Thursday, October 14, 2010

This and that

I haven't shared a funny kid story in a while, so here is one about Joel.  The other night he told me that his dad had drank all of my water.  I said, "Ohhhh, I am gonna have to have a little talk with him."  A few minutes later, Joel told his dad that I was going to be talking to him about drinking my water.  His dad gave him a little grief for ratting him out, in good fun.  The next morning the first thing Joel said to his dad was, "Did Mom have a talk with you last night about her water?"  I got a laugh out of that.  At least one of my guys is looking out for me!  ;-)

Evan got new glasses this week!  It was a good thing we had ordered them last week because his current pair had been badly battered over the last year and finally broke on Saturday.  He was having to wear a really old back-up pair that was hurting his nose.  I was looking forward to the new frames because the legs are so much sturdier!  And the part over the ear is a neat material that looks comfortable, but also has a little grip to it.  I am hoping it will keep them from falling forward even if they get loose.  Evan liked the new frames for an entirely different reason.  He thinks the design looks like Clone Troopers' helmets.  I think they look pretty cool, too.

Last night I made chicken and dumplings for the first time ever.  I can't believe I call myself a southern cook and had never made those before.  Actually I can believe it.  I watched my granny and mom make dough from scratch and the thought of doing that was very intimidating.  I used a recipe from Southern Plate that called for canned biscuits for the dumplings.  It was much easier and turned out pretty good.  Not like I remember from my childhood, but I think I need to work on the technique some more.

And, I have injured my pinkie toe in a freak shopping accident.  I kicked a wheel on a shopping cart and cut my toe and lost part of my toenail.  Now, I have kicked many a shopping cart wheel (on accident, of course) and never had anything like this happen before.  I was in Ikea when this happened and happened to already be on my way to the bathroom.  I tried to clean it up, but loose toe nails bleed a lot.  I was able to get it mostly clean and then I got some assistance from the really nice and helpful Ikea employees.  Someone came to me with a first aid kit and doctored me up, too.  I was able to finish shopping and get back in time to get Evan from school.  Then I propped it up for most of the night.  Today I am going to try to work out.  I will let you know how it goes. 
Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin ... it's what for dinner!

When we went to the pumpkin patch the other day, I bought several pie pumpkins for cooking up.  I have only recently decided that I like pumpkin and I like it mostly in breads and cookies, but I have been wanting to branch out and try something new.  One of my friends passed along a pumpkin penne recipe and I finally made it this weekend.  Since I have been reading so many food blogs, I decided to take some pictures to share, too.

I didn't take any pictures of the pumpkin before I cut it up, but I added a similar one to this picture in case you weren't sure of the size of a pie pumpkin.  I cut the pumpkin up, put it in a bowl, added two inches of water and cooked it in the microwave.  I also washed and saved some of the seeds for roasting.
Joel had to jump into the picture and "smell" the pumpkin. 

 Once the pumpkin is cooked, you can scoop it out with a regular spoon.  Sometimes you can pull the shell off, too.  It was still a little hot so I opted for the spoon.

 Once you have all of the insides scooped out, you can use an immersion blender to mash it.  My little pumpkin made 3 cups of mashed pumpkin.  I only needed 2 cups for the pasta, so I will be making some pumpkin cookies soon.

This is what the pasta looked like!  If only we could smell it, too!  Steve and I liked it.  The pumpkin had a mild flavor in this dish. The boys did not like this, but I think it's because they heard that there was pumpkin in it before they tasted it.  

The sauce looks a little lighter in this picture, but that brings up an interesting point about cooking with fresh pumpkin.  It is not the same color as canned pumpkin.  I am not sure why that is true, but just know that your dishes will have a slightly lighter color if using fresh pumpkin.

I think that we will be having our leftovers of this dish tonight.  The first time I served it with ham.  Tonight we are going to try it with turkey meatballs.  I am also going to add a little nutmeg to my serving tonight to see what that does. I will let you know how the pumpkin cookies turn out, too.  ;-)
Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday morning reflections

My morning did not start off as I had imagined it would.  In the midst of trying to unload the dishwasher and get Evan ready for school, Joel threw me a curveball.  He went outside and found the bags of "stuff" that are waiting for a charity pick-up.  In one of the bags he found a small, stuffed Snoopy.  It was some sort of freebie that Steve had picked up at work.  It had gotten played with a little when it first came to our house, but it was quickly forgotten and had been sitting in the stuffed animal tub for a couple of years.  However, when Joel saw it this morning, he apparently decided that it was a pretty cool toy and asked if he could keep it.  I was in the middle of a couple of different things and trying to answer questions from Evan and Joel at the same time so I gave him a curt "no".  He asked again and got the same reply.  At this point something strange seemed to happen.  Evan went outside to wait for his ride, and I thought Joel had joined him.  But I also had an idea that Joel had gone somewhere and was crying.  I couldn't tell for sure, so I kept on with my task but with an ear turned to the mysterious but quiet sound he was making.  After a minute or two I decided to investigate, and found Joel in his room with a red and tear-stained face.  Yep, he was crying for the stuffed animal that he probably hadn't even known was there until he found it in the give-away pile.  I sat beside him and we talked about it.  He said that he hadn't been playing with it because he couldn't find it.  I thought that was interesting, but not interesting enough to retrieve the animal from the bag.  I assured him that we still had a Snoopy and that we had kept many more animals than we were giving away.  He seemed to be calming down a little, but was still upset so I asked if he wanted to lie down with me.  He did and we had a little "timeout" together in his bed.  By the time we got up (just a few minutes later) he was smiling and laughing - and he hasn't mentioned the small Snoopy again.

As I went back to my interrupted task of unloading the dishwasher I was thinking about what had happened and a few ideas - or lessons - began to surface:

1. Joel really might have been crying because of the curtness of my answer.  I wasn't looking at him or focusing on him and I really wasn't very nice.  I was being pretty dismissive.  I know I don't like to be treated like that so why would I not expect it to bother my 4-year-old.

2. To make things right with Joel, I just needed to take some time out, focus on him, listen to him, be there, and hold him.  I really didn't try to reason with him about giving the animal away.  I didn't decide that we could keep it.  But I hugged him, rubbed his back, and held him. (We probably could have avoided the whole situation if I had given him that focus earlier on.  But I also don't think he will be in therapy years down the road because of this incident.)

3. I wonder how many times I respond to God the way Joel responded to my "cleaning out" this morning.  It felt so good last night to think about all of the "stuff" that had been cluttering our house that was going to be gone today.  I knew there was more to get rid of, but it was nice to know that some of the clutter would be gone.  None of this stuff was really bad, but it wasn't useful for our family any more.  I wonder how many times God wants to de-clutter my life, but I resist.  I cry out and hang on to stuff, not because it is useful to me or others, but because it is mine.  This could be a whole other post (which I have been thinking about for some time), but let me summarize with this realization: Everything belongs to God; He has entrusted me with some things, but He is still the owner

So, what does God want to remove from my life that I don't really need?  I am not sure, but I hope to spend some time over the next few days being quiet before Him and listening.  I might be surprised at what I hear, but I hope that I am open to hearing what He has to say.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Time

The boys were out of school Monday and Tuesday, and since our weather has been so nice I decided to fill that time with some outdoor activities.  We took a trip to the local pumpkin patch on Monday to pick out our pumpkins and play in the hay maze.

We also took Evan to the eye doctor, visited the Lego store, and ordered a new pair of glasses for Evan.  By the time we got home it was too late to do anything with the pumpkins.  Tuesday was a stay-at-home and rest day, so we used some of that time for painting the smaller pumpkins that the boys picked out.  They also got some bigger pumpkins that I think we might carve.  That will be for another day, though.
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