Friday, May 30, 2008

Random Poll: June ~or~ Good Friday Morning!

*UPDATED*

* If you are stopping by via Musings of a Housewife, I would love to hear your Salad Saga! Thanks for stopping by!*
~~~

As I type it is almost 7:30. I have been up sipping coffee for a couple of hours. 

The kids are still sleeping soundly after a full week of swimming.  

The dog is lying underneath my chair making little huffy breathing sounds every minute or so because she thinks I need to pay attention to her. 

Friday's in the summer....they are beautiful.

So... I have had a question that has weighed heavily on my heart for almost a month now. 

It's about salad. 

I didn't say it was philosophical or of great importance. Although, you never know when it comes to salad.

When I make dinner at night I almost always serve salad.  As a matter of fact, this week we had a little dressing crises as I ran out of our Salad Dressing (Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette). Desperate times called for desperate measures and we used lime juice to dress our dinner salad. 

Uh, lime juice? Not so much.

But I couldn't be further off topic...

Growing up, I always ate my salad first. 

In restaurants, they always serve the salad first.

But for some reason, over the years I switched. 

I always eat my salad last. As does The Mister.

I've been thinking about why I do that, and I can't quite pinpoint the reason I switched. Was it in an effort to eat the main course while it was still hot? Was it because I forgot that the salad was available? Was it because I always serve salad on salad plates instead of family style, and having to switch between plates was just too much effort?

I don't really know.

This is where the epiphany came:

Ask the Blog Gals! They will give the answers!

So here it is...

When you serve salad in your home, do you serve it family style or plated up? Do you eat it before your meal, or after?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Couch Update



They've arrived!


I love them, but suddenly our hand-me-down coffee table looks odd. We knew that that would be the next thing to purchase, but I am almost certain I will be looking at Craigs List for a new coffee table. I didn't want another used couch, but I am a certain the perfect coffee table will get listed if I am willing to wait!

Anyway, you know I had to christen the couches. Or should I say, I needed to see if the practical matters of these fine leather lounges would work with my tres chic lifestyle....

A girl has priorities. Ya know? 

Our buying criteria was leather, comfort, and the ability to hold at least three loads of laundry.

I think we made a good choice.

The Mister is going to be in heaven when he gets home. When I put the warm, fresh-out-of-the-dryer, clothes on the couch it made the whole room smell like leather. 

The Mister? He LOVES the smell of leather.  

When he left this morning I said, "I can't wait to see what the furniture will look like in our living room."

He said, "I can't wait to smell the leather when I walk in the door."

And that statement made me just love him more...


I'm off to sniff leather and fold laundry!

La Vida Dulce!

The More You Have, The More You Have....


The more you have to have to take care of the things you have...

I sing this little song from Jungle Jams when I am tempted to buy things that will clutter up my home. Especially since we are a moving military family.  Moving is hard enough when you don't have lots of stuff.

Still, even with that "livin' light" attitude, how is it we manage to accumulate so much junk?

On Memorial Day the kids and I cleaned out their bedrooms in preparation for the summer. 

I do this cleaning purge twice a year: usually in November, in preparation for new toys that always come at Christmas; and the first week of summer vacation, in preparation for the summer and having a relaxing, clean place to play.

This Monday, I was perplexed.

If you have been reading for awhile you'll know that we moved from NC in March of 2007. We knew that we were leaving a significantly larger east coast home to a slightly smaller desert dwelling. So we got rid of LOTS of stuff.  But it wasn't nearly enough.

When we finally bought this house last June, and our household goods were delivered, we realized that we still needed to get rid of furniture and junk.  So we did.

In November I did my deep cleaning and purging-of-all-things-unused-and un-useful. Toys, clothes, furniture, appliances...you name it, I got rid of it. 

The people at Salvation Army know me by name.

I may have mentioned a time or two how I really don't like clutter. So this getting rid of stuff really makes me swoon.  It gives me little "getting rid of the junk" endorphins that are almost as powerful as the endorphins I get from running... or coffee.

But I digress...

I knew the kids rooms were a mess, but I didn't think that we would be getting rid of as much stuff we did. After all, in the last year I have cleaned out twice already.

Not only did we get rid of FIVE bags of trash (tall kitchen garbage bags), but we bagged four bags of toys and clothes to give away.

How in the world did we collect all this stuff? 

Speaking of more stuff...

The Mister and I did a little shopping over the holiday weekend and our goods should arrive today.  

After 13 years (and two used couches,) we bought a sofa and love seat. Brand NEW! Like from a real! live! furniture store.  We have been looking for a set for a long time and found something we both liked. I can't wait for it to arrive!

I'll post a picture later on when they arrive.

Until then I think I will sign off and see what else I can gather before the Salvation Army truck arrives.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Linky Loo

Oh Y'all!  The summer has started, and it is glorious.


The only down side to summer is getting acclimated to the new (and ever changing) schedule.

It was a great weekend, and the week is coming along nicely. So far, today we have already been to swim practice, the tortilla factory (what is summer without a tortilla snack?), and to the library.

Now, I must get that sweet Boy and Girl some lunch, find some time to shower, and then head out to the first Swim Meet of the season.

Uh, what was my last post about?

No really, the quiet of summer is coming. It just won't be today!

In the meantime I didn't want to leave all four of you devoted readers without some La Vida Love. 

I have a written a post for Chic Critique that I would love for you to read. If you like it, come back and let me know. If you don't, then...lie to me. 

Also, Lillian has received my apron. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone in a different part of the country wearing something you have created. Lillian is beautiful and it was fun to see this post this morning.

Last but not least, have I ever told you that I have a huge fondness for watermelon? Well, I do. And this is my season baby!

Did you know watermelons have their very own promotion board? Oh, yes! They do!

And last but not least on this wackiest of wacky-random posts, every summer: when I buy a watermelon and I carry it to the checkout to pay, I ALWAYS remember this scene in the movie Dirty Dancing  (warning - this may not be suitable for little eyes, after all it IS a "dirty" dancing scene!) and I say to myself, "I carried a watermelon?"

Ah, the summer memories!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Listening...



One of the great things about our trip to the mountains was the ability to have some long periods of quiet.


A couple days before the trip a dear friend called me up and asked me to pray about a ministry project we might work on together.

I told her that I would pray about it. 

I began to pray about it that first Sunday morning while at the ranch.  

I always start my morning time with writing. I have a journal and I write while I wait for the coffee to kick in.  Normally I write my prayers for my family and close friends. Then I read my devotional (you can see the one I am currently reading in the side bar), and then, if I still have some time, I will read some more.

Nothing is more fantastic for me than the opportunity to start my morning with coffee, the bible and being outside.  There is something so very, well, natural, about being outdoors.

So, that early Sunday morning  I sat out on the deck (it was a little bit cold), with the hummingbirds buzzing about and I began to write about this idea my friend had suggested. I prayed that God would speak to me; that He would give me direction; that He would prepare me for whatever he might have me do. I prayed for direction in this situation (or any other that might be around the bend.)  I closed my journaling time with this last paragraph:

Oh! The birds are so happy this morning, talking and flying, and making such a ruckus! The sun is fully up now, and it feels so very good. Thank you. Lord, open your word to me this morning. Direct me to what I need to know, or study, or to live. Help me to hear and see. I desire to know you more.
I closed my journal and opened my devotional, which told me to go to Matthew 3:16-17. 

However, with my early morning not-quite-caffeinated brain, I found myself in Matthew 13: 16- 17:
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it
Suddenly I was very, very, awake!  Having just asked to "hear and see" I thought these verses might be worth looking at again. 

I knew that I needed to figure out why in the world I would find myself in these verses, when I had just asked for answers to prayer.

Ca-winky-dink? 

Maybe.

But I don't think so.

I think if we take these verses in context with what's happening in the chapter we see Christ talking in parables. He is wanting to those around Him to be teachable, to think

The verses in Matt 13:16-17 aren't so much saying, "Can you hear me?", as much as they are saying, "Will you listen? Will you be teachable? Will you really open your eyes to me? Will you put your spiritual hearing aides in and really hear what I want you to know."

I think this verse is saying that spiritual desire is highly sought, but even prophets and righteous men can fall victims to hardened hearts; to loosing sight; to hearing loss.

I felt the Lord whisper to me: If I start you on this project Kellie, will you be teachable?

At this point I decided to look up verses in scripture that had to do with being teachable. Many of them had to do with the apostles as they were being taught by Christ. To be teachable (in the few verses I read) looked like this: to actively and consistently seek the Lord; to ask Him questions; to be quiet, so as to hear the answers; and then to do what He says. 

That is being teachable.

I know I am bouncing all over the place, but stick with me here...

I started to think about what keeps me from being teachable. It's not that I don't want to learn. It's not that I don't want to know the Lord more.  It's not even that I don't actively seek Him. 

It's that I am distracted.  It's because I often allow pride to keep me from being teachable. It's because taking time to listen doesn't take priority.

Then, suddenly, while sitting under the new morning sun, I remembered a story about my grandmother.

Grandma Maude just turned 90. About 5 years ago my mother took her to the audiologist because she knew that Grandma Maude was losing her hearing. However, Grandma Maude wasn't going to admit that she couldn't hear because "only old people wear hearing aides".

The audiologist told my Mom and Grandma Maude that the funny thing about losing your hearing is that the brain will forget the meaning, or even the existence, of words if they are not actively heard.  If you do not hear, you forget; you decline. As a result it was imperative that Grandma Maude wear her hearing aides.

I don't know if it was pride about aging or how they would look, or if she really didn't think she had a problem, but Grandma Maude couldn't bring her self to wear them.  No matter how much my parents cajoled, or nagged, or asked, or yelled (as in talking loudly in conversation to be heard) she refused to wear the aides. Still does.

Unfortunately, without hearing, the mind slowly deteriorates. When the mind begins to decline, the body soon follows.  What the audiologist told her was true. We've watched it happen with Grandma Maude. Her later years may have been a lot brighter if only she wouldn't have gotten in the way of herself.  

If only she would've been teachable; had made the choice to hear...

And this is what I think the Lord was asking me to do on that cool Sunday morning: To make the decision to wear my spiritual hearing aides. So that I will not forget.

This world is a noisy place. I blog and text, ring and buzz. There are movies and Tivo's and nights on the town. There's groceries to buy and projects to do. There are magazines, and books and podcasts. I could go on and on. It's incredibly fun and fufilling, but the noises in my day lure me to a place where I can no longer hear the One Thing I desire the most.

Without taking the time to be quiet and listen, it isn't long before my vision starts to fade. I begin to see "things" as more lovely than He who gave me vision. I begin to see myself, my time, my way as more important than the things I am called to do. 

Today is the first day of summer vacation. I have deliberately set a light schedule for the kids and I, so that I might have time to do some writing, some thinking (yes, definitely some playing!), but more importantly some listening.  

~Proverbs 19:27~
If you quit listening, dear child, 
and strike off on your own, 
   you'll soon be out of your depth.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Name is Kellie, and I'm Addicted to Diet Coke...

...We love you Kellie.


Seriously, it's been twenty days since I gave up the liquid crack, and I am literally dreaming about Diet Coke.

Yesterday at swim practice one of the other moms was drinking a Diet Coke with lime, and I was salivating, and coveting, and contemplating asking for just one little sip.  If I wasn't such an anti-drink sharing germaphobe, I would have paid cold, hard cash for a swallow.

For twenty days I have had a headache (which could be from the worst allergies I have ever had, and I am on several prescribed allergy medications) that I am almost positive is my lack of Diet Coke goodness.

It's 7:30am and I  just finished two Coffeegal size cups of coffee (so like, half a pot worth), and I am still having a headache.

I don't know if I have ever  mentioned Kellie's Cure-All for Everything on this blog.

I think I may have mentioned it once or twice, but I have cured everything, from migraine to hang nails, with this remedy: 800 mg of Ibuprofen and a Diet Coke. 

I'm not saying it works for everybody, but it sure worked for me.

Also, I have gained 4 pounds since May 1st. And there is nothing I would like more than to blame it on the lack of my mid-afternoon Diet Coke snack.  Now, instead of drinking my snack, I am forced to eat things like ice cream and graham crackers with peanut butter.  Withdrawal. It causes munchies.

My brain isn't working. For instance, I thought the last day of school was Friday.  It's not. The last day of school is tomorrow. I guess I would've figured it out when I walked to an empty building.

Also when I went to make sandwiches this morning for the kids lunches. I kept forgetting stuff. I would go to the fridge to get bread, turkey and apples.  Only I would get the bread and forget the rest. Then I would go to the cupboard to get sandwich bags. Only I would grab one, instead of two.  Then I remembered that I hadn't yet brushed my teeth, so I went to the bedroom, where the bed had yet to be made. Which reminded me that the laundry needed to be switched from the washer to the dryer.  Which led me to wandering around from place to place never getting anything accomplished.

So you see, lack of Diet Coke is causing me to be unorganized! Unhinged!  I can't even make a turkey sandwich anymore!

Have I mentioned my head is pounding?

Oh, and let's not even talk about my mood. This morning I knew I had to get out of the kitchen because the The Mister was breathing.  It wasn't that it was any different than any one else's breathing. It's just that, well, I don't know what it was, but it was irritating.

Y'all, I NEED a Diet Coke!

I gave this up to feel better.  When will it get better?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Decorating, Served Enchilada Style

Here is the fruit of my scrapped material.  


Listen, if you are not the least bit crafty, but you really want to be, this is the craft for you!  It was super easy and although the Nester said it took a lot of time, it wasn't as much as I thought it would be.  

I am the Queen of Finished Product. I like me a project that you can do in one afternoon. That's probably why I like to make aprons and pillows and things of that nature, because you canget started, get finished, and get on with your life.  It's instant gratification, crafting style!  

Would you believe that patience it not really one of my gifts? 

I digress...

This is the Ragamuffin Garland I made, inspired by Nester. If you haven't read her blog, go do it. Today. Your home will never be the same! 

When I hung the garland this morning I asked The Girl if I could move her art work (drawn in her own hand of her two favorite things: The Eiffel Tower and her friends) in hopes that I might hang my work of art in that coveted wall space above the bed.

I was denied. 

Kids are so funny. Who knew they would grow up and have opinions?  If I was a good mother I should have squashed that "You have a mind of your own, so use it" theory.  Teaching our kids to think?  Who thought that up?

She did say I could put the garland below her pictures. So I took it. Before she changed her mind. 



Speaking of kids, and things you never thought you would hear them say...we were speaking of that weren't we?

Last night I was making dinner and the kids were sitting contentedly and discussing the beauty of a quiet and peaceful home wrestling (which is far from quiet, and requires the furniture in my family room to be pushed to the corners.)

I am not sure what they were playing, but there were mock karate punches and light sabers and lots of action as they were jumping over couch cushions and yelling out commands.

Every once in awhile there would be a pause in the play as they discussed what was to come next in the game.  Imagine my shock when I heard The Girl say to The Boy, "But you said yesterday that I could be the Evil Burrito!"

Many things can be said about my children, but lack of imagination is not one of them.

Although, I have to say...I have met an evil burrito more than once in my lifetime.  And let me tell you, it's best to avoid them. 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dorkarella

Oh y'all...


I was getting together some packages to put in the mail this morning and you won't believe what I have done!!!

You may remember a few weeks ago I was working on these:


Handmade blankets for two new babies...

Well, I went to go look up the address for the pink blanket baby and it turns out her name isn't Hannah Joy, but Hannah Jane.

Where in the world did I come up with Joy??? 

So now I will be ripping, ripping, ripping in an effort to fix my gigantic mistake.

I called The Mister at work because I was so distraught over my mistake, and he, in an attempt to lighten the mood, suggested that I might call Hannah Jane's sweet parents and ask if it would be too late change her middle name.

I have to admit, I laughed, but only because it's better than crying!

As coined by The Girl, I feel like such a "Dorkarella".

Catching Up

I had such a full and fun weekend.


The Mister had left with The Boy on Friday for a back-packing trip, leaving The Girl and I free to do the things that girls like the most: going to lunch, shopping, reading magazines and hanging out with friends.

I had picked up an American Girl magazine because the current issue is all about pets. The Girl is a huge animal lover so she was constantly reading articles to me from the magazine. Which was awesome. When did she get so grown up?

On Saturday Mrs. Moofish and my niece, came for a night of girlie-bonding, which involved a movie, chocolate, and lots of giggling. 

Yesterday, was all about church, and left over pizza, and making one of these. I will post a picture soon. 

By far one of the highlights of this fun filled weekend was finding out that all my hints and pestering had finally found reward...

Mrs. Moofish is now a blogger!!!!!

I have always felt that the name Moofish was just a blog waiting to happen! And it has.

So do me a favor, and click on over to Feeling Moofish and give her a bloggers welcome!

Now, after a weeks worth of R &R, I have a mound of laundry to do, not to mention the dust in my house is piling high. So I am going to go get some work done around here!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

For Lillian



Dear Lillian,


Chances are you don't read my blog, but there's something I want you to know.

A few weeks ago, I participated in a Giveaway

You see, I have this little hobby called: Making Stuff, and Giving It Away.

And it's not been limited to the internet. I have done this for a very long time...making things and giving it away. The internet has just opened up my Giving Away options.

I have had many people tell me that I should sell these things.  And I gave it a real good try (actually, I didn't try all THAT hard). But in the end, my heart is not shaped in that way.  Instead I have slowly given away pieces after peice.  

Anyway, I had 130 comments from those who wanted my apron, but none got my attention more than this one from Suzanne:

If I win this, I intend to re-gift it. But with purpose. I have a set of 3 beautiful (boring) Chef's apron that my neighbor looks at while they dry on my clothesline.


She's 90 and she says that she wished she hadn't wasted years in boring aprons. She said she wished she'd had one that made her feel sassy and fun.


So if I win, you're going to knock the socks off my 90 year old neighbor.


:)


I really wanted Suzanne to win this apron for you. I don't know her, but she clearly has a givers heart. 


I was faced with a dilemma. Suzanne and I had an opportunity to grant a  wish...how could we not find a way to make it work?


However, I also wanted to be fair to those who had entered and expected the drawing to be random.  In the end, I knew the only way to get you an apron is if I made one specifically.


Made with you in mind.


I emailed Suzanne, and she sent me a little info, and when I found out your name was Lillian, I knew that God's providence was at hand. 


You see, my name's Lillian too. My middle name, given to me in honor of my maternal grandmother Maude Lillian, who turned 90 yesterday.


I have always loved the name Lillian. So feminine. So sweet. 


Maybe, just maybe, a bit sassy too?


What a pleasure it is (along with Suzanne!) to give you this apron. 


With love,

Kellie 

Birthdays



Yesterday was Great Grandma Maude's 90th Birthday.

When asked how old she was she said, "Sixteen!"

Today is my Dad's (Paw) birthday!  

Happy Birthday!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Never Say Never


Before I became a Mom I had The List of things I would never do when I had kids of my own.


You see, I was a nanny. Although back in the day I called myself a 'babysitter.'  Today I think "babysitter" is considered Politically Incorrect.  Being called a Nanny seems so much more glamorous. More refined. As if getting puked on, changing smelly diapers and wearing somebody's graham cracker schmutz on the front of your t-shirt, is glamorous.

I really enjoyed being a babysitter. I babysat for many, many families, but I had a couple of families that I baby sat for on an exclusive basis.  The "C" family was my Friday night gig. From the time I got my drivers license at 16, until the summer I met The Mister, I was there. 

I knew that The Mister was The One, because he was the only guy worth giving up the Friday Night Gig. 

The other family I babysat for, was the "A" family.  This was the family whom I could say I was more of a "nanny", only because I was there several days a week, with more time in the summer and when Mr. and Mrs. A travelled.

I loved these families.  Mrs. A and Mrs C both invested in me much, much more than the going rate of $6.oo an hour (which was a lot back in the day!) They were generous financially, and personally.

I learned a lot from them. Most of which I didn't realize until after I was a Mom.

I have had a love of babies and kids that goes way back, and I can say, without any doubt, that I was a good babysitter.  I am sure that there were times that I did things, or said things, that were annoying (like the water fight I instigated with the "C" children during bath time one evening...as a mother I would have had a conniption!)

I am grateful that I had the nanny/babysitting experience because it did prepare me for the practical matters of motherhood: the scheduling; the learning curve on how to be prepared. I got a taste of the hard work of being a mom.

I also got to leave at the end of the day.

Which made it all seem incredibly easy. 

There also wasn't any emotional ties to my 'mothering'.  I loved these kids, but I didn't have a mother's worries. I didn't have the baggage of wondering if my babysitting skills were going to make these children well adjusted, successful adults.  I didn't have the mind of a Mother. Although I didn't know that I didn't know.

I remember taking the four "A" girls to the pool (by myself). It was an amazing pool with a great shallow area.  The two youngest girls were about three years old.  The youngest child, who couldn't swim apart from the orange floaties that hung on her arms, didn't want to be in the shallow end. I couldn't safely watch four girls, with limited swimming abilities, in the deep end. I was unaware that a stand off was brooding. 

She decided, in three year old fashion, to spend the entire two hour visit, crying and protesting on the side of the pool.  If she couldn't swim in the deep end, she just wouldn't swim.

As the nanny, I wasn't the slightest bit un-nerved. It was black or white. If she wanted to throw a fit on the side of the pool instead of swimming, then by all means, do so. 

As a mom I would have been mortified.  Should we go home? Should I take her to the bathroom for "chat"? Is her crying bothering people around us trying to relax? Do people think I am a failure as a mom? The worries go on and on. 

Things were easier as a babysitter because I had a job. I was given a task, and I was going to accomplish it. One strong-willed three year old wasn't going to get in my way!

Thus, The List was born. The List of all the things I wasn't going to do in parenthood. 

(The List is not compiled based on Mrs. C's or Mrs. A's parenting, just what my young mind saw collectively in ALL my babysitting experiences.)

I was never going to bribe, or spank, or yell. I was never going allow a TV in the car, or make separate meals for my kids. I was never going to drive all over town looking for that elusive toy/doll/etc. I was never going to say 'no' to creative things like finger paint, or shaving cream, or water play.  I wasn't going to be worried about boiling baby bottles, the dishwasher would be just fine. The list goes on and on...

My children would be perfect. Because I knew it all.

Until it happened to me...

I remember being in the frozen food isle one evening during these nannying, unmarried, and childless years.  There was a young mom looking at frozen peas with her toddler having a full, emotional blow-out. He was kicking and crying on the floor. Her 1 year old was in the front seat of the cart, wailing with her arms out to the mother. The cart was full of groceries, and this Mom was saying "OK, we're almost done. We're all-most done." 

I'm certain she wasn't talking to the kids as much as she was consoling herself.

I remember watching her and thinking, "She needs to get control of her kids."

Fast forward about 8 years.

I was standing in the frozen food section. Looking at frozen peas. The Boy, a toddler, was having a blow-out of epidemic proportions. The Girl, a 12 month old, was crying from exhaustion (and probably hunger) in the cart, which was overflowing with groceries.

In that one moment, I realized, I was that woman.

I realized the importance of never saying never.

Because, y'all, what goes around, comes around. Every. Single. Time.

Of course, now, we do have a TV in the car; I totally bribe my children; yes, I have spanked them; I did spend an entire week calling stores and driving around Dallas/Fort Worth looking for that elusive Billy Blazes Rescue Hero. I have totally cooked a separate meal for the kids; and I have been known to hide the play-dough, finger paint and shaving cream so that I didn't have to clean the mess.

I must say, that I have NEVER yelled at, or lost patience with, my kids.

Just kidding!

Of course I have.

Parenting is such a hard task; Such a wonderful, bittersweet, complicated journey, isn't it? There are many choices; so much to sift through. There are personalities, and philosophies, and practicalities. 

Our decisions may be different, but our hopes are the same: To raise our children well.

If you're a young mom, or a new mom, or about to be a mom, I encourage you to Never say Never. There will come a day when you realize that maybe, just maybe, your "Never!" will look like an "Absolutley!"

And you'll eat far less crow than me.

La Vida Dulce!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Weekend Recap


Whew! Is it Thursday already?

I wanted to share a little bit more about our get-away. 

We stayed in the Marmaduke Cabin at the MLY Ranch, which is located between Greer, AZ and Eager, AZ.

Our family loves camping and hiking and vacationing, but every once in awhile what we need is a vacation that requires minimal work, has a quiet atmosphere, and indoor plumbing. 

I, in particular, love the indoor plumbing

The Marmaduke cabin is tucked in the pines of The White Mountains with a huge field that is used for the cattle. MLY is a working ranch, although you would hardly know it because we didn't see that many people while we were there. As a matter of fact, they rotate the cattle on different fields, so we didn't even see cattle.

We did see many other animals: hummingbirds (more than I can count, and they weren't at all afraid of us), elk, deer, wild hare's, raccoons, and one little snake (by the river). We also were visited several times a day by the two ranch dogs, Lucy and The Old Lady (we never figured out her real name. I don't really even know if she was a lady). They were sweet, like all ranch dogs seem to be. The Girl, our resident animal activist was in heaven.

The cabin was filled with everything you could possibly need, from a coffee maker (although I brought my own...Yes. I really did.) to board games. The beds were comfortable, the 
kitchen was clean, and the deck that over looked the country side was breath-taking.

It was quiet, with the exception of the humming birds (which we loved), and peaceful. We thoroughly enjoyed kicking the kids outside (to play) while The Mister and I made dinner. And again when we were cleaning up. 

Our intention was to go away from all the noise in life.  Away from TV and the computer, away from work, and the things of life that make us so busy. The Mister and I wanted quantity time with The Boy and Girl. (I believe it is hard to have quality without quantity.) We both wanted to read, drink wine while pondering the quiet, and enjoy some thinking time. Could we have had those things in our own home? Sure, but the phone will ring. Things will come up. Laundry will need to be folded. 

Sometimes you've gotta tell the world you need to rest awhile.

It was a great family retreat.

Here are more pictures...  
Mother's Day Breakfast: Homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh pineapple and strawberries. Oh, and coffee.
The Boy and The Girl in their costumes. On this trip they were pirates, and explorers, and soldiers, and knights and dragon riders.  She was a princess, sometimes. But only when it worked for her.
One of the many pictures I took of this feeder...most of which are taken without the quick bird.

Sharing a Pop-Tart with Lucy. I was always the first one up (I didn't want to miss the sunrise), but The Boy was always second...which gave us thirty minutes of time to be alone, just him and me. Which was lovely.
The Girl was anticipating a lot of wild flowers. Unfortunately, there was still snow patches around and spring flowers hadn't quite made their arrival. She managed to find some Dandelions (thought of you Janel!) so we could make a crown.  That night The Mister and I watched as a fawn ate the rest of the flowers! 

The Mister, taking a walk. I LOVE it when he wears that black shirt. 

The Girl. This is how she has ended every, single, hike in her short eight short years.

La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Confession



I haven't actually been home for the last 4 days.

On Saturday morning The Mister and I whisked away to a cabin in the White Mountains to celebrate Mom's Day and our Anniversary.  I had read about these great cabins on the internet. Luckily the picture above wasn't it!  That old cabin and outhouse was across the street from our cabin (pictured below!). 

I was so glad that Blogger had recently added the much needed pre-schedule posting option, it came at just the right time.  I also want to thank Mrs. Moofish, for managing comments for me. I was very concerned that someone would be watching for spammers (and I am also trying to convince her that she needs a blog.)

Anyway, I want to leave you with a few pictures while I take today to unpack, spend time with The Mister while the kids are back in school, and TO CATCH ON UP ON YOUR BLOGS!

People!  You are some crazy bloggin' buddies. I will be reading for a good. long. time. But it will be nice. I'm looking forward to seeing what y'all have been up to. Although one of you has been busy, with a whopping 11 posts in four days!  I am grateful for Bloglines!


Let me just say that it was a lovely, lovely weekend. With togetherness, wild animal, hiking and coffee.

Lots and lots of coffee.

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thirteen on the Thirteenth


To The Mister,


I loved this day, 13 days ago. When we chose to spend a life time together. When we knew everything there was to know. When we had this life figured out. When we had our plans, neatly laid out in a timeline, written in our own hand. When I couldn't drive the rental car on our honeymoon because I wasn't old enough...

I loved this day, that came so slowly, and was over all too soon.

I have loved every minute of the last 4,478 days. Even those days when our time-line goals were never met. When we realized we had figured the wrong things out. When we understood that we didn't know as much as we thought. When we realized God was in control. In control of our lives, our marriage, our kids. In control of our future. That His plan was not only better, but it was good. It was right. Even when it sometimes hasn't felt that way.

Thank you for being a helpmeet and friend. For spoiling me mercilessly, and loving me well.  I wouldn't want to live through this life's ups and downs with anyone other than you.

Happy 13th, my love.

Kellie


Mrs. Moofish: Maid of Honor (The Mister's Sister. I just love saying that!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meme Monday!

What were you doing ten years ago? 
I was living with my parents, with my 8 month old baby boy, while The Mister was completing one of his clinical's in Colorado. It was only for six weeks. We were living in San Antonio, Texas while he was attending graduate school. I was still very much a First Time Mom, who was boiling everything that came into 25 feet of my chunky little baby.

What are 5 things on your to-do list?
1. Finish up several sewing projects.
2. Bring up the hem on shorts for my Dad. 
3. Buy a gift for The Mister to celebrate our anniversary.
4. Laundry. Always the laundry.
5. Return library books.

What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
1. Almonds and apples. Together.
2. Toasted Nuts and Cranberry Luna Bars.
3. Tortilla Chips and Salsa (and I wouldn't mind a little avocado on the side.)
4. Peanut M&Ms.
5. Popcorn

What would you do if you were a millionaire?
I would take my family to Hawaii to meet some of my husbands extended family. I would set up college funds for my kids and nieces and nephews. I would help our friends in Brazil.  I would buy The Mister a library of books and fun back-packing/hiking paraphernalia, to make up for all the amazing gifts he has given me in the last 15 years.

Name some of the places you’ve called home.
I have always said that anywhere my military husband is working, is where I will be home.  At this point that has been Arizona; San Antonio, TX; Fort Worth, TX; North Carolina, and back to Arizona.

What are some of your bad habits?
I procrastinate on certain things, like making phone calls and replying to emails. I tend to look at certain situations as black and white. All or nothing. This wouldn't be such a problem if I wasn't always in a rush, when i should slow down. I should take more time to think before I act!

What are some jobs you’ve held? 
I have been a nanny; an Icee Bear Promotional Bear (dressed up in a big white bear suit!); an extra on a movie set;  in a hair advertisement; a receptionist at a shelter for abused and neglected children; an administrative assistant for a chef; a music teacher; a dance teacher; and of course, a Mom!

Who are you tagging?
I am tagging Meh, Lara, and The Gochi. And anyone else who is willing to play!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

    You know you're a mom when....
1. The floor of your car is flooded with Goldfish crackers and three weeks worth of socks.

2. You not only know about your own bathroom schedule, but of every child in the house. 

3. You actually talk to other Mom's about #2 (pun intended).

4. You weigh your options as if it were life and death; shower? or nap?

5. You have learned that when you are on the phone you will be asked for the time; a snack; a forgotten question; and money. 

6. You have learned to say NO to anything asked while they know you are distracted.

7. You have learned that your Mother was smarter than you thought she was 20 years ago.

8. To never say never...I was never going to have a TV in my car, nor was I going to bribe, or allow my son to watch SpongeBob or Shrek. For the record, we love both.

Happy Mother's day!

Now it's your turn... You know you're a mom when...


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chewy Granola Bars


I had such a great response to my post re: HFCS, that I thought I would post a recipe for y'all.


There were actually two major products that I figured would greatly reduce the consumption of HCFS here in the La Vida Dulce household: Yogurt, and the chewy granola bar.

The Boy and The Girl like to indulge in sweet snacks like any other person. Not to mention that they have been birthed by the Official President of the the Sweet Tooth club.  

I have a sweet tooth that is second to no one. Candy Corn, Cotton candy, Circus Peanuts, chocolate....I could go on and on. But I won't.  

The point is that they enjoy sweets.

I had been buying "natural" granola bars for them to enjoy, but it turns the only thing natural about those bars is that they are recycled boxes they are packaged in.  

I did a little online research and found that there are some recipes for homemade chewy granola bars. The only problem is that they either called for corn syrup or peanut butter. Since I am trying to avoid the whole corn syrup thing, and The Boy is allergic to peanuts I was getting discouraged. 

I finally found one that sounded reasonable as far as sugar content. So i tried it.  

Oh goodness they are good!

Here is the recipe: 

Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

2 1/2 c. Oats - quick rolled oats

1/2 c. Rice Krispies

1/2 c. chocolate chips

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/4 c. honey

1/2 tsp. vanilla


Add all of the ingredients and mix together until combined. Press into a square 8×8 pan. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars. Let it set completely and then cut into bars.


I doubled the recipe, but other than that i followed it exactly. I used a 13x9 inch pan and i was able to get 22 bar out of it.


Next time I am going to try replacing the butter with almond butter and see how it hold together. 


The only other thing i would say is to really press the dough into the pan with wet hands. And be sure to allow it to cool COMPLETELY before cutting them into bars. I tried to cut out a bar when it was still look warm and it fell apart. The dough is a little dry before baking, but really firms up when baked and cooled.


Happy Snacking!



Thursday, May 08, 2008

Meet May

Can you see her? This is May, my sweet little hatchling. I have been watching that nest for so long!


I love her already. If you can't see her clearly, it's because it has been very hard to get a good shot when the nest sits in a space that is only 6 inches high, and the nest is quite deep.  Plus I don't want to scare Momma away.  Anyway, in the picture you can see May's triangular yellow/orangey beak, two little black feather spots where the eyes would be, and a little bit of her downy head. Isn't she so cute?

Do you want to know what is even more exciting?

She has a brother that is still waiting to hatch.

I have already decided to name the brother June. Since he seems to be taking his sweet time coming out. And also, in honor of June, one of my favorite bloggers, who loves birds and nests, and animals, more than I do.

I like animals, but my love for this bird is not because of her species. It's because I am a lover of babies.  I love babies (of all kinds) the most. 

I am including this last picture even though it is very hard to see May. Her little pink, fuzzy body is there. I am posting this one because I am amazed at the industriousness of the little feathered Momma.

While I was yelling at my kids, several months ago, for leaving their popsicles sticks laying on the table outside, she didn't see it as a problem, but as a solution.

She used what was available to her, and turned it into something beautiful. There is a lesson in there. I am sure of it.

*You can click on any of these picture to make them bigger!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

THEY"VE HATCHED! THEY'VE HATCHED!

Oh I am so excited!


I was just standing at the sink washing my hands when I looked out the window and saw that the Momma Bird was standing on the side of the nest.  Then I saw this little wobbly beak thrashing about!  Just looking for some lunch.

Oh! I am so excited.  I just had to tell you immediately!  But I will try to get a picture and update when the Momma is done feeding.

Oh this is so exciting!  Me? A bird Aunt!  Who'd have thunk it?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

In Which I Throw a Tantrum Like a Three Year Old

This is a rant. 


Which I try not to do here too often.

'Cause nobody wants to read negativity in a highly negative world. 

Here we go.

Today I'm talking about yogurt.

I am trying very hard to find foods that are not filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). If you haven't heard all the fuss about HFCS than you probably, 1. Don't care. Or 2. Don't spend nearly enough time on the internet.

If you don't want to do an HFCS internet search, then I will just tell you where my problem lies with HFCS. Your body can only do one of two things with HFCS: it can burn it as energy, or store it as fat. 

Now, my kids are very active. They play sports, and hike, and play outside and are more active than the average kid. Because of their great activity I don't set huge parameters on their snacking schedule. Although, to be honest, we have always been fairly consistent about limiting the "treat foods" (which is what we call chips, cookies, candy etc.)

However, HFCS's are found in EVERYTHING, from ketchup to corn flakes! The amount of HFCS they are ingesting will eventually be  greater than their ability to burn what they consume. Especially as they get a bit older.

I was amazed to find I was buying "natural' granola bars, Power Bars, cheese crackers, even the heart healthy Whole Wheat bread, all of which contained HFCS.  It isn't good for their little bodies. And it will lend to a powerful sweet tooth that will be harder to tame as an adult. 

With that said, HFCS is in nearly everything that my children love to eat. Although I don't fool myself to think that we can completely cut this from our diet (because life is meant to be lived, not enslaved) I can make choices on things we eat in great quantities, like yogurt.

Here's my beef with yogurt:

It was only recently that I realized our 'natural' yogurt was cram-packed full of that sweet corny sugar. I decided that this delectable dairy product needed to be changed.  Surely this would be one easy way to cut the junk from our diet.

Well, it isn't that easy, my friends. It isn't easy at all. All the organic, HFCS free stuff, sold at the two stores nearby, are packaged in two ways: in 30 oz. containers, or in 4-6 oz cups.  

I happen to be married to a man with the metabolism of a hummingbird.  The Mister is one of "those people" who fight to keep much wanted poundage. 

(This is where we all roll our eyes in unison.)

The Mister is the least demanding person I know. He doesn't fuss over much of anything I do, but if I come home with 6 oz containers of yogurt, instead of 8 oz. containers, there is gonna be a fight. Because, you see,  2 oz of yogurt makes all the difference in the world when you have to "manage" to get in a certain amount of calories a day for maintenance.  

I will admit that I am also irritated by the 2-4 oz discrepancy, only because I really despise paying twice as much for less product.

Which leads to the #1 reason food companies use HFCS: It's cheap.

So, if any of you bloggers out there know of a good brand of yogurt (we really loved Mountain High yogurt, which they sold at Costco, but then discontinued), in 8 oz containers (that I won't have to sell my first born for) let me know!

And, as always, thanks for letting me rant. It is certainly cheaper than therapy. 

La Vida Dulce!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ditto

I had planned to write about how this week is a crazy mess of field trips, Teacher Appreciation, and home-life craziness, but Mer did such a fine job on her blog this morning, that I thought I would say: 


Ditto.

Can I also add that The Boy and The Girl are so ready for school to be over, they are almost delirious. 

My two children, who have been like clock work in the getting-ready-for-school-routine, have become   s...o...   v.....e...r....y....  s....l....o....w.....    

They are like slugs when I wake them up. They aren't keeping on task. It starts with breakfast when they want to talk and laugh and play instead of sleepily eating in dark quiet (although The Girl doesn't stay silent long...Ever.) This makes for a very long breakfast.  

I did feel a little mean this morning when I walked into the kitchen and said, "There won't be anymore laughing or talking at breakfast. You guys are taking way too long. You are going to be late." 

They both looked at me in confusion with there big brown eyes and said, "What?" 

Then they started laughing. As if that was the funniest thing I had said all year.

Summer...how we long for your arrival.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Notes to Self: A Pictorial

1. You have an empty cupboard. Food and necessity items will not just magically appear. Things are getting critical. This is the last roll of toilet paper in the entire house. Move directly to Target, Do not pass Go. 2. The Mister keeps forgetting to take these Cream Cheese Brownies to work. Find a happy home for them. If not, proceed to #3.


3. Extra Brownies = Extra mileage.  

4. Towels that are thrown into the laundry basket stink. Remind children to hang them before they hamper them. 
















5. Stealing never pays. You stole this (with permission) from your Mother's home. You brought it into your kitchen, and although you had just used it the day before the theft, it is now broken. Dead. Finis. Completely refuses to brew.  Add new tea machine to your Target list.

















6. You must mail this to Kim TODAY, without fail.  I know you were trying to complete #7 (and several other mailable projects) to make one big trip to the post office, but it isn't going to happen. (I am mailing it today Kim, I promise!)












7. For goodness sake hurry up and get this monogramming done. These kids aren't going to be babes forever!
















8. Empty this, and fill it up again.  Wait three hours. Repeat.




9. Last, but not least, please clean this out. Something in there has died. 

10. Work hard today, tomorrow, as a reward,  you get to spend some time in the salon getting those roots done and having a moment to sit down!

Happy Friday!

La Vida Dulce!