Helpful Documents

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The science of baking

A few weeks ago, two of my greatest loves came together in a most glorious way.  That's right, baking and science.  Alright, I have a lot of greatest loves, I'll admit, but these are high on the list.

A good family friend graduated from Georgia Tech and I HAD to make this as his gift:

That's right, a periodic table made of cupcakes.

I can't begin to tell you how many hours of work went into this, but it was truly a labor of love.  

I began on Wednesday by baking 12 dozen cupcakes.  Half chocolate, half yellow cake.  They were stored in ziploc baggies in the freezer until Friday.  I had another friend come over to help, because I knew there was no way I could ice and decorate all those cupcakes with the 4 kiddos running around.

I worked her like a slave until lunch, when she had to get her own to little one's home for naps, and then once I got done sticking on about a million fondant circles, I got down to the nitty gritty...piping on all those darn symbols and numbers!

Confession time...I did not do this from memory.  I know, I know, you would think I could just recall all 118 on a whim, but I can't.  I blame all the pregnancies.  I'm sure if it were not for the many times my body was forced to reroute blood from my brain to my growing fetus, I could.  But I had to use a cheat know, just to make sure they were all in the right place.  

Once at the party, it was a thing of beauty.  All those cupcakes, all that fondant, all those noble gasses...

It is my greatest cake creation.

So far.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A quick cleaning tutorial : Dog Vomit

If you're like me, you've been in that situation of hearing a dog start to hork something up, only to be too slow in getting them out into the back yard.

If you're not like me you are VERY LUCKY!!!

Today I had the great pleasure of being on the phone when the boy dog decided to start working something up in the kitchen.  And of course, I was too late.

So I wanted to take a quick minute to share how I've learned to clean up dog vomit without vomiting myself.

First, get a huge stack of paper towels.  At least 5-6 thick.  The bigger the mess, the more towels.  20 layers is not out of the question.  Don't worry...trees and being environmentally friendly are nothing when liquids that come out of pets are part of the equation.

I took a couple pictures with my phone to illustrate.  Don't worry, I didn't take a picture of "it."

Then, take a plastic grocery bag and lay the wad of paper towels inside.

Now, hand this and a bottle of spray cleaner to your husband and say "have're the one who wanted dogs..."

OK, yeah...our dogs only barf when my husband is at work, too.

So take the vomit removal tool you just built and flip it over on the nasty spot.  Pinch it up and wipe around a little to remove the offending puddle.  Tie it up and pretend that it's not stomach contents you're carrying around.

Now, spray with some cleaner, wipe, and wash your hands with bleach.



Friday, February 10, 2012

HEADing for trouble

It was a normal Saturday.  Much like the last few weeks, the girls and I were trying to stay out of the way of one of the many tradesmen who were currently setting up residence...I mean...beautifying our home.

I had managed to get some soup on the stove, half of which was to be delivered to a friend who had just gotten out of the hospital, and decided to let the girls play in the backyard for a bit while one of the painters was working in the living room.

Everyone was running around, kicking soccer balls and giggling, so I decided to look up my friends' number and give her a call to set up a time to drop by with dinner.  I pulled my phone out and Jamison ran by almost tripping over the edge of the porch.  I could see her running up toward the screen door that the big girls had ripped off.  It was currently leaning against the stationary side of the sliding glass door.

Then, it was like everything slowed down.  I spun around and in 1/10th time, tried to run toward her.  Picture the know, the scene where Neo is bending backward avoiding bullets.  Only I was spinning, reaching, knowing she would go right through.  She put her hands out in front of her as though she was going to use them to bounce back from the screen.  And after thinking back, I think she did actually bounce...well, at least I think her head bounced.

She fell forward, through the screen, and her arms just were not strong enough to hold her.  And if you haven't guessed by now, I didn't make it in time to save her.  I made it in time to jerk her up and see the blood pouring from her head.  She screamed out and began to cry.

And then...well, I can only describe this in the same way I remember it...try to keep up.

Big girls saw blood...screams from all of them began

I carried Jamison inside, blood dripping, big girls still screaming, me gently hushing, smiling, trying to remain calm and calm others.  

The painter walked into the kitchen, someone yelled "she fell!"

The painter turned white.  I think he might have sworn quietly in Hungarian, then said "Oh, my _ _ _.  Can I do anything?"

I am trying unsuccessfully to call Jason to come home so I can get her to the ER, a writhing baby and slippery hands prevented it.  I place the phone on the counter, trying to hold a bloody wet paper towel to Jamison's head, while telling the painter..."It's OK, probably just one stitch and we are fine..." Dialing, waiting, "Hello?" he says.  I respond with something like, "Jayma fell, busted her head, come home."  "OK, be right there."

I was now spreading blood further in the kitchen, it was all over the floor, my arm, Jamison...I'm blotting, searching the freezer for an ice pack...nothing!  Realizing the ice packs were in the freezer in the garage.  Mental note...bad place for them...

Dripping blood into garage.  Girls still screaming, asking if she will live...more fake smiling, gentle hushing becomes a bit louder.  Jamison still crying and every time I try to blot the blood off her face, she gets more upset and the blood flows freely again.  "Why don't you girls help clean the blood off the floor?"

Freezer contents are hitting the floor with the blood.  ICE PACK!  Hallelujah!!  Awestruck painter.  Screaming daughters.  "She will be fine!" More fake smiling.

I get back in the kitchen, grab a kitchen towel and actually think, "I don't want this ruined with blood!" So I grab another handful of paper towels.  

I'm now wrestling a 19 month old baby...determined not to be touched by ice.  Jason walks in.  How long was that?  2 minutes?  How fast did he drive?

I tossed the useless icepack to the side, grabbed...everything I could get my hands on to take with me to the ER.  Wiping the blood in the car...we're off.  

Phone calls to interested parties, explaining there would be no dinner delivered, being asked by 10 people the same two questions:
"How did it happen?"

"Did she lose consciousness?"

I really do not remember much from that evening.  I was tired.  I was really tired.

And I remember thinking...

No matter how hard I try, I cannot protect my children from everything.

But I will still try.  I'm Mom.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Honoring My Husband

Sounds so offensive, doesn't it?

How dare I even think about doing something so archaic, so, so...Biblical?  Good job, Lisa.  You and women like you are setting back the Women's Movement buy centuries there...

Honestly...if that's what you think...GIVE ME A BREAK.

Sure, some women are doormats.  Sure, some men are oppressive beasts.  But let me tell you something, when I say I want to honor my husband, I mean it.  And when I'm doing it...when I'm truly loving him according to God's plan (which, OK, isn't as often as it should be), things are awesome.  I feel awesome.  And it doesn't matter if I'm not getting my way, or if life is playing out just like I planned.  Everything is still awesome.

It's a funny sort of thing, how I came to write this blog entry.  I was doing Bible study with my girls one morning a couple weeks ago.  We do one verse from Proverbs a day.  We were on Proverbs 16:8.

Better is a little with righteousness
than great revenues with injustice. 

How on Earth did I get from that to honoring my husband you ask?  Well, let's take a little journey into my thought processes for a moment, shall we?  (Don't be scared...we aren't going in that won't be permanently damaged...)

After Jonah reads the daily verse, we discuss it's meaning.  So I began by asking them, "would you rather have a little house with not many toys, or would you rather steal a bunch of money and have a really big, nice house with a whole bunch of stuff?"  Being well trained little robots, they told me what I wanted to hear.  *sigh* I mean, they pondered the question and gave a truly thoughtful answer of "the little house."

So we went on to talk about how hard we should work and focus on how we can serve the Lord, not on what we can get.  And we should find joy in the blessings we are given, not look at what we don't have.

After our discussion, the middles are to draw a picture of how they can apply the day's verse, while Jonah and I write a prayer in our journals.  This is how it usually plays out:

Me: Ok, Jorja, what are you going to draw?
Jorja: Well...I think I'm going to draw myself in a really pretty dress, and I'm a princess and....
Me: How does that apply to the verse, Jorja?
Jorja: I'm going to write the word "GOD" right here.
Me: How about you just draw a picture of yourself doing your chores and not complaining?
Jorja: Ok, but I'm going to be wearing a pretty dress...
Me: Josie, can you draw a picture of yourself doing chores?
Josie: I'm already drawing a mermaid.
Me: A mermaid has nothing to do with the verse.
Josie: (sighs loudly) Fine.  I'll draw myself as a mermaid doing my chores.
Me: (sighing loudly) How about if you draw Daddy working hard for our family.  He always works hard so we can have everything we do.  
And then we have "silent time."  Silent time is the time where I try to write my prayer while shushing the girls 900 times and I'm usually lucky if I get to focus at all.

But this morning...I started thinking.  "He always works hard so we can have everything we do."  And enter conviction.  I suddenly realized just how little I honored my husband when I complained that the wood trim was ugly.  Just how little I appreciate the long hours when I get angry that our carpet is worn out and how I moan that our countertops are not granite.  Or that the blinds are broken, or that the master bath still has not been caulked.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying I don't contribute.  I do.  I try and stretch our dollars and I try to stay in budget and make our home comfortable and nice.  But I don't deal with unrealistic expectations from clients (of course, after being married to me, he should be an expert in that field).  I don't try to manage employees (sure, I manage children...but let's face it, he can't put an employee in time out!)  And I certainly don't have to leave my family before most are awake in the morning and sometimes not come home until my babies are asleep.

The weight of what I do have became very great.  As did the weight of the sacrifice of my husband for us.

So this was the short prayer I wrote after I had my little 'aha' moment.

Thank you for our incredible blessings.  Thank you for my husband who works so hard for us.  Please help me to honor him by being joyful and content with the blessings you have given our family through him.  Help me to instill this trait in my daughters, so that one day they may honor their husbands in that way.
I have a long way to go to really live this out.  And yes, since this prayer was written, we have been very blessed to start doing some repairs and upgrades in our home, but I have not forgotten how much of an impact that morning had on me.