29 July 2010
This evening she threw another tantrum at the mere suggestion of getting ready for bed. She is screaming her head off, probably naked, in her room. Little stinker. She is testing bed time rules for the 58th time in three years. I will WIN, I am the MOM, little Amelia.
Natalie and I enjoyed a couple hours visiting Camy. All our kids played marvelously together for over an hour. I love that Amelia is starting to leave the solitary play stage. Miekka's Dad called me while we were on the way to Camy's home. Her parents were shopping at MY Walmart in Sidney! The odds are astronomical. They are on the drive home after visiting their son in Wisconsin. Then my mission comp, Shannon, called about a sale her mom's business is having. Her mother owns One Small Child and sells christening outfits. The warehouse in Idaho is having a liquidation sale of 90% off regular prices. I invested in some gowns, bonnets, bibs, and such for my studio. The total bill without sale price was astounding! I saved a boat load. Thanks so much to Shannon for announcing the sale on Facebook! I can't wait to pick up the items and visit. Shannon and her little family lived in Jordan with my family for a couple years.
The Elder's are back in Sidney. We had them over for dinner this evening. I am trying to organize my shopping list better so made a menu for the week. On Sunday I was craving Calzones and still craved them this evening! Using a recipe from the Best Recipe Book...ever, I made ricotta calzones. I baked them on the grill outside on a pizza stone. The grill had quite a few hot spots, burning parts of the calzones. Still, the meal was soooooo tasty. The filling was simply: 16 oz ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/4 cup asiago, 1 egg yolk, salt, pepper, 1 tbs fresh oregano, and a oil infusion of garlic and red pepper.
Posted by Jenni Call at 10:06 PM
28 July 2010
2. Car bumps: took my car to get an alignment, turns out the passenger side "boot" is leaking fluids and such, need a new front axle. A whopping $345 to fix it. Justin backed out of the driveway this morning, a few seconds later our across the street neighbor backed out and into his car. The passenger side door and front panel are dented. The insurance company will most likely total it, do you really need the door, hun? Getting a new car is very tempting. The allure of no car payment has a stronger appeal to me.
3. County Fair bumps: drove the bumpy dirt road to visit the animals this morning. We took along a picnic lunch and enjoyed some time with Justin at the fairgrounds. Amelia was a little shy of the animals except for the bunnies. She is convinced that I am buying her a pee-pee bunny. Don't ask. It was hot outside but the sheds were well ventilated. My favorite animals were the crazy looking chickens and a goat that looked like a cute doggy. The pig, horse, and textile sheds were closed so we were in and out. Alison and 6 kids drove up as we packed up. We unpacked and went again. Amelia was much more adventurous with Ella and Dani showing her how to interact with animals. She cannot wait for this evening to ride the Ferris Wheel. Her pose above is her showing me the Ferris Wheel Vanna style.
4. Horse bumps: I got up at 5:30 am to ride horses with Maleia and Alison on Tuesday. The best was trotting and getting a feel for Red Man's gait. It was wonderful to enjoy the fresh dewy air, watch the dogs frolic, feel the horse moving along, talking, and learning. Thanks girls for letting me pretend for an hour!
This is not a bump, but Amelia is enjoying doing "homework" with me everyday. I found some pre-K workbooks we are working through together. She loves to make "A" for Amelia the best of all. After a couple days she can almost draw an "A" by herself. She can identify about 80% of the alphabet and 50% of her numbers. I am excited to work with her at an educational level.
Posted by Jenni Call at 3:39 PM
Phillip's words include: peek-a-boo, oh boy, uh-oh, bye, ruff-ruff, grrrrr, hi, all done, and ah-ia (amelia) plus the normal vowel sounds like ma-ma and da-da. He eats regular table food cut into finger sized bits. I only occasionally puree his food when we have a meal with ingredients difficult to separate. My floors are swept about twice a day now or else he will vacuum for me. Just last week he started trying to dance to rhythms. What a hilarious sight! He loves music like Amelia. My guess is he weighs about 18 lbs right now. Not too chubby but not too skinny, just right! He makes me want to have about 10 more babies. Such a delight. I love when Amelia and Phillip make each other laugh. It is about the closest to heaven on earth I get.
Posted by Jenni Call at 3:13 PM
25 July 2010
I was really intrigued by the method Greg uses to train his horses. He uses the Vaquero method. A hackamore is used at first instead of a mouth bit. As the hackamore circumference decreases the bit is introduced. The bit and bridle become more of suggestion and steering wheel and the rider's feet are the gas pedals. It seems to be a humane way to train horses.
Greg wowed us all with a tremendous lasagna, stuffed zucchini, grilled eggplant, tomato/mozzarella salad, bread, and drink. Phew! I nearly could not get up from my chair after eating my lasagna. It was sooooo good. Before they move to Oregon I am making a homemade pasta dinner. The competition is stiff! We all enjoyed a stupendous evening.
Yesterday we spent part of the day in Sterling. I was in nerd-yarn heaven at the yarn store. I can't wait to thread my fingers through some of the new colors I purchased. We dropped off my car, Gray-Skull, at Walmart for some tire replacing. Justin noted a nail in the back tire and a consistent low tire pressure (me). We spent lunch at Burger King letting Amelia play. We tortured her in Home Depot, then Walmart. Oh, the complaining! My new tires are pretty spiffy. At 6 pm I photographed a mom and her three children. The youngest child is a few weeks older than Phillip. She was totally cheesing it and starting to toddle around. The middle guy was sooooooo tired and so whined the whole time. My stash of smarties somehow got left at home.
Justin and I went on a late date to see the movie Salt. It was just what I wanted to see: action, a decent plot, and acceptable dialogue. My expectations were extremely low considering the reviews, ha! I was thrilled it was entertaining. Sitting next to my hunka-hunka man was fun too. We fought over the good kernels of popcorn, swizzled our drinks, held hands, and postulated the plot. Thanks to the folks who sat with our sleeping kids.
This evening we walked by Bertha's home to check on some veggies I planted. My squash, zucchini, watermelon, carrots, celery, and onions are all thriving. Last week we mulched some to keep the nasty weeds down. I love my square foot garden because weeding is nearly unnecessary. I froze four servings of yellow squash after our walk. I cut the squash into pieces, blanched the pieces, then an ice bath. Pop the squash into freezer bags and PRESTO, frozen squash. The carrots we picked were very crunchy and sweet. I planted four different types of carrots, all having different harvest dates so we would have carrots for months. Yum.
Posted by Jenni Call at 9:48 PM
Friday it was really humid and hot, the breeze was strangely absent, creating a stifling condition. Amelia invited Lily and Grace over for a play date. I invited over Rose, the mom, for adult-level conversation, no whining allowed. The girls played with rice, the kitchen stuff, and princess dress-up. Rose is a funny lady. She served a mission in England. Her husband lives and works in Oregon until he finds a job here in Sidney. Rose and the girls are staying with her husband's parents, who also recently moved here. What a situation! Rose is a trooper.
My good friend Deb threw a water party for her daughter's unbirthday. The cool water felt amazing! Phillip cried most of the time not sure if he wanted to swim. The twins splashed in the water for a good hour before even attempting to escape. They are quite talented at amusing each other. Amelia had a saggy swim suit that made me smile every time she ran by. The big kids let the little ones try the slip and slide, even throw a couple water balloons. I played with my camera's drive settings and talked with the ladies. Escaping from the house is awesome!
During naps I made a fruit salad Debbie Lance style. I crave my Mom's summer fruit salad. She makes it the way the Italian's do, just cut up fruit, fresh lemon juice, and some sugar. Talk about refreshing. I crave my Mom's because then I don't have to cut up the fruit. We spent the evening at Old McDani's Farm (Dani Titus) to ride horses and eat Greg's Italian meal. More of that in the next post....
Posted by Jenni Call at 4:10 PM
22 July 2010
The rain was lovely this evening! A little thunder, a little lightening, and a soft, steady rain. Amelia played in the puddles and danced singing her own tune. We sat in the garage on chairs to enjoy the coolness of a rainy evening. A sick baby cuddling on my lap, warmed my heart. The greatest spectacle was our little Amelia reminding us all to dance in the rain and enjoy the moment.
Posted by Jenni Call at 10:34 PM
Hotel Amelia. The best hotel on the planet. Come and give our hospitality a try! Little kids love to play and the adults love to eat and talk. The only drawback is driving through Wyoming and Nebraska. Charity and Melissa are on their way to Virginia with their kids (5 total) to visit Grandma and Grandpa Call. They stopped here for the night. Amelia was sooooooo excited she could barely contain herself all day. The cousins finally arrived around 4 pm, we were waiting on the corner and jumping for joy. The kids raced around expending pent up energy. We made a round of the basement toys, walked to the school park, and laid on the carpet. Justin came home early from work to smoke up some pork chops. I added cole slaw (made with a cabbage from my garden) and fresh chard. We chased down the meal with a treat from Dairy Queen. Yum! Phillip was running a fever, teething?? so was not his normal happy self. He still showed off his cute smiles and made a best friend with Mason. He sure LOVES Mason. Amelia snuggled with Grant and played her little heart out. After a week or so I finally got some photos of Phillip playing peek-a-boo. He starts laughing before his hands make it to his eyes. I love how his eyes are still visible but squished together. Hopefully, the girls will make it to Virginia with their sanity intact.
For FHE on Monday we repacked our 72 hour kits (last repacked three years ago) and made kits for Amelia and Phillip. We went to Walmart for a couple extra items, then to Cabela's yesterday for the last few items. At least level one of emergency preparedness is completed. Justin thinks we need to have several levels, such as going to the basement/tornado shelter; short trip out of town, complete evacuation, and evacuation with intent to return. Smart man! I also want to have a winter insert bag we can grab with coats, sweaters, and other warm clothing.
Tuesday evening I finally got out in the yard to prune the bushes of dead wood. Our large lilac had an entire ant colony inside a dead branch. It was fascinating and creepy at the same time. I called the extension lady about the ants, she said they should not harm the living branches. I am trying to decide what tree or bush to plant in the north west corner, I want a choke cherry, but Justin says it is too messy. Buzz kill! Justin was on kiddo watch (or so I thought) when Phillip started screaming. Poor kid was stuck underneath Justin's still warm car, hair singed and blackened. I was a little bit mad (ok, really mad) trying to hack the bush with Phillip in one arm and the hack saw in the other. Justin was applying some lawn chemical. Little stinker. He apologized, accepted!
Posted by Jenni Call at 3:48 PM
19 July 2010
We had a nice quiet Sunday. I finally pulled out my garage sale find, a pasta machine, and made homemade spaghetti noodles for dinner. With some delicious homemade sauce and fresh green beans we were living the high life. Homemade pasta is to die for! Amelia really enjoyed turning the handle for me and eating the dough. We had an early night because the kids were super crabby. It was awesome to relax and watch the lightening.
PS: Check out Phillip's bottom teeth...you can actually see them now! No other teeth to report...
Posted by Jenni Call at 8:57 AM
14 July 2010
Justin is working late these days. We celebrated FHE without him by going to the park and finding lovely creations made by God. Amelia was playing on the slide when she suddenly started to cry. She hid under the play area just sobbing. She finally told me her poop broke out of her pannies. Poor thing had some diarrhea, probably residual cleansing from her flu on Friday. I cleaned her up and threw away her underwear, disgusting. Why does this always happen in public places? LOL. We stayed to play without underwear, which at times proved to be a little risque with her skirt. We had my favorite dessert at DQ, dipped cones. Phillip ate all of his, part of mine, and the rest of Amelia's. That kid can eat.
Tuesday my new pressure cooker arrived just in time for canning season. After reading the instructions I learned that my pressure cooker cannot be used on a glass top due to its weight. Bummer! Guess I will be canning outside this year on the grill. I finished up a couple projects last week, an outfit for Amelia, a onesie I dyed orange for Phillip, and a new camera strap. The strap is pretty couture! I took apart an old strap for the leather binding, made a new strap with a red ruffle, and sewed the new strap to the old leather bindings. Not too shabby for only $1. Not pictured, I resewed three skirts that were too bunchy around the waist for Amelia, added a onesie bottom to Phillip's Sunday shirt to keep it tucked in, and put a new bum piece in a pair of Phillip's pants.
Tuesday afternoon it was super-duper hot. Karen from Nebraska State Extension came to visit our yard. I called her Monday to request her help on some yellowing and dying plants on our property. She was a wealth of information. She identified several mysterious plants for me! I love knowing the names of my plants. She suggested we remove the bushy dead tree in our yard and put in a shade tree or large bush. The dead bush was not winter resistant, especially on the North-west corner. Our main problem is iron chlorosis, which means that our soil is alkaline, which binds the present iron from being consumed by the plant(s). To correct the problem we should lower the pH by introducing elemental sulfur or phosphate. In the fall we need to spread some sulfur and iron on the ground around the plant so the mixture can be slowly dissolved throughout the summer. She was amazed by the size of our garden grubs. She was not sure how to treat them, she suggested trying an insecticide applied to the dirt and soaked in with water. I also learned that if you want your tomatoes to produce more fruit apply phosphorous, it causes the plant to flower. If you apply iron, the tomato will grow tall but not produce much fruit. I called our local farmer's supply to get a quote on ironite phosphate, I had to laugh when the lady quoted me a price of $1500 per cubic ton. What if I only need an ice cream bucket full? Oh, that will be $.75! Phew, much better. If you have any gardening questions contact your local extension office, it was well worth my time. She also asked me to teach a class for the university's Master Gardener series come next spring on Square Foot Gardening. My garden was the first one she saw grown in the square foot method.
This afternoon we went to the park for a picnic with the ladies in our ward and alllllllll the kiddos. We had a marvelous time eating and talking while the kids played until their cheeks burned rosy red from the heat. Right before we wrapped up a police office asked us if we would be the cheering party for "The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics." It is the largest grass-roots fundraiser raising $34 million for Special Olympics Programs around the world in 2009. The torch was run into Sidney this afternoon by about 20-25 law enforcement officers. Sister Hackleman organized us all to shout, "Welcome to Sidney" and clap the runners into the park. All the little kids were enthralled with the excitement. Amelia gave high-fives all over and Phillip was amused to discover that many people can clap just like he can. One runner presented Amelia with a fun little pin and a hug. What a fortuitous experience. The runners almost made it to Sidney without fanfare. The group is now at Cabela's spending money, to support my husband's job. Bring on the business.
Posted by Jenni Call at 4:18 PM
11 July 2010
We about went crazy in Walmart, which is about three times bigger than our local one. We picked up several items not available in ours. I was excited to find a hot pink clothes bin to store Amelia's dress up costumes. We had some dinner at Santiago's then headed back home. On the drive home we saw the most amazing rainbow framed with dark clouds. We could see the entire rainbow, from end to end. A second and third rainbow reflected around the center one. Nebraska does have awesome rainbows! Justin let me vent some feelings and thoughts on the drive home. I feel almost normal again, especially now that I just talked with my Mom for a while!
Today we had dessert with the Bowcutt girls and the Skeens. I made a cake on Thursday because Amelia saw a cake bookmark at the library and would not stop asking about cake. She was a complete broken record. She loved making the cakes with me, that was my favorite part too. I made an almond vanilla pound cake with lemon drizzle. Super delish!
My new favorite memory is when Amelia plops down and reads books to Phillip. He sits right down next to her and listens to her read and helps turn the pages. I love watching them interact with such love and consideration.
Posted by Jenni Call at 10:11 PM
Amelia went out for a play date with little Lily Bowcutt on Wednesday. She was so excited to try playing with someone new. Leaving me was a little worrisome but forgot about within minutes. Lily and Amelia played tea party with a green cup decorated with pink dots and a pink cup with green dots. That was about all she told me! Amelia came home after about an hour because she had to go potty and would not use Lily's big potty. Justin and Phillip went to do some man errands after work and dinner. Amelia rode her trike around the block two times, more like I pulled her and she steered. Then we went to the middle school park. Amelia was cracking me up while swinging. She wanted "underwear dogs" and "fronter-wear dogs" pushes. I snapped a couple photos of her, she pulled her serious faces on me. In reality, she was laughing and giggling like a crazy lady. We played on the slides and play yard for the next little while. She really wanted to hang from the monkey bar jungle gym area. I told her to try it for a moment. She tried it and tried it and tried it. Little stinker was not being obedient when it was time to leave. She cracked her front teeth on the bars after the final warning. Her left tooth got moved over a smidgen and the middle edges chipped off even more. Her mouth was really sore for a couple days. Justin's car was readmitted to the car hospital for a new starter Wednesday morning.
I think the car issues are finally settled for a while. Justin's car seems to work fine now with new belts and a starter. Working around car issues for three weeks was not so much fun. The kids and I did get some quality time at home and more walks than usual. Phillip is working on self-feeding skills. I made spaghetti and fresh spinach for dinner. He gobbled up most of a bowl with his little hands. He does a pretty good job so far. My floors get a good sweep about once a day lately. He is also crawling on a regular basis now, only resorting to tummy lunges when he gets close to a goal. Thursday morning Ella and Dani came over for a play date. We painted window suncatchers as an activity. The girls did an awesome job using different colors until the end when black ended up in all the other pots. Most of the suncatchers are huge blots of black. The girls were very proud of their work. We had a nice snack and play time in the side yard then lunch of mac n' cheese. I dropped off the girls to Alison's once Justin came home for lunch.
Friday morning I had big plans to go swimming at Sterling Pool with Deb. Amelia wanted snuggles on the couch for over an hour. She finally let me know her tummy hurt, right as she threw up. We made it to the kitchen before she launched an attack. Poor kiddo! She went back into PJs then snuggled on the couch for a couple hours watching a movie and taking naps. By evening she was feeling well enough to eat a banana and rice. Justin and I wanted to get out so we went to Oya Grill for dinner with the kids. Phillip loved eating rice off our plates. I finally cleaned out my little garden box, removing all the debris and dead vegetation from the storm damage. While digging out the lettuce from four areas I found about 30 inch long white grubs with brown heads. Eeeewwww! I was totally grossed out to find those monsters in my soil. After digging around in each square foot I found an infestation of grubs throughout the entire garden. Not sure if the grubs are good or bad. The plants are damaged but from hail and heavy rain. Monday I plan on visiting the county extension office to arrange a visit with the land and soil representative. Nearly cried taking out all my pretty plants now dead and decaying. Geepers, what a shame.
I still feel a little "off"...lol...my rocker. I miss having girl time and girl friends around to chat with.
Posted by Jenni Call at 4:29 PM