Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beautifully Genius

Sammy was put on prednisone just over a week ago. The doc asked if he would prefer liquid or pills, and we said either one since he's great at swallowing pills. So she went with the pills.

Unfortunately, these have been particularly difficult pills. There is no coating whatsoever, so they start dissolving pretty quick.  And according to Sammy - they taste horrible. Watching the poor kid, I believe it!  He gives a little shudder when I mention taking them. We started cutting them in half, hoping he could get them down quicker, but it didn't help at all. Just seemed to prolong the misery.

After about 4 days of taking them 3 times a day, he was strongly opposing them. I hated watching him even attempt.  So I stopped forcing him and called the doc to see if we could get the liquid. Unfortunately the whole message didn't get back and forth before the long weekend, so I didn't hear back until Tuesday.   I read up about the medication online and found a site that said drinking them down with milk or orange juice is a big help, but no, he wouldn't be talked into that.

Then the creativity wheels started turning, and genius struck. The pills don't have a coating, right? Well, I'll make one!

I melted some chocolate chips and dipped two of the pills in that, and dipped two others in Karo syrup. The chocolate was nicely set up after about 5 minutes in the freezer. I talked him into trying it (proves how bad they were when I almost couldn't get him to try chocolate pills!). He decided to try milk with it and got it down with no fuss! Hooray!

I don't know how soon he'll be able to try the Karo syrup ones. After several hours of sitting out the outside is getting drier but it is still squishy on the inside. For quick and easy, chocolate is the way to go.

If the pills get too big when you dip them, cut them in half first and then dip.

P.S. I didn't call it beautifully genius. Jamie did. :)

P.P.S. After trying both he liked the chocolate ones best, and since they were definitely the easiest we stuck with that.  Be warned - chocolate pills are tempting.  At one point a younger daughter tried one, but unfortunately she chewed it and still got the yuck.  I called poison control and they said it's a safer drug for her to try, but in the event that the same thing happens, definitely call.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homemade Goodness

A friend and I were talking a couple weeks ago and I mentioned we were having pancakes for dinner. She said she had been thinking the same thing, but they were out of mix. "Sooooo, just make them," I said. "You don't have to have a mix?" she said. "You're right, no one ever at pancakes or waffles until mixes were invented." To me, the real thing just tastes better. There isn't a huge difference with pancakes/waffles if you get a decent mix. But I used to buy Rhodes Rolls and defrost them for scones, until I made them for real one time, LOVED how much better they tasted, made the Rhodes kind one more time, then couldn't go back.

In honor of my wonderful friend who I won't even name or even say what her name rhymes with (like I almost was going to), here are the pancakes and waffles recipes we use, straight out of Better Homes and Gardens.


1 3/4 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. oil or melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

I just mix it all together, but this is what their directions say:
1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. (I've never added salt - why didn't they put that at the top?) Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In another medium bowl (see, this is why I just mix it all together. How many dishes do they think I want to wash??) beat eggs slightly; stir in milk, oil, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened, batter should be slightly lumpy.

Sorry, I'm not doing to put the actual cooking instructions. (Beautiful Anonymous Friend) if you need those, let me know and I will post them too.


When we make pancakes we don't usually have buttermilk but the buttermilk ones are just better, so I'll add in the substitutions so they are similar enough. Oh, and we always have to double these.

1 c. flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
1 c. milk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar
2 Tbsp. oil

Their directions are basically the same as the waffles, mix dry, mix wet, combine. So this is how I make them. Combine milk and vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add in the rest of the wet ingredients (since on my bowl for most I can use the measurements and don't have to use the measuring cups). Then add the dry. Mix it together. Cook.


A fabulous waffle twist I learned from an aunt the other day is that they like to have waffles with ice cream and strawberries on top. YUM! We're trying it out tonight. Doesn't that sound fabulous for summer?

Monday, May 26, 2008


Jamie and I were having a nice chat on vision the other day while we were driving, and I'm going to toss down some of those thoughts so I can remember them.

At Wood Badge, the first time I remember really being taught about vision, one of the first lessons taught is called, "Values, Vision, and Mission." In that and throughout the rest of the week, participants are taught that you need to have a vision to know where you are going. In that capacity the main way they are looking at it is having a vision for where the group of scouts you work with can be in the next 18 months, but it was easy to see how it related at least personally for my family and church responsibilities. Having a vision, seeing what you'd like to have happen, allows you to put goals in place to getting there.

About a month ago I bought some CDs on Teaching Self-Government (you can also find her blog from there, which also has a lot of great information). In the first one, Nicoleen talks about creating a family vision. Not something vague, we'll all live happily every afterish. She suggests a vision of a specific family gathering 20 years down the road - who will be there, what time of year or even the day it will be (hers is a Christmas party), the things you'll eat and do, and even what you'll talk about. After husband and wife create the vision, Nicholeen says to take it to the family and share it with your children. Let them know every detail you see and help them to "see" it too, so they can be a part of making that vision happen.

She talks more about making it happen, but since I'm just talking about vision right now that's as far as I'll go. But I love how she emphasized being specific and sharing the vision.

Jamie went to a meeting recently where the leader there said that he doesn't always follow things told to him because his vision is different than theirs. Sorry I'm not being more specific on that, but it's all about protecting the innocent. :) This tossed around in my head until the drive while Jamie and I were talking about vision. This leader gets a lot of dissenting opinions. Why? Because his followers don't know what his vision is! If they knew his vision, since obviously he has one, then maybe it would be easier for people to follow his vision.

That same lesson has been reiterated to me through some of the capacities I've filled through church and scouting. The more information we give parents, the more help we get back from them. If the parents know what they need to do to help their children accomplish the achievements, we get tons of support. If I notice we have some less than supportive parents, the first thing I check is to make sure they know what we need them to be doing. More times that I care to admit, I was the first one to drop the ball, not them.

I have great goals for my family. I know each member of our family has strengths and talents that need to be developed, and I know each of us has a great mission to fulfill in this life. Having a family vision and helping everyone to work towards it is a big step in getting there. Now for ours...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Love today's google Daily Literary Quote:

"'Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are' is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread." --Francois Mauriac

I've got a stack of books I love to reread, and was actually staring at my bookcase just last night sighing to myself over the fact that there are so many new things I want to read now, that it's harder to find the time to reread the favorites.

Monday, May 19, 2008

No School?

With school winding down up the street, Adam asked me the other day when school would be done for us too.

"Sooo," I asked him, "just because it gets hot outside we're going to stop going to the library?"

"No," he replied.

"So we can go to the library, but we won't read the books we check out anymore?"


"Well, we read a lot of other great books together. Are we going to stop that?"

"No." By this time he had a grin on his face.

"Well then, I'm not exactly sure I know what you're asking me?"

He just chuckled and went on to some other topic.

Today was just a really, really nice day. Nothing too out of the ordinary except that Adam pitched a baseball while I was catching that whammed me in the leg (I've got some nice bruises forming). We had a picnic outside under the quakies and read in the shade for a while. Just nice. It's all reminding me of some of the fun things we did last summer, like making candy with mint leaves. During the picnic Melanie asked me when "Do a Good Turn" day is this year, which is funny since she had such a fine experience last year. I told her even if there isn't a big deal about it this year, we'll still celebrate.

"School" in the summer is definitely different, but learning nonetheless. I've probably mentioned it before, but that's one of the biggest lessons I want my kiddos to learn - that learning happens all the time, not just in the classroom.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In the Backyard

We've seen some exciting things in the backyard lately! A few weeks ago we were watching a robin in the backyard when Adam pointed and said, "Look at that house!"

Amazingly, Melanie had checked out several bird books at the library that week, so we whipped them out and quickly learned we were looking at a Great Blue Heron. We watched him for quite a while before he flew to the top of the house across the street, then on to another house, and away.

A weekish later a neighbor called and asked if our windows were open. I told her yes, and she said to go look outside. I didn't know what I was looking for, till she told me look up, that there was a hot air balloon outside! We watched it float around for quite awhile.

Then earlier today I noticed some apricots growing on our trees (hooray!) and went to check out a different apricot tree to see if it was too. Right next to it is a skinny pear tree, and I noticed it had a good sized nest in it.

Carolyn was with me, so I sat her on my shoulder and helped her peek in. She said there was an egg! We didn't see any parents around, so I ran in the house to grab the camera and see if we could get a quick peek inside.

Shortly thereafter mommy and daddy robin showed up. Mom headed right for the nest and dad kept watch. Erin headed over to check him out.

Here's another of him patroling. We watched him take on another bird that got a little too close.

Carolyn and I had a great chat about how eggs hatch, and I had her promise that she wouldn't bug the nest. It was a bit windy outside, and she was concerned that the nest was going to get blown out. I told her the nest is in a nice strong spot, and that the little egg will be just fine.

Makes me wonder all that goes on around us that we never notice.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Just have to tell you all what a wonderful husband I have. This is what I got/am getting for Mother's Day.

Fertilizer - Yes, I asked for it. Husbands take note - even if it sounds like an odd gift, if your wife tells you what she wants, get it for her! I'm looking forward to a lovely lawn.

Brakes - Isn't that thoughtful? My van inspection is coming up so last Saturday he and his dad checked out the brakes. Yes some needed replacing, and when I got home he told me Happy Mother's Day, LOL. I'm glad he cares about our safety (oh yah, and that whole passing inspection thing).

A Clean Fridge - Our fridge has needed some cleaning out for quite some time, not just tossing old food, but a down and dirty cleaning. Earlier today Jamie tossed something nasty out and I mentioned that I've been meaning to tackle the fridge, and that it would be soooo wonderful if he did that. He did! And it looks great! Knowing I don't have to work myself up to dealing with all the nasties has me positively glowing inside.

Dinner - Jamie is making dinner for not only me, but he put out an invite to both our families to anyone who would like to come so the moms don't have to cook. Jamie is an excellent cook, but guys, even if you just throw a roast in the crock pot with some spices on top, buy some rolls and salad, that would be a great meal!

Mother's Day Card - Every year I get a handmade Mother's Day card with a poem written by Jamie. I look forward to this more than anything else, because I know he puts some time and thought into it. Not that they are anything fancy, dripping with romance and such, but they are all him. And I love that.

I love you, Jamie! Thanks for all the wonderful things you do not just on Mother's Day, but every day.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Super, Middle, and Falling Stars

I read Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell this past week (about time, since I borrowed it from someone over 6 months ago, and he has since moved, so now I get to mail it to him). This book contains a lot of great leadership suggestions in a very clear, concise format.

From the time I officially started learning about leadership when I went to Wood Badge as a participant, I was easily able to see how the lessons taught could be applied not only to the scouting 'teams' I worked with, but my family as well. This book was no different. It is intended for teams at work, but it brought out something really interesting that is definitely one of my family leadership weaknesses.

Cottrell talks about how there are three types of members on our teams - superstars (those who want to do their very best), middle stars (working along, but not superstars), and falling stars (those doing as little as they can to get by) - and that our tendency is to pile more on the superstars because we know they'll do it, and reward our falling stars with less, while still allowing that their lesser standard is acceptable. More encouragement and praise is given to middle and falling stars. I'm sure you are seeing what is wrong with this picture. Unfortunately, when superstars realize the treatment they receive vs. middle and falling stars, they lower their expectations and perform where they are going to get recognition.

Rather than spilling my terrible flaws, I'll let you think about how your own experience applies to that. I took plenty of notes on many other areas I can improve like focusing on the 'main thing' and being sure the team knows what that is, giving feedback, and using my time (and others' time) wisely.