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9.28.2012

<< my week in review: 9/21-27

InstaFriday.
It's like scrap-booking, only easier and cheaper.

I got more happy mail from Shutterfly.
Yes, I am only now getting a photobook done for 2004.
That's why I love InstaFriday.
It's a scrapbook-slash-journal every week.


When I drove up to get my food, the girl at the drive-thru window saw me and exclaimed:
"HEY! IT'S MY FAVORITE CUSTOMER!"
Honestly, I have no idea why I'm her favorite customer,
but I felt conflicted about it.
I was really happy that I put such a big smile on her face,
but I was a little embarrassed that I am a regular enough customer to be recognized.


 Saturday = game day!
Sarah played great at goalie during the first half.
She even got a goal in the second half.
After the soccer game, we headed over to John's football game.
That's JD on the left, coaching up the defense.
Then we drove up to St. Paul to watch the Gophers night game against Syracuse.
Before the game Sarah told me "I can't wait until the game starts."
"Oh yeah?" I said. "You're excited about the game?"
"No. Once the game starts, then it will be closer to over."
I can't blame her, she sees a lot of football.
Still, she's a good fan, standing and making noise on 3rd downs.
At night when I was putting Sarah to bed she told me that we had a "kick butt" day.
"Really? What do you mean?" I asked.
"My team kicked butt. John's team kicked butt. And the Gophers kicked butt."
What could I say? 
I agreed, it really was a kick butt day.


Reading my book club book, "Out Stealing Horses" while waiting for soccer practice to end.


Watching "Cast Away" with John for school.
If you ever don't like your family room decor, just take a blurry picture.


Kaitlin really wanted to grow a watermelon this year.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
I choose to laugh.
Could it be that we unknowingly got a miniature watermelon variety?
Could this be what happens when you don't water your watermelon during a drought?
Next year I think we'll plant pumpkins.
If they turn out small, we'll just call them decorative.

  
Drove by this during my lunch break and thought it was cute.


I need to get these.
Cleaning the floors would be so much more fun if I had them.
And the floors would get cleaned more often if it was more fun.
See my logic?
I need to invent vacuum slippers. I really need those.


My morning view as I pull out of our driveway to go to work.
For a several weeks each year the canopy over our street is bright yellow.
Beautiful when the sun shines through the leaves.


I just love Autumn.
I just love looking down at the newly sealed black top and finding a bright red/orange leaf in my path.
Today it reminds me of this old song:
"He gives me beauty for ashes / The oil of joy for mourning /
A garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness /
That we might be trees of righteousness / The planting of the Lord /
That He might be glorified."


life rearranged
A link up with Life.Rearranged.

9.26.2012

How I Came to Like My Dog


Our dog reminds me of God. Anyone who is familiar with my and Reggie's relationship would be surprised that I would go so far as to say that, but it's true. No matter how frustrated I get with him, he always loves me.

9.21.2012

<< my week in review: 9/14-20

InstaFriday is the new black.
It goes with everything and it's always in style.

Sarah has been asking for a while now to have a Spa Day with me.
She made a list of things she wanted to do, including putting food on our faces and cucumbers on our eyes.
Friday night, while the rest of the family was watching the varsity football game,
Sarah and I mashed up some food and put it on our faces.
I have no idea what these foods did to our faces, but that wasn't the point.
I'm trying to smile for the picture, but my skin is too tight.
The only thing that moved is my right eyebrow.


Behind my coffee cup you can see Sarah's Saturday morning soccer game.
It was picture day.
We missed pictures.
I felt like the worst mom, missing pictures.
When we got home I took this:
This is all I want.
Besides, do we really need a team photo?
Does anybody care who was on their team in 3rd grade?
Oh, I guess my husband says people do.
Still.

Sarah has a little problem with putting her clothes away. 
She seems to think the floor is a nice place for them.
I made these labels for her dresser. 
I'm hoping they work.
We spent the weekend clearing her room of too small and/or unwanted clothes. 
We filled a huge black garbage bag.
No wonder the clothes weren't going in her dresser. They couldn't fit.

To donate, or to garage sale: that is the question.

I just noticed that so far this post has been the Sarah Show.
It's okay. She's the youngest.

This was my view on Sunday morning during my new job as "Media Person."
The media person pretty much wields the power. Well, and the Holy Spirit, of course.
 Holy Spirit. Media Person. I'm just sayin'.


Kaitlin snapped this picture of her and me and my sunglasses and posted it on her Instagram feed.

Having kids on social media is very interesting. 
It's a new parenting frontier.



We had a bunch of people over Sunday night.
So we cleaned. 
Because we don't clean unless we have people coming over.

Someone forgot to put the kettle away and left it sitting on the stove.
Everyone's phone cameras came out to get a picture of Kitty in the kettle on the stove.
Sly little kitty, you attention grabber you.
So nonchalantly sitting there.
In a pot.
On the stove.



It was a happy mail day for me this week.
Shutterfly and Donald Miller on the same day. 
Can't get much better than that.
I can't wait to go through Storyline 2.0 by Donald Miller.
It's a curriculum of sorts to help you find your subplot in God's story.
At 40, I figure it's time I figure out my subplot.



On Wednesday the kids didn't have school so Sarah came to work with me.
She helped me decorate the bulletin board and shred documents and she was ready to go home
after one and a half hours.
As a reward, I took her to McDonald's for lunch.
I'm a little jealous of Sarah's Kid's Meal treasure.
I want a monkey watch.


Sometimes at night before we go to bed JD and I like to have a cup of tea together.
As I was making our tea, I looked at the names of the blends and the thought occurred to me:
"this might be a frustrating combination for one of us."


I was reunited with a childhood memory this week.
I remember this painting hanging in our house when I was young.
It always reminded me of me and my grandpa.
Except I don't remember fishing with my grandpa.
Details, details.
If it were a picture of a girl and her grandpa in a carpentry workshop, that'd be perfect.
Because I remember spending a lot of time down there in his workshop
watching him measure and cut wood.
Still, when I see this painting it reminds me of grandpa.
And that little girl, I imagine, is little me.




life rearranged
a link up with Life. Rearranged.

9.20.2012

The Truth is, I Believed a Lie: The Story of When I Found Out That God Gives Me More Than I Can Handle

"That's a LIE!" he said much too excitedly in my opinion as he pointed his finger at me, completely unconcerned about what anyone seated near us at Chili's might think I was lying about. Coming from a family where singing "happy birthday" in public was as confrontational as we got, I was not used to being called a liar at all, let alone so loudly and publicly. I fumbled with my daughter's crayons, distracting myself by trying to get her to sit down and color.

I hadn't seen Tim since the previous summer's ministry training in Florida. Now we were about to spend two months in a village nestled in the hills of Western New York with him and a bunch of college baseball players from all over the country. While we were visiting over menu selections and 'how have you been's, I opened up and told Tim that I was not happy with God's opinion of how much I could handle."God thinks too highly of me. I know He won't give me more than I can handle, but He thinks I can handle too much."

9.18.2012

How I Accidentally Missed the Team Photo (But Was Glad I Did)

Saturday was picture day for the local youth soccer league. I have to be honest. I don't like picture day. It's not the pictures that I don't like, it's paying for them. And the pressure to get a package. I mean, what kind of mom am I if I don't order photos of my kid holding the soccer ball and smiling so sweetly?  

9.14.2012

<< week in review: 9/7-13


Accessory serendipity.
My husband gave me the butterfly wing necklace a while ago,
in honor of my tattoo and all it means to me.
This week my sister gave me a bag of clothes she doesn't want anymore, including this shirt.
(Older sis loves younger sis' hand me downs. They make her feel youngish)


Ready or not, here it comes.
Football season!
Friday night varsity game.
If you look hard, you can see my husband's head behind some of the players on the sideline. 
That's all I got to see of him on Friday. For serious.
But I sure do enjoy seeing him on the sidelines. I can tell he loves it.
I don't see much of my older two at the varsity games anymore.
They are busy socializing with their friends.
That's okay. At least they don't have to experience the pain of watching a blow out.
Saturday 8th grade game.
There's John at quarterback. I love watching him play.
I am looking forward to when the O-line gains some weight, though. 
When we got home we all fell asleep on various couches and chairs.
Spontaneous nap time.
Sunday Vikings game & fantasy games.
We don't have cable TV at our house, so if we want to watch a game, we head over to Oma and Opa's.
Now that I have a fantasy football team, I suddenly have an interest in how other players on other teams besides the Vikings do.
Not enough to prevent me from falling asleep on the couch with the football game in the background.
I'm sensing a theme: Football season = nap season.
Skol Vikings!

Saturday evening we went to Taste of Rochester.
"Hey John and Kaitlin, stand over there and let me get a photo of you with the stage
and Rochester in the background."

This is the kind of photo my son gives me.
He thinks he's being funny, but the laugh will be on him
when his wedding reception slide show has a bunch of silly face photos. 
Thanks, Kaitlin. 

Hallo Aldi. Wie gehts? Ich liebe dich.
"Hey mom, what does that mean?"
"It's German. It means, 'Hello Aldi. How's it going? I love you.' "
The first time I shopped at an Aldi was when we lived in Germany.
So, not only do I save lots o money on groceries when I shop there, but I also get to pretend I am still in Deutschland.


Uh-oh,
the flu bug is going around our house.
Sarah stayed home on Monday.
Kaitlin stayed home on Tuesday.
That means I had to take sick days to stay at home with them.
Yay!
The flu bug is going around our house!

Poor sick girl laying on the floor. :(

While I was at home with the sick kiddos,
I decided to do some stuff I don't get to do while I'm at work.
Like corral my recipe pile.

I found this in the pile:

Why do I write the ingredients with no instructions and no indication of what it is?
I'm going to guess it's Swedish Pancakes.
They might end up as Surprise Pancakes.

I have PADD. It's a diagnosis I just made up.
Project Attention Deficit Disorder.
I start one project and get side-tracked by another.

I rummaged around for extra index cards to write my go-to recipes on.
I couldn't find any, but I did find these postcards that I've had for about 15 years.
And those IKEA frames I've had for almost as long.

Then I used the rest for recipe cards.



I guess I got the wrong kind of cat food for Kitty. She's not eating it.
But she will eat the Saltine that John gave her.
 
life rearranged
a link up with Life.Rearranged.

9.11.2012

Spending Time to Save Money: 3 Recipes for Dry Milk Solids

The senior citizens in the subsidized apartment building where I work get boxes of free food from the  government once a month. Yesterday one of the residents stopped in my office and offered me his bag of powdered milk.

"No thanks," I said quickly because I'm not a fan of reconstituted powdered milk. But then I remembered a recipe that I had found recently that called for dry milk solids. "Well, okay. On second thought I'll take it."

The thing is, we are tightening our budget. Snacks, along with breakfast foods and beverages, are feeling the pinch. I have a love / hate relationship with snacks. I love to snack / I hate to spend the money for snacks. I love to make snacks / I hate that it takes time to make snacks. I love the idea of my kids snacking on fruit and vegetables / I hate throwing away fruits and vegetables that get old before they get eaten.

"You either spend time to save money, or you spend money to save time." I read that somewhere a long time ago and it stuck with me until I got too busy to remember it. Back then I had lots of time, so I made lots of stuff and saved some money. Over the years as our time got crunched, convenience foods snuck into our grocery cart.

So I was searching my cookbooks the other day for recipes of snacks that I could make - and when I don't have time, my kids could make. In addition to old fashioned popcorn that is not made in the microwave, I found this one:

Honey Milk Balls 
1 cup dried milk solids
1 cup rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix together, first with a spoon, then knead by hand. Roll into bite size balls.

Variations:
- roll in coconut
- shape balls around a nut
- mold dough into a roll and slice

The verdict on these in our house: they're good, make them again. John says you can't eat too many at one time, though. Which I'd say is probably a good thing.

Now that I have a bag of dry milk solids, what else can I make? Right away I thought of my favorite granola recipe. The thing that I love about this recipe is that I can use whatever I have on hand. And now I have some dry milk solids on hand.

Anne's Favorite Granola Recipe

Preheat oven to 300*

Combine 7 cups any combination of dry ingredients as desired, including:
- at least 2 cups rolled oats
- dry milk solids
- wheat germ
- wheat bran
- whole wheat flour
- corn meal
- uncooked cereals
- seeds
- coconut
- nuts
- spices

In a separate bowl,
combine 1 cup of liquids, in any combination of the following, as desired:
- honey
- peanut butter
- oil
- syrup

Pour liquids over dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread into large greased pans and back for 30-60 minutes, stirring often.
Be careful not to let it get too brown.
Crunchiness will depend on combination of ingredients.
Let cool.

When cooled, add as desired:
- raisins
- dates
- dried fruits
- chocolate chips

I read on a quick Google search that you can add dry milk solids to just about any recipe and you'll get the added nutritional benefit. I checked the bag of Mountain Maid instant nonfat dry milk that my tenant didn't want and found that it is high in vitamins A and D as well as calcium. That can't be bad. I might have to sneak some dry milk solids into my chocolate chip cookies.

Right next to the nutrition information was a recipe for hot chocolate mix. How about that? Just in time too, because the Minnesota weather is starting to cool down. As much as we try to deny it, come September it's just a matter of time before the snow flies. Hot chocolate mixes aren't cheap, but they are convenient. Guess what recipe I'm going to be spending some time instead of money to make this winter.

Mountain Maid's Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe

2 cups instant nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
To make a cup of hot chocolate, mix 1/4 cup dry mix with 1 cup boiling water.
Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, or cinnamon.
Makes approximately 14 cups.

Spending time to save money. As a working mom with a family full of busy schedules that's a challenge for me. It will take some discipline and some creativity to cut the grocery bill. And, I guess, some dry milk solids.


9.07.2012

<< my week in review: 8/31-9/6

Last Friday my kids were thinking something like this:
"School starts in 4 days and we don't have our school supplies yet! 

When I got home from work on Friday,
 my husband had already taken the kids shopping for their school supplies.
Bonus points for him.


Don't give me those sad eyes, Reggie, and tell me you want to "go in the garage" and "sit in your kennel."
Whatever. I am on to you!
I know you figured out how to open the food box and have been sneaking food.
Bad dog.



On our impromptu date night at Baker's Square we discovered pickle chips.
We like pickles. But we loooooved these pickle chips.
We even ordered some to take home and share with our pickle loving kids.
"What? They only gave us a half a box!?" we might have said when we gave it to them.



Saturday I was feeling kind of meh,
so I got out the paints and painted with my girl, Sarah.
Painting gets rid of the mehs.

Sarah's painting in progress.




Kaitlin & her friend dyed the tips of their hair in Kool-aid.

Her hair matches my red kitchen walls!
Quick, google how to get red Kool-Aid dye out...

Just an fyi:
rinsing with baking soda and tomato juice does not get the red out entirely.
Or at all.
A scissors worked better.

John asks, "well, why did she dye here hair red in the first place?"
I say, "They didn't know the red would turn so... red."
Kaitlin laughs and John shakes his head.
...and so we continue John's education of the female species.


It's Labor Day Weekend!
Time for our annual camping trip.

...in our back yard!
I wish we could camp more. I really do.
But our summer schedule is crazy with travelling baseball and work and stuff.
A couple years ago I put up our tent in the backyard so we could go "camping."
We've done it each summer since.

We roasted hot dogs over the "campfire" in our fire pit.
Then later made the biggest gooiest yummiest s'mores I've ever had.
S'mores always taste better with friends.
That's the nice thing about backyard camping.
You can spontaneously invite friends to your campfire.
Some of us slept in the tent, while others of us slept in our beds.
That's another nice thing about backyard camping.
The next morning we had an epic game of Ladderball, boys vs. girls.
The girls came from 10 points down to beat the boys 21-19.
I'm just reporting it like it happened.





This year we decided to do a family fantasy football league.
John is the league commissioner.

My sister and mom came over for the draft.
Which, I'm pretty sure, was a much different experience for JD and John than any other draft they've been a part of.
"What? I drafted that guy? He's not that good? Well I'll just have to pray for him then."
Let's just say that someone's drafts are going to be prayed for a lot this season.

Later, when JD was showing me how to do my lineup, he confided to me
"after that draft, I don't know if I've ever felt so much pressure to do well. Because, if we don't do well..." His voice trailed off, but his eyes told the story of the humiliation that would be his if he didn't beat the teams that were picked according to name familiarity and favorite locations or mascots.

Sarah and I are sharing our fantasy team.
After a short stint as The American Girl Dolls we named our team Fozzie's Bears.
(I was voting for The Winner Winner Chicken Dinners but that got vetoed by the majority owner.)




The day after Labor Day was the First Day of School.
8th grade, 6th grade & 3rd grade.
Hooray!



I figured out that if I want some face time with my social middle school daughter,
I need to be familiar with FaceTime on my iPod.
She and I share our Apple account, so we haven't been able to FaceTime each other.
This week we figured it out.

I remember watching the Jetsons when I was a kid and thinking how cool it would be to see the person on the other end of the phone. Now it's reality for my kids.
[cue Jetsons theme song]



The Jetsons Theme Song


Dear Apple,

Please work on producing iRosie the iRobot asap. Then I might forgive you for coming up with the iPod.

Sincerely,
Anne





When I went to say goodnight to John one night this week,
I found this at the top of the ladder to his loft bed.
It made my day.

It made my week.
My busy, busy week.



life rearranged
a link up with Life.Rearranged.

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