Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tricks and Treats

A couple of Halloween related tricks for my many many readers :)  First, I have my kids choose 24 pieces of candy from their bags to give me for Christmas advent calendars.  Saves me money, spreads out the overabundance of candy.  Second, if you have yet to go visiting teaching this month. Here's a totally cheesy, yet very handy, poem just for you to drop off with a treat, perhaps even with the treat below.

Since this is the time for goblins and bats,
Halloween spirits, ghosts, and black cats;
Weird happenings and witches brew,
These are the things we wish for you:

May the only ghost that comes to stay,
Be the Holy Ghost to guide your way. 
May the only spirits you chance to meet 
Be the spirits of love and the Savior sweet.

These are our Halloween wishes for you. 
May God bless you in all you do.

And, the treat. Here's our favorite pumpkin bread recipe. We use the disposable mini loaf pans.  For the past two years, we made over 80 of these little loaves for teacher appreciation at the kids' elementary school. But not this year, thank goodness.

Pumpkin Bread
makes 3 big loaves or 9 mini loaves (Spray the pans well with Pam)

Mix these all together:
3 1/3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 c sugar
1 c oil
2/3 c water
4 eggs
2 c canned pumpkin (I use 1 can)

Bake at 350 for an hour for big loaves or 40 min for small loaves.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Farewell to Fall Sports

H had his last soccer game yesterday, Mister finished up flag-football 2 weeks ago, and Sweetie's been done with soccer for most of October. So it's time to say a fond farewell to sports (for a few weeks anyway!)

Sayonara Sparkling Stingrays
This year Sweetie played goalie for a quarter to a half of each game. She did great!

Getting tripped . . . 
About to score!
 Bye-bye Black Mambas
Mister's flag football team was made up of mostly neighborhood kids, which was great.  Unfortunately, they didn't win a single game. But all of their games were close, and they had a good time. Mister made some great catches and had a few good runs.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Fighting my Elephantic Tendencies

I feel like I have very little mental freedom these days for one reason or another.  This on top of an already rotten long-term memory.  Of all the things I'm worried that I'll forget, one thing dominates the list:  I'm worried that I won't remember how happy I am with my life.  Although I end each day with regrets (that I shouldn't have yelled or snapped or rushed or hurried), I don't have regrets with my life in general, and I want to remember that, as I'm well aware that the days can be long but the years are short. So, let it be said, on my quick lunch break here, that I am happy and at peace.
(And, for the record, I'm only doing mediocre at fighting my elephantic tendencies when it comes to holiday food. Curse thy name, candy corns and Halloween sugar cookies!)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Homeboy

If Little Zelly can get her own post, you'd better believe H can get his. When the older kids went back to school, I got my homeboy back--my funny little buddy who gets excited about everything and, now that his siblings are in school, doesn't have anyone to shout over and instead keeps me company with the best little observations and conversations. He's particularly good about suggesting what's being built around the town. Just today, he was sure that the furniture store going up was going to be a dungeon. And the house next to where he plays soccer will probably be a fire station. 

Except this year, my home boy is not always home (little Zelly is glad she gets a break from his constant attention!). He started Mrs. Bradshaw's preschool and loves every minute of it. 

We also decided to let him play on the neighborhood soccer team to let him use some of that energy and to help him make new friends in the neighborhood because he still regularly asks if we can move back to our old house "when this one gets dirty" so he can live next door to his buddy Charlotte. His soccer team is the Black Alligators.

And we never know exactly which version of H we're going to find around the house. Here he is as Monkey H, reading his scriptures in the voice of a monkey during family scripture time. 

 Wolf H showed up just in time to go to the zoo with cousins. H loved every minute of it.

 Little Zelly, on the other hand, didn't know what to think about the cold (the high was in the low 50s and we got there in the morning!). Mostly she sat like the blob she was since I'd put so many clothes on her that she could barely move her arms.

H the Hulk has helped me drive carpool plenty of times and may show up again for Halloween, or we may see SuperH, especially given H's current obsession with Superman's many powers. Today H was very sad that he wasn't really Superman because Superman has Supervision and can see inside his own body and H really wants to see what's inside himself. I got out the Human Body book and showed him some pictures of cells and bones and such. It distracted him but didn't make up for the fact that he has no Supervision.

I love my Homeboy H!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Autumn Thoughts

So I guess it's October now and maybe I should check in, hmm? It's a sad day when I'm posting so little on my blog that it's not even listed as one of the 10 most visited sites on my Google home page.

It's true, I've been busy with things that you would know about, had I been posting. But in the midst of the coming and going, I've been thoroughly enjoying autumn, a season I've lived without, and missed desperately, for our past 8 years of desert dwelling. With its constantly changing trees and bushes, autumn wakes me up to the world around me and reminds me that one day can make a difference. This past month, the mountains have come alive with color, kind of like they're giving it their all before the winter sets in, going out with flames of red, orange, and yellow. I'd forgotten how beautiful and how all-encompassing it is.

Yet even as the trees and bushes are having their last hurrah and dropping their leaves in preparation of the coming winter, I love that autumn is the time to plant bulbs for the spring. Yes, we know winter is coming. But we plant the bulbs because we're confident that spring will follow. So in the past few weeks when I haven't been posting, I've been busy, yes, but I've been enjoying my days, surrounded by the beauty of this place and the hope that comes with the changing seasons.

A few Sundays ago when Vickie was here visiting, we drove up into the canyon and packed a picnic dinner to eat at Cascade Springs (where, we discovered, there was "no picnicking" and where it was probably 50 degrees). But neither one stopped us :)

 We also did a short mile hike when Tommy and Laura were here visiting.

And, of course, the changing colors around me makes watching football and soccer games so much better, even though my camera doesn't capture the beauty of these mountains.
I just found this poem called "Leaves" by Lloyd Schwartz that I think expresses this hope that comes with autumn and the significance of witnessing the changing of the leaves.

Poem of the Month:


by Lloyd Schwartz


Every October it becomes important, no, necessary
to see the leaves turning, to be surrounded
by leaves turning; it's not just the symbolism,
to confront in the death of the year your death,
one blazing farewell appearance, though the irony 
isn't lost on you that nature is most seductive
when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its 
incipient exit, an ending that at least so far 
the effects of human progress (pollution, acid rain)
have not yet frightened you enough to make you believe
is real; that is, you know this ending is a deception
because of course nature is always renewing itself—
        the trees don't die, they just pretend,
        go out in style, and return in style: a new style.


Is it deliberate how far they make you go
especially if you live in the city to get far 
enough away from home to see not just trees 
but only trees? The boring highways, roadsigns, high 
speeds, 10-axle trucks passing you as if they were 
in an even greater hurry than you to look at leaves:
so you drive in terror for literal hours and it looks 
like rain, or snow, but it's probably just clouds
(too cloudy to see any color?) and you wonder, 
given the poverty of your memory, which road had the 
most color last year, but it doesn't matter since 
you're probably too late anyway, or too early—
        whichever road you take will be the wrong one
        and you've probably come all this way for nothing.


You'll be driving along depressed when suddenly
a cloud will move and the sun will muscle through
and ignite the hills. It may not last. Probably
won't last. But for a moment the whole world
comes to. Wakes up. Proves it lives. It lives—
red, yellow, orange, brown, russet, ocher, vermilion,
gold. Flame and rust. Flame and rust, the permutations
of burning. You're on fire. Your eyes are on fire.
It won't last, you don't want it to last. You 
can't stand any more. But you don't want it to stop. 
It's what you've come for. It's what you'll
come back for. It won't stay with you, but you'll 
        remember that it felt like nothing else you've felt
        or something you've felt that also didn't last.

Copyright © 1992 by Lloyd Schwartz. From Goodnight, Gracie (The University of Chicago Press, 1992).
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