What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fancy Picnics

Dinners are always more pleasant outside in the warmer weather. Especially when your eating area is all dolled up with hanging vases of rhododendrun and lined with outdoor lights.

My plan for the baby shower of two weeks ago was to decorate my 'haven' this way, and after not being able to do so due to the weather, I decided I would do it just for me.

It was worthwhile~ and the flowers lasted all week long!

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

I can explain...

This picture of my model husband Matt is out of focus where it ought to be (his eyes, nose, chin) and IN focus where it ought not to be (his sweater collar). This is because I used my telephoto lens, a lens that acts like a telescope. Only it just doesn't work very well, if you are sitting just a legs distance away. And it doesn't work very well, if the picture-snapper just happens to have her feet propped on her husbands' lap-all comfy-cozy like, and is too lazy to A) get up and move further away or B) change lenses.

So yeah. It is out of focus. I am a lazy bum. BIG DEAL.

This picture is the reason I didn't want to change lenses. I mean, golly, I can't GET close enough to this hunky monkey.

So there.

This, my friends, is a B.A.D case of camera shake. Yup. That stinks. But, on second thought, it looks sort of cool in a weird, retro, funky new age-ish sort of way. Wouldn't you say?

Camera shake is a bonafide issue when using a camera, especially with a telephoto lens on it. Not to be confused with BODY shake, as evidenced by this photo. Poor feller just can't control himself.
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

We spent ours waving flags, playing volleyball, holding babies and eating burgers with dear friends.

Dressed from head to toe in red, white and blue. (The whole family, thank you very much!)

Hope yours was just as memorable.

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Patriotic Bear

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Ain't life grand? The kids had mucho fun-o with those little flags, and I quite enjoyed myself just watching THEM.

And admiring Panda's mischievious expressions.

* a close-up of my girl because, well, I like to look at her.

And lookie who is here! Papa-had to work. Again. Dadblammit. At least he got a very special Memorial Day welcome!
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Is it Saturday?

I couldn't tell.

In fact, I can rarely tell the weekends from the weeks...and even more rarely, do I know when it is a HOLIDAY weekend versus a plain 'ol run-o-the-mill weekend.

Why? Because poor Matt doesn't ever get a day off it seems! Cows don't take vacations. Dadgummit.

They don't get weekends off. Blast!

And they wouldn't know a holiday if one hit 'em right between the eyeballs.

I guess I should feel bad for the girls.

But hey-they are kinda used to it. Besides, what ELSE do they have to do besides be milked? What would they do? Play croquet? Barbeque shrimp? Nope. They just chew their cud and line on up to be 'relieved' of the 80 pounds of milk they've been holding onto for the last who knows how long.

I feel bad for ME, for the kids, and most especially the poor guy livin' it~ My man. The man who is mine, all mine. That man is the hardest workin' man I know. But even He is getting worn down. 120 hour payperiods? That's just messed up.

I realized it was Saturday around 11:00 today. So I packed a lunch (FINALLY, SUN!) and headed for a picnic at the park. It was incredibly busy. There is a reservoir with TONS of huge fish and there were people there all over the place. Mostly men with their kids, fishing.

Made me feel bad for my kids, who are always stuck doing stuff with ME and not their Pops.
And made me feel bad for Mattie, who works so hard and gets so few rewards. Misses out on times like that, because by golly-when you work so hard, the only free time you have practically, is to get rested up for the next day.

Here's hoping there is a change in the forecast soon.

And plenty of rest on the horizon.

It sure would be nice for my hardworking man. And me.

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Friday, May 23, 2008


Can you guess what we spotted on the roadside???





A pair of hungry guinea hens

and I just happened to have my camera with me.

Their spots are quite impressive in real life...

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Where a Kid can be a Kid

Check out the fluffernutter face on that boy o' mine. Fluff sandwiches mean only one thing.

It's a special day.

A special CHUCK E. CHEESE Day.

We got two coupons for 10 free tokens from buying drink boxes for the car (for our journey's Northward) and I decided today was the day to use them. Two Chuckie Cheese visits in ONE year....I am starting to love that place.

Free tokens. Free drinks ( we bring our own CEC cups). No pressure to buy anything. A day of fun. Going at 10 am ensures there aren't boatloads of children, so it is nice and quiet. An all around fun time.

By noontime, the place started filling up. Just before we left, I told the children they could dance a bit to the 'Live' (robotic) performance. They had quite the audience-and they were fun to watch too. Corynn has perfected the 'skirt bubbling' in her twirls.

And that is the extent of the photos taken during that time. For some reason, I never get good shots there. So I didn't waste my time....
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Food for Thought

It's been ages since I gave up some recipes at Kitchen Riches.

Wanna know why?

Because I am hardly ever making anything exciting these days. Sometimes I wanna puke. Sometimes I am too tired. Sometimes I lack the motivation. Occasionally my family will get a decent meal-but in truth, it has been pretty darn rare.

In fact, as long I am keepin' it real: I have a confession to make.

Two weeks ago, I bought my very first box of Hamburger Helper. I couldn't believe I was doing it, but I did. My hands just grabbed for it and no matter what my mind willed them to do-they just continued on their mission. I got it because I hated smells that day and just the thought of cooking repulsed me.

So I got it. Thinking one night. One box. One skillet. One happy Mama.

But you know what? I'll never do it again. I guess I presumed that it would cook the beef itself-and the beef was precisely what I DIDN'T want to have to cook. But I HAD to. Now frankly~ It just ain't 'convenience food' if it requires the same amount of work as 'from scratch.'

Can I get an AMEN?!?

So, that basically stunk.


But, if you are so inclined, there is a recipe for something I canned but only recently opened to find it was magnificent, a few drinks (even the kind that make them REALLY good-winky. winky) and even a few *gasp* food recipes (mostly stolen.)


Eat Hearty!

At least heartier than me and MY family.

But, hey, that ain't sayin' much...

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Private Party

I am a very firm believer that every single child you are given is a gift and ought to be celebrated as such, whether it is your first or your fiftieth (though I highly doubt the latter would happen anytime soon! hehe). I despise the fact that people are acknowledged with a big hoopla for Baby #1 and as the children progress, there is less and less excitement involved.

Case in Point:

For Baby #1, the grandparents wait expectantly in the waiting room of the hospital as you work to push the little sucker out.
For Baby #2, they come to visit that night.
For Baby #3, they'll stop by the next day.
And usually, it stops there. After all, the US average of children per household is only 2.4

For Baby #1, you get dozens of cards and insist upon keeping every single one.
Baby #2, you get about half.
Baby #3, you get one and you promptly throw away ALL the saved cards from Baby #1, so that Baby #3 doesn't grow up feeling like s/he wasn't welcome.

For Baby #1~ you get a shower brimful of gifts and smiles.
For Baby #2-if you are lucky AND you find out you are having a different gender, you get another one.
For Baby #3- Fat chance, sucker!

For Baby #1~ when you reveal you are pregnant, you share the news with the 'grandparents' in clever fun ways and they joyously hug and kiss you and share in your excitement and the next nine months you are answering all sorts of questions and getting all sorts of advice.
For Baby #2~ You get smiles as people find out and feigned "congratulations!" and also some joking: "Don't you know how that happens?"
For Baby #3~ You dread telling them and dread even more the responses given. ( I mailed the news...)

And that is just with THREE children.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hereby declare: I despise this line of thinking and will single-handedly take on the world to reveal it for what it really is. A shame and a pity.

Now, I realize that after you have several children, you don't NEED to start from scratch to clothe your baby, you can do without the wipes warmer, and you've long since learned to bath a baby in the sink instead of a plastic contraption that seems only to waste space.

There is NO person on earth, however, that doesn't appreciate a time to celebrate a new life-even in a simple way. Cards with well-wishes are VERY appreciated with ANY baby. Diaper showers. Book showers. Handmade with Love showers. Or just a luncheon to get together and gush about the coming (or newly born baby). All these things not only make the MOTHER feel loved and happy, but it conveys the great and wonderful message of children being WANTED and ANTICIPATED.

This particular baby, Baby Ethan, is the eleventh child in the family-but no less loved and cared for than any others. No less sweet. No less precious. His teeny toes are no less magnificent, his baby smell no less endearing.

And it made me sad that He wasn't going to be celebrated. So I decided to change that.

And I did it by inviting only those that WANTED to celebrate. It was very informal. No balloons. No banners. No blue and white streamers hung from the ceiling. Just a dozen girlies enjoying time together and sharing in the joy of a new birth. I don't think the absent mounds of gifts made it any less special to Greta. It was a joy to see Ethan. It was a joy to see the sparkle in Greta's eyes and watch the older sisters handly him with love and care.

It was a joy to see a Mother who realizes the great riches she has been given and who has been grateful to receive them, despite the cost. (and I don't mean financially.)

We Christians ought to really evaluate how we perceive large families. Are we helping to encourage them or are we making them feel cast out? Are we cherishing LIFE and the gifts of life- or are we holding hands with the world and adopting their views of 2.4 children???
Are we raising eyebrows in gossip or the sides of our mouth in smiles?
Because I know what we OUGHT to be doing...

I am not saying we ought to haul off and host baby showers for everyone we know. Not at all. It needn't be as elaborate as all that. Writing a card, making a meal, giving a gift, taking the time to TALK and gush and LISTEN to the new parents, giving them flowers, having your children make cards...none of these things take any effort at all. But the receiving of such things, especially on babies a bit further on down the line, will have a tremendous impact.

** Here is a link to a sermon message given by a Southern Baptist Preacher called Voddie Baucham. It speaks rather poignantly about some of what I wrote above... I am not Southern Baptist, I am not even Baptist. But I think it foolish to disregard a biblically sound message only because of the voice it is carried by. If you are interested, take a listen.

I had originally planned and had REALLY hoped to entertain outdoors at 'my retreat'. In fact, I was set to do it up until three hours before the party and it began raining. I hadn't cleaned the house at all, thinking I didn't have to because we would be outside the whole time. Needless to say, between food preparations and cleaning the house-I was a busy bee. Somehow, don't ask me how, it all gone done in record time with even a few quiet moments to spare.

This was the menu:

Chicken salad with pita bread

Crackers served with a chive cream cheese spread (a brand-spanking, newly created by me experimental recipe!), or spread with regular cream cheese and topped with hot pepper jelly (homecanned).

From Scratch Strawberry Lemonade

Maple Creme filled strawberries, and other fruit

Quiche bites (brought by Nancy)

and Lemony Angel Cake (decorated with Native Columbine)

Since I planned to use my pretty 'retreat' spot, decorating the house never even crossed my mind. About ten minutes before all the guests arrived, I donned a raincoat an grabbed my scissors and flower basket to retrieve some free decorations-in my favorite form: flowers.

Thank goodness for a newly blooming rhododendrun and abundant wild phlox. I thought it looked lovely with the pale blue of my watering can. I spread flowers in a few more vases throughout the house too. Since they were free and abundant....

Above and below are my two dearest friends out here. Above is Greta, the new-again mother. Looks pretty darn good, doesn't she?!? Never guess that Ethan wasn't her second or third. The black and white (below) is of the lady I am always talking about, Nancy. She is the one who taught me to crochet, among other things. We get together every few weeks and if we can manage, once a week. I love to get together with her-works out perfectly; she just happens to be the closest one living to me! I just love her.

I decided this ought to be a 'LADIES" luncheon-so the Mama's and their daughters came. All in all, there was about a dozen of us. All of the daughters (with the exception of my own) are in the pre-teen, teen years so I wanted to encourage them to feel grown up and have them see how exciting it is to be Mothers. Honestly, they already have a pretty good idea. I have never seen such sweeter teenagers. It gives me hope that all teenagers don't HAVE to wreck havoc on parental/child relationships. But THAT, my friends, is a soapbox I will NOT get on today! :-)

ANYWAY~since it was an 'all girl' party, I thought I ought to let Corynn feel grown-up too. My, my, my. How she GUSHED at being included in the festivities! She was tremendously helpful in the preparations (and she even cleaned the Doll's house so THEY could receive company too!) and she exclaimed over and over about how she got to 'stay up from rest time'. She made a card for Greta and wrapped her own present. On the outside was a baby getting its picture taken in the grass, on the inside she wrote "CONGRATS. Love Corynn." (She really enjoys writing words now but she still needs help sounding them out.) Great, being the experienced, excellent mother she is new how to properly gush to make little girls' heads blow up with pride.

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She was so proud to stay up-but just 20 minutes after they left, lookie what I found downstairs...