Sunday, August 30, 2009

Words of Inspiration

Taken from this month's issue of the Ensign:

"Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fulness of the gospel."

I felt the Spirit when I read this and I hope you do too because no matter what our trials are in this life, we can get our strength from the Lord. I truly believe that.

The Dreaded Job and Why I'm Never Bored

Do you have a particular job that when you walk past "it" you close your eyes, hum a little tune and just pretend it doesn't exist? Well, I have several but the main one is


The main reason is that a large part of it usually involves spending more money (bills, stuff I need to buy...etc) and filing. And it's it piles up and becomes this obscenely huge pile of crap that I have to eventually slog through.

I don't remember a time when it's been more backed up. A couple of months ago, we were having house guests so I bought a couple of nice looking boxes and stuffed all my piles into them so it looked like I was organized. Haha. If you'd have opened the boxes, it would have all been revealed - endless piles of miscellaneous who-knows-what! Shhh, most people (of course that doesn't include you, dear reader) shouldn't know my tips and tricks for appearing to be what I am not always ... scrupulously organized.

Today...I tackled it. I got a few bins and went through all, that's right...all of the stacks. I sorted them into more manageable piles. Haha, more piles. Yes but now they aren't overwhelming. I have one small stack of papers that need further inspection, projects I want to do, places I want to go, things I want to do with my kids etc. And that leads me to .... (rachel, pay attention here)


I'm a collector. I collect magazines and then studiously go through them cutting out all sorts of things from recipes, projects, decorating tips, internet sites to go to, gardening tips, and on and on and on. I have tons of these slips of paper of things to do! And it makes my life fun.

Just a random sampling of the items in that stack are:

1) Ideas for Family Home Evenings
2) New ideas for my occupational therapy treatment sessions
3) Decorating cheat sheet when you're on a tight budget
4) Some vinyl lettering I want to decorate an old window I have in the garage
5) Some life insurance information I need to wrap my head around
6) All of Tinkerpot's ultrasound pictures and thank you cards so I can make her a scrapbook
7) Ideas for things you can make out of your food storage (yay!)
8) 2 books of crafts to do with kids ages 2-6
9) article "Great Money-Saving Websites"
10) article "Smart Snacks Your Kids Will Love" like peanut butter sushi ...yum!
11) a subscription card to Highlights and Family Fun magazines - gonna get these!

That's only a little bit of what's going to be taking up my time in the next month or so. But so you can see, I'm a person that can definitely keep myself busy. I love being me. But I wish I didn't accumulate so much paper!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Fog Has Lifted & Other Life Thoughts

Now that Tink is a little older and not necessarily what I consider an infant, I have my body at least back to pre-prego form, Bugs is in school, and enough time has passed to let me somewhat forget my pregnancy, I am really feeling awesome about life. Things are just coming together again and I feel soo good about where I am and what's going on.

Aside from finally feeling like my family is 100% on the Earth, I just have a peaceful feeling about where I've been spending my time. I wish I didn't have to work but I am so blessed with an occupation that allows me to make a suitable living in a short time, and I can be back home with my kids and not feel like I've neglected them by placing money as a priority over their welfare. Because if I seriously were to work ANY more than what I work, it would be just gravy. I could see myself getting selfish very quickly if I were to allow myself a few more hours here and there.

I've virtually spent all week in the kitchen doing something practically each day toward food preservation. But I've also been cleaning out cupboards and getting rid of things we don't need/use anymore, and basically getting things in there back in order.

I've been monumentally low on funds this week so I've not gone shopping at all nor spent any money on things that I don't absolutely need. It's been refreshing to just say "no" when I think of going to a store. I love to shop but it's really silly when I buy things that are great at the moment but just end up as clutter I have to clean later. The more loads I take to donate crap I don't need anymore, the better I feel - so why do I constantly bring more stuff into my house that will inevitably take the trip to D.I. (our salvation army in Utah) anyway? It's stupid.

But that's another thing - more has been going out of here than coming in and that's awesome. With my limited funds, I'm also trying to be more creative with meals, with my wants/desires, and how I'm getting around buying the things I feel the need to go get right this minute! It's good practice.

Mainly, the fog has lifted off of me. I no longer am out of it. I am on the "other side". Ugh, the whole time I was considering having another baby, I knew that the pregnancy and first 6 months would be the hardest part but if I could just get on the "other side" of it, life would just get better and better. And now I'm here and I can't believe it. I'm not going to ever have to go through that again because I'm at peace with not having any more children and now my family can just continue on with our life. That really just feels so good.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Very First Applesauce

and no, I'm not talking about Tinkerpot. I'm talking about me! Canning my first applesauce! It was awesome!

My mom came over and picked about 1/2 a bucket of apples from the apple tree across the street. It didn't take long to transform them into this...And ohhhh, it was so delicious! I added some sugar and cinnamon and then just water packed it. This amount (1/2 bucket) made 4 quarts and a small container for the fridge. But that tree is just loaded still and another tree will be ripe in a few weeks so this is only the beginning.

Am I boring you with my canning posts? I'm certainly not bored doing the canning - it's been way fun.

We're Booked...

The Marshmallow and I have been waiting until we felt that Bugs was old enough to even mildly appreciate Disneyland for the first time. And the time has finally come!

I just booked our first Disneyland trip with our girls yesterday. We'll be leaving just after Tinkerpot's first birthday and we'll be in Anaheim for a week. We'll be staying at our timeshare, a 2 bedroom condo less than a mile from Disneyland.

This will honestly be my first trip to Disneyland as a true "tourist" since I spent much of my youth either living in Southern California or visiting my grandma who lived there for most of her life. So I went to Disneyland what felt like several times a year. And it was always just a day trip. Sadly, the last time I was there was when I was 15 - about a week before we pulled up roots forever and moved to Denver. They had barely opened the new ride "Star Tours". Do you remember that? I've been to California many times since then but only once to Southern California and it wasn't the time of life where I'd go to Disneyland - it was more clubbing that was on my mind .... single and free.....

I say all this because I know there are books written for tourists on how to make the most of your Disneyland trip. And although I really don't want to have to buy one of them because I will never really feel like a true visitor to Southern California, I'm afraid I'll have to so we can make the most of the time we have and avoid mistakes that other families have made out of ignorance. I'll swallow my pride.

I just hope Tink will be old enough not to be a complete nightmare. But...if she is, then it's all part of taking a kids' trip, I suppose.

I'm so excited!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Six Months in Pictures

I think a mother's mantra should be..."I just don't know where the time has gone..." because more mothers say this phrase than any other ...okay, that's not true. I think it's "turn off the lights" or "get back in bed" or "would you please just eat?"

But seriously, we mothers literally don't know where the time goes. Somewhere between diapers, stories, laundry, dishes, picking up toys and paying bills, these little creatures grow up before our eyes and we unfortunately can't keep them little for very long. How come the time doesn't go that quickly when we're dieting (and obsessing about Oreos?) - now that's a question for Socrates.

So now my little Tinkerpot is 6 months old (and now 2 weeks). I've diligently photographed her at each monthly birthday to get a year's worth of changes. Here's her over the past 6 months. The bottom three are all 6 month pics.

The first picture credit goes to Kelly, of course.

2 weeks

One month

Two months
Three months
Four monthsFive months

Six months

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fruit Season

My dining room table is about 80% covered with fruit right now! It's all laid out by the sliding glass door so that it can ripen up a little bit more in preparation for "processing" which really just means "preserving".

My friend Kelly invited me to go pick pears and plums from some fruit trees that are at her studio. The fruit's falling all over the ground and she says she wants it gone. I picked a large box of pears and half a bucket of plums. The plums are small but very ripe and sweet. The pears are not quite ripe, still a little green but will ripen well on my table within a week and then be ready to be made into pearsauce.

My mother and grandma went to Brigham City yesterday and brought me back a case of peaches also. And while they are perfect for eating right now, they need a few days of ripening to be great for canning. If they're not almost over-ripe, the skins won't peel well after blanching - something I became acutely familiar with last year when I did the peaches on my tree. Do you remember my grousing about it? It was awful and it took me forever to get those peaches canned.

So I guess you know what I'll be doing for the next week or so between the peaches, pears and plums. And not in the too distant future, there will be apples galore to collect. I can't wait!

By the way, I know that if you weren't raised in a household where canning was done frequently, it may seem like an overwhelming task. But it's really not - especially fruit and some light vegetables like pumpkin and tomatoes. You don't even need a pressure cooker. If anyone would like some very easy directions on how to can fruit like apricots, peaches, and pears - I'd be glad to post a tutorial on it. You want to feel like June Cleaver? Then learn how to can/bottle/preserve - you'll be domesticated in no time!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good Neighbors I've Never Met

There's a house I look at all day long as I'm in and out of my house, as I wander through my living room and pull out of my driveway each time I leave. It's the house across the street. I have lived in my house for 4 years now (this month) and not once have I bothered to cross the busy street and go say "hello neighbor!"

Until today...

And I am ashamed to say that I wanted something. The lady was SOOO nice and was so cute when I apologized for the reason that got me to cross the street. She was kind and said I could have whatever I wanted. Such graciousness I could take lessons from.

Until this year, it never dawned on me the literal orchard they have in their front yard. They have two pear trees, three apple trees and a cherry tree. The pears are very near harvest time and they caught my eye the other day as I was pulling out. I have two peach trees and an apricot tree but no apples or pears but would love to bottle pearsauce and applesauce this year. I'm DYING to do it actually. So I ventured over there.

She said they never do a thing with the fruit and I am welcome to have as much of it as I want! I am so excited! With the amount of fruit on those trees, I could have pears and apples to do anything I want! A few years ago, I even bottled apple pie filling and it was so easy. Perhaps I'll have enough apples to do that again!

Her name is Pat and her husband is Stewart. I write it down here so I won't forget it later. Because I'm like that. I wish I'd met them before - it would have been nice to know such good neighbors before now. Shame on me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Did You Know You Can Make Your Own "Rhodes" dough?

Well you can! And it's easy!

I'm sure you have a decent bread or rolls dough recipe. If you don't, and you'd like a good one, I have a few I'd be willing to share. I love to make bread and have gotten decent at it. You might remember I had a little contest with myself to see if I could find the best roll recipe a couple of years ago.

Anyway, so here's all there is to it...

All bread dough recipes follow a certain pattern. Mix yeast with sugar and water and dissolve - mix that with all the other ingredients, add flour and knead. After the kneading comes the first rising. Go ahead and "rise" your dough.

Something I do that cuts the rising time in half is to preheat my oven to 170 degrees while I'm making the dough. I leave the dough in my mixing bowl, cover it with a damp towel and place it into the very warm oven. I turn off the oven now. Place about 5 cups of boiling water in a metal bowl into the oven next to the bowl of dough and close the door. Between the heat and humidity, your dough will rise in about 15 minutes - guaranteed!

So when your dough has risen to twice its size, remove it from the oven. Spray a large cookie sheet or pan with non-stick spray and form your dough into small balls - about the size of a ball of cookie dough, perhaps 2". Make sure no dough balls are touching each other.

Immediately place the sheet of dough balls in the freezer and flash freeze them, which just means let them quickly freeze as-is. It will take several hours. Remove them, and throw them all into a gallon sized zippie bag. Label the bag with the following information:

1) defrost by laying them however you want the rolls to bake (i.e. in muffin tins, close together in a pan, or individual rolls) covered loosely with a piece of saran wrap that you've sprayed with non-stick

2) let rise in a warm place until double in size

3) include the baking time and temp from your dough recipe

That's it! Happy freezer dough!

p.s. this also works great for cookies too! Pre-form and freeze for easy cookies later!

I Have to Apologize

Uggh! I think that advertisements on my blog may be more trouble than they're worth!

At least when there are none, I can be in 100% control of what is being displayed on my blog.

I had a comment a few weeks ago about one of the advertisements that was displayed and the person said that it was inappropriate especially in context to the nature of my posts. I looked into it and thought it was an isolated occurance.

However today while I was posting, I noticed that the Blogher ads that usually run on the right hand column were so heniously inappropriate that I immediately removed the ad and complained to the company.

For those of you who have been subjected to inappropriate content on my blog, I profusely apologize and promise it won't happen again even if I have to abolish all advertisements. The internet is a scary place anyway and you shouldn't worry about what you'll see when you're coming to my blog anyway.

Getting Ahead of the Game

Remember a few months ago how I said I just wish I could get ahead of the game. Plan for the next event just a hair of a week before it's supposed to happen? And I specifically mentioned Halloween? Well, the old Amy is almost all the way back.

Bugs has requested to be a giraffe for Halloween this year. I knew I'd have to be on top of it this year because if I couldn't find a costume to buy, I'd have to make it and that would test every one of my sewing skills, of which I have few.

The internet was not much help because it doesn't appear that many children over the age of 4 are interested in being a giraffe. Not only that but I'm not ready to part with forty hard earned dollars for a costume - I know, it's a fairly typical price but I'm cheap. It's just who I am.

I'm glad I had been checking though because at Costco, I found a costume sized 2-4 for $10! What a total steal! And because Bugs is a little girl for her age, the costume, while a few inches short in the legs actually fit well enough to get by - and she's happy. She's happy...I'm happy.

As for Tink, I have a darling little pumpkin costume for a 9 month old that I've had for a long time. Coincidentally Tink will be about 9 months at Halloween, problem solved.

And now that costumes are solved, I can move onto more fun things like perhaps a kids' Halloween party! How fun would that be? I have so many fun food things for a little party, lots of fun decorations and lots of great ideas. Hmmm. I've gotta think on that one!

You know what? I'm feeling so much more myself lately that I've nearly gotten through each one of the rooms in my house and put it back the way it should be...organized and precise, just the way I like it. Ahhhh...has it really been 6 months since I was pregnant and wallowing in self pity? The Marshmallow asked me if I would be willing to do it again - I'll bet you can guess what I said.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Now That Came Fast...

Several months ago, I was visiting my sister and her family in Idaho. She has a daughter who is about 6 months older than Tinkerpot. We'll call her Babyface. Well, at the time, Babyface spent a lot of time on the ground pulling herself around in that commando crawl and genuinely having a barrel of monkeys with the other kids. But it didn't occur to me until I left that she wasn't sitting up on her own yet. I mentioned it to my sister and she seemed sort of shocked and taken off guard, sort of like, "Wow, I just didn't even think of trying that out yet!"

At the time, I thought it was so funny and even a little odd! Fast forward to my experiences with Tinkerpot and I am totally understanding. And today is a great example.

With Bugs, each milestone was anticipated for WEEKS and I was always ready to try the next thing even if it was way beyond her. Take for instance the huge trike I bought for her at her first birthday.

For the past couple of weeks, Tinker has been sleeping all the way through the night, not consistently but there have been several nights a week that I've woken up and been a little nervous because she never wanted fed in the night. So I finally decided to look it up and see if there was something wrong or what. I just couldn't remember when Bugs started sleeping all the way through the night.

So in the book, it said that a 6 month old should be able to "fast for up to 10-12 hours"...and there it was. I was shocked! I literally would have willing to get up in the night with her for many more months and never even questioned it! I'm even a little saddened that those sweet middle-of-the-night feedings are likely over. I didn't LOVE them, but I did LOVE to hold that squishy little body, for once so not moving, and so serene. I'm sure I can still get up and feed her in the night and may a few times more...but I simply can't believe that the time has come so soon!

I've learned that when you're trying to hold onto a baby, the milestones come and you can very easily overlook them because you don't want to see them. By the way, it wasn't even 3 days, and my sister called me and told me that Babyface was sitting up all by herself. My sister just had to encourage her. I guess I know what it's like now. She just wanted her baby to be a baby a bit longer!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just Had To Share This...

I've officially not had sugar nor diet soda for three weeks this coming Sunday. For the first 3 or 4 days, I had astronomical headaches and I was fatigued - just dead on my feet.

But after that passed, I started to feel a lot better. Since then I've noticed that although my craving for sugar hasn't diminished much (it's still going strong), I just feel so much better off of it. No headaches and better than that, none of the late afternoon dips of energy where I'd usually head for the soda or a snack.

I'm truly amazed that sugar can have that much of an impact on a person! And while I'd love to stay off of sugar forever, I don't think I'll be able to. At this very moment, I am craving cookie dough and oreos. I love those guys! And incidentally I haven't had any junk food (no fast food), no chips, no crap - nothing but whole foods, protein, veggies and fruit for 3 weeks.

I've lost a substantial amount of weight and within only about 3 lbs. of my pre-prego weight. Yay me! I'm finally wearing my old clothes but don't plan to stop. I hope to keep dropping lbs until I can get into my pre-Bugs-prego clothes which pathetically, yes - I still own in the sliver of hope that someday I'd be able to wear them again. Not like I wouldn't mind going shopping again for that smaller size - that would be awesome if I could afford it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Homemade Chili - It's a Personal Thing

When The Marshmallow requested that I figure out a good chili recipe, I went to the Internet and found an award winning recipe that didn't call for beans. I made the recipe, added beans to it, made a few adjustments and ta-da, I had what we think is excellent chili. (we being the operative word).

Fast forward to several years later (which was actually about 2 years ago) at our ward chili cook-off. Ask anyone - I was CERTAIN people would love it! I prepped myself for accolades aplenty. Boy did I feel like a jerk - when not only did I not win...I didn't even PLACE!

That's the day I realized that chili's a personal project. My family loves my chili and that's good since I'm the one with the recipe. But every family at that cook-off had their own fabulous recipe that I'm sure they thought would win. Some were downright terrible! Perhaps people thought that of mine. Now, it doesn't help that I accidentally added cinnamon instead of chili powder but honestly, I actually thought it was a delightful change - really, it was pretty good!

So I don't force my chili recipe on anyone anymore. The Marshmallow and I both believe it's sent directly from God but it's probably just average stuff. I don't care - I drool whenever it's in the crockpot and The Marshmallow can't get to the table fast enough. Who am I here to please if I can't please a Marshmallow?

But making my chili is an arduous affair which takes a good while and so much to The Marshmallow's chagrin, I don't make it nearly enough. Girl meets Pressure Cooker. I hefted out both of my crockpots yesterday and stirred up a huge double batch of the goop. When I measured it into quart jars today, there were 8 of them...8 delightful nights of chili that I don't have to slave over the crockpot. 90 minutes in the pressure cooker and *poof* ready to eat meals. I'm a genius!

I've always wanted to try canning my chili and it wasn't that difficult. So if you're game to put your pressure cooker to work and make eight meals out of a single afternoon, by all means - pull out your very personal chili recipe, double it up and can it. You won't be sorry!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Can Your Own Marinara

It's easy to guess that because my favorite meal of all time is spaghetti, that I am a huge lover of marinara sauce. No meat...just the basics. I could drink it (and in the past couple of days have been found to be doing just that over my stove as it simmered!)

I'm going to give you my recipe but keep in mind this takes A LOT of tomatoes because I like the consistency to be thicker than a thick soup - more like what you can buy in the store. And to do so, you have to simmer it a long time and what's left is tomatoes. If you don't have the right amount of tomatoes, mostly what you have of course, is water.

about 100 medium tomatoes
6 medium onions
3/4 cup of Italian herbs (or your preferred combination of basil, oregano, thyme, marjoramm)
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil

See, there's just not a lot to this.

So first off, blanch and peel all of your tomatoes. You'd have to do this to can them anyway so it's not extra work. At this point, I throw them in the food processor and chop them all up. It's pretty soupy now, so dump them in a colander with small enough holes that most of the seeds don't go down the drain. You're getting rid of extra water/juice. Believe me, there's still plenty left. If you like your sauce lumpy then omit this next step but if you like it smooth the way you can buy it in stores or served at restaurants, then now process all of it in the blender, a few cups at a time. This is important.

Meanwhile, heat your oil in a very large non-stick pot. You'll regret the non-stick during simmer when it starts to burn. I've done this and it sucks to burn a whole batch. Chop your onions (again, I love my food processor for this because they can get diced really small without the tears) and put them into the hot oil. Add the Italian herbs mix and mix them all together and turn down to low/medium heat. They will sweat it out and the onions will turn translucent. Leave them to intermingle flavors for about an hour on simmer after the onions are done.

After this, add your tomatoes to the onion mixture. Bring to a slow boil on medium/high heat and then immediately down to low/simmer. Now comes the long haul. My last batch simmered for 29 hours to reach the right consistency. It won't take you this long because you drained the tomatoes. I forgot that step this time and paid for it. You may have to simmer for 12 though - don't worry. You'll taste it after about 6 hours and you'll start to recognize the flavor. At first it'll taste just like tomatoes and onions but slowly it'll take on the marinara flavor that is so delicious.

Once the desired consistency is achieved, water process it for 30 minutes in either pint or quart jars.

Note that some people might add 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of sugar to their sauce prior to processing to add some acidity for the canning process. I don't do this because we will eat the sauce probably within 6-8 months which is too soon to worry about weird problems occurring. But if you plan to store yours for longer, you might want to do this unless you decide your variety of tomatoes contain enough acidity that vinegar won't be necessary (check the extension office if you're in Utah or online if you're not). But the sugar will combat the acidity of the vinegar and probably won't be too noticeable.

Anyway, this recipe should make about 8 quarts of sauce. I'm sure there are way easier recipes out there that turn out way better - but I like mine. I like the process and the feeling afterward. Simmering something on the stove makes me feel...wholesome. Call me weird.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gotta Stay With It!!

Didn't want to disrupt my what, 2 day run of posting now, would I? I had to jot something down even if it was something trivial.

What's going on today....

The Marshmallow will return home tomorrow. After being gone for exactly a week, I'm ready for him to be here. If not just for the workload being cut down by what I used to think was a fraction - it's actually a larger percentage than I imagined. But don't tell him I said that :)

Today I started on the sun-dried tomatoes. I sliced them all up and they're dehydrating right now. I looked it up on the Internet (God bless the Internet) and got all sorts of good ideas.

Also, right now I'm simmering a huge pot of marinara sauce that I will bottle tomorrow. It's been simmering for about 5 hours right now and it's starting to taste so yummy. It'll be good to have bottled marinara sauce - we really go through that stuff! And I picked another bushel of tomatoes so here we go again...

And now folks, I'm off to a movie. It's 9:30 PM - yeah, so what. My kids are in bed, the babysitter's on the way, as is my good buddy Renee - and we're going to Gateway for a little down time. I'm excited. Normally wouldn't do a late show because I need all the sleep I can get but I have SO needed this. Perhaps The Marshmallow would be interested in date-night next weekend. Sushi, alone with him, would be like a vacation to the Bahamas.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Such Different Kids

Bugs 5 1/2 months old

Tink 5 months old

When I used to envision having another child, it was a daydream in which naturally I had two SP's (and now I need to change that name because Supreme Princess doesn't cut it when there's another Princess in the house too - hmmm, what shall I call her...Bugs. It's her nickname around here - so be it). So of course I had two Bugs following me around the house. That I could handle.

Now 5 years old is a difficult time for me. I'm not loving the changes between 4 and 5. She's always been a very sweet girl but she's started being mouthy, talks incessantly, is still pretty clingy and just not that awesome little 4 year old I used to have. It also could be that I have another person to care for too so my "love" is being divided. Not fair but it'll get better - everyone says it will.

Anyhew, if I thought I'd get another Bugs, I was sorely mistaken! Tink is nothing like Bugs AT ALL. And here are just a few of the ways...

Tink hates the car.....Bugs was copacetic
Tink's a binky girl.....Bugs is a thumb sucker (yeah, I thought Tink would be but alas, no)
Tink's a mover/shaker...Bugs laid placid as a stone 'til 9 months
Tink's got no teeth yet...Bugs had 3 by now
They look nothing alike, those two
Tink sleeps, oh does she sleep.....Bugs was a bugger!
Tink self-entertains as an infant.....Bugs would not self-entertain until she was like 18 months

But seriously guys. I'm freaking out. I feel like a prisoner of my house because when I say Tink hates the car, I'm serious.....she is like a different child - SCREAMING and crying the entire time unless she's #1) asleep or #2) someone is constantly interacting with her (that would be Bugs upon demand from stressed out Mommy in the front seat).

What do I do? Someone out there has had a kid who detests the car as much as Tink does and someone knows some solution other than "wait it out, it'll get better." Yeah, I know it will. But between now and then, I seriously can't drive further than downtown before she's a bloody mess in the back seat and I wish I'd just stayed home where at least my sanity is held in check.

What Do We Do With All the Tomatoes

So I've currently got a whole sink full of tomatoes and another crop to pick probably today or tomorrow. I'm giving them away by the bagload to people that I see or that stop by. For people that don't have a garden, I know they love it.

Every year I can a whole bunch of tomatoes - just like the stewed tomatoes you buy canned at the store...and I really us them a lot! I know some poeple don't know what to do with them but I've never had a problem finding uses for stewed tomatoes...soups, noodle dishes, spaghetti sauce, and casseroles. I nearly always get through last year's supply before the summer comes around again.

This year I will bottle the stewed tomatoes like years previous because if I don't, I'll hate myself everytime I have to buy a can at the store. But I had another idea to bottle sundried tomatoes. It would be easy enough I think! Just slice them, dehydrate them and pack them in oil. At that point, I don't know if I'd need to pressure cook them or if I could steam can them. I'd have to look into that. Wouldn't that be a great idea? They are so good in so many things!

If anyone else has good ideas for what to do with all the tomatoes (besides tomato juice - I've thought about it and just don't use it very much!) - I'm all ears!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Shoulda Majored in Finance

I'm such a doughhead. Especially when it comes to money. I hate money...okay, I love money just the spending of it but the paying of it to creditors is just probably my least favorite task. It's the juggling and balancing act that is so excruciating!

A couple of years ago, The Marshmallow I guess got fed up with my lack of management for want of a better term. He took over wielding of the check writing pen. I was grateful - "good riddance" I thought and happily went on my way. I have some cash that comes in from my job that doesn't go toward bills but toward the "other" stuff that a household needs (lol, like clothes and shoes...jk). I can manage my paltry funds adequately, or rather most of the time.

However somehow in the past several months I've been noticing that that obnoxious responsibility has somehow found its way back into my realm of duty and I'll tell you what - I'm not happy about it. Especially because for a long time, we were ahead of the game, I mean doing awesome and virtually debt free. But with the onset of this crappy economy, we've taken a hit along with most of the rest of blue-collar America - and some white. And what does that mean to me while I'm paying bills? That it's a red figure at the end of the column. And trying to finagle it so that the number is not red and yet all the creditors are happy is difficult if not impossible.

What even sucks more is that now that I have that dreaded and onerous duty of managing our finances, I also have the same despicable duty of managing our credit and The Marshmallow is like Hitler when it comes to his score. He's got that credit services that notifies him immediately if I do a big screw-up job with paying the bills. It's like Big Brother breathing down my neck.

But, it's a good exercise in self-discipline for me...something I literally am horrible at. Self-discipline in any area is something that I always feel like I'm working on. Here I go...hope I don't lose our house for us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No Go on the Meteor Shower

I got up at 1:30 and again at 2 AM to check to see if there was a meteor shower worth watching. I walked out front and then out back. There was nothing to see. I know I'm blind but it's not THAT bad.

This was before Tink woke up but when she did at 3 AM, I fed her, put her back down and then headed back outside to check on conditions. Now there was a cloud cover.

In my sleepy state, I was disappointed...but not too disappointed as I stumbled back inside and curled up in my cozy covers.

Maybe next time, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Catching Up

I suppose I'll come back. It's been nearly a month since I blogged last and several times I've missed blogging but then I get caught up in other things and the moment passes. But I have more than just one reason for blogging and some other reasons came back to me and so here I am.

I want to keep this up; I miss the constant back-and-forth communications with readers. I miss living my day through my blog and writing out my next post in my mind, testing phrases, taking a relevant's fun. But in a day of busy things, it can become just another thing. With a baby, you have prized moments to achieve goals when they're sleeping. Tink still sleeps a lot but less and less all the time. The good thing is that she's now old enough to sit up and play for isolated amounts of time by herself or with her sister. I'm able to get more done.

Tonight there's a meteor shower between 12am and 5am. Daughter #1 has made a special request to watch it. I considered...what could it hurt? I told her when Tink wakes up to eat in the night, I'll feed her then come get her and we could go outside and watch the meteor shower. It's supposed to be pretty spectacular and it's been a long time since I've seen one. I hope it's a memory she'll be able to retain.

The Marshmallow's out of town and has been going out of town frequently for work. I'm grateful for the time "off" so to speak. No checking the clock for the 5pm downer - dinnertime where I'm on the spot to produce food that all will enjoy - a task virtually impossible anymore since Daughter #1 stubbornly refuses to eat a single thing and patently "hates" all foods I cook on sight. Perhaps I don't blame her.

While The Marshmallow is gone, my schedule/routine changes a lot indicating to me that I make a lot of compromises in my lifestyle to be married. Do we all do that and to what degree? I sleep with a fan on my face: he hates it. I stay up late: he goes to bed early. I sleep in: he gets up early. I eat dinner whenever I feel hungry and I eat random weird things: he likes a set time to eat and a "real meal". He watches TV - like the news etc religiously every night until 10:17 when the weather's over: I hate TV and avoid it at all costs. I don't know if he would be different than what he does now if I weren't around but my gut tells me no. He does what he does because that's what he likes. But these compromises I make aren't awful, they're just not how I would live were I single. It's probably good. I lack discipline.

My "quest" to lose weight is going well. I've managed to rid myself of over 50 lbs. of whatever it is I gained while I was pregnant. I have about 8 lbs to go to be pre-prego weight, a size I didn't like at the time anyway but if things keep going like they're going, perhaps I can get below that dreaded size and into some of my smaller clothes. The journey's good.

My baby is growing up. Can you believe she's nearly 6 months old now? When I hold her in the rocking chair to feed her in the night, her little fat legs hang over the side of the chair. I remember not very long ago I could hold her whole little body right inside my arms. She's a happy baby, very active and stubborn. She's a wonderful sleeper regularly dropping off at 7:30 and sleeping until 7:30 or 8:00 AM with only one night feeding. Yea, I've got it made. My night independence only had a slight sabbatical. I'm lucky.

What else can I ramble on about to catch you up? Who knows. My life is getting back to normal and I'm finding myself again, shaking off the dust and wiping down the cobwebs. The rooms in my house are remembering the old Amy and the layers of junk are getting cleared out finally. Organization is becoming more of a theme every day and I'm happy.

My only complaint right now is that I miss my friends. My life, or the life of a mother with an infant, changes so much. I feel removed somewhat from former social circles mainly because I can't participate fully with such a small baby. I make efforts where and when I can but it's difficult and I look forward to the day when I can re-assert my personality back into life the way I am used to.

Oh, and today I got an MRI on my back. Weird procedure. If you were around me at all during my pregnancy, you'd remember how much I complained about this incessant back pain that completely debilitated me. Oh, I'd had it before I got pregnant just not as bad and now that I'm "back to normal" the pain is still here and it's something I just don't think I can tolerate for the rest of my life without intervention. I had an X-ray last week with no significant findings. I'm anxious for Thursday to find out the results of this test.

So...if you're still with me, I'd like to mention a little thing that happened to me this past weekend. In a forum where I frequently discuss my sprituality and things that happen at church, I received my very first "persecution". Living in Utah and being a "Utah Mormon" we get little of this head-on. We hear about it a ton but rarely does it manage to penetrate our culture, right? Well, in this forum some anonymous person called me a "worthless Mormon" - just like that. I suppose it could have been a more heated term, filthy and rude. But it struck me all the same. That some person in this world considers a person "worthless" just because of their religion is a theme that has been at the heart of many conflicts - some bloodier than a Gettysburg battlefield. But now I'm worthless...because I'm LDS. Strange.

I'll leave it at that note. Sorry to blather on and on and on but catching up can take a while. TTFN.