Saturday, January 29, 2011

Window Washing in Heels?

You're probably here simply because the title drew you in. Confession: I had no clue what to title this. All I know is that for the last two hours, the sweet aroma of ham balls covered in a delicious sauce have been filling my house. Tonight I made dinner for me and my boys (my husband, son, and Sinatra that is!). A family favorite and tradition on my side is to make ham balls with augrautin potatoes or cheesy potatoes. My grandmother used to make this each Easter and most Christmases as well. Thankfully, my mom usually carries on the tradition at Easter, though since moving to Kansas, we haven't been able to travel home at that time of year. Thus, anytime I make this meal, I think of home...I miss my family...I miss my grandmother...I remember her amazing abilities in the kitchen, and wish I would have soaked up more of her baking expertise (saying she used recipes is an understatement-I don't think I ever saw her measure a single ingredient!) before she passed away.

These bittersweet thoughts (and the prompting of an old neighbor for my ham ball recipe) led me tonight to my grandmother's recipe book. It's not really my grandmother's, technically. After my grandma Lucy passed away, my mom was going through her old recipes, and saved some of the family favorites, most in my grandmother's classic cursive handwriting, and scrapbooked them for me. I cherish this book.

Tonight as I was flipping it's delicately designed pages, I came across an odd recipe-one probably not found or used too much these days, and it took my imagination back to the days of the 1950' the housewives in aprons and heels with one baby on the hip and another on the the mother in the kitchen leaning over the stove with her pearls shining 'round her neck and her hair perfectly pinned up. I'm wondering how in the world a woman can vacuum with heels on?? Other than Donna Reed, who does that?! And, being a housewife and mother now, I can't remember the last time I got that dressed up to do laundry and change a diaper!

But there's something respectful about the way that the women of the fifties dressed. They were professional homemakers, and they dressed the part. The home was their office, their board room, their career, so why not wear heels, if only in the kitchen?

Back on subject!! The recipe that you are by now probably thinking that I completely forgot to mention is for Homemade Window Washing. I'm not sure when Windex came along, but apparently this must have done the trick back during the time of my grandmother's housewife and mommyhood days.

Homemade Window Washing Recipe (in beautiful cursive handwriting of course!)
1 quart water and add:
    1 tablespoon vinegar
    2 tablespoons Borox
    2 teaspoons soda
   1/2 cup alcohol (my guess is rubbing alcohol, though perhaps it was a cocktail for after the window washing  was done?)

It amazes me the kind of grandmother that I had. Economical, practical, intelligent and beautiful, all with three children in tow! There are days that I find myself wearing more of Isaac's food that he's eaten, forgetting to shave my legs for a week, rarely having time to do my hair and wear it down and not in a ponytail, and most of my weekly cooking consisting of frozen meals. How did she do it, I wonder? How did she wear the dress and the heels and her curls pinned up and still manage to make the world's best sweet rolls?

I only hope I can be half the housewife, mother, and woman that my grandmother was, and though I might not wear my heels and pearls tomorrow while doing laundry, I may just try that window washing recipe after all ;)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

{Early} Spring Cleaning is Rewarding!

Daddy has a meeting all night tonight, so my little guy and I played pretty hard! He even helped me clean his room and his closet, and while he sat and played with his Easter basket and eggs, I sorted through boxes, clothes, toys, baby stuff...

Earlier today I sat down and made a list of the things I'd like to get cleaned and decluttered. I know, spell check is telling me that is not a word, but in my mommy vocabulary, it is at the top of the list! So, speaking of list, what else is on mine other than Isaac's closet?

  • Clean out night stand (of old magazines, pamphlets, books, lip gloss, old lotion. Don't lie, I know yours probably has some similar items)
  • Organize Dresser
  • Clean and Organize Isaac's Closet
  • Clean out bathroom cabinets (the little guy has a tendency these days to want to head for the tub to find his toys, but I don't have child safety locks on the cabinets, only the door to the bathroom which I always forget to shut!)
  • Organize hall closet (this one's a doosey. I think this is a seasonal job, not a yearly one)
  • Put stuff up from drawers that Isaac can now reach (self explanatory)
  • Clean out hutch in basement so it can become Isaac's toy cabinet
  • Clean laundry room (bleh)
As you can see, it's a really *ahem* fun list! So there I was tonight, standing in front of Isaac's closet debating with the the mommy angel on one shoulder telling me to clean, and the mommy devil on the other shoulder saying, "Come on, slack off a little! A little clutter never hurt no one!" (I believe the little devil one would probably have poor grammar).

I chose to be the good mommy and clean Isaac's closet, and for that, I was rewarded!! Recently I was looking at the store at the bathtub toy holders/nets thinking that perhaps I should get one for his alphabet letters and fishies, but couldn't bring myself to pay for one at this time. Then I also have been thinking of getting a faucet guard of some sort because he always wants to touch our corroded faucet but I don't want him getting hurt, burnt or cutting himself on the edge. So after patiently waiting on not purchasing said items for the last month, tonight I found something. It was a gift from a friend for one of our baby showers for Isaac, and it was a little box that had a bath time froggy, a froggy net for the alphabet letters and other bath toys, and a froggy faucet cover. Needless to say, mommy was pretty happy tonight, and Isaac loved his bath with his new froggy friends :).

Saturday, January 8, 2011


It's saturday morning around 10am, and I have a somewhat sick husband in bed (not sure if it's something he ate last night on our date night, or a current bug he caught floating around this town). I can vaguely hear the sounds of...could it be...Stargate?? coming from his laptop in the bedroom.

It's saturday morning around 10am, and my cranky child is napping. Already. He's only been up since about 8am, but was in a rather cranky mood. I'm frustrated because as of lately, he cannot stand to be changed on his changing table first thing when he wakes up in the morning, thus putting both Mommy and Child in a bad mood. He's also been cranky and fussy as we're getting moving in the morning, and today was no exception as he stood and wailed at the babygate to our bedroom, looking longingly at Daddy in bed and not understanding why he couldn't go play with Daddy this morning. Crocodile tears were involved in this mini-tantrum. To soothe said child, we curled up in Daddy's chair and watched The Wiggles for the first time, and he even cuddled and rested his head on my shoulder...poor kid.

It's saturday morning around 10am, and I'm still in my pj's, my hair pulled back, though the use of a brush was evidently not used, my teeth not brushed, and my eyes still have yet to fully open from a night of no sleep thanks to Daddy getting up sick.

It's saturday morning, around 10am, and I have no ambitions, motivations or expectations for the day other than to lay low and rest. To play with my child. To help Daddy feel better. To possibly fold some laundry so that my family can at least attend church tomorrow wrinkle-free.

It's saturday morning, around 10am, and I'm realizing that other than Christmas Day, this is the first Saturday since about September that we haven't had to be somewhere to do something at a said time with certain people, or to photograph anything for anyone, or to travel to somewhere, but to

It's saturday morning, around 10am, and I retract my statement about no ambitions for my day: My goal is to stay in my pj's all day long, to attempt to read more of The Magician's Nephew (I never read any C.S. Lewis growing up. I thought The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe were three seperate books), and finally, to take a nice LONG nap while Isaac naps this afternoon.

Oh, and to day dream about Spring and hope it comes fast. I'm ready for green buds on the tree limbs, gentle blossoms on the flowers, crsip yet warmer weather, capris and light jackets, and playtime at the park.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Resolutions?

Last weekend we headed up to Des Moines for time with family over the New Year's holiday. On our way home I asked Alan what this year's resolution would be. Now keep in mind that two years ago it was to work out lasted one month. Last year's was to start a blog and post daily because that would create a discipline of writing more and reading lasted a couple of months. So what is his resolution this year? "To resolve to not make any new year's resolutions." Well, at least that one he can probably stick with ;)

As for me, my only resolutions are to spend more time in the Word and to be more disciplined in my quite time. How one does that with working two jobs (piano and photography) and being a full-time stay-at-home mommy is still a challenge I have yet to figure out, but at least it is a challenge worth trying for this year as I know it will reap many rewards. My other resolution is to spend more time with Isaac during my day, and save the chores (that I can) and photo editing till the evenings after he's in bed on the nights that Alan works late. I barely touched my computer today and did just that, and had an amazing day with my little man. I am blessed :)

Now back to that first resolution I mentioned: quiet time. I've been struggling, not just with time management, but with the actual "just doing it" part of the whole thing. I think Satan has a way of getting me to purposely find other things to do or to distract me because there are literally days when I go to get my Bible to read, and something enters my path and distracts me.

But tonight, thankfully, nothing hindered my chance to turn on Pandora to my Keith & Kristyn Getty station, open my Bible and my study, read some of the Word and have a chance to reflect on it. And I am so thankful for these precious moments of just me and Him.

I've been journaling my prayers lately, which I find helps me in my prayer time as, again, I get very distracted easily while praying. The last line of my prayer tonight was, "Speak to my soul this year, O Lord, and mold me into Your image." I guess that's really my resolution this year. To be molded and made in His likeness/as He wants me to be as a woman of Christ.

The word mold in that sentence got me to thinking about a potter's hands molding clay. I know, it's so cliche for the whole "He is the potter, we are the clay" verse, but still, there is such depth to that image of a potter's hands. I googled some images out of curiosity, and the main thing that stuck with me as I looked at all of the images is that the potter's hands are dirty. They are cracked. They are dry. They are covered in mud. They are worn. There is clay under the fingernails (eewww!!!). But yet, with such strong hands to manipulate the clay, they are gentle hands so as to not break the clay. The clay, however, in each photo was clean, slick, smooth, refined, and was a beautiful work of art.

Now I've often used the prayer, "Lord, please shape and mold me," but never before this moment have I thought of what process had to go into Him being able to mold me in reference to that verse about the potter's hands. He had to die for me. His hands had to be covered in dirt and mud and blood and tears. His hands felt the nails drive through the skin and His flesh be torn open because of my sin. There was blood under his nails. Sounds like the potter's hands, huh? Just as the potter's hands have to get dirty in order for the potter's project to be complete and beautiful, so did Christ's hands have to be bruised and battered and scarred in order that He could then save me, revive me, refine me, and shape me in His image. The potter cannot make a beautiful project without getting his or her hands dirty and grungy first. The Lord, in order to save His people, had to be willing to send His son for us, and His son had to be willing to die for us...for me.

He is the potter and I am the clay. And I am so thankful that He took the wounds and the dirt and the blood so that He could & can refine my life into something beautiful.