Month: September 2011

I remember the tumbleweed

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I mentioned a few days ago that it’s been a little bit of a struggle going through all our stuff and selling alot of it at our garage sale this weekend.

Ok, alot of a struggle.

I encouraged you to read this post the other day and I hope you did. It was that little push I needed to keep purging through all our stuff.

But still as I’d be going through the kids clothes or our dishes or the toys or the Christmas decorations I’d think, “I love this.” Or “Angel loves this so much.” Or, “I could use this someday I’m sure.”

But then I tried to remember.

And I couldn’t remember even one outfit that I had from my childhood.  Or one pair of shoes.

But I do remember going barefoot outside on the farm and running through the fields and playing on the haystacks and getting chased by psycho roosters. Alot of times with no clothes on at all!

I couldn’t remember any toys we had.

Except one. I remember the homemade black cloth doll my sister and I got one Christmas. And I remember all the Christmases at Grandma Harriet’s and sitting on Grandpa Hank’s lap and all the cousins playing dress up and putting on plays in the basement.

And my mom and aunts getting a little bit tipsy (ok alot) off Jagermeister. HA!

I couldn’t remember any dishes or appliances we had as a kid. I couldn’t remember if our dishes matched or if we had plastic or paper or glass.

But I do remember my dad making goulash and my parents making deer and trying to convince us it was hamburger and my parents making liver and onions and stinking up the house. And I remember sitting together in the living room in front of the tv eating together.

I couldn’t remember any birthday presents or birthday parties.

Except one. My 7th birthday. In the basement of Grandma Harriet’s house.  No fancy cake or decorations and I don’t remember any presents I got. But I remember my aunts and cousins came and we played musical chairs. I won but I think they let me win. And my aunt Joanne gave me 7 spankings.

I couldn’t remember any fancy cars or big fancy houses.

But I do remember all the old beater cars. The Hooter Van that was a hundred years old and huge. The Diesel Durango that took our family of six out to California and up the coast to Oregon and back home to South Dakota (except the engine blew half way). The Beast. My yellow 1970’s car that I’d drive 60 going down the main road of our town with friends in the back and we’d hit a bump and go flying. (Please Angel and Caleb don’t read this.) And we’d lock the doors and roll the windows down and pretend to be the Dukes of Hazard and have to get in through the windows.  And we’d outrun those stinky seniors our freshman year of high school as they’d try to initiate us during homecoming week!

I remember our old farm-house with a huge heater grill in the middle of the living room floor and we’d have to be so careful not to get anything on it. I remember the other old farm-house that I don’t think was ever finished but it had a spirally staircase and a tire swing in the backyard.  I remember the small apartment in Colorado where me and my three siblings had two sets of bunk beds and all shared a bedroom.  I remember the double wide trailer that we lived in for ten years through high school and my dad built a huge addition himself and don’t you dare knock living in a double wide trailer because it was our home.

I couldn’t remember going shopping with my mom or going to the spa or going on road trips.

But I do remember working out on the farm as a family. Giving shots, castrating, and cutting off tails of the sheep. Hearing dad get mad and swear at the sheep and mom yelling at my dad to stop swearing.  Helping mom and dad when a mama sheep couldn’t birth her lamb and they’d run in and ask one of us to come help.  I remember taking care of bottle lambs and going on horse rides. I remember going down to the river and getting full of mud and going fishing. I remember playing Shanghai rummy over and over. I remember going to Grandma Harriet’s and spending almost the entire summer there and riding bikes with the neighborhood kids and eating lunch at noon sharp and having to use the same plate for ice cream.

I don’t remember my parents buying us big fancy gifts.

But I do remember them always being there. No. Matter. What. I remember my mom sending me over a dozen letters when I was on a band/choir tour in Europe. At every hotel we’d arrive to there would be a letter waiting for me.  I remember my dad doing anything for us kids. I remember them fighting like crazy but sticking it out. Through the good times and through the really tough times.  I remember them being at most sporting and music events. I remember them working two and three jobs in addition to the farm so we could make it through. I remember them giving up the farm and sheep, their life-long dream, because they thought life would be better and easier for us kids if we lived in town.

I couldn’t remember any Christmas decorations we had.

But I do remember the tumbleweed Christmas. There were four of us kids and money was tight. More than tight. There was no money for a Christmas tree. So my dad tromped out into the cold and snow and brought home a huge tumbleweed. Mom and dad sprayed it white and let us put tinsel all over.  We were all together, my baby brother Jim just home from the hospital, sitting around this huge tumbleweed in the living room, each of us getting just one or two gifts.

I know that there can also be memories made with big trips and nice cars and nice stuff.  But I don’t want to convince myself that if my kids don’t have a closet full of clothes or if we don’t have as many Snowman Christmas decorations that they’ll somehow be scarred for life.  Because it’s not in the stuff.

It’s in the time spent. It’s the minutes and hours and days. Time with family. Time with friends.  Love. Laughter. Committment. Time. I want each day of my kid’s life to be a reflection of that tumbleweed Christmas. Taking something pretty plain and in most eyes ugly. And making it beautiful and something to never be forgotten.

Sunday dinner

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I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with Sunday dinner. By the time we get home from church the last thing I want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen. But I’ve struggled to find recipes that I can stick in the oven or crock pot in the morning and be ready right after church.

Or maybe I’m just too lazy?

Anyway, times they may be a changing. Last Sunday I used a recipe and it turned out so good. It was so easy to throw together. It was done when we got home from church. And it was super inexpensive.

Here’s the recipe I used  but I tweaked it a bit.

Instead of using chicken thighs I used split chicken breasts.  Our local grocery store had them on sale for $.88/lb and so I picked up a couple of packs. Each pack was around $4.00 and had 4 huge pieces in it.

I also removed the skin because, well, gross.  Don’t get me wrong. Give me some Pizza Ranch fried chicken any day and I’ll go to town but for some reason I just don’t like skin on my chicken when I’m cooking at home.

I followed the recipe for the sauce but decided to add our potatoes to it all.  Patrick helped and so while he cut up garlic for the sauce I washed 4 nice sized red potatoes. I used a 9×11 pan and put the chicken in and then the potatoes down the middle.  We spread the yummy looking sauce over all of it and covered it with foil.

This last Sunday we didn’t make it to Sunday school so weren’t leaving the house until 10:30. I figured we’d get home around 12:15-12:30 and so I was totally guessing when I decided to set the oven at 300 degrees.

Two hours at 300 degrees turned out to be perfect.  We got home about 12:30 and it smelled amazing. I took the foil off the top and turned on the broiler for about 10 minutes and then took out the potatoes. I put the chicken back in and while it cooked up just a bit more I cut up the potatoes into bite size pieces and got our frozen fresh sweet corn cooking.

After another 10 minutes or so I took the chicken out. I then decided to get all crazy and make gravy with all the great juice that was in the pan. I put the pan over the stove top and added about 2 tbsp of flour and a little water.  I whisked it up for a while and it was perfect.  Seriously? It was so easy.

Well yes. Yes I did ask Pat to style a plate for me so I could take a picture.

(Just keeping it real.)

Yum. O.

Here’s the lowdown on the cost.

Split chicken breast $4.00
4 red potatoes $1.00
Frozen sweet corn $.50
Bread $1.99
(And then of course minimal cost for seasonings, soy sauce, butter, etc)

So way under $10 for the entire meal and we had lots of leftovers.

Healthy? Yes very. Except for that darn gravy. That probably wasn’t too healthy.  Oh well.

I love this recipe. We are definitely going to be using it often, especially for Sunday dinner!  Do you have any tried and true Sunday dinner recipes? Please share!

One of those days

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It was one of those days.

Ya know one of those days when your horse tries to bite you not once but twice and then later on you fall, cut your lip and jam your tooth into your gums.

One of those days when a little girl really wants and needs her daddy.

So yesterday (Monday) the kiddos and I took a little trip to visit my parents. I had 3 days off from work and we hadn’t been to visit in awhile.  To completely honest I wondered if we should even go because Monday morning around 4 am Caleb woke up screaming and started dry heaving. It freaked him out more than anything, “Mama I choking,” and so I climbed into bed with him. He did it again a few times and finally around 5 am threw up.  I decided that we’d wait and see how he was doing before deciding about still going to my parents.  Well he ate breakfast and seemed to be doing better and so we packed up and hit the road, arriving to my parents around noon.

Later that afternoon we all went out to see the horses. Mom had mentioned that Gracie had been really possessive of my dad lately.  Well, possessive she is.  Angel has always been able to pet her and get close to her. Yesterday when Angel got close Gracie tried to bite her and ended up kinda nuzzling her head. Needless to say it scared the bejeebies out of Angel not to mention Gracie’s mouth was full of water and oats and so Angel was covered in that. Angel screamed cried for at least 10 minutes before settling down. We told Angel to not get close to Gracie because she was being so naughty. Well a bit later Angel was standing next to my mom and she wasn’t even really close to Gracie but Gracie moved closer to Angel and reached out over the fence for another bite/nuzzle on Angel’s head.

It all happened so fast that my parent’s didn’t even see it. Angel freaked out again and about a minute later Gracie bit my dad on the back because he was doing something with Buck.

Bad move Gracie. Gracie got a swift kick in the rear put in time out. Dad harnessed her up and took her to the training ring for some discipline training.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of our drama for the day.

Later that night we were enjoying supper with my parents and brother Jim. Jim’s wife Leana had just gotten off work and had come over so Angel went to meet her at the door. Angel came running back, tripped and went flying, hitting her mouth on a metal chair.

Screams. Blood. Yikes.

The cut looked really bad but I was more concerned about her tooth because it looked like two teeth had jammed up into her gums.  I called Ask-A-Nurse and they recommended going to the ER. Jim and Leana stayed home with Caleb so my parents could come along with me to the ER.  We were thinking the worst, that they would have to do something major to readjust her teeth.

But thankfully it wasn’t as bad as it looked. They decided to just let the cut on her lip heal on its own.   The doctor wasn’t concerned at all (even though her gums were bleeding and black and blue) and said he thought she just chipped a little off her tooth and that we should go see a dentist in a few days. (How bout tomorrow?) My parents warned me that they weren’t too confident in that particular doctor that was on call that night and so we decided we’d see how she was doing in the morning before deciding if we should head home.

Poor girl. She was so brave. At least until we called daddy and she told him she was ok. And then he told her he loved her and she broke down crying. It was so sweet and sad.  So hard on Daddy to not being there with us.  But thankfully Leana and Nellie were and they are the next best thing to Daddy. When we got back to my parents she cuddled up with Leana and a milk shake and finally about an hour later she was ready for bed and Nellie helped her get settled.

She woke up around 2:00 am and I gave her more Tylenol and she fell back to sleep pretty quick.  This morning her teeth looked alot worse and her gums had been bleeding more. I called the dentist and they were able to fit us in around 11:30 so we packed up quick and were on the road by 9:00 am.  Poor Caleb said, “Mama we didn’t get to go boat ride.”

Angel cried the first hour home but then finally fell asleep.  She was so happy to see Daddy when we got home.  The dentist took xrays and said that the piece of skin above her teeth was in fact torn a little (the doctor said it wasn’t).  The xrays confirmed that her tooth was jammed up and to the side and it didn’t fracture anything and it wasn’t loose. They decided to just leave it and keep an eye on it for an abscess on the gum or for it to turn black. Then we’d have to pull it.

Home now. Angel had more Tylenol, is slowly sipping on a very melted strawberry shake (strawberry milk?) and cuddling with Daddy. She says it hurts to talk so she’s just whining and grunting to try to communicate with us.  Kinda gross – but she can’t figure out how to suck up her spit so she’s drooling like crazy too. It’s kinda funny, she’s such a sweet little thing and she’s such a mess!

Oh ya, Caleb still isn’t feeling the best and now has had diarrhea since this morning. Oh joy. But it’s good to be home and in some ways a blessing because I have about a million things to sort through and price before our garage sale on Thursday morning. I was planning on getting all this done Wednesday afternoon and evening.  Ha!

And now. Pictures of course! But only a few close ups!

As soon as we got to town we stopped at the restaurant where my sister works for a snack. Caleb asked to lay down so took a little rest on the floor of the restaurant.

After our snack we walked over to a little pond and fed the ducks some crackers.

Playing at Grama and Papa’s before all the drama.

Heading out to see Gracie and Buck.

Petting Buck. You can just see the envy radiate out of Gracie, can’t you?

Gracie in time out.

Me and my little cowboy.

My little cowboy who won’t go near the horses.

At the hospital on Monday night.

Caleb finally zonked out after convincing Uncle Jim and Aunt Leana that Ramona and Beezus was the ONLY movie he wanted to watch! Ha!

Enjoying a milk shake with Aunt Leana. Nice pouty lip!

Today, around noon.

For those of you who were following along on Facebook, thanks for your prayers last night! And thanks to anyone for your continued prayers as her little owie heals.  It could have been alot worse and we’re thankful the pain should be subsiding for her soon!

Why would I look at the people?

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The other day hubs and I were driving home and had stopped at a stoplight. A car came down the opposite road and turned to drive past us.  Patrick freaked out because I guess it was an old antique nice classic cool of a car (not sure what to call it). It looked kinda like this but the top was down:

This is the conversation we had:

Pat: Look at that car! How cool is that! (Continues to speak incoherently about car stuff.) 

Missy: Yep.

(Car drives past us.)

Missy: Oh how sweet!!! Taking his daddy for a drive!

Pat: What?

Missy: Didn’t you see that? It had to be his dad in the passenger seat. He was probably 90 at least. How sweet!

Pat: (silence)

Missy: Didn’t you see him?

Pat: Why would I look at the people?

I then started laughing uncontrollably for 10 minutes. (Pat thought I’d lost my mind.)  Whoever thinks men and women aren’t different needs to come live at our house for about 2 minutes!