Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shack Happy(?)

If time and money were no object, I'd take off right now for:

...Arizona, to see Kristin.
...Los Angeles, to see Ellen (and Phil).
...Oregon, to see Libby.
...California, to see Jen & Amy.

I want to go see my friends.  Momma is a little shack happy (although I don't know why they call it that, happiness is not my nearest emotion)!

Where do you want to go?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jack's Ice Collection

It turns out, he dumped a fountain soda (fruit punch) in his boot.  Then he came upstairs and told me, "Wook, Mom.  My collection!"

"What is it?" I asked him.

He reached his hand in, popped a piece of ice in his mouth and said, "Ice!"  Chomp, chomp.

It's a collection that won't last, I told him.  It'll all melt and there won't be any ice left.  He played with that silly ice for its entire ten minute existence, and then moved on to something else.  I let him have his collection.  And I hope his next collection is a little less messy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Health Care Summit Thursday

From the President's website.

I've been waiting anxiously for tomorrow.  I realize that my "nerd alert" is all things politics lately.  But I'm okay with it.  I'm excited to watch what happens the next week and a half in Washington.  I'll not be streaming it live, but I'll be paying attention.  Constantly.

I'm a bit of a broken record about this, but here's my opinion, once again:  This is a very big time for America.  When we look back, we are going to realize how important this health care reform decision is.  Those of us living through it, and paying attention, aren't going to realize its impact until years from now, when the new system is in place (or the old one is still in place...). 

There are hundreds of opinions about what to do.  We've discussed them here and on Facebook.  I'm a huge Public Option fan.  I think we need to have a goverment health care plan that competes with the big insurance companies who are raising their rates at an astronimical and dangerous rate.  I believe we need an option for the American people to get access to good health care at reasonable costs.  Currently, the President's plan does not include a public option.  I hope it gets added back in.

When I've been thinking about if and what to post on this subject, I decided that instead of argue what to do (heaven knows I've beaten it to death on Facebook), let's try really hard to trust the political system.

I have a friend who, when she's going to an important meeting, she asks her angels to go ahead of her.  To prepare a place for her, to calm the air, to bring peace.  I wonder if she'd be willing to send them hers to Washington tomorrow.

Whatever you do - send angels, pray, wish them it.  Do it now.  Pray for leadership, and selflessness, and that everyone come together for the good of all Americans who need them to act on their behalf at a very critical time in history. 

So that when we look back, whatever the outcome, we can say we cared.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

I've been meaning to post this for awhile now.  It's my friend Beth's recipe and it's incredible! 

Beth's narrative:  This recipe is “cloned” from the Tortellini Soup at Humpy’s in downtown Anchorage. They don’t give out recipes so I tried to figure it out on my own. After a couple of failures, I believe this version is better than the original. This recipe is dedicated to Cyndi, the events coordinator for Humpy’s who promised me the recipe when drunk in exchange for a drink and then lied and made up some crap about Campbells tomato soup. Up yours, Cyndi. Please share freely.

Bootlegged Creamy Tortellini Soup

Two big cans tomato puree
1 pint of heavy cream
Cup of parmesan cheese, grated
Package of cheese tortellini
Couple cloves of garlic, sliced thin as paper
Salt, Pepper and Oregano
1 Tablespoon Oil

Saute garlic cloves in oil until soft but not brown. Add both cans of tomato sauce and one can of water. Simmer for two hours until soup is reduced. Add salt, pepper and a bit of oregano (I only like a tiny bit) to taste. Add entire pint of heavy cream, no matter how bad it is for you. Return to a boil. Add heavy cream and tortellini. Cook for 10-15 minutes more. Sprinkle parmesan cheese in, stirring to melt. Serve in big mugs with french bread.


Monday, February 15, 2010

25 (Additional) Random Facts

It's been a year since we did this; thought it might be fun to do again.  I certainly enjoyed reading my friend's list!  I tried not to duplicate anything I put on my list on facebook last year.

1. I won’t eat leftovers. Unless it’s pancakes; I’ll reheat those babies.

2. I love Nutella. It’s probably my favorite chocolate. Shoot. I should have done Laura’s chocolate exchange!

3. I have become comfortable being “liberal.” It’s actually brought me closer to my faith.

4. I have been a Realtor for four and a half years.

5. I grew up in a small town, but have no desire to live in one again.

6. I love entertaining, but I usually have a meltdown a few days before because it overwhelms me.

7. I think that differences in politics sometimes equal differences in values, and it’s that, not politics, that draws us apart.

8. I sing songs to my kids every night when I tuck them in.

9. I love to read, but do it much less now that there’s a TV in our bedroom. That bothers me.

10. My favorite part about parenting is watching my children learn.

11. I think that Modern Family might be the funniest show on TV. Ever.

12. I am living a very charmed life.

13. I use powder laundry detergent. I think liquid is a ripoff.

14. I am not very thrifty otherwise, but am working on that.

15. I am sad thinking about Matty going to kindergarten, but I’m ready for that next stage in life.

16. I love love love contemporary Christian music.

17. I adore being in my thirties.

18. I fell in love with guacamole in 2009.

19. My four-year-old wants to marry me.

20. I sleep with an electric blanket year-round.

21. The boys call my husband “poppa.”

22. I listen to two radio stations: AM950 (I particularly love Ed Schultz) and KTIS.

23. When the kids are in the car, we listen to children’s songs.

24. There is no place I’d rather be than under a palm tree. Anywhere they grow.

25. My favorite color is green.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cream Puffs

These are cream puffs with a chocolate topping, so I guess they're really eclairs.  At any rate, they're delicious.  I combined three recipes to make them, so I'll put the whole thing here:

1/2 c butter
1 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1 c flour
4 eggs

In saucepan, bring butter, water, and salt to a boil.  Remove from heat, and add all flour at once.  Mix until it sets into a firm ball.  Let it stand for five minutes. 

Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat until dough is shiny.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet (use parchment paper if you have it; they'll ruin if they stick to the pan!).  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Immediately out of the oven, cut a small slit in the top to let the steam escape.

2 small pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 c milk
2 c heavy cream

Mix together with wisk or electric beater for two minutes, until well blended.  Put in fridge to set.

Once your puffs are cool and your filling is set, cut a slit in top of puffs.  I put my filling in a large ziplock, and cut a whole in one corner, a makeshift pastry bag, if you will.  Fill each puff with custard filling, and replace top.

6 T cocoa
2 T vegetable oil
2 tsp corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 T softened butter
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3-4 T milk

Beat together until smooth.  Pour over puffs.  You can add extra milk if it's too thick to spread over puffs.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Little Feet

The only thing I love more than little boy feet are little boy hands.

Today he said, "Mom!  Watch out for the hot wava!" 
(Shoeless hot lava was the game, I guess)
I hugged him and told him that he makes me so happy.
His response, "I'm so gwad."
I'm so glad too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Raising a Teen

In this photo, Cole is furious with me.  It was taken at the mall, and the studio has a glass window.  Evidently, he saw a friend walk by and was mortified.  We got into a bit of a fight when I told him the session wasn't over yet, and he assured me, that yes, it was.  The photographer snuck an individual photo when he was posing with the boys.

He does not like this photo, but I adore it.  I see pre-teen angst all over him.  I'm going to keep it for when he has teenagers and remind him that they all feel angry sometimes.  Besides, he's a gorgeous kid.

Last fall, we entered the "you're not my mom" phase.  We've actually only had a couple blow-ups, and they were awful, but they've been good for both of us.  They've forced us both to admit (to each other) that our relationship is different.  I'm not his mom, and he's not my son.  I've also gotten to remind him that I chose him, and I love him as much as if he was.  I suppose he'll stay in this phase for the rest his teenage years, and remind me periodically, but we'll get through it.

Here's what I want him to learn from me, his kind-of mom:

1. Be everything you can be.  Be it well.
2. Do what you love.  It'll be easier to do well if you enjoy it.
3. Respect all women.  All the time.
4. Be a good man.  A good boyfriend, fiance, husband, father.
5.  Love God and respect all that He made.
6. Be good to your brothers.  Be good to your mom.
7. Respect your father.  Try to become the kind of man he is.
8. Love your stepmom.  She's far from perfect, but she did her best.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Learning Math

Possibly the most rewarding part of being a mother is watching my children learn.  A sample from today:

Matty:  Mom - what does 11 equal?
Me:  Equal?
Matty:  You know, when you press 11 on that little computer at grandma and grandpa's and press equal?
Me:  A calculator?
Matty:  Yeah!  A calpulator.
Me:  Well, 11 plus 11 equals 22.  And 1 plus 1 equals 2.
Matty:  Oh.  Well, what does 11 equal?  Mom.  Do we have a calpulator?
Me:  We do.  I'll get it.  (cracking up)
Matty:  Mom.  I'm serious.
Me:  I know, dude. 

If you're as confused as I was, refer to the photo. 
The answer is 222.

From Pastor Tedd

Click here for more:

Live as Jesus would desire for us.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Be a Good Helper

Matty made this in Sunday School this weekend.  I hung it on his bulletin board in his room as a good reminder.  I maybe should have hung it in a more prominent spot, though, it's a good lesson for all of us!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Spirital Series: Part IV


I discussed this with some women on my online board awhile ago, but I think it's worth discussing here too.  All around me, I see fear.  I see people make decisions based on their fear.  I see people using the concept of fear to pursuade others for or against a certain argument. 

No question:  it's hard to not know what's coming next. I lay awake at night and feel anxiety and uncertainty about my life, but mostly where money is concerned.  Because I'm self-employed, most of my "fear" comes from not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from.  This is the cycle:

Business slows down.
I get anxious.
I pray.
I get more anxious.
I continue to pray.
I remember that God will provide.  (Sometimes I hear God say, "Calm down.  I got it."  And on really bad days I hear God say, "Seriously? You again?  I said I got it."
My prayer is answered.
Every time.

This is the greatest area I have fear, just because of the nature of my business.

Overall, I am not a fearful person.  I make a conscious effort not to be, and an absolute effort to be trusting and positive.  I feel angry at people who prey at others' insecurities and create fear.  Obviously, I'm referring primarily to politicians, but I see it in other areas.  We cannot use fear to get our way.  It's unkind.

My pastor has a blog (long story, post for another day).  He's sick and has left the church to get well.  I miss him dearly, and am grateful he has a blog.  He talked about fear the other day on his blog, and I loved reading it. It again cemented that there is no reason to worry, or fear.  Everything will be okay, by the grace of God.  (If you want to read the part on fear, you have to scroll down to his January 22 entry.  For some reason, I was unable to copy that link.)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink;
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food,
And the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air;
They do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your Heavenly father feeds them
Are you not more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:25-27

I am comforted by scripture.  I am not afraid.