Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back to School Shopping

The boys and I went back to school shopping the other day at our favorite clothing store--the Bluefield Boutique. It's always kind of fun to go shopping there, because I never know what I'm going to find, especially since I can't keep it all in my head any more. I'm sure there must be others in the world who shop this way, scooping things up on clearance or used, and storing them until they fit, but when my sister mentioned going back to school shopping for her boys, it just struck me as odd that I don't back to school shop in the traditional way. Am I warping my children forever by denying them the full back to school shopping experience?

Now, of course, we're faced with the problem we have every year--lack of drawer space for pants and shorts, since it's that transition time when we need to have both available. Not to worry, though. We do have another dresser that we're refinishing, that will probably be done just in time for Bubby to move his clothes into it when he moves into his big boy bedroom (oh, right, that won't solve the Code-man and Logo dresser space issue).

I feel so unprepared for school to start this year. I'm sure it's a function of my brain being too full with accumulated stuff that I have no room for a "get ready for school to start" compartment. My efforts at preparation have so far seemed disjointed and disorganized. It's not even that I feel emotionally unready--I just feel like there's something important that I'm missing, that I still need to get or prepare. And then I think, oh well, it's not the end of the world if I really am missing something. It's not like they're going to kick our kids out of school for not having the right color folder on the first day. And that just makes me feel worse, because I'm the mom and I am supposed to be prepared! And really, people, tell me: how hard is it to get ready for school to start? Not very. I know moms who can do it with two hands tied behind their backs (maybe not their own hands...)

Even though I know that I'm far from perfect, can never be perfect, for some reason I still strive for that perfection. This is such a terrific example of how we women always, always have higher expectations for ourselves than anyone else in our lives does: how we set standards for ourselves that are impossible to achieve. And it makes me so mad that I am unable to give myself the grace to rest and say, good enough. Good enough.

Well, at least the kids have pants :-)

"And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
Genesis 1:31a

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Brownie mix recipes

I get in ruts in my cooking--previously, I mentioned a Mexican tendency in my blog--right now, it's cooking with brownie mixes. A delicious rut to be in. Following are a couple of recipes that I've tried in the past week or so.

S'more Brownies
I made this recipe for Code-man's back to school party because we weren't sure if we were going to be able to have a bonfire. Yummy! I think they were even better on day 2, because the graham crackers had a chance to mellow out and become one with the brownie.

1 (21.5 oz) package brownie mix
6 graham crackers, broken into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows
8 (1.5 oz) bars milk chocolate, coarsely chopped (12 oz milk chocolate chips would work, too, and would be less expensive)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions (or make your favorite "from scratch" brownie recipe (for a 9x13" pan). Spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan.

Bake brownies until done, 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate evenly on top of the brownies, then place them under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the marshmallows are slightly toasted and the chocolate is melty. Watch carefully, as the mallows and grahams can burn quickly.


Brownie Mix Cookies
I made these because I had wanted to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (sometimes my favorite), but we were out of something. I bought the something and then we were out of something else. I bought the something else and then we were out of something else again (and I did check each time before I bought--other people were using the stuff up)--this whole ordeal took about 2 weeks. I finally gave up and decided to make cookies that I did have the ingredients for.

1 brownie mix (9x13" pan size)
2 eggs
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 c. milk chocolate M&Ms candies (optional)

Mix brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil and any add-ins until smooth. Drop by teaspoon-fulls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until done.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pictures from the Boundary Waters

Three of my favorite boys returned from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Sunday.
Here's a picture of my husband forcing his son with the broken thumb to not only paddle, but also steer, the boat. Don't let that smile fool you--he's in excruciating pain, I'm sure...
They said they had a great time :-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Cure

When we lived in West Virginia, there was a girl who went to our church, who at the age of 6, was still sucking her thumb. On the last day of kindergarten, she fell, breaking her arm, which had to be immobilized in a cast for several weeks. The cast made it impossible for Hannah to suck her thumb, and when the cast came off the habit had been broken. She then went around telling anyone who would listen that if they wanted to stop sucking their thumb, they should break their arm.
Today, Logo fell on Code-man's thumb, breaking it. Yes, two days before he is to head off with his dad and brother for four days of canoe camping in the Boundary Waters. His thumb has been immobilized in a splint that will need to be worn for at least 3 weeks. On the way out of the doctor's parking lot, Code-man said, "well, at least I won't be able to suck my thumb." A silver lining: perhaps Code-man will be able to break his thumb-sucking habit in these three weeks. Thank goodness we got Code-man's portraits taken care of this morning! I noticed that, in the background of this picture, Logo is wearing a bmx style bike helmet--I wonder if he's worried about retaliation!

Bubby's been sitting on the potty a lot these days. Sometimes there's even a little surprise in the bowl when he stands up. He's so proud of himself for sitting on the potty!

I feel like there's so much I need to catch you all up on! I'll start with the bugs. Both Charlie and King went into their pupal states while we were out of town (I think it was while we were in Colorado), and emerged as butterflies while my parents were visiting--last week, was it? Charlie did turn out to be a boy; King was a girl. Both of them wanted to hang out with us longer, but eventually flew away after we released them.

The corn is huge, taller than Hubby now, even. We've got 9 ears of corn, which is not bad, and they seem to be getting bigger. I think the fact that their silks turned dark brown means that they were pollinated, but I'm not sure. The green beans are just about done producing, and the zucchinis are being harvested just about daily. We have one sunflower blooming, with more on the way, and some of the zinnias are blooming as well. The tomatoes are coming--still green, but getting there, and we've got at least 4 pumpkins growing. For those of you who were concerned about the one big pumpkin hanging on the fence, it's slipped to the ground now (or actually on the retaining wall), and the vine did not break, so it's supported and will continue to grow (whew!). Still no peppers or watermelons, but at least the watermelons have flowers on them.

I think that's all for the bugs and the garden. And I think that's all I have time for...

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