Thursday, December 10, 2009

Couldn't have said it better myself

This is a direct quote from a blog I stumbled upon today. It couldn't state any more perfectly how I feel.

There are few things as important to me, as romantic, as powerful as the soul-satisfying process of preparing food.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You're gonna drool on the keyboard

The results of a Saturday morning in the kitchen with my mom. Wish you were here!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Don't sell yourself short. No debt is possible.

Those of you who know us well will remember that we are fans of Dave Ramsey’s methods and that a couple of years back we succeeded in paying off all of our debt except for our home. Shortly after that we managed to fully fund our emergency fund. So, we were driving 2 paid for cars with enough money in the bank to help us in time of crisis. Not bad.

Since then though, Rockstar's older model Jeep has broken down multiple times. It’s a 97model with over 200,000 miles. Each time we could have said, “Enough! We’re going to buy a something new!” We refrained each time though, paying for the repairs as we went. The fact that we realized was that even if we had to put a grand into his old car that still wasn’t near as much money as a new car would cost and we weren’t willing to wipe out our emergency fund for a vehicle.

Then real trauma struck. A couple of weeks ago Luke and I were driving to town when another driver turned in front of us and totaled our Trailblazer. Now we were looking at replacing a vehicle for whatever the insurance company would give us for it. Not to mention, other serious issues had recently forced us to deplete our emergency fund to the very bare minimum. (Good thing we hadn’t decided to use that fund to replace Rockstar's car!) Considering those factors it was easy to think, “Oh well, time for a new car. We’re going to have to borrow again.” Not so.

Through some thorough searching we found the car pictured above (except ours is black) in great condition that only had one previous owner and it happened to have 80,000 miles LESS than my Trailblazer had on it. Not to mention it has quite a few more amenities like heated leather seats and a sunroof which we have never had before. Best part about it is that the car sold for less than what we were getting back from insurance for our trailblazer. Have you ever purchased a car without having to go through the financing paperwork? It is GLORIOUS! The whole transaction took less than half an hour and we drove off the lot with nothing owed.

I guess I say all that to show that it is possible. Rockstar and I long ago gave up status symbols, so the fact that the new car happens to be a station wagon bothers us none. We have a family and this serves us perfectly. We also aren’t ashamed to drive an older model like he does. Honestly, his car is a piece of crap (doesn’t even have a working A/C) and we will jump for joy the day that we are able to replace it with something much better, but for now we are content until we are able to do that without borrowing. So next time you are tempted to throw in the towel and borrow again, remember that often times there is a way out if you are just willing to look for it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A few of our reasons to smile

We love our babies.

Duck Tales

Not the old cartoon that so many of us grew up watching, this is a true duck tale.

Yesterday the dogs and I were walking across the pond levee that connects my parents’ yard to ours when all of a sudden out of the tall grass fly two ducks about 5 yards ahead of me. They apparently had nested in the grass but sensed the presence of the dogs and knew that their best bet for safety was to be on the water. This, in itself, is not unusual at our place. We have many ducks and geese on the pond at various times throughout the year. However, as I neared the spot where they took flight from I still heard rustling in the grass. I quickly scanned for the dogs and realized that they were up ahead of me so they weren’t the reason for the scurrying sounds coming from the tall grass, but I couldn’t spot anything. After a few seconds I kept on moving. After all, anyone who’s lived in the country even a few days knows better than to go wading through tall grass beside a pond in the middle of the summer with flip flops on. It’s the perfect environment for no-shoulders (you might call them snakes) and I just assumed that what I heard was probably a snake or some small rodent.

As I started walking, the dogs circled back to investigate the situation and headed into the grass to roam. I paid them no mind. They spend most of their days roaming the countryside sniffing and finding all kinds of lovely prizes to bring back into the yard (usually decaying cow bones…yum). This time, however, I made one last call to them as I reached our yard and Fenway, the golden retriever, came bounding out of the grass with a a very dead looking baby duckling in his mouth. Apparently the scurrying in the grass hadn’t been a no-shoulders after all.

I took off running toward Fenway scolding him and telling him to drop it. Poor guy was totally confused, I’m sure. He’s a retriever after all…born for hunting water fowl. I’m sure he thought I would be proud of him for his catch. Despite the confusion, he dropped the duckling and I reach down to see if there was any life left in the little guy when all of a sudden it jumped up and took off running toward the pond. Then Tango, the rat terrier, got in on the game. She had no wish to eat the little one but ran along with it nudging it with her nose and knocking it off its feet each time. All the while I had Fenway by the scruff of the neck trying to keep him from chasing. When the duckling finally reached the edge of the water I lost my grip and Fenway bounded to the pond and leap into the water. Then the oddest thing happened. The water settled and there was no duckling. Fenway turned around in a complete circle looking at least 3 or 4 times. By this time I was convinced that the poor duckling was so weak from the prior events that he simply drowned when Fenway landed on him.

Dejected that I wasn’t able to save the little one I called for Fenway and started to turn toward the house when out of the corner of my eye I see the little duckling pop up out of the water about half way across the pond. What a fighter! This little one had swam completely under water at least 30 yards to get to safety! I swear I almost cheered aloud standing on the pond bank! Within moments he was back with the two larger ducks swimming around like he was none the worse for wear. I think I’ll name him Rocky.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I heart Microsoft Excel

Yes, Ipods, Iphones, Kindles, and all those other techno gizmos are cool, but they are NOTHING compared to the absolute beauty of Excel. Ok, so maybe it’s not quite cutting edge, but Excel always has had and always will have my heart.

Just take a moment to wrap your head around the unsurpassed versatility of it! There are very few things in life for which I don’t use Excel. I make my grocery lists with neat little check boxes for use as I shop. I create our month budget with it. I calculate and store our long term savings plans and goals in it. I even keep my check register in it…ehem…when I actually decide to keep up with a check register. (Shh! Don’t tell Dave about that last little tid bit!) How did we ever live with just legal pads and calculators?? I have a spreadsheet for my “weekly routine” at work as well the same for our home routine. And oh the beauty of packing lists all itemized and, of course, with those awesome little check boxes so that I ensure that we have each and every last sock and pair of underwear that we need for our trips!

Sums, sorts, charts, tables, cells, columns, subtotals, workbooks, worksheets…be still my heart! It’s almost more than I can take.

And now that I’ve confirmed that my nerdiness exceeds even the pocket protector, horn rimmed glasses, highwater pants with velcro shoes guys from high school, I’m going to sign off and pretend it never happened.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Things I Learned on Vacation

The fam just got back from a few days in St Louis. Here are just a few of the things I learned while there:

- The arch is WAY high.
- Clydesdales are WAY big.
- 6 and 3 year olds really aren't old enough to enjoy much about baseball games except the $5 Cokes and the $7.50 hot dogs.
- Grandparents who take aforementioned children back to the hotel so we can see the last few innings are awesome.
- Wives who let their husbands go back the next night to see a second game while they keep the kids are even more awesome. ;-)
- The Mr. Freeze ride rocks my socks off.
- Lightning puts a quick end to roller coasters and water parks.
- Tired and hungry 3 year olds who have to go potty sure can do some screaming from the back seat of a car.
- Having a 6 year old who gags and vomits at the smell of any food that he doesn't like is difficult to manage when you have a party of 10 at each meal.
- Explaining to a 6 year old why it's smarter to wait and buy two $6 toys from Target rather than buying one $12 version of the exact same item at the souvenir shop is not an easy task. He just keeps trying to explain that he doesn't want TWO. He just wants ONE and he wants it NOW!
- My kids make me tired.
- Sometimes I think I'm ready for them to be older so they won't make me so tired. Then I look at those sweet faces and hear them giggle as they smother me with kisses and I realize that I never want this time to end.


I spoke with a caucasian gentleman today who was complimenting me on how friendly and speedy I was in helping him. I smiled and said thank you as anyone would have before he began explaining about his trip to another office where he had to wait an extraordinarily long time. The kicker of the conversation was when he complained, "They didn't even care if I was black or white!"

I didn't bother to try to remind him about Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity and all those other little minor bits of our legislative history. I don't think he would have heard me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thank goodness God understands

Luke volunteered to say the blessing before dinner last night and it went something like this:

"Dear God, thank you for all the stuff that you do for us and all the stuff that you give us. Thank you for giving us all your blood and thank you for dying for all the sins in the army. Amen."

Can you tell he's listening to the prayers of adults and trying to piece bits of them together? :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Did I really just see what I just saw?

Hello all. Rockstar here.
As I drove around today I saw something that was both amusing and strange all at the same time. Let me start by saying I think I am pretty "hip" to what the new fad, etc, is in today's world. (As I wrote that last line I felt like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers; "I'm hip. I'm with it. Tucka tucka tucka" as he is doing the Macarena.) Today I realized, however, that I am, in fact, out of touch with what is cool.
I try to give my kids everything that they could possibly want or need. I think they have nice clothing, fun toys, and just pretty great stuff. As It turns out though they are completely deprived because they don't have a Cadillac Escalade to ride around in with their posse. As I was driving through this subdivision I saw a line of FOUR Cadillac Escalade Big Wheels rolling down the street. Lots of people say something made them "laugh out loud" and they just mean that they thought it was funny. I literally laughed out loud and just could not believe what I was seeing.
I had to call my good friend Hedge who has his Master's Degree in Southern Studies and tell him of this new cultural phenomenon. He proceeded to tell me that it was just another way for the white man to atone for the sins of the past by presenting each of these youngsters with a status symbol that they could be proud of.
I know this was completely random but I felt like I had to share it. Now, back to armadillo hunting...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rockstar Goes Country

If you know anything about rock stars you know that they are not typically “rural” people. They feel at home on the stage or in the sometimes-sketchy club scene, but when it comes to country life and wild animals they are out of their element for the most part. I have to admit that my rockstar has fit this profile to a ‘T’, that is until 2:30am this morning.

Yes folks, at 2:30am my husband, wearing boxer briefs and flip flops while wielding a mighty dangerous hoe (the kind you chop weeds with!), became an official country bumpkin. It only took him 6+ years of living here to achieve that status. Let me explain.

We were having a restless night already due to the fact that our children just could not seem to get comfortable in any other bed than ours. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing 4 human bodies in one queen size bed, take my word for it. It’s a tangled mass of hot and sweaty limbs mixed with the stale stench of night-time breath. It's hell. It’s a wonderful bonding experience. Around 2:30am our two dogs, who had been out roaming in the cool night air, started barking ferociously. They barked and they barked until finally I gave up and did what any good wife does. I punched Rockstar and told him to get up and find out what they could possibly be so concerned about. I heard him go out the door and call them, and shortly after I heard the sound of giant paws in the laundry room. Things were going well. That meant Fenway, the golden retriever, had torn himself from whatever held his attention so intently and had willingly come inside without much hassle. Something was amiss though.

Rockstar was calling and calling for Tango (the rat terrier) and apparently she was not responding. Within moments he was stomping into the bedroom and donning his flip flops. He was trekking out to get the little one. I could tell he was in a bit of a huff. It was 2:30am after all and it was raining. In the interest of marital security, I decided that I would get up and help. We found Tango (all 10lbs of her) snarling and barking with all of her might at a cornered armadillo in our flower bed and she was not giving up anytime soon. (I’d like to think she fully believed that she was saving us and our children from the vicious creature that was trying to dig its way under our foundation. Yes, I’m sure that was it.) That’s when Rockstar, in all his glory, grabbed the hoe from the garage. I, barefoot and in my pjs as well, backed the car out of the garage and positioned it where the lights would give us a clear view of this creature. We watched awhile as Tango moved in barking with teeth bared and the armadillo made horrible growly-hissing noises. This was scary stuff, let me tell ya! Then Rockstar made his move, inching closer and closer, hitting the ground with the hoe attempting to scare one of the two animals away. He eventually managed to break Tango from her trance and she moved far enough from the armadillo that I felt safe in running up and grabbing her.

I held Tango in my arms and Rockstar and I took a moment to laugh and mention that this was great blog material before I headed inside with her. Just then though, as if God had to have one last pot shot at us, Chris stepped toward the car to move it back into the garage and sunk ankle deep in a gigantic mudhole in the driveway. I laughed all the way to the house as he stood in the driveway yelling, “AWESOME! This is JUST AWESOME!”

P.S. We left the troublemaker armadillo to wander off on his own but I have no doubt that we'll eventually have a run in with him again. He just better watch it. If Rockstar gets any braver he may lose a tail.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to Taska

Rockstar and I welcome you to our little piece of the blogosphere. We’ve both recently found ourselves with the urge to write and have decided that a shared blog might be just the way to scratch that itch. Through this blog we hope to share with you the trials, tribulations, and hilarious moments that we encounter in our daily lives. We live in a simple rural community (read: the middle of nowhere) with our two children and two dogs, surrounded by lots of family, and we have a wonderfully abundant life. We hope you will stop by and share our adventures with us.

I should warn you, however, of some things that you won’t find here. This won’t be the blog of the perfect mother whose perfectly behaved children are speaking full sentences immediately upon birth and reciting the Gettysburg Address by three. You know…the ones with the perfect marriage to boot. Yep, I get kind of nauseas just thinking about those kinds of blogs. It also won’t be the blog of the homemaker who has every nook and cranny organized and has her handy dandy notebook filled with her daily cleaning routines. I work full time and so does Rockstar so we do good just to make sure we’re all fed, have clean laundry, and that the dog hair is at least swept into a pile in the corner of the room.

What this blog will be, hopefully, is a place of honesty. Honest joy as we celebrate great times together and honest sorrow as we struggle through more difficult times. Rockstar and I have received the blessing of a new perspective over the past year. We have learned, and are still learning, that each and every moment is precious, that love conquers all, that family is indispensable, and that good friends are incredible treasures. This new perspective hasn’t come without pain, but the blessing that has come from it has been immense. We hope to share with you our “new” life that has come with that blessing. If it sounds like something you might like, stick around and we’ll do our best not to disappoint.