Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday morning...

Friday, March 28, 2014

old movies.

The summer between my 9th and 10th grade year I probably watched (at least) two or three old movies a week. We had one of the movie channels...HBO, Showtime, one of those...and they would play old movies on weekday mornings. So after sleeping in, and while working on the chore list mom left for me before she headed off to work, I'd watch an old movie.

I remember a few specifically...

Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda...quite possibly my absolute favorite. There's not a scene in that movie that I don't love.

Cheaper by the Dozen was another good one...the dad was strange but would you believe I employ a variation of his bath time routine for the most efficient use of shower time?

Houseboat  also stands out in my memory...though I can't tell you exactly why. Sophia Loren wasn't necessarily a favorite...but maybe I liked the houseboat itself? Or maybe I liked Cary Grant? Ahem.

Doris Day movies were always fun...they were light and upbeat. And she was so pretty and put together. Send Me No Flowers is a favorite...not only is it a cute movie, but the house is awesome, too. Love that back patio.

Of course, I can't talk about old movies without mentioning Shirley Temple. The Little Princess is my all-time favorite...when her dad returns from the war and saves the day?! Come on!

Then of course there are the old movies that mom introduced me to...Little Women, Meet Me in St. Louis, Wizard of Oz...all of them favorites of hers, and now favorites of mine, too.

I'm not a fan of most of the remakes, I must say. Except for A Little Princess. (Honestly, I might like it better than the Shirley Temple version.) and Little Women. Other than that, I think I'm an old movie purist.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to pop some popcorn and find myself an old movie to watch.

How about you? Do you have a favorite old movie?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

source unknown

Reminding myself to give soft answers...
even when my first reaction is to react with a harsh word.
Sometimes I don't heed my own reminders.
(But I try to think before I speak.)
Turning the other cheek isn't always easy. 
But it can definitely diffuse a situation. 

Doing the right thing is rarely easy thing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'd vote for him...

"It's OK about all the mess ups!" -Kid President

Have you heard of Kid President? He's a good little guy. 
He has good things to say...and makes me smile.

I hope he makes you smile, too...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday morning.


It really is that simple. 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

this week.

Seth is home this week. Yes. You heard me. Seth is HOME THIS WEEK! We all drove down to get him yesterday...11 hours on the road, 17 pit stops and now our family is complete again. It's nice having everyone in their own beds...I slept really good last night, come to think of it.

So Seth is off this week, but none of the rest of us are. Chris and I are working, Ian has school, and life is gonna hum right along. But we can have dinners together, at least, and Seth has made a few requests...enchiladas, tacos, lasagne and barbecue. I think we can make that happen.

I made a quiche last week. I used Emeril's recipe for inspiration. I used a refrigerator crust rather than making my own (because I'm not a pastry person...) and I used 4 whole eggs rather than the called for "2 eggs, 2 yolks". Next time I'll probably use 6 eggs as I thought the quiche was a little skimpy. But, it was tasty. I've always loved quiche, mom made a good quiche when I was growing up. Come to think of it, I think I need HER recipe. (Mom? You out there? Are you getting this?)

It won't be all work and no play while Seth is home...tomorrow morning we're going to get up early and head to the flea market. We all enjoy a good deal so that'll be a good way to spend the morning. Everyone has a little something they're looking equipment, tools, electronics and I'm looking for something unique to hang over the sofa. (It's still blank from when we painted last June. I'm not compromising for the sake of having something on the wall.)

The guys will go on a canoe ride up at the lake at some point, and he and I will probably enjoy a lunch date or two. Then, of course, he's got plans throughout the week with his buddies that are also home for break.

Other than that, we'll just enjoy being complete for the week. It's good to have him home. xo

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Have I ever told you about Fun School?

wanna play?

I began babysitting when I was around nine years old. I babysat for a Mormon family that lived across the street. At the time I started babysitting for them, they had 5 children. (They stopped at 8.) I was actually friends with the oldest, so really we were a team when it came to watching the younger ones. Nine seems pretty young...but my mom was right across the street and would come over, if we needed her, in an instant. And one time we did need her when the baby had a VERY messy diaper. Yikes. It was awful.

I babysat for them often until we moved when my dad's job relocated. I was 10. We moved into a brand new neighborhood with lots of families and lots of kids. And I became the neighborhood babysitter. When I was 13 I had a regular babysitting job two or three days a week after school. I'd go over right after school and stay until the dad got home around 9 o'clock or so. 

I also babysat on the weekends for other families. Sometimes more than one family at once. I definitely kept busy. I always had money stashed in my tea tin. And quite a bit of it for a 13 year old.

The summer before 10th grade I wanted to make a little extra so I asked my parent's if I could host a day camp type thing in our garage a couple of days a week. They said yes, listed out a couple of hard and fast rules like no kids in the backyard, ever, because of the pool and clean up your own mess and gave me the go-ahead. I agreed, assured them I'd be responsible and Fun School was born.

I made flyers and mom took me to have them photocopied. I rode my bike around the neighborhood and hand delivered the flyers to all of the moms I babysat for...Fun School, Tuesday and Thursday from 10-12, crafts, games and snacks provided. $1 per hour. (What a deal, eh?)

I went to the library and got books full of kids' craft ideas. I made "lesson plans" and organized craft supplies. I covered a coffee can to collect payment. I planned snacks of cookies, popsicles, fruit or peanut butter on crackers and always a big pitcher of kool aid to be served in Dixie cups. Then when the time came I dragged the picnic table into the garage with the help of mom or dad, set up our supplies, hung the poster-board Fun School sign and I was open for business. 

To my delight just about all of the mom's brought their kids at one time or another. The picnic benches would be full of little kids making things, singing songs and learning a little something and my coffee can would be full of dollar bills. 

Depending on the craft I'd either supply what we needed or I'd have the mom's send a thing or two in with their kids. I'd hand write a note to send home with each child letting mom know what we needed for the next week...egg cartons, newspaper, yarn, popsicle sticks, tin cans, toilet paper rolls...whatever it might be. And the mom's were always willing to oblige. 

We planted beans in Dixie cups and watched them grow. We made instruments using toilet paper rolls and dried beans. We made masks using paper plates.We made our own games...I remember a fishing game with paper fish, yarn and bent paper clips. We made pencil holders by gluing yarn around a tin can. We dyed macaroni and strung it on yarn. Whatever it was, they left with something creative every time. 

Fun School is such a good memory...I'm grateful that my parent's trusted me enough to allow me to host such a thing in our garage. And I'm grateful to the parent's who trusted me enough to leave their children with me. I was talking to someone a while back whose children remembered coming to Fun School...that made me happy. It was a win-win...the kids had fun, the mom's got a break and I made a little money. 

How did you make money when you were a kid?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

source unknown
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:25-27

Today is a new day.
It'll all be OK.
Take a deep breath.
Keep moving forward.
God is good.
And He loves you.
Give your trouble to Him
and He will take care of it.
That's a promise...from HIM.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Planning our garden.

It's that time of year again...time to plan the vegetable garden. Time to get out the seed catalogs and pen and paper and figure out what to plant and where this year.

It's no secret that summer is not my favorite season. Or at least summer in this town that I've lived in for over 30 years. It gets hot. Really hot. TOO hot. So the garden has become a God-send. The anticipation of fresh, homegrown tomatoes and the promise of organic herbs and vegetables bursting from our own backyard are some of the (very few) things that make the heat of summer a little more bearable. (That and the fact that I get summers off. Yeah. That makes summer a bit more bearable, too.)

Yes, I enjoy having a garden. I also enjoy planning the garden. I love reading gardening books and blogs. I love flipping through seed catalogs. I love sketching out the garden area and deciding what to plant where. I love going to the local nursery and choosing our plants. I love digging in the dirt. And I really love seeing those little seeds burst through the soil...a miracle that never ceases to amaze me. 

As most gardeners do, we have a few challenges in our garden that make planning a little tricky. And over the years, through trial and error, I've learned a few things...

Work with what we've got: We have a huge pecan tree in the backyard. Huge. And it is a pain. It is dropping something at all times of the year...leaves, pecans, pods, sap, pollen. And honestly, we don't utilize the pecans like we should. It's tempting to just chop it down but it would be expensive. So...for now...the tree stays, and all its "gifts". Since the tree stays, that means that we need to work with more shade than is ideal for a vegetable garden. This can be a challenge when growing vegetables, but not impossible.

Plant what we'll eat: This is self-explanatory. I mean, why spend time and energy and money and water tending something that we don't even like to eat? So I only plan to plant what we will eat. Well, with the exception of eggplant. That shot of purple, or lavender, or white eggplant is so darn pretty in the garden! I can't resist planting a plant or two, even though I haven't figured out a way to make it taste good, yet. (Any suggestions?)

Plant Companions:  Figuring out which plants benefit others makes planning the layout of the garden a little easier. I love planning a garden, planning anything really. And I have been known to get a bit carried away. I have also been known to get a bit overwhelmed. So companion planting helps me to stay focused, and narrows down my choices of what to plant where. I found a companion planting list at Mother Earth News.

Experiment: Each year Chris and I plant something new...a new variety of pepper or tomato, usually. These are easy to experiment with because it's what we plant the most of in the garden so Chris can make his delicious fresh salsa. mouth is watering just thinking about it. I can't wait!

Be realistic: Someday I would love to be disciplined enough to grow everything from seed. But I don't think far enough ahead of time and I also don't have a lot of room for seed starting apparatus. There are a few things that we plant from seed directly into the garden such as cucumbers, beans and lettuce. But then we buy plants from the local nursery such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant and herbs. Doing what works best for us, and not trying to keep up with Jones,' makes having a garden more enjoyable.

Try something new: The first year we planted a serious garden I planted Bird House Gourd seeds, just because. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. Let me tell you, that darn plant was so good for my gardening ego! It grew and grew and grew and it was beautiful. The leaves were velvety and the flowers were huge. And the gourds themselves? So cool! While it may not have provided food for us, or shade or anything of much benefit, really, it did provide me with some major confidence in the gardening department. And that in itself was worth it. Something else new I'd like to try is the Intensive Garden method of planting, mostly the high-density mixed planting aspect. I want to squeeze in as much as possible. I am maybe a little too conservative when planning space for each plant. I think I can be a little more creative and squeeze a little more in. We'll see.

Relax and enjoy the process: I think this is the most important part. Tending a garden is pretty cool. Watching food grow right in your own backyard is so satisfying. To know that I can walk out the back door and pick myself an organic salad makes me happy. And how about pouring a cup of coffee early in the morning and taking a walk in the garden before the heat takes over? Ah...yes, one of my favorite things to do. 

On that note, I guess I better plan to get my behind out there and rake leaves, pull weeds and get that soil's about time to get some food in the ground!

How about you? Are you ready? Are you already started? Trying anything new this year?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday morning...

Today I will be preparing for my first-born to come home for a week long visit. He's coming home on Friday and I can hardly wait.

Every day I go along with daily life thinking about him often...wondering how he's doing, if he's eating well, getting enough rest, hoping he's happy. And every once in a while it hits me, hard, just how much I miss him.

It's so strange that he's off at college, doing his thing, living his life...I'm so proud of him, so glad he's doing well. But so sad at the same time, that as he grows up, as both of the boys grow up, my life changes, my role changes, I change. I'm trying to embrace it. But, I'm not sure I'm doing a very good job.

Even still, I need to be ready for today I will wash sheets, change his bed, tidy his room and get ready to welcome him home. I think that constitutes as a Sunday well spent.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Rebel.

very old photo...

I think I forgot how to work my camera. My real camera. Ever since I got my iPhone two Christmases ago I haven't picked up my poor, neglected Canon but maybe three times. And each time it felt foreign to me. So I put it away. And there it's sat. 

Instead I've been documenting moments with my phone and on Instagram. I like Instagram. And taking photos with my phone. It's quick. It's easy. I don't have to plug it in and load it up and file it and edit it and resize it and label it and worry how much space it's taking up on the hard drive.

But...I miss my camera.

My cousin sent an email a week or so ago asking me to be a photographer at a fund-raising event in a few weeks. And my first thought was, "I'm better with inanimate objects."  And my second thought was,  "Do I even know how to use my camera anymore?"  It really got me thinking. (Thanks for the nudge, Megan! If I can get familiar with my camera again I will say "yes".)

I have been intrigued by photography since I was a teen. When I was in high school I was on the Yearbook committee and was envious of the photographers...big cameras hanging around their necks, hall passes to walk around school taking candids, access to the dark room, developing photos and going over proofs.

Yes, I was definitely intrigued.

Fast forward to about 12 years ago. I was at a friend's house, a young gal I'd met at church, and she was cleaning out a trailer her brother had been staying in. He had an addiction and up and disappeared one day, leaving some of his personal belongings behind. One of those belongings was a Canon 35 mm camera. She picked it up and handed it to me, "Do you want this?" (How'd she know I'd always wanted a 35 mm camera?)

"Oh no. I can't take that. It's too much." I replied.

"I'm just going to donate it if you don't. Are you sure?"

"Wow. Well, yeah. I'd love it! Are you sure?"

She was sure. And all of a sudden I had a 35 mm camera...gifted to me.

It was in great condition. It was a film camera. And it was awesome. But it was also a bit of an expensive hobby. So, I used it, but wasn't really able to learn how properly. With a film camera you never know how the photo is going to come out until you develop it. And by the time I developed the photos I had no idea what settings I'd used, and I wasn't disciplined enough to keep notes. So I dabbled, took some nice photos (purely by luck), and had fun with it now and then.

Right around the time I was gifted my film camera, the digital cameras were becoming popular. But they were pricey. But a year or two later, to my surprise, my husband told me he wanted to get me a digital camera for my birthday. He really encouraged my love of gifts at Christmas and my birthday he'd purchased some nice lenses and a good camera bag. So when we began shopping for a digital we decided to purchase one that would fit the lenses he'd already purchased for me. That's how I ended up with my Canon Rebel.

It turned out to be one of the best gifts ever. I love my Rebel...even though I've neglected it for too long. How great is a digital camera? I can take hundreds of photos, check and double check, delete what I don't like and keep what I do. No waiting on film to be developed. No running out of film. It's so great!

I really had no idea what I was doing with my camera for a long time. (Not that I really do now, but I definitely understand more than I did.) I fumbled with switches and moved dials around, but never really got any of it.

I think when I really got serious about taking photos, when the switch flipped if you will, was when I decided to take some photos of a bunch of Calla Lily's a friend had given me from her garden. I placed them in a vase, set them on the floor by the back door window (which still, to this day, provides my favorite light for photography) and snapped away. By the end of the photo session the flower that at one time made me think of funerals and death became one of my favorite flowers. Calla Lily's are very photogenic, it turns out.

That was about 5 or 6 years ago. And now, here I am, unsure of how to work my beloved Rebel. It's not the fanciest. It's not the biggest and baddest. But it's perfect for me. It's enough for me. It's plenty for me. And today I am vowing to get it out and use it. (I've already got it out of it's bag in the middle of writing this's sitting here next to me...looking slightly forlorn, but hopeful. Or maybe that's me?)

Do you know that my photos were very instrumental in the making of this blog? Photos are such an important part of Give a Girl a Fig that if I don't have a photo to share, I don't write a post. So you know when things are quiet around here I haven't been taking photos either. The creativity of writing seems to go hand in hand with taking pictures. (Hmm...that's something to ponder...)

So...what now?

Well. I already got my camera out. It's sitting here at the ready. Now I need to take some time to reacquaint myself with it. Maybe it'll be like riding a bike...I hope.

Honestly, the thought of using my camera again is a bit daunting. I feel like I need to take some time (what is that?) to clean up my photo files. And probably get them off this computer and onto my external hard-drive (another gift from my hubby to encourage my picture-taking...he's always been a great encourager to me, in creativity and in life in general). I need to figure out a good way to file and store photos, as well as have them accessible to share easily on the blog.

Daunting...yes. But it's all doable. I just need to take one step at a time.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

If you give a mom a recipe...

...she'll just change it!

A few weeks ago I decided to make muffins every Sunday night for the coming week's breakfasts. It's nice to know that everyone is eating breakfast rather than starving until lunch time. far it's working out. Except for one thing...I never use the same recipe twice. I use recipes as a guide, not as law. So I add some of this, add some of that, lessen a bit of this, etc.

Basically, I wing it.

And luckily, the muffins always taste good. But the texture? Well, that's another story.

Week before last I made two dozen muffins...and each muffin must have weighed about 5 pounds. I forgot to add baking powder. And man, were those muffins dense! Tasty. But dense. Chris didn't mind them...thought they were good and filling. I ate them, because I don't like waste. And Ian? He opted out of muffins for breakfast that week.

This past Sunday I made another batch of breakfast muffins. This time I added "berry bits"...frozen bits of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries packaged for smoothies. But really good in a muffin, I must say. I remembered to add the baking powder and even tossed in a little baking soda for good measure (Note to self: read up on what does what in baked goods.).

The result? Tasty. Mixed berries are yummy in muffins. And they had just the right amount of sugar...a mixture of granulated and brown. Texture? Eh. I am finding them to be a bit on the chewy side. Too much baking powder? Shouldn't have added baking soda? Not enough moisture to balance the added flax? Maybe I should only replace half the oil with applesauce rather than all of it? (This is where I'm leaning...especially when adding flax.)

I guess it would make my life easier if I'd just find a recipe, follow it exactly, see if we like it, and if so, then start adding this and adding that and making changes all willy-nilly. Novel idea, eh? But...what fun would that be?

Hey. I'm a risk-taker. What can I say?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday in the Word

Yes, He does. 
Thank you, God. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How come I don't knit?

My friend makes yarn. 
(Among other things.)
She has an Etsy shop.
Her yarns are GORGEOUS.
The color combos are incredible.
Each new batch she makes I say,
"Ohhhhh...that's my favorite!"
I think I have 20 favorites. 
Maybe more.
She's amazingly talented.
(When I grow up, I want to be just like her.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday afternoon...

It's so quiet here today...

Ian is at a friend's doing a school project. Chris is working on a project of his own. I've been quietly working on the March calendar, pecking away at a loose menu plan for the week and rotating piles of laundry. I don't think I've said 20 words today.

It's drizzly today. Not completely rainy...just gray and drizzly and perfect. I love it. I'm gearing up to bake muffins for this week's breakfast's. Muffins's work really well for a quick, easy and healthy breakfast. And everyone loves them. They never go to waste.

Can you believe it's March already...March. I don't even know what to say about that.

I do know that today is my dad's birthday...Happy Birthday, Dad!!