Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ten Things of Thankful, Week 17

God gave you 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say "thank you"?
- William A. Ward

1.  I am thankful for JCPenney.  Phoenix is going to Homecoming this weekend.  (With a girl.  I cannot believe this day has come.)  Pants to fit the boy are not easy to come by.  However, if I can find them, size 20 in the kids' section of JCPenney work beautifully.  I scored a pair of black dress pants for him on the clearance rack for $15.  Slim shirt in the men's section on sale for $14.99.  The salespeople at the store were fantastic, sizing him within seconds, pointing me to the proper shirts, then, when we were looking at some ties, told us we needed to go to the other section with slim ties so Phoenix didn't look like he was wearing a bib.  (Yes, that was a run-on sentence.  Thank you for asking.)  And then!!  When I was checking out, the teller scanned a $10 off coupon for me. 

2.  I am thankful for good, affordable lunches at school.  The choices the kids have are great, and the daily hot lunch choices are actually good, and usually quite nutritious.  It saves us hours and hours of packing and cleaning lunch boxes.  More importantly, it makes my life a great deal easier.

3.  I am thankful for our proximity to Indianapolis, which has lots and lots of activities for us to enjoy.  This week, the little boys were thrilled to take a trip to the zoo with some friends. 

Under the dolphin pavilion where the dolphin shows are held is an underwater viewing area.  It's mesmerizing.

The dolphins were extra feisty that day.

4.  I am thankful for soccer schedules which make my life as easy as possible.    We have 5 kids playing soccer, and the schedules could be extremely grueling on the weekends.  This year, karma was nice to us.  We have had so many kids' games and locations match up, the season really has been the easiest one yet.  Giant and Star are in a local tournament this weekend, and the four Saturday games lined up perfectly.  I got to see all four with very little wait time in between.  Since I didn't have any other kids with me, I could get some rare photos.  (Star took the ones of Giant.)

Giant takes a corner kick.

He was soooo close to making this bicycle kick goal.

This happens too often.  Kids run in to block one of his kicks, and BOOM!  This one wasn't so bad.  The boy hardly flinched.
Star is a goal keeper.  His team was far more skilled than the opponent in the second game, so Star spent most of the game like this:

But did get to play the field a bit.
This photo cracks me up.  After a corner kick, Star went up to head it into the goal while six of his opponents stood and watched.  (The ball didn't go in.  So close.)

5.  I am thankful for organized children.  I have three children who are fantastic about keeping up and ahead of schoolwork.  They are thorough and detail oriented and forward-thinking.  I am thankful, because we have one child who is not, and just one of them is about to kill us.  If the other three were like him, I'd seriously have to question my parenting ability.

6.  I am thankful for the perfect weather we've had this week.  I know, there's nothing more boring than small talk about the weather.  But, OH, the weather!!  Perfectly perfect in every way.  Call me boring.

7.  I am thankful for COW.  It was his birthday on Friday, so he brought flowers home for me! 

He's 42 now, and just as smart and funny and thoughtful as he was when I met him at the age of 16.   

And he's managed to stay buff after all these years.

8.  I am thankful for the end of pig season.  The little piggies went to the butcher this week, and I couldn't be happier.  The stress of keeping them alive and in their pen was taking it's toll. 

9.  I am thankful for the folks who purchase the meat from our pigs.  If no one wanted the meat, we wouldn't be able to raise them.  We can't just have one pig, and we can't eat more than one in a year. 

10.  I am so thankful for my fun, creative readers who participated in the poem contest the last couple of days.  If you missed it, you must go to the post to read the hilarious poems everyone came up with.  Puts mine to shame, to say the least. 

Plus, the contest is still open!!  Please feel free to add your own.  I'd love it!

It's your turn!  How many of those 86,400 seconds can you spend on saying "thank you"?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Ode to the Pigs

There once was a pig named...

Oh, wait.  That's no good.  We don't name our pigs.  How about a spin-off an old favorite?

Pig, pigs, the magical meat.
The more you eat, the more you sheet.
The more you sheet, the better you'll feel,
So let's have pigs at every meal.

While it makes my immature self smile, it doesn't even make sense.   Perhaps a different old favorite?

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
The bacon is yummy,
and the ham is good, too!

No, still too juvenile.  I can do better.  Perhaps a limerick?

Three small pigs came to live at The Coop.
They got very sick and had runny poop.
Coop Mom gave them shots
They felt better.  Lots!
And lived to one day become soup.

Need the recipe?

How about to a song?  Perhaps to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle?

For five months I cared for you
Even when you chewed my shoe.
In return you ran away
Causing me to go cray-cray.
Your wacky antics wore me out
"To the butcher!" I did shout.

Or not. 

It's been a long, long season with this group of pigs.  They were a feisty bunch.  Since April, they have managed to get out three times...

Once when I wasn't home

Once after the Labor Day party

And once recently when it was caught on tape

They've all gotten sick, coming close to death (well, one did come to death), causing me to learn how to give pigs shots in the neck.

Surely you remember the diagnosis and the solution.

They have destroyed our barn, one piece of wood at a time, which means lots of work for us before next year's pigs arrive.

One of them even bit me in the leg.

Am I sorry to see them go?

Um, no.

Not one little bit.

They are gone, with very little trouble.  I wasn't even here when they were loaded onto the truck.  All I had to do was get them locked in the barn before the truck got here.

(Of course, the big kids were the only ones to help me, so I was locked in the barn with the pigs and had to squeeze/climb my way out, but Mission:  Accomplished.)

Turken wanted to take a video, so here you go.  Blame yourselves for my new obsession with adding videos to my posts.  Lead up to the video:  I had an armload of apples, the pigs followed me into the barn.  While I fed the apples to the pigs, the kids put up the gate.  When I watched the video, I thought, "The kids had some good points.  I probably should have listened to them."  At one point, Giant was cheering, "Go Mom!" before I climbed out.  I was clearing away the cobwebs at the time, hoping I didn't get a spider in my hair during the exiting of the barn.

In closing, a(n?) haiku.

The pigs were here.  Four!
Only three went out the door
On their own four feet.

Sure, that wasn't professional grade poetry or anything, but I'd like to see you do better.

No, really. 

Leave me a poem in the comments about this year's pigs.  Be creative!  Choose any poem style you like.  I'm thinking I'll even have a prize for the best one.  (Since I'm flying by the seat of my pants, I have no idea what that prize would be.  The least I can do is put it up on Facebook.  Really, I'm only doing this because I have funny, witty, smart people reading this blog, and I know you will come up with some fantastic poems.)

Have a lovely day!

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm So Going to Be a Cliche When I'm Old(er)

I do not want my kids to grow up.

Just felt like I had to get that out of the way before we begin.

It is a fact, unfortunately, that these dear ones will grow up.  They are growing up very quickly as I type. 

I can't change the fact, so I'm going to embrace it.  At least for today.

There are some definite advantages to children growing older and leaving the proverbial nest.

Our Listicle assignment this week is to list

10 Things I Look Forward To

1.  Eating out at every meal.  I enjoy cooking for other people.  I enjoy making them happier by putting their favorite meals in front of them.  I don't enjoy the pressure of having to come up with something to feed 8 people every single night, taking busy schedules into account.  When the kids are gone, there won't be anyone to make happy with food except COW, and he's happy with 4 pounds of hot dogs.

2.  Doing what I want when I want to do it.  My day is completely and utterly ruled by the schedules of other people.  My hair has been needing a cut for weeks now.  I haven't been able to exercise in an eternity.  I can't even go to the bathroom without someone yelling for me.  I'm really OK with it most of the time, but I am looking forward to being able to just browse through a store at a leisurely pace when the mood strikes.

3.  Walking through my house without thinking, "This house is a disaster!"  Messes make me crazy after a while.  I am pretty good about enjoying the kids and not getting overly concerned with a spotless house.  However, I have my limits.  I look forward to the day when my limits never get tested.

4.  Being friends with my kids.  I am a firm believer in being a parent, not a friend, with one's children.  While we do have plenty of fun, they know that I'm in charge.  Just yesterday I was talking to Phoenix about what I envision our relationship to be once he is older.  I expect to have loads and loads of fun with them, once I don't have to constantly remind them to brushteethputdishesawaydohomeworktakeashowerdoyourchores. 

5.  Traveling with my husband.  We both love, love, love to go new places and see new things.  We have put less into the kids' college accounts in order to put more into our retirement accounts.  As he gets older, he will be able to work less and less, and we will be going more and more.

6.  Volunteering/Working in a variety of ways I can't with children in tow.  There are so many things I want to do to help in schools and shelters and food pantries and hospitals.  I have thought I would like to be a doulah, helping women through the birth of their children.  I have thought about volunteering in the classrooms of inner-city schools, where parent involvement is much, much less than it is at my own children's school.  So many options, I am going to have a hard time choosing which ones to do.

7.  Spending more time with COW on a daily basis.  We only get a few, short minutes each night to see each other and chat before he's falling asleep on the couch.  I won't even have to wait until the kids move out for this one.  Once they are in school, I'll be able to have lunch with him at least a few times each month.  Once they are no longer needing us to take them to school, I see us spending the morning going to daily Mass and hanging out with our friends over breakfast, then doing something fun most days of the week.

8.  Seeing what my children do with their lives.  They all have such potential to do so many things.  It will be fun (I hope and pray) to see what career paths they choose, the adventures they pursue, the families they have, and the enjoyment they get out of life.

9.  Moving to a condo.  When we bought this house, COW and I made a deal.  We'd live here for 40 years, then it was off to a condo for us.  I don't foresee us making it to 40 years.  By year 25, after Cuckoo heads off on his own, we will be ready to give up the work of the little farm.  (I have no doubt, the chickens and pigs will be gone well before that.)  Can't have grass needing to be mowed if we are planning to be circling the globe a few times over. 

10.  Playing with grandkids.  We have made it clear to our kids that we will not be the grandparents taking the grandkids to school each day or taking care of them while their parents work.  We will, however, be fantastic grandparents.   We will have slumber parties and take them on trips and go to their games and have special dates with them.  It will be so much fun. 

Well, I've clearly got a long way to go before these things come to pass.  Two little boys are now at my knee begging me to play a game.  I'm off to play.  Someday, there will be plenty of time for writing and editing. 

Crossing my fingers there aren't too many typos...

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

10 Things of Thankful, Week 16

One night this week, I managed to get a few minutes outside, alone, as the sun went down.

There was a full moon already high in the sky, shining over my shoulder as I took the laundry off the line.

The temperature was absolutely perfect, with a slight breeze ruffling the leaves.

I sat on the side porch and simply pondered the years and years people have done the same things as I have done in this very place.   I pictured the people who worked in the barns throughout the last 147 years.  I could almost see the mothers taking clothes off the line, kids scattering food for the chickens, fathers fixing holes in fences.  I looked up into the trees that were planted by those original homeowners.  Trees which shaded untold numbers of friends and family as they rested underneath.

At one point, the train whistled, as it does every night.   A train sounds very different when you are listening to it in the dark, on the porch of a house in the middle of 200 acres of corn, while contemplating the generations of families who have sat in the very same spot.  To me, the train can be one giant nuisance.  Besides getting in my way when I'm trying to get somewhere, my dogs insist on howling back at the whistle, every single time, early morning or dark of night.

But to the families who lived here 140 years ago, the train meant something very different.  It meant supplies.  And fast travel.  And progress.  An expanding world.

I am so blessed to live in this old house, on this beautiful piece of property.

For my list this week, I thought I'd take you on a tour of things I am so happy to have here on our property as well as the things we are able to have because of the property.

To make it even better, some of the tour will be in video form!!

**record scratch***

Well, that was the plan.

Problem #1:  I don't know how to use my camera phone.  I forgot the important fact that when I hold the camera sideways, I can see the scene properly, but when it downloads to my computer, it is sideways.
Problem #2:  A pig escaped while Cuckoo had the camera.  While it made for funny and "Aww, ain't he cute?!" footage, it wasn't exactly the intro to pigs I was hoping to give you.
Problem #3:  It has rained/stormed almost every minute we've been home, so I was limited in my photo opportunities.

I will do my best.

1.  I am thankful for the chicken coop.  We get so much enjoyment from raising chickens, and the fresh eggs are miles above store-bought eggs in all ways.  The chicken video is the first one we shot.  Cuckoo is taking the video, in true Cuckoo form, while I toss some cantaloupe to the hens.   Once again, the video is here more for the audio.  I just can't get enough of that child's voice.  And you will notice at the end, I do a little foreshadowing...

2.  I am thankful for the pig barn.  You had a good look at this barn in the pig video yesterday.  I swear it did not look like that in April.  This bunch of pigs has been more destructive than any we've ever had.  They have practically torn down one of the barn walls.  I'm just praying they don't knock the whole thing down before they go to the butcher on Wednesday.  Which, by the way, is why I'm thankful for the pig barn.  We can raise pigs.

I know many people don't think they could raise something only to have it butchered for the freezer.  If a person eats meat, this really is the best way to go.  The pigs are fed well and have a happy life.  When it is time to go to the butcher, the work is done at a small operation, where we know everyone who works there.  It is very open-door, so we know exactly what happens.  We are able to have an entire year's worth of high-quality meat in our freezer with very little cash out of our pockets.  (We sell the other two pigs to cover most of the cost of raising all three.) 

3.  I am thankful for the main barn.  I posted a tour of the barn a while back.  It was built in 1901.  We know this, because the date and names of the kids who lived here are etched in the cement of the doorways.  The kids have had so much fun playing in that barn.  When I had my photography business, it was used many, many times for portraits.  It's just a great, old barn.

4.  I am thankful for all of the space we have to grow our own food.  I had never planted a seed before we moved here.  Not even the grass or flower seeds some kids do in class.  Now, we have a huge garden and a small orchard which gives us an abundance of food.  I get a thrill every single time I put something on the dinner table that we grew or raised ourselves.  Just two days ago, I picked this for our meal.

It tasted sooo good.  And there are more where this one came from.

5.  I am thankful for the hundreds of trees on the property.  They give us tons of shade, and between the shade and the ever-present breeze in the country, even the hottest days aren't too hot.  Plus, there are climbing trees for all ages.

I don't lift kids into trees.  If a child wants to sit in one, he has to get into the tree himself.  Turken is finally big enough to get into some of them.

Can you see Turken in "his" tree?  He would want me to tell you he climbs much higher than this, but this is the only spot with a break in the leaves good enough for a photo. The red oak tree behind Turken's is the best "big kid" climbing tree.

He was in a picture-taking mood.  He insisted I take a photo in the other tree he can climb.
6.  I am thankful for the remoteness of our property.  We own 7 acres in the middle of 200 acres of corn.  We can't see a single neighbor from the house, which means we don't have to have curtains on any of our windows.  It's quiet and peaceful and so dark at night.  I love just standing out front and looking at all of those stars.  And, nobody cares that our landscaping is basically nonexistent and our lawn is seldom mowed and really more weeds than grass.

The view from one of my second-floor, bedroom windows. 

7.  I am thankful for the characteristics of our old house.  Walking through our house is like a little history lesson.  So many details in the house are original and really show how things were back when the house was built.  In the basement visitors will find the low section in the floor where ice was kept, the gas lamps in the walls, the coal shoot, and the 4-brick thick foundation.  Throughout the house a person will find original glass in the original windows, original mantels around the fireplace, wide interior walls (which are hollow in the middle except for the ladders allowing access), a gorgeous curved staircase, and a plate above the front door inscribed with the name of the builder and the year the house was built.

8.  I am thankful for the opportunity to show our kids the value in trying new things.  We moved to this house having never laid eyes on a chicken which actually had feathers and a head.  Each and every year the kids see us come up against situations we have never before seen.  They get to see us find solutions, and many times they get to be a part of the solution.  I want them to be unafraid to try new things.  I want them to have grand adventures and soak up every single experience.  We only get one life on this earth, and I want them to make the most of it.  Showing them is the best way I know to teach them.

(The next two are completely unrelated to the house and property.  That #8 pretty much summed it all up, so I'm moving on to a couple of other things for which I'm grateful this week.)

9.  I am thankful for Lizzi giving me the chance to guest post.  On Monday, she had things to do on other people's blogs, so she asked me to write a post for hers.  All she said was, "Can you write something about good parenting?" Maybe I shouldn't have used quotes.  It was something like that.  I wasn't feeling especially good at parenting the week my post was due, and I rewrote that post at least 10 times.  Two hours before the deadline, I finally, finally came up with a way to do it.  I am so glad she asked me.  There were some things swimming in my head that I never would have written down if she wouldn't have nudged me to do so.  And I'm grateful to her for the support and encouragement she is constantly showing me.

10.  I am thankful for the years I have spent teaching and working with kids in general.  When Cuckoo told me Friday morning that he wanted to do a craft, it took me all of 45 seconds to come up with an easy one we could do with just a few materials.  He could not have been more thrilled.  All we did was make a jack-o-lantern lantern out of construction paper.  It took us 10 minutes, and that includes collecting the materials.  When we were done, he carried that lantern around all morning.  He played cards with it (War, specifically.  At one point he asked me, "Which one wins?  A jack-o-lantern or a three?") and held it while he watched Sid the Science Kid.

Clearly, I need to dust off the cobwebs in my brain and do some more crafts with the kid.

That's it for me!  Let me hear all the things for which you are thankful this week.

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pig Escape Caught on Tape!!!

Last night, I came up with a very creative, outside-the-box idea for the thankful hop this weekend.  I'll still do part of it, so I won't tell you the entire idea, but part of it entailed videos from around the farm.  Cuckoo and I began filming this morning.  For the chickens, I started with the phone, then he took over at the end.  When we moved to the pigs, I let him film the entire thing. It had rained all morning, and I didn't want to drop my phone in the mud with the pigs.

Backstory:  Each time I feed the pigs, I throw them a tomato or apple treat, simply to get them away from the door, so I can get in.  Not one time, in 5 years of raising pigs, have I ever locked the door behind me.  As soon as I'm in the fence, they are all practically knocking me over trying to get their food.

Until today.

Comments about the video:
1.  Keep in mind, Cuckoo (4 years old) was the videographer.  He was the only one home.  The moment the pig got loose, he got scared.  Most of the video is really for the benefit of the audio.  Turn the volume up to hear my screams and the pig grunts in the background.

2.  The dog you hear is Roy.  He really, really wanted to come in to "help" me.

3.  You may hear me remind Cuckoo a few times that he had the video on.  It was in no way because I wanted this video for the blog, but completely because I didn't want him to get scared and throw the phone at the pig.

So why did the video end?

Because after 4 more minutes of dead video (which I cut out), when I was out in our 2 acre field chasing down a pig, Cuckoo accidentally turned the video off.  Sorry to say, there is no documentation of my heroic capture of the loose hog.

However, I do have illustrations.

Here's how it all went down...

I realized I needed to shore up the holes in the area where the pig and I went.  (Towards the end of the video, you see me (upside down) in the pen again.  I am trying to find a gate I can carry by myself.)

While I was in the pen, the pig found his way through to the wide open, 2 acre field.  (Granted, the opening is quite large and walking through it is really the only logical thing for a pig to do, if you are using pig logic.)

I tried chasing and corralling for a few minutes, but my attempts were futile.  And exhausting.  There was too much room, so he could easily get around me.  I had no rope or anything to actually hold onto him, so catching him was not an option.  The more I tried to get him going in the right direction, the farther from the pen he went.  Adding to the long list of problems were the Lupus flare that kicked in yesterday, the gigantic boots I was wearing, and the sprained ankle I retwisted in this little escapade. 

I needed to be smarter, not faster, than that blasted pig.

I stopped chasing and just stood in the one opening I knew I had to prevent him from taking.  The one spot in the entire field that is not fenced off leads directly into 10 acres of corn field.  If he went there, I decided I was going to give him up for dead.  Donating him to the coyotes.  Washing my hands of him.  Keeping him out was important. 

Oops, that grass line was supposed to be in pink.  The pig, not I, was eating the grass.

The plan worked, and he started to head back towards the barns.  I simply followed behind him.

Be vewy, vewy, quiet.  I'm hunting runaway pigs.

I can't tell you how much I was wishing for at least a ghillie suit, if not a cane/flashlight/stun gun.

Finally, finally he made his way back to the area just outside the pen where I had the best chance of corralling him.  Of course, he went straight towards Cuckoo.

Did I mention (or did it come across in the video?) that Cuckoo loves pigs, but only if the pigs are on the other side of a fence?  When the pig came towards him, Cuckoo simply took off with my phone and kept on running until he got inside the house.  I didn't see a single glimpse of him after that.

I managed to get the exits blockaded while the runaway pig nana-nana-poo-pood the pigs still stuck on the inside of the pen.  It was no Fort Knox of redneck fencing, but it was enough to keep the pig from heading for the hills.  Well, for the corn.

Next to the white barn you will see a section of an old fence, some long boards, and an old trough, all dug out of the surrounding barns and hauled over to the opening.  I'm nothing if not resourceful. 
All I had left to do was get him to walk to the gate, get around him to unlock and open the gate without spooking him off, and get him to walk through.  Oh, and do it without letting the other pigs out. 

It was Roy who finally saved me.  He must have had a rest, because out of nowhere he began another barking frenzy.  The two penned pigs went to investigate, so I was able to open the gate.   I held it open, stretched out in order to kick the pig on the rump to turn him in the right direction, and in he walked.

As he passed by me, I swear I heard him say, "I am only going into this pen, because I'm full and could use a nap.  I am choosing to go in."  He then plopped down in a giant mud puddle.

I locked the gate and limped back to the house.  Cuckoo met me at the door.

Me:  Why did you leave me there by myself?

C:  Oh, I thought the dogs could help you. 


C:  And I don't like the pigs out of their fence.

Me either, Babe.  Me either.

*********** update********

It just so happens that the FTSF sentence is I deserve a medal for...

I think we can all agree.  I deserve the "Caught a Pig All on Her Own Without Uttering One Single Cuss Word" medal.

I accept.

Finish the Sentence Friday

Have a lovely day!

*If you are having trouble with the video, go here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Cookie By Any Other Name Is Inferior. And not as Funny.

As promised, the Snickerdoodle recipe.  (Isn't that a funny name for a cookie?)

As usual, I just can't give you a recipe.  There has to be distractions, commentary to entertain, and tips to help you make the best darn cookie ever invented.  Basically, I write in a way which prevents you from simply pushing "print page" to get the recipe.  :)

I make these more than any other cookie, not just because they taste delicious, but because they are the PERFECT cookie to make with little kids.  Cuckoo and I made them last week, because Giant wanted to take them into his class for his birthday.  Buttercup saw these photos and said, "Oh, I remember making those.  I loved rolling the cookies in the sugar!"

Make them with little children.

I don't care if you have to pull one off the street.  Involve a child.


The original recipe is from my mom.  My tips are in italics.

Mix the following:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs

Sift:  Ha!  I don't own a sifter and have never sifted in my life.

2 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon salt

Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing as you go.  The last half cup may kill your mixer, seeing as how this is one thick dough.  If your mixer starts to smoke, unplug it and finish mixing with a spoon.)

Cover and chill in refrigerator.  I usually make the dough before going to bed, then bake the cookies in the morning, but you and the cookies can chill for as little as 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Stir together 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon on a small plate.
Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts.  I use a spoon to scrape the dough out of the bowl, then simply roll it around between my hands to round it out.   (Like you couldn't have figured that out.)
Have the kids roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar until they (the balls, not the kids) are completely covered.
Place the cinnamon-sugared balls onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet a few inches apart.
While taking photos of cookie sheet, realize the early morning sun is casting a lovely shadow on the golden wall of the kitchen.
Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes.
Go back to taking photos of the flower while they bake.
The photo is from Phoenix.  He is a Boy Scout and last week earned his next level in scouting, Life.  The Boy Scouts are very much about honoring their mothers, so whenever a boy reaches a new level, he gives his mom a pin.  At Life, she also gets a rose and a promise to give her the other 11 out of the dozen when he gets his Eagle (the next, and highest, level).

Then get back to making cookies.
Your child helper will very likely have licked his fingers after the last cookie went on the cookie sheet before going in the oven.  You will want to wash his hands between each and every tray!!!
After (usually) 9 minutes, the cookies will appear dry, but not brown.  Take them out of the oven.  I leave them on the stovetop (burners off!) on the cookie sheet for another minute.  The cookies will deflate a bit and finish their cooking process on the stovetop.
Sometimes, as I put the cookies in the oven, they roll a bit.  The cookies will run together, but who the heck cares?  They still taste delicious.  And show that they are homemade.
Move the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before putting them in a storage container.
Or in your mouth.
He's saying, "This is the best cookie I have ever had!" 
This recipe made about 4 dozen cookies.
Enough for each of Giant's classmates, teachers, siblings, parents, and soccer teammates to have a cookie.
They were begging for more.
Because these cookies are THE BEST!
Let me know if you try them.
Have a lovely day!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

10 Things of Thankful, #15

Let's just get right to it.  It's been quite a morning.

1.  I am thankful neither my person nor my property was destroyed by cows.   It is never a dull moment around here, I tell you.  This morning, after a nice, relaxed wake-up, I got out of bed and heard the dogs barking like mad.  I looked out the window and saw someone walking through the pig pen.  I ran downstairs, called to COW, and took off outside.  It wasn't a someone.  It was a cow.  Two cows, actually, looking at me from the barn. 
Hubby drove off in the car to get our neighbors (the owners of the cows), while I stayed to keep an eye on the cows.  Like there was anything I could do.  I got a little nervous when they came within a couple of feet from me, seeing as how I've never touched a cow that wasn't securely tethered and with it's owner.  While doing some sort of cow-whisperer thing (you know, "Hi, Cow, so good to meet you.  You are a nice cow who isn't going to charge me or run through a barn wall or anything, right?  Have you met the pigs?" etc, etc.) I mentally got my emergency preparedness act together and came up with an exit strategy.
Of course, despite the banging on the door, our neighbors never got up to answer.  Hubby left a note on the door, and we put up an extra gate to keep them in our back field.  It was all pretty anti-climactic.  Of course, I wasn't there to see the neighbors corral the cows.  That may have been interesting.  We had to leave for Turken's soccer game.

Yes, I took pictures.  I had my phone with me in case I needed to call 911. 

They came closer, (By the blur, it seems my hands were shaking a bit.)
and closer still.  They are going to be needing one good brushing.  Both were covered in burs.

2.  I am thankful we weren't late for Turken's soccer game.  We had gotten out of bed with a little bit of time to spare, but no enough to take care of a cow emergency.  The kids weren't even up when we ran outside.  We had to RUSH to get ready, and even took two cars in order to get Turken (and his coach, COW) to the field before game time.

3.  I am thankful for Turken's attitude on the soccer field.  With four older siblings who play, Turken has a much better handle on the game than other kids his age.  He knows the rules, he knows how to pass, he knows not to clump around the ball.  I was worried about how he'd do when game time came and the other kids didn't play the "right" way.  I needn't worry.  He is having a great time and hasn't once complained.  I think he was most excited, because he finally got to be the one on the field while his siblings stood by and cheered for him.  He had the biggest (and loudest) cheering section by far.

Even when his own teammates try to take the ball (or kick him.  Can't really tell.) from him, he just goes with it.

GOAL!  See the ball in the back of the net?

4.  I am thankful for cooler temperatures.  I'm pretty sure Mother Nature is in the throes of menopause.  We had some lovely weather, then for several days this week Miss Nature had one serious hot flash, sending us into a heat wave so hot practices and games of all kinds were being cancelled.  We were flirting with record temperatures set back in 1897.  Then the rain came, bringing much cooler temperatures.   And by "much cooler" I mean a drop of 30 degrees in 2 days.

5.  I am thankful I was not alive in the heat wave of 1897.    I can't imagine living through those temperatures without air conditioning while wearing long dresses with long sleeves.  Have mercy, those poor people had to be miserable!

6.  I am thankful for rain.  We've had very little in the last couple of months.

7.  I am thankful for Snickerdoodles.  They really are the best kind of cookie.  (post with recipe to come later this week)

8.  I am thankful for some downtime to play games with the kids.  We have a pretty light weekend, so in between cleaning things, we get to play some games and just enjoy each other's company.

Pay no attention to their bored expressions.  We really are enjoying each other's company. 

9.  I am thankful for all those silent friends and family who read this blog.  I know they are out there.  Every once in a while I get word that someone reads every post.  Every once in a while they will tell me themselves.  It seems one of COW's aunts heard about it recently, as I got a FB message saying how she was thoroughly enjoying going through all the posts.  I am very uncomfortable talking about the blog with people, but I want them to know I appreciate their support.

10.  Lastly, I am thankful for Giant.  He turned 11 on September 11th.  There were a few really (no, I mean REALLY) tough years for him, where we were both lucky to make it through each day.  But that same "spiritedness" that kept my stomach in knots every day has finally turned into something good.  He is a hard-working, compassionate, kind, bright boy I am so blessed to have.

(If you have a "spirited" child who you are afraid to take out of the house, wondering what sort of horrendous fit he is going to throw or what "walk of shame" you are going to have to survive, read this.  It will give you loads of hope.)

What happy things would you like to share this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts