Little Wife On the Prairie

When you are everything to everyone, well, you had better act like you have it all together.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meeting friends at Target.

I wouldn't advise it. It could be dangerous. However, it did work out great for me! It's funny. I can't imagine meeting her in any other way. Our friendship has never been "normal". I mean that in a good way! So because I told you I would share, here is our story...

Matt and I were in Target one day with Jolie, who was 2 and Asher, who was 6 months old. We were shopping around for nothing in particular when a sweet and handsome little boy, who I thought to be at least 3 or maybe 4, ran around the corner. We smiled at him as his mother came walking, (well, waddling) around the corner. She was VERY pregnant and looked kind of exhausted. Being in the Texas Panhandle where there are no strangers, we began to talk. As we talked my little girl and her little boy, who I found out was actually just a giant 2-year-old, began to play together. I instantly felt a connection with this clam yet weary mommy. But what really got my attention was how our kids played together. There was no fussing or fighting or drama. These babies were taking turns and being kind to each other. That was big for being two-year-olds!

I can't even remember what we talked about. I am sure it was something about babies and maybe a little about what our husbands were into. But all I know is that we connected.

The story could have ended there. I would have had a lovely conversation with a nice girl and went on about my business. Lucky for me, it didn't end there. Michelle and I, though we never mentioned it to each other, were both very lonesome for friends. So, as we said good bye, I kept the warm feeling of our conversation in my heart as we finished our shopping. We had a few things to pay for and so we headed to the front. When I pulled out my wallet to pay, I saw my new friend at the register across from us. She happened to be checking out at the same time. We looked at each other and laughed. Then, as we gathered our stuff to go, Matt noticed that she was struggling to carry out some big tubs so he offered to help her out to her car. We walked out together listening to our silly little kiddos talk to each other.

We exchanged a few more words as I stopped at my car. Matt left me to load the kids and followed her to her car. Turns out, she was parked right across from us! We laughed again at the coincidence. Matt loaded her tubs and said good bye. I was sitting in the car watching with the warm feeling still in my heart. Matt got in the car and began to pull out. I stopped him. Then I asked, "Do you think she would think that I was weird if I asked for her number." I had never asked a girl for her number before.

Matt said, "Why would she think you are weird?" Apparently he was quite comfortable with the whole asking for numbers thing.

"I don't know. She might think I'm desperate." I whined.

"You are desperate. Just go ask her." Matt said. He was right. I needed someone kindred. I had been a lonesome mom for too long. I needed a friend. So before she could get away, I ran over to her and said something awkward like, "I think you're cool, wanna hang out?" To my surprise, she was just as happy as I was! She said that she had been kicking herself for not asking for my number. I relaxed a little, got her number and gave her a hug goodbye. It was simple, and sweet. God had been gracious to us. He had bought us together in a unique way at the perfect time.

In the months that followed we had a hard time connecting. She had a baby, I had some medical issues. Her husband was immersed in his job as a youth pastor, mine was working shift work. It was dang hard to start up this friendship. But after a slow start, we began getting our kiddos together regularly. It was SO MUCH FUN! Our kids still got along great and we had so much in common. (Though we are very different.) We always joke about how, in the beginning, I thought that she was secretly a single mom. For the first couple of weeks she kept telling me that I would meet her husband. Then she would have some great excuse as to why he could not show up this day or that day. It was all very fishy.

Finally, at Joshia's 3rd b-day party, we met the elusive John.  I think he was afraid of us.  There was very little eye contact and just one or two grunts of hello.  Over the course of the evening, John and Matt played Chucky Cheese games with the kids and apparently did a bit of bonding.  (They are now as good of friends as Michelle and I.)  After the party they invited us to their house for awhile.  We accepted and the rest is history!

 We have been through lots together.  Sickness, job losses and changes, homeschooling, two-year-olds, the lost of a parent, the loss of a child, work troubles, church troubles, angry pregnancies (sorry chelley) and life-changing choices.  We have cried together, argued, cooked for each other, cared for each others kids, given each other space and forced one another to talk.  There has never been another friend who has given me as much grace or as much grief!  She doesn't let me get away with anything.  She makes me challenge what I believe and think twice about things I say.  It's a sharpening relationship.  It's a safe and familiar relationship.

Our lives have given over to the business of children and the grasping at these little ones who are trying to grow up.  We both have a hard time leaving our families.  So we don't get to see each other as much as we did before.  But when we do get to see each other, we cherish our time.  One day, our families will need us less and we will need each other more.  John and Matt will go to the canyon for a hike.  Michelle and I will head to the coffee shop to look at magazines and talk about life.  There will always be something to talk about or to talk through.

God, thank you for bringing me this friendship.  I know this was your plan.  You have enter-twined our families lives so that we could leave if we tried.  Thank you for this like-minded family who helps to make our journey more interesting.  Bless them in their future and cover them with your Spirit here in the present.  And Lord, thank you for using an ordinary store to begin a very un-ordinary relationship.

We love you crazies!  For every one else, I would love to hear about where you met your best friend.  Everyone has a story.  Tell it to us!   

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Watch this.

Jim Gaffigan is a comedian.  He is not always appropriate so please don't just google and expect something clean.  But watch this clip on holidays.  It cracks me up!  (There is one H-E-double hockey sticks)  He doesn't seem to be a "religious man",but it is funny how he hits the nail on the head about some of our holiday traditions. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

End of my fun

Sometime between September and October I became a garden slacker. It happens naturally. I worked so hard all spring to get the little boogers going. I toiled through the summer to keep them alive and producing. Then when fall starts to drift my way, I let my garden fend for itself. The great thing is, it keeps right on producing and growing without any help from me! I get the reward without the work. Is that like becoming a grandparent? You work so hard to get the family started, then you slave away at raising the children and keeping them alive, then without any help from you, they begin producing on their own! I have to say, that sounds wonderful. I will welcome that time in my life just like I welcome that time in my garden. Here are the pictures of the last of the season and the end of my fun.

One tomato plant, giving up it's last blush.

Peppers that would keep right on producing if not for the frost!

A lonely okra.

Melons that retired long ago.

This is what she looks like now. Bare, restful and given over to the chickens.

At least I have this scene to look forward to for next season! Love daddy working with his boys. Love that little hiney too. Oh and Levi's as well! hahaahahah!

On another note, I have made a big change to the blog. Our new name is Little Wife on the Prairie! It seems to fit my life and my loves better than somemamadrama. That was a name I came up with in a hurry on the first night I blogged. It never made me happy or had the ring that I wanted it to have. So since I am in charge here, I changed it. I realize that there are many people who hate change and some who might be uncomfortable with this one. To you I say, seriously? But I do have a husband just like you. I will reassure you as I reassured him. Same blog, new name. Same blog, new name. Okay? Thanks for hanging with me. I hope to continue to post things that are interesting and maybe even helpful. But sometimes I am still going to post things that make my own heart happy like pics of my kids or pics of food. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 18, 2010

For Michelle...

I have a friend. I know you are all surprised. She and I met at Target about 7 years ago. Yes, at Target. I will explain in a future post. It is a nice story with a happy ending.
This dearest friend, Michelle, asked me for my bread recipe. I have a basic wheat-blend bread recipe that I make weekly. It is the bread we use for toast, sandwiches and, well, whatever else you use basic slices of bread for. Since Michelle asked, I decided to not be boring and give her messy written instructions. A better way to share a recipe is to blog about it. So here I am. Blogging. And if you can follow a simple recipe, you can make bread for you and your family. It seems like a pain but once you get the hang of it, you can get really fast at the process.
If you try this and get the bread bug here is a good site that has instructions on how to make ANY bread you want! The Fresh Loaf. Give it a try. Start small. The first time you smear a warm piece of fresh bread with butter and honey, you will be addicted.
So here you are Chelley. Hope you make and eat lots of bread. Then we can have matching butts. Love you!

Start with 1-1/3 cups warm water. I said warm. Not hot or cold. Warm.

Add 2-1/4 tsp dry yeast or 1 package if that's how you roll. (get it? roll!! hahaha)

Here is the creative part. You need 1/4 cup food for the yeast. Sugar, honey, molasses, dried milk, whatever makes you happy. This is beautiful. It's winter honey from the farmer's market in Roswell. It is made from cotton and wheat! Very dark and very strong flavor. Better for making bread than for eating in my opinion. *warning-I am giving you the actual recipe. I never use that much sweetener. I just give a nice squeeze of honey or a big drop of molasses and it turns out great. I don't like the finished product to be too sweet!

You can, mix it all together in a mixer or you can mix it by hand. The bread doesn't care. But you do need to make sure you proof it. Proofing basically means that you let the mixture sit in a warm spot to give the yeast a chance to prove it's worth. It gets all frothy and it smells like fermentation. Fermentation is perfection. I let it sit at least 10 minutes but the longer you leave it the more flavor it will produce. If it doesn't froth and look like dirty dishwater, your yeast might be dead. It's nice to figure this out before you bake a hard little bread-brick instead of a fluffy loaf of bread. Don't skip this step!

After the proofing add 1-1/4 tsp of salt. Sea salt or kosher salt, whatever. Just don't use iodized salt. It's nasty.

Add 1/4 cup of canola oil. I have never used any other oil but I am sure you could.

Keep mixing while you add the first of the flour. Start with 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix it in a half cup at a time to get a smooth mix. Then add 1 cup of unbleached white flour. Keep mixing until the dough forms a sticky ball.

Now the fun part. You can use the dough hook in your mixer. But then you don't get to feel the dough. I dump out the sticky mass onto a board or counter top that is covered with about 1/4 cup unbleached, white flour. Cover the top with another 1/4 cup of the flour.

Begin kneading. You can add flour bit by bit as you need it. If it gets sticky add a little. But keep in mind that a wetter dough will make a more moist bread.

When you can press into the dough and feel an elastic spring and see that it shrinks back on itself. It's ready to rise.

Hide your dough baby under a CLEAN towel. Let it rise for an hour and a half or until doubled.

When it's finally risen enough, you get to punch it! Use your fist to punch out the air until the dough is flat. Let it rest while you grease a bread pan.

At this point, you can just roll the dough up into a loaf and put it in a pan. I like the looks of a twisted loaf. So this is what I do. I split the dough into two equal parts.

Then I roll the dough between my hands to create these log-type thingies.

Anchor the tops together.

Then begin to twist the pieces.

Squish the ends down so it will fit in the bread pan. It won't be perfect and that's okay. One side might be thicker than the other or the twist might smash together. Don't worry. It will taste terrific.

Hide your new fancy bread baby under a CLEAN towel. Preheat the oven to 350. Let the loaf rise for an hour. It should nicely fill the pan. Don't let this rise go too long. If you do, it might fall (flatten) when you bake it. This is also the point when you might want to egg-wash the top and add a pretty sprinkling of sesame seeds, salt, flour or oats. Let yourself go wild. I will do that when I feel the urge. But more often than not, I just let it be.

This is the most lovely risen loaf ready to bake.

After 38 minutes in the oven, (it is supposed to be 40 but I don't want it to get dry) you can dump the loaf out to cool. Wait a bit before you cut the bread or it will smash when you cut it. It is torture I know but you don't want to ruin it!

I hope this makes you all want to try your hand at bread-making. It's a skill that can become a hobby that can become a love! Happy eating!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why I am not a professional photog-Sister's family

My sister, bless her heart, thinks I am a good enough at photography to take her family pics. Well, we tried and here are the results. I give major props to you real photogs out there. It hard to take quality pics of a sleepy 1-year-old. The little stinker!

I love this family.

This girl was a natural. Look at that smile!

This is SO HER!

I think it's my fav!

No wait! This is my fav!

A girl and her daddy. Too sweet

Ornery girl!

I guess we got a few they can use. It was fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fair on the Square!

This is my FAVORITE time of year. I love the ballgames, the sweet smell of dying vegetation, the coolness in the breeze, the darkness of the morning, the coziness of my giant,chunky robe, the sound of the marching band in the distance and oatmeal. Oatmeal is the stew of fall breakfasts. (I often say things that make no sense.) Oatmeal with honey, walnuts, dried fruit and cream. I prefer steel-cut but will settle for the old fashioned oats. Oh my, I am totally off track. Food does that to me.
Back to Fall. I love fall here in Canyon. We kick off with WTAMU's homecoming weekend. There are parades, bonfires, games and hometown fairs. We enjoy it all and know that when those things happen, Fall is really here. We had lots of family in town for the festivities. I always love it.
Canyon's Fair on the Square is not what most people would think of as a fair. There are no rides. But there are lovely food trucks filled with yummy fair foods. And there are arts and crafts to browse through before you attend the parade. Of course I took pictures. And of course I will subject you all to them. Here they are!

What are your favorite fall traditions? I'd love to hear!

Monday, October 4, 2010

More fall fun.

There was so much to do on the farm that I had to dedicate another blog to it. This is the actual apple tour part of the day.

This was our sweet ride. Sweet hay ride that is! We kinda loaded it down.

It was beautiful!

Grumpy Guts

Frowny faces.

Cool snake skin!

The apples were very crisp and fresh.

Very, very crisp and fresh.

Kyle showing Emma the finer points of the hayride.

Levi was leading the tour to the apples! "Come on guys!!"

"Levi, you are so silly!"

Precious cousins.