Tuesday, October 30, 2007

National Candy Corn Day

Today is National Candy Corn Day.

How do I know these things? Because that is what happens to you when you are stuck in bed for many days.

Thankfully, when I am not sleeping or coughing, I have a laptop and wireless internet to use.

And I have time...time to watch shows like Chuck. This is a dumb show, but I think the geek in all of us wishes we could use our "superpowers" to save the world. And since NBC so graciously now has full episodes that you can watch online. I have.

I've learned that Mike Huckabee is an interesting candidate and matches many of my "requirements" in a candidate from www.connect2elect.com. I learned that banks are calling for people to pay their debts on their credit cards, mortgages and cars. And that foreclosure rates are growing. I realized I really don't like Meredith Viera on the Today show.

I could be using the time for Bible study. That's what a Pastor's wife does, right? Well, when the brain does not work, studying doesn't happen. I have worked on my memory verse for Mandy, though, does that count?

But in the midst of all of these important things, I discovered that it is National Candy Corn Day.

Thanks to candyusa.org, here are some fun facts about candy corn:
  • Candy corn has been around for more than 100 years. George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company, invented the popular confection in the 1880s and Wunderlee became the first to produce the candy. The Goelitz Candy Company (now Jelly Belly Candy Company) started producing the confection in 1900 and still produces candy corn today.
  • One serving of candy corn contains only 140 calories.
  • When candy corn first appeared, it was popular among farmers because of its agrarian look. ( I had to look "agrarian" up. I guessed it had something to do with agriculture and that's all it means...having to do with farming or the land. Smarter than I thought I was.)
  • The tri-color design was considered revolutionary and the public went crazy for it, but lack of machinery meant that candy corn was only made seasonally from March to November. Candy corn has remained unchanged for one hundred years.
  • More than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That equates to nearly 9 billion pieces—enough to circle the moon nearly 4 times if laid end-to-end.

If you want to know how candy corn is made, check out candyusa's site.

Our household is free of candy corn this year. While it is a favorite, when one has not been to a grocery store in over a week, there is none to be had. I'm sure tomorrow will bring plenty of candy to the six-pack!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pound Cake

I started this post last week, but got distracted. I made the pound cake, careful to document each step...except the final product. No worries, it was so good that we finished it off and I had to make another one. That and we had company coming. Pound cake number two, made, eaten, and no picture. So, you are going to have to use your imagination and just know that it was so good we ate two in five days!

From that, I'm sure I gained five pounds, but now that I am laying horizontally, fighting off the flu...still...I have managed to lose seven pounds.

That in no way suggests that the pound cake is directly related to getting the flu, just good memories of food before I haven't eaten anything in five days that didn't resemble "sick food". Eggs, Popsicles, toast...thankfully this is not the stomach flu or that would be worse. I'm not totally convinced that it is the flu since it is not improving and I've had a fever over 100 for six days. Yes, I was good and went to the doctor. They sent me home saying, "it's the flu. Here's some cough med with codeine (good stuff) and an inhaler (not sure it's doing anything), now go home and rest. Mike has been an awesome husband taking care of all six kids the past few days, but I'm sure his tolerance level is waining. I'm tired of being sick and now I'm sure you're tired of hearing me tell you about it. If you call me all you'll get is my very deep,sexy voice that I can only use for a few minutes before I fall into a coughing spell.

It seems odd to combine that with a post about pound cake, but trust me...it's good!

Jenn's Pound Cake (taken from Just a Matter of Thyme Cookbook)

Cream together 1 1/2 sticks of butter...
With one pound of powdered sugar (thus why it is called a pound cake!)

Cream it together really well! Beat it until super light and fluffy!

Add six eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one (beat approximately a total of ten minutes). Then add 2 tsp. vanilla (just eyeball it!).
Add your dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Taste your batter - that's an order (unless you have the flu)
Pour into greased tube or bundt pan.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes (toothpick clean test)

Let cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.

Then clean up your mess!

And put on your heels for a party!

Pound cake is usually better the second day after it has been cooked, but warm is good too!

***After rereading this before I post I realize one should not attempt to post while on drugs. Just copy and paste the recipe - it's the good part.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My 100 Favorite Items From Costco

  1. Coscto white cake with cheese cake filling and butter cream icing
  2. batteries...we go through a lot
  3. carter's sleepers...I have enough, but always want more
  4. Sharpie markers
  5. chunky granola
  6. 5 lbs bag of chocolate chips
  7. two gallons of milk for $3.79
  8. 3lb bags of whole bean coffee
  9. Bailey's Irish Cream
  10. Ugg-like boots for $39
  11. 3 lb. tub of sour cream
  12. 20 lb box of Tide laundry detergent...lasts two weeks
  13. Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookie dough
  14. big bag of frozen corn or peas or green beans
  15. Laura Ashley dresses for little girls
  16. Dockers shorts for big girls
  17. Dyson Vacuum cleaner...ahhhhhhh
  18. cheap, good quality mattresses
  19. chocolate chip muffins
  20. 30 lb bag of dog food
  21. diapers...size 5
  22. jeans for boys...all boys
  23. two loaves of wheat bread for $3
  24. chicken pot pie...yummo!
  25. Mike wants me to mention the plasma tvs
  26. maple bacon...bacon...bacon...is there anything better than bacon?
  27. blueberry muffins
  28. 5 lb bag of Tillamook shredded cheddar cheese
  29. a dozen jumbo Gala apples...snack for three days
  30. large boxes of cereal
  31. huge rotisserie chickens
  32. poppy-seed muffins
  33. garlic sea-salt grinder
  34. glue sticks...more than most people could use in a lifetime...gone first day of school
  35. jumbo pack of Charmin toilet paper...lasts two weeks
  36. king size down comforter
  37. diapers...size 3
  38. 1000 tylenol caplets
  39. women's ribbed tank tops - no built-in bra
  40. Fiber One bars
  41. apple strudel muffins
  42. sliced Tillamook cheddar cheese
  43. underwire bras
  44. carter's underwear for kids
  45. 2 lb block of Tillamook extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
  46. multi pack of post-it notes
  47. 500 sheets of white tissue paper
  48. jumbo pack of Bounty paper towels...lasts three weeks
  49. Pull ups
  50. 400 thread count sheets
  51. Margarita mix
  52. asparagus
  53. jumbo pack of napkins
  54. three-pack of whip cream
  55. 1 gallon of egg nog
  56. raw tortillas
  57. butter
  58. reverse osmosis water system
  59. sleeping pillows...2 for $9.99
  60. baby wipes
  61. two dozen eggs
  62. 4 half-gallons of OJ
  63. chocolate truffles
  64. Real Simple Magazine
  65. crate-o-strawberries
  66. light bulbs
  67. frozen Mocha Latte for $1.55
  68. pumpkin cheesecake
  69. 4 lbs. of maraschino cherries
  70. giant bag of Tostitos chips
  71. guacamole
  72. frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
  73. three pack of Robitussin
  74. pork chops...related to bacon
  75. jumbo peaches
  76. water bottles
  77. chicken apple gouda sausages
  78. baby back ribs...especially slow-cooked and BBQ'd
  79. pork and vegetable egg rolls
  80. 96 oz of Skippy peanut butter
  81. 64 oz of strawberry jam
  82. 1500 Q-tips
  83. peach white cranberry juice...two gallons per week
  84. 40 lb. bag of flour
  85. 96 oz bag of pretzels...lasts at least four months
  86. fruit snacks...AKA "nak, nak"
  87. no. 2 pencils
  88. yoga pants
  89. Quaker chewy granola bars
  90. Tuscan three cheese potato chips
  91. Johnny's garlic spread
  92. any spices...in very large bottles...for cheap
  93. Starbucks frappaccinos
  94. multi pack of band-aids
  95. 100 calorie packs of chips for kids lunches
  96. tub of vanilla ice cream
  97. big ol' pack of hot dogs
  98. mini packages of baby carrots
  99. $1.50 hot dog and drink...feeds the family and Carrie for less than $12
  100. Free samples!

** I could keep going because there are probably 100 more things I could list, but I'll save them for later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two Words

My next post will be 100! That seems amazing. I'm trying to come up with something fun, but right now I have two words for you:

The Flu!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Curls, Leaves, & Webkinz

There is no school today. That really should be all I have to say, but it's not.

I have several whiny children. And I have instituted slave labor.

My children would rather be playing Webkinz all day long! I know it is new and the newness will wear off, but the other day Mikalah was playing on my laptop, Jarrett in the kitchen, and Judson in Mike's office. Sad that they were playing together on the computer and all ten feet away from each other.

Besides when they play, I can't get on the computer!

So instead, since it is a beautiful day (mind you it is windy and only 54 degrees, but the sun is out, so it is a nice day), my children are raking leaves. I am keeping my neighbors two kids (11 &9) today as well, so they are slave labor too. When they finish with my yard they get to do their yard.

There has been lots of leaf pile jumping and some sword fighting...

They are 9 year old boys you know!

But work is getting done and the whining happens in spurts instead of constant.

In other news, Morgan has a new word: "Whoa!" Where most kids drop something and say, "uh-oh", she has started saying "Whoa!" In the Nick from Family Ties voice or for you younger crowd, Joey from Friends.

This is how cute she looks after dumping the big box of crayons on the floor followed by a big "Whoa!"

And then here are her curls!!! Where she got them, I do not know. Most of my kids had some curl, but by the time they were a year it had grown out. Hers are these tight ringlets. The picture isn't the greatest, so I'll see if I can capture her outside in the sunshine later.

It is lunchtime and I suppose to be a good master I should feed the slaves...so they have strength to do some more raking...and sword fighting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

It is still technically Wednesday!

The other day I realized that I just do not take enough pictures of my children. I decided to try and take one everyday, much like my friend Elaine is doing with her self-portrait project.

Before you comment, yes, I know this is not really all that safe, but they were doing chores and it was too cute. We did have the conversation about how it wasn't safe, but only after I closed Mikalah in so she could tell me if the light went off when the door closed.
That's the kind of good mommy I am!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jenn's Thoughts - Beware

Today is a crazy day and I feel like the last few have been as well. So while this post doesn't really have a point, neither does today.

Those smart Kraft people knew that many moms would dump the package of cheese into the boiling water and made special packaging that doesn't allow the water to soak through. How smart!

"The real problem of leisure time is how to keep others from using yours."
— Arthur Lacey

My to-do list for today:
  1. pick up present for birthday party this evening
  2. laundry
  3. study for bible study this evening
  4. prepare stuff for bible study
  5. make cookies for mike to deliver tonight
  6. pick up JJ from school (almost forgot yesterday)
  7. take judson and friend to football
  8. pick up mikalah and 2 friends from honor choir
  9. deliver friends home
  10. pick up judson and friend from football and deliver to birthday party
  11. take other kids home
  12. go to bible study

I think I'd really just rather take a nap!

...but apparently she doesn't want to!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shoe Update

We have success!

Sort of.
It did cost us something to be successful and I wish I had some wonderful sale story to give you, but I don't. But I do have shoes for my ELEVEN year old daughter.

We found black boots at Famous Footwear:

They have a heel...she's happy. They have a chunky eleven year old's heel...I'm happy.

We also got a pair of these:

She had a pair of all brown ones in the Spring and I liked them because they looked casual without looking like chunky sneakers.

Which brings me to my question. What do YOU call sneakers? I've just always called them that, but some people (I wouldn't name names Mandy or Pam) find it hilarious that I call them that.

Am I weird? For calling them sneakers, not just weird in general.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Great Shoe Debate

Hi, my name is Jennifer and I have an eleven year old daughter. This is how I feel I should introduce myself. It explains a lot!

Mikalah's feet have hit a growth spurt. Gone are the days of cute shoes like this:

Now my daughter is wearing ladies shoes...a size 7 1/2! They don't make Hello Kitty sneakers (yes, I called them sneakers) in a size 7 1/2 ladies! Of course being eleven she has also sworn off anything pink or Hello Kitty, so it really wouldn't matter if they did.

When you look at her feet, they don't look that big.

I remember being in fifth grade and complaining to my mother that my feet looked so big! (They were a size 8) Her response was, "Oh sweetheart, they are in proportion to your legs."

An eleven year old does not take this to mean God made you perfect and perfectly shaped. Oh, no, what I really heard my mom say was, "Your legs are big too, so no one will notice."

Now that I am the mom of an eleven year old daughter (have I mentioned that recently?) I'm sure I will say things that my daughter will remember for years - probably even need therapy for.

But right now I'm the one that needs therapy here...I'm the one we are supposed to be having sympathy for!

Because Mikalah now wears a ladies 7 1/2, she has no shoes. She has one pair of sneakers (there's that word again) and one pair of flip-flops. So naturally we went shoe shopping.

Given that I do not know when this foot growth will end I really don't want to spend a lot on new shoes. It's BOGO time at Payless, so this seemed like the natural answer to our shoe dilemma.

I suggested she try these:

...or these...
...maybe these...
I was even willing to concede to these...
But she would have nothing to do with it. Nothing fit right. Too tight, too loose, too old, too babyish, etc. You get the point. Mikalah had suddenly turned into Goldilocks. And I was becoming the Mama Bear!
These are the shoes she wanted...

Hello people, we live in Montana here. We're talking snow and cold. And that doesn't even begin to address the heel or the hookerish lace up to the knee part.

"How about these?", she asks.

Maybe for Mama! But not for the eleven year old girl! You are eleven. I don't even think I would allow you to wear these if you were 16!

"These one's are lower."

She obviously needs to see the opthomologist, because there is something wrong with her eyes. These are not lower!

"Then how about these?", the sweet, precious child asks.

Now you can't see the best part of these ones. The heel is clear acrylic and when you walk it lights up! It's like having little kid light-up shoes again. Or maybe it's like a built in flashlight for the street walkers so they can find their money when they leave the hotel room!

Needless to say, we left without any shoes for Mikalah. I'll try again tomorrow...when I've recharged my resolve to have her look like an eleven year old.

In the mean time, look what I found for me! And no, Mikalah didn't like them either.
Mom, I'm sorry for all the grief I gave you as an eleven year old daughter!


Today, October 9th, in stores for your listening pleasure is SNAZZY! The Go Fish Guys are on a mission to produce music that kids love that doesn't drive their parents crazy! Two of my favorites on this new album are The Mom Song (I love that my kids love it too) and Stories (it's all the old Bible Songs with a new beat). You can go HERE to listen to some clips, but today go buy it to show the world we love this music and want more!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

My Six-Pack

Before I head out to Costco for our weekly shopping trip (at least I don't need diapers this week), I thought I give you some pictures!

Thanks to Carrie for taking those.This cutie-pa-tutie had her first sleepover at Taryn's house and mommy, Jill, took this beautiful picture! Thanks, Jill!

This was Shannon and I "working hard" at our MOPS conference. I forgot to post it earlier! These benches were all over the conference center...I now want one for myself!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Too Big Too Fast!

Today I took four 11 year old girls out to celebrate Mikalah's birthday. We went to a paint-your-own-pottery place for two hours and then to Fudruckers. (I hadn't been there in so long - it was good). However, three hours with those girls is about my max!

Don't get me wrong, they are good kids, but they talk...a lot...about nothing! And they are hyper! It's kind of like herding cats. I think having this attitude proves that I'm getting old. I'm not sure that I'm ready for the teen years. But that's okay, because God is!
Mikalah is the dramatic one on the top right! Drama queen...Lord, give me strength!

Friday, October 5, 2007

It Wasn't So Cute at the Time

but how can you be mad at a 2 year old that's asking to pray? For the last five nights Jeffrey has been waking up @ 2ish AM crying. Here's how the conversation goes...every morning:

Me: Jeffrey, what's wrong, sweetheart? (really sappy and sweet like - or as sweet as a groggy mommy can be at 2am)

Jeffrey: I pray (sweet and whiny)

Me: okay, go ahead (Through clenched teeth wondering why he woke me up just to pray, but feeling guilty, because how does a mommy get mad when he baby wants to pray!)

Jeffrey: Mommy, Daddy, Food, God, Amen (covering all the important things!)

Me: Lord, help Jeffrey have a peaceful night's sleep and not wake up again!

And then he goes back to sleep. The first few nights were annoying, but I do feel guilty for feeling annoyed. But by the third night, I felt like Samuel wondered if God was trying to get my attention to pray about something and had to use my two year old to wake me up. Now that we are on the fifth night, and I've prayed about it and just don't feel like I'm missing anything, it's just not so cute.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Humor for a Dreary Day

Today is chilly and rainy - very overcast. Really I just want to crawl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book and peace and quiet. Instead I'm cleaning out all the paper that piles up in my kitchen with new resolve to not have it live there!!! I was also cleaning out my email inbox and found this. It gave me a good chuckle. Enjoy.

Why don't men write advice columns?

Dear Walter:
I hope you can help me here. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't gone more than a few hundred yards down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help. When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was parading in front of the wardrobe mirror dressed in my underwear and high-heel shoes, and he was wearing my make up.
I am 32, my husband is 34 and we have been married for twelve years. When I confronted him, he tried to make out that he had dressed in my lingerie because he couldn't find his own underwear. But when I asked him about the make up, he broke down and admitted that he'd been wearing my clothes for six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. I don't feel I can get through to him anymore. Can you please help?
Sincerely, Mrs. Lusk

Dear Mrs. Lusk:
A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the inlet manifold. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber. I hope this helps.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Photo Shoot

On Monday, Carrie lovingly took some family pictures at a park. I like to try and get a family picture every three months or so and it has been about that long since our last one. Taking a family picture with six kids is not easy - I've mentioned this before. A two year old and a sixteen month old are difficult enough, but add some goofy older ones and it's a blast! (of something!) We also attempted a shot of just Mike and me. I'll share some of the photos after they've been edited/cropped/airbrushed...but I thought you'd enjoy this one!

Monday, October 1, 2007

MOPS Review - Part 3

Okay, last one, because this was now over a week ago and I have other things to share!

Laurie Smith: (from Trading Spaces) She told her story of how she came to Trading Spaces. She is quite dramatic and hilarious! She gave us three points that she uses for design, but can be used in your spiritual life as well. 1.) Evaluate Your Space; 2.) Determine Your Layout; and 3.) Find Your Inspiration. She reminded us that a Christ-centered home can only be as Christ-centered as its occupants.

Steven James: He is a great storyteller! I picked up a CD, but haven't really had time to listen yet. There isn't much I can say about him other than check out his website.

Julie Barnhill: I actually heard her twice. the first time she spoke at a General Session to all MOPS moms. She had three main points: 1.) YOU ARE A MESS! Just deal with it, it makes life much easier! 2.) Do not keep out the humor - humor helps maintain your sanity. She talked about playing with your kids, making fun of yourself, telling knock-knock jokes, and trying to embarrass your children (like implying that you actually sleep with your husband!). 3.) God wants to give you your desires in your scorched place. There's not enough room to explain all of this one except to say that YOU ARE A MESS and God wants to bless you where you are.

Then I went to her workshop titled "One Tough Mother". she started off by reminding us that when we get tired we start to give up our authority. You do NOT want to land on the front pages of USA Today as being a bad mother, so stick with it! Here are some keys to do that...

1.) Speak truth to your kids. Be consistent and firm and fair and say what you mean and mean what you say. Say this with your kids, "Who's the boss?'" Have them say, "You are". Then say, "Who's going to win?" And have them say, "You are". And remember the fun, light, Dora-inspired sing-songy voice.

2.) Delight in your perfectly ordinary child and ordinary life! It's okay to be average. The majority of us are not going to have olympic athletes or pulitzer prize winning authors!

3.) Stop tinkering with the inane. Look at the details, is it profound or really not important?

4.) Say NO like you mean it. Work on your tone and "the look". For those moms (quoting her) "that feel the need to validate your children", say, "I hear what you're saying and no" or "thank you for asking and no" or "Noah had a nickname and no" but just say NO!

5.) Get a hobby besides kids. (or scrapbooking about your kids)

6.) Love them like crazy! Establish family always. The Iverson family always...gives a little more than expected...looks for the one being left out and invites them to play...

7.) Remember it's all worth it!

8.) Leave nothing unspoken. Tell them, "I'm so glad I had you!" or "I will always be your mom no matter what!" or I'm praying for you whether you want me to or not!"

9.) Face your giants! Don't shrink away from the principal, or the doctor, or your mother! Face them for your children's sake!

10.) Never give up! You're only a failure if you quit forever!

Sara Groves: Sara is an amazing artist! Her music is beautiful, but her heart is even more beautiful. She talked about impacting our world and how her connections with International Justice have shown her how much difference one person can make in the lives of others. She encouraged us to not just be spiritual consumers, but to open our hearts and to pray about what God wants us to do. Each person can work with what God has given them. I loved the quote she used from Mother Teresa, "We can do no great things - only small things with great love!

Sara had her third child on July 13th, Ruby Cate. She is adorable. Sara had them bring her onto stage to introduce her and as if on cue, Ruby Cate burped a nice juicy burp...okay, really she puked all down the front of Sara at the exact moment that the camera zoomed in on her face. Perfect timing! All of us moms could totally sympathize!!!

But alas all good things must come to and end (until heaven!) and I needed to come home. Back to laundry and dishes and dirty diapers! That also meant a teary good-bye to Shannon. Thankfully it was early in the morning and there was a huge crowd of people waiting to get on the bus to the airport so our good-bye was short and sweet, but the tears did flow on the bus and on the plane! I miss you dearly, my friend! I did get to fly home with Elisa Morgan (CEO of MOPS International) who, I might add, was sitting in coach and friendly!