Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Plagues continue

Unfortunately, my camera's batteries are being charged right now because I am not sure if I can explain what I just saw.

Now, I know I have a tendency to exaggerate at times. Especially when telling an exceptionally exciting story. But I am not exaggerating in the least right now.

The girls were down the street at their friends when Kylee came busting in the front door and I hear a squeak from Faith outside. She says," Mom come quick!! The front porch!!"

Let me just stop here and say that, that statement has never lead to any good.

Like the time that the kids bust in the front door in N.C. screaming,"mom come quick!! Elmo has a deer leg in his mouth!"

Elmo being the neighborhood stray dog and deer leg being.....well, a deer leg. I, of coarse, didn't really think that Elmo had a deer leg in his mouth. Until, I got out in the yard and saw that yes, Elmo most certainly had a deer leg in his mouth and he was chasing EVERYONE with it.

Okay, so back to today, I threw open the door and out on the porch, well I couldn't really see the cement, all I could see was a mass of movement. Black movement. Everywhere. I couldn't really estimate how many ants were out there but A LOT should be sufficient.

I grabbed the bug spray from the garage and went to work. I got a pretty good coverage of poison on the porch, but I am really quite disgusted right now.

This is what I don't get 1) the girls left the house and hour before and no ants were noticed by any of the four little girls leaving. 2) There is no sign of food or any nest around there, so what in the world would 10,000 ants be doing on my front porch? 4) Why does it happen when Mike isn't home? 4) What is up with the plagues this week?

I mean really is God trying to tell me something here? First, the plague of the failing appliances, and then the boils created by the bug bites and now the ant infestation!!!!!

At least they didn't make it into the house. Oh my, I can't even think about that.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What do I hear?

As a mother of four quiet isn't usually a good thing.

But it was today.

I was catching up on some reading when all of a sudden I realized that the house got very quiet. I walked over to the back door and there were all four kids laying out on the grass on a blanket together. Right after I took this picture Josh and Seth got up, and with Josh holding the umbrella over Seth's head, they walked up to the glass. I asked them what they were doing and he told me he was a prince and Josh was his servant.


So I asked him who are Faith and Kylee?

He responded,"Well Faith is a servant and Kylee is the queen."

"So Kylee is your mom?"


With all these servants and queens does that mean I get the afternoon off?


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Oh Man!!!

I spent about an hour yesterday morning cutting down the cucumber and cutting back some of the herbs that had gone wild in the yard. In that hours time I didn't think about putting bug repellent on because it was morning and I just didn't think it was necessary.

I now have approximately 7 golf ball sized bites all over my limbs and one on my face. I have always reacted this way to bug bites. Once a pharmacist told my mom that I was not allergic to the bite it was most likely a reaction to the pesticides that the bug had come into contact with. Personally I don't really care what it is that I am allergic to I just really want them to go away. I have tried antihistamine pills and am rubbing antihistamine lotion into them. Any other ideas?

I feel like Will Smith from the movie Hitch when he eats the shell fish. Okay maybe it doesn't look that bad but in my mind it does.

Thanks bugs.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sump Pump Miracle 2

Let me just say one thing first... If you happen to be in the suburbs of Chicago today and are in need of a sump pump, don't go to Menards, Ace, Lowes or Home Depot. They don't have any.

I know this because we just spent our morning going from place to place trying to locate one. After our first two rejections we called Home depot and found that they had one 1/2 hp left and I begged her to put it aside for us.

So we got home put it in the hole and it sucked all the water out and at that moment the water started pouring into the hole!! I can't even tell you how blessed we feel right now not to have a flooded basement. By all rights we should have a lake down there!

Okay I have to go and help Mike install the back up we bought a few months ago!!


The Miracle of the Sump Pump

I think we are in the middle of little miracle right now.

See we have this sump pump down in our basement, and if you have a basement you know how important they are. Well, ours is the one the builder put in so it is only two and a half years old but because the builder put it in it is not top quality. We have been worried about it for a while so much so that we bought a back up emergency pump, that we never installed.

Well, last night with all that rain it should have been running continually pumping water out from the house. But, we listened and listened and no sound. Mike checked the water level and it didn't seem out of control high so we figured it was doing it's job. This morning, after all that rain last night, we went down to check it and the water level had dropped but still no running pump. I went out to check the pipe the water should be flowing out of and it was dry!!!

Okay, so that means it hasn't been pumping water out, the water level has gone down even though it has been pouring rain, and our basement isn't flooded, yet.

Praise God for the blessing but Mike and I are running out right now to buy a new pump.

What is up with the failing appliances? Does it really come in threes? What is next?


Monday, August 20, 2007

Camping Fun

On Thursday we loaded up the van with five kids (Faith brought her best friend Sarah with us) and headed to Starved Rock for a camping weekend.
We had watched the weather reports for the weekend and knew in advance we could be in for some weather. But that is part of camping. I accept this. But you see, we had also encouraged our friends to meet us up there with their kids on Friday and have their first tent camping experience with us. So, for their sake, I was praying it would be beautiful.
Thursday was just hot and sticky. The hot was fine but the sticky was unbearable. But we were at a KOA so there was a pool and showers, I was fine.

Mike and I set up the tents for the kids and we converted the van into a sleeping station for him and me. It really was very comfortable and not as sticky as a tent, I thought.

Friday was gorgeous. Perfect weather. Mike spent a good part of the day teaching the kids how to cast properly and they ate it up!!! Our friends came, we made hamburgers over the fire and hot dogs for the kids. Ate S'mores and played cards. It was a great day.

Then Saturday was a little rougher. It rained on and off but the kids were troopers and fished just about the whole day. They loved it!! And Sarah even caught her first fish!!! That evening we had chicken tacos, S'mores, and doughboys for dessert and of coarse more cards.

Sunday we woke up and it was a little threatening out so the guys started taking down tents quickly. I cooked pancakes and bacon and right as I was about to start the eggs it started to rain. We pulled everyone into the eating tent when it started to really rain. And I mean RAIN!!! Oh my, I have never been so wet outside of a pool or shower and certainly not in my jeans!!!!! At first we tried to just load up the rest of the stuff with out getting too wet but quickly realized that between the calf deep water puddles and torrential downpour it was no use. Luckily, the kids had gone down to the park after breakfast and before the big rain downpour so they were safe under a shelter when the big storm hit.

We finally got everything loaded and picked up the kids and headed home. They were sad because we were supposed to go and hike around starved Rock state park but it just wasn't meant to be.
Shortly after we arrived home and unloaded much of the stuff from the very wet van Faith noticed a stain on the floor in front of the fridge. I opened the fridge door to be smacked in the face with a horrible odor and warmth. Our fridge had decided that this would be a great weekend to say goodbye. Everything in it was gone. Luckily we had emptied the very full ice cube compartment before we left into our cooler. I can't even imagine what that would have been like.
We have: a new fridge coming tomorrow, the old one cleaned out, three bags of soiled food in the garbage, four tired kids, 12 loads of wet clothes to launder, and one happy dog.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's the Tuesday Can-Can

Today is Mike's second day of his vacation!! It is so great having him around. We always have a great time together.

He encouraged me to finally use the billion tomatoes, jalapenos, and cucumbers we have. We decided that we wanted to try to can this stuff this year. Which, if you know me at all, you know it is a hard concept for me. I have lots of food safety issues and the idea of ME canning something to safety standards just seems a little out of my league. But I thought with Mike's help I would give it a try.

So, I emailed Mike's mom for his Grandma's relish recipe and I searched and searched for a salsa recipe on-line that could be canned. This was a little difficult because Mike really hates vinegar. I mean he hates it. So I was looking for a safe canning salsa that didn't have vinegar. I found several that met the standards but they had lemon instead of vinegar.

So I gathered the ingredients washed the jars and Mike and I hit the kitchen chopping and boiling and washing. Man you should have smelled that batch of salsa when it was done. It smelled delicious!!!

Then we tasted it.

Oh my. Yeah, you can definitely taste the lemon. Enough so that it made you pucker when you taste it. That isn't really a good trait in Salsa. I have no idea what we did wrong. And it didn't just make one jar of salsa. After doctoring it and playing with a bit I think we got it so that it is passable but it definitely isn't good. I wanted to just throw it out. Really we were only out the three onions I bought at the store, everything else was from the garden, oh and the lemon juice. But Mike convinced me that maybe it would get better with time and maybe it would taste better in stuff.

Also since we had never canned before, we thought this might be a good thing to practice with, that way we would know what we were doing when it came to the relish. Let's just say that we put the fire out on the stove several times before we had it boiling correctly.

Then the relish went fairly easily together, but we decided that a bigger pot for the water bath might work better. Mike got the idea of the turkey frying pot. We washed it out and filled it up. Put the jars in there and it seemed to work well until we pulled the jars out and they were covered with this residue from the pot. The pot had looked clean when we started out but apparently was covered with a grease residue.

I have no idea how that will affect the canning process or the relish. I am a little nervous about the whole thing.

Oh, and did I mention that the five pints of relish that we made only used up one and a half of my cucumbers?

I am not sure that canning is my thing.


Friday, August 10, 2007

My girls are home!!! I am so glad they are back!! We missed them so much!!

We all went to the airport yesterday. Mike checked in and went through security while the boys and I sat by baggage claim and played "I spy". Their plane landed on time and they were down there pretty quick. We got giant hugs and some tears from my Kylee. It was a great reunion.

The girls needed dinner and so after picking up their 50 pound suitcase (I am not exaggerating here) we drove towards home and stopped at a Subway. Mike and I were just smiling because as we ordered the kids sat at a table together and talked and laughed and just spent time catching up. It was so cool.

The sound level in the van has increased by quite a bit. It was so quiet when the girls were gone. It isn't that the girls are so loud it is all four of them trying to talk at one time!!!

It is 8:40 a.m. and the girls are still crashed in their beds. They were tired travelers last night. I really want to go wake them up and hug them some more but I will let them rest a bit longer!!


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Monkey Bread

Hey this is life changing!! Okay maybe not life changing, but it is really good.

I have been looking for a real monkey bread recipe. Not the refrigerator biscuit monkey bread, that is really only easier if you have refrigerator biscuits, but real monkey bread.

I found this recipe and it rocked my world. It is so yum!!!! Also it means I will never make cinnamon rolls again! Sorry Dad. But really this is better than my cinnamon rolls and so much easier!!! I do not have a bread machine so I used my kitchen aid and it worked out great. I let the machine do the work and then covered it and let it set for about an hour. Then followed the rest of the directions.

The only changes I made were: I added a teaspoon of vanilla in the dough, I didn't read the ingredients well and only used 1/2 cup of butter when mixing it with the brown sugar (I do not think it hurt it, but i will try it with the whole amount next time), and I rolled the balls in cinnamon/sugar after the brown sugar/butter step. It was really good. Okay, maybe not something you make everyday for the sake of you figure but for company or a special treat, why not?!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Belly Button Wax

Joshi got some money for his birthday. He spent some and then had over 20 dollars left that he hadn't been able to make a decision on. Until the other day. He saw some nasty kit that you make gross things but then they are edible so after you make the florescent green brain you get to eat it. I don't understand this. And until today I thought maybe it was a boy thing. Now I know it is a boy thing.

Here is how it went down.

Mike and the boys and I were in the car.

Josh- "Can we go to Walmart so I can buy the gross make it and eat it kit?"

Me- "Honey I know it looks cool but I am sure it isn't as cool as it looks and wouldn't it be nice to use the rest of that money to buy some....say nice winter boots instead?"

Mike- " Son your mom is right. Let me tell you when I was a boy I had this wax melting kit. You would put these wax pieces in and it melted them into a mold. You could make these little race cars that really worked. And that was cool until the wax was all gone, then......"

Joshi- " Couldn't you just use some ear wax or belly button wax and put it in there?"

Me- "Oh my!"

Mike- "Belly button wax? No you couldn't use that, but any ways we finally tried to use other things like crayons and stuff but it never worked the same, Once we used chocolate that really didn't work. So we put it away and after a while we got it back out again and tried it out with some other it was pretty cool I wish I still had it."

Seth- " I wish you still had it too, it sounds cool!"

Me- thinking, what just happened here? We started out alright but something has gone terribly wrong!

Josh- "Sooooo...can we go get the gross make it and eat it kit?"

(this is where I took over)

Me- " Honey we are going to use the rest of the money for some cool winter boots, okay?"

Josh- "Okay."



Monday, August 6, 2007

Barbecue and Baptism

Yesterday was an incredible day. It has taken me until almost two o'clock Monday to be able to start assembling my thoughts into words. I still don't think I am quite there yet. I have never experienced anything quite like what happened at the Barbecue and Baptism yesterday.

Church was awesome yesterday morning the band was hot and the teaching was excellent. Then we grabbed something to eat and headed back for the barbecue and baptism. There were jumpy things and such for the kids to play on and I got to talk to so many people. Lots of great conversations and even met a couple home school moms new to The Orchard!

Then the food, which was out of this world. It was catered, no scary pot luck meals, and so delicious. My boys licked their plates! After about 10 minutes of eating there was a pretty serious cloud burst which had my husband scrambling, for the speakers set up outside, but everything made it out okay.

After some serious prayer about the weather the clouds moved out and the sun came through and we headed next door to the water park. It shut down for the evening and Orchard took over. Mike and I got to help to baptize some of the over 100 people who took the plunge yesterday. It was incredible. I don't have any other words to describe the look on these people faces as they came up out of the water. Awesome. I feel truly blessed and honored that I was allowed the privilege to take part in this day.

The joy, the tears, the life-change, incredible.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Isn't Technology Great?

I got to see and talk to my girls today with a little video chat! Man, I think they have grown!

They are having a great time with their Nana and Papa and being utterly spoiled. But it also sounds like they are helping out. Mom and Dad just bought a new house so there is lots to be done. Kylee has been out in the yard with Papa preparing it for grass and plants and Faith has been inside helping Nana clean and cook.

8 more days and I get them back!!