Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hodge-podge Happiness

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Squire always teases me, "You know, you should read or watch something just for fun some time." That's probably true. I tend to get in the mindset that the things I spend my time on need to be for some specific purpose - to enlarge my or my family's spiritual or intellectual development, to prepare, to develop skills, to be useful. Hence the reason the only shows I really let Lincoln (and myself) watch are educational things from the library (an occasional Veggie Tales) or an episode of Planet Earth on DVD. A couple Friday nights ago Squire proposed we watch something fun as a family. So, I submitted we download an episode from this show I saw while I was at my parent's house back in May: Signed, Sealed, Delivered. What can I say? I'm hooked. Living without a TV the last 8 years, I have thoroughly cleansed myself of all TV addictions. (Just in case you were wondering - no, we don't do Netflix.) We really hardly watch anything, and honestly I love it that way. It has been a huge life upgrade for us to keep our media intake to a low. But this show - this show is one worth watching. It's not educational per se. But it IS clean, wholesome family fun - a show that is quirky, funny, heart-warming and truly uplifting. Probably one of my favorite shows since Gilmore Girls - though less risque. The show also offers a Bible study that can go along with the shows that can be emailed each day if you are interested. So that is nice, too. It's my latest totally-not-guilty though-guilty-of-not-being-for-an-express-purpose-other-than-fun pleasure. I love it and look forward to the show each week.

Global Mom: A Memoir

Along those lines, I just finished some intense reading. Over the last couple of months I've read about 7 1/2 books - none of which was non-purposeful reading. (My favorite of the bunch was Journey to the Veil by the way. Highly, highly recommend it to you if you are needing a spiritual recharge.) Squire and I are reading one I've already read on my own, together, now: Visions of Glory: One Man's Astonishing Account of the Last Days. We are really enjoying that when we both have the time and energy after Squire's long days. (He's doing his surgery rotation now. BUSY!) That being said, I've decided to take Squire's advice, and have decided to give my mind a bit of a fun rest with the latest book I am reading: Global Mom: Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family. It's great! I'm about a third of the way in now - still in Norway, her first country. If you have an interest in other cultures, this book gives well-written and quite humorous stories that illustrate the feel of them quite well. Can't wait to read more.

My kids and their Hair-dos

Atley loves wearing a bow in hear hair now - finally! She requests I put one in her hair every day. So I scoop up all the fine strawberry-blonde hair on the top of that girl's head I can grab and put it in a sprouty pony tail and clip a giant bow on her head. And Lincoln requests "pokey" hair, since Atley can't be the only one getting special hair-dos! My kids are cute. I love them.

At the mall - "flying" a helicoptor ride, that I didn't pay 75-cents for. :)
Atley didn't get a real ride either - but hey - we had Wetzel Pretzel bites for lunch, with cheese dip!
Not happy to be taking a picture on the bronze elephant at the zoo, but still looking cute.

Summer Fruit Season at Sprouts

I love Sprouts. It is my favorite grocery store, bar none. Costco is #2. I will always be a loyal double-ad Wednesday Sprouts shopper as long as I live near one. I tried another store or two this past year - to see if I could save more - but #1 The Homicide that happened in the parking lot of one of those stores dissuaded me from returning, and #2 Even without the homicide to dissuade - I missed the atmosphere of my favorite hippy store, and the quality of the produce. It's just the best. And their fruit selection right now - AHHHHHH! These are the glory days, my friends, and they are only getting better! Mangoes, nectarines, strawberries, grapes - all so sweet, ripe and perfect - and at a great price. Something of my soul comes back to life when this time of year comes around. Summer fruit season is just the best. The best. In honor of this time of year, I have come up with a recipe and share it gladly:

This Awesome Fruit Topping for Breakfast Recipes Recipe

I concocted this recipe recently and have made it about six times now. This is one seriously delicious fruit topping to go over waffles, pancakes, or German pancakes. My kids really like it over these pumpkin waffles (which freeze very well by the way.)
1 Mango (the smaller yellow ones), diced
1 Nectarine, diced - or a yellow peach, (would add a dash of lemon juice, too if using a peach)
1 large or 1 1/2 medium Banana(s), diced
1 TBL. Butter, salted
1 TBL.Maple Syrup, the real stuff
1 TBL. Honey
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Allspice
Throw the butter, syrup, honey and spices in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir until mixed and the butter is melted. Add the fruit. Stir occasionally on medium heat until fruit is all warmed through ~3 minutes or so. Serve warm over waffles. Enjoy!

A Natural Homemade Deodorant Recipe - That ACTUALLY Works!!

This year, I have been wanting to learn how to make my own cleaning and beauty products from more natural ingredients at home. This homemade deodorant is aluminum-free, and unlike Tom's, actually works. It keeps me smelling fresh longer than any other deodorants I've tried - natural or otherwise. This makes me so happy! I do have to mention though, I cut the baking soda by half (I have found the same or a little bit lower ratio to the cornstarch and arrowroot powder is about right) because it was giving me a rash. And I use a few drops of some nice-smelling DoTerra oils (instead of the Bergamot oils recommended in the original recipe) my midwife gave to me. Now all is well. Highly recommend.

Plastic bag Holder

I made one of these because apparently I still don't have my re-usable grocery bag thing down, and I was tired of my pantry and kitchen exploding with puffs of plastic bag every time my kids opened the pantry door and started to rummage through it like angry bulls. Life is better with this little guy:

The tutorial can be found here. I would have made it a little smaller I think - although I'm using every bit of space in it! ;)

Homemade Napkins

Can I attempt to redeem my eco-friendly image with these? :) I made 12. I probably need more like 24 to keep a steady supply of napkins in between loads. It's nice to not have to buy napkins anymore though. And, they look really cute.

I made this scripture graphic a while back. These verses have really stuck with me the last couple of years as I have been studying the topic of how to prepare spiritually (and temporally) for the Second Coming of Christ. I wanted to visualize what I was picking up from the scriptures, and put them up where I could see them and ponder them every day. So, I made this, printed it, put some cute scrapbook paper behind it for a border and have it on the front of my fridge to look at every day. I think it is partially to credit for my latest endeavor - getting my home organized.

Getting the house organized - early nesting?!

I totally should have taken "before" and "after" pictures. It makes the whole experience more satisfying. But I just kind of jumped in to my projects and before long they were already done. (At least I got some "after" pictures, Granny!) Just imagine lots of jumbly piles of stuff all over the place for the "before" pics.

My bathroom cabinet.
Linen closet that is really the everything-else-in-the-house closet.
My pantry. Love these Flip-tite storage containers for our food. I need a few more, but having these has already made a huge difference to the space. 30 Ziploc bags full of stuff piled all over each other in a big mess? Not cool.
My spice cabinet/more pantry.
Kitchen cabinet.

Build an Ark song. 

Have you heard this song? It is the kids' and my favorite new church song. A couple of years ago, this song was printed in The Friend magazine. I didn't see it then, but my friend Brittany who teaches the Primary kids in our ward for singing time, taught it to the kids and I have decided to teach it to my nursery-age kidlets at home. It is powerful. I feel the Spirit speak to me every time I hear it. The time to prepare is NOW, people!

New Callings for Squire and Me: Sunbeam Teachers

Yep, I learned the Primary song in singing time because back in February I got released as my ward's Young Women Secretary and am now team-teaching a Sunbeam class with Squire. A calling most definitely not for the faint-of-heart! ;) Sort-of teasing, there. In any case, we enjoy our new calling, though we are still learning to work together as we have quite different approaches. :) I miss working with the Young Women, though this calling is a little less demanding time-wise so that is nice to have a break that way. Overall, it has been a good change for us. 

Poopy Update

Lincoln may be finally getting the poop thing under control - or at least I've just decided to stop getting mad when he inevitably makes a mistake - or poops in his pants at the most inconvenient time on purpose and laughs about it while I clean him up. ;) We had a couple of major regressions, but this week we are making some real progress. (He pooped on the toilet twice today - without any prompting from me!) At this rate, this kid is for sure going to be potty-trained in time for college, so that's a relief! ;)

Atley said Jesus for the first time (April 5, 2014)

On that day, I wrote, "Today, Atley was sitting on my lap as I rocked her in the rocking chair. She stood up and pointed to the picture behind us and said, 'Jeez! Jeez!' 'Jesus?' 'Jesus!'"I was surprised she knew Him so soon. We do talk about Jesus a lot, but I don't ever recall ever explicitly teaching her that the picture on the wall was of Jesus before that night. It was a very proud moment for me as a mom. Atley loves to point out Jesus to me in every picture she sees of Him at church and in books. I can feel that Atley has a special relationship with her Savior. Out of the mouths of babes - a testimony.

Lincoln and Atley holding hands and walking around the house together today.

Today while I was doing a little workout, Lincoln and Atley were playing together. They came out of Lincoln's room holding hands and walked all around the house together like that for several minutes. Lincoln was being patient and kind about it, too - not dragging her on the ground because she is a little slower keeping up with her shorter legs. This moment was sweeter to my Mother heart than the mangoes we've been eating from Sprouts are to my taste buds. A moment to blog about.

A Snapshot: The old lady I saw at Costco.
A very elderly lady at Costco asked me if the walkey-talkey radios were cell phones. I explained they weren't, that they could only connect to the other person who owned the same radio. She had long white and gray-streaked scraggly hair, several inches past her shoulders. She was wearing baggy gray sweat pants and a loose fitting baby-pink t-shirt. She was missing four or five teeth in her bottom gums. She had a host of white hairs sprouting from her chin and her face was weathered with years and years and years. Behind her thick large glasses, her eyes were magnified about five times, and those big eyes were lonely and a bit nostalgic. She complimented me on my children. "They are just so beautiful! I can tell that they are good, good kids. And you have a boy and a girl! You got just what you wanted!" "Yep! And I have another one on the way, too." I said smiling, to point out the obvious so she wouldn't have to. "You know why you are doing that? Because you're a good mom." She said as she reached out and squoze my forearm. She told me all her children and grandchildren were grown now. "They grow so fast. And before you know it, they are all grown and gone, and your life is just over!" She told me with a bit a lip-pouting, trembling frown. "How many children do you have?" I inquired. "I had three boys. I had to wait a long time to get a girl with my grand-daughter, but she was worth the wait. She loves me best. But they all live in Idaho now!" "I know how difficult that is to be far away from family - our family all lives out of town, too." We talked about a few other things and then she said, "I so enjoy looking at your beautiful children. Just cherish this time. It will be gone before you know it. And then, your life will just be over!" Her lip trembled out again. I told her tenderly, "But is it really over when it's over? I don't think so. This isn't the end." We parted ways with a wave and smile. I hope I told her what she needed to hear. She surely told me what I needed to hear: that I was a good mother, and that I should cherish the time I have with the ones I love.  

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