Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sweet Poison

Standard kitchen canister....

Looks innocent enough.

Wait... whaaaaa?

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Run for your lives and the health of your teeth! It's the Christmas Aftermath Kitchen Canister of Dooooooom!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009


There once was a Mommy Tomato, a Daddy Tomato, and Baby Punk Tomato. They were walking along, as only tomatoes can do, but the Baby Punk was always behind and they always had to wait for him, so the Daddy squashed him and said:


Oh. Whew. Not sure what happened there. Sorry. Reverting to my childhood a little, there. The point is that I have some catching up to do here since I didn't bother to blog at all for the first three days of Christmas, so calling birds, french hens, turtle doves and a partridge to you all.


Anyway. Our Christmas time has been flying by in a haze of running hither and yon, and this little pastor's family is tired.

BUT! We're very happy to be looking forward to a vacation! An actual, real, darn-tootin' VACATION. Because we're leaving, on an actual jet plane, for Oregon in two weeks.


We're making use of some cheap-off-season-plane-tickets-turned-ridiculously-expensive that were bought for us by some very generous blood-relations who actually miss us and wish for us to come visit. (Particularly my brother, who is heading off on his next adventure at the end of January.)

So we're gonna get a little January relaxin'!

That is, after we get through all the stress and anxiety of figuring out exactly how to keep our house warmish while we're gone and how to keep the animals from starving or being eaten by that fox I saw the other day and how exactly to fit enough warm clothes into as few pieces of luggage as possible because we have to pay for them.

Are we crazy to be driving two hours to Detroit and then flying through Chicago in JANUARY? I'm certainly praying for some gooooood weather at DTW and O'Hare and PDX...

So I need to start acquiring some good airplane entertainment for a 4-year old. This is always a challenge when we fly-- keeping the boy busy. But I have to admit that it's gotten WAY easier than it was when he was a baby. So I really should enjoy this last time of slightly-easier-flying before I have to start flying with a baby again. It occurred to me that I should dig around and see if I still have that portable cassette player (you know... "tapes"? Remember those?) that I used when I was about 10. It's probably long gone, but I'm thinkin' Jonah would probably happily sit and listen to tapes for the whole trip. Maybe I can get one cheap on Ebay...

And speaking of "baby"... at that point, when we leave I'll just be getting to the point in my pregnancy where my jeans don't fit anymore, but maternity pants are of course, enormous. They don't tell you about that part, you know. That looooong in-between time when nothing fits. A friend just lent me her Bella Band, so I'm hoping that will get me through...

Okay, so now I'm really rambling and I'm sure I sound ridiculous. It's just that my head is gonna explode with all the stuff running round in it... Our departure date is not very far away... Did I mention I would be gone for over two weeks? Nathan will return after about 6 days, but Jonah and I will be staying longer to get the fullest use out of our visit.

It's gonna be GREAT!

***insert panic dance here***

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best Medicine

My little sore throat and cough from the last post turned into a monster virus in a hurry. So I ended up spending all day yesterday in bed with a fever, which finally broke early this morning, but I'm just wiped out. So much for all the fun Christmasy things I was going to be doing this week... Maybe I can still get a little baking done tomorrow. And the gifts I was still working on finishing for some kids on my list will now be Epiphany gifts. Or midwinter gifts, depending on when I get back to them. Oh well. It's fun to get something new in the middle of winter, right?

Jonah spent the day with some friends yesterday, but today he's on the bed with me watching YouTube. We both just about suffered apoplexy over this one:

Monday, December 21, 2009


Okay, I know my blog is a little lame these days. So I'm just checking in so you know I'm still alive. I am. I'm just tired.

I have trouble making myself do much of anything, blog posting included. I know it should only be a few more weeks until I have some energy and am feeling a little more alive, but for now, I'm tired. It's taking all my energy to try to get Christmas things done (and even then, I'm cutting back from what I had originally planned to do...) in between all my floppings down in the chair by the fire.

In that case, I'm also having a little trouble taking care of household things. A few days ago, I made a giant pot of Sloppy Joe and told Nathan, "We might get sick to death of eating Sloppy Joe, but at least we have food in the house! Breakfast, lunch and dinner, baby." He actually didn't complain. Starvation does that do a person.

This afternoon after baking bread and packing up a box to mail, I looked around me and was suddenly appalled at the condition of my household. Ugh. What a pit.

So we bundled up and went outside to take water to the chickens and get the eggs and tromp around the yard following all the animal tracks (man, we have a lot of rabbits out there...).

If I don't see the mess it doesn't bother me, right?

Except then I had to come back in. It is winter, after all, and I can't stay outside nearly long enough to not be bothered by the fact that it looks like a bomb went off in here.

Speaking of bombs, I've never wished for a dishwasher more in my entire life. More dishes? Again? Where are the paper plates, anyway?

And speaking of it being winter (cuz we were... before...), today is the first day. First. Day. Just? Only? You mean spring isn't coming yet? Cuz it's been winter for at least a month. And the depressing thing is that when spring technically arrives in March, it will still be winter. How unfair.

Am I sounding comlainy? Whiny? Maybe I do. I really don't have anything to complain about, but I am any way.

Did I mention we all have sore throats and coughs? And it's Christmas week? And Nathan's not allowed to sleep Christmas week for all the church work he has to do?

I've given him my Kill-What-Ails-You-If-It-Doesn't-Kill-You-First Plague Tonic (onions, garlic, ginger, horseradish, habaneros --all raw-- chopped up and soaked in vinegar for 6 weeks. The resulting vinegar is... "potent" to say the least.), homemade elderflower tincture, vitamin C, Airborn, Zinc, and I'll keep pouring cod liver oil down his throat long after he passes out from my helpful ministrations.

So now I have a heapin' heap of laundry to do and lots more baking this week, but for now I'm going to go engage in some more flopping in that chair over there by the fire...

Maybe tonight we'll skip supper and go straight to Hot Toddies.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Of Christmas Trees and Four-year-olds


A Christmas tree with a four-year-old is fun.

Well, if you don't count the seizure-inducing possibilities.

See, we have one of those four-hundred-and-seventy-nine-function tree light strings. You know the type-- there's a little button that you push to make your lights blink according to different settings like "Soft Twinkle", "Gently Falling Snow", "Landing Strip", "UFO", and "Emergency Helicopter". I had it set to some nice, slow gentle twinkling, but then Jonah discovered the switch.

Oh, you should hear the delirious laughter (his) and the migrain moaning (mine).

But still. Fun.

Jonah is at the wonderful age right now where he can understand and enjoy Christmas and all it's about, but everything is still new to him.

All through Advent, we've been talking all about what Christmas means-- why Jesus was born as a little baby and what a blessing our Salvation is. We talk all about it quite a lot, and we sing the song he's learning with his Sunday School class for the Christmas Eve program at church. He understands it all and is happy to hear about it. All the rest --the tree, cookies, presents-- are just gravy to him. It will probably only be this way for this year and then it will all change next year. But for right now, it seems like he doesn't quite remember what we did last year and doesn't expect it. "A tree? We get a Christmas tree? In our house? Wah-hoo!" He didn't pester me about it-- he just accepted it as great fun when we told him we would be putting it up. And then there are presents to go under it?? Even better! We talked all about the symbolism of the tree and lights and presents and he was happy to learn it all.

Yeah. We're definitely having a lot of fun.

Even the part where the Christmas tree get undecorated and redecorated a seventeen times per day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Someone Is Watching Me...

Okay, this is really freaking me out.

I'm feeling a little paranoid here.

I almost did it.

I almost signed up.

I've ignored lots of invitations before.

It's easy, I just click "delete".

Lalala!! Not gonna do it!

Do I need another timesuck?


I already did the MySpace thing.

Everyone seems to be moving on, myself included.

No Facebook for me, people!

And then.

Then, it happened.

My Mother sent me an invite.


Now everyone is on Facebook.

Except me.

Because I have principles, people.

I'm not really sure what they are, but I'm sure I have them.

But I was gonna just give in.

"It'll be fun!" they whisper in my ear.

The voices.

So I almost clicked...

And then...

Then I saw the words, "Other people you may know on Facebook."

So I clicked the "load images" button on the email (which is always there because my trusty butler, Thunderbird, protects me from intruding images, which it figures is pretty much all images...).



There were pictures of all my friends!

I mean, my REAL LIFE friends.

People that I know HERE in my REAL LIFE.

It wasn't just showing me some of my Mom's friends who I might happen to know.

No, no.

Here were pictures of people that my Mom does not know and who do not know her friends and do not know her friend's friends because they're MY FRIENDS in MY LIFE. Here. On MY SIDE of the country.

How did they get in a Facebook email invite from my Mom?

How do they know?

I haven't even signed up, and yet Big Brother Facebook knows all my friends.

Nice going, Facebook. You thought that clever ploy would make me want to join-- after all, ALL MY FRIENDS are doing it!

Haha!! You don't know me well enough! I was raised among Conspiracy Theorists! I know these Orwellian tricks!

So IT knows all my friends. What else does IT know about me? Did it see the peanut butter sandwich my son left to plasticize behind my couch? Did it see that I was too tired to brush my teeth before bed for three straight nights in a row? CAN IT SEE MY PILE OF DIRTY DISHES????

Why stop with knowing who I socialize with, huh?

I tell ya, it's freaking me out.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Things That Came Out of Jonah's Mouth at Suppertime Tonight...

"I'm like a Sandhill Crane!"


"What are the rings for?"
"Uh.... what rings?"
"On planets!"


Someone please tell me where he comes up with this stuff.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Ensemble necessary for milking goats and locking up chickens tonight:

Two layers of pants
Two layers of socks, the top being wool
A tank top
A long-sleeved tee
A fleece hoodie
(And that's just what I've been wearing in the house all day, exchanging the wool socks for slippers...)
A warm hat and the hood
Warm boots
Scarf, wrapped three times

For putting Jonah to bed:

A hot shower
Fleece footie pajamas
Six layers of blankets
Thick wool blanket on top, tucked in by the wall to keep it in place

On our bed:

Flannel sheets
Four blankets
Down comforter
And I'm reeeeeally missing my metal hot water "bottle" that I brought from Switzerland. It corroded a hole in the bottom from so much time sitting on the woodstove before bedtime last year. There's just nothing like a burning hot container of water at your feet in a freezing bedroom...

Baby, It's COLD Outside... we'll stay in and make gingerbread cookies.

With a -15 windchill at 9:00am this morning (don't want to know what it was during the night...), I'm more than happy to stay inside and bake. It's bad enough when I have to go outside for a few minutes to take warm water to the animals, poor things. It is just stinkin' cold and the wind is vicious. Feels like February around here-- oh how I wish it were...

The gingerbread people don't look like they're dressed for this weather...

Sundresses and Bermuda shorts, indeed.

Jonah's people look like I feel...

Is it spring, yet?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We'll Miss Him

I cried when I read the email from my Mom.

I cried again when I saw her blog post.

I was actually surprised to be so upset. I'm not there to notice that he's gone. He's not been in my life anymore since I moved away. But he's part of my childhood and he's part of my family.

I've never known another dog like Shadow, and probably never will. He was almost human. Or super-human. Or super-dog. I guess we just always kinda thought he might go on forever and always be a part of the family. He was just so happy. But he was very old, and it would be cruel to let him keep hurting.

After we moved to Oregon when I was a kid, I wanted a dog in the worst way. My parents were tentative about the idea. I scanned the classified ads regularly until I saw an ad for a Border Collie in need of a home.

"Please, Dad?" I asked...

He wasn't to sure. Border Collies are high-energy dogs and we didn't exactly have a big farm for him to run. But he agreed that I could call on the ad and we would see about him.

I just had a really strong feeling that we needed to go see this dog. But after I talked to the owner, who needed to find a home for him because she was moving away, my parents were even more unsure. He only had three legs, you see. Dad was uncertain how that might affect his ability to get around.

But we went to see him where he was being boarded at a vet's office. As soon as we saw him, we were all smitten. He didn't bark like the other dogs when we came up to the kennel. He just sat patiently and waited for us. We took him out for and walk. He was gentle, calm, patient, intelligent. He didn't even know about his missing leg and was quite agile without it. The bonus was that he couldn't jump up on anyone, he'd just put a paw on a person's thigh instead.

We took him home. He settled in quickly. For the first few days, we didn't even know if he could bark. He took it as his job to guard and protect us, but he was not obnoxious about it. He barked when a car he didn't recognize came in the driveway and that was all. He checked on the animals and babysat wayward chicks without hurting them. He chased off varmints and patrolled the trees for squirrels. He accompanied me every morning and evening while I fed and milked my goats.

I can't remember ever being angry with him like I have been with other dogs.

We grew up with him. He was part of our family.

Every time I've gone to visit my family, he's been overjoyed to see me. He never forgot a friend in his life. Every time I've left my parent's house, I've wondered if I'll ever see him again.

There were many times that we expected him to just not wake up one morning, but he just kept going. He had a job to do, and he was determined not to give it up, no matter how tired he got.

So we had to tell him it was time to go. He could be done.

But we'll miss him terribly.

(More stories and pictures of Shadow in this post my Mom wrote about him last spring.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dealing in Real Estate

I just came across this article about a family farm in Missouri being prosecuted for the sale of raw milk. It's a Natural News article, and I usually take everything this particular author says with a grain of salt, but he really does have a way of saying it like it is sometimes.

As the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader paper reports, "Two undercover investigators with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department allegedly caught two of the couple's daughters on two occasions selling a gallon of milk each from a Springfield parking lot. Charges followed in municipal court."

In case you're not yet sure what you're reading here, note carefully that these daughters were not caught selling crack, meth or crank. They weren't dealing second-hand pharmaceuticals to yuppie school kids. They weren't selling e.coli-contaminated hamburger meat, cancer-causing diet sodas (made with aspartame) or canned soups laced with MSG. They weren't even selling broiler chickens contaminated with salmonella -- just as you can find in every grocery store in America. Nope, they were selling raw milk. You know, the bovine mother's milk, unpasteurized, unprocessed, non-homogenized and wholly pure, natural and innocent. The stuff America was raised on. The stuff your parents fed you when you were a kid, if your family was lucky enough to have a cow.

Raw milk sales treated like drug-dealing. That's the crazy world we live it. Read the whole article here: Raw Milk in Missouri.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The First of the Christmas Cookies

Because it's the Second Sunday in Advent, and not the least of all because my sweet husband admitted to a raging sweet tooth, I decided that Jonah and I could get started on the Christmas baking today.

We made my favorite childhood Christmas cookie. It's a yummy cream cheese cookie with walnuts and three chocolate chips on top (except now I like to use Ghirardeli dark chocolate chips-- yum!). I've since started referring to them as "Trinity Cookies" when Nathan asked several years ago just what was "Christmas" about them. So I told Jonah that the three chocolate chips represent the Holy Trinity --Father, Son and Holy Spirit-- and we talked about that while we baked.

When I was a kid, making these was a great family activity, since the littler ones can have the job of placing the three chocolate chips. Depending on the age of the kid, the chips don't always end up in a neat little triangle. But Jonah is at a good age for it this year and did pretty well.

Yummy! Now I feel like Advent is officially upon us.

Now I'm going to be a Very Bad Blogger and not post the recipe. The reason for this is that I think I have the recipe wrong. Yes, I've been making them for years, and I'm not sure I've been doing it right. I mean, they taste great, but the dough never seems to come together right and I always have to keep adjusting it until it does. Soooo... maybe my sister or my Mom will be kind enough to post the real recipe in the comments?

Would the real Cream Cheese Trinity Cookie recipe please stand up?

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Last year for Christmas, my Mom gave me these cute little plates:

I really like them, but I haven't really done anything with them. I just didn't know how to display them. Wire plate-hangers don't seem to come that small. So I've had them floating around-- most recently the green and yellow ones were in the china hutch and the red one was on the stove as a pretty spoon-rest (except I don't seem to be very good about using spoon rests. Don't want them to get messy, you know...).

But just last week, a good friend gave me this:

Squeee! Perfect.

So I hung it beside my new pantry door with a monkey hook (whoever invented those should be a millionaire!) and put my cute little plates on it. Love it! (Sorry for the poor colors in the photo... my camera just doesn't get it. You'll have to use your imagination a little.)

On the other side of the door, I have these vintage fruit packing labels:

I like the way the colors echo each other across the door. (The only think I don't like about this arrangement is the evenness of it-- it bothers me. Four plates, two labels. I'd love to find another label to make it three on that side... Although, the plates all hang together as one entity, so all together, there's an arrangement of three, I guess...)

Now to get some red paint on that door...

Friday, December 4, 2009

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...

If you get up one cold Advent morning
and decide to spend the day with Christmas music playing,
at the sewing machine making some Christmas gifts,
you'll need the house to be warmed up first.

If you want to warm up the house,
you'll need to do some baking.

If you want to do some baking,
you'll have to find a recipe.

If you look in your cookbook,
you might decide that banana-walnut-chocolate chip muffins sound very yummy.

If you want to make banana muffins,
you'll have to find some bananas.

If you go to the freezer to see if you have any frozen bananas,
you might find the freezer oddly... warm
and running with drippy, icy blood.

If you want to know why the freezer is bloody,
you'll go behind it to discover it's been unplugged.
For several days.

If the freezer is looking like a massacre,
you'll need to clean it out before you put it back to work.

If you consider shutting the door
and pretending you didn't just see that

If you don't want to loose your year's supply of meat,
or at least you don't want to fight with frozen blood everywhere for the next year,
you'll have to clean the freezer.

If you want to clean the freezer,
you'll have to take everything out,
sort out the stuff that's just too far gone,
wipe off the blood,
and pack it into coolers.

If the food is all packed in coolers,
you'll want it to stay cold,
so you'll take it all out to the porch where it's currently 26 degrees.

If the food is taken care of,
you'll spend the next hour spraying rubbing alcohol
and chipping bloody ice
and mopping up bloody water
and wiping out the freezer.

If you do all this work,
you'll suddenly remember that you are currently 9 weeks pregnant
when you get a bad case of the shakes.

If you have the shakes,
you'll call your husband to please come home and finish this job.

If he comes home to finish,
you'll want to do something about those shakes.

And you'll really,

Wish you had made those banana-walnut-chocolate chip muffins.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's a Puzzlement

I just put a pot of turkey wild rice soup to simmer on the stove for supper. Jonah helped me make it. While I was ladling the broth from the stock pot where it's been simmering all day to the soup pot, Jonah asked for some to drink. He certainly didn't need to ask twice-- I gave him a little juice glass of that nutritious bone broth with a shake of salt and some water to cool it. He drank it up and asked for more. And more. And more. The whole time I was making the soup, he sat on a stool by me and talked about the ingredients and sipped cups of broth.

So he will happily drink plain broth by the glass (after glass, after glass, after glass).

I also gave him some small bites of cold turkey as I was cutting it up. And he even nibbled a few grains of uncooked wild rice, just to see what it was like.

Also-- he loves vegetables. I mean, adores them. It's always the first thing he eats on him plate. Broccoli? Yum! Ooooh, green beans! Carrots! Beets! Sweet potatoes! Asparagus! As long as it isn't onions, which he loathes for some reason, he'll eat it happily. Even raw garlic. No kidding.

Sound like a dream child? Well...

However. (And here's the very big "however.")

Put all these things together and call it soup?

Fuhgetaboudit. Not eating it.

I mean, I guess I really shouldn't complain. As long as I making food in which everything is separate, he'll eat like a champ.

He's also this way about stew, pot pie, and pretty much anything else mixed together.

I just don't get it. I always thought if the ingredients are good by themselves, they're even better all together-- they enhance each other. But not Jonah. I'm sure it's just the immaturity of his developing palate and I'm sure he'll grow out of it.

I just find it slightly bemusing and quite baffling.