Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Homemaking Tip - Soak the Noodles

Last week Ande made us a pan of lasagna for supper.  She soaked regular lasagna noodles for twenty minutes in warm water before she layered the ingredients.  They were just right - not too soggy, not too crunchy.  Move over Olive Garden and Nancirella, Calvin dubbed Ande the queen of lasagna after only five bites.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday Memories - Another One to Add to the Books

Cali, Haley, Rachel, Jesse, me, Ande, Zeph

This last weekend three of my nieces (Jesse, Rachel, and Haley) and Cali and Ande came for a project weekend -- some sewed, some crocheted, some scrapbooked, some did homework, and some did a little bit of everything.


Cali altering a scarf

Every one is a good cook and it showed in what we ate:

Root beer cake
  • Ande made roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, and rootbeer cake
  • Rachel made authentic belgium waffles (recipe written in kg and all) with fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • Calvin made tacos and spanish rice
  • Cali made yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit parfaits
and Haley made . . .

 Jesse and I were in charge of the wienie roast.

Ande and Haley

Jesse, Calvin, Rachel

Calvin told us mountain men stories around the fire.  Like the time John Colter escaped from the Indians barefoot and naked then crawled up inside a beaver hut to hide.

And everyone gave Jesse a bit of advice.  She is going to Alaska this summer to earn college money on the fishing boats and we all threw in our two cents.  Calvin gave her a particularly touching piece of advice straight from his heart.  There was a split-second of solemn nodding until Cali and Haley started laughing and kindly pointed out that his advice wasn't practical or possible.  He countered it with trying to get her bear spray the next day.  Calvin was a great sport and helped to make the weekend a big success.

Everyone wanted to hold Zeph.

Cali, Zeph, Rachel

Haley, Ande, Zeph

And since there were three pregnant women and one nursing mother there was lots of baby talk and comparing of swollen ankles, too.

Cali and Haley 

We had a great time.  I loved being able to spend time with each person and to hear about the things that they are learning and the families they are creating.  I'm so proud of each one of them.  I'm so glad God put us in families.

Calvin branded the log while we sat around the fire.  It sums it all up.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tornado Texting

Monday, May 20, 2013 

4:05 PM
Rachel (my sister):  Have you seen the tornadoes today?  They are going crazy.

4:44 PM
Jane:  Going to check them out now.  What will win?  The snakes and the cellar or the wind and the house?

Rachel:  Um, these are scary ones.  

Jane:  Where are you now?  Oh man.  Is your family all accounted for?

Rachel:  We are still good.  The north part of the ward and west part are in it now and no news yet.  It won't hit here for another hour.  Bert and Calder should be here by then.

Jane:  Ohhhh man.  We've turned on the news and will pray for you.  Please keep us posted.  I love you.

5:00 PM
Jane: (Text to Ray, Cali, Abe, Grace, Ty, Michelle, Joe, and Ande): Hey everybody. Aunt Rachel's family is in the paths of these terrible tornadoes. Please pray for them. I love you. 

5:15 PM

Jane: Are you in the cellar yet?

Rachel:  They say we have about 45 minutes so we will wait 30-40 more and then see if they are still on the ground.  Is it a bad sign when every horse you own is gathered in a circle by your gate and staring at you through the windows?  But I'm in my best shirt just in case everything else gets blown away.

Jane:  You're a wise woman besides beautiful.  Take your hard drive with you.

5:45 PM
Jane:  Any change?

7:10 PM
Jane:  Everything okay?

7:12 PM
Rachel:  So the sirens have stopped for now.  Cloud rotation but nothing touched down.  Probably have round two in a bit and then another round in the night.  But all is good.  Thanks.

Jane:  Thanks for the updates.  It appears our prayers created an updraft as they went heavenward?

8:10 PM
Rachel:  We have one on the ground but we are pretty sure its going north of us by Caddo (15 miles).

Justin (Rachel's son in California):  But . . . You ARE in the cellar right?

Jane:  Bert's home right?

Rachel:  Yes, Bert is home. 

Rachel:  Ha.  Nope.  Dad's still holding out . . . 

Jane:  Ande says, "Wait, we're trusting the man who gets struck by lightning?" (Bert was struck in a storm last year.)

Justin:  Yeah, well, just remind him who the one struck by lightning was . . . 

Jane:  Justin and Ande be mates.

Rachel:  Hahaha.  Good point.  I'll tell him as soon as he gets done snoring.  It's my watch but every time I make the decision or hear the sirens he wakes up just enough to nix it, but not enough to get scared.  I don't know why I take a turn at watch at all . . . it's not like I can go without him. 

Rachel:  We're good now.  Dang.  He was right again.

Jane:  I like it when he's right.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 

4:11 AM
Jane:  How's your day looking?

Rachel:  It might be a long one . . . or it might be nothing.  I'll call you.

8:16 AM
Rachel:  Today is supposed to be worse for our area than yesterday.  Its going to track right along the Red River.  If we get anything we expect it between 2-7.

12:21 PM
Jane:  Anything yet?  Where are you now?

Rachel:  We are under tornado watch, flood warning, and thunderstorm warning but it should be done by 8.

3:16 PM
OK I think we are just about done witht he severe weather.  Just thunderstorms now.  I don't know how long it will take to get power back, but what I'm really counting down to is Bert getting home to take over playing Battleship and Chutes and Ladders with Hy.

Jane:  The presence of a man who lives through a strike of lightning and can sleep through tornado sirens should not be underestimated.  Glad the crisis is past.  I love you.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Life in Our World - Six for Saturday

1.  Ande and Zeph came to visit while Joe is on business.  Ande stuffed thyme, butter, and lemon between the skin and the flesh of a chicken and roasted it in the oven.  She served it with risotto.  It was incredible.  Enough so that I went back to the store to get another chicken so she can do it again.  Then with the leftovers, she made a wonderful stock and made chicken and dumplings for the next night.  Best we've ever had.

I just don't know how a baby can sleep in the positions they do without being miserable.  One minute they're swaddled
straight as a board where they can't even move, the next their cheeks rest on their knees.  They don't seem to even have
a preference.

It is really fun to watch the kids become parents.  Ande is a great mother.  She is so gentle, happy, and easy-going and Zeph responds well to that.  He is only 7 weeks old, but he sleeps through the night and eats consistently every 4 hours during the day.  He is such a content and happy little baby.  He looks at her with utter adoration and tries and tries to talk to her.  It's really sweet.


2.  For mutual we played toilet paper dodge ball.  No matter how we split the teams, they weren't really fair until we just played the boys against the girls.  I was no help to any team I played on.  I thought I would be, I'm pretty sure I was valuable in 7th grade.  All I know is now my reaction time is way too slow.  I'd freeze whenever I saw a roll of toilet paper coming my way.  I'm sure this will be a do-again activity.  


3.  We killed one of the steers.  Calvin and Ray had planned to do it last Saturday, but then Calvin found that the local butcher would come out and slaughter it and haul away the entrails and hide without even leaving a puddle of blood for $90.  

The hard part was getting the butchered, quartered, slippery steer out of the back of the pick-up and into the cooler on a shelf after the butchers left.  We looked like we'd wrestled a greased pig when we were done.


4.  We had some ugly pots (fake terra cotta ones that had faded) sitting on either side of the garage door and on the picnic table out the kitchen door.  I sprayed them with outdoor spray paint and they look so pretty!  The two out by the garage are yellow with hydrangeas and the one on the picnic table is lime green with violas.  It was an inexpensive and attractive remedy.

The garden is all planted and most everything has come up.  Every time I see a new row of plants pop through the ground I think of LaGrand Richards' quote: "A seed is a dime's profit to one and a miracle to another."  And while the garden does save us money, it's so much more.  It really is a miracle that seeds germinate, grow, and produce.  I hope I never lose my wonder at that.

And in the matter of growth, the new chicks are in their ugly phase right now.  Calvin has another batch in the incubator now.  The other night we went out to candle them and see which ones had chicks growing in them.  Calvin cut a paper towel tube into a piece about six inches long.  Then he took a little flashlight and stuffed it up the tube.  We turned the lights off and he held each egg over the other end of the paper towel tube.  The concentrated light shines through the shells so we can see inside the egg and see if it is alive. 


This is the teaching bag I've used for ten or eleven years.  I found it in the garden section at Wal-Mart.
 It's got 14 pockets for all the  do-dads you need (post it notes, pencils, pens, markers,
popsicle sticks, visual aids, scripture mastery cards, bookmarks, gum, chapstick, magnets, etc.)

  5.  This is a great time of the year to be teaching - if you do it right.  You know the kids well and they know you.  The class atmosphere is established and they're respectful and good listeners to each other.  They know each other and are willing to teach and help each other learn.  They know the routine so when you say something like "slide the room" they know exactly what it means and it only takes them a second to do it.   But the last six weeks of school also requires a lot of patience and skill to keep them learning.  There is no winging it.  Some days I'm more effective than others at this job.  One day this week was disappointing, the kids were antsy and I just couldn't keep them engaged and learning.  I was discouraged about it that afternoon.  The next morning we had a surprise visit from our area director in Seattle.  Usually we know when he's coming, but this time he just popped in.  I smiled, but inside thought, "Aye-yi-yi, this. could. be. a. disaster."  However, the kids did not disappoint.  They were incredible.  They were engaged the entire 1 1/2 hours and had the most insightful questions and answers.  Truly.  You'd have never guessed it was the end of the year or that we'd had such a helter-skelter experience the day before.  The area director was amazed at their ability to learn and teach, and at how they treated each other.  It was a good deposit after the hefty withdrawal from the day before.  


6.  Have you tried the Tillamook Smores Ice Cream?  Well, you should! 

Ande and I finished the second season of Sherlock this week.  We made chocolate pudding dessert for the first episode, had this ice cream for the last episode, and rocked Zeph through every episode.  Pure satisfaction.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thirteen Pictures (Give or Take a Few) Taken on May Thirteen (Give or Take a Day) of 2013 (With no Give or Take)

Cali and Levin - packin' two

Ray - helped Cali hang the chalkboard

Ande and Zeph

Joe and Zeph - Go Sounders

Abe - grilling supper

Abe - helping a friend

Grace - chicken with quinoa/brown rice mixture garnished with an avocado spread

Ty, Michelle, and Afton - supper with friends

Afton - calling dad while he's at school

Afton playing with the throw pillows for the last time in Maryland.  They're packed up for the move.

Calvin and Jane - old calves teaching the new calves where the hottest wires are

Jane - homework assignment

Calvin - some family nights are more exciting than others.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

52 Blessings - Life Really is a Bowl of Fruit

To start discussions - whether it be at the supper table or beginning a class - I ask a question, give everyone 30 seconds to think of an answer, and then everyone shares their answer.  The questions are varied - some are fun, some are serious - but all the answers are insightful.  I cannot overstate the value of people getting to be heard and then learning to give that respect to others.  

I also cannot overstate the guff my family gives me about it.  Mostly it's well-deserved, for some of the questions are pretty random.

Tonight we joined in a family google gaggle session.  As we were getting ready to hang up Ty said (in his Jane Payne imitation voice), "Before we say good bye I think we should all go around the circle and say something that we appreciate about Mom."

Abe making reference to an old supper-table question, said, "I think we should all go around the tell her what fruit she reminds us of, too."

Oh ho.  Their answers made me laugh:

Calvin said, "I get to start!  I get to start!  Janey Payney is tootie-fruity.  Definitely tootie-fruity.  She's a combination for sure." 

Michelle went next and said, "You are grapes. People rarely share apples, oranges, or even grapefruits. But grapes are a great fruit to share. That way the sweetness isn't just experienced by one person, it's experienced by many. Jane's sweetness is experienced by many."

Ty followed.  "You are a banana.  When I was little and you packed a banana in my lunch, I would eat my sandwich and it would taste like a banana.  When I ate my chips, they would taste like a banana.  When I ate my cookies, they would taste like a banana.  Everything tasted like a banana.  Bananas have powerful influence on those things that are close to them.  They share their qualities with those around them.  You have had a powerful influence on each of us in the family and on countless other lives.  You share the qualities you have with others.  That is why you are a banana.  Thanks for being such a powerful influence for good in so many peoples' lives."

Grace said, "I think you're like a banana too, because they are good year round just like you and they are always dependably good."

Abe said, "I think you're like a tomato. 'Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.' You're all full of good wisdom."

Cali said, "I was going to say banana, too.  Sometimes you get a good apple and sometimes you get a mushy one.  Sometimes you get a good orange and sometimes you get a sour one, but bananas are the same no matter what.  That's how you are.  You are the same no matter what.  You are dependable."

Ray said, "You are like a potato.  I know potatoes aren't fruits, but you think they are . . . or at least that they should be."  Later he added that I am like cherries, something about the sweet ones at the top. 

(Joe was gone on business.)

Ande said, "This isn't a fruit either, but you're an egg.  You always need one.  You are a staple."

And there you have it; my eulogy wrapped up in a fruit bowl.  At the dinner after my funeral I hope they serve fruit salad . . . and potato salad with lots of eggs in it. 

I'm one lucky mom and I know; I'm so grateful to be a mother in today's world.   

Sunday, May 5, 2013

52 Blessings

I know the rules with absolutes:  “every, always, never” – you should use them very sparingly and only if you’re sure.  

Nevertheless, even with such stringent rules, here are two things I’m absolutely sure I’m thankful for this week:

The Sacrament.  Because of a new baby, general conference, graduation, and a wedding, I missed taking the sacrament four weeks in a row.  I haven’t gone that long without it since I was a baby without teeth.  I hope to never go that long again.  I missed it and noticed its absence. 

Sunday afternoon naps.  I always think, “This is such a luxury,” when I lie down for a Sunday afternoon nap.   If you’ve ever had children you know they choose your nap time more often than you choose your nap time.  Those years have been behind me for some time now, but they burned the luxury of a nap into my long-term memory.  Today’s nap was especially nice, made even better by waking up to something good.   

ice cream floats

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Life in Our World - Zeph's First Visit

Zeph - 5 weeks

Ande and Zeph came to visit us this week while Joe was overseas.  This is a picture of Zeph helping me study and prepare a lesson at 4:30 in the morning.  He was a great company.

He can outlast me though.

He loves to be held upright, rest his head on his arm, and cuddle into your shoulder.  

And while we loved going to Dairy Queen, watching Sherlock, visiting, and taking him on walks,

Zeph found it to be a bit boring and slept through them all.

He practiced moving his mouth and tongue every day and by the end of the week he had his smiling muscles all figured out and used them freely.  He even giggled.

It was one great week.