Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This Week

No pictures today, but I wanted to pop in and say hi!

I just picked up a box of peaches ($10!!), so tomorrow night I'll be canning peaches. It's time to can tomatillo salsa again, and I have a shopping bag of over-ripe apples that need to be made into apple sauce or apple butter. Good thing I picked up an extra two boxes of canning jars :)

Both girls have chest colds- Ernie was shocked today when she lost her voice to a deep frog in her throat. "Mommy, my voice is gone!" she whispered. "Where did it go?" She thought about that for a minute before replying "I think it went to another house."

I'm in the middle of making hand puppets for our Joy School class- I can't believe we start up next week! Where did September go? Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can live with the pattern the school curriculum provided- I have incredibly weeny hands, and my span is a little too wide for these puppets. Should be easy to fix, but still: one more thing in this crazy week. If it was something I could do during the day that would be different, but it seems that if I really want to focus on something it needs to be a night activity. And we're running out of nights! :)

Saturday the girls and I will be driving down to say Happy Birthday to my grandpa in Oregon (and we have a playdate set up with some very cool girls) so it should be a great day.

I made myself a simple skirt that I haven't shown you guys yet, and had an epic fail of a shirt re-make which I don't know if I'll ever show you!

So now, I will say Good Night :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Clippies!

I have a load of new clippies to put in the shop...what do you think? I love making these! (3.50 each, just in case you were wondering...they make great birthday presents...and if you're local, you can skip the postage! :)

This one left this morning, for a beautiful little girl. I can't wait to see pictures on her mom's blog of today's family photos! Isn't that Swarovski crystal sparkly? I love crystals.

I would love to meet the little girl with a personality to match this clippie.

This one is teeny...but so sweet. I think it's my favorite out of the batch. (Am I allowed to have favorites?) Another Swarovski crystal, clear this time.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009



That's all I can say. Well, well, well. Well I'll be.

Y'all know that I'm LDS/Mormon. I attend a "ward" every Sunday- it's my congregation, and it's organized by physical boundaries. Each ward has it's own leader, called a Bishop. Wards are part of larger groups called "stakes," and stakes are led by Stake Presidents. Stakes are part of Areas, with Area Authorities, who report to the the Prophet and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Got all that?

In special circumstances, there will be wards organized by a need rather than a location. If there are a lot of young, single, adults (18-30) in an area a ward might be organized for them. If there are a lot of....Tongans in an area that predominantly speaks English, a Tongan ward (or "branch" if it's very small) might be organized for them to attend and worship together in a language they're comfortable with.

So, with all that in mind, our stake secretary called Tuesday evening. "Can your family come and meet with the stake president on Thursday evening?"

Hmm...the only reason the stake president asks you to meet with him is if there's a new assignment or calling. And it would be a STAKE calling, which means BIG. (Because you'd be in charge of a program on a stake level, not just a ward level. Wow, we sound like a video game when I explain it like this!)

So, we were excited and nervous when we met with our Stake President tonight. What could it be? WHO was getting a new calling?

It's much more exciting than either of us thought: we're joining a branch! Not just ANY branch, the Spanish speaking branch. Would we accept an assignment to attend with them for two years?

OK, wow.

This Sunday will be our last time attending our ward before our official records are moved over to the Spanish Branch. I'll be the organist, and Wonder Daddy doesn't have an assignment yet.

There aren't many youth in our branch, so they meet with the kids from a ward at the building at the same time, which means that Ernie will have an English-speaking primary teacher. Adults meet separately though, so Wonder Daddy and I will be 100% Spanish-speaking.

We're excited, we're nervous....but mostly just excited for this opportunity to learn and grow and meet new friends. The members of the branch are from all over the world, but the gospel is the same no matter where you are or what language. We stopped by the book store on the way home to pick up scriptures and lesson manuals in Spanish, and I'm still looking for a spiral-bound Spanish hymnal. Wonder Daddy speaks Portuguese, and I haven't used my spanish since my Sophomore year of high school (1998!!) so there's going to be a steep learning curve. We can both understand the written word fairly well/well enough to know what's going on, so we'll hopefully be able to follow the lessons by reading along in our manuals until we get more comfortable understanding.

"..I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children or men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

Ire y hare lo que el Senor ha mandado, porque se qhe el nunca da mandamientos a los hijos de los hombres sin prepararles la via para que cumplan lo que les ha mandado. (1 Nefi 3:7)

So, to all our local friends...we'll see you around, just not at church!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ed Hume, you just failed

I am NOT a great gardener. Occasionally it might sound like I know what I'm talking about, but that's mostly because I'm over-ambitious, read too much, and have a mother who is willing and able to start ANYTHING in her magic greenhouse.

That last little bit is what gets me into trouble, I think. Mom always says that if you're going to start something, FINISH it. So when she plants out seeds, the contents of each envelope are emptied into a small but intimidating ARMY of twenty-ounce plastic cups. They stay in their plastic cups until conditions are right, and we scurry around tucking the adolescent seedlings into whatever dirt looks empty (and into the arms and purses of whoever crosses our paths.)

The big experiment this year was ground cherries. Touted to be prolific fruiters, with small grape/strawberry/tomato/pineapple/vanilla-scented-esque berries in small husks...well, for seventy cents for a packet of seeds, wouldn't YOU want to try that out? I did, and happily planted 23 seedlings in pots and sunny spots around the yard. I had been waiting for months for my berries to mature, for that magic day they would turn dry and then drop onto the dirt to be found like so many rustly Easter eggs.

Two days ago, it dawned on me: ground cherries are smaller than the smallest cherry tomato. The fruits on my bushes easily fill my palm. Oh snap.

I have 23 tomatillo bushes.

I made my first (five pound) harvest on Friday morning, and there is no end in sight. The tenacious and prolific bushes will continue to flower and fruit until the frost kills them. So....meet my new summer hobby:

Tomatillo Salsa!

Lucky for me, salsa is a breeze. You chop everything up as the opportunity presents itself, and once everything is assembled pull the whole pan onto the stove to let it boil for 10 minutes. Funnel it into your sterilized jars, boil for 15 minutes, and you have yourself four attractive and rather tasty Christmas presents! Because really, EVERYONE is getting tomatillo salsa this year. It's the new zucchini.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Egg Shakers Tutorial

My new position at church, music leader for the nursery kids, is a HOOT. We dance with scarves, pretend to be all kinds of animals, hit sticks, tambourines, bells, and castanets, and sometimes just fold our arms and the kids will quietly listen to me as I sing reverent songs. (I know it's hard to believe, but sometimes when a few of them are howling for their mommies, it's best to have all available teachers gather the children into their laps while we sing quietly.)

Last week I gathered all the materials for these new shakers for the kids to play with, and they were a HUGE hit. They have a nice mellow sound, and a heavy hand-feel that kids love. They're palm-sized and fun to hold, but they're also perfectly MOUTH-sized, so watch them! Nothing bad will happen, but you'll have a very annoyed child on your hands when they realize they've finally stuck something in their mouth that they can not remove!

To make these you'll need:

plastic easter eggs
PVC electrical tape (you could also use plain electrical tape, but it's wider. The PVC tape was labeled as "lead-free" though, so maybe electrical tape contains lead? Both were on the same rack at my hardware store)

They're pretty self-explanatory, no? Fill each egg with bb's- experiment to see what you like. Hold the top and bottom of the egg as you tightly wrap with tape- you want a little tension. The tape is really sticky, but also peels off really easy to watch those little fingers when you bring these out to play! My ten-month-old LOVES these, and has been taking them in and out of the bucket all week. My four-year-old also loves them, and asked me to "Never take these to church NEVER again. Because I like them!"

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Work In Progress

A certain little girl's birthday is coming up, and I think it's high time she had a little family to go with her doll house! (Can any LoLo fans out there name these dolls?)A lot cute, a lot rustic, a lot of fun to hold, and even MORE fun to make, I'm excited to deliver these in person at our family reunion next month!

I still have a little more clothing to paint on, then a final coat or two of varnish. Does anyone have any recommendations for something sturdy but...edible? Because I'm pretty sure this poor family will be nom-nommed by a certain little nephew at least a few times!

The pins are from a huge dollar-store pack. It's a good thing they were just a dollar, too! Ernie saw me painting and wanted to join in on the fun. She very nearly painted every remaining pin. But ssshhhh...it's a secret. I'll bet Aunt LoLo will be SO surprised to see HER birthday present from Ernie this fall! *grin*

PS- Isn't it amazing how things look just fine to you...until you take a MACRO shot?
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Laugh for the Day: The Trouble with Genealogy

Wonder Daddy's grandparents are currently serving a family history mission at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. They work on the phone lines mostly, answering genealogy questions from people all over the world. If the caller speaks English, it's fair game for Grandma and Grandpa's lines!

**If you've ever thought about getting into family history, or have any questions, check out Family Search, the LDS genealogy database. I believe it's one of the largest in the world, and completely free. Try plugging in a deceased relative, and see what you find!**

They sent these quips in their last letter to the family- enjoy!

Questions to the Family History Library:

* He and his daughter are listed as not being born.

* I would like to find out if I have any living relatives or dead relatives or ancestors in my family.

* Will you send me a list of all the Dripps in your library?

* My Grandfather died at the age of 3.

* We are sending you 5 children in a separate envelope.

* Documentation: Family Bible in possession of Aunt Merle until the tornado hit Topeka, Kansas. Now only the Good Lord knows where it is.

* The wife of #22 could not be found. Somebody suggested that she might have been stillborn - what do you think?

* I am mailing you my aunt and uncle and 3 of their children.

* Enclosed please find my Grandmother. I have worked on her for 30 years without success. Now see what you can do!

* I have a hard time finding myself in London. If I were there I was very small and cannot be found.

* This family had 7 nephews that I am unable to find. If you know who they are, please add them to the list.

* We lost our Grandmother, will you please send us a copy?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just in case you had too high an opinion of me...

Oh yes, I did. And she did.

I'm telling you- you don't want to tell me that you're bored.

Oh and yes I paid her and yes she enjoyed herself. She didn't like the vacuuming so much, though...

What kind of mom are you? *grin*
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Monday, August 3, 2009

Garden 101: How to Make Room for Fruit

Local "sweet" cherries have hit the markets in force- it's a Bumper Crop this year! The good news is that I can find wonderful, local cherries for a little less than $1 a pound.

Wonder Daddy and I hit the store, and got more than a few raised eyebrows pointed our direction when we walked out with over 12 pounds of cherries *grin*

I had planned on canning the majority of them, and I still might, but not until our current heat wave subsides. After spending an hour or two washing, stemming, and pitting the fruit, I loaded 10 pounds onto two cookie sheets to be tucked into the freezer to flash-freeze and store in gallon bags for this coming winter. (If I wanted to, I could thaw these and go ahead and can them as normal. Or, I could just stick my head in the sand and say "We NEVER lose power. Everything is totally safe in my freezer!" Because we totally didn't lose power for 2 weeks during the Hannukah Storm of 2006. And I didn't dump a trash bag full of food...in the trash.)

***Oh, and there's a good chance the cherries might not make it until winter anyway. Do you KNOW how delicious frozen, pitted, cherries are??***

The remaining two pounds were loaded onto the food dehydrator- they filled all five trays...and then filled half a sandwich baggie. (For comparision, they went from 32 ounces down to 10.)

If you want to store something in a small space, lose the water!