anyway. I guess I could have bought him a gun. Or made him one out of cardboard. But, I think we already covered that.

Happy Belated FALL!

Fall is Coming

At first it was sunnier
And brighter
And shinier

And then it got chillier
And darker
Very much

by: Marcus King September 2008 (age 7)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The quiet is like a roar inside my head

My house was full. FULL. My Granny and Papa came up from Arkansas and brought my Aunt Brenda along with them. Or maybe Aunt Brenda brought them. She drove. And despite "Tom Tom's" bad directions, they were able to pick up my cousin Leah along the way.

Add that to my sister and her four kids who along with my mom traveled down from Ohio. And my brother Seth and his wife Carrie came down from as well.

FULL. And noisy. My mother's family is the noisiest family on the planet. 4 millions decibels of utter chaos and craziness.
And love.

Now, it's quiet, and empty. And I am lonely.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update on Dustan's grandfather:
He is still living, but at this time, is still not expected to pull through. The Hester family is a strong and vibrant family, they value your prayers.

And here is a little something to ponder as we gear up for another frantic holiday season.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.

Dustan's grandfather is dying. Not likely to make it through the night.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Messes

One destroyed kitchen equals

Gluten Free Garbage Loaf (times three)
2 lbs ground beef
3 eggs (which I forgot with my first posting)
All the leftover onion pieces in the fridge plus one onion
the two almost empty katsup bottle plus part of another
Puffed Rice cereal
corn (which I also forgot with my first posting.)
Make into a loaf (or put in muffin stoneware) and bake at 350 until cooked all the way through. This is important because raw meatloaf is disgusting.

Crockpot Applesauce
Cut up a whole bunch of apples. Add a small amount of water. I used half of one of my small plastic cups (don't you LOVE my recipes?) Add some sugar. I was mad at Lindsey because she slept in. I wanted her to make the coffee because I am sick and wanted someone to pamper me, and so I used the rest of her coffee sugar. Muhahahhaa. Joke was on me. She didn't even know how to work the coffee maker. anyhow, I would say, 1/4-1/2 a cup will do you. Turn the crockpot on and cook it all day. Wait! Do NOT forget to add a dash of cinnamon.

Alton Brown's Hot Chocolate Mix (It's your lucky day- you get a real recipe!
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Hot water
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.

Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. This also works great with warm milk.

BTW- I was out of cornstarch and so I skipped it. I did NOT however skip the cayenne. Yehaw! THat was a spicy and surprising touch. Also, I used dark cocoa. Delicious. It beats out every other mix recipe I have ever used. Try it.

An explanation on my garbage loaf. It is not a brain o (like a typo- but instead of a typing mistake you make a brain mistake) Brain o's are fun. Once, I heard someone (ahem- I won't say who) say that she though pre-marital sex was a good idea. What she MEANT was, that she thought pre-marital counseling was a good idea. Hahaha
Anyhow. THis same person thought maybe my brain had fritzed and I said garbage loaf instead of meat loaf.

I call mine garbage loaf, because I toss in every leftover tidbit I find in the fridge. Stuff that if not used up, would get tossed. It was delicious by the way. I was worried about the the puffed rice cereal- but it worked wonderfully. My kids griped about the onions, but cheerfully ate an entire serving of other veggies without even knowing it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some people's trash

I admit it- I like garbage day. Free STUFF! And I love Stuff. I love FREE!!!! And I love keeping stuff out of landfills
Can you believe someone was just going to throw this chair away???? Were they crazy???? I could not believe my luck- I mean, it's in perfect condition- and so, for the first time ever, I actually knocked on the door (usually, I just toss my find in the truck and giggle giddily over finding a treasure before anyone else). The guy said it was being tossed, and he smiled that I would want it. "It's a nice chair", he said. No kidding.

My girlie blanket was an el cheapo find at the thrift store. I don't think I have ever found anything so wonderful before. It didn't have a price tag and I hauled it, lovingly, to the checkout counter, telling myself I would pay even 20.00 if I had to. But, I didn't. 4.00 and I had a whole new pack of woven friends.

My kids pored over it for hours before deciding that this one is me. What do you think?

And would it be crazy for me to pull this chair inside? I kinda love it and want to bounce in it while laptopping.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Mom, I have a lot of guilt."

That's what Marcus told me yesterday.
I bet you will never, ever, in a million years guess where his great burden of guilt came from.

Did he perhaps cut my apron strings?

Or maybe he broke into my hidden stash of dark chocolates and devoured them. (impossible, because that crime had already been committed by me.)

No. What he really did was to break into Esther's webkinz account and steal her really good stuff and sell everything else. He completely wiped out two of her rooms.

How do you deal with a child thief in cyber form? He is grounded from his own account. He has to play on her account until he earns her enough money to re-furnish both those rooms, and he has to send back the rare item he stole, plus an additional one.

I feel kind of bad for the guy. He committed his first crime and was so burdened by the guilt of it that he confessed before anyone even knew there was a problem. But, saying "I'm sorry" does not make restitution, and even though it seems like a silly thing to us adults, those little webkinz worlds are quite important to our children.

So, anyway. In case I was ever wondering if Marcus had an active conscience (and I was, I had a foster sister with Reactive Attachment Disorder) I need no longer to fret.
At dinner, he asked to pray.
"Dear God. Please heal my body (he is sick)
But most of all, I think I need you to heal my heart.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Camp Treats: Gluten Free Style

My bestest girlfriend ever felt bad since I had to forego smores and made this hobo pie. Let me tell you, this was out of this worl wonderful.
Just spread bread with peanut butter, add some squares of dark chocolate and put it in a pie iron. Since Tara made it for me I was able to avoid being burned. Actuall, I somehow avoided that for the entire trip.
Anyhow, after it came out, she spread it with cream cheese icing. As if it weren't already decadent enough.

I want another one. Right now.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Nature is...ummm... interesting.

I find it humorous. Sue me.
More camping pictures to come.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

She sews some more

Nothing much. Just a cowboy skirt for Esther (a cowboy PRINT skirt. NOT a skirt for cowboys! Haha!) and a pair of purple jeans. The skirt will eventually have an matching appliqued shirt and a corduroy vest. When I say eventually- I mean never. What I really mean is, it really should have those things, I have deamt them up in my head, but I will never get them done.

Also made her a very wrinkledy pair of jeans. These are a fantastic fit on her, unfortunately, these were made with a friend several years ago when we were part of a stash game (goal is to use as much fabric as possible in one month). They were made for her daughter who is now half grown. All they needed was elastic to be finished. We had a ton of those. UFO's. Unfinished objects. When I say a ton, what I really mean, is a literal ton. Two large rubbermaid containers worth of stuff in various stages of unfinishedness. Many that just need elastic. Or hemming. or buttons. Oh no! That does not bode well for Esther's coat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

She sews.

A sweet little coat from Esther. She loves it. I love that I bound it in fleece from her old baby blanket. How sweet is that. Hmm, I may have enough fleece for a pair of mittens!

Oh, it still needs toggle buttons. I haven't found the perfect ones yet. If you find any, let me know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nine Years and three days ago

I found myself trying to squeeze into a booth at Denny's. "Auugh<" I said to the waiter. "I don't think I can fit." Which was the truth, and a great embarrassing shame. I had recently gained 77 pounds and was fatter than fat could even be. My poor feet were pouring themselves out of the only pair of househoes I could find to fit.
The waitress moved us to a table, which was good because I could scoot the chair back. Way back, in order to fit.

Just a few hours later and I found myself in the hospital; victim of labor induced pre-eclampsia. It was a good day to be expecting a child. Sept 21st, my sister-inlaw's birthday. My water broke and we began to expect the birth of our first child.

Sept. 22nd. It would be a good day for this little boy to be born. On Sept 22,, 1990, I decided to follow Christ. It was, in a sense, my re-birthday. What a lovely day to give birth to my first child- a boy I had already named Marcus.

Sept. 23rd. All I can remember thinking was that, if this child was waiting to be born on his father's birthday just three days more- I would KILL him. And speaking of KILL. Dustan thought day three of labor would be a good time to munch down on donuts. And the doctor finally decided that a c-section would be an option. And he and Dustan quarreled. I had not, afterall, according to the father of this ever patient baby, been in labor for three days just to have the baby cut out of me. I had pushed for EIGHT hours, and all I could think of was strangling the both of them.

Everything else was a blur. The bad kind of blur. The unconscious kind of blur. But. We made it. Both of us. A very wounded mother soon was holding her almost grown 10 pound son. He was so serious. So old, even in those first few moments. And as I held him, as I snuggled him into my breast and smelled his newborn self, I could never have imagined the years that would follow.

I could have never imagined the stress, the joy, the weeping, the call to Social services to pick him up because I "had HAD it", the eventual diagnosis of aspbergers. I could have never imagined that that child would one day have the heart of a poet. passionate, and quiet, Stewing about the world and all it's contents. I could have never imagined that he would struggle to speak and then write songs and stories that would bring my heart to it's knees. I never would have thought that he would be so quick to anger, so slow to say sorry, so afraid to look others in the eyes.

And just a few years later, as he began to grow, and emerge into the child he was becoming, I would have never imagined that at nine years old, I would have a fellow worker in the early morn. Someone to clear the dishwasher as I loaded it up, someone to chatter with me about what would happen "if". "If". The word of his life. Everything in his mind, begins with, "What if."

And his eventual answers thrill my spirit. They come out through his fingers, and his thoughts. Answers beautiful.

Nine years ago today, as I held Marcus Wade King for the very first time, I could not have even imagined what Sept 23rd, 2008 would be like. Beautiful, joyful, and still so very serious.

By the way: This child, who in the past has shunned public exposure, begged for a birthday dinner at Chevy's. He practically fell over with giddyness when they came out singing and placed a sombrero on his head. When we asked him if the reason he chose Chevy's was the hat, he responded, that he just wanted everyone to look at him and know it was his birthday.

I'm kind of proud of him. I can't help it.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I have alluded to it before, but not made an official announcement.

The Toasty Toes Mansion is moving.

To Ecuador.

Yep. I am not sure Ecuador is ready for us, but we are super excited, and if you want to be part of our journey, you will have to add my new blog to you read list. Don't complain. I read over seventy-five blogs.

Anyhow Go over here to read of our adventures.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to make a million meals out of one canceled Sunday School Fellowship

Step 1: Boldy declare to your Sunday School that in an effort to learn hospitality (a much needed skill on the mission field of Ecuador), you will now have a standing invitation for Sunday meal.
Step 2: Freak out. What will you fix? How will you keep it ready? You will be at church all Sunday, not at home able to spend all day cooking.
Step 3: Make a plan. First meal will be taco salad.
Step 4: Prepare enough taco meat, and all the taco salad fixings to feed a small army of college and career age young people. (Don't forget those young men can eat their weight in chips)

I had it under control. I was patting myself on the back. "Good job, Becka. This is not so hard." Everything was done and it was time to leave for church.

And we had to take an alternate route out of our neighborhood. The road was emerged in water.

Step 5: Turn on the radio and realize that Ike made it's way through your town and you slept through the whole thing. Feel rather sorry for the people in U-city who were not sleeping through anything, but, were, in fact, being rescued from their neighborhoods by BOAT.

Step 6: Worry about your friends on the West side of the Mississippi who do not have power. Are they having to leave their homes by boats too? Begin to worry about you own home when your friends calls to let you know about water coming into her basement. After all, there is a CREEK running through your backyard.

Step 6: Cancel fellowship, in anticipation of spending the afternoon hauling water out of your basement.

Step 6: After realizing that Ike pretty much left you alone, look in your fridge and wonder what you will ever do with all that food.

(Hahahahahaha- I just realized I had THREE step 6's) (I TOLD you I was bad with numbers- and I have decided to leave it, because the fact that their are THREE 6's has me cracking up)

Anyhow, we have made use of all the leftover.
Meal number 1:
Taco Salad (of course)

Meal number 2: Taco Pie
Layer the following ingredients and cook at 35o until hot and cheese is melted.
Strip of corn tortillas
taco meat
cheese sauce
REPEAT and top with cheddar cheese

Meal number 3: Nachos (you know how to make these, right?)

Meal number 4: Taco Soup
Put all ingredients in a soup pot and heat until hot:
Taco meat
Canned of diced tomatoes
Can of chili beans
Top with shredded cheese and sour cream. Eat with corn chips- which make a nice substitute for crackers when you can't have wheat.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cookies and Chex Mix

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies (Bob's red Mill)


1-1/2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
3 cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 cup Butter (softened)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 large Eggs*
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 cup Raisins (Unsulfured)

Preheat oven to 350�F. Beat butter and sugars together until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs; beat well. In a separate bowl, blend flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and Xanthan Gum. Stir flour blend into wet ingredients. Add oats and raisins and mix well. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 � 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool one minutes then transfer to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Eggless Option: Mix together 2 Tb. Flaxseed Meal with 6 Tb. of water and let sit for a minute. Add to recipe as you would the eggs.

But, I used chocolate chips instead of raisins. Dustan abhors raisins. And I was feeling kindly towards him, so I added chocolate chips instead. These turned out wonderfully and I was glad I made two recipes worth, as I had plenty to put in the freezer. If you make these, watch them CAREFULLY. I burned a TON of them. And I ate them anyway, because the burned ones have no calories. It's a fact.

Chex Mix, as made by Weston Hilarious King (no, his middle name is not hilarious- but it should have been.

9 cups of rice chex (gluten free)
a handful or three of walnuts
the rest of the bag of raisins (I wasn't feeling kindly towards Dustan)
Most of the rest of the bag of pecans
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar

Mix chex, nuts, and fruits into a large bowl. Melt the brown sugar and butter, bring to a boil for three minutes (or until you get sick of standing there) and pour over chex mix. Pile onto a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for however long you want to. I cooked mine about 10 minutes, but I should have stirred halfway through. The bottom pieces were overdone, which worked out well, because I ate all the burnt ones, and since they are calorie free, I actually weigh LESS today.

Anyhow, take them out, let them cool (this takes forever) and then, if you feel very extra super loving to your kids, add some chocolate chips. I did not feel extra super loving towards my kids, and so, I waited until they had theirs, and had gone to bed before adding chocolate chips. I was feeling evilish.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I was tagged. Like half a year ago. I'm a procrastinator.

Murali tagged me. It was so long ago that I don't even remember the rules. But. i think I am supposed to name six quirky things about me, and then tag six of my friends. Ha! Like I have six friends. I do, however have at least six family members, who we will pretend are my friends.

Quirky things about me:
1. I am the ultra conservative daughter of a Baptist preacher who has a decent start in covering her body in art (tattoo). I also have some socialist leanings, but unlike the rest of Christian America, I blame that on the Bible.

2. I shut down when politics are discussed. Which makes me a bit of a recluse at the moment. I have a really awesome theory that God is in charge of the universe, and that there are far more exciting things happening in the world than this election for me to both worry and get worked up over. This is a very freeing theory (although- I happen to hold it as fact)

4. I am really bad with numbers. My parents used to joke that my brain would shut off when they read me the story of the Three Little soon as the number three was mentioned. However, I have an uncanny memory for telephone numbers and addresses that are not my own.

5. I always have to be doing something with my hands. Preferably rolling tape between my fingers.

6. I like to sneeze. I think it's fun. Oh, and I like to fart too. When I was a child, my mother washed my mouth out for saying the word fart. Now I fart as often as possible, just for an excuse to announce to the world, "I farted." My two little guys are frequently delighted by my skills. And, as if I was seen as the most talented mom on the planet for my awesome air passing skills, I can also say my name, or any other name, in BURPS. How awesome is that? I was a hit as a preschool teacher when I sang "Row Row Row your boat" all in burps.

I tag:
Carrie who has a lovely and very inspirational blog
My Mom, who cracks me up. Oh. and I love her.
My childhood friendJerusalem (yes that is really her name), who I think has been tagged way recently, but what can I say? My friends are few, I am desperate, and go to her blog anyway, cause she has really neato stuff. You will want to move into her house. Trust me.
hmmm, How bout- Sara because I like to pretend she is my twin, separated by birth. Have you seen her art work?
My sister, who has the funniest kids on the planet.

And Brittany Who I do not know. It's a random blog. But, it appears she is in highschool, and likes to play basketball. I told you I was hard up for friends.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I have a lot of stuff to tell you. And show you.

But, right now, it's hard to breathe and type at the same time.

Be back later with lots of stuff including a tag from Murali (and a link for her later), a recipe for GF choco oatmeal cookies, and something else that my snotty brain has already forgotten about.

Oh, wait, the snot cleared momentarily. I made something. Wintery. For Esther.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wanna hear a dirty Joke?

Once upon a time, there was a family

And they all fell into the mud. Even the dog.

We went hiking today. Followed a creek. Swam in the creek. Watched the minnows and the crawdads. Got lost. Talked to a stanger who let us know we were way lost. Way way lost. Followed the creek back. Found a skunk. I mean, Heidi found a skunk. And now the whole house smells. Yuck.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Curiosity killed the cat.

Okay, so it's another post about my kids. Sue me. Ever since we put the house on the market, it has completely disinterested me. Who wants to write a post about decorating walls in white paint? Not me.

"Today I painted my walls white. Then I wiped down the bathroom mirror and made sure the garbage cans were empty. Oh, and I made sure the medicines in the medicine cabinet were obsessively lined up, just in case some nosey buyer opens it up to see what ails our family. Midrin, Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, Relepax. Hmmm. It's a headachey sort of family."

See. THAT was BORING. And my kids aren't. Maybe I should change the subtitle of my blog to "Toasty Toes: the adventures of surviving the insanely insane antics of my insane children"

Case in point: Weston just brought me this really cool picture. "Stop typing." he says. "Stop typing and look what I drew."
I took a blogging break and looked. He may need a shrink. I saw airplanes. And people. Very dead, very bloody people. All shot down by the firey rockets that were exploding from the belly of the planes.

How do you even respond to something like that???? "Very cool" just does not seem to do it justice.

Anyhow. That bit of insanity was just an interruption. The real insanity started this morning.

Marcus: What makes the fog?
Me: I don't know.
Marcus: Well can't you look it up? Get off your message board and find out what makes the fog.

Marcus: Wow, it sure rained suddenly. I wonder why? Oh, and what is salt made of?
Me: Sodium.
Marcus: What's sodium?
Me: Salt.
Marcus: You are unreasonable.
Me: ummmm.
Marcus: What does unreasonable mean?

Marcus: What is this? (he hold up a spoon)
Me: (cocking my eyebrow) A spoon.
Marcus: No I mean, it's metal. What kind.
Me: sil... (and the I realize I'm not sure I have even SEEN a real piece of silverware, much less OWNED one). It's just metal.
Marcus: I KNOW. Metal. yeah, Yeah. What kind?

Marcus: Why do we need to know how to write. And what makes the moon look white? And what is dog hair made of? And if I chew this piece of wood up can I make paper out of it? And does farts count as wind? What would happen if I drank pee? When will I die? What would happen if I dropped my pillow out of the window? What would happen if I droped Weston out of the window? What would happen if I rode on the roof of a car? Why do cars have roofs? What would happen if I rode on the roof of a car that did not have a roof?
Me: ummmmm.

Marcus: You are a bad teacher. Good teachers know stuff, or at least want to find stuff out. You are just lazy and don't care what stuff is.
Me: ummmm
Marcus: (Through peals of laughter.) Did I drive you nuts? Did I? Did I? I was trying to drive you nuts with all my questions. Did it work? Did it work?

We will be holding a memorial service for Marcus later this evening. All are welcome.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh so random.

I have a jumbledness of thoughts today. Let me vomit them out at you.

We have a new housemate. My cousin Lindsey has moved in after my oh so very successful attempt at matchmaking was oh so very successful. Since she lived two states away from the oh so successful match, she has moved into the toasty toes mansion. It smells in our house, very much like a young lady in love. Which, in case you didn't know, smells like room fragrance and perfume. Add in some hairspray and you have the smell of love. Or, maybe that is just the general smell of teenage/young adulthood.

I have rediscovered the joy of peanut butter balls. The food rage of 1980 government issue food has now arrived at my house. Equal amounts of peanut butter, powdered milk, and honey. Yummy. I was going to take a picture, but my kids ate them all, and besides that, I was feeling to lazy to find my camera.

I have two good friends who are grieving loved ones. Tara lost her doggy, Stan, yesterday to what was most likely a brain tumor. It was heartbreaking.

And my friend Becki, who coordinates the TeenMops group has lost her daughter. Kari was young. My age. With two young boys. It is a sobering thought and my heart aches for Becki, as well as those two little boys. I would ask the question, "Why"? But the answer seems to futile, so I don;t even bother asking.

Esther wants to know when our Heidi dog will die. Weston wants to know if we can wave a magic wand over Stan and make him come back alive. All of them are now worried that I will up and die at any moment.

Homeschooling has resumed, and is no fun at all for anyone at all. I already want to quit. Marcus already has quit. He is a third grade drop-out. I keep reminding myself how many times I was a third grade drop-out myself. And how many times my own mother wanted to quit teaching me. And yet, here I am, with a great education (bad spelling and penchant for sentence fragments not withstanding...) and there my mother is, sitting in Ohio, looking at her vegetable garden and sipping hot tea.
I bet she does not miss the yelling, the constant search for the ever-lost pencils, or the chewed up erasers. I bet she is relived that she will never have to argue the value of multiplication tables or clear steady handwriting again.
Which is reassuring. I am only going to be a teacher for so long. One day I will have my own garden to sit in. one day I will never again have to hear two hours of whining about what would amount to thirty seconds of work.

And when I think of Becki, whose daughter has just gone to be the Lord. i feel guilty for wanting to speed along time. I think about all these random moments of peanut butter balls, new housemates, screaming and crying and ripping out of hair over the requirement of writing two sentences...and I decide to relish them.

At least for right now. At least for as long as I write this post.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why didn't I think of that?

Remember the "I'm not touching you" game?

Come on, you remember it.
You're in the back seat of a volkswagon rabbit. There's three of you. Far too many to be squashed into such a small backseat. It's summer time and air conditioning either has not been invented yet, or your dad thinks he can save money by not running it.

It's so hot that your legs are slippery and your sister's slippery legs are rubbing up against yours. It's gross, and you realize that she has a millimeter more space than you do.

"MOM" you yell. "She's TOUCHING me."
Mom looks in the rearview mirror and sighs. "Stop touching her." she says.
And your sister gets revenge. She gets so close to your face you can smell her peanut butter breath and she pokes her finger- just almost touching you.
"I'm not touching you." she taunts, just under her breath. "I'm not touching you."

Last time you brought attention to her evil ways, mom took a mad swipe with her backhand, towards the back seat. When mom did that, there was no target. Her backseat handswipe was not punishment- just a point maker. It meant she had all she could take.
In this case, you realize that you would be the closest target and so you keep your mouth shut and ride the rest of the drive home from Mega Market with your sister's finger just a centimeter away from your face, and her continuing to taunt you.
"I'm not touching you." "I'm not touching you."

You remember now, don't you?

Anyhow. This scene played itself out in my van. Weston pokes at Esther's face. "I'm not touching you," he says to her.
I glanced into my rearview mirror, ready to scold him for aggravating his sister.
But she was already past the point of aggravation. I think she has a short fuse.
She walloped him. BAM, BAM, BAM.
All the while, screaming...

Anyhow, I am pretty sure no one is going to play the "I'm not touching you" game with Esther again.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The meaning of compassion.

While at our missionary training, the idea of beggars came up. It's a hard subject. No one really wants to deal with it. No one really wants to talk about it. There are no real answers, only difficult questions, and so, everyone avoids it. Or speaks about it in vague language.
I can speak. I have no fear. Beggars. No matter who they are, are humans. Created, just as I am, in the image of the Creator. Even the ones who are scams. Even the ones who trade their pennies and dollars in for liqueur and cigarettes.

When I became a child of Christ, I became a new creation- with new eyes.

For so long I have not been able to explain why the talk of beggars as scum makes me so angry with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. No one wants to be a doormat. No one wants to be ripped off. Everyone has better things to do than to waste time thinking about the man at the end of the exit ramp holding up a sign. Everyone would rather focus on the fact that he is wearing name brand tennis shoes, and that he looks like he belongs on sexual offender list.

But. Christ himself was not afraid to talk about this issue. He was not afraid to see it for what it is, and not afraid to do something about it.
Matthew 25:41-45
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
but the righteous to eternal life."

My friend Val posted this video on her blog. My heart leaped for joy, because it illustrated so perfectly what I hold to be truth.


The way we see things can change the world.
Who is a beggar?
Just a chance. For us to practice our new vision.

It's a beautiful day. And I can see it.

Blackberry Communication

We set off to pick peaches. I try to freeze enough every summer to last us all winter. It never works.
So this year I started early.
"Sure" they said. "Peaches are perfect right now."
So, I pushed my luck with blackberries.
"Well, ummm" they murmered. "You can pick if'n you want, but they ain't quite ready yet."

They obviously didn't have a clue. It was far too early for the peaches. They were massive in size, but hard as rocks. Anything that was ripe had been picked by people who had arrived with the first glint of the sun.
We barely picked enough to make it through the day.

But the blackberries! Oh my! They were black as tar and literally bursting with sweet/tart juiciness. There was no one else picking and so the kids and I had the run of the vines. We ate blackberries until our teeth were full of seeds. I think the whites of my eyes took on a purple glaze.

I don't freeze the blackberries. We enjoy blackberry jam FAR too much. So we came home and spent the morning canning.
Like my arrangement of jars? I was out of canning jars and made do with what I had. Since it was freezer jam, I could do this. They don't look pretty on the outside, but I am pretty sure no one is going to care.