Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ramblings on All Hallow's Eve Eve

It is Day 2 of Halloween 2010. Yesterday was costumes at school. Today is trick-or-treating. Tomorrow is the actual day, but probably be the most un-Halloween of them all. That's good. I think we'll all need a day to come down out of the sugar stratosphere. (I'm glad I'm not subbing in Primary tomorrow!)

SuperDad is traversing the neighborhood in the wind and rain dressed as his alter-ego, Greg, and accompanying his two youngest sons on their quest for the largest candy haul ever. I haven't seen anyone else out, so the chances are good. I, the Mom, sacrificed her fun and super hero status to stay home in the dry house and man the front door. I think I'm ok with that. It's quiet, so I thought I'd sit at the computer and see what comes out the ol' fingertips. Then, I'm off to make pumpkin seeds. Ok, the pumpkins made them. I'm going to bake them. And then eat them.

1) We watered the dirt in what used to be our garden for 30 minutes in the rain today. Seems a bit over-the-top, but we added sulfur to the dirt to make it more acidic and it needs lots of water to start dissolving. I never knew that sulfuric acid is one of those things a garden needs to grow, but apparently it is. Here's hoping for a bountiful strawberry crop next spring!

2) I'm being very creative on the costume front this year. On Day 1 I was an undercover Tobacco and Firearms agent masquerading as a mom. Today I am an undercover CIA agent masquerading as a YW Camp leader. I have the shirt and everything. Tomorrow, I'm going to be an undercover FBI agent masquerading as a Latter-Day Saint woman at church. See, very creative. I thought of that all by myself while I was doing dishes this afternoon and made the idea retroactive to yesterday.

3) I cut up all the bell peppers we grew and put them in the freezer this afternoon. They were either not all the way ripe or hotter than the ones you buy in the store because my hands were tingling for over an hour after I finished and I had washed them several times. Never had that happen before. I'll have to remember to use them sparingly.

4) It's been 35 minutes since my family left to go trick-or-treating and we just had our first visitors who are not related to me or are one of the relatives friends. I'm seeing lots of left-over candy in our future.

5) The garage smells like heaven because of all the apples out there waiting to be made into sauce. Mmmmmm! Can't wait.

6) We actually got about 5 pounds of potatoes out of our garden and some of them were actually regular potato size. They'll be dinner next week.

7) 10 more minutes and trick-or-treating set #2 has just left. They thought our Halloween decoration that consists of 5 jack-o-lanterns with a glow stick inside one of them was cool. They are my favorites.

8) Greg pulled out the little 3 or 4 foot pine trees growing on either side of our garage this morning. I love having them gone! Neither one was doing fantastic, but one of them really was about dead. I don't know how long the trees have been there, but we've been here over two years and they were here when we arrived. Greg tied a rope around it a pulled it out with the car to find that it's roots were all still in a ball. No wonder the poor thing looked like it was about dead. The weeds underneath it seem to be doing pretty well, though.

Ok, the rain has stopped and the doorbell keeps ringing, so I'm out of here. Although, what's up with the teenagers trick-or-treating without at least attempting a costume? Maybe they are undercover secret agents, too. We're all over the place, I tell you.

Have a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When You're in the Service of Your Fellow Beings...

...You might just be helping yourself.

Earlier this week I noticed that someone had pulled out the last roll of toilet paper in the main bathroom. I was grateful and mildly astonished that the plastic packaging actually made it into the garbage can, but no one had gotten a new package to go under the sink. Thinking I'd be nice to whomever was caught paperless at some upcoming point I decided to grab a new package and place it in the cupboard. Well, guess who found herself as the paperless user in there this afternoon? Yep, you guessed it- Me. Let this be a reminder that no act of kindness is ever unrewarded!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Joseph made dinner last night. It was a requirement for his foods class at school. He had to include an appetizer, main dish, side dish, beverage, and dessert. All the food groups needed to be represented. At least one of those items needed to be made from a recipe. The rest could be packages that were prepackaged. He also had to set the table and clean-up the dishes afterward.

He opted for Black Bean Quesadillas because he likes the beans and we hadn't had them in awhile. He also opted for broccoli as his side dish because it's one of the few green foods he'll tolerate. Chips and salsa was the appetizer (but really, what family do you know that serves an appetizer before dinner?!), water the beverage and applesauce cake the dessert. I don't buy many prepackaged anythings, so he got to be an over achiever and have two made-from-scratch recipes.

A friend came home with him to do homework and then they played on the computer for a little bit. He didn't say anything about dinner, so at 4:30 I asked when he'd like to get started. He made the cake first, so it would have time to cool before we ate it. While it baked, I went and picked whatever was ready from the garden. Lucky Joseph, not only were his recipes made from scratch, several of the ingredients came from his backyard and were started from seeds. Doesn't get much more "scratch" than that! We had cantaloupe that didn't look totally ripe, but the vines were dying, so I brought two of them in and they were added to the menu.

Shortly before the cake was done he chopped the green pepper and made the insides of the quesadillas. The cake came out of the oven, and he put the quesadillas together and put them into the oven. Then he chopped up the broccoli and put it in a pan, then sliced the cantaloupe (too ripe, but we'll try again next year). He flipped the quesadillas once, set the table, removed the quesadillas from the oven, dished everything onto plates, and called everyone to dinner. After we said the prayer, he looked down at his plate and said, "It's weird to sit here and know how much work went into my dinner."

That comment made me think. We don't eat overly fancy or complicated meals. Our kids are not ignorant of the ways of the kitchen. They make their own breakfasts and lunches. All of them could fry an egg in elementary school better than I could when I left for college. They used to help make dinner every night (years ago, now) before evening schedules got to be too crazy. They even still like to come in and help sometimes while I'm finishing things up. I guess they've all gotten used to the fact that dinner is dinner and it's something we eat every night. It's just always there. It was good for Joseph to be reminded what all goes in to making it be there.

After dinner, Joseph got up to wash dishes. We almost never have frosting on our cakes because one, it's an easy way to cut down on fat and sugar, and two, by the time I actually get around to it, it's to late or I'm too tired. We had talked previously about frosting the cake and he thought he'd like it. I asked Joseph about it again on his way to the sink. He asked, "Do I have to make it?" I replied, "Yes." He looked right at me and said, "No." The other four kids piped up with, "Yea, we should have frosting" and "Why can't we have frosting?" Only the one doing the work could really decide between what was a want and what was a need.

I wondered, how many things do I completely overlook in my assumptions that they'll always be there? I don't think much about the cars until one of them ends up in the shop for something or other. The water is always just a handle turn away, until it's not working. Electricity- at my fingertips until a truck takes out a power line. 2,000 square feet is a minimum for living space until you find that your family being together is most important and that can happen in 700 square feet just as well. There's always going to be another full moon, fall leaf, or blooming flower until something happens and my eyes don't work right. A walk to school is no big deal until my knee is in a brace and even walking to the bathroom is out of the question. My Grandma has always been here, but she's nearing 90. That won't last forever. A loving family is always there and willing to forgive my faults, but that may not always be the case. An illness, disaster, or hurtful comments or actions could take it all away- and sometimes without much notice.

This morning I realized, "Wow, it's weird to sit here and think how much work goes into my happy life- and I don't do but the tiniest little bit of it." Most of the things that I take for granted in my life are here by someone else's work. I pay the electric bill, but their technicians keep the juice flowing. I pay the house payment, but I don't earn the money nor did I build the house. I can plant flowers, observe stars, or call Grandmas. I chose to marry my sweet husband and gave birth to my children, but it's not me that keeps any of them here, growing and blessing my life. The one who really does all the work makes much better decisions on what's needful and what's wanted in my life. He knows much better than I what I need. I have been blessed beyond measure- and with much more frosting than I could have ever hoped.