Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I finally realized what my thing is!

You do know what "thing" I'm talking about right?

I look around at my friends, family and classmates and I notice that they have "things".

I have a friend that makes beautiful handmade beads.

Another friend is a sewing wiz.

My cousin's wife sells houses like nobodies business.

At school, I have a classmate that is a Dive master.

Another is a professional soccer player.

And it just got me a thinkin'...

What is my thing?

What if I didn't have a thing?

After all...I'm just a mom.

Who does mom things.

So...I tried to think about things that I was good at...

That I enjoyed doing.

What first came to mind was food.

Don't laugh...

I'm serious.

Quite often my family is given food by my parents.

Seems like my folks know everyone in their small town.

And people are always asking them if they can use things.

Like 40 pounds of chicken.

Or 30 pounds of onions.

10 pounds of carrots.

10 Butternut squash.

And they say "Sure!"

And bring them straight to me.

Then (this is the fun part) I have the challenge of figuring out what to do with all that food.

How to make it into something useful...nutritious...and yummy.

I really, really enjoy this.

It was then that I realized...

My thing is cooking.  And I really enjoy cooking from scratch.

That I have a large family to cook for is just a bonus.

I'm so grateful that this is my "thing".

I'm also really happy that it isn't something like skydiving or rock climbing too.

Cuz those things just freak me out.

So...what did I do with all that food?

14 Chicken Pot pies and 40 dozen muffins.

What is your thing?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Furry Friends

Seems like I never know what I will find on my camera when I download pictures.

I'm surprised that the animals aren't blind from having the camera repeatedly shoved in their face, flash after flash...

Snowball, up close and personal
Tim and Boo
Liz and Snowball
King Mater
King Snowball

I'm pretty sure this is the animal equivalent of blackmail pictures for use with future girlfriends...
Liz with her sweet bunny

So good...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Questions, Answers and Awards. AKA Becky trying to catch up...

Kathi said...

I found your blog while googling Eagle Scout court of honor reception. I looooove your blog. You are fantastically creative. Question, did you create those wooden blocks for the Eagle Court? They are wonderful. I've never done that before so I have no idea how to attempt it. Help?

....Ok, I know I way late in getting around to answering this but the wooden blocks are actually pieces of barn siding.  If you don't have access to barn siding, any molding piece or other thin piece of wood will work too.   After you get the pieces of wood to the size that you want, cut out scrapbooking paper and attach with modge podge.  I recommend letting them dry completely after that.  I went to the Boy Scout office and purchased merit badges that were the required ones for the Eagle Scout rank.  At the time, I didn't have a Cricut so I went to the local craft store and used their die cut machine to cut out the Fleurs.  We just used regular glue to attach the Fleurs and the merit badges.  Small metal easels from the dollar were used to display the finished project.s

Good luck and congrats to your Eagle!

Nike said...

You are my hero. I had my six help me with my first bushel of peaches and um, it didn't go well. You guys rock. Also, where do you order your corn and veggies from? A local grower? Co-op? I'd love to do that next year.

...We order the corn from a local farm and my dad was able to get the green beans from a farmer friend of his.  It really pays to shop around, especially if you have several farms in the area.  It was a huge pain in the bum bum to have the kids involved but I feel like if I can train my child labor correctly, one day it will pay off.  Right?, right?

Nike said...

Becky, looks like they had a blast! We're did they go hiking? I need somewhere fun to go on Labor Day ... in Utah. A hike sounds like fun.

...They went hiking up at a ski resort.  I think it was called Cecrete.  Next time we come to Utah, we should totally meet up!

Meet Polly: said...

I'm inspired! Seriously. I visit Goodwill a lot but never look at the clothes. What are your tips? Look for recognizable name brands?


...I do look for name brands.  I only buy the ones that look like new.  Brands like Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Lane Bryant and Talbots are my favorites.  Shipping is also a beast and the rates just went up (again).  So, I normally stick to items that can fit in the flat rate envelopes.  The blog My Dear Trash is a great resource for tips on ebay selling.

Ronda Batchelor said...

I really enjoy your blog, it makes my 6 kid seem like nothing. I nominated your blog for an award. Come on over and check it out.

...Thanks so much!  I went and checked out your seven things that you said about yourself and we are so much alike girl!  Except that I've never driven a school bus. :)

Jed said...


Came across your blog. I too have nine kiddos. And believe or not we too just got done saving every penny to go to Disneyland and just got back.

We rented a house right near Disneyland which was the cheapest option for all 11 of us. Would love to swap notes if you think it would help. My wife did all the planning, so I'm sure she would love to share more than you care to know ;)

...Thanks so much!  We have rented a house too and plan on taking all of our food down there.  I'll be emailing you when the trip gets closer for more ideas!

MICHELL said...

I did a chair planter I'm gonna have to plant flowers in one of the hubby's toolboxes..LOL Ok I've featured you come grab a button!! Thanks again!

...Thanks so much!  I can't wait till warmer weather so I can re pot the planters!

Award time. I have given you The Versatile Blogger Award.

...Thank you!  I know I am probably supposed to come up with some goodies about myself...I'll have to think about this and see if I can come up with anything interesting.  That might be hard...

Sabrina C. said...

Her art work will come off the doors with the Mr. Clean white sponges. I don't remember the name of them just look on the cleaning section. They also remove permanent marker too.

Love your dumpster finds....When I was little I used to dumpster dive with my Aunt. I am so old and feeble to dumpster dive now, but I sure love me a Goodwill or Thrift store.

...Thanks for the Mr. Clean tip!  I went out and bought me a sponge!

Lily said...

You have some great finds there! One thing about the car seat, though. The reason Goodwill throws them away is that there is no way to know whether or not the car seat has been in a wreck. According to a state trooper friend of mine, sometimes (just like bike helmets) the car seat thing about the car seat, though. The reason Goodwill throws them away is that there is no way to know whether or not the car seat has been in a wreck. According to a state trooper friend of mine, sometimes (just like bike helmets) the car seat can be compromised and won't protect well in a second accident, even if it appears it's in fine condition. The car seat may be just fine, but you really don't know.

BTW, I never would have thought about DDing behind Goodwill. I might just try it sometime!

...Thanks for telling me about the car seat!  I passed on that information to my friend and she said that she just plans on using it around the house.

Jensamom23 said...

What great tips! I had no idea you could freeze celery! I slice gunky looking bananas as well...I freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then pop them in a freezer bag. We use them in smoothies...acts as the ice without diluting.

...Thanks for that great tip!  I am now freezing bananas for that too!

Sorry I'm so behind here!  Thanks for all the comments.  I really feel isolated socially sometimes due to my workload and it helps to know that there are other people out there. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

My parents had someone give them more onions that they could use so we were gifted about 30 pounds of the little buggers.

I love having them already chopped, out in the freezer. It is so handy when doing mass cooking.

I used the food chopper this time, just because there were so many.

By the third onion I was crying harder then the time I scuffed the toes of my new plaid boots.

My husband suggested that I chew a piece of gum.

I honestly thought that it was some kind of old wives tale but at that point I was desperate.

I popped a piece of gum in my mouth and...

Not one more tear.


I dumped the onions on cookie sheets and set them out in the freezer overnight.

The next day you can easily break up the pieces and put them into ziplocks.

Then back into the freezer they go.

Easy peasy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Potato Soup

There is just something about a great bowl of soup in the winter.

Well, during any gloomy time really.

Which, here in Oregon, feels like most of the year.

Potato soup is our fav.

Over the weekend, I made 40 batches and froze most of it.

40 batches is about 6 meals for us.

I was going to take a picture of the soup but by the time I got around to it this is what the pot looked like.

The great thing about this soup is that you can use instant non-fat powered milk instead of milk and no know can even tell.

I do freeze the soup in large containers and I find that even the milk freezes/recooks just fine as long as you use it within a few months.

I also freeze the cheese in ziploc bags and just grab one out of the freezer at the same time that I take out a container of soup.

If you remember to take the soup out of the freezer the night before, in the morning you can just throw it into the crockpot (low setting) for a no-fuss dinner.


Potato soup

3 medium potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and quartered
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (whole wheat works too)
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley (I've used frozen or dried too)
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

In a saucepan, bring potatoes, onion, water and salt to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender. Do not drain; mash slightly. Stir in milk. In a small bowl, blend butter, flour, parsley and pepper; stir into the potato mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat; add cheese and stir until almost melted.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We love our Ducks!

Thank you to Brandon Bair (Ducks #88) for setting such a good example, on and off the field, for the kids in our community.

We really hope that your "little" brother one day plays for Oregon too.

I know that the Ducks didn't officially win the national title but they sure came out on top in the class department.

And that means a lot.

Here are my twins with Brandon and his little brother...

Let me move back and try that again...
Much better!

Thanks's been an amazing year!

Sure can't wait for next year...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oregon Ducks are the Best!

#1 The referees blew several key calls that ultimately cost the Ducks the game

#2 Auburn showed terrible sportsmanship and even I was embarrassed for them

#3 I don't care what the score said...Ducks came out on top

A lot of Duck fans feel terribly robbed tonight...

Nuff said...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Normal Canning...Times Ten

Times 10?

My poor tired aching feet might beg to differ.

More like 100 they think.

My dad has mega connections.

He arranged for delivery of another "box" of apples, just like last year.

Did I mention that the box contained 1000 pounds of apples?

Here they are in all their appley goodness...
Purdy, no?
Thankfully we still had the strainer that Dad attached a motor to (yes, my arm thanks him) and the apple cutter that he engineered using a tire pump.

Yes...he's a genius.

Why couldn't I have inherited that gene?

My mom came out two days and worked tirelessly.

Her energy is amazing.

She did most of the stirring at the stove.

Can I just tell you how nice it was to have my canning buddy back?

I sure missed her during peaches/pears.

She was fighting a lil thing that we refer to as cancer.

But she kicked it in the butt.

Here we are working away in the kitchen.
I would be amiss if I didn't mention that Corey, Michael, Joseph and Timothy also worked really hard...the entire time...without complaining.

Frankly, I'm suspicious. I'm still waiting to hear what it is that they want.

Here is the finished product.

All nice and neat in the locked pantry.

Kidding...we really do let the kids eat the food we can.

I just wish they would slow down.
Final count?

Drum roll.....

325 quarts...

In two days...

A new record for us.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas 2010

If I were to sum up our Christmas in one word it would be...


Don't look at me like that...I'm serious.

I was a woman on a mission this year.

Christmas pasts were full of rushing, sleep deprivation, cramming in events, stress and pressure.

Doesn't sound like much fun, huh?

This year I was determined to make things different.

So I planned way ahead for once.

Shopping, wrapping, family pictures, Christmas letter and cards, Christmas dinner, family activities and traditions and goodie plates

I gave myself a timeline and made sure to include plenty of time to just kick back and relax.

As a result...

The best Christmas ever

We put up two different trees this year.

Our "Duck the Halls" tree we put up downstairs.

The Ducks are playing in the National Championship game this year, for the first time ever, so the Duck tree was a must.
Complete with a Duck train and station.
We put up the family tree in the master bedroom where it would be safe from the toddlers so we could put the presents out sooner, knowing that they might actually stay wrapped until Christmas morning.

We have a tradition here regarding the angel on top of the tree.

Each year a different child gets to put the angel on top.

So in a family with nine kids, your chance comes around twice.

Michael mentioned how this has scarred him for life.

He can imagine a time in his future when he is married and has kids.

It will be Christmas time and one of his kids will ask to put the angel on the tree.

He sadly tells me that he can see himself grabbing the angel, clutching it tightly to his chest and shouting "mine, mine, mine".

I'm pretty sure I should check on counseling for him after winter break is over.

Anyway, it was Lily's turn this year.
I had started shopping for presents back in October and was pretty much all done by the time Thanksgiving rolled around.

We kept it simple again this year with the kids each getting two nice, meaningful gifts.

I asked the grandparents to keep it simple this year too.

It was refreshing.

I wrapped the presents and had them under the tree a week before Christmas.

I use code names for the kids so that no one knows which presents are theirs until Christmas morning.

It is so funny watching them try to figure which name belongs to whom.

Sleeping Beauty, Grumpy Smurf, Hercules, Hulk, Lightenin' McQueen, Cinderella, Alice, Batman and Goldilocks were the names we used this year.
The week of Christmas was so much fun.

We played games and watched a different Shrek movie each night.

We just hung out.

We made amazing nachos.
I even had time to bake 10 different cheesecakes and give sampler plates to our friends.
We hung out in our PJ's and just enjoyed each other's company.

Can someone tell me how this could possibly be comfortable?
The kids each made a little gingerbread house.
Our whole fam damily.
We hope you had an amazing 2010 and we wish you an even better 2011!

Happy New Year!