Thursday, May 19, 2011

Move over Jungle Jack

We are creature friendly around these parts, as long as {a} I don't have to touch it and {b} it stays outside. Recently it rained. This was a big deal to our drought struck state. Texas is actually starting to look more  like the  desert cliches and less like the green paradise it normally is. When it rained one afternoon even the snails were excited. We went out to get the mail and realized there were hundreds of snails all over our front porch area. Ayden grabbed the camera and spent the next hour filming and investigating. I think Jungle Jack has some competition, don't you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I almost didn't recognize you...

You know how it goes. You run into someone at the mall, or church, or on facebook and you just know you know them. They look so familiar. They sound familiar. They clearly know you... but you just cant place them. WHO ARE YOU you wonder, while gracefully (or not so gracefully) pretending to be in the know. Well, this happened to me this week. He says his name is Mr. Sandman. He is tall dark and very very handsome. His voice is soothing and alluring. He claims he has excelent skills working with children. He came to my house three times in the past week and set up shop in the nursery. WHO ARE YOU? I asked him. He just smiled. He says he works in ten to twelve hour shifts and may  or may not return tomorrow. I'll tell you what... I may not have seen him in these past eight months, but he is surely welcome anytime he wants!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Simply Eats:: {Shepherds Pie Ole}

I have not had much time to blog lately.. but we are still eating dinner! Thought I would share a couple yummy things I've made lately. We're on a eat healthy but cheap plan at the moment.

Black bean Soup
1 bag black beans
1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen green chilis
1 tbl dried onion
2 tsp garlic powder (to taste)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper

Start soaking beans while getting the kids out the door for school. By lunchtime they will be ready to go in the crock pot after a good rinsing. Place beans and other ingredients in your crock pot and fill with enough water to just cover. Cook till supper and enjoy!

Shepherds Pie Ole!
1 lb ground beef or turkey
four cups mashed potatoes
low sodium taco seasoning
leftover black beans
(frozen if preferred) veggies of your choice

make mashed potatoes your favorite way, set aside. (Ours had low cal butter and low fat yogurt instead of sour cream and butter). Make taco meat according to seasoning packet instructions. Add beans and mix. Pour into a casserole dish. Sprinkle no sodium added diced veggies such as peas and carrots or mixed veggies with corn on top of the meat layer. There is one we like with asparagus and white corn that would be super yummy. I had peas and carrots. That's what I used. Then spread your potatoes on top. To make ours feel special I used an icing bag and piped little potato flowers. Bake at 350 until potato starts browning ever so slightly. If you aren't trying to get rid of baby weight throw some yummy cheese on before baking. Let cook and then giggle as your eight year old scarfs down yet another meal packed with vegetables.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


This is a tapir. A brazilian Tapir specifically. We have a Bairds Tapir at our zoo and Melvin is one of our favorite animals there. They have some interesting similarities to people. For the first week of their life, they go into seclusion. That quiet private week is always my favorite after having a baby. Then they stay close to their mother for a full year after which they are weaned. Silas is almost 8 months old (I cant believe it either) and suddenly I'm preparing to begin weaning him. I'm not ready  for this big big step. Wasn't it just yesterday we were here....
At about 18month old though Tapirs reach maturity and can become pregnant. They  gestate for approximately 400 days. FOUR HUNDRED DAYS. Can you imagine? 400 days of waiting, dreaming,  planning. I couldnt stand pregnancy. I just wanted to see their little faces. Smell their little heads. Count their little toes. I wanted to know what  their giggle sounded like, how they would want to fall asleep at night, how they would feel in my arms. Three times I went through this. I was pregnant no more than 39 weeks at a time. 273 days of what I would describe as pure anticipatory torture. The only thing that kept me sane were the kicks. The punches. The heartburn. It made it real.  Horribly uncomfortable, but real.   My physical pain kept my emotions from bursting through the roof. They kept my brain from imploding on itself.
Meet Becky.
First, you should know I love this girl. We met my sophomore year of college when she was a freshman and had at least one class together every semester. Until she kicked my butt and graduated BEFORE me. She was an always there for you with the truth kind of friend. Willing to make me face the tough stuff, but with a coffee in her hand. She got me through some really really tough times this girl. She drove three hours to be there for the birth of my first born. Bought a stupid expensive dress to stand by me on my wedding day... only after facing me with some really tough truths about sin and my heart. This mothers day all I thought about was her. Because 402 days ago she started a photo collection marking the number of days she has been waiting for her adoption of a beautiful baby boy in Ethiopia. He is darling. Has the best cheeks on the planet. Trust me, I stare at his picture often. FOUR HUNDRED AND TWO DAYS. And thats not even when her journey began...just when she started making tally marks on the wall 10 months into it. It struck me today thinking about mommies and waiting mommies that not even Tapirs have to wait so long to get their baby into their arms. Or prehensile trunk... or whatever. It just seems too long. Too painful. Too much waiting. But then I remember Elizabeth. You know, the mother of John the Baptist. The bible tells us that she was well along in years when she found out about her baby... but then she had to wait that entire pregnancy. Can you imagine? Knowing your long awaited child that you just knew would never come was inyou. But no one beieiving the crazy old lady could have a baby. Only the silent pains in your body as proof. The nudges, the aches, the sciatica. Can you imagine being so close and yet so far away? Becky knows. She's held her baby. She's smelled his sweet head and pinched those  uh-mazing cheeks. Will you pray for my friend. And for her baby. And please pray for all the parents waiting on Ehtiopian adoptions to be finalized. Lord Jesus, bring these babies home. Go see her blog will you? Buy a bag while you are there! Help her know that the pain is what makes it real.  For her it isnt heartburn and sciatic nerve and round ligaments but the waiting nonetheless painful. Physically painful. YET In the pain is the promise. "He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it". Phillipians 1:6
For he is Good.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Simply Eats:: {Mole}

I have a new love. Once, several years ago, I was working at a day care.  We often had potlucks. ONE TIME a girl brought Mole. ONE STINKIN TIME... and I have craved it ever since. I really thought, probably due to her boasting, that mole was a mexican recipe far beyond my suburban skills. Oh what we have been missing. A friend from high school mentioned it once on facebook. I begged a recipe and she wrote out in awesome detail on her blog a wonderful way to heaven. I only made af few changes, mostly because I decided last minute to have mole for dinner this past saturday. In her recipe she boils her chicken and uses the water after to make the mole. I had made crock pot chicken stock earlier in the week so I used 2 cups stock and 2 cups water. I baked my chicken and my mole was really reallly thick... but oh how good. Now the true  question, which I would love to get your answers on, is what would an authentic way to serve mole be? I'm pretty sure it isnt meant to be eaten with a spoon.  Which may or may not have happened in my kitchen. Thank you  Ronnie! You have blessed me with a skill all four of my boys will appreciate!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where am I?

I am buried in being a mama these days. Silas is seventh months old, 100 % mobile and into everything. Last night during bath he reached up and grabbed the soap holder and proceeded to pull himself to standing and then climb up the side of his baby bath tub in a matter of seconds. Crazy child. If you see us out an about, don't be surprised if he's wearing Balins bike helmet. I have not made anything exciting, food or craft, nor gone on any adventures. I have not tried any new products. We are in the thick of simple living as we try to get our mounting medical bills paid off. (Anyone want to laugh with me?) Mr. Simply is working his tail end off this week being an amazing husband. Someone quit at work so his workload more than doubled. So have the 24 hour a day phone calls. When he is home it feels like we are running a political campaign. I'm also not blogging much due to a broken keyboard. One of my children doused it in water and now the space bar sticks. When I get back to you expect some news on these subjects:
May bundt of the month
how I made my own jar lanterns with 2$ solar lights
back to Piper... I've been longing to finish the list
preschool beginnings questions and answers