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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sheridan Lake

We live in a beautiful, well built house. We bought it sight unseen before we moved here. Ok. We did see 5 pictures on the internet, but we consider that sight unseen. God was good to let us have it. There have only been 3 owners since it was built in 1961. The original owner built our house with quality materials. He really did a great job.
Two caveats of a house built in 1961. 1) One car garage. Which was huge back then but not so much now. 2) No central air conditioning.

Most homes in this area that are older just don't have central air. It was the same when we lived in Minneapolis. This far north, the people are a hardy sort and are just plain giddy when the snow melts. So central air has become standard in the newer houses, but not in homes like ours.

In the past, we did get an estimate to add central air. With a quad level house, it's just plain expensive. So we bought some nice, new window units. They do fine the two months that we need them. I am exaggerating. It's really almost three.

We, in our frugality, don't usually put them in until the thermostat hits above 85 on a regular basis. Like every day. We still hadn't put them in this morning. Even though we knew the temps would be in the high 90s, because after the next day, we would fall back to the 70s and 80s.

Side story: One day a few years ago the thermostat hit 104 and we didn't have the air in. (It was late May/early June. We've had blizzards in the same time period.) I happened to call a credit card company, which I found out later was in Arizona. They had hit 112 that day and had been in the 100s for a week or more. I had no more room to complain.

Anyway, today we planned a surprise for our girls. Mostly so we could get out of the house. We went to Sheridan Lake for the first time. It is a beautiful lake about an hour from our house. We got there at 10:30 and stayed until about 1:30. This picture was taken in the morning. Imagine about 200 more people on this little beach and that's what it looked like after lunch.

Headed to Armadillo's in Rapid City,

then made our way home.

We had a great time, and thought we might beat the heat when we got back to the house. We mistimed it slightly.


Yes. These are the thermostats INSIDE our house. Taken about 5 minutes apart. Around 3:30 pm. We have since put ONE air conditioner in. It has cooled us down to 89. We are considering a change in strategy from now on.

For those of you concerned for our well-being. All two of you. We did chicken out and head to the church for an impromptu "movie night." Central air has never felt so good.




Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green

We had a visitor this week at our house.
Actually, one of the high school boys at our church found this little guy.
Somehow, we ended up with it after the Sunday service. And we brought him back to our house.

My Indian Princess made him feel right at home by tossing him 5 feet in the air and letting him land in the pool. I don't know if frogs can have heart attacks, but I'm sure this one was contemplating one.

The girls tried to keep him in a plastic bottle, but there really wasn't enough room for him.
We found the old glass jar we used for dog treats. They added rocks, water, a little grass, and some ants. It was perfect.

On Monday, my Littlest Girl stopped being so "girly" and held the frog for the first time. (I was so proud.)
I let them know that frogs have to eat. And two ants in one day is not enough. My husband was my hero when he filled a saucer with honey and took it out to the ant colony that lives in our yard. He showed the girls how to trap the ants so we could feed the frog.

Then they took our friend out in the backyard to get some exercise. Now, far be it for me to micromanage the playing with of frogs. And since we lost a caterpillar in their room last week, I'm SUPER comfortable if they want to take the frog outside. I didn't even warn them to be careful or the frog might run away. I mean, who am I to be frog dictator?

About 15 minutes later, I hear both of the girls. "Here, Froggy! Frog! Come back, Frog!" My Indian Princess informs me that her frog was taking a walk. But they couldn't find him. And I had to stop myself from rushing out there to join the hunt. Ok. That might be a lie.

Froggy was never found. My husband and I aren't positive the cats next door found a tasty appetizer. (Who doesn't like frog legs?) But the girls were very, very excited to have a pet for a day. And hopefully, we can find another frog to fill their jar. Or not.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just Wanted You To Know...

I am trying to wean myself off Facebook.
So a lot of my blog postings are going to look short and unusually witty. Oh. And Random.
Because that's what I usually post on Facebook. :)

Sorry for all you people who actually want to read a cohesive paragraph or interesting story.
My stuff sometimes comes out that way, most times it doesn't.

My main goal is to write something everyday. Thanks for being patient while I figure it all out.

Aspirations

I was changing the sheets on my 5 year old's bed. Amidst the Barbies, stuffed animals, jump ropes, and dress up clothes littered about her room, I see a Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, opened to page 17.

They grow up so fast.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lost in Translation II


When I ask my Littlest Girl to do something.
She will do it, and then say, "I asked what you did, Mommy!"

I offered her a dried apricot yesterday.
She ate it, then asked for another papercut.

I seriously feel like Steven Wright when I type this stuff.
I have the hair, afterall.

Referral

I highly recommend this blog. They bless me continually.
Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yay!

The second baby that was due in my family arrived today!
Congrats to Meghan and Jeff on Emrys!
He joins his cousin, Joshua, who was born June 7!
The boys outnumber the girls again...

Helpful Hint for the Day

Dr. Pepper makes vitamins fizz in my mouth.
Just thought you should know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Randomness

Some random thoughts. Because that's my life:

1) My Littlest Girl showed me her two toys. One is named Ginger, the other one is Fragile.

2) Summer is coming. How do I know? Because my chin is broken out with little tiny zits. When my chin is in bloom, I'll be sweating in no time. I know. Sweet little reminders of summer.

3) Problems with mean kindergartners in VBS. Who knew?

4) My white rose bush had about 10 blooms this morning! LOVE!

5) Missing the jingle of my dog's tags while I am outside. Not missing the poop.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Creak

I have a great, very firm, mattress on my bed. The bed is close to 10 years old. I should obviously be used to it by now.

But, a year or two ago, we put a memory foam topper on top of it. I don't remember why. It didn't really affect me, or so I thought.

Last week, after taking off my electric mattress pad, I also took off the topper. It makes the mattress so thick that I have ripped the seams out of my fitted sheets.

That night, I noticed how hard my mattress felt. And the next morning, my shoulders, hips and neck all complained that I slept on a sheet of rock. They are a whiny bunch.

I told my husband how sore I was and his answer was, "Ha. Ha. You're getting old. Put the topper back on." To which I replied, "Uh. No." My stubbornness has made for a few sore mornings, but I'm getting used to it again.

I WILL not succumb to old people comforts until I have to. And although I have given up on some things. This will not be one. At least not this week.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day 2011



Happy Father's Day!

I can't believe we're parents, even after 5 years of this much cuteness:



And this much craziness:

I will continue to pray for you in this household full of estrogen...
I mean, love.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bacon

I am frying up a pound of bacon this morning. You know. For my vegan husband and two small children who only eat one piece of bacon per sitting.

Well. Maybe I'm frying up a pound of bacon for me. To eat for the rest of the month. Anyway. I have to fry the whole thing up because it is Iowa bacon. No nitrates or preservatives. If I leave it in the fridge for too long it molds. Did you know meat can mold? REAL meat can mold.

I know. That's mind-blowing.

The other mind-blowing thing is this:

I'm on the last batch. And I'm not so much frying the bacon as I am deep fat frying the bacon. This deserves to be in some fair somewhere in Texas. Deep Fat Fried Bacon. Really. What could be healthier than that?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bridges

I Love Family Time Here in the Wild West





Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Breakthrough!!

Today was a monumental day.

Today, I took the kids shopping. And they lasted 6 hours! That's right. SIX hours. We never get out of the house early. And at least one of them naps on a daily basis. Usually around 2:00. So generally we get about two hours in before someone has a meltdown.

But today was different.

We still got a late start. BUT.

We:

1) Hit Lowe's for a lamp shade, landscaping rocks, and window shopping on bathroom vanities. The girls had a mahvelous time standing in corner showers and opening/closing the door. Because, you know, they're in an elevator.

2) Hobby Lobby was next. Returned a lamp shade and found cute Father's Day projects. They picked them out. Dad is so blessed to have daughters like them. They were required to keep a body part on the wall at all times during checkout because of all the breakable doo-dads that were calling their names.

3) The mall made for our longest stop.
  • Sears for Dad's shirts.
  • Bath and Body for smelly goods. And btw, Bath and Body has the BEST employees! While I was wishing for eyes on the side of my head so I could browse AND keep my girls from touching absolutely everything, a wonderful young woman did the unthinkable. She took my girls to the sink, let them choose a soap, and washed their hands for them. Then she asked them how they liked the smell. Then we chose lotion for them. My Indian Princess whispered to me later, "Mom, they were REALLY nice to us!" So thank you, B&B, for making my girls feel valued while giving Mom a little time to focus.
  • The Children's Place to find a white shirt for the Littlest Girl. 20 minutes later, no white shirt but three pairs of shoes for a grand total of $18. The girls wore the shoes out of the store. 15 feet later my Littlest Girl was screaming in pain. Back to TCP to exchange them for their rubber fake-Croc mary janes, which I preferred anyway.
  • Claires. Ran through it but didn't want to stay too long. Small things have a tendency to disappear or lose parts in my house. Don't.need.more.clutter.
  • The Mall Playground!!!! Yay!! The reward for shopping so nicely. Although my Indian Princess is getting noticeably too big for the toddler equipment.
  • Gymboree just to see if there was anything good. 99 cent tights were totally worth the stop. As was the TV in the back for my girls to watch so I could browse. Seriously. Marketing genius. Anyway. Talked to a woman scouring the clearance racks for her little girl. They are moving to Alaska in TWO days and she needed more winter stuff. (Remind me NEVER to complain about SoDak winters again.) She was moving to Kodiak Island. They JUST got a Walmart. All other shopping requires a ferry or plane ride. I gave her a few helpful hints about shopping online. Poor girl. She needs all the help she can get.
  • Back through Sears to get to the car. But not before a game of Hide and Seek while I made one more scan of the clearance shoes. (I know. It's a sickness.)
4) Sam's Club for staples. You know. 225 paper plates and a 5 lb bag of carrots for my family of four. Milk was a dollar cheaper there than anywhere else, so I felt good about dragging the girls through 1.5 miles of aisles. I also didn't worry too much because they got a root beer float and a cinnamon pretzel out of it. Until my Littlest Girl blew bubbles in the float. Then all she got was a view of her sister finishing the float. If she could see through her tears. She got the last word when the door checker made a smiley face on my receipt as he glanced at it. Then gave it back to her. My Indian Princess was GREEN with envy. I think it was envy. It might have been the float and the pretzel.

5) Drove around some back roads trying to find a place that sells mulch by the truckload. The girls thought it was an adventure. But it disrupted the 25 minute nap I was hoping they would take while we were driving home. As it turned out, they got in a good 10 minutes before we got home. Oh, how I wish they would sleep in the car in our driveway while I put stuff away. But no. The minute the engine is shut off, they are wide-eyed and confused about where they are. They also cry a lot if I happen to walk into the house without them. Because how dare I leave them outside by themselves. Never mind they are outside by themselves for hours during the day playing. I'm sure there's a logic there I'm just not seeing.

So, with their 10 minute nap, they were a tiny bit rough around the edges tonight. But compared to the last 5 years, I was THRILLED. They are becoming such fun people to shop with. They help me pick things out. They steer the cart. They keep each other and myself entertained. I loved this day. And I love these little people I get to hang out with.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lost in Translation

Indian Princess says, "Mom, my name is Niblet."
Me, "OK. Sounds good."
Littlest Girl calls for Indian Princess, "Nit Wit! Nit Wit! Come here, Nit Wit!"

Shocked

Today is June 13th.
I took my electric mattress pad off today.
It is officially summer.
Woo Hoo!!

Bananas

I made this for dessert tonight. Not a darn thing my husband can eat, but the girls and I are excited to try it:

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/peanut-butter-chocolate-banana-cream-105153.aspx

I made a few changes, just based on what I had. Used a frozen pie crust instead of a graham cracker crust. Used banana pudding instead of vanilla.

All the separate ingredients taste good. Should be all right.

Oh. And have you ever looked up at the ceiling and seen splatters from your mixer?? Me neither.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Home On The Range


This is what we did yesterday:






Yes. We went to the rodeo. I had never been to one before. Since we live in the wild west, we had the opportunity to go to one right up the street from where we live. The girls loved the horses and cows and goats. Hubs and I were impressed with the athleticism and interaction between the people and the animals.

We were blessed to see this for one day. We have a deep respect for the families that do this every day. All year long. The ranchers around here are a hard-working bunch. Full of common sense and wisdom about the people and animals they care for.

I don't know much about ranching. But I sure like hanging around those people.



When we got home, it started to rain. In the sun. It happens a lot around here:




Thursday, June 9, 2011

Green Smoothie



So, I am allergic to the boxed hair dye you get in the store. You know, like, itchy, can't breathe allergic reaction. Not anything to (ha) sneeze at. I am also, um, old enough to have a few grey hairs.

Oh wait...did you think this was about healthy eating or maybe a recipe? Sorry. You'll see how I got my title in a second.

Anyway, I was at Whole Foods and found a section of hair products. They had some henna dyes. I thought I would try one. (There are only TWO ingredients! Neither of which are chemicals.)

I finally had the time to try it recently. Yes, I did the skin patch test and didn't react. Good start. Oh. And did you know? I'm allergic to bandage glue. NOT latex. The glue.

Then I checked the instructions. It was going to take me at least an hour to do this. Good thing the kids were out of the house. Permanent color and kiddos make me nervous.

I started mixing the powder (yes, I had to mix it) with the water. It is a two step process, so I had to mix two types of powders to make a paste. Then I had to let them sit for awhile to cure.

Let's talk about texture first. They are to be mixed the consistency of yogurt. But after curing, they are the consistency of toothpaste. The kind you find on the counter after your kids have brushed their teeth. The kind that takes your fingernail scraping to get off.

Now, let's talk about the smell. If I were an all-natural, organic vegetarian kind of gal, I would tell you that it smells a lot like one of those green smoothies you see healthy people drinking. The kind with algae or wheatgrass or kelp. Since I'm from the midwest and I've been on a few farms, I would say the smell reminded me of a lovely mix of compost and dog poop. Or rotten hay and cow patties. Or, well, you get the idea.

Lastly is the color. I have dark hair, so I require a dark dye. The two powders are dark. Here. I'll show you.

Sorry. I didn't have the presence of mind to take a lot of pictures. I was too busy holding my breath and when I do that most of my brain cells rebel. But you can see. Step 1: Sickly dog poop color and consistency. Step 2: Decomposing plant smell and toothpaste consistency.

After all of this mixing and curing. I got to slop this stuff in my hair. The sickly dog poop step went on relatively easy. You remember the song: Some people think it's funny but it's really dark and runny.... I get to keep this stuff on for 15 minutes, then rinse with water.

The decomposing plant stuff was a little harder. I think this is where the ground henna is, because there are flakes of stuff in the paste. Now imagine trying to spread drying toothpaste in your hair. But it's green and has flakes in it. It's thick, hard to spread, and it's dropping off my head like dried bits of frosting. Everywhere. In the sink, on the mirror, the counter, the floor. Everywhere. I have NEVER made such a mess. I finally dilute it down a little, just so I can get it to permeate the crust of goo I have already applied. Much better. Throw on the plastic bag they give me for a shower cap. And I wait for at least 45 minutes to let it work.

In the meantime, I am supposed to add heat. Anybody know how hot compost smells? Yeah. As I am blow drying my hair, small rivulets of green sewage flow down my neck, shoulders, back. I throw all caution to the wind and put on my robe, knowing I very well may have sacrificed it for the temporary feeling of looking 5 years younger.

After 45 minutes of this loveliness, I take it off, and try not to gag as I get into the shower. Green has turned to black, and the water that hits the drain looks, and smells, like a cesspool. I shake off a mini-panic attack and rinse for all I'm worth. I don't get to shampoo today, because the people that make this stuff WANT me to smell like a rancid pile of grass until tomorrow. Or to let the color set. I can't decide which I believe.

I step out of the shower, towel off, and look. It hasn't covered every grey, but it is noticeably better. At least to me. Nobody said anything. I'm hoping it's because I look so natural, and not because they're avoiding the stench of fertilizer that's emanating from my head.

I still haven't decided if the time and smell was worth it. Kinda still waiting to see if I'll need my Epipen sometime in the night, too. That might be the deal breaker. If so, I can literally say, My Pride is Killing Me.

Also, if this stuff washes out in a week I will probably just throw the rest in my garden. We're running low on compost.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pancakes and Plastic Bags


You may have noticed. We eat a lot of pancakes in this house.
They are not necessarily my favorite thing, but my girls love them. And I have found ways to make them a tad healthier, since we eat them on a regular basis. I am BY NO MEANS a chef. I start with a Jiffy Mix base, then add whatever sounds good and/or healthy.

Here are a few concoctions I have tried. Invented by myself or others:

Sausage Pancake Casserole
Flourless Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Butter
PB&J on Banana Pancakes
Triple Berry Flaxseed Pancakes
Pecan Cranberry Wheat Bran Flaxseed Pancakes
Cherry Vanilla Almond Pancakes
Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Almond Milk
Almond Vanilla Oat Pancakes with Flaxseed and Cinnamon
Cinnamon Applesauce Pancakes

We RARELY eat them with syrup. (Read: If I am gone and Brian feeds them they get syrup.) I usually top them with yogurt or cottage cheese. Maybe fruit or wheat germ if I have it.

One batch is enough for breakfast and leftovers. I freeze them and pop them in the toaster the next time the girls want some. The pancakes even have their own special bag. I don't know if this makes me a tightwad, but many times I will just save the plastic bag I froze them in. I save it in the freezer. Pull it out the next time I make more. I think there is more than one in there right now. I hope my freezer doesn't turn into a graveyard for plastic bags. That would kind of defeat my purpose of pseudo-recycling.

Anyway, if you have questions about pancakes, I probably won't know the answer. But I will never, ever judge you on your original pancake creations.

More Poetry

I found this on my Facebook wall. I don't even remember writing it. It's like a gift to myself. If it were fiction...


O Metabolism, Metabolism, wherefore art thou Metabolism?
Deny thy function and refuse thy role;
And if thou will continue to slow, be but cursed by me
Then you will no longer be a friend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tumble Weeds

OK, they aren't really weeds. But they do grow fast!


Last week my girls participated in a 3 day gymnastics camp. It focused on tumbling skills. They had a friend join the class as well, so it was doubly exciting for them. I strongly believe the teacher was rethinking her decision to work with 4-6 year olds that week. I don't know. I could be wrong.


Everyone was concerned my Littlest Girl might not make it through, but she did. Honestly, when she gets over her fears, she could do just about anything she wants. Her focus and stubbornness can only help her when she gets older. (As of right now, her focus and stubbornness puts her in the corner a lot of times.)

So the first day, I stayed the whole time in case she became overwhelmed. She got permission to return the second day. (Good job, Littlest Girl!) So I went shopping the second day. The third day I was in and out of class. When I got back the last time, I witnessed a VERY opinionated four year old telling...no...loudly directing... to her teacher to LET. GO. OF ME! while she was trying to help her do a somersault.

So I watched. Barely avoiding the stigma of being that Hysterical Mortified Mom Yelling From Across the Gymnasium at her Littlest Girl to Listen and Obey Her Teacher!! I Don't Care Who's Listening!! You know the one. Well, that is apparently me. I couldn't believe the mouth on my girl. I wanted to yank her right out of there and go have a VERY one-sided discussion in the car about respect and instruction and....well, you get the idea.

ANYWAY, in that split second of me holding my tongue, the Littlest Girl and her teacher worked it out. And somehow, her teacher acted like this was nothing out of the ordinary. Because I'm sure it's not. Not with other little ones at least.

Unfortunately, I have heard reports from others that my Littlest Girl also has opinions in other places. Loud ones. Rebellious ones. Opinions that stem from fear and the desire to control her environment. At the ripe old age of four. And other people are too nice/scared/lazy/compassionate to call her on it. And that's okay. Because it's my responsibility to teach her what I can at home. And it is my responsibility to let natural consequences take place when she is out of my care.

My hope is that her fear and control issues won't keep her from enjoying new experiences. Or common experiences to their fullest potential. (Because she won't try them or because she is in time out.) This is my hope because her mom is a lot like her. And I know I've missed good things because of my fears.

All I can do is point her to those things. And to the One that really controls all of those things.

And remind her she has unconditional love at home, so she can let go of her fear,

jump as high as she can,

and fly through the air!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Words from the Backseat


Random blurt out from my Littlest Girl, en route to gymnastics:

"Pieces sold separately."

She was holding a stuffed cat.

Did I mention we don't have cable anymore?