We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. --Mother Teresa

Monday, November 29, 2010

Photo Op

Yep.  We look that good in real life.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

1. If you had known what they knew then, would you have boarded the Mayflower?
Hmmmm.  This is a tough question to answer.  No.  Maybe.  Yes.  Wishywashy much?  I probably would have boarded the Mayflower.  My contrary little personality usually causes me to take risks.  Sometimes it works to my benefit--like when I was told by an evil person that I would never graduate from college and I did it just to prove him wrong.  And sometimes my contrariness is detrimental to my mental health.  
2. How far have you traveled on a boat and how do you feel about boats in general?
I have traveled across the lake.  And yes, I am generally nauseous and crabby when I get off the boat.  I don't remember feeling that way when I was younger but certainly as I have aged gracefully the feeling has increased.  
3. What traditions have you kept, acquired thru marriage, and/or tossed? If you're single what are some of your family's favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

I don't know if I have kept any traditions, acquired any or tossed any traditions.  I do what my mom did...get up and cook dinner.  My husband and kids help out.  I plan the menu to include  something that is everyone's favorite dish and I try to have it done by noon.  We eat whether everybody is there or not--they'll catch up--and we just hang out.  No pressure.  Sometimes we have taken a walk or gone a leisurely car ride.  Sometimes we play a game.  My uncle sleeps in the chair.  I suppose those are all traditions, but they seem like stuff we just do. 
4. What time is dinner and how many will be round your table? And what is the one side dish you cannot do without on Thanksgiving day?
Noon.  We will have 8 of us.  We cannot have dinner without these:
 Homemade noodles.  A tradition in my family.  In fact, that is the pot my great grandmother used for noodles.  One of these days I am going to get the potato pot that goes with it. 
5. Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? Do tell....
Do towels and potholders count as fire extinguishers?  Then why, yes, I have used a fire extinguisher.  Many times.  I actually could be considered an expert in this category.
6. Tell about a situation that caused you dreadful trepidation and feet dragging, only to realize later it was a true blessing.
Taking my child to college caused me dreadful trepidation and feet dragging.  And yet, I knew that it was what I hoped I would get to do someday when I gave birth to that beautiful brown eyed girl.  Nothing prepares a parent for that day....as hard as it was, I count my blessings each day because there are people out there wishing they could take a child to college.  It's hard to be whiny about it when I have  friends who used their child's college fund for a tombstone.  I used to think about how sad it was that my children were growing up until I realized the alternative is for them to not grow up.  Besides, my husband and I are counting the days until we are home alone because you know what that means....yep.  Cereal for dinner.  Nice try, several of you were thinking of something else.  This is a family blog.

 7. Baked, sweet, mashed, hash browned or french fried...which one's your favorite?
Have you seen the size of my butt?  I never turn down warm starch.  And if it comes with melted dairy, all the better. 
8. Random thought 101.......Is it wrong to get out of bed counting the hours before I can get back in bed?  

Have a blessed Thanksgiving....Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Tortilla Curtain

This book pissed me off.  I know, I know.  I am not supposed to use that word because it isn't lady like.  There simply isn't any other word to describe my feelings as I read The Tortilla Curtain.

This is an all-too-real tale of the border war.  It is frightening real and I often had to put the book down after just one chapter.  The author set the book up so that one chapter is from the immigrant's point of view and the next is from the Californians point of view. I would get so angry at the treatment of the people that I wouldn't be able to sleep.  And oh my, the things that the female main character lived through were just mind boggling.

At book club, the discussion was very lively.  We live in the heart of the Midwest, these things are unfathomable to us (can you tell that we 'owned' this book?  We were convinced that these things really happened....) because we don't live it on a daily basis.  We could transfer it to our community's poverty--and the haves and the have nots.  It was an interesting comparison. 

My husband is currently trying to read The Tortilla Curtain.  He is finding it difficult to muddle through.  Much the way I found it difficult to muddle through.  It's worth the work it takes to read this book just to have some perspective about the border war. 

It's not a happy, feel good read.  Just sayin'.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food on Friday

So this recipe came to me in my daily email from www.allrecipes.com.  I sometimes read them and sometimes the name of the recipe tells me that there isn't a chance in heck of ever using that recipe. 

This recipe peaked my interest because my son really enjoys Mexican food but guess what?  Corn tortilla and corn tortilla chips aren't on his plate at this point.  The doctor tells us that once we get his environmental allergies under control, then he may be able to add corn back to his diet.  Did you know that corn is related to grasses?  And cantaloupe is related to ragweed?  Learn something new everyday, I'm tellin' ya. 

This recipe can be found here....http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fry-Bread-Tacos-II/Detail.aspx?prop31=5.  These fry bread tacos are wonderful and were surprisingly easy to make. 

Several of my breads got all puffy like a puffer fish, so this girl opened them up and stuffed the filling inside. 

I must confess that I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I already had taco meat from another meal.  I also had made refried beans earlier in the week so we just piled ours high with the toppings and ate them.  One tip, get the oil hot.  And keep it hot.  The fry breads weren't greasy at all because the oil so hot and stayed hot.  I used my candy thermometer to monitor the temp.  It was HOT.  I kept it at 365 degrees or a little hotter the whole time.  It took some serious patience to let it get that hot, but I think that the temp of the oil made all the difference.

And they were good.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What is the most amazing weather you've ever seen?
Hands down, the Ice Storm of December 2007.  Completely amazing how beautiful an ice storm is given the damage ice does.  I remember waking up and being in awe of the beauty in the world.  Four days later when our electricity was restored, I was the happiest girl in the whole USA. 
2. What is a sound or noise you love?
Little kids in church.  
3. Do you like seafood? What's your favorite seafood dish?
Do you mean like real live seafood or fish sticks and macaroni and cheese seafood?  Because I really do like fish sticks.  And shrimp baskets from the DQ.  But real live seafood like squid or octopus or even lobster?  Eh.  Not so much.
4. What part of your day requires the most patience?
The getting out of bed part of my day.  Yikes!  I do not like to get out of bed.  Especially this time of year...it's very warm and cozy under those blankets and the heat nazi is keeping it rather chilly in our house. 
5. What's your favorite shade of blue?

6. Do people underestimate you?
7. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
Last Friday.  I needed to do something I didn't really want to do.  
8. Insert your own random thought here....IS THAT what your wearing?  Really.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Safe Haven

I am not sure what to say.  This was an enjoyable book.  It wasn't what I expected but it fell into my lap right when I needed something to divert my attention.  That's kind of my M.O.  I had a million things that were happening that were beyond my control so I did the one thing that I could control--read.  And I basically read it overnight.

Admittedly, it has been awhile since I read any Nicholas Sparks.  He's a wonderful author and my girls really enjoy reading him.  I really enjoyed his early writing, but he'd gotten a little predictable and what I call cookie cutter in his writing.  Which happens to all of us in our lives--we get predictable and cookie cutter--and we have to step back and examine our lives.  Not the easiest thing to do, but sometimes stuff just slams you and you have to frost your cookies the best you know how and move along.

Safe Haven is almost a mystery.  The main character has a history (who doesn't) and when she lands in a small town reinvents herself.  As the story rolls along, more and more of Katie is revealed and I began to kind of freak out.  The dreaded 'What if...." game took over and I had thoughts of 'what if that were my daughter' and 'how can someone just be an orphan'?  Somebody should have helped this girl.  

It did bring the whole 'everyone is fighting some sort of battle so be kinder than necessary' back into my daily thoughts.  Who knows what each of us is up against?   Somewhere there is a wife afraid for 5 o'clock to arrive because that means her husband is on his way home...hoping her dinner is good enough and the house is clean enough and trying to keep it together so she won't get beat again tonight.  And somewhere else there's a grandma dying of cancer while her children and grandchildren stand by helplessly wondering what they can do to make this whole thing easier on Grandma.  And somewhere there's a 9-year-old wondering what she's going to fix for supper tonight knowing that her brother and sister need something to eat. 

When I started reading Safe Haven, I thought I was getting fluff and what I took away was much deeper.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Random Pics from the Fall

Yep.  It's pretty much how we spent our fall....Just sayin'.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall Ball 2010

Just a few pics....because my 'subjects' weren't all that cooperative. 

 I love my house except when I want to take pictures.  I just don't have a great place to take great pics.  10 foot ceilings and bad lighting don't help the situation.

Brother and Sister......


The BF.....

I did ask him to show me his hands....

Yyyyyeeeeaaaahhhhh.  Not even sure what is going on here....

Group photo....the two on the right really didn't want these shots.... but whatta ya do?  Frack is one bossy girl so options are limited.  Bonus for them....they also work together. 

And no.  She wasn't supposed to be in this picture.  I wonder if I can crop her out....

We only have to stay awake for another 90 minutes and they will be home.  Who starts a dance at 10:00 anyway?!  The stuco sponsor and I--we're gonna visit...Just Sayin'.

Food on Friday

After a recent round of allergy testing, it was discovered that my son......

is allergic to cantaloupe, bananas, corn, carrots, oats, bakers and brewers yeast, peanuts, and tree nuts.  All of these are new food allergies with the exception of peanuts--he has always been allergic to peanuts.  He also has a ton of environmental allergies. 

So in an effort to feed a 16 year old who cannot have bread or corn--I have had to come up with some new ways to serve old foods.  I have had some successes and some 'eh--not so much'. 

This one is a keeper.  We really enjoyed these bierocks.  They would work very well if you are in hurry or are going to a potluck. 

by The Hays Crew
1 pound of hamburger
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1 bag of already chopped cabbage--it was on sale!
2-3 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded
10 flour tortillas 

Brown beef and onion.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add cabbage and cover skillet.  Let sit until cabbage is steamed to your family's taste.  We like ours a little crunchy--just a little. 

Remove from heat and stir in cheese.  Fill each tortilla with the mixture, roll and place in sprayed 9 x 13 dish. 

Mine made 9, but I could have easily gotten 10 because these were stuffed pretty full.

I covered them with foil and popped them in the oven at 350.  They are already cooked, so it was basically to warm them up.  I probably had them in the oven 20 minutes or so.  I served them with tater tots.  It was a great meal and a lot easier than rolling out bread dough.  Although, I still think that real live bierocks are the bomb. 

And this girl licked the bowl clean after I filled my tortillas.  She REALLY likes cabbage.  Won't eat meatballs, but likes cabbage.  She's weird. 

Just sayin'. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Worth Reading

To all those moms who have made this thing called motherhood look easy, eat my shorts.  It's way harder than it looks.  So today when this came to me, I just knew I had to share it with all of you.


The Mother Load

11 Nov 2010

Lysa TerKeurst

"One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Psalm 62:11-12a (NIV)

We moms should never build the stability of our identity on the fragility of our kid's choices.

Have you ever felt like a failure as a mom because you got a not so great call from the principal's office? Me too. On the flip side, have you ever felt like the greatest mom ever because your child got some special recognition? Me too. So, let me say it again just so this crucial truth can sink in a little deeper. I'm repeating it for no other reason, sweet sister, than the fact I need this message. So, forgive me if this devotion preaches a message only to myself.

We moms should never build the stability of our identity on the fragility of our kid's choices.

I've got five amazing kids. I really do. They are wildly funny, imaginative, moody, opinionated, strong, weak, happy, sad, good and sometimes not so good. In other words they're pretty normal. And while I've done everything in my power to raise them to turn out amazingly awesome - and they very well might turn out amazingly awesome - there aren't any guarantees.

Sometimes bad parents raise terrific kids.

And sometimes terrific parents raise kids that chase bad things their whole life.

So, what's a mama to do?

Embrace the process. Learn from the process. Let God speak to us during the process. And see the process of raising kids as an ongoing opportunity to invest beyond ourselves.

We get to love our kids like crazy. Pray for them faithfully. Talk to them regularly. Listen to them tenderly. Model honesty and integrity. And point them to Jesus at every turn.

We get to do all that.

And tucked within these privileges is the reward. As long as I look for the reward within the process, I won't misplace my expectations. I have to rest in the assurance that God sees everything I invest in these kids.

And He will use every step of this process for good. The process will be good for me. And this process will good for my kids. It will be good. But this process won't always make me feel good or look good.

If I always expect my kids to make me feel good or look good, I am setting us all up for failure. My kids were never meant to carry the weight of a mama's need for validation. I can't let their failures send me to bed. And I can't wear their successes like mommy medals of honor.

Motherhood is tough you know?

It really is.

However, it's also our only opportunity to reach into the generations to come and make a difference. So, an imperfect but wonderful difference I will make.

Dear Lord, help me to embrace the privilege and process of motherhood. I see parenting as an opportunity to invest beyond myself. But I also admit that I really need Your help. Please guide me so that I can model You every day in every way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Just sayin'. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yep. So.....

I have been noticeably absent. 

To those of you who missed me and mentioned it--thanks.  I missed you, too. 

To those of you who didn't miss me....so be it.  Hopefully, you've stopped reading so you don't even know I am back. 

Here's a little something new for my reappearance in the blog world.....

If you've missed the Random Dozen, and seriously, who hasn't, then you're in for a treat. Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond has decided to start a brand new meme called Random Hodgepodge. Seven random questions, and then you are supposed to contribute your own random thought (G rated, please) for the #8 slot each week. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? So let's go!

 1. Do you think you're more like your mom or your dad?
I like to think that I have the best qualities of my mom and the best qualities of my dad all wrapped up in one neat little package.....ME.  Just don't ask my brother what he thinks.

2. Do you like roller coasters?
Not so much.  I kind of like to keep my feet on the ground. 

3. How did you name your blog and do you now wish you'd thought about it maybe another five minutes before you hit publish? Would you change your blog title if it were not a huge pain in the derriere? (French makes everything sound a little nicer doesn't it?)
I actually thought about the name of my blog for awhile(like 20 minutes).  I really wanted the url to be The Hays Crew.  One problem with that....if I ran it all together it looked like this--thehayscrew.  I was convinced that people would think it was The Hay Screw and I would get plugged as a porn site.  Therefore, I was very careful.  I have good friend who didn't think through her email address and often is mistaken for big boobs. 

4. What is the best wedding gift you received? Not married? Didn't get any gifts? Then what is the best wedding gift you've given?
I have to say that the greatest gift I received was my grandparents being alive and at my wedding to see me marry a wonderful person who has given their (insert favorite) granddaughter a blessed life.  I think we forget how much people mean to us until they aren't there.  And it's not the small stuff....it really is the big stuff in our lives that we want them there to witness.  I could give a rats about my grandma ever having seen me at an athletic event, but it means the world to me to have had her at my wedding and at the first sightings of my children.  Big stuff counts.

5. What is the one bill you most hate to pay?
The part of the doctor bills that the insurance doesn't pay.  My son had a recent trip to the allergy doc that cost $1700.  A lot of that $1700 was covered by insurance but I still had to pay $240.  And I am I ever so thankful insurance.  I am scared to death to think what would happen without the gift of insurance.  We certainly wouldn't be able to meet our sons health needs without insurance.  His allergy serum was $1500 for 4 doses

6. Is the glass half full or half empty?
Is the glass full of diet coke with a chaser of dark chocolate?

7. What is your favorite word? Okay okay. Calm down. How about one of your favorite words?
I really like the word fiddlesticks.  It covers a gamut of emotions. 

8. For this last one, we are supposed to place our own random thought here. Here's mine:   
Underwear is optional.

Go see Joyce from This Side of the Pond and link up for some more Hodgepodgedness. For some reason my computer is not showing me her really cool button, so I don't know if it's showing up on your computer, but you can still click this link down here so you don't miss all the fun. But hey, don't forget to leave a comment first!

And I promise, I have returned.  I will be here regularly.  Just sayin'.  

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. -Proverbs 11: 17