Monday, May 30, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend

:: Letting Craig draw rabbits on Kate's sheet quilt might not have been such a good idea.





:: I'm going to need cortisone shots.




:: If the garment has a hood, the hood should be up.




:: The Barbie fishing rod is preferred because the fish is purple and sparkly.





:: We are in big trouble.




:: I love my kids. And my camera.




:: Ethan was having a good time.





:: I do not know what I was thinking with this shot. Maybe checking the light? Or maybe this is when I gave it to Craig.




:: Sam is learning to play real cribbage (not "kids' cribbage" which is based on adding). He won his first game vs. Nana today. I grabbed the camera and took about 8 shots before I realized they were overexposed.






:: My family needs more training in holding still, waiting, and staying out of the frame (if not the subject of the picture) while I play with lighting, composition, and focus. I didn't even get to try Sam in focus and cribbage board out of focus. sigh.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Fit With Lizzie Giveaway

So you know about my "affair" with Tony Horton in the fall. And maybe you've picked up on my girl crush on Chalene.

Well, in the midst of that, I met a real-life fitness goddess right here in the Granite State. I did piyo with her in the fall and it was, the the beach body vernacular, a butt-kickin' good time. I'm gonna Zumba with her tonight if I don't lose motivation by then (so far this always happens and I haven't tried it yet, but since I've had some success learning the choreography in Turbo Fire, I think I might be up to the challenge); I told Craig I was going to go so that's a big step in the right direction (planning ahead, as it were).

She's doing a giveaway on her blog for a book, so check out Fit With Lizzie to see how (but don't enter because I want my chances to be good).

update: I won!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oxymoron

I made a trip down to Trader Joe's (it's just far enough past the mall to require special planning to go to) for one-ingredient peanut butter.

I mean really. It never occurred to me that peanut butter should be made from, you know, only peanuts. But then I read a blog post (somewhere, I forgot to bookmark it; oh wait! maybe it's on stumble) about how "natural" peanut butter from the big brands like Jif or Skippy still use some kind of hydrogenated oil to make it shelf stable and had a link to Krema peanut butter, which has one ingredient.

Peanuts.

It was a big 'duh' moment for me, kind of like watching Food, Inc., and realizing indeed cows are not supposed to eat corn. Or hormones that make them be fat enough for market a year earlier than their more normally fed counterparts.

Ugh. It makes my stomach turn thinking about it. The e.coli, the washing the meat with ammonia, etc. If you thought Super Size Me was a gastronomical turn-off to fast food, Food, Inc. will have you asking waiters where your beef came from: a containment and feed lot or a field.

But I digress. What was I talking about? oh right. Peanut butter.

So. I trek to Trader Joe's and find my one-ingredient PB. Not even salt for me: one ingredient. I forget to get the low-sugar jelly (because it's not everywhere; I don't want the no sugar one. Why, you ask, did I not get jelly at TJ's? I have no idea. Habit, I guess.) and Sam agreed to a PB and fluff sandwich.

I whip his lunch together (because it's the end of the school year and I'm running out of steam here . . . there's just so much to remember in the morning, like, eat, drink coffee, and pack a lunch) and as I'm cleaning up I realize what an oxymoron I have: I went to all that effort for the peanut butter and then paired it up with fluff.

Is there anything less natural than fluff?



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

rofl @ mpt

I've been wanting to read Churched and even had it in my Amazon cart just before Christmas (the cart I didn't order because one of the things was going to cost $62 to ship 2-day. or something like that. I think they had cloned a Dodo bird and that was going to deliver it and that's what was jacking up the delivery fee).

Anyway.

Last Sunday (being the Sunday before 2/7, which is when I began this post) I saw a girl (woman? lady?) in my church, my small group leader from LBS, with the book. I asked if she was reading it and she offered to let me borrow it and gave it to me Sunday.

I finished it Monday.

I read about half of it sitting in Sullivan Tire waiting for my car to be inspected, trying to not laugh out loud and failing.

It was funny, it hit close to home, and made me thankful my fundy upbringing wasn't infested with that much crazy.


So, since 6 of these have been sitting here neglected for 3 months, here is an almost-top-ten list of thoughts from the book.

1. About his father: "Pursuing God through self-discipline came naturally to him." (knowing smile and nod from me) My dad, too. He likes rules, and believes following certain rules a certain way will bring about the perfect result. While this worked and continues to appear to work for him, it caused me a lot of unhappiness and anxiety. Since I was never "right," I must not be following the right rules or doing them correctly.

2. "Being perfect, separated, and content with living in the dark ages helped us feel born again." I didn't know I was living in the dark ages (or at least a throw-back to when the world was good, like the 1950's) until later. Perfect and separated, yes. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I had any friends who were not only not Christians, but not religious in any way. I didn't know how to relate to them. I thought not ordering an alcoholic drink at our team meetings at Chili's was a "good testimony." I was so sheltered I operated under the assumption that drinking = not saved, not drinking = saved. I didn't even know there were perfectly legitimate reasons a non-saved, non-churched person would have to not drink.

3. "Feeling born again was much more difficult that being born again, but to us they seemed equally important." Feeling saved is the key. One thing I could identify with in the book was how scared of hell he was. Just being afraid of hell, or being freaked out by A Thief in the Night, was enough to make me feel not saved.

4. "I needed hell to exist. It helped me focus. It kept me striving toward being a good fundamentalist." That sums up my the first quarter century of my life. I wanted to be a good fundamentalist. Not a good person. Not even a good Christian. A good fundamentalist. I didn't know that's what I was (it's only recently I've been able to label that box and start putting experiences and beliefs in there) but I worked really hard at having the longest skirts, the highest necklines, and the most cliche-ridden prayers.

5. "God, I thought, Do you help sinners? Do you even like sinners? If you do, please help me. P.S. You are awesome." I could sing multiple verses of "Jesus Loves Me" but I never really got it, or knew, or understood that He did. He. Loves. Me. He loves the sinners and gave his life because of that love.

6. "The older I got, the more I began to realize that the life I lived was not only difficult, it was strange and fearful. When I skipped reading my Bible or praying, I feared that God would punish me." I thought that's how God was: He was going to get me because I couldn't do anything right. I was afraid of the house burning down, that my family wasn't saved, that we were going to burn down in the house . . . if I could just get it right, I could keep us all safe.

7. Toward the end of the book, he goes door-to-door with his teen group and talks to a woman who kind of shatters all the fear-based get-saved-quick dogma he's been fed: she tells him nobody can know beyond a shadow of a doubt if they're going to heaven. Because that's where faith comes in. It's a work of God, not of me.

8. This woman, Mrs. Johnson, goes on to say "I don't believe God gives us fear. God gives us hope. Now if I'm his child, why would he want me being fearful and scared all the time?" If I'm afraid all the time that I didn't get saved the right way, I'm not going to go anywhere in my walk with God. I kept trying and trying to be good enough to be saved. Letting it all go also released all that fear that I thought was part of "Christian" life.

9. He finishes the book by describing a meeting with his pastor and telling him he was "not very good at doing church." I spent a lot of years being good at church. Every once in awhile I feel that persona sneaking over me . . . the catchphrases, the mannerisms, the legalistic judgementalism . . . and I hate it. I am getting better at not swinging the complete opposite direction in reaction but to pause and think about what Jesus really calls us to. But now, I'm not very good at "doing" church. And I'm fine with that.

There's no 10. I told you it was an almost-10 list, remember?

My plan all along has been to make this a top-ten Tuesday and a way-back Wednesday post. Two birds with one stone and all of that.

update: I forgot to link to ohamanda's top ten Tuesday but you know where to find her. Also, Matther Paul Turner has a website titled Jesus Needs New PR but everytime I go there my computer freezes so I can't link. Mostly insightful, a lot of funny.

Other update, 2 minutes later: The linky's not closed. So I'm in.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why I Blog

Stumbling around the web, I found a website where the girl described her blog as a "sometimes" blog* - sometimes it's about life, sometimes about crafting, sometimes about cooking and I thought that's what I do on my blog. It was either that blog or another one where she had a page titled "why I blog." I can't seem to find this (or these) blog(s) but take my word for it, there was a source of inspiration for the following thoughts.


*I thought she was going to say because "sometimes" she blogged and sometimes she didn't, which would also about sum up what's going on here.

I'd been pondering why I blog. I thought (and still do) that the word blog sounds like retching. I thought that blogs were just self-centered ramblings with no point other than to waste time. Then I started reading some MckMama; at the same time Julie and Julia came out and one night thought, if I started a blog I'd call it food and whine and write about trying to feed my children real food.

I didn't do any research, read any blogs, or even really think about it that much. I just started in writing.

I found I liked writing, and as my sister said, it was a good outlet.

I thought it would be easier to get readers and then (of course) a huge following and then (of course) advertisers wanting to pay me to ramble incoherently and then (of course) a book and/or movie.

I imagined it would take 3 months, tops.

Once I started I realized how much time it took MckMama to post every day or Big Mama to put together the Fashion Fridays.

And then I found craft blogs. And craft memes (or linky parties or whatever you want to call them). And it began to dawn on me that there were a lot of blogs out there, some good, some really good, some borderline lame, some really little like mine, some with great writing, some with awful writing . . . but lots and lots of blogs. Lots. There's a whole other world of blogging. I'm not sure I'm up for it.

Some days I feel like writing. Some days I don't. Sometimes I take pictures for a project that doesn't work so the next time I do a project I don't take pictures and it works great and I semi-wish I had process pictures.

So. Having talked in a big circle, I arrive at the place I started. Why do I blog? I don't know. But now I have a post for a "why I blog" button.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Of course I didn't

I can't believe I went to Market Basket this morning, bought a lunchable for Sam, and then took it to the school for him to have a lunch.


I mean, of course I didn't.

Because I believe that eating whole foods, minimally processed, is the healthiest way to eat.

Because I would be prepared for an entire week of packing lunches, even if it was pb&j (all-natural peanut butter that only contains peanuts, less sugar jelly, and whole grain bread) with banana in it.

Because I wouldn't try to talk him into buying the school lunch of pizza even though he no longer eats the school pizza (sometimes it has too much sauce and sometimes too much cheese, according to him).

Because I wouldn't let him have a lunchable in the first place (right?) so that he decided he likes them and requests them for the days he's not buying.

Because I saw Food, Inc., and am looking to locally source all our food or just move out rural and grow it ourselves.

Of course I didn't do that. I just imagined I did, right?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Craig Liked It"

For awhile, I marked my recipes the way my mom did, with the date and a check mark, or check plus, or check plus plus. Then I realized I owned these books or that it was a page ripped from a magazine or something photocopied and who cared what I wrote on it?

So I started writing more descriptive things like, "really good" or "super yummy" or "dry/don't try again." I also write what changes I made or what changes I want to try the next time.

Tonight's recipe had "Craig liked it" written by it. This concerned me a little as that usually means I didn't like it.

But I soldiered on anyway, burning the bacon on the first go-round yesterday (due to starting too close to the time I need to meet the bus and not paying attention) and deciding to do something different last night and put the beef carbonnade* together to have tonight.

It turned out great. I put the beer in right before putting it in the oven tonight and for the last 20 minutes I threw in some carrots (not part of the recipe); they were a nice addition.

The kids didn't eat it but at the same time our whine production is greatly reduced. They ate the noodles and a little bit of beef and overall it was a success because no one cried.

*This recipe is slightly different from the one I used from Cooking Light 5-Star Recipes; mine said to cook in the oven for 2 hrs and 45 min.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For Some Reason

I could not access blogger for a few days. It was annoying and I thought, maybe I'll just quit the whole thing. Then I decided to "ask" for help and found a forum or something that mentioned clearing my history and cookies, and a post that implied this might have to happen twice, and then I thought I should shut down the computer, so I did all of that and it was still acting up so I changed my password and here we are.

Good, because I have so much riveting information to share and I'd hate for you to be deprived.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sarah versus the Laundry

I have a bunch of pictures on the camera that I need to put on the computer and then organize into a post. Or, like 8 posts. I just haven't been feelin' the blog lately.

The dressers are painted and I keep waiting for a sunny day that coincides with a day when there's not clean laundry all over the bed or dirty laundry all over the floor to take a picture and post. I also picked up a window that is now hanging over the bed so there's that to show you, too. The laundry just won't quit, or, if the room is approaching clean, it's overcast.

It occurred to me today that it's a lot like "Leiningan versus the Ants" here: Sarah versus the Laundry. Or, more accurately, as I gaze around the living/dining room, Sarah versus the Clutter. I keep thinking if I can just get a system for this clutter, I could keep it under control. Almost every other area of housekeeping has a system, whether I follow it or not, but the clutter . . . the papers from school and the craft supplies (they have a home but they overflow) and the costumes and the stuff that just won't go away . . .

The Fly Lady calls it putting out the fires. I just have slacked on that while plowing through laundry, I guess. I should set up a plan for tomorrow: wake up, coffee, pack lunch; get Sam up, dressed, fed, and out the door; put out brush fires; go to used book store; make more piles of clutter; catch up on laundry (it will have mulitplied while I was out); exercise. Oh, and somewhere in there have some quiet time, empty the dishwasher, play with Kate, and make dinner. That should leave just enough free time to start a new quilt.

And dig a big ditch for the ants to drown in.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

:: to my mother, whose commitment to being a godly wife and mother through the years still amazes me.

::to my sister, for whom I'm praying "baby sweetheart" lets you get some rest and stays put to 36 weeks (at the least) or maybe June 1 (since you so don't want another May event).

::to the women who "mothered" me through my teaching years, providing comfort and solace and a glimpse of grace in the torrents of ungrace that define those years.

::to the women I knew as girls who are now mothers themselves; who are loving, creative, and inspiring in ways I could not have imagined back when we were young and spent a lot of time complaining about our own mothers.

::to the mothers whose Mother's Day is one (or two, or more) hug short of complete; and yet who love on, knowing these absent babies are with the only One who will ever love them more.

::to the not-yet mothers who are waiting for God's timing or direction, may your arms and hearts overflow.

::to my mother's helpers who take care of my children and let me get out to run errands or have night out.

::to all the mothers in my life, older and younger, the ones I see frequently and the ones I see rarely, the ones I'd like to see more often, the ones I've just met, and the ones who may not know it but have encouraged me: thank you for sharing your hearts, your time, the blessing of your company and your book recommendations; and for allowing me to know and love your children.

::to my mother friends who do it (all) every day and make it look good.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This post has a lot of pictures

And while there's a lot of pictures in this post, it's not even half the ones I took (or tried to take).


I thought Easter would be a great time to get a picture of my kids together. Dressed up, nice day . . . I had high hopes for a good shot.




Close, but no. After several attempts along this line, we had a mini egg hunt and I tried a close up, arms around each other.



OK, not so much.


After church, around the side of my parents' house:



I knew he had chocolate all over his face. I just thought he was so cute anyway.


How about me with the kids?



Thanks, Kate.

One more try with the two of them in their church clothes:


The main thing wrong with this is that gross fence.


Now we'll try after the egg hunt . . . they'll be in a good mood then, right?



Anyway. I wasn't ready to give up yet. A few days later we went down to the Pennsylvania Governor's Residence, where my mom is a docent. While we waited, I thought, how about some shots against this cool brick wall?


Not too bad.



Not sure what's up with that pose.


The thing is, they don't want to stand or pose or whatever while I play with camera settings and angles and all that. Sam is good for smiling great in the first few shots but then gets tired of it; by the time Kate is looking and smiling he's done.




I really like this one.



How about me with the kids again?


"Dad, was Kate looking?"


"Oh yes, I wait for her to look and then I snap it."


(He gives me the camera.)


"Dad, she's not looking."





Very sunny so Kate's squinting, but I really like it . . . I even like how I look in it.