Psalm for the Day

12 June, 2011

Basil, basil. basil...everywhere I turn, there's more basil!

  I spent quite some time this evening, harvesting, cutting, snipping, sorting, and packing basil leaves.  I worked my way through about half of what I cut, only to realize there are more volunteer plants and more basil growing than I even knew about.  I have four more plants to process before the season is over.
  I was too pregnant last summer to properly deal with my garden at the end of growing time.  I let my basil plant go to seed and didn't think much of it.  Little did I know that it would produce so many offspring, I could have easily gone into business selling the little plants!  I probably pulled eighty or more seedlings.  I transplanted one and allowed two others to grow.  Under the two I let grow, three more plants came up.  Good gravy!!!
  So, my organic basil is being offered up for free since I can't deal with so much of it.  See below for a very basic (but good) pesto recipe.  I had everything on hand to make it, but it may require a quick run to the grocery store.

BASIC PESTO

3 large or 5 small cloves garlic, peeled
4 c (packed) basil leaves, washed and dried
1 c olive oil
1/4 c pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds), toasted (I used both pine nuts and almonds since I didn't have enough of either)
2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 c (generous) freshly grated parmesan cheese

Toast nuts in dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Once they become fragrant and are lightly browned, remove from heat.  With food processor running, drop garlic through food chute.  Add basil, a few handfuls at a time and process until you can fit all of the basil inside the processor.  Stream in the olive oil while the processor is running.  Make sure to scrape the sides periodically.  Add the salt, nuts, and then the cheese.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
I store mine in small, glass baby food jars in the freezer.
Makes approx 2 cups.

I'm making spaghetti later this week.  I cannot wait to add the fresh pesto to my sauce.  Yummmmm!!!


I need to be a better me...

  It's almost 1am Sunday morning.  I finished up some dishes and laundry a few minutes ago.  My train of thought wanders this time of night, and I keep coming back to Anabelle and the hard days we've had this week.  She is so strong willed, and I don't think I am raising her in the way that is best suited for her.  I feel like I try to break her spirit every day when I should be giving it wings to fly.  She is so smart.  Not just the typical, my kid is smart kind of intelligence.  She is a firecracker.  She understands things that normal three year olds do not.  She is capable of thinking along the lines of a much older child.  Her bull-headedness is, I think, a direct result of her attempt to channel some of her pent up frustration since she has no other way of letting it out.  I worry about her more than my other girls when she gets older.  She wants so badly to tear away from our parental grasp and she doesn't show any signs of stopping.  I'm not sure how best to handle this little person.  I pray over her most every night, but I think my prayers need to be more specific when I ask for her health and well being.  I need for God to raise her.  I'm not doing such a good job.
  Some days, it seems as though I stay in a constant state of anxious frustration, unable to let my guard down, unable to lower my voice, unable to break free of this Mr. Hyde persona she brings out in me.  Other days, she will sit quietly with me, being more than an angel, and I feel so at peace.  Maybe it is her age and she will mature into a less devious person (strong word, but I cannot think of anything better).  I can only hope.  I just get so tired of having to be on high alert every waking minute of every day.
  Doing dishes tonight, I thought about how I can encourage her independent spirit without encouraging her to continue with negative behaviors.  I think I might have to relax about a few things and maybe use that as a tool to help me.  Maybe then, she'll be more willing to obey- if she feels like she has had a little room to move the way she wants to.  I'm not talking about breaking the rules or letting bad behavior slide.  I just think that, if she wants to do some things for herself (and, oh does she want to do that!!) that I should be more than willing to let her.  Maybe, she can choose her own clothes and get herself dressed in the mornings.  Maybe I should give her the responsibility of making her bed.  She's three, but she can do it, I think.
  I want her to feel in control of part of her life so that maybe, even if it's not what she had in mind, she might listen to me when things are not her decision.  The old phrase, "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile" comes to mind.  I guess I'll just have to see what happens.
  Whatever the result, something's gotta give.  I know that through all of this, I will be working on myself.  I always said I wouldn't be a screamer/yeller.  It happened.  I feel ashamed of that part of my life, so hopefully God will take that from me.  Hopefully, Anabelle and the other kids will benefit from it, too.  God is good.

09 June, 2011

Summer is here


  I have been enjoying the rains and breezy spring weather that Texas gives so willingly the first few months of each year.  Wildflowers and weeds abound, making the highway hills dance with colorful delight.  I have lovingly been the recipient of more handpicked Ella and Anabelle bouquets than I have mini vases for.  Sadly, all of that has vanished into thin air and we have been catapulted straight into the brick wall of summer heat.  Most of the country is experiencing record high temperatures, but we are just playing out our lot in life and hovering in the mid nineties.  Fortunately, no records are being broken, as that would put us well into the triple digits.

  It has been an interesting quest, attempting to find indoor activities for the children to sink their teeth into.  The battles wage ever increasingly as the boredom grows.  I try to send them outdoors each morning before the sun blazes down too harshly.  We've eaten watermelon, bathed the dog, run in sprinklers, and swam in lukewarm pools.  Playdoh and coloring books are becoming an all too familiar sight and don't seem to hold their attention for very long anymore.  I recently told Elizabeth that she will be learning how to do the dishes and will also be responsible for planning one meal each week.  The hard part is, I have to teach her how!  I am going to make every attempt to make it fun and enjoyable so that she wants to help as opposed to feeling as thought she is my personal slave...secretly, though, isn't that why parents have kids?  ;-)  I hope to find several inexpensive or free activities to take the kiddos to once swimming lessons are completed.  We have about seven more swim sessions and ballet through the end of June before we'll really get any kind of break from scheduled activities.  Oh, well, at least the kids aren't complaining!

  I finally got my White Mountain ice cream freezer that I have been drooling over for about ten years.  We will certainly be running the motor on a weekly basis, and have already concocted the most delicious vanilla bean ice cream I've tasted in years.  A friend reminded us of Big Red ice cream, a favorite from many a church pot luck ice cream social, but I think the next on the list will be either peach or strawberry.  Either way, it will be yummy and serve us well in our mission to keep cool.  I love this particular freezer because it is built to last for generations.  I plan on purchasing the hand crank for it so we can have the option of either motorized or manual labor (read: children!!!).  Every tyke needs the memory of a quilt-wrapped ice cream bucket, with one sibling sitting on top of the cantankerous hand crank while the others are taking turns churning the machine or licking the rock salt.  I will never forget those moments on the ranch from my childhood.  I cannot wait for my own son and daughters to forge some memories of their own.

  For now, stay cool and enjoy the summer.  Love from the Lone Star State.

17 May, 2011

kisses

Little Hudson now knows how to give his mama kisses.  He grabbed my face a little while ago, climbed onto my head, then proceeded to give me the wettest kiss in the history of the planet.  His triumphant smile was more precious than I can even put into words.  Then, back for seconds and thirds, my nose and forehead got in on the action.  He draws a very thin line between biting my face off and smothering me with slobbery love.  Either way, I'll take it!


He has eight teeth, now!  This pic is from before the others popped thru.

12 May, 2011

No time, no time...

I wish I had the time to update this blog more often.  With the end of school and four children, I'm seeing more and more how busy life is.  Hopefully over the next few days, I will be able to post here and there about the many things that have happened since last I wrote.

On that note, I will ask for prayers on behalf of my cousins' cousin, Matt.  He lost his eyesight one afternoon with no warning.  He had recently suffered an injury to his face from a feisty cow, but I have not heard whether they think that was the catalyst for his retinas detaching.  He had his second surgery this morning and will be lying face down on a rented massage table for the duration of the recovery due to gravity needing to help in the healing process.  He is being cared for by his mother and girlfriend, but I hope to talk with him soon.  I cannot imagine what he is going through right now.  How incredibly traumatic.

Tomorrow, I will post about my cousin, Cody, and his wedding in Arkansas.  It was a fast but fun trip- just Aaron, Hudson, and myself!  The girls stayed with Aaron's parents.  So nice.  Until then, goodbye!

(L to R) Adam and Heather, Zach, Mom, Dad, Sarah and Iris, Aaron, Sean, Me and Hudson

11 April, 2011

I wished for home and husband;
the wish was granted me...
My heart and hearth are daily sparked
with masculinity.

I wished for children.
This request was also granted me.
A nimble, five-ringed circus
Performing endlessly!

I'm ready for my third wish now
though squandered it may be...
A few dull moments...
Please, oh please, occasionally!

-Author unknown

Hey, Elizabeth, will you keep an eye on Hudson for a minute?

Anabelle borrowing shoes from Ella and a seat from Hudson.

On the move.


The men all tuckered out.

21 March, 2011

When it rains...

  This past week has proven to be somewhat of a challenge to my mood.  First, the washing machine started to act a little crazy.  It was not responding to it's keypad properly, stopped completing cycles, and would not unlock the door without my repeated attempts at tricking it's computer.  Then, the drier went on the fritz.  Apparently, at some point, two wires were arcing and finally shorted out, causing one of the wires to completely melt in half.  This isn't the first time we've had a wire issue with the drier, so we should have known better.  However, instead of remembering the previous problem, we spent hours disassembling it and taking pieces to be tested for soundness.  Everything seemed to be in working order, so further investigation led to the discovery of the black melted mess that were once my wires.  Aaron, along with the help of some neighbors, cut the old wiring away, spliced on some new, and replaced the connectors.  I'm not allowed to run the drier when away from home or sleeping anymore in case of further issues.  Yuck.  The fun does not stop there, though.  The washing machine finally decided to give out on me and I was left with an unwashed, completely soaked load of whites with no place to dry them.  The load of clothes literally had about three inches of standing water.  Stagnant, gross, standing water.  It's almost hot where we live, and it does not take long to turn a dirty, wet load of clothes into a nasty and smelly mess.  Major appliance number two, down for the count...but, bad things come in threes, right?  On to the refrigerator.  Aaron and I both noticed that the ice seemed wet and appeared to be slightly melted when we went to get some for our drinks.  Then, I saw that the baby food I had made last week had a thick coating of frost all over, and it was not frozen completely solid.  We checked all of the seals around the freezer, making a guess that one of the girls must have left the door ajar, and decided to recheck it a little later to see if everything was back as cold as it should be.  A while later, I was retrieving something from the fridge half and could not find the source of a very pungent banana smell.  I looked and looked but there was not a banana to be had.  Probably and hour after that, Aaron suggested that I check the freezer half to determine if everything was re-frozen.  Ahhh.  Therein lies the source of the smell.  At this point, everything, including about sixteen overripe, black bananas had completely defrosted.  The bananas were leaking their sticky brown juices all over anything and everything below them.  The ice was floating in it's own water and pouring out of the front of the ice dispenser.  I checked the fridge side and realized that, by now, it was not as cool as it should be, either.  Aaron made the executive decision to get the kids in bed first and deal with the refrigerator later, but we started pulling items out to transfer them to our garage fridge, and ended up completely emptying the entire appliance.  Almost all contents of the freezer were lost.  I salvaged what I could and then moved on to the fridge half.  We checked dates on everything and cleaned out a major portion of our condiments.  It is truly amazing what can get "lost" in such a small space in the back of the top shelf.  I cleaned it out to the best of my ability and proceeded to get the kiddos in bed.  Aaron, in the meantime, was working on emptying the massive amount of expired bottles and jars so that we could set them out for the recyclers to come pick up the next morning.  I went to put the baby in bed and plopped back down on the couch to finish the last little part of my show, only to hear a grunt of frustration from Aaron in the kitchen.  "What is wrong?" I asked.  Fateful last words.  He motioned to the kitchen floor and said, "The sink is backed up again."  Again meaning, this is not the first time this wonderful event has happened.  He had poured one too many items down the disposal and it clogged the main line, causing the nasty food filled water to regurgitate out of the washing machine drain hole in the laundry room.  It was so bad this time, though, that it flooded the entire laundry area, doused the dirty laundry cart, went under the dog's kennel, and reached out to the living room.  I grabbed what towels I could reach and cleanup somewhat began.  Fortunately, it did not back up into the dishwasher, but that was our only consolation prize.  There was just too much water to tackle without the help of a wet-vac.  We decided that I would be the lucky one to run by our friend's house to pick up a plumber's snake, drop by the in-laws for another plumbing tool, and then to WalMart to purchase a shop vac, carpet cleaner, paper towels, and lemons.  Lemons?  Well, I need them for the blueberry pie I now have to make since the freezer went out!  Aaron called me while I was in the store to inform me that the baby was awake and screaming his tiny little head off and could I come home post haste.  I then grabbed the nearest shop vac, ran to the register, and raced to the car.  The last thing we needed was for Anabelle to get woken up by Hudson.  Oh boy.  I was almost home when Aaron called again and told me the baby had settled down and all was quiet on the home front.  I pulled up in the driveway and started carrying everything in.  Aaron immediately began unpacking the shop vac when I glanced at the disgusting, now orange-brown floor.  "Where did all of the water go?"  He looked at me dumbfounded and I immediately dove for the carpet.  Wet.  Soaked, actually.  So now, our already less that desirable carpeting was sitting atop of a rotten condiment soaked sponge that was once a carpet pad.  Bon apetit, dust mites!  We were then able to trek into the garage in an attempt to retrieve more paper towels and found that the water had poured out there as well, run down the walls, soaked my rug, and generally continued the mayhem that is our lady luck.
  Now, here we are today.  I am researching carpeting, as there is no bringing that guy back.  Aaron called in sick because there was no way I was dealing with all of this myself.  We have to go borrow a longer plumber's snake from a family friend because, unfortunately, the one we attempted to use last night was not long enough.  I have to head to a laundromat to do some seriously gross loads of food soaked clothes and towels.  And, somewhere in all of this, I need to find a way to be sweet so that my children don't suffer from something completely out of their (and my) control.  Like I said, this week is really not being very kind to my disposition!