Monday, January 29, 2007
This kid has been saying blog-worthy stuff all week, here are a few before I forget...
--Upon walking in the room while I had "The View" on the television (THE dumbest show ever, but I know that when The View comes on it is time to walk to the bus stop...) she saw Toni Braxton, who was guest hosting, and commented "Look Mom, Oprah got new hair".....
--Lauren was driving with me in the car and I was trying to explain to Lauren what an apartment is (since she has lived in one her entire life, I don't know why she was confused...). We were talking about how someday we might buy a house but if we ever moved back to New York we would have to live in an apartment...but really, really tall ones that don't have small yards on the back. I asked her which she would rather have. "New York Mom, we should live there. There are LOTS of sweepstakes there. Some of them even have thousands of back up prizes".... New York it is.
--This is the best one. Our daddy has been pretty much gone for two weeks and I am beyond grumpy by the time 6 o clock rolls around. Last night she excused herself from dinner and asked if she could do a surprise in my room. About an hour later she came downstairs and escorted me upstairs.
I'll be back........... but until then, here are some pictures of the oven micro-loan project that I did last summer. A group of women wanted to buy a charcoal oven so they could make food to sell and supplement (or in some cases, provide) an income for their families. We bought the oven and got permission to have it "live" in the LDS church building in Nairobi. This was necessary because they needed the space to house it and the fact that the church has a guard. The women bring their own ingredients and fuel and use it at a scheduled time. It has been so successful that we are doing another one in another building on the other side of Nairobi and are looking for funding to do on in Uganda. This one is Jacob's oven. The person who donates the money can name it........ (Angelina Jolie totally copied me on this one.... I also have a project for each of my kids--granted I only have about 10$ for each one instead of one billion... whatever.....). The cost of this project? 350$ Just another example of how SO LITTLE can go so far. The bike project is well underway as well, each bike costs 60$. The picture at the bottom is an example of a Boda Boda bike, they are used as a form of taxi, for transport, to carry items to market, and apparently, children. If you (or anyone you know) wants to help, let me know...
Sunday, January 21, 2007
We made it back to California in time for New Years Eve. All of Mr. Crazy's brothers and sisters had gone to their in-laws as well for real Christmas, so we had round two on New Years Eve. Grandpa Crazy LOVES Christmas and often does most of the shopping. One year we all got luggage (great gift, but it all looked the same, so that caused confusion on the first family trip...), the girls get perfume almost every year, the boys get at least one dress up outfit, the kids get toys that light up or have small pieces (you know, the kind that mom and dad won't buy...). It is really fun. There are also tons of DVD's. When we have a Crazy Christmas, there are always DVD's involved. We never buy DVD b/c we know they are bound to come our way at some point. This year they did Yankee Swap w/ the DVD's. That was pretty funny. If you don't know what that is, not only do you clearly NOT watch The Office, you also haven't been invited to the right parties! Yankee Swap (aka White Elephant) is where each person picks a present and the next person can either get a new one or take one from a previous person. The gift can only be "stolen" three times. :-) We managed to dodge "Ruthless People" and "Die Hard 3" (I didn't say they were all GOOD DVD's.... now you know who buys all the ones from the 5$ bin). Lauren scored "Little Miss Sunshine" and Jacob got "Curious George". We were sad not to hang on to "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" but you can't win them all, and like I said, we dodged not one but TWO copies of Ruthless People. :-) Best White Elephant gift I ever got? A real armadillo that was also a purse....... it doesn't get better than that folks.
The other fun tradition that I love is the book box. Derek's grandparents always send a box of books to each family. Everything from novels to history, best sellers, biographies and classics. It is basically a free for all and everyone manages to take something that they haven't read home. I love this because it keeps me in reading material for weeks. I am a voracious reader.
For New Years Eve dinner we had King Crab Legs. I am not a seafood fan. I have come a long way and will eat many things, but this one didn't become a favorite for me. Derek's family lived in Portland for awhile and also overseas where they ate seafood all the time. In fact, they all eat everything. They love stuff like Liver and Onions (my husbands favorite dish--no lie, he will order it if he ever see's it in a restaurant), sushi and sashimi, all veggies, etc. They all ate this stuff at a very young age. But, back to the crab legs.... the kids LOVED them. Actually, Lulu could take them or leave them, but is is obsessed with butter so she was happy. She would eat cat food if we told her that she could dip it in butter. Derek and Jacob were in heaven. It was fun to watch everyone "opening" their dinner. I can't imagine what the actual crab looked like if these were just the legs. :-) I've seen The Deadlist Catch and the crabs on that looked MUCH smaller.....
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Even though this is late, I wanted to put up some fun Christmas photos.... the kids were so funny. This is the tree at Grandma's house. This was BEFORE Santa came. With three aunts, 5 uncles and 3 cousins staying with us at Grandma's this year, we had a full house.
I keep meaning to sit down and write another great post (I have about 12 funny stories saved up) but I have wasted my internet time reading all the other blogs and I absolutely cannot spend another second on this blog until I update the kids sites and write their letters to their families..... I am a bad mommy this month b/c I usually have that done long before now....
So here are a few pictures from Christmas in Utah. Notice that there will be no pictures of my kids in the snow in Utah, even though it snowed every single day. It was way too much work to put them in all that stuff and then take them out of it again.... blah. How do you Utah (and other snow area) mom's do it? Mostly this is from Christmas Day.......
Cubby got a Turbo Tail Tigger
These are my sleepy brothers napping after all the good stuff was over. We kicked them out of their rooms so they had no choice but to sleep on the couch amid all the kids and chaos......
Next up... SECOND CHRISTMAS.......
Monday, January 15, 2007
is Cubby and his cousin Cheeks McSassy Pants. :-)
I have a dream..
Last week for school, Lauren brought home some interesting homework. In preparation for Black History Month, we were to talk to our children about Martin Luther King, Jr. It wasn't hard to guess where this topic was headed. This is another one of those times that as a parent, we have to teach our children, and try to explain, about the terrible things that people do to one another. LDS kids (and other children of Christian faiths) get a little bit of practice, because, lets face it..the scriptures are FULL of people doing bad things. The Christmas story alone is enough to send my Sunbeams quaking in their loafers and patent leather Mary Jane's.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
Ouch. It is amazing to me that my mom was a teenager when this speech was given and how right he was. Not drinking from the same fountain? Not going to the same schools? Not eating in the same restaurants? Can you even IMAGINE that? I have felt tiny little licks of prejudice as a mother by people who don't like children or choose to understand the difficulties that come with taking a child on a plane or to a restaurant. But, I have a group of people to back me up and say that I am right and valid. Did the people who were involved in the Civil Rights movement have ANYONE that told them that what society said wasn't true? I am thinking not. For the past several hundreds years, society told these folks in every possible way that they were NOT equal. They were NOT to mix. What kind of bravery and courage did it take to decide that it was time the world realized that was just not true? I get huffy when I have to confront someone about my children, I can't imagine doing what they did. I would like to believe that I would have been one of the ones who would have stood up but I am not sure what I would have done.Black history has taken a new meaning in our house for obvious reasons, but also because Lauren is in school now and is being taught things that it never occurred to me to explain to her. In our family, we had already had a few discussions in this vein.
"Mom, were there black pilgrims?"
"No, the pilgrims were all white".
"Because they came from a place called Europe, and all the people there were white".
"Then how did black people get here?"
"They came on a different kind of boat sweetie".
GULP. Does my 5 year old need to understand the complexities of the slave trade? Right now, no. Is it important that she understand how and why black people came here. Absolutely........when she is 6 or 8 or 12 or whenever we feel like she can have a discussion about it. I have bought a few children's books about slavery and we will crack them out when the time comes. They even come with discussion questions in the back. Bless those authors!
The combination of February (all the lovey dovey stuff in the air) and the fact that I am an insomniac and tend to get pretty cheesy when I am up late has gotten me thinking. As I get older and pass in and out of various stages in my life I am increasingly grateful for those that have come before me. It is finally sinking in that our entire generation is the recipient of many, many privileges that the people who came before us had to work very hard to achieve. I am so grateful to be a woman, in this country and in this decade. I am grateful for the women who stood up so that I could vote and own property. I am grateful for the women who insisted on attending university, law school and medical school when it wasn't an acceptable thing. I am grateful for them and for the people who hired them; they paved the way to give me so many options when deciding what I wanted to do with myself. I am grateful for all the women who worked so hard to ensure that women could be treated equally in the workplace, that we could have things like maternity leave and company daycare. I am also grateful for all the women who stayed home and raised their children and showed me and the rest of the world that educated, capable and intelligent women really DO have a choice and that choice is not always the workplace. I am thankful for the doctors that took the time and the companies that took the money to research cancer and it's treatments. I am grateful for the people who took experimental drugs that allowed us to figure out how this disease works. It is one of these drugs that is saving the life of my mother-in-law right now. I have realized that I am actually living the end result of what most of these early crusaders hoped that their actions would lead to. We all are.
In honor of Black History month, I am also thankful for the people that decided 40 years ago that enough was enough. That they decided to "cash the check" that America wrote them when they emancipated the slaves that told them they were entitled to the same rights and liberties. The direct impact it had in my life was that I was able to grow up and know that it didn't matter if my kids were black, white or green. When it came time to decide how my husband and I would create our family we didn't have to worry if we would be ostracized by our family for adopting our son or worry that our life or his life would be endangered. What a gift.
"I have a dream that one day...little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. "
When I was telling Lauren about how brown people couldn't sit at the front of the bus or go to school with white kids or eat at the same restaurants she was having a hard time believing it. "just because their skin is different, mom? That is it?" How amazing that the thought of these things are viewed as so outlandish today that even a 5 year old is incredulous. She followed up with "does that mean white people couldn't adopt brown people?" When I told her yes, that was true too, she got really teary eyed. She walked over to Jacob and kissed his head and said "that is just not fair! What would we do without our Jacob?" That is the literal fulfillment of Dr. King's vision. Not only do they walk together as brothers and sisters, but the fight together, tease each other and cause trouble together as brothers and sisters too.
I know that the world is not perfect, that there are still many forms of racism today. I know that even though the message MLK preached was a worthy one, the man himself struggled with his own demons. I know all this, but I still believe that the world is a better place today then it was. I still believe that my children are benefiting from all the people that came before them and saw a need for change and weren't afraid to stand up and do it. I hope that I am able to teach them to be those kinds of people too. I hope that if I see an opportunity to do the same, I will not be afraid to stand up and lend my time and energy to a cause that I believe in. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I still really do believe that one person can make a difference. I believe that the world in 40 years will be a better place for my grandkids then it is today. I have faith in human beings and their ability to do the right thing. History is full of times when humankind has back stepped a little bit. My own life is full of time when individuals have made me question if humans really are much better then animals. As far as the big picture goes, I am still a believer. So, thank you to all that came before, and thank you to all that are trying right now to make a difference in this world. I may not agree with what you are fighting for, but I think that as long as our world has people in it that care enough to fight for something, we will end up leaving this place better then we found it. Today, that is an encouraging thought.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Right this very minute, my sister in law is having a baby. He should be here within the hour. Yippeeee. The first cousin on my husbands side (thank the heavens.....) and our first one that lives close by.... I am so nervous for them and so excited........... She is adorable and tiny. This is her about a week ago. She is one of those people that doesn't look pregnant until she turns around. Not in her face, arms, bum, nothing. She just glued a watermelon to her abs. Congrats to the new family and we are DYING to see the little man.........
**Update...the little man is here!! We just got the call here at about 11:30. They have kept his name a big secret for the whole pregnancy. All they would say was it was the only name that Erin ever wanted for a child ever since she was small. They named him Derek, after my husband. How sweet is that. I cried when I heard. Derek and his sister are very close and this means a lot to all of us. Big D and little D (we may just end up calling him Skeletor....). Anyway,
WELCOME TO THE WORLD BABY DEREK!!!!!!!!!
Anyway, speaking of family. One of my sisters (I have many and they are all very talented in their own ways....) is writing a cookbook. She has written a book before and has been a book editor for years. She used to edit for the "Home and Hearth" division of a major publishing company. One day she decided that she had an idea for a cookbook and now she is writing it!!! Clever girl. This is the kind of book where they even gave her an advance... none of this "sure, go ahead and write and book and we will wait and see if it sells and THEN give you money" for her. Bravo Jen!
Here is an excerpt from the description she sent me.... and she needs a few more recipe's to round things out and she wants them to be awesome... I know that many of you readers are great and frugal cooks. Please, please, please send a recipe if you have one that fits. If they are used in the book your name will be credited (you could even credit it to your mom or grandma and when the book is printed you have a great Christmas present!!! Do you love how I am selling this, Jen?). Also, recipe's are not copyrighted, so if you have one that you use that you got from a cookbook or website, that is ok. We just change them a little bit (and who doesn't do that anyway?). For example, I made the Chicken Stew with biscuits from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook all the time, but by now it is a totally different recipe. I use different veggies and like my stew a little thicker than she makes it. Now, it isn't the same recipe so it is ok to use. There are a few criteria that you need to follow, so not every recipe will work.....
"The average American family of four spends more than $8000 per year on groceries, usually the second biggest monthly expense after a mortgage or rent. Cutting that by a third or by half can make a huge difference in a family budget. There's no doubt that food is the best place to cut wasteful spending, but until now families looking for a way to trim the fat from their grocery expenditures usually relied on endless nights of spaghetti'the tried and true budget meal. Now there's a way to eat well on a dime.
Gather your hungry family around the dinner table with this amazing book full of budget-conscious recipes. The book features 150 dollar-friendly delicious dinner recipes that cost $6 or less to make. There are also helpful hints on smart grocery shopping (for before you go and while you are there), and the dollar-saving budget 'buddy meal' system. Also included are tips on budget-smart substitutions for your favorite recipes, a list of ways to add a touch of gourmet to any meal with little cost, the top 25 pantry must-haves, and advice on when NOT to be cheap. The budget shopper's greatest secret 'the price list' is also revealed here with step-by-step instructions on how to begin. With this unique cookbook and lifestyle guide to frugal cooking, your family and your wallet will be full and happy!
I need soups, salads, side dishes and main courses. Also if anyone has a great recipe that incorporates leftovers, I have a leftovers section as well. I have plenty of desserts and don't need bread ('cause you can't make things any cheaper than a mix!). Think high yield, high impact, low cost, low ingredient #. I'm also including a substitute list where we'll list an expensive recipe item and show a low cost alternative (shrimp vs. imitation crab meat) so people can begin to convery some of their higher cost recipes to low cost.
Please send any submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org (my business email) and if I use the recipe in the book, I'll include their full name in the Acknowledgments! I'd be ever so grateful as I know you have a LOT of mom readers. I fully plan on having you be my alpha manuscript reviewer, if you don't mind. I'd love your input."
Now, I enjoy a fancy meal as much as the next guy, but the weeks that I spend too much at Hanna Andersson, Pottery Barn or the gas station I love these krecipes recpies...... The goal is for them to come in under 6$ or less per recipe, but some things you don't have to count.... things that you would already have in the cupboard, ie, oil, chicken broth, basic spices, etc.....
I would really love to see these as well so either send them to the email addy above or post them in the comments..... Lisa, I think your turkey cutlet thingy's would be good (and they can leave off the nuts....) and you can piggy back that recipe w/ Shephards Pie to used the rest of the turkey and potatoes..... Julie, I already sent her your Fiesta Corn one, great stuff. GcQ and Azucar, you MUST have some in your box that would work, you too Compulsive, Lucky RH, CJane, Design Mom, Tracy M, Julie, Julie... anyone? anyone?
P.S. I have to admit that I don't think I have ever made something that cost less than 6$ per recipe... I am a fan of things like goat cheese and meat and that pretty much takes me over the 6$ limit, but I have been eyeing some fun pillows and that money has to come out of some part of the budget. I am dying to try there. (Note: I am pretty sure that when most people cut their grocery budget, it isn't so they can dump it right back into Pottery Barn.....).
The ones that she already has seem great!!! Also, we will be testing these in the next phase so let me know if you would be willing to make some of them and give an honest review....
You guys are the best!! Thanks for your help, and my sister thanks you. :-)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
My friend over at the Blog ConQueso is celebrating her 6 month blog-iversary. I love this blog. Funny stuff, great recipe's, excellent iTunes mixes and a razor sharp wit. Throw in the cutest kid in the world (sadly, it is true...) named Hurricane because he was born when they had to evacuate for a HURRICANE (you know the one) and you have one fun blog.
She is also celebrating National Delurking week by giving away a great little goodie from Darlybird. You have to delurk and leave a comment with your name and/or something weird about you.....
Come on, you know you wanna.........
P.S. I couldn't get the link thing to work and didn't feel like fixing it so you can find Blog ConQueso on my sidebar.....