Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Zany weather

The picture is not crooked, and I could hardly stand as I tried to take the picture.
Earlier today it was 70 degrees. Now it is snowing.
Crazy. Even for St Louis which is well known for utterly bizarre weather.
We are staying inside.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The question is:

Will blogger let me post pictures today?
I guess the answer is yes!
Okay, well now. Here are the pictures of what we have been working on in school. oceans. That is a model of the ocean floor you see there. Look close. That's the continental shelf. I bet you haven't heard that term since grade school. I had a bit of brain pop when I first said it aloud. All of the sudden my brain flooded with multiplication facts, roller skates, and candy cigarettes. It is funny what I have to teach my kids, things I can make seem oh so important, that in reality I haven't thought about for a single day since the day in third grade I first heard of it. It will probably remain important to my kids though. especially the one who wants to grow up and be a polar bear.
I end my daily post with a picture of Marcus doing his math exercise. There are several bonuses of doing a math lesson this way. I will list them for you.
1. You won't have to listen to three hours of screaming over 5 itty bitty math problems.
2. You won't, therefore be tempted to a. send your kid packing to public school, or b. throw him out your window.
3. Your child will get a practical knowledge of fractions when he has to add 1/4 and 1/4 because you force him to make two boxes of brownies.
4. Instead of an end product of papers, you will have double chocolately Giradelli Brownies.
5. Even if he never has to add 1/4 and 1/4 ever again, at least he will know how to crack an egg

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Learning Adventures

Well, I had this whole post on what we've been doing in school lately, but Blogger adamantly refused to accept any other pictures ecxept the one above.  There is a T-shirt designing contest at our karate dojo and so we buckled down and designed a couple.  The one on the left is Marcus.  He really wanted the tiger to be attaking a zookeeper and all the zoo animals to be watching, but after spending the entire day on just this part, he altered his plan.  He was about to hand it in when he noticed his tiger had no tail.  Fortunately, Sensei Penny let him add one reallly quickly.  the funny thing was, when we veiwed the other entries, none of the tigers had tails.  Anyhow, this was one of our learning adventures.  Weston and I posed in our karate stances while Marcus sketched out our basic shapes on a piece of paper.  Then he traced those shapes into forms, and then traced again, one more time, adding details like a karate uniform and tiger stripes.

The one on the right is my design.  And Weston's too.  Here's what I did.
Take a picture of Weston's belt.
Mess around with the printer for over an hour trying to print it.
Finally print it.
Trace the ooutline with a sharpie.
Turn it over and retrace, to make sure the knot was on the correct side.
Use a pencil to trace onto ANOTHER piece of paper.
Write in the words.

Here is what Weston did:
Trace over my pencil lines with a darker line.
Come up with the center design and trace over the words.

But he says he did it by himself.

Today, in class, it was shown as a great example of thinking outside the box (because everyone else used our name -Three Tigers- and drew tigers) and I was proud.

Of Weston, I guess.  Cause he made me put his name on the back and tell Sensei Penny he did it.  I told Sensei Penny he "helped".  If we win, I am going to pat myself on the back.  okay, I'll pat him too.  He is a good tracer afterall.

I am sure I bored you with all this.  I wanted to tell you all about our ocean floor project, but even it would have been boring without pictures.  Maybe Blogger will be behaving itself by tomorrow and I can show you what we did.
Meantime, I will leave you with this really cool random fact:
A Blue Whale's TONGUE weighs more than an elephant!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Work Day again.

It seems to be a never ending project. When I woke up this morning, my family room was fit for company. By 8 o'clock it looked like a construction zone.

Boring white. I finally painted those pantry shelves too. And yes, I painted them white. I was all for having a memorable pantry, but Dustan and Mom snagged me with their reality lasso and forced the white upon me. In case you were wondering- it was painful.

Here's what was going on behind the door. It was such a lovely shot that I couldn't resist taking it. We have had a burst of learning here lately. Weston is the one reading here. Doesn't it make you want to curl up with them? It seems so...cozy.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hospitality is not a gift I have

Everytime we have people over, I panic. I always forget the little things, like asking if they want a drink, or cleaning the toilet. One time I walked into the guest bathroom after our visiters had left and found a giant green booger on the mirror. I doubt it was left there by our guest. I just stink at thinking of things...like looking at the mirror (which I have never actually forgotten again).
Anyhow, this year I set out to learn to be hospitable. I wanted to learn the art of hostessing, and I use my mother in law as my prime example. THAT woman has a gift. It's rather supernatural in my opinion. She knows how to decorate, how to cook for large crowds, and how to make sure that every single person feels inportant. I have a long way to go, but I have learned a lot from her.
One thing I have learned is to have a party routine. Pam cooks the same meal every Christmas, and puts out the same party platters for every party. She knows exactly what to do because she has done it so many times before. So. When I volunteered to host our Sunday School get together, I went to my party standby.
Make-Your-Own-Pizza-Party. It works well. I make the crust and let it rise while everyone visits, then I just fill bowls with a variety of toppings and call everyone into the kitchen to make-their-own. This is the third time I have done this, and it was a relief to have everything already practiced out before hand. It was easier to remember everything.

I still have some perfecting to do though. I forgot to push start on my oven and the pizzas sat in a cold oven for about thirty minutes when I finally wondered what was taking them so long to cook. One step at a time. Right?
That's our Sunday School teacher. Nick. Yep, he's young. But is mature in the Lord. And he's looking for a wife. And I like to play matchmaker. And I think it's probably a good thing he doesn't know I have a blog.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cheer Up

Spring is coming

My florist says so.

I am going to pretend she never lies.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Crockpotting my day away

I woke up today, inspired by a blog I found several weeks ago. 365 day of Crockpotting! What a treasure. This crazy woman has vowed to use her crockpot every day for a year. her craziness, my gain. She also cooks with gluten free recipes and since we will be back on a gluten free diet in just a few weeks, I was THRILLED. Anyhow, she used her crockpot for making chicken stock and I decided to try it.
(With a few changes) What I lovd about her recipe was that she blended up all those yummy and wholesome veggies into the stock. I loved this because now I can pretend to be healthy! Yay!

I have two crocks agoing because I had enough chicken parts (Thanks to Angel Food ministry) to fill up both. The were fully cooked at about noonish and I deboned them. I hate- I mean I absolutely abhor deboning chicken. Yuck. It's a disgusting job, but I did it with gusto. I reserved some broth for tonights dinner, which is very loosly based on an internet recipe, but I changed it so much, I will just make it my own and take credit for it. Then i addes veggies, and mushroom stems (which crockpot lady didn't add, but hey, I needed the caps for my dinner, might as well toss those stems into the stock crock). anyhow, now I have a crock of stock and one of veggie rice chicken lickin soup. I just made up that name. I'm clever, ain't I? the lickin part makes it mine.

Veggie Rice Chickin Lickin Soup (Please don't sure me KFC)
chicken pieces (umm, if you have read my blog, you know I don't much deal with measurements)
Chicken broth (preferably the stock you cooked your unknown amount of chicken pieces in)
Water (to thin out that highly concentrated broth
A box of shrooms
Green onions (a handful)
Sage (everything that was left in my little jar...my guess was 2.5 pinches)
Italian seasoning (A sprinkle...maybe 5)
Half an onion (doesn't count as a measurement since you have no clue what size my onion was....but it was large)
celery (a bunch- chopped beyond recognition since my family hates the stuff)
carrots (LOTS!)
rice (1 Cup- YAY, a real measurement...but i warn you to cut it in half. It soaked up ALL my yummy broth)

Cook it for as many hours as it takes to get done (I love how my recipes take on a life of their own) and then eat it up, with some frozen rolls if you want to. you will need some frozen rolls (but cook them first) because as soon as your kids see all those veggies, they will freak, puke, and then demand to eat only rolls.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tiny Joys

Psalm 55:17
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.

This morning, as I was loading my dishes, I looked at my kitchen window, which serves as a to-do list for me. I just use a dry erase marker, write my list right on the window and cross it off I I go throughout my day. I erase the whole thing at night so I have a fresh window every morning.
Anyhow, there I was looking out the window when I was overwhelmed by God's goodness in my life. I began to pray. i prayed for my day, I prayed for my children. I prayed for my parents, for my siblings, for my husband. I thanked God for the grace that he offers me. And when I was done, I heard a small echo of my amen, and I turned to see my daughter, little esther, hands folded tightly, face bright, and eyes glowing. "You prayed mommy. For me."

Yes, I did, Esther. And God answered my prayer.

Don't forget the power of example. When our children go through rough times, they will mimick what they see.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I think my life is mostly lived in my kitchen. At least it's a pretty kitchen. And it is finally almost done. Almost, is still a key word here. I cropped out the unfinished flooring and the pantry which has been painted, but still is awaiting some painted shelving. I have to admit something. Painting these shelves white is going to kill me. Here, I have the perfect opportunity to give the house a splash of color. Perhaps, tangerine? Maybe red polka dots? Even black and white stripes with red edging? But I must live now, and make decisions, not based on what I would love, but on the "everywoman"and the realtor says that "everywoman" is boring. She likes plain old white. So, eventually, when I get sick of all my pantry stuff living on top of my dining room table, I will paint those shelves and my part of the kitchen re-do will be done.

Oh, I do need to do something snazzy with the cabinet tops. Any ideas?

And in case you have forgotten the atrocity that once was my kitchen. Here is a little reminder:
picture of kitchen taken from the hall.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

My boy is Six!

Six years ago today, my smallest baby was born. He weighed in at a mere 8 pounds 11 ounces and almost all of that was heart.

Back in September, I had that Wacky conversation with Weston where, after many moments of thought, I was finally able to translate into the fact that he wanted an airplane themed birthday party.

And thanks to his Meemaw, he had a wonderful one. Meemaw made an airplane cake, planned games, and even made a craft (paper airplanes) with the kids. All I had to do was take pictures.

May this year be your best ever, my little prince.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Draw the Curtains Amelia Bedelia

I have childish echos of hilarity rolling around in my head as I imagine Miss Bedielia pulling out her art pad and drawing my curtains. It took a visit from my mother (and her standing over me with an axe) to finally get some curtains up on these windows. My MIL would be bursting in pride (in fact, she did burst with pride) over the fact that I spent less than 3.00 per panel. My MIL buys clothes, brand new, for my kids for just pennies. She decorates her house on .75 cents, and when she found out how much I had paid for my curtains, her face shone with a look of, "I taught you well grasshopper. I taught you well." Oh, and when she found out that they were really just clearance tablecloths she almost exploded with joy. two full living room windows for 6.00. I would say that I am feeling rather thrifty. They need tiebacks, but I can do those later. or not.
And the dining room. Just two dollars. I think I will add a couple of panels as Dustan says these look a little...tableclothish. Perhaps if they were more full?

Life isn't perfect yet. Prrof is found at the family room sliding door whic has some flannel tacked up with tiny map pins. Those will be done one day. Or not.
Life is crazy here at the Toasty Toes mansion. And our toes are anything but toasty, I assure you. I took some pictures of our construction mess and maybe I will post some of the dissarray tomorrow, in an effort to save someone else from the trauma of a whole house re-do.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


My lovely sister in law Carrie gave me quite a gift. After I had already opened up my gift of hand-knitted and crocheted dishcloths (all in my favorite colors) she told me it was high time I learned to knit, and that she was going to teach me. "Haha", I said. Seriously. That's what I said. I have longed maintained that crocheters can never learn to knit. To do so would be utter nuttiness. Why use two needles when you can get by with just one? Why make a craft that is unfixable if accidentally, yanked off a needle by a child. I have three such children, and that along with the fact that I had, on two previous occasions, tried to learn knitting, made me laugh.

Carrie, however was not in a laughing mood. She hauled me off to Micheals where she informed me that I should buy these shiney metal (slippery) needles and some cheap yarn. We argued. And we argued some more. I wanted wooden needles, and I wanted them BIG. Oh, and the yarn I found was perhaps the most expensive in the store. Such a pretty green wool. perhaps I would have given in, except for that lovely green wool. I am a lover of all things green, and I had my heart set on a scarf out of that exact shade. And wouldn't you know, the yarn was perfect for those big wooden (also pricey) needles.

The actual process of learning was hilarious. I think I used the word stupid 400 and fifty million times. "It needs a hook" I would say, frustrated with trying to grab the yarn through my loops. Auuuugghhhhh, I added 4 extra stitches. "No problem" said Carrie, and she grabbed it and ripped it out. I did it again, and again. But then, slowly, I figured it out. "If only these stupid needles had a hook." I declared, yet again.
'Then you would be crocheting." she responded back. Carrie is a piano teacher and has the patience of Job for the tedious teaching of child like beings, and boy was I being childish. "This is nuts." I said. "I already know how to crochet."
"And now you will know how to knit." she replied.

And I do.

I do know how to knit.
Thanks Carrie. Now, can you tell me how to finish this off? I mean, if I had a hooked needle, it would be easy, but now I am left with a 4 ft scarf with 38 loopies, all on one needle, and I am a bit confuzzled as to how to get it off. And I need it off. cause it's -1 degree here. So cold I have to wear the darn thing WHILE knitting.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Guess who got a new toy????

Ok, well, he got one too. But mine is bigger. St. Louis is frightfully, freezingly, bitterly cold and so I celebrated by buying myself a new camera and passing my old one on to Marcus who had dreamed of finding one underneath the Christmas tree only to find himself a pretty dissapointed child after it was all said and done. Since Christmas is the time for miracles and since, according to my friend Tara who knows about these things, Christmas is NOT over until Jan 6, we decided to make a little Christmas sparkle happen at our house today.
It will take me half my lifetime to figure this thing out, but I took as many pictures as my eyes could take and meanwhile Marcus stayed rather busy taking pictures of...well...in this next one he is taking pictures of feet. "Come here." he called to his siblings. "Get your feet right here. No. Here. Scootch your feet over Weston. ESTHER GET BACK HERE!"

I wouldn't be able to tell you why Esther is in a state of half undress, but I can point out the almost done, very lovely new floor that Dustan has been working himself to death on.