Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is it Easter?

With headaches growing in intensity and me without a remedy, I decided to see if chocolate, or lack of, was the cause. I had a Snickers bar in the freezer that wasn't packed up in the purge. I took out a mallet and hammered it into pieces. I snacked on one piece, then another. Before I know it, I'm hiding out in the laundry room with a chunk of frozen candy, gnawing on it while talking on the phone.

Tap, tap.

Nuh uh
! It was Lanie. Tapping on my shoulder. Me: caught red-handed with junk. Busted. Would she understand that this was an experiment strictly for medicinal purposes?

I was about to tell her it had peanuts in it, which already made it a healthier choice ... but she's seven and smart and would totally see through it.

"I suppose you want a treat, too?" I asked. She beamed. "Go ahead and get a treat from your Valentine's bag. Tell Erin." Rejoicing.

"Erin, want a piece of candy?!" Lanie yelled.

Erin comes tearing around the corner.

"Is it Easter?!" she yelled. Non-stop, excited jumping. Looked like I had some explaining to do.

When Shane came home, I was ready to fess up. I started to tell him when Lanie interrupted and spilled the whole story. She, however, left out medicinal purposes and screaming headache. She was gleeful in her victory as a super sleuth. I believe it's a developmental stage of six- and seven-year-olds who have to lurk around corners with notions of solving great mysteries.

For what it's worth, a frozen Snickers and two Tylenol did work wonders for my headache. Sadly, the headaches returned the next day. And the next. Shane suggested I try chocolate therapy without the Tylenol to see if it truly is chocolate related, as Tylenol alone is no longer a help. So after a solo trip to the scrapbook store, I stopped by a local grocery store and got a buy-one-get-one-free bag of M&Ms. Think snack size, not economy. I sat in my car in the parking lot, with sunglasses on, listening to a David Crowder Band CD in my car, and ate half a bag.

Wondering if it worked? And what did I do with the remaining bag and a half of M&Ms? Did Lanie find me out again? All good questions.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Random

Monday's post seems so long ago. I feel like I should have something to say, but with a headache that's been gaining on me since last week, I find the simplest thoughts are all I can tolerate. And pictures of random this week. As a matter of fact, I did take a picture of my lunch. Even now I'm wondering why.

More randomness:

I think it's totally cheating to have a soup recipe that calls for a can of soup in it. I did make some chicken soup yesterday--without the can of soup. Found a link to a place that listed several recipes. Yum. Very good with bear biscuits.

After cleaning out pantry, I then went through my closet and linen closets and purged many things. About five bags full of things. However, I still am unable to part with girls' baby clothes.

Decided to catch up on scrapbooking, am officially two and a half years behind, and dug out everything I intended to use. It is now an unsightly mess on the office floor. Many dollars later, I emerged from the scrapbook store with two new binders and page protectors. However, headache prevents me from really hunkering down.

Have been surprisingly happy during chocolate ban. Was officially over cravings by Monday. Thank God for coffee! Oh, and mango salsa. And quite possibly thankful for headaches that keep me distracted from missing chocolate.



Lanie reading out loud; bag of library books; Explode the Code.


Bear biscuit preparation. Erin playing school.


Healthy salad for lunch with mango salsa; flowers on the table--key word: random; Erin.

Still wondering about that lunch shot. And hoping to have something coherent to say tomorrow on 66 Books.

Monday, February 22, 2010

One thousand gifts (501-511)

501. Christy.
502. Sliver of a moon.
503. Lanie and Erin.
504. Hugs.
505. Tylenol.
506. Dinner guests.
507. Lunch date at the mall.
508. July weddings and pretty pink sundresses.
509. Word dropping: humility. That word just keeps popping up everywhere.
510. A healthy pantry.
511. Puppies. The kids and I had a lunch date at the mall, and afterward we went by the pet store to play with a puppy. It was all I could do to not take one home with us! We were in love.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Junk

I feel so dragged down by the non-stop sweets occasions that come our way starting at Halloween and ending at Easter. I just don't feel like I catch a break from it. This especially after baking many dozens of chocolate heart cookies for Valentines day. I think I ate at least a dozen on my own over the course of the weekend. (In my defense, they were small cookies.)

"I would really like to cut back on so much junk," I told Shane. He agreed. This is the guy who exercises frequently and eats pretty healthy. There have been nights I come downstairs from tucking the kids in and he's snacking on grapes or carrots. Of course, there are also nights I come down and smell Oreos on his breath or catch him mid-spoon in ice cream. So, he's not perfect.

Lanie surprised me by saying she would join me on cutting back on junk. Erin was also up for the challenge, but we really don't think she understands what's at stake. This is the kid who informed us tonight that her two favorite foods are pasta and fruit snacks.

I went through our pantry and boxed up every fruit snack, unopened chip bag, candy, hot chocolate mix and junk cereal I found. All my baking chips ... packed up. Gone away are the junk snacks, sugary breakfast cereals, Ritz crackers and neon yogurts. In fact, my grocery list was cut by a quarter when I crossed off junk and things that create junk, like: chocolate chips and vanilla. If I'm not making cookies, I certainly don't need these things. During today's shopping trip, I stocked up on healthier alternatives. Ok, and gum.

We are giving our bodies a break until Easter--because you can't deprive a kid of a good Easter egg hunt and jelly beans.

While I'm looking forward to cutting out the junk, I have to say I already feel the headache working its way in to my tomorrow. Fortunately, I have the support of my family and we're in this together. Even if Shane does consider me the weak link.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One thousand gifts (474-500)

474. Really good chocolate chip, white chip cookies.
475. Grocery runs for milk.
476. Impromptu play dates.
477. Handmade cards.
478. Valentines in the mail.
479. Heart banners.
480. Chocolate cookies and special deliveries.
481. A birthday party for a sweet 6 year old.
482. More wiggly teeth.
483. Help shoveling the driveway.
484. Plenty.
485. Lots of books to read.
486. Goodnight kisses.
487. Being an influencer.
488. Snow plows.
489. Phone calls.
490. Home.
491. Wine with friends. And little bunny cheese crackers.
492. Hand lotion.
493. The community over at 66 Books.
494. Clean clothes.
495. Really hot salsa and chips.
496. Heated car seats.
497. Afternoon walk in winter with the girls, delivering Valentines.
498. Love.
499. Hope.
500. Peace. However elusive, I am determined to find it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be mine

I woke up earlier than the bunch. I listened for little footsteps on the stairs. Lanie joined me soon.

"Happy Valentine's Day!" she said, and handed me a card she had made. "I did it all by myself and hid it in a secret place!"



After hugs and kisses, I gave her a card and a chocolate gift box. She was so excited. She looked forward to this morning all night.

Shane carried Erin down the steps and I handed Erin her Valentine and chocolate box. She asked if she could have a chocolate now.

"How about after lunch?" I suggested. She said ok.

"Can we do this tomorrow?" Erin asked. Daily gifts of love. She curled up into my lap and I rocked her close. "You can have one of my chocolates. I'm eat the rest!"

Heart banner across the mantle that Lanie sewed for me the other day. Sweet heart wreaths on the fridge. A basket of chocolate heart cookies tied up with red and pink ribbons for later delivery to friends.



Treats from friends.




Valentines for friends at school.



"Is Jenny from the name Jennifer?" Lanie asked. I nodded.

"Can you spell it? How many letters does it have?" she asked. I spelled it and her fingers popped up one by one.

"Eight. Just like yours!" And it feels like love, when she knows me by name, down to the number.

Friday, February 12, 2010

We've moved

Apparently, a polar shift has occurred. You can now find us at the North Pole.


When the blizzard was over, me and the girls on a mound in the street; our patio furniture as the second storm hit; and the furniture the day after.


Shane digging out--and yes, it's deep; Erin drawing; family room window--I thought windows only looked like this at Santa's house!

This is certainly one winter we'll remember.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow cream

When life hands you a blizzard, make snow cream.

What you'll need:

about a gallon of fresh snow
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
and marshmallow creme.

Mix milk, vanilla and sugar together. Pour over snow. Top with marshmallow creme. Enjoy!

This was our special treat today after lunch. As I sit in the office hammering away on the computer, winds are gusting, and I've actually seen snow blow into our house from the door. Note to self ... must get weather stripping.

We put a giant bowl out on the outside steps for fresh snow. Just a few hours later, the bowl was buried until April, so I just scooped up lots of snow in cups and extra snow (because once you add the milk, it breaks down). We stirred till thick, like a milkshake. The marshmallow creme was my idea as this all made us think of Miss Christy's snowball stand in the summer.

"I'm so glad I don't have school today," Lanie said. Today would have been a co-op day. "Mommy, this is so good! Will you please give me the recipe so I can make it for my kids one day?"

"Me too!" chirped Erin.

French toast was Lanie's idea this morning. The coffee was mine. Board games. Music. Book reading. No place to be. Snow still blowing in through the front door at the big gusts. Looks like puffs of powdered sugar. Old Man Winter laughing after eating a powdered donut.

Shane is home from an overnight at work shoveling off the roof. Dare I ask him if he wants to try some snow cream? He's been plowing and shoveling for two hours now. Something tells me snow cream isn't at the top of his list.

Maybe tonight he'll reconsider. Snow cream sounds pretty tasty to me topped with some Bailey's or that yummy Godiva Caramel and Milk Chocolate liqueur.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Performance

Blizzard two began this afternoon. I took the girls out this morning for hair cuts, a quick grocery stop for canola oil (banana chocolate chip bread baked and in the freezer) and diapers, a stop at the drug store for cheap nail polish and lunch with friends at Panera.

I was distracted at lunch with this rushy feeling that I had places to be, when I didn't, things to do, when I don't, and just a general sense of "I shouldn't be sitting here eating this lovely apple and chicken salad when we're about to get about two more feet of snow!" Yeah, I'm a fun date.

We got home and I painted fingers and toes in purple and glitter nail polishes. Baked goodies. Organized my office. Cleaned toilets, did three loads of laundry and vacuumed. Then it snowed. I shoveled twice just to try to keep up with it.

My man surprised us all by coming home for dinner. The kids were thrilled. Erin put on a tiara and busted a few moves for us. Lanie joined her--very creative-dancelike. They did lots of spins and poses and sweet smiles. After every dramatic flare, Erin would command, "Crap!"

Which is three-speak for clap. And we clapped.

"Why aren't we filming this?" Shane asked. I smiled and nodded in agreement ... it's because I didn't charge the battery in the camcorder.

Looking forward to whatever this storm brings, thoughts of being joyous and thankful regardless if power stays on, and looking forward to experimenting with a recipe for snow ice cream.

Monday, February 8, 2010

One thousand gifts (453-473)

453. A good dental visit.
454. Car rides over hills that make tummies turn--and the squeals of kids who get surprised by it every time.
455. Geese flying north.
456. Rich hot chocolate.
457. A bag of library books.
458. Pink fleece jammies for a 3 year old.
459. Weekday parties and balloons.
460. Princesses at Purim.
461. Purple glitter nail polish for little girls.
462. Easy bedtimes.
463. Tums.
464. Coffee and eggs.
465. A house, heat, electricity, food. All the time, but especially this weekend.
466. A plow came back into our neighborhood and cleared roads. Amazing.
467. A full refund on Disney on Ice tickets.
468. Board games.
469. Sunshine.
470. Brie and crackers.
471. Kids walking on top of snow mounds.
472. Vanilla and blondies.
473. Getting to the end of the driveway. Shane yells, "I win!"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Happy to be


Our patio; Lanie on one of the many snow mountains; pajama day and board games.


Our tractor; sisters coloring; icicle.

The snow stopped and the sun broke through. Not only that, but the plow brigade cleared our streets that night. Amazing. The kids were eager to go out and play; I was glad to get out and mingle with a neighbor and help dig her out.

Seems, however, that I somehow got stuck in an emotional undertow this weekend. Tears free flowing. Tender hearted. During the first fifteen minutes of watching Up, I was totally undone. Thank you God, for sending me a friend who showed up on my doorstep bearing vanilla, goody bags for my girls and a plate of chocolate chip blondies. I ate three of them nearly instantly.

We made it through the blizzard with power and plenty. The kids, happy-happy for snow bigger than them. My arms, upper back and shoulders grateful for the workout. Gearing up for Tuesday's storm with a projected additional 12 inches. Who needs a gym membership with all this great, free exercise? Though I suppose the blondies and hot chocolate counteract the work ...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

French toast and coffee

For what it's worth: French toast is a nice thing to wake up to on a snowy morning. Along with hot coffee. Glad I made the egg and coffee run yesterday. One store was stripped bare of all vegetables, fruit, milk and eggs. Another store looked like panic wasn't even on the radar: shelves brimming and more eggs than I've ever seen. We lucked out.

Still, with all this snow, it's a bit daunting. Drifts as high as my chest. Digging out heat pumps, satellite dish, clearing away hoses for drainage and sump pump: all of that surrounded by thigh-high snow. It's still coming down hard.

Shane spent a good two hours trying to shovel some of our driveway. We aren't even halfway done. We have a tractor with a plow, but this stuff is too deep to even think of plowing it. I almost wonder what's the point ... even if we could get to the bottom of the driveway, the roads are untouched. I'd be shocked if we even see a truck back here by Monday.

We took a picture to send to his brother who is cruising the Caribbean. Lucky dog.

Our biggest worry is losing power. At least it's not summer and we have to find ways to keep foods cold (all we have to do is toss the stuff outside in the snow). But we would lose heat and water. I filled two tubs with water so that we can fill toilets if the power goes out. And I'm glad our fireplace is gas, so we can huddle there at night if we do lose it.

I wonder how long we'll be looking at this stuff before it finally melts. April?

Enjoying all the amenities fueled by electricity while we have it--and looking forward to several snowy days of board games, pictures, cuddles and books.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Winter storm checklist

I did our weekly shop on Tuesday and the grocery store parking lot was surprisingly full at 10 a.m. I just got our regular things and headed home. I knew of a snow storm heading this way and I figured we'd be in good shape ... the world is usually back to normal the next day. Then I start hearing things like, "biggest snow storm ever" and "super bowl" all in the same weekend. Add to that word of a storm following this big one next week. That would leave us one or two days between shoveling to go back out ... us and the rest of the region. Should be interesting.

The indulgent side of me wonders if I should run out for some hazelnut coffee and eggs. Really thinking that French toast is a nice treat to wake up to on a snowy morning. With a good cup of hot coffee.

Weekend reading: three books on humility, a story about missionaries, the one by the Duggars, and a bag full of kids books for the girls.

Let it snow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

One thousand gifts (434-452)

434. Sisters saying I love you to each other.
435. Chocolate coconut pudding and the smiles it brought to little faces.
436. Scoring tickets to Disney on Ice.
437. Indoor picnics.
438. Reading books to an attentive audience.
439. Bingo around the kitchen table.
440. Horses wearing coats.
441. Treadmill on cold days.
442. A VCR that still works to play nearly 15-yr-old ab video.
443. Fresh bread, hot from the oven.
444. Making new friends.
445. Promises kept.
446. Snowy day, kids at play, hot chocolate and marshmallows.
447. Finally getting to sleep when my back went out again.
448. Lanie's repeated prayers that my back would stop hurting.
449. My back stopped hurting.
450. Afternoon cat naps.
451. Leftovers.
452. Full moon.

Thankful.