December 31, 2008
First of all can you believe that we're 10 years past 99? I mean - Prince said he'd party like it's 1999 - what was partying like then anyway? I had a 2 year old, and I'm pretty sure that any partying going on at my place was much different to the stuff that Prince was singing about.
Anyway - I have places to be, parties to attend, a new year to celebrate, and I'm sitting here in my office watching my next door neighbors, who have never experienced snow - apparently there really are still people like this, shovel and reshovel piles. They're not creating sledding hills, making snowmen, or clearing a path out of the garage. Just randomly shoveling. Huh.
Jon's working today (always a good thing), and the other 3 boys are downstairs watching Ratatoulli, jumping on the couches, and playing Heroscape. I cleaned the kitchen this morning, but now it's a mess (the boys found where I hid the Candy Cane Almond Roca and Lindor Truffles, and there are wrappers EVERYWHERE). The cushions are all off the couches in the family room, and Carson's got the floor of the living room completely covered with figures, tiles, cards, etc so that he can plot his strategy for tonight's game.
I really don't want to go down there anyway - it'll just mean that I have to do something or look at my partially put away Christmas decor. There's just not time to finish putting it away, get ready for tonight's party, and put together the yummies that I'm taking. Oh well.
The family room tree has been bagged - it'll go back to Jon's parent's house tonight. The one in the kitchen has all of the ornaments removed and boxed up at its foot and it just needs to be carried to the basement. The living room tree is still standing on the end table with all of its adornments also boxed beneath it. Is there anything more lonely or post-holiday representationist than an undecorated tree? Don't think so.
I did finish beading a necklace and bracelet this morning. They go with the earrings that my SIL, Chris, gave me for Christmas. I'd post a photo, but the camera has gone incognito for a few days - that's why I haven't posted photos of Christmas morning. I've been wearing all 3 jewelry items with my jammies and pony-tailed hair thus far today. Griff said I look beautiful. Who am I to argue?
Yesterday I found a zipped, angora hoody at Smith's Marketplace. I really do love the thing, but I'm going to work on want/need spending in 2009. That black hoody really isn't a need. I have other black sweaters, and that hoody has pockets right about hip level that create little bulges where they aren't necessarily needed. Besides - if I bought the hoody I'd want to but a new cami to go underneath it, and I don't need more of those either. BUT - it's on a 60% off sale. Oh the dilemma.
I hear my latest chick lit calling me. I may have to read a chapter or 4 before I get in the shower. As long as we're ready to rock & roll when Jon gets here, it's all good, right?
Have an enjoyable, safe evening. I'd like you to all be around to check out my thoughts during '09.
December 23, 2008
The 4th day brought 4 messages, one of which was a story about the candy cane miracle. In summary - a woman was complaining about not even being able to afford candy canes for her Christmas Tree during a prayer. The next few days saw an abundance of candy canes entering her home, and she realized that her prayer had been heard.
My Christmas spirit has been greatly hampered this year with workloads being light or non-existent for both Jon and me. I'm not worried about Christmas, but the next few months aren't something that I'm really looking forward to.
Friday was Jon's brother's 10th anniversary, and Jon and I got to have a niece and 3 nephews spend the night at our house. I was looking forward to it because I love these kids, but I was also a little intimidated. I don't have any girls, and I wasn't sure that I'd be able to keep Courtney entertained. I was also a bit worried about changing diapers (haven't done that for a few years) and waking up with a little one. The amazing thing to me is that the two I was the most reserved about are the two who made it the most enjoyable for me.
After dinner (who knew that cutting German pancakes, cooking sausage links and pouring juice or milk for 7 kids could be so time consuming?) Courtney and I got out my beading supplies, and we made a few bracelets. I had so much fun spending girl time! When we were wrapping up, Courtney said, "Aunt Staci, you're a lot nicer than I thought you were." I didn't quite know how to take that so I just said thank you and gave her a hug.
Jon had taken her little brother, Alden, upstairs to read him a book in an effort to get him to sleep. Friday night was Alden's first time spending a night away from both parents at the same time. He was such a good kid! Jon's story didn't quite get him to sleep, so I wrapped him up in his blanket, gave him his milk, and sat next to the Christmas tree with the other lights in the room turned off. He quietly asked me if his mom was home and said he wanted to get down. I hugged him tight, said it was time to go to sleep, and started lightly tickling his face. He finally went to sleep, and I just couldn't quit holding him. I held him there with the gentle light of the tree casting shadows on his cheeks and was overcome with the love that I felt for this little boy.
Jon finally came to get him and we put him in bed with Courtney. Much to every one's surprise, he slept all night long.
My sister-in-law, Shauna, had given Jon and I a goody bag for taking care of the kids. She included a candle, a book, a card, and ... candy canes. I didn't think about the story from my neighbor until later Saturday night, but I was reminded of the little gifts of the Christmas season: boys that brighten my home each day, a husband who truly enjoys his family, nieces who teach me that I need to work on my relationships with them, sisters-in-law who pay attention to details, and little boys who bring peace.
Of course this lead me to think of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. The next day I sat in class with my 5-yr-old primary kids, watched the sunbeams (this included Griff) all excited and dressed up for a nativity during sharing time and thought about how much I love these children. I realised that this love was small in comparison to the love that was demonstrated to each of us by our older brother and by our Heavenly Father as each of our individual needs are tended.
Thank you to all of you who've sent cards this year, called on the phone, renewed old friendships, and offered your bits of wisdom via blogs. It's made this holiday season one that I will always remember.
December 02, 2008
In case any of you are worried, my thumb is just fine. I do have a scar, but it's hardly noticeable.
So - wanted to fill you all in on our Thanksgiving festivities. I've also got a list of things that I'm thankful for floating around in my head, and I'm pretty sure I want to get that posted sooner rather than later. I get teary-eyed every time I sit down and try to organize my thoughts, so I'll do my best :).
We ate with Jon's family at his parents' stake center. There were 36 of us, and it was unbelievably fabulous!
Someone organized a family talent show, which my boys kicked off with a karaoke ala MP3 player in the ears version of "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. The very next day, you gave it away..." Carson and Evan were supposed to sing along, but they got Griff onstage and left him up there! Griff was too nervous to stand there and look at all of us, so he turned around and sang to the back of the stage. I expected a couple of booty shakes, but that dang stage fright kicked in and kept his posterior fairly still. It was pretty dang funny. My neices performed a few impressive piano numbers and a tumbling pass.
One SIL is getting her Tae Kwon Do black belt this coming weekend, so she and 3 of her kids (all of whom have or are also getting their black belts) did a thing with num-chuks, pin-chuks (don't ask me the difference), and black lights. Afterward the kids all got up on stage and danced around until a couple of them got beaned and we had to put a stop to the ninja brigade.
We had a volleyball game in which all but one of Jon & his brothers chickened out of playing. Turned out to be a competition between the aunts and the Father-in-law and the nephews. I don't think anyone used a camera, but I'm positive that there would have been some incredible photos.
We cleaned up the church and then went over to Mom & Dad's to eat left over pie. Fabulous day!
November 03, 2008
In one of my less stellar mom moments last week, I accidentally broke the foot on one of Griff's Power Rangers. I promised I could fix it with Super Glue. So into my office we went and pulled out one of those handy tubes.
I fixed the foot - except that now it doesn't turn like it's supposed to. I told him that at least it was on and that sometimes parts of a Power Ranger don't work - just like the rest of us. I put the lid on the tube and put it on my desk.
A few minutes ago I decided to put it away - it's been busy around here with the big candy snagging event and all. Guess what - It was stuck to my desktop. The stupid thing leaked! No wonder the things are single use. You can't save them for next time.
I pried the container up off the table, but it's soft like a tube of toothpaste, and part of the tube decided to stay stuck on the desk. Remember that thumb that had the screwdriver shoved into it last week in a separate stellar mom moment? Well now it's covered with super glue that glopped out of the completely open tube. I don't dare bite off the dried glue (isn't that what you do when you get super glue on your fingers?) because I'm afraid I'm going to open up the wound. Don't even make me think about soaking the thing in nail polish remover because really how much would that hurt?
Stupid single use marketing ploy. There was too much in that tube to use at once anyway - unless of course I was trying to attach a bumper to a car or something.
Must be a Monday.
November 01, 2008
The boys decided to be a Ringwraith, Ghost Rider, and an ewok.
I've included a photo of what they were supposed to look like and then one of what they actually looked like.
We took today easy and will be putting away the scary Halloween stuff tomorrow. Here's what we had out:
Outside: I love the hand in the trunk. It scared quite a few kids this month. The thing was so gross that when we bought it, Griff wouldn't carry it through the store.
October 30, 2008
This morning Evan was sucking on a metal tube of some sort. I told him he needed to get it out of his mouth and asked him what it was. He responded with his usual shoulder shrug and walked away.
A few minutes later he brought me the pump that we use for footballs, soccer balls, etc and said that he'd figured out where the metal thing came from. Someone had broken off the needle from the pump.
Being the engineer that I am I figured, "I can fix that!"
I looked around for somthing small to push the remaining piece out of the needle holder (how's that for a technical term?). I used a ball point pen, (which will now most likely never write again) but that didn't work so well. I continued to look through my stash of things on my desk and found my pink screwdriver with its multiple heads.
"Aha!" I thought and went to work. I couldn't get the holder to stay still when it was on my desktop, so for some insane reason I picked it up. I actually got the broken portion of the needle to move a bit, so I kept at it.
S L A M
I dropped the holder. As I bent to pick it up I realized that the freaking screwdriver was still attached to my thumb. Instant stomach queasiness and a few, choice, toenail-curling words later I pulled out the screwdriver and ran to my bathroom.
I put a few bandaids on the end of my thumb and called Jon. He told me that I should call a neighbor to have them look at it to see if I needed stitches.
Who's home... who's home... I kept thinking while applying additional bandages (It stopped bleeding through at 6). I finally called Michelle, but she was busy signing something for her son, Tyler, and Tyler was some sort of Nazi who wouldn't let me talk to her. I hung up, and instantly my phone rang.
Guess who... My mom!
I got to tell her how stupid I'd been and then I knew I was in for the "you should go to the doctor and get stitches and a tetanus shot" lecture. The next thing I thought was that I hadn't showered yet this morning and was still in my silly green striped PJs.
Anyway - I got to tell my mom that it really hurt. She was wonderful and just listened to me. I love that she called right when I needed her to. I know she called for another reason, but I can't think of it off the top of my head...
Thanks Mom! I love you.
October 20, 2008
My next door neighbor - Debbie - and I put up ~80 pounds of apples this year! We got ~48 quarts. I kept ~3 doz small macs (because I'll repeatedly tell you that this is the BEST type for applesauce) so that I can make carmel apples in the next couple of weeks. ~~At this point of my tome, if you can't tell that I love tildas, then you are missing something~~ This involves homemade carmel - not the kind you peel off the wrapper and melt. It's been very hard carmel in the past, so I'm anxious to see if I can make it better this year.
This photo is of the 2nd batch. The pink variety was created using apples from the Payson, Utah area (which were picked up by my incredible mom). The tan bottle was created using the last of the macs that my amazing niece, Natasha, picked up for me in the Logan area. Amazing to see the color difference, huh? The pink tint is what prevents some of my other nieces (I won't mention Courtney by name ;) ) from tasting this scrumptious treat.
Scout Shadow Box
Carson recently finished up Cub Scouts, and I had been collecting his miscellaneous scout paraphanalia in ziploc bags around the house. He asked me if I was going to do anything with all of the stuff, and it seemed so wrong to just toss it out. My local Hobby Lobby was having a 50% off sale on frames, so I picked this up for a mere $6.50! I found the cubscout paper at Roberts, and I raced home to put it all together. I'm still missing his compass points, but I think I saw them in the laundry room this morning...
Halloween Costume I'm not going to post a photo of this yet, but it'll show up in a couple of weeks. One of my favorite things to do is shop, so when Halloween costume ideas come up, I'm all about getting out there. I don't want to give too much away right now, but I found a leather jacket for $6 at Savers for Evan, and I sewed a down~right~fabulous cape using no pattern and 12" wide strips of two different types of black fabric for Carson. Griff's costume only requires the addition of ears to a past costume. Thank goodness for that costume box in the basement! Get this - Griff isn't even being the same Star Wars character that Carson used the costume for in the first place. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
Cory and Shannon gave me this night stand a few years ago. I've used the dickens out of it, but it was very unspectacular. Design Sponge has a weekly post of Before & After projects. I got to thinking about that little underappreciated night stand, and I was inspired!
Luckily you can't read the titles of the books in that little travel case. I don't think you need to know what type of smut may find it's way into my to-be-read pile. Actually ~ there isn't any smut there ~ just some of the futuristic sci-fi romance that I decided to try. It wasn't that great...
I forgot to take before photos, but you can see that the after is pretty dang adorable. I took a pillow sham from my new bed ensemble (which sprung my next project ~ pillows and window treatments from coordinating fabric ~ also found at Hobby Lobby) to Home Depot and had them match the paint color to one of the stripes. I also picked out a lovely, simple drawer pull. It took me a full evening to sand the thing down (I was also able to keep Griffin busy that morning by handing him a sanding sponge and telling him to have at it while I did a conference call for work ~ FABULOUS!).
I rolled the entire thing ~ this went against the advice of my professional painting hubby, but I can't paint with a brush for anything. A 4" roller worked just fine, thanks... OK - so I thought I'd done an all right job on the dental trim, but this photo reveals otherwise. Looks like I'm off to find a small paintbrush and do some touchups.
ANYWAY - I'm so in love with this little piece that I picked up an end table at DI for $10 and have started sanding it down. The problem with this one? The drawer pull is a 2-1/2" center instead of the standard 3". Not an easy fix. I'm wondering what two knobs would look like... Never fear, I will find a solution ~ assuming I keep up the energy for more projects.
October 12, 2008
Evan: Hey, Mom? Are moths poisonous?
Me: I don't think so.
Evan: Even if you put them in your mouth?
Me: silence - huh - I'm really stumped. Why would you want to do that?
Evan: shoulder shrug as he walked away smiling
Immediately after I posted our conversation, I wondered if moths really were poisonous. I called Evan back into the computer room and we looked it up online. We found out that there is a member of the Tiger moth family that is in fact poisonous because of the plants it eats while in larva form. Who knew?
Evan then told me that he was wondering if they were poisonous because of the powder that's on their wings. Again he sparked my curious side, and we looked that up, too. Turns out that the powder is actually scales that in a male contain scent to attract females. These scales help moths (and butterflies for that matter) escape things such as spider webs.
Evan's reply to this?
COOL! So if Frodo had been covered by those scales, he would have been able to escape the spider web!
I love how the male mind works.
October 07, 2008
There were 6 of the things in the cooler. The boys thought it was so cool to watch them lethargically move around.
I had no idea how to cook these nasty looking beasts or how to crack them open once they were cooked. Apparently the Hills have had lobsters shipped in from the East Coast before (one particular batch was drowned in the bath tub before they could be eaten), so we headed over to the "Hill"ton for a Saturday afternoon meal.
Evan asked me if we could keep one and return it to the ocean. Like there's one of those somewhere nearby! Then proceeded to ask us how you cook them. I was S-T-U-P-I-D and made a wise crack about hearing them scream when they're dropped in the pot. Why do I do these things?! This REALLY got Evan thinking. Out of all of us, Evan's the most enthusiastic seafood lover, but he's also the most sensitive. He had tears rolling down his face while he thought of Snappy's demise.
Thankfully there were no screams (from Snappy or from Evan), and everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal.
October 03, 2008
October 01, 2008
Grandma would have been 82. Lois Robinson Egan passed away on February 4, 1997.
The last time I saw her was the weekend before she passed away. She'd had some kind of surgery at the Utah Valley Regional Med Center, and Jon and I had driven down to Provo to see her. I was 3 months pregnant with Carson. I don't think my stomach was that big, but as soon as I walked in the door she told me that I needed to sit down. I got to sit on her bed and rub her feet while we talked.
Grandma was a very stubborn woman who absolutely refused to go through dialysis. Grandpa had taken her to Pocatello to have her first treatment. They had her all hooked up, and she asked him to go get her a magazine across the hall. He came back, and she was gone. I suppose that even in the end Grandma got her way.
There are a lot of things that I miss about Grandma.
- I miss the expression on her face when it was obvious that she disagreed with whatever you said. For some reason I remember this happening as I was heading out the back door, and she was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes. She looked at me with that look, looked down at her hands, and then looked out the window while she shook her head.
- I miss watching her in her garden wearing her black rubber boots, holding up the bottom of her pocketed apron to create a place to hold veggies or raspberries or birds eggs.
- I miss feeding lambs and chicks with her on cold spring mornings.
- I miss watching her dry out the shower because I didn't do a good enough job. I'm kind of sad that this is one of the reasons that Jon and I stopped staying at her house when we'd go to Idaho.
- I miss watching her carry the wicker laundry basket outside to hang the clothes on the clothes line. Cory and I liked to run in and out of the sheets, and boy could she holler when she found us.
- I miss the way she'd rapidly tap her tongue on the roof of her mouth when she was tasting things off the wooden spoon and the way she'd open up her mouth and quickly stick her tongue out if it wasn't quite right.
- I miss her heart-stopping sneezes.
- I miss the way she'd scream, "HUH?" at the top of her lungs and not do anything to try to hear you better.
- I miss the smell of her Aquanet hair spray that she'd put on before she got ready to go to town. These trips usually involved going to Ropers, Gillettes, Burgers Etc, Kimberly Nursery, Golden Goose, or Twin. I loved that she knew everyone and that she actually smiled and laughed when we'd go see the butcher at Gillette's in Declo.
- I miss how she'd try to get everyone loaded in the van to make the drive to Goshen when we'd go wash my dad's headstone. The last time this happened was shortly after Cory & Shannon got married. She was saying that my cousin, Spencer, wanted to go. There already weren't enough seats in the van to comfortably fit us all (van held 7-8, and there were 7 adults). Spencer and Mandy would have had to sit in the back with the cleaning stuff and the flowers. I'm sure I was exhibiting my own stubbornness, but I made Jon get out of the van and drive our own vehicle. The thing that really ticked me off later was that Spencer asked me who Don Lundberg was. Perfect demonstration that Spence could have cared less if he got to go or not. I was right, but what does that matter now?
I wouldn't say that she was a warm, fuzzy, hugging kind of grandma, but I know she did love me. When I found out my Grandma Lundberg died during my sophomore year of college, Grandma Egan was the first person I called. She just sat on the other end of the phone and let me cry. After a while she told me a few things that she loved about me and said that Grandma Lundberg probably loved the same things. Almost made up for her missing my high school graduation because she'd just got a new batch of chicks.
I wish my boys could have known her. I think they would have learned a lot from the woman.
She would have taught them to use wax paper squares to make the big slide even more slippery. She would have taught them to appreciate back rubs with pencils and foot rubs with green Vaseline lotion. She would have taught them that the world stopped for The Young and the Restless at 10:00. She would have taken them to visit scary old ladies like her friends Wanda, Kay, and Anna (OK - Anna wasn't so scary, but wow Wanda and Kay made me nervous). She would have taught them to love crushed ice (this was chewed open-mouthed so that you could hear the crunching while watching Y&R) and Pepsi. She would have let them play dress up with their aunt's clothing even though their aunt specifically said they could not be in her bedroom. She would have scared the living tar out of them by clacking her dentures together and then denied that it ever happened.
Grandma hated having her picture taken. Even in the photos from my wedding she's not smiling. This one was taken at the airport when Cory was leaving on his mission.
September 26, 2008
I know I shouldn't laugh at domestic disputes, but WOWSER! How did the reporters and police officer keep a straight face?!
That green stencil thing just wasn't cutting it for me. So, I played around with my layout a bit.
I like the title of my blog (Random Deliberate Cogitation), but I was thinking it sounded a bit pretentious. So that changed as well.
I found a quote by Winston Churchill (see the top of the side bar) that made me think, "Huh?". At the same time I was thinking, "How fitting is that?!" Can't tell you why, it just seems to work for me. So, since I refer to my boys as monkeys quite often, and our stuffed animal collection started out with a monkey, there you go.
George was purchased in Denver on a 3/$1 sale by Jon when Carson was not quite 2. George has been to Colorado (obviously), Florida, California, and New Mexico. He used to be the must have sleep item, but has earned a place of honor near Carson's bank and his books. George guards the alarm clock so that no one messes with the time that Carson sets when he thinks he'll get out of bed. Of course - if Carson sleeps through the alarm, it's also George who is the culprit.
George used to hide in the collar of Jon's shirt and would wave at Carson while he was in his carseat during those dreaded car rides. George could nod his head, "Yes" or shake his head, "No". He could play hide and seek, and was capable of making many tears disappear. Note that Evan has started collecting Star Wars figurines - as long as they are in a box. This was his most recent purchase so it's in the place of honor, too. Think I ought to tell him about the damage caused by sunlight? Sad thing is that most of his boxes get opened by one or the other of his brothers, so they don't last long anyway.
I love George!
Next came Ringo, who showed up in Evan's stocking one year for Christmas. Ringo is an orangatang, and Evan couldn't say that word at the time. There really was no guidance in trying to get Evan to choose that name, he must have been channeling his rock star very early and that's what popped out... I don't think the Beatles have made a playlist in our house to date.
I just went looking for all of the monkeys to do a group shot for you, but they're in hiding. Perhaps when Evan gets home (he's the keeper of the stuffeds), I'll be able to gather them.
September 24, 2008
Anyway - today we got to be questioned by intern, Doug, before the doc came in the room. Evan has a habit of going all quiet - not so much shy, just some kind of "if I shrink into my chair and move my mouth while I breath, I will be left alone". Insert eyeroll here
Doug did a good job asking questions, he just did too much leading. I mean when a kid hurts sometimes you have to call him on it and make him show you where. Doug asked him on a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being when he broke his leg), how bad was this pain? Evan finally spoke up that it was ABOUT a 2. Remember the eye roll from the previous paragraph - well, insert an even bigger one here If this morning pain is only a 2 and he's griped this much, the mom-patience is defintely going to be tried!
Doc Schmidt comes in, talks to Evan a bit, has him run up and down the hall (because Evan runs kind of funny). Doc agreed with me about the funny running and went back in the room to write up our lab order. The purpose of the tests is to rule out the bad stuff - like arthritis.
We got to go have blood drawn and an xray taken of both lower legs. I'm really surprised that DCFS didn't come running down the hall during the blood draw.
This boy has an amazing set of lungs when he chooses to use them. I just mentioned how quiet he was when he didn't really want the attention, but once he saw that a needle was involved, all the rules changed. I. Could. Not. Believe. The. Noise. This. Boy. Made. If I hadn't been pinned underneath him, I really think I would have walked away.
Anyway - xrays looked fine (no tumors or incorrectly healed bones - Ev broke his left tibia when he was 3 and his right tibia when he was 4). We'll hear back from the lab on Friday morning.
When it was all over and we were in the Yukon driving home, I had to call Jon and laugh about how out of control Evan had been. We put Jon on speaker so that he could ask some questions. The last one was, "So did it really hurt?" Evan's reply?
I DON'T KNOW - THEY SAID I WAS ALL DONE BEFORE I EVEN FELT THE POKE.
September 21, 2008
The boys really got a kick out of peeling off the skins. Feels good to be all done - now I just need to work up the energy to carry them all downstairs.
Isn't this one beautiful?! Almost makes me want to pop the top and dig in.
September 18, 2008
Tuesday morning I walked 5 miles in Bingham Canyon with my friends Shelly, Sherry, and Heather. I should have known that was enough time on my feet, but I'd gotten myself all psyched to bottle peaches during the previous week. I bought a 28 pound box for $20 at the West Jordan farmer's market. I think this was a little high, but my other choice was $28 for 32 pounds. You do the math.
I only ate a couple of peaches in the prep process and found out from Jon that the boys had been grabbing them out of the garage while I'd left them out there to ripen. Well, I only got 13 quarts - not nearly enough to last my guys until next year, so after I was finished, I dashed back to the farmer's market (it's only there on Tuesday's from 3-7) and bought another box. Like I can psyche myself up for that again...
We had some with grilled cheese tonight for dinner (the boys are all about dipping the sandwiches in the juice), and all of them told me the peaches were too sweet. Dang. My FIL's peaches are always a little bit tart (sorry Dad), so I figured I'd use a light syrup (4 cups water/2 cups sugar according to my beloved JOY OF COOKING). Problem is that these peaches were so sweet anyway that even the light syrup is just || this much over the top.
Oh well. I've got another whole box to do. I'll taste those peaches first and adjust the syrup accordingly. I suppose I could make some peach jam like my lovely cousin, Miranda...
I just don't think I have enough freezer space for more jam. I did lots of batches of berry jams this year - 2 raspberry, 2 boysenberry, 1 blackberry, and 3 mixed berry using the leftovers and a bag of frozen berries from Costco. See last year's jam post in re JAM POOP and diverticulitis. Note that the date of that post was Oct 21 - I've still got a month to go...
The blackberry batch set so quickly and firmly that I almost couldn't get it into the jars. I had one batch of raspberry and one batch of boysenberry that didn't set. I called my mom (which seems to be the common trait in canning stories - having to call a relative) and asked her what I should do. She told me that my grandma would call the 1-800 number on the package.
So, after going back to the store to get more pectin (had to use Sure Jell [ok it was actually the store brand of Sure-Jell - "Can-Jell" $1.35/package to Sure-Jell's $2.63/package] because my local Smith's doesn't carry MCP) and some nifty freezer containers (have you seen these things? The 1 cup variety have a purple lid, and they are threaded on the inside of the jar so that you can easily stack the jars with a type of locking action - very swift). Where was I?
Oh yes. I got more pectin and more containers and called Sure-Jell. They told me that I needed to do a test jar - prepare the pectin, add 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1 Tbsp pectin to the jam, let it sit for another 24 hours, and then do the rest of the batch if that worked. Hah! If I'm going to go through all of that, why would I only do one jar - why not just do the entire batch? So, I dumped the raspberry jam into one bowl, and the boysenberry into another. I washed all of the containers, prepped the pectin (in 2 separate pans - 1 for each batch). Added 1 cup of sugar (that's 2 Tbsp per cup of jam, 8 cups of jam per batch, so 16 Tbsp or 1 cup - did the math for you that time 8^)) and added the pectin. The sugar dissolved beautifully, and I figured that we were on our way to set jam.
The raspberry set just fine. The boysenberry did not. At this point, I was not going to add more sugar to that fruit, so it looks like I ended up with a batch of boysenberry syrup.
I gave a jar of each to Mindy, Griff's daycare lady, and she gave me a bottle of peach-raspberry. She didn't even use pectin in hers. She had a recipe that used unflavored gelatin! What part of Idaho did she come from???
So - now I'm sitting here nursing the blisters on the back of my feet from Tuesday's walk, finally able to walk up and down the stairs without my hips screaming in agony, feeling the pressure of that other box of peaches, and mysteriously still wanting to do applesauce.
I found a source for macintosh apples in Logan, and I get to call on Monday to find out when they're ready.... Oh the anticipation.
Now if I could only figure out my Grandma Egan's chili recipe and bottle up some of that. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
September 03, 2008
They left, drove down to Delta, got 1 bird, and came home.
They'd taken Hilo (our 3 yr old chocolate lab) with them for his 1st hunt and left Kona (our 11 yr old black lab) home. They decided that Kona would like to pretend she'd gone hunting, so they wanted to keep the dove to throw around for Kona to retrieve in the back yard. She's old enough that this is about all she can handle - so it's all good. I didn't ever think to ask where they were keeping the bird.
So, last night I went out to the garage fridge to get a Diet Coke. At this point you're probably wondering whether you really want to keep reading, huh? Eh - go ahead. I dare ya.
There were two cases in there, so I just reached into the one that was sitting at an angle looking like it only had 1 or 2 cans in the bottom. Did I look in the tilted case? NO! Why would I do that? When they're in there like that, they're either empty or they have a couple cans. PROBLEM - it didn't have any cans, just a DEAD DOVE. Griff just stood there and laughed at me shrieking. He rattled off something about how everyone knew that was the box with the bird. I couldn't really hear him cause I had the skeevies so bad. Cured me of my Diet Coke habit for an evening.
Come to think of it, today I've only had one out of the inside fridge - that's where I keep my bottles...
September 02, 2008
Last night he told me he had to stay in his own bed ALL NIGHT LONG because he's a big kid. He did it! I suppose we'll have to see how long that will last.
He woke up around 7:45 this morning, put on his clothes, brushed his teeth, asked for a bowl of cereal, ate it ALL (because you have to have a good breakfast to go to school), and then went to find a comb and gel for his hair. He got out his backpack, grabbed a sweatshirt, and went and stood in the driveway until Jon was ready to leave for work.
I got to wave goodbye from the garage while they drove down the street. As I walked in the house and thought about being all by myself (which has happened almost every day since Cars & Ev started school 2 weeks ago) I just started to cry.
It's all good though. Jon came home from work around 1:30. I got to spend the afternoon talking to him with no boys around!
I had the windows open all day, got my IKEA Klover lamp hung in my office, did 2 conference calls and some other work stuff, got most of my office organized, went grocery shopping, and took Griff to the library.
It really has been a good day. I think I'll go finish up dinner and snuggle G on the couch while we watch Ben 10 or something.
August 22, 2008
Carson's had a lot going on recently - he turned 11 on Aug 12, he started 6th grade on Aug 18, and he got his Arrow of Light on Aug 19. I've included his 3 year old picture because... Well, because he just isn't 3 anymore. I still like to think that every once in a while he'll need me like he did when he was that age. Although even then he didn't me that much.
Every summer we spend an evening at Seven Peaks with my family. This year, it happened to fall on Carson's birthday. Grandma Norris picked up some of Carson's favorite sugar cookies, and we used those as his bday cake. Thanks to Aunt Christie for taking the photos - I'm such a slouch with the camera lately!
Carson and Evan had their clothes all organized on Sunday morning at about 7:00 am. They weren't excited or anything... The alarm clock rang at 6:30 on the big day. (they haven't been up before 7:30 since, but first day jitters are almost as good as Christmas morning, right?) They both got up, got dressed, and took their own photos (haven't I taught them well?)
The bus picks them up just 5 houses down the street, but Carson informed me that it's our tradition that I drive him to school on the first day and on the last day of school. Who am I to disappoint tradition? The boys' school had been remodeled over the summer (had to fix that roof that collapsed back in February), and even though 2 of the tracks had already been going to school for 3 weeks, Aug 18 was the first day that everyone was back at the real place. The kids got to go to a different location at the end of last year and the first weeks of this year. What a mad house!
I parked the car, and Carson jumped out before I could say a thing to him. The kids line up on the playground and then go inside the school when the bell rings, so Carson immediately took off to find his line. Evan wanted a little more assistance - he's in the mobiles behind the school. I left Griff with Carson to antagonize all those 6th graders, and Evan and I walked around back. On the way there Evan told me that I didn't have to kiss him. Nice. Made sure Evan was in line and then walked back to find my preschooler. Griff was doing exactly what I'd left him to do. I grabbed his hand; we waved goodbye to Carson, and we got in the car. Very uneventful.
Arrow of Light
Perhaps by the time Griffin is in cub scouts I will have gotten a little more excited about the program. Jon and I are cub master and committee chair, respectively, and I think we underwhelm on a regular basis. Carson's Arrow of Light ceremony was no different (although Aunt Valerie is a true scouter and made sure that we upped the ante on the type of arrows we present - thank you Val!). We did a short thing with a compass and the 5 badges. Then Carson tried to stick me with the mother's pin. Love that kid... Again - photo credits go to Evan.
August 14, 2008
Here's a link to the Standard Examiner story.
According to the Hill AFB Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) office, it's the largest EUL project within the Dept of Defense and the largest public/private venture in the history of the State of Utah.
August 10, 2008
My cousin Miranda's blog contains this photo of her adorable daughter, Azalea. I know Zayley has a red-eyed thing going on here, but this little girl could stop traffic.
I was pulling ~25-year-old photos out of magnetic albums this weekend (can you believe that I haven't done that yet?) and found this photo of Miranda and her mom, Nina.
Do you see the resemblance?
How about in these?
Can you tell that these are taken in the same yard? I always thought that my Grandpa Egan's house/yard were timeless and that outside nothing changed. These photos are proof that that is not the case.
What changed in 25+ years? Chicken coop/Hay loft (where I got to feed baby chicks and lambs, got to watch a vet helping a lamb being born, and watched my brother run our uncle's 3-wheeler into one of the apple trees), the well/potato cellar (the old one went dry, so Grandpa had to have a new one drilled. I don't think Grandpa liked us jumping on the old metal lid, but man did that make some great noise), slides (which were out of control when you slid down them with wax paper underneath you), crab apple tree (which always confused me - why would you want to grow yucky apples?), horse chestnut tree (which I don't remember ever not being there and shading the driveway - but apparently it was added after I came along), curbing, tree stumps (these took the place of the crabapple tree as the stage of many theatrics), and kids wearing correctional shoes (my kids will never understand how awful these were).
What stayed the same? The clothesline, the smell, the wind, knowing that you're always welcome and always loved.
Back to the resemblance thing - I think these two show just how much Carson looks like me. I could pull out some of Jon and Evan or Jon and Griff, but it's my blog now isnt' it...
Oh - and just so that I don't negate the scrapbooking queen title that I've given myself in the past - The only photo in this post that was actually ever in a magnetic album was the one of Nina and Miranda. I may have been unaware of the detrimental properties of magnetic pages when I was young, but I would never have put photos of my boys in such things! Sheesh.
August 06, 2008
Kacy - I also read and became disillusioned with Not Buying It after hearing about it on NPR. I checked it out from the library so that I was following the not buying it theme.
I thought I'd add my two cents worth and say that vinegar is a must have in the laundry room. We're not talking Apple Cider Vinegar. You want WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR. I haven't used it as an all purpose cleaner, but this substance has made me a happy laundress on many occassions. How could this be? Let me tell you!
- Keep a spray bottle of 1:4 diluted WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR:water near your dirty clothes hamper and in the laundry room. Spray it in the armpits of shirts and inside the necks of white dress shirts before you put them in the hamper and before they go in the washer. Taa-daa! No yellow arm pits or ring around the collar. I don't know if you really have to spray these items twice - it's just that at the rate I do laundry, the spray has dried by the time it gets to the washer and I want to make sure it really does its job.
The smell isn't great when you spray, but that dissipates quickly.
- When you buy a brand-new front-loading washing machine and have done exactly 4 loads of laundry and then decide to play around with various cycles, your wet towels and sheets will suddenly become locked in the machine. It will take nearly a week to get a repair man to your house. Those wet towels and sheets are just sitting there becoming all sorts of funky. The repair man will fix the washer and will tell you that there is no manual override to open the door while there is water in the tub. He will also tell you there isn't a labor charge because of the warranty, but you're going to have to buy new towels and sheets. Never fear! Do not open the newly unlocked door. Just put a couple of cups of straight WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR in the detergent drawer and run the load. Follow it up with a regular cycle using detergent. Hunh - what do you know? No stanky towels.
- Same thing works when your boys leave the swim bag full of wet towels, swimsuits, diving sticks, and goggles in the back of the Yukon covered up with a sleeping bag while the Yukon simmers in nearly 100 degree heat. I had to drive this puppy to the store, and the smell was so bad that my eyes were watering! Of course the boys said there was nothing in the car, but when I pulled said sleeping bag out, I wanted to cry. Again - I should not have worried. Just put a couple of cups of straight WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR in the detergent drawer and run the load. Follow it up with a regular cycle using detergent. Hunh - what do you know? No stanky towels.
I don't know if this will work for a sorry sleeping bag. I figured I've already locked towels and sheets in the washing machine - I don't need to add a sleeping bag to the list. I think the ammonia-ish scent should be similar to deer or elk urine. Taking this bag on the hunts will surely lure the animals right to him. Sounds like a great plan to me!
- You know those dish rags that pile up after a few days when boys are in charge of "cleaning" your kitchen? They get funky, slimy, and develop a case of rigor mortis, right? Silly - I'm talking about the rags, not the boys... Guess what! Just put a couple of cups of straight WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR in the detergent drawer and run the load. Follow it up with a regular cycle using detergent. Hunh - what do you know? I think you're catching on!
BTW - while I was spell checking rigor mortis I found out that it is not a permanent thing! So what? Well - this was a topic of conversation between myself and Jon's older sister a few days ago. Rigor mortis begins about 3 hours post-death and lasts up to 72 hours when the muscle proteins start to decompose. I wonder if WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR would help that smell.
Oh - here's another off-topic observation. Yesterday I was at IKEA, and there was a family with 3 adorable little girls loading up their vehicle in the parking lot. They were all speaking French! In Utah! It was beautiful - just like my clean laundry.
August 04, 2008
We had a neighborhood midnight release party on Friday night. I read until about 2:00 am and then went to sleep. I tried to read all day Saturday, but I came down with a migraine. I couldn't see out of my right eye, and the center of my left was filled with mobile splotchies. I tried to read around the edges of the splotches (picture me holding the book on the left side of my head with my right eye closed and trying to read out of my peripheral vision - lovely, huh?), but that made the headache worse. I couldn't stand up without throwing up yesterday (remnants of the migraine), so I had to stay in bed all day and stop reading when my eyesight started swimming. I finished last night.
This was my least favorite of the 4 books. My SIL has repeatedly said that Bella needs to be a stronger character. She was that here (in a metaphysical sense), but I was disappointed with the lack of struggle she had to endure. Where was the character strength building in that?
I realize that things happened because there needed to be a story line when Jacob's story is written, but COME ON.
I suppose we should all marry a handsome billionaire at 18, get pregnant on the honeymoon, not pursue an education, and expect life to be one continual blissful experience after another. I know this is a work of fiction, but how realistic is that?
Average rating on Amazon as of right now is 3 stars. I'd have to say that I'd give it 2-3 and nothing more.
July 31, 2008
This is an interesting little game...
Leave a comment on my blog of a memory that you and I have had together. It doesn't matter if you've known me for a short time or a long time--anything you can remember! Next re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory of you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you....
Don't be shy; you know you're curious about what sticks out in someone else's mind!
Jenn- This must have been taken on one of our field trips to the planetarium. You were/are adorable!
Lisa - Hah! I wrote which angel we were on the back of this photo. You were Chris, Karen was Kelly, Julie was Sabrina, and I was Jill. Who took this and how was the camera not shaking because of them laughing? I also found a cassette I made for some road trip (possibly the Vegas one). It's titled "Angel Music", and every song has the word "angel" in it somewhere.