Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bountiful Baskets 3/24/2012

THIS is my Bountiful Basket from today. It is sitting on top of my deep freezer in my mudroom for lack of a better home for it to take a picture. Real estate (as you can see on the edges) is at a premium. Ignore the trash bag covering the window, that's so the dog will actually SLEEP in the morning rather than waking me up at the crack of dawn.

Contained in my basket this week was:

1 Pineapple
1 Yellow Honeydew
1 bag +3 small Green Apples (TrainBoy ate one on the way home)
9 Bananas
6 d'Anjou Pears
2 overflowing pints of Cherry Tomatoes
5 Scallions (large green onions)
2.5 lbs. Green Beans
1 bundle of Asparagus
1 HUGE head of Romaine Lettuce
1 large head of cauliflower

What did I pay for this basket of GORGEOUS produce, all in it's prime and not a single item I wouldn't have taken as "first pick" at a grocery store? $15.

HOW did I manage this feat? I used Bountiful Baskets. They're in 19 states and growing every week. Place your order on Monday, pick up on Saturday. It's just that simple. Don't need one next week? Don't order one. No obligation to continue buying whatsoever. Just enjoy what you get and order when you need more. To find out if they're available in YOUR area, visit

Beyond this I am looking at this BEAUTIFUL bounty and my recipes are FLYING around in my brain.  I'm so excited to have this fresh, gorgeous produce to play with over the next week or two.  I think I have some fun ideas.

Cauliflower Gratin (Cauliflower, Scallions)
Banana Topper (Bananas) - at the request of TrainBoy
Green Beans Almondine (Green Beans, Scallions)
Romaine Lettuce Roll Ups (Romaine, maybe some Cherry Tomatoes?)
Asparagus Toss (Asparagus, Scallions, Cherry Tomatoes)
Baked Apples (Apples)

Most of this will, however, be eaten either fresh or steamed and "au natural". 

I will note that as of this posting, 1/3 of the pears are gone, and more of the apples have disappeared. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why I Love Boys

I grew up in a family of mostly girls. Girls were normal to me and familiar. I have a half brother, but he didn't live with me and I wasn't around him that much except for certain times when we needed each other and pulled together for a season. Don't get me wrong - I'm BLESSED to have him. He's honestly one of my favorite people...and that's a hard list to make! :)

Beyond him, I had almost all female cousins (only 1 male). I spent TONS of time working with girls and women in Girl Scouts and our church. I was, for all practical purposes, a girly girl who liked to go camping but beyond that really had solace in makeup, hairspray, fashion, and didn't mind being 5'10" with long blonde hair and blue eyes.

When I found out our first child was going to be a boy, I was heartbroken. I didn't KNOW enough about boys!!! I knew about girls!!! I could wrap the vast majority of males on the planet around my finger in seconds flat...but a BOY...a child??? That I had to RAISE??? So that another woman wouldn't do the same to him??? I was absolutely petrified. The responsibility to raise a man who would grow to become a leader in his family and quite possibly his community was immense.

I played it off to friends and family as being disappointed over "girly" things but the truth was, I was scared to death that I had no idea how to raise a boy.

Of course, we loved him from before he was born. I would rock him to sleep and tell him he "was my sun, my moon, my stars, and my sky." As he grew up to do more and more "boy" things I fell further in love with him. His taste for adventure, when he claims it is insatiable, just like mine. His love for people is immense, just like mine. He has a heart that there are still days now that he's 8 years old when I'm running for the bathroom to grab a kleenex and cry quietly because he just blows me away with his compassion and kindness.

We have more in common than I ever imagined possible...and yet he is SO much like his Dad. That's a good thing. :) I always will catch myself saying a variation of "I'm taking care of my boys" and giving them both hugs. They aren't just father and son, they really are the best of friends. No matter what they're up to, they're two peas in a pod.

Then there are the additional benefits - since I'm Mom and the only girl, I get to be the diva of my home. Not in a "tv" type diva way, but all the fluffy stuff is mine. I don't have little people swiping my clothes, borrowing my makeup, or throwing tantrums about fashion. I don't have to worry about necklines of what my son wears - he's content in whatever's available, clean or not. My nail polish is ALL mine. I don't have to teach my daughter to keep her skirt down in public or how to keep her legs crossed in public.

I get to be the diva. I get to be the woman. I get to be "babied" in a way that I don't know I would be if I was the mother of a girl. I like that. :) lol

My husband and son open doors for me. They worry over me and make sure I have the things I need. They show me, in their little identical peas in a pod way, that I'm Mom and I'm important because I'm Mom. I get to watch my husband correct my son on things like asking a lady her age...which always makes me smile and giggle. Yeah - this "only girl in the house" stuff has it's perks! :)

When I found out I was pregnant - SO many people were in the "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" camps. I told everyone I didn't care.

Truth is I was petrified again. I didn't want a girl. I was scared to DEATH to have a girl. To teach her modesty, to raise her in a world that is showing her entirely too early how to be the exact opposite of a lady, to have to fight that each and every day tooth and nail to teach her to go against the grain. She would have ended up a cloistered nun by 5. I couldn't have done it much longer.

I didn't want the fights over clothes. I didn't want the arguments over makeup and appropriate behavior. I just didn't want to have to do it. My boy has been EASY compared to the females I grew up with...and I've come to cherish that deep within my heart!

And to be honest, I didn't want to give up household diva status to someone under 2 feet tall. :)

Because raising a child of your sex gives you a mirror of yourself...and while I KNOW my husband can live up to the scrutiny, I'm not 100% sure I can.

So yesterday, when at 8 months pregnant we finally found out it was a boy, we were all ecstatic. My son happily exclaimed to the ultrasound tech that it "must be his lucky day!" For the record, we would have been ecstatic for a girl too...but a big part of me heaved a sigh of relief. I get to retain my household diva status. I get to be the woman of my home and keep my throne.

Keep your pretty dresses and your fluffy hair. Someday my daughter-in-law can bring me back into fashion if she cares. I'm glad to have my sons and the amazing joy they bring me. There just aren't words for it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Hardest Thing About Being An Only Child

I grew up for most of my childhood years as an only child. I was 12 when my half brother was born and the following year my mother married my step-father and I gained a step-sister who was 9 at the time. My half brother lived with his parents (my father and step-mother). My step-sister moved in with us after the wedding.

The transition to the "new family" didn't go very well. My step-sister was angry and bitter over so many things - and rightfully so. 9 is a difficult age to try and understand why your mother suddenly doesn't want you living with her and your father found a new wife. I certainly don't fault her, or anyone, at what a mess it became.

I am about 2.5 months from throwing my 8.5 year old son into the closest situation he will ever have to what I went through during those years. While his parenting situation has not changed - his father and I are still VERY happily married after nearly 10 years - his life is about to be turned upside down. He's going to become a big brother.

I'm scared for him. I'm scared for me. I'm scared it will end up as BIG a mess as my brother and sister did. I'm scared he will, for the first time in his life, feel unloved or unwanted. I'm scared he will sacrifice so much for those he loves that he will lose himself. I'm scared I can't be a good enough parent to two children - especially after having just one for so many years.

I'm scared to death. I don't have a "good" model to follow of loving two children. In fact, the vast majority of people I have known in person in my life did the very best they could, but I have nightmares of sibling rivalry including a few who actually tried to murder their infant siblings.

Mostly I'm scared my son, who is one of the most loving and kind people I know, will go the opposite way and be so in love with his little sibling that he will stop doing the things he enjoys and wants to participate in so he can help with the baby more. He's already trying to give nearly everything he owns to the baby (we keep telling him no and that it's not necessary and we'll take him to buy NEW things for him to give the baby).

Today or tomorrow I'm taking him to go and purchase a stuffed puppy for the baby. The nursery is being done in 101 Dalmatians. He wanted to give the baby his very first stuffed puppy (a dalmatian) as a gift and I told him we'd go buy one for him to give the baby instead. I don't think I could keep my heart together if he did that - it would burst from love. He carried that puppy from the moment he got it (his first Christmas) through my husband's deployment and injuries. It went everywhere with him until he started preschool. That's something special he needs to keep for himself - he may need it again in the days to come...or I might need it to catch my own tears. :)

Mental note - buy LOTS of kleenex for the nursery. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Homeschooling Makes You Uncomfortable...Interesting...

So here's a new take on the whole "non-homeschooling parents vs. homeschooling parents" debate.

Recently DS has started making some friends in town and we've started to broaden our horizons a bit. It's been fun - we've met some GREAT people. Most of them are public schooled but that doesn't really matter to our family.

I got an interesting message yesterday I felt I needed to share with you. For the sake of this conversation making sense, we're going to call her son Bobby. Here is the message:

"Heather, I wanted to contact you and ask you a bit of a favor. Ever since we met you, Bobby has really liked spending time with your son. He's so different and kind compared to the other children he knows. He really values your son as a friend. But I must ask that you ask your son to not talk about homeschooling in front of him anymore. All I hear is 'Why can't I be homeschooled like trainboy?'. It's very upsetting to my husband and I. We're sure you understand. Thank you."


First off, I've witnessed every conversation these two children have had together. The only thing this kid knows about homeschooling is that DS stays home instead of going to public or private school, DS still has to do schoolwork, DS's favorite subject is science, and DS misses having recess.

This is not an exhausting list to overcome.

Unless something isn't going right for Bobby.

Is Bobby being teased? Is he being bullied? Is something not going right? Is he behind/ahead in his work? Struggling?

Is Bobby's Mommy not helping him at home and encouraging him? Or is Bobby having issues with a teacher? Is Bobby having issues with a classmaate or two?

Because "I'm homeschooled." "Yes, I still have to do schoolwork." "My favorite subject is Science, Mom lets me do it every day!" and "I miss recess - you're lucky to have recess." is NOT enough for me to go on that Bobby wants to be homeschooled.

Bobby's Mom is uncomfortable with homeschooling because it's too close to her front door. I can already hear the conversation now "Well, if Trainboy's Mom can do it, why can't you?"

And she has to FIND an answer - one believable enough for Bobby to accept.

And I'm sure that's not a very happy place for her to be...but that has NOTHING to do with MY homeschooling.

I wonder how many other parents resort to whatever techniques they can find as homeschooling starts to knock on their door to convince their children that we're wrong and they're right. I wonder if the assumptions and LIES that surround homeschooling are more because we make people uncomfortable than what they TRULY believe in their hearts.

How interesting...

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today has circled around my role in leadership and what I do. In times of both struggle and triumph, I often turn to the beautiful words of Rudyard Kipling.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!