"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Balm of Gilead

I'm feeling a little pouty lately. Really, it's just my selfishness and the fact that I've worked so hard to brainwash convince so many people that dorks are actually quite lovable and now it's all gone. Along with my best friend and my substitute mom.

Our ward boundaries changed. This means that approximately 18 houses in my neighborhood (of which one is mine) are now in another ward. Same building, same gospel, same truth. Different time, different faces, just plain different.

I don't like change. Wait, let me rephrase that. I don't like change that I can't control.

Since I can't control it, I've just got to learn to adjust, right? Or I can just sit on my couch, pout, feel like my comfort zone was dissected and rezoned by imminent domain, and eat chocolate pudding.


Homemade Chocolate Pudding

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, well beaten
2 oz baking chocolate, chopped (the darker, the better!)
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Gradually stir in milk and egg yolks over medium heat.
  3. Once combined, add baking chocolate.
  4. Stir until mixture thickens and boils. Allow to boil (while stirring) one minute longer, then remove from heat.
  5. Add butter and vanilla, mixing until well combined.
  6. To serve warm (my preferred method): Immediately spoon into dessert cups.
  7. To serve chilled (my preferred breakfast the next morning): Cover pan with plastic wrap, making sure the entire surface of the pudding is in contact, and set in fridge for at least three hours. Scoop out desired amount. Pudding will be firmer.
This is also quite scrumptious as a chocolate fondue.

* The image is from here, which also has another yummy pudding recipe.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snippets from the Snippy

We went on a mini vacation this past weekend. The Man needed some time out of cell phone range. While it was a pretty fun trip, there were a few highlights that make being a parent who believes in blackmail worthwhile.

For instance, there was much discussion and questioning and chatter and interrogating and oh-my-goodness-can-you-please-be-quiet-for-two-freakin'-minutes with regards to the facilities at the places of lodging. Specifically about the aquatic activities offered. The kids seemed to forget that this was a trip to visit historically significant sites or beautiful displays of God's handiwork. Not one big swim meet. It was after an afternoon of whining and begging for the pool instead of listening to park rangers when I snapped.

Me: Alright, there will be no more whining, complaining, or in any way making a negative comment about this vacation until after dinner or so help me, you will stay in the hotel room and watch me through the window swimming and doing cannonball dives and belly flops to my heart's content. Do you understand?
Boo: ...
Boy: My leg hurts.
Me: (Head exploding)

I will say that after a morning and afternoon of hiking and heat and humidity and sweating and drinking lukewarm water from a source also shared with my toddler, who does not grasp the finer points of preventing backwash, slipping into the pool was actually pretty darn nice.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards

A few weeks ago, I did the unthinkable on a Sunday: I didn't stress out.

Most of my readers are in the same leaky boat as I am: LDS mother with more young children than hands, husband with important duties at church or at work (or both), and with the desire to attend church weekly, family intact. Like most of those moms, I pass through the chapels doors with children in tow in various states of irreverence. And I probably ran out of time so I'm not wearing lipstick, one eye is twitching from all the reminding/nagging I've had to do that morning, or one of my little blondes has a head full of tangles. But hey, we're all present and accounted for!

On that particular Sunday, I was on my own. The Man was in a different city on a business trip. No worries. I'm a professional parent. This is why they pay me the big bucks, right?

It started off with a decision. I'd hit snooze one (or three) too many times and was now running late. I could either leap of bed, start the yelling early as I tried to get my kids out of bed while plunging myself into my closet in search of clothes, or I could take a deep breath, taking it easy.

I chose Door #2.

Rousing the sleepyheads took three trips to their bedrooms (except for Baby, who became my saggy-diapered shadow immediately) but the kids were up. Sunday clothes selected the night before, they set to getting dressed while I showered and got myself ready. Breakfast was eaten at a normal pace, which stopped the crying fits over being rushed into a meal choice (really, it takes careful contemplation as to whether today is a cinnamon toast kind of day or if cold cereal is better suited, or the whole day would be ruined). My makeup (aka: my war paint) went on while they ate. As soon as bums were out of seats, I gave them their instructions. Plates/bowls and cups on the counter, then get your bag ready for church. Since this was a no-yelling morning, I only reminded the distracted kids about their duties before moving on with my tasks. 

While I managed to eat something, Boo got Baby dressed. The Boy made sure her church bag was stocked with a snack and her current favorite toy. Slippery soft hair was combed and contained (except for the Boy, who nearly ran away from the comb screaming...I decided not to fight that battle). My bag ready to go, I ushered the kids into the car and we head to church.

No tears. No whining. No resistance. Smiles. Holding hands. Ready to worship our Father in heaven and learn of His Son. 

It was a great Sunday.

Also? We were half an hour late.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Mr. Monster

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much. You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!


John Cleaver is not a serial killer but he is a sociopath. To keep the appearance of a normal teenager, John created a strict list of rules for himself, allowing him to contain his darker side, Mr. Monster. When a real serial killer targeted his town, John was able to use his own instincts track him down and kill him (this happened in the first book). Just this once. But now that Mr. Monster has had a taste of blood, he's not so willing to go back behind the wall of John's rules. So what is John to do when another murderer, just as demonic and deadly as the last one, comes looking for the last one? And how was he to know that demons had friends?

I just started this one so I'm not very far along. Seems like most of the books on my To Be Read pile are from a series. "Mr. Monster" is the sequel to "I Am Not A Serial Killer" by Dan Wells. And I just found out that there's a third book! Woot!

The Teaser:
"The thing was, my rules were designed to keep Mr. Monster in, but they had the brutally efficient side effect of keeping everyone else out. A guy who forces himself to ignore people anytime he starts to get to know them is not a guy who's going to make a lot of friends."
- pg. 25, "Mr. Monster" by Dan Wells
What book are you reading?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Actor and the Housewife

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much. You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

I am the first to admit that I've been stuck in a young adult dystopian fiction rut. A change was absolutely vital to my sanity. A good friend handed me a stack of books. In them was what she deemed "the worst book" she had ever read. So of course, I'm going to read it. All the way through. The book is by Shannon Hale, called "The Actor and the Housewife." A happily married stay-at-home LDS mom becomes friends with her Hollywood crush, a prominent actor. The pair have very little in common and certainly wouldn't seem like they would be friends. And yet, they can't seem to live without each other's friendship. I'm a little more than halfway through now and I can completely understand why my friend (and a few others that I've mentioned the book to) are so repulsed by the premise. I'm starting to feel like the author is maybe focusing too much on the fact that they are "JUST FRIENDS," nothing romantic (although it certainly seems that way at first). But I gotta say, I'm not hating it. The dialogue between them is hysterical and it's really interesting to have a complete outsider's view of the Mormon culture (because we really are peculiar) where they're not trying to tear the religion down. He even gets to taste that essential beverage of Mormons: Sprite with lime sherbet! 

Here's the teaser: 
 "No chance she'd allow any man to see her naked besides the one who'd gotten her pregnant four times. You broke it, you bought it, baby."
- pg 117, "The Actor and the Housewife" by Shannon Hale

In the comments, tell me what book you are reading and how it's going so far!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moment in Which I Completely Freak Out and it is Almost Justified

The other night, the writing bug really hit me. You know, when that perfect idea bounces around in your skull all day, getting louder and louder, until you absolutely must sit down and get the thoughts flowing out onto the keyboard before they permanently damage your brain.

I was completely enmeshed by subject-verb agreement when I first noticed the tickle on my foot. It was easy to ignore. I had a plot to move forward, people! No time for distractions. Besides, it was probably just the airflow from the fan fluttering in my toe hair. (What an attractive visual image! You're welcome.)

The tickle turned to prickly but I was getting to the shocking reveal and there was no stopping me now! My fingers were smoking on the keys as I wiggled my big toe just a little. As the prick becomes a pinch, I'm starting to lose focus. My already running imagination starts scripting the possible scenario for my foot bother (ya know, because I gots me some o' tha crazies when it comes to "what ifs"). Perhaps it is an ingrown hair forming in protest to the afternoon spent in ugly crocs? Kids are in bed so surely there's no little person attempting to pluck the long strands from my toe knuckle. I'm barefoot but I'm in the house so it can't possibly be a poisonous snake that has somehow mistaken this for a hairy little mouse meal. What if the dastardly house gnomes have armed themselves with tiny pick axes, intent on stealing the bones in my foot, carving and polishing them, then selling the finished pieces in their highly lucrative tourist trade?

Finally, I wrap the scene. The last period barely strikes the screen before I'm leaning over to examine my foot. This is where I nearly throw my laptop into the next room in a effort to stand faster.

Attached to my big toe is a very large earwig. Ewwwww!

I hate those things! They're so creepy, with their pinchy little bums and the slithering way they move. And this one was huge! Nearly the size of my toe! Okay, that's just the adrenaline talking. It wasn't as big as that. More like the size of a quarter. Or perhaps a large penny...that's been folded into thirds lengthwise. Alright, alright...it was a normal size. But STILL! The bugger hurt. (Heheheheh...see what I did there?)

I spent the rest of the evening with one eye searching for split modifiers and the other for slinking insects. One must protect one's valuable and sought-after foot bones in case the retirement portfolio doesn't work out.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Just When I Expected the Worst

Sundays are kinda my day off.

Sure, I wake up the kids, approve church clothes, fix three heads of slippery soft hair, supervise the stocking of sacrament backpacks, buckle car seats, fix lunches, detail after-church activities, determine nap times, schedule home teachers, organize family dinner, prepare a large meal, and manage to include a nice dessert. But, still, it's the Man's job to supervise the kids during church, while I run around and attempt to keep tabs on the other 130 children (and no, that number is not an exaggeration).

This past Sunday, the Man was sick. I was on my own.

I asked the two older kids to please, please, please, for the love of all things chocolate-covered, please help me with Baby. They looked warily at their younger sibling but agreed. The fruit snacks only last so long. Baby gets wiggly pretty easily.

"What are we supposed to do?" Boo doesn't even bother to whisper.

"Just play together," I said, trying to catch the speaker's words.

And they did.

Zoobles hosted a tea party with Darth Maul. Littlest Pet Shops were Batman's pet dogs. The Human Torch became a trusty flashlight to retrieve lost crayons from under the seats.

As the first notes of the closing hymn started, the kids dutifully cleaned up, resorting toys back into their designated gender bias. I breathed a sigh of relief as little smiling faces hurried off to their classes.

Maybe I have this mothering-thing down after all!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Surviving Antartica

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much. You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!


And no, it's not non-fiction. I don't read many books that aren't fiction, specifically urban fantasy or dystopian genres. As the sub-title is "Reality TV 2083," this one falls into both categories. To think, I was mostly kidding when I said reality tv was destroying life as we know it! Five teens are sent to Antarctica to re-live the dangerous South Pole expedition, for the sake of a futuristic society's edu-tainment. I just started this book yesterday so I'm not very far into it. A friend loaned it to me and, since I've had a few of her books for months now, I'd better get these read and back to her before she stops letting me borrow her books.


My teaser:
"We've saved our taxpayers billions of dollars by getting rid of the public schools. We teach history through Survivor, English through Tele-Novelas, and math through Dialing for Dollars."   
- page 23, the Secretary of Entertainment, "Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083" by Andrea White.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Complexities of Winning

And no, my veins aren't pulsing with tiger blood. Although that is a rather tasty sno cone flavor...

So...this has been an interesting past week. I've had several professional-type persons tell me that I am "complex." I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing. At this point, maybe not so much. As if the Man didn't have enough problems figuring me out.

It's time to pick a winner for the Savanna Hill jewelry giveaway!

Drumroll, please...
.
.
.
.
.
According to Random.org, the winner is comment #10, from the Lady of Perpetual Chaos.

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

And of course I follow you!

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