Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Been a while....

and it's hotter than blue blazes in Arizona. We've been crazy busy and there just hasn't been too much for me to write about. I've been doing good on my budget but today I just had to go shopping and get a few things. I like to think that I don't "have" to shop but it just feels good to buy something from time to time. I had just returned home from my shopping trip when I received a call from Ryan, telling me he had left his bike lock key in the truck today when I had taken him and Charlie to the dentist. I drove over to the school to give him a key and the bitchiest teacher alive happened to be standing out there. Ryan ran over to the car to get the key and the teacher promptly told me that he wasn't allowed to walk through the cross walk to get to the car. I said ok and apologized and she told me I was blocking everyone else. Her rudeness continued until I was good and pissed. But here's the deal, I was in the park and wait lane. I was making sure my big kids weren't going to get to far ahead of the smaller ones. Remember, I'm nice until you piss me off. I told her the cars behind me could go around me in the other lane and she spouted something else off and I just said "ok, thank you, have a nice day because it sounds like you need one." See, Charles is in the bishopric now and I guess I have to conduct myself as so. It's a hard thing to do sometimes, believe me. Anyway, I didn't let her ruin my day. Although, I did let the incident irritate me for a bit. I'm all better now though :) I seem to be a magnet for tactless people lately. This is a big pet peeve of mine too. Maybe this is the Lord's way of making me more tolerant. Opposition in all things. You gotta deal with the crap to get over your weaknesses, right?

This week I've been trying really hard to eat healthy and stay away from all the delicious things I enjoy eating. I've done pretty good other than the 4-6 homemade, oatmeal-raisin cookies I enjoyed last night. You gotta indulge every now and again.

Ok, I like to think that we don't indulge our kids with too many material things. We did get them a cell phone to share, about a year ago. This purchase was more for my conveniance. Charlie tells us last night that he wants a new cell phone since all of his friends have cool ones and he gets made fun of for having a "dinosaur" for a phone. So he then proceeds to tell us how crappy it is and how every kid in America has way better stuff than him. So...Charles tells him since his phone sucks so bad we will take it back and he can have nothing! So there! I do not like when people feel entitled. Especially when someone else is paying. If you read my blog on a regular basis then you will know that I do not like moochers and people who can't pay their own way. So sweet, little Charlie has lost his phone for a time.

One more thing, can we please stop with all this swine flu mess?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh what a day.....

Today has been a long day. I had to listen to kindergartners read for an hour and then came home and did my maid duties. The people in my family couldn't care less what our house looks like. Although, Charlie is quick to tell me how messy other people's houses are when he visits someone else. So I'm pretty sure he appreciates my obsessive compulsiveness when it comes to cleanliness. That poor kid has picked up my terrible OCD habit. It's a curse. I love the thought of tile floors but they are very high maintenance.

Anyway, I made spudnuts today...and...they were a masterpiece! A spudnut is a homemade, good, delicious, deep fried, delightful doughnut. I made them with whole wheat so they were healthy!! Plus I deep fried them in canola oil so they are heart healthy! Healthy or not though...they were DE-LIGHTFUL!

Cody came to me last night and asks me if he can shower in my bathroom. I thought this request was innocent enough....until he was finished with his shower. He walks into the living room with his hand over the top of his head. I ask him "why are you covering your head like that?" He says "cuz." "Cuz why?" He then removes his hand and I see 4 bald strips down the center of his head! He had taken my razor and shaved the top of his head. It looks awful and the only solution was to shave his hair completely off. He did have to go to school today with the bald strips. Charles didn't cut his hair until this evening. Cody is always into something. He was embarassed about it today and wanted to wear a hat to school.


Well...that's it for tonight :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's a wonder...

what going to bed early does for you! Normally, I am a night chick and don't get in the bed until 12-ish and I have to be pried out of bed the next morning to get kids up. Last night was different though. I started to doze off around 8:30 and Charles came over to me and said "let's get in the bed early tonight." So off we went and I was sound asleep by 10 and my eyelids popped open at 5:30-ish this morning. SO NICE. I guess that's where the saying "early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." I am pretty healthy and I'm becoming more wise, now if the wealthy part will fall into place I will forever be a morning person!

Our baby chicks spent their first night outside last night. There was dust ALL OVER the office and I was tired of sweeping up their mess, so I moved them out yesterday. The weather has been blazing hot so I figured now was as good of a time as any to give them the boot. They did well. The kids were scared they were going to wake up to 11 dead, baby chicks. It does cool off a lot at night but they stayed safe and healthy.

Well, we got the shock of our week on Sunday. The stake executive secretary called Sunday morning and asked if we would be able to come and meet with the Stake President at 11:30. Now that is an hour and a half before church starts. We knew they were obviously going to issue a calling to Charles, we just didn't know what. We get there and the president was doing the getting to know you session and asked us a few questions. He then tells Charles his name had been submitted for 2nd counselor in the bishopric. WHOA! I immediately started bawling. I have no idea why. Maybe because I have spent quite a bit of time away from my husband for the last couple years. But I figure that time has prepared me for what is to come. Crazy, we NEVER saw that one coming. Charles is a good guy though and I'm glad I'm married to him. Plus, he's super cute and has a nice butt!

I think my kids think I'm an idiot. Ryan is constantly trying to pull one over on me and so far it has NEVER worked. He thinks I won't check up on him and he'll ask me how I find everything out. I can remember thinking that about my mother but the thing is, mothers ALWAYS find crap out one way or another. Charlie will try from time to time to pull one over on me but not too often. Today, Charlie comes to me at 7:07 a.m and asks if he can leave for school. I said heck no since it doesn't start until 7:45. He said some of his friends were at the door and wanted to know if he could go with them. First of all, one of the kids lives all over the place. This particular kid was telling me yesterday that his mom up and left to go to California to finish school. He's adopted and he and his younger brother are living with their 30 year old brother while mom is away. Well as of now they are staying with their grandmother because big brother is in Cali attending a concert with his girlfriend and the dad is living somewhere is Tucson. Did you get all that? It took me a while to figure it all out. So this is the kid Charlie is wanting me to allow him to go out with. Believe me, I'm not sure there is a mother out there that loves getting their kids out the door for school any more than I do. I love to drop my kids off at school and not have to worry about them all day, I ain't gonna lie about that. I firmly believe any mother that says they love having their kids around them all the time is a big, fat liar. Anyway, Charlie was just as pissed as he could be because I would not allow him to gallivant all over the neighborhood. I'd rather him be mad for a time than have a cop come to my door and tell me he's done something stupid.

Speaking of cops, when we first moved here I called the refuse department and requested a recycling can be delivered to my house. The lady told me it would be about 6 weeks before one would be delivered. Ok fine. Well it's been about 2 months now since that phone call. I called up yesterday to see what the deal was and they said their records indicate my can had been delivered on March 3. I said well that isn't possible because I have no can. She then proceeds to tell me that in order to not be charged for the can I need to call the police department and make a stolen items report. Can you believe that? So now, because I was trying to be green and help the environment, I have something else to take care of on my plate. I guess if it's not one thing, it's another. Dadgummit! But I can get another one once I make the police report!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A day in the life.....

of a crazy mother is CrAzY~ As I went about my day getting stuff done I had not peeked in on our baby chicks. Cody and Josh had been in there looking at them and Josh had even vacuumed up the mess they had created. Nobody noticed one thing out of the ordinary until I looked in there to admire the cute, little fuzzballs. Brownie, the one I was most excited about, was a goner. She was the extra one, of a different breed, the hatchery sent us. But....no more hope for her. Josh and Cody were absolutely certain she died because the other chicks were stomping all over her. Then came the idea that maybe she died because they would sneak in there and play with her without asking. I have no idea how long she had been dead when she was found. I swear these animals couldn't be anymore low maintenance. So....it was sad time and the kids wanted to do a proper burial but I just had Charlie scoop her up in a plastic bag and we softly laid her in the big, outdoor trash can. Josh and Cody were super sad about it. Cody wanted to know if Jesus possibly had a computer so we could get a hold of Him to see if He could come and perform a miracle. I told him probably not but Brownie is in Heaven happier than ever! I'm just a little confused as to how this happened. They were all doing so well and we hadn't noticed one thing out of the ordinary. I hope the garden does better.

Charles and Ryan went on an overnight camp out last night and aren't due back until later this evening. Those of us left home had a Smallville marathon last night since we were left without a car. I got up this morning to make donuts and the results were disappointing. There's another recipe in the Woods' family cookbook I am going to try and I will keep anyone interested, posted on that attempt. The ones today were NOTHING like a donut, dang it, I was excited about those too.

Cody is quite the business man and Josh is the gullible one. Cody had a necklace that he received for free. He conned Josh into purchasing it $1.50. Josh willingly handed over his cash in return for the loot. He was more than thrilled with this deal and so was Cody. I told Cody I felt like he stiffed Josh and he looks at me and says "what's stiffed mean?" The 2 of them were clueless and both were happy with the outcome. Oh well, I just hate to see folks get screwed. I've been on the receiving end of a good stiff. We all have to get screwed once though to learn our lesson!

The garden is somewhat up and going. We at least got it sectioned off and the tomato and strawberry plants are in. Now we just need to plant everything else. Hopefully Monday! I swear, one day, we're gonna live on our own compound and be completely self sufficient. We're gonna try really hard to do it and not look like freakish idiots in the process though!

Here's a conversation Cody had with his dad....

Cody~"here Dad" (handing Charles his wallet)
Charles~ " why is wet?" (as he grabbed it)
Cody~ " I dropped it in the toilet!"

I love that kid! He tries really hard to keep up with all of his brothers. He's small but he's mighty!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Here I go.....

Well folks....I have been put on a strict budget. Charles has cracked down with our finances and he gave me a certain amount to spend on groceries and other things. It's all for my own good though. When he returned home from Iraq I gladly handed over the finances to him. It was way too stressful for me since Charles always had these ideas about how things needed to be done. Anyway, I found it rather challenging to stick to this budget. In a good way! I meticulously planned our meals for the next 2 1/2 weeks and went shopping today. Now... I did have to go to 2 different stores to get the very best deal on everything. That was a little bit of a pain but at least I didn't have any children in tow :) After all was said and done, I had $20 left and felt great knowing I had conquered! Now I just need to know how these people come home with $500 worth of groceries and only spend like $7. Someone please fill me in on this. Our local newspaper has worthless coupons. Of course I don't purchase packaged products so this type of thing may not work for me. I spent more than $7 but felt like I did great feeding a family with 4 boys for less than $250 for 2 1/2 weeks! That price also included household items that weren't food related. I'm good!

Well our chicks have outgrown the brooder we were using and we had to graduate them to the coop. Think of the money I'll save when they start giving us eggs! Another way to save money....I'm going green. Do you know all the uses for baking soda? Check it out online, just google baking soda uses. I already checked it out and stocked up on that stuff today.

No matter what kind of budget I'm on now, I'm still going to Vegas in June!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday....

I'm kind of glad Easter is over. Mostly because we had to speak in church today and also because I couldn't stop eating the candy I had purchased for Easter baskets. I had to replace 2 bags cuz I couldn't stay out of it. It was a good day otherwise. Went to church, had a big, delicious meal and then let the kids dye eggs and had an egg hunt. Instead of filling the eggs with candy I had some spare change to put in them. The little kids got a head start since I knew the older kids would be acting crazy out there trying to scoop up all the ones with the money. Cody was pretty irritated when he came back with only 50 cents. Believe me, it wasn't big money. There was no more than 25 cents in each egg. There was one egg, though, that I had put a dollar in and that was the grand prize egg. Josh found that one. We were thinking there was another egg out there that hadn't been claimed and Cody was determined to find it. He searched and searched and came up empty handed. After the whining and moaning we had to hear I won't be doing money again.

Charles woke me up at 7 a.m. He got up to prepare for his talk and rustled in the bed until I was wide awake. So I decided to get on up and put the finishing touches on mine as well. We still had some time to snuggle in for a short nap. I already had the covers up to my neck ready to nestle back in when the phone rang. It was the 2nd counselor in the bishopric asking if he could stop by our house at 10:20. I said sure, knowing he was going to extend a call to one of us. So, needless to say, we didn't get to snuggle back in. I had to get up and get ready. It was actually nice since we weren't running around last minute getting everything ready. The visit resulted in me being asked to be the Primary 2nd counselor....again. I've had this calling before and I actually prefer being in Primary. I just don't like teaching or speaking in front of adults. I guess you do get used to it if you have to do it often. I just prefer kids. They don't judge you and they never know when you screw up.

Oh yeah, I do have more good news....I found someone that knows how to cut my hair decent! I'm thrilled! And it only cost $16.95.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The day's events

Today started very early for us. We received a call at 5:30 a.m. that awakened us from a stone cold dead sleep. Charles fumbled around until he found my cell phone and the caller had already hung up. We had no idea who it was since the call came in as "withheld". Anyway... they called again around 6:50 a.m. and it was the post office telling us our baby chicks had arrived! We hurried to get things done and Charles left to go and pick them up. They literally arrived in a chirping box. They are so cute, but... like everything else they grow up! So that was the start of the day.

Our newest responsibility!

video
First look at the new chicks.

Then I had to rush and get ready since I forgot to get something for Ryan's class to celebrate his birthday. Mother of the year! I knew his birthday was today but in all the commotion I had just forgotten to remember it this morning. I felt horrible. So I scurried to get donuts from Safeway once I dropped everyone off where they needed to be. He was surprised when I showed up with them and everyone was happy. I then stopped by Cody's class to check out the sea world party that was going on but didn't stay too long since I had plenty of other things I would have rather been doing. I love to know what goes on in their day but you just can't be at everything. Or really want to be at everything for that matter :) I do love 'em though!

Then the best thing of all took place. I saved the best for last! I made Ryan's birthday cake. He told me about 3 weeks ago that he wanted a chocolate, peanut butter cake!( My older kids are big on flavor. They don't care for the character crap anymore.) When we celebrate birthdays around here, health is not in our vocabulary. A birthday is a time to eat whatever the heck we want and we take advantage of the opportunity. My kids love it too! Anyway...back to the point. I cannot explain to you the deliciousness of this cake. Moist, peanut buttery goodness. You must make this cake the next time you celebrate something. Easter is Sunday! Goodness gracious folks! I can think of only one thing that pleases me more :| DELIGHTFUL! The recipe and pictures are at the bottom. Please make it. You'll be glad you did. Now you must know mine came out a little lopsided but like I said before, we're big on flavor, not looks! I will tell you how to make yours not lopsided. Anyway, this was my life today in a nutshell. I do love it. Happy Birthday Ryan. I'm glad you were given to me, buddy!

Ok, this recipe is not mine. I wish badly that I could take the credit. Now you must know the person that posted this made the recipe unnecessarily long and drawn out. I would have given you the quick and easy Ashley version but I didn't want to type it all out. I am all about quick and easy! I would recommend not lining the cake pans with wax paper. This is how mine came out to be lopsided. I followed the directions to a T. You may want to make just a little more PB frosting because I didn't have enough to cover all the dark pieces of the cake. Does that make sense? There was enough to get the cake covered but you could still see dark pieces once it was completed and I was out of frosting. If seeing the dark spots doesn't bother you then don't worry about making more. Maybe I should have been a little more sparing when I was icing between the layers. Oh and I used 9 inch cake pans, not 8 inch and it worked just fine.

This is what the cake looked like immediately after completion.

This is what it looked like after the kids got home from school and crapped it up! I was PISSED!!

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16 (the book says, I say a heck of a lot more)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I skipped this)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosting, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Monday, April 6, 2009

You decide....

If there is one good thing I can say about myself, it's that I have good people skills. I can pretty much get along with anybody, as long as you aren't too big of an a-hole. I have come to learn that this is a God-given gift. Not everyone was given people skills. As a matter of fact my husband has a few in his family that have no tact whatsoever. But....lucky for him, he has married someone that has a decent personality and a wonderful ability to make people feel comfortable. Now this isn't to say that people don't bug. Believe me, there are some out there that I would appreciate better stuffed! There is a point to my story. I recently had an impression to check out the ACS office on post to see what opportunities are available. So today was the day I decided to go in and check it out. Now, mind you, I was looking into VOLUNTEER opportunities. So, I walk in and ask the old fart standing behind the counter what was available. He handed me the paperwork and asked me what I can do. I told him I can do anything and that I was willing to learn new things. He tells me that "anything" was too broad for him. He was turning into one of those that bug me. I walked off to fill out the paperwork and he walks over to me and disturbs me once again. He asks me what I was interested in and what I wanted to do. I told him I wasn't really sure. He didn't like this answer and flew his arms up in the air and was just an all out asshole. I couldn't believe the way he was treating me. I told him he needed to calm down. I also said I was coming in to find out what was available. I mean my dream job would be the taste tester for Ben & Jerry or working for the travel channel but I knew those jobs wouldn't be available there. I told him I for sure didn't want to be shoveling horse crap but I can do most other things. Once I let him know he wasn't going to able to treat me like that he toned his butthole-ness down a notch. He said he was frustrated since I wasn't giving him the answers he needed to find out what I could do. I told him I was the mother of 4 boys and I can pretty much do anything that needed to be done.

Here's what I have a hard time understanding.....most people say that motherhood is the noblest of jobs but when all you have on a resume is "mother" people treat you like crap. The rest of the world doesn't see all that motherhood entails. I mean I have lots of skills. Just because I haven't gotten paid for my skills doesn't mean I don't possess them. After I talked to Sam, the jerk, he went and got the volunteer coordinator and she more than made up for Sam's lack of tact. She was very friendly and asked if I could work in the office and do things right there for the ACS office. I told her I could and she asked if I could start tomorrow. Sometimes moms just need a little validation. To all the Sam's out there, well....they can kiss it where the sun doesn't shine. I have come to a point in my life where my kids don't need me as often as they used to. They're in school all day and I have free time. I still want to be home in the afternoons so they can irritate me to death so a job is pretty much out of the question. Seriously, who's going to hire someone that won't work before 8:30 of after 3 and wants all weekends and holidays off? I just don't have a ton of options that fit my life. I guess I could be a teacher but to tell you the truth, my own kids bug me, why would I want to be around other people's kids all day? So for now I do what fulfills me and I can go from there. I need to figure out what my interests are. I don't want to start something that I'm not sure I'll like. I need to figure some things out. I'll get there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's a good thing I don't have a job....

otherwise Cody may have been slung all over the bus today! The bus driver for the field trip was a maniac. She was all over the road and jerking and slinging us all over the place. My morning didn't start out so great. First, I had to get up too early. Second, it was 66 degrees in my house and I was all excited about stepping into a hot shower. I go to turn the water on to get it all warmed up when I realized it wasn't warming up and there wasn't a drop of hot water, thanks to Charlie. I had 45 minutes to get ready for the field trip so there was no time to wait for the water to heat up. I had to get a jezabel bath in 5 minutes so I wouldn't freeze to death. Completely frustrating. The zoo was pretty nice and we were able to do our own thing. We didn't have to stay with all the other people. I was in charge of Cody and another kid and we breezed through the zoo quickly. They gobbled up their lunch, played on the playground for a bit and it was back home in no time.

For my birthday, I ate half a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread! Thanks, Trisha. Charles and the boys made me a table top water fountain! I love it! Also got some cute sandals and dinner out! It was good. Thanks to all who sent birthday wishes. I had a good day. Another year older and wiser and as Charles always says....I don't mind getting older cuz I get better looking everyday! I love him. It's late so I'll get Charles to post pics of his creation tomorrow. Stay tuned....