Friday, October 31, 2008

Costumes On - Check, Check

Mac has chosen what he wants to be for Halloween since he was old enough to have an opinion. I have tried to remember what he has been (Lion, Cowboy, Pirate, Zorro, Contractor, another Cowboy, a Hunter). I just remembered Zorro this evening when we were trick or treating. This year, he is at a Crossroads in his life where part of him is still very much a kid, but he is also a teenager-so he wasn't sure if it would be "cool" for him to trick or treat with us. I told him he could be Indiana Jones-and it didn't take much to convince him of that. The leather jacket is Lee's-that he got on his mission in Korea.
Mason also choose what he wanted to be.......a vampire. I have NO idea where he got hat idea-seriously. I am probably one of the only people on the face of the Earth who hasn't read the Twilight series. Every Halloween I always remember Mason's first Halloween. He was 10 months old, and I found Mac's Lion costume, so he wore that. I decided that year to shop for Mac's costume early, when Mason was 9 months old. I was still able to put him in a Baby Bjorn carrier, and he still had to be on oxygen. We went to the Costume Display Store in Everett-and it was loud, alot of lights, and alot of stuff going on. Mason was forward facing, so I couldn't see him. He suddenly got "heavy" like he was asleep, but I thought "there is NO way this baby is asleep". I asked Mac if his brother was asleep and he said yes. I couldn't believe it! I later discovered that his coping mechanism for dealing with stressful situations, is falling asleep.
Back to tonight. We trick or treated our neighborhood, then went to another neighborhood a few blocks down. Mason was getting tired after only 40 minutes of trick or treating. He does this every year. This year, we were able to trick or treat Papa and Nana Dawson's house. They live almost 20 minutes away from us, so that was cool that we got to see them.

Pumpkins Carved, Check

This week has been busy with Football, Parent/Teacher Confrences, 1/2 days for Mac, No school for Mason, and who knows what else. Carving Pumpkins has always been one of Lee's jobs to do with the kids, but he's been really busy this last month. I really don't like to carve pumpkins, it's gross, and it's messy. But, we managed to do this last night-and we were almost done when the Dad walked through the door.
Mason wanted to make sure we had the "Big" bowl for doing this. Other tools we use: an ice cream scoop for scooping out the "guts", and 2 knives-one of which is one of those $2.00 pumpkin carving knife, that actually, works pretty well. For this picture, he had his hands out like one of the girls on The Price is Right-a show that he has NEVER seen before. I told him to put his hands away.

Mac actually did his all by himself, without any help from me. I was in fear that he was going to slice his hand open, or cut one of his fingers off..but he did his whole pumpkin without any help from me. (Pardon the mess in the background. Mason cleaned off the table, quickly after dinner-and some of it is also Lee's mess, but that is for another post at another time).

Mason on the other hand, needed all sorts of help of course. He so wanted to to everything himself too, so I let him scoop out the guts with his hands. He was elbow deep in pumpkin guts. He wanted to separate the seeds so we can "Clean them, Roast them, and Eat them". This was a little song he learned in kindergarten last week. He was singing it for at least 20 minutes.

Mac decided to "free carve" his pumpkin without a design or a plan. It turned out pretty well all things considering. Mason wanted an "angry" face on his. I went upstairs to talk to Lee for a few minutes, and Mason said "Mackie is carving my pumpkin now Mom, so we don't need you". Stab me in the heart. Lee told me to just let them do it, and I went down and it was almost done. Mac did everything that Mason wanted him to do with his pumpkin too. It looked pretty good as well.

The finished products. BOO! Mac's is on the right and Masons is on the left. I carved my pumpkin (with help from Mason). I was too tired to be creative, so I just cut out some geometric shapes. It wasn't worth taking a pic and posting. Happy Halloween!

My Bad

The University that Uncle Derick went to was the University of Florida-not Florida State. Thank you Auntie Jessica for correcting me on that. Now a bunch of red neck good ol' boys won't come and hunt me down and shut down my blog.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For Uncle Derick

I just got off the phone with Uncle Derick who lives in Florida. He checks out our blog every once in a while. He got this sweat shirt for Mac when he was 6 years old, and it was too small for him when we got it. So, we saved it for Mason-and he's been wearing it. Uncle Derick attended Florida State-home of the Gators. I took this picture a while back when Mason was sick, and had a loose tooth. He didn't want to smile, but he wanted me to take a picture of him, wiggling his tooth-which explains why he has his finger in his mouth.
Halloween update: We have our costumes, and will carve our pumpkins tonight (I really hate carving pumpkins). It's supposed to rain tomorrow night, so we will be Trick or Treating at one of 2 Malls around where we live. I love Trick or Treating at Malls-it's nice and warm, inside a Mall. It doesn't get any better than that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Honey Pumpkin Pie

Lee's favorite pie, is Pumpkin. But not just any Pumpkin Pie, Honey Pumpkin Pie. I have used this recipe for over 10 years. Everytime I try out a new Pumpkin Pie recipe, he knows once it touches his tongue that it's not the Honey one. The original recipe came from a cookbook my Mom has had for years and years, that is now out of print. It's a Better Homes and Gardens Step by Step cookbook, and she actually gave me the book so I could cook, bake and become a better wife, to my poor husband who was eating frozen dinners. Here is the recipe, with my modifications. It's a combination of the Better Homes and Gardens recipe and the Libbys Pumpkin Pie recipe. This makes 2 - 9 inch pies, but you could cut everything in half to make one.
1 29 oz can of Pumpkin (I use Libbys, it's better, and there is a difference)
1 1/3 Cups of Honey (3/4 cup if you are making 1 pie)
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves
6 eggs
2- 12 oz cans evaporated milk
Single pie crust for 2 - 9 inch pies (I use the roll out pie crusts)
In a large mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin, honey, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Add eggs. Beat eggs into pumpkin mixture with a fork. Stir in evaporated milk, mix well. Fill pie crust shells, dividing mixture between the two pie shells. Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes or till the pie is set.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Getting Ready for Halloween!

In case you were wondering, we are getting ready for Halloween. We got our pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, we have our decorations up (what few we have)-Mason thinks we need more. Our Blog is more Halloweenish than our house is. I got candy (which ALL of the boys ate). I updated our blog, and my playlist. It's been getting cold outside for the last several nights, and even had frost on our windshields on the cars. The boys have decided what they want to be this year. Mason really wants to be a Vampire, and Mac wants to be Indiana Jones. I actually talked Mac into the Indiana Jones part. He has a hat like him, Lee has an old leather jacket, now the only thing missing is a whip. Like that's really going to happen, but we will do our best.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've been tagged! 6 Random Things About Me

This is my 2nd Tag. Becky Cornwall tagged me months ago, so I could get the ball rolling on my blog. I've known about this tag for a few days, so lets get on with it.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write 6 randon things about yourself.
4. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on thier website.

1. I have dyslexia. I can read, write and spell very well-my dyslexia is with numbers. I just couldn't accept why 2x2=4 I had to tear it apart and find out why. My Senior year in High School I was in College Prep English and Special Ed Math. I worked at Nordstrom for 11 years, and oldly enough, I worked with alot of numbers for all 11 years. I had to work with percentages (sales 33% off-50%off) Department numbers, SKU's, price points, and scheduling (keeping track of hours). I also worked on the registers, before we scanned everything, and when I started, you had to punch in the credit card numbers on the registers. Talk about overcoming your problems. I still suck at Math, and use a calculator.

2. I flunked my Driving Test twice. I flunked my written twice (passing by 2 points on the 3rd test) and my Driving twice. I have test anxiety-as well as the Dyslexia. It's fun to be me.

3. I wake up in a cranky mood when my kitchen is messy from the night before. So, my kitchen is rarely messy when I wake up.

4. I get anxious when my house is messy and my laundry isn't done. When my house is clean, and my laundry is done, I am more pleasant to be around.

5. I couldn't cook or bake when Lee and I first got married. I thought is was cool that I couldn't cook or bake. I really didn't have much of a desire to do so, and thought we could live off of Frozen dinners. I introduced Lee to his first Frozen dinner our 1st week of marriage. I soon found out, his mother made EVERYTHING from scratch, so I thought I needed to learn how to cook and bake if I wanted to stay married to him.

6. I have a calendar. I write down dates for things I need to do, when Mac has F.B. Practice, when Mason has Dr. appointments, garbage day, days that I volunteer at the school, and everything. My calendar is my brain. I do not make plans or other appointments unless I have consulted with my calendar. Lee has gotten in trouble making plans without consulting me and the calendar.

Okay, being that 32 Flavors has tagged several other people on my blog list.....I tag Jessica, Becky Cornwall, Lucy from An Ordinary Mom, and who ever else has time to read or do this tag.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

We live in a county where there are more pumpkin patches than Starbucks....well, maybe. There were allot to choose from, so we went to the one closest to our house, only 3-4 minutes away. Little did I know, this was the Mother Lode of pumpkin patches.
These medium sized beauties were some of the first ones we saw, that were in a bin. They are French Pumpkins, and they are more reddish than what is on the screen. They are sort of ugly-and go figure, they boys really wanted to get one for thier Dad. It didn't happen.

One of the few pictures of my boys together, where they are actually smiling, and looking like they are glad to be brothers.

At the pumpkin patch, they had a snack bar. They had hot dogs, sticky buns, ice cream, and corn on the cob on a stick. We all had a corn on the cob. This is proof that Mason does eat. He devoured this thing (he won't eat corn-not on the cob), and was looking to finish off mine and Mac's. I was done with mine, and Mac-of course, inhales his food.

There was a Corn Maze! Mac and Mason both wanted to go inside and go through it. We did. The design this year-A Donkey and A Elephant with an American Flag intertwined into it. Even farms get into the political spirit. Anyways, Mac wanted to "run" the maze. That didn't happen either. Mom's have a way of sucking all of the fun out of things. The maze was muddy, and slippery, and I could see a trip into the Emergency Room in my future. I try to keep our E.R. visits to one child a month-not one a piece.

The Pumpkin Patch had wheel barrows and clippers, to cut your pumpkins off the vines. Mac had the pleasure of wheeling the pumpkins around, and clipping the vines off the pumpkins. Mac was happy to do both.

Mason searching for his pumpkin, it doesn't take him long. He wanted a really big one, but I reminded him, that he had to clean it out by himself this year. He then chose a really, really small one, and then I told him I would help him a bit, so he went for a bigger one again.

This should have been one of the first pictures, but it wasn't. This is a "Pumpkin Cannon" that shoots pumpkins out of it for a small fee. There were 2 of them-one for big pumpkins, the other for smaller ones. This was one of the first things the boys saw when we got out of our car, and they would have been perfectly content standing there, watching these things go off. I told them that we would go back just to do this. And that they needed to bring their Dad. Lee was working. He has tryed to avoid things like this the last 2 years, because he's tired, and old. But when we told him all the fun we had, I could tell he regretted it. But that was okay, because this is going to be a new fall tradition with our family. I asked the boys of they had fun, and they both responded YES! simultaneously.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How to Slow Your Life Down

The month of September and the beginning of October, my family has been plagued with some bronchitis stuff. Mac went to school for 3 days and then was home from school for 5. Mason had been out of school for 2 weeks, and just went back this week. That apparently wasn't good enough, so I then started getting sick last week. It started with a low grade fever (check) and then a little cough (check, check), and then a full blown stop you in your tracks coughing attacks. I have been high functioning for someone who is sick. My fever during the day hovered around 98-100 degrees. I would start "crashing" around 6:00-7:00pm. Dinner would be made, laundry would get done (but not put away necessarily). Mac would ask "so do I have any clean pants?" I would respond: "Yes, they are on the couch. All clothes on the couch are clean. If you would like to fold them for me, knock yourself out." So, he started folding the clothes. There were probably a good 3 loads on the couch. He was 10 minutes into the folding when he pipes up and says "Mom, this kinda sucks." Yes, and yet, this is something I do all the time.
I rarely get any sympathy when I am sick. The only time Lee takes me seriously is when I have a fever of 102 or more and I am wearing my sweats and a wool sweater, with 3 blankets on me to bed. He told me "You can't get sick, it's just inconvienent". Inconvienent for who? Me? You? Our children? I didn't go there.
I have 2 very sweet Visiting Teachers who have very, very young children-and each have a baby under 6 months of age. They would call me, and I would beg them not to come, in fear of infecting them and thier families, mostly the little babies. It would kill me to think that they got this terrible virus because thier Mommy's dropped off a meal to us. I reassured them, we were fine in the food area, and that I managed to get things done during the day.
Mac still has Football 3 days a week, and Scouts/Mutual on Wednesdays-so I was out driving around 4 days a week, and trying to cheer Mac on at his Football Game on Saturday. I went promising myself I was only going to watch, that didn't work. I would yell or cheer them on, following a cough attack, chased down with 2 cough drops. I did come home that day, got my sweats on, and crashed. That was nice.
I attempted to type up a post during all of this, but then after I typed it, I read it back to myself, and it sounded like I was whining, which, I was. So, I deleted about 3 posts during last week, all to spare you of what was going on in my household. So, I posted what I was doing on Facebook. A little blurb about "what are you doing". I would like to take this time to thank my friends who read this blog, and who also commented on my status on Facebook. That little bit of support meant alot to me.
I am gradually getting better. My fever is almost gone (97.8 this morning), I can talk this morning (which most mornings, I would almost lose my voice), and I can talk without coughing. I see a light at the end of my dark tunnel.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crock Pot Meals

I guess this would be a "recipe" post. Fall is here. Even though we have had beautiful, sunny, warm weather here in the Seattle area (70-80 degrees)-you can feel a sort of snap in the air, something you don't feel in the summer time. When the weather starts turning colder-I bring out my Crock Pot. I love my Crock Pot! I love that I can put something in it with a little water, seasonings and presto! dinner is done. I love knowing that I can go about my day without stopping at noon or so, wondering what I'm going to make for dinner-because dinner is cooking and will be done by dinnertime. This is especially comforting during Football Season-when my Wednesday's are crazy. My Wednesdays are my "Day from H*$L". Mac has football practice, I have Cub Scouts (Webelos Den Leader), and then I pick Mac up from Football to go to Scouts. From 4:30 pm until after 8:00pm I'm running like a mad woman in her mini van.

Yesterday, I bought an Acorn Squash at the grocery store. I had some projects to do, and thought-I should put it in the Crock Pot and see what happens. I put in about 1 inch of water on the bottom, cut the squash, put butter, salt and pepper and a little brown sugar in the crevice of the squash. I had my Crock Pot on High (because is was past noon) and it was done by 3:00 pm. I kept in on Warm and it was the most perfectly cooked squash I had ever tasted.
Here are a few more things I like to put into my Crock Pot-

Beef Stew: I brown up some stew meat, add some water, carrots, onion, those little red potatoes and one of those seasoning packets for beef stew from the grocery store. I call them "Wonder Packets". My Mom uses them all the time for everything. Anyways. I put it all in the Crock Pot on Low-all day.

Chili: I brown up hamburger, add Red Kidney Beans (canned) , an onion and another "Wonder Packet" for Chili. Cook on Low all day. Or on High for 4-5 hours. I will also bake some cornbread with this.

Spaghetti Sauce: I have my own recipe for Spaghetti Sauce. It's a little involved, but I'll give you the low down on it without specifications. I'll brown some Italian Sausage, add some Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on Low all day or again on High for 5 hours. I did this over the summer when I was gone all day. It was nice to know all I had to do was boil some pasta and dinner was again....ready.

Pot Roast: 1 Roast (cut of meat of your choice), onion, carrots, and little red potatoes. Add some water, and again, another Wonder Packet.
*I use the little red potatoes, because they are yummy, and don't disintegrate when they are cooked.

Spiced Apple Cider: 1 bottle of Apple Cider, 2 Cinnamin Sticks and about 5 Cloves. Turn on High for 2-3 hours. Take out spices, keep on Warm. You can keep the Cider in the Crock Pot all day.
*You need to take spices out, because the Cloves will over power and it will taste gross. Trust me. You can also buy Mulling Spices. If you find some with alot of different spices, including orange rind-buy it. It's yummy. I also bought some Mulling Spices for Wine once, and put it into the Apple Cider-it was the best. You will need to put the spices in one of those cheese cloth baggies.

Those are my stand by's. You can put almost anything in a Crock Pot. Soups are always good. You can also buy one of those Crock Pot Cookbooks, they always have good recipes too. If you need to purchase a Crock Pot-I'm ususally not one to push a name brand onto people, but, I would suggest the Rival Crock Pot. I purchased one, by another brand, and it get's too hot, cooks too fast, and isn't the same as the Rival Crock Pot.