Friday, August 29, 2014

August Photo Challenge - Colorful

P.J. at a 'lil hoohaa has a photo challenge every month, and every month I don't do it.


This month he chose "Colorful" for our theme.  Unfortunately, I used my phone for every one of them.  Fortunately, I have a phone which can take photos.

1.  August came in with some mild temperatures and clear skies.  Day after day we enjoyed the most beautiful blue.  The pop of red from Cuckoo's shirt is a little bonus of colorful. 

2.  Four years ago we planted sunflowers at the edge of our garden.  Every single year new ones grow from the fallen seeds of the previous year.  I love looking out my kitchen window to see all of those yellow blooms stretching for the sky.

3.  This bright pink ball has been the toy of choice lately.  They were actually giggling, even as they fell to the ground.  Over and over and over.

4.  Despite the storms and our lack of care this summer, the pepper plants have been prolific.  The kids prefer the taste of the green ones, so we pick them and freeze them before they change to red.  

5.  One of the best places to find color is the midway at the state fair.  Especially on another perfect weather day.

What are some of the most colorful things you saw during the month of August?  

If you have a blog, there's still time for you to link up!

Have a lovely day!  

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Have...Some Little Things to Tell You

I have a chin hair.
It's a very long chin hair.
I keep forgetting I have a chin hair
until I'm driving in the van
unable to do anything about said
chin hair.


I have a 5 year old.
A five year old who can't understand infinity.
Probably this is normal
for a 5 year old.
Yet he won't let it go.
So we have conversations.
Lots and lots of conversations
like these:

C:  You were wrong.  There is a last number.
Me:  No there isn't.
C:  Yes.  It's one hundred nine.
M:  No, you can add one to it and get 110.  You can always add one to any number.  If you have 3,245,531, you can add one and get 3,245,532.
C:  Well, what comes after 90 a hundred?
Me:  90 a hundred isn't a number.
C:  See? 'Cause it's the last one.


I have a blog.
A blog that gets found for odd reasons.
Commonly, people search "pig waterers"
and come to my blog.
Go google it.
In images.
Of all the photos
that could have popped up...


I have a farm
and kids who wear farm shoes.
I don't buy farm shoes.
They simply wear their old shoes
as farm shoes
when I buy new ones.
We may
have to rethink
that plan.


I have 6 kids.
5 of whom play soccer.
I have a farm.
With a garden full of produce
that needs to be canned and frozen.
What in the world
am I doing
sitting here writing a post???

Have a lovely day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Power, Peeps, Potatoes, and People Please Me, TToT Week 62

Electricity, with our ability to harness it, move it, and use it the way we want, has got to be one of the biggest discoveries that has changed the life of humans on this earth.  We have come to depend on it so much, that we are at a loss as what to do when we no longer have it.

Major storms blew through many times this week.  On Monday, Buttercup and Phoenix's school was on a two hour delay because a late-night storm took out a tree and the power to their school with it.

One Wednesday, the school which the other three kids attend was almost dismissed early because the power had gone out during a storm right after the school bell rang.  They were without power for almost four hours.  Twenty minutes before the principal sent everyone home for the afternoon, the power came back on.

I'm pretty sure our pioneer ancestors are laughing at us from their perches up in heaven.

Electricity is wonderful.  It allows us to stay cool in the summer and keep our meat frozen until we remember to take it out to thaw for dinner.  We can stay up well past sunset to read or watch TV or get lost in the internet for hours.

And yet electricity is a dangerous thing.  When lightening is seen, people scurry from the soccer fields and metal bleachers, afraid they will be hit.

And sometimes, no matter how careful we are in harnessing that electricity, things can go wrong.

On Wednesday afternoon, one of our first grade teachers lost all of her possessions when her house caught fire. An electrical fire. Fortunately, she was still at school, and her husband and daughter were not at home.  When the firemen arrived, their dog was inside and unconscious.  The firemen pulled the dog out and resuscitated it with a new (electric) machine donated to the fire department for just such a circumstance.

Despite the loss, there are many thankfuls in the entire situation.

Less than 24 hours after the fire, this teacher was at school talking with her first graders and letting them all know she would be just fine.  If she can be grateful in her circumstances, for Pete's sake, how can I not be grateful this week?

1.  The chicks are here!  All but one arrived nice and healthy, so we have 26 new girls.  Hopefully.  We'll see when they get older if there are any missexed birds.

We got a call from the post office that the chicks had arrived.  I had until closing time to pick them up.

2 days old
2.  Mother Nature finally subbed in Heat Miser and warmed us up to summer temperatures just in time.  If the temps would have stayed the way they had been, those chicks would have had to live in our basement with a heat lamp until they were a bit bigger.  We've done it before, and we do not want to do it ever again.

3.  I actually had a day mostly free in which I could can and freeze some potatoes from the garden.



Most people look at me funny when I say I can potatoes.  "What do you use them for?" they ask.  Mainly, three things.  1. Quick mashed potatoes, 2. Quick potato salad, or 3. Quick camper's casserole.  (Heat up sliced smoked sausage, add drained can of green beans and drained can of potatoes and cook until hot.)

The potatoes that don't fit in the 7 quart jars I'm doing that day get cooked and made into mashed potatoes and put in the freezer for another day.

4. Normally I have someone in the kitchen with me peeling all of those potatoes, but with only Cuckoo in the house (watching PBS and learning about a wubble bubble) it was quiet and lonely.  I used my iPad to pull up Brian Regan's stand-up shows and laughed my way through the tedious process.

This man is one of the funniest people to ever walk the earth.

5. A little while ago Lizzy Allan posted a recipe for Bloody Mary Pasta.  I saw it and said, "Self, I'm tired of making pasta with only alfredo sauce or Prego.  We have everything for this recipe either in our garden or on our shelves, so you should make it."  I made it for dinner tonight, and it was yummy.  And I got to use up the last four jars of tomatoes I canned last year.  The only thing I did differently from her recipe was use my hand-held blender thingy to make it a smooth sauce.  My kids wouldn't have touched it if they could actually see the bits of tomatoes and onions in it.

6.  I got home from a soccer tournament last weekend and found this on our little kitchen table:

Fresh from our garden.  The shocker is that Bryan actually brought them in and put them in the vase like this.  All by himself. There was also a dozen roses on the kitchen counter he had purchased earlier in the day, but the sunflower arrangement was a much bigger surprise.  That man loves to make me happy with colorful flowers.  No special occasion needed.

7.  For the first time in my life, I just spelled "occasion" without the aid of spellcheck or a dictionary.

8.  All of the big kids have had their first soccer games of the season.  They all did very well.  It's going to be a fun season.

Even if it rains.

9.  The first week of school, the germs were flying through the school.  All 6 of my kids have had a cold this week.  Fortunately, they all had the same pattern of one day sore throat, two days of runny nose and cough, one day stuffy nose, then done.  Giant and Cuckoo are on the tail end of it.  I will not discuss Bryan and my health, seeing as how I don't want to jinx anything.

10.  Finally, and most importantly, today (Saturday) is Cuckoo's birthday.  My baby is 5 years old!!  I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that I don't have any little, little kids in the house anymore.  Thankfully he is the smallest kid we've ever had, so he doesn't look like a 5 year old.  I don't think I could have handled it.

This child brings more light to more people than I could ever count.  He is the one and only of our children who genuinely likes to talk with people, and he does it constantly.  And people love it. Don't take my word for it.  I have no doubt Kris will back me up on this one.

And for those of you wondering, he will not be getting a wubble bubble.  We looked into it and found that they pop very easily, usually within the first 15 minutes.  Um, no thanks.  He'll be getting something he will love, though.  Have no fear.  Photos will come eventually.

Your turn!  Besides electricity and a roof over your head, what are you glad to have this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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When I Was a Kid, I Really Believed...Lots of Things that I Seemed to Have Written about Many Times

Today's Finish the Sentence Friday prompt is "When I was a kid, I really believed..."

Well, I was going to finish it with " parents never lied to me", but I already wrote about the time my mom and grandma lied about the shells my siblings and I found and also about the time our duck died and my parents covered it up.  That belief went out the window when I was 16.

I also believed I was going to be a superstar Olympic runner, seeing as how I was the fastest person in our school and in our neighborhood.  To my nine year old self, I was already the fastest person in the world.  That ended when I got to college and had to run people from lots of different states.

I believed I was going to be a fabulous artist. After I won the gold in the 100m, of course.  Remember the mass mailings from "art schools" that had you copy a drawing and send it in?  I drew the best fictional turtle head this side of the Mississippi, I tell you.  A couple of months later, my suspicions (of being a natural) were confirmed when we heard back from the school.  The letter gave an honest to goodness critique of my drawing, including both positive and negative points.  In the end, they thought all I needed was a few classes.
Classes my parents wouldn't pay for.  I remember having a clandestine argument with them about how good I was and how they were stomping all over my dreams and stifling my talent.  Really, they didn't argue all that much.  They said no and I yelled at them, as I was wont to do.  (How could they have predicted that I would be a famous blogger someday and have to draw pictures of pigs?)

I believed dresses and fancy shoes were for people like my sister.  The pretty, nonathletic girls.  You know, a girl who didn't crawl around at recess and have to worry about a boy seeing her underwear.  Now, I wear a skirt to every soccer game above 80 degrees.  They are so much cooler than shorts!

I believed someone was going to try to kidnap my siblings and me.  Most likely during an all-school Mass.  I had an exit strategy and everything.  I outgrew that one by the time I went to high school.

I believed pain in any form other than sports-related was completely not worth it.  I told everyone that I was not about to birth babies.  My plan was to adopt a whole bunch of them and avoid pain altogether.  Clearly that didn't pan out.  I not only loved every bit of pregnancy, I would go through labor and delivery again in a heart beat.

I believed that murderers and monsters lurked under beds and in corn fields thanks to Malachi from "Children of the Corn" and Freddy from "Friday the 13th" and my mom's parenting style which allowed me to watch such things.  Unfortunately, this one stuck.  I won't go in a corn field, and I keep lots of things under my bed so no one can fit under it and stab me from underneath.

How about you?  What did you believe as a child?

Have a lovely day!

Finish the Sentence Friday

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just a Little Something to Let You Know I'm Still a Blogger

Making banana bread with Cuckoo this morning, he asked why we used the yucky bananas instead of the good bananas.  I answered, "Well, people will eat the good bananas.  No one will eat the bad ones.  By using the old ones, we are making something good out of something bad."

As soon as I said it, I knew I had hit on something profound.  It's quite the analogy for life, I think.

Making a good life is like making a good loaf of banana bread.  You need to use the yucky stuff to make something delicious.

Or something like that.

Next thought:

I took Turken to his soccer practice last night.  We were a couple of minutes late, as we were coming from Buttercup's game.  He ran ahead to his field, since my bum knee and I can't go as fast as he'd like us to.  When I finally got to the field, the coach was trying to get eight 6 and 7 year olds to do a soccer drill.  All while carrying a toddler.  He was sweating profusely, because it was 85 degrees and as humid as the rain forest AND he had just spent over an hour coaching his 4 year old's team immediately before our practice time.

The parents of these players were set up in their chairs on the sidelines, watching the coach struggle.

I was flabbergasted.  Why was no one helping this poor (volunteer) dad?

I marched (as best I could) right on up to the coach and asked if he needed help corralling.  His face showed his gratitude as he handed off his sweet little girl.  I didn't even know her name, but I took her and let him get on with the practice.  A little later, the coach's four year old came over and hung out with us, too.

I was pleased to see another parent get up and offer his assistance in corralling the team after I walked away.

Why?  Why don't people get up and help when they see volunteers who clearly need it?

I'm sure Clark will have an answer for me.  I'm guessing it has something to do with my (as he calls it) worldview.  But honestly, I get annoyed when people all over the internet and in person talk about the need for everyone to help his neighbor or "it takes a village" but then no one actually steps up to do anything when confronted with the prime opportunity to actually do something.  And something easy to boot.

Relatedly, if a coach (for the high school team) asks for volunteers to help with communication and spiritwear and food for the players before games, and you sit there twiddling your thumbs, DO NOT then offer me advice on how to do the communications job I ultimately agreed to do.

Unrelatedly, dear Blogger spell check, relatedly is to a word.  I looked it up, so you can stop with the squiggly line.

Next thought:

Cuckoo is going to be mighty disappointed come Saturday, which just happens to be his birthday.

He has asked for something he "can do".  When asked for clarification, he told me "like an iPod.  Or a Kindle Fire.  Or an iPad."

I told him it wasn't going to happen.

Then this morning, out of nowhere, Cuckoo and I had this conversation:

C:  I saw a wubble bubble on TV.  I want one for my birthday.
Me:  What is a wubble bubble?
C:  It looks like a bubble and floats like a bubble and you can catch it like a bubble, but it doesn't pop.  I want one.
M: Well, I still don't know what it is, and I have no idea where to find one.
C:  I don't know where to get it either.
C:  Oh, I know!  Kroger has it!  Kroooogeeer...or Wal-Maaaart...or Meijer.
C: Ask someone.  Don't ask (Bible study friend), because they won't know.  Ask (another friend).
M:  Ok.
C (handing me my phone):  Now. Text them.

All morning we've been doing this.  Every so often he comes up with another clue as to what a wubble bubble could be.  I also know that it is about "this big" and is green, but mostly normal bubble colored.

I'm at a loss.

Hopefully when he unwraps a gigantic jar of Nutella, he'll forget all about the wubble bubble.


The more likely situation:  Four months from now, when we're driving to preschool, he'll yell from the backseat, "Hey!  I didn't get a wubble bubble for my birthday!"

And that is when I will say, "Well, when Nana asked what you wanted for your birthday, I told her you wanted a wubble bubble.  You'll have to ask her about it."

That, my friends, is how you make a yucky situation delicious.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Having Fun Without the Big Kids, Garden Goodies, and Proof I Ain't No Milli Vanilli, TToT Week 61

This wasn't the easiest of weeks, and not just because of all of the bad news in the world.  One year ago, one of my book club friends lost her baby.  I was there to meet precious Isabel in the hospital, I was there for her funeral.  I am so glad I was able to be there for my friend on the anniversary of Isabel's passing.

It was a difficult week.

Fortunately, there were some things to help keep my spirits up.  How 'bout I share...oh, I don't know...ten of them?  I'm telling you, if you've never made a list of the things for which you are thankful, you need to try it.  Sour moods are sweetened each and every week.

1. We all made it through the first week of school.  It was a long week, but everyone managed to keep up with homework, do well on quizzes, and get to bed at a decent hour.

2. With the start of school comes our Friday after school tradition. Love me some half-price milkshakes!

3. Cuckoo and I have spent a whole lot of time by ourselves this week, since his preschool doesn't start until after Labor Day.  On Thursday, I took him to the Indiana State Fair.  It wasn't quite the same without the big kids.

Every year we take a photo of the kids in front of this barn.  I was a bit sad when we took it this year.
But Cuckoo had no reason to be sad.  He dubbed Thursday "the best day ever, except for when we went to Kings Island, because you won't let me ride any rides".  No, we did not ride any rides at the fair, but we did...

see the world's biggest cheese sculpture,

eat gigantic bowls of ice cream for lunch (The dairy bar rocks!  All that ice cream for $3! All day, every day!)

and see lots of animals.
But the best thing we did was win a duck race.  With real live mallard ducks.

Yup.  That's our duck.

This is from the heat we won.  After this race, we were in the finals...

which we also won.  Cuckoo walked away with the grand prize of a duck call and a duck hat.
It was a great day.

4.  I am really thankful that the woman I threw my phone at and asked to take photos of us during the duck race was kind enough to look past my boldness and honest enough to not take off with it.

5.  While it makes me nervous about what winter will bring, I have been enjoying the perfect weather we've been having lately.  Sunshine and open windows make me happy.  Cooler temperatures make my soccer players happy.

6.  I get overly giddy when we have a meal made mostly with ingredients from our own property.  This week, I made stuffed peppers with ground pork from our pigs and onions, zucchini, and peppers from our garden.  They were delicious!

7.  Speaking of produce, I've been getting the abundance of zucchini used up.  Zucchini bread is being made, I have 12 cups of zucchini in the freezer, and I've sweetened up my physical therapist with gifts of vegetables in hopes she won't use that blasted scraper thing on the back of my leg ever again.

8. Last weekend, Buttercup and Phoenix spent hours and hours cleaning their rooms and organizing their drawers and closets.  Shockingly, Buttercup has kept her room spotless all week long.  I can't stress enough how huge this is.  The state of her room is really the only thing we ever argue about.  With a clean room, we can both breathe easier.

9. I've finally found some guys who can get some stuff done around here.  All 4 of the broken windows on the main floor have been fixed.  We also had an electrician out here to fix a burned up outlet and go through all of the other things that need fixed around here.  We now know what is wrong and what needs to be done.  Mostly, though, I'm just glad to hear that the wiring is fine and I don't have to worry about the house burning down around us.

10. I'm thankful for funny people who like to make people laugh.  Kelly from This Ain't the Lyceum started a lip sync battle based on the ones Jimmy Fallon does on his show.  She made a video, then challenged her readers to make their own.  Star suggested I do one with the Cups song.  So I did.  I just wish I didn't have a bum knee.  A good dancing song would have put me in the winner's circle for sure, and I bet the prize is going to be better than a duck hat.

Alrighty, that's it for me.  What has turned your frown upside down this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

When the Kids Are Away, the Mom Has No Choice But to Play

Five kids are back in school.

One is not.

This is the first time since March 2000 that I have had only one child at home with me all day.

It is also the first time Cuckoo has been the only child at home all day since the day of his birth.

We have a few kinks to work out.

The boy has not left my side.  And I don't mean he's constantly next to me.  I mean he has actually been touching, sitting, lying, or in some way attached to my side from the moment he gets up until the moment we pick up the big kids.

I am only exaggerating a little bit.  During physical therapy, while I am on the table doing exercises or getting my knee massaged, he is flat out on top of me.

I can't get anything done.  And by anything I mean blog reading and writing, but also all of this computer stuff I have to do.  Because I opened my mouth and agreed to be PTO secretary, communications person for Phoenix's soccer team, and room parent for Star's class.

When the big kids and/or Turken were home, I could do these things without a problem.  However, with no one but me home to play with, listen to, and bear the brunt of amusing Cuckoo, it's darn near impossible.

One morning, he decided to play with Kinex.  One would think it would be a prime opportunity for me to sit at the computer and focus.  One would be wrong.  Each time he made something, I was supposed to guess what the thing was.

I had conversations like this one for an hour:

Cuckoo: Guess what this is.

Me: A sword.

C: Nope, a sign.  How did you think it was a sword?  Swords don't have these on the top.

Me: I thought that was the handle.

C: OK, now guess again.

Me: I don't have to guess.  You already told me what it is.

C: Guess again.  Just forget that you know.

Me: I know my memory is bad, but I cannot not remember that it is a sign.

C: OK, I'll do another.


C (5 seconds later, holding the exact same thing):  OK, what is this?

Me: A sign.

C: Yeah!  You're right!  You get a prize!

I accumulated many prizes in that hour.  Here is a sampling:

I am not going to complain about all of this one-on-one time.  We are getting to do some fun things, seeing as we have hours and hours of not having to pick up or drop off a kid or four.  I am savoring most of these minutes, as I know I won't have this much time with him ever again once he starts big kid school.  (We don't know when that will be, seeing as how our school got rid of the half-day kindergarten option. I may be homeschooling kindergarten.)

I am simply letting you all know why I can't get any posts written and why I'm barely reading anything either.  It has taken me 3 days to write this one itty-bitty post.  (One may ask, "Well, why can't you get this stuff done after the kids get home?"  One would be in danger of getting punched for asking such a question.  Homework and dinner and driving and talking and more talking and feeding with each wave of children and the spouse that walks through the door aaaaalll the way up until my bedtime would be the answer.)

I pray you are all doing well.  Cuckoo starts preschool the day after Labor Day.  I'll catch up with you then.

Have a lovely day!