Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Conversation With the 17-Year-Old Boy About Service

After a very hectic evening, John being out of town, I noticed that the 17-year-old boy, of his own accord, having donned his black jacket and beanie, was taking the rolling wood carrier outside and bringing it back, filled with wood, to fill up all the fireplace wood holders. We heat our home with 4 wood-burning stoves..


....so this is no small task. The fact that he did this was remarkable, because every other night, I usually ask one teenager to each bring in a load of wood, and I bring in one myself. No matter how cold it is outside, no one EVER does it on their own, without my prompting. Sometimes I would just like to see how long they would go before they got cold enough to bring in wood without being asked. I don't perform this experiment, however, because of the 3 little ones who spend most of their time close to the floor, where it's colder.

And not only did the 17-year-old boy bring in four loads of wood, he made fires in each of the fireplaces, again, without being asked. I was so exceedingly grateful for these gestures, these acts of willing service, that I decided to do the two sink-fulls of dishes which were waiting for him, as is his chore every evening for the month of January. Lest you wonder what the other kids do to help in the kitchen, here is the breakdown...

The 14-year-old girl: counters and lower island
The 13-year-old boy: dinner helper and dishwasher unloader
The 9-year-old boy: pick up everything off the floor and straighten up the couch area we recently set up in the kitchen
The 7-year-old girl: wipe down the high chairs and clean the top part of the island
The 3-year-old boy: pick up ten things on the kitchen floor
The 39-year-old mom: sweep

As I was nearly finished with the dishes, I turned my head back towards him where he was stoking a fireplace and said...

Me: 17-year-old boy, because I am so very grateful for the fact that you got all this wood and made all these fires without me having to ask you, I have done your dishes for you.

17-year-old boy: Yeah, I so knew you would do that. I totally read you like a book.

Me: Oh, so you knew I would do your dishes and you figured that you would rather do the wood then the dishes, huh?

17-year-old boy: Yep, pretty much.

Me: Well, what if I hadn't decided to do your dishes? Then you would have just had to enjoy the blessings from above for your work of service.

17-year-old boy: Yeah, so I win either way.


Oh....My.....Gosh. Is one of my kids actually internalizing what it means to serve? This was honestly a momentous occasion, and that is why I am sharing it with you today. Thanks for listening. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pink Eye: The Pros and Cons

If you're a mom, you have probably dealt with pink eye, or conjunctivitis, the infection of the "conjunctiva", or outermost layer of the eye and the inner layer of the eyelid. It can be caused by bacteria, a virus or allergies. It is characterized by a pink color to the eye, a yellowish discharge from the corners or the eye, swelling, itching, and is EXTREMELY contagious. Here is an example of pink eye in Twin B...



(Although it looks bad, he obviously wasn't suffering from it at the time of the photo.)

...and here's an example of pink eye in Twin A...



(The infection can't be seen so well in this photo, but you may notice his swollen eyes as he pensively ponders his block.)


 Now, you may be wondering what could possibly be the pros of a child having an affliction such as this. There aren't many, and, of course, I would never willing inflict my child with this condition, but let me just share my feelings here.

The Cons:


1. Pink eye is EXTREMELY contagious, as I mentioned above. Twin B started it, and Twin A, the 3-year-old boy, and the 7-year-old girl now all have it.

2. To treat it, one has to administer antibiotic drops or cream to the eyes 3 to 4 times a day. I'm sure you can imagine how much fun this is.....times eight (eyes).

3. For the past 6 mornings, at least one person has woken in the morning unable to open an eye, because of the stuck-on puss. My choices are to scrub the eye area with a warm wet cloth, listening to screams of seeming torture, or let them eat breakfast one-eyed. I won't tell you which option I chose at times.

4. The mom can't go anywhere outside of her home, for fear of becoming the town Pariah and infecting everyone and their mother and their dog.

The Pros:

1. The mom can't go anywhere outside of her home. At other times in my life, I would have developed cabin fever having to stay home with the kids this long, but because I'm 6 days short of 40, about to deliver my 10th child, have an unquenchable urge to nest, and just really love nothing more than staying home right now, this has been a wonderful thing..for me...in this one aspect. If I do have to go somewhere, such as to play the piano at a church meeting, I get to must ask one of the older kids to stay home with the 4 children until I can return.

2. The 7-year-old girl will have to be home schooled for a week, as this is how long the infection seems to linger. While she herself does miss school, I am selfishly loving having her home. She plays with the 3 three and under all day long....



...and I don't think my house has EVER been this clean, thanks to her toddler distracting skills.

3. Four kids having pink eye gives me something to blog about.

So there you have it, my honest, selfish feelings. Lest you believe I may have a case of Munchausen by proxy, don't worry. I am only trying to find the silver lining of the rainbow, or the "blessings in disguise", as my father always encouraged me to do. Really, though, I do hope they get better soon. My mom and sister will be coming into town next weekend and I want us all to be able to go out to dinner! Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Best Carrot Cake in the World....and it just happens to be vegan

Is there nothing better than trying a new recipe, inventing parts as you go, and having your family absolutely rave over it? The experience I had with this carrot craisin cake boasted one of those moments. I didn't tell my people it was vegan before the first bite, because they become embittered and close-minded when they think they're eating vegan. I waited until after John and the 17-year-old boy had plopped huge bites of cupcakes into their mouths. Once his tastebuds registered the cupcake, the 17-year-old boy started mmmming and making strange sounds while his mouth was still full of food, but I could tell they were sounds of delight. After he swallowed, he volunteered, "These are really good!" If you know the 17-year-old boy, you know he doesn't gush, so this response was really something. I laughed evilly and told them that these were vegan, with no milk or eggs, and, if I remember correctly, John said, "In spite of that, they're very good." That's all I needed to hear.

The next morning, as the 17-year-old boy looked over the leftover cake on the island, he said, "There really had better be some of this when I get home. I really hope you don't eat it all." There was half a cake left. I tried to ignore the insinuation that I would eat half an entire cake by myself, and told him that if he wanted to ensure there was a piece left when he got home, he should set some aside for himself and hide it in the fridge. He did just that and saved it to take to his room later that night as he read his current novel.

One reason I love this recipe is because it uses flax seeds instead of eggs, which add essential omega-3 fats, and the carrots and craisins are full of phytochemicals and nutrients. If you want an even healthier version, try making it with half white, half whole wheat flour. I haven't tried this, but I'm sure it would be wonderful. 

This recipe is doubled from it's original source, as I am freezing a portion of everything I make, and this made two 9" rounds, 1 9x13 pan, and a dozen cupcakes. I hope you enjoy this as much as the 17-year-old boy did!

Amazing Vegan Carrot Craisin Cake



Ingredients:

6 tablespoons whole flax seeds
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups sugar
3 cups vegetable oil
6 cups flour
4 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups grated carrots
2 cups craisins

Directions:

Step 1: In a blender, blend flax seeds and water until smooth and creamy.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar and the flax seed mixture.

Step 3: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Step 4: Add the flour mixture to the flax seed mixture, and stir until well mixed.

Step 5: To this mixture, add the vanilla, pecans, carrots and craisins.

Step 6: Pour this batter into greased pans or cupcake papers, and bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The time will vary depending on what size pan you use, but will probably be between 20 and 35 minutes.

Step 7: Frost with your favorite vegan or omni frosting and enjoy!



Product helps I used for this recipe...




...and...



(Clicking and purchasing from any of the above links helps send my 10 kids to college, so thanks!)

Please join us RIGHT NOW for the "Questions About Mormonism" Live Chat! (Never mind. It's over, but come next week!)

Welcome to the "Questions About Mormonism" weekly chat.



(Painting by J. Kirk Richards, one of my favorite artists.)

If you would like to participate, or just "lurk", please just click on the "COMMENTS (SHARE YOURS!)" link at the bottom of this post and leave your comment in the comment window or just read what others have to say. I will be sitting here by my computer from 10:00 AM until 11:45 MST to share my beliefs as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or, as we are otherwise known, a Mormon.

Today's video was shared with me by a good friend this morning. In turn, I would like to share it with you. What could be better than Andrea Bocelli and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "The Lord's Prayer"? Nothing, I think. Hope you enjoy it....


Monday, January 25, 2010

I Keep Trying to Tell You....I'm a Genius

So I've written a couple of posts about my amazing nesting instincts which are currently engaged. Sometimes, though, when a nearly 40-year-old woman, pregnant with her 10th child, wants to move large pieces of furniture, the task seems insurmountable. Case in point, my attempt to move an antiqued-black wooden file cabinet from our adjoining apartment to my bedroom, which are at opposite ends of the house. As they say, though, when there's a will, there's a way...and here's my way...



I fall more in love with our Plasma Cars each day. Moving this piece of furniture down two hallways like this...



...was as easy as pie and my bedroom looks awesome now! Pictures soon.

Thanks for listening. :)

Homemaker Monday: Potato, Broccoli, and Cauliflower Casserole

Welcome to the 77th weekly edition of...


Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Suzanne over at "The Singer Sentinel"! Suzanne teaches how to make the cutest, easiest aprons for the little girl in your life. Check out just one example...



My favorite part of featuring Suzanne is that I know her personally, but haven't seen her since her cute model was only two years old. Look at her now!

Thanks so much, Suzanne, for linking up and inspiring us today! Can't wait to try this! Please feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar. For Suzanne's full tutorial, click HERE.

MINE: My favorite part about the following recipe is that it came together super-fast because of the "Big Mouth" food processor I used. (See link at the end of this post.) Enjoy!

Potato, Broccoli, Cauliflower Casserole



Ingredients:

10 cups sliced potatoes
7 cups chopped broccili
7 cups chopped cauliflower
1/4 cup butter
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1 T paprika
1 T salt
2 t pepper
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
10 slices of bread
1/4 cup butter

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat over to 350 degrees F. In food processor (or, if you like to savor your food preparation, by hand), slice peeled potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower. Here's how mine looked...



Step 2: Steam vegetables until tender. I steamed my potatoes on the stove...



...and my broccoli and cauliflower in the microwave. Since I don't have a special microwave steamer, I just used a ceramic mixing bowl, poured about 1/2 cup water over the veggies, and covered it with a plate. It worked like a charm...



Step 3: In saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter with spices, then add flour, stirring constantly.

Step 4: Pour in milk, and whisk until the sauce becomes thickened.

Step 5: In 2 greased 9x13 casserole pans, layer potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower. Pour sauce over this mixture.

Step 6: In food processor, combine bread and 1/4 cup butter (Butter can be right from the fridge.). (I have to say that this is such an ingenious way to prepare bread crumbs. Gone are the days of trying to crumble the slices just right into even crumbs and trying to evening drizzle butter over the crumbs. Thanks, Farmer's Wife!)



Step 7: Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top of vegetables, and bake at 350 degrees F until bread crumbs are browned and sides of casserole are bubbling, about 20 minutes...



Yes, I'm still making double of everything to prepare for the arrival of our little boy. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did! Thanks for listening.

Product helps I used for this recipe...



(If you click on any of the above links and purchase anything at all from Amazon.com, you are helping to put my 10 kids through college, so thanks!)

OURS: Okay, Lovely Ladies, what have you got for us today? Can't wait to see! Thanks so much for joining us on Homemaker Monday and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Grandson of a Slave Owner and a Full-Blooded Cherokee

He was born in Mexico, his name was Tito, and he was my grandfather...



(The handsome man on right, with my grandma and father)

Because this is the only journal I keep, I wanted to take the time to record some memories of him that are burned in my mind.

-When he and my Grandma Lala would babysit us, my grandma was very strict, and, in our humble opinion, wouldn't allow us to have any fun. As she tried to maintain order, he would constantly say to her, "Dejalas, Mommy!", placing a particular emphasis on the first syllable of "Dejalas", which means, "Leave them alone, Mother!"

-For dinner, he would make us "fideo", a Mexican noodle dish. He would also make us mush sometimes, which is a breakfast dish made from cornmeal, but we got to eat it for dinner.

-He made the best Kool-aid in the world for us, because he would boil the sugar with the water, causing it to be dissolved thoroughly. Perhaps it was no different than the Kool-aid my mom made, but there was just something about going to Grandpa Tito's house after school and pouring a tall, clear glass of his red Kool-aid.

-When he told us stories of his childhood, they usually involved him getting hurt, like the time when he was five years old, sneaked off with his father's horse, rode into town, then fell off, breaking his radius. When he described how he had to have it set without anesthesia, he would always recall how he had yelled, "YOWWW!" This is probably not what he really said, but this is always how he described the event.

-In fact, when he was in pain, he never made any noise at all. Once, during his last few years, he fell down and broke his finger. He adamantly refused medical treatment, but his finger was badly disfigured and needed to be reset. My sister with the PhD hadn't yet finished college, but even my father conceded that she was the person in the family with the most training on the functions of the human body, so she volunteered to set his finger for him. Only she and my dad were allowed in Grandpa's house during the procedure, and even though I stood right outside the window, waiting, I never heard him utter a sound. Later, my sister would tell me that when she had grabbed his finger and pulled it into position, his face has distorted into an excruciated expression, his eyes had filled with tears, and he had banged the palm of his hand over and over again on the table, but he never made a sound. When they all came out of the house, he was smiling and patting my sister's back, impressed with her skills.

-He seemed to be the happiest when I visited him in his home with his two great-grand children. The 17-year-old boy was only a year old during my grandfather's last year, but Grandpa Tito loved more than anything to have him sit on his lap and eat bananas, even though my son would always be distracted by his great-grandfather's soft, snow-white hair and begin to pull it with banana residue all over his chubby little hands. During these literal hair-raising occasions, my grandpa would laugh in astonishment at how many bananas his great-grandson could eat, and would also cry, "YOWWW!" as his hair was being pulled.

-When my first husband and I lived in Louisiana with our children, we would visit my parents and grandparents in El Paso, TX as often as we could, which was about once a year. When my father would share with my grandfather the good news that we were coming to town, he would cry, "Oh, no!" When my father would ask why he was upset, he would sadly reply, "Because that means we will have to say good bye again."

-The last time I saw my grandfather, besides when he was incoherent as I said goodbye to him in his deathbed, was when we were pulling out of my parents driveway headed back to Louisiana. He was standing in my father's carport, so small and sad, with his arms down at his sides, watching us leave. Perhaps he knew that was to be the last good bye.

There is tons more I could write about Grandpa Tito, but perhaps I will save that for another post. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Freedom to Choose

Yesterday, as I was preparing to take the 7- and 9-year-olds to school, I noticed that the 3-year-old wasn't dressed and ready to go. I usually just take him along in his sleeper, but this morning, he was only sporting underwear. Although I had asked him several times to get dressed, even if it was only in a sleeper, I kept seeing him running around in, still, only his briefs. When I finally made the empty threat of leaving him home while I took the kids to school, he ran off, I thought, to get a sleeper on. When he returned, I was checking my email and had my back to him.

He said, "Mom, today, I'm going to make my own decisions." When I turned around, I saw that he was wearing this...




I couldn't help but laugh, couldn't help but let me make his "own decision", and off we went!

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Finding Happiness in Times of Despair

If you believe in God, you probably believe in an adversary being. This being goes by many names, but for the purposes of this post, I will simply refer to him as the adversary.

As we study the scriptures, one of the many things we can learn is the methods by which this adversary would strive to make up captive in his kingdom. One of his names is The Father of Lies, and that he is. But his lies aren't obviously, glaring untruths. He strives to subtly confuse us by telling half-truths, and white lies to gradually grasp us into his chains one small step at a time.

In my experience, these lies and subtle temptations always start off with the thoughts in our minds. No action was ever committed unless it was pondered and mulled over first. Therefore, this is where our preemptive strike needs to take place in order to fight this adversary.

Now to get personal. Because of a series of unfortunate recent events, I have been struggling with feelings only the adversary would place in my mind...feelings such as anger, self-pity and self-loathing, envy and jealousy. The culmination of these feelings developed yesterday morning as I awoke and I felt as if I was about to sink into the spiral of despair and depression which can often plague us without warning.

Over the years, I've come to understand that this is one of the adversary's most powerful tools, to bring us down into the depths of depression, thus making us ineffective servants of God, ineffective wives, and useless mothers. When we are consumed with these feelings, it is almost impossible to focus on the needs of others. Thus, we are unable to perform one of the fundamental tasks Heavenly Father has sent us to do...to love and serve our fellow man.

On the morning that I awoke with these feelings, I immediately recognized from whence they came, and I became determined to shut them out of my mind. I wasn't sure how I would go about doing it, but I was not going to give fertile ground to these evil thoughts that would bring me down to ineffectiveness in my home.

After the 5 older children went to school, I did what I normally do. I went to youtube to turn on some music to listen to as I cleaned the kitchen. Usually I listen to something upbeat, hip, and modern, but this day, something compelled me to search out the sacred music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I listened to some of my favorite hymns, and searched out new pieces, and before long, I felt my spirits being lifted to a degree I would never have imagined could occur on that day.

I felt that the inspiration to seek out this music was a gift from God, an answer to beseeching prayers and pleas of help, and I am so grateful for this gift. I'm tearing up just thinking about it right now. And not only were my spirits lifted, I noticed that the twins seemed to enjoy it as much as I did...



Can't you just see the wonder on Twin B's face? It was so beautiful...



I'd like to share some of the hymns, in particular, which caused me to feel of God's love for me on that day.

The following hymn is a traditional Christian hymn, and one of my all-time favorites, especially this version...



The next is a hymn I was privileged to hear in person as I attended the semi-annual worldwide conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints a couple of years ago. I remember moving closer and closer to the edge of my seat, almost wanting to stand up and shout my appreciation for this most beautiful arrangement of How Firm a Foundation....

(Embedding has been disabled by request on this video, but you can view it by clicking HERE.)

And the last hymn I'd like to share with you with is the true gift God gave me that day. It is a hymn I heard, again, in person in the conference center in Salt Lake for the first time in 2005, and I was completely swept off my feet. This hymn, called The Iron Rod, is put to the tune of "Jupiter", from Holst's "The Planets", and I had been searching for a copy of this version for the last 4 years. I didn't even know the name of the hymn, but as I input the information I did have in youtube's search box, I was ecstatic to find, on the first click, that this was the hymn I had been searching for for so long! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have...

(Embedding has also been disabled by request on this video, but you can view it by clicking HERE.)

Thank you so much for being here. If you'd like to chat about anything at all having to do with the Mormon religion, please know that I will be here at my computer today from 10:00 to 11:45 AM MST to answer any questions at all about Mormon beliefs, lifestyle and doctrine. Or, if the personal experience I shared with you today prompts feelings or questions you'd like to share, please feel free.

To participate, just click the "COMMENTS (SHARE YOURS!) link below and leave a comment in the box. Thank you so much for being here and sharing in my life and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Homemaker Monday: One of the best ideas I've ever had...SERIOUSLY!

Welcome to the 76th weekly edition of...


Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS:
Today's "YOURS" goes to Single Mormon Chick at "The Law of Chasitiy and the Modern Mormon Girl. Am I the only one?" Here's a unique tip from a unique chic, and not only did I want to share it with you, I wanted to introduce you to Single Mormon Chic's blog, because she is so cool!

So her tip is a trick on how to destroy a zit before it becomes unsightly. I loved this it because with all of these weird pregnancy hormones coursing through my body, sometimes a nice big zit on my already gargantuan nose is the way they manifest themselves. I am SOOO going to try this. Check out her post HERE.

Thanks so much, Single Mormon Chic, for linking up with us and please feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar!


MINE: When I was pregnant with the twins, although my dream of 20 years had come true, to be receiving the gift of two babies at once, I was also filled with trepidation and anxiety, wondering how I would care for two newborns and 6 older children with a husband who was out of town on business most days.

When a good friend offered to give me a baby shower, I was flattered, but since we had already purchased most of what we needed for the twins, I developed the brilliant idea that instead of gifts, each invitee could bring a frozen dinner I could store in my chest freezer in preparation for the long-awaited births. I was to have a c-seciton, and since I knew it would take longer to recover, I had no doubt that this would be the most valuable gift my friends and family could give me.

On the day of the shower, my friend prepared for the freezer fare by having a huge ice chest set up in her kitchen, and as each guest arrived, she placed the food in the chest. We then sat in her living room, partook of the delectable delights she had prepared, someone shared fun facts about twins and multiples, and we had a wonderful time. During the shower, my son and his friend came over to pick up the ice chest, took it to our home, and unloaded the contents into our freezer. When all was said and done, my chest freezer was completely filled with pre-prepared homemade meals and when the twins arrived, we didn't have to cook for over two months. The kids were quite saddened when we had consumed the last casserole, and so was I, and I will never forget the generosity of my friends and family for providing for us in this manner.

Now that I'm expecting only one baby, due in 7 weeks, I'm just a regular person with regular problems, so perhaps no big freezer food shower. However, I'm taking matters into my own hands and have begun to prepare and freeze food in preparation for the big day. Even though I won't be caring for twin newborns, I now have twin toddlers, a 3-year-old who acts like a toddler, still 6 older kids and with even just one newborn to care for, I could begin to feel overwhelmed.

With that introduction, here is the first dish I've prepared to welcome the arrival of our new little boy...

Spiced Banana Cake



(Yes, I know, this is a dessert, but dessert is my favorite, so why not start out with the best? This recipe has been quadrupled from it's original version. If you'd like the regular-family recipe, go to this link at allrecipes.com.)

Ingredients:

* 2 cups butter, softened
* 4 cups packed light brown sugar
* 2 cups white sugar
* 5 teaspoons ground allspice
* 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
* 8 eggs
* 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 cup rolled oats
* 1 tablespoon baking soda
* 1 tablespoon teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/3 cup sour cream
* 4 cups mashed bananas
* Your favorite frosting or icing recipe

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, then, in a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy.

Step 2: Add sugar and beat until smooth.

Step 3: Add in spices, eggs and vanilla, and beat until well-blended.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Step 5: To this mixture, add the butter mixture.

Step 6: Add smashed bananas and combine. We used a 20 quart restaurant-style mixing bowl for the job...



Love this bowl!

Step 7: Pour into prepared pans, bake for 20 to 35 minutes, depending on your pan size, let cool, then frost or glaze. Here's how many pans we filled with the batter...



One quick note:
Did you know you can freeze overripe bananas for later use? We did and here's what they look like when you remove them from the freezer...



My kids are often appalled that I am actually going to put these in our food, especially when they see how they look after I let them thaw and squeeze them out of their peels...



...but they certainly don't complain when I serve them the final product...



Enjoy!

The following are links to products I used in this recipe...



(As per the new FTC blogging regs, I'm letting you know that if you click on any of these icons, and purchase anything at all from Amazon.com, you are helping to send my 10 kids to college, so thank you!)

OURS:
Can't wait to see what all of our wonderful homemakers have for us today! Have a happy Homemaker Monday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Can the 17-Year-Old Boy really not tell the twins apart?

He claims he can't. Whenever he is holding one at church, and someone approaches him and asks which twin he has, he shrugs his shoulders and says he doesn't know.

Whenever he addresses them, he just calls them "Baby", and they both respond.

Here's where I began to have my doubts, though. A few days ago, I told him that both the babies had had dirty diapers, and that I had just changed Twin B's diaper, but I'd really like it if he could change Twin A's diaper. He went to the living room, picked up Twin B, and proceeded to change his diaper. To me, that just seems a little too convenient.

What do YOU think?

Thanks for listening. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Women are falling all over the 17-year-old boy!

For Christmas, my husband gave me a few of his favorite movies, including the movie "Big", starring Tom Hanks, not realizing we already had a copy of it. The funny thing is, only three weeks before Christmas, after watching this movie with the kids, I had angrily tossed it in the trash can because of it's continual use of the Lord's name in vain. It had been many years since I had first watched it, and I guess I've sensitized myself to language like that in my older years, and it really bothered me.

Upon opening my husband's gift, I just kind of chuckled and asked where he had bought this movie and how much it had cost. He answered and asked why, and I told him what I had done, and that we would need to return the movie to Walmart.

But why should I take it back myself when I have a perfectly capable 17-year-old son to do it for me?...which is just what I asked him to do.

Bless his heart, he was so willing to do it as he knew he would probably have to change a twin diaper if he didn't, so off he went.

After returning the movie, he decided to meander to the electronics department and price some Zunes he was interested in. As he studied the price tags stuck to the edges of the shelves, he noticed that a woman standing next to him had dropped a video she had been looking at. This woman was old, and being the gentleman that he is, he stooped over to pick it up for her. However, no sooner than he tried to regain a standing position did he notice that the full weight of her upper body was lying on his back. He remained bent over for a time, thinking that she had tried to pick up the movie at the same time he did and had just bumped into him, but when she didn't get off, he realized something was wrong.

He reached his long arms around his back and wrapped them around her, carefully holding her as he twisted out from under her, then laid her on her back on the linoleum tile, as she still wasn't attempting to stand up. When he looked at her face, he immediately understood why. Her eyes were rolled back into her head, her mouth and tongue were in a gruesome expression and she was convulsing. Her husband was standing next to my son, speechless apparently.

The 17-year-old boy yelled, "Does anyone have a cell phone? I think we need an ambulance!" Someone immediately responded, as the 17-year-old boy was probably the ONLY person in Walmart who didn't have a cell phone, and upon receiving the phone, he quickly called 911 to explain what had happened.

No sooner than he had hung up the phone did the elderly woman rise up again, regain her composure and walk off with her husband.

Okay, 911, never mind.

Later on, as the 17-year-old boy continued his wanderings, he noticed the couple continuing their shopping as well, as if nothing had ever happened. Perhaps this happens to her all the time. I don't know.

One thing is for sure, though. If I ever have an epileptic seizure in Walmart, I hope there is a cute boy onto which I can fall...



...instead of the filthy linoleum tile. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eating in Style


Awesome Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I found in a local church cookbook, contributed by The Farmer's Wife, an awesome lady and friend of mine. Enjoy!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese


Ingredients:

-1 pound elbow macaroni
-salt
-6 TBS butter
-6 TBS flour
-2 TBS mustard
-1 clove minced garlic
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 3/4 cup water
-1 cube of vegetarian bouillon
-3 1/2 cups whole milk
-1 1/2 pounds grated cheese
-ground pepper, to taste
-4 slices whole wheat bread
-2 TBS butter

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2: Bring water and salt to a boil. Cook macaroni about 5 minutes, leaving it firm.

Step 3: In a large pot, melt butter, then add garlic, mustard and cayenne and cook until fragrant.

Step 4: Slowly whisk in the flour until a paste is formed, then add the water, veggie bouillon cube, and milk, and bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened.

Step 5: Remove from heat and stir in cheese, then mix in macaroni. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.

Step 6: In a food processor, process bread and butter together and top the macaroni with it.

Here's the min-processor we used for this purpose...


I love this mini-chopper for jobs like this. I keep this in the corner of my island at all times, and it is so small that no one ever notices it. We use it for things like processing baby food and small tasks, like mincing garlic, chopping up a few tomatoes, chile, and cilantro for salsa or blending herbs. Look at how finely this processed the bread and butter...


If you want one, just go here...


(Oh, and P.S., as per the new FTC blogging regs, I need to let you know that if you click on the icon above and order anything at all from Amazon.com, you will be helping to send my 9.75 kids to college, so thanks!)

Step 7: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Here is the Mac 'n' Cheese Bake right out of the oven...


I have to tell you, it was heavenly and all ten of us LOVED it! Thanks for the inspiration, Farmer's Wife!

Please join us RIGHT NOW for the "Questions About Mormonism" Live Chat!

Welcome to the "Questions About Mormonism" weekly chat.



(Sketch by Liz Lemon Swindle entitled "Jesus Christ")

If you would like to participate, or just "lurk", please just click on the "COMMENTS (SHARE YOURS!)" link at the bottom of this post and leave your comment in the comment window or just read what others have to say. I will be sitting here by my computer from 10:00 AM until 11:45 MST to share my beliefs as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or, as we are otherwise known, a Mormon.

Todays Youtube "Mormon Message" is about choosing to serve The Lord today. I hope you can take the time to view it...



Thank you for joining us and let's chat!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Homemaker Monday: Quinoa, the Wonder Grain

Welcome to the 75th weekly edition of...


Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Kristen over at "Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker"! Her intriguing post teaches how to make your own homemade poptarts! This post moved me because this topic is a battle about which my husband and I have had since we first met. I am so vehemently opposed to poptarts, what with the hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, refined flour, preservatives, MSG, and much more, but he loves the fun and simplicity of them, and of course, the shrieks of excitement when the kids see that he has brought them home. To his credit, however, I haven't seen a box enter into our home in over a year. I gave away the last box he brought home to our general contractor's 16-year-old son, who happened to be helping his father work on our home that day, along with some bottles of soda. I'm not sure what he thought my purpose was, but I could tell he was excited! Perhaps it is rude to pollute someone else's son, and I probably just should have thrown them away, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Anyway....Kristen posts her homemade recipe, minus all the preservatives and MSG, and here's how they turn out...



Isn't it lovely? I just think it's so fun to come up with healthy alternatives to well-advertised products so we can feel good about feeding our kids what they love. For Kristen's entire post, click HERE. Thank you so much, Kristen, for linking up, and we look forward to many more helpful tutorials from you! If you'd like, please feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar.

MINE: Quinoa, which I recently learned is pronounced "keen-wah", is a grain recently introduced to me by my sister with the PhD., and I am in love with it. The following is a paragraph taken from All About Quinoa...

"The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa's protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is 12% to 18% protein and four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a childs protein needs for one day. The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone's diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition."

Because I am striving to maintain a vegetarian kitchen, this is such a great option for our family, as it is a complete protein. Here's how to make and use quinoa...

Step 1: Rinse the quinoa in a strainer, as it is coated with a naturally occurring, bitter substance, which protects the grain from insects...



Step 2: Place one part quinoa and 2 parts water in a pot and boil, then simmer for ten minutes, uncovered. It should look like this after about 5 minutes...



....and like this when it is finished...



So far, we've eaten this two ways....like oatmeal, with a little salt, butter and sugar, and as a side dish, with teriyaki sauce and canned veggies, which was super-easy...



There are thousands of ways to use quinoa, such as in salads, ground into flour, in waffles, more side dishes, as a rice substitute, etc. Just scour the internet and see what you can come up with. If you've used quinoa before, I'd love it if you left a comment and told us how! Thanks for listening!

OURS: All righty then, what do all of you wonderful homemakers have for us today to start off the new year right? Can't wait to see!