A Pie of Another Kind

The church’s 30th annual homemade pie and homemade ice cream social takes place tomorrow afternoon. Last night a group of about 20 of us made 30 gallons’ worth of homemade ice cream. (Shhh – don’t tell the health officials.)

I signed up to make two coconut cream pies. There will be about 50 pies available for your eating pleasure. Those include: peach, apple, rhubarb, pecan, raisin, raisin cream, lemon meringue, pumpkin, sugar-free apple, brownies, angel food cake, blueberry, and probably a few others as well.

IMG_7221Our dinner discussion today will involve the selection of pie for tomorrow. Maybe we’ll have to go twice as there are so many different pies from which to select.

I believe that my favorite is peach pie. Coconut cream is another winner in my book. What’s your favorite pie?

Friday Night – Pizza Night

Here in our little home we eat pizza on Friday nights. It’s not the cardboard box kind, though. We make our own. My bread machine has a pizza dough recipe, and we’ve been using it for years. The recipe cranks out enough for two pie crusts. Up to now, one crust has been enough, but I suspect that we’ll be using both crusts in the not-too-distant future.

IMG_7207The tomatoes are ripe, and the basil smells lovely. Our summer favorite is tomato-basil pizza. Yummy!!IMG_7208Tomato – Basil Pizza

Roll out pizza dough. Drizzle olive oil on dough. Add sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Layer fresh basil leaves (lots of them as they shrink). Add garlic. Top it all with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

The Big Reveal

You’ve waited long enough. This spring the voters’ assembly approved some improvements to the parsonage. They decided to purchase new floors for the kitchen and dining areas, the laundry room, the front entryway, and the two bathrooms. They also approved new carpet for the master bedroom and the living room area. The only rooms in the house that did not get new flooring were the two kids’ bedrooms. The carpet wasn’t quite as worn.

Here are some pictures from the project. First came the preparatory work. I give a huge THANK YOU to the volunteers that came and helped move furniture, rip up carpet, pull staples, run the shop-vac, move furniture again, remove appliances, put furniture back in place, install toilets, and hook up appliances. The job was monstrous, and we could not have done this without them. Seriously. (I’m too delicate for some of that work.)

Members of our church brought their tools and muscles and went straight to work on Monday evening. They worked quickly, didn’t drop the piano, and finished in less than two hours. I served food, and tummies were happy. For the longest time, I could not figure out where my stove had gone. Turns out, it had been moved to the garage. What pictures don’t show you are the kids’ bedrooms. There was no walking space as we put everything possible in there and still had to move things into the garage.

[And, yes, during this time, the dryer still wasn’t working.]

The installer showed up on Tuesday morning and went straight to work. First he did the kitchen, dining room, laundry, and entryway floors. That was completed by the end of Wednesday. On Wednesday evening, we moved all of the furniture onto the hard floor so that he could lay the carpet pad and the carpet.IMG_7064 The bathrooms were tiled on Thursday. Then the carpeting was installed on Friday and finished on Saturday afternoon.

Where did we eat during that time? Thankfully we could use the church kitchen for our meals. We stored our cold food in the refrigerator and freezer over there. We could use the sinks and restrooms. (Showers were hard to come by as the water was disconnected. Remember… we removed the toilets.) We did, at the invitation of friends, shower at someone’s home. I think perhaps that the body odor was wafting their direction, and it was not so pleasant. Some friends kept the kids for us for a day so that we could paint and put some things back in place. That was a big sanity-saver, too.

Where did we sleep during that time? The kids’ rooms were packed with doors and drawers and chairs. Our bed was taken down. Kind members loaned us their camper for the week. We slept in it from Monday night through Friday night. The kids loved it as there were triple bunks, which were perfect for our three kids. Another super family brought a bag of “camper snacks.” This would include some yummies: puppy chow and ranch chex mix. That made camping much more fun.

Finally, late Saturday afternoon, we could start to put our house back in order. Help arrived again, and they did a superb job. We all slept in the house again and could walk on the floors and new carpet. We kept walking through the house saying, “It’s so big!”

One week later we hosted an open house so that the church members could see what they had purchased for the parsonage. Many were pleased at the improvements. The volunteers were especially impressed by the big changes.

[And, finally, the dryer was fixed.]

So, now, here are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures.

 

This house is 25 years old. We’ve lived here for sixteen sweet years, and it’s like a brand new home for us. We washed all of the trim work, painted the ceilings and the walls, de-cluttered, and reorganized so many different spaces. Rugs have been washed, and cabinets have been cleaned out. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve done spring and fall cleaning already. We are now trying to decide what REALLY needs to come back into the house and what can stay packed in a box or be gently disposed of elsewhere. We also know that we are going to remove our shoes before walking across the floor and carpets.

There you have it. (Now, Mom and Dad (and other family members), just in the case the house isn’t “picked up” when you come, you’ll know that…once upon a time…. it was.)

5 Gallons

Today I’m defrosting the deep-freeze. It had a fair amount of ice that had collected on the shelves, so it was time.

Little did I know that I would collect enough melted ice to fill a 5-gallon bucket!!!

Think of how much more I can store in my freezer now. Rabbit? Despite the fact that El Husbando has been successful in knocking them off, we will not be serving hasenpfeffer.

#18

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary!

DSC_2176I searched the digital files for a picture of me with Mr. Wonderful and had to go all the way back to August of last year. (Don’t we look young?) Apparently we document the growth of our children over selfies of our graying hairs.

After eighteen years of life in Christ, I’d still choose this guy. He blesses me in numerous ways, and he is very forgiving of my many faults. God has indeed been gracious to us.

Still Here

After a week of craziness and chaos, we are back in our home again. All five of us slept in our own beds last night. (Well, mine is a mattress on the floor right now, but that’s okay.) I have had zero time to post pictures or blog about the experience. I will say this, however, I LOVE our new flooring and carpet selections!

The installer started on Tuesday morning and left Saturday afternoon. We have been working hard to put our house back in order. Today will be devoted to more of the same. While it will take some time to sort through everything, I can say that I am thankful to have a roof over my bed, a bed upon which to lay my head, and food that has filled my refrigerator and freezer and pantry. The Lord is indeed good!

Let the Madness Begin

Friends brought their camper to us tonight, for tomorrow night the house will have been turned nearly topsy-turvy. The voters approved new flooring and carpeting for most of the house. The old carpet will be ripped out on Monday night, and the installer comes on Tuesday. Hopefully he can complete the entire job in four days; that’s the goal at least.

I’ve been packing up all sorts of things, clearing bookshelves, putting fine dishes in totes, and purging along the way. We’ll eat our meals in the church kitchen and use their facilities, so that will be nice.

Bring on the chaos!

Dryer Woes

For three weeks now I’ve been without a dryer. My Mr. Wonderful examined it thoroughly, including taking out the drum (which the Munchkins thought might be a fun swimming pool) but to no avail. Youtube can only help you so much. He thought something might be wrong with the control board. Enter Repairman #1. He determined that my husband was right. However, he was not contracted with our brand of machine, so he couldn’t order the part under warranty for us. My dear husband ordered the part. The company sent the wrong part!!! Enter Repairman #2, who happens to be the brother of Repairman #1, but in a different town. He ordered the control board for us as we could get it covered under warranty. (We have since discovered that the warranty expires in August!) When he received the board, he installed it. The dryer worked!!! Glory, Hallelujah!

As soon as he left, I put some towels in and started running it. After the cycle was over, the clothes were as wet as when I put them into the dryer. The next morning we called the repairman shared the disappointing news. It worked for him when he ran it on timed cycle. I had put the towels on automatic sensing cycle. He suggested I try the timed cycle. Yes, it worked….for about 5 minutes. Cold air blew out the vent again. Repairman #2 ordered a different part. It has yet to arrive.

In the meantime, I’m hanging the clothes on the neighbor’s clothesline. I have gone back to the days of my childhood when my mom trained me to hang clothes properly. Remember those days? First, take a dampened paper towel and wash the line. Then you hang the heavy clothes on the ends. Oh, yes, the clothespin bag — good times. Once the clothes are hanging on the outer two lines, you can hang your unmentionables. When those are dry, you take them down FIRST. Then you are allowed to take the rest of the clothes off the clothesline.

Sweetpea, Moonbeam, and Rocket are enjoying this experience tremendously. I wonder how long it will take for the excitement to wear off. The work really isn’t that bad, and the Lord has blessed us with abundant sunshine and sufficient breezes to do the drying.

Somebody’s missing.

We attended the local town days parade this afternoon and saw the usual stuff — fire trucks, ambulances, tractors, etc. This one, however, made me laugh.

Behold, the Plainview Alumni Float. The only riders were two kids on the trailer, and they weren’t nearly old enough to be alumni. I’m a bit concerned about the graduation rate at that high school.0605161351.jpg

Overheard

At Vacation Bible School this week:

++ I told my tent family, “We’ll get our snacks and then head over to the story-teller.” Several minutes later a kid comes up to me and asks, “Did you say there was a fortune-teller?” At Bible School? Ummm, NO!!!!!

++ The kids were looking at and petting the miniature donkey. I asked them, “Do you know the donkey’s name?” Silence from the crowd. The shepherd said, “Her name is Buttercup.” The kids looked at him and started giggling. “BUTTERCUP????”IMG_6899

++ My tent family was making bricks with the mason. The younger kids in my tent family made mud-balls instead. One of the masons said, “See, you can make a snowman.” Hmmm. I generally think of snowmen being white. Made of snow. But whatever.

++ The kids learned a song about the twelve disciples. The refrain included the phrase, “Called to disciple.” The six-year-old next to me was belting out, “Called to recycle!” Well, that’s a nice thing to do, but it’s not what Jesus had in mind here. Yes, I helped give her the correct word.

++ Sweetpea helped with the 3-and-4-year-old class. The children were supposed to wear name tags, but the teachers needed a class list. Without that, they were lost. Well, the class list was missing on the first day, so the teachers had to make their own name tags for the kids. One little boy refused to tell the teacher and helper his name. “You don’t need to know my name because I already know it.” Sweetpea told him that she’d just call him Elmo. He thought that would be just fine. The next day the class list was available, and Sweetpea discovered that his name was Jake. As they were heading to their tents, Sweetpea called, “Come on, Jake, let’s go to our tent.” “That’s not right; that’s not my name,” he replied. Sweetpea asked him what his name was. “It’s Jackson.” We think Sweetpea should use a different name for him every day.

++ One of the kids asked what my name was. I told him that my name was Kristi. I also shared that the pastor is my husband. The boy looked at me incredulously and said, “WHAT?” I don’t know his religious affiliation, but he seemed quite surprised that the holy man could be married.13315583_10208289868157886_5427495511642727881_n

Happy Birthday, 83-yr-old Lady

We took the whole family to do some shopping and run other errands. I needed to stop at Walmart and HyVee. Jerome thought he’d take all three kids to the park while I did that. Fabulous. I could do my shopping in hyper-speed mode as I wouldn’t have any special, little helpers with me.

I dropped them off at 7:00 and headed to the Walmart. I was flying through the store. (It helped that I didn’t recognize anybody; I could stay on-task.) At 7:28 I got into line to check out. After a bit of searching, I found what appeared to be the shortest line. An older couple was finishing. I could tell because the lady had her checkbook and pen out. The next customer had five grandchildren (all well-behaved) and a full cart. Mind you, I got in line at 7:28. Several minutes passed, and nothing seemed to be happening with the Checkout Couple. She had written the check and handed it over, but no other progress occurred. Was it a bad check? What was going on?

Meanwhile the Grandmother was unloading her cart and told the cashier that she wanted a case of some kind of cookie. (I later discovered that it was the vanilla creme cookies, the ones that you twist apart for the frosting. Think vanilla Oreo cookie. Believe me – I had time to see this.) The cashier was leaning into her little microphone thing, relaying the request to the stock person near the cookie aisle.

A stylish Lady gets in line behind me. She, too, thinks this is the best lane for quick checkout. Finally, the Checkout Couple finishers their task. I don’t what the hold-up was, but they were moving on. I let out a silent “Hooray!” and start unloading my stuff onto the conveyor belt.

Next the Grandmother starts to check out her stuff. The cashier gets about halfway through the goods and continues to have a conversation with the stock-person. Conversation also occurs with the Grandmother about the cookies.

In the meantime I look back at the Lady behind me and smile. She says, “Well, what is going on? I thought this was going to be a quick line. I chose this line because it looked short. You know, this stuff happens to me all the time. Either somebody has a special request, or they’re switching cashiers, or the receipt tape runs out, or there’s an underage cashier. I can’t use her today because I have some wine. (Observation by me: It was a gallon jug of burgundy.) Why don’t they open more lanes? And, I refuse to use the self-checkout. I don’t get a price-break for using self-checkout, so I get in line.”

We converse for a while. I discover that the Lady dyes her hair. She will be turning 83 the next day. She is the oldest of nine children. Six of her brothers are still living. She just renewed her driver’s license, and she did NOT have to parallel park to do it. Her friend’s friend did have to take the parallel parking test. The Lady would rather park 2-3 blocks away than parallel park. She tells me that if we have to wait much longer, she will turn 83 in the store. Not to worry, I tell her, I’ll share a glass of wine with you, seeing as you have some in your cart. She laughed.

I turn back to see if the Grandmother is almost done. Instead, I see a maintenance guy starting to use a shop-vac on the conveyor belt. He goes all across the side of the belt and does this several times. What in the world? Are you kidding me? I have never seen such a thing. I had placed a light-weight, white sweater up there, and he almost sucked the thing up. What is he doing and why?

I look back and start giggling, as does the Lady. She says, “Well, that’s a first. What is he looking for?” I wondered if a credit card or driver’s license slipped between the cracks. Neither of us ever saw anybody retrieve anything. Just like that, the guy walked off with the shop-vac.

Still no progress on the crate of vanilla creme cookies. The stock-person calls up to say that there is no crate of cookies. The Grandmother asks for the rest of the cookies that are on the shelf. The stock-person has to retrieve a box from the storeroom and box every single package of vanilla creme cookies.

By now, a LOT of time has passed. I’m beginning to get a little bit irritated. I have seen other people check out of different lanes and move on. I wonder if I should have jumped to a new line myself. However, I see five other customers lined up behind me, so I know that the lines are slow elsewhere, too. {sigh} Walmart, employ more people!

Finally, a customer service manager comes up with the box of cookies. You know what? There might have been eight packages, not any more than that. I do believe that the Grandmother could have checked out the stuff she had and be done. But, no, we continue to wait.

That same customer service manager decides to open up another lane. Unfortunately, my stuff is already unloaded. Then the underage cashier walks up as she is going to take over for the cashier in our lane. This gal slaps a yellow sign after my stuff on the conveyor belt. You know the yellow sign. It’s the one that says, “No alcohol. Underage cashier.” I look at the nearly 83-year-old Lady; she looks at me, and we both start cackling. For a full minute. Loudly. This is not really happening! The customer service manager looks at the Lady’s cart and says, “You don’t have to worry. I’ll take you right through. Come to the next lane with me.”

After I regain my composure, I see that the Grandmother has finally finished. At last I get to check out. The time is now 7:47. Thankfully the cashier whipped through my stuff, and I could get out of Dodge.

I don’t know who the 83-year-old Lady is. I never got her name, but I hope she has a very enjoyable happy birthday. She certainly made my waiting more enjoyable.

Summer Fun

The winds subsided briefly, and the sun decided to shine. We could finally spend some time outdoors, and we did. Moonbeam likes to pull the little yellow trailer, and Rocket likes to ride in it. This combination will not last long, though, as Rocket is getting too heavy for Moonbeam to pull him. They only made one lap around the house, and Moonbeam’s legs were worn out. Rocket (aka Spiderman) could have gone longer.IMG_6880Then I took Sweetpea and her good friend B to the opera. This was the first time any of us had ever been to an opera, so we didn’t really know what to expect. We read the synopsis ahead of time but were thoroughly confused by all of the names and plots. Once the show started, we could make sense of it and enjoyed ourselves. The show included the actors in various disguises, so the girls are pictured here doing the same.IMG_6882

The Start of Summer Vacay

Our summer break from school is officially underway. I know this because Sweetpea didn’t come out of her bedroom until 9:00. (This will not be a regular occurrence.) To her credit, she did say that she had been reading in bed for about an hour. Moonbeam awoke at 8:00, ate breakfast, and got to work on making her own book of flowers (pictures from a seed catalog). Rocket chose to sleep until 9:15 this morning — crazy long for him, but necessary after lots of playing yesterday.

Mid-morning found the three kids sitting on the front steps, looking at books. It was so sweet to see them concentrating on their stories.

At lunchtime we enjoyed our first picnic of the season. I had baked two peach pies this morning. Moonbeam and Rocket made their own mini-pies. They tasted delicious. The pies, I mean.

This afternoon the kids are playing hide’n’seek outside. The neighbor girl came over, so the kids are counting aloud (how high you go depends on your age) and scrambling for hiding places. Me? I’m hiding in the house. Just kidding.

 

A Lewis & Clark Lunch

Sweetpea is nearly finished with school for the year. Her last writing project was to do a research paper. I tied it into her history class for this year and asked her to write about the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition. She brought home seventeen books from the library and did a lot of reading and note-taking. I also asked her to research a specific animal that was discovered along the way and share some information about the tools that the corps used. My girl did not disappoint. I also requested some type of 3-D project, whether that be a hand-crafted item or food item. Naturally, she chose food.

I present to you potato croquettes. They resemble potato patties but are made in a ball-shape instead. The flavor is similar to the patties.IMG_6864The rest of our “Lewis & Clark Lunch” menu is pictured below. We ate freshly steamed asparagus (from the neighbors) and deer bologna (from church friends). Yes, I think Lewis and Clark would have enjoyed our lunch.IMG_6865

Sioux City Field Trip

I organized a springtime field trip, and four families were able to attend. We started off at a television station. When I taught in Minnesota, I took my 5th and 6th grade students there, and they loved it.IMG_6837This tour was pretty good, too. The best part is always learning how the weather people do their part of the broadcast. The kids (and parents) are always surprised to learn about the genius of the weatherman and his green screen. Our families got to take their turn, forecasting the weather as well.IMG_6840As you can see from our forecasters, it was a beautiful day for a field trip.IMG_6841The art center was finishing its run of a traveling exhibit about Legos. The kids were intrigued by what the artist could do. IMG_6847They wondered how many Legos it took to make each exhibit.IMG_6848This would be the only one in which the kids MIGHT have enough Legos to recreate it.IMG_6849The art center had a fun room for being creative. Moonbeam took her turn at making a little person with huge magnets.IMG_6850We stopped at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. The building is quite impressive, and the exhibits have some animatronics that bring history alive. Our tour guide did a great job and kept the kids engaged.IMG_6851We finished the day with a tour of a traveling 9/11 exhibit. The exhibit was housed in a traveling semi-truck, and it took about 20 minutes to look over everything.IMG_6854A huge poster of the 343 fire fighters who died was on display. It was a rather somber experience. I don’t know that the kids really grasped the whole thing because they were either toddlers or not yet born. For the adults, it was a reminder of sin in the world. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!IMG_6855Our day was packed with activity, something for old and young and in-between.

A Home for the Hostas

IMG_6823We’ve had a busy 2 days here. The south side of our home has been overtaken with shade because the great tree has grown so large. That’s fine, but now nothing will grow in the flower bed. This spring we decided to put that area all to rock and plant hosts in there since they love the shade. IMG_6825We are also putting rock along the entire east side of the house. Nothing grows there either, so rock is a good choice.

The gravel pit brought 8 cubic yards of river rock. We only wanted three yards, but in order for them to deliver, we had to order eight yards. So be it. That is A LOT of rock!!!!!!!IMG_6822 It’s also very dirty. Sweetpea and I have been loading the rock onto a huge, heavy screen, spraying the dirt off, dumping it into a trailer that is attached to the riding mower. Then Sweetpea drives it to the south side or the east side of the house, backs up the mower with the trailer (no easy task), and we dump it into the rock bed. We have now made a sufficient dent in the rock pile. We’re taking today off as we have been ready for bed by 8:30 the past two nights.IMG_6834

Because we have so much rock, we have decided to put rock between the deck and the air conditioner unit and also from the air conditioner unit to the sidewalk in the back. It’s too hard to get the riding mower in there, and that’s a small area to just pull out the push-mower for it. That will be Saturday’s project… maybe. The rock pile isn’t going anywhere, so we have TIME.IMG_6835

Moonbeam and Rocket lugged about 2 buckets of rock, and then they were done. Those two have been riding in the Jeep quite a bit, swinging on the swings, and playing in the sand box.IMG_6836