Tuesday, October 30, 2012

some spaghetti

I sent Tyler a text that said,
"I just took a bite from the pot and said, 'mmmm'." 

"It was spaghetti sauce!"

To fully appreciate that, you need to understand something.

My mom made delicious spaghetti sauce when I was growing up.
In fact, it's what we had to eat the first time Tyler came over for dinner.
I'm not sure if I made it, or she did.
Either way - it was the same yummy sauce; I made it just like she did.
Tyler wasn't sure he'd like my mom's cooking, so he (unbeknownst to me at the time) grabbed a burger on his way over.
His eyes about popped out of his head when my mom served him up a Miller male sized portion.
He couldn't have eaten that much normally,
but having just had a burger, well, things didn't look good for him....
I don't remember if he ate it all or not
and actually, that part of the story is irrelevant.

When I was pregnant with Lana,
I could not stand the smell of cooked tomatoes.
Which was quite a problem, seeing that tomato based foods were pretty cheap
and we were incredibly poor.
So I cooked with tomato sauce and such anyways
and sometimes, I even managed to get down a few bites.

At some point not long after Lana was born,
we'd discovered that it was cheaper to buy jarred or canned spaghetti sauce than make my own.
Since it was all nasty in my opinion (even though the smell no longer made me sick, there was still a negative association...)
 and Tyler just loved spaghetti, period,
well, it was a no-brainer.
We started buying pre-made spaghetti sauce.
We could have a meal of spaghetti for $2 if we didn't use meat;
$1 for the sauce, and $ .50 each for pasta and a can of diced tomatoes.
As kids grew (and became more plentiful) we just added another jar of sauce and more pasta.
When we switched to whole grains, it was slightly more expensive, since the pasta was $1 a box...
Occasional, we had hamburger  or ground turkey in it,
but Lana preferred it meatless. 
Since she rarely stated preferences,
I choose to fix it the way she liked it.
Once she married, we added meat to the sauce more often than not.
And once I discovered that Tyler really didn't care for ground turkey in it,
I never added it again - only ground beef.

And every single time we ate spaghetti for dinner,
which was probably at least 3x's amonth, since everyone else loved it
and it was a cheap healthy meal - what with all that whole grain pasta,
I hated it.
Whenever possible, I planned to have it when I would be gone at dinner time.
Seeing that I don't really go gallivanting around all that much,
I didn't get to skip out on the sketti very often.

and we re-examined our eating habits again.
Now, even though we ate in a way we thought was healthy, 
and I'd known for years that they put sugar or HFCS in spaghetti sauce,
I overlooked it.
It was cheap and easy.
But with knowledge comes responsibility, so as we learned more,
we adjusted more.
The cheap Aldi spaghetti sauce had to go.
Tyler found some jarred sauce with just a smidge of added sugar - no HFCS - that they liked okay,
but it was no longer a cheap option, especially when you consider we needed 3 jars...
But of course, I still hated spaghetti night.
Mind you, I didn't carry on like a martyr or anything;
I'm sure some of the kids didn't even know I didn't like spaghetti,
but Tyler knew.
And he made it his mission to come up with a spaghetti sauce that I would like,
and preferably be inexpensive, too.

to be continued...

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Saturday found us waking up before the crack of dawn again,
off to the races. (Well, technically not a race, just a run...)
Brandon hurt his foot/ankle (again) playing soccer Friday night at a friend's house,
so wasn't able to run the 5K.
Kacy broke her toe (again) earlier in the week, so she had to back out, too,
but Tony was intact, so at least he got to run.
Tyler signed up to walk, in an attempt to encourage more people to sign up for the run/walk.
He did have to run the last little bit, though, to get back in time to take the girls on the 1K.
He cut  it so close, that I'd already taken my coat off and lined up with them.
(Jeremiah and Josiah lined up with Ton')

I was so proud of them!
The all ran the whole 1K, except for Lily who had to walk a few steps a couple of times.
Not a big deal, except that we hadn't taken them out to run one time...
(and it was in the 30's!)
Jeremiah came in 3rd
and Josiah 4th!
There were about 50 people (mostly kiddos) doing the 1K,
so that was kind of a surprise.
I guess nobody else trained either...

There was a contest to see which floor had the largest percentage of participants
(the run was sponsored by Tyler's work as a United Way fundraiser)
Tyler was the Team Leader for his floor
and recruited a good sized team to help recruit runners.
They were leading the competition with 34% of the 2nd floor registered to run on Friday,
when the TL from another (much smaller) office called HR to find out what they had to do to win.
 Tyler was a little irritated....

Oh - almost forgot ~ our family won the most participants per family award :-)
Imagine that.

After the race, it was TKD testing.
The boys all did super and are now brown/black belts.

After all that,
I thought I might need a nap, but I ended up having coffee instead :-)
Brandon went to a friend's house for a few hours in the late afternoon;
I dropped him off and visited for 30 minutes or so before heading back home.
I expected that Tyler had laid down with the girls for a nap when the Razorback game ended.
(Ol' Miss won. Big surprise there.)
Instead, he had rallied the troops
('the troops' being the 4 little ones)
and had the house looking really nice when I got home.
(thanks, Hon!)

Tyler carved pumpkins with the kids
(which reminds me - I need to take pictures of them with their pumpkins)
while I put away all the wedding crap stuff that finally got brought in the house Friday evening
(but only because we needed the room in the car for other junk...)
It took me a ridiculous amount of time (close to 2 hours?)
because I re-organized and  repacked everything to make it easy for future use.
I think I spent 20 -30 minutes just putting 40 yards of tulle (cut to varying lengths) back on the bolt.
I'm telling you, I really wanted to just trash it;
but I couldn't. 
(The other day, I was cutting out a top (finally getting around to trying to add sleeves to my favorite sleeveless shirt pattern - now that it's already cold...  I'm hoping it'll work, but at the same time, expecting it can't be that easy...)
I had the fabric folded and the front pattern pieces laid out with rocks on them for weights, all ready for cutting,
when I realized I'd be wasting about 3 inches of fabric.
So I moved everything.
Grumbling the whole time about 'why do I have to make sure not to waste even a smidge of fabric...'  sigh.)

After the pumpkins, Tyler ran to pick up Brandon (and some rotisserie chicken for dinner :-)
while I finished putting away the crap stuff.
Wait. You know what? I didn't spend quite as long as I thought putting stuff away;
TJ called and I sat down and talked to him for awhile,
'cause my 'putting things away while on the phone' skills are notoriously lacking.

After dinner and clean-up and getting kids to bed, 
I worked on Lily's quilt while Brandon and I watched an episode of Sherlock.
(Tyler pooped out on us and went to bed)
I forgot that they were movie-length shows.
I was thinking 'episode'. Episodes are about 45 minutes.
I was good and ready for bed myself when it was over.

Today was mostly lazy.
I even sat under a tree for awhile, quilting and enjoying the sunshine, while Tyler rested beside me
and Josiah ran back and forth between us and the house (making paper hats)
and Lola and Smokey the cat begged for attention.

Which was a really nice way to end a weekend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

gifts of love

I love, truly love, going through the gift catalogs and choosing what to give.
if we did nothing else to celebrate Christmas,
I would be great with that.

It isn't that I don't love my children
and love giving them gifts that will bring them pleasure,
but lets face it,
they have no true needs, and quite honestly, since we don't watch TV, there are very few wants even.
Add to that, we have a tiny house.
But even when we build a bigger house - I don't want it filled with junk,
I just want the junk that we already have
 to have a place ;-)
Books are gifts that keep giving,
but books don't exactly elicit squeals of delight on Christmas morning....

And there's also the matter of kids giving to each other and learning to be generous
(which, really, all of our kids already are....)
Just the other day, Jeremiah was saying he didn't know which he liked better about Christmas,
the excitement of his gifts,or the excitement of giving gifts.
I don't want to take that away....

Anyways - that was a roundabout way of saying that every year, we tweak,
and try to figure out the best way, for our family, to celebrate the birth and love of Christ.
I don't think we've arrived yet at the ideal solution, but I trust one day we will.

Rebekah had asked me to share the organizations that we buy from.
Now, I haven't thoroughly researched these, 
We just started with Ann's recommendations and went from there.

Compassion International is probably my favorite;
we sponsor kids through Compassion and have been 'exposed' to the organization in various ways
and have followed blogger trips and such,
but if we found chickens cheaper elsewhere (and we did) we purchased elsewhere.
Yes, we comparison shop.
It's how we always shop.
We want our money to go as far as it possibly can.

The first year, we didn't have paper catalogs and did all shopping online.
Last year it was a mixture of both.
This year, we got catalogs from all the organizations we've purchased from in the past, 
so we will most likely do our selecting that way, but order online.
The kids have already been looking through the catalogs, which I love!
I imagine there is plenty of time to order catalogs for your family if you request them soon.

This post tells what we bought from where last year, and includes links to the organizations
and this one is from two years ago, when we started the tradition.

I don't know what all our Christmas celebration will look like this year,
but one thing is for sure,
it will include gifts for Jesus.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I certainly did not anticipate,
when I posted pictures of myself on Wednesday,
that it'd be almost a week before I got back here!

Lots of busy going on around here,
and I seem to take a bit longer to recuperate from it than most people;
I got up this morning thinking maybe we could take the day off school,
but then remembered that we'd already done that twice last week,
so I'll just need to soldier on.

Thursday and Friday I got to help precious friends with a wedding.
Brandon had the kiddos all day Thursday - by himself!
None of our other kids, at fourteen (and just turned 14, at that...) have ever babysat 4 younger siblings.
Heck, none of them even had 4 younger siblings at 14...
They did just fine, but I did worry a bit ~ all day is a long time
and Lexi can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least.
I came home at 4:30 to a reasonably clean house, which was a huge blessing.

When we arrived at the boys' TKD class and hour later, 
we found out the that it had been cancelled,
so I called Tyler and told him he should take us out to dinner.
He agreed :-)
After dinner, they all headed to Timberline (formerly Riverwalk) for apartment ministry
and I came home and plopped my butt in the recliner.
I was getting really thirsty right about the time that Tyler called to say they were heading home,
so I just waited for someone to bring me water.
(my foot was hurtin' real bad, Pa)
After we got the kids to bed, I relocated to the couch and we watched a movie with Brandon.

Friday started off nice and leisurely - I slept in, did some laundry, and enjoyed two cups of coffee
before scarfing down breakfast (that Tyler cooked :-) at 11:15.
I had to run pick up race packets
and meet the Taggs at the church at noon.
Then it was nothing but flowers for me for 5 hours
(I am so stinkin' slow!)
while Tyler took the kids sailing.
As soon as I got home, I washed up the breakfast dishes 
and made a pot of soup
and we vegged out in front of Kung Fu Panda 2
then headed to bed so we could get up early....

Saturday we were up before the crack of dawn
for our second Survivors Challenge 5K.
Needless to say - I didn't run
but Tyler and Brandon did
and they both improved their times from last year,
even though their training was severely lacking.
(Tyler has just been so busy with work lately!)
Tyler came in at 29 minutes and 48 seconds (12th in  his age group)
and Brandon was 7th in his group, with 25:52
(and ended up in the paper too)
They've got another 5K this weekend and Brandon is hoping to shave 2 more minutes off his time.

After we got home, the runners napped
kids played
and I worked on getting us (mostly me) ready for the wedding.
We went early to the wedding, so I could put ribbons on the bouquets
and be available for any other quick jobs.
The wedding was short and sweet and beautiful
and then we enjoyed visiting with friends at the reception.
Knowing the value of friends who stay to help clean up,
we did just that.

We were recently gifted with a (ridiculously generous) Sonic gift card,
so that's what we had for dinner before coming home for another early bedtime.

Not much had been done to the house since Brandon and the kiddos picked things up Thursday afternoon
so it was an absolute wreck when Tyler and Brandon left for church Sunday morning.
By the time the kids and I left the house 1 1/2 hours later,
it was still a wreck, but the boys got their bedroom cleaned 
and we got the living room picked up.
Tyler ran to Sam's after church
and the kids and I quickly blitzed the house,
so that by the time he arrived home,
it was pretty well picked up
so we could be lazy rest in the afternoon
before Kacy (Tony was working) came to spend the evening with us.

And now, it's time for me to be thinking about what all this week holds for us...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

why we don't have many photos of me

I mean, besides the fact that I despise seeing myself...


 is not very good behind the camera

and I

am absolutely horrible

in front of it.

But we had a nice date anyways :-)

Thanks, Brandon for watching the kids!

and thanks, Love, for taking me out.

(no- taking pictures wasn't our date; Tyler was taking me to dinner
(our first date since Tony got married - besides our anniversary, of course)
 and since I hadn't taken any pictures yet of the completed shirt, 2nd take bolero, or my skirt yet, and I was wearing them,
 well, it made sense to try to get a photo or two... Plus, I was wearing my shoes ;-)

fabric wondering

When Tyler gave me the day off (was that only 1 1/2 weeks ago?!)
I sewed pretty much all day.
I knew I wanted a skirt from one of the Alabama Chanin books,
but I wasn't sure which one.
I decided to go with the one from the 3rd book -
since the front and back pieces were a bit different, I thought the fit would be better.
(the skirt in book 1 uses 4 of the same pattern piece.
And I didn't really want 6 panels, which is what the skirt in book 2 has, plus, that's a fuller skirt...)

I expected I'd need to make a couple of muslins, since I am
a) difficult to fit
b) notoriously picky about fit 
but I figured I could knock out a muslin in no time.
(I wouldn't be adding the elastic waist, so we're talking 4 seams...)

I thought I wouldn't like a seam up the front, but copied the pattern exactly for my first time.
Why are you rolling your eyes like that?!
I really did make it exactly, exactly like the pattern.

I was right ~ I didn't like that center front seam,
so the first thing I did was change the front pattern piece to one cut on the fold.
I also had to reduce the waist, which is no surprise,
seeing that my rear is even more ample than my waist...

After trying on each muslin,
I'd wear it
while I made the next one, after tweaking the pattern.
These skirts are so comfy!
(I was using an old jersey sheet passed down from my best sewing buddy)
I kept saying, "This is so comfortable ~ it feels like I'm wearing nothing."
To which Tyler would reply with stars in his eyes, "You practically are!"
Turns out the man does like me in skirts after all,
a fact I discovered on our anniversary - thus the whole skirt making in the first place.
I'd always assumed he didn't like me in skirts,
because he never said anything, on the rare occasion that I wore one.
He doesn't like me in long skirts.
Glad we got that all figured out.

After some googling,
(and adding fitting books to my wish list...)
I ended up deciding that I needed to make a full rear adjustment,
not just take in the waist.
So I made, what I think was, a full rear adjustment
and I also lowered the front a smidge at the waist

The 3rd muslin fit well enough, that I made my final pattern adjustments
(took another tiny bit off the waist, lowered the front waist a smidge more, and added about 2 cm to the back length) 
and moved on to the 'good' fabric, without making another muslin.
(Each muslin took longer than I'd expected. Shocking, I know.)
I sewed up the skirt on the machine, but hand-sewed the hem,
which I did using binding strips and the cretan stitch.
Love it!

I also finished up my gray shirt that evening
and wore it to church the next day (with a sweater since it was freezing...)
At lunch,
Tyler told me he wanted me to keep sewing for myself,
'til I had an entire wardrobe,
and that I'd just need to re-figure patterns as I lose weight
and sew more....

Which leads me to the what I sat down to write about in the first place.
Specifically, knit fabric.
How the heck do you tell how a fabric is going to wear over time?
It's not such a huge deal right now;
I'm not going to make anything terribly involved until I lose more weight
(meaning what I am making now won't fit me for years, so it doesn't have to be top quality)
but if I'm going to spend hours and hours (and more hours)
making a garment,
I'd like to know that the fabric is worth the time, that it won't start pilling in 3 months,
that I'll be able to wear it 'til I'm tired of it, not 'til its tired.

I don't have a single shirt in my closet that isn't showing signs of wear.
(except the few I've made recently, so they don't count...)
Now, admittedly, since I don't have a ton of clothes, I wear each piece more often than most people do,
but still, I don't think a shirt should be looking 'old' after being worn 2 seasons,
even if they average a wear a week (which my 'going' shirts don't...)

I can't help but notice also
my girls' shirts from The Children's Place look fabulous, 
even when they've gone through 2 (or more, for the thrifted ones) kids!

So what is it?
What do I need to look for to know that a fabric will stay nice looking?
(Adding to the difficulty ~ I have to purchase over the internet,
as very little knit fabric is available locally!)
One can assume that the more you spend, the better the quality,
but that isn't always going to be the case.
And frankly, I can't exactly afford to spend big money on fabric...

So my big question,
which I have been a researching, but haven't yet come to any conclusions,
is - how do I figure out what fabric to buy??

Friday, October 12, 2012

meet li'l Miss Liza

So, my sister called me when I was driving to A-Z
for the 3rd time in less than a week
buying stuff for the reception.

"Don't even think about it right now," she says, "wait 'til after the reception
and you'll still have a whole month to come up with one."

She needed a scarecrow for an auction to benefit the Children's Shelter in Benton County
She's on the board of directors,
and helped plan the craft show and scarecrow fundraiser,
but had no clue how she was going to come up with the scarecrow.
she called me.
Like I'd say, "no" to that....

Tyler and I were going to have a friendly little competition,
and provide her with two scarecrows for the auction,
and see which one brought in the most money,
but he wimped out was too busy to make one.
Guess that makes me the winner :-)

Li'l Miss Liza is really such a sweetie, with a good heart 

and she's ready to go on to her new home.


Not yet, Punkin; git back in this house!

Guess I'll need to explain to her that she gets to spend the night here for a few days first.
She's an adventurous one, that little Miss Liza ~ no scaredy in her!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

just look

at what's starting to arrive in our mailbox :-)


one thing

I second guess myself as a mother all the time.
I feel like I fail more often than I get things right.
Yesterday, though, when I used the technique I'm going to tell you about in just a sec,
I realized, I've got this one thing down.
Now, I don't always remember to use it
and it doesn't always have positive results,
but much of the time, it works.

As a general rule, I try to answer affirmatively if possible.

For example,
yesterday, when Lexi was supposed to be going to sleep at naptime, she asked if I could read her a book.
I could have just said, "No." because, it wasn't time to read right then,
but instead, I said, "Maybe after nap I can read it to you."
To which she happily replied, "Okay." and rolled over. 
Basically, I was saying the same thing ~ there would be no book at the moment,
but I said it in a way that left her hopeful, rather than deflated.

Obviously, every question can't be answered with a 'yes',
but that doesn't mean it has to be answered with a 'NO" either.
An affirmative answer is one thing that works for me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

snippets of school

consider the source

I have this friend, Robbie, who has a huge gorgeous smile,
so when she sends me messages with :-))) 
I see her big beautiful smile.
When I write back, though,
and type in :-)))
all I can see is a double chin.

Monday, October 8, 2012

tha's some high quality H20

One of the benefits of aiming to drink a gallon of water a day
even when I fail,
I still drink at least 8 cups.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

dinner is served

Tyler gave me the day off on Friday.
Originally the plan was for him to take the kids camping,
so I would really have been off,
but the weather was uncooperative,
so they stayed home.
But I still didn't  have to cook or clean.

Come dinner time, he was trying to decide what to make.
Whatever it was going to be, he'd have to go to the store since we had no chicken or beef in the house.
After he'd shot down a few of my suggestions,
I very patiently and sweetly told him,
"Why don't you just think of all the thing you know how to fix for dinner
and pick one?"

A few minutes later, he was heading out the door.
He hadn't yet washed up the lunch dishes,
and I felt bad that he was going to have to fix dinner in a messy kitchen,
so even though I was off, I cleaned the kitchen for him.
I was just about done when he walked in the door and hollered, "Dinner's ready."

He'd picked up Pizza Hut.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

pet peeve

Can I just share a little something?
I try,
really, I try,
to be a positive person. 
It doesn't come naturally for me.
I know you're shocked, so I'll  just let that sink in a bit ;-)

I think 
about posting my litany of pet peeves.
But I restrain myself, because it isn't really in keeping with the tone I want to have for this space,
you know, finding joy, and all.....
There is one thing that I get annoyed with (even more than stupid drivers) on a daily basis.

Comment Verification.

I can't tell you how many times I've typed up a comment
and then said, forget it! when I discovered I was going to be forced decipher out of focus small text.
I realize that there are occasionally spam comments.
But out of the 2,487 comments on my blog,
only 3, maybe 4, have been spam.
(and they were easy and fast to delete)

Please, people, keep me from sinning
and turn off comment verification.
I thank you.
And my family thanks you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

for the record

This is a for-the-record post; for my records,
and will be of little interest to pretty much everyone
especially the 4 males who read here. 
Feel free to skip to the next post.
Go on, now!

We went back to see Dr Baker Sept 14th,
after having realized in June (or was it May?) that it was time to change up my hormone cream.
I'd been so pleased with the drastic improvement last time he changed it up,
actually wanting to live again and all,
that it hadn't occurred to me 
that we could change it up more, for better results.
Or maybe I thought of it, but was afraid that a change didn't necessarily mean an improvement,
and I definitely didn't want to back-track any. I'm not sure.
As Tyler put it,
before creams, there were only bad days.
And worse days.
There were no good days.
Good moments, but those were few and far between.
Now, there are good days, bad days, and only a few worse days every month.
But the worse days were getting more plentiful,
and so were the bad,
so it was time to go back.

I'm a little disappointed that the results aren't drastic since the new prescription arrived.
Last time, I noticed an improvement with one dose;
This time, nothing.
we had a yucky upper respiratory bug running through the house, and I had it,
so I reasoned that maybe, when I was better, I'd notice something?
But it ran its course, and I still didn't observe any earth-shattering improvement.

I realized last night, though, that there is some forward progress after all;
I'm on day 33 of my cycle
and I am civil.
I have been a functioning member of the household, and even society.
Which, actually is huge.

In the past, even in the good months, by day 26, I am a basket case.
I am ridiculously irritable (and I'm sure irritating, as well)
and most definitely can not interact with non-family members (I don't interact with family members so well, either).
Having to leave the house, even just to drop the boys off at TKD, is torture.
We won't even talk about mid-cycle madness; 
I'm not sure which is worse.
We also won't talk about skin issues, my pupils, or the bloating and weight gain that accompany these hell days.

Anyways, like I said, I'm on day 33 and I am civil.
Nice even, actually. (at least, I think...)
While I'm still not feeling the improvement I had hoped for,
I recognize that this really is quite huge.
And so, I'm grateful.
Now we need to figure out, do we wait a bit, and see how my body adjusts?
Or do we need to do more tweaking right away?
Or is it possible that I'll just never be quite right again??

(If all that was TMI - I apologize. But - I did warn you....)