Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oven Fries


One large potato per person served, washed thoroughly
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder or 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
(Variation: 1 T cumin, 1 T chili powder -can be made without)

Preheat oven to 450. Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges; toss in bowl with olive oil and other ingredients. Arrange in single layer on one to two baking sheets depending on the number of potatoes. Bake until tender and golden, turning potatoes and rotating sheets halfway through baking, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

We vary this depending on what is being served. Here is another twist - also yum.

4 tablesppons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
4 cloves garlic pressed
2 teaspoons rosemary, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
12 red potatoes quartered.

Same basic process but 400 degrees.

These and other favorite recipes come from "The Frantic Family Cookbook" by Leann Ely. She works with the FlyLady and all her recipes are very healthy or rather healthier than most and they taste good and.......are basically easy to make. Enjoy - two people so far have requested instructions.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Today is dig potatoes day. I really should go take a picture of the swarms of kids searching for potatoes after Erik finishes digging them. They are like vultures waiting for the meal. The potatoes are nice and big and there appears to be a lot of them. I hope both families love potatoes. We personally love oven fries - chopped with funky Pampered Chef blade that makes the fries look curvy and it is easy to chop with - covered with oil and cumin, chili powder, and garlic. Yum, yum. The kids and husband gobble these up. Of course there are always mashed potatoes.

Our children love to survey what is for dinner and figure out how much of dinner we raised or grew ourselves. There is something satisfying in not depending on the super market. My garden pal and I are figuring out what we need to grow more of and what we shouldn't bother with. Overall we got A LOT of produce and we are not quite done yet either. There are still peppers to preserve, sweet potatoes to dig and we just planted lettuce and spinach. We shall see if that works out. We need to make a sort of green house out of that area. The hubby has collected many a window from other people's cast offs so it shouldn't be much of a problem.

Ingrid has woken up - four and a half weeks of sleeping and she seems to have longer alert times. That is of course fun to see her STARING at me and I do think she smiles and is not just having digestive issues. It is a cute little grin. She is not extremely happy this morning so hopefully there is not crankiness to accompany the wakefulness. We are very experienced with crankiness though so I won't be something new.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I need to walk

My doc is always reminding me of my need to exercise not for the sake of physical fitness but for my mental well being. Exercise certainly does help me cope with the screamy meanies much better than just trying hard not to get aggravated. Sweet little Ingrid does not see it this way but I must find a regular outlet for crazy me soon. Perhaps we can fit in some lawn mowing this morning before we head off for math etc.

I had a nice meeting with the other co-op mom's. As usual I feel my view is a little odd but we will work with one another to reach a happy medium. It is interesting to see how each mom's experience in growing up effects their view of homeschooling. Basically I do not want or need stress mania going on with my family as we create enough stress just by existing. It is the 'something has to give' sort of feeling and there is not much left 'to give' to make life easier problem. How can mom keep her sanity with all the obligations that go with 8 kids. I am sure that is where the 'if momma isn't happy aint nobody happy' phrase comes from. No wonder moms love the tv monster which creates basic quiet in kids when the noise machine needs to be turned off. Me, I just push them out the back door and make them go play outside. Maybe I close the windows so I don't hear the noise so much. Such a loving mom I am. I suppose it is more loving to put them outside then to go nuts with them inside with cranky mom.

I am not so cranky today but better get everyone on the same page so we don't panic when it is time to leave........

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What didn't happen -phew

So I was at an intersection near the hospital and the sun was in my eyes and......I almost hit a bunch of pedestrians. Ack! Yikes! Thanks be to God it didn't happen. The annoying thing was that THEY could see I was turning but I couldn't see them as a glare blinded me and I am thankful for good brakes (they actually need some help but they still worked). These pedestrians were appalled at me but in restrospect the situation annoys me in that they just boldly walked out in my path. Do people who just boldly walk into traffic ever think of the effect it will have on the family of the drivers who hit them since the driver will now be in jail or is it just more reasonable to keep boldly walking into the line of traffic? I DID NOT SEE THEM till it was almost too late. Sigh. I SO did not need the added stress. They of course swore at me when I rolled down the window and apologized and told them I didn't see them because of the glare. Now I am skittish and a little scatter brained. Oh well. I consider the editorial route but people would just rip me a new one since I am the driver and they were pedestrians. WHen I have my children at an intersection I make sure the road is completely clear and unquestionably safe before I cross a road but I guess when adults cross the road they hold a different view.

Daring to publish........

Monday, September 22, 2008

church wrestling

So I have decided I need a hiatus from Monday evening church. Wrestling with one year olds, 5 year olds who know better and then there is the newborn, spells.....stay home. I wanted to go on Monday evenings to hear my daughter play as this is her last year home but I suppose I need to just give it up. I want to go because I love to go as well. Staying home is not easily done with those two things in mind but I don't see what other options there are. I am pretty much exhausted and ready for everyone to go to bed anyway on Monday nights. I do appreciate my two oldest getting rides to and from church so they can still go so at least I do not need to drag out for that. Maybe we can try again after a few months. This reminds me of Advent services and so I sit and wonder if I will even be able to go then. Hmmmmm......that is a few months from now so perhaps we can make some progress then or have Matthew skip Scouts for a few weeks so Charley can help. I won't think about that right now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh beloved tomato and books

So sings my 7 yo dd while squishing tomatoes in the kitchen. The song can sort of get on your nerves eventually as it is the same words over and over again but, we will have LOTS of tomato sauce this winter. Don't complain about annoying songs while the assembly line is in action.

I mowed a little lawn this afternoon which helped lift my spirits some. I did behave myself so the experience did not last long but it was fun just the same.

Dh acquired a newer to him truck and he is off to the church to work on the sacristy steps. Do be careful pastors if you don't notice it. Perhaps I will give one of them a call who may not read this or talk to me between now and tomorrow morning. Hopefully the repaired steps will improve the appearance of the church some from the outside.

I am reading, reading, reading for my Literary Analysis classes. 'War of the Worlds' is the current read. It is ok. I think I get the gist of the story with basically everyone fleeing the martians. It would be nice if they would do something other than flee and die but I am only on page 90 so we shall see. 'Our Town' was pretty good. I haven't read that in 25 years or so. I vaguely remember a few of the scenes. 'Rilla of Ingleside' was interesting and I didn't remember that it basically chronicles all of WWI from the Canadian perspective. It was a quick read as the characters interacted and did not run away from martians at all ;o) I think I like realistic tales better than the Sci Fi thing. Next will be 'Animal Farm'. Who knew I would be reading so much. I think my brain is waking up from a long dream.......perhaps I have been beamed from distant planet of dishes and diapers for years and am now waking up to......dishes and diapers. It was a nice planet, better than Mars I am sure.

My magically exploding baby needs some attention.......

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Doing the next thing

It is hard to decide what IS the next thing. I am pretty much tied to Miss Ingrid, between changing her diapers, cleaning up urp, and constant eating (Ingrid). We sort of feel like no one can ever leave the house to go do anything fun as there is too much to do here but.....we let them do it anyway. Matthew was gone one evening and I guess I hadn't realized how much I depended on his willingness and ability to help make dinner. We were floundering quite a bit last night.

Anna will be gone tomorrow, although I tend not to depend on her as I need to adjust to the next year before it happens. Charley will be gone some of tomorrow so we will struggle to get a load of laundry done and put away, vacuum floors, clean the kitchen and maybe make a meal for the next perona (the fish, can't spell.....) time. If we were to eat like kings we would be cooking and cleaning all the time. That is not possible with school going full force and effectively so perhaps that is how we stay thin. No time for frivolity in eating. Everyone loves my rolls but I can't seem to get to them right now.

Part of the reason I can't make rolls is the mere finding of the ingredients. We never do anything the easy way so if I run out of wheat berries that are accessible, I need to find someone available to go hunt for a bucket or 50 pound bag of berries. I find this sort of tedious when I have to chose what to do next so I might chose not to make rolls.

If Ingrid is sleeping I make a mad dash to the washing machine, or the kitchen or the mop to clean up something. The kids cannot possibly keep up with work around here and do homework. If the place is cluttered than this is the reason. Ten people in one house (yes, Ingrid counts in this department) make an incredible amount of work. I think everyone is a plopper in this house. "I am reading this book so I guess I will plop it here" or "gosh dinner was good, I guess I will plop my dishes on the counter and not check the dishwasher to see if it is available for customers". So.......I am hoping to make chore charts for both the Co-op crowd and for my crowd over the weekend. Sigh.

It would also help if we got up earlier in the day. I NEED to sleep so I do and then they do too as mom is not up......why not sleep? Ugh.

I am not really venting but describing reality around here. Perhaps if the parents loved organization more than we would have that model family, which lives down the road from us, and my kids would be buzzing around the house smiling and cleaning without being told. Ah how sweet.

Ingrid is sleeping.......

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Her cuteness

Ingrid is developing lovely habits of napping. She has been napping for several hours actually and then I of course am tempted to conquer and divide on the home front and chase dirt and grime. I have managed to stick to the laundry and the disgusting floors and kitchen counter tops so far. Now my body is screaming for a nap and she will most likely be waking up soon. Perhaps she will nap like Anna used to years ago. We barely knew she was around as a baby so maybe it would be nice if Ingrid was awake long enough to enjoy.

The soggy yard seems to be drying up a little. To the north of us in Michigan I read that a dam is breaking so that is not so cheerful news. I believe we got eight inches of rain on Saturday alone. I am not sure what the whole total was. So much for the drought. It rained a lot last spring too with a dry month or two this summer.

The kids are having piano lessons with Anna at the moment and I am pleased that she is dealing with them patiently. It is sort of comical to listen to. We shall see how they progress but Anna certainly has a knack for explaining things. I will have to issue her pay check soon to reinforce this behavior. Maybe I should pay her with shoes...........I think she might like that. But of course she could take the money and shop around herself.

It is otherwise a study day for the kids. They all seem to be working hard and sorting their work load out for the most part. I need to get some planning done myself. On that note.....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Apples, Pears and tomatoes

Corn season is officially over. Sniff. It was a glorious month of corn eating and I will look forward to next year's crop. There is corn in the freezer but it is just not quite the same. It will have to do.

Tomatoes are very successful and everywhere in the garden. The three oldest boys went out and picked in the rain as it was a sauce day and we had no clue if it would ever stop. There is about 20 more quarts of sauce waiting to be canned now. Thank you Martin and Cecilia for being cranks with the Vitorio thingy in the kitchen. Thank you also that there was not too much cranking going on. and not getting used. We tried pear sauce and it was way too watery so will now see if someone can make a little pear jam. Otherwise people need to come get some pears or bug me to remind me to bring some to church. Co-op members feel free to take them!

The boys biked to the apple orchard when it wasn't raining for a bushel of apples. They took the Burley and gleefully brought home the first batch of the season. Yum, yum. They will probably make this a weekend journey and apple sauce time will begin soon. A bushel a week will give us plenty of sauce for the oatmeal/sauce eaters.

Ingrid is happy I have been sick as she has just been living with me and not being passed off on too many people so mom can cook etc. I did manage to clean a bathroom better than usual as it does see many visitors during the week. I will be hunting paper product sales in the future.......
I have enjoyed my time with Ingrid and she is starting to put on a little more weight as can be seen in changing features. She is basically a fish and doesn't know when to quit. When you nurse you will........ and .....The phrase "I am a baby, I nurse, that's what I do" kept running through my head today.

I do need to figure out how to get Stefan to stop using bottles as he is stubbornly addicted. I got him some whamocazamo cups which he has rejected. I am open to tips on this issue as it is a new one for me. He is hanging on to his baby life as long as he can.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Definitely muddling

I don't have time to be sick. I think things are a little better and Ingrid has not been too bad off so that is good but being a zombie and trying to mother 8 kids is a trick. Some kids do take a little advantage of the resident zombie and some are struggling with this stupid cold themselves.

We are managing to work on homework and I am trying to read required books that they will be reading. "The Red Pony" was a little odd and it didn't seem to have an end. I need to find another copy and see if that is the way it is supposed to be. "Babbit" so far is odd as well. It seems like it could have been written today but was written in 1920. So much for the good old days. I am only about 20 pages in so it will be interesting to see how all of that turns out.

Anna was accepted to IU yesterday and did receive a scholarship that will certainly help. It isn't a full scholarship but definitely significant enough to get the parents excited. Perhaps it is tacky of me to mention this but I am just a proud mama.

Back to muddling.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rats, she got it

I was hoping little Ingrid would not get this cold that is running around our house but she started in the middle of the night with a runny nose. A two week old does not have much to run in the nose department. I am praying it does not turn into croup. Cecilia had that when she was an infant and it was 24 hour intense work times 10 to help her. Of course I would cheerfully help her but I also remember that little miserable face feeling miserable. Sigh.

I am feeling somewhat better. I can always tell if it is a cold that needs a very good nights sleep which cannot be guaranteed with a newborn but overall I got a lot of sleep and things seem better.

School went well yesterday and I am slowly getting things more organized. I need a new print cartridge to get the stuff I need off of the computer. Literary Analysis will definitely be my favorite subject to teach this year. I am getting the opportunity to reread books and read books that are new to me. I think everyone who read "My Antonia" was surprised at how much there is to discuss. That was a great read despite the Barnes and Noble version's need to have an introduction speculating on the author's orientation. I am tired of every artist, author, musician being put through such speculating. The book was a great book without reading into it motives that perhaps were not there. We did not discuss these questions.......

Today is math day and spelling for one kid. We also need to yank some more tomatoes out of the garden. Sleep should be put in the schedule as well.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How to best serve my family

With kids from age 17 to two weeks, I have been thinking a lot of how I can best serve them all. I suppose someone could callously tell me that I chose to have them all but that really is not what I am thinking about. I don't give a hoot about that view. I am thinking sincerely how best I can serve all of them. Who gets my full attention or at least most of it and when. Ingrid's doctor perhaps did not mean to imply that I would need to supplement the feeding of Ingrid as she is at the moment doing great with lots of wet and messy diapers, but I did sort of feel his statement of "You are not supplementing right now" leaned towards meaning I would some time soon. For some moms nursing is a cinch and they don't have to monitor their resting and drinking times so closely. After our experience with Stefan, I know that I have to.

How do I rest and remember to drink enough when there is laundry to do, meals to prepare, kids to help with their schoolwork and a toddler who has given up naps and has a regular loony time in the late afternoon. When I help the older kids with schoolwork, the younger ones look at me with their not always smiling faces (Benjamin is almost always smiling) and without words plead for attention. So I have to plan some way to include them in this school time. When do I do that?

This sounds pretty whiny but these are real questions that I am wrestling with. I have to accept my limitations and reevaluate much of my life as it has been for years. There is an impossible amount of things that demand my attention, but frankly sometimes I would just like to relax and spend time with friends or veg out in front of good movie rather than chase after all the household demands. I am trying to schedule the smaller children in but the tomatoes do still glare at me from the garden.

Ramble, ramble, ramble. Beautiful Ingrid is happy with life as it is right now and I want her to have what the older kids had as babies. Stefan just had too many issues to have the full benefit of a successful nursing relationship and I am OK with that, but at my age and knowing this little one could very well be our last, I would like to enjoy her babyhood no matter how inconvenient that is to house beautiful etc. Sigh.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Of course life has been interesting since Ingrid was born. It is the height of canning season and the veges haunt us from their baskets as we try to get something done with them. I am happy with what has been done and I am trying to keep the process moving. I am the conductor from a chair and I also try not to burden any particular child more than another with this lovely task. Two neighbors have given us pears and apples. They will most likely become pear sauce and apple sauce. There is no more room in the freezers for corn which is pretty amazing considering I think there are FIVE freezers around here. One has three hogs in it and the another is FULL of chicken and corn. It is a good thing we have a generator just in case........

The tomatoes are all turning so my garden partner and I have never ending kitchen activity going on right now. I would like more salsa but my salsa maker, Matthew, is at a Scout weekend. He is the best, most compliant helper in the kitchen, even if he doesn't always pay attention to EVERY instruction. Hopefully he holds onto to cheerfully receiving instruction and doing it when he becomes a married person. As long as he can read while waiting for the canner to do it's thing, he is happy.

Recovering from Ingrid has been interesting as well. I think I just forget the process. Things seem to be steadily getting better though and I continue to try to behave. That has been pretty easy with the older kids assistance. Even Benjamin has been helpful with the making of sauce. He loves to turn the crank.

I need to go disturb Ingrid so she is awake a little today. Sleepy baby........

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thankful for help

I am very grateful for the help in meals that have come our way. Having a baby in August has been great in many ways but the garden does not disappear nor getting ready for school so the relief of not having to cook dinner as much has been a huge help. I need to write out some thank you notes and my kids have notes to write as well so perhaps we can have writing afternoon or something soon. Patience my friends.

Ingrid got a cute suit today. Very cute M! Thank you. I can't believe she will ever be that big as she is quite the peanut now. The way she loves to eat I guess should help me to believe she will grow. Anna and I got her a few cute little suits for now as it seems she and her sister didn't wear anything at this size. We have plenty for this short time so NO LITTLE GIFTS please. There are plenty of cute suits/dresses for the future. It is true that girl clothes are much more fun to shop for. The boys are not any less cute for being boys though, just no ruffles or little bows on their stuff.

We froze 47 five cup bags of corn the last few days. The kids do all of this which is nice and tomorrow they are excited to start squishing tomatoes. We probably need to work on more whole tomatoes as well......and salsa........Matthew is very good at making salsa and Anna is the whole tomato woman and the little kids squish the tomatoes for sauce as that is fun for them.