Archive for the ‘fun’ Category

I am doing my first C25K today, not yesterday…not sure what I was thinking as we had a cookout with friends last night and I don’t think running with all four girls would be very productive when trying to follow a program.  I will post my torture reportprogress post-run.

A food post!  Yes, a real food post…with a recipe! I still am cooking and baking, but I guess feeling un-inspired.  I am going to try harder in the weeks to come to get back to posting more about what we eat and more frequently.  So running and food.  I guess it’ll balance out, right?

We had a cookout with friends last night and while I didn’t try too hard to find healthy foods (a hot dog just sounded so very good), I did the best I could while satisfying my family’s cravings for smore’s and dogs.  I am going to try to get my friend D~ to share her recipe for this layered salad thingy she makes with cornbread in it.  Fresh veggies, a sour cream and mayo dressing, cheese, and crumbled cornbread,  It is so very good.

She also made bacon bread…oh my goodness was it good.  I am not sure it can be made nourishing, but it is one of those things that really, why try.  It isn’t somthing you would eat everyday, but it tasted so good that you could.  It was a savory answer t Monkey Bread’s sweetness.  I’m hooked!

Rather than buy chip dip, I usually mix my own (somehow rationalizing this in my head that it makes the chips healthier to be eating them with a fresh dip instead of the ones at the store with ingredient lists a mile long.)  Next time I will pay closer attention to what I put in it, but it usually includes: dill (lots of dill), garlic, finely minced onion, and salt all mixed in sour cream.  You can add some mayo to make it thicker, but I really like it better in just the sour cream.

Fresh fruit is always a good idea, I managed to forget mine at home in the fridge.

Then my favorite, Lavender Lemonade.  Here is the honey version, and this is my old recipe for the sugar version:  

  1. Heat 3 3/4 cup of water to dissolve 1 1/4 cup sugar over medium heat.
  2. Steep 1 1/2 TBSP of driend lavender for 20 minutes in this mixture.
  3. Juice lemons to get 1 1/2 cups of juice.  Place juiced halves in sugar water to extract a bit more of the tart juice.
  4. Strain both into a half gallon jar, adding water to fill jar, Cool.
  5. Serve iced with a sprig of fresh lavender as a garnish (would be nice to have lavender blossoms frozen in the ice cubes as well.)

We made a great evening of it.  Went geocaching and found all three we targeted.  It sprinkled just a bit while we set up the fire.  It was cool, so the fire felt great, the food tasted wonderful (and filling.)  Best of all, the company of good friends is priceless.  Their older twins (teenagers now!) ran my girls to bits…or was it the other way around.  We set off a few fireworks, burned sparklers, and pretty much just watched the evening go by.

Happy 4th of July to everyone.  What an amazing country we call home.


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raindrops keep falling

at the zoo.  It seems that anytime I think I will bring the kids to the zoo, it rains.  Our zoo is over an hour away, thankfully there are other indoor things to do in the area. 

This last time, we waited it out and went in the afternoon after the rain blew through.   We had arrived in town early to see the baby elephant before the crowds, tell you more about that on down the post. So we hit a mall to let the girls get out some energy and do some Father’s Day shopping.  Then we went to see Up.  Loved that movie and can’t wait to see it again.  I missed the short at the beginning for a potty-run so I cannot comment on it.  The movie itself , however, made me cry in spots and laugh in others.  Such a sweet, human story told well to many levels.  The twins watched the whole movie and only talked to ask me why I was crying, quite loudly too.  The older two understood the sad parts for the most part, but absolutely love the movie regardless.  Having been a part of the adoption community they have been exposed to issues such as these a bit.  Did I mention I would really like to see it again?


Once we got to the zoo, it ended up being a nice trip.  There weren’t the usual crowds because of the weather.  The downfall was that the whole reason we have been trying to get there is to see the baby elephant…who is only on display certain hours that we missed.  They really should put those things up on their website. 

the twins wanted to wash their hands, stand on the rocks, but they did NOT want to touch

the twins wanted to wash their hands, stand on the rocks, but they did NOT want to touch

Regardless we had fun.  There is a wonderful aquarium there, lots of animals out sunning themselves after all the rain, a carousal that the twins loved, and a nice playground built for all ages.  We also managed to be there when zoo keepers were at different stations answering questions and telling stories about the animals they care for.  We were able to talk with them at the Elephants, Rhinoceros, Pheasants, and Sun Cat.  The older girls had very intelligent questions for the workers and were able to answer some of their questions quiet well considering we haven’t gotten much into animal science yet.

my big girls, disappointed about not seeing the baby elephant, but making the best of it

my big girls, disappointed about not seeing the baby elephant, but making the best of it

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real food

Jenny over at the Nourished Kitchen recently cited me as one of her top ten under-appreciated real food bloggers.  (blush)  Me?  I really just started with an adoption blog and fell in love with the flavors of real food along the way.  Then the real foods started making us feel better and healthier so I write about what I am learning…and I am learning.  She called my girls lovely and wiley while saying other nice things.  Considering how I really like her blog it feels a bit like an award or something.

Then I had a kid down here when they should be in bed complaining because her eye is swollen shut from a mosquito bite on her eyelid.  Then another one started fighting with another…the fourth girl managed to stay in her bed quiet.  Too late, though, I was distracted and the moment lost.   And what is it with mosquitoes targeting the twins.  We spray them, you can’t spray their eyes, for goodness sakes!  Those nasty little bugs love the twins, but the twins swell up and form welts and bruises from their bites.  My best friend mentioned that she looks as if she has been boxing…and she is right.   I would post a picture, but would feel cruel doing so.

There I go getting side-tracked.

The family and I were away for the weekend and are so glad to be home.  We went into Appalachia for a family re-union.  To break-up the long drive we stopped at Hocking Hill’s State Park to see Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave.  Forest and I went camping here with my best friend and her husband last year and loved it.  We knew the girls would like it, but I was nervous about the four little girls, a big gorge, and warnings every so many feet about the cliffs.   They did great though and I only got a bit freaked out one time. 

I had to laugh at myself, though. The first things I did when I got home (after petting Ilean) were glance at the lettuce and herbs growing out the back door, check my kefir, and put my sourdough starter out to warm up a bit while wishing I hadn’t missed our local market this weekend. Real food has become so much a part of my days, that in less than 48 hours I find myself wondering how all of my cultures and seedlings are doing. It has become so common place to us that we don’t miss it until we are with family and somewhat out of control of our own meals. Then we all are anxious to get home for a garden fresh salad.

It’s just food, really, sustinence.  However, we are used to eating it in what the older two often say is it’s “real” form.  Examples:  “Mom, is this real corn or from a can?”  “Can we have some real cheese instead of the plastic kind?” (wrapped singles.)  “Is this fake wheat bread or real whole wheat bread?”

Treats for them are fresh, in season fruits, smoothies with fruits frozen from season’s past, and  homemade bread/cookies/whatever with a glass of raw milk from a farm we visit weekly.   They enjoy knowing where food comes from.  They understand now how “fake” food makes them feel “yuck” inside (their terms.)  Going to the market on Saturday morning is something they look forward to.  They find joy in growing herbs and pinching them to decide which ones to use on our fish or in our sausage.  Twinkies tastes awful to them.  In fact, Liz is so interested in food prep and sources that it wouldn’t surprise me if she is a chef one day.  She enjoys watching cooking programs on TV and is excited when they use lots of real foods.

And now that we are all home from a weekend away something so simple as oatmeal sounds good for breakfast.  We were without means to bring or keep real foods fresh aside from our dried fruits after the fresh fruits were eaten up.  We all are feeling kind of “blah” and I know I am looking forward to a big salad for lunch.  I think I will go out back and cut some Romain and Buttercrunch, pull a couple green onions, use the Oregano in the dressing with a farm fresh egg yolk, and add some crumbled cheese from a farm down south of us.  Then we’ll grill a couple steaks from our local beef in the freezer and serve them up with a bit of tasty herbed butter on top.  For dessert, it is strawberry season…need I say more?

What real foods are you eating?

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So very happy

There are two things right now making me very happy.  I figured since my last post was full of complaints why not brighten things up around here and share:

As of today I am down 10 lbs!  I feel like celebrating.  I’ve really kicked up the exercise.  Currently I am doing Yoga 3 days a week and jogging/walking or biking 3 days a week.  One day overlaps, and on the 2 off days I try to make sure to take a brisk walk or something.  The biggest thing that I think is helping is cutting my carbs to next to nothing.  It’s not a permanent thing, but something to get me jump starting to a healthier for me weight.   My over all goal is still a good ways away. 

I feel like celebrating but have no cash and really do not want to indulge in sweets.  I would go get a new book, but then I will get lost in it and al my to-do’s I moaned about in my last post won’t get done.  I guess I’ll just smile extra big.

The other thing making me happy is that next week I get to go away with my husband overnight WITH NO KIDS!  He will be away at training in the big city.   It is about an hour and a half away, two hours from where he works.  The company finds it more economical to pay for a hotel than all the mileage every day.  I’ve managed to arrange with both sets of grandparents to go down one afternoon, spend the evening with him, and return the next morning.   It will be good for the kids to spend time with grandparents, it will be good for me to get away….just have to stay on the diet and make sure to exercise.  I’ve come to far to let it drop now!

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Chapter 7:  Daddy vs. Nancy Drew


So, I saw this game online that looked interesting.  Nancy Drew and the Haunted Carousel (and to make it legal, it’s by HER Interactive, available now, online at www.herinteractive.com). 




haunted-car                                              car-1




Anyway, I could get a free 1-hour trial.  I like mystery games, so I thought, “Why not?”  Long story short, I ended up buying it.  The girls (the older 2) saw me playing it one time, and as usual, begged to play what I was playing.  At first I said no.  But, as only kids can, they broke down my resistance with their non-violent, psychological methods.  The primary technique used, which is not taught in any class, but is somehow genetically imprinted into the psyche of the little people who range in age from “just learning to talk” to “finally moved out, got a job, and my own place to live”, is Repetitive Petitioning. 


Notice the base form of the question: “Daddy, can I play your Nancy Drew game?”  Again, it’s not taught in any class but somehow they instinctively know how to do it: they slightly altar that question each time they ask it.  Let’s start with the base question again, and work our way from there.


“Daddy, can I play your Nancy Drew game?”

“Daddy, when can I play your Nancy Drew game?”

“Can I play your Nancy Drew game now, Daddy?”

“Daddy, please can I play your Nancy Drew game?  Please?!?”

“Daddy, you know what I would really like more than anything else?  I would really like to play your Nancy Drew game, please?”


Notice, also, how manners (i.e. “please”) is instinctively injected as their pleas turn more desperate.  Interesting, is it not?  Now, because I have a 7 and 8 year old, I had the begging times 2.  Actually, in this case, it felt more like begging2.


So, I thought about it.  I’ve read a few of the Nancy Drew books with them.  Nancy doesn’t swear, doesn’t dress provocatively (but always fashionably), is a good friend, is smart and determined, is not too interested in boys, doesn’t believe in ghosts or monsters, is non-violent, and last but not least, adores her father.  The game was pretty much the same way.  The carousel isn’t really “haunted”, and it’s not really scary.  And there’s even a “Junior” mode for younger players.  So, I considered myself soundly defeated, and let them play.  Oh, poor Daddy, if you only knew then what I know now.


“Daddy, what does this mean?” 

“Daddy, what does that mean?”

“Daddy, I don’t understand this.”

“Daddy, can you help me?”

“Daddy, can you please help me, please?”

“Daddy, you know what I would really like?  I would really like you to help me with the Nancy Drew game.”


That’s right; all new questions begin, yet somehow sounding so familiar.  They liked the game, sure enough, but they didn’t have a clue about using the resources given in the game to solve puzzles.  I think, maybe, the amount of reading was a challenge for them.  And, the games they’re used to are primarily motor-skill games (using hands and fingers) instead of using their minds for deductive reasoning and logical thinking.  So, in one way, it was actually a good experience for them.  And, I got to spend time with them, helping them learn how to think and deduce for themselves. 


Sure, it was trying at times, but they enjoyed themselves.  And since I liked it, I waited, looked, and found a deal at Best Buy where I got 4 more Nancy Drew games as a bundle for $20.  Yeah, I felt good:  $5 a game, which normally sell for $20 a piece. 



nan-ultimate-dare        (Sorry, no longer at Best Buy, but you can get it at www.half.com, Amazon, etc.)




But since I had waited a while before buying them, the passage of time had rubbed from my mind the endless questions and the begging for help. 


So let’s please end this post, please!

You know what I would like?  I would really like to end this post now.  Please!


I’ve beaten all four games.  The younger has made it through 2; the older, 1 ½.  Through this Month O’Nancy, there has been:  arguing and yelling between the girls, sometimes hitting between the girls (one insisting on helping the other when the other doesn’t want to be helped), incessant begging for help, incessant whining for help, spells of crying in frustration and hopelessness when I couldn’t help right away, and to top it all off, endless petitions to play the last two games.  Enough was enough, and I declared no more Nancy Drew games until after school is over!  That will buy me some time while still giving them hope.  Surprisingly, they accepted that without argument (at least to me).


Nancy, dear Nancy:  I love ya, but who knew you could cause a father early ulcers and thinning hair that was already so thin, it’s almost non-existent?



I like to call this one “Cute Birthday Wishes to Mommy!”  Who knew cake could be so exciting!


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I need more to do

I really keep myself busy: cooking, cleaning, sewing, baking, homeschool, family, etc. and so-on.  I really need more in my days, right?  This post will be to the point and with lots of pictures to make  up for the lack of words.

1)  I need more to do so my husband is the one kind enough to help me in this area.  He has decided to run for city council.   He can say he’s tried and been involved in some small way with the community that raised us and in which we are raising our children.  And I can say I supported him and spent two more evenings a month on my own.   All kidding aside, I am glad he is doing it.  Besides, you never know what one small change will effect more change in the future. 

2) My grandma turned 85 last week and we had a surprise party for her.  It was great fun to be able to surprise her, though I think we confused her a bit at first.  How my kids managed to not let it slip, I’ll never know but she was surprised!  The banquet room at my parents was full of people from church, all of her children (my aunts and uncles) made it to town, and even some distant family.   If there has been one person more involved in my life other than my parents or husband it has been my grandma.  She’s lived in our little town since I was Jane’s age and she never missed a concert, play, prom, or birthday.  We decided to serve a light lunch for the party and I made cake: German chocolate (her favorite), a huge sheet-cake (since we weren’t sure how many would be there) and lemon cupcakes with raspberries (her and I have a history with raspberries.)   The cupcakes were supposed to be filled with raspberry jam, but I forgot and iced them first….ooops.  They still tasted pretty good, though.

It took two days, but homemade cakes cost less and taste better!

It took two days, but homemade cakes cost less and taste better!

3) We gave her one of the mini-quilts the girls and I have been working on.  I didn’t get a picture of it, though, before we gave it away.  I’ll try to remember my camera the next time I go over to their place and take a picture.  Here’s how we are doing on those little quilts by the way:

this one still needs quilted, its a bit smaller than the one we made for grandma

this one still needs quilted, it's a bit smaller than the one we made for grandma

We started sewing all those squares to strips of white fabric

We started sewing all those squares to strips of white fabric


sewn and pressed, they are pretty little puzzle pieces

sewn and pressed, they are pretty little puzzle pieces


putting all the pieces together

putting all the pieces together

the twins wanted in on the action

the twins wanted in on the action

 4) the purse, no progress…perhaps today?

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Insanity.  My kids have it.  From where did it come? 


Editors Note: Notice how the preposition “from” began the sentence and did not end the sentence.  A preposition should never end a sentence.  No matter how much I see it in our local paper, or in my kids school textbooks.  Please make a grammatical note!


It all started with Seinfeld.  You may have hated the sitcom made famous for being about nothing.  Or, you may have loved it.  But the fact remains that some aspects and characters from the show have permeated our culture.   The foundational fabric of our free, flourishing, fellowship, if you will.  One such lovable creature is the Soup Nazi.  Eh?  What’s that?  Never heard him?  Hmmm.  Well, here’s a small sample.



Anyways, as this story goes (and it goes this way because I’m telling it), over a dozen odd years ago, in high school (or shortly thereafter), I was at a friends house.  Being dorky kids, he went off on a tangent, impersonating, from the sounds it, an arabian sheik, who was trying to get a woman to dance for him.  Good grief, I feel brain cells dying just typing out that last sentence.  The impersonation went something like this:  “You dance for me?  You no dance for me?!?!  No soup for you!!!”  That’s all.  Mainly those 3 sentences repeated for about 5 minutes.  Yeah, I know, but it did seem funny at the time.  I guess in this situation, the quote fits: “You had to be there!”


Skip ahead several years.  Almost to the present time, but not quite.  For a gift, for some occasion, one of my oldest, or maybe both, received the Disney Prince’s Playset Figurines.  Oh sure, they’ve gotten nearly every princess there is, pre- and post-Walt.  But what, I ask you my brethren, is princess without a prince?  Now the imaginative scenarios are exponentially multiplied.  And that is where I found myself, wanting to spend time with my daughters, and they, wanting to play with the Disney princesses and princes.  I was forced to be a prince.  Go figure. 




I tried to be a good dad/playmate, really I did.  I mean, at least it wasn’t Barbies, right?  I don’t know if there is anything more difficult, more ridiculous feeling, then a father trying to play along as the side-kick male in a female dominated franchise and a female dominated playtime (2 girls versus 1 Daddy.  They win.).  Like I said, I tried to play along, but between the two of them, they kept changing the story situations faster than Bugs did to Daffy in “Duck Amuck”!



So finally, out of boredom laced with humiliation, I took my prince (I think it was Prince Charming, or maybe Alladin…I have too much respect for Prince Philip), trotted him up to the nearest princess, and declared, “Will you dance for me?  No…then no soup for you!  Would you like to see ME dance!?!?!”  Then I began to swivel the upper torso of my prince (they swivel at the waist, for reasons unknown), and shouted gleefully, “A-do-ti-do-ti-do-ti-do-ti!”  All this, of course, to the loud laughter of my delighted children.  I should have known then that they’d be asking for an encore.  So, I did it again.  But since then, I have never picked up another prince.


A few months ago, the older two say they have a dance they want me to see.  I’d love to see it, I tell them.  Then I get the video camera out, because these are the moments to save for future embarrassment of teenagers.  And this is what I get.



Notice, if you will the scared look on Brie’s face the ENTIRE TIME!  Yeah, I was nervous, too.  Also notice Cee-Cee starting to shake her head, too, toward the end.  The insanity before me was both humorous and breathtaking.  They’ve repeated their performance on different occasions since then, so I think its a favorite. 


Now, where was I…oh, yes.  Insanity.  Yep, there can be no doubt: They got it straight from me. 

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