Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lost at Home

Is it possible to become so immersed in one's momotony (sorry for the very lame pun - I'm decaffeinated this morning) that all sense of purpose and direction are lost, even in the living room? Surely I am not the only mom who can stand in the living room completely baffled about what she was going to do next.

This has been on my mind, what's left of it anyway, for at least 3 minutes. I realized that I am having problems with momotony through several key incidents:

1) I am still searching my brain cell for the word that describes the blanket I used last night. I can't remember what it's called - it's warm, fuzzy and not flannel. It's not velour, nor is it .... AH!!!! It's fleece! It just came to me!!! I've been trying to recall the word "fleece" since about 8:30 this morning. The remembering of this lovely, fuzzy word is another reminder that I've lost my direction. What happened to that fabulous memory of mine? I can remember old addresses and phone numbers but I can't remember what fleece is?

2) As I covered my finally-producing-pepper plants to protect them from frost last night, it occurred to me that I can (and do) go days without going outside for more than 30 seconds. Putting Wonder Boy on and off the bus doesn't really count in my book. I also thought about the fact that some weeks I do not drive - at all. (Read that: I don't leave my house. And I'm not a shut in.)

3) Looking at the same walls and the same toys and dealing with the same tasks every single day, day in and day out, has become so routine that I no longer see a lot of what needs doing. There's a spark missing many days and what should be joyous isn't. I'm limited by too many choices and no choices at all.

4) We decided to have a yard sale. Today. Except we didn't do it. Between work, strep throat, doctor appointments, school, dishes, and all the other momotony, it just got forgotten. A lot of things get forgotten. Sometimes, I forget me, and not in the selfless-wrapped-up-in-my-vocation way. I just forget to pay attention to me.

I was going somewhere with this. Hang on while I walk back to the living room, where I was when I thought of it (whatever "it" is)... maybe it'll come to me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How a Couple Watches a Western

Sometimes I forget that women and men are inherently different. No, I'm not talking about parts and builds - trust me, I noticed that a long time ago. I'm referring to that whole "Venus/Mars" thing - the being from different universes at times. Pastor TD Jakes was in town once and gave a talk about how women yammer on about how many coupons they use and what colors they were, whereas men just want to know the total on the receipt. We laughed about that and have used "what color was the coupon" as a signal that we aren't on the same page in a conversation.

Now you have to understand that one of the Hallmarks of the relationship between the Fearless Leader and me is communication. We talk a lot and always have. Early in our dating, the Fearless Leader worried that he'd bored me out of another date by taking me to a local grocery store's parking lot to chat. (Little did he know at the time, I went home to Mama and gushed on about how perfect this guy was.) Sure, we have our comical, stereotypical email moments: I send an email 3 paragraphs long, riddled with questions only to receive a reply consisting of the word "no" or "yes." Instant messages are similar. Goodness... even the way we type is consistent with that pattern. But overall, we really do talk a lot, often late into the night.

That brings me to last night. We decided to throw in a movie - after searching for 15 minutes through the dvds, we settled on a Western. We couldn't remember which one we hadn't seen yet, so we tossed in The Long Riders. As soon as it was in, I knew we'd seen it - but it had been long enough that not all the parts were coming to mind before they happened. After a while, we get to a knife-fight scene - a knife-fight scene, which I remind you, we have seen before. (Here's where the difference between genders pops up.) I, still watching the fight, said to our Fearless Leader that I had signed up for a coupon service and that I'm trying to decide on how to cheaply get a few newspapers for coupons. He just looked at me and asked something about what colors the coupons were. (Yes, this time the conversation actually was about coupons! Oh, the irony!) Then I think he asked if I was kidding - this was the knife-fight scene!

The whole thing just made me laugh. I knew I'd blog about it. If anyone asks about his evening, I'm betting he says, "We watched a Western."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lazy Morning Musings

1. If you have something important or fun to do, at least one child will wake up the night before and interrupt your rest.

2. If your child finally gets the hang of potty training, you will run out of m&m's at the wrong moment.

3. Wonder Boy told his teacher that he was not a big brother - he is a medium brother.

4. Little girls wearing piggy pajamas don't necessarily like being called Miss Piggy.

5. Two gluten free chocolate muffins may taste excellent, but they don't give a whole lot of energy for the day.

6. Always wear clean underwear. (<--- I'm a mom. I have to say that.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ignatian Methods in Homeschooling

It occurred to my very tired brain that someone just might need a boost in their homeschool, a fresh idea. Old is the new... new. Here's an old idea to consider: Ignatian education. It's fabulous. It stresses self-activity and mastery of content. It's not easy, that's for sure... but it does feel very natural.

A fantastic curriculum based on Ignatian principles can be found at Kolbe Academy. For anyone who wants to know a little more about Ignatian methods, this site has well written ideas and summaries from a homeschooling mom who really knows her stuff.

I'd love to make a better case for Ignatian education, but honestly I can't this evening. My lone brain cell is screaming for sleep. It's been a day of starting to do one thing, forgetting what I was doing, then starting something else and forgetting about that as well. Every room I walk displays the aftermath of my Reign of Confusion: pullups on the bread counter, a ball of lint on the piano, laundry left in the dryer, something resembling lunch in the dining room corner. As I pick up my daily disasters, I pray that my efforts were enough today: I told the kids what I hoped they'd learn today, I prayed with them, I listened to their efforts and tried to guide them in their studies. Tomorrow we'll start anew and I'll ask what they remember from today, I'll tell them what the learning goal is, we'll pray, and on we'll go.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Boy and a Quart of Strawberries

There will probably be a story about this later. For now... the 8yo ate a quart of strawberries. Alone. Read that: without help. (Ok. I admit I cut one strawberry up and put it in Wonder Boy's yogurt. I also sacrificed another for the Ailing Miss M - she ate two bites and called it done.)

Now, while I am quite happy to have children that like fresh fruit and are satisfied with said fruit as the sole snack option, I am a bit concerned when they eat a hefty quantity. Fruit is a food of movement, ya know? I haven't been to Costco lately. I'm not sure my t.p. supplies are adequate.

I should put Costco on my "to do" list.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Keeping Promises

It's important to keep promises, especially the ones you make to yourself. You either build yourself up by being trustworthy or you tear yourself down by not being so. You can fool other people. You can make it look like you did a bang up job when you know you cut more corners than a poorly trained carpenter. You can over-commit and look like the person who does it all for everyone. But YOU know if you keep your promises. You know when you don't.

We don't tend to like people who fail time after time to keep promises. Failing ourselves leads to self-hate. And if we are hating ourselves, we cannot love God. How, if we are filled with self-loathing and hatred, can we fulfill the greatest commandments? (So you don't have to look it up: Mt. 22:37-40 he said to him, "you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.") Someone who is full of hate cannot truly love and someone full of self-hatred cannot love their neighbor. There's also that pesky business of what we do to the least of our brethren (aka neighbors), we've done unto Jesus. If you are so small, dare I say "the least," and you hate yourself, have you not hated Jesus Himself?

Something to ponder today. What will you promise yourself today. Make it something small and something that you WILL do. Will you get up on time for a week instead of hitting the snooze button? Will you plan and cook one week's worth of dinners? Will you read just one story to your kids every day for two weeks, no matter how busy you seem to be? Will you grade just one paper every day for a week? Will you open every piece of mail that comes in your house today? It doesn't have to be "organize a new food pantry for the homeless" huge... it just needs to be something you promise and deliver to yourself. If you do that, you've done it for Jesus.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's Considered Torture in Some Places


We do it to our kids (read that: Time Out).

We do it to each other (read that: The Silent Treatment).

We do it to ourselves (read that: Hide in Work, Hide Online, Hide in Hobbies, Hide in Busyness).

The truth is, we need each other. No one is sufficient to themselves. But where are we hiding our real selves? Are we hiding behind doctrine? Are we hiding behind our children? Are we hiding behind our work? Are we building walls out of those things and people to keep the world out of our hearts?

Sometimes a time apart is good and necessary. Children need to learn that hurting others separates them from the community they need. Heck, I can think of quite a few adults who need to learn this. Silent retreats are good for the soul, too. Taking care of our obligations is right and good. But there comes a point when isolation becomes Isolation and renders our interiors desolate.

Let's not go there.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fantastic Gluten Free Cookbook

I've now made several recipes from this book. It took awhile to find sorghum flour - I searched through at least six groceries stores before finding one that carried it.

In any case, I made some chocolate chocolate chip muffins that were divine. My camera card was missing in action thanks to the family ebayers, so thus far I have no pictures of them. I can tell you that the muffins had a wonderful consistency, had a moist crumb, and fantastically high crowns. I made the mistake of letting my kids try them. The remaining muffins are now hidden in a secret location requiring a password, keys and a retinal scan.

Tonight's dinner was a turkey tetrazzini (or however you spell it). I used some stunted bell peppers from my pathetic little garden, homemade gluten free bread crumbs (great way to use up those dumb little heels of gf bread) and some homemade turkey broth. Once again, the family loved it and there was much rejoicing. The adults in the household are looking forward to a lunch of leftovers tomorrow.

After the littles are in bed, I intend to attemp some cookies. I can't imagine they'll go wrong.

Happy eating!

Why I've Been MIA

In short: my love of the internet.

It's not always a healthy love, of that I am sure. Too much time surfing and too little time thinking and living makes for a cranky pair of Shoes.

The remedy: more living, more blogging (which means more living... because what else is there to blog about?), more doing, more reading, more baking, more cooking, more... more... MORE!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gluten Free Pocket Sandwich

Oh, this was GOOD. I am in love with Chebe bread. The all purpose mix makes some decent rolls and breadsticks, as well as a good thin-crust pizza. I tried making calzones yesterday. Yum! I will definitely spend a Saturday baking up a bunch of these to have on hand.

Today's calzones were pepperoni and soy cheese with very light sauce and I used the foccacia mix. I'm not big on sauce and was concerned that they'd get soggy. I made them yesterday, ate one, and froze the rest. Today I pulled out a frozen calzone, popped it (covered with foil) in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and had a fabulous lunch.

Next time, I think I'll try the all purpose and foccacia mixes and make: more pizza calzones, spinach & chicken pockets, philly steak & cheese pockets, Meditteranean veggie pockets. It would totally be worth baking up a bunch of these and freezing. I'm always eating on the go. Plus these would be easy to load up with veggies, thereby helping meet that daily allotment.

I had to fend off the children. They were that good. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gluten Free Heaven, Part II

If you need gluten free baked goods, absolutely check out Gluten Free Creations here in Phoenix. They ship all over, too! I went to a tasting event today and all I can say is WOW! Bread that tastes like bread. Cookies that are to die for... ok, maybe not die, but you'd definitely have to hide them from the non-gluten-free people in your house and/or threaten them with bodily harm if they went near them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stretching the Dollar

Ok. This is so simple, I can't believe I never thought of it. I don't have time to make spaghetti sauce sometimes and I buy the jarred stuff. Tonight pizza is on the menu and I only had about 1/3 of a jar of sauce left. The thought occurred to me to open a little can of plain tomato sauce and add it to the jarred spaghetti sauce - score one for me! So my $2.50 jar of spaghetti sauce just got a $.25 addition and gave us a couple more meals. Woot!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

GF Tortillas - The First Attempts

Eh. I made the first batch with a flour mix containing coconut flour and they were much too... sweet and coconutty. Oh, I ate them, make no mistake about it, but I won't make them this way again.

This batch was better... but still not quite right. They're a bit denser than I'd like, they crack a little (but not nearly as much as corn tortillas do), but they'll suffice as a vehicle for getting yummy fillings into my hungry mouth. My 8yo said that if he couldn't have real tortillas, he would totally eat these... not exactly the endorsement I am looking for, but not bad for the beginning of the GF journey.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Perpetually Behind

Who is the patron saint of the Perpetually Behind? I need to have a talk with him/her.

Chores, laundry, grading, teaching, cooking, checkbook, bills, chores, laundry, grading, teaching, cooking, checkbook, bills... it goes on and on and on. I get caught up on one and all the rest falls behind. You'd think that with me on my little Hamster Wheel of Life, I would not fit in size 16 jeans. The injustice of it all!

Which shoes should I wear today? Not the flip flops... again.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Yum! I Am Saved!

Cookies! I have cookies! Glorious, wonderful cookies!

I followed the recipe over at Flour Arrangements with only a couple minor substitutions (1- I don't have millet flour... yet; and 2- I can't have dairy, so used almond milk) and these cookies are heavenly.

Still need to tackle the bread issue.

My Dual Life

Maybe I just have multiple personalities? Somehow I've been blogging here as the Mominator... posting around as momtimesfour... and also as Shoes. They all fit (the names... not just the shoes).

Maybe I need an overhaul? A quick rinse and spin on delicate? A good shining? (Oh... now there's a scary movie: SHOES: The Shining!)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Adventures in Gluten Free Living Begin

Oh My Goodness! I had no idea baking could be... difficult.

I'm a pretty good cook. Recipes are a guide, not a precise rulebook to follow. I'm also a pretty good baker. My kolach impresses my mother-in-law (and she tells me so, too). I was working on "the perfect loaf of bread" awhile ago and looking forward to baking more again. (I find it hard to bake when I have babies/early toddlers.) I have never found cooking or baking to be the least bit intimidating or hard. Rarely have I turned out something inedible or totally "off" from what I intended to create. When people have exclaimed how hard baking is or waxed on about how precise one must be, I've scratched my head in wonder.

Until now.

This past weekend I decided to go gluten free in an effort to deal with health issues. I'd been putting it off because it's so drastic, so all-encompassing. But I'd had enough and was desperate to try.

Who knew baking was so... chemical... complex... and precise? Never, I mean NEVER, have I had to carefully pack, level or weigh anything when baking with wheat flour. But gf flours are... how did my friend put it... weird. That's it. They're WEIRD. Gritty, scratchy, powdery, stiff... unnatural. The resulting concoctions I've turned out this week are even weirder - tortillas that look like tortillas but taste like I don't even know what; pizza that tasted like an eggy savory German pancake (don't even ask... I don't understand... it was edible as long as I didn't pretend it was pizza); and now chocolate chip cookies that taste more like pecan sandies (which I like, thank goodness, but Toll House they ain't).

This is going to be interesting.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I've been busy, busy, busy. Mostly with taxes and schooling. However I decided to branch out a little and start gardening. I stress the word "little."

I built several self-contained watering gardens and planted peppers, tomatoes, carrots and onions. The peppers were from starter plants, but everything we started as seeds. We've got sprouts!!! The kids are really excited and we keep checking everyday to see how much new green we see. Had I been an ambitious nerd, I would have remembered to take pictures. Instead, I was a procrastinating and overwhelmed nerd and just wish I had taken pictures. Oh, well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chicken Little Knew a Thing or Two

The news these days is fairly dismal. It's hard to know what to expect. Will we have a job? Will we be able to find work enough to pay the bills? Will we lose our home? What will we eat? What's going on? When will this get better? Can it get better? What does it mean? Can you imagine what the families on the borders of the crumbling Roman Empire felt when barbarians first started to infiltrate that which had previously been so solid? What about Medieval times? Or how about the countless families, towns and countries caught up in wars over the centuries? The Great Depression? Are we really any different?

I sure don't have the answers, but I know the One who does. And I know that countless generations before us have asked the same questions. Over and over in my mind I have found myself clinging to the Lord's Prayer in a new light. "Give us this day our daily bread..." has new meaning. It isn't just about the bread. It's about clinging to the Lord's grace today - and acknowledging that we need Him. It's about focusing on today's responsibilities and joys, and leaving the uncertainty of tomorrow well enough alone. After all if we are blessed with another dawn, God will be there. Our daily bread is about the here and now - the people, the chores, the smiles, the heartaches, every breath.

I suspect the coming months will hold a great deal of change for many of us. How will we greet and accept the changes? Will we pull together as a nation? As a people of God? As families? My prayer for my family and yours is that God will give you the daily bread appropriate to the day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dusting Off the Keyboard

::cough:: ::sputter::

I found it! I found the keyboard! It was buried here. Right here ---> no, over here, under the pile of Christmas cards, the iPod charger, various Lego pieces and preschool art. Cool! I can blog again.