Monday, February 28, 2011

Hhhhhhhhhh (that was me, sighing.)

***Updated***  12:00 pm, Tuesday.  We just found out that our buyer did not win the PCS.  I know.  Shocker.  She still wants our home, and is now seeking financing.  Please pray with us, that everything goes off without a hitch and does not delay our original closing date of the 15th!  I'll keep y'all updated as best I can!****
It was still early, with the only sounds coming from the soft tapping of fingers against keyboard, in the far corner of our bedroom.  Grey light was beginning to filter through the narrow space between window and shades, alerting me of the coming dawn.  I nestled farther down, under my blankets, unwilling for the morning activity to begin just yet, which would plunge us into a whirlwind day filled with school, cleaning, and ballet.  I lay still, listening to my husband doing quiet early morning work, as is his usual routine. 
Our children and dog were still asleep, giving me that much needed time to have my first conversation of the day.  The only conversation that really matters.
"Hi God," I said.  "So... it's just You and me again...going to be a big day.. or a weird day... or maybe it'll be a big 'ole weird day with all this house buying-Publisher's Clearing House nonsense, huh?" 

More soft tapping of keyboard, and silence.

"Um... so Publisher's Clearing House... did You think that one up?  Cause I've gotta be honest, that kind of sets the precedent for weird, right there.  And uh...If that's plan A, we might need a B.  Everyone's kind of freaking out, you know.  I mean I'm sure You know, being God and all.. but just so you know... it hasn't been pretty lately.  I totally blew it yesterday.  I was cranky with everyone and everything while I waited and anticipated the worst of what today may bring.  I don't even want to discuss the worst with You, so please don't bring it up.  You got me down from that mountain with two miles left in the gas tank and I can't think it was accidental.  I can't decide if I've got two miles left, or if I'm on empty right now.  It's really kind of freaking me out.  I know I asked you for an interesting story...but I'm kind of beginning to wish I hadn't...."
And then it hit me, very quietly, slowly, filling my mind with it's gentle permanence.  "I was here before you, you know."   What?  Where did that thought come from? "Before everything...Before your plans, and organizing every little detail of life...."  It was then, that a curtain of awareness was lifted just enough for me to reach out and nearly grasp the idea with the tips of my fingers, before the curtain slammed down and it was gone again. Flickering through my mind was the idea that only on the rarest of occasions, will we ever truly begin to grasp the hugeness of God.  We can't ever really understand the idea that before a galaxy, before an earth, before a Lemonade Makin' Mama, there was God... He was there.  Just there. 
 And for today, it was enough... actually, it was so much more than enough.  It was the thread that strung me back together and got me through a day filled with frustration, waiting, and sadly, no answers yet.
But in spite of that, as I drove my children all over the place, I had enough faith to whisper the words, "Okay Daddy, I'm all in."

I'm all in, and choosing not to worry. 
 No matter what the call, or the eventual outcome of these weird circumstances.  
And on a lighter note... well, kind of lighter depending on how you look at it... I forgot to tell y'all that my man has been chosen for jury duty this week.  It's a good thing we're pretty much packed and ready to go!  


February's 365

I can't believe I was able to stick with 365 this month as we prepare to move, but I did!  Some days were tough and the photographic scramble was on!  Sadly, you guys have already seen most of these in my blog posts, so this review is mostly for me. (You're good with that, right?)  I'm going to try and put one word for each photo, just for the fun of it.

The word for this photo, is teaching...
Kissing... (Possibly my all time favorite photograph of my children to date.  I love JJ's eyebrows and that little sparkle in his eyes.  I had it enlarged, and printed in black and white.  I can't wait to hang this once I move!)
Loving... (I married such a good man...)
Working... (I hate laundry with a passion.)
Seeking... (I guess nobody ever said there needed to be rhyme or reason to taking a photograph every day, right? I couldn't find anything to capture on this day besides this.)
Smiling... (Smiling's my favorite... )
Partying...(Fun gluten-free cupcakes!  Thank you, Betty Crocker)
Viewing... (This would be her.... The O.K. Corral.  Bwahahahaha!  Wail til I get my hands on it... )
Learning... (My first photography lesson... where I hereby switch my camera to manual mode and promptly freak out... )
Growing...(Um.  It's a plant.)
Praying...(Tough day... Which is sad, since it was Valentine's day.)
Sewing...(Getting my craft on.)
Observing... Possibly the grosses science experiment to date.  Dissecting owl pellets.  (That was for you, Becky. Ha!)
Laughing... (Hanging with Becky.  Eating peanuts, and throwing shells on the floor... anticipating pedicures and relaxation... possibly the perfect day ever!)
Waiting... (sitting in a car with Becky)
Adoring... One other word.  Fine. 
Remembering... (I actually had to gently press Ava's little one-year old hand, finger by finger, into the wet cement.  I'll miss this chunk of patio...)
Anticipating... (Holli... it's for you!!!  Hope you love it, sweet girl!)
Coloring...both inside and outside the lines... living life.

Good bye February... I won't miss you, really... but I'll always remember you!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My big binder of life...

I don't think I've written a post on organizing in about a year.  Shame on me.  The truth is, I love to organize.  I naturally have a system or a strategy for everything I do, which in the light of packing a home, is a gift.  I had to share this with y'all because I'm so glad now, that I've taken the time to keep current on this, and even if you aren't moving, this might encourage you!  I bought an organizing binder a few years ago, and it contained all manner of folders, tabs, pockets, and gadgets.  In fact, if you wind it up, it will even brush  your teeth.  (Okay, so it won't really do that.  I was joking.)

Over the years, I've added and subtracted items from this binder as needed, so that now everything I need is all in one place.  I've got my entire address book, email list, kid information, paint swatches, household information, photographs, a calendar, etc all in one place now.  And the best part... the part I've been waiting to get to... is my "good ideas" section.  It's right in the front of this binder.  I purchased a bunch of page protectors and every time I'm flipping through a magazine and I see an idea I want to remember, I rip out the page and slip it in this binder.  Which leads me to magazines.  Do you have a system for dealing with magazines?
Here's what I do;  I quickly flip through it once, dog-earring any page that I know needs to be scrutinized, or ripped out.  Then I go back to it and savor it slowly, reading articles and poring over photographs and ideas when I've got time.  (Usually around 11:00 pm. Ha!)  Once I'm finished, I've got a pile of magazine papers, and a pile of recyclable magazines.  I usually take a sharpie and circle or point out what originally attracted my attention, often making notes about things I especially liked for future reference.  Cause um... the memory... yeah, well it's not so good. (Not that I've ever stared blankly at a page and wondered why I'd ripped it out in the first place...)  

This system has worked incredibly well for me.  Often, if I see something on a website that I know I won't remember, I'll print out the page and add it right into my binder!
 Over time, I've compiled different categories, such as seasonal ideas, gardening tips, and party throwing tips.  When I'm stuck, or even lacking inspiration, I'll often flip through it, and find fresh ideas at my fingertips.

Um... my one word of advice with a project like this, is if you create a single binder that pretty much holds all the information for your entire life... don't lose the binder!

What sort of system do you use for organizing all your information?

Friday, February 25, 2011

What I should be doing, vs. what I am doing...

 Am I the only one wishing that I'd quit posting photographs of boxes?  Or of projects for my new house that are only half done?  Are you wishing I'd move in already and show you some "after" photos?  Well, you're not alone.  My brain is getting dulled by all this nothingness... and blank wall space.  I'd like to submit this photograph as exhibit A.  I could have gone so many directions with this photo, but my brain is so dull all I could do was snicker like a seventh grader.  And maybe drool a little.  Oh, I'm just joking... seventh graders don't laugh at stupidity like this. 

Anyway...  I should  be packing or wiping out drawers or something, but instead I'm sewing cute messenger book bags with owls on them for my daughter, and feeling happy because it gives me something to photograph for you besides cardboard.  I have no explanation, other than the fact that I've been feeling kind of sick off and on for about a week, and I took some medicine that contained caffeine.  It was kind of weird.  One minute I was watching American Idol, and the next minute I was plucking big orange buttons out of my sewing basket for owl eyes.  It's kind of what I do when under stress.  I get my craft on.  You how know most people relax with a bubble bath, or escape into a nice movie or a hot fudge sundae...or actually pack things in the house that need to be packed?  I sew frivolous things. 
 We're still in the countdown to moving day.  I mean, we have the closing date set, but everyone is pushing for an earlier closing (by everyone I mean us) and we can't move on it at all until after the 28th of this month, because that's when the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes Prize Patrol delivers the big cardboard check to our buyer.  Allegedly. 
 I may or may not have spent an hour of my life I'll never get back trying to find out if this entire thing was legitimate or not on google.   This story is getting a lot of mixed reactions and it makes me wish I had no idea any of it was happening behind the scenes. 
Meanwhile, I'm (in denial?) moving forward like it's all going to happen smoothly, and beginning to sew curtains for my new kitchen windows.  See?  I told you... I sew.  
 The good news, is that I finally found a purpose for the big, useless room in the front of my current house.  It's become the holding area for all things packed and waiting...Oh.. and incidentally, do you know what happens when you pack up all your winter clothing because you live in the Pacific NW and it hardly ever snows?

It snows two days later, forcing you to unpack hats and mittens. 

And here's to hoping I'm not unpacking all my boxes, come about March 16th...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My comfort zone...

 One of my favorite places in all the world to be, is right in the center of my kitchen, stirring pots, and chopping things.  I like to cook. I can't wait to try out new recipes. I enjoy the predictable art of baking. And most of all, I love to feed others.  In my kitchen, I feel relaxed.  At home.  Comfortable.  And completely myself.
 It makes me think a lot about hospitality and the art of putting people at ease in a home they don't live in.  I'm always amazed that what puts me at ease, isn't what makes others feel comfortable.  I like things spotless and shiny, but most of the friends I entertain, enjoy a little mess... a little clutter... a lot of "lived in."  They like to feel as though they aren't going to mess everything up, and from my experience, they like to jump in and help out, rather than just watching me do all the work. (I've always been pretty good at putting people to work, I must admit.)  Things in process seem to smooth the way for a more enjoyable environment, as opposed to having a pre-set table (though I still love to do that for special occasions) and fancy or perfect presentations.  I'm learning these things by trial and error, as I go along.  Things I wish I'd known years ago... but so glad I can do it differently now! 

My friend Erin emailed me and asked for some new, fun, easy recipes.  (Erin, I'm so sorry I've still not gotten back to ya girlfriend! Will this one tide you over til I can get you some more?) This is a fun weeknight meal idea. 
I tend to classify recipes into "weeknight" and "weekend" recipes.  (The weekend recipes tend to take a little longer, or have ingredients the kids won't like, such as mushrooms or wine based sauces... that sort of thing.)
I love pretty much everything about my current kitchen layout... though I've never been crazy about my cabinets.  (I'm not a big wood cabinet fan.)  The one thing I've been dreading leaving, is my faucet.  Really, I'm just photographing it and posting it so I can kind of take it with me.  (giggle.)
Anyway, tonight I'm making Teriyaki turkey burgers.  No weird, or hard to find ingredients here!  Grab a pack of your favorite buns, some turkey burgers, (we use the ones from Costco) teriyaki sauce, (I love the Trader Joes brand) provolone or swiss cheese slices, a fresh pineapple, or a can of pineapple slices, and I'll explain about my condiment sauce in a minute.  Set your burgers in a dish, and hit them with a little teriyaki sauce for a marinade.  Set them aside for a little while.
Mmmm... fresh pineapple slices.  If our grill wasn't broken, I'd pop these on it for a few minutes til they had some pretty char marks! 
You probably don't know this about me, but I'm kind of the queen of last minute condiments.  I like to yank things out of the fridge, see what I've got and what goes together, and go from there.  I love fresh cilantro, because it's like the ingredient that laughs in the face of winter. I know teriyaki and cilantro don't typically go together, but they do in my world. Cilantro brightens up whatever you put it in and I happen to love it. 
For this sauce, I had a little sour cream left in the container, and I added some chopped sweet onion, minced cilantro, and a couple little spoonfuls of mayo.  If I hadn't already packed my mini food processor, I'd have put this all in it, and given it a few pulses for a smooth, creamy, green sauce, rather than a chunky condiment. 
I like to set aside a few little nibbles, for little fingers in the kitchen.  My kiddos love to taste things while I'm in the middle of the cooking process, and I love having them all around me because I want them to feel natural cooking and being in the kitchen as adults.  This is a good time to toast your buns (that would be bread types of  buns... and I say this for the benefit of my husband and brother, Officer McJakey...) layer some cheese slices, pineapple, and sauce on your bun and set aside.  Now, cook your burgers on either the stove-top or grill. 
And I give you the star of our little show... Teriyaki Turkey Burger. Simple, easy, and yummy.  It doesn't get much better than this on a weeknight!