Monday, August 29, 2011


I dreamed a recipe for the first time!  It was pretty cool, except I can't make it because two of the ingredients are not real.  Anyway, here it is:

Dice some peaches and poach them in blackberry water and donna extract.  Let them cool, mix in some flour, and form them into balls. Then roll them in toasted coconut.

I also dreamed that I was in the ocean, and the waves were huge, and I was leaping up really high out of the water with dolphins.  I could even feel my stomach drop as I dove back into the waves.  I did dolphin jumps for a long time.  It was so exhilarating!  My BFF had a dream that her sister was swimming backwards like a dolphin on its tail on top of the water.  Maybe we should swim with dolphins together!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Interactive cooking

Would you like to make some Korean food with me?  I am making bulgogi, which looks like this in Korean:
That literally translates as "fire meat", but don't be scared.  It's not spicy at all.  It's just usually cooked over a fire (grill).  I don't think real Koreans have crockpots, but I'm not a real Korean, so I put mine in the crockpot and cook it all day so the meat gets really tender.
 Let's get started.  I pretty much start everything with garlic, because I love it.  This is the biggest clove of garlic I've ever seen!  I usually buy the little boxes of garlic at Kroger, but after I saw this clove, I looked more carefully at my box and noticed it said "jumbo" on it.  Normally, I would use 4 or 5 cloves, but since these were so huge, I only used two.
I chopped an onion and minced the garlic.

Now for the marinade/sauce. (Real Koreans marinate the meat and then grill it.  I hate to throw away a good marinade, so I cook it in the crockpot and eat the whole thing).  I always use lite soy sauce, because it still has plenty of salt.  That second bottle is sesame oil, which is not exactly cheap, but it's a must.  Today I'm using red wine, because that's what I have.  I've also used white wine before.  If you're anti-wine, you could use 7-Up.  And finally some sugar.  I don't really measure, but I would guess I use about 1/3 C of soy sauce, 2 or 3 T oil, 1/3 C wine, and about 2 T sugar.
I also add a bunch of black pepper to the marinade.  I recently decided to try fresh-cracked pepper instead of my usual ground, but I was too cheap to buy a good peppermill.  I found this little plastic peppermill full of peppercorn for about a dollar at Aldi.
I mix the marinade, onions, and garlic in the crockpot.

If I lived alone, I would use tofu instead of meat, because meat grosses me out in general.  But for my family of carnivores, I bought meat. I use whatever meat I can get cheap.  This is about a pound and a half of top round.  It was starting to turn brown, so it was marked down.

King, prince, and pauper

I heard a skinny holistic health person talking about the concept of the king, prince, and pauper in regard to weight loss and meals.  Breakfast is supposed to be the king, the biggest meal of the day.  Lunch (the prince) is smaller, and you should barely eat any supper at all.  Sarah actually does that; Noah does the complete opposite. He usually skips breakfast, eats a huge lunch, and a gigantic supper.  So yesterday I explained the king, prince, and pauper principle to him.  This morning, I was loading the crockpot with food for supper, and Noah said, "Looks like the pauper is having dinner with the king tonight!"

Night visitors

The last two nights in a row, we've had some interesting and adorable animals show up at our back door.  The first night, it was three baby raccoons, making the cutest little chirpy noises.  We (adults only) went out cautiously, watching for the mother, ready to run for safety, but never saw her.  The babies swarmed us and tried to climb up our legs but didn't scratch or bite.

Noah put his stuffed raccoons by the door so they could see their relatives. :)

Then last night, another cute surprise.  We did NOT go outside to commune with this one.  
The cats were very interested in the skunk.  They all checked each other out, but nobody got hostile. 
I wonder who will turn up tonight?


Orange juice was on my grocery list.  This stuff looks like orange juice, right?  It's orange and it's made by Topicana after all.  The nice label, tricky marketing, and price fooled me.  Usually those "juice cocktails" that have hardly any juice and plenty of sugar are less expensive than real juice.  This stuff was on sale, but it was still priced like real juice.  In fact, it was even more than I would usually pay for orange juice, but I was sucked in by the "no pulp" and "calcium plus vitamin D".  The "50% less calories" should have been a tip-off, but I was drooling over the picture of that nice glass of orange juice and missed its significance. 

After I got it home and took a drink of it, the ruse was over.  It tasted like Tang, not orange juice.  So I finally studied the label (like I should have done before I bought it).  42% juice.   Made me wonder what the other 48% was....
Filtered water, a couple acids, some natural flavors, and...what? Reb A?  What on earth is that??  I googled it and discovered that it's some kind of artificial sweetener.  Learned my lesson.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marty loves math

The flashcard box drives her crazy. 
She sniffs the cards, rubs her face on them, pulls them out of the box, kicks them around, and messes up my whole system!
She's yelling, "I love flashcards!"

She also can't resist an open math workbook.  She doesn't care about any other subject.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Water fight

The ammunition
Sarah explaining the rules
The younger boys teamed up against the older one.
Imposing the loser's punishment
Retalliation for the retalliation
Manly chest bump   :)

Sarah's first bob

Sarah donated another six inches of gorgeous hair to Locks of Love, so now she has an adorable bob.

Just say Mary Kay

I'm pretty easily pushed over and often feel obligated to say yes when I really mean no.  I was just chatting with a friend about that fact this very morning.  Maybe that's what made me brave and bold when the Mary Kay lady called.  [side note:  about 18 years ago, a Mary Kay lady said something to me that I still remember, word for word: "You know, you could be really pretty if you just wore some makeup."]  I hope it doesn't offend anyone when I say that I'm generally not very fond of Mary Kay ladies.  So when this one called this morning, I was uncharacteristically firm, polite (except for interrupting her), and...NOT pushed over.  :)

This is how it went:
I answered the phone, and the most chipper, enthusiastic voice chirped: Well hello!  My name is Barbie (not her real name, just in case), and I'm with Mary Kay! How are you this fine morning?

Me (full of fear and dread): Fine, thanks. How are you?
B:  Oh, I'm doing great!  Hey listen, I see that you've recently moved in, and I just bet you could use a makeover!
Me: No, actually....
B: Well I would be so glad to bring over some of my products and get to know you and...
Me: No thanks.
B: Let's just set up a time that's good for you, and I'll bring you a little bag of goodies to try and...
Me:  I don't wear any makeup at all, ever, so you should save your goodies for someone who would use them.
B: You know, Mary Kay has a great line of products...
[As she went on about her various lotions and potions, I completely tuned her out.  Finally, I heard a speck of silence, so I mustered up all my bravery].
Me:  Thanks for the offer, but I'm not into Mary Kay at all, and I'm saying no.
B: Ok then. If you ever change your mind, give me a call.

After I hung up, I felt large and in charge. Where did I get the nerve to say "I'm saying no" with such a convincing, confident air? 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Deuteronomy 20

Today I was getting ready to read, and I saw the heading for Deuteronomy 20 titled "Instructions for soldiers".  I asked God to somehow show me how instructions for soldiers thousands of years ago could possibly apply to me now.  He was faithful to answer, and this is what I got out of it.  I read what Moses said in verses 3-4: "Don't be afraid as you go out to fight today!  For the Lord your God is going with you!  He will fight for you against your enemies, and He will give you the victory!" 

The very next verses talk about how they might be killed in battle.  That seemed like a contradiction to me.  Hadn't God just told them not to be afraid?  I assumed that meant He wouldn't let anything bad happen. But I went back and reread verses 3-4 and realized that He hadn't said nothing bad would happen; He just promised to be with them, to fight for them, and to give them the victory.  I too might face hardships, but I shouldn't be afraid, because God is with me, fighting for me against my greatest enemy, and will give me the victory! 

Deuteronomy 19:15-17

When I read these verses, I realized a new cool thing about Jesus that I don't think I really grasped before:  God came as a human being just like us because He knew we couldn't handle it if He came as His awesome spirit self.  When He appeared to the Israelites at Mt. Horeb, they were terrified of His voice and His presence in the fire, and they begged him NOT to speak to them anymore!  How many times have I begged God to do just the opposite?  I've sometimes thought, "Why doesn't God show Himself to me, talk to me personally?  Is He too busy, or does He just not care?"  But He knows that His awesome voice is so terrifying to us that we wouldn't even be able to listen, so He came to live among us as one of us. 


I'm reading through the Bible again.  I've used those "read through the Bible in a year" schedules before, but I don't think I got as much out of it as I should have, because my goal was not to spend time with God or learn more about who I am in Him, but to read through the Bible in a year.  I did the reading so I could check off the little box next to that day's date.  If I got behind, I stressed about it and rushed through it to catch up.

In Community Bible Study this spring, we studied Genesis. When it ended in May, I wanted to keep reading. Often in the summer, without the structure of CBS, I get lost. I read here and there, or sometimes not at all.  But this summer I continued on from Genesis, reading at least a chapter a day, sometimes more, with no pressure of fabricated schedules and deadlines.  I'm up to Deuteronomy 21.  Sometimes I can sense God telling me something through the reading.  God woke me up at 2:00 a.m. and reminded me that I should be writing it down so I don't forget.  I tried to go back  to sleep and tell Him I'd do it later, so here I am at 3:40 a.m., finally obeying.

So now my blog will contain the usual drivel, and occasionally some notes about what God is revealing to me as I read through the Bible.  If that freaks out any of the five of you who read my blog, I hope you'll get over it.  The next two posts will be about my reading, but that's just because I'm catching up.  Don't worry; I don't have lots to say every day, and many days, I don't have anything.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's that time again...

Time for my annual, extremely thorough skin check.  For the last hour, I've been busy scrubbing, plucking, clipping, lotioning, deodorizing, sanitizing, fragrancing, brushing, and shaving every body part, as if that will somehow make the whole process less mortifying.  The doctor checks my blood pressure every time and tells me that it's high again.  I try to explain that HE make it that way.  The fact that he went to high school with my husband only compounds the humiliation of his investigating parts of me that even my husband hasn't.  No piece of scalp is left unturned, nor the cracks between my toes, insides of my ears, or anywhere else.  I think this time when he cautions me about my blood pressure, I might say, "How about you take off all your clothes and stand in the middle of the room in front of the nurse and I'll inspect every millimeter of you?  Then we'll see whose blood pressure is rising!"  I must remind myself that he's only doing it for my good (in fact I'm paying him to do it) and that he's probably seen worse bodies than mine.  And the good news is that I only have to do it once a year now.  And the great news is that he hasn't found any more melanoma!

God's shadow

Sarah was singing a song about God watching over us 24/7, so I asked her if she knew what that meant.  She didn't, so we talked about that for awhile.  Then all the sudden she whipped her head up and stared at the ceiling.  Then she said, "Huh.  Nope," and went right back to eating lunch.  I paused, waiting for her to explain, but instead she yanked her head up again.  I said, "What are you doing?" and she said, "I was trying to catch God looking at me. I think His face is up there pressed against the ceiling, looking at me when I'm not looking."  She looked awhile longer and noticed the water stain on the ceiling.  She squinted at it and said, "Is that it?  No, God's face wouldn't be that ugly.  That must just be His shadow."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Exotic Teri

Sarah met a girl her age yesterday, who lives right down the street.  I asked her what her name is, and she said she didn't ask her.  Today she wanted to go play with her "new black friend".  I said, "Make sure you find out what her name is so we can stop calling her your new black friend."  She brought her to our house, and Mike asked what her name was.  She said it was Teri, and Mike asked her how she spells it.  She spelled it, and Sarah explained, "It's probably some African name." 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sarah the great

Sarah is in a research study for allergies.  Yesterday we had to spend the entire day at the allergy place and had to spend the night too.  Having been with her constantly for the last 36 hours, I have compiled this list. 
Reasons why Sarah is a great kid:
1.      She is incredibly generous.  She’s always making things and giving them to people.  If she has something, she loves to share it with other people.  The nurses had a lot of trouble finding her veins, and they stuck her and dug around in her arms and hands repeatedly.  Not once did the kid cry.  Because of all the extra misery she went through, the research director gave her an extra $20 to buy whatever she wants.  She gave $2 to the church, spent $10 on a paintable piggy bank (which she wants to give away), and wants to give the other $8 to tsunami victims in Japan.  I didn't teach her that; it's just who she is.
2.      She’s brave, and she’s one tough cookie.  (See #1)
3.      She’s honest.   She told the nurses angrily, “You are hurting me.”
4.      She’s confident in who she is.  She is who she is with no apologies.
5.      She trusts God.  During the worst of her torment, she said to me, “Will you pray, Mom?”
6.      She’s cheerful if you wake her up in the middle of the night.  The nurses woke her up at midnight for a torture session, and she chatted pleasantly with them. 
7.      If she hears music, you can bet she will be dancing.  If there’s no music, she will make her own and dance to it.  And she doesn’t care who’s watching.  When we were at Walmart this morning, she was dancing down the main aisle and yelled back to me, “Mom! Do what I do!”  When she wasn’t looking, I walked like a normal person. When she turned around to make sure I was doing what she was doing, I would step it up a little.  Not enough, though, because she yelled, “Come on, Mom!  Get those hips swingin’!”
8.      She’s friendly.  There’s no one she doesn’t know.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Things change

I saw on the news that my little junior high boyfriend received a military honor for his pilot work in Afghanistan.  There was a picture of him in his uniform, doing a stiff salute, but all I could see was the kid who used to write me sweet notes about meeting on the swings at recess to hold hands.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer evening

Mike scratching like an orangutan, sitting in his long-dead great-aunt's chair with the flowing threads, reading a book to the children, because it's due tomorrow at the library.  Cats wandering around being curious.  Sarah dancing.  Noah working on various messy projects, wearing his only good pair of shorts.

Dolls' day at the torture spa

Sarah decided to give a couple of her dolls a spa day.  When I walked by the bathroom/spa, she was holding Barbie by her hair and dunking her upside down into a sink full of water.  I kept walking.  Later, I discovered this scene in Sarah's room:
The poor little Asian doll used to have beautiful long braids.  Barbie just got a wash and trim and apparently some "styling".  I personally enjoy seeing Barbie have a bad hair day.  :)
The best part was later, when Mike tried to fool me.   I was in the shower (of course, people MUST talk to me when I'm in the shower), and he said, "Sarah cut her hair.  Look behind you."  So I turned around and saw this:

If I hadn't seen it earlier, I might have freaked out, but since I had already seen it, and since I had just washed Sarah's hair two minutes earlier, I wasn't fooled a bit. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

War in the tub

This is the scene that greeted me when I got in the shower after Noah had been playing in the tub for hours.

Someday soon I'll have a regular old, boring, peaceful tub, and I'll miss the soldiers. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hope for the future

I was in the middle of a nightmare this morning when Sarah woke me up demanding breakfast.  I grabbed her and held her tight, and she noticed that I was sweaty and terrified and confused.  I told her I had a bad dream, and she said, "What was it about?"  She was actually more concerned about me than herself!  It was one of those rare glimpses of her growing up to be a decent person, the ones that give me hope and keep me going when I feel like giving up on her. So I told her all about it, and she listened!  She didn't even interrupt!  In the nightmare, I was being chased by a lunatic who was trying to stab me to death with scissors.  I told my friend, but she was too busy to help me.  I told my husband I needed help, but he said he had to go to work.  I called 911 and got an answering machine.  After I told Sarah all this, she said, "Sounds like everyone abandoned you."  The perfect empathetic statement!  A trained counselor couldn't have done it better. 

Chocolate cake for breakfast

We watched the above video with the kids, about Bill Cosby feeding his kids chocolate cake for breakfast.  It's almost impossible to get Noah to eat breakfast before 9:30 a.m.  This week they have VBS every morning at 9:00.  I try to get Noah to eat something before he has to go.  So this morning I said to him, "Noah, what can I get you to eat?"  Even though it's been several days since we watched the Bill Cosby video, Noah immediately said, "Chocolate cake" with a smirk on his face, knowing I wouldn't do it. 
I like to surprise them once in awhile.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Life in the nut house

I just ran down the hall and did a ballet jump for no apparent reason.  Of course I never was a ballerina and am certainly not one now, so don't picture it in your head.  It was not pretty.  Both kids were staring at the TV during my burst of insanity, which occurred right in their line of vision.  Noah glanced at me, rolled his eyes, and said, "What are you doing, Mom?" in a disinterested way before going right back to the TV.  Sarah didn't even unglue her eyes from the TV.