Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Married A Hunter So I Wouldn't Have To Be One

We have kittens. Five of them. The thing is, we don't own a cat. Well, we didn't. But we might now. Saturday Nathan went out to the wood shed to pull a bunch of scraps out so he could fix the roof and promptly came back to share the news.

Now, I'm not much of an animal person. I can do fish or hermit crabs. You know, tiny things in cages that require very little of you. But cats? No. And DEFINITELY not in my house. But I am a sucker for cute little kitten faces. It doesn't mean I'll own one but I get all mushy and start talking in a baby voice. It's rather silly really.

So, we grabbed all the kids and ran out to see the little tiny kitties and OMG! They are adorable. And skittish. There are two that are black and white, two that are calico and white, and one gray and white (my favorite). We watched them for awhile and then realized that in order to fix the wood shed roof we would need to make sure that all the kittens were safe. This means catching all the kittens. And this is where the point of this story comes in.

Remember how I said I'm not much of an animal person? Well, that is especially applicable when animals are running at me or jumping at me or trying to scratch and bite me. So, we found a box that would fit the kittens and, hopefully, keep them contained. We taped a few of it's holes to make it sturdier and made a plan. I was to stand at the back of the shed with the box laying on it's side up against the hole the kittens were using for their escape. Nathan was in the wood shed trying to catch those that didn't use the hole to escape and Abiah was in the wood shed doorway. Nathan spooked them out of their hiding spot and three came out the hole in the wall and into the box I was watching and Nathan had the other two. And then.....

I forgot that I needed to pick the box up to keep the kittens in ( I blame mommy brain). And Nathan's kittens were scratching and biting so he ended up dropping one. I quickly ran the box over to him and we had one kitten. Out of five. We chased another one down and then found a third one under one of the many piles of scrap wood and brush in our backyard. All this was happening while we were trying to keep our 22 months old toddler, Hazel, contained and happy and the 7 month old baby, Amelia, happy.

So, being the ever-susceptible-to-her-big-brown-eyes parents that we are, we couldn't refuse when Hazel begged us to see the kitties. As Nathan slowly tilted the box over for Hazel to peer inside the feistiest of the five kittens started hissing and scratching and jumping. It jumped out of the box. Towards me. AT ME!

I want to take this moment to say I am unashamed-ish of my behavior because I feel justified by my (to me) understandable fear.

So, as this kitten, deranged as it was, comes jumping out of the box at me I start screaming. And jumping. And waving my arms like a crazy person. My heart was racing and my hands were shaking, I kid you not. I'm sure I looked crazy. Especially to my husband who was growing more and more frustrated by the minute by his incompetent wife. Nathan yelled, "What are you doing?!?" And in my fragile state I tried to explain my "condition" but he, being the skilled archery hunter that he is, would have none of it. To him it was ridiculous to be afraid of a tiny little kitten. And he kept telling me that.

So, we chase said kitten around the huge intheway shrubs that are taking over the backyard and I spot him. He's crouched down on his belly in the whole wide worldly known cat attack stance. Looking at me. No. AIMED at me. As I get closer I yell to Nathan to come quick because, "he's in fighting mode!" Nathan, in his frustration, yelled, "It's just a kitten!" and came over and picked the kitten up and took him to the box. While the kitten was scratching and clawing and shrieking.

Shortly after this Nathan's parents arrived. Nathan and his dad took over and we ended finding four out of five kittens and later found the fifth kitty with the uptothispoint missing momma. Great. Kitties are safe with momma. Shed roof never got fixed, but there' always next Saturday. We had a delicious dinner with the in-laws and a nice evening visiting. In-laws went home. Mommy's behavior during kitten fiasco is brought up almost instantly. I defend my position as a frightened, fragile mommy. Nathan doesn't buy it. He says kittens are tiny and practically harmless. I remind him of the fact that he was bitten and scratched and hissed and shrieked at. Practically is not completely! He says he wanted to laugh when I said the kitten was in fighting mode. I giggle because it was kinda funny. Then I remind him that, including many other wonderful reasons, I married him so he would fight my battles for me. Whether it's taking out the garbage, defending me against naughty children, fixing things that aren't supposed to be broken or catching the scary little kittens threatening my life. And he does a great job.

This fear also applies to any and all sports where something is flying at me.

Public Notice: No kittens were harmed in the making or retelling of this story.

What about you? What battles does your hubby fight for you? Comment below.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why He Needs His Daddy

The other day Abiah was in a goofy mood. You could see all over his face that his main goal was to get his dad to attack him so they could wrestle. At one point I was entering receipts into the computer and asked him to go get my wallet for me. I went back to focusing on the computer and didn't hear him when he said, "I'm just gonna sit here until you forget that you asked me to get you something." But his dad heard. And as he went to get my wallet we sat on the couch stifling our laughter and shaking our heads in disbelief. And then, as Abiah would say, he got "pounded."Which is what he wanted in the first place.

After that wrestling match was over, I was asking Nathan about our plans for Sunday's church potluck and he jokingly asked me, "Can I shoot my bow at the potluck?" (he is preparing for archery hunting) And Abiah replied, "No. You have to listen to God's words." And then he was chased down and he and his dad had yet another wrestling match.

Then Abiah got his sister's pink sunglasses and was running through the house laughing as he tried to do his best "girl" impersonation. When Nathan saw him he told Abiah to, "Get those off right now!" To which Abiah replied, "No. They're pretty!" And, you guessed it, another wrestling match ensued.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Half an Olive

The last time my mom and I made once-a-month-meals she showed me this great tip for quickly slicing olives in half. And no, we didn't hire a hand model. My mom's hands are just that pretty.

You will need:
olives (duh)
two Tupperware lids
large knife (you need a knife long enough to reach across the middle of the Tupperware lid)

Begin by placing one Tupperware lid on the counter, top up. Pour olives on top. the lip of the Tupperware helps hold olives in place.

Place the other Tupperware lid on top of the olives, face side down.

While gently holding the top lid on, slide knife through horizontally.

The results:

We were able to slice half a can at a time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Shade of Green

Kermit the Frog had it right. It's not easy being green. And sometimes it's not affordable either. I have a list of things that I would love to do to have a simple, low waste, organic, healthy home but somethings just aren't feasible for us right now. However, there are things that we are doing and, as I love to learn knew ideas or be encouraged in what I am able to do, I thought I'd compile a list of what I am doing and hopefully it will encourage you to do what you can. Or even give you ideas for your home.

I recycle as much as I can. My purpose is mostly selfish. About 80% selfish, 20% awareness. Or 80% selfish, 10% awareness and 10% convenience... which is still selfish. The reason I say it's selfish is because we mostly do it to save us money. I also do it to get rid of junk. I love sorting through old papers and magazines and de-cluttering the house. Goodwill has been blessed by our donations many times. My husband, Nathan, recycles the soda cans (yeah for Oregon's bottle return deposit!) and since he's the main soda drinker in the house he saves the cash for man stuff like fishing, hunting and tools.

We recycle anything they let us put in the big recycle garbage can outside. This saves us so much on garbage bills. We set our main garbage bin out once a week and our recycling bin (which is almost twice as big) about once a month. I've also been trying to cut back on the trash by putting all our food scraps in a compost pile outside. I recently read here about making your own worm compost and want to try it but we don't have a garden yet so I'll wait.

We have a burn barrel outside and so we burn most of our paper and cardboard. If you don't live in a burn area but know someone who does ask them if you can use their burn pile or barrel to get rid of your papers. It saves money and creates an opportunity for visiting with friends or family. Nathan has found that magazines don't burn well so we have a small recycle bin for those.

As for being organic, this is a little harder for us as most things organic are spendy. Probably our main organic source is our meat. Nathan is an archery hunter and tries to supply us with an elk every year. Although I've had to get used to the difference in flavor I love that elk meat is low fat and organic.

I would love to have a garden but juggling toddlers and a garden doesn't appeal to me right now. I do get organic produce from Costco when I can. I use their organic carrots and organic frozen veggies to make Amelia's baby food. The organic coffee they sell is also a great deal and makes a deliciously strong cup of coffee. I do get organic, eco friendly cleaning products from Melaleuca. I have really liked their laundry and dish detergent and have just started using their cleaners and hand soap, too. If you are interested in their products I have a sister who is a representative of theirs.

Since I can't do much in the organic area I still try to keep us healthy by making meals that are as nutritious as I can make them. Plus, making homemade meals is, a lot of times, cheaper than eating out or buying prepared foods. We get a lot of veggies from Gleaners and so I try to chop, shred and puree them ahead of time and freeze them so they are easy to add to meals I am making. Most of the time my family has no clue that they are eating three to five different veggies which they wouldn't have touched otherwise. I also try to include fruit into one or two meals a day. A lot of times it ends up being oranges or apples but it's still fruit. Balancing out the carb/fruit/veggie/protein/fat ratio in our meals is helping me to feel better about what I serve my family.

For both of my girls I made their baby food. I found it to be more cost effective and if I make it then I know what is in it. I was given a recipe book written by the La Leche League International for making baby food and have used a few ideas. Mostly I steam veggies, puree them and store them in the freezer in the same containers you would use for jam. I make a variety and pull a few out at a time so that Amelia isn't getting bored of one flavor. It is easy and very convenient.

I also make freezer jam for our family. I started a year ago and we have enjoyed the jam almost everyday since. I don't use any sugar substitutes so far but I do like that I know where my fruit comes from.

Because I'm a stay-at-home mom I'm home a lot. Which I like. Which also means I don't use very much gas. I try to only fill my van once every 7-10 days. There are times when I can go many more days and others when I need to fill up more often.

To make things simpler in our home I like to do:
once a month cooking
regular de-cluttering
flexible daily scheduling

And a few more money saving tips:
use cold water for laundry
do full loads of laundry
lights out during the day
in the winter: more clothes/lower temp on thermostat
mainly use wood heat
hand-me-downs worked for the Wilder children it will work for you

And here's my list of things I'm trying to convince Nathan that we should do to save money, etc:
cloth diapers
stop trash pickup and take trash to the dump every three months (if you have a trailer this can work for you)
minimize our belongings
haul and chop firewood on our own
Turn our yard into a large garden to make it more efficient

I hope this list is encouraging to someone. Let me know what you do to make your home more simple, low waste, organic and healthy. Let's glean from each other.

Also, in the next few weeks I plan to post recipes for once a month meals and homemade baby food.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This Song I Sing

I love to sing. My mom sang to us and with us and around us all the time when I was growing up. She made up songs for us, taught us her favorites, and sang to get through the day. She stills does this with her, now 12, grand kids. So, for me, it is natural to sing. And I love it.

I love singing silly songs that make Nathan and Abiah look at each other and say, "Mommy's weird." I love singing songs in the car. I love singing songs of worship. I love singing songs to distract my kids from their sorrows. And I love singing their song.

It came to me right after Hazel was born (well, I stole most of it from Sound of Music, but that's how these things happen sometimes). I was trying to get her to calm down and sleep and as I started singing her name this is what came out:

(To the tune of Edelweiss and the name can be switched out for the other kids, too.)

Hazel Grace, Hazel Grace
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of love
May you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Hazel Grace, Hazel Grace
Bless my baby forever

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kabalsa stuffed with Mashed Potatoes

This is a favorite from my childhood. For 4-6 servings you will need:

1 pkg kabalsa

1 pkg instant potatoes prepared or homemade if your prefer

shredded cheese for topping

Cut kabalsa into 4-6 pieces. Slice open like a hot dog bun. Fill with mashed potatoes and top with shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and serve.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Count Them One By One

This year has been hard. It started out wonderfully with a 9lb. 7oz. healthy baby girl and then...

five weeks later I ended up in the hospital for emergency gallbladder surgery and then...

ten weeks later I was rear ended in our new-to-us minivan by a full sized pickup truck pulling a fifth wheel and then...

one week later Nathan punctured his head on a machine at work and had to have four staples...

Maybe it's just me (I hope not) but I started to get discouraged and was having a hard time seeing that good things were happening to us. So, I wanted to list a few things that have come to mind lately.

We were given money to help us pay for the medical bills from Amelia's birth and my surgery which, despite great insurance coverage, were many.

Nathan got a Safeway gift card from work (he works for the Milk Plant). Most of the employees got $60 but for some reason Nathan got $80. And it came right when we desperately needed diapers for the girls. So I was able to get two boxes of diapers for each girl and a box of wipes and I didn't have to pay for it.

My sister-in-law got too much milk from WIC this month and gave us three gallons the day I was going shopping. Plus she gave us 4 lbs of raisins which they kids love and I needed to get them.

Sunday I was given more clothes for my girls and there were quite a few summer shirts that would fit Hazel and that's the one thing I needed for her.

We found a van!!!!! I love our new van and am so happy to finally be done with that part of accident recovery. It is a beautiful silvery blue, has stow-n-go seating, AIR CONDITIONING, automatic sliding doors and rear door and many other things we were wanting including an affordable price.

Also, we haven't been back to the ER since June.

You know in all of these situations there were "bright sides" so to speak. My gallbladder infection could have been much worse. I was jaundice for a few days (which is how we discovered the problem) and could have had liver damage but I didn't. I had to have two surgeries. One to remove stray gallstones and another to remove my gallbladder which was filled with over 100 gallstones. I recovered fast and feel great.

When I was rear ended I was by myself. My sweet babies were at home safe in their warm beds and my wonderful husband was here with them. I wasn't seriously injured. I have some whiplash and other aches and pains but I'm alive and I have all my limbs.

When Nathan punctured his head he didn't have to quit working. He got four staples and other than a headache he was fine.

It has been important for me to think through these things and list the good things because most of the time the negative takes over and it is hard to see through the fog it creates.