Monday, May 30

Memorial Day Jam

Memorial Day: the day it's a tradition to work your butt off. At least, it is in my family. :-)

I got the house all clean, and made strawberry jam. The strawberries I got at the farmer's market on Saturday were so ripe that they were on the way out by a day or two later. I was going to make jam yesterday, and got as far as cutting them up and mashing them, but I ran out of energy. So I shoved it in the fridge and made it this morning instead.

I haven't really tasted it properly yet, but the jam I licked off the cooling pot tasted fabulous. I'm thinking of eating it on ice cream. I was going to make biscuits with dinner, but I had already promised Ryan a copycat recipe for fajitas from Chipotle Grill, and biscuits just don't go with fajitas.

By the way, if you're interested in that copycat recipe, I got it here.

Friday, May 27

Interview with Claire

Claire shares what's on her mind today. Mostly cute baby sounds.

Thursday, May 26

What they hear ...

... vs. what I'm saying.

"Don't drip on the carpet" means "because it collects dirt and makes a dirty spot that we have to pay to get cleaned."

"Don't wake up the baby" means "because she just went to sleep and she's really fussy and if she wakes up I'll kill you."

"Eat your dinner" means "if you come asking for food fifteen minutes after leaving the table, you're getting cold leftovers."

"Don't hit your sister" means "OR ELSE!"

"Naptime!" means "Mommy needs a nap."

"Pick out a movie" means "I am losing my freaking mind and this will help my sanity to return."

"Pick up your toys" means "If I step on one more sharp object I'm going to scream."

"Pick up the Legos" means the same as above, but with additional screaming.

"Stop that" means "don't resume that as soon as my back is turned."

"Bedtime!" means "Mommy and Daddy want some time alone now!"

Sunday, May 22


I went to the farmer's market yesterday to get some nice fresh produce. Mostly I wanted strawberries.

Fresh Strawberries

Not my photo, because a day later half of them are gone and they're starting to look wilted.

Anyway, they're juicy and flavorful now, if still a little on the pricey side (I hunted around, and found the same 3-box carton at various stalls for 8 bucks, 7 bucks, and 6 bucks. I went for the 6 buck option.) They've gone into smoothies, along with oranges and bananas, as we seem to have a small cold running through the household.

But it got me itching to make some jam. Strawberry jam, one of the finest things in life. All I have in the house is peach butter and marmalade. The marmalade is a bit rich for daily consumption, and I can't stand that peach butter (I smelled it for far too long with morning sickness).

I'm also pondering strawberry-rhubarb. Maybe a batch of each? I've never eaten rhubarb, but it's all the rage in blogland right now.

You know, there's so many things that I've tried because of blogs. They've really broadened my world.

Saturday, May 21

God's providence

When I got pregnant with Claire last summer, we were going through a really hard time financially. But I chose to believe that God would provide for our family, because he wouldn't give us another baby and then not give us the means to care for her.

Duet 8:18: But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

So I've clung to that verse. Also I've changed prayer tactics. Instead of praying that God would magically change our financial situation, I prayed for my husband directly. And I've seen answers to every prayer.

Yesterday our financial situation changed again, enabling us to have enough to live on for the next four or five months. It came through an avenue that neither of us expected or foresaw, although I was certain it was yet another scam at first (since we've been through two awful job scams now). But my husband researched it and everything checked out. It's not a job, which he needs, but it's the funds to keep us afloat while he continues his job search.

God is so gracious to us. I'm determined to be a good steward, so I have a stack of coupons that I'm taking shopping today, too.

Thursday, May 19

Thursday, pretty - happy - funny -real

Last week I missed Pretty Happy Funny Real because blogger decided to go down. So I get to do it this week, hooray!


My second hollyhock stalk is finally blooming, and it's a wonderful magenta color.


Holly got this giant Minnie Mouse from her Grandma Jacki, and she has hardly put it down since she got it.


I didn't really have a funny pic, so here's a shot of Claire. She's getting fat now at six weeks.


Look at 'em run!

round button chicken

Wednesday, May 18

Pondering foods

That hollyhock picture right there came out so nice that I sized it for a desktop wallpaper. Click on it to grab the big version. (It looks extra-nice if you make your desktop's background color black to match.)

Anyway, I'm doing Patrice's Wednesday Words of Weight Loss today because I liked the questions.

1. I've heard it said that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. What are your meals like?

I've sat and tried to figure this one out. I've heard that saying before and I've never been able to decipher its meaning. Does that mean that for breakfast you have whole roasted pigs and roasted fowl and drink flagons of mead and throw the bones over your shoulder to the dogs? And what do princes eat, anyway? Don't they dine with the kings with the roast pigs and so forth?

And if you eat like a pauper, does that mean a crust of black bread and a cup of water at a plain wooden table lit by a single tallow candle?

Anyway, I can answer the second question. Hot meal for breakfast (either eggs or hot cereal), sandwiches or hotdogs at lunch (accompanied by fruit or chips or some other side), and dinner is usually the biggest meal and contains the most meat. So, prince > pauper > king, if I have some grasp of the metaphor.

2. Does eating out include all of the trimmings (appetizer, meal, dessert, beverages)?

Only on dates, when it's just the two of us. It's too expensive to get all that with the kids along. Also we're usually too full to order dessert. I can only get it when I'm ravenous from being pregnant or breastfeeding.

3. What's your favorite season of your wardrobe?

The one I'm not currently on. When it's summer, I long for sweaters and jeans. When it's winter, I wish for shorts and light tops.

4. If you could take a class or course in anything, what would it be?

Life drawing, like a shot. I've seen how it improved the art of all my friends, and I kick myself for not taking it while I had the chance.

5. Optimist or Pessimist?

The best thing about being a pessimist is that you're always being proven right or you're being pleasantly surprised.

I try to be optimistic, but being realistic means you have to fall somewhere in between.

Tuesday, May 17

Sun halo

Two days ago, my husband walked in, exclaiming that I had to come out and get a picture of this ring around the sun.

He had never seen one before. When you can see a ring like that, usually it means rain. And last night, rain! I don't know if there's an adage about sun halos like there is about rainbows and red skies, but there should be.

And here's the munchkins in what they thought was a loving pose.

Looks more like a choke hold, but okay, we'll roll with that.

Friday, May 13

Holly's 2nd birthday

Thursday was Holly's second birthday party (her birthday's actually Saturday). Remember that rose cake I wanted to mimic? Here's how the cupcakes turned out:

Here's Holly, opening presents from Gramma. She got a bunch of paint with water books.

Aunt Meg played with baby Claire.

Holly liked the whole "happy birthday" thing and sang along. Then her boy cousins and brother helped her blow out her candles.

And then everybody ate cupcakes like they were going out of style. It was the icing flowers. I sneaked some cream cheese into my buttercream icing, and oh man, it was tasty.


This is just to see if I can post on Blogger again, and I'm wondering if my last post is indeed gone forever. We shall just have to see.

Wednesday, May 11

Wednesday weight "loss"

I feel kind of bad for doing another meme, because I want to do pretty-happy-funny-real tomorrow, too. (It's my daughter's birthday party, so it's a great excuse!) But today I wanted to post SOMEthing, so here goes. Shout out to Patrice for writing these questions!

1. Are you happier at a big event/party or would you rather be with a few close friends/family? I have a big family, and I prefer being with them than with anybody else. But I don't consider that to be a big group. I think of that as a small group. A "big" group is a church function or a wedding or something.

2. What kind of farm animal is your favorite? The avian ones: chickens, guineas. I'd love to raise turkeys and ducks, but as I have no experience with them, I can't really put them on my favorites. I also like small birds, evil cockatiels notwithstanding. Also reptiles. But reptiles aren't considered farm animals.

Alex 4 months
Alex at 4 months

3. How are you doing with your weight loss or healthy eating? Horribly, and not afraid to admit it. But I'm breastfeeding and trying to fatten up the baby, so brownies and ice cream every night isn't as sinful as it sounds.

And man, they were sure good brownies.

Fat smile
Holly smiling

4. If you could have any food made calorie free or carb free, what would it be?

Ice cream. But then, I don't eat it because it's diet. I eat it because I love the fat in it. It makes me feel full and satisfied. Like that line from that one movie, "We only serve food high in starches and fats. Comforts you deep down inside."

5. What's the most relaxing thing for you to do at the end of the day? Read blogs. I really prefer to go for a nice stroll around the block, but lately, when it hasn't been raining or the wind has been blowing, it's been 90 degrees, and I'm just not acclimated to either extreme just yet. Also, Claire doesn't like the stroller and she's already pretty heavy for the baby sling.
And Claire. My kids are like peas in a pod.

Monday, May 9

Is it ever Monday

I was certain that today the baby had a doctor's appointment. So I got up early, got a shower and everything ... and THEN checked the appointment card. Turns out it's not for the 9th, it's for the 19th. So here I am, all showered and dressed and just wanting to crawl back in bed.

I went on a little photo-shoot a few days ago. There's a couple of butterfly bushes in the next complex, and they attract all kinds of cool insects. I was hoping for a butterfly, but instead I was menaced by a hovering wasp.

I've never seen a hover-wasp before. I've seen hover-flies, and they fly like a hummingbird, all fearless, and come right up to you and check you out. But this was a weird-looking wasp. I tried to get a picture, but I held my camera too close and he came out blurry. This was the best I could do.

I'll have to do some research to identify him. I thought he might be a predatory wasp that lays its eggs on caterpillars, but those kind look a little different. Anybody ever seen a wasp like this?

Saturday, May 7

The many faces of an infant

Claire's a month old! And rather broken out, but that's normal for this age. I don't have any pics of Alex or Holly at the broken out stage, because I don't think it adds to their cute factor, if you know what I mean. :-p

Friday, May 6

Pondering cake

Pondering using this tutorial ... make rose-topped cupcakes for my daughter's birthday next week. I know I have some tips like that. I Am Baker makes it look like a snap.

Question: can I accomplish this with a screaming baby in the background? Hmm ...

Tuesday, May 3

Doing "school"

I've been doing "school" with Alex and Holly for a few months now. It's one of their very favorite things, but then, we're not doing anything real major.

I print materials off this First School website, whom I found through AAA Math. We've been working our way through the alphabet by making little books for each letter.

Each little book has stickers that you cut out and put in. I just use a little roll of tape on the backs.

And a little handwriting bit where they can trace the letters. Alex really enjoys these.

Maybe I should print him the actual handwriting pages.

Then we do a coloring page with one of the things starting with that letter. In this case, it was a mouse, since we were doing M.

School is their favorite time of day, and we usually do it as soon as I've had a shower, so, like, 7:30 AM. It's a bit early for me, but it sure makes their day.

We do math a little less frequently. We count things, and say the numbers as the microwave counts down. I figure that's about as in-depth as we need to get.


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