Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peaches and Wheat! ...oh, and Cream of course!

So, if you've ever wondered how to get kids to eat wheat, THIS is IT! I had some fresh peaches to use up and they were delicious with the hot wheat cereal.... and, ...well, yes, some whipped cream seemed to be in order too --(Yes, you can serve whipped cream for breakfast - it fits nicely into the dairy category--I learned that from IHOP).
Mmmm, I think I'll go make some right now!

Fall Fling!

Let the Flinging Begin!

We have been blessed with 5 children. Each of those children has somehow learned how to multiply their "stuff" when I'm not looking. I don't know how they do it - water it? Keep it in a dark, moist place? (possibly). It just seems to appear out of thin air!!

Unfortunately, right now, our situation dictates that we live in an insanely tiny house (for our large family, that is) And there just isn't enough room for all that stuff. Over the summer, it seems to have gotten out of control, especially since Marlin moved back home (temporarily!!)

Well, the kids are back in school and for the first time I am HOME ALONE(!) for a good part of the day. And my new job is to de-junkify our house. Here is the first of many piles headed for the donation bin. Naturally I'm starting in their bedrooms! Wish me luck!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And They're Off!

It has taken me forever to get this post done. Maybe 'cause I'm still in denial!!! Also maybe 'cause I felt like an avalanche fell on me last week! So much to do! Where to start?! Somehow I got the idea that once that first day of school arrived and they were all safely in their classes, my days would be quiet and contemplative--with bursts of busyness as I methodically work to undo the summer's damage on my house (read: pigsty!) Ha!! that couldn't have been further from the way it actually played out! But this isn't about me--this is the tale of our rituals of getting ready for Back to school!


Before they "Meet the Teacher"

Before their lunchboxes and backpacks are packed and lined up by the door

Before they receive a Father's Blessing

Before they pose for their "First Day of school" photos (I always take too many)

Before all that exciting stuff, there must be preparation. Preparation, preparation, preparation... - well, anyway.

The idea of the big "back to school" shopping trip was always tantalizing and filled with anticipation when I was a kid. In the end, though, it seemed we would be exhausted and mildly disappointed, or just glad it was over.
I remember each August my mother would pack all 5 of us up in our beige Buick station wagon and make the hour-long trek to Nashville, Tennessee--which was the closest big town to our hometown in Bowling Green, Kentucky (grades 2 thru 11 for me).
We would head to "The Mall" - well, mainly Sears and JC Penney,--the two stores Mom had credit cards for. I remember shopping for my older sister's stuff, and when we were through with that, she spent the rest of the time huffing and looking bored and put-out, or crying. I would pick out a few things that always seemed to be too hot to wear at the end of August--Jeans, sweaters, etc. But I would wear them anyway, because they were new!
So, with my kids, the concept is the same, but I try to do it in parts, so they seem to enjoy the process a little while longer.
First, the supplies - we watch for the first evidence that stores are stocking school supplies and make a bee line for Walmart & Target. - gotta get there before the the rest of the hordes decend upon the fresh displays, get the best backpacks, lunchboxes, etc.
Yes, I do end up having to hide them in my bedroom for about a month, but just that much more fun when we get to break them out and divvy them up into backpacks just before the big day. Believe me, it's worth it!

Next up, gym
Shoes. In case you never get the opportunity, just know that shoe shopping for 4 kids is an event in itself. And an all day proposition. Period.
Do not think that it can be done at one store. One store will NEVER have all the right sizes in all the right styles you need.
I do not attempt to combine this event with any other errands or shopping tasks. This year was one for the record books. I actually surprised myself and got all 4 pairs plus 8 pairs of socks for under $100!

Finally, there have to be a few new outfits to round out our preparations--followed by a fashion show, of course! I have given up on the whole "outfitting for fall" idea, because you know what? - there is a ton of clothes from last Christmas or after Christmas sales sitting in storage bins that will work just fine. And after the initial first few days of school, my kids don't care if their clothes are brand-spankin' new. In fact, sometimes they prefer their comfy old standbys. So we hit the summer sale racks, pull out a few pieces at bargain basement prices, and call it good. They're happy, I'm happy, and the clothes don't make them sizzle through the last hot days of summer.

Happy Kids, it's going to be a Great Year!

Funny Boy

I've had several friends tell me lately, that my son "cracks them up"! I never really thought of him as a funny kid, because he doesn't really try to be. I fact, I think he's too serious for being five! However, sometimes he'll say things that are hilarious to me given the situation, and the way he does it in that serious way of his!

to me: I'm so Glad at you! (when I found my swimsuit after telling him I couldn't and would not be swimming with him).

Mommy, does my hair look awesome with this bump right here? (after combing his own hair for the first time on record)
turn it off! (referring to the sunlight coming into his room when I opened the blinds on the first day of school)
Get up lazybones, it's time to go to school! (this was funny because his sisters had been up a long time and were already on the bus by now when he was just rolling out of bed and he was now yelling into an empty room!)
and my favorite: Mommy, when I grow up I'll marry you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heaven in a Spoon

The other day a friend asked how I had lost 10 pounds over the summer. I was explaining that it was mainly through "creative substitution", and I didn't really feel deprived or that I had even really been dieting.

I just made small changes in what I normally eat:

such as:

High fiber cereal or eggs instead of my usual toast w/ butter & jam and herb tea for breakfast.
Whole wheat bread for white
Dreamfields (or whole wheat) pasta for plain
Fruits & vggies instead of crackers, chips, etc. for snacks
Rice or veggie based dishes instead of creamy, cheesy, casseroles
you get the idea...

But then I got to the part where I switched out my usual ice cream indulgence for smoothies (which I adore, byt the way) and it made me start thinking about ice cream.

you know, I kind of did miss my ice cream. Just a little...

So today I bought this:
and tonight I am in heaven - even at 1/2 the fat, it's amazing.
Well, ...maybe not every night,

but sometimes,... if only on the inside,
we all scream for ice cream!

Brave Little Camper

Tonight Orca had invited a friend for a sleepover, which our girls do on a regular basis. When the lights were out and the last bathroom and drink run had finally been made, my husband and I heard a light tap at the bedroom door. It became apparent that the friend was homesick and wanted to go home. Ok, no biggie. Call the mom, wait a while for the pick up, go back to bed.

It then dawned on me just how brave my little 7 year old is.

I don't believe I ever went to sleepover camp before I was at least 12.

But our Orca was so excited to get the opportunity to go to sailing camp
this summer and had no qualms about being so far away from home (about 3 hours!) with camp counselors she had never met, and in a place she had never been before.

On top of that, I had to make an unexpected trip across the country and she had to catch a ride to camp with another camper's mom. (Yes, I missed my baby's big 'camp send-off'.... and the long worry-laden post drop-off ride home-maybe that was a good thing.)

Meanwhile Big T was virtually incommunicado doing his own camping thing with the other girls. So the potential for disaster was big - growing my worries exponentially.

After all,

This is the girl that I turned over to a surgeon when she was 3 days old.

This is the girl who was given a devastating diagnosis after that surgery.

This is the girl that overcame it and baffled her doctors with her progress.

This is our miracle girl.

She has faced things much scarier than going off to camp.

And it looks like she had a blast!