Summertime… and the livin’ is… well, it’s never quite easy is it?

  • My Dad called yesterday and inquired about everyone’s well-being.  I stuttered a bit, not knowing how to answer.  An easy question, in a way, but especially since it’s my Dad, I wanted to be honest.  I answered something like, “Well, is everything perfect with unicorns and rainbows?  No.  But, even though there are things going on that are less than ideal, it’s not unexpected.  It’s kind of par for the course of parenting.  It’s all workable, even if there are some troublesome spots.”  He said that the same could be said for his job situation, which has been a real roller coaster.  He is a computer engineer, hardware and software.  His job, and those he employs, are currently funded by investors, which has a ton of accompanying pressure.  His work is in artificial intelligence which can, among other things, be used for cyber-security.  What with Obama’s focus on that, it would be so ironic if a president, for whom he didn’t vote, ended up being the source, indirectly, of some major contracts for him.
  • Yesterday was our first day of summer.  Mostly.  The boys are still doing math, as we got behind.
  • I’ve been thinking about how to plan our time for the summer.  A lot of my thoughts hinge around, “Well, I could get a lot more done if I didn’t have a computer.”  It can be such a great help at times, and such a time-suck at others.  I’d also get more done if, specifically, I didn’t blog.  But… I think I’d go mad (maybe literally) if I never wrote.  Ever since 7th grade, when my English teacher introduced journal-writing, I’ve been hooked.  I was talking with my verbose son Grant, trying to get him to understand that why, during quiet time, it’s MY quiet time, too, and he needs to not talk to me.  I told him, “You know how you process things with speaking?  I process them in writing.”  I’ve been thinking about that concept, and it’s true.  I can get a grip of things with much greater clarity and understanding if I write them.  So, blogging is a form of therapy.  I have to find the balance, between getting enough done — fulfilling my responsibilities — and keeping myself sane and healthy.
  • Speaking of healthy, I also started working out yesterday.  One day down… thousands more to go!  Ugh.  It feels good to have my muscles ache this morning, though.  It feels healthy.  I pulled out a DVD that I thought was 20 minutes.  It turned out to be 51 minutes.  I quit after 42, and even that was done in two installments.
  • My son Ethan, who will be 12 later this month, offered this to me, ostensibly as encouragement, “Mom, if you kept that up for six or seven hours every day, you’d probably lose one whole pound by the end of a week!”  😮
  • Speaking of losing weight, I keep getting ads sent to me by Lane Bryant, a women’s clothing retailer that sells stuff larger than size 12.  I am much heavier than I’d like to be, but, gosh darn it, I am not a size 14!  The ads started arriving round about the time I had Fiala.  I think it might be Lane Bryant’s marketing scheme to target new mothers.  Devious, but likely effective!
  • Like mother, like son:  The boys were watching a movie yesterday (Meet the Robinsons, which I think is one of the best kids’ movies created, ever), and two of them called out in near-unison, “Mom!  A cactus wren in the back yard!”  I went over to look, and sure enough, they’d made a correct identification.  I was very proud of them.  The cactus wren is Arizona’s state bird, and though they’re not rare, they are uncommon, at least around our house.  Cactus wrens are happy birds, friendly and not skittish, yet without being annoying, like grackles, which are surely the scum of the bird-earth.  I even like pigeons more than grackles, because at least pigeons don’t scare away other birds.
  • Lastly, my husband has brought my summertime dreams down to a budgetary reality.  After listening to his concerns, I seriously altered my dreaming/ planning.  It looks like we’ll be camping in Oak Creek Canyon, north of Sedona, likely in early September.  I love, love, love that area, and millions of people come from all around the world to soak up the red rock beauty.  But to me, it doesn’t seem quite like a real vacation, if one takes it practically in one’s back yard.  Plans aren’t set in stone, but it’s looking likely that that’s what we’ll do.  Really, it will be nice, camping alongside Oak Creek.
  • One of my mini-projects going on right now is to find a recipe — an EASY one — that works well in the breadmaker that was Freecycled to me.  So far, two abject bread-failures down, and one loaf baking in the machine right now.  Here’s hopin’ it turns out!!  On my first attempt, I pretty much just threw all the ingredients in together.  Second attempt, I pre-mixed the dry ingredients, and placed the mixed wet ones on top.  Third try, mixed all ingredients together in a bowl beforehand, which is pretty much what you do when not using a breadmaker, and makes the breadmaker worthless, unless you consider that I don’t have to heat up the house via the oven, here in the middle of summer.  I dreamed of just being able to throw everything in there in the morning, and by lunch time have a fresh loaf of bread for lunch, and it appears that successful bread needs a bit more effort on my part.

About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on June 2, 2009, in Arizona, birding, Blogging, Budget, Family, gluten-free, Homeschooling, Parenting, Summer Plans, The Dear Hubby, The Kids, Travelling. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Breadmaker…standard procedure is dry on bottom, yeast in middle, wet on top. What is wrong with the bread? Hockeypuck hard? You might try a different breadmaker if you can’t get this one to work….I gave up on breadmakers because they overbaked the bread, so I use my kitchenaid mixer. try different settings, maybe look for the manual online, google the manufacturer. I would recommend King Arthur flour but, alas, you don’t do flour.
    I find tons of breadmakers at goodwill.

    • It’s not mixing — I empty the loaf after the cycle is done, and there is a ton of dry flour, about 1/3 of it, on the bottom, and partway up the sides, but not directly around the mixing paddle, so I know the paddle is working, just not well enough.

      I did find the manual online, but it only had regular bread recipes, which isn’t surprising, and it let me know that the cycles are set, not flexible. Like I can’t eliminate the second rising cycle.

      Plus, um, my first loaf, I forgot the eggs. Duh. The loaf that’s in there now rose over the top of the baking pan… so it’s not quite the right recipe/right proportion… though I did start with a gluten-free bread machine recipe from a different manufacturer.

  2. I love my bread machine but we use whole wheat flour and I just make the dough in there. Although I think that I might follow the suggestions of others and try putting it on the backporch workbench and let it work out there and also the crock-pot. Even less heat in the house in the summer.

    Parenting is definitely a roller-coaster. I am pretty sure I am on a loop right now on the upside down part . JK. It is just this week.

    We need to finish our history but I am waiting until 12yo returns from Yellowstone. I have contemplated scheduled computer time this summer so that I will get lots done. We’ll see. ;0)

  3. We finished school last week and are on summer break. I think my son would have a nervous breakdown if we stayed with math any longer. LOL

    I’m going to check out your movie suggestion. I totally trust your judgement.

    Keep up with the workout. I just bought a Pilates DVD for $5 at an used bookstore. I hope it’s good.

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence about the movie, Tammy!! I was a little concerned at first, because there’s a character in the movie that really could have… gone wrong. But, they handled it SO well. I am so not a Disney fan, but this movie is fantastic! Hilarious, smart, quirky, poignant w/o being sappy, with a major themes of redemption, reconciliation, and perseverance. Highly recommended!

      Day #2 of workout was today!! So far… so sore!!! I have great hopes, though, of feeling strong and healthy, and fitting much more nicely into clothes. 🙂

  4. glutenfree4goofs

    Hey Karen, I could help with the bread recipe! 🙂 Also sorry to contradict you Lisa but I do believe the standard procedure is wet on bottom then the dry then the yeast. Yeast should not touch the liquid until the machine is heated and it begins to mix.
    Because of the wet nature of GF dough the machine will likely, never mix completely so just give it a little help with a spatula by scraping the sides once before the mixing is done.
    I will email you 🙂

    • Well, other than the very top, which expanded too much, then imploded, the bread was really good!! I got eight very big, square slices out of it, and we all had sandwiches last night on the most bready g.f. bread. I only had to cut off the top 1″ or so (the imploded part) and the bottom 1″ or so (where the paddle was), and it was really good. The only “problem,” since I can’t leave well enough alone, is that I wanted to add some more whole grain ingredients to the bread, AND it was just a tad gummy. So, I tried a couple of things….. there’s a loaf baking right now. I’ll let y’all know when I get a perfected recipe. 😀

  5. glutenfree4goofs

    Boy I just re-read and I sure sounded like a know it all! I’m not a good cook but baking is something I’m pretty confident in. I didn’t mean to sound snobbish! 🙂 My mom used to bake wheat bread commercially also so I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve from the “wheat days” and have baked probably 300 loaves of gluten free bread (most flops) to get two good recipes. Sorry about being smarty pants sounding!

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