Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Year supply in 30 minutes

 Last weekend we took the kids to a giant field of dead weeds.

But there is gold in them thar weeds...

Idaho gold.

Gleaning potatoes is like a giant Easter egg hunt where there is no end to the eggs.
When potatoes are harvested, (check out this two minute video) the spuds are first dug up by a big harvester and then a big tractor with a conveyor belt-like attachment drives along behind the harvester and picks up the spuds and dumps them into a big truck.  Back in the 'old' days farmers had to hire people to walk along with buckets and hand pick the potatoes.  When my parents were kids in Eastern Idaho it took an entire community to harvest potatoes--'spud harvest.'  Everyone was let out of school  for a couple of weeks.  Most of the communities in Eastern Idaho still get out of school around this time of year to help with the harvest.
Today the potatoes are mostly harvested by tractor but the tractor leaves a lot of potatoes behind.  If you know the right people you can go to a field after the harvesters have gone through and glean the extra potatoes.  

We are extremely grateful to have farmer friends who let us have a bit of their excess.  Thirty minutes and we were loaded up.  We packed potatoes in boxes and a bunch of  huge Costco bags and hauled them to the root cellar where they will live in  until they are needed.

Baked, mashed, fried, boiled and added to doughnuts--we now have potatoes on the menu for the rest of the year!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Manna in the form of nectarines

I wrote the other day about how my life felt like a hurricane.  It still does. Three football teams, scouts, activity days, music lessons and a husband who is usually gone are making driving and meal times ridiculous.  In fact I've been feeling very sorry for myself lately.

Thursday morning I was feeling especially sorry for myself when we read in the Doctrine and Covenants 42:25 for morning scriptures. The Lord is talking about how sometimes he talks to us through "the voice of lightnings... tempests...pestilences of every kind" and still we don't listen.

 It occurred to me at that moment that maybe my own personal storms are the Lord's way of reminding me to listen.  I need to ask Him for help more often.

Later that evening  I was rushing around trying to find  food  for everyone before they had to leave for the night and my hands were sticky, my hair was a mass of frizz, Jackson was crying, and my attempts to keep the house tidy were completely nullified.

Someone came to the door to bring the missionaries some food and she decided to bring some to me as well.

The best part?

She brought nectarines.  I love nectarines because I can just eat them.  They don't need to be peeled.  I don't have to can, dry, freeze or make them into jam.  They are just for eating. No guilt.  My mom also brought some peaches that were cut up into beautiful little baby food size chunks and put into lovely jars.  No work and no guilt for me.

I was reminded by a stranger that I am not forgotten.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hurricane Season

I don't know how the national news has missed this but hurricanes are running rampant in Idaho this Fall.  Just this morning a gigantic storm caused the disappearance of one of
Landon's shoes (he had to wear basketball shoes...) and one of Austin's shoes (he had to wear size 11 shoes with totally frayed shoelaces).

Papers were thrown about the kitchen and sweaty shirts, socks and shorts were scattered about the bathroom and bedrooms.
Remnants of hastily packed food stuffs (lunch...) are visible all over the kitchen and floor.

In the midst of the chaos this morning one child was mysteriously compelled to play Tarantella over and over on the piano (help me!!!...).

I think we may have to declare this a disaster zone and call in the national guard.  I fear it may take months to clean up the damage.

Who knew September was such a dangerous month in Idaho? 

School began almost three weeks ago.  Dallin and Landon started the first day of school with a football game.  Benson is in school full time (1st grade!) this year leaving me alone in an eerily quiet house with Jackson all day.  He is doing his best to keep me from being bored...and succeeding quite well.

Dallin, Landon and Austin are busy with football everyday which pretty much means I am driving all over town trying to pick-up and drip off to practices, games, scouts and school.  
Landon (76) and Dallin (61) stand the exact same way on the sidelines. They have won every game by more than 30 points so far this year and both have had tons of sacks and tackles which is fun to watch.

Grandma and Jackson

Austin is totally enjoying football this season also--he had three sacks in his first game which is a huge improvement from last year.  He's the biggest kid in the league (in height and weight) and he loves it. 

I'm wishing an actual hurricane would come by and knock all the apricots from my tree so I wouldn't have to feel guilty about not picking them.

This year apricots are extra credit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It starts now

Notice anything different about this girl?

Look a little closer.  See it?

Okay how about now?

Can't miss it here...

Two days before school started Jenna finally got up the nerve to get her ears pierced.  We told her last year she could get them pierced whenever she wanted.  For the last few months she has been putting little stick on jewels on her ears every morning to match her outfit so we knew it was only a matter of time before she asked to get the real Bling.

We cheated before the big event and put a couple of drops of numbing drops on her ears before we got to the store.  I think it was more of a "Dumbo's feather" effect than anything but she did great.  No tears at all.  

Yesterday she asked if she could borrow my silver flower earrings when she can take her studs out. 
I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My arm amputation.

Over the summer my baby went from this...
To this...

I underestimated how much the kids helped me this summer.  They all went back to school on Tuesday which has left me with a permanent hip attachment.  This babe is certainly cute but I am seriously getting nothing done.

 I have never had one baby.  Not ever.  Jackson is in the stage where is rolls and scoots and wiggles and squirms.  He can move just enough to get himself trapped or stuck everywhere but he's not big enough to get himself out of trouble. I'm not sure how I am going to manage this yet.  Baby Jack is going to have to get used to playing alone a bit or I am in big trouble!

  *For the record I did not touch up those baby blues.  Who knew two brown-eyed parents could have such colorful children?!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Project organization: menus

As the kids head back to school I am ready to get serious about organizing my life. 
Organization isn't really my strong point but I am determined to have my weak things become my strengths...

Here's something I've been trying for a month or so now--

I write our menu on the front of the fridge where everyone can see what's coming up and I can plan ahead before it is 5 pm and everyone is starving.
I love the   Crayola dry erase crayons.  They come in lots of colors and the writing doesn't just brush off if someone bumps the fridge.  They wipe off really easily with water.  Awesome.

Before I can actually write the meals down I have to plan them.  I hate thinking of things to eat.  Isn't thinking of meals the worst?

To begin making things easier I went to my favorite food planning site at food storage made

The site has lots of interesting food storage ideas but my favorite is the excel spreadsheet.  It is programmed to calculate how much food is needed to have a one or three month storage of regular meals that we eat all the time.
I love it.
I went in and put in all the meals I could think of right off the top of my head and I had 30 meals before I knew it.  I change some meals according to the seasons {in the summer we grill pizza outside...} but I still use pretty much the same ingredients.

I took the list of meals from  the spreadsheet and printed them off on the computer and stuck them to some cute paper...

Whoever is helping me with dinner for the week can choose from the pile of meals and I know I have the ingredients for that meal.
Some meals are in more than once--we eat pizza at least twice a month so I entered pizza twice in the meal planner spreadsheet and I put two pizza strips in the pile.  When we finish the pile then we can start over and I know I need to stock up on another month of food.

So far it works really well.  I especially like having the plan in front of me so I can remember to get the chicken out of the freezer ahead of time.  

Okay really---we don't always eat all the meals like I plan. Sometimes I just don't get it all done so I have a few easy meals in the freezer. 

Sometimes I bring home roasted chicken when I go to the store.  Actually we are a two chicken family these days and I suspect we are well on the way to becoming a three chicken family...
Sometimes I buy pizza instead of making it {we are now a three pizza family too!}.

Sometimes we just eat eggs and toast.
I tell myself that when I don't have a baby nursing 6-8 times a day I will have more time but I know it's not true.  I never have more time.  Something always comes up. 

But having a plan always helps! 

Next up in my organization plan--school stuff.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Million dollar view

I love moments like this.  Jackson has drifted off to sleep and I know I should go put him in bed but I am distracted by his long wispy eye-lashes. And those soft cheeks.

Then, two seconds later...

His little eyes pop open and he grins at me. And I know I missed my window of opportunity and now he will be awake for awhile. 

He lays quietly for just a second before he starts batting at my phone determined to put it in his mouth.
He snuggles his face in my arm and he smells like baby shampoo mixed with that oh-so-lovely acrid yet slightly sweet smell of baby spit-up.

I am completely enjoying this baby but I think I have reached that point where it is time for me to choose bedtime instead of being held captive by the whims of an infant.  

He has been sleeping through the night for about three months so I haven't really worried about putting him down awake--Rustin or I can usually just hold him until he's asleep without too much trouble.  But, with school starting on Tuesday I think it's time for a more predictable schedule for all of us.
We'll see how it goes.