On My Mind

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about finances lately.  That of course is bound to happen in this current economic crisis.  For those that don’t know my husband was laid off awhile ago, and has not been able to find a job.  This seems to be becoming a more common problem for many families.

We are currently participating in a course that our church is offering on financial management.  We have learned so much and are actually able to put most of it in practice even on one income.   The course is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  I like it because it is very “real.”  His strategies are doable.  They take in account that I will need a little bit of “blow” money.  Most of all I like that it requires both Todd and I to work together.  This has not been our strong point.  For some reason, I can’t talk about money without having an anxiety attack–seriously.  I blame it on growing up broke.

On a different, yet similar note, I am listening to a book on tape right now that is amazing.  I was basically forced to listen to it, by my husband and children.  They had listened to it over the past few weeks and had finished it.  The book is call The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is a book about vampires.  Normally that probably wouldn’t catch my interest very much, but this is a really good book.  I want to hear more, and more, and more… you get the picture.

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The Best Cookies I’ve Had in AGES!!

Part of my weekend alone project was to bake something.  Even though everyone is home now, I still am working through my list.  I did get my house cleaned, really clean.  It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.  🙂  So it was time to bake!

I had a bag of butterscotch chips, so I surfed the web looking for an oatmeal butterscotch chip recipe.  I found one, but altered it so much that I am now calling it mine.  🙂  However, I like you, so I will share.

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Banana Oatmeal Scotchies

[this makes 4 dozen cookies]

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I actually use a flour mixture, see below)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 bananas
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 2/3 cups (11 oz. package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Butterscotch Flavored Morsels

1/4 pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and banans extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats,pecans, and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies; 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

They are wonderful!  Even my picky sensory child liked them!

Flour mixture (from The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine)

1 Cup White Flour

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 Cup Wheat Germ

Mix it up and use it any time the recipe calls for flour.  I use it all the time.  My kids don’t even notice it anymore.  Even texture sensitive boy!

My cat enjoyed my day as well.

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OK I just stuck that in, because I thought Stitch was cute.

A Weekend Alone

All my guys went camping this weekend.  They left last night.  So I have a day “off.”  I’ve contemplated this time.   What should I do?  Should I go somewhere?  Should I hang out with friends?  I’ve probably spent almost as much time thinking about what to do, as I will have actually doing it.  🙂

In the end I spent Friday night at the grocery store and asleep by 9:30.  Today I will pop in the theatre this morning, and spend the evening at Teen Improv.  The rest of the time?  I believe I will watch some teaching inservice DVD’s  on the Daily 5 and clean my house.

Does that sound boring to you?  I hate to say it, but it sounds delightful to me.  I will have temporary quiet and release of responsibility.  No one needing me or my attention (except for Lilo and Stitch, our dog and cat.)

I am finally getting a very special package in the mail that I have been working on for a while.  I will get all of Christmas put away once and for all.  I want to bake some cookies.  I need to call Suzanne back.  I am looking forward to today.

What would you do?

It’s Benign!

We got the results of my sister’s biopsy back!  Praise Jesus!  It’s benign!  She will still have to have it removed and that will be a very serious surgery, yet all is well!

I think this has sort of reminded us all to value each other a little bit more.  It reminded me that my mom had her first cancer when she was 36.  Her 2nd cancer came when she was 49.  My father had his first heart attack at 38 and died at 52 after having 10 or 12 different heart attacks.  I am 41.  Susan is 37.  Our older sister and brother are turning 50 and 49 respectively this year.  It’s a little unnerving.

Granted we still have mom!  That woman is amazing!  She has had cancer 4 times and has more health complications from the treatments.  Yet she is still with us, and we are blessed to have her.  My momma is a warrior woman!  She is my inspiration and hero.  She has had an incredible life and makes mine look like a bed of flowers.

Susan reminds me of Mom.  In fact, she is probably most like mom in some ways.  She is ambitious, hard working, and hard headed.

I love them both.

What Do Elementary Teachers Talk About at Breakfast on Monday Mornings?

I know you have always wondered what elementary teachers talk about at breakfast on a Monday morning when they have no students.  Be honest, you have always been dying to know.  Well I won’t hold you in suspense any longer.

Well maybe a minute longer…

or maybe not.  OK, what do we talk about?  How about gay bars and gay porn.  I know…I know…you never in your wildest imagination thought that, eh? (Except for Suzanne 🙂 )

So today we are sitting there discussing that one of the women’s teenage daughters went to teen night at a local gay bar.  The daughter isn’t gay, but truly this is one of the best dancing clubs in the Des Moines area.  So then we start talking about places that we’ve been.

Yes not that long ago I went to a gay bar.  It wasn’t my plan, and I was part of a large group.  After becoming completely uncomfortable by the videos that were being shown, I decided to wait in the limo.  I would have stayed and danced except for the videos.  I don’t want to see those with heterosexuals.

I thought it was pretty funny though that was our topic of discussion over our muffins this morning.  I could tell the kids were away…

Flood Devastation

Yesterday as we drove through Iowa City we noticed that MANY businesses were closed.  Blocks and blocks of businesses were sitting there empty.  At first we commented how bad the economy is, but then we realized this was where the floods occurred. 

It is easy to forget about some of these disasters or at least put them in the far corners of your brain.  We see things while they are happening on the news, but we don’t see how long these disasters are affecting people.  It is easy to move on to the next news story. 

Driving through this dismal area really brought home how these people need long term help and prayers.

Unexpected

Today was a day of unexpecteds.  We unexpectedly had no school due to wind chills of -40.  I unexpectedly had to take my sister two hours away to the University of Iowa hospital for an unexpected biopsy on a cyst in her mouth. 

I have never seen her in so much pain.  Nor have I ever seen her act so…well I will go with witchy.  She’s generally everybody’s favorite person, and has a super high pain tolerance.  That was not true today.  The oral surgeon actually pulled a few teeth as well as biopsied her cyst.  Please pray that it is nothing serious. 

The other unexepected was the beautiful artwork.  Everywhere we turned there was amazing sculptures.  It truly is a beautiful place.  I’m fairly certain that my sister saw none of it. 

I was a little concerned about driving so far in these temps, but it was fine.  Our van was warm, but frustration levels were also high, so it wasn’t always comfortable. 

My mama also went.  It was her birthday.  Happy birthday Mama!  Not a fun way to spend your birthday, but mama’s always want to take care of their babies (even the grown-up ones.)

We won’t find out about the results for a week.  Right now though my sister is just trying to recover, and finding it a challenge as her cheek is super swollen.  It is hard to imagine putting ice on it when it is currently -20 degrees windchill!

My Children Have Been Retrofied!

Thanks to the transitions of regular TV to digital, we have a slew of new channels.  The favorite is hands down a channel called RTN, Retro Television Network.  My family has never been big TV watchers.  My husband and I would watch after the boys went to bed, but the kids have never really been big evening TV connoisseurs.  Probably due to the fact that most of the prime time shows aren’t really kids friendly, in my opinion.

That has now all changed.  Now we are lucky if we can get them to turn it off.  We have all discovered RTN.  It begins early (sometimes 5 am!) with McHale’s Navy, then we meander over to Leave it to Beaver, and Bachelor Father.  In the evening we are all enamored with The A-Team, Magnum PI, Voyagers (my personal childhood favorite), Buck Rogers, and Battlestar Galatica.  However, hands down the family favorite is Emergency! 

As soon as my children overhear the tones and the announcement, “Station 51, Station 51…” they run to watch.  Unfortunately it is on at 9 pm, which is past bedtime.  We now have to tape it (yes–no Tivo.) 

My children know who Friday is, they understand mom is nothing like June Cleaver, and they totally love Mr. T.  Now we have always exposed them to some of our old favorites.  I have seasons of H.R. Pufenstuff, Land of the Lost, and Hogan’s Heroes.  So before you expose your children to RTN (if it is available to you…) may I just say…

“Danger Will Robinson!!! Danger Will Robinson!!!”  You may soon have to peel screaming children off the television screen. 🙂

(On a similarly strange note, one of my students didn’t even realize you could have TV without cable or a dish.  He was amazed when I said we have neither.”)