Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old Man Loafers

Although not "sugar and spice and everything nice", am hoping mySamuelson's tacky taste in dressing is a straight shot from his father's genes.
The alternative isn't even considerable!
Although I must admit to wearing pj's everywhere when pregnant with said child.
From the couch...
to the supermarket.
Yes, sadly, am serious.
Any "fashionista" I had in me "pre" children I left on the birthing table along with my placenta gobbledy-gook.

About 2 months ago, as we were walking into my Doctor's lab to give blood for my upcoming physical, I really looked at mySamuelson.
You've got to put your "imagination caps" on for this one folks:
T-shirt seen better days with a host of fresh, new stains to add to those that had defied repeated "Resolve Spot Remover" attempts.
Dressy, pleated khaki shorts
(appropriate for Sunday morning church),
leprechaun-looking socks
(oh yeah...LOUD green),
and these loafers...
which he wore with anything, everywhere for weeks on end!

Mom: "Why don't you start wearing your sandals or flip flops, Sam?  The weather's warmer and those shoes are going to make your feet sweat." (Am thinking: sweat = stench.  And to be brutally honest: mySamuelson = jakey.)

mySamuelson: "Nah.  These are my favorite, Mom."

Mom: "You know, those look like old man shoes." (Am thinking: they really do.)

mySamuelson: "No they don't!" (smiling, with laughter lacing his words)

Mom: "Yes they do!" (Sometimes the allure to get in a "No it's not/ Yes it is" verbal spat with one's child is irresistible!)

mySamuelson: "Moooom!  They don't look like old man's shoes!" (Still smiling, but with a bit of consternation in his profile.)

Mom: "The next time we see an old man, look at his feet and I'll bet you'll see loafers that look like yours."

mySamuelson: "O.k.  But you're going to be wrong!"  (A tad unsure but excited nonetheless to be challenged.  A state-of-being he THRIVES in!)

* Must interject here that my primary care/ family physician is an Internist.  Thus, it should come as no surprise when I share that there are alot of elderly people in the waiting rooms.  A good number of the Doctor's in practice with mine specialize in one particular area: pulmonary, cardiology, etc.  Hence, the large number of aging patients.

Mom: "Sam!  Look!" (pointing at a 60-something man sitting in the lab waiting room we were walking by)

mySamuelson: "Oh my gosh, Mom!!!  That old man has shoes on just like mine!!!" (in disbelief with escalating excitement)
{Aside: They were carbon copies of Sam's!  Couldn't have planned it any better!}

*By this time, we had entered the lab and were looking for a place to sit.  mySamuelson's eyes were glued to those old man's feet the entire way.  Then...

mySamuelson: "Mom! Oh my gosh!  Mom! Mom!" (With unchecked eagerness: jumping up and down in front of me, pulling at my sleeve...with quick, stolen glances to his right.)

Mom: "What, Sam!?" (aggravated, of course)

mySamuelson: "Look, that man has old man shoes on too!" (a LOUD whisper)

Mom: "Yes, I know.  We already talked about it." (distracted with a roaming Punk)

mySamuelson: "No Mom.  Not that man.  That man!" (pointing at a 70-something man sitting to our right, a few chairs down)

Mom: (Throws a quick, placating glance to her right.  Breath catches in her throat that eventually comes out a guffawing hee-haw as she confirms mySamuelson's keen observation!)

mySamuelson: "Can you believe there are two old guys here with shoes on like mine, Mom?!" (grinning ear-to-ear) 
No, Mom can't!!!!
Guess they're more popular with the "elderly-man crowd" than I originally thought!

Unfortunately, these (along with about 25 other pairs of shoes) met their demise at the jaws of Dog-with-no-brain.
To quote Eustice on Courage the Cowardly Dog,
"Stupid dog!"

LOVE that cartoon!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Imp

For more "Wordless Wednesday" fun, visit 5 Minutes For Mom.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

April's sunshine NOT showers bring May flowers!

How can it be that our Punk have not one post dedicated strictly to her???
(With the exception of her introductory post created back in January!)

Well, that buck stops right here, right now!
*Sugar's first deer-mount.*

The following wordless (with exception of date photo taken) April photo collage is in honor of "The Punk".
April 6, 2010

April 14, 2010

April 17, 2010

April 29, 2010

This little light of mine... I love her all-consumingly!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Black & White Wednesday: My hero's hero

Although this won't reflect well on my "wifery" skills...
am hoping it will aid in purging the guilt.
 Have been in that holy state of matrimony for almost 8 years now and until this past Saturday,
could not have told you who my Sugar's hero(es) is.
Shoot, didn't even know he had one!
(bowing head in abject shame)

After learning who it is, I must say my heart swelled with pride and my Sugar solidly moved into position as one of my heroes.
One sure can tell a lot about an individual by examining their hero(es)...who they look up to...who they admire...who they pattern themselves after.
We should all have one hero, at the least.

Pronunciation: \ˈhir-(ˌ)ō\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin heros, from Greek hērōs
Date: 14th century
a: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities  
b: one that shows great courage

    • combat decorated 22-year Marine: silver star, the bronze star for valor and two purple hearts for wounds in combat.
    • #1 best-selling author (eleven books)
    • founder of a small business
    • inventor with three U.S. patents
    • syndicated columnist
    • host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel
    • member of the NRA board of directors
    • founder of Freedom Alliance (A foundation that provides college scholarships for the sons and daughters of service members killed in action.)
    • United States government’s counter-terrorism coordinator 1983-1986
    ***Yet, he claims his most important accomplishment is to be “the husband of one, the father of four and the grandfather of eleven.”***

    A family man.
    A man's man.
    A hero.

    In order to make the Colonel stand out...
    though if you ask me, he accomplishes that quite well himself!

    For more arresting black and white's, visit Lisa at The Long Road to China.

    Wordless Wednesday - Home Office decor

    *For more "Wordless Wednesday fun, link up at 5 Minutes for Mom.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Tutorial: Making HOMEMADE strawberry jam

    I have a friend allergic to strawberries. read me write...
    What the heck???
    that was "heck" I said.
    Am an old stick-in-the-mud.
    (said quite proudly)
    I retired the potty mouth when mySamuelson was born.
    These days, "hate" is a bad word in our household.
    Not that I'm a "bleeding heart".
    FAR from it.
    (Verification here and here.)
    Hearing such a strong, negative word on the lips of a child is akin to seeing a picture of said child holding a machine gun.
    So sadly, that is the state of many parts of our world today. :(

    I wish I could share memories of making jam with my mother, grandmother, an aunt...someone...anyone.
    Alas, that is not the case.
    I am blessed, however, with heart-warming memories of learning to grow and tend a vegetable garden at the hands of my Memaw.
    I can distinctly remember kneeling beside her with a plant in our hands...

    As Sugar and I discovered a few years back when we started making jam, the process is simple and yields a better tasting jam then any manufactured you buy off the shelves.
    All of those additives they use: preservatives...artificial flavors...etc., etc. might serve a number of purposes, including longevity of the jam and of course, decreasing overhead.
    There is a costly exchange, however.
    It rapes the jam of its natural flavors and health benefits.

    We happen to be in a part of the country with conditions (rich soil and warm spring temperatures) that make it relatively easy to grow strawberries.
    For some reason, though, my green thumb just refuses to cooperate in nurturing this fruit.
    Strawberries and roses.
    What on earth is it about these two plants that makes it impossible for me to grow???   
    And I'm not talking practically impossible.
    I'm talking outright impossible!

    Fortunately, we have a few farms within a 30 minute drive that grows strawberries.

    Each year we make a trip out to one of the fields.

    We've grown especially fond of "Stewarts Farm".
    Good pickin' and warm, friendly farm staff faces.

    It's time well-spent.
    Any time spent together as a family in pursuing honorable, basic & simple pleasures is time "well-spent".
    And "God-blessed" with HIS stamp of approval.

    ***I know...Giddy-up, Cleo!
    On to the tutorial!!!***

    Ingredients & Items Needed

    5 cups mashed strawberries
    7 cups of sugar
    1/2 teaspoon butter
    1 box of Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
    5 pint-size Mason jars
    5 Mason jar lids
    5 Mason jar bands

    *WalMart, Big Lots, Target...just about any store sells canning equipment: especially at the height of the season. (NOW!)
    *Sure Jell can be found at any grocery store.


    Wash strawberries.
     Allow me to offer a little clarification here.
    We don't actually wash each strawberry.
    With the large quantity we're working with, we would be there an hour!
     We put them, all at once, in a sink full of water and allow them to soak for about 15 minutes.
    What this method misses in removing dirt, bacteria, etc., boiling them at an extremely high temperature manages to get.
    That "15 minutes" also gives you time to start working on the rest of the prep.
    Sterilize your Mason jars.
    (I always sterilize one extra jar: just in case.)
    We put ours through a wash cycle, by themselves, in the dishwasher.  The temperature gets high enough to accomplish the task, and it avoids the more involved process of a water bath on the stove.
    God Bless the man/woman who invented the dishwasher!

    Sterilize the lids and bands stovetop.
    Do not put them in the washer with the jars, for they need to be moist and hot in order to create a good seal.
    A condition (i.e. moist & hot) boiling them on the stovetop creates and is easy to maintain until you're ready to use them.

    Cut the tops/stems off the strawberries.

    Using a knife you can slice them off.
    Or Pampered Chef has a gadget...
    that I love, for it cuts back on waste.
    When you slice the stem off of a strawberry, inevitably, a good bit of the fruit goes with it.
    We don't like "waste" round here.
    I don't remember the name of this tool, but know it's a "corer".
     Have had mine for 5 years now.
    I went to Pampered Chef's website and found an upgraded model with two different "corers": one at each end!
    Cost - $10.50
    Obviously some inventor's been hard at work in the lab. ;)

    Mash the strawberries, a handful at a time.
     Or you can throw them all in a food processor.  
    I prefer the "mashing" method, for it seems every time I use the processor I end up pureeing them.
    "Pureeing" is good if you're making jelly, but this is a jam recipe!
    Jam should have bits-and-pieces of the delectable fruit!


    Pour the exact amount (5 cups) of the prepared fruit in a 6- or 8- quart saucepot.

    Stir one box Sure Jell Fruit Pectin into prepared fruit in saucepot.
    Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming.

    Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring frequently.
    While waiting for the fruit mixture to boil, pull your mason jars out of the dishwasher and set them up on a flat, heat/burn-proof surface.

    Measure exact amount (7 cups) of sugar into a separate bowl.
    ***IMPORTANT NOTE: Reducing sugar or using sugar substitutes will result in "set" failures.***

    Once the prepared fruit mixture reaches a full rolling boil, stir in sugar- quickly.
    Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.


    Ladle quickly into jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.

    Screw the lids on, over the bands, tightly.
    Let stand at room temperature 24 hours.

    Store unopened jam in cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year.
    We put them in that small cupboard above the refrigerator: you know, that one that stores stuff you hardly use because it's so blasted hard to get to!
    Refrigerate opened jam up to a month.


    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Madalyn'ism III

    {Setting: Mom, mySamuelson, Miss Gracie & Punk in their respective vehicular seats.}

    Miss Gracie:  "Mom, that brown polka dot isn't coming off my leg. (Simultaneously points and scratches at the brown dot.)

    Mom:  (Grin growing as she realizes what said "brown dot" is.)  "That brown dot is called a freckle, Dear."

    mySamuelson:  "What brown polka dot?" (Ears are always tuned in!)

    Miss Gracie:  "The brown polka dot on my leg."

    Mom:  "It's a freckle." (Hmmmm... Wonder how many times I'll have to repeat that?)

    mySamuelson:  "Oh.  I have freckles on my face." (dismissive)

    Miss Gracie:  "I have one polka dot on my leg and it's not coming off." (concerned)

    Miss Gracie:  "I'm trying to scratch it and it's not coming off!" (a twinge of panic)

    *I have very little doubt now to which child my OCD genes went!*

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Friday Fragments: Scene 5

    Was going to skip Half-Past Kissin' Time's 
    Mommy's Idea
    this week.

    Am really trying to finish up a tutorial on "How to make homemade strawberry jam".
    it's been such a busy week, with so much to recap, that I don't want to miss getting them in the archives.
    This is probably one of my favorite meme's, just because it gets me blogging about those smaller items that happen in the course of a week which are usually brain-dumped...usually within a week or so after they happen!
    Catch the "week" thread there??? (abashedly smiles)

    *** mySamuelson and I met with our Pastor 
    (one of world's greatest Southern Baptist preachers, just so ya know!)
    earlier this week.
    Out of the the three pastors (which includes the Music & Youth Ministers), he was without hesitation in choosing "Pastor Brad" to discuss his desire to get baptized.
    This decision was slow in coming.
    Slow for mySamuelson that is: his decisions, tasks, etc. usually happen in supersonic speed.  
    By the way, "supersonic" speeds are greater than 750 mph, but less than 1,500 mph.
    Interesting bit of aeronautics fact.
    If nothing else, you'll be ready for that Jeopardy answer!

    What 6 year old would'nt be freaked-out about baptism?
      mySamuelson's spent his life watching a man he's supposed to trust, a role model, take people and push them under water!
    And as if that weren't bad enough, he does it in front of the entire church!
    Just last year mySamuelson started "going under" in our pool.
    A landmark event!
    So it came as no surprise when he asked if he could wear goggles when he was baptized!
    (Laughing My Tail Off!)
    During our meeting, Pastor Brad addressed his fears without mockery and with a respect and acknowledgment that solidified his position as a role model in the heart and mind of mySamuelson.
    I saw it in his eyes and in his body language as Pastor spoke with him and took him down into the baptismal for a trial run.
    I heard it in his voice the next evening on the way to the church's weekly Wednesday night dinner when he shared, "I'm going to sit beside Pastor Brad at dinner, Mom."
    Did I mention what an amazing Pastor he is???

    ***Ran my first 5K last Friday (May 7, 2010).
     Am DYING to share all the details and pics, but this personal accomplishment deserves a post all its own!
    Coming soon!

     went in for his second round of heartworm treatment earlier this week.
    2 shots in the large muscle of his back.
    Have to keep him confined another 30 days.
    Alternative, he throws a blood clot from the mass of dying worms breaking off into his bloodstream and he dies.
    No brainer.
    No alternative.

    ***Mother's Day is a most humbling day for me.
    Am not accustomed to accolades.
    Nor a "fuss" made over me.
    Have no problem making a "to do" about another.
    But leave "me" out of it!
    This is so contrary to my childhood years.
    Mother informed me years back when we were discussing this "turn" in my character that as a child I "demanded" center stage.
    Spent my college years with a similar mentality.
    Wonder what happened???
    Now I happily stand behind my children (when I'm not guiding) encouraging, cheering, admonishing.
    Maybe that's "what happened".
    Children have a way, like no other, in turning one inside out- pulling the carpet out from under one's feet- tilting your world sideways...
    bringing out the best...
    and the worst in one.
    And as odd as this might sound, am so very thankful they draw that "worst" out.
    It enables me to exorcise it through the grace and mercy of God.
    Sometimes I'm not even aware of the "worst" until it's brought forth into HIS light, usually kickin' and screaming, and thrown under HIS PERFECT WILL.    
    "Worst" that includes impatience, irritability, pride, selfishness, and laziness to name but a few
    It's then I go to my knees in petition for forgiveness.
    And rise a better daughter of the King and mother to my children.

    Sugar and the kids woke me that morning with my favorite breakfast:
    old fashioned Quaker oats, toast & coffee.
    No better way to start a day then opening one's eyes to the smiling faces of three of the four (Punk was still in bed) most special people in the world to a wife and mother.

    After a moving "Mother's Day tribute" service at church, we spent the afternoon strawberry pickin'.

     With special guest...
    Grandmaw Janice.
    (Sugar's mother)

    An elderly man from our church passed away a few years back in a strawberry field.
    Can think of no better setting to meet my Lord...
    or to to spend "Mother's Day".
    My family R-O-C-K-S!!!
    Thank you for the blessing of each of them, Lord!

    ***Met "Crazy Harley Man" Saturday.
    Very briefly touched on the encounter in "Post It Note Tuesday".
    What turned out to not be the fender-bender "Crazy Harley Man" screamed at me via epithets, in the middle of an intersection, he turned into a scene from Mad Max.
    While waiting on the police we both called, him to laud his idiocy and me because of his threats, I hear a low rumbling that quickly twisted my stomach into knots and shut my air passages down as the noise grew louder and the source became apparent..
    Six more Harley-driving men, two with women on the back (at least I think they were) pulled into the gas station we were sitting at.
    They slid off their bikes like the evil serpent in the Garden and made their way to Crazy Harley Man, then insiduously surrounded my vehicle.
    I shudder to think what might have happened had the trooper not pulled in at that very minute.

    And yes, one of the kids were with me: mySamuelson.
    He's still talking about it, sporadically.
    Fortunately, he's accustomed to hearing me "loud".
    Was raised in a home where the loudest person was heard.
    And "loud" I was in diatribe with Crazy Harley Man.
    Have never been one to pocket the sh#&.
    I'll catch it...add my own to it, and sling it right back in your face.

    My explanation to my boy?
    "Some people make  bad choices, Sam.  Well, we all make bad choices.  But some people aren't sorry for their bad choices.  That man is a criminal."  

    No report was written, for there was NO damage to either vehicle!!!!
    I won't be caught unprepared again.
    There is no safety in "public" places anymore.
    That's no longer the case.
    The freaks don't just come out at night these days.
    Bleeding heart lawmakers. "special interest" groups and "human rights" activists are making a mockery of our judicial system.
    Laws are so weak in punishing the guilty (the few that are found "guilty" that is) that the pro's outweigh the cons for the criminal in their evil intentions.

    This sorry excuse for a man could have cared less that he had an audience!
    He relished in it: approaching the other cars waiting for the light to turn, screaming, "Did you see that?!?!?!"  Did you see what that fu&#*ng moron did?!?!?!"
    Everyone within earshot was fuel for his irrational anger.
    "Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is."
    Ecclesiastes 10:3 

    Am working on my concealed weapons permit.
    Have spoken with our Pastor (who knows a good bit about guns) as well as two troopers (friends from church) about the type of gun that would best suit my needs.
    Tomorrow Sugar and I head out to Charlotte, NC for the NRA's "Celebration of American Values Freedom Experience".
    I plan to return, ARMED.
    Beware all Mr. Crazy Harley Men out there... as well as your posse's.
    Fools each of you are.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Black & White Wednesday: BEEtween Father & Son

     At the beginning of mySamuelson's school year, all the parents were asked to fill out a general interest form if they planned on volunteering in the classroom.
    Pre-children I was a teacher.
    Am currently a SAHM.
    Second only to Sugar, my kids are my life.
    Would I be volunteering?

    The very last question on that form was, "Are there any hobbies or special interests you or your spouse would like to share with your child's class?"
    Hands down I'm thinking a woman put this form together!
    I was actually being asked to speak for Sugar! 
    Red light, yellow light, GREEN LIGHT!!!!!
    I could feel the pulse pick up a bit.
    Never occurred to me to panic, knowing he was filling out an identical form.
    What for???
    He knows how well I can express myself.
    Cross his mind to speak on my behalf?
    Highly Unlikely.

    as the dutiful wife,
    and knowing my self-created wifely responsibilities like the back of my hand,
    I included some of his hobbies alongside mine.
     A job well done, I thought.
    That was until I approached him a few weeks ago sharing, quite excitedly, that I had arranged for him to
    give all of the Kindergarten classes at mySamuelson's school an Apiary (Bee) presentation/exhibit.
    "Of course I took the initiative and contacted the teacher", I happily answered him.
    The "thoughts" he then began to entertain on my behalf became just downright unkind!
    No, he didn't verbally (keyword here) share those thoughts.
    But he wasn't wearing no poker face, either!

    I didn't even get any love for leaving out his retired interests.
    And trust me, there are a striiiiiiiiing of them!
    Much to my consternation.
    Jack-of-all-trades he surely is!
    In my opinion, he's stuck with beekeeping this long (3 years) because of the large amount of money he's sunk into it (the extractor alone was $1,000+)!
    That and he's an entrepreneur at heart!

    Needless to say, when we told mySamuelson, he characteristically broke out into antics that would have put even the Taz to shame!

    Last Spring, he was finally big enough to fit in the smallest bee suit manufactured and has since been working alongside "Dad" learning the ropes. (see picture in my header)
    He did have his enthusiasm checked at the door one afternoon late last summer when a bee got in his suit and stung him.
    My poor baby. :( 
    Am ever so thankful though it wasn't a sting to the head similar to Sugar's almost 2 years ago.
    Our blood lies so close to the surface of our skin on parts of our body like our heads, trauma to those areas tend to bleed more, swell more, etc.
    This pic was taken three days after the sting when he was on the upswing.
    That first day was Rated R.
    (Had to keep this pic in color to preserve the full effect.)

    Though still interested in beekeeping, mySamuelson now approaches the entire hobby with a respectful caution.
    Which is as it should be considering the inherit risks involved in such a pursuit. 

    Not surprisingly, given the procrastinator in Sugar that refuses to lie dormant (even at my firm insistence!), he waited until the last minute....the NIGHT BEFORE to put a rough outline together.
    One guess who took those bull's horns...
    ...11:30 p.m. brainstorming together (both of us).
    ...12:30 a.m. typing outline (me).
    12:45 editing (me).
    1:00 a.m. proofreading (me; Sugar had fallen asleep at this point).
    1:15 a.m. emailing outline to Principals and teachers (me again).

    Suiting up

    mySamuelson's grand entrance from the school flower garden.

    Somehow he managed to time that entrance with the arrival of his fellow classmates (on the right). ;)

    Educating on everything from bee safety to the different types of bees and their roles.

    In the pic below is "yours truly" leading the students and teachers in the two different bee dances: mySamuelson got cold feet the last minute!  And "yes", bees really do dance.  Move over Timberlake & Travolta!
     "Dancing" is their primary means in communicating the location of food with one abother.  If the food source is far from the hive, the worker bees do what's called a "Waggle Dance" when they return from scouting.  A movement involving flapping their wings and shaking their bodies.  If it's close, they do what's called a "Round Dance".  This "dance" isn't quite as involved: the bees simply walk a straight line, make a tight u-turn, and walk a straight line back.  Needless to say, these were quite popular with the children!  Especially the "Waggle"!

    mySamuelson "manning" the bee equipment.

    "Equipment" he was able to demonstrate for his fellow students.

     Am not one to hold back in giving credit where it's due.  And it's most definitely due my Sugar this go-round.

    One of Webster's definitions for "Fathering" is, "1 b: to be the founder, producer, or author of".

    Along with the child Christ blesses us with comes their blank slate, as well as HIS trust that we will take that slate and train that child up in the way he/she should go. (Proverbs 22:6)
    Quintessentially, we've been given license to "author" that child's life.
    For a little while, that is.
    A "little while" that has the wings of an eagle.
    And when they have passed through their childhood, they take up "authorship" of their own lives.
    But alas!
    We are not left empty-handed!
    We have so many treasures stored up...
    badges of honor (i.e. stretch marks! LOL!)...
    ...more importantly, we have Christ's promise in the remainder of that verse above (Proverbs 22:6), "...and when he is old he shall not depart from it."

    Sugar, across these pages of our son's life, you've left your matchless, beautiful signature.  A "signature" in a permanent ink that will help shape him into that disciple of Christ we so fervently pray he becomes.

    *For more "Black & White Wednesday" fun, link up at Lisa's The Long Road to China.