Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lucky Beans

These beans were just sprayed down with water for a few seconds, and it was amazing how their skins began to peel back and they immediately just began sucking in the moisture and swelling! THEY WANTED TO LIVE and GROW and BE!!! THEY KNEW IT WAS SPRING!!! WOW!!! We planted four lucky beans in some dirt we scooped up from the potted plant. The rest we ate.


Did I mention when I just talked with you that she is a ballerina today?


Timmy took this one last night...should have had her move back a few feet into the spotlight. This is her new swimsuit that I got from Lands End Overstocks...and my favorite black boots.
Here she decked herself out for Ella's Princess Birthday Party! But, she did not want me to take her picture; can you tell? Mom, if you are reading this I know you are laughing and having flashbacks to me and Prom '87...pretty much the same thing! But I didn't have a tiara.

Again, with the not wanting her picture taken...but I'd tried a new hairstyle and thought she looked so cute! Time's slipping away...I have to record this stuff!

"Give me a pretty smile now, Lily." Yeah, right.

Nope...wasn't happening. Gave up.

The "Lily Method" of Eating Oatmeal

First you take a spoonful of brown sugar from the bag with one hand.
Then you place that spoonful of sugar carefully down on one spot of your oatmeal.

Finally, you use the other hand with the other spoon to eat the sugar...beware lest you get any oatmeal on it!

Repeat process until your mother takes away the bag of sugar!

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

My friend Lisa got me started with adding savory ingredients to biscuit recipes. Thankyou friend! (These are cheddar cheese and pepper bacon!) It's a great way to fill out a menu with something that is different, hearty and can be made with things onhand (yes we always have bacon and cheese in the's how I grew up.) Just take your normal biscuit recipe...either by scratch or a mix, and add your extras before you stir in the liquid. Green onion goes well, or ham bits, any kind of grated cheese of course, even sausage or browned ground beef. Another approach and one which I'd like to try is called Chop Block and can be found here . I've just never had the bread dough on hand. I'm thinking of trying it up at the cabin this summer since I tend to make bread dough more often up there. Anyway, just wanted to add a little more food to this blog!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Little Jack Horner aka...Lily

What Lily is putting in her mouth is not a plum but a cherry, and it was supposed to be part of our Valentine Cherry and about 30 other cherries which she scarfed down while I ran upstairs for the camera. These are the SOUREST cherries on the face of the earth, let me tell you! (And they make the best pies.) My parents grow them in southern IL, and I am blessed that Mom loves to share, so it was with great fanfare that we pulled our LAST package of said cherries out of the freezer on Feb. 14th to make the pie. Lily went crazy for the raw, unsweetened cherries. Seeing how enthusiastically (and quickly) whe was throwing them down, I wisely deduced that this particular batch must not be as sour as usual...WRONG!...although I put the normal amount of sugar in, the pie was still unbelievably, and wonderfully, tart. But, we like tart around here! Obviously!

Now Lily didn't just limit herself to eating the filling; she had her fingers all over this pastry she is rolling out her first pie dough..awwwww. If you are noticing the summer dress and wondering if we somehow came to our senses and moved to Florida...or Arizona....or (let's dream big) Hawaii....well we did NOT...(come to our senses). Lily is just inexplicably fond of summer clothes and puts them on continually throughout the day. Earlier in the evening, Tim and the rest of the kids joined Katie and I at a skipped Lily (it was 20 degrees out) in this dress and flip flops! No tights! No jacket! (I would have at least made her wear tights!) People around us laughed. When they all walked in, I made sure to gasp and sputter and roll my eyes so all the other tables would realize that it was clearly a "Dad Dressed Her" situation! (But inside, I wasn't surprised at all. I just let him take the hit. :))

So here we are, my two bakers in training, with the latticework ready to go on. In my opinion, cherry pie must have latticework. Crumb topping is quicker, I know...but cherry deserves the best...something about the red peeking through the woven pastry.... Now I had talked to my mother earlier in the evening, and she had told me to add extra sugar, and to cook the pie filling on the stove and then put it into the shell so it wouldn't run over and drip all over my oven. You guessed it; I did neither! This has been a problem my whole life. ("I Did It My Way" was my favorite song for awhile in jr. high.) That's the thing about my mom; she is not pushy, she is not opinionated, but somehow (stink) she is right. I'll blog about that more later. Anyway, I forget WHY I wanted to do it "my way", but let me just say that I didn't take a picture of my oven after this whole thing practically dripped a lake while it baked and filled the house with smoke, because I was too busy fanning the fire alarm with the'll probably notice the haze in the finished product picture. We topped it off with pink sugar crystals...which look a tad unappetizing in the picture, but in real life were a great Valentiney touch!

Don't you love Katie's glasses? They are purple and look great on her. And as for this picture of see what I'm working with here???? The pie was delicious...although very sour...should of put that extra sugar in! Keep trying Mom! This last picture is of Lily...after she grabbed the hot pie plate and burned (barely) all her little fingers. But as you can see, we have no dirth of bandaid variety here; in fact, my stock of bandaids is museum quality. You could even say I collect them. What a lame thing to collect!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Catching a Breath

Well, I still haven't gotten my life under control enough to get back to blogging regularly. Who could have guessed that January and February would turn out to be so brutal...but indeed they have. The weather has been cold so long that I can't even remember what it felt like to be actually hot. I did sit in the sun for fifteen minutes today in Tim's study. It was delightful.

(Lily is at this moment moaning "Mommy, mommy" in her bed because she has decided that she cannot sleep alone.) In fact she insists on being in the middle of the middle of Tim and I when we sit at the dinner table, in the middle stool when the kids eat at the island, between two people on the couch when we watch a movie, in the middle of our bed when she comes in about 1:00am every night...the list goes on. So it should come as no surprise that sleeping single in a single bed is causing adverse reactions. (She's stopped moaning my name she goes again...) If she can hear me typing, she knows that I am here, but there is no conversation, because let me tell you that girl can converse! She has mastered the filabuster! She can keep going on a conversation designed to get her what she wants indefinitally...I mean she really won't stop. She might backtrack; she might switch direction, she might speak in a language that I don't understand (she just makes up words when she's tried all the ones she knows, or she starts using Spanish words from Dora),....but she will not stop until serious punishment is emminent...and even then she'll pick it up again as soon as the water stops boiling. (It's quiet again..the end is near!...nope...again she continues...shoot she has a legitimate one...I forgot to brush her teeth...brushed them and now we are back to square one....full out crying as I pry my arm out of her grip...lest you feel sorry for her, please understand that this is a power game....letting her win will make it all that much worse. If she were truly scared I would be less firm.) Alright, what kind of blog is this? This is nonsense. I'm going to bed as soon as she's quiet...Goodnight friends.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

So Here's the Scoop

I've been pretty absent on this thing (the blog), and that's partly been due to computer problems, partly because I am trying to do better at picking up the house at night (my blog time), but mostly because I've been trying to get a quickie medical degree online! Just kidding; I haven't officially gone back to school, but I have spent a huge amount of time reading medical articles. The reason is this: Katie has had three episodes of a terrible rash that spreads across her face and only goes away with oral steroids. She just had her third flare a couple of weeks ago. Apparantly three times is the magic number for the doctors to say that we need to get to the underlying cause. We have now seen three pediatricians, two dermatologists, an allergist and a rheumatologist, and nobody knows what's causing it. We've ruled out a lot of things, some of them bad things, and I thank the Lord each night for that, but we've yet to discover what's going on inside Katie. The plan is to get her better on steroids, then take her off the steroids hopefully for a few weeks minimum and then to let it flare again without treatment so that she can be seen at Mayo Clinic with the full blown rash. Right now she's fine. The rash is gone, she's finishing off with a steroid cream and trying hard to make up for missed days of school. We are somewhat suspicious of some metallic paint that we put on her furniture at the end of September (and thanks to my blog I knew just when we'd done that painting!!!), but there's no way to tell if that's it. She is negative on all allergies.

So that's the "scoop" around here; it's taken a big chunk out of life, but the good news is it's motivated me to streamline some things around here that needed it. Meanwhile Lily keeps everybody entertained. We were sitting in the rheumatologist's big exam room with Tim and I, Katie, and the doctor and her assistant, all of us looking intently up at Katie on the exam table and talking about her symptoms. All of a sudden the doctor sat back and said, "Is there something for the little girl (Lily of course) to do? Some toys or something?" I realized that I had been tuning it out completely, but Lily had been doing ballet leaps across the room trying to leap into everybody's lines of vision like playing keep away with a ball. That girl needs attention more than anybody I've ever met...and will do anything she has to to get it!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Little Bit of Sugar...and VALENTINES

Oops..I added these to the wrong article! Well, here's Katie, helping Timmy make his Valentine Box. Here's Lily making a mess while I did the hard part of her Valentines...she had to have something like 45 valentines because she's in so many groups that were exchanging them.

And here is Timmy putting his Valentines together. We had fun. If Andrew and Zach are giving any valentines this year, they aren't telling us about it!!!

Warning: Another Lily Story

My mom used to give us a little heap of powdered sugar to dip orange sections in, and since our bag of oranges this week have been hit or miss, I decided to treat Timmy and Lily with this tasty combo. (Note: it's a mystery, but the powdered sugar makes any orange taste wonderful, and dipping anything is always a hit.)

So I put the little mound of powdered sugar in the middle of the plate and arranged the orange sections in a circle around it so it looked like a flower or the sun. Timmy and Lily were duly impressed with the presentation and the flavor. After watching them eat a couple, I felt comfortable walking away. News Alert! Never leave anyone under the age of five alone with a pile of powdered sugar! You would think I would know this by now....anyway, I came back to a HUGE mess. After cleaning and cleaning both child and counter, and eating the remaining few sections of orange, I asked Lily:

"Lily, wasn't it wonderful how the oranges tasted with the sugar? Grandma used to do them that way..."

Lily: "Yeah yeah yeah, Mom" (she's picked up her expressions from her siblings.) "Well you should see how great it tastes on your skin! Try it, Mom! It's much better that way."

This explained a lot!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sunbathing Culver's Style

There's a lot going on in our lives right now. Lily had two cavities filled yesterday morning, and Timmy and Zach were home sick with sore throats and general malaise. I decided to take them in to the doctor to get their throats swabbed since I've heard of strep going around. After receiving our "negative" result for strep, the two boys, Lily and I headed across the street to Culvers for lunch. While we were waiting for a very slow three year old in full princess attire to finish her icecream, we suddenly noticed that Timmy was missing! Lily guessed the bathroom; Zach calmly suggested he'd been kidnapped while refilling his pop... After waiting for him to return for a couple of minutes, I was starting to get that "disturbed mother" feeling. I stood up and did "the scan," which has lost some of it's effectiveness since I got lasiks and can't see as well as I did with my glasses. I was on my second scan of the restaurant and contemplating raising the alarm when I saw him! He was sitting in the sunny south bay window of the restaurant, by himself, half undressed and splayed out across a chair soaking in the rays after a satisfying lunch. --Completely oblivious to everything else! We laughed and just let him be.

On an completely unrelated note, we had fun watching Andrew play at the Target center on Sat. Here are some pics:

This is during the B game (10th grade team). Andrew is the one going for the block.

Here he is giving directions...typical...
Bringing it down the court....I love watching him do this, especially when pressed.
This was Lily during the JV game, which Andrew got to play about 5 minutes in.

Tim, Lily and I left after two games...but left Timmy and Zach in the stands with friends to watch varsity play. Apparantly after we left there was a huge altercation with parents from both teams, and the security guard was threatened and people kicked out! I'm glad I wasn't there because I HATE that stuff...but I'll admit, it's rather entertaining to hear Timmy give the play by play. He's everywhere!