August 31, 2010

Humble pie goes well with Spaghetti

This was part of an email I received yesterday. "I have seven children.  Adopted daughter, then quintuplets, and a surprise.  The older six are seven and my youngest is five. "

I am seriously thinking of changing the name of my blog to "Serene is my name, and my life is a piece of fluffy cheesecake."

I think it has a rather nice ring to it, don't you?


And this was part of a voice mail I found on my phone from Gina the other day. "Give me a call back so I can tell you something about your blog that makes me laugh every time I get on."

Being curious by nature, I called her back.

She was then gracious enough, or as gracious as she could be while shoving humble pie down my constricted throat, that I had misspelled my little "Recipes" button up there at the top of my blog. It had read "Recipies".

Okay seriously? That dad-gum button has been up for MONTHS people, MONTHS! I always thought here was something about my blog that looked a little off, but it never registered in my pregnancy ravished brain cells that I had misspelled that simple little word. Hundreds of people have dropped by, and no one bothered to tell me? No wonder no one likes my blog anymore.

I promised myself I would not pick on any of the school teachers or writers who read my blog.

But you know who you are, I hope you feel guilty.

And here I thought we were all friends. But I see it now. I bet there is a "Laugh at Serene's 'recipie' button fan club" out there somewhere. They probably gather once a week to eat "pie" and chocolate, and laugh at my misspelled word.


Okay, you're right. That's giving my blog WAY too much credit.

But still, I am wallowing in the depths of humiliation.

So, in honor of the new button, I hereby present to you a true recipe, spelled correctly.

You see, I'm not much a spaghetti fan. It just doesn't do it for me, you know?

But I found this recipe while we were starving students in college and I have to say, I fell in love. Deeply in love. It is so very simple yet incredibly delish! Even my husband, who hates garlic, will scarf this down faster than a bowl of ice cream.

Okay, so maybe that's pushing it. But I dare you to give it a try. I've made it for other people who have begged for the recipe.

You'll never look at spaghetti the same way again.

Spaghetti in Garlic and Oil

14 ounces spaghetti
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped very fine
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

In large frying pan, heat the oil and gently sauté the garlic until golden brown. Do not let it brown or it will taste bitter. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper. Remove from heat until pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta and add to oil and garlic. Cook together for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring well to coat. Serve warm with Parmesan cheese.

*Note: I’ll often add a cup or two of diced chicken. Yum!

P.S. Sorry about the weird formatting. Sometimes, I strongly dislike blogger.

August 30, 2010

A whole lot of firsts

A week and a half ago, my oldest turned six years old.

In some ways I can't believe six whole years has gone by. In other ways, I can't believe it's only been a mere six years since the doctor placed her slimy white body on my lap.

I remember just staring at her. I had no warm fuzzy feeling, no sudden out pouring of love. I'm pretty sure I was feeling nothing outside of pure shock. It seemed so surreal. Did I really just make that?

It wasn't until later that morning when the nurse came to take her away at about 4am so I could get to sleep, that it finally hit me. She was mine, she was my baby! And then I cried as they wheeled her out of the room.

The first week after we brought her home was rough. Not as rough as my friends and family had it when their babies had to spend a lot of time in NICU, wondering if their little one was going to pull through.

But at the time I had no close friends or family with babies and I didn't know squat. I just assumed everything would be easy peasy, happy joy after we came home.


First she wouldn't eat. For two days she screamed and screamed as I tried to get her to nurse since the "how to be a good mom" videos and classes at the hospital put the fear of bottles in me. I know better now.

Finally we took her in to see the pediatrician. Turns out she had an infection in the back of her throat, so they put her on an anti-biotic.

After that her jaundice was in the danger zone so we ended up putting her in UV lights for three days. 

Since I was terrified that the eye pads would come off, allowing the lights to damage her eyesight, I did my best to stay awake for the whole three days she was in lights, dozing with my head propped up on the edge of the bed so I would wake up every time she stirred and I could adjust her eye pads accordingly.

While my husband slept soundly next to me.

Then I developed the most horribly itchy rash, sent from the depths of hell itself to torment me, all over my legs.

I don't think I slept at all for the first three weeks of Savannah's life. 

Now she is a sassy yet sweet little six-year old.

Since last year she had her first big friend party, complete with painted murals on the walls, we kept it pretty low key this year.

Just us, and a batch of cupcakes.

Which the kids used there very best manners to eat.

Because if they had actually made a mess, they would have felt guilty, obviously.

Her presents consisted of two bags of "new" hand-me-down clothes for school, (does that make me lame?)

a new Fancy Nancy book, (best books ever! I highly recommend them)

and a dry-erase activity center.

Special thanks to Jody for the wrapping paper.  (still laughing over that one)

Without you, Savannah's presents would surely have ended up in Christmas paper... or plastic bags.

And so today, I sent my first-born off to school for her first day of first grade. She was so excited she could hardly stand it, because she loves school. 

Sorry about the bad photo

And no, I didn't tell her to pose like that, she did that all on her own.

I was only mildly freaking out that I was sending my JUST BARELY six-year old off to school for the whole day.

If they had half-day first grade, I totally would have put her in it.

We had her whole outfit picked out last night. But since it was only 50 stinking cold degrees and raining this morning, we had to alter it.

In the meantime, I'm bemoaning the loss of our 6-week long summer,

and wearing my fuzzy pink slippers.

August 27, 2010

Faster than a speeding bullet?

I know what you're thinking.

"Oh, she's so perfect. She's adorable. Her eyes are the color of chocolate. Oh my gosh, they just don't come any cuter!"

And I would have to agree with all of the above. After all, she is mine and I don't mind saying, I do rather splendid work.

Okay fine, my husband helped... a little.

But I have a secret for you.

*whispering* Pssst... lean in closer. 

She's really a monster in disguise. 

No, no, it's true, and I can prove it!

Observe her handiwork.

And she did it, oh so quickly and quietly. I was down there only minutes before.

I suppose I could look on the bright side and consider the possibly that she's merely a budding super hero, perhaps who's powers involves stealth and speed.

But I'm opting for monster.


Because she has no remorse. None.  

I had stepped out of the bathroom briefly to collect pajamas. And when I came back?

No remorse.

I had just barely finished making a sandwich for my husband who had only a few second to run in the house to grab it and leave again. I walked my husband to the door and waved goodbye. Then I went back to the kitchen.

So much for that pack of turkey.

No remorse.

I saw her with the box of cereal, but was walking past to throw some dirty towels in the laundry room. I came straight back to grab it from her. Too late.

No remorse.

She actually had the audacity to say "cheese" while I snapped this picture!

Did I mention she had already done that with a bag of chips and a bag of graham crackers?

Oh well, I suppose now whoever eats the last bowl from that box won't have to worry about the annoying cereal powder that always makes your milk weird.

Maybe she's just really smart and is trying to help out by getting rid of the cereal powder?

Eh, I'll stick with monster, for now.

A cute monster whom I love and adore. And she knows it.

She was about to show me her fangs.

August 25, 2010

If you're a man, I would recommend not reading this.

While at Walmart this afternoon, I was cutting through the... eh hem, feminine products isle.

My three year old son, who was walking along side the cart yells up at me, "What are doze?" pointing to the... eh hem, feminine products on the shelf.

My six year old daughter took charge of the conversation. "Those are for when you bleed on your bum bum!"

"Ya!", my four year old son yells back over his shoulder, "They're bum bum band aids!"

And then I smiled sweetly at the man who walked by at that exact moment.

August 24, 2010

Rocks, birds, and boys

As I was collecting my children from the neighbor's yard, she turned to me and asked, "Did you hear about the bird?"

"No." I replied, totally unaware of the shock I was about to receive.

She laughs and tells me this story.

"Well, there was this bird all tangled up in some netting we have sitting out. It was pretty stuck so it must have been there a while. But before I could do anything to get it out, I see Joseph with a rock in his hand standing over it. Then, *boop* he dropped it right on the bird."

I stood there absolutely mortified, horrified, and utterly speechless as I tried to decide what I needed more, a psychologist or chocolate.

At that moment, all the kids ran by and my immobilized body made of jello quickly hardened in determination as I grabbed Joseph from the pack, knelt in front of him and asked why in the world he would do such a thing!

His little face crumpled and his eyes got just a little misty.

"Betause," He answered in a small, squeaky voice, "Betause he had a mean face!."

He just looked so down right distraught.

Whatever answer I was expecting, that wasn't it. 

And I had to choke on my surprised laugh.

August 23, 2010

Just add water - Part 3

My husband went out of town yesterday, and I felt sorry for anyone who had to sit within ten feet of us at church.

The day passed surprisingly well as I caught up on some book reading while the kids played.

But by the time my kids were in bed last night, my kitchen floor was in complete disarray. Cheerios, bread crumbs, and pretzels were scattered and crushed every where. Several sticky spots kept them company as the many cups of juice that had been spilled and splattered had only been quickly and carelessly wiped up.

I stared at my kitchen for a very long time. 

Then I flipped the light off and went to bed.

This morning the kids were unusually grumpy, as though the the mess that was left alone last night had penetrated their very attitudes. Which it probably did.

Something had to be done, and fast.

Or my kids were going to end up as the newest exhibit at the local zoo.

Then I had an idea. An epiphany, if  you will.

Images of my childhood raced through my mind as I saw my siblings and myself, in our swimsuits with bowl and towel in hand, slip-n-sliding our way across the tile floor in our rather large family room as we "scrubbed it clean".

Oh had there ever been a more brilliant idea? 

I think not.

I quickly cleared the floor of all toys, shoes, clothes, and chairs, then I swept it clean.

I got out a bowl of water, with a drop of soap, gave each of the kids a rag, and told them to scrub the floor clean!

To say they were excited, would be a gross understatement. They all jumped at the opportunity!

We turned on some music and pretty soon it turned into a wet dance party! Even though you surprisingly can't hear the music that was blaring in the background.

And one bowl of soapy water turned into two.

And two bowls turned into three.

I finally put an end to the water as they continued to scrub away. You understand why.

Soon the scrubbing gave way to playing.

And playing gave way to throwing.

Don't worry, we scrubbed the walls and baseboards afterwards.

My child labor force. And sorry about Jacob. Eh hem, awkward....

After a while I collected all the rags and brought out the towels. They were just as excited to dry the floor as they were to get it wet.

And now, my children are off happily playing together, and my floor is cleaner now than it has probably ever been before.

The extra load of towels were SO worth it.

My only regret?

Doing it BEFORE lunch.

August 22, 2010

The Fandamily Reunion - Grand Finale

Prologue: Despite numerous power outages, and that fact that my eight year old iMac kept "unexpectedly quitting" my dadgum internet browser, I was finally able to go through the last hundred photos and get this blasted post done.

My computer has no idea how lucky it is that I didn't chuck it through the window.

Now, where were we? Ah yes, the family reunion...

I never really grew up with pets. We had a cat or a rabbit here and there but in general, I grew up in a pet-less household. Consequently, I can't say I've ever had any real desire to have some of my own.

So when I caught Alayna playing, petting, and cuddling these,

I figured, perfect! I'll get my kids all the non-pooping/shedding pets they want and they'll be perfectly happy!

But I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Thursday morning we loaded up the kids in the little trailer attached to the riding lawnmower and went the short distance to the neighbor's house.

This is a shot of my parent's new place from the front of the neighbor's house. Gorgeous, isn't it?

When we arrived, out jumped two dogs and a cat!

At first my kids kept their distance, unsure of themselves and the animals.

I was very surprised to discover that by the end of our visit, they were all the best of friends.

Fake animals eh?

Bang goes that theory. 


But the purpose behind our visit was to let the kids do a little horse riding.

Savannah was exited and went first. But once she actually got on she was a little nervous and scared. 

But soon she was having the time of her life!

Even though you can't tell. She's in a "anti-showing my teeth while I smile" phase.

Jacob went next. He too was a little terrified but once he got the hang of it, 

boy did he ever have fun!

Joseph flat out refused to get anywhere near the dang thing!

After a whole lot of coaxing and prodding, we finally convinced him to sit on it.

For a minute.

Then he was done!

He much preferred to play with the horse pooper scooper.

And since I'm such an awesome mother who lets my children explore the wide world around them, I let him. 

*nervous cough... awkward pause...* 

Okay then, moving on. 

Alayna too had her fun. She wasn't sure if she wanted to or not, but eventually warmed up to the idea and had a turn.

The most entertaining one to watch though, was my little nephew, Nathan.

Once it was his turn, my sister stuck him on there where he promptly started screaming and crying to get off.

Once they pulled him off, he screamed and cried to get back on.

It was awesome. And I laughed.

After my sister and parents took a turn, I was talked into getting on as well. Once I plopped my bum on that horse, Alayna went into a frenzy and insisted she be allowed up there with me.

After a short turn, I got off, much to her dismay. She flatly refused to get off! Little stinker.

So the girls took one more turn.

Needless to say, she became quite attached to the place!

Bwh ha! *deep intake of breath* Okay, bad picture joke.

Once we got back, and realized we had no other big plans for the day, the engineer in my husband took over.

See, my dad is having to build a little barn to house his "pet" cows since the structure they are currently in doesn't actually sit on their property.

And since my husband spent many years doing construction and holds an engineering degree, he instantly noted several things that need to be fixed.

So we had us a good ole' fashioned barn raising!

Mmmm... yummy.  I love when he's holding a power tool.

Pretty soon, he had enlisted the help of all the other guys.

Course, with this motley crew, we're lucky no one lost an eye!

And what, pray tell were the girls doing during all this? Well, after a little bit of *coshoppingugh*, there was nothing for my sisters to do but make cookies!

They even let my girls help.

And might I just say that even though I've lit a turkey pot pie on fire and have blown up a casserole dish, I have never, EVER lit cookie dough on fire.

I would be devastated over the waste of chocolate.

And since it was really my sister's fault... or maybe Renee's, I was only mildly depressed.

Luckily this cute thing saved me complete depression.

Friday and Saturday were pretty chillaxed.

On Sunday morning, after I got Alayna up, she ran and hid. 

When I finally found her, her tried to get away again.

She must have known it was coming. You can't wake up with a head of hair like this every morning and not fear the wrath of the mighty comb.

She gets that from me.

Now you know what I look like first thing in the morning.

Eh hem.

After church we loaded up and made the seven hour trek home.

Thanks mom and dad! We had a blast! Can't wait to do it again next year!!

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