Monday, January 26, 2009

Of Dalliences with Elderly Men

Well, despite turning 29 (and Charity soon to turn 26), it is nice to know that we have not lost "it" yet. Today was our shopping day, and Charity had run into one of the grocery stores while I stayed out in the car with our kids. Apparently as she was eyeballing the tangerines, an elderly gentleman with a cane in his cart came up to her an asked, "If I learn to walk again, would you run away with me?" Charity politely replied that she would consider it.

I guess it was just our day for compliments from old guys, because a few minutes later, I was pushing all three of the kids around in a cart at Wal-mart and another elderly guy came up to me and said, "No wonder you look so fit and slender!" Ahhhh, what a nice thing for someone to say after having just turned 29! I just love old people! They are delightful!

Of Fond Food Memories

Aunt Amy is compiling a family cookbook and asked us to send her "food" stories or memories to include. Following are a few of the memories I have e-mailed her and which I thought I would also post on my blog.

I remember when we were youngsters, canning with Mom when we lived in Farmer City. Mom would usually set up an assembly line and assign each child a particular task in the canning process. (Because of this, I am just now learning how to do the whole process--I'd only done parts before!) Anyway, one time a neighbor offered to let us pick her concord grapes to make grape juice. Mom, as usual, set up her assembly line in the kitchen, which included a board between two chairs. She had set a 3 gallon vat of juice on the board to finish straining, and then she sat down next to it. Unfortunately, the board broke, splashing dark purple grape juice all over Mom's newly painted (light blue and white) kitchen! We didn't can any grape juice after that that I can recall.

Another time, a farmer friend of the family invited us to come to his farm and pick up all the walnuts that had fallen from his trees. There were hundreds, so we spent a good several hours gathering walnuts and putting them in large trash bags. When we returned home, we dumped the nuts into a large kiddy pool, whereupon mom and dad proceeded to put us older kids to work hulling them. We probably spent a good couple of weeks on that project, and the resulting stains on our hands took weeks to come off! After that, of course, the nuts had to be shelled, which also took a ridiculous amount of time. Mom and Dad could tell us kids were becoming disgruntled with this task which we had never wanted to begin with, so in an attempt to motivate us, they carefully pried open a few of the nuts and inserted coins, then glued them back together for us to find when we cracked them open. By that point though, none of us cared how much money was in the nuts, but we knew we would have to finish the job anyway, so we carried on, until finally, all the nuts were hulled and shelled. There was one small problem. The farmer we had gotten the nuts from had neglected to tell us the walnuts were Black walnuts (very bitter) as opposed to the English walnuts which most of us are used too. Mom tried every way she could think of to make the nuts palatable, but to no avail. We ended up feeding all of them to the local squirrels.

I remember one of our favorite books to read when we were young was "Chancy and the Grand Rascal." Dad would read this to us as we sat by the fireplace cracking nuts or roasting hot dogs. At one part in the book, the Grand Rascal is floating down the river on a raft. The rule aboard the raft was that if you complained about any of the cooking, you inherited the despised job of being the raft's chef. One dinner, a bar of soap inadvertently fell into the pot of beans. As everyone ate, no one said anything for a while, until someone piped up and said "These beans are soapy!" Everyone turned to stare at him, sure they had their next cook lined up, until the fellow continued, "But I like soapy beans!" We were highly amused by this, and from that moment on, it became our family's rule as well, only we modified it to be that whoever complained about the food got to do cleanup for that meal. There was one time when we were in Wyoming visiting Grandma Christiansen, and one of the kids had cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast. Unfortunately, not everyone has my amazing scrambled egg cooking abilities, and the eggs turned out quite burnt. Nevertheless, in following Grandma's rule to not waste food, they were served. One of the kids, after taking a bite, and with a disgusted look on his face made the obvious statement, "These eggs are burnt!" Quickly realizing his mistake, he continued, "But I like burnt eggs!"

Another memory I have of the farm is when Heidi and Ben were asked to wash a bunch of potatoes for dinner. Rather then washing them normally in the sink, they decided they would have a little fun with the task and float them down the irrigation ditch to wash them. We were all quite impressed by their ingenuity (this was back in the days before germs were an issue) and wished we would of thought of that!

One of the things we loved to do as kids was to bring Mom breakfast in bed on special occasions such as her birthday and Mother's Day. I remember we thought it was so cool to color her milk with food coloring, and we would do so every time we brought her breakfast. In retrospect, I am sure the milk looked revolting, and I suspect she would dump it down the drain after we had left the room, since her glass was always empty!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Of Birthdays and Fake Flowers

Ahhhh....I am the big 29! At any rate, I will be tomorrow, but we celebrated today. What a delightful day it has been too, although I really wish Curtis was here! It just feels like he should be here, hanging out with us! Soon, though, soon!

Anyway, we took a picnic lunch out to a place called Madeira Canyon and hiked up the mountain with the kids (until we couldn't stand them whining about how tired their legs were anymore--even despite all the "power beans" I fed them!). The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the canyon, surprisingly for Arizona, was as well. (Sorry Arizona--I love your weather but your scenery in general is quite barren.)

When we got home, for my birthday dinner, Charity cooked this AMAZING pork recipe and coconut rice...mmmm...and then we had angel food cake for dessert, followed by presents. Earlier, Charity had taken the kids to the dollar store and let them pick out a present for me--so cute! My favorite was the hideous pink fabric roses that Arden gave me, which apparently he could not be talked out of once he saw. He is such a sweetheart. Ever since he was just a little guy, he has always picked little flowers he has found (usually weeds, actually) and given them to me as a little "I love you." What wonderful kids I have!

To end the night, Dave, Char, and I played a couple games of Settlers and jammed out to some great music. All in all, a fantastic end to a fantastic day.

Thanks Charity and Dave for a wonderful birthday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Of Warmth and, Well, Not Much Sunshine the Last Few Days

Well, here we are in warm Arizona! Hurray! It has rained the last several days and been a little chillier then I think people here are used to. (65-ish?) Char and I went shopping yesterday and it was so funny to see everyone dressed up in heavy sweatshirts and jackets, while there I was in my short sleeves, reveling in the warmth!
Long live Arizona!

I have to say, I am so impressed with how friendly people are here. What is wrong with Rexburg? It seems like unless you have lived there for 50 years, you are considered an outsider. Here, people all up and down the street seem to be really good friends, even in this newer development. Curtis' theory is that people in Rexburg get used to hibernating indoors for half the year, so they are not in the habit of neighborly visiting out on the street and such.

Speaking of Curtis, happy day! He told me yesterday that he was able to get plane tickets to come out here for a few days in February. What an awesome birthday present. I miss him so much I going to be able to stay here an entire six weeks? (I do love you too, Char and Dave, really I do!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Of Cereal and Songs

I have to say, I am impressed with myself. I must be doing something right in regards to teaching my kids good nutrition, because both of them chose All-Bran cereal over Cocoa-Crispies this morning. (-:

So, the other day, I was rocking Maile and singing to her. After I completed my rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," she responded, "Mama, I'm not a sunshine, I'm jus a girl!"

Later....I asked Arden what his favorite dinner is. His reply? "Wheat!" Where in the world did that come from?!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Of New Years Resolutions

So, it is now a new year, but this year, I refuse to succumb to the temptation to set 3,000 goals for myself, which I know I will not be able to accomplish. No, this year I have determined to only set one goal, and that is to have a weekly planning and personal evaluation session with myself. I have determined that so much of life is simply reacting to circumstances, rather then planning and acting on what you would like to see happen, and I believe this stunts our personal growth more then we realize and keeps us from reaching our full potential. In these planning sessions, I will set weekly goals in regards to exercise, plan activities with the kids, dates with Curtis, and other things of a more personal and religious nature I would like to improve on.

In looking back on the past year, I have to say that overall, I am pleased with the progress we have made as a family, and I have made as an individual, although the nature of life is that one can always do better. We have also made good progress with finishing our basement, and we have a good plan in place for what we would like to see happen with our landscaping. It is hard to be patient in finishing everything, but we are trying to be wise with our finances and not overextend ourselves!

In changing the subject, man, I am getting old! I went to bed at 9:30 on New Year's Eve! What is my problem?! To be fair, the night before I stayed up past midnight watching Stargate episodes with Curtis, and then during the day, we drove to Jackson Hole and went swimming at their rec center for three hours. (Which was AMAZING! Two waterslides, a waterfall, kiddie area, and best of all, the water was 92 degrees!) I guess that wears one out. We put the kids down as soon as we got home, then we played a couple of games of Mystery of the Abbey with Alli (which was thoroughly enjoyable!). That was our night, and I have to say, it was so relaxing.

I also have to say, I am so excited to go and visit Charity and Dave in Arizona for 6 weeks. It will be nice to get away from the dreariness of winter in Rexburg, and what better company could one have?! Char and I are planning to do a little preschool for Arden and Ellie, as well as lots of projects on their new house! They got a really good deal on a foreclosure in an upscale neighborhood, but apparently the previous owners trashed the place, so it sounds like their work will be cut out for them. I do love doing projects like that, though, so it should be fun!

Today, I used a coupon from Curtis that I got in my stocking a couple of years ago for "Mom's Time Off," so I have had the day to myself, while Curtis has taken care of the kids. What an awesome husband I have! I have gotten so much done--I love it! As soon as one of my current woodworking projects is completed, I will post pics on my blog. I also got to read my scriptures for an hour, sleep in until 8:00, work on a couple of sewing projects, arrange for several bids on the plumbing in our basement, clean my room, and watch a movie...and the night is still young! Oh, Curtis, I love you!