Friday, September 30, 2011

Who? What? Where?

     I made this great new pasta soup dish for the fam about three weeks ago. It was a huge hit, everyone loved it. I mean, loved it. They even ate the leftovers, all of them. The hubby was the only one who didn't get to try it because he was out of town on business. Now they are asking for a repeat performance and for the life of me I can't remember where I found the recipe in the first place.
     What does that mean? Am I losing my mind, already? Do I just have too much to do? A little too much on my plate? How can that be when I am still so young. I can hear my kids now saying you're not young, you're old, but in the grand scheme of things, I am young and I can't afford to lose my mind this young. I still have two kids in elementary school. What am I going to be like in twenty years?
     Maybe I will be the little old lady in the home who waits and waits for family to come and visit and then doesn't recognize them when they do, but then I won't know they didn't come so it won't matter.
     Life is so complicated sometimes. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Brave New World

     We recently came upon an old picture of my 21 year old son on Christmas morning and he was holding up one of his gifts. It was a CD walkman. Remember those? I ask because they have discontinued making them. That's right, what was a cool Christmas gift only six years ago isn't even being made today. It's become outdated. With the invention of iPods and MP3 players and other things, the walkman has gone the way of the big box TV and corded phones.
     What's really scary and may be a problem is I read on the internet that Apple may be getting ready to do away with the iPod. I have to say that this is a concern to me. We have many iPods in this family and my boys are asking for their own for Christmas this year. We also have a large collection of music on our computer for our iPods and it scares me to think that if Apple comes up with something to replace our iPods with will they be compatible with what we have already? And if you're thinking, "Of course they will!" Let me say one thing, VHS.
     We had a large selection of VHS movies at one time and now we have had to replace many of them with DVDs. Do you remember your first cell phone? How would that compare to the one you have today? I am willing to bet your first cell phone wasn't even a cell phone, but a pager. Do you remember the pager stores?
     The point I am trying to make is technology is progressing so rapidly now, that before you can catch up you are already outdated.  The danger lies in moving so fast that people give up investing in new technology because it isn't worth laying down hard earned cash for something that will be replaced with newer, better, faster in a matter of a few years. It's almost scary. I wonder with the new cloud technology if we will even have DVD's and music (in a physical sense) in a few years or will we just tap into the universe around us to find all of our collections of stuff. It really is a brave new world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To Purge or Not?

     It's that time of year again. Time to purge the closet and get rid of all the clothes I haven't worn or don't like any more. In that category is the, "I don't fit into them anymore" dilemma. It is always a tough decision for me when I come across a pair of pants that I like, but that have gotten a little snug. Do I save them in the hopes of dropping a few and they will fit again and save me from having to buy new ones? A double plus, or do I face reality and toss them because, let's be honest, I don't like to diet and exercising makes me sweat and you all know how I feel about that, so chances are I will never fit into them and they will just be taking up space until I am a shriveled up ninety year old and who wants to see a ninety year old in hip-huger jeans? That's it, decision made, they are going. Someone else can use them while they are still in style.
     Now, what should I do with all those exercise clothes that have never been worn? Suggestions? Anyone?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumns Here!

     I did it! I survived another summer. Autumn officially started last Friday. Now we just need a few autumn like days, because this week is more like summer with highs that are supposed to be in the upper 80's. I am hoping that by the end of October we will be feeling the real fall weather.
     I don't know why I love autumn so much, maybe it's because the weather gets cooler, or maybe it's because the decorations for fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving are just so awesome. Maybe it's because my birthday is in October and even though I have reached the age where I would be perfectly happy not to get any older, I still like the presents.
    This year I want something special. A Le Creuset cast iron enameled pot. This is not your average pot. It is a huge pot, at 13 1/4 quarts, it should be big enough even for my family. With autumn here and winter on its way I am looking forward to making soups and stews for the fam.
     Another plus for autumn, it is a down hill slope to the holidays and I can't wait to break out the Christmas music. Get ready every one, it will be another country music Christmas at our house. Can you hear the groans? Can you?

Friday, September 23, 2011

I Want My Oreo's Back!!!

     We are having to buy a new microwave for our kitchen. It quit working about a year ago and we have been making due with a really old on the counter. Our original microwave was built into the kitchen cabinet above our ovens. This kept the counter space more open and since we are having company this weekend the hubby finally want to replace it. What is irritating about this whole situation is that the microwave was only three years old when it went out. Three years! I'm not an engineer, but shouldn't something that pops popcorn and heats up frozen corn-dogs last longer than three years?! I don't do much microwaving, but the fam does use it to heat things up.
     When we bought our house we added the upgraded GE stainless steel appliance package. We thought we were being so smart. All brand new, all brand name and all upgraded from the standard appliances. If I could afford it I would replace them and get a different brand. We have had to have the repair guys out so many times I know their life stories.
     What is the most maddening about the microwave is we went and purchased the new model replacement microwave (our model was discontinued) brought it home and started to install it when we realized the stainless steel frame that goes around the microwave doesn't fit even though the new one is supposed to be the replacement model. The screw holes don't line up and there is a ridge of metal on the bottom of the microwave that makes the microwave not set flat, so guess what, you have to buy a new frame kit.
      You have no idea how mad this makes me. It is flat out corporate greed. GE could have produced the new model to fit the old frame, but then GE would be out all that extra money we pay for a frame kit, which is almost as expensive as the microwave itself.
     This is another example in the ocean of examples of what is wrong with America. As we have gotten away from our core values of morality and do unto others, we have forgotten that greed is one of the seven deadly sins. Exxon making record profits while raising the cost of gasoline during a time when the American consumer is facing a recession and people are losing their jobs and homes. Banks illegally foreclosing on homes after we bailed them out. Companies giving you less and charging the same prices. Don't think I don't know what you're up to Nabisco, with your new smaller package of Oreo's at the same price. As if they weren't expensive enough.
     What ever happened to getting value for your dollar? How much money do these companies need to make before they are satisfied? I do believe in the free market and earning and paying your own way, but when it seems like the corporate world is out to make paupers of all of us while they make their billions of dollars it makes me see red. Does anyone else notice this trend? Does it make you as angry as it does me?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Companies Coming, Ready, Set, Clean!

     We're going to be having company in the next few days. Why is it that knowing there are going to be visitors in our house makes you see things with new eyes. Now I see the finger prints on the wall and the dust on the appliances. It's like we have moved into a different house and the housekeeper has been on vacation. The windows will be needing a touch up and the kids room a complete overhaul. There are bushes that need trimming outside and the garage floor needs to be swept, after a reorganizing of the garage itself.
     Funny how we can live like we do and be fine, but when people who you don't see on a regular basis are coming you see things through their eyes. On the plus side it gets things cleaned up in a way that wouldn't happen otherwise. On the minus side, down deep I don't really think they will notice our dusty garage floor, but if it gets the hubby to get the kids up and moving, I'm all for it.
     One last thought, if someone doesn't want to be our friends because of a dusty garage floor they probably aren't worth knowing anyhow. Ya know what I mean. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It Costs How Much To Raise A Child

     Every now and then you hear these unbelievable statistics about how much it costs to raise a child. These "facts" are enough to send potential parents screaming into the night, alone. I wonder how they figure out these numbers. Do they figure the cost of name brand diapers and formula? What about store brands and breastfeeding? Are they adding in extra for private school and a brand new car when the kid turns sixteen? Are the sending them to Harvard and paying the kids way?
     I can tell you what they aren't figuring in, the damage that kids do through out their lives. It can be something as simple as a baby spitting up on a dry-clean only dress, although if you are stupid enough to hold a baby in a dry-clean only dress you've got it coming, to the bigger things like your son heaving a rock through a window, or poking hole in a window screen, or writing on the walls with permanent makers. $$$ These all cost money.
     I bet your wondering what made me think of all of this. I got a call today from the mother of one of my sons friends telling me that our two boys borrowed her ATM card and ran up $150.00 worth of charges on their Wii.  Yes, $150.00!!! What the heck were they thinking?! I know what they were thinking, they were thinking that the magic card is something you use when you're out of cash and it is a never ending source of fun. I think some financial lessons are needed around here. They are starting today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nick and Mia

     For those of you wondering if I have given up on Nick and Mia, the answer is no. I had to take a break for a while because I was burned out, not on the story, but of trying to write so often. Trying to do a chapter a week is very time consuming and the family was starting to resent the time I was spending, but like most writers, my characters have become like friends and they keep nagging me to get on with it, so they can see where the story is going to take them. I miss their company and their personalities and I need to find out what is going to happen.
     When I wrote my first book, which took me seven years by the way, I thought about the characters constantly. I remember laying in my hospital bed after just having my last baby by C-section and thinking about one of the saddest scenes in the story and it brought a tear to my eye. I couldn't wait to get home to write it. Writers are a little strange, we often hear our character's voices in our heads and we miss our friends when we are apart for too long. Rest assured I have been working on Nick and Mia's story and I will post it asap.
     For those of you who have commented on the story and been supportive thank you so much.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Few Thoughts On Family Budgeting

     I have to confess that every now and then, in the name of fiscal responsibility, I go online and search for ways to save money. I'll type in things like, family budgeting, how to save money for families, or something like these into the Google bar to see what pops up. Sometimes I am bewildered and sometimes I am amused by what I find. Today, for example, I found 101 ways to save on your family expenses. It suggested things that we already do such as bundle your internet, cable and phone service into one (outlandishly expensive) service. I added the outlandishly expensive part in case you didn't catch that. It really ticks me off when I have 996 channels and there is nothing good on to watch, but that's a whole other blog.
     One of the other suggestions is to stop buying designer jeans. What the!? First of all I haven't squeezed my ever widening heiny into designer jeans since I was a teenager and second is this really the best they could do to help families struggling in a bad economy. How about this one. Try not to use so much shampoo and conditioner when you shower. Huh? I get a huge bottle of Tresemme shampoo at Walmart for about $3.65 and it lasts me a few months, even showering everyday. I probably could use a little less, but it's like a little vacation for me there in the hot water, by myself, all lathery. Can you hear my voice dripping with lathery sarcasm here, I hope so. I mean, seriously, I want some reality based ways to cut down on expenses, not a list of things that are so far fetched that they are ridiculous. 
     Reading these confirms what I have thought for years, there is "them" and there is "us" or "we". "We" live in the real world where we see inflation every time we go to the grocery store and put gas in our cars. Then there is "them," who try to tell us that there really is hardly any inflation going on. Or the "them" that says family budgeting involves things like your portfolio and investing in this, instead of that. Get real "them". "We" are more worried about putting food on the table, keeping the lights on and whether we will have a job in six months. It's too bad "them" will never really know or care about "we."
     Or maybe it's just me?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Feeling Poetic Today

     In the field the hay's is gone. The geese waddle through the stubble finding a harvest of their own. Gray clouds are spilling rain. A sign of more to come? Somewhere close by, a farmer is burning his land. The smell of smoke drifts on the breeze and lets us know the seasons are changing. The land here is yawning, preparing for its winter rest. We the inhabitants are scurrying like mice to bring in summers bounty before the autumn frost can touch it.
     The evenings are growing dark and the birds are heading south. Bright summer flowers are giving way to the reds and golds of fall leaves. Orange pumpkins dot the fields. In the air is a chill, a warning of the cold darkness soon to come. Autumn is here.

     Okay, so I was feeling poetic today. Here it is, my ode to fall.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Night Away

      The hardest part about going away, is coming home. We jumped right back into soccer and basketball practice and homework is still on the horizon. One night is just not long enough. Does anyone else feel like that or is it just me?
     I did enjoy our time away, we went to Sur La Table in Salt Lake City. It is a kitchen shop with all kinds of fun stuff. It's in the Gateway Mall and I had never been to the Gateway Mall, very cool. They have a water pad, one of those areas that squirt water out of the ground and the kids run through it. It was fun to watch the kids having so much fun. I would love to take my boys there but I think it may have to wait until next summer as the days are getting cooler. The hubster and I also went to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens and all I can say is I want to live there, right on the grass, so I can look out over the acres and acres of flowers, trees and grass and pretend that all is right with the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm Outta Here

     Don't look for me at home today, because you won't find me there. The hubster and I are going away for the decade, I mean night, to a hotel were there will be peace and quiet. Where I can linger in the bathroom without someone knocking on the door and needing something right that second, you know like scissors, or clean socks, or to let me know that the cookies are all gone and they didn't get their fair share, things like that. I look forward to no one trying to sneak into bed with me at three in the morning, or waking up to go to the bathroom at three in the morning and tripping over an unidentifiable form wrapped up in a blanket on my floor right in the path I take to the bathroom in the dark. You'd think they would know the traffic patterns by now.
     I may get a nap, a real one with no one waking me up screaming in the other room. I may even see a movie. I think the last movie I saw in the theater was Super 8 and it's on it's way to DVD as we speak. I may go swimming in the pool if we can sneak in after hours when no one else is there. I wouldn't want to be responsible for blinding some innocent person with my whiteness. I know we will go out to eat and I won't be required to cook it before or clean it up after. I think I want to live in a hotel from now on. I hope your day is going to be as peaceful as mine is. Bye for now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boys, Boogers And Bird Skulls

     At a time when most of our friends are enjoying the freedom of children grown and gone, or watching the grandkids growing up from afar I still have two kids in grade school. And to add insult to injury my 10year-old has reached fifth grade. I know that doesn't mean much to most people, fifth follows fourth, but to me it means that his math is no long in the realm of my understanding. Thankfully, I have older kids that are math whizzes so I have passed the torch and let them help.
     My youngest two are both boys which was a new situation for me. All my other boys, for better or worse, were separated by sisters. I confided to a friend that I was concerned about that when I was still pregnant with my youngest. She was the mother of several boys and she assured me that, "they will just roll around like puppies all day." She was right. Ryan is very good to Scot, he lets him hang out with all of his buddies and generally watches out for him. Over all they get along, which is good they are still boys though and yesterday was one of those days when I wondered why all children can't be girls.
     I should have known something was up when the dog kept laying on Ryan's, tossed on the floor, backpack. He never does that. Later I found out why. On the floor was a baby bird skull, with the upper beak still attached. The dog was chewing on it. SICK!!!. Why on earth would anyone pick it up let alone put it in a backpack and bring it home! This is a huge difference between my sons and daughters. My girls would never even consider doing that. Next came the booger war at bedtime. Ryan pretended to wipe one on Scot so Scot got him back with the real thing. GROSS!!! After a huge fight, it all ended in tears and threats of violence.  Boys! What's up with them?

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Lesson Learned From 9/11

     We spent most of Sunday watching 9/11 shows on tv and reliving that day ten years ago when everything changed.  I remember watching the continuous news coverage and feeling like I was in shock. Those same feelings came back as the images played on our big screen today. I remember the days following when American flags were every where and people filled the pews at churches all over the country searching for comfort and peace.
      I remember hugging my kids and telling them I loved them in the wake of 9/11. I wanted to tell them everyday for all the mothers and fathers who died that day and who could no longer tell their kids. I think we all realized in those few hours how quickly our lives can change or end without any warning at all. Of all the things that we learned that day, appreciating and taking time with our families is the most valuable and I try to remember that every day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Bird And Turtle Campaign

     A couple of days ago my youngest came to me and asked if he could do some chores to earn money. I was busy at the time so I made a few suggestions and went about my business while he started sweeping and cleaning windows and doing a few other things and then he asked me for five dollars. What?! What the heck does he think this is? I'm not the President handing out wads of cash and hoping for the best. This needed some serious investigation, so I asked him what he needed so much money for. "I want to buy a bird." I suddenly had a memory flash of him asking me how much bird seed costs. Okay, I'm a little slow sometimes, but two and two were adding up to four and I didn't like it a bit.
     I could feel my blood pressure rising and I said, "We are not now or are we ever getting a bird." For crying out, loud where would we put it?! We would have to have a big cage and I had friends who had birds and the feathered things were always kicking stuff out of their cages and onto the floor. I don't think so.
     We have already had five dogs, cats until I became allergic to them, a snake, a rat, mice and fish. Not to mention that my boys are not above collecting wild snakes they happen to come across, spiders, ants and any other creature they can keep in a Home Depot bucket, so when I finally, after a long while convinced the boys we were not getting a bird, they were silent for about two seconds and said, "How about a turtle. We'll take care of it and feed it and everything."  Ha!!! Like I haven't heard that one before.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"There's No Food I This Whole House!"

     Big shopping day at Walmart today. That means I bought all the things that I put off buying when we really don't have the money, things like paper towels and fabric softener. You know what I mean don't you? The last few days have been a chorus of, "There's nothing to eat in this whole house." I couldn't even make french toast because we were out of bread, eggs and we were way low on milk. That's when you know your getting down to the bare bone on food.
     With that said, I almost had a heart attack when the total came to $417.80. What the heck did I buy? The chicken legs I bought were on sale for $4.19 x 4, the ribs for $5.05, a couple of pounds of hamburger and that was it for the meat. What's up with eggs being $1.98 a dozen? I had to buy six of them because we keep running out, but $417.80. If the prices keep going up we'll be eating rice and beans. I wonder how the prices can keep going up and people survive?
     My family is probably sick of me talking about how much prices have gone up, but as a SAHM, (stay at home mom) my contribution is trying to save money for my family and I feel like I can't maintain our standard of living without spending a fortune. "Our standard of living" it sounds like we live in luxury which isn't the point I am trying to make. The point I am trying to make is we are going to stop having steak and start eating mac and cheese a few nights a week.  You all understand what I'm saying don't you?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Cure For Divorce

     We watched the movie Titanic the other day, it was on TV. There is a line in the movie where Rose says, "I feel as if I am standing in a crowed room screaming and nobody notices." I hear ya, Rose. My family seems to have selective hearing and it's driving me crazy. I mean really, how many times should I have to say, "Please go and brush your teeth," to my boys before they even look at me. Do I really need to yell at them to get their attention?
     I'm sure there is some horrible, life-destroying failing I have as a parent that has made them this way, but what is the hubby's excuse. I can't tell you how many times I have said something and he says, "You never told me that." And I can say, "Yes, I did it was on Tuesday the fifth of August and you were sitting on the couch watching the game and you said, "Oh, okay. That sounds good."
     He looks at me funny and says, "I did? Well I don't remember." It shouldn't be that easy to tune out someone you have been married to for over thirty years, someone who sleeps in the same bed night after night. After all, I am the one who feeds him and washes his dirty clothes, doesn't that deserve a true listening ear? Or maybe, that's why we have been married for so long. Did I just discover the cure for divorce? Ignore each other and be happy. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hair Day

     I am a woman and as a woman it is important to know yourself. I think after all these years I know myself pretty well. I know the things that make me happy and I know the things that make me sad. I know sometimes I feel grouchy for no real reason, but I feel that way anyhow. I know when I feel my best and when I start to feel tattered and worn. And when I feel tattered and worn it's time to do something about it, so I made a hair appointment for myself today.
     I am only a few hours from being a new woman. A new woman with her hair cut and colored. Now the hubster doesn't know about this and to be honest he really doesn't understand a woman's need to change it up once in a while, mainly because he has had two, count 'em, two hair styles in his entire life. The first one was parted on the side, neat and clean, the second is a buzz cut on number two with the the clippers we bought at Walmart. He likes this one because there really in no up keep other than washing it. In the morning he can get up and go. Me on the other hand, I have to wash and blow dry and make sure everything is where it should be and when the doo starts looking tattered and worn, I start feeling like less of the woman I should be and more like a poor homeless woman. No one else probably notices as much as I think they do, but I still feel uncomfortable going out, so I am going to fix it. I am going to call the hubster and tell him and I know he is going to say, "How much is that going to cost!" What I really want him to say is, "that's great you deserve it." He still hasn't figured out that it's a small price to pay for a happy wife who feels good about herself.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

     I can't believe it's Labor Day already. I think time is speeding up. It feels like it should only be April, yet here we are saying our good-byes to the summer season. Most kids are back in school and the weather is starting to feel different, even if the days are still warm. 
     I love this time of year because it's a down hill slope to the holidays. I am looking forward to the leaves changing color and to the first snowfall. I am looking forward to when I can start making dinners without worrying about heating up the house when I turn on the oven. I'm looking forward to baking. One of my goals for the winter is to find a really good wheat bread recipe and learn to make it.
     What about you? Do you love or hate this time of year? Whatever your feelings about this time of year, I hope you have a great Labor Day and are spending it just the way you want to.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Fall Projects

     Good morning everyone, did you notice that I changed the background for my blog? It was time for a change because it is September. The beginning of a new season. Yes, I know that fall doesn't officially begin until later in the month, but for me September first is the beginning of fall.
     Here in Utah we are having a cooling trend and the air is a little bit cooler. The last two nights we were able to shut off our air conditioner and open the windows and it was bearable. I love that. I love that the weather is changing and soon the leaves on the trees will be turning colors and folks will be putting pumpkins on their front porches. It feels like the start of something new, almost like New Years and when it feels like this I start thinking about setting some goals, or refocusing on old ones.
     We have had three pretty big projects on our list for a while now. 1. Paint the garage floor with that paint and epoxy coating to protect it and make it less slippery in the winter when snow melts on it. 2. Get a garden shed so we can get all the yard stuff out of the garage so we can paint the floor. And 3. Get the metal ring for around our in-ground trampoline so the dirt stays out of the hole we had dug. We have been planning on getting a garden shed for the backyard since we moved here and it has been three years since we did the landscaping so it's time. Will we have the money is the question? If we can get a shed it will be one of the put- it-together-yourself-sheds, because they are less expensive and we need to do this before we can paint the garage floor, because we have to have somewhere to go with all the stuff in the garage.
     Do you see how it's all a vicious cycle you can't move on until something else gets done first. And you can't do any of them until you have the money. That's the real circle of life.  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Karly!

     Today is my daughter Karly's birthday. She is a whopping twenty-four years old. Out of all my daughters, she is following in my footsteps the closest as she already has three kids. Karly was very much a mama's girl and I loved that. She would go to her older sister and me and that was pretty much it. She didn't want to have much to do with anyone else.  Karly was always a very tiny girl, we could carry her around all day and hardly notice, a lot like her daughter Lacee, because she was so small and got carried around so much she didn't walk until she was over fifteen months old. Karly was probably my shyest child, she got that from her father and like her father she has over come it for the most part.
     As an adult, Karly is a wife, a mother, a sister and she is becoming a great photographer. She has been doing photo shoots for friends and family and I am always amazed at how great her pictures turn out.
     I am so grateful that she and her family live close enough that I get to see them as often as I do. (my master plan of having all of my kids within a ten minute radius is working out pretty well, I just need to get her sister up here next year.)
     I am really lucky, I have family that likes to be together. In a time when families are falling apart ours is a cohesive unit and we all get along really well considering all the different personalities. Every time one of us has a birthday, or a baby or a crisis we are all near by to love, to rejoice and to offer support. Can life get any better than that?
     Happy birthday, Karly. I wish you many more.