Sunday, March 30, 2008

Look, Ma, no butt!

I really have been busy lately. Much too busy to blog. I will post photos to prove it when I'm not so busy doing things and taking pictures of those things.

In the mean time, it has been expressed to me that the sight of my sweet 2nd daughter's butt has become a bit tiresome. To put it mildly. So, in the interest of all involved parties, and so they might consider staying involved and not deleting my blog from their list of links if they see my daughter's butt one more stinkin' time, I am posting this rather large entry about nothing so you won't have to see it anymore. There. Done.

That oughta cover it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No title needed.

I can't believe I'm putting this picture up for all the world to see. I've sunk to the lowest level possible in an attempt to keep my blog fresh and interesting.

Sorry about the butt shot. I just can't believe this actually happened. It's funny how a camera can catch so many things happening at one time. Did you notice E? Just try to imagine what he's saying.

Where does a 4 year old get the idea to moon herself? It's a good thing we don't have a copier.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

I'll call this one, Works For (probably only) Me Wednesday because I doubt anyone will try it. It's purely for the curious.

Today I'm making butter. Not Parkay from a tub mixed with some herbs or garlic or honey. I'm making real, honest to goodness butter. From raw cow's milk. Why, you ask? Because I can, that's why! And because I'm a pioneer woman wanna be.

A few weeks ago, I started buying a gallon of raw milk a week from a local farm to supplement the organic milk I get from the store. If you don't know the benefits of raw milk, just look here. When I get it, it's in a normal gallon sized white plastic milk carton like the ones you see at the store. With one difference. There's a faint line you can barely see about a third of the way down that seperates the milk from the cream. The cream is just a little bit darker than the milk so when you shake the carton a little, you can see that line moving a little.

Now, if I wanted a glass of full fat milk, which is delicious and good for you, I would shake that carton every time I got it out of the fridge to mix the cream with the milk so I wouldn't be getting straight cream. But, since I don't mind the lower fat milk, and I want to get the most for my 8.50 a gallon, I'm going to pour off the cream and make butter.

Stick with me now, this is going to be fun.

Here's the milk after I've poured off the cream and that's the cream in the pitcher. I think that's the most cream I've ever gotten from a gallon. It was almost 6 cups!

Then I just let the cream sit out on the counter for a couple of hours because it tends to not want to become butter when it's cold. Here's a close up of all that creamy dreamy goodness.

Oh, and here's a less ambitious tip, if you don't want to make butter, you can always put this cream into a container, stick it in the fridge and use it in your morning java. Your coffee will thank you for that.

After it's been sitting out for a while and I've finished all my laundry, cleaning, cooking and I'm letting 2 freshly baked pies cool on the window sill, I pour the cream into my trusty mixer.

And then, as Devo would say, "Whip it. Whip it good." I couldn't go past the 2nd speed because I don't have that neat little splash gaurd attachment.

After a while of this, you'll notice your cream go from the liquidy stage to the foamy stage and finally to the chunky stage. Here it is somewhere between liquidy and creamy, but not yet to the whipped cream stage. I know all the technical terms, you know.

Now you can see it's getting to be a little chunky. (In a good way.)

Here, it's even chunkier.

And then, we have what experts in the field would call, the butter stage. And I'm so sorry about the color. I don't know what happened. I think the sun went behind some clouds and I lost all my natural light. If nothing else, I'm trying to be natural here, and all I get is this store-bought butter color. Really, sorry.

Now that we're done with the mixing part, I pour the chunky, buttery cream through a strainer and into a bowl. Again, with the color. Sheez.

And this is what I end up with. A big, chunky mound of almost perfect butter in a strainer.

Now about that liquid that's left in the bowl, I don't exactly know what that's called. Maybe whey. I'm not sure. I don't have my dairy degree yet. All I know is that it is drinkable. My kids never said a word. Of course it may have no nutritional value at this point. Like I said, I haven't a clue. I do know that in the "olden days" when people would let their cream set out for days before they made butter, what they would have left was buttermilk. And they would use that to make biscuits or maybe even pancakes. If you know more than I do about dairy, enlighten me please!

Here's my butter after I dumped it into a bowl. Looks an awful lot like ice cream, don't you think?

Everything up to that point I kind of cheated on seeing how I used a Kitchen Aide mixer instead of my own two hands and a butter churn, but these next few steps are almost exactly how my great grandmother would have done it. If she ever made butter. On the island of Samoa. Sitting amongst the palm trees.

She most likely would have used a wooden butter paddle where I am using a plastic frosting spreader. Same diff. What I'm going to do is press the butter, like I'm spreading it, against the side of the bowl. I'm going to do this repeatedly and I will notice that every time I do it, a little bit of liquid comes out of the butter. This, I have read, is a necessary step in making butter because if any of the liquid is left in the butter, it will make the butter become rancid. I don't like that word, "rancid." And I don't want it in my butter.

Then I'll add a little cold water and press that through the butter to "clean" it. See how I contorted my hand to do this step and get a picture of it for you at the same time. I'm so dedicated. When you first start this, the water will look cloudy. Pour that water out and add more water and keep doing that until the water is clear. Then you'll know your butter is clean.

And now, the final step. This one is a doozy because if you forget it, everyone will notice it. This is the moment we add salt. (Begin the hallelujah chorus) I'd suggest adding a pinch, depending on how much butter you made, mixing it and then tasting it. If it needs more, by all means, add more.

Then put it in your favorite butter container, like a butter bell, and enjoy. It's out of this world good and it really works for me!

Monday, March 10, 2008

That's a new one

Last night, while trying to get all the kids to GO TO BED!!!, Autie got stuck on the task of brushing her teeth. She just stood in the bathroom forever. Finally, she came into the kitchen and said,

"Mommy, I'm not really hungry for toothpaste right now."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

What do you do when you're giving one of the talks at your church's women's retreat in May and the written version needs to be turned in tomorrow at church, but you can't seem to get the words from the place where they're floating around in your head to the paper they need to be on to be turned in?

You clean out your junk drawer for goodness sake! I have lived in this house for 3 years now and never taken a single thing out of this drawer. Only added things. So today, I have to clean it out. It must be done. I can't go on another day without doing it.

Here's what I retreived from that drawer.

Well, not my bible or the crayon box, they were already on the counter.

This is an odd combination of items. A cigar next to a coupon that one of my kids brought home from school for a free pizza buffet.

This is what we'll call the "office supply" pile. I think I'll send all of this to E's new office.

And this, well, this could be described as the bane of my existence. It's a Polly Pocket shoe. I should've put a penny next to it for reference for those of you who aren't familiar with the scale of Polly's accessories. Whenever I am cleaning and I come across one of these, I can't bring myself to throw it away. Even though it's no bigger than a poppy seed. I know how frustrating it can be to be looking for a pair of shoes to wear and only finding one, so I can't bear the thought of throwing one of these away when the other shoe could be floating around somewhere in the girl's room.

I think Anna's Polly Pocket doll has all of the pairs of shoes that she came with. I haven't lost one yet. Well, maybe, in the vacuum cleaner. Or possibly in a baby's mouth. I not obsessed enough to go through vacuum cleaner canisters or dirty diapers. I've got to draw the line somewhere.

Another gem from Autie

Lately, it seems that all my good blogging material is coming from Autie. She's so sensitive and emotional. Here's a conversation we had last week:

Me: Autie, could you please go wake up April and help her get dressed? And do it gently so you don't upset her. You know how it feels to be woken up, so be extra sweet with her.
Autie: Yes, mommy. I will be very gentle with her. I will wake her up like I gently pick a flower.
Me: I think that will work just fine.

Friday, March 07, 2008

It snowed the day before yesterday, yesterday was warm and pleasant and then again today, a blizzard. Well, a Texas blizzard. The flakes were big and beautiful and falling in every direction. It was a good day to snuggle with the kids and that's just what I did. And thanks to the weather, my internet was down all day. I'm typing this in a text edit document so I can paste it when it finally comes up.

***UPDATE*** They finally got a guy to climb the tower near our house sometime today after we thawed out and all is right with the world!

You know you are a bit addicted to the internet when you wonder several times throughout the day what you are missing in the blogging world. I'm sure you're all there and fine.

Now, for an update on yesterday's question. Today was the day that E and I had a consultation appointment with the "V" doctor. His receptionist called yesterday to confirm we were going to be there and I said we would. Well today's appointment came and went and I never left the house. I made E call the doctor's office and cancel because I've already done that once before and I didn't want to be the one to do it again. I'm sure they get that all the time.

Last night we talked and I told E that this was his decision. It was his body and he could do what he felt like he was supposed to do with it. I wouldn't expect him to come to me and suggest I did something painful and invasive to my body with little regard for how I felt. So the decision was made. No vasectomy. I don't know if that's his final answer for the future, but for now that's it.

I think that when you have a decision to make and you feel even a twinge of reservation about it, you should, at the very least, wait until you have a clearer answer. I know lots of people who have had this procedure done and were fine with it and it turned out fine. I just think if you feel like you are supposed to do it, you don't feel any hesitation, you do it, and it turns out fine, then there was grace for that. If you aren't sure about something and you go ahead and do it because it's easier and you don't want to mess with anything else, that's a dangerous place to be. And of course you know I'm talking about God's will here. I want to make sure I include Him in all the decisions I make. He knows what's best.

So, for now, I will be ordering that book that some of you mentioned and maybe even the software for keeping track of cycles. Heck, I may even buy that purse-sized microscope that you spit in to see if you're ovulating. Who knows? I'll need to become a tad bit more disciplined in that area and hopefully my child-bearing days really will be over. Thanks for all the input.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Backwards Edition

That's what they're calling it, anyway. It's a Works for me Wednesday where instead of me giving you a small piece of my mind, I ask a question and you give me a hopefully bigger piece of your mind. Ready? Let's go!

As everyone who knows me will attest, E and I are done having children. As in finished, comepleted, over and out. I do not get a twinge in my uterus whenever I hear a newborn baby cry. I am getting used to getting sleep in increments longer than 3 hours. I want my body back. I want to keep my hair. I don't want to do anything else to contribute to the sagging that I see when I look in the mirror.

A little history, I have never been on the pill. I have always used over-the-counter birth control methods and to tell you the truth, it wasn't until 2 years ago that I actually wanted to prevent pregnancy. Now E and I are discussing the big "V" word. I should rephrase that to say we are re-visiting the "V" word. The last time we discussed it, I made an appointment for him, an appointment which lasted 4 months, only to have him cancel the appointment the week of.

So, here we are again. Me, unwilling to do one more invasive thing to my body. And him, unwilling to "give up his reproductive abilities." Insert long wolf-like howl. (To be fair, he actually has some medical concerns about the long-term affects of it.) We are at an impasse. I do not want to go on the pill. It's just not my style. I also am not willing to have my female organs jacked around with anymore. I am not the kind of wife who would demand something from my husband. I love him and I will not feel comfortable if he does something because I manipulated him or coerced him into it.

Which brings me to my question(s): What are you all doing about this? What have you already done? What are you planning to do? How has it worked out? Any regrets? Any NFPers out there?