Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Stalling Tactic

The boys love to use whatever excuse they can to delay bedtime, but tonight I heard the most outrageous stalling tactic ever!

I was up in the bathroom with Stephen.  He had just brushed his teeth and I was trimming his nails when we heard a CRASH and a whimpered, "Oh brother!" from down in the kitchen.  Since the other boys were already in bed, I knew that had to be Fred.  Stephen was ready to bound down the stairs to see what had happened, but I made him sit still while I continued to work on his nails.

I cautiously called down to see if everything was ok and Daddy replied that he was fine, but when he was putting the apple juice bottle back in the refrigerator, it fell and spilled all over the floor.

(Side note here:  at the supper table just tonight we had a little conversation about the importance of always putting the lid back on the apple juice bottle because at our house, the potential of knocking it over and spilling it was quite high.  I received a look that I interpreted to mean, 'I know what I'm doing; you don't need to tell me what to do.' so I dropped the subject.)

Meanwhile back upstairs, Stephen is having conniptions because he wants so badly to go downstairs and see the mess.  I am trying to convince him that he doesn't need to worry, Daddy is taking care of things and he still needs to get his nails finished before he goes to bed. 

Stephen responds, "Fine!  I'll finish my nails, but then I'm going down to see that mess!  I can't believe you won't let me go now!  This might be the only time in my life that I will ever see a jar of apple juice spilled all over the floor and you don't want me to miss it, do you?!"

Ha ha ha!  Can you believe that one?!  Well we didn't fall for that excuse!  Are you kidding me?  In our house those chances of seeing another jar of apple juice spill are so high that that excuse is quite lame!  My response to Stephen was just a loud and hearty laugh and a little putz on the bum as I guided him into his bedroom, promising that the next time apple juice spilled, I would let him see it -- AND wipe it up himself!

These kids crack me up!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mother's Boys

My grandma, Helen Pavkov, was an amazing woman.  Unfortunately, I only knew her through the eyes of a child, but after reading many of the poems that she wrote over the years, I am catching a glimpse of the woman that has had such an impact on my life.  How I would love to sit and talk with her now that I am a mother myself!

Aunt Peg sent the family an e-mail the other day and shared a poem that she just found and had never seen before.  This e-mail has sparked some very encouraging and interesting e-mails that have gone back and forth between family members since then! I would love to know when Grandma wrote this, how old Uncle Ken and Uncle Russ were at the time she wrote it and what kind of conversation or event triggered this cute, but honest poem!

Mother's Boys

Yes, I know there are stains on my carpet,

The traces of small muddy boots,

And I see your fair tapestry glowing,

All spotless with flowers and fruits.

And I know that my walls are disfigured,

With prints of small fingers and hands,

And that your own household most truly

In immaculate purity stands.

And I know that my parlor is littered

With many odd treasures and toys,

While your won is in daintiest order,

Unharmed by the presence of Boys.

And I know that my room is invaded

Quite boldly all hours of the day;

While you sit in yours unmolested

And dream the soft quiet away.

Yes, I know there are little bedsides

Where I must stand watchful each night,

While you go out in your carriage,

And flash in your dresses so bright.

Now, I think I'm a neat little woman,

And I like my house orderly, too;

And I'm fond of all dainty belongings,

Yet I would not change places with you.

No! Keep your fair home with its order,

Its freedom from bother and noise,

And keep your own fanciful leisure,

But give me my splendid boys.

Helen R. Pavkov

Ah yes, give me my splendid boys!  I made the comment to all in the e-mail link that I had both laughed and gotten choked up when I read this poem because just a few moments before, I had barked at the boys about slamming the recliner into the wall yet again when they jumped on it, putting another dent in the wall!  One of the e-mails that came back to me said, "There is something so simple, but loud about little boys that endears them to their moms forever more! Have a wonderful day! (A little spackle and paint will repair the hours of fun on your wall! :)"  How true, Aunt Bonnie, how true!  However, I do think that I will wait another ten years to repair this wall ... again ... because I would rather have my sons' hearts warm toward me than to have a perfectly painted wall!

 Grandma had a way with words that proved to us all that she was a normal housewife, mother and woman who wanted nothing more than to be the person God wanted her to be.  Her poems, although written decades ago, could have easily been written yesterday with the reality that they portrayed.  She was blessed by having her poems published at the age of 93, and I am blessed by reading them and gaining godly wisdom from that amazing woman that I called Grandma.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I grew up with popcorn.  Dad always loved his popcorn and I can remember having it as a staple in our home growing up.  Sunday nights seemed to be popcorn nights a lot, as well as nights that we had a babysitter.  Mom used to use her Farberware skillet to pop the corn and we loved hearing the popping kernels bang away on the lid, steam seeping from under the lip.  When it was done, the warm popped corn was dumped into the large, green Rubbermaid bowl and then salted.  Sometimes we had the treat of melting bacon grease and pouring that over the top first.  We are all convinced that Dianne made the best popcorn and somehow talked her into making it for us all the time!

I guess traditions like this don't change much.  Our family today is growing up with popcorn, too!  One of my favorite Christmas presents every year is a 12.5 pound bag of popcorn from Dad that he gets from Dannemillers in Norton.  That usually lasts us until spring when we somehow have to get another bag from him.  Around the middle of July we get another bag that we try to make last until Christmas again.  It's not always easy, but seriously, there is no better popcorn than Dannemillers so I try not to run out of this precious commodity.

Since I babysit several children after school, one of their favorite snacks to have is a huge bowl of popcorn, too!  I usually just use Watkins Butter Salt on it, but unfortunately, it's been discontinued, so I'm just getting the generic stuff from Bulk Barn now.  When we want a treat, the boys will sprinkle Watkins Seasoning Salt on theirs or maybe even cinnamon sugar, but my all-time favorite lately has been to sprinkle Watkins' Jalapeno Dip Mix on mine!  OH YUM!  It's sooo delicious, and no extra calories.  Bonus!

I also make several popcorn snacks for the kids that we all love and I'll rotate them to make everyone happy, but usually, just a plain bowl of popcorn makes everyone smile!  I think I am making popcorn at least five days of the week, if not more, and we never get tired of it.

Here are some of our favorite recipes.  Feel free to share yours, too, because chances are, we'll try them!

Cinnamon Popcorn
4 qts popped corn
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. Watkins cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix ingredients together, pour over popped corn and toss.  Bake at 300F for 10 minutes.

LuAnn's Party Mix (I have no idea who LuAnn is, but I love her recipe!)
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
3 qt. popped corn
12 c. Crispix cereal
6 c. tiny pretzels
1 c. peanuts
Candy corn or M&M's optional
Mix together and bake at 325 for 5 minutes or microwave 2 batches for 1 minute on high.

JELL-O Rainbow Popcorn
8 c. popped corn
1 c. peanuts
1/4 c. butter
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar (or white)
1 pkg (4 serving size) JELL-O strawberry or lime
Over low heat, cook butter and syrup in small saucepan until butter is melted.  Add sugar and gelatin; stir until completely dissolved.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce to low and simmer 5 minutes.  Pour over popcorn, tossing to coat.  Spread into foil lined pan.  Bake 10 minutes, cool, remove from pan and break into small pieces.

Baked Caramel Popcorn
1 c. margarine
1/2 c corn syrup
1/2 t. baking soda
2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
20- 24 cups popped plain popcorn
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil stirring often at medium heat. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and soda. Pour over popcorn which has been placed in a huge bowl. Stir until well coated. Turn onto 2 large shallow baking pans. Bake at 250 for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes while baking. Pour into a bowl and toss once in awhile while it cools so that it is not all stuck together.

Store in a airtight container.

Mom's Caramel Corn
6 qt fresh unsalted popped corn
2 c sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c. boiling water
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c salted, skinned peanuts (optional - added to corn before pouring syrup on top)
Mix sugar, tartar and boiling water thoroughly.  Over moderate heat, boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, cover pan.  Uncover and continue cooking w/o stirring, but watch closely until syrup takes on a bright caramel color.  (If too dark, it will have a bitter flavor.)  Remove from heat at once and stir in butter and soda. Mix thoroughly.  It will be foamy.  Pour immediately over the top of the popped corn, covering as much corn as possible.  Quickly lift and mix until all corn is covered with the candy.  Spread onto waxed paper to cool.  Do not press together.  When cooled, break into smaller pieces and store in a closely covered container.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


All I did was cough!  That's it!  Honest.  I coughed a few weeks ago because I had a cold, one of those really bad ones where you cough and cough and cough until you just can't cough any more... and then you cough again.  I think it was one of those 'again' ones that did it to me.


Something really, really hurt in the vacinity of my ribcage!  Within a few hours, I couldn't sit, lie down, laugh, sneeze, or cough!  To be honest, sometimes I could hardly even breathe!  It hurt so very badly! 

No, I haven't seen a doctor.  No, I haven't gone for x-rays.  No, I haven't gone to a chiropractor.  I HAVE taken ibuprofen and I've iced and heat packed it.  I've also "Ouch! Yow! Eech-oochie-oh"-ed my way through all my tasks as well.  That seemed to help the most.  If I could express the pain out loud (mostly when I was alone because, seriously, who wants to hear all your gripes and moans and groans anyway?) then it seemed to be easier to endure. 

Now it's been two full weeks of this and I've had a hard time sleeping because I can't lie on either side, can't lie on my back and for sure I can't lie on my stomach!  I struggle sitting through a day at church because the angle of the pews is just a tad bit off and the pressure is too great.  I can't sit on our couch, recliner or rocking chair.  I also found out that I can't really go skating with a five year old who is still learning to skate!  I can, however, stand and walk with no problems whatsoever!

I've heard that these types of injuries can take a long time to heal.  That's not good, but I am thankful that I'm feeling better now this week.  I still can't sneeze without screaming in pain, but I can at least bend over to help pull on a stuck boot of that same five year old and I can catch a deep breath every once in awhile.  I can sweep my floor again and I can carry the laundry basket upstairs.  I was kind of hoping I'd be able to get out of shoveling the snow because of this, but hey!  We haven't had any snow to shovel  anyway so I'm already getting out of it!

I'm not sure how long this will be a pain in the side for me, but I'm so thankful that it's not worse than it is.  If you think of me, pray that it will heal fast.  It's hard for a mom to be slowed down by things like this!  Oh, and try not to make me laugh or sneeze in the meantime.  Thanks!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kaitlyn Clarisse

Kaitlyn Clarisse Weinhardt December 14, 2011

This is my newest niece, Kaitlyn Clarisse.  She was born on December 14 to Fred's brother Henry and his wife, Jo.  She came early and captured all of our hearts and certainly all of our attention for the sixteen brief days that she was with us.  I'm so thankful that I got to meet her when she was only 2 days old, but unfortunately, she had just come out of surgery and I wasn't allowed to even touch her beautiful baby hair.  Katie doesn't know it, but she was used as an instrument of God in her short life.  She has taught us all so many lessons: total dependence on God, the power of prayer, the importance of practical support during a trial, the freedom of peace from above, the healing practice of rejoicing with those who rejoice and of weeping with those who weep.  Katie has had more of an impact on many of our lives in sixteen days than most people have in a lifetime!  My book of a thousand gifts is FULL of thanks from those two weeks that she was here with us.  God is good, even when there is deep sorrow.  God loves even Kaitlyn, even Henry, even Jo, even Elyssa, even all of us.  God is good ALL the time!
Jo, Henry, Kaitlyn

December 30, 2011 
It is with deep sadness that we share the loss of our dear Kaitlyn. She died peacefully in her mother’s arms and daddy’s hands at 4:50pm today. Her 16 days with us were each filled with all our love and already we miss her. In our sadness we also have joy knowing that she is now completely well and someday we will meet her again.
Her life was a precious gift to us for which we are truly grateful. We are also thankful to you all for your love shown in so many ways.
With all our love & gratitude,
Henry, Joanna and Elyssa

Mommy was right there to comfort her!

Kaitlyn peeking out at Daddy

Mommy singing during a special cuddle time

 Kaitlyn had to endure so much in her short life.  She was dependent on machines and monitors and respirators and tubes.  She even had surgery!  She endured much, but she gave much and we will be forever changed because of her life.  Thank you, God, for blessing our family with your precious little princess!  What comfort to know that she is now in the hands of the Great Physician!